Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A perfect Christmas?

I had a great Christmas. I received a lot of presents, saw a lot of family, and played a lot of games. And I did a lot of thinking. So many times we want our Christmases to be perfect. We spend hours searching for the perfect gift, decorating the house elegantly, stringing lights just so. Maybe we want to have the perfect outfit, or matching pjs on Christmas morning.

Do you think the first Christmas was perfect? No. I love this photo, but it wasn't all like this - cozy, warm, private.

Image credit

I'm sure it was cold and uncomfortable in the stable, and that Mary and Joseph didn't want a bunch of shepherds showing up when they were  trying to sleep.  Jesus is the only perfect part of Christmas. But somehow, they understood it was all part of God's plan.

We need to be more like that. Less worried about the perfect-ness of our holiday and more concerned about the people in it. Perhaps you could talk to someone in your family about the true meaning of Christmas, or offer to pray at the big family dinner. Find opportunities to put Christ back in Christmas, instead of focusing on material things.

Okay. Monolouge over.
My grandparents spoiled me with a Nancy Drew game ( i love it!!) a darling blue coat, a soft blanket, candy, and so much more.
My Aunt Lisa got me this and a music box with the Eiffel Tower on it:
isn't it adorable?

 Mom and Dad got me some really pretty clothes, and their good friend Santa brought me Sperrys, Bobs, a Nancy Drew game, pjs, and so many fun litttle surprises.

some of the loot

bobs sneakers and sperrys <3
All of the family got camo in some form (yay) and we had several modeling sessions in between wrapping paper and cookie tins.

picture won't turn for some reason :/
One of my favorite parts of Christmas is getting gifts for the boys. I got Christopher  a lot of books, and Andrew a game called Ticket to Ride. We've been playing it a lot. The boys got me a bop- it game and paterned craft tape.

diving into the spoils


Monday, October 20, 2014

HGTV Fixer Upper Store in Waco, TX.

Saturday we were already in Waco for our Ag Id Contest;
Ag Id -First place as a team, third individual for me, and first individual for C! YAY! So proud of my little brothers :)
so we decided to drive by the Magnolia Homes store. That's where Joanna Gaines from HGTV's Fixer Upper sells a lot of the decorating items she uses on the shows. You can find it at :
3801 Bosque Blvd.
Waco, TX 76710
Office: 254-235-6111
Shop: 254-235-0603
She has several Baylor students working there - I guess she's too busy with the show to work behind the counters! One really sweet thing is that there are a lot of Bible verses up in the store. :) The store has a lot of unique, rustic items. Everyone there is definitely, obviously a tourist, and it's quite entertaining to watch them. The place is small, and they're planning an expansion at the 'Silos' - some old silos they're renovating and expanding to include an antiques trade days and a food truck parking lot.  From the Waco Tribune:
"The Gaineses estimate they will spend $1.4 million on the renovation and finish it in early 2015. The result would be a Magnolia headquarters and retail center, plus an indoor “trade days market” open monthly or weekly, as well as a food truck court with regular hours."

The Magnolia Farms truck

MAGNOLIA! (and me on the porch!)

The silos!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Secret Adversary review

I had always wanted to read Agatha Christie, but simply never got around to it. I love a good mystery; Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden, etc. The first Agatha Christie I read,

Secret Adversary, got me hooked. It's free in the Kindle Store, too! And the BBC remake is on YouTube, free as well.

Here's your review:

In 1915, as the Lusitania sinks, a British spy gives a girl his secret papers, since she is a woman and will have a better chance of getting into a lifeboat. He tells her to get the papers to the American Embassy at all costs - even if it means her life. She agrees.

Flash forward to the end of World War 1, 1918. No one knows where that girl is, The papers were never delivered. Did she and the spy drown?

   Enter Tommy and Tuppence, a likable, British, charismatic young 'couple' - they're mainly just friends, and there's not much romance, which I liked- who decide to become mercenaries to earn a little money. Thinking the whole thing is a joke, they unwittingly stumble upon an enemy spy. He sees their innocent naivety and hires them to find the papers!

   Luckily, Tuppence realizes he's up to no good and she and Tommy decide to help one of the Queen's agents by alerting them to the enemy. He in turn recruits them, thinking they are experienced in the underworld. Hahaha-no. Tommy and Tuppence have no clue what they're getting into. They fall into a deadly game of espionage, torpedoes, amnesiacs, kidnapping, poisoning, and basically every exciting thing that could happen to a person. The book is very clean, and not graphic at all. It’s one of my favorite books, and there’s a great plot twist at the end!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

i have an unusual name - a drama/tragedy/comedy in three parts.

