Thursday, April 30, 2009

Follow on Facebook...

...because henrybella's is going gang-busters over there! Jump in on the fun and the sweets by clicking here. See you soon! -Brin

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Roads and Scenery

So the road's wide open before us all. There's so much to get to... so much waiting ahead to surprise us, delight us, teach us. I can't wait.

Six hundred and sixty-seven posts. That's what today makes. Four years of sharing my life. I started this blog as a means of keeping up with friends back in Dallas. I'd just moved here - just bought Freeman House - and wanted a common show-and-tell space to share pictures and stories of my new life. My friends read, then would call me to discuss my decision to move to the country. What was I thinking? Was I really giving up reporting? What about my career? My boyfriend? I had no answers, but each day I had a story. And somehow those stories became my answers.

Blogging suited me. I learned to write, professionally, in a newsroom, banging out dozens of facts and sources in paragraphs that would fit a 17 second window and leave eyes and ears informed, inspired or intrigued. Or whatever. Getting on the computer and spitting something out for a faceless, nameless audience is all I knew. Blogging was second-nature to me. It's always been something I didn't have to think about.

But that changed. The first time someone I didn't know left a comment on this blog, I was perplexed. Who was this person reading my story... reading my life? How did they find my blog? Why were they so interested? I was scared - for reasons you guys could have no way of knowing about. I stopped blogging, then eased back into it again. But one day, when three people I didn't know commented, I quit. This was too scary, and suddenly my always nameless, always faceless audience had both names and faces. It was too real. I went back to paper journals.

Still, the computer keyboard called to me. I missed it... the release of seeing words line up and my urge to write dissipate into orderly sentences. I type over 100 words a minute, so blogging was much faster than smearing ink across a page. So I started again, deciding to ignore the "nosies", as my friends called the strangers who left comments.

That was years ago. Now this blog is read by people I've never met in places I've never been. But the tone of my blog never changed. It's always been about my life - my grief, my searching, my joys and my dreams. It was never right for ads or profit. Life isn't all about money. It was about reaching out, sharing myself and what little I have, and connecting with friends.

If we sat here all day, the two of us, I still couldn't tell you what your participation and support of this blog... of my life... means. You've cried with me. Laughed with me. Cooked with me. Crafted with me. Read with me. Listened with me. Petted with me. Traveled with me. Lived with me. Somehow we've become friends, haven't we, and faced our days together. It's meant everything to me. Thank you.

The relief associated with ending this blog is enormous. I say this without apology. I want to be anonymous. I'm tired of my life being "monitored" by people I'd rather not keep tabs on me. But this isn't to say I'm disappearing altogether. In the coming weeks, henrybella's web site (now pointed here) will be restored, and a little blog there will keep up with the comings and goings of the happy business. (First up? Renown Christian author and one of My Messy, Thrilling Life's favorite writers -Leigh McLeroy - will be at henrybella's Thursday, April 16th, at 6 PM for a reading/talk. Tickets are $5 in advance and at the door. Details soon on the website.) Also, the Freeman House newsletter, which many of you signed up to receive, will begin in May. I've also kicked around the idea of writing a book, and would enjoy finally getting that cookbook out as well. So, you see, this isn't a goodbye. We're simply changing scenery between acts.

So I'm still here. Just not here. So you know, commenting on this little blog will be disabled at the end of the day, so feel free to say anything that's on your mind until then. Afterward, the blog will still be visible, but any interaction associated with this site will be discontinued.

This has been one amazing journey already, hasn't it? I look prayerfully and wondrously at the road in front of us, and hope we cross ways again. Take care until then, will you?

All my thanks and love. Warmly, Brin

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Compromise

So much to say, right? Ideas and words float through my mind - sail by like balloons - but I've given up trying to chase them down and hold on to them. Tomorrow is April 7 and I'm terrible at goodbyes.

I will say this: the blog will not be taken down. It's one compromise I'm happy to oblige after a torrent of emails from folks saying they never got to read it all, or their printer ran out of paper before they could get the last few recipes. My apologies to those who copied and printed and pasted like mad women; I only decided to leave it up yesterday.

Note though, please, that all commenting will be permanently disabled. So if you've been meaning to speak your mind, now may be the time....

