Thursday, December 11, 2014

True Grit


What does it mean? According to the dictionary it means:

Courage and resolve; strength of character.

I'm currently reading Bear Grylls' book True Grit. I just finished it the other day and am now reading his autobiography Mud, Sweat and Tears.
Bear Grylls truly inspires me. He's a man who explores, survives and continually grows in strength and never lets moments bring him down. He always rises above them and learns from them.
His True Grit book is full of stories from many different people out there in the world who were put in unbearable, unplanned situations but never let themselves be overcome with fear and they never gave up no matter what. They could be in the South Pole or climbing Mt. Everest watching their friends die before their eyes or unexpectantly losing most of their provisions, they still never gave up. They could be captured by the enemy and put in a concentration camp where they had to bear excruciating torture for months, sometimes years, they still never gave up even when they saw thousands dying around them. Or they were even forced to cut their own hand off or sacrifice their own lives for their friends.

What made them different to the others around them? Not physical strength. It was all mental and emotional strength that got them through. It's all in the mind, they never gave up, they forced themselves to never give up even when death seemed like the better option than bearing bleeding gums and maggots crawling all over their skin amongst other things.

They portrayed true grit. We can also look at the synonyms for the word grit:

Courage, courageousness, bravery, pluck (spirited and determined courage), mettle (a person's ability to cope well with difficulties; spirit and resilience), backbone, spirit, strength of character, strength of will, moral fibre, steel, nerve, gameness, valour, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, resolve, determination, resolution, stamina, doggedness, tenacity, perseverance, endurance, guts, spunk (courage and determination).

This is a making of a warrior. God needs people with a strength that can go against the enemy and crush his soldiers because God's soldiers are mentally and emotionally stronger. Your body can give up long before your mind will and in the end it's your mind that can push your body to limits that you never knew you had.

So many people today don't have true grit. They don't stand up during hard times and have a positive state of mind. Most of the time they let difficulties defeat them and in turn they never reach their full potential.
Remember that the enemy first attacks your mind. He knows that once he's in your mind he can have full control of your life so we need to keep our mental walls strong against him, recognize his lies of deceit and fight against it. God will test you. My word will He test you.

If you pray that God will train you to be His warrior. Wait and watch how He will take you to places that you never thought you'd go but He'll be right there beside you, training you, preparing you for battle, training you for war. Just today i felt like giving up. For so long i've had to be strong (my family always reminds me that through everything i've been the strongest), to stay positive and it's so easy to give up. When you've been tested for so long you get tired. So very tired. But the stories that i've read in True Grit kept niggling at me. If they can survive that, i can survive this.
To be God's warrior i need to be as strong as steel mentally before He starts training me physically. I believe that all the desires that i have in my heart are from God. I know that He's preparing me for something in the future. I don't see the picture now but i need to trust that through all the hardships, He's doing this all for my own good. Because He loves me and if i want to be used by Him in a big way then i need to give up the comforts of having a normal lifestyle.
I believe very strongly in my heart that one day i'm going to join the army. It's my desire, i have no passion for anything else in life. Some may think i'm crazy but i can't shake this feeling. I've tried, but it's too strong and grows stronger every year. I know that my prayer to God to mould me and train me to be His soldier is being answered. It starts in the mind and works from there.
I believe that when God feels like my mental training is over (it never truly ends but once the foundation is laid) He's going to start training me in other areas.

Never give up. Don't be like the many people out there who choose a comfortable, easy life. Choose to be one of them who forsakes the comforts of life and rises up to change the world. But if you want to be that type of person be prepared for preparation and training. God needs people who He can trust to send out into the field to face the enemy. His greatest warriors. Strive to be one of them. Don't settle for less.

Strive to have true grit!

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Addition// Tattoo #2

Sunday I got another tattoo. Don't worry, just because I got 2 tattoos with little time spacing them out doesn't mean that I'm going to be covered by the time I'm 25. I've wanted a tattoo since I was 16 years old so for the past 3 years I've been thinking a lot about what I want and the Chesed one and this one are the ones that I've had my mind set on. Why wait? 
I really trust the tattoo artist near me, considering how in SA there's really no rules on how or who gets a tattoo (you don't have to be a registered tattoo artist and you can be below 18 without parents permission. Heck, a 6 year old can get a tattoo legally. Nuts.). He's very clean and he's a friendly guy so before we move I wanted to get these 2. 
This tattoo doesn't have any meaning for me. I just really love the way it looks. It's shining because I've got a hectic amount of Vaseline on to prevent bad scabbing. 
Since this one has more detail than my other one it was more painful but not too much. Apparently the thinner the lines the more needles he has to used. So for my Chesed one which has thick lines he only used 1 needle, this one though he had to use 3 needles. I didn't mind, some spots were more painful but no tears were shed :D. My Chesed tattoo the day after I got it was the worst. It was swollen and painful. I expected it to slowly get better day by day but the following morning it felt all better. So weird.

