19 in 19: Summary

I am currently reeling in the events of the weekend, and the entire month of November. I began my series the day before the first of the month, and now that it’s nearly over and the series has ended, I am reminded once again how quickly life sneaks away. The individual hours may seem long (in class or at work especially), but the days as a whole move at a breakneck pace that keeps me gasping for air while running uphill.

I do my best to slow down and breathe, but it’s easier said than done. Isn’t everything? My series helped me feel more connected, more in control of the frantic speed of nineteen years, which isn’t that long compared to some of you. There are folks out there who have way more experience and way more knowledge than my little young self, and I am grateful for these people. In this series alone, I’ve gained 50+ more readers, and I am thankful for each and every one.

I want to be revolutionary, and I want to create something that matters. And in my nineteenth year, I hope to do that.

Below is the list of my series, and I’d like to thank all photographers and contributors, and everyone who has helped along the way, with their patience and teachings.

  1. Focused Intentionality
  2. Junk Removal
  3. Boldly Assertive
  4. Work with Worry
  5. Traveling (Outlook vs View)
  6. Ask for Help
  7. Birdwatching and Other Hobbies
  8. Stably Saving & Spending
  9. Read More
  10. Stop Comparing
  11. Feed Your Soul
  12. Beware Energy Vampires
  13. PopTart Cakes (Healthy vs Happy)
  14. Internal Home
  15. The Little Things
  16. All Around Balance
  17. Self Discovery
  18. Alone Time
  19. Trust the Universe

Here’s to the nineteenth journey.


Madeleine Rheinheimer

19 in 19: Trust the Universe

Well. Today is it. I have been planning for nearly twenty-something days for this moment, but actually if I’m honest, I’m unprepared.

I’m not ready to turn nineteen.

I’m not ready to grow up.

I’m not ready to start my second semester of college, move into my own apartment, and make noodles and casseroles and brownies.

But I didn’t think I was ready last year either. There’s just something about birthday’s and me that always leave me feeling a little on the edge and underprepared. Looking back over my collective nineteen years, I’m starting to put two and two together that life likes to keep the fast pace, whether I’m ready or not.IMG_8930

Now, nineteen years isn’t a significantly special number to me or the universe for any reason other than I made it another year. Twenty means I’ve been revolving for two full decades, so maybe I’ll feel more impressed for that. Like I said though, this whole thing isn’t about numbers or ages or cakes or ballots, or even myself. This is about having enough faith in the next day, the next month, and the next year to look forward to your future.

The last lesson I want to share with you on my nineteenth trip around the sun is to trust the universe.

Last year at this time, I didn’t know where I would even be living. I didn’t know who would still be in my life, and who I’d meet along the road. I didn’t know if I’d get to see my family often, or what my bedroom would look like. I didn’t know if I’d be social and go our much, or want to eat healthy.

And the worst of all, last year at this time, I didn’t know if I’d still be able to write. Because I’ll let you in on a little secret fear of mine: my writing scares me. It makes me very different from the other nineteen year olds, but I’m glad that it does, and that isn’t why I’m afraid. It scares me because I’m worried there’s been some mistake… how did I end up with this ability? Why me? Some days I am sure that when the universe introduced me to this muse*, did they switch up some letters? My name can be confusing, and that must be the reason for the mistake.

But other days, I can confidently take the reins and let my fingers fly across the keyboard because the muse has something to say. This gift chose me for a special purpose, and will not remains silent when the words must be said.

So my trust in the universe (and my muse) has developed over the last nineteen years, and is still growing. I am hoping that by this time next year, at age twenty, maybe that trust will be strong and stable and sturdy.

But until then, I’ll remain in this in-between age, because I don’t have any other choice but forward. I can remember all of these lessons and memories and messages, and I will remember them. But I trust the universe to guide me towards the new ones too.



Madeleine Rheinheimer



19 in 19: Alone Time

I heard a joke the other day that went something along the lines of “how do know if someone is an introvert? They’ll tell you, then won’t speak again.” While I find this decently funny, I also think of myself as something along the lines of an extroverted-introvert.

While I get my power mostly from within, I enjoy to be around people (when and who I choose, mind you). Good people give me life motivation, and bad people just give me good writing material. Most days I consider both to be a win for me.

