You Know You Live On a Farm When...

1. You come home to 10 baby ducklings...added to your 6 baby chicks, 2 large pups, 4 people...and somehow think this is all good and normal.

For the record: we've never even talked about having ducks. {Not yet anyway!} But we do have a pond. And a farm. So this is normal, right?!?!

Here's the story: Hallie and I were at Girls of Grace {highly recommended!} for the day. JD and Laura Finley were supposedly doing farm duties...which naturally meant a trip to the Farmer's Co-op...where there just so happened to be 10 baby Mallards. Laura Finley, with her tenderest heart and biggest eyes, told her daddy these ducklings needed a home. And before you knew it, they were ours.

2. You think you're going to cozy up and watch a movie {or the final episode of Downton Abbey} when all of a sudden your husband cowboys up and goes outside wearing a holster.

{Too dark to take a picture!}

For the record: We never owned a gun in the city. We trusted Jesus and the nearby police to protect us. But apparently, when you live in the country, a man needs a gun.

Here's the story: After dark, coyotes move all through these parts...in large, howling packs. {Lots of nighttime action here on the farm. Remind me to tell you about Buddy's run-in with a skunk!} For former city girls, a pack of coyotes howling right outside your bedroom window is a little creepy. And it gets the dogs real worked up. So the dogs sound the alarm with their low, steady barks {just as they are bred to do}, and JD goes out with a spotlight, boots, rugged Carhart jacket...and occasionally, a gun. Don't worry, he hasn't shot anything. But he looks real manly as he heads out in the darkness to protect his family, pups, chickens and now, ducklings. The girly girl in me didn't know what to make of all this at first. But seeing how responsible, skilled and cautious he is, I now chalk it up to part of living on a farm.

I could add a number of other funny things to this list, but my farmboy is back inside now, so I'm off to watch the final episode of Downton Abbey. Don't worry...I know how it ends. Watching it to admire Maggie Smith more than anything!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend...wherever you are!

P.S. I was really missing my hometown on Go Texan Day. But would you believe I often feel more Texan here on a farm in Franklin than I ever did in the heart of Houston? You know what they say: You can take a girl out of Texas, but you can't take the Texas out of a girl!

My favorite made in Texas boots...
and my idea of a gun:

A camera is always my weapon of choice.
And while I've only shot myself once {here}, I think it's something everyone should try.
For, when you learn to find beauty in yourself, you can find beauty in anything!


How Could I Not Share This Today?!?!

A spontaneous moment in the sunshine with my puppies: 

No, I didn't pose them like this.
Bella is a lover! She gets all the credit for nose kissing Buddy.
{I just happened to have my iPhone...and two minutes in Photoshop.}

The fact that I'm posting today is a minor miracle! {The fact that I wrote out of my rawness the other day may have been a minor miracle, too. Scary, but healing.} Between prayers, tears, writing, basking in the sunshine with my pups, and spending time being creative, my heart feels refreshed. Genuinely, mysteriously, surprisingly refreshed!

Am I "back to normal?" No. Even better, I'm learning a new normal. A less perfect, less controlled, more alive and more okay with a mess kind of normal. I'm learning to cling to Jesus..for real. When you're in a new place, He's all you've got. When you break down in front of a group of strangers and feel like your heart is in a free fall, He's got you. And He never lets go.

Perfection {i.e. control} does a dangerous thing: it keeps you from really needing Jesus...and keeps you at a distance from others. It's only in our mess that we can be truly known and most deeply loved.

After reading my last post, a new/old friend from college said this:
you and your mess are so beautiful and courageous. i like this Linsey - I relate to this Linsey - Perfect Linsey made me feel uncomfortable and unworthy - this Linsey is real.
My heart rejoiced when I read her words. FREEDOM!!! Not long ago, a few of those words would've stung...because I was still trying so hard {unconsciously} to be Perfect Linsey. But after a good, healthy breakdown {and breakthrough}, her words are as welcome as the sun! {Side note: I was so busy trying to be perfect in college that I completely missed getting to know this girl's heart. I chalked her up as my opposite and never thought we'd have much in common. How wrong I was! One of the greatest blessings of blogging has been our reconnection and new friendship. If she didn't live halfway across the globe, I'd be hugging her neck right now!}

Another reason I'm smiling today? 16 years ago, a guy I had only known for 2 1/2 months asked me to marry him. {HERE'S his creative Valentine's Day proposal.} And the best part? I'm still saying YES...every single day!

Hugs and love to you, my sweet and faithful friends!

P.S. If you want to know more about who you really are, read Abba's Child by Brennan Manning. One of the most life-changing books I've ever read. {Ironically, I read it for the first time right here in Nashville...16 years ago, during my senior year of college. About to read it again for the 3rd time.}


Feeling A Lot Like This Lately...

My heart has been a mess lately...raw, fragile and too tender to write or share beauty. And while this heart place feels strange and uncomfortable, I know this is where growth happens...where real beauty is found. I'm in that hard but good place.

What I really want more than a dreamy farm life or a beautiful home is a heart that's fully alive and authentic. Life to the full, remember? That's part of why we moved...why we jumped off the cliff of familiarity and safety and chased this crazy dream!

But getting to that more alive and authentic place in my heart is hard work. Lots of layers, messes, wounds and tight grips to work through. Maybe for some of you the journey isn't so challenging, but for a girl who has used perfection to control the mess, heart excavation doesn't come easily. It's messy and uncontrollable, like it or not! {A mess of happiness in the end...so I'm told!}

Remember that Bible study I told you about...the one where I didn't know a soul and almost turned around and went home? I fell apart there today. The teacher sensed there was someone in the room who needed prayer, and I knew God was talking straight to me. So I sat down on the floor in a little ball like a scared little girl and let the teacher place her hands on me while people prayed...not about me...not for me. Most in the room don't even know my name. But God does. The Spirit of God was at work as that beautiful God-loving woman held my hand and let me cry while others prayed about things completely unrelated to me. And another woman who placed her hand on me? Her son has incurable cancer yet has decided there's nothing that matters more in this world than living each day to the full. I was a sloppy mess when it was all said and done. Just ask the sweet woman who offered her phone number if I'd like to talk...and the woman who shared her counselor's phone number if I'd like to talk some more! {I've been through counseling and will do it again if that's what it takes!}

It feels so risky to be a mess...to let people see your mess. I don't want to be that girl. But when I think about it a little more, I do want to be that girl. I want to be the girl who lets God into her mess. {And you can bet that if you aren't letting others into your mess; you aren't letting God in either.} I want to be the girl whose heart is free to really live!

There may be some quiet days or weeks here on the blog...not because I'm trying to hide my mess from you, but because some parts of the process just feel too sacred for a computer screen. I love capturing beauty with my camera, but right now, I don't want to miss the beauty hidden in my mess. Thanks for understanding...and for being so loving and encouraging whether I have a lot to say or nothing at all!

Love and hugs,
P.S. As Valentine's Day approaches, I've got this verse on my heart. Did you know there is One who says "BE MINE" to you every single day?

~ Isaiah 43:1


Fresh Off The Farm: More Snow!

We woke up to another fresh blanketing of snow on the farm.

An unexpected gift...
reminding me that His mercies are new every morning!

I'm not a big fan of cold weather,
but there's something about freshly fallen snow.

Peaceful, pure, magical, glorious.

Because beauty is meant to be shared...
here's our farm yesterday morning at sunrise:

Happy weekend, sweet friends.



Look what we woke up to this morning!

Fresh fallen snow at sunrise.

More photos to come!

Happy Friday!
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