BLOG

She Came Off the Pages

final2 (32 of 61).jpg

To share a creative space with someone

Can prove to be some of our most vulnerable moments

Because what we have to offer

Actually becomes us

As if we are laying ourselves out

For a use

A purpose

And whether or not we come away

More fragile or free

We are still changed.

And I've realized that the more I allow for these moments

The more I learn about what's on the inside

The things that are meant to be brought forth

The ideas and images and dreams and words that are called out, held out and fabricated.

We opened our hands together,

Evelyn and I.

We said yes to this space in trust and belief

Because we knew what the other was capable of

Even if we didn't know it of our own selves.

And this is what came to be again

In a space that we hold so dear,

even sacred.

Where we were met by a piece of paper that came to life

This object that became living and able to fly

In a light that leaked of gold and rest

Behind a lens that seemed to speak out the poses

That were followed by a body made of shapes and emotion...

final2 (18 of 61).jpg
final2 (27 of 61).jpg

With the most gentle of touch

It came to be

While the sun lit her back

and she let it become 

More than just what she made in secret

final2 (26 of 61).jpg
final2 (33 of 61).jpg
final2 (35 of 61).jpg

And the closer I inched

the more that I saw

I would step and begin

To believe that what I was seeing

Could actually breath

final2 (29 of 61).jpg
final2 (25 of 61).jpg
final2 (31 of 61).jpg

I saw a story book that lit behind my simple screen

A growing plot line

A woman deep in the fields

With the most surprising company

She looked like she had just walked off the pages

final2 (36 of 61).jpg
final2 (40 of 61).jpg
final2 (38 of 61).jpg
final2 (43 of 61).jpg

But I couldn't forget

What I saw in her too

Because the creature pointed back

To who she was

Because it was now part of her

final2 (45 of 61).jpg
final2 (46 of 61).jpg
final2 (47 of 61).jpg
final2 (48 of 61).jpg

And I was the first one

With whom she chose to share

A product of more than just paint and decision

Because what she had inside became made

final2 (57 of 61).jpg

And all the positions became like a grid

Or a pattern of flight

That we never planned

It just was and came to be

As if it was her dance

final2 (5 of 61).jpg

And I stared at the images

For days I couldn't bring myself

To even begin to grasp

What it would mean to share them

But we knew it would be so

That was our intent

Because how can we share more

If we don't first start...

and so This Became the beginning. 

In the Obscurity

IMG_5226.JPG

I remember months back I was sitting amongst a small crowd in SE Portland on a Sunday night listening to someone talk about these specific moments that we find ourselves in.

When we are finally by ourselves.

 

Hearing our own breath.

 

Left to the only voices that reside on the inside of us, whether or not they come from places of truth.

This reality of ‘obscurity’ and what it means for us to be found in that place...

 

That place of being alone.

 

And I remember thinking to myself,

 

'I don’t want that. 

That’s not my place.'

 

It sounded so lonely,

 

And dark,

 

And depressive.

 

It sounded like a place all too familiar, a place I was trying to escape that very week, day, month.

 

But, the more I listened,

 

The more I was overcome with intrigue.

 

Because He shared that the times in which we are surrounded by the masses don’t typically offer us the true clarity that we need to know more about who we are.

But rather its in the moments where we get alone.

 

Where we are left to our own thoughts

 

Where we can finally gain understanding of the underlying that has been boiling from within.

 

The things that we feel but can’t necessarily put a name to because we never take the time to actually process out what could be happening deep down.

 

And in this moment I find comfort in those words I heard that have even more relevance today than the day I first heard them. 

 

Because as I’m in a new city

 

And as I’m desperate to discover my place

 

My people

 

And how to operate in all the unfamiliar

 

I find myself in this place of obscurity that I used to run from

 

Because I’ve been there before

 

We all experience this at some time

 

And sometimes I’ve embraced it

 

But this time I’ve wanted to run

 

Because there are people that know me back home

 

There is more I can identify with there

 

There was significance and freedom and lots of assurance

 

And when I look around in this new place life feels a lot more narrow,

 

And now I know what it means when people say the walls feel like they are closing in

 

But then I’m reminded

 

If I can get to that place

 

If I can allow this obscurity

 

These moments that our society avoids with all intention because it means we actually have to get through the pain and hurt and fears

 

But the beauty in the midst of this desolate place

Is that there is so much hope to find the truth 

And it actually yields for such a discovery...

