Carnations & Peonies

I currently have these vases of peonies and carnations on my desk, and they are just so pretty and smell so good. I wish that flowers lasted forever… they’re starting to fade now. A few days ago when they were new, I took some pictures of them (some were taken with my Ōlloclip).

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God is just seriously so creative.

“Counting It All Joy” During Finals, etc.

Hello everyone!  I’ve been wanting to blog for some time, but I’ve been so busy with finals.  Augh.  It’s super exhausting and sometimes it is so tempting to just have a big ol’ weepfest about the heavy workload.  However, I try to avoid those impulses, press on, and remain cheerful, keeping in mind that this is what God has for me to do right now, and that pretty soon it will all be over; I will get to enjoy a long vacation from studying, and will be able to have time to do enjoyable things again (oh happy day!).  This verse has kind of become my theme these days:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2-3

When God is putting me through hard times where I honestly have no idea WHERE I’m going to come up with a 5-page essay concerning the theme of suffering in Buddhism, finish all my assigned reading, or come up with something sufficient to say in my student interview (and on top of that, be deficient in sleep), he’s teaching me to “count it all joy”.  Each hard moment is an opportunity for me to grow in faith, trusting that He will provide all my needs, rather than freak out in despair.  Where I grow in faith, I grow in steadfastness (or some other translations say “perseverance”).  And perseverance leads to more faith, and then more perseverance, and so on.  It’s a vicious cycle in the best sense, essentially.  So God has definitely been using this season to teach me to look to him for everything.  That I am in no way self-sufficient; I am fully dependent on Him.  He will provide; He’s never failed me, and He never will.  So though it’s been hard, it’s been SO good.

Anyway, in my last post, I was looking forward to Thanksgiving break.  I’ll quick tell you how that went.  It went pretty well: I got to visit my family, hang with my sisters, take a good long break from studying, and celebrate Thanksgiving with some relatives.  Our dinner was the bomb, especially the cranberry sauce, the pumpkin custard and my mom’s cranberry apple sweet potatoes.

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After thanksgiving dinner, we had a white elephant gift exchange.  It was pretty fantastic.  The gifts I ended up with were actually pretty useful – two pairs of mittens (I could always use a backup pair of mittens), and a pair of snowman socks (YESSSS.  Haha).  :)

 

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Our class recently read through Homer’s The Odyssey.  It was interesting to learn about the Greek pantheon, and Homer’s worldview, shown through his poetry and storytelling.  Then I had to write a paper contrasting Penelope, the wife of the main character Odysseus, with Sarah of the Bible.  I concluded that each went through tough trials, but had different outlooks on life and responded in different ways to their circumstances, based on their worldviews (pagan vs. God-centered).  It was definitely interesting.

 

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A few days ago, a few of my girlfriends and I went ice skating.  I had never done it before, so I was very wobbly and I fell down a lot.  Haha.  But I think I started to get the hang of it to some degree.  It was pretty fun.

God has been constantly showing me his goodness these past few days, even in the smallest ways.  Last Sunday, after one of those “God, I’m so exhausted and bored that I don’t know what to do with myself” moments, one of my friends randomly stopped by (my roommates invited him, but I had no idea he was coming), and he, my roommates and I went to a coffeeshop to continue our studies.  It was so good to finally get out of the house and have a fun time.  It was cool because God knew that I needed a change of scenery, and he answered my prayer and provided it so unexpectedly and at the perfect time.  Then last night my small group got together, one last time before winter break, and we all shared what God has been doing in our lives so far this semester.  Sitting there, hearing everyone’s stories and being so encouraged, it just hit me how blessed I am to be a part of this school, along with all these lovely people who are like-minded in the gospel yet each have a unique story and calling.

