It's a.....

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My teenager went off to epic camp today. I've walked past her room several times, peeked in and smiled. It's different having your sister live with you but feeling such motherly feelings. I am not her mother. We have that. I just know this kid is amazing and different and I get the privilege of guiding her these next two years through high school.

I've also been trying to write this blog post for a week. It's a good way to get things "out in the air." I know Grace and I have talked about this post and she was excited to hear that I would write it. She wanted me to write out a few things from her heart too.

Grace has come to stay with me since she was 10 during the summers. At first it started as a week and than two weeks and than before I knew it she would stay the entire summer. Having her and my other sister Mary-Ann here was always really fun. Even though we live only five hours apart I was always so busy with work, school or children to barely get home to see them through the year. Having them here in the summer was a quiet reminder that we would have time together and our bond would be secure.

The idea of her moving in with me has kind of always been there. Grace and I have a special bond; we do share a birthday (10 years apart). She and I had a conversation when she was in elementary school about her coming to live with me and I had "promised" her that if she wanted to come she could.

When the idea of her moving up here came up I was instantly excited. I knew that she would love it here. It's a bigger city (she's like me and loves the city) and she has a bit of roots here since she's been coming here so often since she was 10. We began to pray about it and knew that she was meant to come here. We kept it very quiet. Not because we weren't excited but because we knew people would think we were "crazy" and we did not want fleshly opinions to hinder us from doing what God wanted.

So she moved here. You are probably wondering why? A lot of people have asked me why. A lot of people have assumed they knew why. So lets clear things up.

Grace did not move here because she's a bad teenager. In fact, not to brag, but my teenager is probably one of the most amazing teens I've ever met. She's so thoughtful, kind, and compassionate. She's the most grateful teenager I've ever met. She never asks for anything above the essentials and is always thankful and says thank you when we buy her something that is more of a pleasure than a need. Not to mention this girl is brilliant. She always gets straight A's and is in honor classes at school. She is self-motivated and strong.

Grace did not move her because her parents don't love her. For those who may not know we have the same mother but different fathers. She was living with her father when we approached him on her moving up here. Her moving here is not because he or my mom doesn't love her. It's because it's what God wants. Sometimes you don't always have to understand, you just have to move your feet and go.

Grace knows that she is called by God for something extremely great. She wants to walk the road that God leads to bring here there and a move to Charlotte was apart of that path. She loves it here. Has great support from all her family and is very happy.

I love that I get to see this teenager grow. I miss her when she's gone. She makes me want to be better; do better, be more responsible. She's beautiful, beyond beautiful, and so talented at anything she puts her heart into.

Welcome to the Martino Family Grace. We love you so, so, so much.

Tattoo Musings

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Last night I embarked on a three hour journey to get a cover up tattoo. This replaced the stupid little Chinese symbol I had gotten on my right shoulder when I was seventeen. My tattoo artist, Michael, did a phenomenal job. He seriously blew my mind with how well the first part of the piece turned out.

Anyways, during the work my thoughts were racing (well technically when are my thoughts not racing?). I was just thinking of some things I had experienced in my childhood, specifically that related to me as a woman. I told Michael this story....

When I was eight years old I had a really good friend who lived in the neighborhood with me. I was never a girly girl. Or woman for that matter until I became a single mom honestly (so age 22?). This girl and I used to ride our bikes up and down dirt hills, etc. Well one day we both decided we wanted to play princesses/castle. A typical game for young ladies. Well during this game I made the comment to her that, "I was a real princess because my daddy was Jesus and He was a king." So calmly and so matter-of-fact my friend replied, "Meg, you can't be a real princess because you aren't beautiful."

Wooh. Right? What can you say as an eight year old girl? I couldn't say anything. In fact, I went home and cried and told my mom about it. Years ago when I was really dealing with self esteem issues this came up and I realized that this statement was truly the start of my self-doubt.

Thankfully God has restored me of those self-doubts. Honestly, I know I'm beautiful now. I have favorite parts about me (my eyes being one and my personality another). But I also love my compassion and general genuine feelings towards everyone. I genuinely love people and I genuinely want to see people happy.

There was a challenge going around facebook to post four or five of your favorite photos that made you feel the most beautiful. It made me think that being beautiful isn't just on the surface. Sure I know that, but others don't. It made think of many of the girls I encounter and I just want to scream at the top of my lungs, "BE YOUR OWN KIND OF BEAUTIFUL!" Your beauty doesn't have to match mine. Your personality doesn't have to be my kind of personality; you are still beautiful and you are still unique. Beautiful simply means, "Pleasing the senses."

So with this challenge I started looking at photos. The first one that made me feel the most beautiful was of me laboring with Sophia in the bath tub. Why? I did it naturally and without her father there. I had my mother and a friend, but it's not the same. When I look at this picture I feel brave. I feel beautiful because I did it. I labored with Sophia for over 36 hours and she came out face up (one of the most difficult ways to push a child out) and I did it. I'm pleased.

Then I thought of the picture of me crying after a very emotionally painful day. My vulnerability wasn't my strong point but I made it a point to snap a photo of myself and share it with the world. I realized the longer I lived the more beautiful life became; I became. If I foolishly ignore this beauty I would soon find myself without it.

I love this photo of my two youngest sisters and I. I feel beautiful when I'm with them. They bring out a confidence in me that far exceeds what I can do myself. I think it is because I want them to see just how beautiful they are. And sometimes the best way to show someone that is by being confident yourself. I want my sisters to know that every day will not be good, but you can always find something beautiful in each day.

So with that, and those three simple photos, I don't know why I'm writing this blog post specifically. I think maybe a young lady needs to hear are beautiful. You are unique. Even when you see someone that seems "hotter" or more "desirable" remember that those who value you will see the beauty inside of you and not compare you to the girl next to you. You may not be where I am right now but you can be closer to that point of confidence each and every day.

I know I don't have the best teeth, or the best legs, or even the fittest abs. But what I do know is that no one, no one in this entire world, is exactly like me. Why would I sacrifice myself and this world of a beauty that I can offer that no one else can? I believe in extraordinary things. I believe in romance. I believe in Jesus. I believe in being crazy and not caring what the neighbor next to me thinks. I believe that I offer something beautiful to each person I meet. And I believe that beautiful people just don't happen, they are created.

Today, embrace YOUR beauty.