Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday

In high school, my friends and I started a book. A part of the story would be written by someone and then left hanging at a crucial moment and passed to someone else to continue. The end result was a mixture of all of our individual narcissisms, ideologies, insecurities, obsessions with the sex we weren't actually having, passive aggressions, and opinions of each other, and very interestingly interspersed with the influence of all the literature we were reading in AP English. This book begins with:

"Once upon a time in the Land of Flowing Waters, lived a small community of students, dwelling together in a cottage. Life was grand to these people... Centuries later, we come to today. The community consisted of all punk teenagers."

And it ends with almost Hawthornian ambiguity:

"The club was a success until the monster Grendal..."

In between those pages were witch burnings, heists, multiple partner-swapping, betrayal, lies, poisonings, giant killer chickens and murder. Every once in a while, there were brief moments of happiness. This book is a classic waiting to be published.

I once tried to type it up (which I may try again when I get it back from Scotland... or did I bring it with me? Must check my stack of papers and folders I brought with me), but it made no sense if you couldn't see where one writer finished and another picked up. One day, I'll type it up, using some kind of formula to indicate who wrote what. I still recognize half my friends' handwriting!

(By the way, this is the first time I've ever done a Throwback Thursday. I think it's kind of lame. But it might be kind of fun too. Maybe I should also bring back the Friday Fifive.)

(It also gives me an easy excuse to blog on Thursdays.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Eggstravaganza

For our first Easter back in the States, we did surprisingly few corporate Easter eggs hunts. Count zero. (Well, the kids went to one with our new neighbor Amy and her family.) There are Easter egg hunts everywhere around here, at churchs, schools, parks, you name it. We kind of failed in that department. But we still managed to have eggstra special egg fun.

Early in the week, the kids (and my neighbor's boy) dyed boiled eggs. I've always wanted to try the all-natural, use-spices-instead-of-dye alternatives, but each year, Easter rolls around too soon and I end up buying some dye (or using food coloring) last minute purchased at the Pound shops/Dollar stores. This year was no different. Crunchy mum fail as per usual.

Luckily all of us love boiled eggs, so they aren't a wasted effort. (Fifi's going to be taking colorful boiled eggs to lunch for the rest of the week.)

On Easter morning, I made chocolate gravy and biscuits for breakfast. After recovering from overloaded tummies, I hid the plastic eggs in the yard and let the kids hunt them. They had a lot of fun.

Egg Hunt from superlori on Vimeo.

Then we took our boiled eggs and rolled them down the 'hill', aka our ever-so-slightly inclined driveway.

Egg Rolling from superlori on Vimeo.

Next we took the kids to the zoo. By the time we actually got out the door, we realized it was 12:30 and we hadn't done lunch, being so full from breakfast. We were going to just grab happy meals, until we got the brilliant idea to stuff ourselves silly for the second time that day at Western Sizzlin'. I haven't been there in who knows how long (decades, perhaps), and the kids LOVED it. (Who am I kidding? So did the adults.)

With stomachs overfull, we then hit the zoo. I'm so glad we got zoo memberships. We have certainly gotten use out of them. The kids are still excited about seeing their favourite animals, and there is no pressure to spend all day there seeing everything, since we can always come back again another day.

We spent as much time as possible at the zoo before heading back home to my mom's house for Easter dinner. We swung by the house to grab our contribution of colorful deviled eggs and a potato salad.

At Mom's the kids had another egg hunt and played with all the cousins, aunts and uncles. We enjoyed delicious barbecue and tons more food and desserts, and I literally felt (and probably looked) like a giant whale. It was all seriously tasty though - everything, the whole day's food. I love holidays. I love food.

(My three Arkansas nieces ^.)

We left Mom's late and put the kids to bed. What a eggsellent holiday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The 1500th Post!

Wow, this post -- yes, this one right here -- is my 1,500th post on this blog!

I have apparently thought something about my mundane life was worth sharing with the universe exactly 1499 other times. And I do so again today.

This post feels kind of momentous; it feels like I should honor it with something special, something more than just "I had Fruit Loops for breakfast; well, actually they weren't Fruit Loops, they were Fruity Hoops, because I buy the store brands."

What I've decided on is a spin off from the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen (in the past three days), the question "Will Googling Google break the internet?" and it was asked like a real question. The short answer - No. The long answer - No, that is stupid. Anyway, so spinning off from that, I'm posting

Will blogging about blogging break the internet?

