8.03.2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Hi sweet friends. Would you like to have a seat in one of my favorite chairs? I'm going to write as if you're sitting right here with me. {Watch out, I may give you an earful!}


I'm having a bit of a struggle here today, and you sweet friends, are my listening ear. Thank you. As you know by now, writing is therapy for me...a way to massage the kinks out of my heart so that goodness and gratitude can flow again. So here I go.

I always knew that chasing our dream of a simpler, slower-paced life would be like real life anywhere this side of heaven: laced with imperfection. Just because you leave the whirlwind of a big-city life and move onto a small farm in a beautiful setting doesn't mean life is perfect, peaceful and easy. I was prepared for that.

But what I wasn't prepared for was this: an all out battle with fleas in our new house. Yes, they persist, despite the fact that we've treated the house three times, vacuumed every day, replaced the carpet, cranked the air down to a chilly {and expensive} 68 degrees {fleas thrive in humid environments, which apparently describes our house}.

Replacing the carpet with seagrass.

If you read my last post, you know that I was looking forward to returning to our house. Even though it meant leaving the beauty and peace of Maine. I knew we were returning to lots of hard work, but I was ready to work together as a family to make this house feel like home.

The seagrass is in. Now washing all the slipcovers.

Side note: would you believe this was the very first time in my entire life that "going home" meant somewhere other than Houston? I was a wee bit disoriented when we landed in Nashville, but as we drove to Franklin, I started to feel a little giddy...even at midnight. I couldn't wait for the girls to see the progress I made in their rooms {and the new fun things I added while they were away}.

We entered our house {humid despite running the A/C constantly}, turned on the lights...and fleas. Everywhere. Apparently, a fresh batch hatched while we were away...despite the Borax we sprinkled all over the floors the night before we left.


Borax supposedly dehydrates them.

Bombing the house with chemicals isn't a good option for us {our youngest is extremely chemically sensitive; her behavior is off the charts with too much chemical exposure, not too mention headaches, nausea, etc. More on how we discovered her chemical sensitivities here}. We had a natural pest control company come out three times, then we added our own natural treatment: Borax. {You wouldn't believe the number of hours we spent researching natural ways to eliminate fleas!}

We thought we had the problem solved. We even added prayer to the mix! {I literally put my head in my hands on the airplane and prayed that we would return to a flea-free house.} Hearing my girls scream made me want to cry. I hear you girls! So we prayed some more. Prayed for deliverance from these fleas...and for God to show us how to get rid of them so that we can enjoy our house.

And this is where some of you may think I'm going off the deep end, but I believe God can cause the fleas to flee. I mean really, He parted the Red Sea. Surely He can drive fleas away! So why didn't He? Because He is God, and His ways are higher than our ways. {Isaiah 55:8-9 explains a lot of things!} Does he hear my prayers? Absolutely. Does He know how much I hate the feeling of an unclean, infiltrated by fleas home? Without a doubt. He knows me so well that He just might have a higher purpose for me in all this than just getting rid of fleas.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Maybe I don't need to write that part out. Same song, different dance. Back to that deep, heart-level struggle I have with imperfection. I want victory in this, and the Lord knows it. {Isn't that part of why I left a perfect home in Houston for this imperfect farm house in Franklin?} I think the Lord continues to allow imperfection into my life...because He loves me and wants the best for me. At least that's the best sense my heart can make of it today. But knowing God, He's up to far more than I can see!

Clean slips and new seagrass. This room is taking shape...
though beneath this room is where the worst of the moisture lies.

We've concluded that the flea problem goes far beyond previous pets in the house. I remembered that our next door neighbor in Houston had a big flea problem years ago, and it was because possums were living under their house. Talk about flea bags! We've now got the Tennessee Trappers on the job! And another thing we've got to resolve: the constant moisture issues beneath our house. So here we go: doing the deeper level things in our hearts and in our home!

* * *

You know what happened while writing this post? I started looking up again...instead of down at my feet in search of fleas. Dare I show you what I see when I look down? 

