The Mommy Bloggy

Reflections of a Mother's Heart

Date with My Boys May 27, 2010

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 7:37 pm

My daughter had a play date with a friend today, so I took it upon myself to plan a date with my boys!  I enjoy spending time with two of my children at a time because they seem to be much better behaved that way!  Today’s outing allowed Logan to be the big brother to Luke without being in his big sister’s shadow.

We visited Freedom Park in Charlotte where I made them pose for my camera.  They would have rather dove into the pond, run through goose poo, and rolled in the grass, but that wouldn’t have made for nice pictures!  After our photo shoot, we headed over to the Charlotte Nature Museum for a visit.  We got to see newborn mice, a striped skunk, a groundhog, snakes, and turtles.  We also walked through the Butterfly Pavilion and enjoyed watching the butterflies flutter around and land on flowers.  The boys played and put a large floor puzzle together.  Then they got hungry!

Logan spotted a Chick-Fil-A and we picked up lunch to go and had a “Chick Pic” (that’s what Lindsay calls a picnic with Chick-Fil-A food) at a nearby park.  Logan and Luke played “space ships” and when they landed, we went to another park where there was more shade.  As I stood pushing Luke on a swing, he began singing at the top of his lungs “God is bigger than the boogie man” over and over and over.  I told Luke he made me smile!  I love it when those songs in his heart come out wherever we are, and he sings them with passion and no inhibition!

At two o’clock, we had to leave to pick up Lindsay.  It was a fun day for all of us!  Now, I need a nap!

 

Encourage Courage May 24, 2010

Filed under: Parenting with Purpose — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:09 pm

I try to instill courage in my children, even as young as they are.  I want them to have confidence in themselves to handle situations with reason and wisdom.  I want them to speak up for what is right and make a stand for God.  I want them to be confident in speaking to others and not be paralyzed with fear.  All of this I want for them because I didn’t have it.

At a grade school piano recital, my leg shook during the entire time I played my two pieces.  In an English high school class, my voice shook throughout my report on who-knows-what.  Even in college, I opted out of Public Speaking with a Phonetics class.  I also turned down an opportunity to present my psychology research paper at a conference at my professor’s request.

I encourage my children to speak to adults at church when they are spoken to and not to rely on me to answer for them.  My daughter left her swim shirt at a class she took at the nature preserve, and after I called about it, I made her go into the center to pick it up.  Today, one of my children knocked a rack of hanging beach towels down at Target.  I stood there waiting for about ten minutes while this child fixed the rack and rehung the towels.  I was not going to “cover” for this child by fixing it myself.  Though that would have been much quicker and easier, a lesson in responsibility would have been lost.  Actions have consequences!

As part of our Classical Conversations classes, Lindsay, Logan, and Luke have to give a presentation on a topic of their choosing in front of their peers.  They were not really comfortable with this at first, but have really begun to enjoy it.  My daughter just participated in a church musical where she had a small speaking part and a solo (she sang like an angel!)!  My children also are feeling more confident about placing their orders with waiters at restaurants.  Small steps toward big courage!

So as part of every day living, encourage courage in your children.  Give them opportunities to speak for themselves or correct their own mistakes and don’t be too quick to do it for them!

 

Don’t Miss the Wonder

Filed under: Tips and Tidbits — Michelle Ferguson @ 7:33 pm

When I started out for my walk this morning, still rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I met a neighborhood friend who was also out walking.  We decided to change our usual routes and walk together.  She shared with me some things on her heart, and I listened.  As we turned onto one street, we both inhaled the sweet fragrance of gardenias.  They were so overwhelmingly powerful, they hit the senses immediately!  We both commented on how wonderful the flowers smelled.

Then I began to think about what wonders of God I miss daily because of busyness, lack of appreciation, or lack of time.  How sad to miss something beautiful, wonderful, and amazing that God made just for us!

When was the last time you watched an ant crawl?  (My three-year-old keeps me accountable to this one!)  They are pretty amazing creatures to watch.  God makes flowers in all different shapes, colors, and scents.  He produces a variety of foods, each with a unique taste.  He placed planet Earth in the perfect position in our universe.  Any closer to the Sun, and we would burn up and any further away, we would freeze.  When water evaporates from the oceans, the salt stays behind, so rain falls as fresh water!  God created birds with hollow bones which helps their lift in flight.

Sitting on my kitchen counter is a Ladybug Land, and my kids and I  have observed the life cycle of ladybugs over the past couple of weeks.  They hatch from eggs into a larvae stage when they look like pieces of black rice with legs.  I was amazed to discover that ladybugs have a pupae stage where they cling to the side of their house and sit dormant for about five days.  When they emerge from the exoskeleton, they are the familiar looking adult ladybugs.  (For fun, up-close nature observation kits and activities, check out http://www.insectlore.com.)

I believe the wonder of wonders is human life.  Since we are made in God’s image, we are set apart as extra special!  There is nothing like holding a newborn baby and feeling her breath of life on your cheek.  The human body is absolutely amazing in how God created it to work.

