Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Big bag of thanks November 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 3:26 am

Here are ten of my top thanks….

1. My amazing husband who truly is my very best friend.  So thankful for the past two months of precious time together and I have to admit I am dreading Monday.  He leaves for training for his new job in Orlando for 12 long days.  I don’t know what I am going to do with myself without him.

2. My three sweet boys.  They challenge and amaze me daily.  They make me so want to be a better mom, a better wife and a better woman.

3. My incredible family and friends.  I am truly blessed.  I have a humongous family but an even larger family of friends!

4. I get to spend Thanksgiving with the Perea family.  My older sister Kelly has lived in Colorado forever and then a little more than two years ago the Lord called her family to start a Calvary Chapel Church in Charleston.  It still is so exciting that we get to have Thanksgiving together!  For so long we just would call each other on the phone on holidays and now we get to eat together, laugh together and be together!

5. Mark has a new job.  Shew!  We are so grateful for that:)

6.  We are all healthy and well.  We try to never take that for granted.

7. I am so excited and grateful that Newspring Church is in Florence and I get to be a part of it.  So cool to invite people to a place where they feel welcome and I am confident that they will come face to face with the Gospel.

8. Excited and thankful that in December I get a new couch.  For those of you that frequent our house, I realize you are all excited and breathing a sigh of relief as well:)

9. Amazingly thankful that McCall knows Jesus as Lord.  He is getting baptized in December.  I will share on that fun story soon.

10. Of course the thing that I am most grateful for is that I know the grace of Christ.  He is forever with me and I am found in Him!  Happy Thanksgiving!


Garland of Gratitude November 26, 2008

Filed under: family night — erikaivory @ 3:00 am
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One of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is making our Garland of Gratitude.  We use our handy leaf templates (click on the Garland link and it will lead you to these) and make leaves.  The boys each write or draw things on the leaves for which they are thankful.  We then string them up and use them to add a little fall decoration to the house.  This is about as crafty as I get but it is fun and they even asked this year when we were going to do it!

This was our laid back Family Night for this week.  We picked up a fast food dinner because I spent pretty much the entire day with Eli at the doctor’s and then the hospital getting a chest x-ray to make sure we are not dealing with pneumonia.  Thankfully it appears it is just a nasty bronchitis like cold.  So because of that dinner was quick and easy.

We made our Garland and the boys really were into listing things they were thankful for.  They even used both sides of every leaf.  We ended the evening by watching Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving special and eating popcorn with the fireplace on.  Fun and laid back.

Last week’s family night was also a laid back change of plans.  The Browns and the Chapmans had a crazy, busy week so last minute we changed our family night to Pajama Night.  We made omelets in a bag, popped popcorn, all wore our jammies and watched a movie together.  So fun and relaxing.  My pictures are somehow lost so check out Vanessa’s pics and blog on it if you are interested:)  Hopefully we will get back to better planning in December.  You can find great family night ideas at Heather’s blog if you want to try some out on your own!

Garland of Gratitude

Garland of Gratitude




A dozen Eli moments November 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 4:07 am
What's next?

What's Next?

I thought I would share a few of Eli’s recent shenanigans.  He keeps me laughing and on my toes:)  He is currently not feeling well and this has temporarily slowed him down.  I am not quite sure what to do with myself when he is not getting into something.

Over the past two weeks:

– He somehow reached my razor out of the shower ( I think he may have used a shower curtain rod to knock it down unless he scaled the shower like Spiderman) and cut his finger.  I was packing for our Greenville trip and was quickly using the bathroom when I heard him calling, “Mommy I scrap -ed my finger!”  He sounded a little distressed but Mark found him and the trail of blood first.  Turned out to be minor thank goodness.

– When I got out of the shower he informed me that he had cut his hair like a “hair cutter man” but he put the hair in the trash can and didn’t make a mess…”You happy wit me Mommy?”  The damage was minimal, although it was in the front, and I taught him the word barber.

– When we were visiting the Bakers in Greenville he was being unusually quiet so we went looking for him and found him at Julie’s vanity, on the phone and applying a thick line of her mascara like a football player under his eye.

-Another time I went looking for him at the Baker’s house and found him in their walk-in shower.  It really is a very cool shower.  It is pretty tile, with a bench in it and see through glass door.  He had taken his socks off and was lying down on the bench on his back, just lounging with his hands back under his head, chillin’.

