Making Sense of a Senseless Act: Church Shooting in Texas

After another recent horrific tragedy this week, we are reminded of many things. None of us are promised tomorrow. You never know what the next day; let alone the next hour will bring. But, many want to know where God was in the midst of this disgusting event that occurred at a Texas Baptist Church this week. Why didn’t God stop the shooter? How could He let all of those innocent children and adults die? Isn’t God supposed to keep all of this bad stuff from happening?

People are angry. People are scared. People are grieving. People are already pointing fingers at everything from gun control to the lack of reporting from the military court marshal and the way the government works. More importantly than anything right now are the families at the center of this nightmare. I read this morning about one man who lost eight family members including his pregnant wife and three of his children (four include the unborn child). My heart breaks every time I see a report with new information as we watch the stories continue to unfold of families touched and a small, loving community so confused by it all.

So, how does one make sense of this? I was reading posts yesterday from people claiming that “these people don’t need more prayer, but they need gun control.” On the contrary, these families are in desperate needs of prayers for God to overwhelm them with His peace and comfort. We can’t expect unbelievers to understand how one can feel a peace among this great loss. We live by faith, by things that are unseen. We hold tight to the truths of the Scriptures and the hope that one day we will all see each other again in heaven as God has promised to those who believe in Him.

These are a few scriptures that come to mind today as we ask God why this happened.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me,  you will have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Lamentations 3:31-33 For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.

Isaiah 57:1-2 The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.

I could go on and on with the words Christ gives us about these times. We know that we live in a sinful world. We know that because of the sin of man, we have to deal with the evil that occurs daily. But, we also know the goodness of our God and that He was right there in the midst of that church holding onto each baby, child, teen, adult, and grandparent. How can the pastor and families find the strength to go on? If you have read their words after this happened, you will see a strength like no other. Because their strength comes from the Lord; not human strength. I don’t know if I would be the same right after the loss of my child, but I do know that the Lord would have to give me the courage and strength to move forward. A day at a time.

We can’t always understand why people do what they do. We live in a very dark, depressed, angry, and selfish world. It is for this reason why we need to draw closer to the Lord even more so. None of us are promised tomorrow. This could happen at any time or maybe a health scare, car accident, injury, or a violent act against you or your family member. The question is… do you know Jesus? Do you have the hope that these families have that one day they will be able to see those lost in heaven? If not… I pray you will seek Jesus today. Find His peace and His love that is more than this ugly world could ever offer you. We need you more today than ever Jesus!

Dear Samara – New blog/podcast coming soon!

Oh my goodness! Have you ever had a frustration or situation that you really needed to talk about, but also didn’t feel like you could because it was super personal?

We are talking marriage issues, parenting questions, relationships, dating, sex, peer pressure, etc…
I’m going to be starting a blog and eventual podcast called “Dear Samara” where I will be taking every day questions and responding to them via my website. I have already received so many private messages concerning family and marriages and would love to be able to take what we discuss and share it with others who can be encouraged through it.

Eventually, I will have guest speakers, bloggers, and counselors who have a testimony to share from their own life or profession. Submissions to “Dear Samara” can be sent via my CONTACT ME button. Click HERE to send a question or situation.

To the Tired Mom…

To the tired mom… what you are doing MATTERS! Keep pressing on. Spend that quality time with your family now. The chores will ALWAYS be there, but our kids won’t. It is normal to feel like you are falling short, but I promise you this… your children notice those little thoughtful things you do for them and one day they will thank you. For now, stay strong in the Word. Stay on your knees in prayer. Build up and protect your army at home and raise them up knowing Jesus.

Yes, they may stray no matter what you do, but they will have a strong foundation that they cannot deny. This world is a powerful force pushing our children away from TRUTH. Isn’t is amazing the amount of grace that God gives us through parenting? Pour that grace over your family like you are pouring gravy all over those morning biscuits lol. Let that grace soak up and reflect the grace that God gives us every day.

