Showing Up With My Heart

I wish I could just download my heart these days. I don't know what God is up to, but my heart has been a mix of deep and broken with life and fire bursting through. {Kind of like a fall leaf at its peak….or gray clouds lined with silver light.} No amount of words I write will cover the glory of it all, so I might as well just skip to the photos!

Not so fast, heart-of-mine! You don't get off the hook that easily! Someone out there needs to be encouraged by your story. Someone needs to know her heart won't always feel like it's in a downward spiral.

A frosty sunrise.

I know this much is true: your hard season won't last forever. Oh, it feels like forever when you're the one in the middle of it. But hear this from one whose heart winter lasted longer than the calendar said it should…and one who's heart is seeing through to the other side: you will receive a crown of beauty in place of ashes…and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. {It's a promise! Read Isaiah 61:1-3.}

I used to hide behind a well-built fortress of theology and quote Bible verses as a quick bandage to keep the pain from spilling. {Head knowledge has always been my default mode for guarding my heart.} But when you're not sure if you can even take your next breath because the pain is crushing you, a bandage won't cut it. You need a rescue. You need life. You need hope.

When I was a 12-year-old camper at Camp Ozark, I remember hearing God's word described as "alive and active." {Hebrews 4:12} I've never forgotten that, but I think I'm just now experiencing the truth of it in my heart. Pain calls the heart forth if you let it. And that's been the gift for me: showing up with my heart.

As most of you know, our Franklin Dream has turned out to be the most broken kind of beautiful. It's taught me to see beauty in brokenness, to accept the broken, and trust that beauty will come. {Back to that crown of beauty! I'm so wearing that!}

I don't know why our dream has been so fraught with brokenness, but God has let me in on a possible reason: for the display of His splendor. {Isaiah 61:3} To think that God is showing off through my brokenness is about as crazy as a Texas girl moving to Tennessee! Okay, crazier. God is WAY crazier than I am. But I've learned that I can trust His kind of crazy. And you know what? I wouldn't trade it. Because God's crazy is far better than my comfort zone.

Time for beauty…

Lady bugs have taken over!
They're everywhere…even in the house!

The chickens love to free range across the back yard.

Snack time!
{These are our August chicks. So big now!}

Laura Finley's new role on the farm: Chicken Rescuer.

A long overdue baby duckling update:

When they were only four days old, she led them to the barn.

They were so tiny!
I was worried the other animals would harm them.

But Mama Duck is VERY protective of her babies.
She doesn't let anyone near them.

They really did take to it like ducks to water!

And here they are today.

Look how they've grown!
{They'll be a month old tomorrow.}

And a few things on the way home to the farm…

A well house.

The sweetest face.
{And I never tire of the historic stone walls.}

God is doing a new thing! I can feel it in this heart of mine.


P.S. I got the sweetest surprise gift from a favorite card client/blog reader/friend in response to this post written in honor of my Uncle Joey. I was in tears when I opened it. Wish he could see it! {Made me think: we should send surprise gifts more often!}


The First Beauty Hunting Retreat

It's time to tell you about the first Beauty Hunting Retreat at Ten 10 Farm! I could hardly stand the wait, but needed to focus on three different sets of house guests. {I've had my fill of housekeeping, but each guest was such a blessing to us. Worth the work for sure! People are always worth it!}

In a nutshell, the first Beauty Hunting Retreat was AMAZING! God showed up...and showed off! {Don't you love it when He does that?}

But here's the behind the scenes truth: I wanted to cancel at the last minute. What on earth was I thinking? Why in the world did I say yes to God's lead? Who invites strangers to their home? The introverted, scared to try new things girl in me was reeling. But God. He put this idea in my heart, so I took a step of faith and opened my home...

...to six amazing women. They didn't know each other. They didn't know me {apart from my blog}. One drove from Memphis; one from Huntsville. Just to beauty hunt with me. Honored doesn't quite cover how I felt.

The first thing I confessed to them after welcoming them with hot coffee and biscuits was that I didn't have an agenda. Talk about an act of faith! The first-born perfectionist in me never would've hosted an event without a plan! But I'm a recovering perfectionist, remember? {Farm life has fast-tracked the recovery process for sure!}

I admire these women immensely for their faith in me. And I'm beyond grateful to God for directing our every step. He put it on my heart to teach them a few skills that makes a world of difference in your photography, but the best thing He did was lavish us with beauty! You couldn't have asked for a more glorious day!

The early morning fog...

...gave way to a sky full of sunshine.

We shot dew-filled spider webs...

...and surprise butterflies.

Buddy with the perfect light in his eyes...

...and sweet Bella.

The dogs moved around the pasture with us...
gently and quietly.

We stumbled upon the pumpkin in the pasture...
fresh off the vine.

And refined some of our technical skills with a still life.

Lucy was worn out from all the excitement!

And of course there were chickens, ducks and ducklings.
{I'm long overdue for a duckling update, by the way. Remind me!}

At noon, my husband announced his farm fresh lunch.

He was so busy preparing the feast that he 
didn't have time to switch out of his farmboy attire.

But boy did his meal look fancy!

