Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fashionably Inked: Tattoo Tuesday

I have an eclectic list of things that I find lovely. While arbitrary at best, the aesthetic qualities of these items always make me happy. Chandeliers, babushka nesting dolls, old typewriters, and...
Photo Source

One immediately wonders if there is some sort of symbolic significance behind her choice to acquire this tattoo, but sometimes it's just fun to see things that are pretty. Must a tattoo always symbolize something personal or profound? The clothing we wear normally doesn't. Ink utilized as a permanent fashion accessory certainly requires lucid thinking and thorough commitment, but the results are often striking.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday is Monday

There’ll be no convincing myself that today is, in fact, Thursday (sniffle). I’ve been launched into a full-fledged work week that consists of five days in a row with my presence required from 8am to 5pm. BUT….the unfortunate demand on my schedule will only last for three weeks! Thank you, career in higher education, which provides ample Christmas vacation!

My authentic Monday is also accompanied by a need for dietary detox, but my most recent fashion obsession provides a sufficient amount of motivation to de-bloat my waistline. Let me tell you a little story…

After 48 hours of seclusion in the Texas hill country, Rachel, Ellie (Rachel’s three-year-old who might as well be a 23-year-old), and I decided to visit the bustling metropolis of Boerne this past Saturday. Urban sanctuary was it not, but gorgeous weather coupled with a quaint shopping strip proved adequate in satiating our need to socialize with beings beyond the age of 5.

We popped into a little bakery/coffee/sandwich shop sort of place for a bit of sustenance, and as I placed my order, I observed a young woman working behind the counter wearing a vintage floral a-line skirt with tights and worn boho boots.

I need…nay, DEMAND a skirt or two or seventeen similar to this:
Photo Source

Looks simple enough, right? I’m reluctant to assume that discovering a skirt with adequate proportions will be effortless. Sure, many skirts styled similarly populate any department store or boutique one might enter, but I find that they are often too short, too long, or too tight. For this look to work, I need the waist to fit at my actual waistline (otherwise known as “high-waisted” nowadays), the skirt to reach a length right above my knees, and the shape of the a-line to protrude voluminously away from the body without layers of tulle present to support the fabric.

Thus begins my fashion mission for the next couple of weeks: I shall locate at least one vintage floral a-line skirt to pair with leggings and my boho boots!

This look tends to be flattering for many body types so if you like it, go for it! Just remember…not too short, not too long, not too tight.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's a fun assignment from our lifegroup last night: Tell at least three people why you are thankful for them today!

In other news: If you truly love Thanksgiving with the the deepest of commitment, you can always show that love today and every other day for the rest of your life...
Photo Source
I would have worked a can of cranberry sauce into mine, but that's just me...

Have a great holiday, everyone! We'll catch up on Monday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tattoo Tuesday/Fashion Forum Friday Double Feature

Today’s Tuesday is superior to all other Tuesdays due to its uncanny resemblance of a Friday. I am unable to distinguish which days’ event proves to be more exciting so we’ll just go with a mash up and celebrate Tattoo Tuesday and Fashion Forum Friday simultaneously. That, and I’ll be without internet access for the remainder of the week starting tomorrow; B and I will be nestled in the Texas hill country at his parents’ abode in Medina in celebration of Thanksgiving most likely until Sunday.

Tattoo Tuesday  Portion:
Remember when we discussed my mom's tattoo from LA Ink's High Voltage? Well, here's the newest version as rendered by...you guessed it, Derek at Poking You. We walked into the shop one Wednesday evening a couple of weeks ago only with the intention to discuss what Derek could possibly do to embellish the design. He did not want to touch the actual dogwood branch because it is a great tat, but the next thing we knew, he was free handing a mock up of a waterfall directly onto her skin. We decided that the best course of action would be to make the existing dogwood branch pop, and he more than achieved that effect by creating an almost blurred landscape in the background. The picture does not do the tattoo justice by any means, but at least you get the idea. He created an entirely new dimension, and the unfocused waterfall next to the sharp image of the dogwood growing out of rocks creates and optical illusion, which causes the eye to see moving water. He used absolutely no outline and no black ink.

