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24 May 2024

Summer Forest Paintings | Part 2

blog post by Lindsay Sherbondy

We purchased a hot tub a few years ago, with the intention of putting Eva in it, to help her tight muscles. That hasn't actually been something that's worked in more than just theory for many reasons, and so in the meantime it's been a toy for Phoenix. However, something stirred in me over this past winter... Midwest winters can be brutal, and I struggle with being an indoorsy outdoorsy person... meaning, I love the comforts of inside but I want to be outside enjoying them. I do not want to put on 1,000 layers of clothes and go for a winter hike, but I DO want to escape the demands of inside my home... to sit outside my home in hot water while watching the snow fall or the sun shine through the trees. And so I did. For sometimes as little as 10 minutes, I'd try to get in my hot tub a few times a week. With a job and a life that both happen mostly all at my house, I can go a little nuts if I don't leave my home every once and awhile, but it's not always practical to do so, so the hot tub became what felt like my safe little enclosure, like I'm an animal at the zoo. Nothing could get me there, or need me there, or hurt me there, or demand anything from me there. It was just quiet. Blissfully quiet.

One of the things I love to do from this spot is to stare out at the row of tress along the green space we have next to our house. Again like with the antiquing I mentioned in my last post, I'll be looking so intently sometimes that I have to shake my head and wonder what I'm looking for. But what I've realized is that this is where I look for Jesus. And after months of gazing out there, without so much as a single inkling of His presence, I finally heard something. A question. I felt I heard Jesus ask me:

"It isn't all I am, but even if it was, would my company be enough?"


After Eva's accident, we were faced with decisions right away, and they kept coming. The first decisions were, do we keep going? Do we keep fighting for her life, when the scans and tests and everything she was showing us indicated eventual brain death, or super severe brain damage, which would change her forever. There are lots of things I can point to in this journey and say "I didn't know how hard this would be!", but as for where we're at on a surface level, that's actually not true. One of Eva's doctors – her surgeon... an incredible man, one of the smartest people ever  – so humble and kind and experienced – sat us down in the corner of Eva's hospital room and told us exactly what we could expect on this journey from a 10,000 foot view. (This is after us begging him for any sort of wisdom he had to offer). At this point, they had already told us that Eva would never be the same... that she'd probably never speak, not be able to see, not know who we are, not be able to move (or if anything, maybe just her right arm). But we weren't asking for clarification in her diagnosis. What we were doing with pleading eyes is asking our trusted doctor, and now friend, what the right thing to do was. Keep going? Let her go? He shared with us in his experience what he sees happen in families after occurances like Eva's accident... I just didn't want to believe him.

From decades of experience in these circumstances, this is a paraphrase of what he shared...

If she lives, the rest of our lives with her will be incredibly difficult. He said that it's very common for marriages of medically complex kids to end in divorce – the stress and the caretaking and the grief become too much, end exposes every growth edge. He shared that this will be a very long road... countless procedures, surgeries, hospital stays. He said often times, at least one parent looses their job. It's just too hard to keep it in the midst of it all. And then the financial impact of that, plus the lack of support and resources. He said that having a child survive with the severity of of Eva's traumatic brain injury has a major impact on the other children in the home, and it's a lot to ask of them. They inevitably come second, because they aren't emergent. This doctor said this all with great empathy, and I will be forever grateful that he shared this with us. Because now that we are there, I can say that we were told. And I don't know that it would have mattered, because we believe it's God whose chose this path for Eva, and not us. But I can say that it makes me feel less alone to think we're not doing it wrong, this is just really, really hard. We've watched Eva cry incessantly, get one tube after another in her abdomen and chest, countless surgeries and pokes and x-rays and procedures and medications and it's just to much for any child. There are hospitals full of brave warriors (with brave nurses) everywhere, and it's unreconcilable what these kids have to go through. It would wreck anyone... how could it not? 

After hearing his sobering prognosis of our future with her, after he left the room and we sat in quiet devastation for a few minutes, I had this thought: but you don't know me. You don't know us. If you knew me, and knew what an incredibly hard worker I am... how dedicated and persistent and how I don't take no for an answer... if you knew how huge my love is for her, and for Phoenix... if you knew how I can do hard things, I'm up for the challenge, I'm ready!.. you don't know my community, our support... and you don't know about our relationship with Jesus. With God. The ultimate sustainer, healer, redeemer. I (arrogantly) thought okay, you're basing this off of other people, but we are different. (I'll add here that I was terrified of gaining any knowledge of the disabled community and their caretakers before Eva's accident. I couldn't stand to think of anything heartbreaking, period. BUT IF I HAD, what I would have known is, Dugan and I are not the exception here. This is how this community is built – resilient, loving, hard working, not taking no for an answer, dedicated, determined, strong-willed, fierce advocates. It's also a community full of many people of faith).

