The Mommy Bloggy

Reflections of a Mother's Heart

Cleaning Out December 13, 2011

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:03 pm

This past weekend, my eleven-year-old daughter Lindsay and I had the great blessing of helping a single mom in her twenties clean out her little apartment.  This precious young mom has four small boys, a 4 yr old, twins 19 months old, and an infant!  And I thought I was busy!  A friend of mine from church sent out a desperate plea for cleaning help to assist this mom she has connections with through volunteer work my friend does with a local women’s and children’s shelter.

This was not your basic cleaning job…our task was to literally clean out her apartment.  This mom is a hoarder.  I asked Lindsay if she wanted to go with me. She likes cleaning out and organizing as much as I do, so she eagerly said, “Yes!”  She and I got up early Saturday morning and went to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast before heading over to the apartment.  I tried to prepare Lindsay ahead of time by explaining what a hoarder is so she wouldn’t be shocked.

I’m not so sure my words completely prepared her for what we saw.  When we walked in the door, we saw Mom sitting on the sofa with her boys all around her.  I greeted her and introduced myself.  Then Lindsay and I headed to her master bedroom where we had been assigned to work with three other ladies.  As we made our way down the tiny hall, we couldn’t help but notice the clutter, trash, and piles of stuff everywhere.  I don’t know that I can even begin to describe what I saw, but it would be like something you would see on the T.V. show “Hoarding:  Buried Alive.”

The floor of the bedroom was absolutely covered (you couldn’t even see the floor) in, you name it:  broken glass, pill bottles, soiled diapers, missing caps to everything, earrings, clothes, lotion, dental floss, shoes, coins, forks, old fast food wrappers (some with moldy food still in them), broken DVDs, sticky candy, crumbs (like from an entire box of Corn Flakes), books, toys, papers, dirty dishes, etc.  At first I wondered, “How can anyone live like this?”  To me, a chaotic environment is not relaxing at all, but then I thought, “To this family, this IS normal.”  The house really was a safety and sanitary hazard to the children, and that’s why we were there.  Mom had gotten to the point of being completely overwhelmed with the state of her home and recognized her need for help.  She wanted us there which was wonderful!

We had instructions to throw out the trash, bag up the clothes, and keep a lookout for her food stamps, social security cards, and shoes for her kids to put on.  We started separating the clothes by size, but it didn’t take us long to discover that that task was too much for the day, so we just bagged all the clothes together.  All bathroom items were put into the bathroom, books were put together, toys put in bins for the boys (whenever we took a new found toy to the living room where the boys were, they got so excited).  Shoes were piled into one overflowing bin, dishes and unopened cans of food and formula were returned to the kitchen, floors swept, bag after bag of trash taken outside to the dumpster, spilled lotion and powder cleaned off the floor, furniture moved and cleaned from under and behind, and hangers untangled and organized.  And that was five of us in just the master bedroom!  There was a kitchen crew, a boys’ bedroom crew, a play room crew, and a living/dining room crew.  A similar scenario played out in each room.  But I also noticed another scenario playing out…the ladies from our church were fellowshipping as the joy of the Lord flowed over into each room.

This project was an amazing thing to be a part of.  I was so blessed and walked away being so thankful for everything, especially my happy, secure childhood, my parents, my home, my husband, and my children!  The Lord has given me so much compassion for this mom and I cannot stop thinking about and praying for she and her boys.  At the end of the day when every room had been cleaned out and organized, Mom was thrilled.  She walked around her place saying, “I can’t believe this is my home!”

Mom will soon be matched with a mentor to keep her accountable, and I pray she meet Jesus and begin making wise choices.  I pray that the lives of her boys will be blessed.  A cleaning crew can show up, work its magic, and leave, but unless a change takes place in mom’s heart, things will revert to her “normal.”  Please pray for her.  Only God can clean us to the point of being white as snow!


New Cookie Recipe December 11, 2011

Filed under: Recipes Worth Sharing — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:09 pm

I am going to a cookie/ornament exchange tonight, and my hostess encouraged everyone to try a new cookie recipe this year.  I found a recipe for Chocolate Truffle Cookies that caught my attention and taste buds at What Megan’s Making dot com via Pinterest.

I found a little extra time in my day yesterday to make them, and what can I say?  They are heavenly!  A melt-in-your-mouth delicacy!  If you like chocolate, these will satisfy your craving!

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

1 1/4 cups butter

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups chocolate chips

1/3 cup cocoa powder (for rolling)

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar (for rolling)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Sift in cocoa powder and salt, and mix well.  Beat in sour cream and vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low, blend in flour.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the cocoa powder and place on baking sheet.  If the dough is too hard to handle, refrigerate for 30-60 minutes before shaping into balls.  Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are just barely set.  Let cool on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cookies have reached room temperature, after about 30-45 minutes, roll in confectioner’s sugar until completely coated.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 4 ½ dozen.


Workshop December 7, 2011

Filed under: Parenting with Purpose — Michelle Ferguson @ 9:15 pm

I’ve been reading Dr. James Dobson’s “Bringing Up Girls,” and it’s been quite enlightening.  I think it’s a great book for moms of boys, too!  In it, Dobson discusses the importance of parents knowing what their girls (and boys) are thinking and staying connected with them emotionally.  He says, “Your children’s successes or failures in many of life’s endeavors will depend on the quality of the relationships you share during their childhood years” (p.60).  The best way to build that bond of security and love is by spending time together.

This is not a new idea for me, but even as a home school mom, I have to be intentional about spending time with each of my three children individually.  Everything we do is together, and that is not a bad thing!  However, I believe I must have that quality one-on-one time with each child.  With a constant flow of laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, paying bills, cleaning, errands, church commitments, and play dates and other activities, that one-on-one time won’t just happen.  I must plan it!

So today, I began something with my children we have named Workshop.  After school work was finished for the day, I took each child for some individual time on an activity of his/her choice.  Luke was first, and he and I made homemade play dough and cut out shapes, cookies, spaghetti, and even filled a few tooth cavities!  It was fun, and we both enjoyed our time together.

Then Lindsay and I made Turkish Delight, a candy first made in Turkey about 500 years ago.  It was an activity included in our home school lessons several weeks ago that we’ve not had time to do.  One of the ingredients was lemon rind, so I was able to show Lindsay how to get the rind from a fresh lemon.  She was disappointed that our candy has to set in the refrigerator overnight before we roll it in powdered sugar.  I think she was looking forward to a treat right away!

Logan wanted me to teach him how to play a song on the piano (about one of only three I know!), so I sat down with him and showed him the first part of the song.  He enjoyed that uninterrupted time, and the smile on his face was worth it all!

With all three, I spent about an hour and 15 minutes.  Time well spent, I would say!  I’d like to do this at least twice a week with them, but it does depend on the week.  Some ideas we’ve come up with to do together are:  take a walk, read books, play a game, talk, color, make a craft, style hair, do our nails, research a topic of interest, etc.

I really want my children to know that they can come and talk to their dad and me about anything because we have spent time building a relationship of trust and respect.  When I think about it, that’s how God feels about us as His children, too!