Tattooed Girl

I CONCURED MY FEAR OF NEEDLES IN THE PRETTIEST WAY POSSIBLE!!

In case you didn’t read my previous post, this is a memorial tattoo for my mom, who passed away on November 22nd, 2014. This year was the three year anniversary of her going home to be with Jesus.

My desire is for my tattoo(s) to draw attention not to me, but to my hope in Jesus. To be conversation starters that open opportunities to share the gospel. My next tattoo is one that will be in celebration of the adventures God has taken me on by introducing me to so many amazing people these last three years.

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The “carbon” copy, aka, the stencil my tattoo artist drew and then transferred to my shoulder.

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For those of you who are, as of yet, ink free, here are a few things you may be wondering.

Does it hurt? Tattoos feel differently depending on where you choose to get them. I chose an area that is known to be one of the least painful places to get a tattoo. I would describe the sensation as having someone scratching you with the tip of a hot knife, not hard enough to break the skin, but enough to be annoying and mildly uncomfortable. It did not feel anything like needles. It felt prickly, hot, and eventually, kind of “fuzzy”. Once  I managed to focus on some distance thought and stop thinking about what it felt like, I drifted off into a calm day dream and didn’t feel much at all.

How long does it take? Depending on the skill of your artist and the size of your piece, it varies. From first touch of the needle to finial product it took about an hour and a half. My artist is very skilled and has 27 years experience under her belt. Do your research before you get inked. Your artist should be experienced, reputable, and have a lot of good word of mouth and online reviews. Find someone who has a tattoo from that artist and talk to them about it. Don’t rush into it. You’re going to have this image/phrase on your skin for life. Be patient and wait for just the right person to do the job.

Are they like potato chips, you can’t have just one? ….. Yeah. Kinda. Seeing as how I am already planning to get another one closer to my birthday. My other should is so bare, guys. Plus, I’m lopsided now. 😁

Any other questions? Feel free to comment. If you live anywhere near South Carolina and want to know who my artist is, shoot me a comment and I’ll send you her info. ❤️

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Can I be honest?

This post may or may not be very long, include multiple, seemingly unrelated topics, and appear somewhat disjointed. You have been forewarned.

I heard a song the other day one Air1. It was incredible, it set a fire in my mind, a chain reaction that lead to the most electrifying, thrilling thoughts about Heaven. Allow me to share with you the gist of the thoughts it inspired within my lil’ head.

We often think of Heaven for what will be there when we arrive. The untouched, pure nature, the animals, the people we miss, and of course, more than any of that, finally being with our Creator. And that is AWESOME. But there’s a part of Heaven I never even considered in depth until hearing this song.

We’ll be there. The real us. Not the sin hampered, war torn version of us that is present currently, but the part of us that is true and perfect. Everything truly good about us, the things that were knit into our being by God, those little glimmers of what we are truly meant to be when fully realized in Jesus will finally be set completely free of temptation, sin, and the weight of the burdens of this world.

Yes, Jesus has already freed us from sin, but how many of us have had those many, many times when we tried to rely on our own strength to fight temptation and failed miserably? *raises hand*  We are free from sin, but sin still has and influence on our lives, whether through our own actions or indirectly through the actions of others. Take a few moments to just sit and imagine being totally yourself, minus every sinful thought you’ve ever had, minus every memory of every failure, every unkind thought that ever crossed your mind. The freedom of no longer having to guard your heart, your eyes, your ears, and your mind from the evils of this world. Total freedom. Totality of redemption. The fullness of perfection. The weightlessness of your soul, no longer oppressed by a hostile world, or poisoned by the unavoidable inundation of crude humor, language and images.

I don’t know about you, but that is extremely exciting to me.

With that in mind, please enjoy the song. 🙂

If, at this point you’ve wondered about the title and warning at the beginning of this post, “Be honest about what?”, here it is.

I haven’t actually sat down and spent time in my Bible in …. I’m not even sure. A while.

I haven’t spent true, quality time praying and talking/listening to God in almost as long. Not counting the three or four times I’ve cried myself to sleep while talking to God recently, or the times I’ve spent maybe 20 minutes in prayer in my car before work.

Related to the above, I’ve cried myself to sleep a lot lately. Actually, I’ve just plan cried a lot.

I have been struggling so hard to be positive, to put effort into my friendships, to even reply to text messages.

Now, I consider myself to be somewhat of a smart cookie. (Is that a phrase? Or is it tough cookie? Because cookies should be soft, tough cookies are gross…) I know that if I solved the first problem (spending time in God’s Word), the other ones would pretty much take care of themselves. I know this. Truly. How can I experience the peace of God when I don’t spend time seeking His face? Answer, I can’t. I must seek His presence if I want to be lifted from this depressive state I’m currently in. But will you, whomever you may be, please pray for me? Even if it’s just a quick little prayer while you’re reading this post, it would be appreciated.