But I am carefully selective with who I give my time to, because it’s the most valuable thing to my name. The drainage of having my time sucked away by the negative droning of the news or the petty drama from high school girls is rather disheartening, and I don’t have enough time to have it wasted.


The lesson of the eighteenth day of my series is to spend more alone time. To be happy with oneself is the greatest accomplishment on the planet. Because when it comes down to it, your relationship with yourself is the most important you’ll ever have.

You will never have to interact with someone as much as yourself. And to love that person with whom you share every meal with, every laugh with, every tear with, every minute with is the best thing possible.

Everybody should be an introvert is what I’m getting at, but also the world would be a much more reserved and quiet place. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing? We could all use a little more peace around here, and that can’t be achieved until we achieve peace of the mind.

Take some time to spend with yourself today, dedicated and intentional time. I promise it won’t be wasted.

Au revoir,



19 in 19: Self Discovery

As my family and boyfriend likes to say, one of my favorite things to talk about is myself. I don’t know if I agree with this completely, because I talk an awfully lot about literature and food. Mostly just food, to be honest.

But anyways, back to the subject of myself, I think this interest may stem from my family structure.  I am the oldest child of my siblings, and the only girl. What this means, is that I often get what I want, when I want it. I may be a bit bossy and controlling if the previous sentence doesn’t happen at my leisure (I heard that “amen” from my family all the way from Nebraska to Kansas).

Now, as a writer, it’s crucial that I don’t just write blindly. I have to actually know what I’m talking about, and if I don’t, I have to consult Dr. Google or Professor Encyclopedia (wait, how old am I?) to gain the information needed so I don’t come across as illiterate or uneducated. I would hate for my voice to be misrepresented with illegitimate facts or misleading information.  Many people in this world, apparently, don’t feel the same.

Anyways, so in order for me to write about “life through the eyes of an eighteen year old” (soon to be nineteen, if you aren’t aware) I must research myself, and learn about why Madeleine Rheinheimer behaves, thinks, and feels the way she does.


The message for day seventeen is to ask yourself questions and get to know who you are. Find out what you like. What you don’t like. What gets you excited. What makes you angry. What motivates you. What scares you. And most importantly, how you can make yourself happy, everyday. Because you deserve that.

My father introduced me to StrengthsFinders an online test that determines one’s key attributes, themes, and talents. This test focuses on building strength rather than pointing out weakness, and it really helped me develop as a writer, a teenage girl, and just a person of this world.

If you know a little about me, you will understand that my top three themes of achievement, discipline, and focus begin to paint a picture of why I’m the way I am. The characteristics of these three, according to http://www.leadershipvisionconsulting.com/how-i-use-my-strengthsfinder-strengths-of-focus-and-achiever-to-get-stuff-done/ (I highly recommend checking out this website once you discover your strengths) include:

-Working hard, and gaining momentum with accomplishing more and more work.

-A particular motivation, drive, and determination to achieve something with her time.

-Likes to plan, organize, structure, and execute efficiently.

-Has a very clear and defined destination with their thinking

-Has a guiding  force that gives their life direction, meaning and purpose.

-Is impatient with delays, obstacles, or tangents that have the potential to divert their ability to stay the course.

Reading the above list really impacted me, because with each statement I said “YES THATS SO ME!” even more passionately. Once you recognize your personality and strengths, you can offer the world so much more than stumbling numbingly blind through everyday. Take the time to get to know yourself today.



19 in 19: All-Around Balance

I like to think of myself often as a much older, wiser and more refined woman than just another nineteen year old teenage girl. While I have many theories and reasons to support my hypothesis, one compelling argument is my bed time.

I can’t remember a time in my teenage years that I didn’t feel exhausted by 9 pm. Now, my early bedtime means an early wake up call, and sleeping in past 7 am is dreadful in my mind- it wastes so much of the day! The sun has already been up for hours. I try to utilize as much as the sun’s time as I can, because I have another theory that the sun prevents sickness and sadness.

I had a few difficulties with sleeping problems growing up, and was often restless and tired. I would sleep scream and sleep walk and end up in strange places like the bathtub (this however, could also be in part due to the crazy amounts or sugar I was consuming- see “Pop-tart Cakes (Happy vs Healthy)” for reference). But overall, once I found my balance, I found myself sleeping deeply and soundly, and waking up early and well rested.