So far, she's really pleased with the results, and I definitely think the overall design now possesses more thought and character. What do you guys think?

Fashion Forum Friday Portion:

Well, the temperature tomorrow should reach a frigid 81 degrees (I really miss authentic winter weather around the holidays), but we should be in the 60s by Friday, which makes me feel a bit more encouraged about my Fashion Forum Friday pick.
Photo Source
Is there an age at which one should stop wearing Juicy Couture? If there is...don't tell me about it because I love my boots and have been waiting all spring, summer, and fall to wear them. My parents gave them to me for my birthday last year, but warm spring weather had already befallen us by the time I received them. Besides, I vacillate quite oddly between extreme levels of hot and cold while on road trips, but my feet seem to remain perpetually icy once November hits. Hence, my Fashion Forum Friday (Tuesday) pick of the week.

What are you looking forward to sporting while eating Turkey and watching the Waterboy this Thanksgiving? What? Watching the Waterboy isn't a universal Thanksgiving tradition?

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! And see you next Monday :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

This Monday looks like Thursday

2 Day Work Week, I love you!

B and I arrived home last night after attending a Family Life marriage retreat in San Antonio, and we have great news: we have no plans on getting a divorce. Alas, we never did; still, I encourage any and all married couples to take a weekend out of the year to focus solely on their marriage. Regardless of how healthy or unhealthy you may consider the state of your marriage, a bit of attention and maintenance can profoundly alter its course for the better. If you're looking for a good place to start, visit http://www.familylife.com/.

But here's what's really fun and relevant to shoes & tattoos. As intended, Rachel captured some fabulous images of, well, my shoes and tattoos! Here's but a preview:
I'd like to thank B's arm for standing in to provide a more natural pose for my arm.

I am more pleased than ever to have added additional details to my original bird tattoo. If you have a distinctly stylized idea and are super picky about details, which most ink enthusiasts are, it can be extremely difficult to commit to a tattoo expansion. Again, I urge you to find a reputable artist, whose work you are drawn to, because elements of your tattoo could get fouled up easily. For instance, Derek had to spend quite a bit of time slowly building up the outline for the frame. In doing so, he was able to create very fine, yet detailed, lines in the drawing. Less experienced or cautious artists may rush the process, which allows the ink to bleed, resulting in a smudgy, less sharp image. I did not want a lot of heavy black on my forearm, and his painstaking execution allowed for a delicate, clear image.

Didn't Rachel do a great job with the photo? I've seen some of the other pics she took and can hardly wait to premier my new blog template!

Stay tuned...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fashion Forum Friday: Audience Participation Day!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

And a very happy birthday wish for my husband. Happy Birthday, B!

It’s about 9:30am, and as I did not make it to bed until 1:30am this morning, the most profound thought I’ve had thus far is as follows: “Hmmm…drinking HEB sparkling lime water immediately after taking a swig of coffee with creamer and artificial sweetener induces an after taste not dissimilar to that experienced after eating a bowl of Trix cereal.”

You’re welcome.

Tonight, B and I set course for San Antonio where we will rendezvous with Curtis and Rachel at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country resort for a fun-filled weekend of drunken debauchery. We told everyone we were attending a marriage seminar, and they totally bought it.

As most of you know, Rachel has assisted me greatly in making my blog look a little more “put together.” Still, the current look is temporary, as I don’t feel that it fully represents my vision. I chose the template, and it’s cute, but…it would be good if I knew what on earth my vision looked like. Fortunately for me, Rachel is a blog visionary. She requested that I bring my favorite pair of heels to the seminar this weekend so she could take a picture for a blog design she had been formulating.

Hence my Fashion Forum Friday item of the week:

Did you just hear angels singing? Yeah, they're that good.
Yes, I wore these heels for my wedding, and they remain my most prized pair. Every now and then they come out of the Dior box in my closet and into the light of day to bless others with their pure and merciful beauty. If any pair of heels that I currently own needs to be featured in a personalized blog design, it’s this pair, hands down.