I miss my mom. I miss home cooked food. I miss having time to make my own home cooked food. I miss having someone to talk about “girl stuff” with. That’s what I’m crying over. I miss the life I used to have. Before the loss. I feel crushed under the weight of that loss sometimes.

We finally had her stone engraved and placed. It’s beautiful, but, they only put one “T” in Matthew. Not that big of a deal, you say? No one will notice? That’s true. But I cried about it for almost 30 minutes when I noticed it.

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I wanted it to be perfect. Does she care if there’s a T missing from Matthew? Nooo. But still, it bothered me that much. Less so now, but still… It’s there.

I feel like a total train wreck on the inside lately, and I miss being a child. Being able to just break down and cry whenever and wherever you are when you feel overwhelmed, and it be socially acceptable. Adults aren’t allowed to break down. Adults have to be… “adult” about it. Take it in stride. Keep on keeping on. But I feel like I just need a week to break down, fall apart completely, and start from scratch, much like I did when I was off work for two weeks after my mom died.

But I can’t do that. I have to keep going. Keep smiling. It may be a dark night, but there is a dawn approaching. I can’t see it yet, but through the promises of Christ, I know it’s coming. I have hope.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

~Isaiah 42:3 (Matthew 12:20 as well.)

I may be a bruised weed, but He will mend me and set me straight and tall again.

Awkward Silence

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Disclaimer: this is from Pinterest. I didn’t make it, I know nothing about the dude who said it, and I don’t have a tumblr nor to I visit the site. I just like this quote.

Today I had a moment of “awkward silence” with someone, and after I got home I saw this quote. It made me feel better about myself and my social foibles. Why do we feel awkward about a moment of silence? Must every moment of time spent with someone be filled with speech? And really, if someone avoids you because you’re sometimes “awkward”, are they really the kind of person you want to be around? After all, a friend that you have to be interesting around just to keep their attention, isn’t a real friend. We’re all boring, guys. I mean, really. We’re all very interesting too, if you take the time to appreciate each person’s own unique qualities and interests. We’re all awkward in our own way, we’re all awesome in our own way.

Anyway, I’m sort of preaching to myself here. Don’t think that all my “don’t be ashamed of your social problems” talk is me speaking from a point of confidence. It’s a huge weakness in my life, but I’m working really really hard to heal it, with God’s help. Getting there slowly but surely. Sometimes I just need to type up a little pep talk to myself. Maybe one of you needed one too. 🙂

Learning to be Lovely

Just a quick note, God is doing SO MUCH in my life through my church and the Young Professionals group, working on my heart attitudes. Especially on my opinion of myself. He’s using others to help me appreciate who He created me to be. Showing me what it looks like to let your inner beauty show, and how to like what I see in the mirror. I’m learning to love myself for the first time in so long I can’t even remember. And you can’t properly love others until you learn to truly love yourself, seeing yourself as God sees you: perfect and breathtakingly beautiful. Loving the journey He’s taking me on.

The Wallflower Blooms

I apologize for having neglected my blog for quite some time. Life has gotten in the way, and probably will continue to do so. But, to those of my followers who are reading this: THANK YOU for sticking with me! For bothering to read this even when you haven’t heard of me for ages! You rock.

Recently something awesome has happened. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve finally started spending time in scripture literally every day with the help of a good friend of mine. And it’s helped me in so many ways. God has impressed upon me the need to start attending church regularly, get into the body of Christ, get connected, start serving, get off my island of isolation. So I began looking for a new church. I finally decided to try out one that is literally three/five minutes away from my house. A smallish church that’s been there for as long as I can remember, one that I attended VBS at when I was a little camper.

I’ve been there four or five times now, and attended the “college” (aged) bible study twice. It had been quite some time since I’d been in a group of new people, and even longer since I’d been in a group setting at all… I was prepared to have my usual insecurities resurface, prepared to be the ultra quiet, introverted, anti-social girl that I have been for so many years. The awkward wallflower, always present but never involved. I didn’t go into it thinking that I’d try extra hard this time to be outgoing, or that I’d force myself to talk to people, I honestly didn’t think about what I would try to do or not do, I just took a deep breath and dove in. And God showed up, guys.

In the past, walking into a room full of new people was like a mouse walking through a room of tigers. I was petrified, internally shaking, heart pounding, basically overreacting in every sense of the word. And if that room of new people was primarily guys, watch out. Multiply that nervousness times a thousand.

This time, after leaving the church service, I did what I’ve never done, and sought out help at the welcome center. The guy at the welcome center was… well… A guy. A mid-twenties guy. And I didn’t even hesitate to ask him if he would help me find the room for the college age bible study. He walked me to the room filled with more twenty something guys and I walked in, introduced myself, and casually made small talk. I got involved in the discussion during bible study, offered my opinion, laughed, joked, and WAS A REAL LIVE HUMAN BEING THE WHOLE FREAKING TIME. This last week I even poked fun at one of the guys because he doesn’t like coffee. WHO AM I?

