Hello Bravehearted Beauties! How are you?!?! I’m back on the farm and very happy to be here! I’m happier at home than any place in the world…even though coming home means farm duties in the heat, endless piles of laundry and who knows what else. The truth is, I rarely crave a vacation and would probably stay home all year if it weren’t for more adventurous family members. I’m thankful for them…and thankful for the extravagant and abundant beauty I was able to enjoy because of their adventurous spirits!

IMG_3070PINIT

IMG_3044PINIT

IMG_3013PINIT

IMG_2993PINIT

IMG_2732PINIT

IMG_2716PINIT

I wasn’t planning on a trip to Italy this year. My dream for the last decade has been to return to Provence. {France captured my heart right out of high school, and Provence has inspired our way of living more than any other place.} In fact, I started my business a decade ago in hopes that we’d use the extra income to return to Provence. But there were always other things, and I’ve never been one to prioritize travel. I’m far too practical…and happy at home.

IMG_2884PINIT

IMG_3467PINIT

IMG_3460PINIT

IMG_3465PINIT

IMG_3456PINIT

But I have an adventurous mom who loves Italy and a dad who’s great at pulling the trigger. So they planned a month-long trip and invited us to join them for a portion of it. Would you believe I said yes, then no, then yes? Long story. But who says no to Italy?!?! Like France, it’s full of beauty and inspiration. And the food! {It’s also known as Eataly. It feels like that’s all I did! And even with all the walking and beauty hunting, I still came home with 5 extra pounds. Two gelatos a day, grazie!}

IMG_2803PINIT

IMG_2836PINIT

IMG_3375PINIT

IMG_3415PINIT

IMG_3410PINIT

IMG_2865PINIT

IMG_2909PINIT

Wherever I go, I’m always on the hunt for beauty. And of course, it’s not hard to find in a place like Italy. It’s an interesting combination of God’s glorious creation and man’s wondrous addition to the natural surroundings. And what I love best is that so much of the beauty is old and crumbling and imperfect. A reminder that beauty and brokenness really do go together. 

IMG_3487PINIT

IMG_4149PINIT

IMG_3050PINIT

IMG_3081PINIT

I remain convinced that beauty is God’s love language all around the world. Whether you’re in a place like Italy where the beauty is abundant and visible at every turn…or in a place where the beauty seems sparse and veiled, it’s always worth the hunt. Because beauty rescues, refreshes and revives the heart like nothing else.

Beauty hunting at sunrise.

IMG_3491PINIT

IMG_3500PINIT

IMG_3503PINIT

IMG_3510PINIT

More than museums, galleries and organized tours, I love capturing the beauty of a place while roaming freely outside in all different kinds of light. Early morning light is clear and crisp, while evening light is soft and rich. {Full midday sun is harsh and shadowy, so you just have to choose your shots a little more carefully. Look for pockets of shade…or turn that aperture setting way up.}

Beauty hunting just after sunset.

IMG_4236PINIT

Dusk is such a peaceful time of day anywhere in the world.

IMG_4196PINIT

IMG_4205PINIT

A few minutes after I captured those last few shots, the lights popped on.

IMG_4216PINIT IMG_4220PINIT

The desire of my heart in sharing vacation photos isn’t to show off where we’ve been, but to inspire you with beauty. Maybe there’s an element of Italian beauty that will speak straight to your heart in a particular way? Or maybe there’s a way to incorporate a slower pace into your life this very day? Maybe today you’ll notice the way the sun sets in your hometown, see the beauty in something old and broken, enjoy a glass of wine, take your time over an extra long meal with friends. If nothing else, may the beauty you see here inspire you to hunt for beauty right where you are.

At the end of the day, everyday beauty is the very best kind!

Linsey signature 100pix

 

 

P.S. If you ever find yourself in Florence, eat at one of Fabio Picchi’s restaurants. He’s the chef, owner, a local favorite and quite a character. We loved our long and lingering lunch at Cibrèo Caffè. Order whatever they recommend, but don’t miss the antipasti plate to start and whatever crostata is in season for dessert!

