Hello, Bravehearted Beauties! It’s a snow day in Tennessee! School was cancelled {hooray!}, so we slept in and woke up to so much more than we imagined!

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I gasped as I opened the shutters and looked out over the pasture toward the pond. It looks like our farm is nestled in its very own snow globe! I became slightly obsessed with the slowmo video feature on my phone. First time to use it. Very snow globe-ish!

Soft, powdery flakes have been falling all day, so the view keeps changing, but I couldn’t resist sharing a little beauty from the first half of the day. I haven’t taken this many photos since I broke my ankle in July. It felt really good to wield my sword and do some beauty hunting!

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I love how today’s photos look like black and whites with a touch of color tinting. God is an incredible artist, that’s for sure! No photoshop or filters needed to enhance what He creates.

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Our sleds cracked last year, and maybe this is a mom fail, but I didn’t think to get new ones. Oops! But snow is snow…and super fun for my Texas-turned-Tennessee girls!

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The only thing missing from these photos are the sheep. Oh, how I love sheep in the snow! And more sheep in the snow! Sometimes I feel sad that we don’t have them anymore, but there’s only so much we farmgirls can handle. {I don’t think I’ve told you that right after I broke my ankle, we sent our sheep back to the breeder. Long story short: having two 150-pound hoofed animals jump on your petite daughter while she feeds the chickens every day isn’t awesome. We hope to raise a pair of lambs for the breeder in the spring…then send them back when they’re full grown.}

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Here’s to hunting for beauty wherever you are today!

 

 

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  • Julie - Breathtaking photos Linsey! Wow! God is an amazing artist. I wish we had more snow here this year, but am grateful the sun came out today. Looks like you all had a fun snow day! I would love to hear more about your sheep since we’ve dreamed of having them. We don’t have the bandwidth right now but they are just so stinking cute, I would love them some day. It’s funny though, some animals don’t pan out the way you think they will. Your poor daughter! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - I’ve been meaning to share the sheep news for months. I really do miss their cuteness from afar, but up close, they were a mess. And a lot more high maintenance than I expected. The barn started to feel too chaotic. I have a post that’s been stirring in my mind for over a year: when God calls us sheep, it’s not a compliment!ReplyCancel

  • Gracia @ Gracious Offering - Simply beautiful photos, Linsey! Love to see your farm through your eyes. And your girls just get lovelier… Have a wonderful, snowy weekend!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Stunning beauty! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Stacey - Linsey, These pictures are so amazing and thank you for sharing! God has truly blessed you with such amazing beauty there on the farm. Not only in nature but, in your family. Enjoy the beauty and keep on sharing.ReplyCancel

Hello Bravehearted Beauties! I’m in rare form today and decided to record a video! It’s been a long time since I’ve been this kind of brave. Maybe the chemicals from today’s highlight went to my head! {Yep, I recorded on a salon day. If you prefer non-salon hair, I’ve got the opposite of that in this video.} This isn’t a post about highlights, but I will say this: I’ve finally learned to embrace my chemical addiction. I’ve gone all natural in every other department, but sunshiny blonde feels like the real me…even after 18 years of “faking it” with some highlights. Go figure!

So here’s what I’ve got for you today: two new things I’m up to as of this week.

(1) Instagram. I’m always late to the party…if I show up at all! After holding off for various reasons, I decided to see what it’s all about. As a beauty hunter, I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy a quick place to share some photos. But here’s what I didn’t expect: sharing doodles from this morning’s Scripture reading!

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I’ve been doodling words since I was a young girl. It’s how I stayed focused and attentive in school…and later in church. It’s one of the passions that inspired me to start designing custom Christmas cards 12 years ago. {I just “retired,” but will design a little stationery for an Etsy shop with my daughters…opening soon I hope.} When words pop in my mind or spirit, I like to write them in a distinctive way. So who knows…maybe I’ll share more of that now that I’m on Instagram.

