20th Reunion Thoughts

It's been 20 years since I graduated from high school, and tonight, there's a class party in Houston to celebrate the occasion. Only I'm not there. And suddenly, I'm really wishing I were.

{The only high school photo I have on my computer.
No such thing as digital back then, so everything else is
in a scrapbook or shoebox at my parents' house in Houston.}

Maybe this is normal...this wave of homesickness on a reunion night. Because on a regular day, I wouldn't trade our farm life in Franklin for anything. But tonight, I'm feeling really far from the place I called home my entire life.

As I wonder what stories my classmates are sharing tonight, I'm aware that for the first time in my life, my story is really different than I ever dreamed it would be. I'm the girl who went to reunions and had the same stories every time: same city, same neighborhood, same haircut, same everything. {If there had been a "most predictable" or "most likely to stay the same" award, I might have won it.} Sounds kinda boring, doesn't it?

But it's who I was. I felt really safe being the same. It was my comfort zone. And I had no desire to leave it...until we decided to take a leap of faith and chase a dream. Nothing about that process was easy, my friends. In fact it was downright scary at times. I often wanted to pretend we never had a dream...and just keep living the life I knew.

But now here I am, living in a whole new world!

{Same haircut and still wearing a ball cap!}

I've traded city life for a small farm in Franklin, Tennessee...

...with chickens...


...and two big dogs.

{Buddy rules the farm. He was the first of all the animals.}

And instead of dressing up for a party tonight,
I wore these out to the barn to round up chickens.

{Part of my daily get up.}

And I've even been known to wear those boots
while playing the violin in the barn on Sunday morning.

{The violin playing is new; the white legs are not. Wink!}

Friends, I'm so not the girl I thought I'd be. And even though I have short waves of homesickness or twinges of shock at how different this life we're living is from the one I expected we'd live, I'm grateful to be living out a story that isn't quite like the one I imagined. It's changing me...making me more adventurous and less predictable; more relaxed and less perfectionistic; more alive and less afraid. 

To all my St. John's classmates, I wish I could give you a big hug tonight and hear your stories. I have every reason to believe that your stories are amazing...no matter how simple or how daring...how close to home or how faraway.

We all have a story. I hope you're enjoying yours!

Hugs and love,

P.S. If any of my classmates are reading this, I hope you'll send pictures!


A Sister Visit + A Bathroom Upgrade

You might be wondering what a sister and a bathroom have in common. Well...when you have a sister who loves to knock out a project and knows how to use power tools, things HAPPEN!

Take this bathroom door for instance.

I ignored it in the garage for 9 months.
She trimmed it, repaired it and installed it in a single afternoon!
{She's awesome like that.}

I kept her company while she used power tools.
{I'm sweet like that.}

I've had the door for 6 or 7 years.
It blocked a funky column in the corner of my Houston house.

{It was always kind of awkward there.}

I like it much better as a working door!

I don't have a before shot,
but without spending a lot of money, this tiny
bathroom has been transformed. It's all in the details!

Love this knob from Anthropologie, but not sure if it's a keeper. Kinda wonky.

The mirror and the door look like they were meant to go together!
{Bought the mirror at Anthropologie several years ago.}

A unique mirror adds loads of charm without spending lots of money.
A huge improvement over the glued-on wall mirror.
{Wisteria has great looking, well-priced mirrors, by the way.}

Another way to add instant charm:
a new light fixture.

A $49 clearance item from Pottery Barn Kids online.
{Talk about an unexpected place to find a light fixture!}

And you've gotta love this window treatment:

A burlap doormat that was once in my studio.
{Didn't even take the time to iron it. Just tacked it up there!}

And you know about my crown fetish.
{A reminder that I'm a daughter of the King!}

Love these scalloped zinc shelves.
{Bought them here two years ago...and finally found a place for them!
Inspiration sometimes takes her sweet time to strike!}

And for some perspective,
the bathroom door is right off kitchen.

I get to enjoy it every day.
{A huge factor when deciding where to install an antique door. That and size.}

If you're looking for a cute picture of my sister and me,
we forgot to take one. But here's my cute nephew:

He has a thing for tractors...