The lesson of day sixteen is to develop your own balanced schedule and routine. This isn’t just about getting enough sleep; balance is about feeling like everything is in place and where it should be.

Of all the things I find myself searching for, the number one sought-after is always balance. Whether it be at the gym, a restaurant, the classroom, or even the yoga mat, all I truly want is balance.



One of my first ever longboard rides captured on camera- a ridiculous amount of balance is needed!

If I’m going to the gym, I try to find the balance between cardio and weightlifting. If I’m eating out at a restaurant, I try to find the balance between a side of French-fries and a side of salad. If I’m in class, I try to find balance between listening and brainstorming (I need to focus more on the listening skill- I often find myself enthralled in my own head. It’s a writer’s problem). And If I’m practicing yoga, I just try to find physical balance and mental balance- double the effort but double the reward.

What I’m trying to encourage  is the need for balance we all have. Stability and balance go hand in hand, and the more balance you seek the more stable you become.

Sincerely and always seeking,



19 in 19: The Little Things

They say that the older you get, the less you want things and the more you want something you can’t hold or play with. I remember for my ninth birthday, I wanted lots of dolls. I had boxes of Barbies, houses for them to live in, entire wardrobes for them to change into, and even tiny little cups and plates for them to eat on.

These days, as someone who relates to the themes achievement, focus, and discipline (Clifton StrengthsFinder) what I want most it seems is just to feel accomplished about what I’m doing with my life.

But I’ve began to understand that no matter what I accomplish, I may never be satisfied until I appreciate what I have experienced in my nineteen years. The object of day fifteen is for me (and you) to stop and appreciate the little things in life. I’ve grown so accustomed to just powering through my days to achieve as much as I can check off the to-do list, and I’m tired of being tired.


I’ve made a list of thirty things I need to appreciate more, and maybe you can relate to some of the “little things in life”.

  1. The smell of a candle
  2. Clean clothes (kind of a luxury in college)
  3. A charged device
  4. Fresh food (Again, a luxury at the moment)
  5. Iced water
  6. Cake batter or cookie dough
  7. Heated seats
  8. Ironed clothes
  9. Planning a schedule
  10. A good sweat after a workout
  11. Telling a joke
  12. Rain on the windowsill
  13. Clean hair
  14. Fresh sheets
  15. A cute baby (Just don’t make the mom uncomfortable with your staring)
  16. Your favorite song on the radio
  17. A message from someone you haven’t talked to in a while
  18. Getting a letter in the mail
  19. Sweatpants
  20. Fuzzy socks
  21. Fresh cut grass (Missing summer days)
  22. Efficient time usage
  23. Reading
  24. Sleeping in
  25. Waking up before the alarm goes off
  26. Hot pizza
  27. The smell of a bonfire
  28. New chapstick
  29. A good parking spot (trying to improve my timing and luck with this one)
  30. Feeling accomplished about something (I’m currently pretty happy with how this series has been going…)


Altogether, it’s important to notice things like sweat and new chapstick, and today I am appreciative of the little things in life.

Thoughtfully yours,


19 in 19: Pop-Tart Cake (Healthy v. Happy)

I developed a life-threatening allergy to peanuts/tree nuts when I was two years old, and have remained allergic even into my nineteenth year. This means that I’ve had to carefully examine restaurant menus and beg the chef to be extra safe with the processing and handling of my order. I’ve had to read the back of every single label, scanning the teeny tiny print to find out if the harmless looking cereal bar will make me go into anaphylactic shock. I’ve had to have my own separate brand of cupcakes at birthday parties, and sit at a different lunch table to avoid peanut butter and jelly .

While this may cause one to think that I would be mindful of what I ate, it actually had quite the opposite affect on me: I lived on junk food. In fact, I thrived on it. I ate as much as I could, and I sure wasn’t focused on the nutritional values.

I’m no psychologist, but looking back now at the child Maddie, I’m guessing the reason I ate in such high quantities was that I was just happy that I could eat it. There was so much restriction in my diet that it became mostly just Kraft Mac and Cheese and Pop Tarts.