Sending warm hopes and thoughts and prayers your way, along with all the thanks my heart can hold. -Brin

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Business Meeting

So I run into my egg supplier over the weekend. Hey Mr. Noah! I call. He turns, then hurries over.

Hey, my bakery's going to reopen within the week, I say. Sure would like to be able to get a few dozen from you each morning. Everyone knows Mr. Noah has the best eggs around - he collects twice a day from the free-range chickens he keeps on the land behind his house.

Well, Ms. Brin, he replies, shifting his weight between his cowboy-booted feet, I've lost a lot of my flock. We set traps, but so far nothing. Think it may be a wild cat that's gettin' em.

Noah treats his chickens like family. This must be hard for him, and I tell him so.

Yeah, only have four good laying hens right now, he says, but you can buy what we don't use. Until I can get that incubator I've been wanting, anyway. Then you can have all you want.

I thank him, and tell him I hope he can get that incubator soon. I'll help you as soon as I can, I promise him. He grins.

Oh. Did I mention? Mr. Noah is 10 years old. He lives with his father (his mom long since out of the picture) and sells eggs to buy BB guns and have money go to children's church camp in the summer.

Forget buying eggs from Sam's Club. Around here, we know the name of the people who supply many of our staples... I even know the names of some of the cows, chickens and goats who provide me with milk, eggs and cheese. Mr. Noah's one of several folks henrybella's supports by buying local and patronizing hometown people and products. So, to my customers, thanks. Thanks for helping support honest, hard-working people in our small community. -Brin

Friday, April 3, 2009


Contentment makes poor men rich.
-Benjamin Franklin

The buttercrunch lettuce in the garden went to seed, so early this morning I tugged it up, snipped off some of the flowering shoots, and vased them. The creamy/plum blossoms greened up my bedroom, which gets the softest, buttery light in the morning.

Last summer in Colorado, Millie and I would take our morning walk up the river. Each time I'd quickly pluck a stone from the bitter-cold rushing water and slip it in my pocket. Once in the cabin, I piled them in a glass bowl - a daily reminder that each day is precious. Today I have those river-smoothed stones scattered across my bedroom mantle - still a daily reminder that each day is precious.

Ultimately, when the fireplace is added back to this room, I want all my stones cemented around the opening. Until then, I'm content with rearranging them on the mantle shelf.

Content. Hmm. You know, I have never been as broke as I am today. But I've never been as content, either. Turns out that being satisfied with what God gives really does make a poor girl rich....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cookies, Kittens and This Present Darkness

Chocolate Mint Cookies - with organic mint from the garden.

This is officially the happening place, henrybella's is. Although I've been closed all week for construction, folks continue to pop in and out, wanting cookies or coffee or a muffin. I've greeted them, the mess that I am, covered in paint and sheetrock dust and chalk and dirt. Yesterday a lady who reads this blog from her home in Kentucky stopped in and I sheepishly greeted her with no makeup and wild hair. What do you do? I'm working here....

People aren't the only ones showing up. Already this week we've found a home for a puppy who looked to be part Alaskan Husky or something. An older man took him, named him Pinto, and stopped in this morning to say Pinto's doing marvelously. Then this morning a kitten showed up, wet and scared. Lori Ellyn (the potter) and I cleaned her up and took her to the pottery studio. Riley, as the kitten was named, already has a new home, too, and will be going home with her new mother tonight. (I was sort of hoping she'd hang around the place so I could post my sign that says: UNATTENDED CHILDREN WILL BE GIVEN A FREE KITTEN AND AN ESPRESSO.)


God has done incredible things here this week. I stayed up late last night, painting the bakery's concrete kitchen floor and telling Him thank you and... praying. Call me crazy or melodramatic, but I'm starting to think this place is caught in a spiritual tug of war... something like that... and I feel it. I feel as though I've walked into This Present Darkness. Last night as I walked up to the building around 7 PM, I cried out when I saw that someone had written "KILL" in foot-tall letters on the windows. Just on my windows. All the other windows on the square sat dark and untouched. Unnerving, especially considering the place was broken into last weekend. I called my Mom, then the police. I'm not scared but I am wary. There's a lot to this place, it seems....

Speaking of a lot, there's still a lot to do here. I'm trying to be open next week, but am still short money for some things I need. So we'll see. I'll be sure to let you know when I reopen, in case any local-ish folks are planning to stop in.... -Brin