Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our Story (the Long, extended, uncut version)

When Matt and I were dating, engaged and newly married (less than 1 year), it seems that we had MANY opportunities to share our story.

How did you start dating?

How long have you known each other? 

How long were you engaged? 

Where did you meet? 

Etc, etc, etc

However, last night when I was talking with someone at a church event and mine and Matt's story came up, I realized it had been a long time since I shared it and I had missed it. So, I want to share. It's a long story and if you can chose to not read, I won't be offended. This is for me. If you do chose to read, enjoy and know, we didn't write this story, GOD DID.

Quick side note, this story will be written from my perspective which for the most part is our perspective except for the early years because we didn't know each other then. :)

As a young girl, I grew up as a friend to all. I like boys, sure, but I didn't have a huge interest in dating which was often mysterious to me. When I was a senior in high school, I began to get involved in a small group where I would babysit the children for the parents to enjoy fellowship. During this time, I learned a lot about God's plan for my life and he burdened my heart for a few things during that time.

1. No kissing until you are married (I know crazy right?! I originally thought so but NOW I know it was the best step. 
2. Marry your friend.--I knew at this time that I had NO desire to marry anyone that wasn't my friend first. 
3. No dating until you are ready to marry.--This was easier because I had not dated up to this point so I didn't know any different. 

It was also during this time that I feel the Lord put this in my heart and I often reminded him of this "Lord, don't send him to me until I'm completely content in you because I know myself and if you do send him too early, I may abandon my commitment and devotion to you for my earthly love" 
Sounds crazy, but I'm a passionate person and I knew my heart needed to be in the right place and of course, I knew the Lord already knew that too!

I went through college and most of graduate school with little to no prospects for dating which became extremely difficult at times but I always reminded myself of his plan and reality, my deepest desire. This was also a time for me to share with any women and girls I encountered about the story God was writing. Boy, did I get some crazy looks at times?!

You have NEVER kissed anyone?!?
You aren't going to kiss until you get married?!? That's impossible. 
You've never dated anyone?
The Lord told you WHAT!?!?

And the occasional... 

That's so cool. 
What a blessing. 
Man, my story has been so torn up. I wish I could say the same as  you. 
God is so good. 

(Side note: When I started replaying our story in our head, I realized that the part of the story before Matt is pretty long BUT I don't want this to be several blog posts because that's just not my style so I'll keep pressing on)

When I was in graduate school for Speech Language Pathology, I had the opportunity to choose my internship location anywhere within 5-6 hours of where I was. I opted for Birmingham, Alabama OR Jackson, Mississippi. I ended up with Birmingham even though I was resistant (and that's a whole 'nother story) and I was there for 7 months. 

When I went to Birmingham, I didn't know what to expect but the shortened version is this. Moved on a Friday, went to Church of the Highlands on a Sunday, met an amazing group of Young Professionals, had my life changed, moved from there after 7 months and was a completely different person. BOOM!

Looking back, I realize that Birmingham was the obvious choice because when I began looking for jobs, I received one near Montgomery, Alabama that I never would have considered had I been in Jackson, Mississippi or most other places. 

In January of 2009, I moved to Montgomery, Alabama to begin my first big girl job. You know the one, the one that you look forward to your whole life, the one that actually pays bills not just helps you buy new shoes, the one that begins to fulfill your career calling in life, yeah, that ONE.  I lived with family for a few months and went back and forth to Birmingham often until I got settled in Montgomery in April of 2009. Through a friend and a round about way, I ended up at Gateway Baptist Church on April 5th, 2009. Two weeks later I attended a Sunday school class there where Matt and I first met.

During the time between April 19th and January 10th, Matt and I became great friends. We attended church together, went to Sunday School together, hung out with the same friends, spent time together watching movies etc. Somewhere in that time, I began to develop feelings for him but wasn't exactly sure what to do about it. At some point that summer, he texted me and asked me to pray for him as he was dealing with feelings for another girl and didn't know what to do, etc. I was super glad to pray for him because he was a friend but my feelings were crushed!

During this time, I also fasted for 2 months from any time alone with guys which was hard because Matt and I had been spending time together just the two of us intermittently. Come to find out, this is one of the things that he liked about me.

We began attending a the same small group and became better friends and then we went to Passion 2010 together. And by together, I mean that we both went. At Passion, there was a text message conversation that went something like this.

