Reflections On Our Big Move

It's been six months since our big move from urban life in Houston, Texas, to a small farm in Franklin, Tennessee, and while I'm still adjusting to the biggest change I've ever made in my life, the start of a new year feels like a good time to do a little reflecting.

This could take awhile, so let's get cozy and pretend we're sitting right across from each other with a warm cup of something!

I think what's surprised me most about this move is that it struck a chord with so many of you. You've asked great questions, shared heart-felt stories, offered prayer, asked for prayer, and have even asked if we could talk on the phone to see if I might be able to guide you in your own process of dreaming. {Humbling and even comical because I'm the last girl in the world who expected to be consulted on how to dream big!}

I've also been amazed by how many of you out there are considering a move to Franklin. One thing I can tell you: for a small town, there are a LOT of transplants here...most with great stories. When JD and I told our story in Houston, people looked at us like we were half crazy. Here in Franklin, people have stories almost as crazy as ours! {I can't help but wonder what God is up to by inspiring so many people to take such crazy leaps of faith in order to move here.}

For those who don't know where our story started, you might want to read thisthis and this first. {Those posts feel a little crazy even to me as I re-read them!} For those who want to catch up on the raw emotions during the process, you'll find that herehere and here. {Sniff.} And of course there was the process of settling in herehere and here.

Now to answer some of your questions!

What's been the hardest part of moving? For me, being in new and unfamiliar territory. For all of us, being so far from family and friends. There's a comfort to being around people who know your stories...whether it's running into someone who remembers you when you were little or sharing a family meal with someone who was there when your babies were born. We don't have that here. {And I've felt sadness and loss knowing we never will.} We have hope that deep friendships will grow in time, but we're in that weird middle place where we don't feel very connected here, yet we're "out of sight, out of mind" in Houston. Our phone doesn't ring much; our calendars are empty; we can go almost anywhere and not know a soul. But we've got each other...and lots of family bonding time! {Maybe that's the gift of this weird middle place.}

What's been the best part of moving? I could write a very long list, but I think everyone in the family would say that the exact spot where we live is the best part: 8 acres, a barn, a pond...surrounded by rolling hills, horse farms, four-board fences, stone walls and a historic, scenic road. We still pinch ourselves every day! This really is a dream come true and worth the struggles and emotions it took to get here. And for me, seeing my husband come alive is at the top of my list. He absolutely loves hard, rugged, outdoor work. After seeing him here, I don't think I could ever imagine him living in a big city again. {My new nickname for him is "farmboy." He loves it!}

Did you move because of a job? Uh, no. I wish the answer had been yes when it came to telling my parents! {Wink!} I wish I could've told them that JD had been recruited to be the top sports injury specialist at Vanderbilt...or some other really impressive story that would've made our move look sensible! Telling people your husband is leaving his private practice and starting over in a town where he knows no one is...well...crazy!

What's your husband doing now? I joke that he's a farmboy because he loves it so much and is really good at it! But his real job is fixing the human body. He's a sports chiropractor with extraordinary God-given gifts. After building a private practice in Houston for 11 years, I never imagined he'd start over. {And I never wanted him to start over because those were exhausting, financially challenging years. We fought over who spent $3.00 at Starbucks once a month!} But here we are! My husband opened a one-man clinic in Nashville without a single patient. The first few months were very quiet, but you know what? If God leads your husband to start over and has gifted your husband to do a specific thing, God will bring people through the door so that your husband can do his thing! {If you know someone in Nashville who needs a great sports doc: www.DrHasenbank.com.}

Did you move to pursue your daughter's music career? This one makes me laugh, but I was asked this question quite a bit. My oldest is our songbird, but we  wouldn't have uprooted our entire family just for her. Our move was for all of us. If God wants to use the move to grow Hallie's gifts in the future, we're wide open. But for now, she's just a girl enjoying life on the farm! No voice lessons, guitar lessons or recording sessions, but if she sings something at home and wants me to share it, I'll be glad to!