I'm going to answer the question that is on SO MANY OF YOUR MINDS (I know this because I'm magic) -- Why do I blog?

I've been blogging for ten years now. I've obviously felt for ten years that what I have to say is worth not only journaling, but publicly journaling, and that someone somewhere might possibly find my thoughts amusing or useful. Whether I wrote a blog to keep my family updated on my life abroad, or whether I was directing my writings as others with the same interests as me at varying times (motherhood, marriage, theology, sewing), I was always writing with the expectation that it was going to be read by someone.

For some reason, I still clicked publish, knowing someone was going to read my innermost thoughts.

Why do I blog?

I blog, I think, for four reasons:

1. I need to write in order to work out my own feelings. I often can't categorize or rationalize my thoughts without putting them to paper. Sometimes it's as simple as writing out a grocery list so I can remember what to buy; sometimes it's figuring out what I believe about spirituality, religion, or atheism. The act of writing helps me frame and outline my thoughts, and then if necessary, to expound upon each idea. I feel confused and disoriented if I haven't written anything (even a blog post) in a while. I need it.

2. I need to feel like I'm not alone. This is why I don't simply write out my thoughts in a private journal. Maybe in selfish way, I need them validated. I need to know that I'm not the only one who thinks like this, or who struggles like this. I write so that I know I'm not alone. If I am brave enough to put my thoughts and feelings out there, I might be rewarded with a connection to someone else I'd have otherwise not known was like me in whatever way. This is also why I read.

3. I want others to know they are not alone. After I've worked through the ideas or emotions that have been swimming around in my brain, I want to share what I've come up with with others. I want to have done the hard work for someone who is thinking amorphously about the same things but hasn't been able to solidify it herself. I want to give a voice to someone who hasn't been able to verbalize it himself. I want those who have been holding secrets in their hearts to know there is someone else out there with the same secrets. It takes a lot of courage sometimes, and there are still things I haven't yet the courage to say. But you are not alone; I am not alone. This is something that matters to me.

4. I enjoy it! That's it. I just really love writing. Whether it's a poem, a short story, a novel or just a simple quick blog post, I love writing. And I love others to read my writing. It's admittedly a completely narcissistic thing to do, writing for public consumption, yet I can't lie and say it doesn't excite me. Seeing my page views on a popular post thrills me. Comments thrill me too. I write, because it's fun and, oh what the hell, I love attention. No sense in lying, especially when every other blogger reading this will have to admit to some degree of loving it too! It's not the same kind of attention I craved in school when I wanted to be popular, though. It's more like desiring respect, a little nod, some credibility, and a group of faithful readers who consistently come back to read my lackluster words each time I publish. It's a great feeling!

So on this most momentous of blog posts, I give you the answer to life's most pressing question: Will blogging about blogging break the internet?

The answer is still no.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scottish (and/or British) Words I Hope I'll Always Keep Using

There were a few American words I continued to use when I moved to Scotland, like "ya'll", "elevator" and "sidewalk". However, there are a lot of British words I still use, and to be honest, I hope I always use, at least around the house with Scott and the kids.

- petrol (gasoline)
- nappies (diapers)
- trolley (shopping cart)
- queue (line up)
- pram (baby buggy)
- chips (fries)
- crisps (chips)
- mobile (cell phone)
- cinema (movies)
- biscuit (cookie, cracker)
- bin (trash can)
- boot (trunk)
- hoover (vacuum)
- creche (nursery)
[Edited to add:] - pants (underwear) and trousers (pants). I just can't call trousers "pants" anymore without giggling like a school girl!

And I still insist my kids call me "mummy" instead of "mom" or "mommy".

There are also those incomparable uniquely Scottish words that I hope we never lose.

- numpty
- eejit
- drookit
- besom
- glaikit
- crabbit
- dour
- dreich
- tumshie
- blether
- aye

I'm sure there are others. There are some phrases I still like to use too and want to keep.

- At the end of the day (like saying, "when it's all said and done")
- It's all six and one half. (Six and half a dozen = It's all the same, one way or the other)
- It would be rude not to!
- As you do (Example: "I was walking down the street, as you do..." but more often used ironically, when it's not something you typically do. "So I was trying to trap this fox... as you do..."
- bits and bobs

And there's a few Gaelic phrases we still use. Fifi still likes to say her Gaelic grace before meals, and we still like to say:

- Mar sin leibh
- Tha gaol agam ort
- Madainn mhath

Fifinally, I still like our little Cockney rhyming slangs. I caught myself saying yesterday at soccer "I haven't had that in donkeys!" Makes total sense to me.