(2) Living Brave Semester with Brené Brown. Need I say more? Her work is amazing, and a course called “Living Brave” sounds like a no-brainer for a Bravehearted Beauty. I know it’s going to be good, but I confess I’m feeling a little out of my element and have some fear of being a slacker/failure. But brave is who God says I am, so here I go!

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{I’m better at getting all situated and organized than actually starting!}

I’m thinking the timing for this course is just right considering what God has spoken about being a truth teller and brave with my story. {Touched on that last week.} The hardest part is starting. And since it’s Wednesday night and I haven’t started this week’s homework, I think I’ll jump off the blog and do some Living Brave work.

Here’s today’s video…all 12 chatty minutes!

{Email subscribers will need to visit the blog to view.}

Here’s to living B R A V E!

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  • Lisa - Welcome to Instagram from a longtime Houston follower. I even came to a tag sale at your beautiful home before you moved! Have always loved your photography and look forward to following you on IG now.

    I joined IG about a year ago when my youngest set up an account for me! My kids are (15, 19, 23). It has been fun to follow them and some of their friends to see what they are up to. I have also enjoyed following some of my favorite bloggers too.

    Happy New Year to you!ReplyCancel

  • Janis Stufflebean - Your video was great! You sounded like you were in a better ‘season’. Hopefully, this will continue as your journey unfolds!
    Best,
    JanisReplyCancel

Hello 2016. Here we are, ready or not!

How are you feeling about a new year, Bravehearted Beauties? Are you fired up and ready for a reset? Are you clearing out Christmas and reorganizing your home? Are you off and running with a new exercise or eating plan? Or are you more like me…still trying to recover from 2015 and entering into 2016 slowly?

I’m more of a “not ready” girl when it comes to the new year. If ever I’m excited and ready for a new year, it feels like a minor miracle! That’s what I called it in January 2013. I guess the massive change of moving from my hometown of Houston to a small farm in Franklin made me feel like I could tackle anything. {Little did I know that my first winter depression was right around the corner. Humbling to say the least.}

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Here’s what I sense we need to know today: whatever your heart feels as you enter this new year, it’s okay. Whatever you’re feeling in this very moment, ready or not ready, is worth noting and honoring. There’s no right or wrong way to enter into 2016. Social media, magazines, motivational speakers and plenty of other writers will tell you there’s a right way to make 2016 your best year yet. But the truth is…there isn’t. There is no one right way.

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But there is a way that’s best for you…the wildly wonderful, brave and beautiful, one-of-a-kind you.

So how do we determine what that way is? I don’t think it’s by making resolutions. At least not right off the bat. There’s something powerful we need before we make resolutions. Something we need more than resolutions.

We need revelation.

We need to hear from the One who made us. How, you ask? Does God even speak anymore? Some bright-minded theologians will argue He doesn’t. I believed them for years. Until I just couldn’t reconcile this one thing intellectually, spiritually or emotionally: what kind of God desires intimate relationship but refuses to speak to you? What kind of intimacy is that? And what about all that God says in His very own Word about hearing his voice?

I decided to give God a chance to speak. To give listening a try. And let me tell you: God still speaks. Through His word, creation, quiet whispers, friends, beauty, music, movies…He’s insanely creative. And He’s definitely still in the revelation business!

So before we race into the new year making resolutions we can’t keep, why not ask God what He wants to reveal? What does He have for you? What is His best for you? What word or words does He want to speak over your year? What purpose? What priorities? What calling?

There’s no pressure here. You don’t have a limited time slot or a now-or-never chance with God. He’s wide open and waiting. And He’ll generally speak anytime you’re willing and ready to listen. Sometimes what He has to say comes like a flood…sometimes it comes in bits and pieces over time. Sometimes you hear Him loud and clear…sometimes you need confirmation through the God’s Word and others…sometimes you feel like a total failure in the listening department.

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Listening for God’s voice over my own internal chatter and head knowledge was hard for me. It took faith and practice. And still does. I can get rusty and lean more heavily on my head knowledge or others’ opinions…forgetting I can ask God. If this is all new to you, here’s the first step: dare to believe He speaks and dare to believe He speaks to you. Hearing from God isn’t just for some people.

