“Wow. I can barely draw stick figures.”

As an artist, If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I think I might have my student loans paid off by now.

Let me tell you a secret… I couldn’t always paint/draw/(insert whatever craft you have never tried or haven’t tried since middle school here) like this. In fact, I am STILL learning how to be a better artist and teacher.

Want to know some things I can’t do? I can’t play the piano. I can’t play sports. I can’t do certain artistic things, like blowing glass and carving wood. But that’s only half true. It’s not really that I CAN’T do those things, it’s that I choose not to spend the time doing them. It doesn’t really matter if I’m not “gifted” in a certain area – if I spend enough time working on that skill, chances are I’m going to improve. I might want to do certain things, but do I really want to take the time to learn them? I wish I could play the violin… but not really. What I want is for the violin fairy to visit me and sprinkle me with Juilliard-worthy skills – with absolutely no practice what so ever on my part.

Do you know how many hours it takes to be an expert in your field? 10,000 hours. HOLY guac. That’s 20 hours a week, for 10 years. I’m just guessing that I’ve spent 2,000-2,500 hours painting, drawing, and doing other arts. I might have spent a little more or less time, but I’m just estimating here. To put it into perspective, one of my favorite paintings series of 6 pieces took me about 150 hours to complete. That’s a lot of time, a lot of learning, a lot of messing up. It’s a lot of critiques, a lot of late nights, a HECK of a lot of coffee.

On top of all this time, did I also mention that I PAID to receive quality instruction to teach me how to become a better artist? What if you visited your dentist and told him, “Wow, you did a great job on my cleaning. I can barely brush my teeth.” It sounds silly, right? You expect them to be good at their job. They went to school for 8 years, so they’d better know what they’re doing. Sure, you could be a dentist. But do you really want to be a dentist?

What is something that you have you spent 1,000 hours practicing? Do you feel qualified to teach others about this topic? Do you still feel like you have more to learn?

You don’t need to downplay your own skills when you compliment others. It doesn’t make me feel better when you tell me that you aren’t good at things, and it won’t make you feel better either. It’s okay to not be good at something. That’s why we’re gifted in different areas, because no one can truly excel at everything. But if you have a desire to get better at something, practice.

How many hours have you spent drawing and painting? Would you like to spend more? Then do it! What’s stopping you? I’d love to teach you.


Zaanse Schans – Windmills Galore!

I was so excited to visit the small town of Zaanse Schans – a community just outside of Amsterdam with working windmills! I had been there as a child and I have very vague flashbacks of seeing these huge windmills and thinking they were the most beautiful things that I had ever seen. 18 years later, I was not disappointed at our return!

My dad was visiting us at this time, and so he and I took the opportunity to scope out various windmills and snap a few pictures, while we left Jason to take his time with the “real pictures.” Although, I have to say I am pleased with the shots that I got, even on my rinky dink phone 🙂 It started out a little bit dark, but by the time we left the sun was shinning and it was the most beautiful day ever!






Tips for those wanting to visit Zaanse Schans:

– Some windmills are free, others are around 4 euro to enter and tour.
– Parking is 9 euro for the day – you pay as you are leaving.
– You could spend at least a half day here, more if you went into all the windmills, shopped around, and had a meal.
– Stroller and Wheel Chair friendly, but you won’t be able to climb the windmills.
– There are several restaurants and shops with food for a fairly inexpensive price.
– If this is your only trip in the area, splurge and buy some hard cheese. If you are going to be traveling around in other places, there are much cheaper cheese shops that you can buy from.
– You can also buy pigment from the paint mill, and spices from the spice mill. Other popular purchases include wooden shoes, chocolate, and you can’t miss out on a slice of apple pie with a cappuccino! 😀

Burg Eltz – Now THIS is a Castle

After our trip to Burg Eltz today, I think it has moved up to my #1 favorite castle, followed very shortly by Reichsburg Cochem. I still haven’t been to Neuschwanstein, so maybe after that trip my rating will change again! I hear she is quite a looker too. Since my dad is here visiting Jason and I this week, we are making it a point to go to a few new places.

For anyone who wants to visit, Burg Eltz was pretty easy to get to. We used Apple Maps to get to it, and that takes you straight to the parking area. Parking is 2 euro per car, and from there you can either walk down to the castle (fairly easy and short 10-15 minute walk, and gorgeous view of the castle on the way down) or take a shuttle bus (2 euro per person each way). The castle itself costs 9 euro for adults for the tour (they have both English and German tours), which lasts about 30-45 minutes. There are also 2 restaurants at the castle, and free restrooms. One drawback for anyone with disabilities is that it’s not very wheel chair accessible, and I don’t really think there is any way that you could get a wheel chair on the tour because of all the stairs.

I really loved the walk to the castle, and I would love to come back when it’s a little warmer outside and hike some more. There were a few other trails around the castle that you could take, and we just took the shortest route because of the weather. The castle was quite lovely, looking at the outside was my favorite part. The inside was pretty interesting too and the tour ticket also includes entrance to the treasury – a small museum filled with interesting artifacts from the family that owns the castle.

For more information, this is the website for the castle: http://burg-eltz.de/

Here are a few pictures to enjoy!



Here’s one of Jason and me, and one of dad and me! So glad he is here to share this with us!


Right inside the castle gate – dad was getting camera happy!


The view of Burg Elz as you walk up to it from the road.


Another view looking up at the castle.


One view from inside the courtyard looking up at the buildings.


There is tons of lovely wrought iron in a variety of designs all over the castle, this is just one example.

IMG_5427Looking down at the castle from the road as we were walking down from the parking lot. So beautiful, even on this cloudy and rainy day.

My Thoughts on Raising a Gender Neutral Child

Yep, I’m going there. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the issue of raising a child without gender bias has been steadily growing over the past several years. Basically, it means that you allow your child to be what they want to be – whether that is a girl or a boy. For instance, there are some schools that allow children to go to whichever bathroom they feel like they can best identify with. This has become quite the controversial issue as of late, and I see more and more articles posted about parents who want to raise their children to be gender neutral. Some parents even refuse to reveal their child’s gender identity to the public until the child is old enough to decide what gender they want to be for themselves. I have thought about this a good deal, and I wanted to share in writing my beliefs on this topic.

First of all, let me start out by saying that while I am a Christian, and I do have a Christ-centered viewpoint on this issue, I do not write this blog as a way to throw judgment on parents who believe differently.

Secondly, I do want to clarify a few things before I get too much on top of my soap box and loose you completely!

  •  I don’t have any real problem with a child wanting to play with toys that are generally associated with other genders. I am 100% all for the little girl that loves Lego’s or dinosaurs or trucks, or the little boy that likes to play house or play with dolls. They are toys, meant to spark imagination and teach kids about how to live in the grown up world. There is nothing inherently evil about that – a thing in and of itself cannot be evil.
  • I don’t have any problem with a girl wanting to wear clothes with dinosaurs on them, or a boy who decides he wants to wear pink shoes (these are merely a few examples).
  • I don’t have ANY problem what-so-ever with a little girl who wants to grow up and become an engineer, a nuclear scientist, or president! I don’t have ANY problem with a boy who wants to be an artist, a fashion designer, a nurse, or a hair stylist (again, these are merely a few examples).
  • I DO NOT have children, but that does not mean that I know nothing about children. I have a degree in Art Education K-12, I have taken multiple classes on child behavior as well as seen and worked with that behavior in action in my student teaching. I have babysat children of multiple ages, I have worked in my church nursery since I was in middle school, and I now substitute teach at an elementary school. I want to be a parent in the next several years, and I do have a knowledgeable opinion on this subject.

Thirdly, you are more than welcome to disagree with my point of view. This blog is all about my point of view, and I don’t expect everyone else to share it. If I did, I wouldn’t really need to write a blog post about it. You are more than welcome to share your thoughts with me, but I expect you to do so in a respectful way – just as I have tried to write this blog post in a respectful way. I do hope that you will think through what I have carefully written out in this post, just as I have thought through what others have carefully written out in their blog posts on the opposing opinion.

With those things being said, let me begin to explain what I DO believe about this issue, based on what God has told me.