What I didn't know at that time was that our doctor wasn't saying this is what happens in the absence of the internal fortitude I knew we posessed, this doctor WAS considering these assets of a community he knew deeply. He was saying that this all what happens ANYWAY. Anyway. He looked at us a few days in to this nightmare and was actually very accurately accessing us based on all of his experience with people in our very same position. And that didn't change the prognosis. All it did, I think, was change the fact that he was kind enough to share it with us, because he trusted us with the hard truth, and with being able to proceed with that information as a piece of a puzzle we were frantically trying to solve.

Fast forward to four years and 8-ish months since Eva's accident, and on this particular spring day, I new I needed to retreat to my safe enclosure of the hot tub, because I. WAS. PISSED. And Heartbroken. Heartbroken because, honestly, Eva's dear surgeon was right. Here we were, right on track. Limping along on the very path he'd allowed us to peek into before it was our reality. 

I think it's important to respond to a question here that someone without a similar experience might ask – isn't life with Eva worth it? Absolutely!!! But the element that makes this a far more complex question than "isn't she worth it," is, "is the quality of the life she has on this side of her accident, and all the ensuing complexities, worth the cost?" And that, my friends, is a question that plagues us nearly every day. It's a weird part of the human experience, and even weirder that sometimes we are able to make decisions based on quality of life, and sometimes we are not. And then comes the question of, who or whom gets to decide what "quality" is? It's a lot to process. I don't know the answers, honestly. But of course she's worth it. Times one billion. For me (and my disproportionate desire for happiness and joy, I would literally do anything to make my children happy. The tension is, though, as all caregivers know... we could give everything in the world and that still can't make our kids happy. I can't make Eva happy. I can help, and I can try, and I can love her so deeply, unconditionally, completely. But that can't make her feel better... can't make her body work or stop hurting, can't make her head feel good, can't make her seizures stop or her body be calm. And so that's what's hard. She can find joy in this world, but this world and what it has to offer isn't good enough for her. It's just not. She was made for heaven... we all are. The difference is just that some of have an enjoyable enough existence to temporarily forget.

I'd been trying to desperately to keep every plate spinning in the air that the surgeon said would drop. And they were all flying around on their swirling sticks, all drunken and out of control, ready to spin completely off and go flying somewhere. I was so sweaty and exhausted form spinning them, (trying to control them), my only hope at this time was that they just didn't all fly off at once, creating more shrapnel of their own. I was so mad. I starred at those woods like they were a human person looking back at me in the face and I said, GOD, YOU... (I won't talk in all caps but I said it mean, okay?) God, YOU me feel so foolish! I thought we were different! I thought if that because of our faith in You and love for You and trust in You, we would have a different outcome. But here we are. We are on the exact same freaking path that Eva's kind surgeon told me we would be on five years ago. We are on that path, walking head first into loosing everything. And Jesus, what did You do?? Where are You? And here's the worst thing I wondered out loud to the forest:

What the heck is the point of following Jesus if it all goes down the same way as if we didn't? Essentially, what difference did You make?


What happened next, what I felt in my heart, is all hard to explain. It feels like it all kind of got laid out for me at once, as something I felt and understood more than an actual dialogue, but I'll do my best to share what became clear to me in the following moments – the thoughts I believe God impressed on my heart, the questions I was asked, and the conclusions I've come to.

"What were you expecting of me?" is kind of what I heard Jesus ask me. And I didn't know the answer... or, I did? Um... well for starters, I was expecting You'd heal her. And if You didn't do that, I expected, um... You'd make the rest of it less painful for all of us, I guess?

