Heart. Temper. Touch.

     Occasionally, I just have a single, excellent quote to share with you lovely readers. Usually, to deserve its own post, it has to be a quote revolutionizing the way I live or love or think. This one does all three.

"Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, a touch that never hurts."
~Charles Dickens

     As I plunge headlong into college this week, I pray this is true of me.

     May my heart be soft, even to those who have hurt me or hurt my loved ones.

     May my temper never tire, no matter how much small talk I have to endure.

     May my presence and touch be one that heals, brings life, and encourages those around me.


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When the Letting Go Becomes An Adventure

     I'm in a season of letting go...

     I'm leaving books and furniture and my loved ones behind.

     Yes, I am leaving books behind. I want to pack lightly. And two hundred books doesn't exactly scream light. I've always been a fan of margin, and I know you feel it too--this need for less. This need for adventure and flying free.

     Somehow, letting go of material possessions is an adventure in itself. As I packed for college, I ran this through my head repeatedly: Pack like you're leaving the country. Pack as light as you possibly can.

     Adventure and simplicity walk hand-in-hand for me.

     I see all the possibilities of my future but without so much stuff. I see my favorite pajamas, my favorite book with its weathered pages, and my homiest blanket with memories of Brazil tucked into its folds.

     While {dorm packing lists galore} remind me to pack shoe organizers, "essential" oils (I find I can live quite easily without), and all kinds of other unnecessaries, I come back to packing as light as I can.

     Years ago, I read Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt. While I don't agree with everything she professes, I loved the pictures she painted. She packed everything she needed into her car and went on to visit all fifty states with her friend on the most epic road trip.

     Wherever I may roam, I want to have the comforts of home within the lightness of a suitcase.

     And so I am fitting everything I need for college in the trunk of our little Toyota. And when I leave my bedroom behind, with its white walls and pristine arrangement, I will take the warmth with me.

     Picture the best day of your life. Picture it clearly, until color swirls into the scene around you. Do you see tchotchkes or faces?

     Because while home may be made up of the little familiar things around us, it is also the people we love.

     In the spirit of packing light, I am selling my Belle and Cinderella silhouettes. $5 each or $8 for the set. Email me at madelineosigian@gmail.com if you are interested. First come, first served.



On the Grace Days

     I woke up this morning thinking "How could it already be August? And why, whyyyy does the first of the month have to fall on a Monday?"

     When I actually woke up and realized there are 31 days in July, I felt I'd been given an extra day. So while today isn't February 29th, it's giving me the space I need to prepare for August.

     This is only my third July blog post, as you may have noticed. (No? Just me, I guess.)

     There has been a whole lot going on in my life, and I am growing as a person while having awesome summer-before-college experiences. And that is what counts. If I haven't found time to write online, maybe I just don't care as much as I used to.

     I'm giving myself grace by not worrying about a posting schedule. I'm giving myself grace by living life to the full instead.

     These are the days of grace. These days are the full-of-hope, full-of-wonder, moving-away-soon, need-to-pack times. Yes, college is on the horizon, but all I want to do is hug my succulent Josephine and hear "It's going to be okay."

This is Josephine, by the way. She prefers "Jo."
     "Are you ready for college?" the world is asking me.

     "Ready as I'll ever be. Let's go!"

     "Are you nervous?" they ask with concern written in their brows.

     "Just excited," I reply with a smile and a nod.

     Because I know there will be tears. I know I'll miss my friends back home and the ones going off to their own college experiences. I know that those family pictures of the four of us will be much more precious to me when I'm in a cold dorm room.

     I know that I'm going to have a breakdown eventually. In Brazil, knowing I was going to cry helped me when the time came.

     So I'm giving myself grace. I'm going to let myself cry. I'm going to keep preparing the best I know how. I'm going to spend as much time getting tacos with my friends as I possibly can.

     And God will take care of the rest. Because all this grace? It comes from Him.



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!