Monday, April 30, 2012

Louisiana Trip...Stay Tuned

Matt and I went to Louisiana to visit my family and some of our friends. We were there from April 19th-April 24th. Lots of pictures to share. Stay Tuned!

Til then-
Did YOU Hear about the Morgans?

101 in 1001---April Update

Our Goals

1. Add a member to our family :)
2. Pay off all student loans.
3. Visit NYC...We are discussing a trip next Spring. We want to take a train one way and fly back. 
4. Take a long road trip. (think this would be covered with the above mentioned train ride)
5. Sell something on Etsy  
6. Have Dad's Crawfish in Louisiana.  DONE on April 22, 2012
7. Take a trip to Louisiana at least once a year. (done for this year)
8. Host a holiday in our home.
9. Go camping.
10. Build a real fire.   
11. Rent or buy a house.
12. Decorate the outside of a house for Christmas.
13. Stay at the Biltmore.
14. Serve in a soup kitchen.
15. Grow our own tomatoes.
16. ******* ;)
17. Give an item away each time we buy something new (clothing, housewares, etc).  
18. Go on dates at least every other week.  (I am keeping this on here because life can change over the next 2.5 years, however, we go on dates usually once a week)
19. Complete a blog series together. (in process) 
20. For one month, don't buy anything extra.
21. Contact our family members at least once a week.
22. Go to a shooting range. (Matt and Granddad and talking about doing this soon) 
23. Go sailing.
24. Get involved in a community service group.
25. Go on a mission trip.
26. Read at least one book a month for a year. 
27. Start a small business. 
29. Buy a new Christmas ornament each year.
30. Get a massage.
31. Send a card to a friend or family member just for fun.
32. Begin a photography business (big or small).  
33. Eat at a local/non-chain restaurant every time we travel.
34. Visit a new place once a year. (So far this year, Charlotte, Asheville, Columbia, Chimney Rock)
35. Ride in a hot air balloon. (this is planned for the end of May at the Freedom Aloft Festival in Simpsonville, SC)
36. Attend at least one festival a year in the state where we live.
37. Stay at a B&B.
38. Floss more- at least once a week. (WE HATE FLOSSING) 
39. Give a 100% tip. 
40. Go see a musical.
41. Eat a new type of foods (Korean, African, etc)
42. Repurpose a piece of furniture.
43. Watch a sunrise and photograph it.
44. Explore secret paths.
45. Do something nice for someone anonymously. 
46. Pick fruit at an orchard. (This is planned for early May. There are some great orchards here) 
47. Get a library card. (This is also coming soon because Matt has some business research he wants to do)
48. Go to a garage sale together.
49. Celebrate our Golden Birthdays in style! (half way there, we celebrate Matt's last month)
50. Make homemade ice cream.
51. Learn a new hobby together. (we are talking about becoming fishermen :))

Leslie's Goals

52. Lose my desired amount of weight.
53. Continue to utilize this blog to document our lives especially once we start having children.
54. Get a Skype account and use it. 
55. Paint something worth looking at (not just a wall) :)
56. Add at least one cross to my cross collection.
57. Learn to make the best sweet tea my husband has ever tasted. (I'm very close to this!!!)
58. Make homemade marshmallows.  4/2/12
59. Sell/Give away at least one cake or cupcakes that I've decorated for a party/gathering/birthday/etc.
60. Plan a scavenger hunt for Matt. I did this on 4/6/12 for Matt's Easter Basket. I placed items all over the apartment with clues to lead to each of them. It was super fun and I would LOVE to do it again!
61. Bake and decorate each of Matt's birthday cakes.
62. Rake someone's leaves.
63. Meet up with at least one other blogger whose blog I read.
64. Complete a blog series or post about our wedding, including the planning. Just for my own sake :)
65. Continue mailing out birthday and anniversary cards to our friends and family.
66. Invite someone to stay with us for a weekend or longer at least once a year.
67. Complete a vlog.
68. Go fishing.
69. Make a point to call my closest friends as often as possible, not just texting.
70. Take a continuing education class related to Autism or other childhood disorders-even though I don't currently work with children.
71. Find a yummy Low Country Boil recipe and cook it.
72. Take at least one picture of Matt and I every time we travel.
73. When we take a long trip (5+ hours one way), drive so that Matt doesn't have to.
74. Take a trip to visit a few special friends (we know who they are).
75. Take a cake decorating class.
76. Read a book, write a blog post about it, and link up with a book club blog. (Hope to do this one next Month)

