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.