– While in Greenville we visited a fun toy store downtown.  I was walking back and forth through the small but tightly filled store trying to keep up with the three boys.  It is one of those stores where they have a lot of toys kids can actually play with and climb on.  Well Eli was playing on the slide but when I turned back around I found him exiting from the door to the back room/employee only area with a children’s push broom.  He said he was cleaning up.  An employee came out to retrieve the broom.  Thankfully she didn’t realize he had been back there but apparently it was a broken broom that somehow he found while back there:)  He was trying to clean up at least!

– Another morning I quickly ran upstairs to put away clothes until I heard him talking while walking up the stairs.  Apparently he answered my phone and was having a long conversation with my friend Erin.  She was laughing hysterically by the time I got the phone from him.  She said he told her his full name, “Char-luls E-lum Chapa man”.  Said he didn’t know where his mommy was and was telling her about his brothers.

– We were at my same friend Erin’s house the other day and on the way into their new house he saw an almost empty paint can with a paint roller in it.  I set it to the side and directed him in the house.  As I was loading the car to leave I sent him outside to play.  When I went to find him to put him in the car, he had found the roller and was painting the outside of their house.  Thankfully most of the paint was frozen so he did not do much damage.  Sheesh!

– When I ran back inside to wash his hands and then explain to Erin and apologize for why she has paint on her nice brick house….I then ran back outside to put him in his car seat but couldn’t find him.  He was inside Erin’s new minivan playing.  He loves playing in people’s cars!

-Oh I almost forgot.  Before the paint incident the kids were all playing upstairs, but I was not hearing enough noise so I ran upstairs to check on the crew.  Eli somehow found a long metal curtain rod with a pink glass ball at the end in the closet.  He was using it as his “whippin'” (that is what he calls weapons) and he was the guard.  He was closing all the screaming, giggling little girls into the closet and turning the light off to make them squeal.  To take some of the shock off him, one of the little girls had a curtain rod too and the whole crew was enjoying this game immensely.

– One morning he didn’t realize I was watching him and he turned on the fireplace.  Didn’t realize he knew how to do that!  Glad I know now!

– This evening I heard a big thud coming from the living room.  No crying so I didn’t hurry but when I entered the living room, Eli was standing on the dinner table with a mop turned upside down, mopping our ceiling.  The table was sprinkled with white popcorn from the ceiling.  Thankfully dinner was not on the table at the time!  The thud was apparently when he jumped off the table b/c when I said, “Eli, please stop and get down from there!”  He made a flying leap off the table with a big smile:)  Thus the thud.

– And finally, to make this an even dozen, he has learned that he is charming.  So whenever he sees me beginning to get frustrated or upset with him he quickly cocks his little blonde head and says, “You pretty Mommy!” Yes that is sweet and I love it, but no it does not get him out of trouble!

These pictures are of a classic Eli pouting moment and then his wrath when he realized we were laughing at him:)  Gotta love it!

The classic pout!

The classic pout!

The wrath of Eli

The wrath of Eli

PS Mark just commented that I haven’t posted about McCall recently.  Don’t worry, I have a great one about my oldest little man coming soon:)


Funny conversations November 22, 2008

Filed under: Funny stuff — erikaivory @ 3:50 am
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From the back of the car Haig asked, “Mom, why didn’t you adopt us from China?”

Me: What? Because I didn’t have to, God put you in my body.

Haig: silence

Me: Shew!

Eli: When will God put a new baby in your tummy so it can come out and we can see it?

Me: long pause…I don’t know, maybe never:)

Thus began many conversations throughout the day about what adoption is and other people that are having babies.  So funny


Then we were dropping off some Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes and I was elaborating about how some children don’t have houses they only have boxes to live in.  The boys really pondered that.  Haig pulled me down and whispered to me, “Mommy, maybe we should not send them just toys, but food.”

Isn’t that sweet?  I explained that Samaritan’s Purse also provides them with meals.  He talked about that throughout the rest of the day.

McCall wanted to know why Santa comes to some children and not others.  He asked if Santa can’t see them.  Hmm this is getting tricky.  I explained that even if Santa can’t see them, Jesus can and that is why He sends them shoeboxes through people like us.  It is a way to show them that Jesus loves them and sees their needs.  He seemed satisfied with that.

