In Defense of Humility

    "Humility. Thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools." ~C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

     If you've ever been caught in the trap of "I shouldn't think I am pretty. I shouldn't be recognized for my talents. It's wrong to love myself," then you know what destructive and false humility looks and feels like.

     "True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less." ~C.S. Lewis

     Even though we all know this in our deepest being, sometimes we forget.

     So, darling, I'm here to remind you of three things:



Ode to the Fourth

241 glorious years ago,
That freedom cry rang out.
The bells pealed,
The signatures set in irrevocable ink.

Freedom declared, word slowly spread to the other states.
A young woman with a child on her hip smiles
With tears in her eyes
To know her child has a future in a newly formed nation.

It was observed in the following years as Independence Day,
With parades, fireworks, speeches, and bunting in red, white, and blue.
An entire nation, separated by time zones and thousands of miles
Yet united in their celebration of a budding nation.

Though John Adams said July 2nd
Would forever be remembered by history,
241 glorious years ago today,
Is the day in history we recognize best.

The fourth stands as we stand together
To remember a nation, a history, a hope.
And across the country, we gather to give our nation
Yet another united cry of "happy birthday."



What Blogging Will Look Like In College {My 5-Year Blogversary!}

Hello, dear friends!

     As of today, it's been 5 whole, lovely years since I started this blog (to give you an idea: I was 13 then, and I am 18 now!)

     As a new adult, I'm off to see the world to college in mere months. I've been pondering for nearly a year what blogging will look like as my life changes. I thought today, on TLD's birthday, I could share my thoughts on the subject.

     Don't worry! The blog is not going away. I love it too much, and I need to continue practicing my craft as a writer. I have grown so much from those first {cringe-worthy} posts, and I love the practice of hitting "publish" regularly.

     That's how blogging is so very different from journaling. As C.S. Lewis says, "What we work out in our journals, we don't take out on family and friends." Blogging, on the other hand, is the world-ready, adventurous material - the stuff I already have mostly worked out.

     As college is a new and exciting experience, there have to be some posts. I want to record the more extroverted moments here on the blog, even as I jot away the more introverted ramblings in my journal. That's what I feel deep within me.

     My current plan is to continue to write as I feel the Spirit stirring within me. Most of the time, that doesn't happen like clockwork every Friday at 3, so I am not going to put myself on a schedule or plan. (Scheduling has never worked for me anyway.) When I post, I post. Hopefully, it will be fairly consistent.

     At over 600 posts since its conception, this blog has been a huge part of me pouring my heart into the world. I have been really quite consistent for 5 whole years. So here's the plan in bullets, for you bullet-point people!

What will change:

  • Blog posts won't be as frequent. I'll simply be busier.
  • No more BookTube. I did this almost every week of senior year, and it fulfilled its purpose of letting me talk about books. But now I'm about to go be an English major, so I don't see a need for this. Follow me on Goodreads and Instagram if you want to keep up with what I'm reading.
  • No 31 Days series this October, for the first time since 2012. I just can't make the insane time commitment!
  • Increased themes of people and relationships. This is just a given since I'm about to head out into the midst of so. many. people. and observe them on a daily basis.
  • Fewer giveaways and book reviews. These take too much time to orchestrate and execute. Follow my Goodreads for my thoughts on books.
  • I may stop writing monthly newsletters in 2018, unless there is some huge outcry against this action (along the lines of "Oh no, Madeline! The newsletter is my favorite part of what you do!!!") We'll have to see.
  • I will probably log out of most of my social media while I get adjusted during my first semester.
  • Penny collecting will be run and organized by Robyn Barnes while I'm away.

Here's what won't change:

  • No scheduling posts for certain days of the week. I never really got into that rhythm here anyway.
  • I will continue writing monthly newsletters at least through December 2017.
  • Writing on the blog will be the most important thing I do online. Newsletters, social media, YouTube, series, giveaways, etc., will never be as important as me developing writing skills.
  • I'd love to help anyone who is thinking of starting a blog or is currently blogging.
  • I will continue to contribute to Burning Youth. It's a great community that I hope to stay engaged with.
     If you have any questions for me, please feel free to send me an email or comment below. I know that this next season of TLD's life will be just as beautiful as the first 5 years were. It's not a baby anymore!



