Not Taco Tuesday but Tattoo Tuesday

When Cameron was about 6 years old he wanted to start themed dinner nights for each day of the week. The one we stayed pretty consistent with was Taco Tuesday’s because if it were up to me we would eat tacos every meal!


Taco Tuesday

I told Brad on New Year’s Eve last year, I wanted to get a tattoo that had some meaning for both of our boys.  He then talked about if he could ever find the right artist he would love to have portraits of the children done.  We looked and some different designs and spent some time talking that night about it.  I searched different designs over the last 12 months.  I thought about our boys interests, perhaps something Autism related, thought about using their finger prints in the shape of a heart, loved the idea of something native American, etc.

The one consistent thing I kept coming back to was the word Hope.  This four lettered word represented the four of us in so many different ways.

I then started looking at the symbolism of arrows and was drawn to the meaning.  An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. It would be a consistent reminder that difficulties in life will actually propel you forwards, and on to better things. An arrow can also symbolize moving towards your goals, and not going backwards.  Then after pondering on what I thought would be the design, I kept coming back to the meaning and thinking I don’t have difficulties in my life. Yes, I am having to learn how to raise our children differently but it’s not a troubled thing is my life.  Its a new thing, something I have to educate and learn and consistently work at that would not normally come natural to a mother.  I don’t look at my life as it dragging me down though. I realized arrows were not an option for my tattoo.

Arrows - Copy

The one certain thing is I wanted was a reminder for myself every single day and wanted to incorporate the word Hope. So why Hope?

The definition of Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.[1] As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”.[2]

I think of myself as a very positive person. I like to find the good in others, make them smile.  I learned in my thirties when you hold on to hate or become angry is just is flat out exhausting!  Once you can learn to forgive others regardless who is at fault it truly will set you free.

As I was researching further, I ran across this quote that intrigued me.  Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”– Emily Dickinson

It then hit me Christmas Eve, perhaps I should look at different kinds of feathers and use with the word Hope?  I had found these native American styles of feathers that I feel in love with. FullSizeRender

So no more Taco Tuesday’s as it became Tattoo Tuesday for me this week.

After researching the last 12 months, I did my homework on finding the right artist. I chose someone that my dear friend and her husband had been using for a few years.  She is rated top 10 in the U.S. in her age bracket and had been tattooing for over 23 years.  I made an appointment and  headed down to her studio in the Bishop Arts District on Tuesday.  We sat at her desk and I shared with her my story and what I wanted to make sure was symbolic or included in her design.  She then started sketching with these colored pencils something that was so incredibly beautiful to me. She incorporated the puzzle piece for Cody Rivers , 2 C’s for Cameron Charles and a simple word of Hope and a look with a touch of New Mexico.  What she started to create kept me thinking about Emily Dickerson’s quote,   “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”


I explained to her that when I looked into a mirror that I wanted to be reminded to never lose hope Weather it was to hold on to hope that my oldest son continues to become the young man he is and to follow a path of faith and stay out of trouble or to hold on to hope for my youngest to one day be independent and be able to communicate.  I wanted something on the days that I needed that reminder it could help me power through.

5 hours later in her studio after sharing her all about my amazing family and support system we have, she created this.  This beautiful feather gently fell from the sky and landed on my collar bone for me to see each and every day of my life.

One can quite easily lose hope: in life, in God, and even in oneself. As humans, we need hope. We can’t live without it. It is the lifeblood to our spiritual survival, and the only thing that pulls us out of the deep trenches of life.





Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

One thought on “Not Taco Tuesday but Tattoo Tuesday

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: