Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Music Love // September 2016

Hello, lovelies!

Happy Fall, first of all! This is an exciting time of the year. There is actually a chill in the air, which just started on Sunday. I can finally start wearing boots and flannels and sipping hot drinks!

Today, I'm going to share some music that I've recently been loving. I won't say much about it. I'll just let it speak for itself :) Tell me what you think!

- Maddie

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Video For You

FYI: The "today" I'm referring to is Sunday.

So, yeah, I wanted to try something new, and it was fun doing the video! It's not the best, but hopefully it was at least a little interesting. Was that how you guys pictured me acting in real life? ;)

Comment and let me know what you've been up to! I hope you all had a good week and that you'll have an even better rest of this week!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

10 Picture Books I Would Unashamedly Read Now

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

How has your week been? I feel like it went by really fast. Anyway, today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday for the theme "My Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books of X Genre," and giving you my top ten favorite picture books that I would still read today. Yeah, I know, it's not really a genre, but I figured if I did something like historical fiction, you guys would go, "Ugh, Maddie, we've heard you rant about Moon Over Manifest, The Golden Thread, Out of the Dust, etc. like 1,000 times, do you really need to tell us again?" So I decided to be nice and a little bit creative (cause that's always a good thing) and I came up with this.

Tea with Milk

Okay, so I pretty much adore this book. I think my mom read it to me and my siblings for school when I was like 9 or 10. It's about a Japanese girl who is born in America and feels at home here, but is homesick when she moves back to Japan. It's really interesting learning about the cultural differences. When the time comes for her to marry, her parents hire a matchmaker. She gets upset and decides to find her way on her own, and I believe she meets a man who had the same life situation and they get married and it's a really awesome biracial book with awesome prose. We used to own it and now we don't and I'm still sad that we don't have it, and I'm planning on buying it for myself soon because I'm still a child at heart... Wait, scratch that. You don't have to still be a child to like this book. C.S. Lewis said, "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." This is a good children's story, folks. As are all of the rest of the books on my list and you have to agree with me because my opinion is law. I'm going to buy this soon because it's a good book and you all can judge, but I don't care (and I don't think you would judge anyway). ;)

Love You Forever

Um, it's about loving your mom forever and moms loving their kids forever. What more could be said? I can still hear my mom's voice reading the words, and that just makes me really happy, but also kind of sad. I'll love my mommy forever. <3

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

So they made this into a movie a year or two ago, and it looks really cheesy and I'm upset. The book used to be one of my favorites when I was little. It's one of those that you can't remember a time when you first read it because your mom probably read it to you before you could remember (literally). It's a really cute book and I might consider buying this one, too, just because I think it would cheer me up when I'm having a bad day. It's funny because some of the things Alexander gets mad about are so trivial and silly, but if it were happening to me, I would probably not be having it either. So if you're having a bad day, reach for this book and I can pretty safely say you'll feel a little better after reading it.

The Berenstain Bears

Okay, I'm pretty sure I was still reading these when I was 12... yeah, yeah, I know. But these books have good lessons and the people er, bears in the stories actually take a while to come to conclusions. I mean the plot lasts longer than just two pages. Anyway, I guess I've pretty much always kept loving the things I loved in childhood, even if I had first read or watched it now I would not, you know what I mean? I mean I think I still love some things because I remember how much I used to love it when I was younger and I feel like it's a part of me and it's harder to tell myself I'm too old for it than to just keep liking it, even if it makes me look like a baby.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Look at that cover though. It's so super cute. It makes me really happy. It's about how a little mouse would become your friend if you gave him a cookie. That my friends is what I call adorable.

Fox In Sox

I'm not gonna lie, I first read this book like this year, I think. This is my one year old brother's favorite book, so if he was crying, I would be like, "Hey, Xav, do you want to read Fox In Sox?" and he would stop and be happy and go find the book and bring it to me and we would read it over and over, mostly through skipping around back and forth all around the pages. I would be reading it (which, if you don't know, is all tongue twisters) and he would just stop every once in a while and look at me and smile like everything that was coming out of my mouth was gibberish and he thought it was hilarious. So yeah, I love this book and I also need to get my own copy. By the way, I really miss my little brother right now.


