Initial Thoughts on My New Job

From one nanny job to the next I have jumped. My last with little Lia, cutest of all babies in the world, this one with Leela and Ben, the dynamic duo out to destroy each other and those around them. 🙂

So yeah, it’s an exciting job to say the least.

I was fairly miserable as a nanny while I was in Oregon. I’m not sure why that is. Probably the place I was in emotionally/physically/spiritually, but it was so hard for me. I loved Lia with all of my heart, but just didn’t enjoy the job. So many of my panic attacks were about going to work or being at work, it was ridiculous. I was VERY worried the same thing would happen here in Boise.

But somehow? This job is completely different. My disposition is entirely opposite of my last experience. I love waking up and going to work. I love being at work. And I rarely am counting down hours and minutes to go home (I am human so that does occasionally happen.) I think partially it’s because this job comes with a lot more responsibility for the household and a little less responsibility regarding the kiddos. I do almost everything for their home. I grocery shop, I run errands, I cook their meals, I do laundry, I clean up the house (though the deep cleaning gets done by a company), I am working on organizing their entire house, it’s so satisfying.

I am apparently a homemaker at heart.

I absolutely love that I get to help make their house a home. It’s different than any prior nanny or babysitting situation I’ve ever had, but I absolutely love it. The kids are in daycare during the day, so I’m with them in the EARLY mornings for two hours and then I’m with them/the whole family in the evening for two hours. Three hours in the middle of the day leaves me to all the household management tasks and then another five hours are dead hours in which I get to do whatever I want.

It’s an odd schedule in some ways, but it really works for me all at the same time. The dead time has been great for me, enabling me to see friends, work out, journal, write letters, nap (those mornings are seriously early), and just generally get stuff down for my own life.

So, while I was hesitant for this job in so many ways… I really couldn’t be happier than where I ended up.

Thanks be to God.


Initial Thoughts on Catholicism: Part One

The Catholic Church I attend

It is no hidden secret that I’ve been struggling with Christianity the last year and a half. It could have been called a crisis of faith, was I so nearly convinced that God was not here and Christians are but a cruel people group set on making “others” (whomever they see as different) miserable.

An image perhaps fitting for the time would be that I felt like I was holding the ashes of something that had once been beautiful in my hands but had burned up while I was holding it. So hands scarred, ashes in tow, I held on feverishly to something that just wasn’t there like I’d once thought it was.

It seemed like many of the conversations I had regarding faith in that time went a little something like this:
“I’m just so frustrated that nothing is how it used to be,” said Samantha.
“Do things need to be the same to be true or good or loving or God?” said Samantha’s boyfriend/friends/family members.
“YES! Well, of course not, but I’m scared/angry/bitter/lost,” Samantha replied.
“You know I had to go through a time where so many things I thought about God changed or where I met Him in relationship in a different way than before,” said wise Samantha’s boyfriend/friends/family members.
“UGH, okay, sure, whatever that means you idiots,” Samantha would THINK to herself because those things aren’t nice to say out loud.

I went a few times to a Friends Church in Newberg while I was living there. Especially when I first moved there. And each and every time would be miserable. I’d sit there filled with anxiety, experiencing several panic attacks, crying tears of fear. Believe me… such a worshipful experience *cough, cough.* I finally gave up. For many reasons, I just stopped going. I didn’t feel welcome at that Table and so I just stopped trying.

But in the depths of me I still wanted to commune with the God I just knew had to exists. Enter, the Catholic Church.

I had gone to a Catholic Church while I worked at camp several times over the year and a half that I was there. It was about a 15 minute walk along the beach to Mass and let’s just say that’s a fantastic way to get to church. 🙂 So, it was attractive to me for many reasons. I figured if I could go to Mass in Rockaway Beach, then I could probably go to Mass in Newberg and hopefully not experience quite the same pain as I had at the Quaker Church.

And I was right. For this anxiety-ridden, panic attack prone young woman I was able to partake in the traditions and rituals and not freak out because it had structure of the ages behind it. And for the time that I was in Newberg, that was enough for me. I went infrequently, but when I did go it was with a feeling of… safety, which I sorely needed and had been missing at the Quaker church.

