In the month of June, my sister and I boarded our long-awaited flight to Panama.
The country in Central America, not the city in Florida.
‘Why Panama?’ You may be wondering… Well, my best friend (Anya, for those of you who don’t know already) lives there with her family. So basically, we chose Panama because we had a free place to stay. And because who wouldn’t want to at least see what Panama has to offer when such an amazing opportunity arises?
I will say that it was nothing like I imagined it would be. Leading up to the trip, I thought I would be stepping foot into a place that was either like Hawaii, or like Mexico. But I was very wrong, and it reminded me of neither destination. Panama has a culture all it’s own.
City life, the Panama Canal, swampy rivers, rainforest, humidity, thunderstorms, exotic creatures and Spanish that was spoken much too fast for me and my high school level to comprehend. That’s what I experienced in Panama.
Of course, I loved every second of it because I was able to spend it with my best friend and my sister (who is also my best friend).
It is truly a time that I will never forget. I was able to visit a small island on the Pacific Ocean with clear, blue water and cute, narrow streets that were lined with authentic food. I took a boat ride through the biggest canal in the world (the Panama Canal), all the while, stopping to feed wild monkeys that were swinging from the trees. I jumped into a swampy part of the river, only to be told after I got out that a crocodile was sighted nearly thirty yards away the previous day. I got to jump off of small waterfalls. I met new people. I got to experience the life of the Embera tribe (a native group of people who speak their own language and live ruraly). Then I was caught in a full-blown thunder storm on our boat ride home, where, for the first time, every inch of me got wet (from rain), without having to take a shower.
I would not have changed even one thing about my trip. And I can’t express how grateful I am for the memories and adventures.
I filmed and made a short video of each aspect, just so everyone could see the true beauty of traveling somewhere new. You can watch it here
Where do you want to travel? And why haven’t you done it yet?
As always, thank you for reading. Love all. Love Madeline. xx
I began eating healthy on the first day of 2016, otherwise known as January 1st. I made the unthinkable choice to cut all dairy, sugar and gluten out of my diet. And just to clarify, when I say sugar-free (which in my opinion, has developed a bad rap), I do not mean that I was okay with fake sugars like ‘sweet and low’, sucralose, aspartame, etc.. Also, on top of cutting these things out of my diet, I began eating healthier, whole-foods that benefitted my body. The reason behind my extreme diet was that I hoped to completely cure, or simply subdue, my mild acne. However, at that time I did not know nearly as much about the pesky skin condition as I do now, for example, the fact that my acne in-particular is mostly caused by genetics and hormones.
During the first few months of my lifestyle change, I learned many things and experimented A LOT. For the first three months, I was eating maple syrup and honey in small quantities in place of “sugar”, however, after doing my research, I found that these two natural sweeteners both have a high glycemic index. This really just means that when honey or maple syrup are consumed, they turn into (pretty much) the exact same thing as sugar in your body. And since I was trying to get rid of my acne, which is many times made much worse from sugar, my body couldn’t tell the difference from these natural sugars compared to white, refined sugar. That was my first mistake of many.
After about four months of strict eating, I decided it was time to invest in an actual food allergy test in order to find out exactly what foods my body had a hard time processing. For this, I was recommended a blood test, because it is said to be quite accurate. I went to my natropath, who drew my blood, sent it off to the lab, and voila! three weeks later I was greeted with my results in my mail box. And I’m not going to lie, what I saw really surprised me. The test results show a select number of foods in which many people are commonly allergic to. They are broken down into mild, moderate and avoid categories (but I was only instructed to really worry about the moderate and avoid foods). Eggs and peanuts were the two foods that I was told to avoid. All dairy products, except for goat’s milk, landed in my moderate range, along with almonds and a grain called gliadin. I was very thankful for these results, because for the four months leading up to my test, I was still eating eggs on a normal basis and had been consuming close to 1 and ½ cups of almond milk per day in my breakfast smoothies. Also, I freakin’ love peanut butter, and I may have had an unhealthy addiction. Needless to say, I was sad to find out my body does not process peanuts well and that I shouldnt’ be eating them.
