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a glimpse of the piece “Fully Alive,” I recently created on a 24″x36″ canvas.

my heart is full after the past few weeks. so much goodness. to marry my best friend in a place my heart loves was one of the best experiences of my life.

settling back into routine and figuring out next steps without being totally overcome by fear has been a bit challenging for me at times. there is such a thin line between being paralyzed or being motivated by my fears. now that I am living life as a professional creative/artist solely, I find myself walking that line for a period of time each day.

yesterday was my first full day back in the studio. decided to get to work on some large abstract canvas paintings I have been adding layers to for a couple of months.  it was good.  it was exactly where I needed to be.

earlier last week I attended a panel conversation at the Menil, “The Influence of Gandhi & Dr. King on Hip Hop,” and a number of the ideas spoken stirred me to think more deeply about the work I do, as well as the life in which I live.  the work I am creating now is my continuation of that conversation and the truths revealed regarding the complexity and beauty of the human experience.  last night I finished one of the pieces.

each stroke on the canvas was a sentence about vulnerability, fear, need for communion & hope, each layer a chapter on the goodness & messiness of the soul fully alive.

today, I sabbath.

I remain still so I can know and listen for direction.  I trust that no matter what is done today or left undone today, I am enough.

as for tomorrow though… I look forward to time with paint & canvas and returning to the grind necessary to turn my dreams into plans.

tomorrow I will…

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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.

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Female beauty is not a zero-sum game, a scarce commodity, or something only some of us are allowed to have. We have to think ourselves beautiful-not prettier than or less pretty. We have to believe that female beauty is limitless, and love our bodies for their own sake.

-Maya Rupert

Thinking yourself beautiful is a life long work for most of us… I know it will be for me. Though being out of the dating game has help shed some of the insecurities, still if I am not careful can find myself insecure about my weight and overly focused upon my appearance (hair, clothes, cosmetics, etc.) as if these things define my beauty or determine my worthiness of love and belonging.

I am learning though, that the more I accept my body each day with all of its perfect imperfections and uniqueness and live how I am most comfortable being, the more free and brave I become… the more I am able to enjoy life (like beaches, swimming pools, cocktail dresses, dancing in the blazing dance club at midnight with my love… Just to name a few things) even with 50plus more pounds of pregnancy & post pregnancy weight I have yet been able to shed… the more attention I give to caring for it and intention of give to what fuels it, gives it life.

Our bodies are our bodies. We are gifted with one, one unique frame of skin and bones. Our bodies are gift that are worth the work, for some of us the very hard mental, physical and emotional lifelong work, of learning how to love it well, embrace it for its goodness, accept its limitations and think ourselves beautiful in every season.

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Consider the Birds:Provocative Guide of Birds in the Bible by Debbie Blue… is taking me on a journey friends.

Like this morning at the park… I
watched the pigeon’s dance while they ate. I figured it out and stood at a spot where I could feel them hovering over me during their move from the ground to the tree. It was awesome, such a cool experience.

30 or so pigeons hovered over me for a few seconds, I could feel the wind from the flapping of their wings just falling upon me and I got pooped on.

Pooped on! I laughed. First time ever Photographing birds I got pooped on, and it will not be the last.

I thought to myself, what’s Love trying to tell me. Then it hit me, you know, shit happens some times when we hang with the Spirit and walk step through this life. We get pooped on some times and we respond in the way we need to (I laughed today, but tomorrow I might have freaked out or been upset) and if we have the strength,

the necessary tools (I had sanitizer & tissue in my art bag that was with me),

if it doesn’t kill us (it fell on my hand… If it had been my hair… Um… Not sure how I would have handled it),

resources and

wisdom

and courage

we wash it off and keep on moving at the pace we need to move.