 

To hear the Voice of all Voices

 

The one that tells me about who I am when I’m searching for something to cling to,

 

A word, a sentence, a direction, an encouragement

 

And He meets me

 

And He knows me

 

And He says that this discomfort is momentary.

 

Because so often we want things to spring up from the ground so quickly

 

But He isn’t pressed by our hastened hearts that demand immediacy

 

And He isn’t concerned that we might have a momentary feeling of the unknown

 

Because those are times where we can begin to grow in a way that has lasting implications

 

That actually allow the once starving roots of our hearts to wait out the water that He is surely to supply 

 

And so in these days that have felt so long

 

And different

 

And sometimes purpose-less

 

I have begun to speak the words that I’ve needed over my restlessness and doubts

 

And in a moment when I wanted to hide from it...

I went to the water

IMG_5244.JPG

 

And I took my camera

 

And I knew I needed to go into the spaces that can be so difficult for me to enter into when I’m in a daze of emotional distress

 

But I was met in that place

IMG_5243.JPG

 

When I chose to begin again

 

Begin to create

 

Begin to believe

 

Begin to be inspired by these places instead of intimidated, put-off, and even resentful

 

And this feeling began to overcome that which was overcoming me just moments before

 

And the truth started to come out

 

That there is more for me in this place

 

There is more for us

 

And it must be discovered

 

There must be a yes

 

There must be a stepping out

 

And even amidst obscurity, I realized again that I was free.

 

IMG_5212.JPG
IMG_5215.JPG
IMG_5213.JPG
IMG_5240.JPG

To love them well

It’s this motivation...

This pull...

The inability to say no… Even when it’s uncomfortable.

Yes, I’ve been growing in this for a while.

The stepping in, the living out, the laying down.

But it isn’t until you’re right there with them, with one, with someone and you feel the challenge, the difficulty, the resistance…

And still He says…

“Love”.

Love.

This word.

This word that holds such great meaning yet most times we give it such a weak definition.

It’s this love that I told you all about that won me back to Him.

This love that has given me the ability to see more of myself and who He has asked me to be, called me to be, grown me to be.

This love that brought me to this country in the first place.

And I told the girls yesterday as we gave testimonies and wrote words of remembrance on rocks meant to be reminders

That I had to know that I was loved in order to love…

In order to love them.

I had to know my place with the one who created me before I could say yes again.

And this yes has meant something different to me than the previous ones.

This yes has meant that my plans, my rights, the ways in which I felt this experience should go were not going to take priority.

Because it’s not like I invited myself…

He invited me…

He moved me…

He asked me…

He inspired a place inside that knew this was what He had, what He wanted for these two weeks in this little Caribbean country that feels all too familiar to me in this three year relationship we’ve had.

And when I think about all the relationships this little island holds in my life

I realize the worth in coming back

In revisiting the places, the people, the memories that have been part of shaping me.

And I see Him inviting me into the shaping, too.

That as we share these stories

And as we reflect

And as I get around those that I love

And new ones, too

I’m reminded that there doesn’t have to be any striving

It’s just a being together, a growing together, a remembering together, a loving one another that makes me know this was supposed to be.

And He always brings me new ones…

New little ones and big ones, too.

 

IMG_4696.JPG
IMG_4694.JPG
IMG_4044.JPG

I went back to the barrio and saw so many new faces.

New ones dancing together and laughing together and being little girls

And then I saw ones I’ve known from the beginning…

Ones that had introduced me to those streets the first time

The ones that first led me up the sides of the hills that progress into mountains and possess houses made of tin cans and planks of wood, too.

