Monday, 11 March 2013

Albie, One Of A Kind

You are one of a kind! Just like this little guy...

'Albie' the Albino Turtle

 Not much sibling resemblance here, huh?

It's an albino turtle... how cute is that?! 

A little science lesson...
If you want to know, -I'll make the most of what I was taught in science- and I'll tell you about how this little guy ended up so different from his brothers and sisters (picture above). 

This little turtle, who I'll call 'Albie' for the sake of this explanation, had two parents -obviously- who were both heterozygous for the albino trait. (That means that both parents carried one albino gene and one normal pigmentation gene).
The albino trait is recessive (meaning it is weaker and less likely to influence the appearance of an individual), and so to be an albino you have to carry two albino genes, one from each parent. 

Albie's brothers and sisters (picture above) all inherited at least one non-albino gene from one parent, which was dominant and explains why they were all born the normal turtle colour. Albie, however inherited an albino gene from each parent, making him stand out so much from all his siblings!

How cool is that?!

So, now you know why Albie here is so special. (Who knew science could actually be useful?) haha...

Something to ponder...

Romans 12:12 (NLT version)
Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

This verse in the bible talks about conforming to the world; following along with what everyone else does, like sheep do. However, my friends, today I challenge you to stand out from the crowd! 
Be unique, stick up for your beliefs, and don't be afraid to be different from everyone else.
The truth is, the people who follow the crowd will envy your nerve for daring to be different. Deep down everyone wants to be unique, but so often we're just not brave enough to take the step away from the big group and be our own person.

“Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.” 
 Bernard M. Baruch

This quote pretty much sums it all up; when you do something crazy and you're afraid of what people might think, don't be! Those who matter to you most won't mind, and the people who do mind really shouldn't matter to you.
Anyway, have a think about this. Do you follow along with the crowd all the time? 
Remember, you are unique! Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. 

Come on, I dare you to stand out from the crowd today- be a little different and be proud of who you are (like I'm sure Albie is!)

Maddy :)

Oh - I almost forgot - click here to see more awesome albino animals!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Chuck em' in a bucket ~ Part 1

Everyone has dreams, hopes, aspirations, desires, goals, ambitions, and wishes.
I have so many that it'd be hard to count them all!

They change all the time, and so for future's sake, here's my bucket list for the next 10 years in the making (and in no particular order):

-Sell something on Etsy
-Write a book
-Create a piece of artwork that people admire
-Give a speech with confidence
-See an aurora (you know, the pretty glowing colourful patterns in the night sky over antarctica?)
-Witness a miracle
-Compose a song on piano
-Travel to a spanish speaking country and try out some of the language
-Jump off a cliff (with a bungee rope of course!)
-Make friends with someone who doesn't speak English
-Hold Charlie, our pet quaker parrot (I have a phobia of birds... strange, I know)
-Learn how to play the ukelele (and be confident enough to sing along)
-Get into the medicine course at Newcastle University
-Get stranded somewhere for a while (with a bunch of good friends)
-Design and sew my own dress
-Discover some hidden talent of mine... (I'm hoping there is one!)
-Get 100% on some sort of exam (that would be nice, wouldn't it?)
-Win (or become a finalist) in a photography competition (I guess I'll have to actually enter one now...)
-Go driving along a German Autobahn (a highway that doesn't have a speed limit!)
-Fly in a hot air balloon
-Invite an angel in disguise to dinner
-Try surfing at least once (I'm seriously scared when it comes to the idea of big waves...)
-Go out into the wilderness for the day with nothing but a bottle of water, an apple, and a camera
-Meet someone famous
-Attempt to make a Croquembouche (pronounced crock-en-bush)
-Do something no one else I'm with is brave enough to do
-Learn to skateboard
-Read some super-long classic just for the satisfaction of completing it
-Donate blood (once I'm old enough)
-Run a marathon
-Sleep under the stars without any kind of bedding

Well these are all the bucket list items I can think of at this late hour.
Although I'm sure I'll think of some more a while down the track, which is why I'm one step ahead today and labelled this post 'Part A'!
So you can be expecting Part B later on this year. I wonder how much my dreams will have changed?!

That's all for now, bye!

P.S. Are there any items on my list that you have on yours too? Feel free to leave a comment!

Maddy :)

Saturday, 9 March 2013

There's Life In The Little Things, Too

Hey all!
I thought I'd share with you some colourful photos to put a smile on your face...
I'm not much of a professional photographer, but I do enjoy taking photos - lots of them! Here are a few of my favourites from last year:

 I call this one, 'The Tears Of Children". I'd always wanted to try melting crayons on canvas; I did it a little differently, but it turned out great! (For more crayon melting ideas click here).