FullSizeRenderPINIT

 

Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTSubscribe
  • Niki - Hi Linsey,
    That was a great way to start my day!
    I hope to see you on dey in Paris, but i it sure what a great staying in italy!
    Thank you for those beautiful pictures.
    Love and beauty,

    NikiReplyCancel

  • Patti - Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing. I’m happy that your family had this time together.ReplyCancel

  • katey - I was there when I was 19 and it is a beautiful city. I have wished to return but haven’t yet. Your pictures are gorgeous. Brings back many memories. I am glad you enjoyed the trip. Home is always better when returning from a trip.ReplyCancel

  • Julie - Wow Linsey! Such beauty… you captured it so well. I love how you write that beauty is God’s love language. That resonates deeply with what’s in my heart – I believe that too! So happy for you to have made such wonderful memories with your family. I’m sure you’ll treasure them always. Welcome home! ~julieReplyCancel

  • A Family Trip To Italy {Day Trips From Florence} » Bravehearted Beauty - […] beauty was captured in small Tuscan villages, all day trips from Florence. I love the medieval hilltop towns that dot the Tuscan countryside. While Florence has lots to […]ReplyCancel

  • Patricia - What a beautiful travel!!! Thank you for sharing!!!:)ReplyCancel

  • A Family Trip To Italy | Doors, Windows & Details » Bravehearted Beauty - […] engaged and present in everyday life is by noticing the details. As I walked the narrow streets of Florence and wandered through a handful of medieval hilltop villages, I paid particular attention to the […]ReplyCancel

  • A Family Trip To Italy | Positano & Amalfi Coast » Bravehearted Beauty - […] all the walking in Florence and the day trips in the Tuscan countryside, we said goodbye to my parents and headed south to […]ReplyCancel

Hello Bravehearted Beauties! I can hardly stand it! I just have to blurt it out: we have a pony in our pasture! Before you get too excited, she’s not our pony, but we get to board her and love on her as if she were one of our own.

Meet Lucy!

IMG_2426PINIT

She’s a sweet tempered, playful young girl with the blondest ponytail on Ten 10 Farm! Can you believe her coloring…how she fits right in with our family? I already find myself looking for her first thing in the morning when I wake up. And as I sit here writing by the window, I keep looking up just to see what she’s doing. I can’t believe we get to enjoy this pretty girl right here on our own farm!

IMG_2303PINIT

IMG_2312PINIT

So here’s how we ended up with a pony in our pasture: a neighbor behind us has a horse farm. She boards horses, but only in stables, not in her pasture. One of the horse owners who’s boarding two rescued race horses at my neighbor’s barn needed a nearby pasture for her daughter’s pony. And guess who got the call?

Me. An experienced horse woman called me…a horse lover who hardly knows a thing about how to care for horses. And for the record: this is the first phone call I’ve ever received from this neighbor. I was worried that Aslan had escaped and was harassing horses in her barn. Honestly, I was a little nervous to call her back.

IMG_2470PINIT

Who knew that on an ordinary Monday I’d receive a request to pasture board a beautiful pony?!?! God knew. Because friends, if you only knew the conversation I had with my husband the day before, you might begin to see that it was no accident that she called me. It literally felt like God chose me. An unlikely candidate for a boarding job, but perfect in His larger story.

IMG_2484PINIT

Just the day before, I asked my husband if he could ever imagine having a horse on our farm. I fully expected him to say, “No way! We’re in over our heads and don’t need to add another thing to the mix.” And he would’ve been absolutely right. But to my surprise, he said, “Absolutely!”

IMG_2328PINIT

He knows I love horses. Always have. One of the reasons I fell in love with the road we live on is because of all the horse farms with all their glorious horses. And you know, we have this barn…which of course encourages a girl to dream!

And then there’s this whole Bravehearted Beauty thing. When God called me Bravehearted Beauty, I didn’t feel like one, so I asked him for a picture. And this is what he gave me: riding a horse, wielding a sword and wearing a crown. Oh, the things God sees when He looks at us!

IMG_2496PINIT

And one last little thing: when I started writing as Bravehearted Beauty instead of LLH Designs, what was the first photograph I shared? A horse. One of the beauties I pass down the road every day.

