Monday, August 31, 2009

Yay for the New Shanen! :)

So, I imagine, for those of you who don't know me (who only read about me via my blog), you think of me as an extremely emotional, serious, logical person. I am that ~ sorta. But, there's also a really fun side to me that unfortunately does not come out often enough. (except for random decisions like skydiving, which was a sport I thought only idiots would do!) But I'm working on that... and this weekend I took one step closer to coming out of my carefree, "I don't care what the world thinks of me" shell!

I did something that I have actually been planning for quite awhile. I finally went for it. And I am so glad I did... I didn't tell my family until it was OVER so that they couldn't try to talk me out of it. Then my parents asked me if I was drunk when I did it! haha. (ok, is the suspense killing you?!) I got a tattoo!!!

The thought of it started before my recent Africa trip. A couple friends and I had decided we would get tattoos when we returned from the trip, and I decided back in February that I was going to get an African Symbol, but I didn't know which one. There are so many African symbols, so I wanted to wait until after my trip to see what word stood out to me and summed up my experience the most.

I thought the word would be something like "HOPE", after all, I was going with The Village of HOPE! But, I waited to see. (And I'm glad I waited because the symbol for hope was a little too X-Rated - not sure I would be seen with that tattoo!)

Here his is part of an email I wrote to a friend that explains the words I chose for my tattoo:

"The whole time I was in Gulu, God had me reading II Sam. 22, and He assured me that He is the ultimate protector and defense and fortress for these kids. But there was such a sense of the need for safety and security in Uganda! The kids at Village of Hope have a large wall around the orphanage with glass shards at the top of the wall to keep the rebels out, should they return. The windows have bars on them, and then every night the kids lock every door in the house and let out a guard dog to roam the perimeter."

So - during and after my trip, I knew exactly what word stuck out to me the most. It was Safety, or Security. In Gulu especially, there is an eery feeling of "what if the rebels come back" and just a sense of wanting to move the kids to a safer place. I wanted to pack up the entire town of Gulu and move them somewhere safer!! (Thank God for Village of Hope, who is building new homes in a SAFER place for hundreds of children!)

So, I found an African symbol that means "Safety and Security" for a "House/Compound". Wow! Pretty much perfect, considering we call the Village of Hope a "safe house"!! So, I decided that's what I would get. I went back and forth on where I would get it and finally decided shoulder blade. My feet are ugly, so I didn't want it there. I hate shaving my legs, so I bypassed the ankle idea. I didn't want it anywhere where it would be noticeably visible at work. So, shoulder blade (hidden in a sleeveless shirt, but partially showing in a tank-top), was the perfect solution. Instead of the typical black/green tattoo, I knew I wanted one with color, but didn't know what. I thought maybe teal or a fun, cute color like that, but I wasn't sure. Plus, this tattoo wasn't necessarily for "fun" or "cuteness". I really wanted it to symbolize something dear to my heart that changed my life and so I just kept thinking about what color it would be. The night before I was going, I emailed my friend Trish (who is a fellow-tattooee) and told her what I was doing. After she screamed with excitement, she randomly threw out the color RED and said that she pictured it being red, and this is before I even told her that I was debating color choices! Well, I thought about it for a whole 2 seconds!!!... then decided that was perfect. To me, Red symbolizes the blood shed in Africa due to the 20 year war, and reminds me even more how much I need to pray for safety and protection over those people!

So, here's a couple blurry pics from my Blackberry. When Angel gets her pics sent to me, I'll post better ones. This is half-way through and then a close-up of the completed design!

...Yes, I LOVE AFRICA!!!

Click here to read 2 Samuel 22. I wanted to post it on here but it's really long, and I didn't want to chop it up. The entire chapter was really the inspiration behind the tattoo. While in Uganda, anytime I would start to fear for the children and people I grew to love, God would send me back to 2 Samuel 22. It's like he kept reminding me that He is God (not me!)! Nothing I can do will save them. And more importantly, He loves them more than I do. And He is their protector!


Maya's Musings said...

Shanen, you are so cute! I love the tattoo, I am going to go and check out that story and think of you, love you!

Dreamer said...

Thanks, Maya! BTW - I went through some old TBI pics and found some cute ones with you. Keep a look out on Facebook. :)

Desiree said...

Oh my gosh, that is SO ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!!! I love tattoos and was just about to get another one when I got pregnant. As soon as it's safe I'm getting Isaiah 41:10 between my shoulder blades in Aramaic. Your tattoo is awesome!

And thank you for your prayers and encouragement, it means so very much to me! *big hugs*

Dreamer said...

Desiree, I love that verse! I looked it up and have to say, that it fits with where you are in life. He WILL strengthen you and hold you up!! *big hug back* :)

SAbA said...

it was the first time that i read your posts! you are so cute. GOD bless you! from now on i am one of your fans.

Dreamer said...

Thank you SAbA! Do you have a blog as well? I'd love to check it out!

Mindy Rives said...

You go girl!!!!

Rachel said...

LOVE the tattoo and your heart! Be blessed, sweet Shanen.