The Mommy Bloggy

Reflections of a Mother's Heart

Contentment vs. Comparison March 1, 2013

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 2:50 pm

Last week, after I picked up my daughter from her co-op classes, we stopped by Chick-fil-A to get the kids’ lunch to go.  I was using the last three of a stack of free chicken strips coupons we received from a sweet friend.  My kids knew the routine.  We would go in, order the free chicken strips, nothing more, and walk out.  At home, we would supplement lunch with water and fruit.  Easy lunch!  Inexpensive lunch!

However, on this particular day, Brad was home.  He had come home a day early from an out-of-town conference because the kids and I had experienced a water leak the night before.  In the midst of our water woes, I decided to order Brad and myself a Number One Combo.  Well, when the kids saw that, they suddenly were discontent!  They wanted fries.  They wanted soda.  They had always been so happy and thrilled to get chicken strips until….they compared “theirs” to “ours.”

Isn’t that when discontent sneaks in…when we compare ourselves to others?  This lunch incident provided me with a great opportunity to share with my kids how easily we become discontent when we make comparisons.  God does not want us to compare ourselves or our things to others.   He gives us what we need and we are blessed.  No need to crave more, covet more, or control more.

We are not born with contentment!  Don’t most newborns cry?  Contentment is learned, according to Paul who said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11).  And here was a man who knew suffering, hunger, and great need.  As we allow the Lord to be ruler of our lives and we trust Him to care for us and trust He knows best for us, we can learn to be content.  God will give you what you need for this moment in time.

“Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have” (Hebrews 13:5).  I think this verse sums it up perfectly!  And by the way, I did share my fries!

 

 

 

 

 

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Snow Tubing January 22, 2013

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 9:08 pm

Moonshine MountainOver the weekend, our family went snow tubing at Moonshine Mountain in North Carolina.  Since MM is open Friday through Sunday, my plan was to tube Friday and avoid the crowds.  Ha!  We showed up Friday set to tube (is that a verb?), and we were disappointed to find out they were closed!  The rain they had had the day before melted their snow, so they needed Friday night to make more.  So we returned Saturday morning for another go at it!  Brothers

By the time we parked, filled out our liability form, and stood in line, they had sold out of tubes, so we had a 45 minute wait.  That time was quickly passed with a tour through their small dinosaur park, a restroom break, and watching the snow tubers descend the massive hill.  When they called our name, the kids were so excited!  We got our tubes and dragged them up the hill on our own.  There was also a lift, but the line was long, so we thought we’d save time.  And I think we did save time, but the wait at the top was long, as only two of the three lanes were open (and not to mention that everyone in the surrounding three states was there!  Only kidding, but that’s what it seemed like!).  IMG_7226

All five of us went down together our first time in train-like fashion.  It was fast and fun and we laughed a lot!  On our second trip up the mountain, we took the lift!  We handed our tube’s leash to a worker who attached it to a pulley system, we sat in our tube and relaxed for the ride up the mountain.  We were only able to tube about six times due to our two hour time limit, but it gave the kids a great taste of winter fun.  I told my kids that when I was little and lived in Connecticut, my sister and I and our friends would go to the nearest hill in our neighborhood and spend all day sledding and sliding down what we called the Big Dipper.  And it was free! IMG_7233

It was a beautiful day for tubing, with blue skies and warm sunshine.  Luke was finally able to wear the pair of ski bibs I had bought for him on sale two years ago!  It will also probably be the last time he wears them!  It was a fun time, but I think if we go again, it will not be over a holiday weekend!  And I will call before we show up to make sure they are open!

 

Election Lap Book October 27, 2012

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 9:18 pm

Last week, we put aside our regular school lessons and worked on an Election Lap Book project.  Lap books are wonderful supplements to our home school lessons that we have used occasionally.  I purchased our curriculum download (suggested ages:  Grades 4-8)  for $8 from http://www.handsofachild.com/elections-curriculum.html.  

