Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Insanity vs. Sanity August 31, 2008

Filed under: Funny stuff — erikaivory @ 12:08 pm

A few weeks ago on a particularly difficult day a group of my wonderful friends cleaned my house for me.  Apparently they tried to vacuum my floor and realized that they might have to pitch in and buy me a vacuum.  You will all be glad to know that problem is finally solved.  Last weekend I temporarily lost my cool and literally tossed four (no you did not misread I said FOUR) broken vacuums out my door onto the porch.

I have been telling Mark for months that we need a new vacuum.  He was fine with me getting a new one but I just kept putting it off and trying to “make do.”  That was dumb!!!  Mark was out working in the yard that day so McCall ran outside and apparently told him that “Mom is losing her mind.  You need to come inside.”  Did he come inside?  Oh no!  He is no dummy.  He knows that when I am losing it like that the best thing to do is stay out of the way for awhile.

Here is a picture of the culprits, devil vacuums!


I did some research about prices,etc.  So Friday I became friends with our local Oreck salesman in the Florence Oreck showroom and this is my lovely new friend!


It is not the most flattering picture of her but she really is lovely.  Lightweight, trim, not very noisy.  No bells and whistles but I love that!  I am glad to get the floor vacuumed I don’t make it around to the corners or drapes (who has drapes?) and forget the couch cushions.  Anyways those little extras were the downfall of those other four vacuums. They always broke!!!

Okay I’m getting all worked up again…. I need to go vacuum the upstairs and calm down.Wink


Strengths and Definitely Weaknesses August 30, 2008

Filed under: Family Life — erikaivory @ 7:48 pm

Read a post recently by Perry Noble and he talked about recognizing our strengths and weaknesses and accepting these.  This is hard I think as a stay-at-home mom.  For instance one of my great weaknesses is organization and quite honestly, housecleaning.  I don’t like doing it and I don’t do it well.

For those of you that relish a nice sparkling clean bathroom, eat off the floor kitchen tile and dust-free living room, don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE it when my house is clean but I have no internal satisfactory feeling pushing me toward it.  I dread sweeping, dusting, mopping, vacuuming and scrubbing.  I find no intrinsic value in cleaning my house.  So this is an area where if I was an executive I would recognize a weakness not a strength and hire/assign someone else to do it.

However, therein lies the problem.  I can’t afford a housekeeper and somehow as my job is “housewife”, cleaning is part of my job description.  I am good at other parts of this job that I do enjoy.  I like planning fun activities for my kids.  I like being deliberate about their academic and spiritual development.  I have learned to appreciate meal planning, shopping for grocery deals, keeping up with laundry and I am slowly coming to terms with budgeting, but alas I still detest the cleaning business.

Please understand that I know I need to take care of what the Lord has given me and really I am not a lazy person.  However days like today leave me overwhelmed.  I guess because keeping up with the daily cleaning, laundry, pee on the toilet and floor, toothpaste on the sink, clothes everywhere, mail on the counter, crumbs on the floor, toys strewn about, books every which way…. leave me feeling frozen and numb, overwhelmed to try and tackle, bills to pay, blinds to clean, mail to file, clothes to reorganize, homework to review, dinner to cook, frig to clean out, and on and on.

I truly am an optimist so forgive my complaining, but really… can anyone else relate?  Please throw me an encouraging commentEmbarassed


Oh, snap! August 29, 2008

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 12:20 pm

More from that Tim Kimmel guy on “safe” kids.  He is starting to get under my skinWink

Yes, I’m suggesting that Christian families would fare far better raising their children in environments where they have to take spiritual risks, but I’m not suggesting that parents raise their children recklessly. A reckless Christian family is one where children are raised in the world but are not shown how to appropriate God’s power to live distinctively from the world’s way of thinking. Too many parents assume that it is impossible to effectively raise kids in the midst of a corrupt world system. Obviously, they haven’t given church history even a cursory look. If they had, they’d realize that we didn’t get where we are today by functioning safely behind the lines of the spiritual battle.

Seeing the word risk and assuming it is “reckless” is a convenient cop-out for people living in a safe, fear-based Christian circles. That’s because they know full well that to effectively raise kids on the front lines of the world system would require a much more spiritually savvy parent. You can’t dump your children on the front porch of the religious professionals or educators and think you’ve done your duty. You can’t prop them up with evangelical clubs or youth programs that have them doing a lot of biblical calisthenics and think they are somehow prepared. You might actually have to lead them across the battlefield yourself. It is not an easier form of parenting-just better. In the long run, this way produces spiritually strong and sound children.

Raising children in evangelical hideaways and creating a spiritual Disneyland works directly against the development of an empowered relationship with Christ. If anything, safe Christianity isn’t about a relationship with Jesus Christ; it’s about a relationship with a Western, middle-class caricature of Jesus Christ. It’s an option that the majority of Christian parents around the world (especially the Third World) wouldn’t consider for their children because it isn’t even a remote possibility. Raising safe Christian kids is as much a product of middle to upper-class wealth as it is anything else. Putting it bluntly, the reason parents choose to raise their children in highly protected spiritual enclaves is because they can afford to. History has shown, however, that God the Holy Spirit has always provided better protection for children than their parents’ checkbooks ever could.