I try to be as open and honest as I can on here, so I’m just going to say it: there was a phase in my life where I used to make “Pop-tart Cake” and eat it for dessert. My “Pop-tart Cake” consisted of two Pop-tarts (usually cookies and cream flavored) plastered in chocolate frosting. I would stack the two on top of each other, sealing them together with the frosting, then generously coat the outside in another layer of chocolate glaze. These classic Pop-tart Cakes were best served chilled, and more than once I ate the entire thing without sharing.


Caption this…

There are days I miss eating Pop-tart Cake and potato chips and Cheetos and powdered donuts. But my lesson of day thirteen is to keep track of what you put in your body. Healthy is equivalent to happy, because once puberty hit, the sugar rush threw my physique out of whack.

The first time I realized how unhealthy my lifestyle was occurred after watching an eye-opening documentary about how junk food is destroying our bodies. I became aware of processed vs organically grown, and how the future of the food industry was revolving around added sugars and chemicals, an imbalance of ingredients, and misleading labels.

Completely terrified of the effects of my beloved Pop-tart Cake, I transitioned through several phases, between calorie restriction (that sucked), veganism (I missed scrambled eggs), gluten-free (this was just ridiculous, no BREAD? No PASTA?) and eventually to vegetarianism (I’ve never really liked meat, so this was the easiest to maintain).

All of these phases showed me how food truly does affect the body and health, both physically and mentally, and even though they weren’t the most fun to endure, I am glad I have the control and ability to at least give them a shot. Today, I do my best to avoid processed food and eat as organic and natural as possible (I felt the eyerolls at that sentence. Yes, I am that girl.)

In all seriousness, keeping track of what I put into my body changed my life, and even though I still cope with food-allergies and intolerances, I am happily thriving on spinach wraps and sunflower butter-chia seed-banana toast.

But someday, I plan on giving the Pop-tart cake another shot.




I am turning eighteen years old. This is one of those “milestone” birthdays, even though every year you survive another revolution on this earth should be celebrated as a milestone. Eighteen is a big number for a girl who still remembers the outfit she wore to her cousin’s play when she was six years old (my fashion sense in 2004 was remarkable).

Eighteen means something. It’s an adult number. I even have to get my license renewed.

Compared to the little hill of seventeen, eighteen feels like a mountain. This is the year I graduate high school. This is the year I begin college, an entirely different/ terrifying chapter in the life of Maddie Rheinheimer. It’s the year I become independent and new. It’s the year things happen.

But who am I kidding, things happen either way.

I am at a school that gives me opportunities and laughter and knowledge that I’ve never experienced before.

I am an older sister to two of the most annoying/kindhearted boys in the world.

I am a part of a church that reaches the most far and dark corners of the city, and shows them the light.

And my personal favorite, I am a published author now, and my career of changing lives through words on a page has begun.


Overly joyed to be holding a copy of my book. (Available on both Barnes & Noble and Amazon- “Undefined” by Madeleine Rheinheimer)

If we’re being honest here people, that is all that I want of my eighteenth year, and the rest to come: Change lives through my novels, blog posts, articles, essays, poems, and letters. I just want to write.

This is the year of my future.

And to celebrate the year of my future, I’m going to give you some advice that I’ve accumulated from the past.

1.Take risks.

This year was a year of changes and scary changes at that. But ultimately, as I write this post, I wouldn’t have done it any other way; and if I had, I wouldn’t be writing this post. Sometimes you just have to stop looking at the ground, close your eyes, and jump.

2.Drive slow.

I am a notoriously fast, angry driver. I have places to go, and am usually running a tad behind schedule, therefore my foot stays glued to the gas. In my 18th year, I am going to try and break this habit. I’ll breathe more, enjoy the song on the radio, and drive slow enough to admire the moment.

3. Drive fast.

This above statement being put out in the open, sometimes you just got to put the pedal to the metal and get out of the way. Drive with passion.

4. Look people in the eyes.

Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that people don’t fall in love with humor, beauty, personality, even though these factors are important. They fall in love with your eyes. Eyes are symbolic and meaningful, and you can discover everything about a stranger just by the color.

