Monday, December 28, 2015


have you ever gone shopping for something specific?
and as you're looking, you find that something specific, but its one of the originals.
its authentic.
its old, but still usable and still loved.
it might not be perfect
but who cares?
its the real thing.

the same goes for people.
i've watched girls tear themselves apart
because they weren't beautiful
dating someone
liked by all

the thing is
usually they are.
they are always the most loved, they have the cutest figures
they are the most confident and the most funny
they are able to figure out the problems or they know how to work around them.

somewhere in the last 20 years, we've started lying to ourselves.
i did it.
i lied to myself.
years of i'm not worth it.
so what, i'm smart. i've got pretty hair.
so what. i'm nothing.

and then i caught a glimpse of myself in
someone else's mirror.

and i didn't see someone who wasn't worth it.
i saw someone who was accurately outpriced.

i saw someone who was unique, authentic.
there were some chips and scratches,
but i was real. there was some old paint where i had tried to
cover up qualities that were actually good.
scratch that off, and suddenly,
i was worth a lot.

being me, rather than covering myself up,
hiding myself away
that old thing? oh, its nothing...
screw that.
i'm fabulous.

and you know what? you are too.
girl, you are fabulous.
join the club.
your body rocks.
your smile, your face. 
dude. your face is AWESOME.

the way you smile, the way you laugh,
your sense of humor - screw your grades, they don't really matter -
dating is overrated and i'd bet you my bank account that everyone likes you. (or almost everyone. there's always that 20% that doesn't, but that's their loss, not yours).
girl, you are adorable. you are loved.
you are wonderful beyond all comparison.

and you know why?
its because you are authentic. 
there's only one of you.
there's only one Sami.
only one Lexy
Hannah, Elisa, Abbiee, Kate, Cait, Taylor, Morgan, Alyssa, Rachelle.
there's only one
Madeline, Anna, Caylen, Keziah, Kelaiah, Abby, Courtney, Sarah, Karissa, Jana, Jill, Noe, Nicole, Randi, Leslie, Elly, Breann, Joelle, Eliza, Sarah, Jessica, Isabella, Nicole, Virginia, Sarah, Lindsey, Emily, Lisa, Allison, Ryann, Annika, Emma, Claire, Alexis, Sabrina, Emilie, Esther, Catherine, Abbey, Lizzy, Pam, Mindy, Serena, Jennifer, Whitney, Jenny, Emma, Katelyn, Katie, Kay, Sara, Alyssa, Zurisadia, Olivia, Tiana, Becca, Dawn, Anna, Heather, Morgan.
there's only one you.

only one.

there's you.
there's no two of any of us.

like, that's pretty exciting.
When i meet Allison, she's the only one. WHAT? SO EXCITING.
When i meet Claire - and i start thinking like this - its like CAN I SHAKE YOUR HAND BECAUSE OMG OMG OMG I'M MEETING AN ORIGINAL. SHE'S THE ONLY ONE.
when i meet Morgan - i'll never meet anyone else like her.
i'll never meet anyone with Serena's smile
or Anna's innocence
or Tiana's laugh.
Abbey is the only one with that much fire in her.
Eliza is the only one who giggles like that.
Kelaiah can only play violin and piant and talk and be like Kelaiah.
Courtney can only think like Courtney.
Karissa can only act like Karissa.
Jana can only photograph like Jana.
Whitney can only sing like Whitney.
Kate can only write like Kate.

we are each only ever ourselves. no matter how much you dig and try to hide and try to rebuild yourself - you're you.
and you're the best you that could ever be.

your mind is the flint and your voice the steel
your body the fuel for the fire
if you light it at the right moment,
you can set your whole world on fire
and rule it like the fabulous queen you are.

queens are fabulous.
antiques are valued.
you are fabulous.
you are valued.
you are you.
you are authentic.

Source: Pinterest

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See (book review #6)

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

GOOD: STOP EVERYTHING AND GO READ THIS BOOK. seriously guys, it was amazing. it is now the best stand-alone book i have ever read. like, gaaaaahhhh.... *flails* *falls over* *cries silently* *lays still* *takes a deep breath* GAAAAAHHH. Here's why: 
a) this book is written from two different view points. you may have heard me rant about the difficulty of this. Doerr NAILS this. i've never read better. Werner is quiet and thoughtful, a constant battleground for good and evil. Marie-Laure is a forest clearing filled with forget-me-nots and daisies, always seeing the good even though her eyes don't let in the light.
b) description: one character is blind, the other is not. seriously, the chapters switch like that. Marie goes by smell, taste, touch, and hearing. She goes by memory, she goes by instinct. she is a sponge for knowledge and her chapters in the book are steeped in it. she is also obsessed with 3-D maps (you'll get that later) and the ocean. Werner, on the other hand, sees everything. His eyes are the sponges, flitting about, pulling in information and analyzing not only the facts but the feelings, the emotions, wondering why at every opportunity. and his chapters. oh golly. his chapters make me cry. and he loves radios. seriously, this kid makes. my. world. although he kinda breaks my heart at the same time.

BAD: there's some language. there's also some really heavy real life stuff. which is difficult to swallow sometimes. one girl gets raped. one character is willing to blow up half of Europe (oh wait, that was Hitler. okay, blowing up the continent would be an exaggeration but you get my point) in order to heal himself. characters are blown up, shot down, impaled, frozen by water in the middle of the night, and some are taken to prison camps. you know what? i fully expected all of that. this is a book written in the middle of the Second World War. There were bad things happening then. a book that doesn't detail these would be lacking historical accuracy and depth. 

DIFFICULTY: the undaunted book queen in me says not hard at all. i mean yeah the book was more than an inch thick BUT HEY who's counting? however, the tiny little girl in me disagrees. for it was indeed a difficult book to read considering the fact that there would be one sentence describing how the field was full of daisies and you could hear a cow's bell in the distance and you could smell the sea and life was normal, and the next sentence would be talking about how the character hadn't eaten in three days and they were on the brink of wishing for death. this wasn't an easy book to read as far as content goes. definitely not for the weak of heart. 