  1. Gender is not debatable. I don’t believe that gender is something we get to decide. It is a choice that is made for us before we are born, and it’s a good and perfect choice. Is it crazy for me to say that I believe there is a reason and a purpose that I was born with the anatomy that I have? I don’t think so. There are a lot of assumptions that are made when we make statements like, “I was born into the wrong body.” You assume that you know more than God – you are assuming that you know the plans for your own life, and you are 100% sure that God made a mistake when he formed you in your mother’s womb. There is this whole idea of gender identity, which to me boils down to something quite simple – You proclaim that you are whoever you want to be, not who God made you be.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. – Deuteronomy 32:4

  1. I believe in raising my children to be Godly men and women. Gasp! How dare I say that I want my child to become a certain way. Am I not stifling their individuality? What about creativity and allowing children to develop into their own person?

 The notion that you can effectively raise a child to become their own person without any influence from you as the parent is preposterous.

Yes, I just said that. And I hope that you will stop, go back, and read that sentence again and let it sink in. The whole point of raising a child is to influence them. Otherwise we could just put them in a box and drop them off in the middle of the jungle and call it quits. That’s what many animals do in the wild! We are created differently than animals for a reason, and we are supposed to tell our children about our beliefs and share our thoughts with them. Of course I don’t want my future child to become a copy of me. I want them to have their own interests, and even their own individual thoughts that might differ from mine. I want them to be their own person, and to be able to stand up against the world when they are old enough to leave my house. If I have a little girl that loves sports (when I really have no idea what’s going on at all in ANY sport), that is fine by me. But I would be lying if I said I hoped I would not influence their belief system. It would break my heart to have a child who grew up to believe that they had to work to achieve God’s grace, or who believed that Jesus was only a prophet – not the Son of God. Whether you want to or not, you influence your children every single day. If you are a gender neutral parent, then you are  influencing your child in those thoughts and ways of life too.

So with that being said, what kind of person DO I want children to become? I want my future daughter to one day be a loving wife to a husband, a man. And I want my future son to one day become a loving husband to a wife, a woman.

  1. I believe that homosexuality is wrong. HEAR ME – I did not say that I hate gay men or lesbian women. I did not say that it is okay to persecute gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgender. What I am saying is that I don’t agree with this lifestyle, and I cannot in good conscience, allow my children to live it.

In the world we live in today, I know that I’m not supposed to say this. I am supposed to be tolerant and accepting. But… Jesus was not tolerant or accepting of sin. He called people out, made them uncomfortable, he lost friends and followers, and HE DIED because people hated him so much for his beliefs. He was killed so that I could be free of my own sins – and I will not compromise what I believe and pretend that I’m okay with something that I believe is wrong. But wait, isn’t Jesus supposed to love everyone? Yes, and he does. In fact, his love for us is the very reason he is so intolerant of our sin. He loves us so much that he wants us to be free, and he wants good things for us. This is why he can’t stand it when we do things that tear us away from him.

This is not the time where I will explain why I believe homosexuality is wrong – in this post it is enough for me to say that I do believe it is wrong. It is no less and no more wrong than lying or stealing or cheating – in God’s eyes sin is sin. All sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).

What does homosexuality have to do with raising a gender neutral child? If I believe that homosexuality is wrong and my goal is to raise my children to become loving husbands and wives, how can I teach them that it’s okay for them to choose their gender? If they think that it’s right for them to choose their gender, then there is nothing wrong getting to choose the gender of the person that they decide to love. Both things are wrong, and lead to a lifestyle of believing that God makes mistakes and his ways are not perfect. 

In the same way that I don’t want my children to grow up to think that stealing is okay, I don’t want them to believe that homosexuality is okay. I will reiterate my earlier statement: I want my children to know that God had a purpose in creating them, and that he did not make a mistake in any aspect of their creation.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

I have many more thoughts on this topic, but to write them all out would take much more space and time than I am sure you would indulge me.


Bucket List, Check! Ireland in November of 2014

I am pretty behind on my travel posts, so I think it is high time that I catch up and post my favorite trip from this year – Ireland. Originally, Jason and I weren’t planning on going to Ireland at all this year until I spoke with my friend Megan. Megan was my RA for a year at Anderson, and since she was studying abroad this year in Spain we decided that we should try and meet up at some point. And what better place to meet up! At first I thought it would be way too expensive, but we started working the numbers and found that we could afford it! Jason and I were so excited.

So we landed in Dublin, and to be honest I won’t really spend much time talking about Dublin. It was okay, but that is not where the real magic of Ireland lies. On Thursday and Friday we went to the Guiness factory, Trinity College, and saw some beautiful churches – but none of it was anything to sniff at in comparison to the beauty that waited for us on Saturday. If I ever go back to Ireland, I will spend my time on the other side of the country.