5. Read.

Just like basketball players train in the weight room and on the court, writers must improve their game as well. We do this by reading. Reading everything. From cartons of milk to coupons to newspaper clippings to novels as thick as my arm. My love for reading is one of my manias, and I will admit this to anyone who considers me a “nerd”.

6. Wake up early.

Part of my rebellious teenage nature is to stay awake until the moon sets, but lately, I’m in bed before it even rises. I’ve gotten into the routine of going to bed early and waking up early, and I can honestly say that I am most productive between 6 and 9 am, even before coffee (and that’s saying a lot).

7. Spend time with children.

I’m not the biggest fan of sticky messes, which is basically what little kids are, but talking/listening to a tiny human speak makes my heart happy. Their minds and souls are so pure, so raw, so clean, that even the simplest things amaze them. I watched a kid transform a park bench into an intergalactic pirate ship once, and I’ve never wanted anything more than that uncontaminated sense of imagination.

8. Spend time with the elderly.

On the opposite end of the age spectrum, the elderly also have a special place in my heart, even though they don’t create space pirate ships out of thin air. They do, however, tell stories that change lives, something that is one of my only goals in life. Take the time to listen.

9. Don’t be afraid to cut people from your life.

Seventeen was the year that I said goodbye to the negative energy hoarders of my life. This sounds cruel, heartless, or self-centered, but I thrive so much better from the people in my life these days than I did two years ago.

10. Make new friends.

Going along with #9, I have friends in my life that I never would have imagined I’d be spending time with. Sometimes it’s as easy as taking a risk, striking up a conversation, and hoping they enjoy Joe Biden memes and breakfast food as much as you do.

11. Create a bucketlist/goal chart.

You’ll never get what you want if you don’t even know what it is. I sat myself down, evaluated who I was, and who I wanted to be, and realized precisely what I wanted of my future, all the way down to the number of shelves in my future closet.

12.Go to church on Sunday morning.

No matter how late or crazy Saturday night was, I regret everything so much more if I sleep in until noon and miss the Sunday sermon. I’ve come home at four in the morning and still dragged myself to church, and it was the best decision of the entire weekend. Never miss the opportunity to enlighten.

13. Take care of yourself.

I’ve learned quite a bit in the last eighteen years, and one of the most important lessons is to take care of yourself first. Again, this may sound selfish, but you can’t help others if you’re the one in dire need of help.

14. Take a break.

I have an awful habit of reading until my eyes ache, of pacing until my feet are sore, and of planning days of back to back activities. Despite how productive this may sound, it actually has the opposite affect, and exhausts my poor mind/body/soul. Sometimes, instead of tackling the pile of papers on your desk, take a fifteen minute nap, drink hot tea, and watch an episode of Netflix. You deserve a break once in a while.

15. Write letters to your future self.

This was something I started in my seventeenth year, and one of the greatest ideas I’ve had. Over the year, I wrote at least a dozen or so letters to myself, carefully planning a date to open the envelope. I look forward to reading advice from my younger self with every passing day, and I highly recommend trying this time capsule of a hobby.

16. Practice patience.

The one virtue I need the most, and every year I tell myself I’ll work on improving. Yet every year, I find myself sitting at a red light yelling at the world for making me late every single time. Patience is important for not only a positive outlook on life, but also your blood pressure levels. I will continue to work on this in my eighteenth year. For real.

17. Learn how to play a card game.

All it takes is a universal deck of cards to entertain yourself for hours on end. The idea of a card game is so simple it’s magical. Knowing how to play your odds is not only a game, but it’s a life skill. Go Fish is my go-to gambler.

18. Pray.

Probably the most important piece of advice I’ve mustered up in the last year, is prayer. Radical change is the only thing I can connect it to, and radical change I received. When I’m bored, I pray. When I’m overwhelmingly busy, I pray. When I’m sitting in class pretending to listen, I pray. When I’m stuck in traffic, I pray. With great prayer comes great success, and I don’t know if I’ve ever prayed harder than for my most recent book. And hey, it’s worked this far.

Processed with MOLDIV

Ultimately, the past seventeen years have been quite the rollercoaster. And I can only imagine what kind of amusement park the remaining seventy or so (knock on wood) will be like.

Yours Truly (and officially an adult),

Maddie Rheinheimer