Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Less than a week away!

James & me at Lake Junaluska this summer.

Dear Family & Friends:

My flight to Uganda is less than a week away. WOW! I am so excited about boarding a plane with James and Robin next week, Uganda bound by way of Amsterdam.

The past few weeks have been nothing short of amazing. The paths I have crossed, the stories I have had the privilege of hearing from people native to Uganda & Rwanda, the opportunity to share why I am going to Uganda, and the gifts I have received have all helped to prepare me for the days to come. I am so thankful for the words of encouragement, prayer offerings and financial support that have been so graciously given to me by family, friends, and church communities who have all helped me grow deeper in the way of discipleship... love.

In light of the generosity of many I have been blessed with over $2,000 to date towards the missional journey. There are financial gifts still being sent to the church & deposited into the "Africa Mission" account to support my journey to Uganda and a deep calling to learn from and participate in the work of redemption that God is doing in the lives of the children in Uganda & throughout the world who find themselves stifled by injustices, unable to imagine life any other way.

I am still creating cards, working on photography projects and crocheting hats. I am looking forward to creative stirrings that will come during my pilgrimage. You may visit my photography and greeting card store: www.sunshinepapier.etsy.com to glimpse of my new pieces that will be posted by Friday, August 29. There you can purchase items that will help fund my expenses in Uganda.

You may also donate directly to the trip by writing checks to Metropolitan Community UMC with “Africa Mission for Lanecia” in the notes. Checks may be sent to MCUMC at 1975 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10035.

Thanks again for your time and support.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Love Embodied... Shane Claiborne

Shane Claiborne is one of the most beautiful individuals I have had the opportunity to hang out with and call "Bro'". He is one of the founding members of a New Monastic Community called The Simple Way in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Shane is also a writer, faith-led activist for nonviolence and redistribution of resources to the poor, speaker, inspiration, dreamer, and friend.

Claiborne's outlook on ministry to the poor is often compared to Mother Teresa, whom he worked alongside with during a 10-week term in Calcutta. He spent 3 weeks in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team (a project of Voices in the Wilderness and Christian Peacemaker Teams). He was witness to the military bombardment of Baghdad as well as the militarized areas between Baghdad and Amman. As a member of IPT, Claiborne took daily trips to sites where there had been bombings, visited hospitals and families, and attended worship services during the war.

To learn more about Shane and the way he chooses to offer his life daily, go to:

During the month of September Shane will be on Sabbatical, spending time at home in Philly. Drop him a note, offering him encouragement, support and above all things love.

You can send an Agape note to Shane Claiborne to:
The Simple Way
PO Box 14751
Philadelphia, PA 19134

(All photos of Shane are from the simple way website.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

First Sunshine Papier House Party, August 22

"Reach out and open the door that no one thought could be opened. Life is behind it."- Kelly Ann Rathaus

There is life behind the doors, and last night I embraced it fully. Last spring I stumbled across a hobby that, in no time, became a means of creativity and absolute delight for me: card making. Since then I have been creating cards, working on photography projects, and crocheting hats daily. I love it.

Last night the Cramers and Kristi Dunn hosted a card/art party for me, where I was able to share my creations with friends and continue to raise money to support my trip to Uganda next week. It was a great night. My mother surprised me with a visit, I sold some cards & photography pieces, and I got to delight in other people enjoying beautiful things I spent time creating. It was a great night. I am so incredibly thankful for the support, encouragement, hospitality, and fellowship gifted to me last night.

Who would have thought?

Since watching Invisible Children Rough Cut, March 2007, something within me died making room for something new to be born. I began to see doors that I never knew existed, encounter people who pointed me toward doors that my insecurities blinded me from, and walk through doors I did not think could open.

An artist was born.

Sunshine Papier

Monday, August 18, 2008


By: Silers Bald

My heart is so proud.
My eyes are so unfocused.
I see the things You've done through me
As great things I have done.
And now You gently break me.
I cry just like a baby.
You hold me as my Father,
And mold me as my Maker.

And I ask You
How many times will You pick me up.
When I keep on letting You down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness aboud?
And You answer, "My child, I love you,
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient, grace."

At times I may grow weak.
And feel a bit discouraged.
Knowing that someone somewhere
Can do a better job.
For who am I to serve You?
I know, I don't deserve You.
But that's the part, that burns in my heart,
And keeps me hanging on.


And You are so patient with me, Lord.

As I walk with You, I'm learning
About what Your grace really means.
How all of my transgressions
Were paid at Calvary.
So istead of trying to repay You,
I'm learning to simply obey You.
By giving up my life to You
For all that You've given to me.


"My daily sufficient grace."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Circles Around the Playground

I miss the day when running in circles around the playground screaming at the top of your lungs was doing something.

Looking out the window by my office desk, listening to the laughter and delighting in the pure delight of the children at our church's day school playing on the playground, I cannot help but grieve the day when time well spent began to be defined by something else.

Last week one of my co-workers gifted and entrusted her lovely kids to Ciona and me for a Las Paletas run and time at the park. What a gift! After a long day at the office playing catch-up and seeking to spend every minute there "well", it was fabulous to spend an hour & a half trying to catch drops of Mexican Carmel popsicles before they hit the sidewalk, swinging on swings, drawing aliens on the sidewalk, kicking a soccer ball until our legs were tired, listening to C and EA create their own "sister princess" quarters out of the castle (aka. jungle gym), and bending close to the earth with Daniel in hopes of finding a four leaf clover.

