Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

The beginnings of Indian food. Heavy food for a heavy heart.

Hope your week is going well. -Brin

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Love, Handed Down

Bright, cold morning. I'm warm underneath the quilt my great-grandmother made my mother. I'm sleeping under love, handed down.

My new job is going well; thanks to those who've asked. I'm a bundle of nerves as I stay preoccupied with expenses until my first paycheck arrives. (Who works five weeks before getting paid? Oil and gas folks, that's who.) A long commute - three hours driving each day - means I'm crashing on the floor with family until I can afford to make the drive from home. My car's broken down three times now and each day is an exercise in faith. I'm exhausted but hopeful. And so thankful. So, so thankful. A good job in this economy is a blessing only heaven hands out. You see this too, right? How God reached down and arranged dates and people and places so I'd be in just the right place at just the right time for this incredible provision?

He loves us. Oh how He loves us.

I'm living under love, handed down.

Oh.... desperation works to your advantage if you've been eyeing some of those handknitted HouseHelpers over in my shop. Rumor has it that a handful of sets (including new Christmas ones!) are less than $7. Whoa!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm a bundle of nerves lately and so have turned, with increasing desperation, to my knitting needles. It's therapy. Comforting, happy therapy. The result? Something new for my Etsy shop: a collection of handknit hats, each embellished with vintage ribbons and buttons. They're so perfect for upcoming blustery days. I love these. I just love these.

Would talk more, but feel one of those How in the world is this all going to work out without me dying first? headaches coming on. Better go find those knitting needles again. ...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cemetery Visit

He will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away
the tears from all faces....
-Isaiah 25:8

I made a recent visit to Law's Chapel, the cemetery where my family - for generations - has been buried. I had to check on my Grandfather's grave, jab my toe in the dirt, tell him how things are going.

Things are finally looking up, Grandad, I said. I got an oil and gas job last week. There's some travel involved. My life seems to be getting some of its old rhythm back. It's such a relief.

Around me, a chilly wind stirred up a tornado of leaves. I hunched my shoulders and shoved my hands in my pockets.

Quarterback Jack's grave isn't far from the ancient Magnolia tree, the one with dozens of Civil War -era graves beneath. Slaves and soldiers sleep alongside each other; markers tell their stories... or say nothing at all, which in itself tells their stories. What is it about old graveyards? Their mystery and romance are haunting.

Yep, cemeteries don't bother me the way they do some folks. Death isn't forever, it's been swallowed up. And tears, I'm learning, aren't forever either.

I tell my Grandfather this and feel, somehow, he understands. ...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Did Someone Say SALE?

A super sale this holiday week over at the happy little shop. Handmade aprons for $10.99? How fun is that? (wink) Hope to see you there! -Brin

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Dreams...

Today I shrugged on a coat and headed for my favorite place on earth, the woodsy place where mushrooms sprout...

...and moss spreads...

...and water pools like a mirror.

Fall made it to the State Park before I did, leaving its misty, hazy colors laying about. I walk and hear the dripdrip of rain dropping, the thudthud of acorns falling, the slapslap of branches blowing into one another. The leaves congregate above my head and scatter below my feet. My breath hangs as I walk. My feet are wet, cold.

I love it here.

If I had all the money in the world, I'd buy a stretch of the park. I'd build a small cottage and buy an old blue bicycle and would sell fried pies and brownies to the children. As dusk fell, when everyone went home, I'd take my kayak out onto the water mirror and float... float... float. I'd float past the lily pads, past the bend where the maple kisses the water and float until the moon came out and glistened on the mirror. Then I'd turn toward home.

One can dream. Especially in a place like this. One can dream.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bittersweet October

Bittersweet October.
The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking,
perfect pause between the opposing miseries
of summer and winter.
~Carol Bishop Hipps

Autumn is here, even in Texas. It's a chilly, drizzly day that begs for a quilt, warm from the dryer, a good book and a pot of bubbling soup.

October tenth is the day that marks the two greatest heartbreaks of my life. Bittersweet October. I'm mellow today, though... unpacking, washing out newly discovered clothes and flipping through long packed-away books. Millie is sitting in a pool of lamp light, curled into a tight ball - no heat in the house yet - and looks ready for a nap. Maybe I'll make something warm to drink and join her.

But just another moment at the window. Beautiful, bittersweet October. What is it about autumn's decay that can prop the heart up and blow winds of hope straight through?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Offerings, New

New offerings over at Brin include some Cottage Aprons and harvest/Halloween Apron Toolbelts. Fun!

Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend. -Brin

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Postcard From My Heart, No. 3

The last letter this week. Thanks for sitting by as my heart sloshed onto paper and puddled into these lines. You've been so kind. -Brin

You saw me.
Before I was,
before I fell,
before I knew,
You were there.
And You loved me.
Oh, how You love me.