But then I read a book around the time that I was getting married/just got married. It’s called Something Other Than God and it is about a woman who goes through her journey of being an Athiest all of her life to becoming Catholic. And as I was reading some of her story and her thoughts/questions/processes I recognized a bit of myself in there. And I started realizing that some of what Evangelicalism had taught me about Catholicism was just. plain. wrong.

And honestly? I was excited about faith/God/Jesus/Church in a way I hadn’t been in so very dishearteningly wrong. Something in my soul was unfolding. And I was finally ready for things to look a little differently then they had in the past.

Initial Thoughts on Marriage

It seems to be finally sinking in that I’m actually married, that I’m a wife, that we-Jacob, my love, and I- entered into the sacrament of marriage together. The past four weeks have felt totally surreal. Perhaps even the weeks leading up to the moments in which we’d stand before our gathered family and friends and under the watchful, loving eyes of our Father became wed… those weeks too, were mightily surreal.

As I’ve been listening to Audrey Assad and reading some of her past Tumblr blog posts about her own marriage, and I think because of this it’s finally sinking in that I’M married.

Sigh. I’m so silly.

Sometimes it seems weird that I’m here. I remember not too long ago thinking this day would never come. That I’d never be in love, never be a wife, never find someone who loves me so truly, faithfully, and intimately as Jacob does. In fact, it was only two years ago that we met and guess what?! Now we are married. (Obvious punchline)

As anyone who has ever had a severe panic disorder, PTSD, GAD, depression, and the like… you know how it can be all-encompassing to the point that everything else gets fuzzy and incredibly hard to process in the current moment. As I burst forth in a glorious way from the pain and suffering of the last year and a half (and ya know stumble and fall all of the time because bursting naturally implies mess) I want to pause and think upon the beauty of the most important human relationship I’ll ever have on this earth.

There is an almost inability in me to fully understand the depth of what Jacob and I share. I think that’s the undercurrent of Christ in each of us working through us to bring us closer together and closer to God. The beautiful mystery of our Father who brought us together, held us together, and spurs us forward together.

Because of what I said in the two paragraphs above, Jacob… and our relationship… has often taken a backseat to my mental illness and my road to recovery. People would ask how we were doing and always my initial thought was, “How are WE doing? How about how am *I* doing? I can barely function/breathe/stay here without running away due to a fight or flight complex.” But you know… that’s generally not an answer I wanted to give. So instead, honestly I’d answer, “We’re good, things are hard because of what I’m going through, but he’s a blessing and we are good.” And like I said, it was true.

But in the depths of me I always wanted a way to dialogue better, with more insight, with more detail, more honesty. I blamed myself and sometimes still do (though we work on that) for the fact that our year of dating and our period of engagement was fraught with trips to the ER, late night panicked/screaming phone calls that I was dying, obsessions with my health, constant exhaustion, and the like. What I had wanted for us when we initially started dating was cute outings to the zoo, walks on the beach, movies at the theater, ice cream from Cold Stone, you know… the simple stuff that most people experience. (Well that’s what Facebook tells me anyway.)

But life got in the way. It does that apparently. And that isn’t how our first couple of years together have been. But, as my ever so patient and thoughtful husband always says, it doesn’t mean that the last two years have been bad or wasted or not worth it. In fact, looking back on all of it now I wouldn’t trade any of it (okay… not most of it anyway, some of the ER trips were expensive…)

Because when we stood in front of our gathered friends and family, when we spoke vows both our own written and traditional, when we exchanged rings, we really meant what we said. With a depth and understanding that life isn’t always daisies and sunshine and picnics in the park or walks on the beach- we committed to spending the rest of our lives together until death parts us.

We are lucky.

We are blessed.