Is that good looking or what?!?!
My flea defense system: dark pants tucked in
to my husband's long white socks...with flip flops.

But now that I'm looking up again, here's what I see:

A happy, hard working family.

A very happy husband. Hard work suits him.

A bottle of wine with one last glass waiting for me!
Funny label, but fitting, don't you think?

Thank you for sitting and "listening" to me process out loud, sweet friends-o-mine! My heart is "unkinked" and I'm ready to give thanks again...for you, for my family, for my farmboy husband, for happy girls, for the baby bunny I saw out front this morning and the deer I saw out back this afternoon. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be: giving thanks.

With renewed joy,

P.S. We don't have a TV signal of any kind, so I'm missing my beloved Olympics. Can anyone chime in with some epic moments that I should try to find replays of somewhere?

P.P.S. Little known fact: I wanted to be an Olympic athlete. I was quite sure I'd be one of the first women's fast pitch softball pitchers for the US Olympic team. I lost my drive, but watched former rivals win gold. That was fun!

56 comments:

  1. Oh Linsey,
    You poor things!! Fleas are the absolute worse! We have a new puppy and she just started carrying in the fleas from outside, we have tons of rabbits around here. But our issue is not even close to what your dealing with.
    I'll keep you all in my prayers! I'm so glad though that everyone seems to be so happy with your new home.
    Have a lovely day.
    Sincerely,
    Melinda

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  2. linsey Lou! Im so sorry your still dealing with the nasty bugs! Im praying along with you that a solution comes your way soon!

    luv u - Jen

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  3. Having just moved myself, I am hearing the seek beneath the search - for solutions but also for truth and soul soothing rest. May you find peace and be able to nest amongst the imperfections with grace in buckets. And may those fleas be gone soon.

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    1. I like the way you put that, Amy. "The seek beneath the search." Yes!

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  4. oh my goodness linsey!!! my legs are all itchy just thinking about it.
    i know you are so wanting your home to be a tranquil peaceful nest so i'm praying this resolves, quickly & as inexpensively as possible!!

    what you've created so far is gorgeous!! so franklin!!!!
    & i love the site of your family on the farm.

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    1. It's been COSTLY, my dear. Never look underneath your house. You don't want to know! Wink!

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  5. Hey there Linsey....I've been doing a lot of pondering lately about what "enough" really looks like in the day to day. Enough patience, enough energy, enough grace, enough effort......when the kids and I arrived at Camp Ozark last Sunday, the sign in the small gym said , "God is enough," it spoke loudly to my heart.
    I'm gonna pray that you will see how He is enough for you and your family during this (itchy!) season.
    Blessings!!
    Anne/shadowwonder

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    1. Camp Ozark!!! That's how I came to know the Lord! Love that place. I was both a camper and a counselor. Hmm. Is this an Anne I know? I tried to click on your name/profile, but didn't get a link. ENOUGH is one of my favorite words in the last two years. Thanks for writing it.

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  6. Linsey -

    I rarely post, but I cannot stop myself tonight! In one of my favorite books of all time The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom and her sister have to endure the fleas in the concentration camp. When they arrive, they are overcome with the horrid conditions, but most of all with the biting fleas. They remember I Thessalonians "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus." They begin to thank the Lord for every thing in their new barracks, and her sister Betsie even thanks the Lord for the fleas. Corrie's response:
    'Betsie, there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.'

    "'Give thanks in all circumstances,' she quoted. It doesn't say, 'in pleasant circumstances.' Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.

    "And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong."

    However Betsie was not wrong! They later discovered the Lord's purpose for the fleas - they were able to have small Bible studies without the guards ever discovering them because the guards refused to enter their room because of the FLEAS!

    It seems like you are already giving thanks for the fleas, but I just wanted to share this story.

    Excited you are in Nashville and what the Lord's plan is for you in this new chapter of your story!!!
    Britton

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    1. Britton! Thank you SO MUCH for reminding me of that story! I had forgotten it. Would you believe I've never read the book? But I've heard the story. Need to read it! So good to hear from you! Do you have a blog?!?! xoxo!

