Life As I Have Seen It
Sam Evans

Speaking Truth with Transparency, Humor & Love

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Life As I Have Seen It

Rule #491 of Survival: Never Chase a Wolf

by Samantha Evans on 06/19/17

You may have missed my last blog. I spoke of almost drowning under a sailboat sail and joked about a squad of angels in heaven assigned the sole purpose of my safety. I referred to them as the Sam Squad. Sierra 2.

This is another example of a time when divine intervention was required.

"HQ to Sierra 2."

Go for Sierra 2.”

Asset has just been targeted by a wolf.”

Sierra 2 leader groans. “HQ, please repeat.” He had heard correctly. He just wished he hadn’t.

Whiskey Oscar Lima Foxtrot. Canis lupis. Sierra 2, immediate deploy—“

Sierra 2 deployed.” 

...ment required.” finishes HQ as Sierra 2 is already performing their HALO jumps (High Altitude, Low Opening) from heaven. 

HQ to Sierra 2, also, be advised. Asset is pregnant again.”

Asset is...”

With child. Again.”

Does she know?”

Not yet.”

Anything else we should know,” Sierra 2 asks tersely.

She just registered to run a 5k next Saturday. Record highs for heat.”

Fantastic.” Sierra 2 leader hesitates, finger hovering over his mike as he plunges to earth. “Her prayers lately have been breaking my heart. Do they get to keep this one?”

“Has to survive a wolf stalking her, first.”

Clint and I had driven to Crater Lake in Oregon. We were camping at Diamond Lake. Take a look at the pictures I posted because words do not do this corner of God's creation any justice. And actually, the pictures are a dingy duplicate as well, so, I'm sorry, but you're going to have to drop what you're doing and book a flight for PDX--Portland, OR. 

Gorgeous, absolutely stunning. Breath-taking. No, none of those words are enough.

I don’t know about you, but I always wake up extremely early when I am camping. It’s never the best night sleep, but even more so, it is the pull to be silently immersed in the beautiful world waking up around me.

This particular morning I had started a campfire and I was reading my Bible when I had the sudden feeling that I was not alone. I looked up. Fifteen feet in front of me, across from the fire was a gray wolf—one of the most majestic creatures I had ever seen.

My initial reaction was that of absolute dread. Cold fear. It’s body was poised and it’s piercing black eyes were cataloging my every movement. Weapon. My eyes darted toward the burning logs in the fire pit and back up. The wolf hadn’t moved.

My next thought was, I need to get a picture. I slowly reached down to my left, only to realize that my camera was in the van, which was doubling as our tent.

Rule #491 of Survival: Never chase a wolf.

I begged the wolf not to move but that was that moment that Sierra 2 stepped in. Either that, or the sound of the car door spooked the wolf. Regardless, it retreated further back into the woods. I actually chased it for several paces, camera in hand, before my think-this-through kicked in and I realized the futility—and stupidity—of pursuing a wolf through the wild. 

And I didn’t know yet that I was pregnant.

Clint and I had no children on earth, yet this was our third pregnancy. I found out the next weekend. Following the 5K I ran, my head was pounding, my face was fire-hot and I was wolf-at-a-campsite close to losing the contents of my stomach. I had PR'd, pushed myself, but there was no reason that I should have felt that depleted. I remember racing home—pardon the pun—and lying on the floor of the bathroom, consciously breathing away the nausea.

I'd wanted to have a baby so badly. My prayers had tunnel vision and for months it seemed that there was not a time I spoke to God expect to ask him for a child. This morning as I read Genesis 18, it was easy to put myself in Sarah's shoes.

"I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son" (Genesis 18:10). 

Abraham is 99 years-old and told by God that the following year he and Sarah will have a child. Finally! After twenty-five years of waiting, God has given them a definitive answer. Next year. Through Sarah. Not Hagar or any other woman. Though Sarah. And then I saw something in the text that I had never lingered on before in the scores of times I have read this passage. “I will return around this time.”