How are the girls adjusting to their new school? I wish they could answer this question in person so you could see how animated they are when they say they LOVE their school! The way God brought the school to our attention is a cool story. We didn't make ourselves crazy investigating every school in town; we just went with our God-inspired gut feeling, and it's turned out amazingly well! {If you're considering a move and have school-age children, this is a big part of your decision. But don't stress too much; if the Lord is leading you to move to a specific place, you can trust that He has a school for your children.}

Do you miss your old house? We loved our Houston home. It was our dream home {all those French details!}, so leaving it was hard. But to be honest, apart from the large kitchen where people could gather and the gorgeous French range, I don't really miss it. Surprising, I know! We used to wish we could pick it up and drop it on this piece of land, but that house would look really out of place here in the country! Over Christmas, we went to visit our old neighbors, and when I saw the house, I didn't even feel emotional. It no longer felt like ours. {And it isn't! I hope the new owners are enjoying it immensely!}

Does your new house feel like home yet? Almost. We're still not fully unpacked and organized {I had to stop and focus on card season}, and we've had a lot of workmen coming and going, which adds to the chaos and mess. {Most of the repairs have been boring or else I'd show you.} Thankfully, the fleas are a distant nightmare. We did a tremendous amount of work under the house to take care of the moisture problem and are hopeful that's a long-term solution. I'm still sad that that mentioning the fleas caused hurt and anger, but it was part of our story. Hard to say you're excited about your new home when you're sharing it with unexpected inhabitants! Now that card season is over, I'm excited to get back to the fun of making this house feel like home. We're hoping to add some exciting things to the repair list in 2013...like new kitchen appliances and an updated master bath! {I'd love a good shower; my chef husband would love a gas range.} Here's a good sign: when we were in Maine with my parents for the week following Christmas, I started feeling very eager to get back home, and when I pictured home, this was it!

Oh, and one thing I'll say about country living: it's a whole lot dirtier than city living! I had no idea, but now it makes perfect sense! In the city, we walked on concrete 90% of the time. In the country, we're sitting on 8 acres of dirt, rocks and grass...all of which finds its way into the house! And a mudroom is great for hanging things, but the mud doesn't stay put in there! {Lord knows I wish it did!} I joke that I could sweep our floors all day long and they'd still be dirty at the end of the day. So I've given that up. Trips to the barn and running around outside are far more memorable and valuable than clean floors!

How was your first Tennessee Christmas? I'd love to tell you, but we weren't here for Christmas. {I think that's part of the reason we weren't inspired to deck the halls in our new house.} We drove 14 hours to Houston for a whirlwind 72 hours split between three families. Then a week in Maine. It was nice to maintain tradition in a year of great change, but we didn't love spending Christmas away from home, and we were exhausted by the whirlwind in Houston. We've got lots to learn when it comes to how to do the holidays. {Still wide open to your suggestions!}

Are you still going to the Bible study? Funny that so many of you remembered to ask! I went back because of the warmth of the hostess {she has an amazing gift of hospitality and an inspiring, creatively designed home that's just flat out fun to visit!}. I'm so glad I went back because because I met two amazing women with kids at our same school. They've been a HUGE gift to me during my season of loneliness. Looking back, going to a Bible study where I didn't know a soul, in a home where I didn't know the host, invited by someone I'd never met {new patient of my husband's} was definitely one of the scariest things I've done here. {I really don't like being the new girl, but it's what I am.}

Did you ever wonder if you were doing the right thing? Absolutely! Moving is a HUGE deal...especially when there's no job offer waiting on the other side. Then add moving from a big city {and the neighborhood I called home for most of my life} to a small farm in the country where we didn't know a soul, and you're talking MAJOR shift! So yes, I had my moments of "what on earth are we doing?!?!" {You'll see that in some of the raw emotions posts I mentioned above.} I'm married to an adventurous man with a faith that moves mountains, so in times of personal doubt, it helped to piggy back on his faith. We shared the dream of moving to Franklin, but if had been all up to me, we never would've changed a thing about our lives. {Just my personal opinion, but when it comes to a big move, you want your husband to be excited about what lies ahead for him as far as work and lifestyle or your whole family will suffer. Our family has experienced great joy even on my saddest days because of the way my husband has come alive here. It's a beautiful thing.}