After my blood test, I made another drastic change to my already-strict diet by eliminating all nuts, eggs and honey/maple syrup. In all honesty, I wanted to cry just a little bit after finding out that I was allergic to foods I thought of as “healthy”, and hearing from my natropath that I should steer clear from sugar for as long as possible to help my acne. Even though I had no intention of incorporating sugar back into my diet, this was still hard to hear since I have a major sweet tooth and sometimes I just really want an ooey gooey homemade cookie, ya know?
Now, fast-forward 2 months, equalling a grand total of healthy eating for six whole months, or half a year. I have continued to eat a strict non-dairy (including eggs), non-sugar and non-nut diet. However, I do sneak in very small quantities of gluten once in a while due to the fact that my body can handle a moderate amount of it. I just make sure it’s all natural and organic. In addition to all of the non’s I mentioned, I try to eat whole foods, such as organic, or free range meat, that is not pumped with hundreds of unneccessary hormones. I also try to limit my red meat and pork intake, leaning more towards small portions of chicken and fish whenever possible. I make my best effort to include dark, leafy greens in most of my meals, whether it’s in smoothies, salads, or stews.
As for extra vitamins, I try to remember to take my iron supplements, vitamin a, b-complex and calcium each morning. because I don’t eat dairy, I try my best to incorporate enriched, unsweetened rice or coconut milk at least once each day for the added nutrients and calcium that I am lacking.
My diet is constantly evolving and being minisculey tweaked. This is not a bad thing, it just means that I am continuing to learn from my mistakes and build upon my healthy foundations that I have laid for myself.
What I Have Learned Along the Way.
There is no doubt that my healthy lifestyle changes have impacted me in a way that I never could have imagined. I can 100% say that at the start of this journey I did not believe in myself, and did not think that I could achieve the place where I am at today. I can proudly say that I’ve grown so much as a person while on this journey; I have developed impeccable self-control and have learned how to listen to my body and adapt to fit my own needs.
Of course I’ve gone through hard seasons while being on my diet. Times of unhappiness, cravings, deficient self-worth and the impatient desire for clear skin and a toned body. But in the end, everything has been worth it, and I can now say that I have never felt better. That being said, no my acne has not completely disappeared, and do I expect it to soon? Not really. Like I said, even with my radical diet, I experience breakouts due to the fact that my acne is caused by genetics and hormones. Does it suck? Yes. But does acne define me? No. And hey, even though my dreams of magically waking up with clear skin have prominently let me down, I am in no way saying that I regret my lifestyle change. I have benefitted from my lifestyle change more than I ever thought possible, and I hope to continue with my progress and journey for many months to come. I have experienced unintended weight loss which is an obvious plus and an obvious decrease in acne, which I am very grateful for.
If I had the opportunity to inspire even just one person by my healthy habits, nothing would make me happier.
What’s the number one tip you would give to someone wishing to begin a healthy lifestyle?
You can do it. You are stronger than you think, and have everything it takes to be healthy. I am not special in any way, and it does not come easier to me than it does to you. I believe in you. Begin small and keep progressing until you’re happy with where you’re at. Don’t completely deprive yourself, or think that counting calories is necessary. Just listen to your body, and eat what makes you feel good (things that are healthy, of course). I promise you, you will see a world of difference if you’re consistent and patient with the process of becoming healthier.
I encourage you to never be too hard on yourself. I can say from personal experience that some days it does not make me happy to look in the mirror and only be able to focus on the bad things. For me, my biggest struggle has always been my unclear skin, but for many others’ it can be their weight, hair, teeth, height, etc.. Honestly, anyone can find something to be unhappy about. But before you put yourself down and tell yourself your unworthy, ugly or not good enough, just remember that you were created for a purpose and your flaws are not what define you. You are so much more than your insecurities, even if you don’t feel like it. I believe that trying to better yourself, whether it be through health, spirituality or things like education, is always a good idea, but it should be done with grace and patience.