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    2. No, I do not have a blog; I just enjoy reading them!

      When things settle down, you need to read The Hiding Place. As well as being a remarkable story, it has many lessons / truths which are applicable in our lives today. One of my favorite quotes is “There are no 'if's' in God's world. And no placess that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety - let us pray that we may always know it!”

      Enjoy Nashville!!!

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  7. I discovered your wonderful blog while looking for a zinc topped table - God is funny like that, don't you think? You and your family are precious and I've enjoyed reading the stories God has written for your lives. I have serious cleanliness issues and would likely have a heart attack if I found even one flea in my vicinity, so I'm praying you will have a flea free home as soon as possible! In the meantime, have you read "The Hiding Place"? I think you would adore it.:)

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    1. He is funny like that! I received some interesting comments when I wrote that God was involved in the table process, but He absolutely was! Just blogging about it connected me with some amazing people! A friend above just reminded me of the flea story in "The Hiding Place." I can't believe I've never read it! But I had heard the story and it is JUST what I needed to hear again. Thanks for reaffirming that I need to read it!

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  8. So sorry you had to come home to fleas. What a bummer! Hopefully the problem gets solved soon! You just moved away from Houston and our family just got here. I pray God blesses you and your family in your new home!

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    1. So sorry I missed you in Houston! The people in Houston are friendly and as warm as the weather. I hope you receive a wonderful welcome there. Off to visit your blog!

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  9. Fleas? Oh I hope they are gone soon...really soon!!!

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  10. maybe you could rent some dehumidifiers for the rooms? we also had our yard sprayed for fleas (obviously your whole lot might be too much, but maybe a radius around your house?) it is amazing they stayed alive while you were gone--they have to have some kind of source. . .so sorry! That sounds so deflating to come home to, but you can rise above these little pests!!!

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    1. We added the dehumidifier to our arsenal this week. We're seriously trying everything! Pray for protection for us as we are having someone spray chemical stuff under the house tomorrow. We know some of the fumes will creep in just as the fleas have crept in, but praying it won't be enough to irritate our sensitivities!

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  11. Bless your sweet heart- to have such a precious attitude in the midst of this is very telling of how God truly gives you a peace that passes all understanding! The paradox of those pesky fleas hidden behind the facade of beauty and perfection is a lesson for me. So easy for me to focus on the picture instead of the heart sometimes.

    I am praying for you to find a solution and to be able to enjoy the peace and tranquility of your wonderful new home, soon.

    Thanks for being willing to share the struggles behind the beauty. I love pouring over your blog because it inspires me, and it is encouraging to see that you share the same struggles I do.

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    1. A paradox for sure! I've done a lot of pondering about what's hidden behind the facade of beauty. Thanks for praying with me! And I'm honored that you enjoy spending time here and are being encouraged! God is good.

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  12. Lord girl.....we had them about 7 years ago...it was a warm winter and once you get a few...well.....you know how that goes. Perseverance was the only thing...We did have a dog and we kept her shaved and medicated. Lot's of vacuuming and bombing...It took about 3 months but finally the end came. I had only seagrass in the house.....also. Here is to hoping that you can win the flea war!

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  13. Oh my, fleas are no fun at all. We dealt with them in our last home one time from one of our cats. We did use the bombs and left for vacation. All were gone when we returned and never showed up again. If your daughter wasn't sensitive that is the route I would go.

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  14. Wow friend, I think you are doing really well considering the circumstances! Give yourself a big dose of grace and don't expect perfection in how you are handling things. I will pray for you guys and for the fleas to die, die, die! Things are going to get better and better and I agree that your family looks like farm life suits them. Enjoy that vino and your weekend in the country!

