Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review {All Our Yesterdays}

Good Morning, Fellow Book-Lovers!
I have yet another book review for you! :)
I hope you're not getting tired of them!

I just finished All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill,

and can I just say, "I cannot wait to read it again!"
Honestly I had a little bit of a hard time getting into it,
but once I did, I could barely put it down
( must be an anti-gravity book...
LOL...sorry I just heard that one from a cousin on FB
and HAD to pass it along!)
Anyway, this book is a definite read and RE-read!
Already purchased it from Amazon!

I'm going to be honest, the book is a little Sci-Fi.
There is time-travel LOTS!
And, due to this fact, the narrative kind of jumps around
and at times was a little hard to follow
(like I said, a definite RE-Read!
I need to see what I missed the first time!).

Let me give you a brief summary:
Marina is a teenage girl caught up in drama
like every other High School girl in the world.
She's a bit more awkward than her flirtatious friends
and is struggling with how to tell her crush, James,
(who just happens to be her brilliant best friend who lives next door)
how she truly feels about him.
Her attempts seem to be foiled at every turn
usually by James' annoying friend, Finn,
who frankly drives Marina crazy.
James' genius has taken him far in life
and he has begun to do some important work in the field of time travel
with a renowned scientist.
But James' obsession with the project
has his family and friends concerned.
Then we have Em
who is locked in a tiny prison cell with Finn held captive in the next cell
(yes, its the same Finn).
Em's cell has a terrorizing drain in the floor.
The purpose for this drain escapes Em
and leaves her obsessing over the atrocities
that would require the use of a drain.
Em decides she must know the secret of the drain,
and pries it open to discover a note
that her future self has written to her.
The note tells her that she must kill him
(initially, the reader has no idea who "him" is,
so I'm not going to spoil the surprise now!)
if she is going to save mankind from his horrendous deeds.
Thus entails a long, harrowing chase through time
with Finn as her faithful companion
and The Doctor as the villain.

I will warn you...there's a couple of big plot twists
that frankly, I DID NOT see coming!
And the ending was a pretty big surprise too!
Humor plays a large part in this book,
and, in my opinion, is very necessary
to keep the reader in a light mood
after all the dark violence and despair.

I hope you enjoy reading this novel
as much as I did!
If you found this review helpful,
please be so kind as to let me know! :)

Thank you for reading!
Have a great weekend!

Friday Five-O #14 {New Beginnings}

Good Morning, Dears!
I hope this finds you doing well!
I just have one thing to say:
Wow! It has been a Roller-Coaster Week!
Not to mention, a week FULL of New Beginnings!

Come on and I will tell you all about it on this week's

Friday Night was a Night of Celebration!
Our GORGEOUS Madi graduated from High School.
Check out these photos!

After the ceremony,
I went to dinner with my family where, yes, this REALLY happened:

There's no such thing as a Nice, Normal family dinner in my family!

Saturday, we continued the festivities in honor of Madi
by having her Graduation Party.

Yes, Nathan is proudly wearing pink tissue paper on his head...
Obviously, a LOT of FUN was had by all! :)

Also, Saturday night, I went to babysit in Washington
and didn't get home til nearly 1am.
Despite the late (or early) hour,
I took a moment to capture this:

Immediately, the old Sunday School song popped into my head,
"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!" :)

Tuesday was a big day for my cousins!
First, after multiple delays for various reasons,
McKenzie had her braces put on!
Naturally, she was feeling a bit rough,
but she persevered and even managed to eat solid food!

She was so proud of herself that she kept referring to herself as Superwoman...
no, I'm not kidding! :)

Later that evening, we celebrated Maranda's 16th Birthday
with a small party with close friends and family.

The Birthday Girl pretty much glowed all evening long!

We ended the evening on the front porch
where we were serenaded by this sweet guy:

(It's okay to SWOON...)
It was an all-around busy, but fun-filled Tuesday! :)

Wednesday, I just couldn't bring myself to dress up!
Working as the School-Age Office Assistant at the Y,
I usually try to dress in a business casual sense.
But Wednesday, I just couldn't do it!
I threw on my favorite jean skirt
and a semi-nice shrug and went.
Naturally, my outfit included these:

Wearing my Converse All Stars after a long day of wearing cute,
but uncomfortable sandals all day the day before,
was like visiting an oasis in the midst of the desert :).

Thursday was my final day of Nannying :(.
With Summer Camp starting at the YMCA,
my split shift schedule will change to a regular 8 hour shift.
Naturally, this makes me sad.
I love my G & G and am DEFINITELY going to miss spending time with them every week!

Also on Thursday, a deluge of relatives began to descend upon Central Illinois :).
This is my beloved (maternal) Uncle Jim and his wife, Aunt Sherry.
Before Aunt Sherry married Uncle Jim,
she was a Grant.
This coming weekend is the Grant Family Reunion.
It is sure to be a great time of music and fellowship!
Now, I am only related to the Grant Family by marriage,
but it's a connection that I treasure! :)

How was your week?
Do you consider your extended family's extended family your family?
(Say that three times fast...)
Am I the only one who seems to have a massive amount
of new beginnings initiating in my life?

