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At 2:05pm on January 17th, I walked out of Harris Teeter, leaving behind 9+ years of service and an almost 20 year career in the retail grocery industry.  The full gravity of this trip across an all too familiar parking lot would not be felt for some time,  but as each step carried me a little farther from the past and a little closer to the future, a smile spread slowly across my face.  It was the kind of smile that comes to you without warning or provocation and speaks to a satisfaction and fulfillment that one achieves rarely in this life. The first step of this walk was taken more than two years earlier.  Julia and I had a series of discussions about what we truly wanted from our lives.  Did we want children, careers, wealth, adventure, etc.  What we decided was that we wanted a simple life with each other and little more.  To that end, we focused our collective intellectual efforts on finding the quickest route to that simple life.  We considered farming and began doing considerable research in that direction.  I started developing web based software with the hope of building a software company.  As you may know, it was our hobby of soap making that ultimately became the business model that caught traction and became our best hope of making a meaningful change in our lives.  Much of that journey has been chronicled and if you have been following along you know that we had to greatly accelerate our lives in order to hope to slow down. That walk in January, beneath a steely gray sky, was a new chapter in this journey of ours.  On that day, our little soap company stopped being something that we hoped would work, and become something that had to work!  Moving forward, I will be adding my voice to this shared ledger and will offer my musings and meditations on the continued growth of Belle Terre into a viable and sustainable business.  This will no doubt be a challenge as Julia has set such a rich tone already and my thoughts are frequently of a the less glamorous elements of business.  If nothing else, the picture that we will present here, will be more complete, if a bit less elegant. May this journey bring us all a breath of peace and laughter that we would have otherwise been without.