Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The $110 I'll Be Able to Keep Forever


And on Star Wars Day 2016 I got my first tattoo.


This was VERY spur-of-the-moment. I went in with one of my friends, and she received this tattoo, 

minus the arrow.

One thing that I was a bit nervous about was the fact that it was such a random decision. Yet, I felt at ease when I remembered my maple leaf idea had been one that I was thinking about for well over a year. 

Lets cut to it, Christian and tattooed!

Do you not like tattoos? That's PERFECTLY fine. Believe me. I don't like long hair, but you can go on and have that. I once was stuck listening to someone talk about how Christians don't have tattoos and how your body is a temple, which I quickly replied with my typical "I've never seen a temple without art," and they proceeded to inform me that tattoos aren't art, which reaffirmed my decision to write a paper on the definition of art. Art is the expression of human creativity- whether you like it or not. That concludes my salty but necessary bit. 

I am at ease with my tattoos. I love them, they represent many of the things that I adore. 
Yet, when it comes to my maple leaf, it's more than just a nod to Canada. 
For me, this trip was a solid miracle.
I got the chance to serve people far from home, and also I got the opportunity to be informed about the endless problems that first nations people have and do face. And I think this fact has shaped how I view the world now. It's honestly too long and intricate to explain. But Canada has changed me, and it's a result of a three year long period of praying. "God, I'll go anywhere, please send me." Here I am five trips north later. 

My maple leaf tattoo represents plenty. Faith, love, missions, Whitedog, Shoal Lake, and all of my friends that I've been able to meet. This is one tattoo that could have been copious tattoos.

 And I cherish it as a physical representation of so many things that make me me. 

Now for tattoo two. 

"And I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after the people that interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved. desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."
-Jack Kerouac

I got this one with my brother, whose first tattoo is my beautiful niece's name.

This one, man. My tattoo ideas go like this typically:
Get idea of thing I want to tattoo to be for (example, Canada, Whitedog, etc)
Think of design
Decide- does anyone I know have it? Is it "mine"? What makes it different? 
Get tattoo. 

To explain this in a timely manner, I'll share my Instagram caption on a picture of this tattoo. 

I decided on this for many reasons. First of all, I wanted a Kerouac tattoo. For a long time I thought of many variations of a tattoo in honor of one of the founders of the beats. Then, there was the phrase. Mad to live. I get how Kerouac meant it, but one could give it many meanings. Mad? Does it mean enthusiastic? Insane? Then we get to the entire quote, which lists that the only people for him are the mad ones. For a long time I've admired many people who I would personally list as a "mad one." So this tattoo not only reminds me of Kerouac, but van Gogh, Chris McCandless, Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath, as well as many others. Finally we can come to who wrote it out for me, my mother. Enthusiastic to live: A reminder, a declaration; it means more than I can explain in words. So this is my second tattoo. I've been in love with it since well before I got it.

What's next? 

On my left arm, I'll most likely be getting "Under the sun" in my dad's handwriting. It may be written in Portuguese, and I checked the translation with a lovely friend of mine who fluently speaks it. This will represent many things, as is the theme with my tattoos. 
My favorite book in the bible, Ecclesiastes, which carried me through some times. Under the sun is one of the most repeated phrases throughout this book. In Portuguese, it would stand for my ancestors on dad's side- which would take care of my want to get a "Portuguese tattoo." My father will be writing it, as my mom did with mad to live. This represents so much, and I'm excited to get it. 

So here it is, the post I've been wanting to write for a long time. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

An Idea for the Unheard

You're halfway through what you wanted to say and you take a look around.

No one was listening.

You're talking to someone. They walk away.

They weren't listening.

You try and say something in a conversation.

Someone else talks over you.

I feel as though if I had any superpower, it's the power to not be heard. I know others feel like they have this superpower as well. It's pretty isolating, lonely, and annoying- but I guess someone had to be blessed with this. Maybe that's why I like writing? I just say what I want to say, press publish, maybe share it on social media, and that's it. Maybe someone comments, but there's no noise involved. With writing I can share everything I wish in a well-thought-out way, and there's no one there to blatantly ignore me. Hey, if you feel like you share my superpower you should write? Give it a chance.

There's a quote by Allen Ginsberg that really pertains to this subject.

"To gain your own voice, forget about having it heard. Become a saint of your own province and your own consciousness."

Write stuff. Send it out into the world or keep it in your word documents. Maybe some people will read what you have to say, maybe people won't. At least you got to finish your sentence.

Friday, August 26, 2016

It Only Took 35 Years

Have you ever been in a massive concert venue?

You walk in and you have to take a moment to catch your breath. Thousands upon thousands of people gathered to enjoy the same music that you love. It's concert time. 

People. People. People. You have to weave your way through large crowds to get to your seat, which is unfortunately up very high in the stands and you can't really see, but you're there. You have been counting down the days since you found out they were playing near you, and you're just beyond happy that you made it there.  

