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Hello & Happy September!
It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, but been doing some goal setting & planning and thought today was a good day to jump back in.
So, September 14 will mark one year since I left full time employment to focus all my attention & creative energy to building LAR Art Studio. Gosh time moves fast!
This week, I am taking time to reflect on the year & envisioning what crazy beautiful things the next year may hold. I am writing down the things to celebrate, the opportunities for growth, the losses, the gains, dream collaboration projects & my goals for year 2. Through this process I’m realizing that I’ve got so much to be thankful for. I don’t know about your, but when I’m in the grind… going, going, going… I can sometimes miss the undeserved gifts I’ve receive along the way that provide just the fuel needed to fight for my dream another day.
When it’s all said & done, it has been a good first year for LAR Art Studio. I am officially a creative living in Houston, TX. Everyday in some way my work includes photography, painting, mixed media, teaching, writing & speaking.
Studio 12 at Hardy & Nance Streets Studios is where my creativity often blooms. Most days you will find me there sipping on a cup of coffee with music playing as I create work that reflects what life has revealed to me about healing, freedom, and beauty found in everyday experiences. Acrylics, pastels, charcoal, paper, & encaustic wax are my mediums of choice. However, I am constantly learning new techniques to use in my work to tell the stories embedded in my heart.
Life has taught me that we all have creative potential and the need to encounter beauty. As an artist, I believe my call is to create opportunities for people to encounter beauty through the work of my hands & the spaces I cultivate for them to tap into their creativity. This work fuels me and gives me so much life. It is such a delight to create art that draws people into spaces of vulnerability, hope, complexity and freedom.
I am incredibly thankful for the privilege to do this work and for the community partners, supporters, and buyers who help me live this wild and precious life wholeheartedly. I anticipate with great joy what’s yet to come…
Check out LAR Art’s Studio at www.larartphotography.com
It it has been awhile since I’ve written. Lately I have been doing a lot of listening, pondering, seking, grieving & most of all sitting with my anger. However, today on the first day of July, I want to share this hope with you.
Here’s to hoping today is a day we…I…choose to tap into love–
allowing love to empower us to speak words (with our mouths & actions) that don’t kill, terrorize and/or deny the the humanity of another.
Here’s to hoping love will spark our individual & collective imaginations & compel us to do the work of dismantling all systems & walls that privilege one group of people over another/others. systems that rig the game & make it damn near impossible for us all to play– to LIVE, thrive & win.
Here’s to hoping that in the midst of all that pains, angers and grieves me today, that I will never loose my ability to see, name & believe that love is as strong as death & hate.
As a person I follow on Facebook, Ryan A. Hawthorne, wrote this morning, “Love deeply, vulnerably and righteously.” For the sake of our world & yourself. Love well today.
“Trust is a lot easier when you quit worrying about what could go wrong & remember how much you’re going to live no matter what happens.” –StoryPeople
I am not sure if it is a lot easier, but there is something to those words. I have found that remembering the hellish dark times I’ve made it through does give birth to a certain amount of trust, peace & strength in the now.
Yet & still, there is always this lingering presence of doubt & awareness that I am not entitled to a life without pain… my heart can & will break again. Most days the best any of us can do is keep trying… keep fighting to keep some flicker or ray of light in sight.
And most days that is enough.
“The light that’s in your eyes / reminds me of the skies / that shine above us every day-so wrote a contemporary lover, out of God knows what agony, what hope, and what despair. But he saw the light in the eyes, which is the only light there is in the world, and honored it and trusted it; and will always be able to find it; since it is always there, waiting to be found. One discovers the light in darkness, that is what darkness is for; but everything in our lives depends on how we bear the light. It is necessary, while in darkness, to know that there is a light somewhere, to know that in oneself, waiting to be found, there is a light. What the light reveals is danger, and what it demands is faith. ” James Baldwin
The mind that comes to rest is tended
In ways that it cannot intend:
Is borne, preserved and comprehended
By what it cannot comprehend.