You are important. You are loved. You are amazing. Keep up the good work! He who began a good work in you will be FAITHFUL to complete it.

Encouragement for Blended Families and Stepparents

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be a divorced mom of two to later remarry into a family of 4 I would have told you that you were crazy! I was content with my life in Florida. I had just had baby #1 and sure we had our marital issues like anyone else, but never would I have imagined what was in store for my future.

It’s easy to look around at others and see their hurt, but not truly understand what they are going through. Hurt can comes in form of death, divorce, a traumatic event, and more, but until it changes YOUR life sometimes we just don’t get it.

So, let’s hop to 2008. That was a MUCH better year for me. After single parenting, I met and married Steve. He had two children of his own from a previous marriage and had gone through the same life’s pains as me. For a time, I remember crying out to God asking if anyone would ever want a woman with two small girls and a ton of baggage. Of course, God showed me that He did have a plan for me and it came much quicker than I expected.

Steve and I married in June 2008 after a short engagement. After all, we had both been married before and there was no point in prolonging what we both new we wanted. Our dating life consisted of dinners with the six of us around the dining table at his house, giving the kids baths, watching TV, going to the park and on occasion we would go out just the two of us. If dating with four kids didn’t work then, we knew that it wouldn’t work in married life.

I’m not going to get into all of the details and events that happened next just yet. I’ve got to save some of that for later 🙂 However, being a stepmom has been by far one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had and one of the biggest emotional roller coasters in my life. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have a place in your own home. I know what it’s like to feel like a third party. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have a voice.

I can also tell you that being a stepparent and raising someone else’s children can be very rewarding. It takes time and a lot of patience, but when you push through all of the trials and start to see changes happening it’s exciting! There are many mountains to climb and many valleys to walk through, but with my own story I have seen over and over how God has been with me each step of the way. You can’t force someone to love you. You can’t make it happen on your own. You have to wait and allow God to work on everyone’s hearts.

I recently published my first blended family devotional and I would love to share it with you! Click this LINK and check it out! It will walk you through my own personal story and struggles and teach you some basic principles along the way. I also have a Facebook page for blended families that I’ve started so Steve and I can meet new families, give support, and encourage others. Click HERE to connect with us!

Stay tuned for more of my story.

Broken To Blended

Broken To Blended – Now Available

I am so thrilled to announce that my first book is now published and available! Broken To Blended: Encouragement For Blended Families is a devotional/journal for those parenting children other than their own. It is difficult enough dealing with issues in marriage and family, but when you throw in the complexities of blended family life, issues can escalate.

Sammi final cover

There are so many emotions involved. There are so many PEOPLE involved in your life that sometimes you feel like you don’t have a place in your own home. This book takes you through my own life. The REAL and RAW parts and I am able to share how I came from brokenness to my own blended family. There is no sugar coating the issues in family life.

I want people to understand that there are so many people who can relate to their struggles and find encouragement from scripture and prayer. So, with that said… please share this with your family, friends, or anyone you know who may be feeling a little lost or hopeless in their own situation. I promise you they will receive a blessing after going through this 30 day devotional.

The book is now available on Kindle or Createspace. Click links to view. Also, it will be available on by the end of the week!

My Health Journey 2015 – When Discouragement Kicks In

Have you ever worked so hard towards something only to be sideswiped and thrown off track?

That totally happened to me the last few months with my health. Last year, I was able to work off 31 pounds that had “stuck” with me after my last child’s birth. Before starting my Beachbody program, I was very discouraged about how I felt, my energy level, and my body. I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror and I felt my confidence fading fast.

After building my strength from the inside out, I discovered new ways to care for my “temple” that God gave me. I learned how to build a healthy routine and exercise at least 4-5 days a week. Then, a few months ago, I was hit with a major hormonal imbalance. I’m not talking a little PMS… I’m talking about feeling like a totally different person.

Mood swings like no other.

Hot flashes.

