Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Amor.


So. I got a tattoo. After years of planning, contemplating, debating, and saving money...I did it. I've been asked 3 questions consistently since I got the tattoo on Saturday evening, so I thought I'd answer them all here. Ready? Go.
#1. Did it hurt?
- Yes, you idiot. Of course it hurt. A man was jabbing a needle full of ink into my wrist. That being said, it wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected...and when he shaded it, it tickled.
#2. Do you regret it/ What about when you want to get a job and start a career?
-I've had a tattoo for less than a week. Of course I don't regret it. It wasn't a spontaneous action, and I've been hoping to get one for quite some time. As for the career question, I don't think this will affect my job selection in any way. I'm going to school for special education and Tesl, which means that ideally I'd end up teaching. For those of you who are still concerned, the tattoo can easily be covered with a bangle or long sleeves. However, lately I've been feeling as if my 'career plan' is a sign of my lack of trust in God. So here I am... Paying $27,000 a year for the schooling to become a teacher...wondering if I'll ever be a real teacher. I've had some pretty large revelations recently about this...so here they are. First off, I couldn't care less about 'career.' I care about following the path that my creator laid out for me before I was even born. I want to follow God, and I feel that more often than not career gets in the way of that. Second off, even if I become a teacher I don't want to go back to Pontiac and teach. I want to teach in another country. I want to see the World, live in it, experience it, etc. It sounds crazy to a lot of people, but I know that God's will for me isn't to stay here in America and live a comfortable life. No offense or disrespect to anyone who is doing just that. It's just not what we're all called to do. Lastly, I feel as if God may be calling me into missionary work. Whether that's through teaching or non-profit work, I haven't the slightest idea. But I'm really excited. God's awesome. His plan's better than mine could ever be. I need to live my life according to His plan. Not mine.
#3. Amor? What's that mean? Why?
- In case you can't read the tattoo, it says 'amor' on my wrist. In case you don't know, amor means love in spanish. It makes me laugh when people ask if it has anything to do with a boy. I usually smile and say, 'Yes. It has everything to do with a boy. Many boys actually. Most of them are 2 feet shorter than I am and live a thousand miles away. One even came over 2000 years before me and loves me more than anyone ever could.' So here's the deal. I went to Quito, Ecuador this summer and my life was completely changed. The people of Ecuador showed me the most beautiful love I've ever seen. Whether it was the wonderful and wise Margarita who cared for me while I was sick with the stomach flu, or 6th grade Danilo who wrote me a love note that spoke of how he loved me because I was a sister in Christ and shared in this beautiful faith. I was surrounded by people who had nothing, but would give everything. Looking back, I experienced a love that was the closest to Jesus' love that I've ever seen. That being said, my tattoo stands for two things. First, it's a constant reminder to pray for everyone I met in Ecuador. For the children - that they are safe, that they can overcome their situations and have the future they deserve. For the families- that they keep growing in their faith; that they accept Christ; that they begin to provide the lives they desperately want for their children. For Pity and Pancho and everyone affiliated with Amor y Esperanza - that their ministry will continue to flourish; that they can continue touching lives; that they spread even more of their beautiful love. Secondly, the tattoo reminds me to do everything in love. To take this beautiful love I saw and to make it my own. To spread this Christ-like love here. Every day. It's simple.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

It aint easy being gluten free.

For those of you who don't know, I've been eating gluten free for about the past two weeks. I began eating gluten free after seeing a chiropractor who recommended the diet, saying that I would no longer have stomach problems and would feel a million times better. So far, I'd say she's been right. It's nice to feel good for the first time in a long time. At first it was really difficult to stick to the diet. Imagine eating primarily carbs and then being told you can't have a slice of bread for lunch. However, last night I checked the scale and I'm about twenty pounds lighter. Thus, I'm going to stick to being gluten free :) So here's a few recipes I'm dying to try. I haven't been able to have cookies or good mac and cheese for quite a while, so I'm making these first thing when I get home from Florida. If you click on the pictures, they'll take you to the recipes. Enjoy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

People I have to see in concert before I die

Sam Filby inspired me to write this blog, after asking me about this list while waiting to meet Passion Pit. Not that anyone cares, but here is a list of bands/musicians that I have to see before I die.