(I'm sitting with the girls I went to Passion with and Matt and his group are behind us but I didn't know that)
Matt: Hello, beautiful friend. 
Leslie: You can't do that to my heart. I know you are being sweet but it's hard for me to guard my heart when you say things like that. 
Matt: I want to talk to you when we get back from Passion.
Leslie: Okay. (Holy moly, you mean I have to wait up to 7 more days to know what you have to say to me. Are you kidding!?!) (By the way, he now knows that doesn't work!!!)

On January 10th, I began a 21 day fast with my main prayer focus being "Lord, give me clarity on my relationship with Matt. Help me know if I should wait for him to pursue me or if I should just accept the friendship for what it is". Approximately 3 hours after I begin this fast, Matt calls me and tells me that he has sought the Lord and wanted to pursue a relationship/courtship with me.

HOLY COW. Quick answer God. I appreciate it! Please note that I continued with my fast and during that time, Matt and I spent time together but our first date was the day my fast ended. 

When Matt and I began our courtship, our goal was marriage. We didn't know 100% that we wanted to marry each other on that 1st day but if it had not been a serious consideration, we would have never begun courting.

It should also be said that one of the most awesome things about our courtship was that we already knew so much about each other because we had spent so much time together although mostly in a group setting. That helped our relationship so much. It was also another answered prayer for me, as I had always prayed that I would marry my best friend.

About 1 month into our courtship, we began to read a book titled "101 Questions to answer before you get Engaged". This was a tremendous blessing for us. It brought up a LOT of hard questions that we sometimes did not want to answer but it helped us learn to communicate better and helped get those hard questions out of the way.

Matt and I courted for 6 months including a 1 week fast where we did not communicate with each other at all. This was hard but it was a calling God placed on our lives and we knew it was from Him. At the end of that fast, we had so much more clarity for our relationship.

Side note #10925: We chose not to say "I love you" until we were engaged. It was HARD and trust me, we wanted to but we knew that above all else, we needed to guard our hearts and our minds and this helped us do that.

On July 10th, 2010, Matt planned an all day date including the Farmer's Market, homemade breakfast, Despicable Me, nap time and a trip to Shakespeare to feed the geese. I was anxious all day because I like to know what's going on and Matt wasn't budging to tell me!!!!

When we arrived at Shakespeare, there were no geese and I kept saying, "There are no geese. There are no geese". Matt said "It's okay. This spot is perfect." He turned around and got on one knee and said "Leslie, I really do love you and I want you to be my wife." I freaked and of course said yes and then the best part happened. He pulled out a Fiestaware red pitcher (my fave dishware) and washed my feet. Such a blessing. It was in that moment, I knew even more certainly that I'd keep him forever.

The months between that day and our wedding day on January 1, 2011 flew by. We looked forward to our day to be together forever and we reveled in all God had given us.

21 months from that day and 3 1/2 years of knowing each other and we are still amazed by the story God is writing. We know that God will continue to use our story to teach others things about himself.

P.S. I hoped to include some of the things God has burdened our hearts with to help keep our marriage strong but it didn't fit here so maybe I'll do that another day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Favorites

Growing up, Mom and I always joked that one of the reasons we love winter besides the fact that we don't sweat then like we do in the summer is because we have "Winter Hair". This has been something we have said for as long as I can remember and IT IS SO TRUE! We both have red hair (Thank you, Granny :)) that is thick and full which also translates into "FRIZZ" in the hotter months. I grew up in Louisiana, so let's face it, ALL OF THE MONTHS ARE HOT!

Anyway, despite my love for winter, I rather enjoy the fall too. Here are some of my favorite things about Fall. Some of these things I'll get to experience FULL ON this year because we live in a state that actually has seasons ;-)

1. College Football-- I love college football and have since my junior year in high school. I am a loyal LSU fan and I, of course, support my Alma Maters, SLU and ULM. I really have to be bold in my love for LSU these days because I have lived and continue to live in a state other than Louisiana. Geaux Tigers! (and I don't mean Auburn Tigers or Clemson Tigers)

2. Leaves changing colors and then falling leaves

3. Christmas Shopping and planning---the Matthew Morgan Family LOVES the Holidays! 

4. Thanksgiving dinner! Matt and I cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner together last year and it turned out so well! We were talking the other night and decided we may want to make all of the exact same foods this year!

