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6 Ways to Live Like Adaline Bowman

I saw The Age of Adeline the day it came out in 2015! Since April of that year, this has been one of my most popular posts on this blog. Today we're celebrating that with an updated version!

     If you have not gotten the chance to laugh and cry at the movie theater over this character, you should!

     She reminded me a little bit of myself, except ten times more educated, sophisticated, and all-round boss! She's flawed yet cheeky and clever.      Here are six ways to live like the one, the only Adeline Bowman:1. Learn a new language (or Braille!). Adeline knows Portuguese and a dozen other languages. She even starts learning Braille even though she isn't blind. To Adaline's intelligent mind, everything is a learning opportunity.2. Work at a library/an archive. Adeline has the coolest day job ever! She's surrounded by books and is the kind of person who could find whatever you need in a few brief moments. A bonus way to live like Adaline Bowman is to simply read…
Recent posts

Why I Deleted All Social Media Permanently

I had been talking about taking a huge step for months. It should not have been a huge step, but that is what it feels like for most people my age. I had to get out of a relationship that was turning toxic before it actually started messing with my head. I didn't just delete the app from my phone this time. It was time to cut the cord.
     On June 21, 2019, I deleted all of my social media accounts, including Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

How I Stopped Negative, Repetitive Thoughts

About a year ago, I found myself spiraling in negative thought patterns. The same self-deprecating ideas popped into my head time and time again. I did not know how to stop them. I tried telling myself not to think about those negative things because they were not completely true, but my heart kept choosing to believe them and repeat them.
     This example may sound ridiculous at first, but this is a reminder we all need when we keep telling ourselves to "stop thinking like that" or "stop thinking about that." It's the purple elephant.
 Telling yourself to "stop thinking about purple elephants" just makes you think about purple elephants. You have to think about green giraffes to forget the other image in your head.
     The idea is that you need to use truth to replace the lies in your head or else you'll keep spiraling and will feel guilty for doing so. My mentor at the time reminded me to counteract my negative thoughts with something true …

New Eyes and Extra Colors

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” —Terry Pratchett
     I did it. In 42 days, I will graduate with my Bachelor of Arts in English Writing with a psychology minor. I have been in college for just three school years. Thanks to dual credit classes, I am graduating early. I cannot even imagine a fourth year of college at this point. I am ready to be out.
     In those years and months since I went off for my freshman year, I have written 20 blog posts. Honestly, that is way more than I originally expected to write during the busy college years and more than I thought I'd be totaling up today at the end of my undergraduate career.
     The aesthetic and methods of blogging embedded in my being have stayed with me throughout college as I have learned even more about writing and editing by …

Just Do the Next Best Thing (with Giveaway!)

Back with relatable content (like wanting desperately to avoid small-talk conversation while in the process of making a life-changing decision), Emily P. Freeman tackles the beast of decision-making in her latest book, The Next Right Thing.
My Short and Sweet Review

     If you've ever had a decision keep you up late at night, you know that "unmade decisions hold power." Freeman answers your nagging questions like "What work is required to make this decision?" and "How does my aversion to making decisions affect the quality and speed of my decision?"

     As an adult, you have 35,000 choices a day. How you make them will shape your life. Are you ready to dive into making decisions that will make your life? Realizing the gravity of decisions and of their effects on one's character will propel readers to give as much weight to how they make decisions as to what decisions they make.

     The way Freeman pairs contemplation with action allowed me to kn…

The Only Way to Defeat Fear

Fear of someone or something is the most powerful motivator

besides love.

     I believe this with all my heart, based on observation, readings, and experience.

     Fear makes us hide in the corner of a room at an overcrowded party. It limits us to our habits and makes us the sum of our activities. Living afraid, we grit our teeth and silent scream in loneliness.

     Drowning in responsibilities and wondering why we did this to ourselves, we wonder if anyone will notice. Will anyone notice our trembling hands, our whispers in the dark?

     And fear makes your heart beat 120 beats per minute.

     But do you know what else makes your heart beat that fast? Love. "Perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18)

~
     If I say, "Don't think about a giraffe wearing a top hat," what do you think of?

     A giraffe.