And then I received a picture of being on a walk through the woods with Jesus, and I wondered how that would go. I thought about what I knew about His time with the disciples... traveling, fishing, resting, dining... I thought about how calm Jesus seemed to be (mostly)... patient, almost unbothered. Of course, not every earthly experience Jesus had was documented, and yes, I remember the flipped tables. But mostly, I started wondering how my expectations of Jesus in the midst of our crises reflected how the gospels actually documented him acting around his most beloved friends. So I started picturing Jesus and I on a literal walk through dense woods... what would I expect of Him? My answers to myself were weird and inconsistent... would I expect that I wouldn't get a single scratch in the brush? No. Would I expect Him to jump in front of me if a Black Bear started charging at us? Yes. 100% yes. Especially if this is the second bear encounter. I'd let one bear encounter pass, but for sure not two. Would He have stopped it though? If we got lost, would I expect Him to have prevented that? I.. I don't think so? If we came to a fork in a path, would I expect Him to lead me, or would we both look at each other and shrug? I mean, did He and the disciples never get lost? Did He show them every right way? Did they ever get sick? Hurt? Betrayed?

I started to think that I had made up some sort of weird algorithm of Modern Jesus Math that wasn't actually Biblical at all. It turns out, I expect Him to allow me some hurt. But not immense, gruesome hurt. Not copious experiences of hurt. That kind of hurt I would expect Him to stop, obviously. And then I feebly chuckled, because nothing I've ever actually read about this walk with the Lord should have set me up with those types of expectations. Jesus is the King of the Underdogs. The Leader of the Lost. People don't need a Way Maker if they are living the actual dream. What makes it hard, of course, is to compare our journey with the people around us that have easier paths. But the fact remains, the stories I've heard of Jesus aren't who I want Him to be in my life right now – which is like a Holy Harry Potter, swooping people [us] away from every sad/hurtful/traumatic/etc. thing with the flick of His all-powerful wand. I actually don't see Jesus living that way at all.

(I *will* have some questions when I get to Heaven about why the writers of the gospels didn't feel like including more occurrences where Jesus said "no, I will not heal you even though you've committed your life to me and are so incredibly amazing!!!!"... but maybe when I get there, I probably won't care about the answer. I can also see how it's appealing to people to pray to His mother Mary, because she got Him to perform a miracle even when He wasn't ready, so I've tapped her a few times to be like "could you please put in a good word?..." Anyway...).

I pictured that it started raining on our walk. What would Jesus do? Chill vibes. Storming? Well, we know He sleeps through storms so that wasn't super helpful. In this daydream vision, He didn't actually DO anything but walk with me. Next to me actually. But, I did imagine us making a fire. I imagined us laughing sometimes. I imagined us embracing when we got to the clearing, and delighting that we got through that together.

Then I pictured the same walk without Him with me. I turns out, it felt different in that I didn't carry this same pleading feeling of like "could you please do something about this?!", and that was kind of nice. BUT, I did feel scared. I felt very alone. The darkness felt darker. And I didn't like it.

So then, the question:

"It isn't all I am, but even if it was, would my company be enough?"

Truthfully, I want more. I want Him to fix it. I want Him to do something. And this is where the "It isn't all I am" is important... because what any Christ-follower knows is that HE IS ALWAYS WORKING. Even when we can't see it. Even when we don't understand. And so what I think Jesus did for me in this question is to say, okay, look, you will literally never understand on this side of Heaven. What I'm doing is both too hard for you and too big for you to wrap your beautiful human-sized brain around. And, what could I tell you that would make watching your daughter... and your family... suffer, that would be worth it? Nothing. Nothing you can grasp here, anyway. And you've spent the last handful of years looking for answers that can only come in a language you don't speak. Lindsay, you cannot even comprehend what I am doing. 

BUT.

I will be with you. Undisputed. No caveats. All the time. I will be with you, and you don't have to do it alone. And is knowing that enough for you to decide to do it with Me? Even if nothing you experience is different?

And the answer is yes. To whom else would I go. (John 6:68-69). 

Yes, I want to walk through the woods with Him. Even if, to my naked eye, He changed nothing along the way. As heartbreaking and painful as that is. Which, it really, really is. And the worst is that, barring a miracle, this will get worse. But what's the alternative? Go with no one? The alternative is to go alone? No. 100% no.

I'm going to cling to this picture of walking through the woods with Jesus, and I offer it to you as well. A reminder of feeling the comfort of His company if nothing else. And believing that while He might not be actively doing the thing, He's actively, patiently, quietly, mightily working on every thing.
23 May 2024

Summer Forest Paintings | Part 1

blog post by Lindsay Sherbondy

I'd like to tell you about two new paintings I've created, but I think in order to do so, I'll need to tell you a little bit about how I'm feeling about my life these days. I want to say that I'm going to just say how I feel, without making it pretty, without caveats. I'm not an expert in grief or raising a child with disabilities. I'm not a counselor or pastor. I'm just going to share my unfiltered thoughts as an offering of one person's experience into a vast pool of experiences making up the human experience. Usually, I like to wrap things up with a bow, but for now, this story is an unraveled silk ribbon, waiting on God, waiting to see what He decides to craft with it. 