Marriage, as I’m finally experiencing now, is allowing me to fall in love with Jacob all over again. I’m able to pause and look at him and remember all we’ve been through and my heart skips a beat because he still gives me butterflies and that’s amazing. That’s a gift. We didn’t miss out on outings to the zoo, walks on the beach, movies at the theater, and all that jazz because we still get to do those things now. And really? Those are just events that can mean something, it doesn’t mean that they do. The experiences we’ve had, the events we’ve gone through… those have really MEANT something. They’ve shaped us, molded us, drawn us together, tested our character, tested our strength as individuals and as a couple. What beauty! What gifts! What joy!

I love him. Not for the stuff we’ve done, the memories we made sure to create, the opportunities we grabbed. No. I mean I love HIM, for who HE is. Because I’ve seen the man that Jacob Garrett is. Through all we’ve been through I’m able to confidently say we are blessed in the love we share, the sacrament of marriage we participate in, and that I am honored to be married to him.

So, my initial thoughts on marriage?

It’s the best, “I do” I’ve ever said and I’ll continue to say it each day that I’m lucky enough to be married to him.

Flipping Pages

Wearing a blue paisley dress, brown ankle boots laced up, wild wavy hair (I had once thought my hair was straight in Idaho, but apparently my hair is just forever wavy curls now) I sit here at this big, warm, wooden table.

I’ve been in Idaho almost nearly two weeks. Home old, home anew. Oh my home, how are you, how dare did I leave? Not in the last year and a half have I felt so peaceful, so welcomed, so loved, so wanted by earth, by wind, by sun, by souls, by place, by faces.

Walking downtown in familiarity, yet picking out the new buildings, new restaurants, new brew pubs… Boise is everything I didn’t dare hope it would be. It’s a warm, worn blanket-wrapping me in love and comfort. It’s a new, fresh start… fresh as the mint growing in the earth a big Idaho block from me calling out to me a purpose afresh.

Panic and anxiety have subsided almost entirely, though triggers still make me fear for my life (i.e. being alone in a room with two men that I don’t know very well.) I’m even eating food (a small bit) that has been entirely taboo for a long time and processing it through my body fairly well… small victories.

I have friends here. Family. Old and very old. It’s the comfort and safety I’ve so been longing for. I fit here. I rest here. I LIVE here.

Days have consisted of seeing a friend or two or three, working at my new job which is an absolutely fabulous fit for me, shopping at the local co-op for food that nourishes, strengthens, and heals my body, walks in the warm (too warm?) sun, sometimes seeing my husband when he’s been here, reading books on Catholicism, laughter, smiles, tender moments.

Can you see it? Can you smell it? Can you feel it? Can you taste it?

The glory of it all.

I do find it odd (God?) that as this new chapter unfolds a new chapter in my faith seems to be unfolding as well. The relics, traditions, beauty, history, mystery, liturgy of the Catholic Church draws me and renews my faith in ways I didn’t think would ever be possible after all that has happened. But it is happening.

And for Ben, because he asked…

Simmer down, love.
Lift up your tristful head
I promise, some day soon,
we will learn to starve our

Until then,
We must learn to teach our lungs
to breathe patience,
our souls to cling
to hope,
and somehow, someway,
find what will make
our hearts feel
a little less
-Christopher Poindexter

A modicum of poetry. Probably. Definitely terrible, but it’s there.

There are days and weeks.

I’m married!! How wonderful is that??? I’m so glad to cuddle up next to my husband every night. To feel safe, vulnerable, loved, at home by his side.

The wedding, apart from my anxiety and near panic episode, was absolutely amazing. I could not have asked for a better day. We were so loved all day by friends and family and as we made our vows to each other it really did feel like we had the support of so many people holding us in that moment. We are richly blessed. I cried several times that day, great big tears of joy. So overcome was I by the love of my friends and my family. Oddly enough, I felt humbled at my own wedding by the amazing people surrounding us. I just loved celebrating our commitment to one another with all of those people. It was a joyous, beautiful day.

Yet at the end of a timeless perfect day? Comes more days and weeks where I’m still struggling with emotional trauma. “Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.” Says the internet. I keep thinking this or that will be the event that makes everything okay, but at the end of the day, I’m still terrified that people say terribly sexual and degrading things, that men in power don’t do anything about it, that there are senseless school shootings everywhere, that the food we eat can cause crazy body reactions, that friends do the most damaging things. And all of it makes me sad because Christianity didn’t protect me the way I thought it would. I liken it to stand in firmly on a rug, a safety net, only to have it ripped out from under my feet.