Abraham encounters God, literally walks beside Him. In my mind that is a fairly noteworthy event. So good thing it’s noted in Genesis 18. 

But don’t you think it would also be worthy of notation if the Trinity stopped by your home with a baby gift, asked to hold your child and then nuzzled with it nose to nose?! It's like trying to read a story with several pages ripped out. 

Even though that story is not recorded in Genesis 21 with the mention of Isaac's birth, I know that it happened. God promised that He would be there. That’s all I need to know. God was there when Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah.

I can joke about Sierra 2 all I want, but the truth is that God has been there. He was there when I was trapped beneath the sailboat sail. He was there when I needed protection from the wolf. He was there when our first daughter Kaylynn was born to earth. He was there for her sisters' birthdays as well. I couldn’t shake His hand, or hand my babies to Him, but He was there. Of course He was there. How could He miss such a joyous celebration?

He was there, too, when each of my three babies were born to heaven. And those three He has held in His arms.

I have experienced so many moments with my Savior that I refer to as spiritual sweet spots—moments in which I feel God’s presence so intimately. Reading my Bible at Diamond Lake was one of them. Even though God has never sat beside me at a campfire as he did with Abraham, God has sat beside me at a campfire.

“You will seek Me you and you will find Me when you seek with your whole heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). 

God promises that He’ll be there and that is all I need to know.

My prayer for you, dear friend, is that you know no matter what your circumstances this day, God is there, meeting you where you are at.

My advice to you, dear friend-- #491: Never chase a wolf. 

Love Sam Evans

The Day I Almost Drowned

by Samantha Evans on 06/11/17

Has anything bad almost happened to you? I have too many examples. Up there somewhere is a squad of angles assigned the sole purpose of keeping Sam Evans alive. The Sam Squad (Sierra 2).

I was a camp counselor throughout the summers while in college. One cloudless, sunny day, a co-counselor and I had some downtime and he invited me to go sailing with him.

Suddenly Sierra 2’s computers are getting flagged with key words like “sure” and “sounds great.” Satellites zoom in and angels shake their heads and groan as they watch the scene transpire.

There is an entire Jeopardy category for “Questions that Sam Should Ask First.”

We were out in the middle of the lake when I finally, casually asked, “So, how many times have you done this before?”

Oh, this is my second time.”

Alarms blaring. “HQ to Sierra 2, immediate deployment required.”

Sierra 2 deployed. ETA, 5 mikes.”

The sailboat capsizing was inevitable, when you think about it. The memory is vivid yet surreal. I survived. Obviously.

Fast forward five years. Clint and I had been married for several years and were in Bend, OR, whitewater rafting.

Clint and I were positioned at the back of the raft. A man at the front fell into the rapids. The water was deep enough that he went under. Before anyone had a chance to panic, Clint plunged his arm into the water, got a fistful of life jacket and pulled the man back into the raft.

It is impossible to survive life unscathed. All of us have experienced tragedies or almost tragedies. All of us have experienced brokenness. I am not referring to the time that I broke my mom’s Currier and Ives butter dish (yikes, sorry, Mom). I am speaking of broken families, broken relationships, broken finances—broken moments.

And broken moments last longer. Time does not travel at the same speed when we are experiencing distress or anguish.

In reality, the stopwatch only read ninety seconds or so from the time that the sailboat capsized to the time that my face broke the surface and I was able to gulp down air.

But I remember the feeling of the boat tipping. I remember straddling the edge and scrambling, futility, to stay aboard. I remember the position of my body as I hit the water. The look of the sun filtered through a bright orange sail from fifteen feet below the surface.

My life jacket propelled me upward. The nylon sail was suctioned to the waters’s surface and there was no air available there. Unable to draw a breath, I registered panic. Yet, instantly my mind cleared and I realized that my survival was up to me. With burning lungs, I grabbed fistfuls of the fabric, yanking and kicking my way to the sail’s edge.

I remember my first breath.

I spun in the water and spotted the other counselor (whose name I can’t even remember anymore). “Are you okay!” He was simultaneously shouting the same question. Our voices were pitched with adrenaline.