These protected environments don’t allow a system of spiritual antibodies to develop within the character of the child. This produces a generation of people who must stay within a spiritually sterilized environment in order to thrive. These are nice systems that produce nice kids who marry nice kids who go to nice churches and hang out with like-minded nice friends. Meanwhile, the lost people in the world around them continue in their doomed condition. In these environments, there is little spiritual adventure. God is nice, Jesus becomes a plush toy that we cuddle, and we become irrelevant.


Raising “safe” kids August 28, 2008

Filed under: Random stuff,Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 7:54 pm

Okay, more from Grace-Based Parenting. The following are some excerpts from a chapter on “A Strong Hope.”  Developing a strong hope within our children.  The author Tim Kimmel makes the point that Children develop a strong hope when their parents lead them and encourage them to live a great spiritual adventure.

Let me preface these excerpts by saying that many of the examples he uses (that I do not include) pertain to older children and when he discusses “safety” he is not talking about health and safety issues particularly regarding young children.  This section offended me initially but as I read and reread it, now I am challenged and fired up!  I would love to hear what some of you think and I hope this pushes you to pick this book up and read it through for yourself.

You may not want to hear this, but raising safe Christian kids is a spiritual disaster in the making. Your effort will produce shallow faith and wimpy believers. Kids raised in an environment that stresses safety are on track to be evangelical pushovers. They will tend to end up either overly critical of the world system to the point where they won’t want anything to do with the people of the world system – an idea that comes directly from Satan’s playbook. Or, they will become naive about the world system, which ultimately makes them putty in Satan’s hands. He chews up these kinds of people like they are spiritual McNuggets and swallows them whole. When they’re finally confronted with the full thrust of the world system as young adults, few know how to turn it into an opportunity for spiritual impact.

Safe Christianity is an oxymoron, like “jumbo shrimp.” Living your life sold out for Jesus Christ has never been a way to enjoy a safe life. It may be a way to enjoy a good life, but not a safe one. That’s because Jesus isn’t safe, but He is always good. On the inside of His goodness (read “grace”), He offers a safe haven for a dangerous life to be lived out. That’s what a grace-based home can offer, too – a safe set of parents and siblings around whom a child can make life-changing decisions such as who’s going to be the master of his life.

These types of homes have families who rest in the confidence that God loves our children. The best time to begin building this kind of confidence in our children is when God gives them to us as babies. They need to spend the early years of their lives watching their parents live on the front lines of culture. But as your children get older , you need to allow them to experience spiritual dilemmas that enable them to trust in Christ and strengthen their hope in His goodness.

There are risks. We must put our confidence in a God who would not bring anything unpleasant into our children’s lives except for those things that He deliberately desires to use to mold them into His image. This overriding certainty should guide us as we make decisions on how to grow our children’s hope into a strong hope.


Lots about grace August 25, 2008

Filed under: Deep thoughts — erikaivory @ 9:26 pm

Okay scaredy cats, so nobody wants to comment about church politics.  So let’s try parenting…

I am really enjoying the Grace Based Parenting book by Tim Kimmel.  I will be sharing bits from it over the ncxt couple of weeks as I finish it up. I really recommend it.

“Leaving the world nicer than you found it,
making a commitment to a lifetime of learning,
paying attention to what you learn from life’s experience so that you are more valuable to others,
and being committed to developing the potential of as many people as you can..

are general purposes that are good to install in the hearts of each one of your children. When they step into adulthood with these qualities as part of their character, they feel significant. By the way, it’s really not that difficult to build these purposes into your kids. You simply develop these general purposes in your own life. Children embrace what is modeled far more than what they are told. Our good advice carries clout only when it is consistent with our example. As our children notice these wonderful qualities in us, it will be far easier for them to make them their own.”

Good stuff, huh? Kimmel’s grasp on grace and how that truly translates into parenting is amazing me.  What do you think? Resonate at all?


Great Post August 24, 2008

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 8:14 pm

Great post by Tony Morgan today.  I need to make myself read this every 5 years at least to keep myself in check.  I have thought what he writes many times over the past two years but never could I verbalize it and put it down as well as he does here.

Yes, some may be offended and it could be controversial but it is undeniably true.  I would love to know what some of you think?


Funny Stuff August 23, 2008

Filed under: Funny stuff — erikaivory @ 8:38 pm

This was a conversation we had on the way home tonight.

McCall: Was God created?

Mark: No, He has always been.  Kind of strange, huh?

Haig: Who was created first?

Mark: Adam

McCall: So does that make men better than women?

Mark: (emphatically) No!

Then McCall informed us that he tries to act like an adult and be mature but we still treat him like a baby b/c we call him “baby” and “little boy.”

What is that about?  Seriously?!  Haig had a serious heart to heart with me this morning where he told me that he no longer wants to be called “Haigy” but now just “Haig.”  Oh I am sad.  My little boy is only 4, not old enough to cut out his pet name!  He even wants me to tell his teacher Ms Price to not call him “Haigy.”  I told him he would have to tell her that if he is serious about it:)

Lastly, Haig was on the potty today and told me had “had some gasoline”.  I tried to explain with a straight face the difference between “gas” and “gasoline.”  Oh life with little ones!  Funny stuff!