She told me other details about her burgeoning vision, but I don’t want to give too much away! We'll all just have to wait and see....

So fashionistas/fashionisters, what are you looking forward to wearing this weekend?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Maroon Weekly: Fashion Fibs Revealed

My next to last column for the semester is out online and in print!


Let me know what you think!


Also Joined Bloglvin...

Follow my blog with bloglovin

In case you require another avenue to follow :-)

IFB, I love you!

I’m retracing my internet steps from yesterday, and I can’t for the life of me remember how I stumbled across this gem (so sorry if it was you who graciously directed me there), but I am now officially registered with Independent Fashion Bloggers.com! And I LURVE it so far….and I’m OVERWHELMED by it so far. I have been presented with a smorgasbord of information as it pertains to fashion blogging/bloggers!

Thus far the paramount benefit has been the expansion of my network; several writers have already checked out my baby blog and requested that I peruse their grown up blogs. The community appears to be a valuable resource for connecting with others, who entertain similar interests, and learning how to develop my own blogging style. (I just reread that paragraph and am now assuming that you are slumbering peacefully after scanning that trite description, but I’m a diminutive fish in a vast pond so wake up and get excited for me!)

IFB community, I am thrilled to be involved so bear with me while I sort out all of this exciting, yet intimidating, information. Thanks for having me!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Last Ditch Effort (HELP!!!)

'Ello fellow fashion/ink/blog enthusiasts! (My inner dialogue decided to  affect a British accent this morning.)

Question #1: What do you think of the new domain and design? Is anyone having problems? I suppose it would be difficult to adequately answer that question if you are, in fact, having difficulties finding the blog...but try.

I'm switching Wednesday's normal subject, "Fashioned for Faithfulness", to tomorrow in an attempt to request any last minute ideas and opinions for my final Maroon Weekly article of the semester. Allow me to let you in on a secret, but shhhhh....don't tell my editor. I'm suffering writer's block pertaining to the subject: How to Make an Ugly Sweater Christmas/Winter Party Chic. Uhhhh.....everyone wear black sweaters and brink opera length cigarette holders? Well, that's a short article.

I've received a few great suggestions, and I am slowly formulating an outline, but if anyone else has something to contribute, let me know as soon as possible. My deadline is tomorrow so I need to get it written today!

Or....help me think of famous chic, fashionable sweater icons or pictures. For instance, Marilyn Monroe was once photographed in a cable-knit sweater, which inspired a fashion wave.

Let's get away from Bill Cosby and Mr. Rogers; they're great guys but not so much "chic".

Or...if you can think of something amazing, original, and groundbreaking, let me know!

Any and all opinions are welcome! (Those pertaining to the chic ugly sweater party, that is, because I'm far too overwhelmed right now to hear your thoughts on the current head scarf famine crisis...oh yeah, it's going on, and we're all suffering silently.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The one where I make up my mind....

Okay, people, I promise this blog name will stick...because I paid for it.

You can now find my blog at http://www.shoesandtattoos.com/, as you may have noticed....
Fashionablyimperfect.blogspot.com should automatically redirect to my new domain so hopefully we don't run into any problems. Stick with me, though, in case we encounter obstacles. We'll pull through!

Fashionably Inked: Tattoo Tuesday

There are days when I sit back and think, “You know, if someone told me I’d be publishing my own insipid intelligent thoughts online for a public forum a mere five years ago, I would have told that person to get on out of here and shut the front door. That’s crazy talk.” And then I feel a gratifying sense of accomplishment for the few months of consistent writing to which I’ve dedicated myself and which people seem to be reading.

Today is not one of those days.

Today is a day that I stumble upon yet another grown up, sophisticated, artistic, creative blog produced by another writer who shares similar interests and has mastered a supreme level of blogdom. Today, another more experienced blog is putting my baby blog to shame.