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  15. Oh no! you poor dears! I have to say, my 6 year old maltese brought in our first and only flea this year. FORTUNATELY, the groomer came the very same day and we were able to avoid an infestation. Phew! But I was completely horrified all week. Our groomer said this is the worst year ever for them. The warm winter meant they didn't get killed off. Sigh ... but she recommended a spray for the yard. She also cautioned that they try harder to get into the house in the fall as the weather turns - which since we are further north, comes earlier for us. I would say to add dehumidifiers, sprinkle the borax around the outside of the foundation as well, treat the yard surrounding the house, and KEEP PRAYING!

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  16. I feel your pain. I had a similar experience and know I was allergic to the flea bites because I felt as if I wanted to crawl out of my skin. It was so bad we used the bombs and went away for the weekend.

    I wanted to send you a picture of something you might try but I did not see an email listed for you. It is a powder of Boric Acid that kills roaches, fleas, ants and silverfish. I put in in water bottle caps in the back of the pantry, behind furniture etc. It does work and it is very cheap. You can buy it in dollar stores, Lowes etc. For one pound it is less than five dollars. I think the laundry detergent has some borax but not strong enough for your problem.

    My email is listed on my blog and I will be happy to send you a pic of my bottle. I don't think this would hurt your daughter. It might work but it does sound like your problem is pretty embedded and deep. So I suggest the following:

    Under your circumstances I think you need to take drastic measures and not prolong the battle. You are already weary. A few nights in a hotel would be cheaper than what you are going through. Use the bombs, spend two nights away, come back and air out the house and then let the children come home. Your sanity is worth a lot!!!!





    Just realize these fleas are breeding too and will hatch out another batch.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Bonnie! We had to take some drastic measures today. Toxic chemicals under the house where the fleas are breeding. It was bad. I've had a terrible headache all day because fumes inevitably get into the house from underneath. They'll come out and spray again next week. Also have my natural guy coming on Monday for the inside. Still vacuuming like a mad woman! ;)

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  17. My ankles itch just thinking about what you are going through. Praying that your battle against the fleas is a short one. Like the other commenter, I have heard that Boric Acid powder really helps. It is strong but doesn't have the widespread fumes that other things have. My 5 year old has asthma and allergies so, like you, I always try the least chemical route first.
    The view looking out your window is certainly beautiful.

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  18. I really enjoyed finding your blog again especially since I am a Houstonian (sort of...The Woodlands). Sorry that you had to move but an open door.... I am so sorry bout the flea thing. Had that problem when my daughter was a baby and gave the dog away since I didn't want chemicals in my carpet, before seagrass. I am admire your strong faith and hope this is all behind you soon. Can't wait to see how you settle your lovely new home, such wonderful style you have!

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  19. Have you tried diatomaceous earth? It took care of a lot of my pests.

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    1. We've read a lot about it. I think my husband just got some! Funny name!

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  20. How frustrating and so wish I had a good natural solution for you. Like you, I wouldn't want all the chemicals from the bomb, especially with your children. Going to talk to a few people I know that have had this issue...hoping it gets resolved soon - your home is lovely!!

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  21. How utterly frustrating for you and your family. Praying that you will be rid of those nasty little ankle bitters real soon.

    Because of your post I added The Hiding Place on my Kindle for future reading. I never even heard of the story but it sounds very interesting and a good reminder of God's plan. Also I never knew Boric Acid helps to keep fleas away.

    I have been watching some of the Olympics and you definitely should try to watch the women's gymnastics. The Fab Five are Fabulous.

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  22. Oh, my sweet friend...I am so sorry.

    I have to just tell you that as I read your post, I was so reminded of our conversation during our lunch date. I love that you are trying so hard to look at this through spiritual eyes. I also know that our flesh struggles. (and our skin itches) :)

    I am sorry, but I am also expecting!

    Come to Tullahoma if you need a break.