...and for climbing them!

Sister, when can you come back?
Things get done when you're here!

Love and hugs,

My sister's home was recently featured in a Houston magazine.
You'll love seeing how different our styles are!

{See pages 40-51 here.}


It's Stationery Season at LLH Designs!


Visit my website to order.

With all the dreariness of winter {so uninspiring for me as a designer} and all the farm duties of spring {young animals are a lot of work}, I wasn't sure if I'd have a chance to offer spring stationery.

But here it is...inspired by my own love of paper goods and a selfish need for lots of good gifts. T'is the season for mothers, teachers, graduates, birthdays and of course, a few things for me!

Everyday Note Cards

Scripture Note Cards
{I photographed the antique crosses at Marburger Antique Show.}

Love these note pads! The paper is thick and smooth.
{My sister painted the lavender for me. She's amazing!}

Another note pad...with a faded chevron so that you can write on top.

Gift Tags

Folded Greeting Cards
{Watercolor paper makes these extra special.}

A peek at some stationery displayed in my studio.
{Maybe I'll remember to give you a full photo tour someday!}

All of these items come packaged in a clear, fitted bag. Just add a gift tag, pretty ribbon or some twine and voilĂ ! You're done! Let me know if I can help you by contacting me through my website.

Happy Spring, Sweet Friends!


You're Beautiful

This must be the week God wants us to know we're beautiful. I just keep hearing it again and again.  You're beautiful! Are you hearing it, too?

Maybe you've seen the Dove video that's flying around like wildfire this week. If not, have a look.

This video undid me...in the best kind of way. There are some who think the message is flawed {anything human is}, but I walked away with a sense of wonder. What if God were the one describing each person? I have a feeling even the most talented sketch artist in the world wouldn't be able to keep up with God's description of you! Oh, the beauty...radiant, glorious beauty!

I was wrestling with beauty this week...what it really is and why it's so hard to believe that we're beautiful. I won't go into all the details, but let's just say that the multiple full-length mirrors in the Target dressing room rocked my perception of myself recently. I'm now up to date on my backside, and I can tell you beautiful wasn't the first word that came to mind!

Lucky for me, my oldest daughter was with me. {There's nothing like having a daughter watching to convict you of the views you have about your own body and beauty!} I'm so thankful for what God exposed in that dressing room: that while I don't say harsh and hateful things about my body out loud, I've got plenty of harsh and hateful thoughts in my head. And all that hate? It goes against everything God says is true about me: I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I'm beautiful. I'm glorious. I'm His.

So, friends, I'm claiming the truth of who I am today and telling that silent but deadly voice of self-hatred to shut up. Seriously! Shut UP! Yuck and gross is not who I am. And it's not who you are. Will you claim the truth with me today? Will you embrace your God-given beauty?

One last thing to share...with a little shyness, and great humility. I just received an incredibly kind email from a blog reader. She thanked me for opening my heart on the blog and for blessing her in the process....telling me of the ways God has spoken to her through some of my posts. {Emails like this remind my why I keep sharing here...despite the hundreds of times I've wanted to walk away.} And then at the very end of her message, she wrote this in reference to my last post:
When I opened your blog today,  I was immediately struck by the photos of you.  You have grown more beautiful (if that could be possible) and truly seem to have a glow about you. It must be attributed to an inner peace and contentment you are feeling now.
My eyes filled with tears as I read her words. That's the kind of beautiful I want to be...the kind that radiates from the inside. White legs, no make-up, barn boots and a ball cap...yet she saw beauty. She saw the real me. And called me beautiful. Sometimes we need someone to call us out.

I want to do that for you today. I want to call you beautiful. If I could look into your heart and see what God sees, I'm quite sure I'd be WOWED by your radiant, glorious beauty! If the inside kind of beauty is what really counts, then I bet you've got it in spades!

Love and hugs to you,

P.S. If you need a song sung over you today, listen to Beautiful by Mercy Me. So good!


Family Worship In The Barn

If you saw my last post, you saw this picture:

Family worship in the barn, white legs and all!