5.  Hot Chocolate, Hot tea, and movies---I am not sure what it is about the cooler weather that immediately makes me want to grab a cup of hot chocolate or hot tea and watch movies. Matt can drink hot drinks all year long but not this girl. It must be cool outside OR we must turn on the air ;-)

6. Pumpkin Patches--We aren't really sure how it became a tradition but it did. Two years ago we went to a pumpkin patch with the Moody's and last year we just happened to be visiting them during the fall and we went to another one. We decided that it must continue this year. We may have to make it a quick trip this year but we are excited to keep the tradition alive! :) This picture was taken at our first pumpkin patch trip. We took another one just like it last year but I guess I don't have that one on my computer or any of the other pictures from that trip! :-/

7. Pumpkin Decorating and Carving

There are many other great things about this season of the year. As we discussed in church this Sunday. It's a time of re-birth in a sense. A renewing. A refreshing. God has been good to us and we are FILLED with joy! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My 28th Birthday

August 29th was my 28th birthday! I love my birthday so I always take the day off from work if I'm able. This year was no different. Matt and I spent the entire day together. (Side note: we started celebrating on the Sunday before by going to a fun musical in a nearby town). 

He made breakfast for me which consisted of homemade biscuits, sausage and eggs. YUM!

 We went out for a bit to get a few things one of which was a birthday cupcake or two :)

I opened presents. 

We had homemade mexican food for dinner. Mr. made homemade flour tortillas. WHAT!?!? 

It was an amazing day! 

Here are a few pictures...

Matt wearing a suit for the musical. This was one of his goals on our 101 in 1001 list so that was fun! 

In the past year, when Matt and I have been places and I named or showed him things that I liked, he wrote it down and for my birthday he got me so many of the things I named! He rocks! 

#1 A new tea kettle. LOVE

#2 Another cast iron skillet (I had mentioned this before but I was shocked to get it!)

 #3 A cupcake making book

 #4 the book Epossumondas...a favorite of mine

 #5 New stationary...these are from my Dad and I LOVE Them. (Side note: the shirt I'm wearing was a Birthday gift from my mom)

 #6 Washi tape

All of my cards, 3 of which are from Matt :)



It was an awesome day! Next one is the Golden one and my last one before 30...EEK! :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Our Chore Jar

This week, I decided to create a chore jar. This idea came about because I feel like Matt and I are always "stuck" doing the same chores each week which isn't always fair to both of us. Also, our schedules are full right now which is fine for us because they are intentional however, that just means that household things have been somewhat neglected. In an effort to keep that from happening, the jar was created.

I just took a vase that we had and wrote all of the chores that need to be done on index cards. Each day, each of us will draw a card and complete the chore on that card. There are a few free days on the cards as well. The chores we included were:

-take out all of the trash
-clean the sinks
-clean the toilets
-clean the tubs
-feed the fish and change his water
-sweep the floors
-wash and put away the dishes
-water the plants

These chores are the main chores for us right now.

We just started the jar today so I'll try to remember to let you know how it goes! :)

The things we do for love...

I've been reflecting on my marriage lately and I've been reminded about all of the super special things I have done in the last 20 months to make my husband feel special, loved and respected.

Unfortunately, I've also realized that I haven't been doing many of these things recently. I'm compiling a list to remind myself of what my husband loves.

--Bake cookies for him...just because.

--Come home with his favorite drink every now and then just to surprise him. (This is big because we don't drink many soft drinks so any time I bring home Mtn. Dew from the grocery store is a big deal :))

--Make sure the house is clean and that he doesn't have a lot of chores to do when he gets home. (We mostly share in household chores but when my husband comes home and everything is done, it blesses him).

--write him love notes.

--take him to one of his favorite places to eat.

--watch one of his favorite movies with him.

--cook one of his favorite meals.

--give him some time just to himself with no plans etc.

--run a hot bath for him to relax in (he is mostly a shower guy but sometimes after a long day, a bath is nice).

--rub his back or feet. He is always rubbing my feet and I always forget to rub his after.

--tell him how much I appreciate him working so hard.

--praise his work.

--give him extra time to play one of the games he enjoys playing.

--turn the air conditioner down lower (We rarely run the air because we sleep with two fans in our room and it is more than comfortable. However, sometimes we just want the air on so I like to do that sometimes as a way to show love to my husband).