[x] Ingrid Michaelson
[ ] Brand New
[ ] Death Cab for Cutie
[ ] She and Him
[x] Passion Pit
[ ] John Mayer
[ ] Michael Buble
[ ] Dave Matthews Band
[ ] Katy Perry
[ ] Lady Gaga
[ ] Dashboard Confessional
[ ] Something Corporate (I'd settle for Jack's Mannequin)
[ ] Jason Reeves
[ ] MGMT
[ ] Regina Spektor
[ ] William Fitzsimmons

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Fathers Day.


Fathers day has always been kind of a touchy subject for me. On one hand I get to thank God for Steven Eugene Graham; the man that stood up to be the best Father I could ever imagine, even when he didn't have to. On the other hand, I have to ask why? For those of you who don't know, my real Dad was killed in a car accident a few months before I was born, leaving my Mom alone to raise me. My Dad was killed because he'd been out at a bar all night drinking by himself, took off around three in the morning, forgot to put a seat belt on, and hit a patch of ice. All of this happened even though a similar accident had occurred a few months earlier landing him in a full body cast in the midst of summer. To be honest, I have no idea how much of the story is fact and how much I've created throughout the years, so I won't go into the details of that night. Needless to say, my Dad wasn't a hot topic growing up although sometimes I needed him to be. Every child needs to know that their Father existed and what he's like, even if he's not there. It's kind of hard figuring yourself out when you haven't met half of yourself. I've never understood my rebellious side. I've never known why my eyebrows are so ridiculous. I've never known where I got my nose from. Or my eyes. Or my sense of humor. I really needed him to be there during my childhood, or at least a better understanding of him. I always really struggled with a positive image of a relationship with a man because of it, and to be honest I still do today. I needed him to be here to tell me he was proud, and to be honest...every once in a while I could have used his opinion on something. It's hard for me to face the fact that although he chose to go out and drink that night, he chose not to put on a seat belt, he chose to drive too fast, he chose to spend a night away from his pregnant wife, he chose to pick up the bottle even though he promised not too....he didn't choose to die. He didn't choose to walk out of my life. It's been such a struggle in my mind to grasp this concept. Let's face it. It's his fault he's not here, but it wasn't his choice. It's not that he didn't want me, but if he truly wanted a relationship with me then he shouldn't have made so many terrible decisions that night. I wish that I had someone to talk to about all of this, but for the longest time my Mom acted as if nothing ever happened. I still don't like talking to her about it, because when she talks about it I see the hurt in her eyes. On a side note-- I'm not criticizing my Mom in the slightest. All of this has made my Mother the strongest woman I know. I cannot imagine what it would be like to go through half of the stuff she went through as a young Mom. She could have sat around and moped, but instead she picked up the pieces of her life and put them back together for me. She became so selfless in those first few years, and I think that's why we're still so close. I know my Ma would do absolutely anything for me, and I appreciate her more than anything in the World. I'm lucky to have such a loving, beautiful, caring, respectful, funny, and passionate Mom to look up to. She's my biggest role model. Although I'm full of hurt about my Dad at times, I know he's up there looking out for me. There have been moments when I know he's proud, and there have been others that I feel him laughing at my Mother's overreactions. Because I lost a Dad, I got to gain a Dad which is pretty cool when you think about it. My Mom remarried when I was six, and although we had serious problems when I was little, he's a wonderful man. I was always scared he'd take away my Mom's love, and that she'd have less time for me... but Steve has always been there for me just as much as my Mom has. It's incredible the love I've found in Steve. He's my Dad. And I'm so lucky to have such a hard-working Dad to look up to. He adopted me when I was eight, and since that moment I've had no doubt that he loves me as his own. So this fathers day, I'm sitting back and realizing that I'm the luckiest girl in the world. God has blessed me immensely. I have a Dad in heaven looking down on me and smiling, and I have a Dad here on Earth showing me the way every single day. Although the two have never met it's really cool to think that they have this bond. The love they have for me makes them closer than either of them will ever realize. Thanks, God. Your plan is perfect, even when nobody understands it at first. Reading my own story makes me realize that I need to trust you more. You know what you're doing. Also. In case you're wondering... The bird house is for my Dad. He loves Harleys :) Smart man.

-nicole.