I took my youngest sister Caitlin into the backyard and got her to do some modelling for me. I was inspired by my swirly mirror and tried to use it as a bit of a feature with a theme of searching for one's reflection. We had a lot of fun mucking around with the mirror and doing some cool things!

This is my other sister, Hosanna, on her 11th Birthday.  I like to get different angles and perspectives on  my subjects when I take photos; it makes them more interesting and engaging.

...And finally, this beautiful little parrot who decided to visit our camp site. It really did seem like he was posing for me, the way that he strut about with those gorgeous feathers of his!

Well, that's all for now. I hope these photos brightened up your day! *smile*

More soon...

Friday, 8 March 2013

Made of sweet stuff?

I've been having a challenge with myself these past 3 months to see if I could dare myself to go completely sugar-free. I was inspired to cut out all the unnecessary sweetness out of my diet and so, being my naturally competitive self, I felt I had to go without these sweet treats for a significant amount of time... and THAT is how I find myself, somehow, almost at the 3 months checkpoint of surviving with no sugar!

It hasn't been easy - there are those days when it seems that everyone in my life has been TRYING to make me suffer! Take today for an example - My English teacher, great as he is, decides to come up with a 'Freddos on Fridays' chocolate eating frenzy time each week in class, while I sit there staring at the fan or finding great interest in the graffiti crafted into my desk. Then one friend of mine bakes these AMAZINGLY delicious chocolate brownies (well I'm sure they are delicious...!) and shares them with everyone in our group. After school my mum takes my sister out to muffin break for a chocolate chip muffin, and then my parents announce that we're hosting a 'desert night' at our house with another family, and will be making baklava, banoffee pie, and ice-cream. So yes, today is just one of those days when it seems like the whole world is made of sweet stuff.

Not to fear! My birthday is near! "Why is this news so terrific?" You might ask. It is terrific, my dear friend, because my birthday will mark exactly 3 months of the challenge, and is when I am hoping to finally end this sugar-free madness that I talked myself into! My birthday is also Easter Sunday, and so they'll be plenty of chocolate on hand to quench my thirst for all things sugary! I have about 3 weeks to decide upon what kind of birthday cake I want, and I can't help but dream about what it will taste like!

I'm thinking this cake would taste fantastic:

On a second note, however, I have seen lots of benefits in my life to going without sugar for a while. I feel healthier, and though it may be hard, there are lots of benefits to cutting out even small parts of sugar from your diet. One of the most significant changes for me has been that I no longer get pimples on my face (or anywhere for that matter), and I have had people come up to me and say that my skin looks so much healthier and seems to be naturally 'glowing'. (I have no idea what kind of scientific explanation could be given for the glowing, but I'll give sugar-free the credit for it!)

I've also developed better eating habits now, and am more accustomed to being okay with saying, "No thanks" when offered something sweet. (Previously my motto was: 'If there's free food being offered, take it!') I have learnt a lot about what types of foods contain the most sugar, and have even found out that some foods I had believed to be healthy were, in fact, full of unnatural and processed sugars.

So don't get me wrong, sugar is great! Everyone needs a bit of it in their diet. But there really are some unnecessary sugars that we feed into our body, and many of us don't even realise just how much sugar is in some things! Take a can of sprite for example. I'm sure you've all heard about the outrageous amount of sugar that goes into coke, but like myself, you probably assumed that sprite was better - lemon flavoured fizzy water, right? Wrong. Did you know that in one 340g can of sprite, there are 9 teaspoons of sugar? 9! It really makes you think twice when you're thirsty and you go looking for a drink, doesn't it?

While this whole challenge has definitely been, uh, challenging, I've gained a lot more knowledge about nutrition and sugar in foods. I'm more aware about these things now, and I know that long after this challenge is over I'll still be checking out the nutritional content table on the back of food packages.

Now begins the count down of 23 days until my birthday! I'm actually rather worried about how my body will handle sugar after all this time... Some people say that their body can't cope with the sudden change and they end up getting sick, while others say that they feel great after tasting sugar again! I'm not quite sure what to expect, but I'll take it easy for a few days... I mean, who wants to get sick on their birthday, right?!

My biggest worry is the food my friends are planning for me at school - I've had so many people come up to me and say: "I bet you're just so excited to eat sugar again -You know what? I'm going to bake you double fudge chocolate brownies on your birthday!" (and other likewise exclamations, to which I try to look thrilled and secretly think, 'oh great' as I begin to feel sick at the thought of having to eat all that sweet stuff!)

Anyway, don't take for granted all the sweet things in your life right now! Make the most of every moment that passes you by...

Goodbye for now :)