The Mommy Bloggy

Reflections of a Mother's Heart

Matters Over Mind April 24, 2010

Filed under: Laughter and Lessons — Michelle Ferguson @ 6:28 pm

When I woke up this morning, my mind started racing with all things I needed to do.  “I still need to iron Lindsay’s dress for the wedding we are going to tonight.”  “Logan has his first baseball game of the season this morning.”  “Do I really want to take my morning walk?”  (Rain made that decision easy!)

Then it hit me.  “I don’t remember bringing in my groceries yesterday.”  Still in my pajamas, I fished my keys out of my purse, ran into the garage, opened my car’s trunk and discovered my three bags of groceries.  Among my purchases were a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, and a pound of butter, all of which had been patiently sitting  in my trunk for a good sixteen hours!  It hurt me to have to pour a gallon of milk down the sink and throw a dozen beautiful brown eggs away, but that’s what happens when matters take over the mind!

I was in such a hurry yesterday afternoon to finish my task list, that once I pulled into the garage, I went straight into the house without giving another thought to the perishables in my trunk!  My mind was bombarded with things to do, and my focus was distracted by my matters.  Instead of having my mind over matters, it was matters over mind.  Has this ever happened to you?

I opened my Bible this morning and read Psalm 90:17 which says “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.”  How timely was that truth for me!  I’m so glad God covers my shortcomings and makes me beautiful to Him, despite myself.  It is comforting to know that He will establish the work of my hands, making it all meaningful for His glory!

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“Goodnight Moon” April 23, 2010

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:07 pm

Last week, my children and I were unexpectedly blessed with four free tickets to see the Children’s Theater production of “Goodnight Moon.”  We met our Classical Conversations friends at the light rail station and rode into uptown for the play.  The production was fantastic!  The set was amazing and the action totally kept the kids’ attention.  My favorite part was when the picture of the “three little bears sitting on chairs” opened up, and three tap dancing bears walked out of the picture onto the bed and onto the floor with their chairs and danced away!  Such creativity!  We enjoyed lunch with our friends afterwards.

Not knowing that we would be seeing the play, earlier that week I pulled Margaret Wise Brown’s classic book “Goodnight Moon” off our bookshelf and read it to my three-year-old.  It has quickly become his favorite book.  He wants it read to him again and again.  In fact, he can finish my sentences as I turn the pages through the story!

Luke likes to find the mouse on all the colored pages.  Then on the last page, I like to quiz him with where things are.  For example, I’ll ask “Where is the red balloon?”  He quickly points to it, like it’s a race to find it.  “Goodnight Moon” is a simple story, yet so charming and entertaining!  It is a favorite of mine, too, and I shall keep it to read to my grandchildren one day.

 

Like a Kiss April 20, 2010

Filed under: Parenting with Purpose — Michelle Ferguson @ 7:50 pm

My husband and I are firm believers in spanking our children.  I know this is going to make some people mad, but we believe it is biblical.  Certainly, the method of discipline is different for each family because it is a personal conviction, and I respect that.  One note, though:  we do not spank for every offense!  That’s where godly discernment comes in!

Throughout Proverbs, Christians are admonished to discipline their children.  “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;  the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).  “Correct your son, and he will give you rest;  yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17).  There is a fine line between foolishness and childishness, so make sure you discipline only for the foolishness.  For example, hitting (foolishness) should be corrected, but not an accidental spilling of a glass of milk (childishness).

Spanking, when done in a biblical manner, is quite effective in changing behavior.  The right manner includes never spanking out of or in anger, telling your child how many swats he will receive before it is administered, always pointing out his sin, not only against you, but against God, praying together, and hugging your child and telling him you love him.  (For more on this, I highly recommend Tedd Tripp’s book “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.”)  Discipline like this has an impact, and your child will remember it.  Your child does not want to be out of a harmonious relationship with you, so make sure you reinforce your love for him with a hug.

One day while riding in the car, Logan commented out of the blue to me:  “A spanking is like a kiss.”  I thought that was so introspective, and I told Logan that I agreed with him.  Biblical discipline is sweet!

 

Gardening by the Box April 18, 2010

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 6:47 pm

My father was a big gardener.  I guess he came by it naturally.  Growing up on a dairy farm left a permanent mark of a “farmer” on him!

Everything my dad did was big!  His garden covered probably about one-fourth of our huge backyard.  He had endless rows of corn, green beans, sugar snap peas, radishes, tomatoes, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and squash.  He did most of the work,  including drawing a diagram of his garden, preparing and tilling the soil, and planting of the seeds.  However, come harvest time, he enlisted the help of the whole family, much to the dislike of his two daughters.  (Oh, how I wish I had paid more attention and was interested then in all he did!)

My sister and I complained a lot.  Why did harvest time have to come at the hottest part of the summer?  Why couldn’t green beans be orange so we could see them more easily?  Why are there so many bugs?  We composted (my dad saved all of our kitchen scraps for his big compost pile…one night my sister and I slept in the compost pile until it started to rain, but that’s another story!), picked vegetables, shucked corn, and filled freezer bags with our abundant crop.  Throughout the fall and winter, we really were thankful for all my Dad did to provide delicious vegetables for us!

