Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Millie, The Heart Catcher

What is it about dogs that completely catch our hearts and hold us captive? 
For the many who have asked, I want you to know that the Much Beloved Millie is doing well. She's still rounding up and catching hearts, giving a new meaning to the term dog catcher. The old girl is six now. Six in March. Ever the fan of riding in the back and trotting after tennis balls and trying to sneak things off kitchen counters.

She has Josh trained to give her string cheese on command. A week or two ago, I bought one of those jumbo packages of string cheese and shoved it towards the back of the fridge. Ha. They found it in no time. 

Me: [Looking intently in fridge]  Josh? Where in the world is all that string cheese we just bought?

Josh: ... Well... it wasn't that much. But... uh... ask Millie. [Points toward the corner of the kitchen where she's sitting.]

[Millie wags her tail.]

She seems to be adjusting to all the changes fairly well. I say "all the changes" because back in February, we adopted Maggie, a tiny Yorkshire Terrier mix that was rescued off the street. She came to us severely malnourished, dehydrated and dangling a broken leg. We loved her instantly, even if Millie took a week or two to adjust.

So Millie and Maggie. Quite the pair. I'll round up the now-rambunctious Mags soon and introduce you. You'll adore her.

But first, Millie. I appreciate y'all asking about her. She sends her love but says she will keep your heart, thank you very much.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Perfect Pizza Pie (Guy)

Is there anything more awesome than a guy kneading dough?

No. No, there's not. Especially when it's your awesome guy and he's kneading dinner. Pizza dinner.

(That fluttering sound you just heard was my heart. Or maybe my stomach. Possibly both.)

So Josh is a genius with anything electronic. Certified genius. Omgosh, y'all. You should have seen the day he moved in. Flat screens and three (3!) computer monitors and Apple TVs and computers and Airstream Express Thingys and Rokus and speakers and PS3s. (I stood my ground and relegated the ginormous screen to the back room. It looks like a small NASA launch station back there now. Seriously.)

Anyway, Josh is a pro with all things with a cord... but a cook he is not. That said, he wants to learn.

I just said, the guy wants to learn to cook. This marriage is going to last the ages.

We started with pizza. (Errr... the cooking lessons, not the marriage.)

There is an amazing recipe for pizza here. Go there now. Because when I say amazing, I mean... yeah. It's perfect. It makes perfect pizza. You should make it and have perfect pizza.

Josh grilled ours, but we've baked, too, and either way it's pizza yumminess. Follow that recipe and use bread flour if you can; I think it makes all the difference. Really. This pie is so tasty we went out and bought a proper grill so we can make several at once and have folks over. Makes for a fun (and inexpensive) dinner party!

What have you been eating lately? Have any good recipes to share? By all means, holler if so.  -Brin

Monday, April 21, 2014

Life Begins Again

Flowers grow out of dark moments.
-Corita Kent   

 Every spring as I plant my seeds, I hesitate. Is it too cold? Too wet? Will there be enough sun and enough warmth to coax these dead-looking pieces to life? And somehow, always, the hard seeds respond, and life begins again.

Life begins again.

I spent my 35th birthday at a painting class, swirling watercolors around thick paper and trying to make it look like a sunflower. But not just any sunflower. I wanted the sunflower to look like me- a little bent, a little weepy- but still glowing and open and alive. A broken hallelujah kind of a flower. After the class was over, I drove home in the pouring rain and thought about my own broken hallelujah kind of life. What's done is done. I cannot change a single decision or dime or day. Parts of my heart bolted and went to seed- Freeman House, the bakery, traveling, some relationships, some dreams- but as they died they left me with seeds. Seeds to plant. Seeds to prove that life begins again.

And so it has. I got home and showed Josh my sunflower painting and he was kind (although I'm sure he was thinking, Omgosh, she can't paint worth a lick... and why is that flower upside down?). Ha! Yes, I showed Josh and then went to the store and bought my own small set of watercolor paints and brushes. Why? Because we live in a world created by the Second Chance God, where death begets life and endings are just beginnings and broken hallelujahs are sometimes more beautiful than the perfect ones.

Life begins again. Let this be my painting to the world.  

Hello again. -Brin

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Ruddy Autumn Wedding

 In the season of white wild roses
We two went hand in hand:
But now in the ruddy autumn
Together already we stand.
-Francis Turner Palgrave

Monday, December 9, 2013

Keep some room in your heart
for the unimaginable.
 -Mary Oliver

Friday, December 6, 2013

Wedding Bells Rang

And now at last they were 
beginning Chapter One
of the Great Story
no one on earth
has ever read
which goes on forever:
in which every chapter is better
than the one before.
-C.S. Lewis

It was one of those days that in itself felt so normal... so calendar-page. November 16. Sounds like a routine enough day, but it wasn't. Not for me. That was the day my Great Story came alive.