 

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And as usual, class has been mind-blowingly AMAZING.  These days we have been going through the minor prophets of the Old Testament, and looking at all the foreshadowings of the Messiah that was to come.  They’re EVERYWHERE.  My goodness.  It’s SO COOL.  We went through the basic themes of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, and all the visions of “the latter days” – the end times.  We were also shown how there is this recurring theme throughout the Bible of water flowing out of the temple.  Let me mention first that the temple was where the presence of God was.  Eden (which can be a sort of temple figure, because the presence of God was there) had a river flowing through it.  The temples built in the Old Testament, I think, were built by streams or rivers (something concerning water that flows),  Jesus (the presence of God, in the flesh) had blood and water flow out of his side when he was pierced, and lastly, Christians flow living water out of their hearts (John 7:38) (and we are temples of the Holy Spirit).  And then, another observation is that in Revelation 7:17, it talks about how in the new heavens and earth, the Lamb will guide his people to springs of living water.  Well, that is where the presence of God will be.  Whoa.  Mind. Blown.

(If you’re wondering why on earth there is something about “ten toes” in my notes in the photo above, we were going through the book of Daniel that day, and in Daniel there are a lot of visions.  And in one of the visions, the number 10 occurred a couple times, which I found interesting. That’s what that’s all about. Haha)

I am so excited for winter break.  I’ll be able to do the things I never have time to do these days.  During that time I’m hoping to draw, write and blog way more, write a few letters, spend lots of time in the Word, and be with my family.

God bless,

Madeline

 

 

Swing Dancing, God’s Provision & Cold Weather

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During these past couple weeks…

I swing danced for the first time.  A few of the freshmen and sophomores at my college had a dance on Halloween (or Reformation Day, which I observe instead).  We swing danced, waltzed, salsa danced, line danced, and there was even this dance off at one point between two of the guys (which was quite amusing).  But I’d have to say that the swing dancing was my favorite.  I felt very 1940s for a good part of that evening and it was fabulous.

I started drawing again.  All because the LORD miraculously shoved a sketchbook into my hands by the means of my roommate.  Seriously, God is so good.  A week or so ago my roommates and I were having a friend over at our place, and we were talking about art, handlettering, prints and the like, and I happened to mention “I’ve been wanting so much to draw these days, but I don’t have a sketchbook.”  To which my roommate immediately responded, “I have a sketchbook!  Do you want it?”  To which I surprisedly replied, “Seriously?”  And our friend was like, “ask and you shall receive!”  So God provided a sketchbook for me that day.  And from now on, that sketchbook will serve as a reminder that God provides for me, even things I don’t need, even before I ask for them!

I challenged myself to draw every one of my classmates. I’m about a third of the way finished.  I posted a picture of the work in progress on our class’s Facebook page, and now it seems like a few people in my class are following the project to some extent.  One of them said to me, “Man, I’m excited for this!  It’s like watching the progression of a building!”  I got an interesting request from another:  “Madeline, I want my picture to be something cool, like of me being on a horse, holding a spear… with [another classmate] on the end of it!”  How about no… haha :)

I finally did something with those two cans of pumpkin in my cupboard. I made pumpkin custard, and pumpkin french toast. It was the bomb.

I fell in love with three new songs: “Carry You” by The Native Sibling, “This I Know” by Crowder and “Old Pine” by Ben Howard. Search them out, they’re really good (if you like indie-folk music). :)

God has been so good, as always. He’s blessed me in so many ways… by all my amazing friends here, by providing me food right when my fridge was about to go empty, and so many others.

It’s getting colder and windier! So excited for winter, and I hope to see snow soon! Yesterday I wore flip flops for probably the official last time of the year. My feet were like ice. On top of that, it happened to be raining. Rain, cold weather and flip flops = NOT a good combination.

Yup, so that’s what’s up!
Until next time!
:)

The Closet

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Welcome to my little living space, “the Closet” (also informally known as “the Batcave”)!  The first day I moved into my dorm, I saw where I was going to be staying and wasn’t quite sure if I liked it.  But I began to enjoy it, especially after I started taping pictures and artwork to the walls, and it started to look a little more like home.

Over time, I added more and more to my walls.  Artwork, Instagram prints, cute stamps, pressed leaves, inspiring quotes and Bible verses written in my fanciest handwriting, and posters.  Later I put up Christmas lights, which added a very cozy feel to the place.