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  23. FLEAS!....dealt with them all of May and part of June. I feel for you and can tell you that they are very challenging. I live in the city, but in an 1890s house with large crawl space. The fleas were originally only in the master bath with a marble floor but spread from our ankles to other parts of our home. My toddlers had fleas in their HAIR! I was freaking out. We had the house exterminated three times and heard many stories about how the fleas will die but the eggs will not. We have no pets inside, so we attacked under the house after I changed exterminating companies and my new bug man saw many holes for varmits to crawl under our home and lots of "droppings"! They were looking for a cool damp place apparently. We bought traps at tractor supply and caught two raccoons and six possums...most of which were babies. Then we finally caught the mama possum! When we closed up the holes, eliminated the animals under the house, destroyed their nests, and sprayed twice more, we finally got rid of the fleas. It's hard to believe, but the eggs and fleas were working themselves up through the cracks and crevices in our master bath tile floor. I would put a small bowl of detergent water at night on the floor and marvel at the dead fleas in it each morning. Wasn't making even a dent in the 100s, but made me feel good!! My advice...be aggresive with creatures that may be living under your home. Set the traps then plug the holes!

    Prayer flares to Franklin...
    Deana Bibb

    PS: am ready to meet you at Scotts in Atlanta anytime you are ready!

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    1. Meeting you in Scotts sounds SO GOOD right now. In fact, can I just come and stay awhile so that I can escape the fleas?!?! Ha! Ha!

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  24. that would be varmint...forgot the n!

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  25. Those fleas are horrid! Mom had an infestation in Katy while I was in college. (I was thankful to be away during that time!)Try switching to dark color socks, though. Fleas are attracted to white.

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    1. The white socks were so that we could see the fleas. :) We're seeing progress in the battle today, but new eggs are always ready to hatch. YUCK!

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  26. Oh my goodness I feel for you and the fleas! I just discovered your blog while searching online for container gardens. I'm looking forward to reading more.
    Be well,
    Gretchen

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    1. Welcome, Gretchen! Hope you found the answers you were looking for on the wine box garden.

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  27. I found your blog recently and I just love it. You have a beautiful family and I love your decorating style. Regarding the fleas...before we bought our dog, I was planning on taking the natural route for flea control and read a lot about diamotatecous (sp?) earth. Just make sure you buy the food quality one if you are using it inside. Best of luck and I hope you are flea-free soon!
    -Shelley

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    1. Glad you're here, Shelley! Thanks for leaving a comment. :)

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  28. That is horrible.. I stopped reading when you said they jumped on you.. I have an extreme phobia and i didn't now what more descriptions may follow and the last thing I need is nightmares... though you surely are living through on.. I hope you are flee free soon

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  29. oh GRACIOUS. I am SO sorry you are having to deal with fleas! I read this the day you posted but couldn't comment right away; wanted to know that you have been on my heart and I've been praying that God would supernaturally step in!
    I love that you are still thankful; my latest Psalms study was on consistently approaching the Lord in thankfulness...every time...and then I read your post and saw that in action! Too great! Doesn't make the fleas any easier to deal with, but you have such a good heart. Keep us updated; praying every day for sweet flea-free days asap!

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  30. Hi Lins, I just spent the last 30 minutes catching up with you, from your beautiful Maine trip to your nasty fleas! I laughed out loud seeing your socks + flip flops. you'll get to the bottom {literally} of the problem. i'm certain it is rodent related. {shivers} I nearly had a panic attack when we had mice a year ago. I was never the same after that experience, but I can somewhat look back and have a giggle now that the problem has been solved, and shockingly, you will laugh about the fleas one day too. In the meantime persistence and prayer are all you can do. but the little glimpses of your home and the happy faces of your family do my heart good. it's a beautiful thing watching what you are building here. BIG xoxoxo's, Tess

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  31. I laugh at some of the parallels in our lives sometimes...you don't even know me! We just returned from a wedding in Mississippi and walked in to the exact same problem, only we had my mother-in-law and her father in tow...very embarassing and frustrating. I'm the girl from Hendersonville and I wonder if some of this flea problem is due to our very mild winter?? I do hope to see you at the farmer's market in the next few weeks!

