Holiday thoughts

I feel that with all the excitement of having my brother back home, and the kitchen smelling savory with delectable undertones of desserts and dishes being cooked, and the house being tidied and scrubbed until it is practically radiating light, that tomorrow MUST be Christmas. But it's rather nice to know that it's not. First we get to enjoy Thanksgiving and then the Christmas celebration begins. And we get to welcome him home all over again, and we get to cook and clean and feel the excitement all over again next month. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


The Archives || 002

 Only five pictures, but I do love them. They were part of a really short, really cute, photo shoot that I did with my sister Keara (or Kitty, as we affectionately call her) and a Nikon camera that my dad got for his 30th birthday but never used. I need to use that camera more often...


An Introduction

     Some of you may have noticed that my blog name has changed.

     First of all, I'd like to say that I'm sorry for doing that to you. It always confuses and somewhat annoys me when bloggers do that to their readers. I'll be going down looking at my list of new posts to read, and it will say something like 'Madeline at FOCUS' and I'll be like, "What? I thought it was something else! What was it again? Oh yeah! 'A Glimpse Into My World'. Why'd she change it? Now I'll be all confused whenever it shows up in my reading list!" Yeah, those are pretty much the thoughts that run through my head when someone changes their blog name. So that is why I'm apologizing. I hope you weren't too confused.

     But I also just wanted to explain why I changed the name of this place. This blog used to fondly be named 'A Glimpse Into My World'. I liked the title because I wanted the blog to be about what I liked, what I wanted to talk about, and my photography. Well, it didn't end up going to well. It turns out that I am an extremely sporadic blog poster. Part of that was lack of inspiration, part was the thought of mine that I had to write beautifully to be accepted in the blog world and accepted by myself. I wanted to be one of those beautiful writers that somehow seemed to capture the exact scene or thoughts and feelings they had at any moment. But let's face it, I'm just not the best writer. I'm not even really that "into" writing. Yes, I do get the urge to write sometimes, but I can (try to) save that for my journal. And thus the reason for the name change hit my thoughts like a bat hitting a baseball. I want this to be a photography blog, not a glimpse into what my world is like. In a sense, it will still be a small glimpse into my world through the pictures I post, but it won't be the latest song that I've been loving, or the confused thoughts that have been racing through my head.

     And now, the reason I named it 'FOCUS'. The word actually came to my mind while I was on a mission trip to West Virginia this past summer, and not as the title of a blog, either. I feel like God gave me that word during the week where I was feeling stressed and brainboggled. He wanted me to focus. Focus on the reason we were there, focus on worshipping him, talking to him, and loving him. Focus on how others in my group were doing with the stress and and emotional pain of everything. Even after we came home from the trip, I've felt like the word is mine. It reminds me to focus on God and on others. I feel like it's a great name for my blog, because of that. Not to mention the great camera reference it has. ;)

     So there you go. A big long blog post to tell you that I (hopefully) won't be doing anymore big long blog posts. ;) From henceforth I am going to try to post more photography and less words.

Welcome to FOCUS


The Archives || 001

I realized that I have hundreds of pictures that I always meant to publish on here, but haven't. Thus the photography archives of moi (Madeline McGinnis) begin on a misty March morning. Enjoy.




I like the way raindrops feel in my hair.

I don't understand the point of umbrellas. Rain is such a nice thing to be in the midst of. Umbrellas get in the way. That's not to say that umbrellas can't be sweet and romantic; they can. But really, wouldn't you rather be wet and happy?