November 16 was the day the books were opened and Someone read: Brin, Wedding. As if those words had been inscribed on that day since the beginning of time. I felt it, too-- that the day was eternal... set-- and all I had to do was step into it. Live it. Walk it. Watch as the leaves and lake and lights blurred with cake and champagne and clapping to make a Wedding Day.

Josh and I were married at sunset in a simple but beautiful ceremony alongside a brooding, leaf-littered lake. It was everything and nothing I imagined. And I can't describe to you the emotion of walking down that hill toward him-- three bridesmaids behind, a clutching of roses with, a lifetime ahead. 

We're settling in, now, and discovering all those things newly married people do: books owned in duplicate, childhood Christmas ornaments, the rhythms of someone so close but not you. I adore every minute. 

Thank you for the happy wishes. More soon. --Brin   xoxo

Monday, September 2, 2013

A woman seldom asks advice
before she has bought her wedding clothes.
-Joseph Addison

I've bought my wedding dress. Just like that. I woke up this morning, was piddling on my iPhone, and came across an article that linked up several sites to score beautiful, budget-friendly wedding gowns. And then, there she was: my dress.

There was one left.

It was my size. (Or... the size I should order based on the reviews.)

It was 30% off.

I've bought my wedding dress!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Post Pilgrimage: Slow, Gathered, and Grown

As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, 
a certain sense of beautiful mystery
seems to gather and grow. 
- A.C. Benson

I went out to the garden, picked basil, and came in and made pesto last night. 

It was a hot, tiring week in Houston. I was sent there Sunday for a 4-day conference in a giant glass building with fast elevators. The pace was all wrong- too fast and frantic, then boring and blah. The hotel (didn't I used to enjoy them?) was impersonal and loud. The presentations were slick but slow. The traffic set me on edge. I felt out of place all week, and when I got in the rental car to make the drive home, I nearly cried out with relief.

I got home, went out to the garden, picked basil, and made pesto. Then I smeared it over chicken, potatoes, peppers... whatever, didn't matter... and set the table. Then I lit candles and opened a bottle of wine and opened the door for Josh and filled our plates and everything was okay again.

Pilgrimages around the world are great, but I like them slow with gathered and grown dinners and flickering candles at the end. 

 Beautiful mystery optional. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Growing Together

Um... thank you.

Thank you all- so much!- for your beautiful, soul-filling-with-goodness comments about my engagement. This may sound strange, but I've missed you. I have. I've missed you all. Seeing your names and words moved my heart and made me wish I'd never stepped into the shadows and away from blog-light. It made me feel like we were right back where we were in days gone by- planting gardens, working on a house, making things, cooking things.

It felt happy. I felt happy. Thank you again.

I was telling Josh, the incomprehensibly good guy I'm marrying, about you all the other day. He volunteered to introduce himself to you (which is so telling of the friendly, fantastic fella he is, huh?). I agreed that he should soon. So while he's thinking of what he'd like to say, we'll chat.

Did you notice my fused-together summer squash up there? I planted them one day as Josh was mowing the yard of the house we'll soon share. I thought it so fitting that the first squash we picked was a grown-together, distinct-but-joined one. It's as if the wonder and closeness we've been given has seeped into the very ground of our lives. So beautiful, isn't it?

What God has joined together and all... ;)

But enough about me. What's new with you? How's your garden growing? Talk soon.

Love muchly- Brin

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chapter One of the Great Story

Now at last they were 
beginning Chapter One
of the Great Story
no one on earth
has ever read,
which goes on forever:
in which every chapter
is better than the one before.
-C.S. Lewis

If you follow my ever-growing Pinterest boards, you've probably guessed my secret: I am getting married.  

I am getting married!

Our story is, as you'd expect, thrilling. Moving. And deeply, deeply beautiful. At least, we think so. Do you know what it is to have found the one God has for you? It is transforming. It is freeing. It leaves you with the profound sense of being utterly loved- not just by the one who's holding your hand, but by the One who's been holding your heart... moving, waiting, loving...

I am getting married!

We are excited to tell our story and share our experience(s). For now, we are planning a fall wedding stuffed with all the lovely people, music, candles and flowers we can pull off. Since I will have six months to plan this wedding, it's going to require every bit of creativity and DIY projects I can manage. Yipes!

For those who've asked, the cabin project is on hold for a year or two- until we can tackle it together- and we've decided to relocate it to a former national wilderness property where we own five acres. He wants to get a goat or two. I want more chickens. We both want to start a family. But for now, we're dreaming of a wedding day, making a home for two, and starting our Great Story.

I am getting married! -Brin