Reassured that neither of us was injured, I remembered my life jacket and let it support me. The water felt cool on the back of my scalp as I floated like a buoy in the water.

Breathing heavy into the mike, Sierra 2 to HQ, asset is secure.”

And only ninety seconds had passed.

I’m sure time moved slower for the man that fell into the rapids, as well. His mind had time to conjure a thousand fears. And when Clint’s arm plunged beneath the surface and snatched his life jacket, the arm took much longer for it to reach him than it did for those of us on the raft, moving down the current in real time.

Many of you know the story of “Peter Sinks in Sea of Galilee” a.k.a. “Jesus Walks on Water” (Matthew 14:22-36).

Here are the cliff notes: disciples in boat in the middle of the sea. Jesus on shore. Blustery day. Jesus casually walks out atop the waves toward the boat. The disciples panic.

Take courage it is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Heh. If you’re really Jesus tell me to walk out on the water,” Peter said.

Come.” Jesus smirked. He knew that Peter, like Sam Evans, was a sucker for a good dare. “I triple dog dare you” (Sam Paraphrase Translation).

Peter crawls over the lip of the boat. Then he panics. He begins to sink. He could have saved himself a lot of trouble—and laundry—if he’d simply panicked from within the boat like the rest of the disciples.

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith. Why did you doubt?’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down” (Matthew 14:31-32).

Now, the Bible says “immediately,” but I would wager that immediately didn’t feel so immediate to the drowning, panicking Peter, right?

Peter almost drowned. It was almost a thing. But it wasn’t a thing.

Because Jesus was there.

They climb into the boat, immediately the wind dies down. Jesus props his feet up on the starboard side, crosses his ankles and nonchalantly reaches for the gummy worms.

My encouragement to you if you are in a dark moment, or for the next time that you find yourself in one, is that time seems longer when you are in it. You have time for a million prayers and feel as if God is silent on every front, but that simply isn’t true. He hears you. He cares for you. He sees what is happening and He is faithful.

Jesus is in the boat with you. So sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the gummy worms.

"Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his right hand" (Psalm 37:24). 

Love Sam Evans 

MY VIRGIN BLOG POST: Condom Dispensers and the Spiritual Gift of Winter Boots

by Samantha Evans on 06/05/17

I flew out Wednesday morning, May 17, leaving behind my husband with our three daughters, ages six, four and two, to attend the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference. It was the first time in six years that I would be by myself for five consecutive days.


As a mom, my thoughts are never finished. My world is never my own. A synonym for mother is switchboard operator. “Mom, can you?” “Mom, can you?” “Mom, can you?”


Please hold.


My husband gifted me five days of complete thoughts and professionalism, adult collaboration—and rest. I booked the flight within minutes—before he could change his mind.


It was awkward walking through MSP airport wearing my Minnesota winter boots (vastly different from normal winter boots) when it was eighty degrees outside, but redemption came in the form of a blizzard. Three feet of snow fell in Estes Park the day after I arrived.


The snow didn’t bother me. It was gorgeous and I’m from Minnesota “where people help people get stuck cars out of snow for fun,” adventure extraordinaire Eric Sprinkle noted, as I came in from outside. I shrugged, smiled. With great boots comes great responsibility.


Bonus—between the mountains and the snow, I had no cell reception. “I tried to call you, honey—several times. Honest.” I was curious about how things were going at home but the part of my soul that craved quiet quickly shoved Curiosity into a snowbank.


I spent five days on a mountaintop, mentally, spiritually and literally. I sat in on workshops led by Mike Loomis (Your Brand is Calling), Tamara Clymer, and Dick Bruso. I had a fireside chat with Terry Whalin and Scoti Domeij.


I ate dinner with Eryn Lynum, Debbie Maxwell Allen, DJ Williams and Carl Martin Johnson, and spoke with countless others like Linda Graf, Hannah K, Lori Wildenberg, and Sari O'Malley. Every single one of them, another author just like me.