 This one is the same. Day after (right now) and my wrist is really sore. It's also quite swollen but i'm hoping that it will be a lot better tomorrow like my previous one.
You might wonder why on earth i would willingly inflict pain on myself like this. But honestly, it lasts for a few days and then it's forever gone and i'm left with an awesome tattoo that will last forever. Yeah ... forever. That doesn't phase me either BTW! I'm choosing my designs wisely and making sure that it can go with all different kinds of styles in case my style changes one day. I wanted a lion once, lol ... and then i thought better of it. 
My tattoo artist said that this is a nice design 'cause you can add anything on to it (if i want to later on) and also the lines are very thin and 'dainty' so as i get older it will hold a lot better than thicker lines. 
That's always good to know! My brother kept me company this time. Mom had to leave as Sebastian didn't like the sound of the ..... what is the tattoo, needle thing called? Anyway, you know that thing that makes that zzzzzzzzzz sound? Yeah, he didn't like it. My Chesed tattoo took about 10 minutes to do but this one took about 30 mins so by the end i did feel quite numb. Imagine a tiny needle poking through your skin for 30 mins non stop!

He uses a purple dye for the stencil. 

Thanks goes to my brother for taking the pictures.

I'm loving it. Truly.
My brother now wants a tattoo, lol. He's extremely scared of needles (i will never understand that phobia) so i'm not too sure how that will work out, lol. But he said that when he saw i wasn't crying or anything he's now rethinking it. Right ... you have to be really sensitive to pain to cry when getting a tattoo, exceptions being the ribs and the upper, inner arm. That is apparently extremely painful. Not going to test those waters!

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Girl in the Mall

She walks past.
I'm talking to my mom and don't notice her at first until I "sense" her looking at me.
I look back.
She smiles.
"I love your hair" she whispers.
"Thanks" I respond with a big smile.

I notice her appearance too.
Sort of gothic yet feminine. She pulled it off quite well without looking like a freak.
She walks into the shop ahead of me and I see her joined by an older couple. Parents? Grandparents?

I tend to be very observant and notice things that a lot of people don't.

There's a vibe about her.
You can sense it by the way she dresses.
Physical appearance is a glimpse into someone's personality.
Something familiar I sense about her. Very weird.

I notice she has a tattoo on her upper forearm.
Big, cursive letters.
"Life" it says.
She crouches down and peaks into the window of a small doll house.
I walk past her and take another look at her tattoo.
"Really pretty but wait ... what is that?"
Just a bit lower than her tattoo I notice something else ... something etched in her skin that's definitely not a tattoo.
It's white.
It's scars.
Not just any scars.
Scars that are too straight, too lined up with one another, too unnatural.

Self harm.

I noticed the signs. I got her vibe. I know it too well.

I kept looking for her in that store. Trying to catch another glimpse. Trying to bump into her to talk to her. Mom encouraged me to do so.

I finally got up the courage and walked up to her and asked about her tattoo. She showed it to me, strategically hiding her lower arm behind a packet of muffins.

Clear signs.
Those scars were put there for a purpose, a reason.
That was no accident.

While i walked away i felt sadness. Who is she? What is her story? What made her feel so depressed and hurt that she would take a knife to her own flesh to numb the pain?

But most importantly:
Has she chosen life? She clearly wants to be reminded daily to choose it.

She has such a bright smile and beautiful eyes. Her scars looked healed. Maybe she's already far on the road to recovery. I hope so. I sometimes think of her. Wondering how she's doing. Praying for her.

I hope she's victorious everyday in choosing in LIFE!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Two New(ish) Paintings and a Bit of Nothing Imparticular

So here are 2 of my new(ish) paintings. They're actually not really that new. The Mediterranean scene i completed over 6 months ago and the Chesed one i actually started and finished about 3 months ago. It took me 2 years to paint the Mediterranean scene. Yip, you read that correctly, 2 years! Ridiculous right? I painted that one with oils and any painter knows that painting with oils can take a while. But joy of joys i found this other type of paint called Gouache. It's very similar to oils but it dries a lot quicker which makes my job a lot easier. It also looks like oils as you can tell. I enjoyed painting with it so much that i finished painting this picture in 2 days. Definitely my preferred method of paint. 
Maybe you can tell that when i was learning the meaning of the word Chesed and the situation in my life at that time God was really just sowing this word into my heart. I love this word. It's my favourite so i decided to paint this .... and get a tattoo of this word on my wrist. This Chesed painting was actually my first original canvas painting. Usually i copy pictures but this one was all my own. I tried to get an abstract look going and i think it turned out alright.
I'm a huge perfectionist when it comes to my artwork, despite many people gushing all over my work i still look at it and see all the errors.