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    1. So sorry for both of us. Crazy how such tiny things can be such a HUGE problem. On a more enjoyable note, I'd love to meet you at the farmer's market! As fas as I know, we'll be there this Saturday morning. Feel free to email me if you're going or just look for me and the girls.

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    2. Dikola - any luck solving your flea issues??? We live in Whites Creek and are battling the same thing!

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  32. i use Shaklee Basic H for fleas on my little dog.. works like a charm. Not sure if it would work in the house.

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  33. When I was in 7th grade, we moved into a house that had housed many cats and was infested with fleas. We STILL refer to it as The Cat House decades later, but it was really The Flea House! I can still vividly remember having fleas jump onto my ankles every time I put my feet on the floor. My flea protection outfit looked a lot like yours. I truly do feel your pain and I'm so sorry. It's TERRIBLE.

    I was just listening to a sermon yesterday from Ecclesia (in Houston, no less) where the pastor was talking about having a major flea infestation at home and finding a raccoon, three squirrels, a duck and a fish (yes, a FISH!) all in their chimney. He had find the courage to open the flue and throw a flea bomb up the chimney! His sermon was actually on fear - which I'm sure you can understand right now.

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know you are not alone in your flea troubles. And, I pray that you will find a solution to the problem soon so you can enjoy the peace of your new home. And, I pray that you will find peace in your heart in the meantime.

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  34. I continue to thank Jesus for bringing me to your blog. I suffer from the same issues with perfection - I'm sure there are more of us than we know. You offered us in to discuss a difficult situation, which is so refreshing in an arena (blogland) where so many of us are prone to only showing the pleasant side of our homes/lives. I think that may even feed into my own issue with control and perfection. We get a false sense of reality when all we see are posts of gorgeous rooms and decor. At least when we read a magazine we know that it's not real life, but we assume because these are our friends, and don't get me wrong - they are some of the best friends I'll ever know - we assume this is how we are supposed to live. I'm guilty of it myself. Why post about how my room looks on laundry day? Who would want to read that? My point is, we need to focus on what's important in life and that is what you saw when you looked up.
    I spent this entire past weekend on a project in my kitchen, not paying an ounce of attention to my children. How can I let that happen? My oldest is 16 and I cried this morning as I thought about how fast her childhood went. But God blessed us with a baby, and just this morning I made a promise to myself that I will not allow the things/projects to take me away from my precious time with him.
    I was redirected to another blog by reading yours just a couple of weeks ago, Tarah Lowry I believe? Anyway, she just posted about a great book she is reading about freeing ourselves of the madness of material things and the struggle with perfection. It's called 7. I just ordered it and can't wait to start reading it. Sorry to ramble on, just so happy to have found a kindred spirit here. Now go enjoy your farm!
    xoxo,
    Kim

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  35. oh Linsey, I am so sorry. that sounds just awful. Hopefully someone can offer up a solution for you. Keep your chin up, you'll get through this..
    xxjoan

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  36. needed this tonight....
    there with you on the perfection thing...add need for control, and you've got me to a tee.

    Jesus is working...cleaning out....hard, painful but freedom and peace await on the other side!

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  37. I'm wearing capris tucked into MY husband's huge white socks! We live on the north side of Nashville and are having the EXACT same problem. TN Trappers were just at our house again today. My friend shared your blog after she heard my crying flea story. So....any luck???? Please tell me you've found the mystery cure for these nasty beasts! In the meantime, I'm thanking God for revealing some of my own ugly heart issues.

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  38. Oh, Lydia. I'm so sorry. I've been told that because of the mild winter, the fleas are relaly bad this year. We took extreme measures and had to use chemicals under the house. We used Franklin Pest Countrol and liked them a lot. We thought the TN Trappers were great and I'd use them again if needed, but so far, we haven't seen signs of anything living under the house. We continued the natural route inside the house, chemicals under and outside. And LOTS of vacuuming. Every single day until they were gone. We still see a flea here and there, but we live in the country, so maybe that's normal...especially after a mild winter. Hoping for a big freeze this winter!

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"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

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