I’m just getting started on the process of asking God what He wants to reveal to me for 2016. I want to be open to hearing each day, but here’s what I’m sensing now and am asking Him more about:

  • HOPE…especially when things look hopeless
  • be a truth teller {still battling some fear here}
  • write my story {feels overwhelming, but he insists this will be healing}
  • invest in people {a repeat from past years}
  • offer inner healing prayer {no clue how to go about that}
  • guard against isolation {it feeds depression}
  • care for my body {a broken ankle and the unrelated trauma it unearthed took a toll}

This may look like a list of resolutions, but it all starts with revelation. Not my list of self-imposed improvements, but God’s revelation about what is most healing, helpful and central to my purpose and calling this year. It’s all about what will bring me the most life and God the most glory. To know more about what each of these things will look like throughout the year, I need a regular check-in with God. One thing I love about listening prayer is that it keeps me going back to God day after day, which feels like real relationship vs. intellectual pursuit or going through the religious motions. It’s been life changing for me.

I’d love to hear what words, themes and revelations you’re hearing over your year. Leave a comment below or send me an email anytime. And if you’re not hearing anything, just keep setting aside time to listen. It will come.

Blessings to you in 2016, brave and beautiful ones!

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P.S. Hearing God by Dallas Willard is a great resource for those who want to explore hearing God’s voice. And a resource that has been especially helpful to me: Ransomed Heart Ministries. The free weekly podcasts are great. John’s newest book, Moving Mountains, is amazing! You can pre-order here.

 

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  • Becky Mullowney - Linsey, thank you for this wonderful post. I am so in “that” place…ready to run in the new year, but still in the starting gate waiting for it to open. I can’t run any direction w/o clear direction from our Lord. And, so I wait…trusting the revelation will come in His perfect timing.
    Blessings to you and yours in this new year, Becky M.ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - While I can’t relate to the “ready to run” feeling in the new year, I’ve definitely done that so often in life. I just take off without pausing to ask God if He’s in it…or what the best next step would be. SO much better when I sit with Him first…and stay with Him as I move forward. Blessings on your new year!ReplyCancel

  • Gracia @ Gracious Offering - Linsey, what wise words. I tend to feel a little pressure to come up with new goals/resolutions at the start of each new year. I love your idea of praying, listening, seeking what God would have us aspire to in the New Year. And yes, so totally agree that a God still speaks to us individually in a myriad of ways. I have to remind myself that He often whispers, not shouts. Will check out the resources you mentioned. Thank you for your faithfulness to write and tell your story. Warmly, GraciaReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Your comment reminds me of a story I love in 1 Kings: “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”ReplyCancel

  • Kelly George - I just love how God uses you and you allow God to use you!
    I believe my word from him to me for 2016 is
    CONTENTMENT.
    I’ve been here in franklin tn for 6 months and just not “feeling” it. Love the people love the beauty but ya know it’s not “home”
    So I find myself trying to keep changing things… And it was like God said “Kelly you need to be content with where I have you!”
    Seriously! Couldn’t he have given me something easier;)
    So on this journey I go to be content and “try” to make Tn my home and try and get out there to make friends.
    Thanks again for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Oh, Kelly, being the new girl was SO hard for me. Sometimes I still feel new. Here’s my new girl post on the old blog in case you want to read it: http://www.llhdesignsblog.com/2012/09/the-new-girl.html

      I haven’t found my groove here yet…even after 3 1/2 years, but I know this is where we’re called to be and that makes me feel peace deep down. That’s what makes it feel like home. And I love the beauty here! That helps for sure! Some people make new friends easily and quickly. I’m not one of those people. We have to give ourselves time and grace. And be VERY BRAVE. You already are just for coming here and for reaching out!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Vines - Your blog has been such a blessing to me since discovering it and I look forward to every new post. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us. And I absolutely agree that God’s voice is alive and clear for those of us that seek it. Last Summer I asked God to speak a word over me for this current season of life and He said “rest”. At the time I almost laughed thinking how can He possibly expect me to rest as a homeschooling mom with young children and a business. Shortly after I found out I was pregnant and became sicker than I’ve ever been in my life. I spent about 4 months almost entirely on bed rest and while I struggled physically I felt mentally capable to handle it b/c I knew God was with me through it all wanting me to rest in Him.
    p.s. I was your neighbor at the city farmhouse barnshow. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Hi Melissa! So appreciate your encouraging words. Amazing how God spoke REST over you right before that forced season of rest. WOW. I love how He does that. I’ve heard others say they thought the word God spoke was crazy or that they were hearing wrong…only to learn later in the year like you did that it was EXACTLY what was needed. Amazing! I want to hear God more…to listen and ask Him more. It’s the BEST!