For this scene i was experimenting with using an art knife to capture a sort of 3D look.

I'm trying to create a separate page on my blog for my artwork but i'm struggling to get my page to actually show on my blog. Here's my other artwork though .... 

This butterfly was my first painting on a canvas. I think i was 14 when i did this.

This i painted for my dad's birthday when i was 14 too. Used oils here.

This was probably one of the hardest paintings i've done. It's all about trying to capture the fabric of the tallit. I think i was 15. This picture was taken before i completed the hands ... i just saw that now actually, lol. I really love this picture though and the meaning behind it. The tablets being the Torah and how it's shaped in a heart just portrays that the Torah is not a burden. It's God's heart and His love letter towards His children. We should cherish it and protect it and uphold it with every fiber of our being.

This eagle i painted with oils for my grandfather.

This is probably one of my favourites. I painted it for my family but then decided to give it to the family in Alaska who let my mom stay with them. They really love it so i'm glad i was able to bless them with it.

This i did with watercolours for my grandmother.

Watercolours again. I did this on the front of a birthday card for my mom.

This was my first original. This was a chair we used to have. Watercolours again.

This is excluding all the pastel pictures that i've done along with plain sketches etc etc. 

I don't consider myself as being a great artist but i really do love painting. My dream is to one day have a sort of studio where I can go crazy with my art. I don't paint often because it does take a lot of work and having to take everything out of a cupboard, paint and then neatly pack it all away is very irritating for me. I want to be able to have everything out and messy so i can just pick up a brush and get down to business without having to worry about staining a glass or messing turpentine. Ever watch the movie The Vow? I love Rachel McAdam's art studio in that movie! But i will start small and when i get my own room again one day hopefully soon i will probably use my room as an art studio instead of making it into a "traditional" room. 
The way my life so far has turned out it's taught me about getting rid of unnecessary things and i'm really so over having a bedroom filled with decorations. When we move to Botswana in December i'm probably going to go crazy from months of being confined and not able to have freedom or independence so i'm expecting myself to be out of the house everyday all day so i probably won't care about how my room looks. 
I'm already Googling activities to do in Botswana to explore and get a lay of the land. I also want to go out at night more often. Being active at night has always appealed to me and now that i'm older i'm definitely gonna be doing that. A friend of ours used to live in Botswana and tells us that it's so safe there that you don't feel fear when you're walking around at night by yourself.

I rejoice at such news, believe me.

Will be posting loads of pictures when we arrive. I'm so excited to be moving to a new country. A fresh start, away from the old and in with the new! But again, we won't be settling in Botswana. It's just another stepping stone. We're 99% sure that God is calling us to move to Alaska very soon. Probably towards the end of next year. Super duper excited. I've always wanted to travel and live in different parts of the world and it looks like that's God plan for me too so i'm just beaming 'cause right now, the future looks amaaaaazing!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


When i went out with my dad last night for my birthday he told me that you know if you're having a healthy change in your life when it's a slow process. You don't swing from one end of the pendulum to the next in a heartbeat. That got me thinking of the changes that have happened in my life throughout the past few years. It's obvious on my blog and Facebook that i've changed a lot and am continually changing. It's a journey but sometimes i sit and wonder if maybe i'm going way too far with my changing and want to be different from other people around me. People are quick to judge me based on my appearance and sometimes it does get a bit overwhelming so i get thinking. But last night while i was sipping my cocktail at the restaurant i thought of my life the past few years. The thing about people when they are so quick to judge me is that they don't know about my life. They don't know small details of what it was like living with an abusive dad, having to deal with rejection from a lot of people in my life, they don't know the mental struggles that i've been through while my parents were getting divorced. A lot of people don't know what it's like to be homeless and having to sell a lot of your possessions just to buy food (that situation is improving a lot BTW). They don't know me. But they think they do. They think i'm some crazy girl who is giving into my fleshly lusts and am following the pattern of this world. Compared to how i used to be, yeah, i guess it can look like that.
My physical change is just a sign of the change that is happening on the inside. When i look at old pictures i see a big change and i can now see how when i changed my hair or my dress style or whatever it was kind of a 'sign' of what was going on on the inside.
These are some of the pictures I found (excuse the poor quality in some photos) ...

This is when it all started. I started dressing more modestly even though i was never an immodest girl. But here i started wearing skirts all the time. I was somewhere between 13 and 14.

Here i think i'm 14 and this is when i started wearing head coverings. Can't believe how long my hair was, lol.