1-10 SCORE: 10. All the way. This book won 6 awards. and it won 6 awards for a reason. it will break your heart and then heal it again. for me, it is forever on my favorites shelf. 
let me put it this way: i normally don't buy books. normally i just borrow them from the library. 
i bought this book. 

OVERVIEW: All the Light We Cannot See is intense, a web of stories and people and facts and myth and time that weave together into one grand climax and leaves you wondering what the purpose of life is. It makes you wonder how you are living today. It makes you think about what you notice, what you give into the world. It changed the way i think. i don't see bad things anymore. i see empty voids capable of good or bad, equally equipped and with equal opportunity to take over that space. at one point in the story Werner is trapped in a basement, listening to a radio. there's absolutely no light, and yet he doesn't feel scared, because the voice that is transmitting over the radio carries light with it. it lights Werner's soul. this scene left me wondering if physical light is not the most important. maybe it is the light that's felt, and heard, the kind that changes our hearts, i think that's what matters. and oh how much there is of it, all the light we cannot see. 

that's what i got out of it.

Monday, December 21, 2015

62 posts

on this blog, i have posted 62 times in the year of 2015.
Everything from rants and passion
to here's my boring stick-in-the-mud life.

the thing is, so much more has happened.
more than those 62 posts.
broken hearts, broken memories.
slow healing.
laughter that goes on and on until your gut aches.
a goal has been set.
multiple goals, actually.
and boundaries abound,
but our comfort zones have been stretched beyond belief.

i think i thought that life could be summed up.
that we could package life, and even people. and even
events, those summer vacations and
spur-of-the-moment road trips. the year after year of
christmas tree hunting in the woods and countless sledding and skiing days.
but we can't. because those things weren't made to be packaged.
they were meant to sit out, draped over the rocking chair like grandma's quilt.
somehow life wasn't meant to fit in a box. it was meant to spread out and run over everything.
Life isn't poptarts. its microwaved nutella.

but that's how life is best served. warm and gushy.
have you ever had frozen nutella?
worst ever.
frozen life. stuck in ice, no responses, cold and stiff.
what would be the point?

so yes - we'll try to fit life into our blog posts.
we'll try to fit it into a box.
but somehow the smell of sand and slightly damp carpet seeps out through the tape.
somehow, broken pine needles don't do bubble wrap.
somehow, somehow, snow doesn't package.

smiles don't fade in my head but printing out memories make them lose their color.
songs get stuck on replay in our brains even though they make us cry and when we try to record them they come out flat.

i try to type out words but they're two-d.
they're just words.
it seems that all i have to do, though, is read them and the mental images come flooding back, like a re-living of my life.
my eyelids are the screen - on them i can see the flash of red as fireworks go off in the fog.
dad throws up a sparkler and it lands in the snow, turning it neon green for a moment before going black.
lexy waltzing into my room at 5 o'clock christmas morning.
dani making me sit in the dirt so i can sit right in the saddle.
chris and the rubber chocolate cake.
joelle: 'its your happy birthday! its YOUR happy birthday! its your HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"
eliza, round body, cooing and making me think that maybe, maybe i could have kids one day.
mom, dragging me along on hiking trips that were my idea and helping me salvage recipes gone wrong. me not having problems with chemistry and she just throws up her hands. me freaking out about basically anything and her say "Sam. CHILL. JUST DO IT. you're only holding yourself back."

and i can't write that on paper.
i can't write any of that on paper.
my mind is absolutely tick tight full of every memory i've ever had.

and i can't get it out.
not on paper.
not on this blog.
i can't recreate the scenes and take pictures.
its stuck in my head.

so yes. i've posted a lot this year.
personally, i feel like i've developed a lot in my writing.
i like my photography.
i'm getting better at arting.
but still -

it lacks that life.
i cannot capture life in my art.
in my writing.
in my pictures.

or maybe i can.
maybe i can and i just can't see it.
because in comparison to the product i see in my head,
the vivid world with so many colors,
in comparison, my output is wan. it is drab and empty.
if only you could see the real thing.

there is a species of shrimp that lives in the ocean. it can see 16 different color cones.
we can see three.
i wonder what that shrimp's world looks like.
it must be vivid.
i wish what i put out there was vivid. 16 color cone vivid.
but its not.
(or maybe i only have 3 color cones.)

i shall continue to write though. i will continue to post.
i will keep snapping photos.
and if next year holds 300 posts instead of 62, well, then grand.
if it only holds 12, that's okay too.

but i must recognise that life is not 2-d.
what we put out might be 2-d.
we probably won't be able to capture essencces. and mists. and 16 different color cones.
but we can capture 3. so why not?
why not do what we can, saturate ourselves in life.
breathe it. right now, its all we have.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

a wandering post about winter.

note: this also counts as day 19 of blogtober: share a diy. (you should be proud of this little blogger, doing it herself and hibernating. or if that's not good enough for you, i scrape my own windows when there's frost and snow on them.)

there is snow on the ground.
christmas music can make me either disgruntled or gruntled. (its a word, look it up.)
and it's so COLD.
its winter.
winter means scraping ice spiders off my windshield and
the dull thud of my boots on the frozen ground.
it means that the house gets cold at night anyway
but this year its colder than normal.
when i woke up this morning, my nose was cold. cold as if i'd been outside for 10 minutes.
i hate cold noses.

it means waiting for my car to warm up but lets face it, the heater sucks.
(you had one job, job.)
and the house, even though its almost 80 degrees, still feels like its only 55, and the cold beats at the windows like a chant.
cold cold cold cold cold
the sun seems so much brighter in the winter, taunting us.
"come outside and's lovely out here!"
but then you open the door and BOOM
winter shoves in like an army at the gate,
like the uninvited to the party
the cold air billows in like snow before the plow.
everyone seems to be strapping their snow-pushers to the front of their mud-splattered pick-up trucks
the minute we get a skiff of the white stuff.

its my second favorite season (autumn is first). i love the white stuff.
i love the tingles you get in your toes whenever you see the christmas lights
and the giddy laughter that bubbles up when you think of your family's faces on christmas morning
because you got them some awesome gifts this year.