Rachel, of the illustrious FollowingInMyShoes.com, keeps me updated on interesting blogs, articles, and Real Housewives of Whatever Arbitrary City Bravo Has Chosen (we watch that exclusively for social research…definitely not for cheap entertainment). Today, she directed me to A Beautiful Mess, a blog managed by writer, designer, great music-lover, and fellow tattoo enthusiast Elsie Flannigan. Elsie has consequently joined the ranks of who I want to be when I grow up along with Rachel, Jenny Lewis, C.S. Lewis, and Joshilyn Jackson.

Visit Elsie’s blog and enjoy her story, her shop called Red Velvet Art, and her really cool tattoos! Hers is an image I often idolize; she executes (exceptionally well) the quirky yet urbane look that calls for cute hair, vintage dresses, and feminine tattoos. I want to look like her but still like me ALL THE TIME!

I am beyond grateful to have any time whatsoever to write a blog as well as a published fashion column, but I often crave the talent and creativity others, such as Ms. Flannigan and Mrs. Lacy, possess, and don’t even get me started on my friend Neysa’s blog, Dissertation to Dirt. I do realize these and other individuals have chosen to dedicate more time and energy in developing their blogs; they didn’t sprinkle magic fairy dust onto their keyboards.

That’s the thing, though! Between advising, my small amounts of writing, visiting friends and family, corralling my dogs, and being married, I don’t know when I would do it. Rachel has two children for crying out loud! Elsie Flannigan runs a shop and creates merchandise with which to fill it! Neysa is growing a farm….literally. She’s, like, making stuff come out of the ground…in large amounts! I think they do have magic fairy keyboard dust…

Oh well. Maybe someday, I will sit myself down, read Blogging for Dummies, and alter my blog’s appearance and functionality for the better. Until then, I shall enjoy my small amount of writing, hunting for cool clothes and tattoos, and reading superhuman blogs written by the aforementioned superhumans.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Help me save Christmas! (Deluxe Monday Double Edition)

Actually, Christmas is fine and without need of saving.

I, on the other hand, require your assistance in research for my final Maroon Weekly article of the semester.

I need your opinions, your ideas, your insight, your wisdom, and if you could submit that to me in approximately 500 words, that would be ideal.

I kid. I'll write the article, but I honestly would like some feedback.

Leave a comment below describing how you would make an Ugly Sweater Party chic for the Christmas season. And I use "chic" loosely, here. I think we've officially moved out of the realm of "tasteful", but if Katy Perry can inspire fashion trends, much less leave her home in her cavity-inducing get ups, I think the Ugly Sweater Party has a chance.

Thank you to B. Lacy and Matthew Henry for modeling seasonal sweaters for us...unbeknownst to them. I actually like Matthew's quite a bit.
 Any and all ideas are welcome!

P.S. Can someone please tell Katy Perry to just stop it, already! Stop encouraging her; it's getting embarrassing.

Wha' Happened?

Well it’s 8:24am, and I’m officially over Monday. Just thought I’d set the mood…

Many apologies for having to leave my Fashion Forum Friday contributors high and dry. I imagine you were all running about in increased states of panic and terror, as you had no outlet to discuss your weekend wear.

While it’s a meager excuse for reparation, why don’t we reflect upon our weekend ensembles and long for happier days filled with more sleep and less consciousness?

Yesterday, B and I transported my mother from B/CS to Killeen, where she was intercepted by my sister and her husband. Luckily, she remained compliant and did not have to be bound, gagged, and thrown in the back of the truck.

I decided upon a “road trip casual” sort of look. Jeans, charcoal Converse, and the pièce de résistance…

Thank you, Urban Outfitters, for providing me with a stylistic medium by which I can say, "Good day, Berlin" in my non-native tongue!
Did anyone else get to wear something fun this weekend? Or is the trauma caused by the its inevitable conclusion still too near to your heart to comfortably discuss?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blogging Tip #4,389,674

I'm lying. I haven't even issued one blogging tip. 4,389,674 is an arbitrary number I randomly chose. Bet you were pretty impressed there for a moment, though.

