The Mommy Bloggy

Reflections of a Mother's Heart

P2P Getaway Weekend July 23, 2012

Filed under: Parenting with Purpose — Michelle Ferguson @ 5:39 pm

My twelve-year-old daughter, Lindsay, and I just went away on a Passport2Purity weekend the beginning of July.  Dennis and Barbara Rainey are the authors of this biblically-based program, and as the parents of six children themselves, they have experience!  Passport2Purity is a helpful tool used by moms and daughters or dads and sons to share some of life’s important issues that adolescents face, including the sex talk.  The overall emphasis is more on maintaining purity in every way, not just maintaining a virgin status.  The program is very well done, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

You can use the program with multiple children and for boys and girls (you would just have to order another passport and child’s journal for an additional child).  They recommend planning a weekend like this for your child  between the ages 9 and 13, but highly recommend doing it before the teenage years.
P2P is a set of CD’s, parent book, passport (that you present to the child at the end), and a child’s journal.  There are a total of 5 sessions you will listen to on the CD’s.  The weekend schedule is laid out well, so you know what you are doing and when.  Basically, Friday night contains 2 sessions (first one begins in the car as you drive to your destination), and the child uses his or her journal to fill in the blanks.  Each session contains a special project which is fun, hands-on, and applies to the lesson.  (This does require prep work on your part, so I recommend you review the parent book a minimum of 2 weeks prior.  Also, both parents write a letter to the child and this requires prep work.)

On Saturday morning you will listen to Sessions 3 and 4, and session 3 contains the sex talk (I recommend you listen to Session 3 specifically before the weekend so you know what he’s going to say!).  Then Saturday afternoon, you plan a fun activity to do.  Lindsay and I had a pedicure and went shopping! Session 5 is done late Saturday afternoon and you present a gift you’ve bought (Bible, jewelry, etc.).  I presented Lindsay with a sterling silver purity ring from her daddy and me.  Afterwards, we went out to dinner to celebrate at a very nice restaurant (a restaurant without a play place!).
It was definitely a memorable weekend, and her tears near the end of the weekend showed me that this had made a profound impression upon her heart.  I loved that special time with her, and I think she will always remember it.  Pour lots of prayer into the weekend ahead of time that the Lord would prepare your heart  and your child’s.

 

Bingo at RMH July 5, 2012

Filed under: Parenting with Purpose — Michelle Ferguson @ 5:25 pm

My family volunteered Monday night to lead Bingo at the Ronald McDonald House in Charlotte.  We arrived a little early, so we were given a tour by another House volunteer.  This RMH has been open for only a year and is absolutely gorgeous, boasting 35,000 square feet of living space and 28 lovely rooms!  From the huge fish tank in the reception area, the cozy fireplace living room groupings with large flat screen tv’s, and the beautiful commercial-size kitchen to the play room for little ones, laundry room, and teen room complete with movies, computers, and games, this house has it all.  Brad commented, “This is the nicest place I hope I never have to stay.”

With different activities throughout the week for guests, Monday nights are Bingo nights.  We spread the prizes across a table and added some prizes of our own that we had brought (candy bars).  Seven guests played with us, each of our kids taking turns to spin the numbers and call them out.  The guests had a lot of fun, even getting a friendly competition going! 

Here is Luke calling out the numbers, confirming with Dad first, as he practices saying double digits!

I really enjoyed this opportunity because the Ferguson Five could participate together!  The RMH has lots of volunteer jobs, and we plan to go back as part of the Cookie Crew beginning in September.  The RMH has a cookie crew come in every day and make fresh baked cookies for their guests.  We will get to make and bake homemade chocolate chip cookies in their beautiful kitchen!  What  a blessing to make cookies and love on others!

I encourage you to volunteer with your children in your community.  There are lots of places to start:  soup kitchens, nursing homes, clothing closets, pregnancy centers, food pantries, or pet shelters.  It’s easy to send a check to your favorite charity or organization, but working side-by-side your children in an atmosphere of giving back is priceless!  They are learning life skills and learning that putting others first is very rewarding.  Here is a great article on volunteering with your children for further information and tips:  http://www.compassionatekids.com/volunteering.shtml

 

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!

 

Wii Free July 25, 2011

Filed under: Parenting with Purpose — Michelle Ferguson @ 7:14 pm

Back at the beginning of the summer, I sat my children down and told them that we were not going to allow them to play Wii or DS games for the whole summer.  I explained that their daddy and I were not taking them away as a punishment, but rather as a way to encourage them to find other things to do (that is,  more creative things to do) to entertain themselves.  I had noticed that my boys, especially, would tune out my voice when they were wrapped up in an electronic game.  One had a hard time making eye contact with me when being spoken to, and I found that disturbing because he sure could focus on a game!  I really felt like a Wii and DS fast would be a good thing, as I was seeing some signs of these games becoming “idols” in my children’s lives.

As parents, when we see our children loving something too much, elevating something too highly, or spending too much time with something, we must point these things out to them and help them recognize these toys, games, or activities as idols.  Anything that captures our love and attention above our love and attention for the Lord is an idol!  Beware, they are everywhere!

Anyway, as you can imagine, my children (again, especially the boys) could not believe what I had just declared for the summer.  Their complaint was that it was summer and that was the best time to play!  I actually thought that was a pretty good argument, but it didn’t move me enough to revoke our new rule.  For the first two or three days, it was hard because playing Wii and DS games was so much a part of their routine, I think more so than they even realized, but with time, it did get better!

