Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Word From Millie

 Millie here. I put my chew down to come tell you that folks flooded us with emails (I heard over 80 in the first two hours alone) about the preparedness stuff.  Now Brin's all worked up trying to make the list cuter and fancier with more links and information. She'll get it out soon.

In the meantime, I say that if you have pets, don't forget about us. Be sure to get us extra food, water, and medicine, too. Just sayin'.

Gotta run. I have things to bark at and a bone to defend. -Millie

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spools, Sugar, Soap and Soup

History spells it out repeatedly: times can get tough, fast. Some of us don't even need to crack open a history book to attest to that.

After getting wiped out when things crashed in 2008, I had a defining, Scarlett O'Hara-type moment. With God as my witness, I will never go ________ (hungry, without, etc.) again kinda thing. I remember looking around Freeman House - filled with things... with stuff... and crying. I didn't need a fancy TV, I needed food. I didn't need hundreds of DVDs, I needed soap. I didn't need all those high heels, but sugar would be nice.

What I needed was some sense and sensibility. And I'm not talking about the movie. I had that.

So I began talking to God about it. About the economic forecast, the things I heard and saw and read. The feast-or-famine nature of my career. (I'm in oil and gas.) I read Isaiah 50:7 and felt my spirit stir. I decided to go for it. I set my face like flint and vowed to do everything I could, sensibly and with faith, to be prepared should hard times- or worse- bust through my door again.

So it's become my thing: preparedness. I'm tithing and I'm giving and trying to get back on my feet. But I'm stocking up. Slowly. It's nice knowing I have basics laid in store for myself and to share in case of disaster, illness, unemployment, and the unforeseen.

My November list is another round of basics: like sugar. Soap- dish, laundry, and bath. Soup- home canned and purchased. And spools of thread. That's why I could hardly contain myself last night when, stopping at a cool estate sale, I found a bag of 60 wooden spools of thread. For 5 dollars! Some were grimy, but I wiped them with a damp cloth and unwound the top layer of thread and... good as vintage new! Some were still wrapped and unused. I was shocked how strong the thread still seemed. I mean, how long's it been since anyone sold a spool of wooden thread for 29 and 39 cents? Personally, I can't answer that...

I'd need my history book.

(P.S. If anyone's interested, I have a cheat sheet of preparedness resources, articles and blogs I put together for curious family and friends. Email me at letters@brinwisdom.com and I'll be happy to send it along.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bread and Wool

I'm in this head place where I'm longing for things that are real. I'm considering more carefully before buying. I'm asking myself: would this last in a tiny cabin, miles from electricity? Where did this come from, and what's it's future? I'm making subtle switches. Hardcover books, not digital words. Oil lamps, not light bulbs. Mason jars, not plastic tubs. Flour sacks, not paper towels.

And my latest obsession: hearty bread and sturdy wool.

I'm in love with Shelter, Jared Flood's 100% American wool yarn. To say that I actually teared up when I unwound the first skein and found a blade of grass amongst the fibers is not an exaggeration. Shelter starts with beautiful, shaggy Wyoming sheep and ends spinning through a historic mill in New Hampshire. Go take a look-see. It's American and it feels so... real, somehow. Like something Ma Ingalls would have knit if she had her pick of any yarn on the prairie.

It's that amazing.

I put it down only long enough to plan my next loaves of pumpernickel rye bread. Last year I ate many a meal with this bread, only instead of growing tired of it, I've grown to love it more. It feels... real... to my kneading hands and hungry stomach. I like this recipe best so far, although I've adapted it for my own tastes. I feel a completed recipe coming soon.

Bread and wool talk, to be continued...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Found It!

My camera was in... my laptop/camera bag. All neatly tucked inside with the USB cord perfectly wound, right beside it.

What's more pathetic: looking for two days before finding something... or being utterly shocked when it's right where it's supposed to be?

I've lived out of boxes since moving out of Dallas in 2004. (With the constant renovating at Freeman House, boxes were scooted from room to room. Only the kitchen was ever unpacked!) To say I'm looking forward to my Little Cabin of Organization is a laughable understatement.

Pictures coming soon!

(For those who asked, the pictures in the last post are ones taken in 2008 at the Daingerfield State Park - my favorite spot in Texas.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Long Mountains and A Wood



It's dark today. Foggy. Woodsy. Misty. Mossy. A good day for pulling on tall socks, making soup thick with mushrooms and cream, and reading Edna St. Vincent Millay.

All I could see from where I stood/Was three long mountains and a wood....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Note to Self

I can't find my camera. I can't find my camera. I can't find my camera. I can't find my camera!

You know those people who have four dishes, four spoons, four shirts and four skirts? Those who know where the stuff they aren't using or wearing is at all times?

Me neither.

I'm in two storage buildings, a "rental" house and an RV at the moment. No wonder I can't find anything.

Must consolidate. Must downsize. This weekend.

Must find my camera. Must find my camera.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

End Chapter.

God cannot give us happiness and peace
apart from Himself because it is not there.
There is no such thing.
-C.S. Lewis

That was my mistake, you know. Thinking God was a hobby and not the whole.

We could talk for hours. I could blow your mind with the stories, sadness, and salvation that has been my life. I stop and look over my shoulder at the past four years and can hardly believe where I've been. I can't believe, quite honestly, that I made it through. It's only by the hand of a God Who never gives up. Who never lets go. Who never turns away. Who knows just how much you can take.

And mercifully, as you glimpse the lights of How Much You Can Takeville from where you are, He steps in. He turns your mourning into dancing.

I've lost considerably these past four years. And I'm not a "bounce back" kind of person. It takes me forever just to process things. Then I have to start dealing. I listed it all the other day... my losses... and sat and stared at the page. I stared and stared and felt my eyes burn hot. And somewhere down deep, I felt a small cry, flickering like a flame. I felt it snap and burn until it exploded, rushing its way out of my heart, up through my throat and out of my trembling mouth. It was the most gut-wrenching, mournful scream I've ever heard. I screamed and screamed... and when the scream finally turned to shouted, hardly coherent words, all that tumbled out was: We survived this. You saw me through.

It took me an hour to stop shaking.

I know sin. I know disobedience. I know rebellion. I know discipline. I also know redemption.

And now, because of His grace... I know a new day.

How about turning this page with me to the next chapter?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Land of Trees and Pies

I think about my little place all the time.

Today I thought about trees. About all the trees I wanted to pass on my morning walks with Millie. I thought about all the fruit I wanted to see glistening in canning jars. I thought about all the nuts I wanted roasting over a hearth fire.

So I went to the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Store and ordered arbor beauties to plant later this fall. If you saw the picture of my new place (before I got paranoid and zapped it), you know that hazelnut, cherry and plum trees (above) will go nicely. At least until they can be joined by peach, apple and pecan.

My land... a land of pies, waiting to happen. -Brin

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Little Secret

I've been sitting on a little secret that I dared not spill until this week: I've bought land. With a brook and a rocky dirt road.

Next comes the DIY cabin. The fun we're in for! Think we're up for this?

Happy happy happy happy happy.