My skirt and top length also slowly started getting longer.

Then i started wearing my hair up all the time. I started thinking that it was bad to wear my hair down.

My outfits also got less feminine and 'attention drawing'.

Then i started wearing full head coverings, covering my hair 'n all. Still 14 here. 

I never wore skirts above my ankles or tops above my elbow or below my collar bone. Layers layers layers. It was hellish in summer! I was also wearing the tzitzit.

When i was 15 and my parents got divorced and i started spiraling down my dark path of mental issues i distanced myself away from the internet. I got rid of the head covering. I wear them on special occasions and when i have my quiet time. I still believe that God was leading me to wear the head coverings and skirts and all that but it was only for a season. Also when i started dressing that way it was when my father was really abusive and family drama was flying out the window and i felt myself shrinking away. Me covering myself up so much was probably because on the inside i felt like i needed to protect myself.  

I also started wearing pants 'cause wearing skirts became more impractical. Here i was visiting my extended family while my mom was in Alaska and my cousins decided to dress me up like a tree. 15 here.

When my mom got back from Alaska and we started moving around a lot i was still an emotional wreck and stopped speaking to my dad. I cut my hair, got a fringe and put some highlights in. I was also reading a lot of Leslie Ludy's books and i wanted to dress like her. In a very feminine, girly way. 16 here.

A bit too much pink makeup? Yeah, lol.

I then dyed my hair red ........ a really bad red for my skin tone, lol. Don't even ask about my eyebrows. I have pretty thick, dark eyebrows that i used to pluck but here i guess i felt the need to really really lighten them to match my red hair. Wow ... lol. 17 here and got my nose pierced for the first time.

Still wearing skirts a lot.

Got into my rag curl stage, lol. I don't have thick hair and i wanted thick, curly hair.

Then Taylor Swift's Red album came out and i looooved her style. Tried to mimic it of course. Here a lot of healing was happening in my life. I was studying the Torah through Rico Cortez and Ryan White. Changed my life and whole perspective on God's Word.

Tried to get Taylor Swift's hair do too. 18 here.

 Winter you only care about warmth and comfort. I dyed my hair a darker red and started getting eyebrows again, lol. Also took my nose ring out.

Went back to brown hair colour. My intention was to grow my natural hair colour back. Pierced my nose a second time. Getting my eyebrows back (i stopped plucking them), yaaay.

Then something snapped inside of me. I realized that i've always tried to be like someone else, dress like someone else, act like someone else. I didn't want to be me and therefore i was miserable. God created us all a unique way, we're all different from one another and when you try to squelch who you are, you are going to be depressed and have many 'freak out' moments. Still 18. I decided to take a moment and do what i wanted to do. Dress the way i wanted to dress even if i felt 'bad' doing it because it went against what i've always been taught. But later on a realized that the things that Christianity emphasizes a lot, smoking, drinking, piercings, tattoos, 'unfeminine' style for women were petty things to focus on. So i got dreadlocks! 

Eyebrow piercing. (I only had this for about 3 months).

I wore what i wanted to wear and ignored those feelings of condemnation. It was also about me being who i was personality wise not only dress wise. When your rejected a lot feelings can grow inside that tell you that people reject you 'cause you're not a nice person so it's best to change. But that's wrong on so many levels. So i was trying to own up to being me and ignored people's opinions.

I dyed my hair purple.

But i went back to red, lol. I love red but this time it's a deeper red so i can keep my eyebrows :D. Started becoming a lot happier 'cause i was healing and cleaning out my system of the past.

I realized that yeah, i love jewelry and a more bohemian and grunge style to the very feminine, florals and skirts style. I can't wear skirts anymore (sometimes i do if the style is nice) because it just reminds me of how my life was and what i struggled with. When i put on a skirt the overwhelming feeling of depression comes over me and i don't want to be reminded of what i struggled with in my mind. It's a part of my life that i had to heal from and i have.


I also don't believe in strict modesty anymore. I don't flash myself around but i don't see anything wrong with wearing shorts above the knee or tops showing my upper arm. Modesty made me feel ashamed about my body.

And of course my recent addition, my tattoo. 

I've overcome and conquered a lot of things in my life. I feel like i've been through hell but i know that God was with me every step of the way, using the bad for a good. I'm a completely different person. I'm a stronger person. The only way you can change as a person and grow in character is to grow through hardships and i don't see my mistakes or down moments in life as bad. I see how God used it to mould me into His warrior and to teach me valuable lessons. I wouldn't go back and change a thing even if i could. My life hasn't been peachy and i can't wait for better moments to come when i can see my family happy but i don't hate what i've been through. I am a much happier person now that i feel like i can be me even if it irks people.