Today, in Oregon, has been the first official day that feels like fall (and not the middle of summer); bringing autumn showers and fallen leaves.
Just a few days ago, WordPress kindly reminded me of my one year anniversary with them. Can you believe it? I’ve stuck with blogging through writers block, late night jumbled words and many times of limited creativity. Yay me!
I want to let each one of you know just how special you are to me, because without you all, I probably wouldn’t have stuck with this whole blogging deal. I want to remind you that I am passionate about what I do because you encourage me to pursue my dreams. Thank you a million for all of your love and support💜💜.
& please lookout for a giveaway sometime in the near future on honor of my one year. & please give me any ideas of future blog posts you would like to see from me, I would really appreciate it!
A day filled with emotion, but in the end, faith in His plan.//
School terrorism is NOT funny, ever. Not last week, and definitely not today. When will people turn from evil, and rest their eyes on the one who created everything good?
I can only hope and pray that that day will come soon; when people finally take off the blinders and see clearly that there is comfort in His words and promises.
God always has a plan, even though you may not be able to see it in the moment. And this is something I am trying to constantly remind myself of; because even things like not getting much playing time during a soccer game or not being on time to an event are apart of his plan. It’s learning to put your undivided faith in Him that makes life worth living, and it’s something we all could use some practice doing.
Listen for His voice and you will hear it.
I love you all. Love Madeline. xoxo
p.s. – each morning I send out a bible verse that speaks to my heart, if you would like to receive my daily text messages, please contact me and I will gladly personally send them to you!
Stand tall in what you believe. Do everything with passion.
Plaid, black and messy ponytails //
As I took each careful step on my voyage up the mountain, I was filled with a deep knowing that I’m on the right path. Not following anyone but my Creator, not changing myself for any reason other than improvement. I am me; different than every other person who has walked this earth; made for a purpose.
… and so are you.
What a beautiful view, what a wonderful life. Am I right?
This pretty place is called Onion Mountian lookout in Southern Oregon, and my oh my, I’ve never been more in love with one single place. Where do you love to spend your time outdoors? Do you prefer mountains or flat lands?
These are the days I love, the days I look forward to, the days that remind me of my beautiful life.
I was finally given a moment of silence, free from the commotion of non-stop soccer and constant school work. I was able to spend a day with a good friend of mine, sipping coffee that warmed our souls, eating hot donuts and speaking words that illuminated our hearts. There is nothing better than a day off, and this one called for dressing up…
My style is changing with the leaves this time of year. I find myself reaching for earth/neutral tones instead of patterns or bright colors.
This skirt is equipped with large pockets and a belt, perfect for transitioning from summer to fall.
Shirt- Old Navy
Skirt- Old Navy
Thank you for reading my thoughts today, you guys are lovely. What have you been up to? School, sports, work? Tell me about it!
When the weather begins to cool down, leaves start to change from vibrant greens to warm hues of orange and red. Fall is right around the corner, and as much as I’ve tried to hold onto summer, I’m now ready for a change of season.
So many wonderful things come with Fall. Cozy, cute clothes that keep the cold away, hot drinks that warm you from the inside out and traditional scents that remind us all of the holidays.
With is outfit, I decided to pair the maroon jogger-type pants (from old navy) with a dressier button down patterned shirt. I wore converse to finish the look, not drawing any attention away from the clothing. Although the outfit is simple, I really like the dark colors and comfort that it gives.
What would you girls like to see me blog about next? Thank you always for the constant love and support💜💜
When was the last time you decided to do more than what is asked of you?
As summer slows to an end, I am suddenly aware of many people (including myself, a lot of the time) that are simply too comfortable in their daily routine. Instead of having passion or excitement for each new phase of life, they boringly walk through each day, oblivious to what makes their hearts happy; what drives them to become a better person.