- donkey's (donkey's ears = years)
- [Haven't got a] Scooby (Scooby Doo = clue)
- [A cuppa] Rosie (Rosie Lee = tea. More of a father-in-law thing to say, but I use it from time to time.)
- On your Todd (Todd Sloan = alone)
- [Telling a] porky (porky pie = lie)

Scott says he's already finding himself switching over to American words, probably much the same way I switched over to British words quickly so as not to stand out like a sore thumb. (He still uses them around the house a lot, though, and he definitely gets more Scottish again when he's angry or agitated!) I, on the other hand, love the words I picked up in Scotland and don't want to lose them now. It's a decade of my life that I don't want to lose all traces of. I also like the idea of my kids growing up with their Scottish daddy (and non-Scottish mummy) using these phrases.

What are your favo(u)rite Scottishisms (or Britishisms)?

Monday, April 07, 2014

Keeping Busy, With This and That

For someone who has taken a back seat to getting involved in too many things - and I've taken, like, the very back seat of the megabus here - I've managed to still get myself very busy lately. However, this time I'm doing things I love, not things that I'm obligated to do, and oh, man that kind of makes me sound like a spoiled, pampered upper class housewife, so let me start over...

Last year's theme was Simplicity. This year's themes are Satisfaction and Motivation. I started 'theming' my years last year with my annual 40 Questions. Simplicity was the year I really needed to streamline my life - in both material possessions and in activities. I had gotten myself involved in far too much, which meant I couldn't actually give any one thing enough care and attention to do it properly. It also meant I was away from home so much, I felt I couldn't keep housework under control or spend enough time with my kids and husband. It was the year we moved from Scotland to the US, so I really had no choice but to simplify my commitments and my belongings.

In doing all that, and then moving across the pond, I realized I had simplified so much that I owned practically nothing, which I perceived as a bad thing, and moving to a new place meant I had very few friends and no activities to get involved with. Thus Satisfaction (and subsequently Motivation) were introduced as my 2014 themes. Can I be satisfied with what I have? Can I be satisfied with this new laid-back - super laid-back - lifestyle, with not being involved in anything? The answer seemed to be that I needed to learn what I can or can't live without and to be satisfied with that. And as for not having friends or things to do, that was going to require a little motivation on my part to achieve.

And in all honesty, I've not done well on either of those challenges.

We have accumulated a lot of stuff that we don't need and don't satisfy me to have. I still haven't been very motivated to get outside my comfort zone and get involved with anything or anyone. It's still very depressing for me. I know I don't want to live here in Arkansas long term, and that's keeping me from making the effort to make close friends or get involved with anything. It's pretty much entirely my own fault that I have very little life outside my home right now.

Soooooo, having laid all that out there, what I meant to say was, for someone who is no longer childminding full time, teaching baby signing, running an online shop, volunteering on committees, rehearsing for musicals, leading worship at church, studying Gaelic, and juggling kids' ballet, football, drama and tennis schedules, I've been a pretty busy lady lately. Mostly from home. And what I'm finding is, it's kind of satisfying. For now at least.

I have my one business. Just one. It isn't extremely busy, it doesn't take very much planning, and the actual work involved is fun and energizing. Having my own Pampered Chef business has been perfect. It gets me out of the house to parties (I love that my job is all about partying), makes us a little extra money and gives me something to be excited about. It does require me to work at getting parties lined up, which is the hard part, but everything else about it is really easy and fun. My goal is six parties a month, though lately it's been only two to four, but those parties, plus holding booths at vendors' events, keeps me fairly busy.

I get to make and eat things like this for money!

I've joined a book club. Two, actually, though I've only been to one meeting of either... However, I have actually bought and am reading the book for Book Club #2 (which is named "Velociraptors in an Opium Den" which I guess I'll understand the context of some day) and have the next meeting on my calendar... I intend to go, having read the entire book, and I'll even bring some food. That's involvement, people! That's a pretty big step for me at this pathetic stage of my life. We are reading An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England by Brock Clarke; I'm halfway through. It's good to have a book in my hands again. We sold/gave away almost all of our books when we moved. Not having a bookshelf in my new house makes me feel uneducated, nonintellectual, and dare I say it, unsatisfied. I have a series of books on my 'to read' list and in my Amazon cart, for after pay day. Next two books on the purchase list: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream and Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama. As a Christian, I was always reading theology. It appears that now as a post-Christian, I still like the same genre! Politics, however, are my new interest. Religion and politics. The two things you should never talk about in polite company.