The good news:
Phoenix is incredible!! He's adorable and creative and funny and perceptive. Gah, he's just amazing. He's my little Harry Styles and loves playdates and the pool and making TikTok videos on my Lindsay Letters account. (Ha!) He took this photo of himself – a photographer/videographer in the making.

phoenix with a daisy

Eva experiences joy almost every day – she understands humor, she gives big smiles, she loves her people, and facials, going for walks, and reading with D & Savta. She loves hearing how you all love her.


We have a beautiful home that addresses every need of Eva's and ours.  We have incredible friends and family. 


We laugh every day. There are moments of beauty and delight and goodness and God's grace peppered throughout our life and those are the mana that sustain us. Amen.


And also, this is really freaking hard.

Then again, it's been "hard" since I became a married adult, and it's been "really hard" since Eva's accident in August of 2019, so it seems like I might need to come up with more descriptive adjectives than just "really" and "hard," because while this season is really hard, it's been differently hard. Maybe that counts for something? 

I think if I could summarize, the things that makes this post-traumatic-event life so hard are the following:

1. We're in a state of active grief.
Most often when I had thought of grief, I thought of the absence of something. Death is so final. Divorce is so final. Loss is so final. And then what we experience is the void where something was. I think that one of the beautiful things about participating in a process of grieving is when you experience moments of this great void, you use that time in the void to feel the things – to walk through the stages of grief (albeit out of order) and figure out who you are on this side of it. You welcome the grief as love for the lost, and learn to live life with it as a sub-par replacement for what once was. (And, if it's the loss of a person, someone you will see again in heaven). In my other experiences with grief, I remember feeling that the void was so vast that I couldn't believe how empty it felt without the thing that was missing... without my grandpa or grandma, without living in the same house as my dad, with the death of someone I'd been praying for a miracle for. And in those moments, it felt comforting to sit in the grief and almost welcome it as the thing that fills in that big empty space.

But with Eva, there is no void. It's deep grief, but with no time and space to grieve. Our lives are packed. There's the absence of who she was and the hopes and dreams we had for her, but also, she's still very much here. And thus we have, like, a SHIT TON of stuff to do. We are Eva's full time caretakers and parents, and it's a lot of work. A lot. She has a super high level of disability, but is also extremely medically complex. I'm exhausted to the bone and have been in survival mode for so long that I don't know who I am not in a state of hyper-vigilance and tasks and lists and calls and appointments and medicine measuring and alarms beeping. It's like the feeling of being a new mom, kind of. You're immersed in breastmilk or formula and diapers and snuggles and crying and sleepless nights and evaluating and the uncertainty of each day... it's like that, but with no promise of it ever ending. Or being different. It's like that, plus, knowing that at any moment, any day, we could loose her. She's mostly really strong and doing well, but we know full well she can turn on a dime, and the veil between earth and heaven for her is so transparent, the only thing that reminds me it's there sometimes is the feeling of fear that's a constant pain in my gut. She's amazing, she's a miracle, and this is really freaking hard. They can all be true at the same time, and they are.

2. The shrapnel,
as I like to call it. I think anyone who's experienced any devastating life event will understand me when I say that one of my biggest issues with God is like, okay, I understand that Eva's accident had to happen. (Too much to get into now, but that's how I feel). BUT, there's all these things that have happened in the wake of the bomb that went off that feel SO EXTRA UNFAIR. For example, but not limited to... this has been super hard on my marriage. Dugan and I at our best are the funnest, most creative, entertaining sitcom of a situation (if I do say so myself). At our worst, we are oil and water. To do this together has been incredibly trying. Iron sharpens iron, but in stress and sadness, we're two limestone rocks, mostly sanding each other down. I believe in us, and our commitment, but I share that to say that if trauma or some crazy life event has made things challenging with you and your parter, hear me say: You are not alone.