I know I could have been popped on some more as I stood there and chances are I will get pooped on again one of these days as I continue my photographic journey with the birds, but I won’t stop. I’ll just free myself to respond to the shit however I need to, wash it off in time and keep on. Gosh, I cannot imagine missing out on the beauty of this adventure…

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Your grace abounds in deepest waters Your sovereign hand Will be my guide Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me You've never failed and You won't start now So I will call upon Your name And keep my eyes above the waves When oceans rise My soul will rest in Your embrace For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
-Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), Hillsong United

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 my water broke.

Its breaking gave way to the birth of my 22-week and 3 days in the womb baby girl, Année Juredline Rouse Tinsley at 4:58pm.  Less than 2-hours after entering this crazy beautiful world, she died resting in the loving embrace of her mother and father.

So here I am approaching the first days of Advent according to the calendar, but in the thick of the last days of Lent in my heart and it seems right.   So I am going to just flow with it and grieve through this dark, but not starless, night.

Once again in life I find myself overcome with questions, an array of emotions and unknowns, as I stare in the face of the great mystery that is life.   Not sure what all of this really means for our journey or where it is leading, and to be honest, the fact that this death could have meaning or life-giving potential kind of pisses me off.

I am wired and have been shaped to search for answers and allow other questions to unfold as I get a glimpse of  the answers I seek. It is typically hard for me to sit with the questions without searching for answers, but not so much in this moment.  I don’t have the desire or strength to do that theological work.

Right now, today, the only desire I have is to sit in my pool of tears and allow Love to do what it needs to do within and outside of my broken heart.  I am thankful for Love’s presence over the past week and since learning of A.J.’s existence within my womb.  And though in the deep crevices of my heart I appreciate we are not puppets in the hands of the Divine, I must confess I am not thankful Love allowed the breaking.  Dare I say I never will be.

My heart grieves and longs for healing with every mother who has experienced the loss of a child inside or outside of the womb.  So many go through this breaking and crashing so silently.  My heart cries.  It is a backwards process and a true tragedy that no child, mother or father should have to endure.  God cries.

So one day at a time I will go through this season with my love, my partner and best friend Cleve and the many others who Love places in our life to be community caretakers of our healing souls as we walk together.   This Advent, I will choose to cling to the hope that after the painful good Fridays of our lives resurrection does come and that grace abounds for me,.  I will sit… at times stand…at times fight…at times walk… but because of the love of God not drown in our pool of tears until it comes.  Until resurrection comes…

I cry…

I pray…

I listen…

I believe…

I wait…

I mourn…

I embrace the silence…

I sit on the mourner’s bench with those who sit beside us…

and yes, I even sing in these deep waters.

*The memorial service for Annee Juredline Rouse Tinsley will be Monday, December 16 at 10am at  St. John’s Downtown in Houston, TX.  If you would like to send flowers we ask that they are sunflowers or yellow in color.  If you would like to make a donation in her honor, we suggest it be to a project that is fostering creativity in the lives of children.  Another way you can honor her with us is by doing something that day that gives you life. Thank you!*

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Your vulnerability scary as it can be is inseparable from your capacity for intimacy, creativity & love.
-S. Kempton

The discovery of song and the creation of musical instruments both owed their origin to a human impulse which lies much deeper than conscious intention: the need for rhythm in life? the need is a deep one, transcending thought, and disregarded at our peril.
Richard Baker

Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life.
Jean Paul Richter

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.
Oscar Wilde

Music is an outburst of the soul.
Frederick Delius

Well, 2011 was quite a year. It was a year composed of some major transitions, healing, many lessons I will definitely carry with me into 2012, an abundant amount of life-giving moments, new discoveries and joy.

It was good to and for me.

The last days of 2011 ended up being a perfect conclusion to the pages that had been written, as I welcomed the new 2012 chapter embracing change, believing in healing, loving with abandon and speaking my gratitude for each line of truth (the easy and the hard).

Here are a few things revealed to me the last days of December and first days of January that I carry with me into this new year:

*I have been gifted with an eye and I need to make it a point to sabbath with God, camera in hand, everyday.