It was this book that got me interested in Obama's autobiographies...

Sidebar: You may wonder why I want to purchase books instead of check them out of the library or read them on a Kindle. Three reasons:
1) I want to build back up a collection of books. I re-read books all the time and love having them at my fingertips. I have books I re-read practically once a year. I don't want to go back to the library to check out a book multiple times. I also love having my own home library which leads me to...
2) I already said I feel uneducated, nonintellectual and unsatisfied with no books in my house. I want my kids to grow up surrounded by books. I want them to have books they can pull off the shelf at any time if they look interesting to them. I grew up surrounded by books - theology, biographies, fiction, encyclopedias - and I want my kids to do the same. Scott is also a reader - he's into early sci-fi - and together, we had a pretty fantastic library until we - sob, hiccup - had to part with them all. Damn, I miss my books.

All my books fit in this one shelf. Waaaah!

Oh yeah, and 3) I hate e-readers. I like real live books with paper pages.

I'm writing a book. I'm not ready yet to talk about what I'm writing or let anyone read it, but it does fill my time, and it's something I've always wanted - nay, needed - to do. I've been writing since I was old enough to print. I've been writing stories as far back as I can remember. I wrote a book in fifth grade titled Boys R Poo and if only I could get my hands on that incredible piece of literature... I'm sure I'd cry with horror over how embarrassing it is. I graduated college with a degree in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing. I've written a book of poetry and self-published it as an eBook (which by all means, go buy. Right now.) But a book, writing an actual book, has always been on my bucket list. It's getting to the awful stage right now, the 'this is so not f***ing worth it, why am I wasting my time?, oh this is going to be terrible, I have to finish it though, I've come so far, but oh no one is ever going to want to read this drivel!' stage. Which, since I've never written a whole book before, may or may not be something like transition in childbirth. I don't know.

My e-book had to count as satisfying the 'before 30' part.

Now that I have my new sewing machine, the thing I missed most after my books, I've started making stuff again. It's hard to find the time sometimes, but when I do get a few scraps of free time, I've been on my machine. I made another Jaguarator and I've started making taggie blankets. I'm even considering making some taggies to sell. Ohhhh I can see myself slipping into that second home business trap again, but I can guarantee it won't become an online shop! I also want to make some new clothes. I've got a couple of peasant skirts I want to make myself in time for summer (if summer ever comes to this god-forsaken cold town - this cold weather is NOT what I signed up for when we moved back to the South) and some dresses for the girls. I love having a sewing machine again!

Because babies love chewing on the tags.

Not to be confused with the practice of wrapping dead bodies in cloths and embalming oils, though at times I feel like a dead person being kept preserved by another person's will, mummying keeps me fairly busy. Lolly starts kindergarten in only four and a half months, but until then, she and Jaguar keep me going full steam most days.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Having her home with me again after a year and a half of her being in nursery (pre-school) has been tough, but it's been amazing for our relationship. She's a tough cookie to get to close to. This year has been really special for us, as a mummy and daughter. The child I thought I'd never understand, the child who kept me at a slight emotional distance, even as a toddler, has welcomed me into her inner lair and shared her little soul with me this year. We have become best friends through this unexpected year off. She drives me insane, and some days I'm pretty sure drugs wouldn't be such a terrible thing to get into after all, but it's worth it. Like taking her to her homeschool group's Box Car Derby this morning. She painted and decorated her own car, which I'm not going to lie, was one of those 'Anyone got any heroin?' experiences, but at the derby, she was so proud of her beautiful car and so excited to be in a race.

She told me, 'Mummy, I promise you I'll win.' And she did. That's my girl!

Extracurricular activities keep me mummying too. Soccer has started up again, too, so on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I'm hitting the soccer fields again for two hours of watching Fifi then Lolly practice. Fifi is in Girl Scouts as well which is every other Thursday night. So those are my social nights, sitting on the bleachers with the other soccer moms and dads, cheering on our little tripping, bumbling wonders of biology and nature.