--give him extra time to sleep on the weekends even if we have things we need/want to do.

--cook breakfast in bed for him on a Saturday.

These are just a few of the things I like to do for my husband to let him know I care about him. Hope this gives you some ideas on ways to spoil your husband. :)

I'm going to go do one of these right now!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Open Letters


 Dear Sarah @ Family Darr Designs, 

I'm in love with my new blog design. You were a joy to work with!

Sincerely, Happy Blogger

Dear Pneumonia, 

I'm glad you are gone from my house! Please don't ever visit my husband or me again. 


Dear Friends and Family, 

Thanks for all of the birthday love last week. It was awesome.

Sincerely, Very happy 28 year old

Dear Husband, 

That french toast you made last night. A-mazing. Make it any time.

Love, your wife who likes french toast

Dear ER Bill

If you never come in the mail,  I'd be okay with it. 

Sincerely, My pocketbook

Dear Husband (Part 2)

It cracks me up how much you can remember about these old school video games that you haven't played in 20 years. Hysterical. 

Love, Your lovely bride. :)

Dear Closet, 

The purple and gold is moving to the forefront. It's football season! Geaux Tigers!

Sincerely, LSU Fan

Dear Fellow Bloggers, 

I've recently started selling Scentsy and I'm looking for a few bloggers to host blog/catalog Scentsy parties. Let me know if you are interested. 

Sincerely, Newest Scentsy Consultant
P.S. Fun Free gift involved :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Blog Design! Family Darr Designs Review

I have been talking about getting a blog design done for several months. I have spoken to several designers whose work I love but the first few were just out of my price range. They do INCREDIBLE work but I just can't afford it at this time.

Through a blog chat several weeks ago I talked with a girl named Sarah. I began to follow her blog and then twitter and she tweeted that she was doing blog design and said she was discounting prices for a few days. I was SUPER stoked because it was right in my budget and right after my birthday so I had a few extra dollars to spend. I contacted her immediately. She invoiced me. I paid. She sent me a questionnaire and within days she had completed a whole new design for me! I love it so much and know that it will be perfect for a while.

Here's how you can find out more about her! 

Her personal blog:

Tell her I sent you! 

Mom-Cation 2012 Update #2

When I originally posted about Mom-cation, I intended to include some of the fun things that happened and the memories we made BUT I forgot! So here are a few of them.

In the hotel in Gatlinburg the curtains were a pain in the butt. On the morning we left, I was trying to open them and when I pulled really hard, they jerked back, I fell and almost went through the window! I've never seen my mom and husband laugh so hard! :)

While flipping through channels on the TV, we came across Dora. As I looked at her, something seemed different and suddenly it hit me...."Dora grew up"!!! I had not watched that show for years, since I stopped babysitting and I was shocked!

Those who know my momma, know that she loves Coca-Cola. Before her trip, she had told me not to buy her any because she was trying not to drink them. I listened. Well, in Gatlinburg, she wanted one so we passed a machine with them in it and they were $1.50. This frugal girl almost passed out. But mom...she was thrilled because usually hotels carry Pepsi products. :)

Mom bought us the Fiestaware Red Salt and Pepper shakers that I've been pining over since 1/1/11.

We had Gigi's cupcakes. Oh my groceries. So incredible but at $3.50 each, that won't be happening very often.

Mom bought me lots of cute shirts as a part of my birthday gift. She also got me a new purse and wallet. I'm going to keep her.

We rented old seasons of Walker, Texas Ranger from the library because Mom LOVES that show. It was hilarious because it's so old. Matt and I told Chuck Norris jokes to make it funnier! :)

There you have it. Just a few snippets of our trip. More for my benefit than anything else. Loved our time.

Diesel and Juice Review

I recently won a giveaway on "Our Reflection" It's a great blog and I enjoy reading it daily. As she states...A blog about "Faith, Parenting, Crafts and Photography". It's just a good read and a good balance of all things family which is what I try to accomplish here. :)

Our Reflection

The giveaway was for Diesel and Juice. Diesel and Juice is a print shop. She has some incredible prints and Here are the two I chose! 

**Pictures from website. I took some of mine but haven't uploaded them yet. 

She packaged them well and they arrived in 3 days. I am so please with them and hope to order some more one day soon. 

Check them out!