Lap books are high-interest, hands-on unit studies.  They are a 3D presentation of mini books and graphic organizers put together in a series of file folders.  I spent the weekend before our study, cutting, folding, gluing, and organizing the activities the kids would be working on.  I had each activity ready to go, placed inside a small plastic bag in order.  On previous lap books, I’ve had the kids do all the cutting and folding, but I found that took way more time!  With the prep work done, it was easy to just grab the next activity out of the bag, add the information to the paper, color it, and then attach inside the book.

Here are some of the highlights of what we learned:

  • The symbol of the donkey, representing the Democrats, was first used when Andrew Jackson ran for President and was called a donkey.  He liked it because it described his strong will, so the donkey symbol stuck!  Andrew Jackson became the first Democratic President.
  • Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President.
  • Elections are held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November because when the process was set up, most Americans were farmers and needed to wait until after harvest to make the day’s trip to the nearest polling place (hence, November).  Since Sunday was the day of rest and family worship, families headed to the polls on Monday, giving them a day to travel, then they voted on Tuesday before returning back home.
  • If electoral votes are tied between candidates, the House of Representatives chooses the President!

The kids learned new vocabulary words, conducted a voting survey among our adult friends, wrote their own campaign song and slogan, and came up with questions they could ask a presidential candidate if they had the chance to interview him or her.  On Monday night, we let Lindsay and Logan stay up to watch the last presidential debate.  It was a good opportunity to compare the two candidates and explain truth.  I saw the following on a friend’s facebook page, and I really like how well it sums up how I will vote, too:

“I will vote for the most pro-life candidate, because God hates the shedding of innocent blood (Prov.6:17).
I will vote for the most pro-Israel candidate, because God blesses those who bless Israel & curses those who don’t (Gen.12:3).
I will vote for the most pro-debt reduction candidate, because the borrower is servant to the lender (Prov.22:7).  I will vote for the most pro-work candidate because God says if a man not work, let him not eat (2Thess.3:10).  I will vote for the most pro-marriage candidate , because God is for marriage as defined in Genesis 2:24. I will vote for the candidate who most closely believes government’s purpose is to reward the good & punish the evil (Romans 13).  I will vote based as close as I can on God’s Word (2Tim.3:16). Knowing that whoever gets elected, God is the one who puts all men in authority (Dan.2:21).”

Brad and I plan to take our kids with us to the polls November 6th, as we always do, because our freedom to vote should be a family affair.  Our kids need to know how important it is that we participate in the say of who is to become our next president.  It’s a very big deal!  Join me in praying for our elections and Christians, go vote!

 

Keep Stacking Stones September 16, 2012

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 7:53 pm

A couple of weeks ago, we spent Labor Day weekend in the mountains.  Some friends blessed us tremendously with the use of their beautiful mountain cabin for four days!  I love getting away with my family!  What was extra-special was that we got to visit with Aunt Betty and Uncle Gene a couple of times while we were there!  We met them at our favorite pizza place in Waynesville and then spent a gorgeous evening watching the sunset over Lake Junaluska.  We met another time for a cook out on our screened-in porch, watching a thunder storm pass over the distant mountains.

Brad, the kids, and I spent time hiking to water falls, and even hiking a teeny tiny portion of the Appalachian Trail near the NOC in Nantahala Gorge.  We packed lots of picnics and ate wherever our day led us.  We spent one day exploring Gatlinburg, TN, where we played indoor miniature golf.  We also fell prey to the “fudge trap,” and bought over a pound of the butter and sugar concoction, including a slice of mint chocolate chip, caramel and sea salt, and chocolate raspberry!  On our way home from Gatlinburg, we pulled over to the side of the road to watch elk.  Then we explored the “Road to Nowhere,” which was really exciting. 

