My stars

Oct 10

It’s official.

I’m the rebel in the family.  (Ha!  Seriously.  HA!)

I got a tattoo today.

Its a constellation of seven stars across my ribcage.  It looks like a random placement of dots, but I know it has greater purpose and meaning and beauty.  My tattoo is another marker of my journey.

Stars are my favorite shape.  I was raised in a family of five.  My college roommates and I call ourselves “Pleiades”, a constellation of seven stars, nicknamed “The Seven Sisters.”  In my formative years I remember laying on my back, looking at the sky and thinking that I would see these same stars in twenty years when things were decided: I’d have a career (hopefully), I’d be married (hopefully), I’d have kids (hopefully).  Now I look at the stars and am transported back to those times of contemplation and see how far I’ve come.  The night sky is magical.  And beautiful.  It always has been and always will be.  And I’m going to lay on my back in the grass with Maren and Greta and Brad and talk about things and make a memory.  I’ve long since wanted a necklace with a constellation on it; a tattoo is even better.

A side note is that the tattoos were placed by my radiation techs today.  For the past three weeks, I have had Sharpie marks and tape across my ribcage because the marks are used to line me up precisely for radiation each day.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I look like a pirate treasure map, complete with an X marks the spot and all.  The techs impressed upon me that the marks and tape are super important, and that I am to not let them come off under any circumstances.  Dr. Razzle, on the other hand, is concerned about my skin.  She told me I must use castor oil twice a day and lotion five times a day so that I can condition my skin.

Do you have any idea what lotion and castor oil do to Sharpie marks and tape?  They are at odds, my friends.

I used to think that Sharpies were permanent markers.  Next time one of my kids colors on something with Sharpie, I’m totally going to rub castor oil on it, because then it will come right off.

I’m thrilled with my tattoos because I don’t have to deal with the Sharpie/tape maintenance anymore.  I can shower without stress, follow Dr. Razzle’s skin conditioning program, and try running again.

Little things like tattoos make it easier.

Big things like the night sky give me peace and hope and a feeling of awe.  I’m glad I’ve got my constellation tattoo to remind me of the big picture and happy memories.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  — Psalm 19:1



  1. Jen ~ Stars shine brightly, like your smile 🙂

  2. Julie Tomaszewski /

    That is awesome, Jen! I love that you’re a rebel!! This weekend I’m going to Nashville with friends (to celebrate my 40th birthday). Four of us are getting inked. Mine is a symbol meaning “triple” for my triplets. Your tattoo sounds perfect. Watch out….if I see you I just may want to see it!

  3. KellyE /

    You’re amazing!

  4. …and the Heavens will sing the glory of God! Yet again you make us smile. Do you have any idea how you build His Kingdom with each new post? Shine on!

  5. What a wonderful attitude, and I love your verse!

  6. The heavens declare the glory of God, and you have used your cancer battle as a way to declare the glory of God… yes, a tattoo with stars is an excellent way to shine on and tie it all together!

  7. lindsay /

  8. Jane Powell /

    DID YOU KNOW??? Dear Jen … I bet you thought the Pleiades myth was Greek. In fact the Australian Aborigines have an almost identical Dreaming story to explain a constellation. So, you also have a connection to your Australian heritage :). I can’t believe you’ve put yourself through more pain & got a tat!!! But ok, that explanation makes sense. You go girl! We’re cheering from the sidelines. Auntie Jane, Qld Australia

  9. MommaJ /

    Knew I’d find something interesting when I checked out your day 😉 this makes me smile BIG…..the Pleiades ladies will be all a flutter 😉 No wonder the stars mesmerize me – take care Jen!!

  10. Eva Brown /

    I had no idea about the difficult sharpie maintenance. I love the tattoo idea. Amazing! I can’t wait to see it!

  11. Christin /

    Ha! That’s so meaningful… and clever!! I’m super impressed!

  12. What a wonderful story and beautiful Psalm! Keep calm and tattoo on!

  13. suenitz /

    Hi Jen. I love your comment in the paper today…”I have everything to live for; this is God’s story, not my story.” Praying everyday for you and your mom.

  14. Marsha Vonderwish /

    You ARE a star among us. And you make me smile. Thank you for sharing your life, hopes, struggles and dreams with us!

  15. I love this. I love how you are able to find meaning in those marks. I love how how you are able to find such meaning in stars. I love that you love Pleiades (it’s always been my favorite, too!). I love how you’re able to find meaning in everything and write about it so clearly, honestly and well. Thank you for sharing and, as always, sending good thoughts and love.

  16. Peggy Allis Murriner /

    Is it bad I thought, “It puts the lotion on!” when I read this? So glad you aren’t being held hostage in a dungeon while skin conditioning.

  17. Jaime Denning /

    I have a vivid “star” memory with you: Summer 1998, Uluru, my first time seeing the unadulterated Southern hemisphere night sky. The three of us were sitting at a table watching some people play pool and talking about “boys” and I was thinking about my then-college-crush (now husband). Such amazing memories from that trip. The universe is awesome. 🙂