Random thoughts for you to read

{001} I need somewhere to put notes and quotes.
{002} I had a crying session today, just trying to sort through things in my life.
{003} I randomly wanted some hot chocolate so I homemade some using this recipe. It's good.
{004} I realize that this is the second photo-less post in a row, but I just can't help myself.
{005} I am going to be assisting a photographer for photo shoots in the near future(!!!!).
{006} I read over 130 pages of my book today. And I don't even like it that much.
{007} I did my hair in an upside down French braid with a bun at the top of my head today. And I went to work like that.
{008} I actually wore corduroy pants for the first time yesterday. Whaaat?
{009} I am crazy excited for the new "Les Miserables" movie coming out on Christmas Day.
{010} I played Ludovico Einaudi on the piano today. And it felt fantastic.
{011} I took a nap outside on a fold-out chair today. My mom says I can sleep anywhere like my dad. I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing...
{012} I can't get over how amazing Owl City lyrics are. I am constantly amazed by them, even the ones I've heard dozens of times over.
{013} I almost danced to the Wiggles video that was being played at work the other day. Am I getting younger?
{014} I sometimes get bits of instrumentals songs in my head and I can't rest until I've heard it or played it on the piano. When I do, I feel like it's the best song in the world at that moment.
{015} I had one of my siblings leave home for the first (big chunk of) time yesterday. This year better skadoodle!
{016} I am nineteen years old and I still sleep with a blanket (two, to be exact). Don't judge.
{017} I have been in love with Jesus more and more lately. Just look for verses in the Bible to write on notecards for yourself or someone else, and it will make your love for him deepen. :)
{018} I have been wanting to put together some care packages for people, and writing down things to put inside. Ooh la la!
{019} I stay up way too late than is good for me, and then wonder why I'm so tired in the afternoon. I think my mind is screwed up or something.
{020} I have decided that ths post is long enough and that I need to go to bed. Th-th-th-that's all folks!



//hello earl grey tea

//goodbye iced tea and lemonade

//hello cool weather

//goodbye warm weather

//hello oranges, browns, reds, and yellows

//goodbye greens, blues, and pinks

//hello chunky sweaters and cardigans

//goodbye cropped sweaters and short sleeves

//hello jeans and patterned tights

//goodbye fun-colored shorts and capris

//hello winter sweater dresses

//goodbye summer beach dresses

//hello boots and flats

//goodbye flip flops and sandals

//hello soundtracks 

//goodbye summer pop songs

//hello fires in the fireplace

//goodbye basking in the sun

//hello pumpkin flavors

//goodbye strawberry and lemon flavors

//hello fall

//goodbye summer

Fall is Pinterest and romantic Owl City songs and tea. 


small beauty

the small things. a pause in time. a moment suspended in the click of a camera shutter. a frozen second from a few weeks ago that now appear in this humble corner of the internet. an attempt at capturing small beauty.


The youngest two

 This is Lydia

She's a drama queen 

She's also gorgeous 

And she's five

This is Calvin. He is seven.

They're my siblings

And they're pretty cute together.


seize the day | guest post by jennoelle

Sometimes you have to get up at 5am in order to catch the scrumptious early morning golden hour light during dawn.
Sometimes you have to pull over your car in the middle of driving down your road to seize a photo opportunity.

Sometimes life has absolutely nothing to do with photography, but it seems to me that the same principle applies.  Because sometimes we have to go through things that are unpleasant, inconvenient, annoying at the time.  But oftentimes, whether we realize it or not, it's for something much more amazing.  There'a s a grander purpose, something better is coming.  It's not always easy to see.  Oh, don't I know that.  But that doesn't mean it isn't worth it.

So press on.  Seize the day.

I'm the girl who loves to make people laugh, who overthinks things too much, who dreams with her eyes wide open.  Books are my best friend; musicals are even better.  I love this life God has given me--I'm learning to love it more each day--and I chronicle such things over at Unoriginal Originality.  I'm Jennoelle.  But you can call me Jenn.


Last Night I Dreamt I went to Manderley again.

     And so begins a fabulous book. I just finished reading this "tale of suspense" that I only just discovered in the past year. The book Rebecca is intriguing as it weaves a tale of tyranny, false pretenses and mystery, all seen through the eyes of the nameless narrator. She has a unique name that is hard to spell, but her name is never revealed. She is simply referred to as Mrs. de Winter.  I love the writing, I love the captivating story. Rebecca is a shadow, Rebecca is gone, through the whole book, but the story revolves around her as if she is still alive, peering over the shoulder of those living in Manderley and putting a touch of herself in pieces and people around the house.

If you are interested in reading this fabulous book (which you definitely should) then don't read any further....I am about to type out the last paragraph of the book just because it is so simply wonderful.

