Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Lessons from Aslan April 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 2:06 am

I’m reading The Horse & His Boy by CS Lewis with the boys and we are on the last chapter. I am so not a crier but this book keeps bringing me to tears. I think it is my favorite of The Chronicles of Narnia so far. I read them as a child but rereading them as an adult is a beautiful experience.

All through the journey the characters take, they continually run into lions. Eventually it is revealed that it was one single lion the whole time, and it turns out the Lion was Aslan. The mighty Aslan explains He was always there walking with them and that so many of the difficult and painful things that happened were caused by Him….but He gently reveals why some of those things happened. How there was a greater purpose for their good…and it reveals His kindness that was so misunderstood.

They ask for more details about other people and Aslan explains, “I am telling you your story, not theirs. No one is told any story but their own.”

It was just SUCH a beautiful and tender reminder to me that sometimes the very wounds I cry over were meant for my good and I was lovingly wounded toward a greater purpose. Reminded to trust His heart for me….He is with me. And reminded to not fret about other people’s journeys or even understanding. He doesn’t want me to compare my path to theirs.

What I understand and think I know with my limited vision and insight, might be totally different than the reality that is known with the whole picture.

Trusting that HIS heart and desire is for my good….viewing what I feel and what I see in my circumstances through the lens of His love for me…THAT brings me great peace and security. ūüôā


Seasons…shifting, seashells and surfing September 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 4:22 am
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I’m in the mood to put down some of my random thoughts. So this is your warning that this post is full of randomness:)

I am finally old enough to begin to appreciate seasons and the predictability of some of the things they bring.  Fall brings cooler weather (eventually), school days, stricter schedules (heaven help us), football, Halloween, pumpkin spice lattes and did I mention football?

I have to admit though that it is hard to not be sad waving goodbye to sweet summer:(  It was a good one for the Chapman clan!  We had so many fun days like this:


There is no place I would rather be!

And celebrating with friends like this…ImageAnd enjoying road trips…


And I loved my leisurely mornings…


And the end of summer means saying an extended “see ya later” to these BFFs:(…


And got into mischief like this…who knew pecan juice from unripened pecans would stain hands and faces for almost two weeks?…not this girl!


We enjoyed lots of stay-up-late fun family times…

ImageBUT just as certainly as summer was A MA AZING…there is a purpose for this next season too.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3:1

I know this is Truth.  While we wait: we work, we live, we pray, we laugh, we praise, we grow, we serve and we beg God to fulfill His purpose in us during this season that we may bring HIM great glory!

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts. Isaiah 26:8

So that is kind of where I’m at. ¬†Last weekend Mark encouraged me to slip away on Saturday and spend the day on the beach. ¬†I absolutely love to be there with my boys…but I also love to just sit and listen to the waves and dig my toes in the sand. ¬†It truly is the place I feel closest to the Lord. ¬†I found this great stretch of the beach where apparently everyone comes to surf. ¬†There were about thirty people out there surfing. ¬†From about 9 year olds to mid-20s. ¬†But then there was one man, who had to be mid-fifties at least. ¬†I watched him for the longest time. ¬†He was loving it….and you could tell he really knew how to surf. ¬†He was so good. ¬†He would go pretty far out and straddle his board and just wait. ¬†He was so content watching the horizon. ¬†Apparently he would see a good wave coming from pretty far out and then he would just wait….patiently…he would shift slightly…waiting for just the right moment…and then the wave would catch him as he lay on his belly on his board and every time, just when it looked like it was too late, he would pop up to standing and ride the wave across and in. ¬†It was so cool! ¬†I took this picture of him in the white shirt facing the water and watching for the right wave…Image

That is how I want to be.  Trusting that the wave WILL come.  Ready, expectant, trusting and anticipating that what is coming is going to be good and exhilarating and maybe even the greatest ride of my life!  I need to be ready though and let it pick me up and just keep my balance while the Creator of the whole universe controls the wave and the ride.