It is honestly tiresome. I weep with deep pain of feeling crazy. I literally tremor from fear of several triggers known and unknown. Big, life changing events like weddings or an imminent move make my body go into overdrive and I lose all control over the ability to sleep and care for myself. Many months later the slightest tinge of pain is a blood clot, the quick moment of dizziness is a brain tumor, and in general my body is slowly shutting down. Sigh. How tiresome it is.

In some ways, I see it getting better. In other ways I see it all worsening.

What I’m learning above all is the need to be gentle with myself, to accept this part of me that IS damaged. That needs redemption and healing. That isn’t fixed by one event large or small. But that’s so hard. I used to find so much joy in achieving and overcoming things (my number one strength on the a strengths finder test is achievement.) And that I can’t easily overcome the emotional trauma makes me feel so weak, desperate, sad, powerless, scared, and alone.

I’m so lucky that those closest to me know that I’m still healing and have a great amount of patience with me (Jacob, Kelli, Phil, etc.) But for them especially I want to be healthy, happy, and whole. I guess it’s not even just patience. They hold so much grace and love and joy over my small accomplishments. They are my cheerleaders and I’m so very glad to have them on my side.

I yet worry about the rest of the world and their thoughts, when I should care less. But oh a people pleaser I am.

I hope soon I have the time and space… that I make the time and space to heal, to sleep a lot, to read books, to research all of this and write a book, to continue this never ending journey of discovery that I’m on.

Until then, there are some days and weeks that are harder than others. And honestly? That sucks.

The late night

I find time moves slowly late at night. Twenty minutes feels like a lifetime as I read blogs so to calm my mind and help me sleep. Yet when all I’m trying to do is fall asleep; life is fast and the night dies to day.
In a unexplainable and often unbelievable series of events, I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’m about to be married.
Two days from now in fact (as it’s officially Friday even if the wee hours of the morning.) I can hardly believe it. It is all quite surreal. Months spent planning for this one day and now it’s upon me and as a wide eyed child looks about the world I look upon my wedding.
It’s the most natural thing in the world to me to spend the rest of my life with Jacob. Yet the most unnatural thing to put on a white dress, walk down an aisle in front of 100 people, and somehow manage to not have a panic attack… how do people do it?
Life is changing at a rapid rate, crazy pace… with my mental illness still lingering on, I sometimes startle to find where I’m at, the things I’m about to do, the woman that I am. It’s all good and I’m glad life went on despite my thorough inability to be a participant in my life. Yet. So odd that it did go on.

Kelli came early on Wednesday and it’s been the best thing to have her here. We’ve laughed and cried and cooked and cleaned and worked and shopped and cuddled and remembered and created and lived. Never have I felt more loved by a friend than Kelli and more at peace and safe. She is the very best of friends.
Rachelle and April showed up the afternoon of what could be called yesterday since I’m up so late. It has been equally fantastic and joy filled to have them here as well. As a group of four we’ve known each other for almost six years. Drifting in and out of one another’s lives but with a sweet undercurrent of sustained friendship. To laugh together and be silly women has been fabulous and I couldn’t ask for a better time leading up to the wedding.

I’m grateful for where my life is and where it’s headed. Sometimes in the forest of my mental illness it’s hard to see the individual, beautiful, solid trees that make it up. But right now, I can, and what a gift that is.

Selfish. Empathy?

We are all so keenly aware of our own selves, our own grandiose thoughts. Aware of our own pain and suffering. Our own tears. Our own opinions (which are, of course, the right opinions.)

I don’t think it’s until we get “othered” that we get jarred from our own self and start to look at the world around us and begin realizing that our own thoughts and experiences are not the thoughts and experiences of everyone.