We had decided to rent a car while we were there in order to take a three hour trip from Dublin to the other side of the island. Our first stop was the Cliffs of Moher. These cliffs are absolutely incredible. They are not the tallest in Ireland, and they are a bit “touristy” but this did not diminish their beauty.

I am grateful that we arrived when we did, because we had about half an hour to skip over the fence and stand on an “illegal” part of the grass before we got kicked out! We had a much better view from there and were able to take some good pictures in that time. Yolo.

You will probably just glance over these photos and think, “Well.. There’s another picture of some cliffs.” BUT seriously… you do not understand how amazing it was to be there. We stayed there for 3 hours. Staring. Taking pictures. Staring more. We were freezing cold, and it rained, and still we stayed there.

Again – please remember that you can view these pictures larger if you click on them.


Jason taking pictures off the “illegal” portion of the cliffs. We were so tiny…


The spray from the ocean hung suspended in the air because of the vacuum from the wind created in that corner. We got wet not from the rain, but from droplets of water that literally floated upwards towards us. Sometimes you could see the water droplets dancing in mid air for several seconds before they evaporated or hit the rocks.


On our flight over, we saw a competition in a magazine to take a picture of yourself reading that magazine on your trip! This is the picture Jason took of me for the competition 🙂


The sun was so bright and the water was so blue that it was hard to get a good picture of the cliffs without them being entirely black. But you can still see how immense they are and how long they stretch. I did enhance these pictures (of course…) but the water really was this blue.


See that tiny dot on that last bit of land jutting into the water? That’s a lighthouse. Yeah.


Watching the rain come in over the cliffs was very interesting. We could see it crossing the water and coming towards us, and we were able to get inside just before it started raining hard.

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And of course, Jason took some of the necessary photos of Megan and I in front of the Cliffs. Gotta have some selfies! Megan took some good ones of Jason and I as well, but I haven’t taken those off Jason’s computer yet. I’ll have to save those for another post 🙂

After leaving the cliffs, we headed towards another area of the coast called the Burren. Burren comes from the Irish word “Boíreann” which means a rocky place. Basically it is this vast stretch of land covered with rocks and not much else. Sound boring? Far from it. We found a great spot to take pictures just as the sun was setting, and again we spent at least an hour to an hour and a half there in awe of the beauty. This is why I love to travel.


Sunset over the Atlantic ocean on top of some crazy cool rocks… yes please.


The waves crashes so violently into the rocks making it too dangerous to get close up to the water. We watched someone from another group walk right up to the water and get smashed in the face with a wave. Maybe if it would have been warmer and we had a change of clothes… but it was freezing cold, and windy to boot.


Every where you looked it was this barren expanse that looked so peaceful and ragged at the same time…


There was also a herd of cows… They walked around us and kept grazing while we took our pictures. We tried not to make any sudden movements and stayed away from the big guys with horns… There have been several people killed by cows in Ireland when coming upon them with no warning!

Eventually we moved to a second location, but it was just too dark for  me to take any good pictures. I snapped this one with my phone and then all the rest of the pictures I took are too grainy.There were a bunch of sheep at the second location, so that was interesting!


There are not many places in Europe that I can say I would spend money to go back once we come back to the States, but Ireland is one of them. If we don’t get to go back while we are here I know that I will find myself there again. It is too beautiful to stay away.

Musings on Good and Evil

Adolf Hitler. Ted Bundy. Joseph Stalin.

Mother Theresa. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ghandi.

Can we agree that there is both good and evil in the world?

If we can agree that there is both good and evil in the world, a question comes up. Where does our sense of good and evil come from? Why is that we know with absolute certainty that the Holocaust was wrong, and the actions of Mother Theresa are good?

Some people would say that this sense of right and wrong comes from society – we have laws that tell us not to do certain things, and we grow up being told not to do certain things. Naturally we must conform to those same patterns of thinking. But I don’t think this is the whole story. Can you remember hitting someone as a child or hurting a friend? I can. I remember an instance where I bit my brother when I was younger. I had never been told that biting was wrong, but somehow I knew it was. My brother was in pain, and I felt guilty before I got into trouble and my parents told me it was wrong to bite others.