Welcome to Ten 10 Farm, Lucy. You are a gift to my spirit! And someday, I hope you’ll show me how to ride you bareback! We’ll be two blonde Bravehearted Beauties helping each other to feel more of who we were meant to be!

IMG_2565PINIT

Dear friends, I hope this story inspires you to dream with God…to believe with Him. I’m asking God to show you what He see when He looks at you. I know this for sure: it’s so much MORE than what you see in yourself. I call you Bravehearted Beauty, but what name does God call you? Get ready: He has a history of calling people far better names than they call themselves. {He called Gideon a mighty warrior when Gideon called himself the runt of the litter! Talk about a drastic difference in identity and vision!}

Would you dare to receive and believe in a new name? I know God has one for you!

Believing with you!

Linsey signature 100pix

 

 

P.S. I’ll be offline for the next two weeks…enjoying an overseas adventure with my family. Thankful for this precious family who’s coming back to love on our animals while we’re away. I’m sure I’ll make up for lost time with LOTS of photos when I’m back! Until then…Happy Summer!

 

Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTSubscribe
  • Gigi - Oh this is incredibly fun of the Lord to arrange for Lucy to have such a wonderful family to love and to be loved right back at her! Thank you for sharing how God redeems and restores, even with a new name, Dare to believe! So awesome! Have a great trip!ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - Now THAT is one beautiful horse. What a wonderful being to wake up to each morning.

    And yes, she sure blends in with the whole family!ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - Linsey- God works in miraculous ways and takes care of every little detail in our lives! So happy for you and your family!ReplyCancel

  • Three Years On Our Farm » Bravehearted Beauty - […] still feels like the craziest, bravest thing I’ve ever done. {Aside from barebacking the pony in my pasture with no saddle, no reigns, no nothing. Now, that’s a […]ReplyCancel

Hello Bravehearted Beauties! How’s your brave and beautiful heart today? Mine is bursting with joy because we’re only a day away from our family’s favorite season: S U M M E R !

YeeeeeeeeeHAW!!! {I bet my family can hear that one all the way from Tennessee to Texas!}

IMG_2150PINIT

Call me crazy, but I love a schedule-free summer. Always have. Camps and activities have never been our thing…even when we lived in the heart of the city where jam-packed schedules were all the rage. For years, we didn’t have the money for all those extras. Down time at home was free, and we all grew to enjoy it. Yes, we drove each other crazy at times, but that’s part of doing life as a family together…going crazy and falling back in love all in the same day! {Side note: boredom and long stretches of unscheduled time sparks incredible creativity.}

IMG_2155PINIT

We’ll enjoy some fun visits with family this summer, but our main thing each summer is hanging out at home. Longer days, later dinners and last minute s’mores with anyone who wants to come. The farm isn’t exactly a vacation when you have animals to care for and a pasture to mow, but the beauty is as life-giving to us as any place on earth. Honestly, we don’t really dream of going places unless it involves visiting family. {That’s a homebody for ya!}

IMG_2162PINIT

Maybe that sounds old fashioned and too sticky sweet for some, but it’s who we are. For us, it feels just right. And for you, I hope you get to do whatever feels right for your family. I love hearing about all the escapades of more adventurous souls, so feel free to share your stories and discoveries!

IMG_2183PINIT

One thing I’ll miss about the school year: the forced early morning wake up time that allows me to see God’s early morning glory. I’m not a morning person, so without school, I’m not likely to see the early morning light again until August. {Steam rising off the pond on a chilly morning is my favorite!}

IMG_2185PINIT

How about you? Do you like summer? Any favorite traditions or rhythms? Do you like to make plans, pack as much adventure in as possible, travel and explore, or hang at home?

Wishing you so much joy in whatever you do,

Linsey signature 100pix

 

 

P.S. In celebration of summer and a friend’s new faith in Jesus, I invited the ladies in my small group out for breakfast and pedicures today. Only my third pedicure in the last three years and maybe my first ever “group of girlfriends” pedicure outing. I’m more of a one-on-one person, but I just have to say: it was such a sweet time! I highly recommend it. So BE BRAVE! Gather a few women {even if you haven’t known them long} and go get your toes painted a bright, happy, out of character color!

Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTSubscribe
  • Dianne - Unlike you, I don’t like summer. I live on the coast and the tourist come in mid May till August. The heat and humidity coupled with all the strangers in our small coastal town is just not fun. I prefer winter after the holiday when the earth is still and we are too. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • katey - Amen!! Summer is the best thing for families! Beautiful photos of your farm. and I had a pedi with two girlfriends last week and it was the first in many years and the first with friends and it was super fun. Have a great summer. KateyReplyCancel

  • Karen T. - Like you, I’m also not a morning person. However as a TN girl, summers are not my favorite with the almost unbearable (to me) heat and humidity. I prefer spring and fall. Then, I’m middle-of-the road and like a mix of travel & adventure and then some hanging out at home, too. The pictures of your farm are quite beautiful! I would love to hang out in such peaceful surroundings. Have a wonderful summer!ReplyCancel

I’ve been waiting all week to share a new song with you. Written by God’s very own songbird. I don’t say that because she’s my daughter. I say it because her words are inspired by God. And I think He wants to sing this song over all of us today.

{Email subscribers: visit the blog to listen.}

The lyrics:

find him lyricsPINIT

Wow.  Talk about beauty from brokenness! This girl has seen all kinds of broken since our move, but on this day, I knew she has also seen the beauty.

On the same day that I said goodbye to Boaz, I showed up for the school talent show, and this is the song she sang. It was my first time to hear it. Tears. And as I listened, I remembered some of God’s promises to my heart in the midst of the messy: I am doing a new thing. I will redeem every broken place and make it beautiful. Don’t be afraid of your pain…or afraid of letting your daughters see it. I’ve got your daughters. And I’ve got you. 

Sometimes it felt like the pain in our marriage, the collision of our childhood stories, the depression and deep sadness was spilling out all over the place. What if it spilled out all over our daughters and drowned them? What if all they would ever know of life in our home was pain and brokenness? I could worry and be overcome with fear…or I could trust God. Those felt like my only two options. So as God whispered promises to my heart in the darkness, I chose to trust that what He said was true.

One of those whispers came after my oldest overheard a particularly painful fight with my husband, followed by loud sobbing on my closet floor and almost a full day in bed to recover from it all. {This has happened more than once.} Not exactly the picture of peace, love, safety and security that I want my daughters to feel in our home. But after reminding me He has my girls, God whispered this particular word to me regarding my oldest daughter: she will write songs out of this place.

She’s seen first hand that it’s messy to come alive. But how beautiful that she’s also seeing whole hearted people pieced together from shards. {These lyrics astound me. She said they were written out of what she’s witnessed in JD and me these last few years. Beauty emerged from broken.}

God has often whispered another thing into my heart regarding my girls: they will see restoration and redemption of your marriage in front of their very eyes. This is particularly comforting on the days that still look so messy. And the days where I’m tempted to lose hope. We all have those days. But God. He is doing a new thing. Sometimes we just can’t see it. But we can choose to believe it!

Welcome to the world of faith over fear: choosing to believe what you cannot see. But God. He sees. And we can choose to trust the One who sees. He’s even called The God Who Sees. {Read Hagar’s story.} And one thing I know for sure: He sees YOU.

I know it’s hard to trust God with your pain. And even harder to trust Him with your children and what they see and experience in the midst of your pain. But God. He is redeeming it ALL! This song was all the proof I needed. May God will use it to encourage you in your own story today.

He sees you, Bravehearted Beauties! And He is making ALL things new!