And I’m amazed that I’ve seen them grow

They come to me like the first time I saw them

And hold my side while we walk down the street together…

Like I’ve been there with them the whole time.

And I just think to myself…

How did I get this place in their lives?

These tender ones that need so much more than I could ever give.

But then I rejoice

Because for the moment they can trust someone

And they aren’t afraid to be right next to me, and I get to be right next to them.

IMG_4677.JPG

 

And then I see the adults

The ones that saw me when I thought I was through

The ones that held me in their arms when I needed a mama’s lap

When I couldn’t speak through the tears but they knew I was hurting, too

Just like the little girls they rock in their lap, they saw the moments when I was one of them and invited me to come close.

So many mama’s that hugged me and made me know I was found

And they tell me I look so different

Even though it’s just been months

And they ask me questions that are really about me

Because they know me

And I know them

And the connection continues

As it’s been given to us time and time again.

 

And still, I’m making new friends.

And one is Lauren.

FullSizeRender.jpg

She is with the girls now.

Staying with them, has made her home with them just like I had months before her.

And she’s beautiful.

And kind.

And so fun.

And she’s also deep.

And willing to share.

And we are willing to bear together…

Bear the burdens, bear the pains, to listen and speak life and also speak out the truth.

And she’s already a sister, already a friend, already someone I feel privileged to know in a way most people don’t want to be seen.

But she’s let me see her.

And we’ve dug in together.

We’ve asked for more from Him together.

And I see that he’s been changing us in the safety of this friendship.

Because listening has been our theme, and truly sharing has been easy, too.

 

IMG_4757.JPG

And then there’s Joy.

The relationship that started it all.

And we see each other again, and dive right in.

She was the one that picked me up just a few weeks ago.

After a days travel and my anticipation grew.

And we got in the car.

And we were already telling stories.

And we were already beginning to burst into tears.

Mine were already flowing.

And in that moment I knew.

That part of this trip belonged to her, belonged to us.

And we ate together.

And we prayed together.

And we shared together.

And we worked together.

And there was more relationship for us.

And I believe there always will be.

This diving in and peace and calm that comes when we are together.

This rhythm of trust and understanding that has been fostered through so much experience, so much pain, so much labor and also freedom.

And I love her.

And I see her in a way that I know God has given me.

Because the desire to honor her continues day by day.

And I know we always learn from one another.

 

There are countless others.

There are so many more.

That offer to take me in.

That want to feed me.

That offer me their beds and homes and hearts.

And I’m overwhelmed.

And that’s why I keep going back to…

This love.

Love.

Love.

Love.

And soon, love becomes more than something that’s spoken of or defined.

Because this love is manifested.

This love is more than an it.

This love is a He….

Even more than a He…

Because.

He motivates and heals.

He protects and pursues.

He brings to life and covers and offers the greatest safety.

He takes risks and always wins.

And this Love is meant to be known.

Because we can know Him.

We can know Jesus.

And that’s what I come back to as each of these relationships speak and inspire me and propel me into more of His heart.

He reminds me that as long as I keep saying yes it won’t matter what it looks like because it will keep getting better, and it will always be good.

That if I say yes to Him it will become less about me, and more about what He’s always intended.

And that seems to be so much more trustworthy than myself.

So much more restful, and peaceful, and even practical.

Because He finds the greatest marriage between friendship and sacrifice and love.

And the more I ask Him what it looks like to lay down my rights and give to people what I didn’t even know I had inside of me

He reminds me it’s been Him all along.

And then I begin to realize just how powerful a yes to Him will always be.

And I'll keep talking about it, and telling people about it...

This yes that has taken on more meaning in my life in recent months than I could have ever foreseen. 

The many yes's that I continue to say... to speak out... and live in...

The beauty in not only saying yes to Him... But to others....

The ones that choose to come close, and pursue, the ones who really want to know...

And the ones that also say yes to me when I want to know them.

And see them.

and discover His heart for them.

Yes. 

This life marked by yes...

I wonder how many more there will be. 

 

I came back

I came back.

I came back to this place.

I came back to the Dominican Republic. 