This is how I first learned to worship: in shorts and a t-shirt. I was 12 years old...hearing about Jesus for the first time at summer camp. Our family worship in the barn reminded me of those summers. Just so pure and simple. Crazy as it sounds, I think a small part of my "Little Linsey" heart was recovered on Sunday.

I love it when all else is stripped away and my heart sings. I love it when I'm not mindful of makeup, outfits, being the new girl or feeling like I have to smile in the hallways. I love it when the smile just comes naturally...out of a heart that is alive and free.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

I love to worship, but some Sundays, church feels like work. I didn't realize that until we moved. The first few months, I came home with a migraine every Sunday...no matter which church we visited. {There are so many great churches here, by the way. It's not the church's fault.} At first, I thought the headaches were a result of "new girl overload." But now that the headaches have subsided, I'm tapping into something older and deeper.

I didn't grow up going to church. My family was all about sleeping in, big breakfasts and reading the funny pages. Fine by me! Why get all dressed up and go to church when you could stay home in your PJs?

But after four life-changing summers at Camp Ozark, I wanted more than just two weeks with God. So at age 15, I started going to church. It was formal and a little stiff, but I was happy to be learning hymns and the basic stories of the Bible.

It was in college that I really learned to love Sunday mornings. We dressed casually, sat on the floor or window sills if the pews were full, sang our hearts out, heard Scotty Smith preach the gospel of grace, and ate country breakfasts after with whatever money we didn't put in the offering plate. {All that in Downtown Franklin. Funny how God works...bringing me back to Franklin all these years later!}

These two are the real deal.
{They helped lead worship in Houston from time to time.}

When I graduated from Vanderbilt and returned home to Houston, JD and I stumbled upon a brand new church that was meeting in my old elementary school cafeteria. I loved the mix of old and new music, learned a TON about the Bible, and made some very dear friends.

But somewhere along the way, without even knowing it, I started performing more than worshipping.

The performance started in my closet on Sunday morning. What to wear? Did I wear that last week? Can I still wear white jeans? Are my toes ready for sandals? Then there's the time spent in front of the bathroom mirror. Hair. Makeup. Studying my outward appearance a little too intently. Why was I trying to make myself look good when Jesus says to come just as I am? Isn't church supposed to be the place where we can be a mess? Be ourselves? "Getting ready" became a distraction...a covering up of my heart so I could be acceptable in the eyes of others.

And then there was the car ride. {I'm convinced more marital tiffs and sibling spats break out in the car on the way to church than any other time!} And the big smiles we put on when we arrived. {Despite whatever had just happened in the car!} Followed by the high pitched "How are yous?" and the "We're goods!" that filled the hallways. Our church was full of great people, but it was hard to be authentic when you were shuffling through a crowded hallway with a baby on your hip and a toddler melting at your feet.

Are you tired yet? I am...and I haven't even told you about all that I did for the church. I applied my perfectionistic, over-achieving self to leading Bible studies, hosting small groups, greeting visitors at the front door, writing and editing for my pastor, giving generously to the new building...all in the name of Jesus and in the spirit of "excellence." There were moments of authenticity, but looking back, I was quite the performer, or the impostor as Brennan Manning calls it in Abba's ChildI was striving...even as I sang about how strivings cease in Christ!

Again, this wasn't the church's fault. It's what I brought to the church. In all of my striving, performing and perfecting {in all my fear of freedom}, I was missing the heart of Jesus. Oh, I thought I knew His heart {with all my theological head knowledge}, but I wasn't leaning into His heart. And that, my friends, is worship in its simplest form: leaning into the heart of God.

Am I suggesting that we should give up on church? Not at all.

But sometimes we need a break from routine and protocol to see the real Jesus. The Jesus who sets us free from striving, performing, controlling, hiding, avoiding, judging, etc. Sometimes we need to throw off all the stuff we call church {dressing up, busying ourselves with service, burying ourselves in theology} and bask in our freedom. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! {Jesus' words in John 8:36.}

You know what would be really awesome? If I could apply that barn-style freedom to the church...and everywhere else in life!

There's a whole lot about this post that feels imperfect and incomplete, but I'm trusting that in between the lines, there's something God will to whisper to your heart...something just for you!

In freedom and joy,

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