One morning, we set out to a waterfall to take the family Christmas picture.  You should just hear the groans and murmurs when I mention “it’s time to make the family Christmas photo!”  I hoped this year would be different!  When we arrived at the falls after a short hike, people were everywhere.  They just did not even consider that I wanted to take a family picture with no one else in it!  🙂  I decided we would wade into the river at the bottom of the falls and set up my tripod in the water to take our picture away from the people.  We did get our picture with no “extras” in the background, so you will see it in December, unless we happen to get another family photo this fall that we like better!  The picture in this post is not the Christmas photo!

As we were packing up to leave, the kids began playing in the water.  The boys tried to skip rocks across the water, and Logan stacked a small wall of stones underneath the surface of the clear water.  A few minutes later, Logan came to me upset saying, “Luke knocked over my stones!”  Seeing this as a good opportunity to preach a sermon, I mean, teach a lesson, I told Logan that his life will be filled with people who will “knock over his stones,” and what is important is how he responds to that.  As Christians, we cannot fight with hands or words to get vengeance or to try and right a wrong that’s been done to us.  We must pray, then allow the Lord to work on our behalf.  We are only responsible for what we say and do, not for the words and actions of others.  I explained that Logan must step up and be a man and handle life’s hardships with grace and forgiveness because that’s what Jesus would want.  I also encouraged him to keep stacking his stones.

I don’t know if he “got” all that, but hopefully it will be a lesson the Lord will bring back to his mind at another time in his life.  We all have had our stones knocked over at some time or another, but our Christian character is never more clear than how we respond in those times.

 

Making a Difference a World Away May 7, 2012

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 6:35 pm

I consider this little girl to almost be my own because I’ve grown to love her over the three years that we have been sponsoring her.  Estefani is a student privileged to be part of a program at a christian day care in Honduras where she is fed, loved, educated, and read Bible stories.

Five years ago, my husband and I visited the day care where she currently attends.  That trip to a third world country totally changed my life.  Honduras is a very poor country with very poor sanitation.  I was shocked to see people throwing their trash, literally bags of trash, into rivers and to drive by piles of garbage heaped on the streets with dogs pilfering through it.  The city we visited had its mountain sides dotted with shacks that the people called homes, most without running water.  I will never forget watching two children play with simple sticks and how happy they were.  I will never forget watching a 7 or 8 year old girl darting through traffic, asking stopped cars for money while her baby brother sat in the dirt on the side of the road.  Women and children are very commonly abandoned by their husbands or boyfriends.

The Lord put it on our hearts to sponsor one of the children at the day care and in a very small way make a difference in her life.  We have packed Christmas bags for her and sent school supplies.  On Brad’s last trip to Honduras, he actually got to meet Estefani,  and he called me on one of his visits at the day care, and I talked with her on the phone in my very limited Spanish!  She mostly just giggled!

Estefani is very blessed because she lives with both of her married parents, which is almost unheard of in Honduras!  We rejoiced with her as her family welcomed her new little brother into their family about a year ago.  We receive an update on her yearly, and with her most recent update this spring, we discovered that her family did not own a Bible.  I couldn’t believe it!   I ordered a Spanish children’s Bible for her and a Bible for her parents as well.  I inscribed the Bibles with their names, date, and wrote in Spanish that God loves them.  (There is a very cool website that translates English to Spanish and vice versa!)

We have friends at church who go to Honduras several times a year, and on their most recent trip last month, we asked them to hand deliver our Bibles to “our little girl.”  They did and snapped this picture of her.  My friend asked her if there was any message that Estefani wanted them to bring back to us.  She said, “Tell them I love them.”  How precious is that?!

You may think that a gift you send to another country or even another state for that matter doesn’t make an impact because you can’t see it with your own eyes, but it does make an impact.  Look at this precious smile!  Our prayers at night usually include Estefani.  We are also recently praying that the Lord would draw her into his word and her parents, too!