Matt's Goals

77. Run a 5k. (He has started training. Hoping to run one in September) 
78. Take a photography class. 
79. Take Leslie to an air show. (this is planned for May 5th/6th. The air show is in Sumter) 
80. Make a picture frame out of an old or hand made window frame.
81. Go to a college football game.
82. Get a dog.
83. Get a new camera lens. (we are in the process of saving for this. Our goal is 9/13/12)
84. Make my wife cry in a good/romantic/sweet/you get the idea way.
85. Give Leslie a love letter at least once a month for a year. (Doing well on this 4 down, 8 to go)
86. Visit Chimney Rock, N.C. Done on 4/9/12 
87. Wear a suit, and look good doing it. ;)
88. Visit a new, to me, zoo. 
89. Watch the Flyers destroy the Hurricanes in Charlotte (hopefully with Leslie).
90. Fix something for someone.
91. Cook something new and exciting.
92. Swim in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
93. Make something from scratch.
94. Do something with Granddad. This happened on 4/13/12. Matt and Granddad went out to a "Guys only" dinner while Grandmom and I were at a ladie's event at the church. Living here, we hope this will be the first of MANY things Matt gets to do with Granddad. As he said last night after dinner and a night full of stories with him, "I already knew this but I love my Granddad" :)
95. Journal more often.
96. Learn all the words to or learn how to play one of Leslie's "high school days" favorite rap songs.
97. Teach something to someone. (Matt is considering teaching some photography classes :))
98. Ride a horse.
99. Surprise Leslie with surprises.
100. Spend an entire day, literally the entire day, in bed. Hopefully not while sick.
101. Figure out how we will finish all 101 things on this list. (HAHAHA)

(14/101 completed

Til Then-
Did YOU Hear About the Morgans? 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Photography by Matthew Morgan, Upstate South Carolina Lifestyle Photographer

My precious husband is just getting started in his photography business and I wanted to link up with Kelly to tell you about him. His business is called Photography by Matthew Morgan. You can find his website here and his Facebook Page here.

He is located in Upstate South Carolina, specifically Spartanburg, SC but he is willing to travel locally. He is still working on his pricing lists but if you have any questions, please e-mail him directly and he can give you any information you may need. E-mail is: photographybymatthewmorgan(at)gmail(dot)com

He is interested in the following types of photography:

Senior Portraits
Group/Individual Sports Photography
Birth to First Year 

I know this seems like a lot and I am his wife so I may be a little biased but he is REALLY good!! His goal in his business is to take great photographs that are affordable to people. He has a heart and passion for it! Here are a few samples! I was going to post more but then I remembered that I posted the link to his blog already so you can see everything he has posted so far. 

Til then-
Did YOU Hear about the Morgans?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Update on Lela

Hey Guys,

We received an e-mail update tonight from Jeff and Mandy regarding Lela. Here are the details below. Keep praying for them as the Lord is SO in control. Love you all!

Hello Everyone, 

We have finished all of the tests today and have a confirmed diagnosis of retinoblastoma. The cancer has grown in such a way that the retina is more than likely permanently damaged. The right eye, however, shows no sign of cancer. Lela also had an MRI today and cancer has not spread into the brain. Treatment for the eye with cancer could include chemotherapy. However, there will likely be long term vision issues as well as appearance issues (drifting eye, etc). 

With these things in mind, the doctors have advised us to allow them to remove Lela's eye and, lord willing, all of the cancer with it. We have prayerfully considered the options and feel that this process is the wisest move considering the circumstances. The long term effects of chemotherapy on an 8 week old are considerable, especially considering the likelihood the eye could be still be removed after treatment and will likely never be completely well. 

Lela will have the eye removed on Friday morning and a prosthetic will be placed in her eye permanently. After a couple of months, we will meet with a specialist that prepares another part of the prosthetic (the cover) that is painted to look like her other eye. The method of the procedure will allow for some motion in the eye, so the prosthetic eye will not be significantly noticeable. 