i love the bonfires that you have in the snow,
and life-threatening sledding in the dark - or even in the daytime.
i love the way the streams freeze over but then bits of the ice break off
and you can see the black water tirelessly sprinting on beneath the white cover.
the rivers do the same, but bigger water means faster water means thinner ice,
so its more like elephant skin, wrinkled but white, edging up on other ridges, pushing up the banks.

i love christmas. i love the holiday season. even in january, there's skiing and
there's hot tea and leggings (so awesome)
and you have the perfect excuse to bundle up and cover your skin
and you don't have to worry about finding tank tops that fit
because "what the heck ITS SWEATER SEASON frumpyness is actually semi-acceptable and visual comfort is expected"
and reading for hours on end is legit because what else are we gonna do? sunbathe?

the snow keeps coming and then it melts and the ground turns into one cohesive puddle of mud and yucky water.
the garden is kind of melted, but the sunflower stalks from last summer are still standing
and when the wind rustles their leaves it sounds like brittle newspaper being torn.
they wait like dirty giants, non-anticipatory of their fate, unmoving and solidly firm,
dead to the world around them.

sometimes we get rain, but it can't decide whether it wants to be rain or snow.
somehow i got all my christmas present shopping done before thanksgiving
but i can't buy anything because both my birthday and christmas come this month, dang it.
so i sit here, and i read, and i write, and i work, and i wait
because its winter.

but dang it dang it dang it 
why does it have to be so cold?

screw it all.
i'm going to hibernate.
don't wake me.
(unless its food time. or you plan on kidnapping me and taking me to somewhere lovely. or you've found a dragon and you want to give it to me. *whispers* someone please get me a dragon...)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

December is my thankful month // 2015

it's true. if i made a list of everything i'm thankful for, it would wrap around the world twice.
and to the moon and back.
it would stretch to the stars, dwarfing the eiffel tower, the burj khalifa
the twin towers and the empire state building.
because i'm thankful for that midwifery school that i'm going to next fall.
i'm thankful that things aren't as bad as they possibly could be.
i'm glad that there are valleys, and there are mountains, but neither last forever.
i'm thankful for my job - its awesome.
i'm thankful for my brain, and my books, and my family, and my dog.
i'm thankful for the new kittens that we got,
and for my legs and my arm and my slightly flabby belly.

i'm thankful that i have reasons to smile,
and reasons to cry
because that means that i'm not heartless, that i care.
i'm thankful that i still play piano.
that the brown box with black and white keys will always wait patiently with that 3 foot stack
of piano books. waiting waiting waiting. never angry at my imperfectly timed and rare practices.
i'm thankful that my older sister created Adorable Baby #2 and said Baby #2 loves me.
of course so does Adorable Baby #1, but #2 loves me more than #1 does, i think. basically, being an aunt is awesome.
i'm thankful that i can write the story that's been bouncing around in my head for five years. i'm thankful that its actually kind of working. and that the writer's blocks only last for a day or two. sometimes a week. but they always go away.

i'm thankful that i am blessed.
i'm thankful that i can and will and have learned a lot about life.
and i'm thankful that i'm turning 20.
which seems really old, but it also seems really young, too. maybe i'm not so thankful about that one.
but still, i'm thankful to be alive, and i'm thankful for all the messes, because somehow, those messes turn into beautiful things. messy people turn into beautiful people.

i'm thankful for the contrast in the world,
the good and the bad.
the where-we-have-been and the where-we-should-be and
the where-we-want-to-go.
because then we know where-we-are-at.
i'm thankful for the differences.
if we didn't have differences we wouldn't have contrast, we wouldn't have balance.

in essence, i'm thankful for life.
even though it can be awful, it can be beautiful, too,
because we have to have the bad to recognize the good.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

30-ish before 30. (i can't believe i'm actually making this list.)

so normally i'm one of those people who hides in their room on their birthday.
i don't check my facebook.
i don't answer my phone (mostly because letting the well-wishers leave a message is WAY less awkward and honestly, i LOVE LOVE LOVE the messages they leave me.) OKAY FINE. exhibit a: i still have three different messages from three different people saved on my phone from my 16th birthday. Me? sentimental? never...
and i have a really hard time planning my own parties. or doing anything on my birthdays other than mope around because dang it i'm one year older, one year closer to dying. screw it, let's just plan my funeral now.

I really actually THINK THIS ON MY BIRTHDAY.

this year, i'm turning 20. *cue dirge*
this year, i'm considering writing my eulogy. *enter mourners clad in black*
this year, i--

*awkward silence*
*sad sami gets pulled off stage by happy sami*
*whispered conversation ensues*
"you can't just..."
"yes i can..."
"you need to get a grip, girl..."
"i need to-"
"you are going to have a good birthday and you are going to enjoy it or so help me-"

*happy sami smiles from corner of stage*
"Hi everyone! sorry about that...Sami's having issues with turning 20. It's kind of understandable considering that its the end of her teen years but i think she's taking it a little too far, don't you? So to help her cheer up, we're going to help her create a list of all the things she's going to do in her 20s, okay? LET'S DO THIS!"

1. Buy a van, refurbish (or refurnish...can't decide on the word here), and road-trip across the U.S. with a small incredible group of girls and an amazing soundtrack. Do a blog specifically for the trip, let all the girls post on it, and take 7 billion pictures. (more or less...)
2. Do some form of obstacle course race.
3. See a Broadway show. In New York, of course. and listen to "Welcome to New York" while there.
4. Learn "Flight of the Bumblebee" on piano. Play it for Vicki.
5. Write. a) that novel. b) a book of poetry, thoughts, etc. maybe just make it a memoir. c) short story. d) a work of nonfiction, if you have an idea for it and everything is working out.
7. Experience something that takes your breath away.
8. Learn another language. 
9. Find your superpower.
10. Rest.
11. 1 blind date.
12. Takepicturesandmakeitahobby.
13. Travel internationally.
14. Dance in the rain.
15. See the Northern Lights.
16. Visit C.S. Lewis' home, or his grave, or somewhere related to him. (Narnia would be great.)
17. PARIS.
18. Throw a pot on a pottery wheel. 
20. Keep few secrets.
22. Tell that person that thing that you've been putting off for forever. of course, only if the opportunity arises. 
24. Run after God. There is nothing else.
25. ROME.
26. Read Shakespeare. 
28. Visit every continent. (including Antarctica.) 
30. Ride an elephant, while not in the U.S.
31. Add to this list, and chronicle it. 
32. Do something (travel, bookstore, whatever) with Jana. 
33. Work in a library.
34. Do something musical with Lexy. 
35. Messy Twister while wearing white clothes. 
36. Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and Shawn Mendez concerts with Jana.