And how You've stayed.
Right here.
Closer than a prayer...
closer than the air
I breathe back to You
asking for grace,
seeking Your face,
needing to know
You'll come through.
Oh, how You come through.

How do I tell You?
How do I offer thanks
for the wonders You do,
The wonder You are?
How do I thank
the One who traded
His comfort for mine?
His life for mine?
How does one regard her Redeemer?
Because He saved.
Oh, how He saves.

I saw You.
After I was,
after I fell,
after I knew I needed You,
I drew near.
Found You still here.
Along with Your grace,
Your compassionate face
Seeing me
Seeing me through.
It's the marvel of You.
Oh, I marvel at You.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Postcard From My Heart, No. 2

Some situations and conversations this week leave me focusing on the overruling, faithful hand of a God who never forsakes, never fails and never stops loving. This, then, I suppose, is a week of postcards and letters from my heart to certain people who have shared and are sharing my life. I post them here in hopes that someone might recognize or relate to my struggles and take encouragement from the realization that we are never, ever alone and we are always, without fail, valued. -Brin

Dear Disappointed,

I heard you.
In the lines I read
between what you said
I found all your expectations:
high, specific... but yours.
Not mine.
Thank goodness I spotted them;
I think they were misplaced.

So I'm a "disappointment".
So there is
a mold I don't fit -
a pattern I didn't follow -
a road I'll never travel.
My mistake.
The rules weren't clear,
but I doubtlessly would have broken them anyway
in a rush to board my roller coaster.

Foolish me.
Careless, characterless, disappointment me.
I should be ashamed.
You need me to be ashamed.

Only... I'm not.
Only... I might not ever be.
For when I look in the mirror I see
a flawed person who was flawlessly made.
An imperfect child who is perfectly loved.
A ridiculous girl with a ridiculously forgiving God.
When I look in the mirror I glimpse the most
wondrous of things:
that He who began a good work in me
will carry it on until completion.

So I acknowledge the name tag you filled out
and want me to wear -
the one that reads:
Forgive me if I peel it off my heart
and wear this one instead.
It's the one my heavenly Father wrote. It says:

For while I am different, I am loved.
While I am needy, I am accepted.
And while I am guilty - because of His sacrifice -
I am not condemned.

Before I go, I thought I'd show
you the name tag I wrote for you.
Here. Let me put it over your heart. It says:

I love you regardless of how you see me.

Your Disappointment,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Postcard From My Heart

We make our lives from what we have, not from what is missing.

Making a beautiful one today, but missing you all the same. -B

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Remembering How to Be Content

Home from the market, so it's time to make a variation of Kevin's White Bean and Kale Soup with Sausage - I'm using Polish, as it was on sale - and settle in for the evening. I'm caught up in my new favorite book of all time, and contentedly choose a calm, warm evening at home over a chaotic, hustled evening out. Any day.

And let's not forget Millie. She's looking forward to a rousing game of fetch, followed by a girl-and-dog roll in the October leaves.

Hmm. Homemade soup, flickering candles, a good book and a sweet puppy. Adds up to contentedness, if you ask me.

Enjoy your weekend, too. -Brin

Friday, October 2, 2009


So here's the new room: a bed, a chair, a lamp and one lonely decoration. I'm almost through with unpacking; some of my things are still in a little storage building thirty minutes away.

I lost a lot when I said goodbye to Freeman House and the bakery. Things you can touch, like furniture, appliances, dishes. Things you can't, like dreams and hopes and pride. But it was a good thing. No, it really was. As my grief and bitterness have slowly bled out these past few months, I've realized: what's left of me is stronger because of this. I am more compassionate because of this. I can now relate to people who've lost a number of things: a marriage, a loved one, a house, a business and possessions they cherished. Because of this year - because of 2009 - I can look someone in the eye who's facing these things and say, quietly, firmly: I know. I know. But you're going to come through this. It IS going to be okay. And then I can hold them as they weep, remembering the puddles I left at Jesus' feet many, many times.

Romans 5 says it this way: But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

I can't tell you the hundreds of times I've repeated that to myself through tears or clenched teeth this summer... that hard times mean perseverance, perseverance means character, and character means hope.

I think I'm on perseverance. I won't claim character, at this point, and won't lie to you about any earthly hope. But perseverance? I can do that. It's just one day at a time, right?

For now I have a bed, a chair, a lamp, the blanket my Mom made me, and... perseverance. No refrigerator, stove, washer/dryer, or dishwasher, but I do have perseverance. Crockpot cooking, anyone? Washtub laundry? Just watch me make it through this, too, one day at a time.

Or we'll laugh as I try, I guess. Together we can laugh as I try.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Popping out from under the covers to invite you over to Brin for a little HouseHelper show. I just adore these. I'm looking forward to tucking a few of these in stockings and outstretched hands this holiday season, and am eager to share them with you as well.

Hope your day is happy. -Brin