Monday, May 23, 2016

An Open Letter to the Color Orange

Image via The Glitter Guide

Dear Orange,

Your hues are not golden.
Your orangeness disturbs me.
I hate to hate a color with so much potential,
but I cannot love you with all your pride.

If only you would pick between yellow and red.
Make up your mind!
Are you dark or light?
Bold or bright?

I cannot pretend that your shades attract me.
I wish I could love you like some do.
But I'm afraid that I never can
Nor ever will.

I avoid you in stores,
On streets with construction,
Or with coloring book in hand.
Because you, Orange, never cooperate with any other color.

You're a rebel, alone,
With your back up against a white void.
Afraid to talk, afraid to walk,
You freeze up some part of me.

At least black is classy.
White is pure.
Red is bold,
Yellow cheery.

But you, oh you!
Whether neon or dull,
You cannot excite me,
Cannot delight me.

My chest tightens,
And I swallow.
I hate to hate a color,
But it's you.

~Madeline

Friday, May 13, 2016

I Don't Wait Anymore | Book Review


So I'll tell my dreams to chase themselves.
I'm busy chasing something much more beautiful.
~me, if I wrote a song based on I Don't Wait Anymore

     I love the cover. It looks like adventure. But I started this book with hesitation.

     Please don't be another I'm-single-so-I-am-accomplishing-everything-on-my-bucket-list book. The cover seemed to be a drop-everything-and-chase-your-dreams-and-call-it-Jesus book, but it is not. It's a book about craving God and going through life with Him as your goal, not just your companion.

     I Don't Wait Anymore is about God, and that's what I love about it.

     This book is for you if you:
  • Are young in your faith and eager to grow
  • Are feeling stagnant and crave a wake-up call
  • Are in your 20s or 30s, and life hasn't panned out like you expected

     Grace Thornton takes us to a place of discovering God's incredible love for us. It was a message I kept finding myself nodding to.


     The only con to these pros was that the writing style felt chaotic. She tells a lot of good stories, but the transitions are rough. So just take a deep breath and dive in, backing up if you get a little lost. :)

     Even if her writing style is not quite to your taste, her message may be the kickstart you feel you are missing.

     One of my favorite quotes from the book was actually something one of Grace's friends would have told her younger self:
"That journey to truly deep faith is a lot narrower than you think. And it starts, continues, and ends with a definitive love for the Word of God. I want you to know that what you love now is not really the Word. What you love is what other people tell you about the Word. You love emotion and worship songs and books about God and the social aspect of church in college. But you do not love His Word. Not yet. That takes discipline and study and sacrifice. But you'll get it. You'll begin to put in the hard work of truly studying the Word of God, and when it begins to pay off, your faith will grow into something much more foundational and deep and unexplainable because you will get real glimpses of who God is on your own. It will give real strength to your every day because, like A. W. Tozer said, it's when we see Him that we really see ourselves."

     This is a message young people in our culture desperately need. Christianity is not about emotional mountaintop experiences; it's about learning who God is for yourself. And that is more beautiful than chasing our dreams of what we think our lives should look like.

     Don't just take my word for it. Watch this promo by the author herself, Grace Thornton.


     Or read the first chapter here.

     I Don't Wait Anymore is available at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | other retailers | and the giveaway below!

     If you follow the instructions below, you can enter to win a copy of I Don't Wait Anymore:

Subscribers will need to click here.

     I hope my review was insightful and makes you want to go pick up this new release. I would say I like it, so 3/5 stars on Goodreads.

~Madeline

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I Will Be with You in the Dark

     Your response to "One Simple Key to Healthy Relationships" was overwhelmingly positive. Today we're diving into a reader favorite:

I will be with you in the dark places without forcing the sunshine on you.
 
 ~

 
     I've been fascinated with the skies for awhile now. I think it began in eighth grade physical science when I had to record the cloud patterns for several weeks. It made me stop and notice the sky.

     Then I wrote a novel called The Blue Sky and the Yellow Sun. I saw myself as a yellow sun.

     There are two kinds of darkness. One was something I was taught to avoid. Obviously, we should stay away from dark magic, evil influences, or the oppression of sin.

     But there are also dark, hard times on earth--those valleys of the shadow of death. And we shouldn't run away when a brother or sister is hurting in the middle of those times.

     When I love someone, I will be there with them in those hard places, the darkness, but I won't force my sunshiney self on them. Romans says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15 NIV).

     Don't get me wrong. I love to be positive. I love to have a pretty little blog with yellow accents. I love smiling, laughing, and writing encouraging notes.

     But another practice I love is listening to those who are hurting. I love to be a shoulder for the weeping. I love to sit in the silence and be there for another human being (or, if you are Belle, a beast).


     Here are some ways we can walk through the dark places with our loved ones:

     1. Listen. If they want to talk, let them. Listening is a lost art form. Pay attention, and try to put yourself in their shoes a little bit. This will develop your empathy and they will be able to grieve or wrestle in a healthy way.

     2. Acknowledge. Admit to yourself that this is bigger than you. Acknowledge the fact that this is very hard for your loved one. Tell God you're overwhelmed. Being honest with yourself, your loved one, and God will keep you grounded.

     3. Hold. Hold your tongue. Hold the Kleenex. Hold your hurting friend in a hug. Hold out hope to them. Hold their hand through the storm. Hold the burden they can't carry.