And it hasn't been something I could completely grasp.

But as I decided to listen again… and when I asked Him, asked Him where I was going, what I was to do… for a purpose, a renewed calling…

He spoke.

He spoke to me in that car.

In that four hour long silence on my way back from Seattle just shy of two months ago. 

And the answers I wanted didn’t necessarily surface, but something else did.

Something between God and I that continues to be a theme in my life.

Those moments when I turn to Him, when I choose to face Him, when I expect that He’ll talk back.

I get tired of my own voice, I get tired of my inner dialogue, I get tired of my doubts and worries and frustrations…

So when I finally get alone with Him, of course He will speak, of course He will tell me what I’ve needed because he knows the inner workings of my heart. 

I say of course as doubt fills within each letter as I type.

But that’s what happened.

And I shared it with you all.

In my little film

The moments and memories and realizations that had been gnawing at my insides…

These instances that I had hesitated to publish because I didn’t quite know how they all fit together.

But then He brought me back to the concept of a story.

And I see the story is on-going.

And that the beautiful thing about this life is that God is weaving every story together.

He is arranging and rearranging that which is unfolding from each of our lives.

And I’m always surprised at how He does this… So truly surprised... Even though He so generously shows this to me repeatedly until I begin to believe Him again. 

 

The last month of my life has been a continual reminder of the story God has given me and continues to shape.

I have been in this state of feeling so childlike, I have been challenged to receive gifts from my King that have overwhelmed me time and time again.

Because as I have lived these last six months in the US after returning from 13 months abroad, I was wrecked by the weight of so many circumstances that were waiting for me upon my arrival.

And there were so many moments, days, even months were I was face to face with the reality that I might not make it back into His arms.

I found myself in the seat of a skeptic time and time again.

I sat in my own brokenness, digging deep within myself to find the answers but all I discovered was an empty well in need of refreshment, fulfillment, renewal.

That’s when you know that hope is waning, when you no longer want to look to the only One who has ever provided such promise and peace.

I kept Him at arms length for months.

I questioned the very truths and gifts He had been releasing in my life for years and I wondered if He really was who He told me He had been…

My safe place, my refuge, my strong tower, my deliverer, my healer, my father, my friend

And I hid from so many that I loved.

I didn’t tell a lot of you. I didn’t want to let many in.

The turmoil had exceeded my ability to cry out.

And that became the scariest position I had ever found myself in.

 

But God waited.

 

And He saw.

 

And He listened even when I yelled and cried and rejected that which He was willing to give to me.

 

And as I was visiting a precious friend in San Francisco mid-November… I heard Him speak amongst the many voices of encouragement and truth that had surrounded me those few days I took to connect with such a precious community…

 

“I’m going to win you back with my love.”

And oh what a beginning that trip was…

To cry and pray and worship...

To acknowledge the pain, to call it out, to admit that I needed rescue.

I had advocates. I had listeners. I came back to my friends.

And as I looked at myself from the outside… I began to see that it was possible.

That I could be me again...

Me in HIM.

And that’s what He continued to show me…

That’s what He continued to speak…

“I’ll win you back…”

“It’s my love, Corinne. MY love.”

And that’s what He has done.

And it has been the greatest story yet.

Because there were moments where I got away with Him… When I finally wanted His friendship…

But I still couldn’t receive…

He would speak, but I didn’t trust what He had to say.

Until He started to bring others to me…

And He gave me what I could have never found myself…

These individuals that continue to heal me… That are filling these roles God has always intended to fill in my life and the beautiful reality is He chose to give me them, He made them part of the rescue mission.

And it has been HIS doing... And being on the receiving end has wrecked me in the most profound way. It has challenged me to receive a love that I didn’t think was possible… a love that truly restores, a love that gives, a love that repairs and doesn’t make sense most of the time.

But it is so real...

So so real.

And so I find myself here in this place.

In this country that has been such a part of my story.

And I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I should have known that when God told me I had to keep telling stories that He would direct me to the place where so many of my last years stories had come from.