I’ve found this to be true every time I’ve moved (ha! Bet you thought I was gonna talk about sexual harassment eh?) In my own head, heart, soul it’s of course the right decision and everyone will be as supportive, affirming, and excited as I am. And each and every time this is not true, because people are experiencing their own emotions, thoughts, facing their futures, etc. Mhmm. Human things and the like.

The last year and a half, amidst my own pain and suffering, my panic disorder, my severe anxiety disorder, I forgot how to be empathic. I’ve always strongly relied on this part of me in the past to help me along in friendships and with the world I encountered. It’s part of why I had such a bleeding heart. But whoosh, away it went. And it’s a muscle not used and is painful to work out once more.

I make people sad and they make me sad. That’s kind of all I have to say right now.

The Mind… Or well, mine.

The mind is a powerful thing. And by mind, I don’t mean brain, which you know… they are connected and all. But I mean the thoughts… that mind. The mind which can set itself on a course and get there no matter what.

I think people with anxiety and panic disorder can probably resonate with what I’m going to say.

Sometimes, as in the case of tonight, I become fearful of something and then become absolutely certain it IS happening RIGHT NOW. Tonight’s example stems from a faulty smoke alarm. Let’s review shall we?

Sitting on my couch, had a great day of productivity and spending time with loved ones. Doing homework. All of a sudden my smoke alarms go off for about 30 seconds, violently loud until I hit the reset button. Not too much later they go off a second time. This elicits concern and I start to Google (brilliant idea for people with anxiety, just let me tell you.) So of course I read that smoke detectors can detect carbon monoxide and of course that’s what’s happening and of course I have to read about the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and of course I start to experience them RIGHT FREAKING THERE. And of course I have to run outside and of course I have to call the poison control center (which surprisingly is a step up because normally I call 911.) And of course they tell me that smoke detectors do not detect carbon monoxide poisoning and then I call my dad who confirms this, but still I sit in my car for an hour talking to my parents before I go inside my house.

And well. That’s the power of the mind.

But really. Our minds are ridiculously powerful. I can feel and experience almost every symptom that I am convinced I have. During one session with my therapist he said that there are some people who would be jealous of my anxiety because I’m keenly aware and very alive in those panic-driven moments. If I could be a little less alive, that’d be great. But not, you know dead. Since that’s where a lot of my anxiety stems from. Fear of death.

Sometimes though I ponder what wonders my mind could wrought if only I focused on things more positive.

The end.

I suffer from leaky gut syndrome and a broken heart

For the most part, I have better days in these present times. The anxiety is not something that haunts me day in and day out. The panic attacks are twice monthly, if that. I’m not exhausted ALL OF THE TIME from anxiety, I’m just exhausted MOST OF THE TIME because… you know… life stuffs. 😉

But there is this new bedfellow that makes life hard… I believe the correct term is depression.

It’s possible that he has always been there. Hidden beneath the layers of anxiety and hiding out behind the panic attacks. And why wouldn’t he? That shit’s crazy.

Sometimes my heart hurts. Like literally. It hurts. It feels like something is pressing on it and making it hard to beat. It’s not fun.

That’s partly due to leaky gut syndrome.

But I also think it’s partially due to a broken heart.

I met with a long ago friend a week prior. We were very best friends for a couple of years after spending a summer at a camp together. Time and wounds distanced us and we met up for the first time in well over two years. As we sat reminiscing about old times and how things used to be for us, the pain of how Christians had hurt us both held us in a sacred space for a moment in time. We all need someone that weeps when we weep.

Ever since I was sexually harassed and then told in an exit interview by my executive director that he hoped I would find forgiveness for what I had done and said during the incident I’ve suffered a lot of hidden pain and trauma.

It made sense… sexual harassment. It was scarring and wounding, but it at least made sense to me. Especially from whom it came. And I was able to fairly quickly forgive and move on.

But the words, “I hope you can forgiveness from God for what you said and did during the incident.” I don’t think anything has wounded me deeper in my entire life.

Since that moment I have read countless stories from women and men who have suffered similar and worse wounds when hoping to find protection and love after sexual harassment or rape. And every single damn time I read those stories I weep, I get terrifyingly angry, and my heart breaks a little bit more when I had no idea that such continual pain was possible.

