When Josh and I arrived it was already double digit sub-zero temperatures with the wind chill factor. However we had about four layers of clothes and were prepared for the evening. When we arrived we stopped at the concession stand to get a hot dog and a pop. By the time I walked from the concession stand and found our seats my diet Coke had already started to freeze! It was cold and so was the Bears offense almost the whole game. But our whole section literally stood and cheered for the Bears for all four quarters and then the overtime. And when Robbie Gould hit that field goal to win it in sudden death overtime to beat the Packers we all went crazy. We were giving high fives and hugs to every person around us. It was close to going to church! It was great game and a great time and a great win. Go Bears!
I want to also give a shout out and a big thank you very much to Jim Woolums, my facebook friend (and Packer fan!) who gave me the tickets.
About 5,000 people including Josh, myself and Caleb all ran the Naperville 5k Turkey Trot. It is really more a of a party than it is a race...and we definitely had a good time! As you can see from the photo one of us (Josh) is the real runner, who despite the 30 degree weather wore running shorts. The guy in the middle is just trying to keep up with the little guy on the right (Caleb) who ran a new personal best. It's was a great way to start Thanksgiving!
While the boys and I prepared for Turkey Day by going for a run, the girls were resting up at home because their race is tomorrow at the mall!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and to yours.
Congrats to my oldest son Josh who this weekend made the frosh/soph all-conference cross-country team. The 740 miles Josh logged during summer training paid off for him this weekend as he finished 13th in conference (top 25 make all-conference) and tied his personal record for a 3-mile run of 17:08. And congrats to the rest of the Neuqua Valley frosh/soph team that won the conference meet.
The Neuqua Valley cross country team has one of the best programs in the country. Last year the varsity team won the Illinois State Championship and the Nike Team National Title and is currently ranked 7th in the nation this year.
For the last four years, at the end of the summer and before school starts Caleb and I spend all day together. It's become a tradition that we spend all day at Six Flag's Great America and then go out for ice cream. Today was that day and Caleb and I hung out all day! The picture is our last stop to get chocolate shakes. (I was supposed to be at the Willow Leadership Summit Debrief today, but I decided to skip out. To cover my butt I sent Bill Hybels an e-mail explaining our tradition and he shot me an e-mail back saying, "Good for you, love your kid!" That was cool.) We had a great time! I think we rode on every roller coaster but one and because the lines were so short we were able to get off a roller coaster and then get back on! It was a blast. I love having kids. On our way home I told Caleb, "thanks for being a kid." Then he said, "thanks for being a kid on the inside!" :) This is one of my favorite days of the year!
I know it sounds cliche, but I really can't believe that 18 years have gone this fast! On Friday we drove up to Grand Rapids and on Saturday we said good-bye to our oldest as she started college at Cornerstone University. We got her moved into her room, ate dinner in the cafeteria and then went with her to a dedication service. Dr. Joseph Stowell, the new President told students the most important person they will meet in their four years of college is not new friends or even a potential mate, but Jesus. After his message he had all the students come forward while the parents prayed over them. Then he asked all the students to kneel during a prayer of dedication. The service was moving and gave both Sue and I confidence about Amy's choice for school.
Was it hard to say good-bye? Yes. Back when Amy was a preschooler, at bedtime I would snuggle her and tell her stories and then hold her little face and say, "you know I'm crazy about you." I still am! So, yes it was hard.
Was it hard to say good-bye? On the other hand, no. I feel a tremendous amount of confidence in her ability and in her willingness to relentlessly follow Jesus. She is ready for this next adventure and she is in a good place.
The goal of every parent should be to raise and release responsible adults who love and follow Jesus. Amy's first day at Cornerstone University was a big day for Amy and for us.
We just got back from our family vacation to Wisconsin. It was nothing extravagant, but it did include a couple days at the Wilderness Lodge, which is an awesome water park in the Dells and then a few days up in beautiful Door County. I had a good time and I think all five Ferguson's would say they had a good time. Why? One of the secrets to good family vacation is something my wife Sue starting doing several years ago before each trip. We would gather the whole family together and go over all the possible activities and events that fit within our budget for the upcoming vacation. Then we would ask each member of our family (parents and kids) "what is your #1?" And each of us got to say what would be our #1 activity or event while on vacation. Then we made sure that every person in our family got to do their #1. I think it has been one of the secrets for us having terrific family vacations.