But it wrecked me again as I sat in that car and realized that it was time to say yes again.

And so I did.

And here I am.

And I’m writing in the same bedroom where I laid on the floor countless hours, pouring out all that was in me, all that I didn’t understand, all that was hurting me.

And I’m holding the girls that I had held so many nights, so many mornings, during so much time that passed while I was given the task of caring for them as if they were my own.

The moments where God told me,

"if you don’t step in and lay yourself down and give up your rights… who will?"

The moments where He moved my heart to a sacrifice I had only read about in His story. 

And as I sat down to eat dinner last night… and the food began to be served to a pack of hungry little girls… I still wondered why I was there… I had to go back again and ask Him to tell me again about my purpose.

And in that moment He showed me that even if it just meant eating with them, praying with them, singing with them, sharing with them, playing with them, listening to them, driving them to school, and just being present...

That would be enough.

That is enough.

But yet, He still has more.

And I brought out my camera minutes later.

And I began to capture that which only few have ever had the privilege of doing so.

Because I’m part of this place...

I’ve painted on these walls, I’ve slept in these beds, I've mopped these halls, I've prayed over every room... 

I’ve seen so much. 

And I just can’t deny anymore that God would have more for me than I could ever see for myself... and more for these girls than I could ever dream of for them.

And so today we went to the river.

And I got to watch them again in new experiences.

And we got to walk through clay and dirt and mar.

And we listened to one another and shared what He has done in us.

And we picked up rocks that began to mean so much more than found objects.

They became rocks of reminders.

Reminding me, reminding them that we have received so much.

That we have been changed.

That we are on the other end of so many stories many people would hesitate to believe unless they experienced it in their own lives.

And again I was reminded of why I got on the plane…

and why I left my job for two weeks…

why I left the one I love and all the experiences I am so looking forward to with him…

why I left the life I’ve readjusted to and began to grow in and appreciate…

why I left a home that is so safe and secure and healing…

And it’s because the act of saying yes again outweighs my ability to simply ignore a voice that has been so profoundly etched in my heart I can no longer deny its familiarity.

And with every repeated “yes” I utter, on the other side I find I am more of who He has always intended me to be. 

 

IMG_3973.JPG
IMG_3971.JPG
IMG_3951.JPG
IMG_3950.JPG
IMG_3963.JPG
IMG_3964.JPG
IMG_3965.JPG

Freed Beauty / ft. Lauralee

In my last blog post I gave you all a glimpse into what I look like means to me, how I believe beauty is shaped, and what it means to rediscover yourself.

It almost felt like a movement was beginning within me and I had to share it, bring it together with a mix of images, words, prose, ideas and enlightenment. And I couldn't believe the response.

Especially from one in particular:

"This is so beautiful it made me tear up. I can't wait to spend time with you beautiful human tomorrow and take pictures of our natural faces and be free!"

It was Lauralee.

A recent friend.

A pivotal friend.

A daring friend.

A friend I look at and can also see myself. What I believe. What I'm about. 

But also someone that I have much to learn from. Someone that speaks to the development inside me that needs help, inspiration, examples, a picture of what it means to grow in faith and love and belief.

We had plans the next day.. It was all set up.

I brought my camera,

She had already begun to write...

We were ready.

Ready to continue the conversation,

Ready to continue capturing that which we are compelled to share.

I remember years back having a conversation with a woman I respect immensely in my life. We too were in a quandary about beauty, specifically how to engage young women and get to know the depths inside. She had been working diligently in this matter, as many were drawn to her wisdom and friendship. She learned that the questions that actually built relationship focused on what she couldn't see. Her favorite questions to ask in first meetings and impressions were along the lines of, "what books are you reading right now," "what interests are you currently exploring," "what should I know about who you are on the inside?" 

I remember her telling me how perplexed these young women were. Instead of going straight to the surfaced compliments based on dress and features, she dug right into what seemed to make these girls have an almost uncomfortable response, but built more immediate trust than any appearance-based questions and compliments could ever cultivate.

So what am I trying to say? What does this story illustrate?