On My Golden Birthday (and First Day of Adulthood)

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader."
~John Quincy Adams

     Today is the day I turn eighteen. Eighteen on the eighteenth, actually, meaning it's my golden birthday. It's my first day of adulthood. Finally, it's Father's Day.

     When a friend asked how I felt on my last day before adulthood, I said, "I feel like I have always been an adult, and now I'm finally close to being legally an adult."

     It's true. There's a lot more I can do now.

     Here's a fun list of things I can legally do as an adult:

Get married
Sue someone (watch your back! haha!)
Book a hotel room, lease an apartment or house, and book a cruise
Change my name
Work full-time
Join the military
Donate blood
Buy fireworks
Sell books at Half Price Books (!!!!!!!!!)
Vote, go in for jury duty, and run for office (and go to an adult jail, but that's beside the point)
Buy a car
Open a bank account
Drive with as many minors as my car will hold (before, I could only drive with one minor besides a sibling in the car at a time)
Get a tattoo or piercing (don't worry...I have no plans) ;)
Buy spray paint and Sharpies
Enter the lottery (a waste of money)
Write a check
Adopt a child
Sign a contract
Enter 18+ giveaways


     An old soul. That's what people call me. And I know it's a good thing that I have this 40-year-old personality (ENFJ), but at times, it's hard to see myself as both an adult and kid.

     That's why I'm glad I'm legally an adult now. Now I can simply look at myself as the adult instead of attempting to reconcile the conflicting messages of being a teenager--the messages that always come back to "Am I an adult or a kid?"

     I think my heart is ready for a new adventure. I can look back on my years as a minor with pride, joy, and gratitude. I lived them well.

     Hello, Year of 18. You look lovely!


How to Find Your Calling When You Have Many Interests

     I considered being a nurse.

     And not only a nurse. A labor and delivery nurse.

     Just over a year ago, in my junior year of high school, I was going back and forth on my major: nursing or English, nursing or English? Nursing? English?

     Which meant I was also vacillating between two seemingly vastly different careers: labor and delivery nursing or writing in the quiet of a hobbit hole for all eternity.

     I have always had many interests. Every now and then, I stumble across an old list that looks like this:
  • Mom
  • Wife
  • Nurse
  • Doula
  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Teacher
  • Bus driver
  • Missionary
  • Home decorator
     Needless to say, I have had a lot of interests over the course of my high school career. :)

     Lots of kids in high school are still trying out how their interests that seem so small and varied could ever fit into a career that actually makes money. This post should help.


Summer Bucket List 2017

Inspired by the incredible Carmel Elizabeth (whose blog you should totally read!), I am going to share my summer bucket list here.

     Summer is my favorite. No school. Longer days. Better fruit. Warm sunshine all the time. Swimming. Firepits. Sunsets. Lakes. Plenty of time to read (in theory) and plenty of time to stargaze. Summer has it all!


     As this is my last summer at home before I leave for college (and who knows what my summers will be like in the future!), I know I want to use it wisely.

     Several years ago, I realized that the lack of routine in summer kept me from actually doing much summer reading. It was simply too easy to say "I have so much time! Summer's here!" and never sit down with a book.

     Today I'm sharing my summer bucket list so you might just be inspired to create your own bucket list. And together we can keep those end-of-summer blues away!


Why I Don't Go to School Just to Absorb Knowledge

“School is one thing. Education is another. The two don’t always overlap. Whether you’re in school or not, it’s always your job to get yourself an education.”
Austin Kleon

     It's the end of the school year. I, for one, have already finished— graduated high school, actually. This time of year, the apathy truly starts to set in. We don't care about being here; we just want to return home with a decent grade after a not-too-trying day. I understand that feeling.

     But what I really don't understand is the people who never try. The people who just want to barely pass. Or the ones who are so obsessed with knowledge in its rawest form that that's all they show up for.

     School is an interesting place. We're there to get an education.

     But my thesis today is this: We are not just in school for an education but to leave a lasting effect on others' lives.