      So glad you’re reading along. Thanks for leaving a comment today. And for reminding me that we were neighbors at that first City Farmhouse show. That was a one-time gig for me. Way out of my comfort zone!ReplyCancel

  • Bravely Believing and Desiring MORE » Bravehearted Beauty - […] forward to turning 40. And finally, I don’t know that I shared this on the blog, but the words I heard God speak over me last year were joy and […]ReplyCancel

To the ones who are wondering…

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To the lost and lonely…

To the wrecked and weary…

To the anxious and aching…

To the burdened and broken hearted…

To the hopeless and heartsick…

To the confused and conflicted…

To the desperate and discouraged…

To the messed up and misunderstood…

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Christmas is for you. 

J O Y  is for you.

H O P E  is for you.

L O V E  is for you.

L I G H T  is for you.

L I F E  is for you.

C H R I S T  is for you.

So, come.

Come into Christmas just as you are.

Come into Christmas with all of your brave and beautiful heart.

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A new favorite candle: “Blue Spruce and Spearmint” from Sydney Hale Co.

 

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  • Krista - I love, love, love this message. My heart is rejoicing at the truth of what CHRISTmas truly means. Your words resonate deeply with me. Thank you for sharing His light on your blog! Wishing you & yours a very blessed & Merry CHRISTmas!ReplyCancel

  • Julie - Beautiful Linsey! I know it to my core. Yet, which of us don’t need to hear it again and again. Thank you, merry Christmas and happy new year! 🙂 Xo, ~julieReplyCancel

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Last night, I sat on my yoga mat for the first time since breaking my ankle five months ago. I took my place in a cozy, crowded room full of women who appeared peaceful and purposeful. I was longing to draw nearer to Jesus in my heart as Christmas draws nearer on the calendar.

The air was warm, the lights were dim, eyes were closed and familiar Christmas music was playing softly in the background. As I sat there trying to pay attention to my body, the music and the instructor’s beginning prompts, hot tears rolled down my cheeks in a quiet stream. What was happening? My ankle still aches, but not enough to produce tears. My daughter was behind me, and a few friends were on the other side of the room, so I wasn’t alone in a crowd of strangers. I even had the right pants this time. And a tank top instead of an old t-shirt. Sure my toes weren’t painted and my body hasn’t moved like this in five months, but on the outside, I looked like I should fit right in. So why the tears? {Over the last few years, I’ve learned to honor and even welcome tears. They carry valuable messages from hidden places of your heart and story.}

That’s just it: I’ve always looked like I should fit right in, yet never feel like I do. I’ve always felt like a misfit. Snippets of my life flashed through my mind at breakneck speed, story after story confirming the misfit theme. I paused at this one: looking like a sorority girl on the outside, yet never feeling like one on the inside. Wearing my Theta t-shirts around the Vanderbilt campus, while feeling like I didn’t belong to that group or any other. Standing on the edge of every party, empty handed and not a drinker, but told by a pledge sister that I needed to at least hold a red plastic cup…to look like I fit in. Watching my pledge class perform a crass skit that I couldn’t bear to participate in because it crushed my heart to have that joke played on me the year before…wondering why I was the only one who saw how hurtful it was.