Their questions are getting harder:)


Book giveaway

Filed under: Book reviews,Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 3:44 am
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Time for another book review.  My Mother’s Wish is a short little book that left me with quite a bit to ponder.  It certainly made me reflect on the importance of relationship, unspoken expectations and allowing grace to reign in the in between.  I read the book in one quick sitting.  I have two copies to give away.  They would make a nice stocking stuffer for someone that loves to read.  So read the summary below and if you would like a copy leave me a comment and I will announce the winners in the next week or so.  Or you can pick up a copy for yourself at your local bookstore or Easy Stay tuned!


A grandfather’s song turns a diner into hallowed ground, like a church. A contrary girl with a gypsy heart feels the tug of home. A mother, far away, confronts impossible expectations. And a truck driver named Jedidah keeps his foot on the gas to sweep you into an unforgettable story of belonging and grace.

Readers looking for a meaningful, powerful read on a winter’s evening or with the family will love the rich 1960s nostalgia captured in the Midwest of Jedidiah’s and Ellee’s story; the peace found when family strife boils over, and the gentle reminders of the influence and effect every life has on another.

My Mother’s Wish is an unforgettable, powerful tale that ends on a memorable Christmastime note, but will be cherished and reread year-round for its bold message of grand hopes, impossible expectations, and the gift of grace that comes in between.

Cover art:

Author Bio:

Jerry Camery-Hoggatt, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at Vanguard University, in Costa Mesa, California. A professional storyteller, he is the author of the highly-acclaimed Christmas stories When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four (in trade adult and children’s picture book editions) and Givers of Gifts; plus Irony in Mark’s Gospel and Grapevine: A Spirituality of Gossip. His passion is theology and storytelling, which he believes are meant to go together. Jerry and his wife, Shaleen, are the parents of three children.


Surprises November 20, 2008

Filed under: Health and Safety — erikaivory @ 3:35 am
Tags: , ,

Last Friday morning as I was packing for our trip to Greenville, it was a cold, rainy day and Mark noticed that the ceiling in the playroom was leaking… a LOT.  After some detective work we found spots in the playroom and hallway that were all dripping and leaking.  Apparently the shingles on the front of the house are buckling and now we have a leakage problem.

I don’t do very well with house issues.  The roof is less than 10 years old but apparently a poor job was done and now we will be getting a new roof within the next couple of weeks.  Deep breath.  Mark will still receive a lump severance amount from his company which is a huge above board blessing from the Lord.  We thought this would be used for one or two fun things and then the rest put aside to fill our emergency fund.

Somehow that emergency fund never stays filled for long.  Like we are talking days:)  But honestly I can only praise the Lord, because any other time and we would have been in big, big trouble if we all of a sudden had to get a new roof.  I am learning a lot about how much money and work it takes to keep up an older home:)  The Lord knew our need before we did, of course, and He provided!  He is so good to us!

This is what our playroom looked like on Friday, lots of water

This is what our playroom looked like on Friday, lots of water

Shower curtain set-up on the stairs

Shower curtain set-up on the stairs

One of the cracks

One of the cracks

I am thankful to have a roof over our heads and that we have such a nice man, Brandon Campbell from Burch Roofing to do the work for us.  So that is a new little adventure in our lives.  Most of you drive by our house frequently so you can keep up with the progress as it happens.

Now I just need to relax and prepare myself for the work around me.  I tend to get extremely stressed when work is done on the house.  The noise, the people constantly around, the dirtiness, the safety hazards to the boys….sets my blood pressure on high.  So you can say a prayer that I will not stress, if you think about it:)


Lend a Hand! November 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 2:35 pm

Many of you have heard of precious little Kole Miller. He is from Florence and is a sweet 4 year old boy that has a brain tumor.  He is currently with his parents at St. Jude’s seeking treatment since the tumor is inoperable.

Young Chef’s Academy is hosting a BBQ fundraiser today, Wednesday Nov. 19th from 11-2pm for $8 a plate.  There are also many donated baked goods to purchase as well.  So please, please spread the word and stop by YCA and pick up a couple of plates.

And if you don’t like BBQ or need to eat it, then buy a plate and take one to someone who would like it.  Your local fireman, your child’s teacher, your husband, sister or the gas station attendant.  Lend a hand and as a community let’s help bless this family during this challenging season.

If you want to follow Kole’s journey check out his care page at

You can also follow these precious families’ stories:

I am addicted and so glad because their stories push me to PRAY and be content with every moment I get to enjoy my children:)  Enjoy your BBQ!