We, as humans, were never created to live monotonous lives, empty of happiness. We have become comfortable; we look forward to sitting on the couch in the middle of the day or scrolling through instagram and twitter instead of going for a hike. The first way to wake up our lazy generation is to find our passion once again. I know we can do it, it just takes a little faith, and slowly our eyes will be opened to the adventure, beauty, love and miracle our great God always meant for us to enjoy.
The message of salvation that Jesus so kindly gifted us with was never intended to be kept only to Christians, or people who are already saved. If you know that God loves everyone and Jesus is the one way to eternal life, you should proclaim it to anyone and everyone you come to know. Too many people (including myself) choose to speak about our faith with only those who have similar belief systems instead of spreading the love and truth of the bible with those who actually could benefit from the Word.
Mark 2:17 states, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I know that many times, I choose to speak words of encouragement or grace to the people in my life who I am most comfortable with. However, I have been trying to expand my messages to people who may have never heard what I had to say, who could gain knowledge from my words.
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
– Matthew 13:14-15
Do what sets your heart on fire. If you like to make art, let your hands create. If you love to cook, make whatever you feel like. I love to write, therefore, I blog. And I can’t explain how happy soccer makes me, so I play. If you don’t have a favorite pass time, try out multiple activities and when you stumble upon one you like, don’t hesitate to pursue it.
Let’s push ourselves to be the best we can be. I’m no longer content living a life with no adventure, nothing to look forward to, and no people to share in my happiness. I want to be the best person I’m capable of; choose kindness instead of rudeness, positivity over negativity and love in place of hate. I do not want to be comfortable, but I wish to feel uncomfortable in my pursuit of faith and with each new obstacle of life.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” – John 12:46
How are you going to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone? What can you do to be the best you?
Thanks for reading my thoughts. Never forget my gratefulness or you. 💜💜
Last month I took a look around my room, and thought to myself, ‘wow, I need to spice things up in here!’
Do you ever feel like that?
Well, after some internet searching, I found a crafty piece of artwork that caught my eye. I was inspired by a tumblr picture of dangling photographs tied on by strings to a hanging branch, displayed on a wall. The great thing about this wall art is that it’s very inexpensive and extremely easy to make.
I walked out my back door, found a worthy fallen branch, attached my favorite photos to it with earth-toned yarn, and hung it above my bed. Simple as that. It looks modern, and it’s a great way to display some of your favorite moments; whether they be from instagram or off of your camera.
I now feel like my room fits my personality better, and gives me inspiration each time I glance at my decorated wall. I even added a couple bible verses that help remind me to be thankful for every moment in the day.
What inspires you? What diy room decorations would you like to see me post?
and now she’s fifteen, silently stumbling, learning how to exist in a world full of constant noise.
she grew up.
since she was three years old she impatiently waited for the next greatest thing, day after day. and just like that, her life floated by without her knowledge, the way a wide, desolate pasture slowly becomes a blur, being viewed from the small, square window of a car.
and as her eyes finally flutter open again, after the many years that were lost, she is someone entirely different. even she does not recognize the new face that stares back through the silver-trimmed mirror into her soft, brown eyes.
she is bound by the love of the heavens. her hands no longer tremble as she gracefully writes the delicate words that flow from her heart. instead of seeing the dull light of each day, she is now enamored with each new shade of green, lining the winding northwest backroads as she embarks on her next promising adventure. she is changed. she stands firm in her beliefs and her opinion is unaffected by outsiders’ thoughts.
and as her eyes explore the blue depths of the water before her feet, she sits, watching the last golden sun rays drift off of the shimmering sea, and in that moment, it is more clear to her than anything has ever been in her entire life. she is beautifully flawed. & just like her, the world that she lives in is beautifully flawed.
and now she’s fifteen. with nothing but the future ahead of her, and for the first time in her whole life she feels like the world is hers and no one can take that away from her.