Blogging Tip #4,389,674=1: Write a column for a journal readily available in tangible as well as cyber form. When you realize at 3:06pm that you've neglected your daily blog post, you can then conveniently link your article, which has just been newly published online, to your blog, therefore, fulfilling your daily blog post requirement.

Maroon Weekly: Fashion Sense

Read more Maroon Weekly is my advice for you, today. Only the most fashionable people do ;-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fashioned for Faithfulness

Photo Source
I love it when I feel led by the Lord. Yay! We're communicating! I'm seeking him and he's answering me. It's like we have a relationship or something :-)

I also dread feeling led by the Lord. Shoot! He's challenging me! He's presenting me with a task and now it's harder to ignore due to our closer relationship :-(

Last week, the Lord did offer up a challenge...the kind of challenge I hardly want to acknowledge out in the open in front of B and my close girlfriends. 'Cause I know I'll never be able to pull it off on a Christ-like level, but as we learned last week from Graham Cooke, God is calling us to do the impossible. We can't do the things he asks us to; only he can.

What is my seemingly insurmountable task from God? He posed this profound question to me: What if you chose, and I mean actively made the decision, to never be offended by anyone....even if they are being offensive? How would your life look? How would your relationships differ?

To which I said, "Ummm, Lord, have you met people? They're like....so offensive!"

He countered, "Sometimes (in other words "often") you are offensive."

My reply: "Yeah....well...fine, I'll try."

News Update: Guess what? I've failed several time since receiving the challenge. We are programmed from birth for negative emotion; we accept it as part of our beings and ridding ourselves of it is like trying to quite crack cold turkey. It's a dirty secret none of us like to admit: we readily accept negativity more often than we do forgiveness and patience.

So, to avoid sounding preachy, let me repeat it: I fail daily in being totally patient and forgiving and Christ-like. I have to admit, though. The Lord's challenge has caused me to stop and really consider where my heart is when I feel provoked to anger. What if I just let go of the negativity that I would normally allow to envelope me? Maybe the love of Christ would start to shine through me a bit more daily.

Proverbs 19:11 (New International Version)

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

Has the Lord challenged you lately? Feel free to share so we can all up the ante in our walk with Christ!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fashionably Inked: Tattoo Tuesday

Yesterday, I took the day off from work as well as writing; the baby shower turned out great, but I was vastly grateful for my foresight and planning to take a 24 hour break from EVERYTHING!

Today’s Tattoo Topic: What do you do if a tattoo design is not executed in the manner you originally requested?

A couple of months ago, while visiting family in California, my mom enjoyed a spontaneous trip to High Voltage (Kat Von D’s shop on LA Ink) and decided she needed a permanent souvenir.
Dogwood Branch

It’s a great tattoo, right? The artistry and design are impeccable, and the object itself is beautiful. One problem remains, though; it’s not what she envisioned. Somewhere between describing her design preference and receiving the tattoo, her vision was lost in translation. She had hoped for more of a “watercolor” look and does not love how dark the branch is.

So what does one do in this scenario? Well…I don’t know; nothing too impulsive for fear of further compromising the aesthetics. I understand not being totally in love with a tattoo and wanting to be regardless of how many other people already are. I needed to expand on my bird to be happy with it, and it didn’t matter what anyone else said. Now I love it!

So what can she do? We plan on paying a visit to Derek this week to get his opinion, as she loves how he executed the two little buds on my peony.

Should she add on? She doesn’t want her ankle tattoo to be as large as mine.

Can she add different colors and brighten the branch? What if that still doesn’t get the job done?

Really, we won’t know much until she talks to Derek; his professional opinion might steer her in a particular direction, which is just one of infinite reasons to know and trust a good tattoo artist.

We’ll keep you updated, but in the mean time, give us your opinion if you have one. Not the “leave it alone; it’s perfect” opinion because she’s already heard that quite a bit. If this tattoo design were on you, and you mostly liked it but still were not entirely pleased, what would be your course of action?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fashion Forum Friday: Audience Participation Day!

Tonight B and I will be Dallas bound for Juliana's baby shower this Sunday. When I offered to throw her one, I was vastly relieved when she said yes to that and no to shower games.