This is my name, of course this is gonna be on my list. Oh, it's actually pronounced differently, by the way. Mine is pronounced Madelyn and the character's is pronounced Madeline. I actually tried to get my parents to change the pronunciation when I was like 8 or 9 because I thought it would be cool. Idk, don't ask. But anyway, I had a lot of Madeline things when I was little. A Madeline barbie doll, a Christmas tree ornament, most of the books, a few of the TV show episodes, the movie... I think it's funny because Madeline the character is "the smallest one" and everyone is always commenting about how tiny I am. She also has a big scar from surgery and I do too. Aaaaanyway....

Blueberries for Sal

I actually don't remember much about this book, but I remember it is really adorable and since I don't remember it, that makes me want to find it and read it now.

Abel's Moon

This book is about a dad who travels and then tells his kids really awesome adventure stories. And then I think he builds them a secret fort thing where they can have their own adventures and pretend it's a spaceship or anything they want, and then when he comes home they can all tell each other stories. Basically, it's a book about a really awesome family who knows how to have fun.

Imagine a Night

I read this this year, I believe. The best thing about this book is the illustrations. If you look closely at the pictures, there are hidden people or faces, or the blanket on the bed looks like a field, etc. It's just really cool and creative.

So there it is, people! My favorite picture books of ever. Are any of yours on this list? Are you surprised that I actually came up with 10 books for a Top Ten Tuesday post this time? I hope you're having an awesome week!

Also, I have been changing a few little things on my blog, and I was wondering what you thought about the new look. Any suggestions?

Okay, peace out.

- Maddie

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Facing Fears: Is Love Really Worth the Pain?

This is something I have been reflecting on a lot lately.

In the middle of August, I had the chance to visit my best friends one last time before they left for their mission in England. It was lovely. Soccer and walks and chocolate. Videos, 3 am talks, a concert, and ice cream. Not getting lost, just not finding our way. Rounding the traffic circle seven times before getting off on the right road. Talking in our sleep and laughing at each other. Sitting in silence and feeling comfortable because we've known one another for six years and we've been through just about everything together. Saying, "Well, I don't know about you, but you're pretty much my best friend." And the other rolling their eyes and responding, "Well, duh, you're my best friend, too." I had such a wonderful time, such a perfect balance of deep conversations mixed with silly nothings, that when I left, I left depressed. There was an overwhelming feeling of the people I was closest to outside of my family being separated from me across the ocean and the burning question in the back of my mind, "Will it ever be the same?" We're all growing up, finding our paths in life. What if the next time we see each other one of us or both of us have a boyfriend? What if we somehow grow apart? When will we even see each other next? Why do we never seem to get enough time with the person who understands us the best?

I've never regretted knowing and loving the people that I am closest to in my life. I've never wished I hadn't gotten to know someone as well as I have, or that we hadn't been so close. But after I got back from my visit, when I thought about the new relationships that I could be cultivating here in my new home, I had to ask myself, "Do I want the pain that's going to come with this later? Should I just leave things as they are and not try to make actual friends with people here, but just keep things casual? Should I love now and be hurt later, or be lonely now and it won't matter later? Is love worth the pain? I know I would think so if I really did come to love this person. But right now, while I have the chance to save us both the heartache, should I prevent it?"

It's tough to be always moving. I don't know how attached to get to one place. It may seem like we'll be there for a long time - that this will finally be the last place we'll move to for a few years, if not that we've finally found somewhere to settle permanently; but the reality is, it's probably not going to turn out that way, no matter how it may seem now. My family hasn't lived in one place for longer than a year since 2010. But the thing is, I've enjoyed pretty much every place we've lived since then, and I know that if I move somewhere else, I'll most likely enjoy it there, too. So the hard part is moving and leaving behind the ones you love in that place and not knowing if or when you will ever get the chance to see them again, but also knowing that if you stay where you are, you could be missing out on falling in love with more people and places, too.

It's also sometimes hard being an introvert. I think it takes us longer to get to know people and to open up ourselves, and I feel like a lot of the time when I am just starting to feel comfortable around people, that's when we leave.