In the real world, when people ask me what I do for fun and my answer is “writing,” they look at me funny. But in Estes, at the top of the mountain, I was surrounded by kindred spirits who all who share my passion for the written word.


This first blog is a toast to all the snow angels who inspired me, believed in me, coached me and who made me laugh.


My online presence has drastically transformed in the last two weeks for the better and it’s all come from those interactions. I received an avalanche of information. Much of it I have yet to process.


This first blog is also a toast to my husband, bless his heart. We were finally able to talk the day before the conference ended. “Guess what, Sam.”


“What, Clint?”


“Lois’ cat abandoned her kittens.” Lois is a member of our church. The girls were at her farm on Friday while Clint worked. “The girls wanted to pet the kittens but I wasn’t sure if they were still alive. I got to explain abandonment to our children.”


I laughed.


“Guess what else, Sam?”




“Kaylynn lost her first tooth so I got to be the tooth fairy. Guess what else, Sam?”


“What?” I was still laughing.


Kelly came home from school with a book about Rosa Parks, so I got to explain racism to the girls. Guess what else, Sam?”


“What?” This time my laughter faded with trepidation of what could possibly be coming next.


“I had to bring the girls into a gas station bathroom. They saw a condom dispenser on the wall so I got to explain condoms to the girls.”


“ explained condoms to our children?”


“Well, I told them it was medicine.” At this point I was laughing so hard that other people were staring at me. What went unsaid was that he was looking forward to my coming home.


And here I am. Now accepting interruptions for dinner-making in order to…


“Mom, can you get me an orange?”  


...peel oranges for the two-year-old who will starve to death if she doesn’t eat now. Also, the six-year-old decided the best thing to do with a perfectly clean dining room table ten minutes before dinner was—make a princess crown, of course. Construction paper, glue, gems, stickers, scissors, markers and string everywhere and….


“Mom, can you measure this for me?”


...what did I just step on? Oh, just the Lasso of Truth.


Meanwhile the middle child is outside singing her little heart out so loudly that she can be heard three blocks away.


The other authors trekked down from the mountaintop, too. Though for a short while burdens were lifted, many of us had baggage to claim at the foot of the mountain. But here’s the coolest part: We all share two of our greatest passions and the lesser of the two is writing. Our love for the Lord Jesus Christ is absolutely first. Our love of writing is derived from our love for Christ.


This means two things: One, we have a Sherpa to carry our loads for us. We are never alone. Two, like the disciples being sent out by Jesus (Luke 10:1-23) we have each been sent back to our own worlds, our own spheres of influence to share Christ through our lives and our writing. Despite Peter’s insistence (Luke 9:28-33) we cannot stay at the top of the mountain.


I’m in it now. It’s real and it’s rough. Melodramatic meltdowns at bedtime and yet another spilled juice minutes after I’ve mopped have me longing for my time on the mountain.


It’s messy and it’s beautiful. Clint came home from work today to find his three daughters—and his wife—howling. Today my sphere of influence is small but powerful. Today mountaintops are over-rated.



Photo: Eric Sprinkle,
​Picture correlates with "The Day I Almost Drowned
Diamond Lake, OR, Fifteen miles from Crater Lake. June 2010
Buy this
Crater Lake, OR June 2010. 
Photo: Samantha Evans 
Photo: Eric Sprinkle
Eugene, OR 2008 
Clint and Sam Evans pictured back middle
Photo: Eric Sprinkle,
Estes Park, CO Colorado Christian Writer's Conference 
Picture correlates with "Virgin Blog Post"
Photo: Eric Sprinkle,
Estes Park, CO Colorado Christian Writer's Conference 
Picture correlates with "Virgin Blog Post"
Photo: Eric Sprinkle,
Estes Park, CO Colorado Christian Writer's Conference 
Picture correlates with "Virgin Blog Post"
Photo: Eric Sprinkle,
Estes Park, CO Colorado Christian Writer's Conference 
Picture correlates with "Virgin Blog Post"
View pictures from past blogs below in the photo gallery.
Sunrise devotions at Diamond Lake 
June 2010