     You can't get rid of fear by yelling at yourself to stop thinking a certain way. You must replace those fears and negative thoughts with som…

Why Madeleine L'Engle Called Her Journal a Free Psychiatrist

Most people who have known me well for more than a few weeks know that Madeleine L'Engle is my favorite author, though she is not my namesake.
     Who is Madeleine L'Engle?
     I have to briefly explain that she is the genius behind the book series A Wrinkle in Time. Most people have at least heard of the first book of the same name since the release of Disney's movie in 2018.
     But what I love most about Madeleine L'Engle is her soul's similarity to mine, a revelation I had while reading her first published journal, A Circle of Quiet (Crosswicks Journal, No. 1). I gave this book five stars on Goodreads, and it moved at lightning speed to the top of my favorite nonfiction books.
     I've gone on to read L'Engle's other Crosswicks Journals, and I recently finished one of her nonfiction books, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. This one had been quoted so many times by many of my favorite bloggers, and I knew it was a must-read fo…

Dear Marie Kondo: Minimalism Takes Time

Dear Marie Kondo,

     I read your book when it was at least warm off the press, and now every college student I know is curious about your new Netflix series.

     I stand all of my clothes up in my dresser drawers, and my dorm room is cleaner than ever. You're right - it's harder to fall back into old habits when you're focused on keeping the things that spark joy. I haven't fallen back into clutter, and I've seen my three closest girl friends each catch the tidying bug.

     But it takes time.

3 Reasons to Be Still

Yesterday, my professor had us take three minutes at the end of my psychology class. She told us to listen to her mindfulness app for three minutes, and the sounds of waterfalls and birds fell on our open ears, relaxing our softly closed eyes.

     Just hours later, at the end of a yoga class focused on breathing and listening to our bodies, we spent a minute in complete silence, eyes closed.

     "I get it, God," I whispered in my mind.

Why New Year's Day Is the Best Holiday

Recently, I was in a conversation with my mentor, and I mentioned my love for New Year's. As the conversation progressed, I realized it was more of a passionate speech on my part.
     I was spreading my love for the overlooked holiday without even trying.
     "It's all about new beginnings and creating the best year yet," I said. "There are precisely seven days between Christmas Day and New Year's Day, during which no one will invite you to a holiday party because they'll assume you're out of town."
     She smiled, and the wind blew through my hair, making me sit up even more eagerly.
     "But you're not. You're not out of town. You're cooking up goals for the new year and choosing a word that you want to learn about. You're summarizing the past year in the last few pages of journals and selecting which journals you'll fill next."
     With so many fresh starts, organizational opportunities, and writing ide…

Claim Your Identity

Years ago, I learned from many writers' blogs that it was important to call myself a writer, never to shy away from the title that accompanied what I was already doing.

     And so I said, "I am a writer," and went on to write a 42,000 word novella over the course of my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I persistently kept up with The Little Decorator, this labor of love that you are reading right now.

     I started networking with other writers on Twitter and found both academic and professional ways to keep growing in my writing skills...because calling myself a writer inspired the way I intentionally pursued my craft.

     Now, in college, the landscape has changed. I'm so longer so very active on Twitter, and I haven't participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for many years. Blog posts are less frequent, and my writing is rarely for fun.

     But I'm an English major at Mississippi College now, and I work in the MC Writin…

Making Wall Art for the Price of a Latte

It's been a while since I've written about anything crafty I've done. I suppose that throughout the last year, my most artistic endeavors have consisted of the arrangement of RedBubble stickers on my laptop.

     Yet here I am with a little bit of DIY inspiration for your next piece of art!

A Super Complicated, Super Expensive *5 Minute & 3 Dollar* Tutorial1. Buy a postcard. Any {cute} postcard. I found this set of 8 in a local shop for $16, which broke down to $2 per card. They're silhouettes with famous authors' quotes, including Maya Angelou, E. B. White, Jane Austen, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Classy, non?
2. Buy a frame, preferably from your local garage sale (and probably 5" x 7"). Garage sales really pick up in the fall and spring seasons because of the cooler weather, and I snagged this frame for $1. If you can't find a local garage sale, look at Goodwill or another resale place.
     There isn't a step three unless you count putti…

A Reminder that You Are in Progress

I'm writing over at Burning Youth, and today I have a simple reminder for you:

     We are hard workers - learning how to do things effectively and study better than ever before.

     We are adventurers - giving ourselves space to explore and getting up early to get our lives on the road.

     We are peacemakers - still figuring out how to love people well and how to stay calm ourselves when it all piles on top of us.