Side note in case you're new here... my name is Laura Ashley . :)

What's in a name? For me, it's a lot of explaining.

"Laura. Ashley. Two words. Yes, it's my first name."

"Not Laura. No, not Ashley either."

"Laura Ashley. Like Mary Anne or Mary Kate."

"Yes, like the British fashion designer. And no, I don't get free dresses from them."
My name as a dress logo.

And whenever someone calls "Laura!" or "Ashley!", I automatically turn around because I get called that often, too.

I am called many names that are not mine. The only one I really dislike is Laurie, but the people who call me it are such sweethearts I don't mind. :)

  • Laurie
  • Smiley
  • Larsie
  • Doll
  • Laura Lynn
  • L.A
  • Laura Ashley
  • Lauren
  • Laura
  • Ashley
  • Ashlynn
  • Lora
  • Lara

All these things in consideration, however, I like having an unusual name. It makes me feel unique, and it's pretty cool to have never met anyone else with my name.  Do any of y'all have unique names, or are named for a cool reason? let me know!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

life lately

These past few weeks have been a bit mundane compared to the whirlwind of activities I partook in throughout June and July... or so I thought. Looking back, we've done a ton of cool activities!

  •  Andrew, my littlest brother, won first place in a reading contest.  He read 105 books in less than a month. Big, long books, too. I'm very proud! He earned a gift card for a free pizza, tickets to a water park, and more!

  • We learned about copyright laws at Teen Court, taking turns playing different parts in a real case, the creators of the James Bond franchise vs. Honda.


  • Christopher took over as President of our club and I became President of our county's 4-H. Our club learned how to make no-sew fleece blankets for Project Linus, and I learned how to use a rotary cutter to trim the strips for tying.

  • I taught a first aid class to a group of friends. One was just a year younger than me and the others were all under 11. They were so much fun. We compared first aid stories, made mini first aid kits, discussed minor and major wounds, learned how to soft splint a forearm, and then ended the day with a impromptu pool party. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Courting vs. Dating

Have you ever wondered about the difference between courting and dating? Is there one? It's something that puzzled me, so I decided to research it and provide you with an answer, hopefully pointing out what's bad or good.
I asked my  AWESOME friends (public school, homeschool, and college age) -who had no idea I was going to write this- their opinions on dating and courtship.
  • "Dating is when a couple think that they might like each other, so they go out to find out." - M. S. age 12.
  • "Dating doesn't always lead to a relationship." - from a Huffington Post advice column
  • "Dating is when you go out with a guy think you might like." - M. A., age 19
  • "Dating is just preparing you for divorce!!" T.M, 21
  • "Dating is a fun time to get to know guys better." E. M, 13
  • "Dating is when you hang out with a guy to get to know him before you get married." S.C., 13
  • "Dating is practice for being married. " B. T., 15
It's the last comment that scares me the most. When you're dating, and something goes awry, what do you do?

You break up.
Is that what you're going to do when you get married? Break up with your husband? I think T. M might be right - it sounds more like practice for divorce.

Or what about '"Dating doesn't always lead to a relationship." '? Isn't dating supposed to be a time when you form a relationship with your future husband?
Let's move on to courting before we form an opinion. ;)
  • "Courtship is a relationship between a man and a woman when they seek to determine if it is God’s will for them to marry each other." R. D., 23, my leader @ STEP ! 
  •  "Isn't that when you don't kiss till you get married?" M.S, 12 :D
  • ""Courtship is a choice to avoid temptation and experience the blessings of purity. It is a choice to not emotionally give away your heart, piece by piece, to many others through casual dating relationships and instead to give your whole heart to your life partner." A Christian website
  • "When you're courting, your parents help you make some decisions. Not because they want to control your life, but because they're older, more experienced,and have ideas to help you." T.M, 21
All these comments seem to describe the kind of relationship I'd like, even M.S's comment. Wouldn't you rather receive a brand new gift instead of one that's been opened many times?! How much more would you value a guy who saved his first kiss for you, and vice versa? Also, courtship isn't about 'breaking up' if stuff doesn't work out, Under the protection, guidance, and blessing of parents, the couple concentrates on developing a deep friendship that could lead to marriage, as they discern their readiness for marriage and God’s timing for their marriage. (See Proverbs 3:5–7.)

I'm definitely going to court when I'm older. MUCH OLDER, thank you very much. :)

READ THIS BOOK. PLEASE. I'm out of time to explain why tonight, but look for a post on it soon. It explains the above stuff much more clearly! :)