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Just outside the Closet is a little random room with burnt-orange walls.  It’s like my own little living room.  :)  In the past, I used this part of the room to store all my extra stuff.  Not anymore.  Since then, I’ve cleaned it up and made it look a little bit nicer.

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It doesn’t really take much to make a room look decent!  All you have to do is use what you have (in my case, photos, two rolls of washi tape, my collection of sketches, Christmas lights, a few flowers, and any other odds and ends) and a little creativity.  :)

These Past Few Weeks

Hey guys!  It has been busy these past few weeks…

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I recently had the pleasure of going to the Art of Celebration Tour and got to see and hear Rend Collective, Moriah Peters and Urban Rescue!  It was so awesome!  Moriah opened with a few of her songs, followed by Urban Rescue, and lastly Rend Collective.  It was so awesome, singing at the top of our lungs, dancing around, praising God.  :)  Afterwards I saw Moriah Peters hanging around her merch table, talking to people, autographing CDs, etc.  I got to talk to her and get a selfie with her (meeting her has been a dream of mine for quite a while).  So that was fun.  She is so sweet.

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I’ve been enjoying everything about fall: apple cider, squash, the chilliness in the air, the colorful leaves, wearing sweaters, wool socks and boots… everything.

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Obviously, I’ve been really busy with school.  Though it at times can be super hectic and stressful, it’s been so amazing learning everything that I have been.  Basically we’re going through the whole Bible, and studying God’s story of redemption, starting with Creation, followed by Noah, Abraham, and Moses.  Our last class was on the book of Deuteronomy.  As I’m learning all of this and getting a broader view of the big picture, I am just so mind-blown.  God is such a loving God.  Wow.  I’ve been writing a few essays on Creation, the date of the Exodus, and Old Testament Law.  Essays aren’t my favorite thing, but the feeling you have after turning it in is really satisfying.  After writing our essays, we are required to read them out loud to two people (preferably classmates, though others also count) before turning them in.  I really like this, because it’s really helpful to hear feedback from others and find how my writing can improve, and also familiarize myself with other styles of writing from others’ essays.

But even with all the studying, there’s still time to hang out and have fun.  Last night I and some of my classmates walked to a nearby ice cream shop, then walked around the city for a while.  It was really fun.  Two of my friends and I walked around outside a theatre (while the rest walked home), where there were huge images of famous playwrights, and plaques near them containing a short bio about each one.  One friend and I took turns reading them out loud in british accents, and acted as though we were giving a tour.  It was pretty entertaining.

Also, God is teaching me to trust him, through all the stress, the sleep-deprivation, the times when the fridge is almost empty but no one can give me a ride to the grocery store that day, and when I’m feeling anxious.  He’s always provided at the right time, and He always will.  He is SO GOOD.

So basically that’s it!  Until next time!

God bless,

Madeline :)

These Days – 08/31

So ever since I got back from Colorado, this is what has been going on in my life:

I purchased a very awesome but generic backpack.  It looks like this:

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I feel quite hipster owning it, to be honest.  ;)  The funny thing though, is that its brand is a complete knockoff of the Levi’s brand.  The logo is that familiar Levi’s shape, but instead of saying what you’d expect – Levi Strauss & Co – it says “AUGUR Strauss & Co”.  What on earth?!  Plagiarism!  Haha.  Thankfully that logo was on a tag on the inside, which was easily able to be seamripped off.

I recently got myself an Olloclip.  It’s so cool!  If you don’t know what that is, it’s a 4-in-1 lens clip set for the iPhone.  The lenses are 10x macro, 15x macro, wide angle and fisheye.  I’ve been experiencing with the macro lenses, and I just love them!  It brings my photography potential to a whole new level.  :)

