Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Chick-fil-A here we come! June 30, 2009

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 2:52 am
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A while back I shared that I am doing the summer Bible study “Me, Myself & Lies” written by Jennifer Rothschild.  It is being coordinated through Beth Moore’s blog

This was the first week of study and I am inviting YOU to meet me at Chick-fil-A this Friday morning to chat about the study.  So if you have the book and have started…or if you have the book and plan to start:)  Join me at Chick-fil-A Friday morning, July 3rd at 10am.

We will let the kiddos play in the play area (thank goodness it is sound proof) and we will take some time to discuss what we have learned or hope to learn.  On her blog Beth Moore gives some ideas for some discussion starters so check it out if you want.

The Bible study is 6 weeks long and we will meet every other week.  So if you haven’t started run out and pick up a book for $11.95 at Lifeway Christian.  Invite a friend.  It is a great, great study so far!

Leave me a comment below if you plan to be there or send me an email at  You can also facebook me or twitter me (erikaivory).  I am lookin’ forward to it!


I’ve Got a Friend June 15, 2009

Filed under: Health and Safety — erikaivory @ 2:52 am

That right there gives me a warm, secure feeling…I’ve got a friend.  Poor grammar yes, but so true.  I am blessed with some truly amazing friends.  One gal that is a kindred spirit I have known for about 8 years.  I met her when I was pregnant with my first child and she just shone.  I knew she was a Christ follower before we ever had any kind of deep conversations and before she ever verbally gave a clue that she knew our Savior.

I determined within a few days of meeting her that I wanted her to be my friend.  I went home and told Mark that I had met the neatest girl and she was going to become a very good friend.  I found opportunities to spend time with her and randomly brought her a meal when she had her second baby.  I was determined she was not going to get away:)

A little strange, yes, but so worth it because she is warm, smart, inspirational, funny, beautiful, quirky, strong and desperately in love with Jesus.  She challenges me to be a better mom, more faithful friend, more devoted wife, more passionate about my faith and most difficult at times…a better caregiver toward creation.

My incredible friend, Kara Evans, takes care of her body with intensity (she is a nationally certified yoga instructor, aerobics instructor, triathlete, certified massage therapist, health food enthusiast, lover of all things nutritious, and did I mention mother of 4) but also is an amazing advocate of living a Green lifestyle.  She spearheaded and organized an event that took place on Thursday, May 28th,  “Let’s Get Green and Healthy Florence”.  This fair highlighted vendors advocating and supporting helping Florentines live Green and Healthy.  There were massage therapists, local food establishments, grocery stores, giveaways, jumpie castles, food samples….lots of neat opportunities to learn and try out what Florence has to offer.

Kara always provides me with opportunities to learn new ways to be a better Earth dweller. She currently does massage therapy at Carte Ay in Florence.  She does an amazing job whether you are looking for deep tissue massage, some simple stress-relief or even help with a sports injury.   She has no idea that I am posting about her but if you are interested in booking a massage with her you can contact her at  And no matter what you will be blessed just to meet the beautiful whirlwind I call my friend Kara:)


Short and sweet June 13, 2009

Filed under: Book reviews — erikaivory @ 4:02 am

No I am not referring to me:)  Just kidding, cause I am certainly not sweet.  I have one more book review for you, but since I am only about 4 chapters in to the book it isn’t much of a review.  That is where short and sweet comes in.  However I have read other Sisterchicks books and loved them and this one seems to be just as great.  If you like a good read and you haven’t read anything by Robin Jones Gunn, then you have missed out, seriously!

I do love her stuff.  So check out the info below and go pick up a copy:)  I hope to be done with it soon b/c our two trips to the pool this week were so uneventful that I think I may actually get to read a bit while at the pool.  We will see how the beach goes tomorrow.  I have a feeling that will be another story:)  At least I can work out and read while doing the elliptical.  Ah I do love running while reading!

Book: Sisterchicks In Wooden Shoes

Summary: When a mammogram result comes back abnormal, midlife mama Summer Finley makes a snap decision to relegate fear to the back burner and fulfill a lifelong dream. Summer heads for Holland where she meets up with tulips, wooden shoes, and her best friend, Noelle.

Pen pals since fourth grade, Summer and Noelle have never met face-to-face. Through decades of heart-level correspondence, they have sustained a deep friendship. A week of adventure helps both women trade anxiety for a renewed and deeper trust in God. When Summer confides in Noelle about the abnormal medical report, Noelle finds the freedom to share a long-held heartache, and both women discover they needed each other more than they realized.

Women ages 35 and up, readers of Christian Boomer Lit, and fans of books such as The Yada Yada Prayer Group will enjoy Robin Jones Gunn’s humorous and uplifting style. True-to-life characters and moments of poignancy bring a deeper understanding of the value of life and the gift of true friends. Readers guide and bonus material included.