Some people would say that this sense of right and wrong is just instinct, but I’m not convinced this is right either. If you are walking across a busy street and you hear the sound of honking horn, instinct says that something is wrong and you need to move quickly out of the way. But if you hear that horn and see a child in the way of a car, something else inside of you tells you to fight against your instinct and run towards the danger to save that child.

Whether we realize it or not, we all have this certain something inside of us that communicates a standard – a line drawn in the sand of what is acceptable and what is not. Granted, as we learn more about the world we find out that some things are not as clear as others. Violence is not always wrong – what if someone is attacking your family and you need to defend them?

Even with these “grey areas” as they are often called, there are still many things that we can know for certain and that every society can agree upon:

Murdering innocent people is wrong.

Is this just an opinion? No. An opinion is much simpler. You might have the opinion that ice cream is the best dessert, but you won’t go to jail for eating a pint of rocky road. When has a serial killer ever been set free from jail for having a different opinion on murder? Certainly they can hold that opinion, but they are horribly wrong. No – this is not just an opinion, it is a belief. In the same way, if I believe our sun is freezing cold, or that water is made up of nitrogen and sodium atoms instead of hydrogen and oxygen, I am wrong. No matter how strongly I believe or how much I try to prove my point, I will always be wrong. I am not right simply because I want to be.

There are certain things that are true, and always will be no matter what we believe. For a long time the earth was believed to be flat, but that belief doesn’t make it true.

Perhaps you are confused because I am using the word “beliefs” in places where you feel like I should use the word “facts.” Fair enough. Facts are not exactly the same as beliefs. Facts can be proven with hard evidence. We know that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen because we can now see it under a microscope. We know that the earth is round because we have traveled around it and have seen it from above, among many other things. A fact is not a belief. But, sometimes a belief can be a fact… if it is the right belief.

            A true belief is a fact.

This seems like an ambiguous statement because it is hard to find facts to prove our beliefs. Often times our beliefs are intangible – love, hope, and faith can’t be seen with the naked eye. If I believe in love, how do I know that my belief is true?

Truth exists. No matter how hard you have to search to find it – it is not lost. We can know for certain that some things are true, and others are false. And no matter what you believe – the truth will not change. By its very nature it cannot.

Do you really know that what you believe is the truth?

I challenge you to dig into your beliefs. Yes, those that you have held true since you were a child, and those beliefs that you have just recently started following. Find out the truth. Don’t just search for the answers that line up with what you believe – that’s not looking for truth. Truth is there whether you believe it or not… and it might look a lot different than you think.

Switzerland, Thanksgiving 2014

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about Ireland! I have so many pictures to go through that it is a much more daunting task, so I decided to start with Switzerland first.

Jason and I visited Switzerland this past Thanksgiving with our friends Aura and Michelle, along with Aura’s son Vincent. It was a really laid back trip and we enjoyed just walking around and seeing what we could see.

My favorite part of the trip was a short walk we took in some mountains near Basel. Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment.


First of all, there were llamas. I really wished my friend Lilly Allemond was there because I kept quoting The Emperor’s New Groove and no one thought it was funny! “A Llama??? HE’S SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD!”


Black Llamas, white llamas, brown llamas, every where a llama llama.


It was really foggy at first, but the higher we climbed the more we could see!


The fog added to the beauty of the mountains, and I ended up being glad that it was there. It was so mysterious, and it made the weather much more bearable. While we had been wearing coats, gloves, hats, and scarves at the bottom of the mountain by the time we reached the top we were sweating like pigs!


In this picture you can see the Swiss Alps far away in the distance. Another trip for another day! But it was really neat to get to see them even from so far away.


Plus, who can deny the beauty of this fellow here?


As usual, Chloey was more interested in a belly rub than having her portrait taken with the Swiss Alps… Well, here’s her portrait with some Swiss dirt.

We stopped for some really delicious Gluhwein before heading back down the mountain! It was my first experience having Gluhwein and it was very good. Gluhwein, for those of you who don’t know, is hot wine that has a variety of different spices in it. It reminded me of hot apple cider, but was much more hearty.

We were very hungry when we came down the mountain, but we didn’t realize that a lot of restaurants would close early for dinner! Thankfully we found a small coffee shop with a bakery where we were able to get hot drinks and a pastry. Not quite a full lunch, but it was enough to tide us over.