I desire for my children to have gardening memories of their own with their daddy and me, so two years ago, I thought it would be fun to start a garden as a home school project.  My husband built an 8 x 4-foot wooden box frame with no bottom to it.  We laid down plastic to prevent weeds from poking up and we filled the box with a mixture of organic compost soil, peat moss, and cow manure (yes, my kids touched manure and loved it!). Because our yard has lots of red clay, the garden box allows us to control the soil for best results.

Yesterday, we planted our third garden!  I like to show my kids the seeds first and let them guess what will grow from them.  It’s usually pretty obvious!  We planted a row of corn, two rows of okra, two mounds of cucumbers, a mound of yellow squash, and a mound of watermelons.  I also bought a Topsy Turvey tomato planter and planted a Better Boy tomato plant in it.    At the end of the day, Brad remarked, “I can’t wait to have corn for dinner tomorrow night.”  The kids quickly reminded him that harvest time is mid summer!

My children have learned to really appreciate America’s farmers and the very hard work they endure to provide food for so many people!  Hats off to all farmers, large and small scale!  Lindsay, Logan, and Luke have learned the importance of good soil, how to plant seeds, water them, weed, and patiently await the fruit of their labor!  What a wonderful lesson that can apply to many aspects of  life!  Mostly they have learned what an amazing God we have, Who can grow something so wonderful from tiny little seeds!

 

Count It All…What? April 15, 2010

Filed under: Devotions — Michelle Ferguson @ 12:12 pm

Today I am participating in a Devotional Carnival on the topic of joy, hosted by Rachel Olsen of Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Please check out Rachel’s blog and enjoy getting to know her!

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”   James 1: 2-4

I am in a place of great discouragement and brokenness, and when I found out that Rachel’s devotional topic for April was joy, I thought, “I cannot write on joy right now because I’m not feeling it.”  But then the Lord reminded me that joy is not a feeling, it is a fruit (Galatians 5: 22).  Joy is a willful act of choosing.  A fruit, like joy, is something that does not just happen.  Fruit requires great care and cultivation before it blossoms into something sweet and rewarding.

As my husband and I came together last night for prayer, we read James 1: 2-4, and I wondered “Count it all…what?”  Who wants to rejoice in times of various trials?  How can I be joyful in the midst of turmoil and discouragement?  But knowing the end product of our suffering will be patience, spiritual maturity, and completeness, why not choose joy by sheer obedience?  Joy is better than sorrow or a self-pity party!

It is only through trials that our joy can be complete.  I do not think we could really know true joy if we did not know suffering.  Joy can be greatly celebrated and enjoyed after a period of darkness.  In the midst of great trial and tribulation, God brings us to the end of ourselves to where we can only turn to Him for encouragement and guidance.  He alone can care for and cultivate our spirits, protecting them, through a tough situation.  God allows these trials in our lives, knowing they serve to  strengthen us and to drive us into a deeper relationship with Him.  This testing serves to refine, renew, and refresh our faith in Him.

In the meantime, I rest knowing that God is in complete control of my life.  He has a great plan for me, and I know He is with me.  Trials are not something that my human nature welcomes, however, knowing that God is doing a work in my life does comfort me.  So I am learning to count it all joy, even when I don’t feel like it.  On the other side of this trial, I pray I will be better because of it and lack no good thing!  For right now, I do choose the joy of my Lord!


 

Spring Break April 14, 2010

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:40 pm

Being a home schooling family, we can take spring break whenever we want, but this year we chose to do it during the same week as a lot of public school’s break.  Why in the world did we choose that week?  Well, it was because of a beautiful, auburn-headed little girl who celebrated her tenth birthday on April 7th, my daughter Lindsay.

Lindsay really wanted to spend her birthday having lunch with her mama at the American Girl Store bistro in Alpharetta, GA and then do a little shopping, of course!  We made reservations for an 11:30 lunch time (I highly recommend the reservations!), and enjoyed a quiet lunch.  She got the Tic Tac Toe Pizza (pepperonis for O’s and crossed julienned green peppers for X’s).  I had a turkey panini with sweet potato crisps.  The food was so much, that I called my husband to offer he and our two boys the leftovers before they found a place to eat.  He came by the bistro and got our leftovers and the boys enjoyed the same lunch we did at the Food Court!  (I love stretching our food dollars on vacation!)

After the wait staff brought Lindsay a stuffed ice cream cookie sandwich (of which there were no leftovers for the boys!) and sang to her, we made our way into the shop and Lindsay picked out a cute pair of pajamas for herself and an Atlanta tee shirt for her doll.  We had fun walking around the store and looking at all the things they sell for dolls and little girls!  We even saw several dolls having their hair done!

On Tuesday, we toured Coca Cola World in Atlanta.  Our highlights of that visit included the 4-D movie and the Tasting Room, where we sampled, to our heart’s content and a burper’s delight,  popular soda drinks from around the world.  One soda that stands out to me was a mint soda from South America.  I felt like I was swallowing mouth wash!  It was interesting to me to note the variety of soda flavors that appeal to different cultures!