This post-accident life has difficult for Phoenix. He's overall doing great and we are being really intentional about helping him process (ambulances showing up, alarms going off, the uncertainty of our rhythms, and who Eva is now versus the big sister that snuggled and smooshed him 24/7), but in the same way that this will shape him into a caring and compassionate person, he also struggles with things as a result of Eva's accident that break my heart and feel so unfair for him. And there's the financial stress. The tension of having extra needs that cost extra money, but limited time to make the extra money to support the needs is tough. Since August 2019, we have spent well over 400 days in the hospital with Eva. To weave in and out of engagement with Lindsay Letters has been extremely challenging, but at the same time, this business is how I support us. No parent should have to work while holding a surgery room pager... to have to take a zoom call while their child is getting a central line placed... but so many caregivers do. So many. We are not alone, and I'm actually just so grateful that D and I have had jobs that have allowed this kind of uncertainty. Most caregivers don't have this priveledge, and it's heartbreaking. 

Anyway, all of those elements combine to make a cement mixture so heavy and thick, it's hard to not want to escape it somehow, because it feels too impossible to hold this long. Sometimes it feels like we're standing in quicksand, watching the world breeze by on trendy electric bikes.

3. YOLO.
Imagine you were told you only have a short time to live. You didn't know how long, but it was shorter than you'd like. What would you want to do with the time you have? I have a dear friend who was told this recently, and she struggles with wanting to make memories, but not always feeling well enough to do so. I can relate to this, completely. On top of the active grief and shrapnel, I also feel this insatiable gratitude that WE STILL HAVE HER! Eva lived! We are still a family of four and Phoenix loves us and Eva experiences joy and I want to do things and have fun and soak up every minute of this life while we still have her here... before the next shoe drops, before the next admission, before the next illness... before we loose her. So if you can imagine, it's really hard to be like:

"I'm stressed - sad! - worried - grieving - mad!... AhhhhHH!.... does Eva have a cold? An infection? Is she in pain?! 
.... Anyone want to take a trip to the zoo?"

The tension is real. Maybe you've been there before. Maybe you're there now. I see you, and you are not alone. 

4. Life still goes on, good or bad.
Phoenix fell and fractured his elbow (normal kid stuff, but still!), my mom (who is blind) was recently diagnosed with blood cancer, and some very dear friends have gone through some very devastating things in this past month. "They're dropping like flies!" is something I've said more this month than "Amen." Whoever said that misery loves company was very wrong. Misery wants their loved ones to not be breaking, too. Misery wants less misery. Misery wants FUN! And pretty things! And SOUP! HOT SOUP! (Or maybe that's just me). And of course all the other "regular life" stuff... (Happy Maycember, by the way, to all the moms out there who observe).

So that's where I'm at. Some days, I try to remember who I am. Some days, I spend every small moment I have to myself trying to reconcile what I've lost.

Sometimes it's between dusty treasures in quiet antique malls. At times, I'll find I'm almost feverishly looking for something that I will stop and say to myself "what are you looking for?" 

And the truth is, I'm looking for her, that little carefree girl. Some time capsule back to Eva's wild love and magnetic levity. Her memory lingers like a ghost at my favorite antiques place and I think part of me feels like she'll come bounding around the corner in a silly hat again, and embrace me, and we can just forget all of this and move on to the wild and audacious life of physical and mental freedom like she deserved.


(ceramic cat, for all those wondering).

I look for myself at my favorite Yin class. Who was I? Who am I? What's this body I'm in? Is this the body that almost died from septic shock? The body that betrayed me? Is this the body that ran a marathon and had two babies and is also a miracle? Is it all of those things? How can I make peace with it? I've been working hard to not feel inconvenienced by having a body, but grateful. It's a journey.

And I try to find Jesus from my hot tub. Looking across the clearing at the row of trees, I ask Him where the hell He is. I tell Him he's running out of time. We're going down in slow, steady flames over here... and He's up. Like, literally.

 
And in that row of trees is where I found Him, I think. And that's what I'd love to tell you about tomorrow...

 Read Part Two

26 Jun 2023

Summer Neutrals

blog post by Lindsay Sherbondy

Sparkling Sand
I was in the pool with Eva recently and I had this sudden thought: "Winter will come again."
.
Not just "winter," the season of cold, but winter as in the season of hard stuff.
I know, that's not really the kind of revelation people want to hear. At least I didn't, ever, before Eva's accident when I couldn't stand to think of anything remotely sad or unsettling. But now, on this side of tragedy, I can't escape the reality of both the highs and lows of life, even if I wanted to. 