That evening we hit up the Basel Christmas market. It was few too many people to handle with a puppy dog, and poor Chloey got stepped on 😦 We were a little stressed after that, but after a delicious meal of pizza at a local restaurant we were refreshed. I went back to the room that evening with Chloey while Jason went back out on the town to take some more photos. All in all a pleasant short trip to Switzerland!

When You Feel Like a Failure

I know this post is longer than what I usually write, but stay with me. I want to take a break from my travel posts to share something that has been on my mind for the past few weeks.

This week I feel like I’m sitting in a big puddle of failure. It is soaking through to everything and it sucks. Emotionally, physically, spiritually – everything! My house is a total mess. I made some dumb financial decisions at the beginning of the month and so I’m suffering financially. I am slacking on my diet. I am snapping at my husband when he doesn’t deserve it. I have missed not one, not two, but THREE workouts in a row. This is not me complaining about my life, this is me sharing things that are all completely and entirely my fault. I’m screwing up.

So what do I need to do when I feel like I’m a total failure and everything I touch turns to crap? I know some people who would say I just need to get a positive attitude and focus on changing my self. But what if that is not enough? I need something more than self-motivation.

I know some people would say that I should turn to my husband and my friends, that I should ask them for encouragement. But what if even they aren’t enough? What do you do when even the words from the people you care about the most aren’t enough to lift you up?

No matter how many times you try to motivate yourself, no matter what people say to encourage you, there are times it just doesn’t work. And I know I’m not the only one that this happens to. You can say your mantra of peace and remind yourself of the things that you know are true about yourself, but some days you need more.

Where do you escape to clear your mind and renew yourself? Traveling? Pouring your heart into your work? Picking up a new hobby or skill? Changing your hair cut or taking a day off? Buying a new outfit? Tell me, did it work? Is it long lasting?

No… I don’t think those are the answers. All these ideas are temporary. The newness wears off after awhile and you feel the same. Then the cycle continues to repeat over and over again until when…?

Before you start spiraling into depression by just reading this post, there is something else I want to share with you. Truly, I wish that you were sitting here in front of me so that I could take your hand and tell you this in person.

Today out of the blue this verse came to me, a verse that I haven’t thought of in a very long time. It brought me encouragement, and I ask you to read it, even if you aren’t a spiritual person. The prose is still beautiful even if you are not a believer in Christ.

 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

For me that verse is extremely meaningful. It changes things in my heart. I feel like I need a whole other post to explain why that is so encouraging to me, but I will try to be brief.

When we accept our failures, it means that we give up trying to be perfect. We realize that we can’t do it all alone. And that is freeing to me – not because I will forever be imperfect and depressed, but because I have someone to help me. Not just someone who will tell me I look pretty or to keep my chin up. This person reaches deep inside my soul and is capable of mending the very fiber of my being. He touches pieces of my heart that no one else can reach. God hears my cries and is here to lift me out of this pit of all my failures. I am not just talking about feeling better for a few days, or forcing a smile on your face. I’m talking about healing. Do you know what that feels like? In Christ I am a totally different person. When God looks at me, he doesn’t see all the things that I’ve done wrong, or all the ways that I feel like I’m screwing up. He sees perfection. Complete and utter perfection.

Maastricht, Netherlands

I have not been to the Netherlands since I was small, so I was eager to go back while my mother-in-law was visiting us! I still want to go back in the spring to see the tulips blooming, but I was not disappointed with our short day trip across the border.

*Side note for my technology challenged family members whom I love dearly- you can click on any of the pictures in this blog in order to see them larger*

Maastricht is filled with lots of cobblestone streets that look much like the one bellow. There are hundreds of little shops, apartments, and restaurants around any given corner. There are no yards or grass to be seen along the road unless you peek into someone’s courtyard and they happen to have a little garden. Shh… the door was open, okay?