Crying all of the time.

Female issues.

You name it… it was happening. So the doctor decided I needed the dreaded hormones to help me get back on track. Unfortunately, I have a history with medication and I never respond well. I knew what was going to happen. Migraines, weight gain, irritability, and anxiety. It happened every time in the past. Why would it be different now?

So, literally within 3 days of starting the medication, I went from one extreme to the other. The tears didn’t stop. If anything, I cried more. Within 3 week, I had gained 12 pounds which was mostly water weight. I slept all of the time. I had no energy. I felt like the same person I was over a year ago.

I had to make a change. I couldn’t do this to myself again. I stopped the medication and it took WEEKS to feel myself again. My poor hubby tried to work with me, but he knew that it was out of my control until the medication was out of my system.

That brought me to the beginning of this year. When you feel like you’ve taken 10 steps back it is overwhelming. My motivation was gone. It was like I didn’t know how to start over.

One day I literally woke up and said “that’s enough Sam!” No more pity party! No more making excuses. It’s time to get serious again. You KNOW you can do it so just make it happen.

I decided to order a program that I always told myself I could not do. You know, we are the worst critics of ourselves. It was easy to say “that’s too hard for me” so that’s just what I always said. But, now I took a step in the right direction. I ordered Insanity Max 30. It’s a Tabata style workout program that has a complete modifier throughout. As intimidating as it seemed, I actually LOVE the program.

So, I want to share with you my results as I go and have more accountability with my online friends and followers. Here’s what’s going on so far:

Days 1-5: Lost 4 pounds and started to watch everything I eat. I’m back to high protein and low carbs since I tend to crave breads and sugars. I’m eating “clean” and drinking a gallon of water daily which has brought my energy back to normal. I have been replacing a meal a day with Shakeology which is my daily vitamin source. I don’t need a multivitamin with this natural shake.

I’ve found that I do better with my workouts later at night when everyone is asleep. I’ve never been a morning person and found that my endurance is better in the evenings.

I am excited to share this journey with you. I know there are so many people who are just like me. You tell yourself all the time what you can’t do instead of pushing forward and going for a big goal. I know that I can do things that are hard. I know that I can push myself through these issues I’ve been having and prove not only to me, but to others that it is possible.

Can’t wait to share more results as we go through this 60 day program. If you want to join my accountability group, click HERE to fill out the application. Together, we can reach our big 2015 goals!

Fall Into Fitness

As we all know, Fall can be a trying time to stay on the healthy kick. With pumpkin spiced everything, pies, and all the baked goods and candies…. it’s so hard to say no! So why not combat all that food with a fun exercise group on Facebook to keep you accountable?

I along with a team of health coaches are going to run a larger accountability group. It’s a test group for the new P90 Beachbody workout. This program is AWESOME and can be used at any level of fitness.

The group will start October 20th and the cut off date to join is the 13th!

What does the group involve?

  • It’s a daily post with motivation and encouragement to keep you going.

  • It’s healthy food tips and fitness tips.

  • A team of health coaches who have done these programs themselves and love to help others reach their own fitness and health goals.

This is exactly how I lost my first 30 pounds and have kept it off for the past year!

Ready to make a change? Don’t fall into the foodie trap! 🙂 Email me at for more info!

How Do Busy Women Eat Healthy?

Oh my! I just have to say that FOOD is my weakness when it comes to my health. There really isn’t much that I don’t like. However, if you have any kind of health/fitness goals then learning how to eat healthy is vital. You can’t workout all of the time and expect to have awesome results if the nutrition doesn’t add up.

So, what can we do? Accountability has been EVERYTHING to me in my journey as I’ve been losing weight and feeling better. However, I need to step it up with the food portion. I would LOVE to have you along the way as we learn about clean eating.

What it is?

How much can I eat?

How will I be able to stick with it?

What about menu/meal planning?

I will go over all of these questions and we can keep each other on track along the way. I have another 5 pound goal I’d love to meet and I know with your help we can do this together! What kind of goals do you have?