She will have exams under anesthesia once a month for the next few months, followed by routine exams every couple of months. These exams are to make sure that her right eye does not develop the same cancer, which is always a possibility, though remote. As far as childhood cancers go, she was diagnosed with a very treatable one, and we are happy to know that the other eye looks good and that the cancer has not spread to her brain. The ophthalmologist will also perform more tests on the eye once it is removed to rule out any more cancer spreads. We should know these results by the end of the week. Retinoblastoma can be caused by a genetic mutation, so they will be checking for that as well. Please pray that she does not have the mutation as it can cause retinoblastoma in the other eye as well as other types of cancer.  

The scans every month will be difficult for us as we will be getting at least Lela and I back to Memphis, and we will face the fear that every scan could give us bad news. However, at this time, we are acting on what we know and hopefully, by God's grace, Lela will never have to face chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. 

Thank you all for your love and support over the last two weeks. We have been overwhelmed with God's blessings through all of you. I apologize for the long email, but I hope I have given as much information for you to keep praying with us.Your calls, texts, and emails have blessed us in so many ways. 


Mandy Moody

Til Then-
Did YOU Hear about the Morgans? 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jesus, YOU are my reward

This song is what I was listening to this morning...

"My Reward" by Paul Baloche...A favorite!

Til then-
Did YOU hear about the Morgans? 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pray for Lela

Matt and I are writing to ask you for some huge prayers for our friends, The Moody Family. Jeff and Mandy are dear friends of ours and their children Ollie, Savell and Lela have been like our "extra" nieces and nephews. Lela (pronounced Lee-luh) is the newest addition and is nearly 7 weeks old. 

Last week, Mandy noticed something strange with Lela's eye. Jeff saw it later in the day and agreed it was unusual. On Friday, they took her to a pediatrician who determined she had a detached retina which likely resulted from one of two things. It could have been retinoblastoma or Coate's Disease. The doctor they saw Friday all but ruled out the cancer but had them schedule another appointment for Monday with a retina specialist. That doctor saw her and wanted her to have more tests run under anesthesia. Those tests were completed Tuesday and the doctor has preliminarily diagnosed her with retinoblastoma. They will go to Memphis to St. Jude's for further tests etc. on Monday, April 16th and will be there for at least 7 days. They hope to leave there with a definitive treatment plan for Lela. 

Please be praying for this precious baby girl and her family. Praise God that this was discovered early as she is only 7 weeks old. Praise Him that it is only in one eye and not in her brain as well. Praise God that Jeff and Mandy are living in Knoxville where they have been able to get some answers quickly. Praise Him that He is the healer. 

Pray that the Lord would provide more answers quickly. Pray for peace and a calm nature for the entire family. Pray for Mandy's parents as they care for their older two children (Ollie 4.5 and Savell 1.5). Pray that the Lord would heal Lela completely. 

One night this week as I was driving home, it looked like it was about to rain and I began singing Michael W. Smith's song with these lyrics "Healing rain is falling down. Healing rain is falling down. Let it fall. Let it fall."  And that's my prayer "Lord let your healing rain fall on Lela today" 

I've attached a newborn picture of her so you can associate a precious face with her name. 

Thanks for reading and praying. I'll update as I'm able

Matt and Leslie Morgan

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Morgans...Part 1

One of our goals on our 101 in 1001 list is to complete a blog series together. We  I (Leslie) thought it would be fun to do a little series just about us. I don't have any idea what will come of this but I think a few blog posts at least. Last night, I decided that I wanted to post about things that Matt and I do to save money/spend less money. Matt and I are very anxious to pay off student loan debts and do it quickly and because of that, we are saving money in any and every way we can. I thought it would be nice to share that on the blog because maybe some of the people who read our blog could benefit from these things just like we have.

Here goes...

Leslie uses conditioner for shaving cream. 
    I saw a while back on a blog that people recommended using conditioner to shave your legs and underarms instead of shaving cream because it was cheaper. I started using it a month ago and I LOVE IT! My legs used to break out really badly after shaving but not with the conditioner and it's much cheaper! 

When we buy soda, we buy the off brand, most of the time.
    Matt is the only soda drinker in our house so when he wants soda, he generally doesn't have a preference. We have tried so many of the off brand sodas and they usually taste very similar to the "real" thing and they are MUCH cheaper. We do buy the occasional Mountain Dew and Jones soda though. 

