Monday, August 31, 2009

I've been quietly working - for weeks - on a new shop. It's finally here. It's called, simply, Brin. I hope you like it.

This time around, there will be familiar and new things. The shop is up but the cupboards are fairly bare until Wednesday, when I'll be introducing 15 - FIFTEEN! - new aprons. I've been a sewing/knitting/flower-making fiend every spare moment. I'm losing myself in work. That and prayer is saving me, I think.

So. Guess I'll see you soon over at the shop. (And for those who say they can't ever see my links, you can get there by wandering over to: Yep. That's me. Hi. I'm Brin Wisdom. After four years, I guess it's time I formally introduce myself, huh?)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Slow Soup Sunday

A day of rest. I've needed one. After a dreadfully sad dream, I awoke to the decision to stay in my pajamas today, finish my scarflette, and make a big pot of slow soup. So I did. Fresh vegetables, browned-off ground turkey and handfuls of tarragon came together to make a bowl that has me - now more than ever - looking forward to a cozy fall.

Hope your weekend is slow and satisfying, wherever you are. -Brin

Thursday, August 27, 2009

...You'll do best
by filling your minds and meditating
on things true, noble, reputable,
authentic, compelling, gracious—

-the best, not the worst;
the beautiful, not the ugly;
things to praise, not things to curse....
Do that, and God,
who makes everything work together,
will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
-Philippians 4:8, (The Message), Bible

The basil is fading. Each morning, before my 6:30 AM start to the deli, I ruthlessly pinch away the tips going to seed. Stay with me, stay with me, I plead with it. There are several more batches of pesto left in those stems, I just know it.

Philippians 4:8. I had to memorize that verse when I was in third grade. As a student at a private, Christian school, we were encouraged to stuff all the Bible verses we could into our brains, even though we had no idea what we were saying. I'm so thankful we did. These verses mean something to me now and come to me in snatches at the oddest of times, kind of like sudden sneezes or abruptly-remembered memories from a childhood holiday.

Think about the best, not the worst, I remind myself. The beautiful, not the ugly. Park your little mind in a space squeezed between wide loads of things to praise, not things to curse.

I found out today that my Grandmother - the one married to the Grandfather we lost last month - has cancer. Think about things to praise, not things to curse, I think to myself. God will make all this work together... He will work the high notes and these low notes into the most gorgeous of harmonies, and one day we will weep when the entire song of our lives is played.

I think that, and: Nevertheless...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Nevertheless" with Scarflettes

I'm knitting a scarflette out of Italian wool the color of smoke. In my mind, sometime this autumn I'll wind it around my neck and grab a thermos of spice-scented apple cider and kick through painted leaves. With Millie. Another day I'll wear it home from the restaurant and market where I now work, it draped carelessly about my neck and a muffaletta tucked in crisp brown paper underneath my arm. Scarflettes and muffalettas go together, for obvious reasons.

Yes, I'm working full time at a small but frantically busy deli and gourmet market tucked in the corner of four states: Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. (The license plates tacked onto cars in the parking lot are from everywhere.) I work back in the kitchen with the chef, handling big orders and catering. On one hand I don't mind it so much. On the other hand, I hate it with every Italian wool fiber soon-to-be on my being. This is a waste, I tell myself everyday when I'm making the 45-minute commute. A waste of an expensive education, talent and hard-won experience. But a job is a job. At least that's what I keep telling myself.


Nevertheless is a big word with me right now. Do you ever have those? Big words? A word that keeps presenting itself... first you read it, then someone says it, then you hear it on the radio or on TV or on the street. Nevertheless is mine. I got foolish and bold two weeks ago and decided I'd be very angry at God. I was outside in the dark, lying on a trampoline and staring at stars and giving Almighty God the what-for. What could You possibly be thinking? I asked Him. How could You let me lose my love, my career, my car, my house, my bakery, some family and all my dreams so close together? If this Your idea of "all things work for together for good", You can keep Your good, I told Him.

Nevertheless, He said, gently.