I was totally blown away by this cathedral that is has been converted into a bookstore! Wow, wow, wow. It was so incredibly beautiful. I felt like Belle from Beauty in the Beast when the Beast takes her into the library for the first time. We stayed in here quite a long time. I can’t even imagine how long I would get stuck here if all the books were in English…




Overall the theme of Maastricht seemed to be bicycles. Lots and lots of bicycles. We had a terrible time finding parking, so I understand why. After we got out of the bookstore, it was pretty overcast outside and sadly most of my pictures of cool looking buildings did not turn out. But later on in the evening we were able to catch the sunset over the Meuse River. We stood on the bridge for a long time just admiring the view and watching people pass on their way home from work.


IMG_2962I’m so glad we got a chance to visit such a pretty little town and I can’t wait until next year when hopefully we will get to see some windmills and tulips!

The Taboo Tattoo

In Christian circles tattoos can often be a topic of heated discussion. The Bible clearly speaks against them in Leviticus 19:28, which says, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourself. I am the Lord.” It seems pretty straight forward in this verse, so why is there so much disagreement? Why do some people have extremely strong convictions against them while others seem to feel no guilt at all? I have done a fair amount of research into both sides, and I would like to share some of my findings.

The History of Tattoos

To help you understand a little bit more about what tattoos meant to people around 1440 BC, you need to understand the reasons why certain people chose to get tattoos. Tattoos during this time were not meant for decoration. No one’s tattoo story started with, “I just went into the tattoo parlor and picked it out because it was pretty.” Tattoos were primarily marks of ownership, which can mean several different things. The Romans used tattoos to identify a person as a slave or a criminal. Other cultures used tattoos to show which God they served, and the Egyptians believed that tattoos created a spirit connection with dead family members. This way you would be able to find your family members in the afterworld. (http://www.thetattoocollection.com/history_of_tattoos.htm)

What does this have to do with Leviticus 19:28? 

In Leviticus 19:28, God gives instructions to the Israelites to keep their bodies pure and free of markings. Why was this important? Because God wanted his people to be separate from the cultures around them. They did not need tattoos to show which God they served or which master – they all served him. He was their Lord. Allowing the Israelites to have tattoos would have been equivalent to allowing them to worship other gods (In my opinion). They did not need markings to prove who they belonged to, they were his people simply because he chose them. He did not need them to mark themselves to prove his ownership of them like those of pagan cultures.

There are a lot of different commandments in Leviticus chapter 19. Some of those commandments are ones we still follow today, and others are not. Leviticus 19:19 commands the Israelites not to wear clothing woven of two kinds of material, and also not to plant two kinds of seed in one field. Leviticus 19:27 says not to cut the hair on the sides of your head or trim your beard. Leviticus 19:26 says not to eat meat with blood still in it. There were very good reasons for those laws to be put in place for the Israelites. These laws set them apart as a culture, as God’s people who kept themselves holy.

So… what does this have to do with tattoos today?

Tattoo’s today have a very different meaning. We no longer use tattoos to denote ownership. We use tattoos to express a message, but they unlike the tattoos of the 1400’s they do not define us.

My personal reasons for getting a tattoo: 

I chose a tattoo after 6 months of careful consideration. It was not a decision I took lightly. I chose a tattoo that reflected the person that I am, and the person that I want to be. I chose a tattoo that glories God and gives me an opportunity to share the gospel if anyone asks about it. I chose a location that can be easily covered up, and researched tattoo parlors to find a reputable location.

I believe that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. This is why I chose to get a tattoo – as an act of worship.

Some Questions to think about…

All this is not to say that tattoos should be taken lightly. I do believe that some people get tattoos for the wrong reasons. A tattoo is something that will last forever on your earthly body, and so there are many questions to consider.

1. Does this tattoo honor the Lord? If your answer is no, then think about why you are getting it. Do you want the cute butterfly/jellyfish/flower/whatever just so you can show it off to your friends?

2. Am I getting this tattoo for myself or for other people?

And there are also some practical considerations:

3. Will the location of my tattoo prevent future job offers (depending of the type of job you want, some employers do not allow visible tattoos)? 

4. Will I still like this tattoo in 10 years? 20 years? 30 years? 

In closing…

Some people will not agree with this post, and that is okay. If your convictions are so strong that you believe it is a sin to get a tattoo, then you should absolutely not get one. Romans 14:14 says that if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. In other words, for those people who do believe tattoos are acceptable, don’t flaunt your tattoos in front of someone who thinks they are wrong and try to convince them to get one. For those who are against tattoos, stick to your convictions and do not do anything that you feel in your heart is wrong.