Monday, January 6, 2014

Squirt guns in the toilet, and other lessons God is teaching me!

So as I write this I am a mess.  Coughing until tears stream down my face. Wiping noses of little ones.  You see all four members of my family have been sick in the last 3 days.  I am the last one to get it, and it is a doozy.  Not to mention it is 29 degrees outside in deep Texas, wow!  So when my recovering son sweetly walked up to me and said can I shoot water guns, all I could do was tell him you can't shoot them anywhere but the toilet.  So as I write this, he is dousing our toilet with a water gun. Sometimes you just have to give a little:)

You see today was a day where I wasn't very happy to be a stay-at-home mom.  Wait, I know you just heard me say that.  But hear me out.  I was dealing with a fraudulent charge from a car dealership and no one was calling me back.  My checkbook wasn't balancing with my bank statement, and it was way off.  My son kept trying to take the ornaments off the tree (yes, I know my tree is still up) and was playing with them all over the house.  I had to call in sick for my worship leader position on Wednesday, something I haven't ever had to do.  I was trying to make a menu list of meals to eat, while feeling myself like I was going to throw up.  And the list goes on, but I don't want to bore you.

I even called my husband and said, "This is just hard, really hard.  My heart wants to stay home, but this is killing me right now.  Why did God call me to such a hard calling?"  He just smiled over the phone.  He knows not to talk when I get like this.  He knows I just need a sounding board.  But then out of nowhere I get a text from my dear friend, Angie Copeland, and all it says is a Scripture, "God is kind, but He's not soft. In kindness He takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.  Romans 2:4 (MSG)  That's all the text said.  No other words but God's word.  

I sat up straight from my coughing when I read this, and I needed to hear it.  I was like a good kick in the pants.  God is asking me to walk a journey of radical life-change.  He burdened my heart to stay home with my kids because He is going to radically change their lives as well.  He didn't say it would be easy.  He didn't say it would be soft and fuzzy. He didn't say my imperfections, like not balancing my checkbook properly, would all go away.  He let's me stumble sometimes, so that I can see that the only way I can get up again is to hold His hand.  He sees me crying when I get tired of budgeting for everything, and He is proud of me.  He sees me weeping when I can't lead worship one week (one of my most favorite things to do), and He loves my heart.  He sees me falling on my knees at night because I need a new word from Him, and He speaks to me.  He is there!  He is not soft; He is firm!  He doesn't move; He remains!  As my Daddy used to say, "He is still on the throne no matter what happens!"

I am being transparent with you today because I feel like that is what God has called me to do this year: "Make my mess His message!"  I am trying diligently to be real, authentic, and honest about our family and our relationship with Jesus.  

I pray, really pray, that God uses our mess to speak to you about Himself today.  That you will see that God calls us to radical life-change.  That He asks us to jump out sometimes when we can't see where we are jumping.  But hold on, and I promise you won't be disappointed.  Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future."

Stay Contagious,
Lindsay

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dirty hair, cavities, and Jesus!

Good morning!

I was scolded this week by one of my dear friends, Teri Mendoza. She said, "Lindsay, you haven't blogged in a while.  I really miss it."  Then it hit me, it's been almost three weeks since I posted.  


Well, here you go!


I am, by nature, a perfectionist.  I like order.  I like cleanliness.  I like peace and quiet.  


These are all things that are very hard to maintain when you are a mother to 2 beautiful children.


I have found myself overwhelmingly frustrated lately because I can't "keep it all together."


My usually tidy house has been looking like this:










And then to top it off, I take pride in the fact that my children are cleaned and well-groomed.  So to my chagrin, the dentist informed me this week that my precious little girl has 3 cavities.  What!!!??!!  Not my kid, not the kid of a perfectionist Mommy.  I literally cried when I got home.  I felt like a huge failure.


Then when I got home, I realized something so major.  There are things in life that no matter how hard I try to control it, it just can't be controlled.  I have to let them go.  


I can't help that my life has been incredibly busy with stomach viruses and homework lately.  I can't help that my child has "very crowded" teeth that are easily filled with cavities.  I can't help that I have Mommy responsibilities at my children's schools.  