Had a great day on the fourth! Josh, myself and Caleb (in picture) started our day by running the Freedom Four Mile. Josh was holding back (advice from his cross country coach) and still ran it under 25 minutes and was among the top finishers among 900 runners. This was Caleb (10) first race, so we ran the whole thing together and we finished without stopping at 37:15. Not bad for his first race. After the race we went over to Jon's house for a brunch. Jon and Lisa always do a great job with this event. After that we headed over to Ribfest for ribs and join about 75,000 other people rocking out to REO Speedwagon. The concert was both fun and funny! All in all it was a great fourth of July!
If I wasn't doing what I do for a living I would would be coaching. I love sports; love working kids and I love what sports can teach them. Our little league team won it's last five games and earned a second seed in the All-City Playoffs. This is a picture of Caleb at bat in his last regular season game and in the background is me in the dugout.
I love Chicago! One of the Chicago summer events that I love most is Taste of Chicago. We took the whole gang to the Taste yesterday and we tried a little bit of everything. Here is Sue eating some shark. It tastes like chicken...just not as good.
So here is the update: my red '94 Paseo just turned over 100,000 miles and the first rust holes above the tires just showed up! The good news it is still running and my goal is to double that! (Miles, not rust.)
12 years ago my daughter Amy graduated from afternoon Kindergarten and started first grade which meant going to school all-day. That was when we started going out to breakfast together once a week.
When we first started we would always go to Einstein Bagels and she would insist on sitting on the high chairs with the high tables. She was so cute! She has always been cute! For a couple years we frequented Caribou Coffee and we would try to get a seat near the fire place in the winter or on the comfy couch the rest of the year. The last two years it has been nothing but Starbucks...partly because we both love it and partly because she works there and gets us a partner discount!
I don't remember a single early morning trip where the conversation was so important that it permanently changed either of our lives. But I do remember lots of talk about school, friends, the future, God, family, favorite music, lacrosse, coffee-snobbery, doubts, church, colleges, dating, the poor, how to make a difference, her "junior high girls", Mexico and Rwanda trips, jobs, money, family, owning your "stuff", saving for college, grades, graduating early and more. On second thought, maybe the culmination of all those conversations did change our lives. And maybe that is how love, community and a father-daughter relationship grow - one conversation at a time. I am so grateful for those early morning conversations and each of those breakfast trips with Amy. It's one of those things I know I will never regret.
This week we left our house a little early and made our last breakfast trip of the school year. As we got into the car Amy turned on her favorite country music station (she didn't get that from me!). When she turned it up it was Trace Adkins singing "You're Gonna Miss This". It's a song about watching your little girl grow up and the chorus goes: "You're gonna miss this; You're gonna want this back; You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast. These are some good times; So take a good look around; You may not know it now, but you're gonna miss this." I could feel my throat drying up and my eyes swelling. Yeah, it's a pretty sappy country song, but I was feeling pretty sappy. The picture at the top of this post is our last breakfast trip - I am gonna miss this.
Yesterday I went to Josh's track meet to watch him run the 1-mile. He is a freshman and set a new PR by running it in 5:03. My first reaction was pride as I heard the announcer say, "Josh Ferguson finishes with a new personal record". My second reaction was, "I will never again be able to keep up with him in a 5k run".
It's a rite of passage when a son is able to beat his dad in some kind of athletic competition. I'm sure their must be a name for it, but all I know is it is a weird combination of aging and pride. I remember the first time I beat my dad in basketball. We were playing in the driveway at our house and my dad's assortment of hook shots were not falling and somehow I beat him to 21. He was angry. My dad almost never gets angry.
So this week week was some kind of marker event in my relationship with Josh. He is faster than me. He is a lot faster than me; and he probably has been for awhile. Of course, I did beat him and a friend in basketball 21-10 earlier this week in our drive way. So I'm not completely over the hill!
This weekend we finished up our series Crazy Little Thing Called Love and The Big Idea was Crazy Love. We have spent the last three weeks in Ephesians 5 talking first about the Crazy Cycle; then what a man needs - Crazy Respect and finally today what a woman needs - Crazy Love. It has been a phenomenal series with a great response. So far we are averaging about 900 more people this year during the month of March than last year! Good stuff!!
But the real highlight for me was that this weekend I got to teach with my wife Sue. She did a phenomenal job and heard from a lot of people, "you finally got the right Ferguson up there!" We sold out of CD's not only for this weekend, but also the whole series. I have also had requests for the manuscript of the talk that Sue and I did so if you would like to download it, click HERE.
Congrats to my daughter Amy on getting a Leadership Scholarship!! She got a call from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan yesterday telling her that of 200 applicants she was 1 of 6 that they choose to give the Leadership Scholarship. She already was awarded an Academic Scholarship so good job, Amy!!