Answer: A precious child of God who has finally, after all this time, accepted her worth in Christ and let go of her fears of rejection. Amen. I’m so excited to get to know myself as this confident, outgoing, far more charismatic girl I’ve somehow become. I didn’t know I had it in me, but God did, and once I let Him in, he took of the chains of insecurity and set my heart free. Praise Jesus.

For The Way She Thought

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I found this photo on Facebook and thought it was lovely. I hope one day someone will think that way about me.

Been a while since I’ve posted anything, so let me give you all an update on all the cool things that are happening to me!

Firstly, my best female friend, (@kafaylee on Twitter & Instagram) is engaged to her super cool boyfriend Isaac, and she’s asked me to be her Maid of Honor! So in May of next year I’ll be heading up to Washington state (which is literally the other side of the US from me) for the wedding! SO EXCITED.

maidofhonorAnnnddd, that is pretty much it as far as fun exciting news goes. I’m turning 21 on the 29th of this month, so that’s coolish.
Also, I faced my biggest fear (needles) without the help of a “chill pill” this last week. Once when I was younger I had a pretty horrific experience at the hospital with needles, and every since then I’ve had to be given some kind of relaxation drug prior to anything that required needles. Pretty pleased with myself that I didn’t need that this time. 🙂

I’ve been working a lot (very much enjoying my job at Petsmart) and I’m looking for a place to take vocal lessons. No idea if I’m any good, but maybe I can be, who knows. I think it would help me get out of my shell.

I purchased my first “Smart phone” recently, and I have to say I understand why everyone is so infatuated with them. They are pretty darn cool. I’m terrified of using up all my data though, so I keep my data turned off most of the time and just run on wifi.

Am I boring you yet? Cause I’m boring myself! Off to take a shower!

TTFN,
TQG 

I am Brave

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

My estimate is that if you think long enough about it, you’ll see that the compliment that meant the most and stuck with you the longest was one about your character rather than your appearance or accomplishments.

As a human female person with human female friends, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments in my almost 21 years of life, but one stands head and shoulders above the rest and continues to brighten my day 2 years after it was first given to me.

Two years ago my best guy friend, who inconveniently lives something like 5 states away from me, came to visit for one week during the Summer. We’d never met in person before, and I’m just about the most awkward human ever (or at least I was at that time) so by the time he left, I felt like I had completely failed at everything. I was an awkward mess the whole freaking week (Or at least I felt as though I was).

(Several months before his journey to my neck of the woods, I’d confronted him about something via letter, this isn’t a super big detail but it will help you understand the next bit better.)

Shortly after he returned home, he sent me a letter on my birthday, and in that letter he replied to my confrontation, and told me exactly how he’d felt upon receiving it, and how God had used it in his life to change his heart. Then he said that I had been extremely brave to send that letter, not knowing how he would take it, and repeated beneath it “You are very brave.” and attached the ticket stubs from when we saw the movie “Brave” while he was here.

I keep this letter folded up in the center of one of my journals. I don’t reread it much, because I get really emotional when I do, and because I don’t want it to stop making me emotional. It feels good to have a soft heart, it feels good to let things touch you on that deep of a level. I feel as though my greatest weakness is fear, to be called brave reaches into that fear and proves it wrong. And it touches me still to this day.

I’ve been called pretty, beautiful, elegant, lovely, smart, funny, etc. But the best thing anyone has ever called me is Brave.

 

Curing the Funk

Been quite a week! Started out pretty great, God is doing some awesome things, not just in my life, but in lives of those around me. It’s awesome to be a part of.  I’m so blessed.

But somewhere in the stress of trying to find a job (many applications, no progress) and getting accepted to Liberty University (stressful because it’s been two years since I graduated high school, it will be such a shock to my system to start again, plus I have to choose my classes now), I started to get bogged down. Letting the stress blind me to the gifts God is giving me and the ways that He’s guiding me. God has been changing me so drastically lately, helping me grow closer to Him, strengthening my passion for kids ministry, showing me what to do to pursue that, providing for me. I’m so thankful.

But last night at my College & Career group I wasn’t. The worship was great, the message was awesome, but I kept getting distracted, frustrated, couldn’t bring myself back to the message for more than a few minutes.

After the service, a group of us were still hanging around, and one of the guys lead the group in prayer.  It was seriously awesome, I felt the fog lift. Prayer is powerful, guys. Talk to your Savior. He wants that communication. He craves it. And whether you think so or not, so do you. Often times I’ve found that the cure for a funk is prayer and scripture. Take your stress, your fear, your pain, to the feet of Jesus. He wants to comfort you. You’re His child.

Anyway, that’s all for now folks! Sorry I haven’t been writing much! Had a lot on my plate lately!

~TQG