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About a week ago was the start of a new season of life for me.  A season that at times can be hard and exhausting, yet so awesome, beautiful and oh SO worth it.  I started attending a really amazing Bible college.  I’m learning so much – every day God just blows my mind with new things to know about His power; His might, His glory.  I’m growing in knowledge of the supremacy and beauty of Christ.  I’m establishing so many wonderful new relationships that mean the world to me – when you get a good number of my classmates together, that’s when the fun and awesome fellowship happens.  (A couple nights ago several of us went to a park at night to play ultimate frisbee, then went for a walk through the city to find a Starbucks.  Sadly, it was closed when we got there, but I don’t regret the walk.)  :)

Yesterday I went to my very first urban farmer’s market.  Until now I’d only been to little ones held in a small town.  I decided to go all experimental and buy things I either never have had before, or have not had in a long time.  So I bought myself some purple green beans, elderberries, and a honeycomb.  I also bought a few things I was familiar with, too, like rainbow chard, a cucumber and some chamomile blend tea.

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Current songs on repeat:

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong United

To Leave It All Behind – Moriah Peters

I’ll Wait For You – Moriah Peters (anything by Moriah, really)

Build Your Kingdom Here – Rend Collective

When The Crazy Kicks In – Francesca Battistelli

Fix My Eyes – for King & Country

It’s Not Over Yet – for King & Country

Love Take Me Over – Steven Curtis Chapman

 

Have a good, restful sunday!

God bless,

Madeline

 

Things I Fancy – 05/31

Happy last day of May, everyone!  These days it has been really, really hot, and the house in which I reside does not have proper A/C.  But with a couple of fans, one can get by.  Anyway, here’s a list of things I have been liking these days.

The Book Thief.  This movie is seriously one of my new favorites.  If you have not seen it yet, GO SEE IT.  It inspired me to learn a bit of German. :)

Love + Toast’s honey coconut perfume.  It smells like sugar cookies baking, and I have detected notes of something that resembles vanilla.  It’s amazing.  And it’s gluten free!

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EOS lip balm.  I have the “Honeysuckle Honeydew” and “Summer Fruit” flavors.  They’re mostly natural, and also gluten free. They would have to be, or I wouldn’t be using them.  :)

As far as music goes, I haven’t been listening to anything new.  Mostly Hillsong Young & Free and Rend Collective.  Looking forward to seeing Rend Collective in concert soon, along with Moriah Peters, God willing. :)

Drawing.  The last two I drew today.

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Writing.  I’ve been dabbling a bit in poetry, and making little short stories.  Words are fun to play with.  :)  I started a new tumblr account just as a showcase for my photos, art and literature.  You can check it out if you like.

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Reading.  Not much of a reader, other than the Bible.  But once in a while I like to pick up the good old classics, and by that I mean things like Pride & Prejudice, The Wind in the Willows, and almost anything by Louisa May Alcott.  Right now I started her book An Old-Fashioned Girl, and am in the middle of Jack and Jill.

Photography.  Oh, do I love photography.  It just takes my breath away.  I can get lost on Pinterest and Tumblr, it’s kind of sad.  Anyway, I like photos of objects, scenes, and non-posed moments.  Here are a few favorites grabbed from pinterest:

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What have you been fancying these days?

 

A Week in the Woods

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Hey everybody!  I just got back from a week out at a cabin in the woods.  That meant a whole week without running water, indoor restrooms and internet.  During my stay, I got to take lots of pictures (you can see some of them on my VSCO grid), enjoy the pretty views and focus on my writing a bit more than usual, resulting in the birth of new novella in the works.  Maybe I’ll post an excerpt soon.  As enjoyable as the week was, I’m glad to be back at home, with all its familiarity and conveniences.  :)

Happy weekend!

Sketches, Music & Flowers

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Today so far was a pretty good day.

I woke up and immediately thought, I want to draw something.  So I did.

I swept the kitchen floor.

I listened to music.  (This morning I’ve had “We Are Brave” by Shawn McDonald on repeat.  Such a good song.)

I ate some frozen blueberries and stained my fingers purple.

I had a chance to go outside today, and it was very sunny and melty out.

I made a flower wreath and took some pictures.

I think I’m going to go have my read my Bible now and then draw some more, or continue the novella I’m working on.

How are you spending today?