We walked across the street and strolled through Centennial Olympic Park where festivities of the Summer Olympics of 1996 were held.  The children enjoyed playing on the playground and seeing the water fountains.  For lunch, we went to The Varsity, Atlanta’s famed hamburger and hot dog joint.  Brad and I had a chili cheeseburger with slaw and shared a huge serving of onion rings.  Lindsay and Luke shared a hot dog meal and Logan had a hamburger.  Our lunch cost $16 for the five of us!

After lunch, we drove to Stone Mountain Park.  We spent the afternoon walking around the park, watching a funny kid’s show where the actors worked on complete  improvisation and stopping in a glass shop to watch the art of glass blowing.  Lindsay and Logan were fascinated with the glass blowing process, and I think they even learned something!

As we walked towards the barn, a lady approached us and offered us three Adventure Passes that her family was not planning to use (I love stretching entertainment dollars too!).  We thanked her, and Brad hurried to buy two more passes to cover the rest of the family.  We headed for the Swiss Cable Cars and rode up to the top of Stone Mountain, got out and walked around, and took pictures.  The view from the top was magnificent and included the impressive Atlanta skyline.

When we reached the bottom again, Brad took Lindsay and Logan through a fun obstacle course and Luke and I explored the barn.  Play in the barn was “organized chaos,” as I heard a father say on the way out.  I was in total agreement!  It was an indoor jungle gym with rope nets for climbing and kids shooting foam balls everywhere!  Luke was content to play in the preschool area with a small slide and a tunnel, and I was relieved!

After the madness, Luke and I went to our car and retrieved a blanket we had brought for our picnic dinner.  We met up with Brad, Lindsay, and Logan and made our way to the grassy area for the Laser Light Show, where we laid out our blanket to reserve our spot.  We walked to a deli and ordered sandwiches to go.  We took our dinner back to our blanket and enjoyed a relaxing dinner in the coolness of dusk.  The laser light show was performed over the carving of Robert E. Lee and company on the side of Stone Mountain.  It was a delightful evening and the kids really enjoyed themselves.

While in town, we went to a Braves game, and they just so happened to be in the middle of their season opening series against the Chicago Cubs, my husband’s favorite team!  We had great seats, and the children enjoyed their first professional baseball game.  It was a good game, too, I might add.  Chipper Jones hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th, and we saw fireworks shoot out of the Coca Cola bottle on top of the stadium!  The Braves went on to win 3-2!

On our 0ne rainy day of the week, we headed to the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest aquarium.  Everyone else seemed to have the same idea because let me tell you, the place was packed!  I was awed by God’s creativity of some of the most unusual creatures I have ever seen:  elephant-nosed fish, sea dragons, sea nettles with their very long stringy arms, and spider crabs.  We really enjoyed walking through the 6.3 million gallon water tank holding back four whale sharks, manta rays, sting rays, grouper, and tons of fish.  I loved sitting in front of the floor-to-ceiling tank and watching the smaller fish swim in their schools underneath the belly of the whale sharks, for the feeling of safety the enormous creature offered.  Interestingly, though whale sharks have huge mouths, their throats are about only as wide as a quarter, so they could not eat any of the fish in the tank with them even if they wanted!

We had a wonderful time away and were so thankful that the Lord provided that time for our family.  There is nothing like getting away from home for a little while, but then there is nothing like getting back home either!

 

Easter Resurrection Rolls April 2, 2010

Filed under: Recipes Worth Sharing — Michelle Ferguson @ 9:41 pm

I am a multi-tasker.  When I talk on the phone, chances are I’m also folding laundry, making dinner, wiping a nose, or retrieving my wandering cat from the neighbor’s yard!  As I talked with my best friend today, I was mixing up a homemade chocolate birthday cake for my daughter!  If I can multi-task, I feel like I’m using my time more efficiently!  So, here’s a multi-tasking idea involving the whole family in the kitchen, while teaching the Easter story at the same time!  Nothing is better than talking about Jesus while cooking!  The following is a recipe I came across in the Proverbs31 Woman magazine (April 2004) for Easter Resurrection Rolls.

1 pkg crescent rolls

1 large marshmallow for each roll

melted butter

sugar and cinnamon mixture

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Give each person a triangle of crescent roll dough.  This represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.  Give each person a marshmallow, which represents Jesus.  Dip the marshmallow into the melted butter (representing the oil of embalming) and then into the sugar and cinnamon mixture (representing the spices used to annoint the body).  Tightly wrap the marshmallow inside the crescent roll, sealing it shut.  Pinch the seams together so there are no openings.  This represents the wrapping of Jesus’ body for burial after His death.  Place the rolls on an ungreased cookie sheet and put into the oven.  The oven represents the tomb.  Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes (pretend it has been three days).

Remove the rolls from the oven and allow them to cool slightly.  Now the children can open their rolls (the burial cloth) and discover the Jesus is no longer there!  HE IS RISEN!  The sweet taste is a reminder of His sweet sacrifice for us!  Happy Easter!

When I taught second grade Sunday School, we would make this recipe in class every Easter Sunday.  It was a big hit with the children!