The only thing I am in charge of is my attitude.  I am literally learning to "let things go" right now.  I had a playdate yesterday with a messy house.  Dishes in the sink, dirty clothes, and mud on the floor.  And it didn't kill them or me!!  A fun time was had by all.


I am even learning to get over my appearance.  If I don't have time to shower between the gym and the carpool lane, then everyone is just going to have to see me as a hot mess:)  It is liberating to start letting things go.


I am far from perfect, so I need to stop acting like I am!!


I hope that you can give some of your worries to Jesus today!  If you can't do anything about it, then let it go!  Give it to the one who can do something about it!


Stay Contagious,

Lindsay

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Saturday and Sunday: Day 2 and 3 of our Spending Freeze!!

Saturday and Sunday have been crazy fun days at the Morris household.  As you know, we are on a no-spending freeze until Monday.  We only agreed to buy gas for our car and that was it!  Just trying to challenge ourselves and encourage others that quality time can be free!

We awoke Saturday morning and decided to play dress-up.  Mercy dressed herself like a sparkle princess and Shep put a tie on.  It was too cute and free!



Next we walked to our new CVS down the road from our house.  It opened this past Monday, and we received a lot of coupons for free food and drinks.  We got a free snickers bar and a free 2 liter  Diet Coke, which we all shared. It was excellent exercise for us, and we shared lots of laughs.










Then Steve took the kids swimming again for a couple of hours.  Once again, free.





And then at about 4:30 p.m., we packed up the Pilot and headed to worship practice and church.  My kids love, love, love our church, which makes it so much easier to go ourselves.  I love leading others in worship.  All of this was free!




Then today was an action packed day.  We ate chocolate banana bread muffins that I had previously made and frozen.  Then we filled up a giant blue bucket with water and let the kids swim in it.






And then the fun really began.  We slathered dish soap all over the trampoline and then doused it with water.  The kids grabbed an old toddler swing and acted like it was a chariot.  They pulled each other on the trampoline in the toddler swing for a long time.





Then I went to HEB and used our $5 gift card we won last week at a baseball game.  I was able to buy 2 bags of chips and bean dip for $3.94.  Once again, all this was free to me.






Next, we decided to do a free tour of the city.  We put $25 of gas into our car, and then we took the kids to see the Alamo, the Hemisfair Tower, and Brackenridge Park.  We stopped at Brackenridge and played with the ducks and walked trails.






Finally we came home, and I fixed us a big meal of tacos, guacamole, and beans.  And the kids decided to take the pits from the avacados and use them like balls.  They rolled them around the floor for a good 30 minutes.  It doesn't take much to make this family happy!! 



I will report to you one more time to show you the rest of our weekend.   Can I just tell you something? I am learning so much.  Disney World is great, but it doesn't hold a candle to watching your kids giggle and scream and knowing you didn't spend a dime!  Knowing that when you come home nothing will be on a credit card.  That what you did was totally free!!!

Stay Contagious,

Lindsay


Friday, August 30, 2013

Family Challenge: Part 1

We are having a family challenge this weekend.  We are trying our very best to spend $0 this whole weekend.  We are trying to encourage others by showing that you can have loads of fun and never spend a dime.  And you can also plan food menus far enough in advance that you don't have to buy food on the weekend either.  So here is what we did today that was free:

1. Shep had a playdate with his close friends=FREE


2. Steve and I took the kids to our neighborhood pool=FREE



3. We used super cheap meat I found on sale to make a beef and bean chili=FREE  because we didn't have to buy it this weekend. We already had it purchased and planned for.


4. Then Steve and I will have a movie night after the kids go to bed using movies that are already downloaded onto our t.v.=FREE


Stay tuned for tomorrow's agenda!  Being frugal is fun!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

How to thrive on much less! Tips to saving money, and saving big!