These Days – 03/01

Happy first day of March!  I’m hoping that the temperatures will rise and that spring will come quite soon.  Last year it snowed until May!  I’m very excited to start enjoying warm weather and not having to bundle up before going out.  You guys, I’ve got the spring fever.  And summer fever.  I’m excited to start wearing short sleeved shirts, shorts and flip flops; to be able to go outside more often; to have more things to take pictures of; to enjoy lemonade, cool summer evenings, jet ski rides, making flower crowns… I can’t wait.

I spent a good portion of this morning making bouquets and taking pictures of flowers.  Here are two of the results.

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About a week ago I discovered the awesomeness of VSCO Grid, and made a profile for myself to showcase some of my favorite photos.  You can check it out if you so desire.  ;)   http://thefloralberry.vsco.co/

I’ve been teaching myself piano again.  So far I know the first part of “All Day” by Cody Simpson (hahaha I know, right), and the first part of the Man of Steel theme, along with some others.

Did you know that if you google the word “tilt” (or “askew”), the webpage will tilt?  Try it.

Happy weekend!

These Days – 01/31

Hello, everyone!  Wow, this month flew by quickly, didn’t it?

Over the course of these past couple weeks…

I finished my entire Rosetta Stone Polish course.  Wow.  However, I’ve been reviewing bits of it, because I’ve forgotten much of what I’ve learned. :)

I’ve been experimenting with photography and flowers a bit.

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I’m enjoying the occasional sunny days, and looking forward to sunnier, warmer weather.

I was spending time in the Psalms last night, and wow… God is so good – powerful, but merciful to those who love Him.  He is amazing.

Anticipating the release of Moriah Peter’s new album.  All I know is that the release date is sometime this spring.  Can’t wait!

Bought about half of Jamie Grace’s new album, and that’s basically all I’ve been listening to.  “Do Life Big” is one of my new favorites of hers:

O T H E R  M U S I C  R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S :

I Know  –  Meaghan Smith

Little Ol’ Me  –  Jamie Grace

My First Love  –  Jamie Grace

Run  –  Charmaine

 

Happy February tomorrow!

Christmas

Wow, can you believe that Christmas is just a few days away?  I am so ready.  We’ve gotten a pretty good amount of snow these days, which I am thankful for.  We set up a little tree in our attic a few weeks ago. It’s the cutest thing.  It has the snazziest retro tinsel star on the top. :)

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I’m loving all the frost on the windows. (And here is my cue to start singing “frosted windowpanes…”)

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I’m also loving the tastes and smells of cinnamon, maple syrup, fresh-baked pumpkin custard, oranges and peppermint tea.

I’m enjoying listening to Christmas music.  My favorite albums/songs are:

Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy  –  Jason Gray

Soultown Christmas – The Soultown Guys?  (This is an album that a relative found a while back, and it’s kind of a hit in our family.)  :)

Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – a Norah Jones single

Britt Nicole’s version of “Jingle Bell Rock”.

This unreleased song by Moriah Peters.  I hope she records this one someday. I love it.  (If you want, you can skip until about 0:53; it’s a clip of a radio interview, so there’s some dialogue between her and the broadcaster  guy before she starts introducing her song.)

…besides that, I also like anything else classic – Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, whatever. :)

I’m looking forward to spending time with the family, caroling, playing games, opening presents, laughing, eating our Christmas taco dinner, and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. What grace that God would send His only Son to be born of a young virgin into this corrupt, sinful world, to die in our place, for our sins, so that we can be reconciled to Him; and that Jesus would be raised to life again, conquering death and evil, and setting us free. Thanks to Jesus, our sins are covered by His blood, if we believe and follow Him. It’s amazing. I wish I could make everyone understand that this is actually true, and that Jesus brings true freedom to us. He brings such joy to my life. This, my readers, my friends, is what Christmas is really about.

Have a good Christmas, everybody!

A Foggy Day

Today I spent my whole morning taking pictures. It was beautifully foggy and wet outside, and I think I got some good ones.

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The rest of the photos I took are on Instagram. You can check them out if you’d like to (@maddiefoto). :)
Happy weekend!