 

 

 

Cupcakes and Peas, an April Fool’s Dinner April 3, 2012

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 10:05 pm

When my children were itty bitty, I came across an idea for an April Fool’s Dinner from Family Fun magazine.  Well, this year I finally got around to trying it out.  Since April 1st was on a Sunday, it was a little more of a challenge for me because of our evening church schedule.  And also, since I do not normally cook on Sundays, I feared my kids would be suspicious of any kind of “formal” dinner.  Typically, we eat eggs and toast or popcorn on Sunday nights!  Yes, that’s really true!

I left church to go home and had about 30 minutes before Brad would arrive home with Lindsay and Logan.  Luke had come home with me and while he watched “Go, Diego, Go!,” I cooked up my April Fool’s tricks.

I served Cupcakes and Peas.  However, my cupcakes were actually meatloaf topped with colored mashed potatoes baked in tin muffin cups.  The peas were real because I could not find a “Peas and Carrots” candy mix in my limited time of looking.

By the time I had the cupcakes safely baking in the oven, Brad and the kids walked in the door.  I announced that I was cooking dinner and as it finished up, the kids could take their showers.  That gave me time to whip up the “frosting.”

Logan came to the table looking a little surprised that his mama would serve cupcakes for dinner, but he was all in!  Luke was thrilled!  I don’t think I fooled Lindsay for a minute, but maybe for a second I did!  Lindsay ate her cupcake first while the boys ate their peas.  She didn’t say a word until Logan asked what they tasted like.  She replied, “Meatloaf!”  Confused, Logan took a bite of his and the truth was out!  I had really pulled one over on him!

Then I sent them upstairs, telling them I had something else to serve.  I plopped vanilla ice cream with caramel topping on plates and served with forks.  It was supposed to be mashed potatoes with gravy, but I told Brad they would never fall for it.  Those kids KNOW their ice cream!

Sure enough, they came to the table and immediately recognized their “mashed potatoes and gravy” as dessert!  They were very happy and we all had lots of laughs over that dinner!

The meatloaf was really delicious, so I’ve posted the recipe below.  Even my Lindsay, who does not care for mashed potatoes, ate them on top of this meatloaf!  That is saying something!

 

Catawba Indian Reservation March 16, 2012

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 1:23 pm

Brad took the day off yesterday and we visited the Catawba Indian Reservation in Rock Hill, SC.  The Catawba Indian Nation is the only Indian tribe in South Carolina recognized by the federal government.  The word Catawba means “a variety of purplish grape,” and the Catawba Indians were named after the Catawba River. 

We wandered through the small museum in the cultural center.  There was a hand-carved black bowl on display that also had a black snake carved into the top and side of it.  This was a storage bowl for food.  Carving the snake into the bowl tricked any rodents who might want to steal the food for themselves into thinking the snake was real!  As a result, their food was safe!  Another item of interest on display was a Wedding Jug that had two necks.  The bride and groom would each sip from it, then throw it over their shoulders.  Depending upon the number of pieces the jug broke into, they believed that determined the number of children the happy couple would have.

After a picnic lunch of more dessert than nutrition, we hiked on a trail leading from the cultural center to the Catawba River.  Along the way, Brad spotted a fallen tree and led us all off the trail to walk across it.  It was a rotten tree, and I was a little concerned it would fall under our weight, but we survived!  As we neared the river, we could hear the sound of rushing water.  It reminded me of our time last summer with Aunt Betty tubing down the Davidson River! 

We also saw a replica of a typical Indian home made of wooden planks and red clay, a dugout (canoe), and a round house with a garden.  Before the days of scarecrows, the Indians built stands where the women and children would stand watching for wildlife invading their gardens.  If one was spotted, they were chased away when the Indians threw stones at them!

It was fun, but we all broke a sweat.  Lindsay reminded me that it’s still officially winter, but it was 84 degrees!  With a stop in the gift shop for small souvenirs of our day, we headed to the car for home, with the air conditioning full blast!