With so much love and faith,

Linsey signature 100pix

 

 

IMG_2110PINIT IMG_2113PINIT

Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTSubscribe
  • Grandmama - She sings from the Heart and I am so very proud of her~~GMMReplyCancel

  • Beth - Tears in my eyes – so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - Hi Lindsey, Hallie is beautiful and her musical talent is strong. Music is a powerful way to express emotions and send a message. Thank you for sharing! Can I just tell you, your words speak volumes to what I am feeling lately. I am so thankful for your willingness to share your vulnerability openly, as I know first hand, it is not easy. Life has brought difficult times for my own 12 yrs old daughter and family right now. Through all that life has thrown at us, I have come to realize a lot about myself. Instead of living in fear and worry, I am now learning how to trust in God instead. With that said your posts speak deeply to my heart and give me the hope and strength I seek. God is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Wishing we lived closer to sit with a glass of have tea and chat! So sorry to hear about your loss of Boaz ~ receive the hugs I send your way.ReplyCancel

  • Bobbi - So beautiful! Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Becky Mullowney - Amazing song. Great lyrics! She has really grown in her gifts and still so young!ReplyCancel

  • Holly Mathis - wow, i am catching up on your blog and i could have written this about the kids overhearing things and concern about how we are scarring them…i hope they also see restoration and redemption and grace and beauty from these ashes not just sadness and hurt. thank you for being real..i will be honest, your honesty has made me uncomfortable at times but now i can fully appreciate..i love your heart LinsReplyCancel

  • My Two Year Old Son Has Herpes … Sort Of | hello, MAMAS | Herpes Survival Kit - […] They checked him for Hand Foot and Mouth too, and decided it must be the Herpes virus as they'd never seen ulcers like this on a child so young. After the painful fight of administering the $110 numbing gel all over his mouth …They checked him for Hand Foot and Mouth too, and decided it must be the Herpes virus as they'd… […]ReplyCancel

Hello Bravehearted Beauties. I have some sad news: we had to say goodbye to one of our beloved barn kitties on Friday. Sweet Boaz. He added so much love to our farm and family. He was was part of a three kitty rescue operation two summers ago. He was snuggly from day one. A total lover. And when Aslan joined the farm, he and Boaz became best buddies.

IMG_8614PINIT

This time, Boaz can’t play. Aslan says goodbye.

IMG_2213PINIT

We found him under the bushes on Thursday evening and knew he wasn’t well. A very sudden sickness and decline. We wanted to believe in healing and asked God for a miracle. Lord knows we’ve experienced enough heartbreaking loss on the farm. I wanted to see Boaz restored and batting his paws at Aslan’s nose. I wanted to see him curled up with the other two at my back door in the morning. I wanted him to rub up against my leg and purr his little heart out.

IMG_0060PINIT

IMG_6852PINIT

IMG_8849PINIT

IMG_7407PINIT

I’ve never prayed for a cat before. And honestly never imagined I would. Because I wasn’t an animal person. And do you know why? Yes, there was the mess, but there was something even deeper: I didn’t want to risk loving something I could so easily lose. I didn’t want to risk having my heart broken. I didn’t want to give my heart away to someone or something that wouldn’t stay around long. I didn’t want to be vulnerable and broken by love. Remember the C.S. Lewis quote I shared after losing Lavender?

CS Lewis on lovePINIT

On Friday morning, I was vulnerable. I gave Boaz all of my love and prayed for him to be miraculously healed. I felt a little crazy. And hopeful. And strangely okay with putting my hope and heart on the line for a cat. I even dared to ask some friends to join me in praying and believing that God could work a cat miracle that morning.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 5.33.59 PMPINIT

And only an hour after putting my whole heart on the line, Boaz took a turn for the worse. I kept praying. And believing. And secretly wondering what would happen to my heart if he didn’t make it…if God didn’t come through with the miracle I was asking of Him.

But God. He’s always doing more than I can ask or imagine. {Ephesians 3:20} As I drove back to the farm without a healthy, healed kitty, my heart was sad. Because I loved that sweet barn kitty. And that’s when it hit me: maybe the miracle God was doing wasn’t the one I asked for. So I asked God to show me, because with all the asking, I believed a miracle was happening. Here’s what I shared next:

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 5.37.05 PMPINIT

And you know what? I meant it. I’ll take it. I don’t want my old, safe heart back. I like this new and vulnerable heart God has grown in me…even though it hurts sometimes. So yes, I’m brokenhearted over another loss, but I’m thankful for the way God used Boaz to expand my heart’s capacity to love and be loved. It’s a miracle that I rescued, loved and grieved a cat. It’s a miracle that I risked my heart in love and dared to let my heart to be broken.