I am a photographer.

*throw a football as often as possible

*I love cold days. Warm days are growing on me though.

*there is something comforting about being apart of a community where ALL are welcomed and when people say “I love you and there is nothing you can do about it”, and they mean it

Unconditional love and acceptance is a beautiful thing

*make it a practice to laugh as often as possible

*”listen to your life. see it for the fathomless mystery that it is. touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” buechner

*relationships are best held with open hands

*be open

*The Wire is the best show EVER!

*Life is better in yoga pants

*travel is good for the soul

*risk more and express what you need & want, don’t live life with a bunch of “what ifs”

*”Follow your bliss and God will open doors for you where there were only walls.” Oprah

*The world is a beautiful place / to be born into / if you don’t mind some people dying / all the time / or maybe only starving / some of the time
/ which isn’t half bad / if it isn’t you. -Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Through art, creativity, storytelling, honesty and being present with people this year, I hope to co-create a truly beautiful place as I seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with my God in community with people who teach me what it means to be God’s and through whom God’s transforming grace is at work in my life. Hopefully we can be vessels of grace and love for each other.

*love well. “But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.” Vincent Van Gogh

*we need to dance whenever we have the chance, especially if we are in the car with Ms. Ruby Mai

*Love is still in the business of healing

*be present in each moment, tomorrow has passed and who knows what the next moment will bring… enjoy the moment, don’t miss the beauty in the now

*get rid of ridiculous lists, delight on the art of knowing another in whatever shape the knowing comes

*friendship is a gift

*search time on YouTube every now and then is good for me, especially if it involves a viewing of “King Curtis”

*morning, mid-day or evening walks solo or with someone I can talk to freely and even embrace silence with are the best

*I love music. I love to sing. I need to do it more.

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul” Plato

*When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. ~Ansel Adams

Creativity – like human life itself – begins in darkness.

Julia Cameron

Kelly Rae Robert’s art and A Thousand Faces store in Nashville are some of my favorite things, so you can imagine the delight that filled my soul when I got to encounter both a little over a week ago. I was in Nashville for 20-hours and it was brilliant! The art, the familiar spots, the colors of Nashville’s fall, coffee time with some of my dearest friends… family, glimpses of the beauty bursting from my sis these days, lunch with Lucy Bella and solo early morning Fido time made for a very happy Lanecia. It was space to breathe… to remember… to be renewed… to connect… and to share the story God is writing these days with the life I’ve been given.

My time in Nashville also created space to realize a few things that back in March I had a difficult time believing would be possible, mostly around healing and letting go. Moments were created for me to name a few places within my heart that were no longer raw and open wounds. I was able to see how out of the ashes something beautiful can truly be born. It may take time for it to be actualized or to even see it, but pain does not last always… healing is possible.

I loved it because the moments gave me hope for the wounds that are still open and very raw. I loved it because out of the darkness, I am now bursting beautiful and tapping daily into the creative spirit within that has been struggling to fully bloom since I was in middle school (honestly, I can tell you the exact 7th grade moment when I started fighting it’s growth). I loved it because I now know that all of the things that composed paragraph one and two of this blog have made me who I am in this very moment and I am really starting to like her. I loved it because the darkness, as well as the joys, gave way to an opportunity to learn what unconditional love and acceptance… freedom in Christ really looks like and it has been one of the sweetest lessons I have been blessed to learn.

And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won’t rot, I won’t rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won’t rot.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

But there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That’s why I hold,
That’s why I hold with all I have.
That’s why I hold.

And I will die alone and be left there.
Well I guess I’ll just go home,
Oh God knows where.
Because death is just so full and man so small.
Well I’m scared of what’s behind and what’s before.

And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

-Mumford & Sons

"Christianity is a way, not a state, and a Christian is never something one is, only something one can pray to become." W.H. Auden

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