03 February 2018

I choose to be happy now


I choose to be happy now.

This is a saying I've been reminding myself of for the past few years. It is helpful because, yes, emotions and exterior events are things that we can't control to some extent. But to another extent, there is something we can do about them if they are pulling us in the wrong direction.

There is a difference between being euphoric and finding fulfillment in the every day life. I may not be ecstatic about the state my life is in right now for example, but that doesn't mean I can't choose to accept it (if that's all I can do at this time) and make something good come of it.

Choosing to be happy right now doesn't necessarily mean that life is peachy-keen. Rather, it means accepting life's challenges, and instead of being bitter, using them to one's own advantage. It means growing where you are planted. It means being faithful. It means being grateful.

(Postscript- shout out to all of you who made it to the West Coast W4L! As always, it was an emotional and touching experience. Good bye, San Francisco, and hello to the pro-life generation!)

01 January 2018

thoughts for the new year

Written 12.28.17
11:49pm

I've come to realize that I am terrified by silence.

Even now, writing this, I've sort of had to "fight" the silence. It's midnight. I'm in my dad's room upstairs, and except for the last sounds of my brothers getting ready for bed, it's quiet. But I've had to make a conscious effort to come up here and decide to write, instead of grabbing my phone. When given the options of doing something deliberate and meditative, or something else I'll usually choose the latter option.

It's not to say that I don't like peace or quiet-- I do. I like it when things are calm, and drama is nonexistent. I'll tell my siblings to shush periodically throughout the day. But there's a difference: that kind of quiet is not the same as  s i l e n c e .

The unnerving, unsettling, uncomfortable silence when in a small room, alone. The kind of silence that magnifies your thoughts and feelings. The kind of silence in the car that makes you squirm when there's no radio or podcast to listen to.

I consider myself a prayerful kinda gal. I actually love praying-- out loud, I suppose. You can't get much better than the rosary, or chanting. So I guess I like praying, but only the easy kind. The rosary isn't necessarily mindless, but compared to a serious holy hour, it seems a cake walk.


Why?

I see myself running into the same rut of lukewarmness constantly. I've only recently realized that it probably stems from a lack of intentional, DAILY silence. Plain uninterrupted and meditative silence.

And I kick myself for it. It sounds so low, so base that I can't sit still for so short a time! But I suppose it's more than that-- it's not just that I can't sit still, but that I've become complacent, that I'm not comfortable enough with me somehow anymore. How could I ever say I possessed self-control, self-mastery, or any kind of knowledge of myself before? And I do want self-control, self-mastery, and knowledge of me.

Real goals for a new year.

21 December 2017

of journals and other cheesy things

READING- Brothers Karamazov. I am in love with Alyosha.
DOING- intermittent fasting because I've always been a health nut and info on i.f. is so good to know. This documentary is so informative and it's just amazing that our bodies are perfect, in a way. Also brings new light to things like Jesus' 40 day fast.
PLANNING- my life after graduation in May (eep!). I'm hoping to be a teacher at a Catholic school near home before going to grad school. Prayers welcome!
WORKING- on small photography jobs for friends. (I have a new website!) It is wonderful to do something that is fulfilling but also brings home some bacon.
LEARNING- more about the 5 Love Languages because it is fascinating and, in a way, necessary. I think there is some virtue to it, especially if you apply it well. I don't think it's just another "way out there" philosophy. Also, I'm an ESFJ so...
CELEBRATING- because EVERYONE'S GETTIN MARRIED!!!  How beautiful it's been to see my best friends date, become closer, and now plan their futures together. 
REALIZING- that I'm starting to dress like my mom more and more each day (not that it's a bad thing). Who else thinks these shoes are cute?
PRAYING- for the end of the Thomas fire that started 1/2 mile near my school two and half weeks ago and still continues to blaze. All students evacuated Monday night; first semester was cancelled and I was home for break two weeks early with a few friends to stay the week. Finals have been postponed till next semester but there has been so much craziness since then. Thankfully, the firefighters and some leaders of the College held their ground and our school is still standing. It is a miracle! St. Florian, pray for us.


///

The last time I left you, I was bracing myself for a crazy semester ahead of me. As always, God is good and I was able to keep up with everything. I didn't miss a day of work, and I formed a wonderful relationship with the family whose kids I babysat every day. Next semester, I'll be back at a more manageable 6 hour work week, so I'll have more time to work on my senior thesis.

Sometimes I flip through my journal to find inspiration for posts. It's always interesting comparing the beginning and last entries of my journal because they are so vastly different. Starting a new journal is so curious; you know that in a few months, all the pages will be filled. But with what? What memories will need to be jogged down? What late night's experience will have to be remembered? What new heart wrenching realization will need to be expressed? And I smile as I flip to the end of the book; never in a million years would I have thought that some of the things recorded would have ever happened.

