These three words, "How much more?" might as well be the mantra for most people these days. It seems that every week we think we've come to the point of All We Can Handle and we are given yet more, and somehow become stronger and more resilient in the process of navigating what is offered with grace and humility. I love the phrase MacKenzie chose. What a powerful reminder that in our brokenness there is always unconditional love. 

These three words are important to me, as they represent something bigger than myself; God's infinite love. If we are able to love and take care of each other as fallible and broken humans, with our short-sighted and conditional love, how much more is an unfailing God able to unconditionally love and take care of us?

Thank you to talented tattoo artist Katie Kroeker from Metamorphosis Body Art (Winnipeg, Canada) and photographer MacKenzie Jean


This has to be one of my favorite tattoos of the year. I absolutely love the way it turned out, and Natalie's fierceness. She writes: 

"I am not a place for cowards" is something I read once and it really resonated within me.
After a rough patch in recent years, I really took to it. Writing about it, I said:

"I am not a place for cowards.
Not for the faint of heart.
I love hard.
I speak loudly.
I debate with tenacity.
I am fully of opinions and convictions.
I do not idly sit by.
I am imperfect,
Fully stocked with question,
And unafraid to ask.
I am passionate and moody.
I stumble over my words
In excitement to speak.
I overshare.
My laughter bounces off the walls.
I'm scarred and tattooed.
I wear my insides on the outside.
I am not a place for cowards."

It's about being fierce and fiery, unapologetic about being yourself. Some people will love that about you and stick by your side for life. Those people are the people I want to be with.

The people who can't handle through-thick-and-thin, all-in relationships are the ones that I'm just fine letting go of.

I am not a place for cowards.

Thank you to Natalie (also a photographer!) and tattoo artist Britta Christiansen (San Celemente, CA). 



As we get older we face such unexpected challenges, especially around our health and the health of those we love. I am grateful to Shannon for sharing the inspiration behind her tattoo. 

"The phrase "it is well" comes from a hymn penned by Horatio Spafford in the 1800s. The song begins with these words:

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll, 
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul. 

These lyrics remind me of several truths. First, the idea that, no matter the circumstances surrounding us, we can turn to God for a lasting peace that runs far deeper than any momentary troubles. Second, when we believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son and that He paid the price for our sin so we can be with Him for eternity, our hope is no longer based on what does or doesn't happen during our days. Rather, we have an eternal hope that is firm and secure—unwavering no matter what sea billows may roll. 

I understand how it feels to have the storms of life overwhelm you, but I also know firsthand the joy and peace God brings when we trust in Him. 

My mom has Huntington's Disease, a devastating neurodegenerative condition, and was recently placed on hospice care, but I can say it is well with my soul. 

My grandpa has been fighting cancer, but still I know it is well.

My sister just found out she, too, has cancer, and likely has a long battle ahead. But it is well. 

I, too, carry the gene for Huntington's Disease and could face a future similar to my mom's. Even so, it is well with my soul. 

Mara's design is a beautiful reminder of a truth that was already a part of me. Now that it's inscribed on my arm, I find myself looking at it often. 

I see it as I soak up what time we have left with my mom. I see it as I call my grandpa to talk about his treatments. I see it when I text my sister, asking if it's a good day or a bad one in her fight against cancer. And I see it when I think of what may lie ahead for me—knowing that God will be faithful no matter the pain that may come. Huntington's Disease might crush my body, but my future is secure with Christ in heaven. It IS well with my soul."

Thank you to Shannon; to tattoo artist Monty Mavimol of the The Honorable Society (West Hollywood, CA); and to photographer Adie Gateley.




Greetings, 2017! Sharing this tattoo story from Devin seemed appropriate for the start of the new year as we prepare for what is to come, come what may. 

"This is a quote from an Andrea Gibson poem. If you've never heard of her she's one of the most wonderful spoken word poets out there. Many of their poems have moved me during hard times of self-identity and coming to terms with who I am in many ways. Here's an excerpt from the end of 'Dive.'"

life doesn’t rhyme

still life is poetry
not math
all the world’s a stage
but the stage is a meditation mat

you tilt your head back
you breathe
when your heart is broken you plant seeds in the cracks
and you pray for rain
and you teach your sons and daughters
there are sharks in the water
but the only way to survive
is to breathe deep
and dive

Thank you to Devin for sharing his story; to tattoo artist Nina Dinh in Toronto; and to photographer Amber Patrick.



