This sweet little tat was NOT my first rodeo. I have a lower back tattoo of a Christian Icthus fish with flowers and vines around it, a belly button ring, 12 various ear piercings (including the rook), and a nose stud. Needless to say, I'm not very shy around needles, and I appreciate getting small modifications to my body, HOWEVER, a tattoo shop only gets ONE chance (One!) to impress me and earn my trust. After all, tattoos are kinda PERMANENT, ya know??? Not to mention, it would be SO super easy to mess it up or get a disease.
Before I settle on a place to get some work done (making myself sound like a Buick), I do my research, I read tattoo shop reviews, I call them and chat with them on the phone, I arrive already knowing EXACTLY what I want (pictures of examples in hand) and I ask around town. One of the easiest things to do is to stop a person with a really awesome, well-done tattoo and ask them where they got it, and how they liked their experience. Easy as pie!
For example, recently I read an article describing how some tattoo ink used in a couple local tattoo shops was tainted, causing severe skin infections in patrons. Yikes! Since I was already contemplating getting a tattoo, and the shop I had in mind was in the same town as the shop using the tainted ink, I was concerned! And that's putting it mildly. But I was able to ask my tattoo artist straight-up, if his shop was where the infections occurred, and he reassured me it was not. Whew!
Anyway, I decided on this tattoo, with a cross, heart, and anchor, in an overall "anchor" shape, to symbolize the concepts of Faith, Hope, and Love. Especially hope. I know for me, having hope is something I've been struggling a lot with lately, since my husband has been out-of-work for over a year, and we're having to live with family, and we're dirt poor, and the job market doesn't seem to be picking up anytime soon. So it's too easy for me to get depressed and lose hope that the Lord will take care of us and will come through for us, in His timing. And just having hope that His timing is worthwhile and worth waiting for. I need this constant reminder to have faith and love, but especially hope.