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Either Ice Cream or a Tattoo

“And so, do you think you would get another tattoo?”

I gave it some thought, even though I’d already given it some thought. “I think so, sure. I mean, it would have to be the perfect thing, and something so personal to me, and something with a story, and definitely something I want to have forever. I can’t imagine what that might be. But if I found that something and I wanted to do it, then sure. I’d do it again.”

There are four of them, and they are all together California Lovely. We had only just met in person; they had flown me into their sunshine city for an event in Orange County. Here we sat over lunch at a beachside bistro.

Conversation was so easy and real. I accidentally ordered a sushi salad, but I think I handled the whole raw fish thing really well. We all discovered that we hate small talk, we each feel out of place in traditional women’s ministry (which made us wonder if we’re the ones out of place or if the whole thing could use an overhaul), and none of us really knows how to completely and effectively clean vomit off the carpet.

“So, do you think you might want to get one soon? Like, maybe today?”


I definitely hadn’t woken up that morning with the intent to get a tattoo, but if I would do it someday, why not today with these new friends? I mean, what could cement a friendship faster than fresh ink?

Sure. I’m in.

We finished our lunch and strolled up the street to Laguna Tattoo, a parlor whom one of us quickly researched online. Lots of great reviews on Yelp. What could go wrong?

(I do realize how impulsive this sounds. And it was. But it was also a crazy-fun experience that ended well, in case you need me to jump to the end of the story.)

There are a couple of things I didn’t think about. Okay, perhaps mroe than a couple. But a few of them stared me right in the face pretty much immediately.

a. A tattoo on the foot is crazy, stupid painful. My wrist is an otherwise fleshy spot, I guess. But feet? There’s nothing but bone and cartilage and ligaments and nerve endings. I recommend Not There Necessarily.

b. I had planned to wear black heels on stage that night. Now I had intentionally altered my foot, and there wasn’t a chance I was putting this tenderness into any kind of a Cinderella shoe. In fact, I had to pretty much rethink the entire outfit within the constraints of the wardrobe options I had brought with me. So, jeans and flipflops, then. Keepin’ it real with the California Girls.

c. Anxiety.

Anyway, I did it. With help and encouragement and Lamaze breathing.  When Steve the Tattoo Artist finished, I complimented him on his craft.  “You did such a great job, Steve.  And didn’t I, too?  Didn’t I do a good job?  Please tell me I did a good job, Steve.”

“You did a really great job.”  And I’m pretty sure he meant it.image

I have three sparrows marked on the top of my left foot. They’re each different, but they clearly belong to each other and together, much like the three sparrows in my little family. His eye is on the sparrow. All three of us.

“Well, we needed to do something fun after lunch… it was either tattoos or ice cream.”

I think it was an obvious conclusion, really

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. you’re a kick, Tricia. Did the other girls do it, too–or just push you forward as the sacrificial lamb?

    BTW, brand new president at my alma mater, Multnomah University, Portland, Oregon, is a Rev. Dr. Craig Williford (wife, Carolyn). Surely the name is rare enough so he (they) must be related to Robb, no?

  2. Still smiling about that day!
    Love this….
    Miss ya!

  3. This made me cry. My dad died a little over a year ago. His favorite song was “His Eye Is On the Sparrow”. I love your tattoo.

  4. I love the tattoo! I don’t have any only because I haven’t ever found something I thought I would still love in 20 years. (and “someday” I’ll lose weight so it would have to go someplace that wouldn’t get all saggy and wrinkly and all of those places hurt…a lot)

    I’m with you on the whole small talk, traditional women’s ministry, carpet and vomit things too. Someone somewhere must have an idea for a new way to do women’s ministry.

  5. My niece-in-law had the footprint of her daughter tattooed on her foot. A great remembrance of her precious little girl who is now with Jesus. She, too, thought it was crazy painful.

  6. Love it! Of course I have a few tattoos! But love every story that sits so deeply in each and every one! Go girl!

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