Huge sigh of relief!

I can almost hear current moms and moms-to-be gasp on horror. "No shower games! But everyone enjoys tasting melted mounds of chocolate and nuts served in diapers!" No. No we don't. And neither do you. In fact, most people loath baby showers for this very reason.

Okay, okay. I realize there are some odd individuals out there who enjoy the games, and far be it from me to steal your joy. I'll play your games at your baby shower with forced enthusiasm and veiled frustration. In the mean time, I'll enjoy hosting a slightly more swanky, grown up type of shindig this Sunday.

Tonight and Saturday will be reserved for finalizing details and relaxing in Mom's new jacuzzi. Therefore, my Fashion Forum Friday pick, while slightly out of season, is even more frightening due to its innate nature and existence as a....swimsuit.... AAAHHHHHH!
I'm looking forward to wearing my Victoria's Secret swimsuit with its cute sailboat print, and I promise that this is EXACTLY what I look like in it.....what you don't believe me? Yeah, you're right. Fortunately I'll just be around my mom and my husband; otherwise I wouldn't have the temerity to expose my begrudgingly inherited "Sutton" thighs....oh well.

Look, the sad truth is that Victoria's Secret models don't even look like Victoria's Secret models. It's time that we stop beating ourselves up over swimsuit season....or any other wardrobe season for that matter. I'm saying this mainly to remind myself, but if you live in regret over the shape of your body, here's a reminder. God made that body down to the very DNA. He is quite appreciative of his work and would prefer a bit more praise from us. We are perfect in our imperfections, and it's time that we enjoy a jacuzzi regardless of who may or may not be present. Rock your cellulite with pride! Woohoo, go cellulite! (I'm secretly hoping that cellulite only enjoys negative attention so my positive thoughts might force it to leave....or I'll just feel better about having it if nothing else.)

What are you looking forward to wearing this weekend? Alternate question: What is your favorite swimsuit?

Bon Weekend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Consideration and Etiquette: They're always in fashion

I have a pet peeve about which I would like to rant. (If you are included within the offending party, please don't be, likewise, offended. I just have to get this off of my chest, and then I'll be over it. It appears to be a societal issue and a glaring faux pas mine and younger generations have seemingly accepted.)

What's up with people not RSVPing to parties, which require planning based on numbers?!?!? Why would you RSVP with the guest of honor and not with the actual host, as indicated on the invitation, which was sent out far ahead of time, therefore, providing the guests ample time to respond with a "Yay" or "Nay" by the requested date? What if the guest of honor and the host live three and a half hours away from each other and rarely have time for proper communication? How would the host, who is putting time and effort into planning a party, know to count your attendance?

Are you frightened to RSVP with the host using the telephone number provided, as you do not know the individual and are quite introverted? Then why did you not use the email address also provided? Computers furnished with the Internet are widely accessible at public libraries, schools, universities, and  places of work.

Were you vacillating between committing to attend or to not attend? Is your life so overbooked that you simply can't decide? Maybe you should RSVP "no". Do you have few activities scheduled for the day of the party? Maybe you should take a walk on the wild side and RSVP "yes".

Do you plan on not attending? Please see paragraph #3. Telephone and/or email utilization is encouraged in communicating your response. No, we did not rudely assume your absence. Now we will have to hunt you down.

You see my point, people? It's the simplest of requests that could make a world of difference.

Infinite "thanks and appreciation" to those of you who took less than five minutes to notify me of your attendance/non-attendance. I mean that in all sincerity.

Now for the rest of you, and you know who you are, we love you and would be overjoyed to learn of your attendance. Of course, we understand entirely if your are unable to attend; we will certainly miss you. We even understand if you plan on making honest attempts to attend but cannot entirely guarantee your ability to be present. Life can be hectic.

Regardless of what your response may be, PLEASE RSVP!!!!


The Host of a Quickly Approaching Event this Weekend.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fashioned for Faithfulness

God has laid it on my heart to reserve one day a week to discuss his nature and his goodness.