and then, after i wrote this list on a piece of card stock with a rainbow of different colored sharpies, i wrote this, too:

Because you are wonderful. Beautiful. Things can always get better, and God's hand is on you always. Fear not, and live without regrets. Do what you know you should do, and everything else will fall into place. 
This is your bucket list to get you through life. It's okay if you don't finish all of them before you turn 30. After all, that's only 10 years down the road. But make sure you do at least some of them, and whichever ones you miss you can add to your yet-to-be-created 40 under 40 list.
don't forget to Carpe this Deim. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Non-Official Best Book Awards #nonofficialbestbookawards

and then there was that time that we ran across that incredible idea on Pinterest.
and we did said incredible idea
and turned it into a TAG WHICH IS THE BEST.
(not the best tag. i meant that tags are the best.) (OH and hashtags. hashtags = best)
(sorry. i'm just REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS.)

People - i present to you:

The Annual Non-Official Best Book Awards Tag

Rule #1 - steal the tag. 
Rule #2 - fill in the tag.
Rule #3 - tag people to steal the tag
Rule #4 - SHARE YOUR LINK because books are best and i need more to add to my list. 

  1. Best Male Character
  2. Best Female Character
  3. Best Protagonist (good guy/main character)
  4. Best Antagonist (bad guy/opposing party to main character)
  5. Best Plot Development
  6. Best Plot Twist
  7. Book You Threw Across The Room Hardest (in either a bad or good way)
  8. Best Romance
  9. Best Action
  10. Best Other Book (i don't even know what i would put these ones under...but there were a few that deserved recognition.)
  11. Best Book That Made You Change the Way You Think
  12. Best Inspiring Book
  13. Best Book That Made You Learn Something New
  14. Best Sad Book
  15. Best Funny Book

my answers: please note that i'm very very picky when i pick favorites. and i try to look at EVERY aspect of the character (ie, how the author wrote them, how they responded in situations, what i liked/disliked about them, etc., etc.,) BASICALLY my answers are my own. as they should be. 
  1. Best Male Character: Park from Eleanor and Park. Down to earth, trying to be himself. And he cared, and showed it. How many people actually do that these days?
  2. Best Female Character: Lina from Between Shades of Gray. She is a girl with a purpose, even though her circumstances should have made her give up hope. She has a maturity about her, even though she is young and naive. But she keeps going, and even when she loses those around her that she loves, she still offers hope and encouragement to those around her. 
  3. Best Protagonist (good guy or girl/main character): Marie-Laure and Werner from All the Light We Cannot See. I haven't even finished this book yet, but it has such beautiful description, and Marie and Werner have the struggles that each of us have, the same fears, the same loves. I liked them best because i could relate to them.
  4. Best Antagonist (bad guy/opposing party to main character): Levana from The Lunar Chronicles. Truth be told, i wasn't going to put her down. But after Fairest, Levana took the lead for me. She is the perfect example of what happens when you let negative feelings (anger, hate, power, etc.) go to your head and take over your heart. Her story is actually really sad, but she is seriously one of the best bad guys i've come across. She is bad, not just for the sake of being bad, but because of how she let her past influence her into wanting to be bad.
  5. Best Plot Development: So far, The Reckoners series has got me hooked. It just keeps building and building and kinda gets you in that OMG-whats-gonna-happen-whos-gonna-die-and-why-have-i-ruined-my-life-with-these-books mood. you know what i'm talkin' about.
  6. Best Plot Twist: that thing that happens in Steelheart. with Megan..........if you haven't read it I CAN'T TELL YOU ANYMORE.
  7. Book You Threw Across The Room Hardest (in either a good or bad way): Eleanor and Park.  I was THIS CLOSE to climbing through those pages and smacking Eleanor upside the head because you just don't throw boys like Park away.
  8. Best Romance: Scarlet/Wolf and Cress/Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles. SO BEAUTIFUL. *squeals* *flails* they are so adorable. just...GAH. it's perfection. (i'm such a romantic.) OR Eleanor and Park.....i mean, they're just so perfect. OR - ohmygosh OR Will and Alyss from The Ranger's Apprentice. (ok, i'll stop now.) AND PERCABETH. here's a newsflash for you: i ship a lot of OTPs. like, A LOT. #sorrynotsorry
  9. Best Action: The Reckoners. Duh.
  10. Best Other Book (i don't even know what i would put these ones under...but there were a few that deserved recognition.) All the Light We Cannot See. It's not romance, its not action, its not complete really needed its own category. seriously its got the best description i've ever come across in book format. SO GORGEOUS.
  11. Best Book That Made You Change the Way You Think: Paper Towns. Examples: "When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out." AND "Just remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn't always the way they actually are." And when i run across something like this, it actually changes the way i think. Broken people are beautiful, and i can't understand their brokenness probably ever, and the closest i can come to understanding is if i look at them as literally as possible. Who are they really? not what i think of them, but who they really are.
  12. Best Inspiring Book: Kisses From Katie. If you ever need to know how to follow God's will, how to trust him no matter the circumstance, and an incredible example of how to love God, then read this book. its really really really amazing.
  13. Best Book That Made You Learn Something New: The Book Thief. I can now swear and insult in German. (not sure if that's something i should be proud of or not...) (...probably not.)
  14. Best Sad Book: WHERE DO I START. I have only ever sad-cried in three books: Heartland, Bridge to Terebithia. and Looking for Alaska. Now, LFA wins this award not because of the book itself. i hated the book. talk about the number one way to get me to hate you, John Green. #hekilledoffthemaincharacter. (among other reasons, see this post) BUT i did like moral of the story, which is basically a bunch of teens searching for their great perhaps, that straight way through the labyrinth of suffering, the beautiful ending. In the last chapter, Pudge writes a paper for school detailing his way out of the labyrinth of suffering. and Pudge's way is to look for that bright light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. to believe that eventually everything will get better. to forgive the bad things that happen, and just keep moving forward. "Thomas Edison’s last words were: “It’s very beautiful over there.” I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful." (#wellripmyheartoutandcrushitwhydontyou) 
  15. Best Funny Book: every. single. installment. of Ranger's Apprentice. seriously. SO MUCH SASS. 
Now, your turn. 