I encouraged them to play outside, read books, and play quietly together.  Here are some things they found on their own to do:  met a teenage neighbor boy and played basketball with him, played bike mechanic in the garage, dug holes outside in our field, read books, played Legos, played board games, made cookies, folded origami paper.  I also kept them busy with $1 movies once a week, our local library story time once a week, trips to the pool and water park, and play dates with friends.

There is so much to do without the noise and arguing that typically is associated with electronic games in my house!  My children are playing together and learning to enjoy the company of each other.  They have not even asked recently to play Wii or DS.  However, the other night at dinner my boys were talking about when they would get their game privileges back and assumed it would be when we start school, which is in only two weeks.  I reminded them that summer officially ends September 22nd!

 

 

 

Bath Tub Geography May 29, 2011

Filed under: Parenting with Purpose — Michelle Ferguson @ 6:55 pm

Our home school curriculum (My Father’s World) puts a lot of emphasis on geography.  My kids and I have mapped routes of brave explorers, drawn the continents, labeled the Roman Empire, and memorized the major bodies of water and countries of the Middle East.

To encourage continuous review of this information, I bought a shower curtain called “The World” at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (with my great little coupon that comes in the mail).  It’s a clear curtain with a colorful map of all seven continents  with major cities, countries, states, and oceans labeled.

I hung it in my kids bathroom behind my cute themed fabric shower curtain.   So when you look in the bathroom, you don’t see “The World” and occupants of the shower have privacy that an otherwise clear shower curtain would not provide!  “The World” curtain acts as our shower liner and is hung so that when my kids are in the shower/tub, the map is facing them (it is backwards if you are outside the tub).

This gives my kids something to look at, memorize, and study while they lather up and rinse off.  (I am one for multi-tasking!)  Lindsay showed Luke one night where one of our missionary friends was traveling, and now Luke (at age 4) can locate Ethiopia!  I was able to show my little Luke where his Nana and Papa have just gone on their vacation.  I showed him where Nana and Papa live in South Carolina and where they flew to Boston and their trip up into Canada.  My mom and sister spent a few days last week in Texas, and I showed Luke where the plane took them from South Carolina across several states to the big state of Texas.  Then I asked him to show me where they went, and he could!

Bath time is also a great time to pray for missionaries!  We have several sets of friends serving in various countries around the world.  Showing the kids on the bath tub map where they serve and remembering to pray for them can keep our children mindful of others.

It really is amazing what kids can soak up in the tub with more than just their sponges!  We’re all about good, clean fun!

 

Just say “No!” October 20, 2010

Filed under: Parenting with Purpose — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:12 pm

Since this conversation has come up between my friends and myself quite a bit over recent months, I thought I would take time to make my thoughts into a blog post.  I was talking with a home schooling friend yesterday who told me she feels very overwhelmed trying to keep up with two different curriculums.  Another friend confessed that her children’s extra curricular activities have stressed her.  I, myself, have felt overwhelmed at times with all that we do.  I home school my children, but I often find that we are not at home!

It made me think:  “Why do we, as moms, do this to ourselves and to our children?”  Sure, we want our children exposed to all sorts of things for the sake of being well-rounded, especially when they are home schooled.  We want to make sure they are not social misfits (ha ha)!  So we sign them up for church activities, volunteer opportunities, preschool, ballet, piano, guitar, horse back riding lessons, art lessons, cheer leading, soccer, football, baseball, basketball, tae kwon do, archery, foreign language clubs, chorus, cooking classes, ice skating lessons, and swim team.  No wonder our kids are frazzled, ill behaved, and falling asleep in the car between activities!  No wonder mom is stressed out, emotionally, physically, and financially!

I am guilty as charged!  Over the summer, I attended a Classical Conversations home school conference, and walked away with one truth that has totally  impacted my life.  “Our children are souls created in the image of God, not products to be measured.”  Wow!  If we daily made the choice to view our children as souls created in the image of God, this would revolutionize our parenting and our priorities!

Our children’s spiritual development should be our number one priority.  How do we nuture their spirits?  We spend time with them!  If we are going to spend quality time with them, we need to learn to just say “No!” to too many outside commitments.  Extra curricular activities are good, but balance is an absolute must!  Sometimes saying “No” means saying “No” to good things.  However, saying “No” can bring freedom, the freedom to spend more time with your children!

How do you spend time together?  My daughter and I do a Bible study typically on Sunday afternoons.  My children and I read out loud (some of my favorite times!), bake, and volunteer together.  Quite often, my husband and I will take our children to local parks and museums.  My kids love a good picnic and actually had one on our front porch this week!  Spending time together strengthens our relationship and allows natural conversation about life and the Lord to happen.

This fall, we have allowed our children one extra curricular activity outside of school and church.   My boys play soccer and Lindsay takes riding lessons.  In addition to their school and church activities, we keep busy, but not too busy for time together at home.  I have discovered that, as Mom, I am the one who needs to protect my children’s schedules.  We may think we can do it all, but it’s just not reality.  If we are honest, I believe we sometimes have our children in so many activities because that’s what we want!  Take time and ask your children what they want to do and listen to them.  Be picky about who gets to set your schedule.  When you turn your children over to coaches and other teachers, you lose say in your schedule.  Ask God to reveal to you your children’s gifts, talents, and interests and then focus on those.  Try different activities at different seasons.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 declares “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  God is telling us to teach our children about Him and His word.  We do this at home, on walks, lying down and rising up.  We have to spend time together in order to teach and to nurture the souls God has entrusted to us.  It’s okay to just say “No!”

 

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!