Introducing Fashioned for Faithfulness Wednesday! (Yeah, Friday is booked up, and therefore, so is alliteration.)

B and I attend Antioch Community Church in College Station; the church's main campus is located in Waco. Several months after we were married, B and I were still not plugged into a strong, life-giving church, and we knew that God had amazing plans in store.

In all his faithfulness, God spared little time in introducing us to Tyler and Ashlee Hardy at the beginning of the year. After a chance meeting at Red Lobster of all places, we started attending Antioch, the church the couple was and still is pastoring.

How do I begin to describe God's goodness? While the joy of marrying the man God had set aside for me was immeasurable, I had gone through an extremely painful process of losing/learning to let go of certain female relationships in the process of moving from Dallas and adjusting to a new sort of life. To reestablish new female friendships seemed intimidating and insurmountable. I felt a need for new, edifying relationships, but my introverted tendencies did not boast well for my success in initiating them. All I could do was pray.

And God answered. I am now surrounded by a group of the most loving, caring, stress relieving, blessing bestowing women. God required no more than for me to step into the church's community and I was swept up by friendship and love. Was it a bit frightening fore me? Absolutely! But if we take even the smallest step in faith and hopefulness for God's promises, he will always meet us much more than half way.

Do you need a blessing or even a miracle?

Matthew 7:7
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. "

God wants to take care of your needs, and he loves it when you turn to him. He has fashioned himself for perfect, enduring faithfulness. His nature knows no other way.

When you have a bit of free time, I encourage you to listen to the following presentation by Graham Cooke: Part 1 and Part 2.

Do you question whether or not God is really good? You're not alone. It's something all believers and non-believers must confront. I'll tell you the answer: He is. God is love and GOOD.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fashionably Inked: Tattoo Tuesday

I promise to take a break for a bit from acquiring more ink for I do not wish to suddenly look like this unfortunate soul….EVER! (Be very careful in following that link!)

That, and Christmas is coming up and I don’t believe our families will appreciate the viewing pleasure of our tattoos as proper gifts…time to start spending money elsewhere.

Having said that, I really really really wanted to clean up my bird tattoo as well as expand on it a bit. It had a few messy lines, and while they were difficult for anyone else to see, they offended my perfectionist eye daily.

I have no intention of the bird morphing into a huge arm piece, but the original design’s simplicity irked me. My other two are more complex, and while simplistic tattoos can be great, this one just wasn’t doing it for me.

The bird is the first, and often only, tattoo people see. If I were an individual less committed to permanent body art, the original design could have been perfect. But I’m no mamby pamby sorority girl, who got drunk one night and thought it would be fun to have cute little matching tats with one of her friends. I’d like to believe that my thought process is much more profound, and in the end, it felt as if the bird only partially expressed my personal aesthetic. (I know many girls with one small tattoo, and they look great because it’s what they want. This was a personal irritation not meant to be projected onto anyone else.)

I have always had an affinity for Victorian frames and birdcages, and here was my opportunity to work in such elements. Derek at Poking You worked tirelessly to make a design flow that B and I had previously created, which resulted in:

Taking a clear picture at this angle proved quite difficult. Here's the best I could produce.

I just had this done last Thursday so the color is still developing as it heals, but overall I'm thrilled with it. I knew that I didn't want to go further down on my forearm for fear of not being able to cover it quite as easily. Therefore, it does extend a bit into the crease of my elbow. Aesthetically, that doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I kind of love the irregular placement. What did bother me was....YEEEOUCH!!! The top part of the frame was surprisingly painful. Obviously, nothing I couldn't handle, but I definitely had to muscle through it.
It feels much more like "me" now, and therefore, I am pleased.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Come to Jesus Time!

(The following blog entry is truly a “Come to Jesus” time. I am going to talk about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and even….dun dun duuuunnnn….the devil. I feel convicted to share recent occurrences in my spiritual walk, and blogs are all about being real, right? Here’s the real me. Enjoy!)