(and give me credit for this list people. i stalked ya'll for like, 3 hours to get this list.) (yes, my internet friends are far and few between. so ya'll are special. :D )

Jana, from Jana's Faith and Lisez Les Livrez (This girl has two blogs. One for books, and one for everything else, and i will tell you that i adore both and her book reviews are the best.)

Cait from Paper Fury (This girl rules the internet. Not kidding. Her book blog WINS.) (Plus i really want to see what she does with this....)

Kate from the goodness revolt (Kate. i have no idea whether you read or not. but i stalked your blog and you had a book review post in there from like, a year ago, plus you did one recently. so i thought i'd give it a shot.)

Abbiee at Abbiee - who just posted about her TBR list (Hi Ab - i fully expect you to put that to good use and :)  yeah. no pressure.)

and if you're a reader or a writer or whatever,  and you want to do this tag...then BY ALL MEANS.
go write about books. :D

invisible handprints

short. blond. permanently rosy cheeks,
like he had just been in from the icy outdoors.
but he was nice.
and he dressed somewhere between gq and hipster.
glass water bottle. never coffee.
he was thoughtful.
he was funny, in his own way.
he always looked out the window at the sky when he talked.
(he never lectured. he talked.)
he encouraged. he guided.
(he never forced.)

i never knew him well
but he left invisible marks on me.
he was a teacher, a coach, a trainer
who handed me a sword
that looked a lot like a pen.

he was the one that said
you can do this.
you can write.
write whatever comes out.
write passionately, without pause.
write wholly.
edit later.
write until you fix the problem.
write about things that make you mad
(not the angry mad, but the crazy mad. the insanity
that makes you want to change things.)
write until you figure things out.

the best part is
he was right.
and so the hand print that he left was a good one.
invisibly white
you can see it glow slightly, still warm
from the branding.

i know her better than i thought i ever would.
another teacher.
there were actually three. but they've sort of combined themselves in my mind.
some fun. some drive. some melancholy.
some wit. some tact. some bluntness.
but she makes me practice even the things i don't like.
she helps me conquer those black dots on the page.
she makes me dig in.

i made her cry one time. playing a song that i didn't even know the meaning of.
i made her proud, i made her husband smile.
i made her laugh, playing the Can-Can with my left hand where my right would usually be
and vice versa. and she let me play it like that at the recital.

she left another hand-print.
its on the base of the tree. its part of the bark pattern.
its ingrained in me.
another invisible hand print, just as good as the other one,
but colder. it's older. its more mature.
i know i can use it.
when i can't go forward anymore,
and i have to decide whether to go up or down instead.

a bit of an audible compass, it is.
hers is the voice that guides it.

but these hand prints,
these brands.
they did actually hurt at first.
when they first got there, it was an icy-hot searing pain.
a door opening, an opportunity
to grow and become just a little bit more myself.
one of those hidden doors that you don't realize is there until
someone waltzes in and starts moving soul furniture that's been there for years
and behind it materializes a rusted sort of door in the wall and you can feel the room behind it
suddenly being hollowed out and made empty.
empty of all the unnecessary, full of possibility.
and then that someone waltzes out again, saying: use that thing i gave you. see if the door opens.
and then they leave, and all that's left is their voice.

they helped.
the short professor
and the music teacher.
now both are voices in my head.

guiding me. principles:
write everything, then take out the extra.
play slowly, then challenge yourself.
go to that room and bury yourself in the possibility and the passion that resides there.

and both, when i've given up
when i'm discouraged, when
i don't think i can do it anymore,
they pull me up, and say
no. you're going to finish this.
you're going to do this.

and i wonder at what point they will stop being
the short professor and the piano teacher.
and they will become my own voice.
at what point will they become a part of me.
at what point will the hand prints spread, becoming the ridges of my soul
spreading out of the hollowed-out room and into the rest of me.

and at what point will i say the same things they told me
to someone else

and when and if i do, will it leave a hand print?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Guest Post: Jana (she's the best :) (also DAY 12: collaborate)


Jana from Jana's Faith has kindly agreed to post on here. You should really check out her blog because her pictures are awesome and her writing is thoughtful and she's really just AN AMAZING PERSON.

(also she designed this blog. she is the fairy godmother of blog design, seriously.)

But yes: she's here. Give her a warm welcome! (that means lots of applauding and smiley faces and comments.) :D

hello peoples!  thank you to my longtime and fantastic buddy, sami jean, for letting me put my words on your blog, talk about trust!

anyway, when i was contemplating what i should write about and my thoughts ranged from gushing about books, blabbering about beautiful music *ahem, ed sheeran*, or providing a six page essay on why everyone really should love coffee and chocolate as much as i do, sami gave me a great idea.  so i'm gonna go with it and talk about traveling because i love it ever so much.  and i've had a post rolling around in my head about if for a while…

one). make your own soundtrack to life.  

seriously though, you know how there's always that thing floating around on pinterest that says "i wish my life had a soundtrack"?  well i totally agree, especially when you're traveling.

because now France sounds like owl city (especially this song and this song) and random french rap songs (don't ask me why, it's just what was on the radio).
and london is a weird mash-up of anthem lights covers and adele.
above: the coolest rhino statue i've ever seen (never mind that it's the only one) in front of museé d'orsay, paris

two). write people profiles. 