Selling the crap out of some cookies.

I've started calling it 'soccer' instead of 'football'. Waaaah!

Fifinally, how could I forget? My least favourite but most rewarding hours of the week? Here's where motivation really comes into play - the gym. I try to go at least twice a week, if not three times. This is my other social outlet, though I don't really socialize very much while I'm there. I'm too out of breath to try talking. I'm still going to my fitness classes while Lolly goes to hers, and today I had a little epiphany. Or maybe it was less an epiphany but a kick up the backside. Instead of hating every moment of these classes (I just frickin' hate cardio!), I realized I needed to pace myself. Once again, a little like childbirth. If you go into a work out (or childbirth) already defeated, already ready to be miserable, then you will have a hard time getting through it. But if you pace yourself mentally, beginning with, 'Okay, I can do this, I'm feeling good, I'm working' then graduate to 'Whew, yep, I'm working all right, but I can maintain this, I can keep going' to finally, 'Right, now it's getting hard, I will keep going but this really is getting tough now', you'll get through it a lot more easily. And surprisingly, at the end of the work out today, I didn't feel like I was going to die or cry, because I'd mentally paced myself. I realized I was actually in good enough shape that if forced (and only if forced) I could keep going. Unfortunately, this is where the childbirth illustration breaks down, because in childbirth, when you hit the 'F*** this, I can't do this anymore!', well, hello, baby, is that a head I see? And you don't have the luxury of stopping any time soon, you just gotta keep working through that mess.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Summer Jaguarnator and Other Motivated Doings

Today was one of those rare, motivated days, where I had lots of things I wanted to do... and I actually did a fair number of them!

I usually go to the gym on Wednesday mornings, so Lolly can go to her swimming class and I go to Step Aerobics. I woke up feeling... well... not unwell but unwilling to go through the effort of a class plus drying Lolly off while trying to keep Jaguar from diving into the pool fully dressed and un-life-vested. Besides, there were a million things I wanted to accomplish, and with an afternoon doctor's appointment booked, I knew there was limited hours in my day.

So I got up and did my stuff.

I actually did it!

I cleaned. I washed and folded ALL the laundry in the house (last loads are washing and drying now). I cleaned Jaguar's room, researched new vacuum cleaners online, played outside with the kids for a little while, made lunch, and - here's the exciting part - started figuring out my new sewing machine!

My birthday present from Scott (one of them anyway) is my new sewing machine. This thing is AWESOME. It's a lot fancier than what I was planning on getting, but I'm so glad now that Scott encouraged me to choose a great one, instead of just a good one. This machine has 100 different stitches! Which I admit was a little daunting. It's electronic instead of mechanical - also daunting - with features like an automatic needle-threader and automatic button-holes.

(My other birthday present from Scott?  Two tickets to go see Les Miserables at the Little Rock Repertory Theater on Sunday!  One for me and one for... not him... but my bestie Devon!  He figured I'd have more fun seeing it with a fellow theater geek than with him.)

It arrived last week (the machine), but I didn't take it out of its box until Monday. It sat on my kitchen table all day Tuesday, daunting me. So I really wanted to get a chance to tackle it sometime soon, and I did it today.


I started out just practicing some stitches on scrap fabric. Lolly watched and wanted me to make her something. I grabbed some scrap fabric from her flower girl dress I made last month and made her a quick little bunny. Then of course Jaguar wanted one. And when Fifi got home from school, she wanted one. Then Lolly's little neighbour buddy wanted one. I got kind of good at making quick scrap bunnies, let me tell you. I also mended an old dress, one I bought back in college from Cheap Thrills in Fayetteville, that I better be able to fit back into now that I've done all the mending I've been putting off for years.

A few weeks ago, all excited from ordering my machine, I bought some fabric for making Jaguar a new Jaguarnator for summer time. I held up two appropriate little boy fabrics and he grabbed the monkey one and cuddled it. Monkey print chosen.

Today was the first really hot evening (and by really hot, it was in the 70s). Soon, the old fleecy Jaguarnator is going to be too hot, so I decided tonight was the night. I got out my dressmaking scissors, my ruler, my notions box and got to work, designing a new, more precise, Jaguarnator.

(I wish I'd had some pattern-paper. I was mega precise this time, with measurements and everything. It would've been nice to make a pattern and never have to measure like that again.)