I come back to this place every few months and chronicle what's been on my mind lately. It's been an on-going project for seven years, and I don't think I'll give it up anytime soon-- even though sometimes my posts are few and far between (hey, I've been better this year, eh?). It's a project that necessitates recollection, thought, and gratitude. But especially for that latter reason, I think this blogging business of mine is worthwhile. I think it would be a stretch to say blogging is for me an act of gratitude, but I guess you could say blogging is a way to get back in touch with reality, no matter how hard life's been. To see that, actually, yeah, it's ok because of all these other reasons I've stumbled across in the process of writing. Does that make sense?

Our Christmas tree is up. I'm at home with family. Just recently I started dating again. There is a fullness in my heart that I've been waiting for. My six-year-old sister (who was TWO YEARS OLD when I left for College) has grown up and become such a ham. We all love watching her.

So, what's new with you?

In case I don't get back to you soon, have a blessed rest of your Advent and merry Christmas! Christ be with you. You all are lovely.

-sami xo

03 September 2017

goodbye, august


I think one of the secrets to life is not allowing yourself to be troubled. Don't freak out. Stop stressing. Take a moment, and calm, please.

I think it's essentially what the mystics have been telling us all along: detachment. I might be wrong about this, but I think that's what St. Teresa of Avila means when she says to distance yourself from the world. Distance yourself from physical possessions, temporal friendships, petty (or even legitimate) hobbies, but also any form of worry. Worry is something you can be attached to, just like any of the other items named.

//

I write these words with all the authority of a college senior. Jk. But I am a senior now (time flies... I remember posting on this blog about the high school summer program) and these thoughts are good to reflect upon as I begin life again as a full time student with a 22 hour work week and a senior thesis that needs to be written. (Will I have a social life? Will I have more than 6 hours of sleep every night? Who knows.) Although, I'm always wishing I could write more.

Hello, September

19 March 2017

Dear Little Sister


Clare,

I don't want to forget your smiles, your hilarity, and your personality manifested in your five year old self.

I don't want to forget coming home and seeing you grinning, running up to meet me while yelling my name.

I don't want to forget cuddling with you and just listening to you talk. Also, I love taking selfies with you. And yes, of course I will pour milk for you and make you breakfast and play games with you and take you to the pool or walk to the park.

You are so dear to me. I want to be the big sister to you that all little girls dream about.

I miss you. I love you.

Love,
your big sister
(inspired by Mariah)

24 January 2017

Where


"You remember too much," my mother said to me recently.
"Why hold onto all that?"
And I said, "Where can I put it down?"
 
-- anne carson

27 September 2016

Sorting

 
6:15am. I get up, throw on some clothes, go to work, go to classes, go to mass, run, study, sleep. Repeat 5x.
 
I snapped this picture of our desk in the dorm this afternoon because the lighting inspired me and also I was upset at myself for not taking as many pictures as usual. The honesty and candidness of the shot was slightly amusing to me-- I didn't move a single thing for the shot, yet I thought the messiness of it all added a nuanced beauty somehow.
 
But I've been organizing, in a way. Not in compartmentalizing my desk, but in sorting through myself.

Last year was tough. This year is tough too, but more in an aftermath-y kind of way. Last year I dealt with a kind of grief I've never experienced before, and starting with the beginning of this summer, I've been learning about how to cope with it.

I've been journaling before bed lately. It helps me gather myself and figure out where I'm at. Sort of like an examination of conscience. And I've noticed certain trends: people are good for me, I need time to talk with close friends, running is good (no music, and not on a treadmill), painting my nails makes me feel like I'm taking care of myself. Praying in front of the blessed sacrament is also wonderful, but in a painful way... There's no instant gratification-- not analogous with alcohol-- yet you can feel the reassurance and comfort throughout the whole of the day, slowly 'kicking in' like nicotine for smokers.
 
I feel like I'm writing my own owner's manual, in a way. I like that analogy anyway. And these are the sorts of things that are important, you know? It's good to know what works for you, and what doesn't. Difficulties and problems will arise, and it's not always clear which is the healthy way to proceed when you're in an unfit state.
 
The human person is a complex being. We are very much body and soul, two completely different entities. Corporeal and incorporeal. Man is a paradox. Yet, it is because we are also so unified in our two different natures that the two war against each other; they are so intertwined. How strange and marvelous, truly.

And how natural, then, for us to have to sort through ourselves in this way. It makes sense, and it doesn't. We remain paradoxes.

Meanwhile, I wake up, go to work, attend classes, go to mass, run, study, sleep, and sort.