After the trip, I wrote this in my journal, "Do I really want to live here for years? Is staying in one place for years and years something I'm capable of? I don't want to always be moving, but since I always am, it's hard to picture me not. And I wonder if I would be able to stand it.... I guess I'm feeling lonely right now. I mean, where do I really belong? I've never wished that I hadn't met any of my friends, but at the same time, it just makes everything so much more difficult. I want to make friends here, but which will be worse: the pain of having no one to talk to, or the ache when I have to leave? I want to live here for a long time, but I don't. I want to get to know people more closely, but if I don't stay, it will make it harder to leave. Or what if they leave? Ever since I can remember, I'm the one who has moved away. I've moved on and left them, and met new people and been to new places, and I miss the people I've left behind, but at least I have a distraction. They have to stay where they are and go on with their lives without me, and I don't know if I could stand to switch places because I'm sure people handle it better than I would.... I guess that's what I want to know. Is it better to not have as much love, and therefore not have as much hurt? Or does the love always outweigh the pain?"

I was really praying that God would speak to me. There are times that I want to hear clearly God's voice more than anything, and that was one of those days. I didn't get an answer when I opened the Bible, and I went about the day in a deep sadness. At work, during my lunch break, I was surprised to see that Mia was online at the same time I was, and we were able to talk until I had to go back to work. She asked me how I was, and I almost just replied with the typical, "Fine, how are you?" But I caught myself and decided to tell her what I was really feeling. Sometimes it feels weird saying things like that over the internet and not in person, but as she was already in England, that would not be happening soon.

So I asked her, "Should I make friends now and be sad later when I leave, or be lonely now and it won't matter later?" I didn't use the word "pain" at all.

When she wrote back, she said, "Don't be lonely now. That's my advice. I feel like the pain is worth it." 

Her choice of words answered exactly what I had asked for earlier in prayer, "Does love always outweigh the pain?" There was such an inexplicable feeling of comfort that came with having received an answer to my fear from God and my best friend at the same time.

A few days later, I wrote in my journal, "I've come to realize that with life there comes pain, no matter how you choose to live it. I would be hurt if no one loved me. If I was deliberately abused, I would of course be hurt, too. And if I love someone and they love me and we never see each other again, we will hurt then, the same. But if I choose the latter, at least I'll have some happiness, too. I'll have the joy of memories. I'll always look back and be glad I knew them instead of the nagging feeling in the back of my mind saying, 'What if I had?'

"Life, love, and pain go hand in hand, no matter how you choose to look at it. Therefore, the choice that stands is not, 'if' we should love, but 'how' we should give and receive it."

We all have these fears at some time or another, don't we? You obviously know now that I do. Have you ever felt this way? The funny thing is, if we all thought this way and then chose to not love so as not to be hurt, how would life go on? We would all be so afraid to step out and go to new places and meet new people because of the possibly of getting hurt later that we would miss out on so much.

So go ahead and make that step. Get to know that person better who you were afraid to become close to. We shouldn't become too attached to anyone or anything because it wouldn't be good for us to be completely crushed if something were to happen, but that 'maybe' shouldn't prevent us from creating good, strong relationships now.

I want to hear your thoughts on this subject. I want these topics to be things we can share with each other. Little heart to heart conversations. It's good to know that people have the same feelings; that you're not the only one who feels a certain way. Not that you're glad someone else is going through the same ugly situation, but that since they are, you're glad they didn't just keep it to themself and think that they were the only ones with that problem. I want Facing Fears to become a regular post topic, and hopefully will post one once a month. What do you guys think?

And to end, I wanted to share a poem I wrote before leaving my family in Montana. I haven't shared some of my writing in forever, so here's a bit for you. Thank you for being patient with me, and for all of your wonderful comments on my last post. You don't know how warm it made me feel inside. You all are wonderful.

(I had titled it Fears Forgotten, but I'm not sure if I think it fits the best, now. Oh, well.)

It's good to know
You will be missed;
To know your loneliness is 
Worth something.
Nice to have the words taken
Right out of your mouth:
"Call me."
"Write me."
"Keep in touch."
"Tell me everything."
"I'll see you soon, won't I?"
Easier to breathe once your fears are taken away.
Honey, you're friends.
Stop worrying.

Peace, everyone. Until next time.

- Maddie