I would love to hear your stories!

Thank you so much for dropping by!
I hope to see you again soon!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Five-O #13 {A Week Full of Fellowship!}

Good Morning, Darlings!
I hope you've had a good week!

I've got some extra fun stuff to share with you on this

Last Friday night was College & Career Night.
On a monthly basis,
my College & Career Group get together and do...something.
Our events range from gym nights and Christian Comedian Video nights
to church rallies and card game nights at local coffee shops.
We do pretty much anything and everything
and we have fun together while we're doing it!
For this particular outing,
we decided to try out a new downtown restaurant

and then pay a visit to a local coffee bar to listen to some live music

The coffee and music thing didn't end up working out
due to an entry fee we were previously unaware of.
However, I would still consider the night a great success!

Sunday, I received some sad news:
one of my aunts had passed away suddenly the night before
Technically she's not my aunt...
her brother married my mom's sister...
(yeah...figure that one out...).
But still she was one of the greatest ladies I had the privilege of knowing
and calling part of my family.

Tuesday, I took a walk down memory lane.
My darling cousin, Madi is graduating from High School tonight
and I wanted to dedicate a blog to her and include some baby photos.
I found some AWESOME ones!
Here are some of my favorites:

You can find more photos as well as my full "All About My Madi" post here.

Wednesday night was Awards Service for NLCA.
It was a WONDERFUL night celebrating the achievements
of my dear friends and family.
After the service, my family and I went to dinner at Chili's.
My adorable cousin, Ruben, was the most charming lemon eater
I've ever seen in my life!
See for yourself!

Anybody want a lemon? :)

Thursday, after a particularly hectic,
run-around-like-a-crazy-person day,
I had a spontaneous get-together
with one of my favorite ladies, Candace and her kiddos.
You remember Candace?

She's been pretty popular on this blog...
She's got a HUGE Mother's Heart.
She believes that Love Makes a Family.
And she's lived through some terrible heartbreak.
I'm ALWAYS up for fellowship time with this lovely lady!

How has your week been?
I would love to hear all about it!

Thank you so much for visiting!
Please come back soon!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer Style Soiree {My Audrey Hepburn Post}

Good Afternoon, Bloggers!

I still consider myself to be relatively new to the world of blogging,
but I'm doing my best to keep up! :)
Now with that being said,
I am an avid reader of the following blogs:

Our Fifth House
Dimples and Tangles

The lovely ladies who run these blogs completely inspire me!
They have great, innovative ideas
and they are always looking for ways
to turn those ideas into fabulous projects INEXPENSIVELY!
You should check them out!

Anyway, the other day while I was catching up on these blogs,
I discovered this post.
Carmel at Our Fifth House was announcing the kick-off of
the Summer Style Soiree.
I had never heard of a Summer Style Soiree,
but I couldn't wait to join in!
As you saw in that post,
the month of May is dedicated to Audrey Hepburn.

Meaning that people are making diy projects,
wearing special clothes,
and taking unique photos all with a Hepburn theme.
Naturally, I HAD to get in on that!

Let me ask you a question:
Is there anyone classier than Audrey Hepburn?
(Yes, I know there are LOTS of classy women out there,
but what I'm asking is anyone CLASSIER?)
You have to admit, she's one Lovely Lady!
She's got the walk, the wardrobe, and the womanly wiles.
Who can forget her performance in classic movies like:
My Fair Lady
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Roman Holiday

Audrey was not only a classy lady,
she was an eloquent one.
There are multiple quotes of hers that I find inspiring.
The least of which is this one:

I admit, I'm kind of a loner...and I'm okay with that.
I've never been a social butterfly
and I don't particularly want to be.

But this quote of Audrey's also speaks to me:

I plan to doodle this quote into my Doodle Book soon,
it just hasn't happened yet :).

In the spirit of this Summer Style Soiree,
I donned my Breakfast at Tiffany's t-shirt
and had some fun IN FRONT of the lens for once! :)

Not sure that I'm QUITE as classy as Audrey,
but I'm a work in progress! :)

How are you getting into the Summer Style Soiree?
What is your favorite Audrey movie?

I would love to hear all about it!

Thanks for visiting!
Please come back soon!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Madi...and Her Nathan {College & Career Night Downtown}

Good Afternoon, Dears!
I hope you have had a good week thus far!

Okay, you know how last week I dedicated a blog post to my Buddy Bear?
And in that post, I mentioned several other posts 
I've dedicated to several other people?
Well, this post is dedicated to my Madi...:).

There's is so much to tell about Madi
that frankly I am unsure where to begin.
I guess I could begin at the beginning
(a very good place to start!).

When I was seven years old,
my Pastor (who is now my Bishop)
announced to the church assembly that he was going to be a Grandpa.
I vividly remember this
(not sure doesn't really seem like something
a seven-year-old would intentionally commit to memory...
but for some reason I did).
Little did I know at the time how much this 
new little person was going to change my life.

Madalynn Jade was born two months after my 8th birthday.
And she was adorable.

Right from the start, I was VERY involved in her life.
My mother had practically raised Madi's father
(that's another story for another time),
and so it was just natural for us to dote on his kid.
But somewhere along the line, for me,
it became less about him and more about Madi.
I adored her.
She was like the little sister I never had.