     4. Love. No matter what they are dealing with, God calls you to love them. You don't have to love their struggles. You don't have to love the darkness they may be walking through. But you are called to love them--completely, fiercely, and with dedication.

     So when the clouds threaten to hide the sun, be the rain that soothes their hurts.

     Darkness will come. But we will be there for each other.

~Madeline

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

April Recap ~ In Pictures

     I'm late, but have no fear: I didn't forget our monthly recap. Brace yourself for lots of selfies, rainy days, and flowers!
 
 
4.4.16
Looking at arrows & awaiting the day I can apply to my favorite colleges
~

 
4.8.16
The best drawing of Mrs. Rylie so far! (She is a feisty elderly woman in my novel, The Blue Sky and the Yellow Sun.)
~

 
4.12.16
Some days my hair makes me feel like a Disney princess.
~

 
4.13.16
A line from my novel, beautifully penned.
~

 
4.16.16
When going through hard times, yellow flowers make the days brighter.
~

 
4.19.16
Goofing off lifts the spirits...

 
~

 
4.20.16
Smile! When grey clouds cover the skies, He is still reigning...

 
But you might want to bring your umbrella. :)
~

 
4.26.16
Serious selfie.
 
 
Serious doggy.
~

 
4.29.16
As Mary Poppins always says, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
~

 
4.30.16
A sneak peek of prom, but, rest assured, I'll have an entire post on it later. :)
 
 
On point!


Prom was a spectacular way to end the month!

     Those April showers had better bring some May flowers!

~Madeline

Friday, April 29, 2016

What I Learned About Myself During My Junior Year


     Soon my junior year will be gone, over, done. The 11 will become a 12. The "ju" will become a "se." I will be in the oldest group of high schoolers.

     My junior year taught me so much about myself. I learned my personality type, how to say no, how to manage time and commitments, and that I can take on college-level courses.

     Here are some of the other facts I learned about myself, whether fun or deep or both:

 // Personalities, the future, books, and God are four somewhat abstract concepts, but they are my four favorite things to talk about.

 // I can let my true self shine through in as few words as possible. (See Ecclesiastes 6:11, one of my new favorite verses for its sassiness.)

 // I don't want to read a book that smart people would think is stupid.

 // It can be so hard to find a friend that is "an equal in age, intellect, and social standing with whom to share both entertainment and confidences." (Emma, Jane Austen).

 // I am a combination of Belle, Padme Amidala, Anne Shirley, Mary Poppins, and Susan Pevensie, according to various sources.

 // I have a strange obsession with eating things in their raw state: batter, dough, frozen things before they're thawed, etc. I guess I'm just not very patient.

 // I never really think about "hurt feelings." That just isn't in my vocabulary, even as an ENFJ. Hmm...weird.

 // I am choosing to simply be myself, regardless of what others think.

     My junior year has been neither good nor bad. It's been a beautiful mix, and I've learned a lot and become more myself as a person. I've been freed from bad habits and found a deeper side of my personality. I've made new friends and worked tirelessly on whatever I put my hand to.

     So long, junior year, and hello, senior year!!!!!

~Madeline

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Every Moment


     I feel very alive and self-aware of how I am spending my time lately. Not that I am spending my time badly; I just feel the tick of the clock every second.

     These seconds make up minutes, which make up hours, which make up days, which make up weeks, which make up months, which make up years, which make up my one beautiful life.

     I just want to live my life to its fullest potential. I know I am the only one in the world who gets to be me. I know I am specially gifted by God with my circumstances and inner person.

     Those are true of you too. You are the only you there is. You are specially placed in this year, this city, this family, this school, this job to live your life. It's time to break out of whatever dull routine you've gotten yourself in and do what God is putting on your heart.

     I'm not talking about wasting time on social media. This isn't even about how we should go out and "do big things for Jesus." This is about you letting go of the unimportant to do what you were made to do.

     And because we are all different, that will look very different for you than it does for me.

     But listen to the Holy Spirit. He knows what it looks like. And He will help you to live in His will and His plans for you.

     Maybe you already are.

~Madeline

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Magic of a Thank You Note

     In this digital age (I know, I hate it when people call it that), it is so easy to lose sight of the little things that are so important. If I saw a mom search WebMD before kissing a boo-boo, I would be very sad.

     There are some things so timeless and beautiful that I have to write about them constantly on The Little Decorator--books, special parties, flowers, relationships, and cozy homes to name a few.

     One of the most magical of these, however, is the simple thank you note.


     We all know that saying thank you is very important (remember this post?), but it is also super important to follow that up with a thank you note. Thank you notes are not just for when you can't say thank you in person. They are for 99% of occasions where someone has done something for you or given you something.

     And when I say "you", I'm really preaching to myself.

     The magic of a thank you note is this: it keeps the giving going.

     If we are truly thankful, we can take five minutes and a postage stamp to express that to the other person and repay a little of their kindness. As a recipient of a genuine, thoughtful thank-you, I know that this makes the giver feel warm and fuzzy inside.

     Hand-written notes are a dying art. Let's shake them up and keep them from dying. I challenge you to write a note to someone today. And if they've done anything for you recently, even being a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear, thank them.

     You won't regret it.

~Madeline