Your Sabbath, Lord, this keeps is by
Your will, not ours. And it is fit
Our only choice should be to die
Into that rest, or out of it.
delighting in the gift of another Sunday… the tending, stillness, inspiration and joy
We had such a blast at our first Stamps & Stamps workshop! Soon you will be hearing about our next one. Hoping life will provide an opportunity for us to bring this unique experience to Nashville, New York, Atlanta and other places we love.
In the meantime check out this short video from our last one, I finally figured out how to share it …
“And suddenly you just know…it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
When it is time for a new season, you can just feel it to your core. No matter how hard you try to ignore it or put it on pause, there comes a time when you have to say “yes.” It is the time when the choice of not walking towards the new is more frightening than the choice to take the steps of faith towards your dreams.
That moment happened for me about 2 months ago. It was a moment when I decided it was time to turn my “cant’s into cans, dreams into plans.” The awakening has been happening for a while now, the journey towards “becoming” has be one I am grateful for. There were a few losses and pains I could have definitely done without, but the journey has truly awaken my soul. For that, I am thankful.
Excited, happy, anxious, alive, uncertain and grateful- I step towards this new season in life where I live fully into my life as a creative. As I go, I must say I am thankful I do not have to go it alone. One important part of this transition is partnering with local artists to cultivate spaces for creativity and beauty. Community is a gift.
One of my first collaborations is with my studio mate and friend, Abbie Preston of Boxsparrow Studio. On Saturday, September 27, we are hosting a mixed media workshops, where we will guide participants in creating art using stamps and stencils they create. Both of us utilize stencils and stamps in our creating, and we are looking forward to helping others figure out ways to express themselves using some of the techniques we have learned along the way.
If you are going to be in the area September 27, definitely register to join us.
If you know people in Houston who would find life in this experience, do share. The space is limited, so the sooner you register the better. To register click HERE. A good time should be had by all.
Also, keep me in prayer. First time in my life when I was choosing to step into a season of so many unknowns. I am trusting the One who has been nudging me to start living fully from my core, and I do believe all matters of things shall be well.
I miss you when I am still and the earth is silent,
when my feet are covered by a blanket of wildflowers
and I delight in the view of the birds resting on city wires.
I miss you when the world is screaming and the clock refuses not to keep time,
when I find myself grinding for the future in spaces where we use to dwell
and move here-to-there, arms empty.
I miss you when I sit at a table for four, with only two seats occupied,
and when the music plays and I want us to dance.
I miss you when I sit in my art studio creating,
giving life to breathless things.
I miss you when all my head can hear is your faint cry
as you passed into this world from my womb,
as if you knew.
I miss you when I remember I am a childless mother,
and that no brush stroke from my hand can give
my greatest masterpiece life.
December 4, 2013 I gave birth prematurely to Annee Juredline Rouse Tinsley with my partner for life, Cleve, holding my hand. She lived 2 hours and died resting upon my chest.
A year ago today, love and grace kissed my brokenness through three of the most important people in my life… helping me to pull upon all the courage within me to fight through the shame and guilt to choose life. I will forever be grateful for their love and the opportunity to co-create a life that I will forever love. I am thankful. I am deeply sad. I am free.
Had my pregnancy with A.J. been full term, it is likely I would have had her by now or anxiously be awaiting her arrival with family & friends.
April 6 was the due date given to us by our doctor. I know had I carried her full term she most likely would not have been born today, but April 6 was the date we were told, the date we as new expecting parents were hoping for… praying for… were preparing our lives for.
But… Life would write another story for us, and today Cleve & I find ourselves living into this new storyline the best way we know how. Day by day… hour by hour… and sometimes minute by minute. As we journey through the grief and disappointment, each day brings its own joys, revelations, trials, triggers, questions, hopes and challenges.
Today has not been any different really, though it did start off in a unique way. I took a “mental health” day from work, to create space for me to be fully present to my heart, as well as get some rest. I needed alone time, quiet time.
To be honest, I also really needed to be in spaces and places where I had a very slim chance of encountering questions like I got just last week about the health and well being of the baby. Not everyone knows the story, how could they? I get it, understand and truly appreciate the love… I just knew having to tell someone that A. J. was born prematurely and died would have just been too much for me today.