Hi all,

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted.  This summer has been fun, but also left little time to write.  But that's okay!  I am back to it now!  I have been wanting to write a post about saving for a long time.  I have been keeping notes and pictures in order to one day write this.  So here goes!  My husband is a fabulous provider, and we truly have everything we need, but I have been challenged lately to stretch our money-to stop spending unneccesarily, and to log what I am spending so I can learn to spend even less.  Spending less=saving more.  Here is some ways we are saving right now:

Food:

1. I am sticking to about $300 every two weeks for our groceries. This includes all toiletries as well.  So far I have spent:


Wal-Mart: $189.73
Dollar Tree: $31.31
Wal-Mart: $38.30 (2nd trip)

I have to go one more time tonight, so it will probably be just exactly $300. 





2. I plan out 10 days worth of meals.

These last 2 weeks included:
Mexican hot dogs with chili beans, onions, jalapenos, and lowfat chips
Red beans and rice (2)
Grilled drumsticks with rice, corn and artisan bread
Taco shells with meat, avacados, cheese, salsa
Penne with red sauce and pesto sauce
Ropa vieja (2)
Bean and cheese quesadillas
Grilled cheese with avacados
Chicken salad pasta (from leftovers)
Borracho beans in the crockpot with tortillas and rice (2)



3. I use our leftovers to the fullest extent I can.

Here is what I made the other night with our leftovers from this past week.
I will call it Ranch Pesto pasta



The finished product.
Just used leftover corn, left over pasta, 1/2 an avacado, and the rest of the ingredients you see.            






















4. Use a crockpot to tenderize even the toughest of meats.

I often buy roasts and just cook them on low all day long. We can usually get at least 2 meals out of it.



5. Become familiar with your meat "sale" days at your local store.

At our Wal-Mart on Thursdays and Saturdays, the butchers greatly discount some of the meat.  You can save 50-75% off huge packages of meat.



6. Learn how to make cheap meals "gourmet."

For instance, instead of cheese quesadillas make turkey pepperoni pizza quesadillas.  Just add the turkey and some marinara sauce and it looks so much more special.

Or turn a grilled cheese into a pesto, avacado grilled cheese.  Still cheap, just a little more detailed:)

I will continue this series tomorrow about how we save money on clothes and entertainment.

Hope this helps you a little bit.

Stay Contagious,

Lindsay








Wednesday, July 3, 2013

When God asks you to do Hard stuff!

Hi, Sweet Friends!  Our summer has been full of swimming lessons, swimming and more swimming.  My kids absolutely love to swim!  We have also added in a mini-vacation in Dallas, which was at you guessed it, a waterpark!  We have soggy fingers and toes, and we are loving it!

But even in the midst of a wet and wild summer, God still shares with us precious nuggets of His truth and wisdom.  I want to share with you a recent event that happened this past weekend.

I was at a Mexican restaurant with some church choir friends, and I felt God clearly tell me, "You need to send a note of apology to a friend of yours who was recently hurt by the church and ministers.  He has been abused by the church and others, and he needs to know that this is not okay."  So, honestly, I didn't know what to do with this.  I thought, "God, I don't know what to say.  I feel weird reaching out to him like this.  What if he gets offended?  What if the conversation takes a wrong turn?"  But I just couldn't shake this feeling, just couldn't shrug it off!

So I sit at my computer and send this teenager a message.  As accountablility, I had my husband sit down with me.  I don't ever feel comfortable sending a note to another man without my husband's consent, so it was a group effort.  And then I started writing, "I want to apologize to you for the way the church has treated you.  We stood by while you were being mistreated.  We didn't stand up for you when we could have."  It was simple, honest, and sent with the most sincere of hearts.

To my amazement, I got a swift reply from the man.  It read something like this, "Thank you for apologizing.  I have been waiting for a long time to have someone apologize to me."  He went on to say that he had recently tried to take his own life and had spent some time in a hospital recovering. Then it hit me!  God asked me to write this letter because God wanted to prolong this precious man's life.  He has a huge plan for His life.  He wasn't finished with him yet. He wanted to offer him hope and a future!

People need us to apologize for the false Christ that they see sometimes.  Others can claim to be Chrisitians and give Christ a bad reputation. We need to be the real Jesus to them!  We need to show them that although God is a just God, He is also a God that has new mercy for us everyday.  He is a God that no matter the circumstance will allow you to come back with open arms.

I encourage you to let God use you today.  Be sensitive to the whispers of the Holy Spirit.  Be unafraid when God asks you to do scary and hard things!  If He asks you to do it, then it will work toward His glory!