On my new machine, I experimented with some new stitches I've never used before. It was great fun, and the machine is so fast! I'm still learning on it, and so my finished product does have a few imperfections (everything I create does), but it's functional and cute and I can't wait to put Jaguar in it tomorrow night!

(I also learned a little about fitting zippers. I still need to learn about turning under curved edges without bumffling up the hem...)

The only thing I didn't do today was read more of my book for book club, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England. I'm loving it!

(Wow, I need to update my Shelfari shelf...)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Tattoo Trio, aka Happy Birthday To Me

Away back in November, I asked my readers for blog topics, which believe it or not, I'm still working my way through. Joy gave me the topic "tattoos", and today is the day, because it's my 32nd birthday, and while 32 is an unexciting age, I'm going to commemorate my first birthday back in the States with a new tattoo.

I got my first tat when I was 20 and in college. At the time, I was taking Arabic classes, and though I never felt like I was really getting it, I loved it and was doing pretty well with it. The script is beautiful, and I spent a lot of time practicing my handwriting. I knew that if I were ever to get a tattoo, it had to be something that meant something to me and would always mean something to me. After a lot of deliberation, I chose the word "faith", for the reason that I may not always have love or hope, but I'd always have my faith.

There was an Arabic calligraphist on the U of A staff. I asked him to create a calligraphy design for me for the word iman. He gave me a nice design, but it was a classic calligraphy design, not quite what I had in mind, and it wasn't very tattoo-able. I then discovered a contemporary calligraphist online, Nihad Dukhan, and contacted him. For a pretty little sum I now can't remember (well over $100), he designed me a beautiful iman, which I loved enough to have tattooed on my right foot.

(Why did I not just get the word as it is in Arabic if I loved the script so much? It felt too plain and a little too trendy. It is beautiful when written out... إيمان ... read it from right to left... but I wanted something more artistic.)

A few years later, I was living in Scotland and was ready for a second tattoo. I already had faith, so the idea struck me to go with a trio - "faith, hope and love" - the "greatest of the spiritual gifts". On Nihad Dukhan's website, there was already a design for hope, so rather than have him design a special one for me, I just used that image. I loved it anyway. I had it placed on the middle of my upper back, between my shoulder blades. Hope in Arabic, by the way, is pronounced amal and looks like this: أمل

By the way, did I mention that both my foot and my spine are incredibly bony places for tattoos, and I don't like pain? Yeah, the actual act of getting inked is not my favourite part.

For many years, I've been itching to get that last tattoo - love - but it's never worked out. I've never been really sure where I'd like to have it. My left tricep has always been my go-to place, but for various reasons, I've never quite committed to it. I've also considered my right wrist and my right side under the ribs. I even briefly considered my right foot but just didn't want my tattoos to be that symmetrical.

So here I am years later... eight years, possibly. Sadly, my original trio just isn't what it once was. Incredulously, I did lose my faith, something I thought could never happen. In a way, it seems odd that I want to finish the trio - maybe that's the Type A side of my personality? But also, it still seems fitting. While my faith is not what it was, nor is my hope, love still abounds. (Cheesy.) Love still conquers all. (Just going with the cheesy.) I have faith and hope already tattooed on me, there's no going back, and I'd never want to go back. Both of those things are huge parts of my life, and they made me who I am today. I don't regret either tattoo; I still love them dearly. Now, however, is the perfect time for getting love, or al-hib, or الحب 

The three greatest gifts are faith, hope and love. Love is meant here in the brotherly sense, the universal sense, the love for one's neighbor and all mankind. It is also the greatest of all the three gifts. Nothing as of yet has broken or destroyed my love for other people.

(That's not to say I'm great at it all the time.)

One other thing I love about the trio, is that they all represent the different segments, or if it were a book, volumes, of my life.  The first tattoo was from My Life Part 1 - Raised in Arkansas.  The second tattoo was from Part 2 - The Scottish Years.  This third one will be Part 3 - Return of the McFarlanes.  (If I make another major move again, I guess I'll just need to get a fourth one... I do have my eye on "peace"!)

So on my 32nd birthday I once again return to Mr Dukhan's site for my tattoo. I love this design as much as the others... and again, I'm happy I don't have to pay for a custom drawing! I just need to decide where... my wrist or my tricep.  I hope to get it done this month.  I'm pretty excited!!