That one incident put me on a course that changed every single thing about my life. I had to go to therapy for those words, I began a process of becoming less evangelical. I started to question my faith. I started carrying around words like

Terrible Human Being

And well. When you are supposed to find forgiveness from God for an incident that already caused you immense pain in every way… you start thinking maybe Christianity just isn’t… Good. And maybe the men in charge just shouldn’t be. And maybe you start to think that no one and no where is safe. And you just get more scared, more anxious, you have more panic attacks and a year and a half later… all of the pain is still there.

You’ve learned how to deal with it, manage it, but as a close friend recently said, “It just never goes away, does it?”

No, it doesn’t.

I walk into a church, I have panic attacks. I read articles that shame women who have been raped by CHRISTIAN MEN AND WOMEN and I get violently sick and sad. I hear and read countless stories of sexual abuse in the church and a CONTINUAL CHOICE BY THOSE IN CHARGE TO NOT PUT IN PLACE PROPER PROCEDURES FOR HOW TO HANDLE THINGS and I get furious.


I know, I know, I KNOW. That I can’t blame others for the state of my relationship with God. But I do think a large reason why I’m so afraid of God, of walking into a church building, of Christian men is because of what happened. Because of what was said. Because of what WASN’T DONE.

And I KNOW I’m not blameless in life. I know I have made poor choices. I know I am messed up in ways I don’t even understand. But I don’t get why as a people we continually cast stones at INNOCENT VICTIMS OF RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE when JESUS cast no stone at a known adulterer.

Christianity broke my heart. And I suffer from leaky gut syndrome. It’s hard to tell the two apart when I’m in pain. But at this point, it doesn’t even matter.

Those days you shirk your responsibilities…

… because sometimes you’re really overwhelmed with life, and you have death cramps from hell, and who wants to drive an hour to a four hour class?

So. I instead stayed in town, worked out, went grocery shopping, watched Gilmore Girls, cooked an amazing dinner, had a friend over for said dinner, and enjoyed my day. No regrets.

If I’m honest, my mind is elsewhere these days. Work is hard because I’m just not there mentally or emotionally anymore. I’ve already moved in my mind. Alas, two more months before that happens. I’m also not really here in this town. I’m just angsty, already moved on Samantha. Ready for the next place.

I’m glad handsome mister is applying to be in the air force. It will suit my wanderlust quite well. Moving every two to three years? Oh gosh, yes please. I’m so down for that. I get antsy if I stay in one place for too long. And this place has been TOO long. Mostly because of what happened here, not so much Oregon itself. Oregon is lovely, green, organic-friendly, paleo friendly, BUT, it’s imprinted with scars of yesteryear.  I know you can’t run away from problems, and actually, I’m not. The person I am now compared to the person I was a year ago is SO VERY DIFFERENT. I have a better handle on my anxiety and my life. If I’ve learned anything from my move from Rockaway Beach Oregon to Newberg Oregon is that no matter if you get away from THE place where something bad happened or THE people that caused you trauma, it sticks with you and you have to deal with it one way or the other.


In other news. I LOVE Gilmore Girls. It’s maybe an unhealthy obsession. I finished the final season again today and I sobbed forever. Ugh. Lorelai and Rory are just my absolute favorite characters that t.v. has ever produced. I also love that depending on my stage of life when I watch the show I root for different characters and different episodes hit me in new ways each watch through. Stars Hollow is a fantasy home in my mind and heart… I hope one day to live somewhere like it.

In OTHER news… I GOT MY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE TICKETS IN THE MAIL. So, freaking, happy. Yeah. I haven’t seen Justin in concert since the Justified/Stripped tour with Christina Aguilera and Mr. Timberlake. It’s not until November but handsome mister and I have plans to rent a hotel in the city and spend a long weekend in PDX.

In other other news… since when did I get to be the age and stage of life where I’m planning things months in advance with a MAN who will be my HUSBAND?!



I’m lucky. And blessed. And ever so happy.

You know, when I’m not anxious and depressed. 😉

Good night world.