Matthew 6:19-21 (New International Version)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I’ve always found it difficult to spend quiet time with the Lord; I suddenly develop a severe case of attention deficit disorder and can’t possibly be bothered. How truly sad is that? My Creator longs for my attention, and He waits patiently for me as I entertain the things of this world that will eventually fade away.

I don’t envision an angry ruler, who sits up in a vast kingdom in the sky with his arms crossed in irritation or judgment. And I don’t believe that he intends for me to lose my interests in fashion, music, film, and writing…or even tattoos. I was his idea to begin with; I am the way I am because he thought it sounded like a great combination. All God asks is that I put aside myself and this world for a small portion of the day so that we can spend time together. He longs for me, and I’ve felt a weight building up in my soul which I realize now is a mutual longing for him.

I don’t recall a time in my life when I’ve felt disconnected from God. I talk to him daily, and I trust that my life and future are in his capable hands. Recently, though, he has blessed me with friends who lovingly hold me accountable. Because of this I am making honest attempts to be with the Lord….alone…quietly. I simply can’t sit down and start praying, though; I am easily distracted. So I’ve started taking walks. For some odd reason, movement allows me to focus in on just talking to him. Just plain conversation. Pouring out my heart and listening in return.

Here’s what I found out: I’ve been living with a HUGE spirit of condemnation. In a world where I can control so little, condemnation has inserted in me feelings of guilt and self-contempt for not being able to control them. Crazy, right?!? And beyond uncontrollable issues, condemnation lies to me and has me believing that I’m doing a terrible job at managing the things that I can…or theoretically can control. Weight, finances, relationships, and even spending time with the Lord.

Here’s what I had to relearn…and I’m still working on it. Those feelings are not from the Lord! It’s an ambush from the devil The Lord has no intention of making me feel like an out of control, worthless punk. He knows I’m not perfect, which is the whole reason Christ died on the cross to begin with. He wants me to be okay with not being perfect, and therefore, wants me to rely solely on his perfection, his perfect love, and his perfect forgiveness.

The devil would incapacitate me with guilt, while the Lord would empower me with Love, eternal Forgiveness, and WHOLE Acceptance. I am accepted as I am. I don’t need to be a certain weight, I don’t need to dress a certain way, and I don’t have to say and do the absolute right, perfect thing all the time to be worthy of healthy, life-giving relationships.

You may be thinking, “Whoa! Sarabeth is seriously messed up! How could she so easily adopt that mentality?”

Well, it’s easier and more insidious than you would think. Relying on the things of this world, which do not offer total acceptance and total forgiveness, can effortlessly persuade you to acquire some truly awful mindsets. And I didn’t even realize I was living with it per se. See, insidious! Thank goodness the Lord wants to root it out and replace it with peace.

Does this mean that life will be a breeze now that I’ve figured this out? Absolutely not. When the Lord gives you a goal, He doesn’t promise an effortless journey toward it. BUT, He does promise to make the journey with you. Life is hard and often not fun, but he would not have us despair or go it alone.

Matthew 11: 28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Concluding thoughts: Nothing coherent other than God is Love and He wants to make my life and your life and everyone else’s life worth living. Free from persecution and false ideas of “perfection”.

Look, things are going to be hard, and nothing of this world can solve our problems or distract us from them forever. Not fashion. Not money. Not popularity. Not even the other imperfect people we love. And I am the guiltiest of the guilty when it comes to hunting for distractions. In return these distractions have given me unattainable, worthless goals, and these goals have resulted in pain, rejection, and condemnation.

My new goal: To make the Lord my goal. I keep writing. I keep advising. I keep my interests (i.e. SHOES!) But they are not my goals. They do not control me and my sense of self-worth.

I will have a good day because the Lord made it and gave it to me. No other reason could be better.

And guess what. I’ll have to remind myself all over again tomorrow! Thankfully, the Lord will be there to assist tomorrow…or even in the next five minutes.

So, am I alone in this or has the world also placed upon you goals and distractions that have led to something less than love and acceptance? The Lord would love to take those burdens from you…FOREVER. Talk to him about it, and if you want to talk to me, I could use some solidarity. Sarabeth.S.Lacy@gmail.com