selah | the drawing in of family

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12b

This verse rings so true to me about the Dugdale family.  

Ever since I met Katie and her four young children I was drawn to the gentle way she fostered a strong relationship between them.  I would sit back and watch in awe as they played together and protected each other.  They quickly became one of my very favorite families to be around and truly they have given me such an inspired vision for putting family first and protecting that special bond.

In January, after weeks and weeks of migraines it was discovered that Selah had a golf ball sized tumor at the base of her brain.  At this point in time my children were in the Dugdale's home twice a week and Selah who had increasingly felt worse and worse would spend the times holding my Lucy Miller's hand and playing dolls with her.  A winter storm was fast approaching when Katie texted that she and Selah were taking an ambulance from her MRI to Charlotte to have immediate brain surgery that night.  

Mindnumbing.  Baffling.

I see several posts a day about children with cancer and even though my heart breaks a little more every time, this was one of our own.

They were able to remove the entire tumor and thankfully the cancer had not spread anywhere else.  Still weeks of radiation and months of chemo in  a different state were to follow.  

I have watched this family over the months and no matter what the trial or hardship of the day, they are forever drawing their family in.  Together.  

It was such an honor to capture just a little of that drawing in a few days before they left for the summer.  The girls honored me by posing for my sacred roots project.  

If you would like to help out the Dugdales financially you can donate here:

www.gofundme.com/selahsjourney

You can also follow their journey here:

 www.caringbridge.org/visit/selahdugdale

 

Source: selah

a river retreat | austin texas

It was just about the point in winter when I couldn't remember if I was still alive.  Days bled together in a grey blanket over my spirit and I could barely remember what it was like to feel vibrant again.  It was during the worst of it that I boarded a plane to Austin, Texas to meet artists from around the country at my dear friend Michelle Gardella's River Reatreat.  

Maybe it's from growing up with 4 sisters and a single mother, or maybe it's just so incredibly primal...but women breathe life into me.

And so I arrived at that old barn, feeling weak and wounded and like the fire had gone out.

And one by one these women, these artists, these WORLD CHANGERS breathed new life into me.  

And so now, I am living with the breathe of 12 new sisters running through my lungs, and the feel of their hands pressed in my palms.

Our time together was gentle.  It fostered such respect and space for others that there was not a drop of competition.  And the primal community of womanhood was as it should be.  

I knit a scarf. I laid in the sand with my arms and legs sprawled out and contentment washing over my face.  I slept and wrote and swam in ice cold water.  I cried and laughed and felt cocooned by those around me.  I felt inspired and awed.  

I sensed ever layer of my tough bark stripped and me, bare and naked to the world, was embraced.  This is a gift that many don't ever feel in an entire lifetime.

I. am. so. grateful.

 photo by thomas gardella   

photo by thomas gardella