The Right Volume

Find your voice. Find your volume.

A Quick Note

Samantha Livingston of The Right Volume

I’m so glad you’ve come. Here I reflect on life and share from my own desire (struggle) to walk with Jesus through both the joy and pain—also the mundane. If I have any ‘goal’ it’s simply to move people toward him. And by “people” I mean me. I’d love to have you join me.

I shoot out of bed like a cannon. It’s way brighter than it’s supposed to be. I stumble down the hall to what is–thankfully–a lit-up room, and see our eldest sitting on her bed. Surprisingly, she’s already dressed.

One fire out, I continue toward the kitchen, my eye on the prize. Grabbing a mug from the dishwasher, I curse the phone banging my thigh from the inside of my robe pocket. How did you not go off? I would ask, could I form a coherent question. All I manage is a cynical, Technology.

So much for quiet sipping and couch-sitting, silent prayers offered up alongside the steam from between my palms. I’ll do good to get out a simple Help!

Reluctantly, I launch into the usual drill. Forget ham and cheese or anything more creative. It’s peanut butter across the board. Somehow, I manage to string together three meals and get everyone to school on time, before plunking myself into the chair where deadlines await. Read more →

For those of you who are sick and tired of hearing about this, I UNDERSTAND. And I’m pretty sure I’m breaking all sorts of rules by even telling you I’m fasting, but the only way I know how to deal with traumatic events is to process out loud.

If you’re just joining in: I’m a non-faster who enjoys wine, sugar and bacon (not typically in that order, but I’m open), who is currently fasting. We’re nearing the end so I’m more like on the pro-level now so I should be able to provide even more compelling observations.

Firstly, based on multiple conversations via text, phone call and over dinner with friends, I’ve decided it should be re-titled. Instead of The Daniel Fast, a more fitting name would be Daniel’s Gas: A 21-day Tour.

Land o’ mine. Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

true friends

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I’m currently doing the Daniel Fast and how I got to this point on my journey is still a little fuzzy. Something to do with a late-night church meeting and Jon mentioning afterward, in what I would call a very cavalier manner, that he would be starting a fast the next day.

Um, hello! Groceries?! Evidently spiritual undertakings don’t take practical details into consideration and never mind that he may as well have dropped a bomb on our pantry.

But back to me and my own fast.

To put this into context, I am not a faster. On any given day I am the person who eats a bacon cheeseburger across the table from someone who is fasting. I kind of exempt myself from this particular spiritual discipline because Number One: I am very grumpy when I’m not well fed. (Haven’t we covered that?) And Number Two: What else is there? We can’t have a mamma trolling around the house, yelling at her kids every time they spill milk or leave a wet towel on the floor, now can we?

Actually, I may do that even whilst well-fed. Read more →


When I miscarried our third child one conversation with a friend sticks out in my mind in particular. Funny thing is, I don’t remember a single word she said.

What I do remember is collapsing into the brown chair in my bedroom, heavy breaths and strained words pouring out of my mouth, before moving to the closet where the full-length mirror hangs, and describing how it sucked to look pregnant but be digesting the fact that I wasn’t.

I’m sure she talked too; it wasn’t only silence on her end, but I did most of the talking and that’s precisely my point. She wasn’t uncomfortable in the quiet moments where only tears dripped between us.

We all have a friend who’s suffering–maybe several. What is the best thing to say to her? And when we’re in pain what do we want to hear? How do we love well? Read more →

water's edge

I set out down the driveway, head down the street, and am soon pounding the pavement. I have two lead weights for legs. You know that bible verse about the deer in high places? I am the exact opposite of that deer today.

I pass what we locals call The Duck Pond, where three fountains spray high and ducks and pigeons cover the sidewalk with poop, before heading south to turn onto the streets which zigzag parallel to the river. If only I could see out onto open water, maybe I’d be lighter and faster on my feet, but neither the view nor the feeling ever present themselves.

Rounding the bend I pick up the pace, but only because a new song comes on with a faster beat than the last. Even over the music, I notice each street carries its own unique sounds ranging from quiet, except for the occasional birdsong, all the way to the abrupt roar of a motorcycle revving up and sounding overdue for an open road.

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