Saturday, February 28, 2009
Today I am inspired to ramble a bit about lent-- inspired by my friend Krissi who also mentioned this season in her blog recently. I (Gina) grew up (partly) Catholic. Growing up Catholic can mean a lot of different things to different people depending on their experiences. For me, it meant 45 minutes of church every Sunday and going to catechism (catholic sunday school, which oddly met in the afternoons during the week instead) to learn how to recieve my first communion. Because we stopped going to church when I was about 12, I never got past the first communion thing to be confirmed and all that. As far as Lent goes, I can't remember doing much with it except getting a gray dusty cross on my forehead on a certain sunday.
The years went by and I hadn't thought much about it until I came to the realization Jesus is the King and Creator of the Universe and deserves my very heart and life (when I was about 20 years old). That is the time I remember as becoming a daughter of God. It was then also that I found out other people besides Catholic people gave things up during Lent. As a new believer in Jesus, I gave things up such as chocolate, coffee, etc. I will admit I have ignored this very cool practice in the last several years. But this year, my friend mentioned he was giving up soda for Lent. "Geez," I thought, "Maybe I should do something too."
Not because it was something I am SUPPOSED to do-- I am pretty sure God isn't taking down names and things people are giving up for Lent. But I realized at that moment that I have been pretty self centered lately. When I gave my life to God ten years ago everything changed, and my heart was suddenly focused on what He had for me in this life-- relating and talking with Him, and seeing the miracles and changes He brought about. I have gotten away from that focus and I will admit my heart has felt more empty than when I was in constant communication with Him, recieving His love and encouragement and being molded into the person I was born to be.
So, Lent. Remembering what Jesus gave up (His very breath) for me has reminded me that every relationship is a two way street. He sacrificed for me. And as I remembered that, I wanted to give something back to Him. Not to earn brownie points with Him (I am totally accepted and loved by Him as I am thanks to Jesus), but to bless His heart. I want to contribute to His happiness and joy, to let Him know I love what He did for me.
It has been cool for me to remember my Catholic roots in the last week or so, and to think about how God used that time in my life to make me who I am today. So, I have decided that because I spend so much time on Facebook (can anyone relate??), I will only spend a few minutes a day checking that account during the time of Lent. I am doing this because it is something that takes up too much my time and energy-- time that I often could be spending with Him. My heart misses God. So I am hoping this season of Lent will bring my heart closer to His and bring me back to the awesome close relationship I have shared in the past with Him.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
For anyone that has known me more than a couple hours, you know that I am slow to decide and slow to act. Some people call it being indecisive, some call it being cautious, some call it annoying. Anyway, my desire to have an little earring/stud in my upper ear (cartilage) has been with me since junior college (eighteen or so years old). I just have always thought it looked super cute and delicate.
Being as I am super cautious, especially when it involves inflicting voluntary pain on myself (funny since I dance on pointe for a job), you can see, can't you, why it took me so long to pierce my ear way up there? Most sources/people recommend going to a body piercing studio where they used a hollow needle to create the hole, then insert the earring. It's just safer for the cartilage that way, and easier to heal. I also, incidentaly, hate shots with a passion (I can never look), so the thought of a needle piercing my upper ear was a little scary.
I just finished my first season with DTDT, and I felt I needed some kind of mile-marker, to remember how I made it through, with God's carrying me through most of the hardest moments of course. I decided that this piercing was it, especially since I'd wanted to do it for so long.
After a lot of internet research (during which I learned there are ALOT of piercings stranger than the one I was considering), asking around, and hemming and hawing, I finally decided Bound by Design in downtown Denver was the place due to the good reviews and recommendations. With Casey and Sarah at my side, I walked into the brightly painted shop and the adventure began.
The bleached blonde, extremely tattooed and pierced girl at the glass counter greeted me. I glanced to my left and there was a room on the side of the shop where a guy was getting tattooed. I glanced into the glass counter which displayed lots and lots of earrings-- there were some crazy looking spirally looking things, plugs the size of racquetballs (the rings people use to stretch out their earlobes), and after that I stopped looking in order to stop my fast-mounting panic. She answered some last minute questions about the safety of this particular cartilage piercing and helped me pick out a small diamond stud that would soon be IN MY EAR (panic still mounting)... I then signed a paper that said I wouldn't sue them and paid for the earring and piercing. I made a quick visit to the bathroom so that if I happened to faint, I wouldn't pee in my pants without knowing it. While back there I looked in the mirror and asked myself, "What are you DOING." But then I thought about how terrified I was to perform a certain contemporary ballet piece earlier in the season, and I told myself, "If you can do that, you can definitely do this."
After waiting a couple minutes for the piercer to get everything sterilized in the piercing room, she called me back. Casey and Sarah went back with me, and I quickly noticed that she had lots of piercings-- cheek, lots in her ears, and lip. After cleaning and marking my ear, she had me check to see if I liked the placing. Then she had me lay down on this hospital-bed-looking thing. At this point I was getting really nervous and was trying really hard not to show it. I had Casey come hold my hand (I know... baby...) which helped immensely. She told me to take a few deep breaths (could she see how scared I was???). She came up really close and then told me to take another deep breath, that she was going to go ahead and get the first step done.
I felt a quick pierce of pain with the needle, almost like a shot, then it stopped. She said "Ok, now I am going to put the earring in, so another deep breath and you'll be done..." One more deep breath, and I felt one more pierce of pain and then that one stopped as well. I asked if that was all, because I had expected something far worse! She said it was done, and gave me a mirror to look at it.
I loved it! It was exactly what I wanted and perfectly placed. My ear was starting to feel very warm, but not painful. She then took me through the cleaning steps I would do at home for the next ten billion years (ok, maybe just the next few months, but it sounded like a lot). Care for a cartilage piercing is a little more involved than an ear lobe because this area of the ear gets less circulation and cartilage heals a lot more slowly. She then told me to take as long as I needed to continue laying down and as long as I needed before I left as well (apparently people have felt fine after a piercing, then drove off only to crash a couple minutes later due to fainting!). She was very professional and soothing, and took great care of me through the whole experience. After taking a couple pictures we walked out, me with a new (long awaited) earring! It is still feeling great after several days hours (it does hurt a bit when I clean it or bump it however), and hopefully this trend will continue.
The moral of the story? If Gina, the slow-as-a-turtle-cautious one, can do it (with many prayers uttered beforehand) you can. And if you decide to do it, I highly recommend Bound by Design if you live in the Denver area.