i've just started doing this but i wish i would have done it as i traveled.  because sometimes there are those people sitting across from you on the subway that is so cramped you have someone else's bag in your lap, and that person is just casually doing a crossword puzzle.
or there's that lady who, in the middle of a blank lot in London, has set up an easel and is painting a crazy complex modern art thing.  and i'm sitting/standing there with a billion different lives for these people.  and i've come up with some pretty convincing ones… like the one about the girl in the floppy sunhat and a killer sunburn, she just picked up and left one day to go travel around europe… oh, and she lives with her grandma.

so write them down, even if it's just for yourself so when you're old and moldy you can tell your grandkids about when the old italian guy randomly walked up and started demanding that you take a picture of him with your dad.
pic: artist lady in the middle of london, i couldn't tell you where we were as we were semi-lost when i took it. 

three).  journal, journal, journal.  write, write, write. 

tips for yourself or others in the future.
where and what you ate and if it was bad or good.
what you actually wore that you packed and what stuff you disgustedly shoved in the bottom of the suitcase, because it just didn't work.
all of the amazing things you saw, felt, heard and did.  and smelled, don't forget to add in those smells.
pic: the harbor in marseille, france.  

four).  always look at everything as an adventure.

… even when you've been walking for, i don't know, hours and your converse that were really cute + comfy at the beginning of the day have turned into instruments of torture.
and then later, when you find out that you basically just did the most extensive walking tour of Paris in the history of man, hey, at least it made a good story and awesome blisters.
pic: pier at omaha beach, normandy 

five). eat the food. 

i'm really hoping that this goes without saying, but i'm afraid it might not: eat the dang pastry.  i don't care if you're on a diet or you've already eaten dessert twice that day, you must eat the food.  end of story, the end.  

because crepes will never again taste as good as they do when you buy them from the old man in the little hole in the wall across from notre dame. 

and those mysterious weird, apple dumplings that have ricotta cheese in them, and taste like heaven, will never confuse you as to how they are made as much as the do when you're there. 

and when you're in a pub, in london, and people around you are talking like in call the midwife, eat the fish and chips.  embrace the grease.  refuse the napkin. 
pic: somewhere in a back alley in europe that had an amazing ice cream place

six). get lost + out of the city. 

forget the map and just start walking.  or buy a ticket to some kind of motorized contraption and hop on, then get off when you wanna.
*disclaimer: i would suggest a little bit of research, just so you know that you're not getting off in the bad part of town (not that i've ever done that) or so you don't get back on said vehicle during rush hour.  because that last one might end up with you have full body contact to complete strangers… on all four sides of you. not that i've ever experienced that.* 
oh, and leave your personal space bubble at home, because it's just gonna get broken.  like stepped on, run over and then backed over again.  

one of my most favorite times in france was when we got on the train and didn't get off until the stops no longer had concrete and my foot hit the bare gravel when we got off.  and then there was the most beautiful french town that was home to 300 people, old caves filled with bats and cave drawings and the most amazing guesthouse in all of history.  so yeah, go see pictures of my baby faced self eating a slug and wandering through other peoples' fields here.
pic: a clearing in the woods outside of d'Arcy sur Cure

seven). go see dead things and really, really old stuff. 

i love museums, all around the world.  but european museums really have it going on because those countries have been around way longer than america has, so they have a lot more stuff from way back when.  and most of the time they have stuff from other countries from a long time ago *cough* mummies egypt what*cough* 

so go see the easter island statue (which disappointingly doesn't chew bubble gum), stare at granite statues of mesopotamian creatures that are twelve feet tall,  marvel at how humans can look at a rock + make a masterpiece out of it and try to figure out how people were able to actually read the rosetta stone to unlock the secret of languages, because it's kinda worn.  and the whole bringing ginormous, bigger-than-a-house pillars back from who-knows-where to europe in the 18th century is still mind boggling to me, howw? 
pic: some old guys portrait at the louvre in paris 

eight). take pictures.  a lot of them. 

because no matter how many you take you will always want to go back and take more.  which is why i have gladly agreed to go stumble around europe with sam for a while, at some point in life… preferably sooner than later. 
(and yes that is me, dreamily looking out to sea and feeling like a romantic poet…  although i think i was actually really trying to figure out how i could possibly move to the little uninhabited island.  i failed unfortunately) 

nine). look at the normal, everyday life of european cities.  (aka not everyone lives under the eiffel tower.) 

so, i lived in france for five months with my family when we were in language school.  and parts of it were good, great even.  the food was amazing and uber fancy cheese was really cheap.

but the amazing food was expensive, so just like in the states, not every meal was escargot and creme brûlée.

and if when you're walking down the tight, little streets with cute shops on either side, remember that 98% of the time people's whole lives are in the apartments above you.  
this is their everyday.  
they walk down a steep set of stairs and get their groceries for the day from the funny little market on the corner.  and that's just part of their day, they live normal lives with work, school, play and family all mixed in.  so be a nice american (see #ten) and respect the normal lives of others, no matter what language they speak or how cool their clothes are. 

also, economics lesson for you today: 
a lot of european countries are socialist.  which means that the government decides when the heat can be turned on in apartments and when it can be shut off.  which means that when it is in the 50's in october but the greater powers didn't think it was time yet, life indoors also requires coats, scarves and boots.  (not that i would know from personal experience… the frostbite didn't cause any long term damage anyway. )
pic: a backstreet somewhere in europe

ten). be a nice american.

i think both from living in a european + african country and living outside of my 1st culture for the past three years, my senses have been attuned to the interaction between americans and the national citizens of whatever fine country you're in.  and there have been several times when i wished my french accent and fashion sense was better so i could try to claim that i was european.  in other words, i was not proud to be an american due to the lady screaming in english about long lines… so be a nice american.  

speaking english slowly, in an a n n u n c i a t ed voice doesn't help a n y o n e.  especially not the person talking, because, well it just doesn't work.  and i can say these things because i'm an american and i have the passport and bad french accent to prove it. 