To borrow a phrase for Marva Dawn, it was "a royal waste of time." I loved it! Really, the only tangible product of our time together were 4 used Popsicle sticks. There was no plan or goal to be reached. We just received the time God had granted us with to play, be in community, use our imaginations, laugh and run circles around the playground.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Uganda Update... Exciting Times!

(Images from www.acholibeads.com, I did not take them.)

Hello Friends & Family!


In less than one month I will be walking the streets of Kampala, playing with children that have been cradled in my prayers for months, laughing with friends I’ve only imagined, trying my best not to get bit by a dog, allowing myself to love & be loved by the people I encounter along the way, learning first hand about community development, and breathing air that 5 shots in the arm & 2 prescriptions will have prepared me to breathe. :)

Wow, still hard for me to wrap my mind around this gift and possibility. I anticipate with GREAT joy what God is creating.

Thank you for the various ways you have offered your support since learning of this opportunity. I do appreciate your prayers, words of encouragement, stories, and financial support.

Many have written or called with questions about my financial needs. Here is a breakdown of my expenses:

$1,700 (with taxes if I purchase early next week)
$550 medical
$100 for travel visa in Uganda and Rwanda
$75 Ground transportation cost
$25 daily cost of living =$350 for the two weeks

Through charitable donations and selling of my crafts, I hope to raise $2,000 in financial support.

I am thrilled to share that as of today, I have received $1,250 towards this ministry experience. I am so thankful.

$750 is towards my travel & expenses
$500 is “seed money” given for me to share as an offering to better the life of children in Kampala, specifically Acholi refugee children forced to work the rocks mines of southern Uganda.

I also hope to have a card & photography party before my departure to sell some of my artwork. I should know date & time for the party next week.

You may also visit my photography and greeting card store: www.sunshinepapier.etsy.com. There you can purchase items that will help fund my expenses in Uganda.

You may also donate directly to the trip by writing checks to Metropolitan Community UMC with “Africa Mission” in the notes. Checks may be sent to MCUMC at 1975 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10035.
Thanks again for your time and support.

Peace of Christ,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Frederick Buechner

Woe to us indeed if we forget the homeless ones who have no vote, no power, nobody to lobby for them, and who might as well have no faces even, the way we try to avoid the troubling sight of them in the streets of the cities where they roam like stray cats. And as we listen each night to the news of what happened in our lives that day, woe to us if we forget our own homelessness.

To be homeless the way people like you and me are apt to be homeless is to have homes all over the place but not to be really at home in any of them. To be really at home is to be really at peace, and our lives are so intricately interwoven that there can be no real peace for any of us until there is peace for all of us.

(Photos taken by me while walking the streets of Chicago, June '08)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Places They Take You

Dear Family and Friends:

I could never have known at the time, but God began putting the people of Uganda on my heart years ago. I was intrigued by this region of Africa when I watched the new life my father had after returning from East Africa in the summer of 2000. Three years later I took a class studying the genocide of Rwanda from a Ugandan Catholic priest.

But it was in March 2007 that I couldn’t get Uganda off of my mind. I watched tears fall down the face of a young boy named Jacob while watching the documentary film Invisible Children. Jacob mourned the loss of his brother—a young soldier abducted by rebel troops in northern Uganda. I left the film thinking, “I want to go to Uganda. I want to know, listen, and learn from these children.”

In a month, I leave Nashville on a pilgrimage to Uganda. There, I will get to know beautiful children like Jacob. I will spend time with women who have fled their homes for safety. I will witness the Ugandan people serving one another through a youth development ministry. I will step onto the soil of Africa for the first time and be present to God’s people there. I will journey closer to God’s heart, which is beeping strongly there.

It is an amazing and unbelievable blessing for me to have this opportunity. I depart Sept. 2 and return Sept. 16. I will travel with my friend James Pearson and his sister. James is a faithful visionary from San Diego who lived in southern Uganda for two years working closely with the Acholi people.

To learn more about this journey and ways you can participate and/or support me in living out this calling, contact me at laneciarouse@gmail.com

Thanks for vising my blog and hearing some of my story. I invite you to join me in prayer—for my safe travels, for the people I will meet and for how God will use me on this pilgrimage and when I return.


Agape Cards

Agape: divine, unconditional, active, and thoughtful love
Along with your purchase, you will receive a free Agape Card. Agape Cards are special notes of encouragement and thanksgiving that I hope you'll send to a person or organization who daily offers love and hope to other people. A written message can be a small thing done with great love. With your Agape Card, you can encourage and support people whose lives are are committed to acts of mercy, justice and kindness to others.

Each week on the blog, I will feature a person or an organization I see embodying Love . . .Walking Inspirations! If you appreciate what they offer to the world, grab a pen and your Agape Card and send a note to the person or organization using the contact information provided on the blog. Or remember a person or group who has impacted your life or community and send your Agape Card to whomever you choose.

Wherever you send your card, the only desire is that you use the power of words and the beautiful art of letter-writing to spread some love to those participating in God's work to redeem the world!