"He drove faster, much faster. We topped the hill before us and saw Lanyon lying in a hollow at our feet. There to the left of us was the silver streak of the river, widening to the estuary at Kerrith six miles away. The road to Manderley lay ahead. There was no moon. The sky above our heads was inky black. But the sky on the horizon was not dark at all. It was shot with crimson, like a splash of blood. And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea."

You can get a sense of the way that Daphne Du Maurier  writes. It's pure amazingness.

As long as I am making this a book review of sorts, I would like to warn that there is a bit of foul language in this book, including misuse of Jesus' name in one part by an unfavorable character, which still really irked me. I couldn't believe I was reading it. But apart from that I would really recommend this book as an amazing read.

I'm not sure what I would classify the reading style as, in depth. It was lighter than Jane Eyre, I thought, which for me compared (in depth) to that of Jane Austen's novels. I had originally said that this was just as easy reading as one of L.M. Montgomery's books, but I think it is a little tougher than that. But I think you get the general idea of "deepness". :)

Oh, and go watch the movie too (the 1940 version with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine). I saw the movie before reading this, and I really liked it, but while reading the book I honestly felt like I was discovering the story for the first time. And then of course there are some changes in the movie from the book (one of which is slightly major).


Catching Up

Hello everyone!
I realize that I haven't posted for a few weeks now. I'll admit that although I was actually out of state for the first week, the others I just didn't feel like posting. Is that awfully mean of me to say? It's not that I don't appreciate you guys (goodness knows I do!) but I just wasn't very inspired. 
The truth is, although I have a blog and have written two (non-, and never will be-, published) books, I honestly don't consider myself to be a writer. The thoughts and feelings that are in my head are all jumbled and twisted together like a tangled piece of string, and I can never figure out how to unwind it.

My mission trip was wonderful and incredibly hard at the same time. a BIG thank you to Nela for guest posting while I was away. She wrote a wonderful post that you can read here

So, as a little treat since I haven't posted in so long, I made you a little short film from when my family and I went to New Jersey this past June. Enjoy!


"Embrace Your Life" {Guest Post by Nela}

Hey guys! :) Before I begin, I want to thank Madeline for letting me guest post here.  
Hope everything goes well on your mission trip!
Okie-dokey let's get started. ;) 


Whether we like it or not, we sometimes find ourselves comparing our lives with someone else's.

"I wish I have the same metabolism as Kendra's."

"Why can't I travel more often like Sarah does?"

"I wish I had a boyfriend in my life."

"Why can't I have a more funny personality?"

Comparing our  lives with other people does you no good. It lowers your self-esteem, your confidence and your faith in God. What you're basically telling God is that you're not happy with what you already have in life. You want more...
but sometimes we don't always get what we want.

I had to learn that the hard way because I wasn't feeling content in God for what I already had in my life. One day, I came across an interview and stumbled across a particular answer. Once I read it, I knew it was something that I needed to read.
And I'll share that answer below near the bottom of this post, but before I do let me share with you with my own words what it means to "embrace your life".

We may not always be happy with our lives, but we need to know that God has a plan. He put you where you are for a reason. (Jeremiah 29:11) A reason you may not know now, but in time you will. :) We need to learn to embrace the life that the Lord has blessed us with. Otherwise we could be missing out on something that the Lord intended for here and now.
 So let go of the bitterness and anger, and take hold of the peace and joy that will come to you in time, when you place your hope and trust in God. 
And that is something that you will never, ever, regret doing. :)

"Embrace the life that God has given you. You might not be living the life you dreamed of but what God has planned is so much better. If you spend your time dreaming about “the land of if only” you might miss out on what God has for you in the here and now. Let the LORD use you where he has you." ~ Katie (Mexican Wildflower)

(images are from Pinterest)


Hi there! My name is Marianela (Nela for short) and I blog over at "Beloved Star" and Nel's Home Cooking. Some of my passions in life are photography, cooking, baking, reading, writing, martial arts, and blogging. I am a sinner saved by the grace of God, without Him I don't know where I'll be. 
So drop by for a visit sometime. I would love to meet you. :)