All organic and made from scratch with herbs from our garden.

Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pecans & Thyme
Garlic Rosemary Hummus with Blue Corn Chips
Toasted Almond Chicken Salad with Basil & Wildflower Honey
Mixed Greens with Garden Tomatoes & Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette
Cinnamon Basil and Mint Iced Tea

Over the top delicious!
JD knocked himself out...and had a blast doing it!
{You might want to come to a retreat for the food alone!}

This was my prayer,
and it was well answered!

As I reflected on the day, I was beyond satisfied. But I could also think of so many other "themes" or variations on the day...which means you can attend more than once! I think each will be a little different...depending on weather, seasons, technical interest, etc. I'm usually one who likes to make a plan and stick to it, but I'm enjoying the surprise element of depending on God for unexpected inspiration and beauty. He never fails!

If you'd like to add your name to a waiting list for future Beauty Hunting Retreats, you can contact me through our farm website. {We also have a new Facebook page where you can see more photos.} I'm thinking the next retreat may include a toasty fire! We'd sure love to welcome you!

With a full heart,

P.S. If you'd like to see another perspective on the inaugural Beauty Hunt, visit Discovering Franklin. {A great new blog for those of you interested in more of the "things to do" around town. Written by a blog reader of mine...and now fellow Beauty Hunter!}


Reflections on The City Farmhouse Barn Show

I've never experienced a weekend quite like this one. The City Farmhouse Barn Show was amazing, but I'm so exhausted that I can hardly speak or move! After all those extroverted hours in my booth, it's nice to have a still and quiet morning. {As much as I love talking with people, writing is what nourishes my introverted side.}

I'm not sure I'm cut out to be a vendor in a big event like this, but it sure was fun to give it a go with this girl! God put her on my heart as a possible helper, and to my delight, she said YES!

Amy worked her styling magic all weekend long.
I loved watching her do her thing!

I could NOT have done this show without her. No way. And would you believe we had only met once prior to this weekend? We met in Restoration Hardware of all places! She was in Nashville with her youngest daughter just weeks after I moved here from Houston. I was buying towels and pillow inserts and heard someone call my name. {In my new hometown where no one knows me, hearing my name was wild!} She recognized me from my blog. We ended up meeting for lunch the next day and have been blog friends ever since.

One side of my booth on the first day.
Here's the crazy thing about styling a booth: you get it just right, and then people start shopping and your well-styled space starts to look like a flea market. {No offense to those who love to rummage at flea markets, but this show was first class. Every booth was styled to the nines. We were specifically warned on the application that flea market style wasn't acceptable.}

That's where Amy saved my life. When the booth started to fall apart, she restyled. When people bought things, she filled in the holes. And when Amy couldn't figure it out, our next door neighbor stepped in and worked her magic.

Totally reworked mid-show.

Mary Runger {from the booth next door} and Amy Kinser.
I just stepped aside and marveled at their talent!

Can't believe I started with this much stuff!
{Sold a ton. Thankful.}

A snippet of the third major restyling.

When I arrived for setup on Thursday and saw the incredible spaces other vendors were creating, I started to feel way out of my league. Some of the booths were so professionally constructed that they looked like rooms in a house instead of a small patch of earth in the middle of a hay field!

Robert's booth right across the aisle from me.
He built an antique kitchen in the middle of a field!

Several of the booths rivaled Marburger and Urban Market {my favorite shows in the Texas Hill Country and in Houston}. In fact, some of the vendors are Marburger and Urban Market favorites, like J. Hill Design.

Judy Hill has such a sweet and gentle spirit.
I loved visiting with her.

I didn't get to browse the booths or photograph the beauty the way I would've had I simply been a shopper, but sweet Amy encouraged me to take a few breaks with my camera.

I didn't have to go far to find inspiration. Old Tyme Marketplace was set up right next to me. Sweet Beth and her styling wizard friend Mary were the best neighbors a first timer could have! Such a well-styled booth with so many inspiring and festive vignettes.

The best part of the weekend was meeting blog readers. I was so honored and encouraged each time one of you introduced yourself. You made my day with your hugs and life giving words. Some of you traveled far to be there. I hardly know what to say. You blessed me. I wish I could've talked with each one of you longer. I'm humbled by what God has done through this blog. One thing is for sure: there's no way I'd be writing my heart out on the internet if God weren't calling forth the words! Thanks to all of you for reading and journeying alongside me. 

And I couldn't have done anything this big and crazy without the support of my super hero husband. 

Not only did he load and unload a trailer full of stuff for me, but he ran the household while I was away. And with Hallie's school musical happening on top of everything else this weekend, he had a LOT to manage! {So proud of your performance, sweet Hallie! And thank you for making dinner for me when I got home last night, Laura Finley!}

Now onto the next thing God has inspired: Beauty Hunting Retreats here at Ten 10 Farm. Trusting God to show up for us in a big way this Friday and next. For those who've signed up, you'll receive details from me soon. For anyone who'd like to join us, visit the farm website HERE and send me an email to reserve your spot.

Happy Sunday, sweet friends! I'm so glad to know more of you now!

Hugs and blessings,
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