If food has been an issue in your life, then let’s get together! Comment below and let me know if you want to join this free group! I can’t wait to get started!

Blended Family Encouragement

It is not uncommon today for people to have a blended family. It may be due to death or divorce, but no matter what we all need encouragement to help us and guide us. Steve and I have been married almost 7 years and merged from 2 to 4 kids. Then a few years later, we added one more to the gang! So here we are a BIG family of 7 and have daily struggles with our “blending”.

Sometimes, it could be related to the different ways we parent and discipline… other days it can simply be being oversensitive to the circumstances. But, I can tell you that no matter what I can ALWAYS use some encouragement in this area. There are things I wish I could go back and do differently when we first got married. I was young. I didn’t want to go through divorce. I didn’t want to have a blended family. I didn’t want to have to deal with ex-spouses for my entire life! haha

But, thankfully God’s Word has given and continues to give me truth in how to handle my life and kids. Believe me, I’ve failed PLENTY of times, but I feel like what I want to share in this new Blended Family Devotional will help so many people. As I wrote this over a year ago, I cried through every page I typed. I poured out my own story which was super painful. It left me feeling like I had a big open wound that I was exposing to the world.

Little did I know what God had in mind. He truly inspired each page of this 30 day devotional. If I wasn’t inspired, I didn’t write. Now, I am watching and waiting to see what God has in store next. He has opened a BIG HUGE DOOR to publish this devotional and I am trusting Him along the way.

I’ve started the fundraising to pay for this to become a reality. I’d love for you to check out my page and if you feel led… donate to the ministry.

Thank you so much for all your support!

Crazy Messy Wonderful Life

Wow! I look back on my 33 years some days and wonder how in the world did I get through it all!

Ever feel that way? Maybe it’s just this week! Or maybe you feel like you are stuck in a pit and can’t get yourself out right now.

I’ve totally been there and fight this feeling almost every day at some point. As a mom, I make my schedule and try to keep up with all of the activities the week holds. Not including attempting to keep the house picked up, laundry done, doctor/dentist visits, bills, etc….

I can sit down at night most days and think… Did I even get ANYTHING accomplished??

As a mom of a blended family, I am hit by so many more issues to deal with on a weekly basis. Things that I’d rather not have to work through. I find myself desiring the “normal life” whatever that is 🙂 Sometimes, I ask God why I have to handle situations over and over again that are a waste of time. I ask if I’m always going to have to put up with such negativity and drama. I ask “can I please get a break sometime soon!”, but I know all in all He wants and desires the best for me and my family. I know that I am in this “pit” for a reason and that reason will ultimately glorify God. For now, I am just hanging on!

You see, we all have our struggles. Some may deal with health issues or financial struggles. Some of you may have addictions or depression. Others of you may have difficulties raising your family. BUT… no matter what you are dealing with just know that there is a God who cares so much for you. He wants the best in life for YOU! The question is are we giving Him our best?

Sure, I can totally get bummed with the little annoying things that get thrown my way. But, I need to give it up to Him and let Him guide me through it. My life will never be perfect. I can strive to be the best “Sam” I can be, but I’ll never add up. There will always be someone or something reminding me that I’ve failed.

What is different for me is that I’m going to take my failures that I’ve tried to just shove in a box and I’m going to use them. I’m going to TALK about them! I’m going to let my failures help me produce more strength.

I have to take this a day at a time (sometimes an hour at a time) in order to make it through. But, no matter what I have got to say that God is so good and I am a blessed woman. I have a super sweet, big hearted, hunky husband who I love and 5 kids who hold my heart. No matter how messy our life gets or how crazy this mama may feel…. I know that God’s plan for us is too good to even imagine.

So today, hold onto that hope. Wherever you are… however you are feeling today…. know that there is a bigger plan in the making. Be obedient to God and He will lead you and pull you through life’s situations.