127PINIT

{So thankful for this photo, Paige!}

And if all of that weren’t miraculous enough, I surrendered to the mess of love a little more when I got home from the vet. I walked out into the pasture and let a shedding, skunk-sprayed Buddy rub all over me. I let him love me…mess and all.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 6.57.32 PMPINIT

A few more favorite Boaz shots:

IMG_4730PINIT

IMG_6788PINIT

IMG_4915PINIT

IMG_4174PINIT

IMG_3103PINIT

IMG_7384PINIT

IMG_2003PINIT

I wish you could peer inside my heart and see how much it’s grown. Because if you could really see that, I think you’d know that a miracle has happened. I wanted God to show off by healing a cat, but the truth is, He’s showing off by healing my heart. 

Thanks to all the beauty and the brokenness, I’ll never be the same. And that, my friends, is why we can embrace the broken places. Because they change us and make room for deeper, more beautiful things than ever existed before.

Believing in the beauty of it all,

Linsey signature 100pix

 

 

Back to TopEMAILPOSTFacebookPOSTSubscribe
  • Suzanne - Linsey- I am so very sorry for your family’s loss of sweet Boaz. Our pets are so precious to us, and I share in your sadness. It is true that to love is to be vulnerable and it is to worth it. We lost our sweet puppy Lucy to cancer this year and she was merely two years old. It is amazing how much joy and love animals can bring to our hearts, and yes they get broken in the process. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable. I will be praying for God’s love to comfort your family during this difficult and sad time. Bless you!ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Thank you, Suzanne. I can tell that you know this kind of vulnerability well having lost a young pup to cancer. I’m so sorry.ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - Oops- It is true that to love is to be vulnerable and it is SO worth it!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Avery - Linsey, I am so very sorry for your loss of sweet Boaz. I want to thank you for sharing this story of how God used one of his beloved creations to help open up your heart further to love. Thank you for being vulnerable and for allowing us to see God’s light and love shine through. You are in my prayers for peace and comfort. I hope you don’t mind if I share this post with others.ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Thank you, Amy. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just share photos and a few words, but it always seems like God has a story…things He wants to speak though whatever is going on at the surface. He’s always up to so much MORE.ReplyCancel

  • Rie - My heart goes out to you. I’ve held so many of my own in my arms as they took their last breath. Irving Townsend wrote: “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle…”.
    And I’d add that we are better for it. Welcome to that circle, Linsey. You belong here.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - And I hope Aslan will be comforted. Beautiful post.ReplyCancel

  • Becky Mullowney - What an awesome post in memory of Boaz and praise to our God for working in His mysterious ways! We found out the hard way a few years ago…the best way to get rid of skunk smell on animals is to bathe them in betadine. Cuts the smell immediately. Thanks for sharing your heart and all of your animals with us!ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - I’ve heard several tricks to get rid of the smell, but they won’t let me come near them with any kind of spray. I know it sounds crazy to those who have indoor dogs (I have one of those, too), but you’re not supposed to bathe this kind of dog. They produce their own natural oils that repel things better than any bath. But the skunk smell stays around for weeks!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - I am so sorry for your loss. I just love all of God’s critters and it is so sad to hear this. This is a beautiful story and pictures too and I thank you for the beautiful message!ReplyCancel

  • Maritza - Wow. This hit me where it needed to. Praise God for experiences of others that encourage and comfort. My sweet kitty Kainah has been missing for 2.5 weeks. I have prayed to God about this, asking for his safe return. But God impressed me that whenever I thought about my cat I should pray for a friend of mine who is lost spiritually, left her family, and using prescription drugs. Let’s just say the past couple of weeks I have prayed a lot more for my friend as I think of Kainah often. Well today I went to prayer meeting and found out that my friend is back home this week!!! This is miraculous as she has been gone for months. Kainah is still not back yet. But got used my lost kitty to prompt me to pray for His lost kitty, my friend. I love how you have so many beautiful pictures of Boaz. Documentation of life through pictures is so important. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Beauty Emerged From Broken » Bravehearted Beauty - […] the same day that I said goodbye to Boaz, I showed up for the school talent show, and this is the song she sang. It was my first time to […]ReplyCancel