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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tablescape Compilation

     I'm a sucker for a beautiful table. When it's time to make this boring slab of wood beautiful, I am there!

     It's part of seeing and appreciating and sharing beauty.

     There are many occasions to set the table for, and these are simply a few tablescapes that I have created over the years (and I mean years, starting July 4th, 2012).

     So, that being said, please give grace for my earlier creations. I hope I've come a long way. ;)





     For more fabulous table inspiration, check out this Pinterest board:

~Madeline


Monday, April 4, 2016

One Simple Key to Healthy Relationships


     In Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, she discusses her friendship code (which is perfect for college roommates by the way).

     The code involves guidelines on things like stealing clothing from your friend's closet (go ahead and steal it) and giving your friend's boyfriend a few chances to make a good impression (exactly six chances). It's humorous and has a few good points too.

    But it got me thinking. How do I set a standard, even if I'm the only one who will follow it in a relationship? How do I do my part to keep my relationships healthy?

     One key to achieving any goal is to set expectations of oneself.

     Isn't it true though? You achieve a goal when you set an expectation.

     My friendship "code" has never been established between me and anyone, but the other day I jotted down some standards that guide how I deal with any relationship, be it friend, parent, brother, mentor, etc.
 
My Personal Relational Standards


I will not hold anything against you whether it is from your past or from a third party's mouth.

I will come to you first if I have a complaint or problem with you.

I will put you before myself.

I will motivate, inspire, and encourage you.

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

I will respect your wise decisions and not chastise you for the foolish ones.

I will be friends with your friends (without being possessive).

I will tell you the truth.

I will respect your style, even when it's not my favorite.

I will humbly learn from you and show you what I know.

I will show you I love you in ways that fit your personality.
 
     Those are the ways I show others I love them. I learn about them, care for them, and give them the space they need. I'm not perfect by any means, but when I follow these, healthy relationships come along for the ride.
 
     Which of the above characterize your relationships? What would you add to this list? What might you take away from it?
 
~Madeline

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Recap ~ In Pictures

     My February recap-in-pictures was a hit, so here is my month of March.
 
 
3.3.16
Browsing at B&N makes me so happy.
(BTW, I am not endorsing this book. It's simply on my TBR list.)
 
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3.8.16
A colorful meal makes for a healthy me.
 
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3.11.16
I finally drew out a map for my novel, The Blue Sky and the Yellow Sun.
 
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3.16.16
A road trip and bro selfie
 
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3.17.16
A beautiful lamp post as if we're in Narnia, but is it a sign I should go to this college?

 
Light filtering through the trees simply cannot be captured with a camera.
 
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3.18.16
Happy 16 3/4 birthday to me!
 
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3.23.16
Lots of fun playing BeanBoozled ~ watch the video here if you haven't already
 
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3.24.16
Lovely hair

 
Lovely, sharp pencils

 
Wicked Bananagrams board (*gasp* with proper nouns!)
 
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3.26.16
A little peek at my prom dress
 
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3.27.16
Coolest floral heels ever

 
Easter selfie with the bro
 
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3.28.16
My obsession with these shoes is unreal. They are now my screensaver on my phone.
 
~Madeline

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Confidence Shoes

Confidence ˈkänfədəns/ shoes /SHo͞oz/, n. ~ something sassy you put on your feet that gives gumption to your whole being so that you feel you can conquer the world
      I wore the same dress on Easter Sunday 2016 that I wore Easter Sunday 2015. I was perfectly ok with that. And guess what? Everyone else was too. No one noticed. Or no one cared.

     I'm finding more and more that people are so preoccupied with themselves that one can get away with wearing the same thing two years in a row. (You can also get away with being way less self-conscious, but that's another post.)

     I did want something to spice up that darling yellow dress though. Enter the Confidence Shoes.

     Some things you must know:
  1. I've never owned a pair of heels in my life. (ie. I have never mastered the skill of walking in them.)
  2. I had wanted floral heels for awhile.
  3. These are at least two inch heels.
     Those three made for a dangerous combination, but I am happy to say that I bought the shoes I fell in love with BUT I did not fall while wearing the shoes. :)

     I've never had a shoe obsession or thought much about them. I don't consider myself a grand fashionista, and honestly, I only owned six total pairs of shoes before the Confidence Shoes entered my life. (For my minimalist buddies, that includes 1 pair of flip flops, 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of flats, 1 pair of tennis shoes, 2 pairs of casual VANS brand shoes.)


     But something about these shoes made me believe that the right pair of heels can give you a little extra confidence along with that extra height.

     So I call them my Confidence Shoes.

     I call them my Confidence Shoes because they are fun and glamorous, beautiful and quirky.

     I call them my Confidence Shoes because I would totally be a businesswoman if I got to wear them every day.

     I call them my Confidence Shoes because I never once tripped (a true miracle since this girl has never worn heels for more than five minutes).

     I call them my Confidence Shoes because no matter how much I want to run, they keep me at a cool, collected walk.

     I call them my Confidence Shoes.

     And now you know why.

~Madeline