and unless you're in italy, match the volume around you.  if you're in italy you can laugh, guffaw and be loud as you please because it's exactly how it is in the movies.  but if you're in… well anywhere else, channel your inner european and speak in lowercase, because it too is just like in the movies.
pic: versaille, because it's beautiful

so there you have it, ten tips on how to travel the world like a boss… or like a homeschooled missionary kid, whatever you prefer.  

you guys have any thoughts, tips or comments?  earth shattering epiphanies or requests for me to be your personal travel guide (which is totally an option)?  just let me know in the comments.
and come see me and say hi, here or here.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

contradiction moderation passion

i wish for love but cannot give it
i crave rain and hate the sunshine
why does the sun make me sad
while the rain lifts my spirits?

i am a contradiction

i scream for peace, but secretly
i fight wars with bombs and sacrifices and

i say, let it happen as it happens
it will all work out
but behind me i am scrabbling for anything
a secret latch
a doorway
a light switch
and when i find it i push push push relentless
because something must give or I will go insane.
because what if nothing ever happens?

when it does open up like
ipomea alba when the moon rises
i am happy
for a moment

because i am a contradiction

i want to move forward but i'm
comfortable where i'm at.

i want to have adventures but that means change
not just change of
scenery or
what i wear
or a lack of the comforts of home
but it means i must change too
i must learn i must adapt.
figure it out on my own.

but i am a contradiction

i wish for opposites
i crave differences
as black and white
hot and cold
but of course
of course everything must be in moderation.

contradiction or moderation
and i can choose neither
but I am both.

the only thing that
i don't think should be contradicticized
is passion.

that sweet terrifying swell that wells up
and takes over
charming as stolen kisses.

never live without passion.
the opposite of passion is not
any specific thing but rather
a lack of passion.
not having anything to be excited about.
not having a purpose
or a thing that makes you dizzy because you get so excited
or that thing that makes you cry because you're so happy
that thing that fuels your fire.

not the bad angry fire
but the fire that is your life
that fire that says "this is how brightly i'm burning,
this is why i live"

passion fuels that:
what are you passionate about?
what is it that you cannot have in moderation?

what is it that says
screw contradiction and feelings and logic
i must do this with everything i have
i must throw myself at this subject
i must immerse myself
i must live this

this is my purpose
not contradiction
but rather, passion.

i am contradiction
i am moderation
i am passion waiting
to pounce.
I am passion.
I am passion.


Thursday, November 12, 2015


FIRST THINGS FIRST: This lovely tag came from Kate @ the goodness revolt. so go check it out. :) 
second things: this was supposed to be a vlog, but i'm a rebel and a scaredy-cat, so no vlogs for me yet. maybe later. 
THIRD THINGS:  the tag. if you write, you're it. :D 

now let's get down't to business. 

WRITE FUEL: WHAT DO YOU EAT/DRINK WHILE WRITING? i will eat anything from edamame to ice cream to regular old dinner and usually only drink tea in unbelievable quantities. (i really really really love earl grey. like, if earl grey were a person, it would be a man, and we would be married.) (either that or this weird vitamin c tea that my mom makes that's like, lemongrass and rose hips and hibiscus. its actually quite lovely.)

WRITE SOUNDS: WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE WRITING? absolutely nothing. see, my brain works best when there is little to no noise. so, you can usually find me barricaded within a fortress of silence, violently typing away at my keyboard. sometimes my iPod is even banished from the room. even when it's off. just procedure, principle, whatever you wanna call it. NO NOISE.

WRITE VICE: WHAT’S YOUR MOST DEBILITATING DISTRACTION? my mother. i love my mother to death. she's amazing; you would love her. BUT - i can be in my little zone, and she'll walk into the room and start talking and i kid you not my brain shuts off. it's like "oh mom is in the room and she's talking. EVERYBODY GO HOME UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE." hence the barricading inside the fortress of silence discussed in the question above. so yes, my mom is rather distracting. 

WRITE HORROR: WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE WRITING? i once wrote a paper for an English class that was quite possibly the best piece of first draft ever written by my hand, except i had typed it, and my computer crashed and didn't save it (#327 of why i hate technology) and i had to rewrite the whole thing. but it wasn't the same. really guys: it was beautiful the first time around. i almost had a funeral for it. 

WRITE JOY: WHAT’S THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED WHILE WRITING OR HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE SMALL VICTORIES? usually its just a small line of something really beautiful that i really really like. for example, from my book, when my main female character gets kidnapped:
"and then he sprays something in my face and it feels like fire and then everything goes blacker than the night sky above us."
i don't know why but i REALLY love that line. so basically my small victories are really good sentences, and i celebrate by walking around with a stupid grin on my face. (i swear i'm not proud.)

WRITE CREW: WHO DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH OR NOT COMMUNICATE WITH WHILE WRITING? Jana and Jacob. Jana because she sings my praises (lol, she's also my cranky editor...). Jacob because he's not afraid to tell me when its terrible awful and i need to throw certain chapters away. and he's got really grand ideas usually. (there's always a few that i'm like "no. just no.")

WRITE SECRET: WHAT’S YOUR WRITING SECRET TO SUCCESS OR HIDDEN FLAW? write without ceasing. although its not actually possible. so do the next best thing: write in your mind without ceasing. practice your page voice. when i think, i think as far outside the rhetorical and cliche and the box as possible. when i notice smells, i think of what they remind me of, and when, and how it makes me feel, and i write two sentences in my mind. when i notice people, i fit their body to a voice, and their voice to a personality, and the personality to an adventure and voila, you have a story. i think the way i want to sound. i think the way i write. sometimes, i even try to write with voice inflections. (you may notice the excessive italicized and caps-lock usage.) and of course, sarcasm. i don't think i could live without sarcasm, so i try to add it to writing. sometimes. as in, when i'm feeling adventurous.  
i heard something on the radio that i think actually could apply to writing really well: they were talking about how to be a good listener.  and to practice being a good listener; so, listen to something on the radio or audio book or something, and then turn it off and talk to yourself about it. literally have a conversation with yourself. i think as a writer, because we are all of the characters and all of the scenes and all of the heartache and joy and EVERYTHING, its important to have the ability to play multiple parts. so its okay to practice that. just like its okay to make faces at yourself in the mirror. just like its okay to sing in the shower, or squeal at the slightest little things, or have any weird quirks. idiosyncrasies are our blood. be flexible. practice that. 