Out of my brokenness, the beauty is that I’ve come to find out I wasn’t the only sorority misfit. The truth is, I wish I could go back with the heart I have now and get to know each of those sorority sisters for who they really were on the inside, not who they appeared to be on the outside. Turns out, the pledge sister who I’ve come to love the most in recent years is the one I felt like was my total opposite in college. I was a good girl, strong in my faith, always in the library; she was a wild child, atheist and appeared to be the life of the party. And yet this is what we’ve discovered today: we were both hurting and broken, covering and avoiding our pain with opposite outward behaviors. We were both misfits. And how ironic that two misfits joined the same sought-after sorority, furthering the illusion that we fit right in when we never felt like we did.

A misfit feels like she never quite fits. She may show up and look the part, but deep inside, she never feels like she belongs. She thinks she’s the only one who feels this way, because everyone else seems to take their place and roll with the flow of this fast-paced world. They seem to know how to move fast, talk fast, think fast, eat fast and pack more into a single day than a misfit would want to pack into an entire week. The misfit knows that she can’t move at that pace and still manage to connect with her own heart, God or others on an intimate level. But sometimes she wishes she could to see if it would numb the ache of not fitting in. Sadly, the misfit feels safest when she’s all alone. Because the crowds and groups remind her too intensely of what she already knows is true: that she doesn’t quite fit, and maybe, she’s the only one.

And then suddenly, I know it’s not just me. I know I’m not the only one. How do I know? Because I heard God’s gentle, knowing whisper to my heart last night on that yoga mat. He saw the silent tears I tried hide, and He leaned in close: I know what it feels like to be a misfit. 

And that’s when it hits me: Christmas may be the biggest misfit moment of all. Born a child, and yet a king. The High King of Heaven chose to lay His glory down and enter into a world that didn’t know a thing about the world from which He came. He came as a fully dependent, limited, needy baby, born to a teenage girl who didn’t know a thing about motherhood, much less mothering the Son of God. And then there’s the crazy way He came…the way He made His entry. The King of Kings was born in a manger…a nice way of saying He left His throne for a stinky mess of urine-soaked hay and animal poop. {Farm life taught me that reality!}

Christmas is for the misfits. The way He came at Christmas reminds us that He is one of us. A misfit like us. And then, as if God’s knowing wasn’t enough for my heart, He whispered one more thing: you’re just like me. 

And who wouldn’t want to be more like Him? Isn’t that the point for a Christ follower, a God believer, one made in His image? To become who we were made to be…to bear the heart and presence of God in this world? To be conformed to His likeness more and more as we move through this messy life as misfits? That’s what embracing our mess and our “misfittedness” is all about: becoming more like Him, bearing more of His heart, revealing more of His light and bringing more of His beauty to this broken world.

As I left the yoga class and stepped outside into the clear, cold winter night, I imagined it might be a night like the one when Christ was born. I looked to the sky in search of the brightest star and wondered if being a misfit wasn’t such a bad thing to be after all.

And that’s when God’s final whisper came to my heart: you’re just right in the way you don’t fit.

And so are you, Bravehearted Beauties. You are just right. It takes a brave heart to live in this world as a misfit…to believe you are just right in a world that makes you feel all kinds of wrong. But take heart, my friends! Christmas is for the misfits!

Merry Christmas from one misfit to another,

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P.S. A huge reason we feel like misfits in this world is because we were made for more. And more is coming. I love the way C.S. Lewis said it: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

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  • Belinda - Just love! Merry joyful Christmas to your sweet family!ReplyCancel

  • Inga - Thanks Linsey! Just this week I shed a few tears about being a ‘misfit’ as you call it: I labeled it social anxiety. Just have to live with it…I guess we belong to that 8% that rather withdraws and isolates than mingles with the crowd (no clue how to do that without saying/doing the wrong thing) never looking forward to a social event end looking back always glad I survived another one!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Thank you so much for sharing this Linsey–I too have had this feeling and your words really speak to my heart. The quote from CS Lewis is perfect! Have a blessed Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - Such a beautiful and profound post! I can so identify with the feeling of being a misfit and your words really spoke to my heart! May your family have a blessed Christmas and New Year!!!ReplyCancel

  • Marie Adamo - God bless you and Merry Christmas !ReplyCancel