Yearly Archives: 2009



burlap garland from michaels


brown paper bag wrapping paper


Ethos Review

Ethos magazine is a publication that “promotes the character, culture and actions that define the Naval Special Warfare way of life, and examine the issues that shape the community.” Ethos was kind enough to review Found Art in their most recent issue. I’m hopeful that the book will continue to gain exposure in the NSW community.

Here’s the review . . .

Leeana Tankersley’s Found Art is a brave look at the battle within

When life seems overwhelming, where do you look for support? How can you keep yourself grounded, when you feel like your life is being uprooted? Can the things in your life that seem terrible in the moment, when all put together, be something beautiful?

In Found Art, Leeana Tankersley allows readers to follow her on her journey, from her marriage to a Navy SEAL, to the year she spent living with him in the Persian Gulf, and how she returned home – changed.

Readers are thrust into Tankersley’s life in the midst of change — a move to Bahrain, a new marriage, new responsibilities in her life. Her story is a spiritual one, and one that even those of little faith can understand. Her struggles along the way are many, from dealing with the stress involved in a new marriage and a first home to assimilating to a completely foreign culture. She must face not only the shock of adapting to the new land, and a husband fighting a war that keeps him away from her, but the emotions – sadness, anger, fear – that are stirred in her.  She let us see how the changes and feelings she was avoiding slowly became something beautiful she embraced, and ultimately, changed her forever.

I found Tankersley’s honesty about her feelings and struggles sometimes unnerving, forcing me to look at the way I handle change and loss in my own life.  Tankersley writes of the loss of one of her husband’s teammates like only someone who has felt it can. Her struggles with her own faith and the meaning of it will strike a chord with anyone who picks up this book.

-Mandy McCammon, Associate Editor, Ethos


The Trick

Wednesday was my 34th birthday. I’ve always loved having a December birthday. The entire world feels like it’s in the mood to celebrate. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing this month! Steve on the 12th. Me on the 16th. And the babies will be on the 23rd (though we already had a bash for them on the 12th). Jesus on the 25th. It’s a holy month.

(This list doesn’t include the other December standouts in our lives: Dad Bill. Nephew Fynn. Nephew Jackson. Friend Tina.) I’m meeeelting.

On this day last year, I was still very great with child(ren), and I was starting to feel like I wouldn’t be able to walk much longer. I felt pressure, exhaustion, uncertainty, and this looming sense that a great number of things were going to have to fall through the cracks in order for us to survive. This year, I feel the same way. It’s not a hopeless feeling. Just more of a “so be it” kind of thing. My life lately is a constant reminder that things are not going to turn out perfectly, and if I wait for the time and space to achieve perfection, I will never send out a Christmas card, I will never create a photobook, I will never get my Christmas shopping done, I will never speak at another event, and I will lose my mind. I’m trying really hard not to do that last little thing.

Every day, I have to say to myself at least a couple times, “It doesn’t have to be perfect.” Those are hard words for me. Maybe for you, too.

Here’s the trick . . . When I am dying, the very best thing I can do for myself is something creative. Literally, I just put everything else down and choose to create something instead of totally losing myself to the incessant, mind-numbing productivity that can become life this time of year (and any other, if we’re honest). But I have to keep telling myself that the trick is in the creating, not in the creating of something perfect. I keep having to learn that lesson over and over.

So I sit down and wrap a present beautifully and extravagantly with way too much ribbon and this amazing burlap garland I got at Michaels (that I’m literally covering everything with) and I attach one of these cool manila mailing labels that I’m equally obsessed with and, of course, I throw in a bit of twine. All of a sudden I feel slightly better. The perfectionism begins to get crowded out as I become occupied with this love of the mess that is making something new.

This year, I’m determined to create a found poem using words from Scripture and all the amazing carols. I feel like this will be an exercise in creative worship, something my soul could use. You should write one too. Just take lines, phrases, words — anything — and mash ’em together to make something new and unique. If you do one, post it, so we can all read your imperfect perfection!

Take a moment to bake, write, sew, wrap, arrange, photograph, paint, print, glue, plant, whisk, or decorate. Necessity, not luxury. Creativity, not perfection. I promise your heart will start beating again.

(For a word of inspiration, read chapter 8 from Found Art, “Gathering.”)

Love upon love.



Last night, I went to dinner with all but one of the members of my Growth Group (referred to as “My Monday Night Group” in Found Art). The absent member is exactly half-way through her first pregnancy, and last night was the night she and her husband went out to dinner to look in an envelop (secretly stuffed by the ultrasound tech) and find if they will be welcoming a baby boy or baby girl. Tonight, a huge group of us will gather at their house to be let in on the secret. I’m leaning toward blue (As in powder blue, Tatum, like the Charger’s uniforms).

But back to last night . . .

The seven of us met at Il Fornaio in Del Mar, and we sat in this tiny little back room, barely bigger than our table, and we ate a great meal and said goodbye to one of our members. Kara (KJ) and her husband Eric (EJ) and daughter Annika (AJ) will be moving to Nor Cal in a couple of weeks, and I realized last night I’m not as ready to let them go as I might have convinced myself I am.

Kara and I were pregnant together (our babies are one month apart), we walked through the harrowing days of infancy together, our husbands have started a business together, and over the last couple of years we have always spent Monday nights together. As was said last night, you can never replace a relationship like that.

Letting her go, though I know this move is absolutely the right thing for her and her family, is hard. Kara is a stabilizing force in all our lives. She’s like a steady keel that cuts through all the things that don’t really matter. I love that about her, and you don’t find women like that every day.

I have this wonderful picture of Kara sitting on my couch when she was 9 months pregnant and my twins were newborn. Lane is wearing a pink and red velour striped dress with little black leggings and she’s draped over Kara’s belly–arms and legs spread out and wrapped all the way around as if her body is palming Kara’s basketball-tummy. Lane has fallen sound asleep.

Every time I look at that picture, I’ll miss Kara. I’ll think about the many times she has fed me delicious food, the absolute life-saving introduction to the zella pants, the long weekend we spent in Tahoe with three crazy babies who didn’t know how to sleep yet, and the assurance I feel when we exchange a glance and I know — in that split-second moment — what it means to be in the presence of a real friend.

We love you, KJ.


Recent Inspirations . . .

Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris

Ponce’s Mexican Food in Kensington (green salsa)

Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

Project Runway (always and forever)

The $6 organic cotton thermal sets at Walmart for infants and toddlers (the striped ones are especially painful)

Trevor Davis’ (of Dr. Seahorse) crazy dance moves (he commits!)

Veteran’s Day