At restaurants, we drink water.
When we go out to eat, which is only 1-2 times a week max, we always order water. We find that it is just as satisfying and it's FREE! Some restaurants charge $3 for drinks now. The exception to this is when we go to BoJangle's, we always splurge on their sweet tea. It's 99 cents for a 32 ounce with unlimited refills. We think it's worth it. 

We coupon.
This one was much more prevalent when we were in Montgomery. Couponing was a part of every grocery trip. Since we moved here and initiated a cash budget we just have a set budget for groceries and we stick to it. It has worked well and we still coupon some too. We always look for coupons when shopping at craft stores, etc. 

We budget.
As mentioned above, we began utilizing a cash budget in January. It has been awesome. We are still adjusting but we love the principle. We tithe 10%, save 10% and live on 80%. It rocks!

We make out own Laundry detergent.
Laundry detergent can be so expensive especially if you are allergic to most of them other than Tide(like Leslie). Last year, we decided to make our own. We would prefer the liquid type but we don't have room for it right now so we use the powder kind and we LOVE it. It's the Duggar Family recipe. If interested, look it up on Google. 

We eat all of our leftovers.
We cook at home often and in an effort to save money, we always eat leftovers. It is rare (once a month or less) that we have leftovers that we have to throw away because they didn't get eaten. We have also found it is fun to make meals from leftovers because you can generally make some good concoctions! :)

Buy beans and rice in bulk/raw form.
When we buy rice or beans we buy the dry bulk form because it is really inexpensive and honestly, the little bit of extra time it takes to cook is SOOO worth it. 

We buy day old bread and freeze it for when we need it.
Wal-M@rt's bakery bread is awesome and our local store always has an excellent selection of day old bread that has been marked down. We have been buying it, freezing, thawing when necessary and utilizing that way. They have so many great kinds and we haven't found one we don't like. 

We reuse our bath towels so we don't have to wash as often.
To cut down on laundry/washing machine usage, we use our bath towels over again throughout the week. 

We always use glass plates and cups instead of using paper products.
When it is just the two of us at home, we always use our real dishware. It's fun to use our "good" stuff every day and it beats buying paper products often. In fact, the only time we have purchased paper products was a few weeks ago when Matt's side of the family was here and then it was only because we were eating so many meals at home that the dishwasher would be non-stop if we didn't! :)

We buy fruits and vegetables through a co-op.
We have been looking for a co-op for a while and just found one in Greenville. It's awesome. We pay $16 a week and get so much produce. This week we got green beans, asparagus, radishes, lettuce, tomato, apples, oranges, bananas, and pineapple! 

We try to sleep with fans instead of using the A/C.
We have two standing fans in our bedroom that we turn on at night instead of using the A/C when we can and it cuts down on our power bill tremendously. 

We use the CFL light bulbs that we got for free from our power company.
Energy efficient bulbs really help and we got them free through our power company. 

Limited electricity use.
We are mindful to turn off lights in rooms when we aren't in them. (DUH!)

When we make tea at home we use tea bags, instead of drinking store bought tea.
This isn't really a big deal but we started buying loose tea bags and making our own tea when we wanted it instead of buying Publix brand tea (which is yummy). One gallon of their tea is the same price as a box of tea bags. No brainer for us! 

We bring our lunch or don't eat out for lunch, at work.
This saves a ton of money! We bring our own lunch or come home to eat almost everyday. We may eat out once a month for lunch during work and when we do, it's usually a quick stop by McDonald's to grab a 99cent sandwich to go with the chips we brought. 

We limit our eating out to 1 or two times a week.
As mentioned above, we only eat our 1-2 a week and normally it's just once. We have our occasional week where we need a mid-week meal out and then we have our date night out on the weekends usually. We have found when we do eat out, we can generally split something so we try to do that when possible. 

We try to make gifts instead of buying them.
And lastly on this long list that I didn't realize was so long! We make gifts when we are able. We have become really crafty lately and have come up with some great ideas. Since we have, we have been trying to gift our handmade items as much as possible. So often, it's more special and it's certainly less expensive. 

So there you have it, things we do to save money!
We will back back with another installment of "The Morgans" soon! 

Til then-
Did YOU Hear about the Morgans?