21 January 2019

manual vs. auto

Playing around with golden hour and manual mode. Life is always going to be like that, huh?: pushing yourself to new limits, and slowly easing off auto-pilot.


Please pray for the repose of a soul. His name is Weston.


Happy new year, dear friends! This year, I've decided to hone down my skills and start making a side hustle of it. For those of you who are interested, visit my website. After a long period of disdain, I am also on Instagram. God reward you!

30 June 2018

May/June 2018

I have been settling in. Which is a hard thing to do if you're traveling for weddings, going to work every day, and trying to keep up with those you love-- but Lord knows these are marvelous days, and I'm grateful.

It's interesting to not be in school for the first time. When I come back from work, I don't need to worry about homework; I could watch a TV show if I wanted. But with this new chapter comes new responsibilities-- if I do end up watching a TV show, eventually I'll need to get up to make dinner if I want to eat something. And there's always that phone call to make. And there's always a brand-new work day ahead.

After having the same lifestyle more or less for the last four years, it's a bit of a challenge to get into a new one. And you want to make sure it's a good one; this is your life after all. You want to make sure that you're still upholding your standards, that you're still striving for noble things outside your completion of your liberal arts degree. I've been humming over creating a brand-new schedule that incorporates mass, adoration, grocery shopping, work, running, reading, and other nonsense. (Sooner or later I'll have it figured it out. Right?)

I'm reading Jane Eyre again right now. It's been inspiring and thought-provoking in a new way since the last time I read it in high school. Jane is so no-nonsense, and since writing my senior thesis on relationships and compatibility, I appreciate it even more now. Rochester and Jane click. They have good banter, their personalities complement each other, and they suit each other because they're both so strong-willed. What are you reading right now?

Here's to beautiful summer days, with a glorious July.
-sami xo

17 April 2018

life right now

written on april 15, 2018

It's the first time in awhile that I have actually taken it slow on a Sunday. Went to mass, worked on a poster for the dance coming up on Saturday, and actually got my homework done early.

Life and things have gotten to the point where I can see things settling in nicely, and finally. Graduation is in a month, and I have a job lined up for me (an office job with the school I've been teaching for) and a housing situation that's close to ideal (a shared home with three other lovely grads), and b. staying in town with me this summer. It's all very definite, and real, and student loans and budgeting, but also strangely satisfying, like staring in the face of a challenge. I want these things to happen, and I don't even know what I'm asking for, probably.

Things that have happened recently: successfully passing my thesis defense, starting a gratitude journal, sending invitations out to family and friends for my graduation, daydreaming about new bedroom designs, buying a white dress, making a summer reading list, making kombucha for the first time. 

This is where I am in life right now.


This is a corny selfie I took when I was reading the Summa for theology one day and realized that I was actually enjoying myself and that my days of having the angelic doctor as homework were running out. My hair was drying because I had just taken a shower, and my bed was made for once, so I took a picture. I don't really have any further explanation; I was just... happy. So here you go.

Tomorrow I'm going to eat sushi with b. As as far as things go after that and what I've told you, I have no idea what will happen next.

14 March 2018


1. Is this going to lead me to God?
2. Have I done all that I can today?
3. If not now, when?

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

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.


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