Oh, delays. Don't put all of your faith in technology. One of the bands sets were messed up due to whatever, so the concert will be longer than expected. You're sweating unbelievably, and you're trying to formulate a plan to maybe move to that one row of seats that have been empty for quite a few songs. You re-check the set list for the time the band you came to see will be playing. 10pm. Okay.

You decide that since you have some cash in your wallet (for what seems like the first time in eternity) you'll go check the merch tables. Once again, you're weaving your way through crowds of people in the humid city air. You notice people wearing shirts for the band you came to see. A lady high-fives you as you continue your way through the crowd. The sense of togetherness fills your heart with joy. You missed concerts.

With no luck in the merchandise department, you make it back to your seats. The time ticks by, slowly but surely. Before you know it, it's time for the last band to play before who you came to see hits the stage. Their set list ticks by slowly but surely. Your band will be playing soon.

In my case, this band was the Violent Femmes, and it wasn't really my band. I love them, sure. I'm actually listening to their second album at the moment. But, it's mom I bought these tickets for. This band has been around since her early high school days, and she's wanted to see them play ever since their first album came out, 1983.

So, as the band that played before the Violent Femmes wrapped up, my mom, dad, best friend, and myself walked to a better seat that had remained empty the whole show.

This is it.

They should be playing any minute now.
And there goes the guitar...
When I'm out walking...
Blister In the Sun. 
I need someone, a person to talk to...
Kiss Off.
Do you like American music?
American Music.
Why you coming round?
I'm gnawing on the knowledge that I have been burnt...
I Held Her In My Arms.
Beautiful girl, lovely dress...
Gone Daddy Gone.
Oh, I could be this or I could be that...
I Could Be Anything.
I don't remember anything you said...
Day, after day...
Add It Up.


There's something I can't quite explain about being part of the crowd as the Violent Femmes played. I sat between my mom and best friend, and got to hear my mom sing every word. I got to sing along a bit as well. Mom asked me to video tape some songs, I did. But, beyond my mom who finally got to see her favorite band, I noticed the crowd around me.

I saw people who looked to be about my mom's age singing along, video-taping, cheering loudly.

I thought of how lovely it may have been for people. To be able to see a band that's been around since the early 80's absolutely rock a set. To see a band they may have liked since high school play some new songs. I thought of my mom who has liked the band since '83. Who picked up the album in Germany when she was serving in the army.

I thought of how fun it was for me to enjoy nine songs by the Violent Femmes, and I felt a great joy for all the people, including my mom, who were finally able to see them live.

They wrapped up with Add It Up.

We picked up and left before the headliner. We saw all we wanted, and a drive home was in our future.

Their new album played in the car radio as dad navigated the city traffic back to northern Missouri.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Just Shut up and Be There

There are no words sometimes. And that's okay. 

I'm sure you've heard a story. The kind that makes your stomach churn. Where you can feel the tears brimming, and you're just sick with grief and sorrow. Maybe it was a story you heard. Maybe you were a character in it. I don't know. 

Missions, man. I've been on the outside and the inside of these stories. As a missionary, I've sat and listened to many people young and old tell of their past, these tales have left me with no words, just tears and a deep, deep sorrow. 

And goodness gracious, that's okay. Sometimes when people express traumatic events, they don't need trite and trivial phrases that they already know. 

They just need someone who will be there for them. 

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." 
Romans 12:15

When you find yourself in a situation with someone who has experienced a deep hurt, please for the sake of everything think before you speak. 

Sometimes all they need is a shared perfect silence. Or a hug. Or a Netflix marathon. Or all three. 
Just shut up and be there. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

See You Later, Whitedog

       Hello, Again.

       This time I'm using my own words.

                                                             Dear, dear Wabaseemoong, 

                            You have changed me. I mean, I have a maple leaf tattooed on my ankle.

                                Your stories have changed my heart, worldview, and life. 

                                                      Your smiles have made my day. 

                                                 I have been given a sense of direction. 

                             I have been given so much from my experiences on Whitedog. 

                                                                   I pray for peace. 

                                                             I thank God for friends.

                                                I thank God for every soul that I've met.

                                    Your welcoming spirits have made an everlasting impact.

                                                           Miigwetch, Wabaseemoong. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

The Current Music Playlist

Isaiah 45:23 - The Mountain Goats
Snow Crush Killing Song - The Mountain Goats
I'll Be Seeing You - Billie Holiday
Dead Sea - The Lumineers 
Five Years - David Bowie
Complainte de la Butte - Rufus Wainwright
Control - Halsey
I Fought the Law - Dead Kennedys 
Blister In the Sun - Violent Femmes
You Were Cool - The Mountain Goats


Moulin Rouge
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen 
Star Wars (1-7)
Les Miserables

Movies (Available on Netflix!)

A Long Way Down
Silver Linings Playbook
Into The Wild
Before I Disappear
About Alex
On The Road
Across The Universe

Shows (Available on Netflix!)

The X-Files
Long Way Down
Long Way Round
Parks and Recreation
Law & Order: SVU