It was a treat to collaborate with Susan Hutchinson, of the blog Fleurishing, for this tattoo honoring her twins, Henry and Marie. Here's more from Susan about the significance: 

This tattoo represents many things to me, including my identity, my love story and…my children. The number three (trois, in French) has always been significant in my life, but only became evident to me when I met my husband. Suddenly, it was like the pieces of my own personal puzzle were finally coming together. Fast forward (three) years, and I was pregnant with twins. My body became a sanctuary for two human beings to grow and thrive in. Three of us, as one. While we no longer share my body, my beautiful children, Henry et Marie, will always be a part of me, until the day I die. They are my greatest gift.

Thank you to Susan for sharing (you can read more on her blog), tattoo artist Mike Ski (Philadelphia, PA) , and photographer Ashley Ludaescher


Hello and happy fall! I was glad to receive this latest tattoo story from Crystal, who chose Dante's phrase, "A great flame follows a little spark."

Mara's beautiful calligraphy was the best way to represent the elegance of Dante's work. To me this phrase serves as a gentle reminder and encouragement that essentially, small steps lead to bigger ones. Whether it's personal goals or anything else, the hardest part is just getting started and having the will not to give up on our dreams, because I believe that this life is the only one we are gifted with.

Thank you to Crystal, and her tattoo artist Chris Wellard in Toronto.

Collaboration with Sandra, Wenco & Maik


The inner arm has become the favorite location for of my tattoo commissions, but Sandra's definitely takes up the most real estate. I love the way it turned out. The size really captures the thick and thin lines. I'll let her tell you more about the significance.

On that special day, after years and years searching for the perfect handwriting, the perfect word or text and the perfect placement, I found Mara, and I felt like: This is it. And finally, there came this one word to my mind, to be placed on my forearm. 

The word: Ujjayi. The meaning: "victorious breathing" in Yoga practices, a combination of the two Sanskrit words ut (for "up") and jayi (for "victory, conquest, success"). It’s special kind of breath, a method of Pranayama, where the lungs are completely expanded. It should help to hold the asanas (all these body knots) long and longer, to get enough energy, to purely feel your own strength. I started Yoga two years ago, and really love what it does to and with me. And because of being Gemini, which is a sign of air, I wanted something like "breath", "breathing", but not in German or English. So: Ujjayi should it be, to remind me of breathing and going on and perhaps flying away...

Thank you to Sandra for sharing her story, to her tattoo artist Wenco Kubis (Ettlingen, Germany // Zum Stecher Tattoo & Piercing Manufaktur) and to photographer Maik Burbulla. (PS: Speaking of Pranayama, have you seen this video of B.K. Iyengar practicing?)




Whenever a client requests a tattoo, I leave it up to them to share the motivation behind it. Some do, some don't. I'm honored that many clients choose to share the life-changing stories that have inspired them to mark that moment in their lives on their body. These stories, in turn, inspire me (and hopefully you!). Claire's is the latest. It comes at a time when I've been thinking a lot about death, having had three friends lose loved ones in the last month. How remarkable to have the strength to salvage a marriage, and the grace to honor the person who believed so fervently that salvation.

My dear friend Keke showed me the true meaning of love, friendship, patience and compassion. In the midst of the breakdown of my 13 year marriage she spoke of restoration. She spoke of my marriage being bigger and better than it was before. I couldn't see it. She diligently prayed, believed and got excited for the prospect of my renewed marriage, while I questioned and doubted.

Cliff and I had gone away with our children - things were still a little strained, but starting to get better. It was at this time that out of the blue, I received a message that Keke had collapsed and was quickly diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. 
Despite her own situation, she continued to champion my marriage. She never stopped believing that it would be something great. 
Keke astounded the doctors with her generous spirit, and was passionate about praying for those who were battling cancer like herself. She put others before herself daily.
My last text message from her ended, "...arohanui, keeks xx". Sadly she passed away in November 2012.
Arohanui, is a maori sentiment of encouragement and strength. It means to be large, plentiful, abundant. In its basic form, Aroha means to feel love, concern, compassion, empathy. Nui expresses a state or condition rather than an activity.
Arohanui symbolises everything that Keke was as a person. It was a privilege to know her, and it is a daily reminder and encouragement in my restored marriage.

Thank you to Claire, tattoo artist Stuart Archibald at the Family Business in London,  and photographer Errol Bennet.



It was such an honor to be commissioned to create this tattoo for Karl. I'd worked with Karl and Gina of Kymera Studio on this branding campaign for Cantadora Communications. I love the work they create. Here's the story from Gina: 

In celebration of our 10th anniversary, my husband Karl decided to get a tattoo to commemorate the occasion. He decided on his beloved name for me, gina bella. Even though our love began 10 years ago, it has never been stronger. We absolutely love spending every moment together, which is good since we also work together! Our life is a wonderful adventure, and we look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries together - maybe we'll mark each decade with another tattoo!

Thank you to tattoo artist Gemma Pariente at Full Circle Tattoo in San Diego, and to Gina for the photos.