Until winter entered my mind, I had been thinking about how I should be working. Dugan had recently gotten home from work, Phoenix was with his grandma, and Eva and I had been in the pool together for quite awhile already. My to-do list started creeping into focus, but I couldn't bring myself to get out of the pool. Eva was floating with me so peacefully, her head in my hands, eyes closed and smiling with delight every once and awhile. The birds were chirping, and there was the perfect mix of sun and shade from puffy clouds. I was looking around for a nearby towel to reluctantly start our exit from the pool, and that's the moment the thought came to me: Winter will come again.

Eva had just gone to the emergency room the previous night for an unexpected medication need (everything is fine now), and it was a reminder that the line between life in the hospital and life out of the hospital is fine and can change in a moment. But for now, we are here. HOME. Our new home. For now, she is healthy, and we are all healthy, and we are together. In this place we've been trying to get to for three years. We are here, and we are together, and we are healthy, and she is happily floating.

So, I decided to stay put. To soak it up. To spend an unnecessarily long time in the pool on a random Wednesday afternoon when I should have been painting and brainstorming for a holiday marketing meeting. Instead, I asked Siri to play Bob Marley, and I just stayed there. Winter will surely come again, this I know. But that day isn't today. Today, in this moment, it's Summer. Praise God.

Sometimes, I think art can serve as a beautiful distraction. Sometimes, it can provide meditative moments of delight. And sometimes, it really just needs to serve as the backdrop to your life. Kind of like music. Sometimes, music sets the tone. Other times, music needs to just be this thing in the background that compliments all that's already happening around it. This is what the Summer Neutrals collection is – a visual soundtrack to Summer.

After being in the fine art business for twelve years, I know the summer months aren't prime art buying time. You're outside! You're busy! It's not exactly cozy-in-and-start-nesting season. However, it is a wonderful season to entertain... even if it's just your family in the breakfast nook for berries and cream and sweet tea. And while you're in your home, even if it's in between cookouts and pool parties, a lovely and neutral canvas can help to create the breezy summer vibe that makes this season so great. 

These neutral paintings don't expire. They work all year long. But they will set a lovely backdrop for putting on sunscreen, staying cool on the couch, or gathering s'mores supplies before the firepit. Calm Confetti is my personal favorite, and Silver Beauty will surprise you. (Especially big, so you see all that good texture.) Alabaster Flag feels vintagey and like a fun way to be festive without needing to make everything red, white and blue. 
I hope you take time this summer to really soak it in. We'd be honored to be a fly on the wall (or a canvas in your kitchen) while you do.
.
xo, lindsay

the summer neutrals

p.s. If you find yourself in Winter, even right this minute, let me say that I understand. Not your exact circumstance, but I understand how it feels to be aching and sad when the rest of the world seems to be going on around you. I am so sorry for your pain. It won't be like this forever, I can promise you that. Even if it feels that way. Winter always feels like forever, and then Summer always comes.
22 May 2023

On Selling the Girls House

blog post by Lindsay Sherbondy

Lindsay int he Living Room

I distinctly remember the day I discovered the house that would come to be called the Girls House.

I called my good friend and realtor Ashley Jacobs about the house as I followed Eva in an ambulance to the ER. At the time (Spring 2020), Eva was making frequent trips to the ER for diminished respiratory status, and so it felt oddly normal to be making this kind of call at that kind of moment.

I had seen the little 100 year-old craftsman style house as a coming-soon listing, and knew in my heart it was the place for LL. I cannot believe God's timing and provision in this! I had built a business where traveling for shoots was part of the gig. Laura and I had done it for about a decade. Most shoots were at her home, or an AirBnb, or in borrowed friends' homes. I'd also done most of my work at coffee shops and cafes. But as Covid was hitting the country, that possibly narrowed quicker than anyone expected, and we needed to pivot.

We got the house.

And then kind of all at once, but also slowly over time, my team and I made it beautifully ours. It became a co-working space and our primary photoshoot location, but for me it was also a beautiful respite in the middle of deep personal despair. 

And we worked her HARD. How many shoots did we pack into that little house? Tons! We created a prop room, a white box studio, bedroom scenes, a painting studio, storage...

Girls House Collage

We had sales, had deep and good and hard conversations and tears, we had LOTS of dip, and we took thousands of photos. It was a haven for me, and served LL and the team incredibly well. I have a deep gratitude for this space. It feels like how you feel about a friend, and not a piece of property. 

A good friendBut as with many things in life, it's time to move on to the next chapter. As Eva's days change from long hospital stays to time mostly at home but with lots of incidentals (therapies! appointments! school!) mixed with Phoenix's little blossoming life and Dugan's commitments and ministry at church, I'm feeling really called to work from home again. It's something I've never ever been good at. But we built our new home with this in mind, and I'm excited to press in to this season. The Girls House has never been accessible, which becomes more of an issue the more I'd like the freedom to have her with me while I work. And as the country opens up, and as we simplify at LL a bit, it feels totally right that it's time for the Girls House to have a new chapter, too. 

Does it feel too soon to sell the girls house? No. Essentially, I'm just trying to do the best I can, and say yes to how I feel God leading me, and I know this is it. And that feels really, really freeing and settling. Creating spaces as part of my art and business will always be something I love doing, so I'm trusting God has more in store for me there. I only feel gratitude for the time I had with this space, for the levity and beauty it provided, and for being able to find those things now in my own home. My cup runneth over. 

I'll tell you, even before Ashley facilitated the sale of the Girls House to me, I knew it would someday be hers. She's an incredible business woman, and had awesome ideas for all the additional potential for the Girls House from day one. I could never execute making that adorable house a place for us to work in and also for other people to get to come in and experience, but Ashley can and she will! And this feels like what the house is craving and deserving of! She's ready for people (not just my team and friends) to be able to come in and enjoy her! 

We've had an annual Girls House sale the last couple years, and we're doing that again this year, but it will also be like a moving out sale. There's like, a LOT of good stuff, and if you love Lindsay Letters art and vintage shopping it will feel like the estate sale of your dreams. It's on Friday, May 26, and you can read all the details here. Ashley's team will be there as well, selling decor and furniture. It's going to be a party, really!

And if you think you may like to stay at the Girls House (soon to be called The Gathering Place), follow @ashleyjacobsred and watch the journey unfold as it becomes an AirBnb and event rental!

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for being the best, most supportive, wonderful people on the internet. For cheering me and my people on at every turn. So excited about this new chapter and all that's in store!

xo, lindsay 

Moving Sale

19 Feb 2023

This is one compliment we don't like seeing...

blog post by Joy Neal

Quietude

Whenever we release a collection of art (which is about four times a year, with mini drops in between), there are two comments we often see from people who love the new art but are probably not going to select anything for themselves.

One is: "I need more walls!"

We love this comment.

We want you to enjoy your LL art for years or even a lifetime, and however (in)frequently you want to change your walls for a fresh view is a personal preference. So if you are not in the market for art because your walls are filled with pieces that delight you, please: experience a new collection like a stroll through a cool art gallery where you have a complimentary membership. (Maybe grab a cute shirt or yummy candle from the gift shop.)

The other comment along these lines sounds similar but says something totally different. 

"There are too many beautiful options. I can never decide!"

This is a very kind compliment, and we take it as one. But the idea of not choosing art because you're overwhelmed with beautiful options honestly hurts our hearts a little. Lindsay loves adding new art to the shop and offering lots of customizations so that you can find something that feels really personal to you and your home... not to create option paralysis!

An empty feature wall only says "I've got all of my options open" for so long before it starts saying other things.

Things like...

"I'm a missed opportunity for beauty in your life."

Or, "You've waited so long... why even bother?"

Or even, "Art isn't for you. It's for some future version of you that's more put together."

(You might try walking around your home and asking what each of your walls are currently communicating, and what you would like them to communicate in that particular room.)

Indecision is usually fueled by perfectionism, FOMO, or a lack of trust in ourselves or a process. A way around those mental hurdles when selecting art is to see our homes as an evolving story, not a destination. You'll never regret any iteration of your walls if you're treating them as what they are: opportunities for beauty, joy, inspiration, and self-expression... in exactly this season.

Art makes a difference. A bigger one than you realize until you make a choice, hang it on your wall, see how it changes the whole vibe of your space, and listen to it speak beauty and truth to you every day.

You are worthy of meaningful art. This very version of you, in this very version of your home.

Here to help every step of the way,

Joy & The LL Team

P.S. No but really, how can we help? Email us at hello@lindsayletters.co, or sign up to get texts from us and then text us back. We love looking at photos of your space and offering our suggestions!

P.P.S. Ready to fill that blank space, baby? Check out Lindsay's new collection of timeless pieces that incorporate beautifully into any space!