How you did you know it was the right thing? The specifics of my answer will be different from the specifics of your own story, but for us it came down to faith....trusting that God would open and close doors. We didn't know everything ahead of time...didn't know how it was all going to work out...didn't know if the girls would get into the school we applied to...didn't know if the owners of this house would sell it...didn't know what to do with my husband's practice in Houston...didn't know how the girls would adjust...didn't know what it would be like to live so far from family...didn't know how family would react. There was a whole lot we didn't know. {And it's probably better that way!} We took one step at a time...first the school, then the business, then the house...until we got here. Some things didn't go our way, like the details of the selling the business, but in the end, God made a way...every step of the way. {We prayed LOTS during the process. Literally on our knees.}

Why Franklin? We still don't fully know the answer. All we know for sure is this: during an anniversary dinner three years ago {January 3, 2010}, we were talking about our life in Houston and God put Franklin on our hearts. {Almost simultaneously...and very unexpectedly.} We've replayed that conversation a hundred times and still can't believe FRANKLIN is what came out of it. We never dreamed we'd live anywhere other than Houston, Texas!

But I do remember this little moment in 1997. JD came up to Vanderbilt one last time to help me pack my things before graduation. As I watched him box up my stuff like the master packer that he is, I said, "If I didn't know that Houston was where we needed to be, I could live here." And his answer: "Me, too." Talk about a funny little seed that was planted! I never gave it another thought until recently.

And then there was this crazy moment from Fall 2011. We were at our school book fair, which happened to be at the same bookstore where my my husband asked me to marry him. {That story here.} Our girls knew the story and the exact spot. Nothing about it had changed form the day he proposed. And yet on this day, at the book fair, our oldest daughter noticed a sign that would've been right over our heads in the spot where JD asked me to marry him:

We had just barely started dreaming {very quietly...and just among the four of us}. When my girls saw the sign, they made me come back with my camera and take a picture.

And then there's this little known fact: my mom was born in Franklin...in a little graystone building that was once a hospital. It still stands today. I'll never forget the Sunday that I wanted to show my parents where I went to church...in this quaint little town called Franklin. As we walked out of church {I was probably focused on the country breakfast we were about to enjoy}, my mom said, "Oh, my gosh! I was born there!" We then drove around the historic downtown area to find the house that once belonged to her great-grandparents...a house she lived in as a little girl. {God is definitely up to something by bringing me back here.}

{My mom's grandparents and great-grandparents in front of their Franklin home.}

Sweet friends, if you're still with me, thank you for being so interested, supportive and encouraging as we chased our dream. I hope my answers to some of your questions will give you courage as you dream your own big dreams this year. I never imagined my story would inspire so many of you...nor did I imagine I'd be the one to chase a dream and do something crazy in life. But here I am. Little me...with a VERY BIG GOD!

Here's to dreaming!


  1. Beautiful post!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have loved following your story so far, and I look forward to hearing the rest. I think you have all been so brave.

  3. OK, I love the Dr. Seuss part of the story. How fun is that?! We sure do live under the guiding hand of a God who is in the details!
    Fun post, Linsey! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I can't believe your mom was born in Franklin! How amazing! I have loved following along your journey, knowing you before Franklin and now, and reading this post reminds me of what a great God we serve. He really has so much in store for us in this lifetime. I am so happy to hear the contentment in your words. Happy New Year friend!

  5. God does work in mysterious ways and I enjoy reading how your life moved from here (Hou) to Tennessee. I wonder sometimes how I ended up in Houston from Arkansas but found the Love of my Life (from Ohio) and we are still here. Blessed are we all.

  6. I am slways eager to read how things are going for you and your family.glad to see that you are hanging in there. Happy new year.

  7. Best blog yet!!! So candid and entertaining!!! Sat here with a glass of wine loving your story. Altho I am old enough to be your aunt (I 'm not saying Mother) I just love reading your blog. Your girls remind me of my 2 when they were all younger. We lived in the Woodlands for years so I can also identify with your Houston stories... All the best and I am looking forward to reading lots of your great posts in 2013,,,,

  8. Great post Lins- love reading about your 'new' life unfolding.
    Happy 2013!!

  9. You are such a good writer......I always hang on every word:).
    So glad you are settling into your life in Franklin.....lets hear it for small town living! My Mother was also born in Franklin.....hope 2013 is a flourishing year for your beautiful family.