Author Bio:

Robin Jones Gunn is the best-selling and award-winning author of over seventy books, including the Glenbrooke, Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, Katie Weldon, and Christy and Todd: The College Years teen series. The Sisterchicks® series has sold more than 300,000 units, bringing her total sales to more than 3.5 million books worldwide. A Christy Award winner, Robin is a popular speaker, both at home and abroad, and is frequently interviewed on radio and on television.

Cover art:

Author Photo


Calling all the ladies! June 11, 2009

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 7:52 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Okay friends I have finally carved out a few minutes to put some real thoughts down here.  Balance…that wonderful, elusive word!  I am constantly trying to seek balance in my eating, exercising, cleaning, socializing, time with the Lord…etc.

How about you?  I think women especially struggle with this area.  We need to spend time with our husband, but not neglect the kids…play with our children, but not neglect the housework…have a heart to serve others, but make time for ourselves so we don’t end up emotionally depleted…find time to be with our friends, yet remain focused on our own families and homes.  Sheesh!  It truthfully makes me a bit crazy at times.

My greatest link to finding some sort of balance and staying sane is having consistant time with the Lord.  That does not come naturally to me (and honestly besides Oswald Chambers and John Piper, I don’t get the feeling it comes naturally to most people.)  I do testify though that when I can stick with seeking the Lord daily, so many areas in my life begin to teeter into a somewhat safe place of balance.

Over the past 16 years I have done a number of Bible studies that have taught me how rich the Word is and how powerful it is to bring peace and life to my internal world.  Many of these have been Beth Moore Bible studies.  These studies do usually include a workbook (of which I am a fan, but some people loath them) as well as some kind of small group/discussion/interaction.  However, at least three different times I have done workbook Bible studies either solely on my own, or using a computer program to give me direction and accountability.

I did a Bible study with some ladies through Trinity Pres during the school year and it reminded me of how much I love the dynamic of learning with other women and gaining from perspectives that are different than mine.  Some of these ladies encouraged me to start visiting Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministries blog. This blog is silly, funny, spiritually challenging and different each time you visit it.

All this brings me to this: Beth Moore is hosting a summer ladies Bible study Me, Myself & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild.  It is a six week study and does have a workbook.  Here is a little synopsis of the study:

Ever wonder what you should say when you talk to yourself?  We all talk to ourselves all the time.  We evaluate everything we do, compare ourselves to others, and even call ourselves names.  We disparage who we are instead of telling ourselves the truth about who God says we are.

Me, Myself, and Lies deals with our destructive, unrealistic, self-talk.  In this study Jennifer Rothschild explores the power of self-talk.  As she takes us through the things we commonly say to ourselves, she teaches us to practice godly and biblical self-talk.

Anyone interested?  On the blog the study technically starts Tuesday, June 23, 2009.  Go here if you want to know ALL the details.  Basically, you do the Bible study on your own and then every other Tuesday you check in on the LPM blog and Beth Moore will give a little 15 minute video talk with some discussion starters.  Here is a fun part (I think), if some of you friends are interested I thought it would be fun to arrange an informal morning meeting at the Chick-fil-A play area on Irby and discuss what we have been learning while our kiddos play in the sound proof play area:)  How about them apples?

And if you don’t live nearby but let me know that you are reading this blog and are doing the study then maybe we can connect for an IM chat session on those weeks too.  Or at least create some email dialogue that provides some accountability and new perspective!  This certainly isn’t for everyone, but a lot of ladies I have talked to don’t have the time during the summer to commit to a full study but still need something to keep them growing and accountable.

So check out the info and let me know by your comment if you are interested and in.  If you do the study, definitely tune in b/c I will remind you about when we will connect at Chick-fil-A.  I already picked up my workbook from LifeWay bookstore and I did the first day of homework this afternoon.  I am starting early b/c I know that I usually get behind.  So maybe this way I can stay caught up:)

It is goooooood stuff, I tell you!  Here are a couple of nuggets to whet your appetite.  “Who you are and what’s in your heart are revealed in the words you speak.”  “The magi’s treasure chest existed to have something to give Jesus.  As we begin to speak wise words to our souls, we do so to ultimately have fitting treasure to offer our King.”  “Who I am and what I struggle with are not the same thing.”

That last one really got me.  I do try to be aware of how my words affect the people around me, particularly my children.  However, that very quickly turns into a heap of self-condemnation.  I wonder if my self-talk was based more on truth instead of self-condemnation, would it in turn affect what comes out of my mouth?  If the words in my head were full of life and I worked on changing that instead of simply controlling my mouth would I find greater victory and freedom in these areas of struggle?

