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she become what she had always been.

the other caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her strange becoming.

they wanted her to return to the shell,

that had once surrounded her.

but she had wings.

she had tasted the perfect harmony of becoming & surrender.

This is a quote I adapted by Dean Jackson and that I used as inspiration for the piece featured above.  The piece is titled, “Harmony.”  It was created using acrylic paint, paper & wax on canvas, and is featured on my LAR Art Photography website today.

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“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 Baldwinphoto 2 (30)

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free spirit:
someone or something who lives by their own wishes & is unconstrained by society.

View More: http://kendallhannaphotography.pass.us/laneciarouse

2014 has been one crazy beautiful year! It has been a year of being intentional about loving others & myself well, choosing to be rooted here in Houston, allowing myself to be stretched & taking risks on me as I have taken some pretty big faith leaps.  Each day provided opportunities for me to learn new things about love, life, courage, forgiveness, release & truth… just to name a few.  Let’s just say, the journey of becoming all that your core knows you have been created to be truly awakens the soul. 2014 has also been a year of meeting & connecting with many creative hearts & minds in Houston that inspire… Kendall Hanna, of Kendall Hanna Photography, is definitely one. This week I got to be in front of her camera, for some author photos to go with a few upcoming writing projects I have on my plate for 2015. It was absolutely delightful.  She is brilliant at her craft & makes it fun.  Looking forward to sharing more from our time together as the year unfolds. Here are a few of my favorites for now… View More: http://kendallhannaphotography.pass.us/laneciarouse    View More: http://kendallhannaphotography.pass.us/laneciarouseprofile picView More: http://kendallhannaphotography.pass.us/laneciarouse View More: http://kendallhannaphotography.pass.us/laneciarouseView More: http://kendallhannaphotography.pass.us/laneciarouse    View More: http://kendallhannaphotography.pass.us/laneciarouse

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Sabbath

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.
-Wendell Berry

delighting in the gift of another Sunday… the tending, stillness, inspiration and joy

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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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I want to be like a sunflower; so that even on the darkest days I will stand tall & find the sunlight. – M.K.

photographed with a DuaFlex III Kodak Film Camera

photographed with a DuaFlex III Kodak Film Camera

“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer the goal.”  

— Elbert Hubbard

Over the past year life has taught me, and Love has basically slapped me in the face with,  this truth:  she is who is brave enough to live her heart out loud is truly free.

Each heart has a song. And it’s song longs to be heard and shared… it needs to be heard and shared.  When each person is able to live out her passion, the world is a more beautiful place.  I’ve always loved the words of  Howard Thurman who says, “Do not ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

His words are so true; the world needs individuals who have come alive. Our communities need them. Our families and friends need them. Our souls need them.

Lately I’ve been inspired, challenged, and even encouraged by those who bravely ask themselves “What makes me come alive?” and,  in time,  just do it.  Some even make it a daily practice to examine their lives, asking themselves penetrating questions:

What drained me today?

What gave me life today?

How do I receive more time with what gives me life?

How do I lessen or let go of things–with love and grace–that drain me, both relationships and activities?  

The list of names of those who have lived out their life’s passions, or calling,  regardless of the risks, work, vulnerability, and time it requires, is as diverse and as beautiful as the world in which we live. These are individuals who have undoubtedly experienced much failure and disappointment, but they have also exhibited  a deep spiritual quality worth emulating: the moral courage it takes to risk all–at least to onlookers– for  a more personally meaningful possibility.  I marvel at those who dare to do so, for they embrace this “aliveness” of which Thurman speaks…

Day by day, one step at a time, pushing past fear, impatience, failure, insecurity and/or whatever else may keep them still, they just do it.

At the sun’s setting today, our lives may not look like the full picture we’ve imagined for ourselves, but undoubtedly we shall be steps closer to that life than we were at the sun’s rising. So we hope…and, so, we still pray.

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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.

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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

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if i loved myself, I would…

a wise woman I know invited everyone on a team I am apart of to complete that sentence.  

if i loved myself, I would…

she instructed us to say it 10 times in a row and write the first thoughts that came to mine.  one, on my list of 30, was receive more time each week at the park.  there are a few things on that list that will take some time and more courage to make a reality, but more time each week at the park… effective immediately.

each week i make my way to the park for some stillness and me time. yesterday i went to the park and had a series of firsts.  for the first time since college, i rode a bike.  i rented one of the b-cycle bikes and made my way around the park a time or two.  it was such a fun adventure.

for the first time since starting my weekly visits to the park i got to feed the birds yesterday.  not only did i feed the birds but i experienced the entire landscape and encountered the vast array of bird life that inhabits the space. i was there for hours.

beautiful… all of the birds were absolutely beautiful, and i am grateful i allowed myself to see them all.  typically all of my part time is received with the pigeons/doves.  i have a preference for pigeons/doves.  i know where they hang, the best times to catch them and how to move amongst them.

however, this particular visit i was not alone. i was with a member from my church community, who asked me Sunday if I would meet her at the park to feed the birds.  she had picked up some extra loaves from the day shelter that were going bad, and really wanted to take it to the birds at the park. and she was determined for each one of them to get an equal share of food. she kept reminding me, “all of the birds need food, pastor lanecia. you cannot just give to some of.

so, we kept it moving. we would pause for some time to be present with each flock.  we would love on the birds of in one area and then move on to the next hangout spot to spread the bread love around.

it was life-giving…really allowing myself to let go of my preferences for a while and take in the art of each winged creation freely there for my eyes to marvel in awe & wonder.

for the first time i got a glimpse of the unique characteristic of the different birds species co-existing at the park, the boundaries by which they live and the politics of the pond.  i was totally captivated by all of their ways.

but i kept coming back to the pigeons.

my eyes were drawn to the them. i could not totally abandoned my preference.  not sure why, but there is  strange pull when it comes to pigeons. despite how bizarre or crazy it may seem, lately i just try to be present to whatever is pulling me and allow whatever it is to simply be.

here are a few of the insta-stories the pulling allowed me to create with my iPhone yesterday…

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imagine if you will the sounds of a little boy yelling “PIGEONS!!!” and the wonder that happened as a result. a breathtaking dance

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"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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Ponderings of Days Gone Bye