One of my favorite, favorite things at the beach are the little different colored shells, a certain kind of tiny clam or bivalve/donax I guess, that dig themselves into the sand as the waves come in and out. ¬†The boys and I usually collect them in a bucket with a little sand and water. ¬†We love to collect them and compare all the beautiful colors and color combinations and then release them back into the water before we leave. ¬†And I love how often in the late afternoon there seems to be just an abundance of them! ¬†I was trying to take pictures of them with my phone and finally someone came up and asked me what in the world I was doing?! ūüôā


Can you tell how many there were?! ¬†And that picture totally doesn’t do it justice. ¬†I guess it just amazes me that the Lord made ALL of those seashells with such amazing colors, and detail and cared enough to create such beauty. ¬†He numbers the sand on the seashore…and loves me intimately. ¬†It amazes me…I suppose looking at those little shells that find life in the sand and looking out at the expanse of the massive ocean puts things into perspective for me:) ¬†Sometimes I just need that.

Okay last randomness. ¬†Read this quote by Beth Moore from her study on James this summer. ¬†I’ve been chewing on it for about two months and I still have more to glean…hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!

“…the point is not just getting us into our proverbial lands of promise where we bear much fruit. ¬†The point is developing the spiritual muscle on our way so once we receive it we are strong enough to keep it. The hardest part of possessing the land is defending it. ¬†A person has hardly begun to have a real fight on her hands until she starts serving in her full-throttle effectiveness. ¬†She who proves a threat earns an enemy you can bet will do everything he can to make her sorry. ¬†Nothing in the visible realm is a greater reality than the unseen battle raging over our heads.” ¬†Beth Moore pg 164

Hmmm…lots to ponder. ¬†Praying we build some muscle in this season:) ¬†You with me?


Summer lovin’ August 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 1:23 am
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It has been FOREVER ¬†since I have posted here. ¬†This blog is supposed to be more about life with my boys, kind of a digital scrapbook…but I have been doing a lousy job. ¬†My other blog (boy I sound like a blog nerd) is supposed to be focused on the adoption journey. ¬†I have kind of a one focus/obsessive personality so I have to really try hard to not be mentally and emotionally distracted by the “wait” and miss out on the fun and joy of living each day with my fellas:)


So this summer has been fun….full of beach trips, lots of trips to the YMCA outside pool, dreaded afternoon reading time:), spending time with friends that are moving away:(, an archery class at Bass Pro Shops, growing our tomato plants and some time at the river with Nonny!












I’ve also spent quite a bit of time researching and pouring over homeschool curriculum catalogs. ¬†We are homeschooling McCall next year for sixth grade so it has been fun prepping for that. ¬†We actually started school yesterday. ¬†We are trying to get a jump on it so when things get hectic with Christmas we won’t have to stress.


I LOVE summer time. ¬†I love sleeping in and staying up late, eating lots of fruit because it is so hot nothing else sounds any good, I love going outside around eight o’clock when it is finally cooling off and just sitting outside until it gets dark. ¬†I love buying ice cream in the afternoon after you sweat to death at the pool. ¬†I love spending all day on the beach and driving home sticky, sandy and just a little bit sunburnt while the boys nod off during the long ride home.








But at the same time, as bittersweet as the thought of fall and school is, I also love the anticipation of what is ahead. ¬†Planning schedules, preparing for the next season. ¬†We are all starting to miss a bit of normalcy whether we want to admit it or not. ¬†I used to dread change…but I am hope I am finally maturing enough to look forward to whatever God has next for us around the bend. ¬†This growing up stuff is hard! ¬†Learning to revel in the now and soak in what is going on around me…while preparing myself for whatever is ahead and trusting God with the next unseen season. ¬†Whew!!¬†