WRITE-SPIRATION: WHAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU PRODUCTIVE? a good nights rest and a story that is going to drive me insane. sometimes arguments get me in the mood, or even just a 10 minute walk outside to get the creative juices flowing.

WRITE PEEVE: WHAT’S ONE THING WRITERS DO (OR YOU DO) THAT’S ANNOYING? Any writing perspective not done well. For example, first person perspective ("I went and did this, felt this way, she looked at me, he glared at me, etc.") done from two different character's views, but you can't tell the difference.  when it sounds like the same voice, the writer is doing it wrong. 
or, third person perspective. a person has to be INCREDIBLE at third person perspective to keep me entertained. i have to feel like i'm in the story, which is why i tend to favor books from first person perspective. but if its done right, you feel as the characters do. you see the same things, fight the same battles, etc. etc., even in third person. if done right, it is an exquisite balance of dialogue, description, and swashbuckling debonair. (ie: it will sweep me off my feet.)
i can't do it. only one sentence? i already did about a whole paragraph? you're welcome. :)

Going back to my barracks, I stop by the watchtower. They watch everything outside and inside the base, so they’ll know if Nick left or not.
“Hey, Joe. Has anyone come out of Barracks 9?” I know the watchman. He’s usually on this time of night. We’ve talked a few times, and he always flirts, but he smells of engine oil and his hands are always dirty. He’s a Machine Specialist in the mornings.
“Well, look at you, all ready for war. Who is it this time? Did your boyfriend leave the toilet seat up?” Even though he can’t see my weapons, Joe knows that I’m basically an assassin. My jacket must be bulging from the handgun. Joe is trained to notice these things, though, the little things that no one else would notice. That’s what makes him a Specialist. He fixes the things no one else will, just like I take out targets that regular soldiers can’t harm. Joe leans across the counter into the open air, his scarf falling forward from his jacket. He frowns at it and stuffs it back into the unzipped portion of the leather coat. It’s falling to bits. I can’t believe his Sergeant hasn’t made him get a new one.
I roll my eyes at his audacity to suggest that I have a boyfriend, and ignore his question. “Uh-huh. Has anyone come out?”
“Only your boyfriend, about 5 minutes ago. Why?”
“He’s not my boyfriend. He’s my target.” I slide a bill across the counter. Standard procedure. He gives me information, I pay him.
“Keep it, sweetheart. What say you and I go get drinks this weekend instead?” He’s smiling a little bit, but the light is coming from behind him, and while his face is a little hard to see, I know mine is fully illuminated. Right now he knows I have murder on my mind. I leave the bill.
“No.” And then I stalk off into the night. And back. “Which way did he go?”
“Drinks,”  he says, and I pull a knife from the back of my collar.
“Where did he go.” It comes out as a demand, not a question.
Joe smiles. “That way,” he points to the left, in the direction of the gates. I start off. “See you Friday!” he calls. Idiot, I think.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF THE SNIPPET. oh, and do the tag. please please please do the tag....

one does not conquer a black diamond in reverse

NOTE: i wrote this post LAST winter. so it's old. but it still holds true. enjoy! (also, just fyi, all the photos are from pinterest.) (also, this counts as day 26 of blogtober: share an opinion. this is my opinion on perfectionism. and salvation. bombdiggity.)


okay, so I'm going through a ski obsession. Most of my awesome friends snowboard. But a few ski. While I am not an incredible skier, it is one of my most. favorite. things. to do. EVER.

My mom and I were talking about my perfectionism, which has begun to become just a little bit overwhelming. I told her that I felt like I was trying to ski my way UP a black diamond.
For me, this is a fairly hilarious mental picture. Think about it: I ski without poles. So whenever there is a slight incline which I must scale, I have to do the wide-legged, inverse-snowplow, almost-cross-country-ski (which I hate) motion which is basically me flinging my self forward and hoping I can complete that ridiculous action again before I start to slide backwards.
It's lovely.
By trying to go up a black diamond like this? That would be self-inflicted torture.
So, perfectionism = making myself climb a black diamond.

It can't be done. I cannot be perfect. (Not to bust your bubble, but neither can you.)
So, we're all going to fail. We are all going to make bobbles and slip-ups, and it's going to hurt as bad as my legs do the day after skiing.
Here's the catch: this guy lives on our metaphorical ski hill. And he walks around to the people like me who are trying to get up the black diamond. Or maybe they aren't even past the bunny hill. Maybe they are injured and hanging out at the lodge or the first aid hut. Maybe they are even the people who are at that almost-Olympic-skier level that make you kinda sick, because they go flying down the mountain doing moguls and flips and bleh. Anyway - this guy has lift tickets. Free ones. And he sees people like me, and the injured ones, and the inexperienced ones, and even the awesome ones and he gives us free tickets. We don't have to try and get up the mountain on our own. We just have to stick the ticket on our coat and get in line for the lift. The ticket is unlimited. Every. Single. Day. We are allowed to go skiing as much as we want. The ticket gets us to the top of the mountain every time without fail.
(This is such an awesome ski should be a thing. Free lift tickets? Heck yeah.)

32 Photos That Will Make Your Stomach Drop ---I see it as 32 Photos Of People Living Life To The Fullest. :)

So, we can't get up the perfection ski hill. But this guy gives us a free lift ticket that allows us to get to the top of the mountain, so that we don't have to be perfect.

I'm just going to say it: Its GRACE. The ticket is grace and salvation and God's love for us. When we think about it like this, it's really kind of easy to grasp. All we have to do is accept the ticket, and then use the lift.

We don't have to be perfect, because we CAN'T be perfect. We will fail and slide down that stupid steep ski slope every time.

Thank goodness for free lift tickets.

Skiing the Crystal Mountain, Washington. Photo by B. Hazen.