The Bible declares in Psalm 111:2-3 “The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them.  His work is honorable and glorious.”  God’s creation will point you to His lovingkindness.  Praise Him!  Take time to notice God’s glory around you, and don’t miss the wonder!

 

Charm of Charleston May 21, 2010

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 1:57 pm

This past weekend my children and I headed south to spend a few days with my mom.  After finishing another school year, there was no better way to celebrate than to get away and spend time with family.  My niece celebrated her fourth birthday and had a big princess party.  I’d never seen so many princesses in one place!  Even Cinderella (one of my sister’s friends) made an appearance, and each girl had her picture taken with her.  One little girl asked Cinderella if she could come to her house!  Oh, the cuteness of four-year-olds!

Mom and I took one day to take the children to see the Angel Oak Tree on John’s Island.  It’s a magnificent tree, estimated to be between 300 and 400 years old.  It is 65 feet high, and its massive branches provide over 17,000 square feet of shade!  The kids were amazed at its “bigness!”

We headed to downtown Charleston for lunch at Fleet Landing.  I ordered a Fried Green Tomato BLT, and it was delicious!  I don’t think you’d find that on the menu in New York City!  That’s the charm of Charleston!  After lunch, we walked down to the waterfront to enjoy the sights and sea breezes.  Lindsay, Logan, and Luke loved playing in the water fountain!  What a joy to watch my children thrill in the moment of carefree childhood!

 

Sun and Shield Stability May 18, 2010

Filed under: Devotions — Michelle Ferguson @ 10:14 pm

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

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold, from those who walk uprightly.”  Psalm 84:11

The word “stable” is defined by Dictionary.com as “not likely to fall or give way, firmly established” and “resistant to sudden change or deterioration.”  Isn’t the security that stability offers something we all long for in our lives?  We want to be sure our spouse’s love will be forever, sure that our children will turn out well, sure of good health, and sure of our employment.  The world can sometimes leave us feeling empty, unfulfilled, and disappointed when our hopes for stability are dashed.  That’s when we must step outside of ourselves and into the shadow of the Almighty.  Only the Lord God can offer us the stability we seek.

The key verse tells us that God is a sun.  There is nothing in our physical world that is more sure than the sun.  It rises every morning in the east and sets every evening in the west.  We can count on it!  Even on cloudy days, the sun is still there.  I remember one time flying out of a New York airport in overcast weather and when the plane passed through the dark clouds on our ascent, the sun was shining bright and happy above!  Bathing in the sunlight, it was hard for me to even remember that we had actually left minutes earlier in rain!

As the sun is the source of light, God is our source of light.  Light scatters darkness and reveals the truth.  Think about it…if you go into your kitchen late at night and flip on the light, immediately the truth of that room hits you, whether it’s a sink full of dirty dishes, a bug crawling across the floor, or a neat and tidy space.  That light is going to clearly reveal what’s there.  That’s what Jesus does for us.  The light of his holiness reveals our sinfulness and reminds us to seek His forgiveness.  Like the sun, God is always there (even when we don’t see Him) and He is our light which provides truth, guidance, and wisdom.

God is also our shield.  A shield is an instrument of protection that is worn on the front of the body.  It protects the one behind it against arrows, swords, and other evil.  Like a shield, when we hide behind God, He will take the hits for us.  He allows nothing to happen to us outside of His will.  Everything that happens to us is filtered through His loving hands.  We can rest in the stability of knowing that God goes before us and He is with us (Deuteronomy 31:8).  We are not alone or defenseless when it comes to battling the things of the world because God is our shield, our defender and protector.  Even when bad things do happen to us, we have endless access to His provision, power, presence, and peace.

When we go through trials and losses, the best thing to do is examine ourselves in God’s light and hide ourselves in Him.  He will give to us His grace and glory and not withhold any good thing from us!  Now that’s Sun and Shield stability!

 

Eggplant Parmesan May 4, 2010

Filed under: Recipes Worth Sharing — Michelle Ferguson @ 4:13 pm

Sometimes I can get into a rut with what I make for dinner.  Spaghetti is my favorite stand-by…quick, easy, and everyone likes it!  I really do like trying new recipes and offering a variety of dishes to my family, however, time is an issue most nights!  I came across a recipe at Allrecipes.com for Eggplant Parmesan, and I changed it up a little.  It was a big hit with my family!  I really like it because the eggplant is not fried, therefore, not greasy.

No Frying Eggplant Parmesan

2 cups of Italian bread crumbs

1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/4″slices

4 eggs, beaten with 3 TBSP water

2 jars of Newman’s Own Marinara Sauce (probably won’t use quite all of second jar)

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine bread crumbs with 1/2 cup parmesan cheese in medium bowl.  Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, then in bread crumbs.  Place eggplant slices in single layer on greased baking sheet and bake 25 minutes until eggplant is golden brown.

Next, spread 1 cup of marinara evenly on bottom of 9 x 13 dish.  Layer half of the baked eggplant slices, then 1 cup marinara and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.  Repeat for another layer.  Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered an additional ten minutes.  Serves 6

Serve with a salad and bread!  Enjoy!