Glad we still have a couple more weeks to splash in the pool and explore some tidal pools:)  Regardless I praise Jesus for a sweet summer, for old and new friends, for lots of tomatoes and ice cream, no hurricanes (yet!), some time to read some good books and for beautiful sunshine on our faces and precious little boy hugs:)


A little monkey ninja action:)

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 1:14 am

 A little monkey ninja action:)


What I am learning…10 points February 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 4:39 am

I’m in a learning season it seems. ¬†Everywhere I look the Lord is pointing out things He seems to want me to put into practice. ¬†I feel kind of like middle school basketball practice when you went from wind sprints to layup drills to running laps to ball handing drills and you kept looking at the clock hoping for a water break…yet the tiredness kinda felt good because you knew it would only last so long. ¬†I know this intense learning phase is a season and it’ll let up so I really do want to take it all in.

Hopefully I’ll have time in the next few weeks to put more down here. ¬†I went to a conference recently and picked up some really neat parenting practices from some wise moms that I really want to put into practice. ¬†I’m gonna try a few out and then let you know how it goes. ¬†Things like asking the Lord for a verse for each of my children for the year to pray over for them. ¬†Putting it on the fridge so they can see what you are praying over them. ¬†Praying through that now. ¬†A mom of 10 told us about that and she showed us laminated verses from the last 15 years of praying for her kids. ¬†Cool, huh?

But tonight I wanted to share something I found on the inspiring Ann VosKamp’s blog that I have now posted in my kitchen and try to read over each day. ¬†It has helped me focus….I have to refocus MANY times a day…It is 10 Points of Joyful Parenting. ¬†It truly is best to go to her blog and read the whole thing because the blue parts link to other posts, but here is the summary:

1. Today, I will make our home a house of prayer. I will pray at set times. And I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God.

2. Today, I will transfigure all things into beauty, and I will refuse to see anything else.

3. Today, I will not have any emergencies. There are no emergencies! Only amateurs hurry.

4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be intervention with verbal thanks. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!

5. Today, I will pray to speak words that are only STRONG words, words that make these children feel strong. Grace words. Grace is the only non-toxic air. All other words I breathe are death words.

6. Today, I will pray to be consistently consistent. I will create safe rhythms that our children can find security in. I willcreate daily ceremonies because everyday we are CELEBRATING the gift of now!

7. Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child’s behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

8.¬†Today,¬†I will hug each of my children¬†as many times as I serve them meals¬†‚ÄĒ because children‚Äôs hearts feed on touch. I‚Äôll look for as many opportunities to¬†touch my children¬†today as possible ‚ÄĒ the taller they are, the more so.

9. Today, my priorities will be all Things Unseen.

10. Today, I will laugh! And I will let the little children laugh! I will create a culture of JOY!

I hope this challenged and blessed you as much as it does me each day!  Blessings in the journey friends:)  

What are you learning during this season?



Whatcha readin’? January 24, 2012

Filed under: Book reviews — erikaivory @ 2:34 am

Last year I don’t remember making any real New Year’s Resolutions. ¬†This year I am FULL of them:) ¬†I just see a LOT of areas where the Lord is asking me to become more disciplined and grow up a little. ¬†My natural tendency is to set a very easy goal that is super attainable so I feel like I have accomplished something. ¬†But I am slowly learning that it is okay if I don’t completely meet each goal….but it is far better to set a high goal and get as far as I possibly can. ¬†I just might surprise myself!

One thing I want to do this year is read two books a month.  May or may not happen but I am definitely going to try!  I love to read and reading acts as both a stress-reliever and personal motivator for me.  When I make time to read a book (not just blogs) 10-15 minutes a day I find my mood to be better, much more productive and less stressed.