Stay Contagious,
Lindsay

Friday, June 14, 2013

My first guest post from a Seasoned Momma!!! Check it out!

 So I get the wonderful, awesome, exciting privilege of having a guest post on my blog today!  Since I am new to the blogging scene this was just so special to me.  I met a sweet lady named Olivia about 10 years ago when I first moved to Arizona as a newly wed.  She was so welcoming, so kind, so comforting to me in those first couple years of adjusting to married life.  Since then, I have moved on to Texas but our hearts have stayed connected through each others blogs.  We are in different stages of life:  her children are grown and mine are itty bitties.  So she brings to the table much wisdom and grace that a Momma of multiple years has earned.  Check out her post here today on my blog, and check out her incredible blog by clicking on this link:  http://www.livgracefull.blogspot.com/.



When It’s Time to Bail

Having a kid graduate makes a girl feel old.  I was hit with a happy/sad nostalgia as I gathered pictures of my son for a photo display.  (He's the little guy in the middle - so adorable!)  Almost 18 years of memories all summed up on a piece of card board.  It was only natural for me to wonder if I would do things differently if I could do it all over again.  I would never trade in the sticky kisses and pockets full of rocks and stepping on Legos.  I don't take back the sleepless nights or tears; the Band-Aids and teachers conferences or the trips to the emergency room.

But if I could do anything differently it would be this:  I would keep things simple.  Looking back now, I realize how busy we were.  We had something going on every night.  Good things.  Church things.  And work things.  And Super Momma things.  I planned cool birthday parties and fun play dates.  We had calendar time every morning and learned about cumulus and cirrus clouds.  We did crafts and I even homeschooled for a couple of years.  All.  Good.  Things.  

  

Except ... I was stressed out.   And ... my kids don't even like crafts.  Ask them to identify a cloud and they will look at you like you are crazy and tell you that they are those fluffy white things floating around.  Fortunately they do know the days of the week.  At least something stuck. 

The pictures look great, though.  The scrapbooks are filled with cute crafts.  I loved the compliments on how creative and fun the parties were.  Nobody knew that I had spent the morning of a birthday party barking orders at my husband and yelling at the kids for spilling cheerios after I had just vacuumed.  And for what?  Elmo plates and color-coordinated napkins. The pictures don't show the crying birthday child and the grumpy momma.

Do you know what we do too much of?  Comparing ourselves.  We try to live up to Pinterest expectations.  We are told that time flies so we try to cram as much as possible into 18 short years.  Who ever gave us the ridiculous idea that we have to do it all?  I don't know if anyone can possibly have the time to grow AND make their own baby food AND be a crazy coupon lady AND home school AND bake 87 cupcakes for tomorrow's birthday party.  What?  Your baby doesn't know sign language?  You're 2 year old can't read?  Your 4 year old doesn't play the violin?  What is your malfunction?! 



My good friend had excellent advice:  choose just a few things and do them well.  Take on too much and something will suffer - usually your sanity.  But don't take that too lightly because it could also be your marriage ... or your relationship with your children.  Who wants to be remembered by their children as an angry and stressed out mom? 

So listen to me.
Stop comparing. 
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL. 
If you like making things and art is fun for your kids – do that.  If you like planning parties, then do it.  If not, your 2 year old could care less if you have Elmo or Big Bird plates.  Give the kid a cupcake and he'll be happy.  Don’t try to be something or someone you are not.  YOU ARE EXACTLY WHAT YOUR KID NEEDS.  Our children will be ok because of us and in spite of us.  God is faithful and He will fill in the gaps.  Isn’t that what He does?  He makes up for our lack. 

What they say is true.  Eighteen years whizzes by.  The only way to slow it down is to jump off and bail the runaway train.  Learn to love the simplicity.  The slow, every day mundane of watching the ants and splashy splashy baths and bedtime stories - all 12 of them.  Those are the things I miss.  Those are the things I wish I hadn't rushed through.   There's holiness there if we stop long enough to notice.

"Life is our only dessert.  Too brief...too sweet...too delectable to hurry."
-Ann Voskamp 




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