2014: Grow

In July of 2013, I got a tattoo. It’s my second one; my first, an angel with my kids’ names in Greek and Hebrew, is on my back between my shoulder blades and stays hidden most of the time. But in July, I felt bold. I felt the need to mark everything 2013 had brought. This tattoo went on my left leg.


A blue butterfly, which is my family’s symbol for my brother’s life. He loved blue.

Wings as flames to represent my own voice in the world. I was inspired by Ursula K. LeGuin’s quote: “We are all volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains. That’s what I want – to hear you erupting.” In 2013, I found the courage to say things I’ve never said before, to share thoughts and feelings without worrying so much about what people think. I imagine that voice as a flame, a light, and hopefully for some, a friendly warmth.

Wings as vines to represent the creative power of humans. I was, in particular, thinking of the creative power of women, and my own motherhood, wifehood, writing, and relationships. I imagined the ideas of love, grace, and creativity as a growing vine spreading through the world. I was inspired by this quote by Kim Edwards: “You live here, the stories all said, but you are filled with the breath of the Divine, and the world in your care is full of amazements.” 

Baby footprints to represent my miscarriages – both the short lives of those babies and the pain I felt.

Left leg because I wear my wedding ring on my left side, too, and all that motherhood and creativity would not have happened without my husband. (And he has also been very understanding of me all year long, I might add. He has let me go through whatever I’ve needed to go through and has not balked when I said whatever I needed to say.)

The entire tattoo is a symbol of metamorphosis, change, and growth. While I feel like I’ve already been growing in 2013, I want it to continue. If I found my voice in 2013, in 2014 I want to find my wings. So here is my one word for 2014: GROW. May 2014 be my year of growth.

What is your one word this year?

You can link up and share your word here. Or you can tweet it using the hashtag #oneword365.

Many thanks to the folks at Needle Bent Tattoo for taking my idea and creating a beautiful design and tattoo!


  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this, Karissa. My “word” for 2014 (I’m a newbie) is MINDFULNESS. I’ve wanted a tat for a long time, but it would freak my hubby out. I once got an India Ink Tat on the square in NOLA (a peacock on my leg) and he didn’t blink.. he knew it wasn’t real. Maybe I’ll surprise him one day:-) HAPPY NEW YEAR! Love you!

  2. Cassie says:

    This is beautiful- both your tattoo and choice of One Word. I pray this year is full of amazing blessings and opportunities for you and your family!!

  3. Jennifer Miller says:

    Your post is beautiful and touching. Your tattoo is a gorgeous and wonderful tribute to your brother and the babies. RENEWAL was my compass in 2014. Following a devastating divorce, raising my son, barely managing to maintain the house and a job while struggling with debilitating depression, I knew that I had to rise up. I had to drag myself from the ashes into which my life and marriage had dissolved. Two new tattoos commemorate my recovery and I am proud of them. I haven’t yet decided how to represent my babies and my son, but my next tat will reflect them as well as my own GROWTH and emergence from the grief. It’s time to move on and, instead, focus on that foundation for our future.

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