You make no sense to me, I said back.


Nevertheless. Of course I've been confused. See, it's like this: I have been looking at the hard, bitter things in my past and realizing they don't add up to happy. But I'm learning. I'm seeing that I've been looking at circumstances backwards. The question isn't how God can let bad things happen to good people. It's how God could let something so good happen to bad people. Messed up people like me. I'm learning that having a relationship with God... that being a Christian... doesn't mean an American-dream life. It does mean walking through life - griefs and all - with a Comforter. With someone who never, ever forsakes you. Even when you, the work of His very hands, lie underneath His stars and tell Him, with the very breath He gave you, that He's blown it big time. Not even then.

Nevertheless. Even though life is hard, unexplainable and sometimes downright heartbreaking, nevertheless I will praise Him. In an Italian wool scarflette, on my back on a trampoline under the stars, I can say to God: God, I can't figure you out. I can't see how You'll work out my life to make something good. Nevertheless, I will praise You. And nevertheless, I will trust You until the end.


In the meantime, I'll go to work and make muffalettas, I guess.

(In case you're wondering, my scarflette pattern is a variation of the pattern here. Oh. And this little ditty was a good read for this time in my life.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Domesticated Ramblings....

We're under a flash flood warning as spun-out hurricanes (turned storms) beat against our windows. My bed is fluffy and deep, though, so I'm content. Hot tea, a book, a chocolate lab and five pillows spell one cozy, rainy night.

Speaking of cozy, I can't wait for fall. Yesterday, in a book store, I caught sight of this book and yearned for autumn. I crave October and November like some people crave chocolate. Or caffeine. Lately I've been set on crackling fires and apple cider and striped socks and simmering soups. And leaves. Always the leaves. I was hoping to have a leaf-strewn cottage yard by late fall, but I'm still several thousand dollars short. I will have my garden, though, and I can't tell you the hope that gives.

That, and this: I'm registering this week to take violin classes at the local community college. I've owned a violin since college but haven't learned to play. It's on my list of 35 things to do before I'm 35. That and speak Hebrew. Understandably, I'm tackling the instrument first.

Oops. Need to go. Apparently a certain adorable pup needs to go outside. Better get the raincoat....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Make it your goal to live a quiet life....
-Bible, 1 Thessalonians 4:11

I'm all over that quiet life goal....

Wishing you a happy fading summer. -Brin

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'll tell you how the sun rose
a ribbon at a time.
-Emily Dickinson

Sun ribbons saw me off each morning as I left for work. They greeted me with soft, dappled color - color that made me sigh and breathe dreamy prayers as I went on my way. There's nothing like a sunrise in the country. There's nothing like leaning on a hay bale and watching the sun unfurl her pastel ribbons above you.

It was a tiresome week, wasn't it? I'm ready for some iced tea and some knitting and some rest. But there's so much we need to catch up on... so much I need to say. For now, though, I'll settle on this: thanks for being here. Thanks for being my friend. And if I could share my hay bale and sun ribbons with anyone, it would be you. -Brin

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's all starting to hit me, I think: the loss, the fact that I can't go "home" at the end of the day. Strangely, the thing I'm missing most - besides my privacy, of course... and my bed - is gardening. Sure, I still have my containers, thickly planted with herbs and peppers and such. But I miss digging in the dirt. I miss watching Millie play as I plant. I miss pulling weeds and watering.

Gayla has a new book coming out that I can't wait for: Growing Great Grub: Organic Food From Small Spaces. A treasure, for sure. As I seek to down, down, downsize, I'm becoming passionate about small and simple. As deeply as I feel the emptiness from the loss of Freeman House, I'm excited about the prospect of a small cottage and small projects, gardens and recipes that will come from that.

I only have to make it through the summer.

In other news, I got a job last week. It's nothing great, but these days, any job is a job to be thankful for, right? I start Monday.

Hope your day is full and happy. -Brin

Monday, August 3, 2009


...The sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared
with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
-Romans 8:18