And when her younger sisters came along,
I felt the same about them.

You know how people say to enjoy the little moments with your children,
because one day you will blink and that baby will be 25 years old?
Well, that's kind of what happened with Madi.
One day she was an adorable toddler that I cuddled and played with

and the next she was boy-crazy 12-year-old
and then in a matter of minutes
she was a licensed driver!
And now, she's graduating from high school
and working with me at the YMCA!

There's so much I could say about the beautiful lady Madi has turned out to be.
She's strong and resilient.
She's kind and she's loyal.
Her laughter is infectious and her compassion real.
She has a great big brain and she knows how to use it!
The girl can sing like no other
and she's becoming the woman of God I always knew she would be.

Madi is graduating from New Life Christian Academy
(the same private, church school I graduated from)
this coming Friday evening.
Obviously, this is an occasion to celebrate!
And her parents, grandparents, and aunt went together
and got her the best present she could've ever wanted:
they flew in her boyfriend all the way from Japan
for a three-week stay.

I'm not going to disclose the details of Madi and Nathan's romance,
because frankly that's not my story to tell.
But it's the stuff fairy tales are made of
and if Madi wants to, I will let her tell you about it herself
in a future guest post.

Nathan flew in on Friday morning,
and surprised Madi at her grandparent's home
shortly after she returned from her morning shift at the Y.
There is a video that shows all this,
(and just a warning, it brings you to tears!)
but again, I'm going to leave the sharing of that to Madi.

Later that day, they joined us (the College & Career group from church)
for dinner and fellowship downtown.

Honestly, I commend them for their attendance.
If I was a part of an International relationship
and my boyfriend surprised me by showing up,
I highly doubt we would be in public on the day of his arrival...
just saying!
(Now get your mind out of the gutter...
I just mean that I wouldn't be interested in sharing him with anyone!)

Anyway, the food was yummy and the fellowship FUN!
If you live in the area and you haven't yet tried New Amsterdam,
I highly recommend it!

The next day at church,
Nathan addressed the congregation on behalf of the missionaries to Japan.
He told us of the great things that are happening there.
Then he admitted that while he was excited 
to be sharing that news with us,
he was also glad to be in Peoria to 
"call upon the beautiful Madalynn Lashley".
(Can I pause for a second?
After this particular comment from Nathan,
my mother begrudging agreed that 
"Fine...he might be good enough for her."
(For those of you who don't know,

Madi Girl was the first baby in the Lashley family.
She's been adored and protected and doted upon from day one.
We always knew it was gonna take somebody pretty special
to gain approval from the family.
So far, Nathan has met the challenge
(not to jinx him, but we'll see if he can keep up the pace...)

I don't know what the coming years hold for my Madi (or her Nathan),
I don't even know what the next few days might bring.
But I know that my Madi is strong enough 
to handle with grace whatever comes her way!

Madi, this is just the ending of one chapter in your life.
There is so much more to come!
I know sometimes the unknown can be scary,
but it's exciting too!
I believe you can do absolutely ANYTHING you set your mind to!
Let God be first in your life and the sky's the limit!
I love you, Madi Girl!
Happy High School Graduation!

This is a photo of us from my High School Graduation...

Wanna try to recreate it at yours? :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me...{I'm A Little Random Today}

G'Day, Mates!

I'm feeling a bit random today...

well, technically, I feel random every day,
but today I feel Excessively Random.
(I out-of-the-blue told someone that I really don't know
that wearing mismatched socks is like having a party on your feet...
not kidding...)
So to continue in this odd, but fun vein of thought,
I decided that I would share with you
Ten Random Facts About Myself:

1. I have a flat spot on the top of my head.
My mom swears it wasn't there when I was born,
so I can only figure that I was dropped at one point
(that would explain so much wouldn't it?),
or I need to drastically improve my hair styling skills...
This picture really has nothing to do with my hair,
but I think it kinda fits the mood of this post.
2. When I was a child, I was afraid of elderly people.
Not really sure why...I just was...
3. I've never broken a bone
(if I have an accident in the next few days...)
4. I can cross my pinky toe over my next toe without using my hands 
(but only on my right foot).
For some reason, this one kind of freaks people out.
5. I have a hard time asking questions.
I guess I don't want to appear stupid or something...
I've told you before that my insecurity issues are a work in progress.
6. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a geologist when I grew up
LOVED rocks!
and kind of still do...
7. I have a scar shaped like a crescent moon on the middle finger of my left hand.
There was a potato cutting incident when I was about 12...
and yes, I now have a fear of knives.
8. I kind of a have a foot fetish.
Hence the mismatched sock confession...
And all the photos of my shoes...
9. I LOVE dill pickles!
Don't even try to get me to eat a Bread and Butter one though!
NO WAY! Pickles should NOT be sweet!
10. When I eat cereal, I usually pour the cereal on top of the milk.
Hey...don't judge...I like my cereal CRUNCHY not SOGGY...

You probably didn't need (or want)
to know some of these things about me,
but it's too late now...
you already read it!

Have a great rest of the day!