  10. Linsey - your writing always has my attention. You share your spirit from your heart and I really connect with that. I know this move has been such a mix of good and difficult times. It is so wonderful to hear how much of your life is settling in. Before long, this will feel like "home" because the dream started in your hearts and you have faith in God! {hugs}

  11. Linsey,
    Thank you so much for sharing! I love following your story and the ups and downs and knowing throughout that God is with you. It will be exciting to see what else He reveals. I can't thank you enough for being brave enough to bare yourself. Many blessings to you and yours.

  12. Some one very dear to me always says, "There are no coincidences, only signs from God if we choose to see them." When I hear stories like your own and the leap of faith you and your family took to see God's signs leading you I believe in my heart that that statement is true. God has big plans for you and your family in Franklin. I am so looking forward to seeing his plans in action as you continue on your faith journey. God bless you friend!

  13. Awesome post Linsey - so happy to see that you are adjusting. Happy New Year on the Farm to you and your beautiful family :)

  14. Thank you for sharing so much of your story. You have a gift - a God-given gift!

  15. I just love how God is writing your story. And I am so grateful I stepped outside my comfort zone to attend that Bible Study! Your friendship is a real gift!

  16. I love all the stories put into this one post with all the links to the backstories.
    You always do such a great job explaining your heart without making it a novel, like I tend to do. :)
    The tenacity of your faith is inspiring to so many out in blogland and I'm sure in the lives of those who do "real" life with you.

    Praying for you in this new year....praying for some friends that feel like family for you guys. I can relate to so many of those feelings you're having bc I felt them in Orlando. It was surreal to go almost anywhere and not know anyone after living in my hometown for 5 years.

  17. We are so glad you are here and that our lives have intersected! You are precious and have a dear heart!!

  18. Sweet Linsey, I've been meaning to touch base with you since the day I was looking for a zinc topped table and landed here. My husband Mason walked by the computer and said, "Hey! How do you know Linsey?" I told him I didn't. Turns out y'all are friends from Ozark. Then, this morning after prayer time at my children's school, I was sharing with another mom about my son's ADHD diagnosis. She said, "You should check out my friend Linsey's blog." So I also have a connection with you through the wonderful Laura Benedict. I think just maybe that the Lord is sending me your direction! Thank you for your authenticity, transparency, and the lovely way you pursue beauty in Christ. Praying for your 2013 to be filled with community and friendship.

  19. Hi, Linsey -
    Have you ever thought of writing a book? You have such a way with words. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on moving, starting over, family life, etc. I can relate to so much of what is said here as my family moved quite often when I was young, both internationally and locally. Many challenges and opportunities.
    Happy New Year! Wishing you and your family the very best ~ Loi

  20. Count us in among the couples who have been randomly called to move to Franklin! I grew up in Atlanta, went to school at Auburn and then moved to Tampa. Aside from a short stint in Houston three years ago, we've been in Tampa for more than 10 years. Never thought we'd leave.
    We went to Nashville for the first time two years ago.... and fell in love with that city. Our moving date is January 31 (I know, who leaves Florida in January?? Call us crazy!)
    Love all the photos; I've been stalking your archives for more glimpses of our city until we get there.

  21. I love so many things that I just read. I love reading about JD the farmboy because I can imagine how happy he is. What a kind soul that husband of yours is. I love reading how the seed was planted years ago for a move back to Nashville and that sign that the girls made you go back and take a picture of. I love that you have met good friends through your Bible Study. I love that your mom was born there. I totally love reading what God has been doing and is doing in your lives. God is amazing and has a perfect plan for your sweet family's lives. I am thankful that He has chosen to make me even a very small part of it.

  22. Hi Linsey,
    I am new to your site via Holly Mathis Interiors. I have enjoyed reading and am inspired by your journey and the faith you show as you walk through it! Thank you for sharing it and I look forward to reading more in 2013!

  23. there are so many things to love about this post. I love that you promised that if God has a move intended for you then he has a school for your children. I also loved how much your husband is enjoying living there. Yes! God IS up to something and I can't wait to see what it is. Oh and, as always, you make such a beautiful home!


"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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