That being known is much more radical than skin deep. 

Our choice to know someone HAS to break through that which we've always been told to focus on.

It depends on letting someone know that they are worth the several questions it may take to actually get an answer that illustrates what is really going on inside, usually because we have built up barriers that take time to climb up and over.

 

What I love about Lauralee is that she has so much going on that has to do with how she's being shaped:

She's creating music, she works in a library and reads books, she is going to be a teacher, she prays and listens, she actually does what she believes, she is a faithful friend, she also loves to laugh, she is hospitable and loves to feed her friends.

And all these areas in her life shape what I have learned about her.

And yet there's more that I'm still discovering, more that we're discovering as God gives us people like Lauralee who are meant to be discovered.

Like all of us.

What if being transparent and valued was always intended for me, for you.

What if transparency led to that value we are meant to recognize in each person?

This is what Lauralee has to say about the journey she has been on in discovering what beauty really means:

 

"Why am I so passionate about beauty?
 
It's because of the young women I get the honor of leading and the women from my hometown youth group. These women have encouraged me and challenged me. They notice things about me that I may not even see about myself.
 
Together we ask; am I beautiful? Am I good enough? And I have a feeling we are not alone in these questions.
 
Sometimes I feel like crying out,, "Stop trying! You are beautiful! Set aside the makeup! Put down the insecurity! Wear yourself proudly!"
 
But it's only because I ask myself the same question.
 
I have fought back tears to hide the sting of "not enough". I have tried to hide behind a fragile layer of purchased beauty to disguise my unique imperfections.
 
I have put hope in products that promised: "this will make you beautiful."
 
This world craves beauty. The people in it crave to hear of their beauty. But not in a runway sense, after they've spend hours perfecting their beauty in front of a mirror. There's doubt in that beauty. A compliment will surely follow with a twinge of unbelief, "it's only mascara". 
 
We crave an honest beauty. One that affirms our dignity. A never fading beauty. One that comes naturally, that we wake up to and go to bed with.
 
If a man falls in love with me, I want him to love me, not the version of me that could take hours to prepare in the morning.
 
And I believe that people will love us for the honest us, if we give them the chance. We just have to give them the chance to see and love our honest selves. And we must also love our honest selves.
 
It's going to take guts though. It takes courage to be yourself. It's a good risk, and even though it's hard, I want to encourage you to try anyways. There are a thousand annoying things that we can find in ourselves for every one beautiful thing, but please choose to believe in that truly beautiful thing. 
 
Make that choice, make it every day, every moment you feel yourself doubting again.
 
Wear yourself proudly, my friends. Wear your quirks, wear them boldly. All those things about you that you might find bothersome, wear them. They are the things that make you, you.
 
But it has to be all of you. 
 
Not just what you choose to show to the world.

 

 Becaus you, all of you, not just what you choose to show to the world, even the parts of you that you'd rather hide in the back of the closet, will have the extraordinary opportunity unity to be cherished for all that you are.

 

Because you, my dear, have been beautiful since the day you entered this world and nothing will ever change that.

  

image.jpg
IMG_1476.jpg
IMG_1470.jpg

We felt like we did it. 

We set out in this vision, and our insights continue to grow from within. 

These realizations and revelations that we just couldn't ignore, so we're sharing them with you...

The reality of what makes us, "us" that we didn't want to hide any longer. 

And we feel like it came together, but yet it's still coming forth.

Because it's bigger than just Lauralee and me. We want to invite others in.

We believe there are more of us.

We believe there is more behind a moment, a face, a decision in dress, in appearance, in what we choose to highlight and what we choose to hide. 

So this is an invitation to join in rediscovering the way you have always been, but have been tempted to forget.  

What has always been beautiful, but now considered a blemish. 

There is quite a difficulty in navigating our insecurities but we believe it's worth the waves, the turbulence, even the sudden storms. Because we believe they can be pushed back and conquered. We believe they don't have to own us. 

We are committed to seeing what we were always meant to see in ourselves.

"Those who look to the Lord for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."

Psalm 34:5