So for January I am almost done with these two books:


Mark Batterson is one of my favorite authors. ¬†This book has challenged me in so many ways to learn to “pray through” and to do the work of praying and dig deep. ¬†Some of my other New Year Resolutions involve concepts and learning disciplines laid out in this book. ¬†Batterson also really advocates dreaming and then making goals. ¬†One of my life goals is to attend a service at the church he pastors, National Community Church in DC. ¬†Anything he has written is awesome, in my book:)


I’ve read a lot of books on raising boys, etc but honestly this one surprised me at how insightful it has been. ¬†I’m not quite done but I highly recommend it. ¬†It is very complete in the way it touches on so many things I have read in other books. ¬†I have learned new strategies and information though and it is very simply laid out.

Here are some of the books I hope to read this year:

There are quite a few more I am interested in, but these are the ones I definitely want to read.

How about you? Do you have any suggestions for me? Some good reads you are going to pick up in 2012?


Circles… December 1, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts,Family Life — erikaivory @ 3:18 am
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We all have circles…in our lives we are surrounded by circles. ¬†As the boys and I raked the leaves in our yard the other day I noticed how as I raked around me and formed a pile of fallen leaves at my feet, it cleared a circle. ¬†Next to my feet was a pile of dead leaves and a ring of cleared grass lay around me.


Then as we each continued to rake I noticed that as we formed one pile after another eventually our circles touched each other.  And gradually more and more of the yard was cleared of leaves.

It hit me that in our lives as we live and love we touch and influence the people around us. ¬†These are our circles. ¬†Everyone that I do life with on a regular, consistent basis influences me in some way and I in turn have an influence on them. ¬†What am I doing with that influence? ¬†It struck me that just as I am called to steward wisely the finances, time, and resources the Lord gives me…I am also called to steward well my relationships and the influence He has allowed me to have.

Am I loving well those I touch daily, with my words, my actions, my prayers, my service? ¬†Am I leaving those that I walk beside better off each day after their encounter with me? ¬†I am given the opportunity to speak words of life each day to my husband and children, to my children’s friends and my friends. ¬†Do I do that? ¬†Am I intentional in the way I interact with the check out girl that I see each week, with my boys’ teachers and the people I serve with at church?

I stopped the boys in the middle of their raking and tried to explain my epiphany. ¬†They looked at me with tilted heads and then ran off to slide from the treehouse into the biggest pile of leaves at the bottom of the tree. ¬†How can they understand? ¬†But hopefully they will see as they grow through the way I live. ¬†If I can simply love a few people well during my days here…and model how to love well, with grace and forgiveness and compassion and joy….prayerfully those that are within my circle will then respond by creating their own circles.

I can’t love everyone, touch each life, respond to every phone call, pray over all the broken hearts or bring the overwhelming number of hurting families a meal. However I can work hard to serve the people I see every day, that I brush elbows with in the hallways at school, that I see in carpool line, or worship alongside at church.

Raking my circles wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always fun. ¬†It made my back kinda sore and rubbed some blisters. ¬†However, it served the greater purpose of clearing away the debris from the dying leaves and fallen sticks and pecans to make a path. ¬†We all need someone to help us clear away some dead areas in our lives to make space for new growth. ¬†It was much easier to rake my yard with the help of my boys too. ¬†I struggled holding the garbage bags open on my own. ¬†Filling them went much more quickly with lots of big and little hands. ¬†When we each took responsibility for our own circles, the yard was cleared quickly and then we filled our bags as a team. ¬†We can’t do life alone. ¬†We need each other…we need our circles to touch.

You know the best part though? ¬†In the midst of the raking and bending and stuffing bags…we made time to enjoy our hard work by sliding down that green slide into a huge pillow of fallen leaves. ¬†We turned the work of transforming our leaf covered yard into giggles and smiles. ¬†Just as the Lord of the seasons loves to take the hard work of transforming our lives from dead and grey to clean and vibrant into a celebration of relationships. ¬†The business of life on life relationships is hard, it is tiring, it can be raw but it is also, oh, so beautiful.

So my new perspective is this: Where is my circle? Am I loving well those that I touch each day? Am I intentionally stewarding the relationships and influence I have been given?  

How about you?