I already have a lot to chew on.  So…think on it, pray on it and give me a shout out if you wanna join me?


Okay, one more… June 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 12:30 pm

I really do have some more personal and interesting things to blog about but just not time in which to do it.  So I will, possibly this week, make time to share with you some recent home improvements, stories, summer plans and recent hobbies.

However I have a deadline to submit a blog review of Life on Planet Mom by Lisa T. Bergren on June 8, 2009.  That gives me about 8 minutes.  I actually have 2 more chapters in this book to finish but I have really enjoyed it.  It is a quick, easy read and the author is quite funny.

“Life on Planet Mom helps women navigate their world of changing relationships after becoming a mom.
With in-depth research, personal experience and expert advice, Lisa helps busy moms prioritize and
manage their relationships in six key areas: self, spouse, friends, family of origin, community and

Bergren does a great job at explaining the realities and difficulties of maintaining healthy relationships particularly during the first few years of motherhood. I wish I had read this when I was a new mom. She introduces each chapter with a scene from the lives of four friends. I found these women easy to relate to and they definitely helped me to better understand the points she brought home later in the chapters.

This would be a great book for an expectant mom or someone with little ones.  Survival is hard enough when you are balancing life with little ones and then trying to maintain healthy family relationships and friendships…well it can be downright overwhelming.  Yet I think most mo


Book for the beach June 5, 2009

Filed under: Book reviews — erikaivory @ 10:31 pm

I just finished a book that I couldn’t put down.  It has been a while since I have read something that kept me up late at night and made me carry it around while I did housework:)  Saints in Limbo did just that.  I so recommend it for a good summer read.  I kind of liken it a bit to The Shack, but only in the sense that it deals with the spiritual in a tangible way that is definitely not theologically correct but certainly makes you think.  It made me evaluate how my internal choices will affect my children, how I can choose to be “happy” or “not happy” and how the spiritually does indeed affect us physically.  The romantic elements to this book certainly made me more tenderhearted toward my husband and it made me take stock of my friendships.  The characters are great, and it actually left me hoping for a sequel.  I loved it! 

I have not finished the second book and it is by another author but it looks really good too.  I will let you know how that one turns out in a week or so.  I hope you will pick this book up though this summer when you are headed to the beach or the pool.  It will certainly be worth your while:)  As always I have include info about both books and their authors below!

Saints in Limbo


Stealing Home





Book: Saints in Limbo  


Author: River Jordan


Ever since her husband Joe died, Velma True’s world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her home outside Echo, Florida.

When a mysterious stranger appears at her door on her birthday and presents Velma with a special gift, she is rattled by the object’s ability to take her into her memories–a place where Joe still lives, her son Rudy is still young, unaffected by the world’s hardness, and the beginning is closer than the end. As secrets old and new come to light, Velma wonders if it’s possible to be unmoored from the past’s deep roots and find a reason to hope again.


Cover art:

Saints in Limbo 


Author Bio:

River Jordanis a critically acclaimed novelist and playwright whose unique mixture of southern and mystic writing has drawn comparisons to Sarah Addison Allen, Leif Enger, and Flannery O’Connor. Her previous works include The Messenger of Magnolia Street, lauded by Kirkus Reviews as “a beautifully written, atmospheric tale.” She speaks around the country and makes her home in Nashville.




Book: Stealing Home  


Author: Allison Pittman 

It’s 1905 and the Chicago Cubs are banking on superstar Donald “Duke” Dennison’s golden arm to help them win the pennant. Only one thing stands between Duke and an unprecedented ten thousand dollar contract: alcohol.

That’s when sportswriter David Voyant whisks Duke to the one-horse town of Picksville, Missouri, so he can sober up in anonymity. He bides his time flirting with Ellie Jane Voyant, his unofficial chaperone, who would rather hide herself in the railway station ticket booth than face the echoes of childhood taunts.

Ned Clovis, the feed store clerk, has secretly loved Ellie Jane since childhood, but he loves baseball and the Duke almost as much–until he notices Ellie Jane may be succumbing to the star’s charm.

Then there’s Morris, a twelve-year-old Negro boy, whose only dream is to break away from Picksville. When Duke discovers his innate talent for throwing a baseball, Morris might just have found his way out.

Four individuals, each living in haunted isolation, each harboring a secret passion. Providence brings them together. Tragedy threatens to tear them apart. Will love be enough to bring them home?


Cover art:

Stealing Home 


Author Bio:

Allison Pittman spent seventeen years as a high school English teacher, and then shunned the advice of “experts,” quit her day job and set out to write novels that bring glory to God. She relishes inspiring other writers and leading the theater arts group at her church. She and her husband and three sons live in Universal City, Texas.


Author Photo: