Welcome to Homespun Sprout. I’m Lindsay, and I’m happy you’re here!
A little about me…oh boy. Where to begin?
I guess I’ll start by saying that if someone would have told me 15 years ago that I’d be a desert-dwelling, chicken-raising, garden growing, homeschooling, Bible reading, wife and mom of three, I would have laughed ’em out of the room. This is not the picture I had for my life when I set out on the path to adulthood. But let me back up a bit.
I’m an East Coast girl at heart. I was raised in the small town of Wilbraham, Massachusetts – home of Friendly’s Ice Cream, Rice’s Fruit Farm, Bennet’s Turkey Farm, and at that time, approximately three stoplights. My childhood was full of outdoor adventures in the woods, trips to Old Sturbridge Village, days at the beach, and endless opportunities to be creative. I started dancing at the age of three, and doing community theater at fourteen. And that paved the way for most of my adolescent and early adult years.
After I graduated from high school (it was a regional high school…right next to the afore mentioned turkey farm), I packed my Toyota Corolla full of all my worldly belongings and drove to California to join the circus. No not really. I joined an incredible performing arts group called The Young Americans. I toured with them for 2 years before being accepted into the musical theater program at Cal State Fullerton.
A Broadway National Tour and a Stud in a Cowboy Hat
One week before my college graduation, I found out that I had been cast in the Broadway National Tour of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby. I was FLOORED. To have a “real” performing job lined up before I even had my diploma was a total miracle. In fact, I was ready to give up on performing completely at that point. I remember sitting in my car before the audition telling God that I didn’t think I was cut out for performing. The seemingly endless string of auditions was taking it’s toll on me. I asked Him to show me if this was REALLY what I was supposed to be doing…’cause otherwise, this was going to be my last audition. Well, He had other plans. A few weeks later I was signing a contract for the tour as a principal role (one of the Lost Boys) and as the understudies for Peter, Wendy, John Darling, and Jane. Crazy right?
Oh, I also forgot to mention that the day before rehearsals started, my dreamy, cowboy hat-wearing boyfriend proposed (We’d met a year prior…I was singing in a bar on a piano…but that’s another story). He told me he had to make sure I came back…cute, right? So I rehearsed for a couple weeks, packed my bags, and left for a year to hop across the good old USA playing eight shows a week in more states than I can remember. He came to visit when he could, but we spent most of that year apart with me planning a wedding from hotel rooms and dressing rooms across the country, and him moving with his company to where? You guessed it. VEGAS.
The Vegas Years
My contract eventually ended. I was asked to renew and go back out on another leg of the tour, but I declined. It’s not that I didn’t love performing…I really did. But the touring lifestyle was not conducive to being a newlywed. I would have had to go back out on the road a week after our honeymoon. I knew the right decision was to give my marriage priority at that point, even though I disappointed a LOT of people in the process. To this day that was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.
Moving to Vegas was some serious culture shock. I didn’t know a soul aside from my Wyatt. I went to a few auditions to see if I could line up a performing job here. I quickly realized that MOST of the entertainment in Vegas is very different from the classical musical theater background in which I was trained…so I decided I needed a new plan. I got my substitute teaching license and taught in elementary classes for about six months. On a whim, I accepted a long term position teaching ART at one of the local high schools. When I showed up that first day, I almost turned around and went home without even checking in. It was like a scene from the movie Dangerous Minds…no joke. But I mustered up the most courageous four feet and eleven inches I could, and went on in. And you know what? I loved it. I poured my heart into those art classes. And I really connected with some of the kids. I decided during that assignment that I wanted to get my teaching license. So I did. There was an extreme teacher shortage at the time (due to a huge surge in population) so the school district created a fast track credential program. 180 days later, I was handed keys to a middle school English classroom and wished the best of luck. I taught middle school English for three years before I got pregnant with Addison.
The plan was for me to stay home with Addison for one year then return to work. After a couple months, Wyatt changed his mind. He could see the value in having me home. I am SO thankful for that. But I really struggled that first year at trying to find my new identity as a mom. All my life I had been in the spotlight earning accolades for great performances or for a great lesson plans, or whatever else. For the first time, I was doing the hardest job I’d ever done with no one patting me on the back.
Back to My Roots
It was during this time that I began to feel myself really missing the roots I had left behind in Massachusetts. My parents and all of my extended family were still there. That included my grandma who I never really got the chance to know as I became an adult. I found myself somehow channeling the life that my gram once led as I became fascinated with the idea of growing my own food, making things from scratch, and living a homemade, simple life. My gram came from a long line of farmers and homesteaders.
Her parents immigrated from Poland as young adults, and she was a child of the Great Depression. Simplicity and frugality were a part of her very core and she was well educated in many forms of handicrafts that are now considered a dying art (like sewing on a machine, needle point, or crotchet). Something about that appealed to me so much in my first years as a mom that I began learning everything I could about how to live that kind of life with my family.
My Suburban Desert Homestead
So I read and read, I learned and I learned, and I jumped right in and got my hands dirty. Wyatt and I built 6 raised garden beds and began growing as many vegetables as we could from them. We got chickens (and ducks), and I learned to preserve my own food (all with a toddler or two under foot). I began to see that it is possible to live the kind of life my grandma led even in Suburban Las Vegas. It just all depends on what you find important. Our brood has now grown to three children Addison (2009), Doc, (2011), and Henry (2013). Our garden is bigger and better than it’s ever been, we have a new and improved chicken coop (made out of a Little Tike’s playhouse!), we are growing, crafting and creating, and best of all, we are learning new things every single day. My hope is that my family will be an encouragement to anyone who is longing for the simpler, homegrown, handmade life. It IS possible to cultivate it even somewhere as unlikely as the suburban Las Vegas desert. So have a look around, roll up your sleeves, and plant something. You’ll be amazed at what might happen. If you have questions, ask away! email@example.com