Click here for more truth to be poured into you.

~Madeline

What Do I Actually Need for College?

My word for 2018 is adventure. I love the aesthetic as well as the practical side of packing up and going somewhere.

     This weekend, I'll throw my three favorite tops and a pair of jeans in my backpack to return home for the first time this semester.

     I haven't seen my family since they brought the last of my stuff up to my room and hugged me quickly, so we wouldn't cry. It's sophomore year, but my heart hasn't yet learned how to say goodbye without grieving in some capacity.

     The other days of the year, when I'm not going home, my backpack holds some essentials to get me through my classes. This is especially important for the days where I leave the room and don't come back until after dinner.

     Besides textbooks and notebook paper, here are the necessities you'll need in your backpack once you're living on a college campus.

Ode to Mississippi

You have no homework to do You have no one to listen to you speak And so write in this safe space Tell the stories you long to leak.
MISSISSIPPI
Crooked letters and humpbacked whales Dancing before my eyes I didn’t know anything but that I didn’t like Oklahoma or Alabama.
And so I came to a place Where they write their letters crooked And I took it upon myself to straighten them out Letters and essays and blog posts and texts.
I found typos and flaws And terrific friends Who reminded me that Millillilli isn’t a word So I won’t straighten Mississippi out.
~Madeline

So You're an English Major...

I'm back to Mississippi College for academic year two of three. Freshmen fill the halls of the beautiful brick buildings I fell in love with long ago, and new classes bond us together.

     And then I meet an English major, and my face lights up. There's an automatic understanding that we love the written word and want to use rhetoric to change the world.

     "What's your favorite book?" one English writing major asks. Her friends hold their breath, waiting to see what I say.

     "The Book Thief," I say, a moment before her friends go wild.

"That's her favorite too!" they exclaim.

Summer Reading Is My Only Reading

Let's talk books.

     It's been a while since we've talked about anything, and my reading life has suffered in a similar manner this past school year. Confession time--

 I had not read a single book in 2018 until this month.

      I have since finished six books and found it's easier for me to finish books I am already 30% or so of the way through than it is for me to pick up a new book and start from scratch. Since I've picked up the written word, I've barely been able to put it down without finishing whatever book I am working on.

     And I'm supposed to be an English major! It just goes to show that reading slumps can happen to anyone and can be very severe droughts without you even realizing it.

     So, for me to continue summer reading and to inspire you to crack open that dusty volume, I present the books I've recently finished and the ones I'm reaching for next:

Recently FinishedDeath on the Nile by Agatha Christie I finally got aroun…

Extraordinary: A Definition

What is extraordinary? You can think of examples: a brilliant sunset, a newborn baby, washing the dishes with a song in your heart.

     But what makes these things extraordinary? What defines the extra-ordinary?

     It's the ordinary made special that makes us collectively catch our breath. Everyday things made uniquely beautiful to us in that moment.

And we can't describe it.

     Because although sunsets are beautiful, they happen every single day. What makes this one extraordinary? That newborn baby is simply how every life on this planet begins. How does holding one in your arms become the most serene moment in your life? What makes washing the dishes, the most mundane activity, also one of the most magical?

     These ordinary moments, held in our hands with the bane and beauty of humanity, remind us of our mortality as well as all we have left to experience in this lifetime. We remember that this moment is sacred, that we only get so many sunsets. We smell the sof…

Decisions Made with More than Luck

Two years ago today, I was inwardly making a decision that would shape nearly everything about my life today.

     St. Patrick's Day 2016 - the day I woke up in a Mississippi College dorm for the first time, stepped out to the "Lover's Swings," and spent the morning reflecting on my visit thus far.

     I looked up and down at the beautiful, tall trees, the red brick buildings, and the lampposts reminding me of a Narnian winter wonderland. I wondered, "What will campus look like when fall changes the colors of the leaves or when snow covers each individual blade of grass?"

     My first year of college was dramatically impacted by that one day. One day of tours and stories, of falling in love with a place, and of setting off on a destiny I didn't know I had.

Luckily, I never looked back.

Beloved Child, You are Enough

Child, you are more than enough today. Hear the Lord's call on your day and your life.

     I wrote a little something for you that has been on my heart since last Sunday.

     Ready to read my post on Burning Youth? Click here.

~Madeline