On Friday I decided that a great way to enter into this day would be watching the sunrise at the beach. So, I woke up early this morning before daybreak and drove in the dark to Galveston to be by the water as the daylight approached, iphone/camera in hand.
Here are a few of the photographs created as I received time alone with God and the memory of a life that has forever changed mine for the better.
you call me out upon the waters
the great unknown where feet may fail
and there I find You in the mystery
in oceans deep my faith still stands (Oceans)… and that too is mystery to me
it didn’t hurt to see her. I must confess I thought it would, but it didn’t.
when kate, who is less than 1 month away from giving birth walked into Blacksmith Coffee, I exhaled the anxiety and inhaled gratitude that the flood gates did not break. I saw her unexpectedly exactly a week before coming out of a bookstore across the street as I sat at the Blacksmith Coffee bar with another dear friend, and it hurt. hit me fast and hard that day. right there in that coffee shop an emotional land mine went off. thankfully that time Cleve was only a couple of bar stools away. it is always easier to make it through the explosions when he is near. this time, however, he was not and I was going to have to receive these moments on my own.
good news though… no explosion.
God knows, I did not want to cry up in that coffee shop again. I had, with some doubt, sent out two S.O.S. prayer requests before entering into the space. I was determined not to privilege that space with my tears again… I did not want to appear weak or out of control. strange the responsibility I often feel these days to sound or act as though I am ok or not often overcome with sorrow.
but that day, I was ok. I even found myself a bit giddy when she came close, reaching for her oval belly almost forgetting how invasive the act of robbing a woman’s stomach without invitation can be.
dang… I almost forgot.
it was all good though, and for that I am relieved. Kate is super cool and I really needed time with her wise beautiful soul. she is one of the women whose bullshit radar is just as keen as my own, so our time was filled with moments of transparency and truth. I crave that.
to be honest, I have never been good with small talk. Lately though, even 2-minutes of small talk drains me and if it goes on too long I find myself getting angry or at best frustrated.
but no small talk at Blacksmith that afternoon. we talked about normal things… health, pregnancy, work, routines, dreams, longings, house renovations, college plans, our loves and weight.
oh yes, the weight…
I told her about an encounter with someone at work the week before. I had walked into the work and was greeted by a staff member with lots of love, “Hello! How are you? When is the baby due?”
she had not gotten the memo.
shit, I thought in my head, but out of my mouth came “Oh, I loss the baby on December 4. She was born and died shortly after. So, no future due date.”
I could see the compassion in her eyes, regret and loads of discomfort. I was able to filter through my hurt quickly to recognize she meant love. I was not surprised by the quick sting that came with the reminder that I once moved around the halls of the BOL bearing a life within me. that sting has become normal, though not any less painful.
but I was surprised by the embarrassment and discomfort that hit me at the thought that I must still look like a person who could be pregnant. yet another battle I need to conquer for more reasons than vanity and health.
anyway… I told Kate about that encounter and jokingly she suggested I might want to carry a placard around with me that states:
“Before you speak, I am not pregnant anymore and here are all the things I have learned are not really helpful or encouraging to me…”
I had been thinking about the need for a placard, a sign on my forehead or something letting people know “Take Caution, please!.” I have actually been keeping a journal list of things that, though the motivation is good, are just not that helpful. Here are a couple, in no particular order and no commentary:
Oh, so sorry to hear that. Well, at least you still have your husband.
God was just needed her to be home with Him.
Sorry to hear about your baby. But hey, make another one. Try again.
When is the baby due?
Don’t cry, God has a plan.
the list goes on and on. just yesterday I added a comment.
death and loss is just one of those realities of life where our words will for the most part fall short. I have accepted that and it helps me listen with grace and most time gratitude. I get it, but it still doesn’t make the comments sting, piss me off or even hurt sometimes. each one takes my mind down a rabbit hole, only to get back to it is the fact it is all apart of getting through.
one thing my time received with Kate made evident, is that I am indeed getting through. our coffee time was a gift and one more step on this life-long journey. I look forward to more time with her and their little one due to enter the world next month. I am thankful for that. I am also extremely thankful that when I saw her walk through the door Monday, it didn’t hurt.