The Road is so long. And the Sky is so Dark.

When I’m in California I spend a lot of time in my car.  Sitting in traffic.  I drive the same 5 miles and it takes me 20 minutes to an hour to drive those 5 miles.

And I’m surrounded by anything I could almost ever want.  I have Pho to left of me, Malls to the right of me, and I’m.. Well.   I’m stuck in the middle with you.  And you.  And, oh yea, You.  I have access to 6 grocery stores within 4 miles.   And gas stations everywhere.  If I lose at the gas game (if you don’t know this game, you are a better person than I), I have no one to blame but myself.

But tonight, I drove 14 miles.  From Woodhull to Galesburg.  Illinois.  And I was surrounded by darkness.  I always forget until I’m home just how inky black it is here at night between the place where I was a child and the place I was a teenager.  The in-between place where when I was not quite a teen and not quite an adult I used to smoke clove cigarettes in my car pretending they were better for me, driving that in-between physical place, while I was in an in-between emotional place during the holidays.

And tonight is December 1st.  And I am home.  A quick pop in.  To see the store, see if I can do anything to make Roxi’s life easier, talk about what we want to do with The Butter Churn in 2016, and reminisce about last year.

The store is hands-down beautiful.


In my childbirth classes I mention to my students that after the baby is born there will be a vast majority who will say things like “OH!  You had the BABY!  HOW WAS IT?”  And those folks, will mostly just want to hear “It was great.  I had a baby.”  And everyone will smile.  And that will be the end.

Some folks will want the numbers version “I went into labor at this time: had the baby at this time: baby weighed this much”  Even though the numbers to a lay-person don’t mean the same thing to a person who does this for a living.

And then there are a small handful of folks who won’t even look at the baby.  Instead they will look at you.  In your eyeballs.  And say “You had a baby.  Who are you, how are YOU, now?  How is your heart now that it lives outside of your chest and you cradle it to you and you wonder who were before this little one ever was?”  And then they wait.  And really want to know.


“So how is business?”  is the most frequent question I get asked about The Butter Churn.  And I say “it’s good.”  And stop there.  Because that’s what they want to hear (well.  Unless it was deliciously gossipy, which frankly, I don’t think The Butter Churn ever will be.  We’re too dang open for that)

And, Some people want the numbers.  Even though the numbers to a lay-person don’t mean the same thing to a person who does this for a living.

And occasionally we get asked “So you did something that most people dream of but don’t do and now it’s reality and how is it?”  And those people look you in the eye and sometimes touch your hand and want to hear the truth.

And the truth…  That just like a baby you stay up at nights wondering if you made the right choice.  Hoping you will do right.  Watching with pride and love something you believe in thrive and do good.

It’s just like having a baby.  AND We wouldn’t trade it for the world.

In my other world I encourage women (and men) to speak the truth (what worked?  What Didn’t?  What was hard?  What helped?)  How lovely it what be if we just had full disclosure all the time?  Not to scare anyone or to build folks up, but just to say here is what it is.  Hmmm..


Downtown Woodhull is decked out with lights and whatnot – and if you don’t live there you would ache for it.  You would be nostalgic for what Woodhull offers.

So tonight I’m home.  And I get to be nostalgic even though I’m here.  And I get to see The Butter Churn looking gorgeous and I get to have some sweet pride knowing that our store only adds to community.  And we get to welcome our 5th month of business…. !

On Thursday we will hang out with some Alaskan Fisherman from Sitka Salmon.  If I don’t answer my phone, don’t take it personally.

If you want to stop by the store, well, that’s where we’ll be.  Come in if the lights are on.

xo, Stephanie


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