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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)

flowers

I was reminded in the silence this morning, that flowers don’t compete or compare themselves to what’s around them… they just bloom.

flowers lean into the light & bloom to their fullest potential.

joy is found in surrendering fully to your own blooming… the process… and remembering we each have our own unique way of becoming. allow the journey to awaken & strengthen the soul.

photo 1 (14)kindness paid me a visit at the park yesterday.

I had gone to pray and be still by the waters for awhile.  I sat in silence mostly not uttering a word, hoping Romans 8:26-27 to be true as well as knowing the things I don’t have the courage to yet risk speaking to God… I was still.

nothing is more beautiful than silence sometimes.

it was cleansing and before I knew it I became keenly aware of life around me, which was both a blessing and entry to a deep wound within my healing heart.  I was not there long before a little girl on her new bike and her caregiver, came up the path.  she saw the water and declared she would put her feet in the pond.

out of all the places she could sit along the pond, she chose to come very close to me.  without verbal invitation, she chose to be present with me.  I don’t know her name, but we had the best 15-minute visit.

we explored the wonders at the bottom of the pond and delighted in the dance of the birds as they bathed in the sunlight.  one moment, just when I could feel grief creeping up in my eyes, out of the blue she pinched my arm and giggled with the kindest smile.

she brought giggles to my healing heart.

it was a precious gift. photo 2 (15)

Love is patient, Love is kind.

1 Corinthians 13:4a

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Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
Hermann Hesse

Sadness has been my companion for years.

I remember when she first entered into my inner circle. I was 5-years old and my parents shared that God and the church had called our family to move from the only place my young mind knew as home. My father had been appointed to another church hours away.

The door opened and she entered the playground as if she owned the joint, and she became one of my closest companions. I never let her get too far away and I held her very close, so close that not everyone who entered my life had the privilege of seeing her or even the awareness that she was there.

But she was.

Sometimes she hung out with me all day. Other days we would just meet over a cup of coffee after imperfections slapped me in the face, my heart was broken by life or when I needed to be present with someone else she had decided to friend or visit. But she was always there right in the mix with love, hope and even joy.

When I first learned back in August 2013 that the possibility of life was within me, it was like sadness decided it was a perfect time to make her way back into the everyday rhythm of my life. The hormones did not help at all, they were the main instigators telling her I needed her to hang out all day. I was somewhat angry she was back on the scene, but if I am honest I was a bit comforted as well by her presence. She had been a constant companion over the past 30-year and it just seemed to make sense she would be present during this season as well. It was hard to imagine going through this new life-changing adventure without her. I did not know what it looked like to go through without her, was not aware that I no longer needed her nor was I really conscious of the power I had to let her go.

It took about 8-weeks of deep union with sadness, intentional work with my therapist and total transparency with those who love me to let her go. It was about 12-weeks ago, right around the end of my first trimester carrying Annee. After a very intense session, my therapist very clearly and boldly told me it was time to let sadness go.

She told me I had learned all I possibly could from her and it was time to let this childhood companion go to make space for the new thing God was creating within me. By this time the hormones were starting to gain a little sense and I began to realize how much I did not really like or need her as much as I thought. I was literally willing to try anything. So I started doing the work of letting her go and each day sadness ceased to occupy my time. She became a visitor who I could sit with for a while, listen to and then let go, instead of a friend I felt I needed.

The past two-weeks have been two of the toughest emotional and physical weeks of my life. Much of it still feels like a dream, and any minute I will wake up to a little one treating my womb like a jungle gym and my offering suggestions for the holiday baby shower my sister had planned for me this Saturday. But it is not a dream and the tears caught by my pillow are very real. I cannot wish them or even pray them away. Sometimes my tears are the only prayers I can pray. I am hurt, disappointed and know death has a hell of a sting.

There is a lot I will be working out over the next few weeks, months and years regarding this particular chapter of the story. In this moment as I grieve death’s presence and seek life in its midst, I am grateful I no longer need sadness to be my companion. She can be a visitor that I can welcome and let go.

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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The Necessity of Patience
-Stanley Hauerwas-

Hope without patience results in the illusion of optimism or, more terrifying, the depression of fanaticism. The hope necessary to initiate us into the adventure is to be sustained. Through patience we learn to continue to hope even though our hope seems to offer little chance of fulfillment…. Yet patience equally requires hope, for without hope patience too easily accepts the world and the self for what it is rather than what it can or should be.

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I am trying to teach my mind to bear the long, slow growth of the fields, and to sing of its passing while it waits. -Wendell Berry

The water broke on February 1.

Took me by surprise, though I sensed the time was near. It was almost as if I was denying the fact that the breaking would one day come, while also being fully aware I could not carry it anymore.

It was time.

You can only carry possibility deep within you for so long. It must be birthed…. it has to breathe. Truth be told, I was way past term and Love spoke yet again into my life, “Beloved, you’re ready.”

So here I am approaching the first day of Lent according to the calendar, but in the thick of advent in my heart and it seems right. So I am going to just flow with it and embrace the new thing Love is wanting to do within me as I go through this particular labor. I surrender.

Too often we… I… just want to hold the beautiful promise without going through the pushing, stretching, waiting, tears, pain and breathing labor requires. But you have to go through it for life.

Not sure what all of this really means for my journey or where it is leading. What I do know is that I anticipate with great joy what Love is creating & re-creating… opening and healing… in life for me right now. For the first time ever, I can say I am thankful for the breaking and hopeful. I know it may get tough and at times pretty darn ugly, but I know Love is going to let it all be beautiful.

I pray…

I listen…

I believe…

I wait…

I labor…

and I will sing.

Each day is a new canvas, full of possibility.

Yes, the artist carries to the work influences of days past and hopes for days to come, but the gift is the opportunity to create a masterpiece with the hours, supplies and visions we have been given for today.

Make it BEAUTIFUL!

"Peace" created by lanecia a. rouse

"Peace" created by lanecia a. rouse

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

"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