Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

How is your garden growing? September 27, 2009

Filed under: Deep thoughts — erikaivory @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , ,

I have started a devotional called Intimate Conversations by Alicia Britt Chole.  I am not generally a daily devotional kind of gal.  I prefer a book or better yet a workbook (said with excitement).  Yes I am nerdy like that.  This is actually a book I am supposed to review and blog about, which I will do later this week.  However I LOVE it and every day it makes me pause and reflect on a little nugget throughout the rest of the day….or better yet some days Mrs. Chole kicks me in the teeth and I walk around in a daze the rest of the day determined to learn so I don’t have broken teeth again.  Ever had that happen?  God kick you in the teeth recently?  Oh He doesn’t do that to you?  Guess you aren’t as hardheaded as I am.  Good for you.

So here is a tidbit for you that I cannot get out of my head.

Picture your spirit as though it were a garden. Day after day, choice after choice, every choice is a seed and, in the realm of choice, every seed bears fruit.

How is your garden growing?

We are a generation living on the edge of unimaginable change politically, economically, environmentally, and spiritually. At such a time as this, when much seems out of our control, we must be accountable for what is within our control. We must be a generation that takes responsibility for all our choices.

Our relationships do not have the time to wait while we postpone allowing God to get his hands on our controlling, critical spirits. The children in our lives do not have the time to wait while we spiritualize away our fear and perfectionism. Our health does not have the time to wait while we live in denial of those issues that have the potential of shortening our lives. The lost certainly do not have the time to wait while we keep waiting until we are more “together” before we do something sacrificial for the sake of their souls.

It is time.

We all come from different places. Some of our pasts have been more immersed in crises. Some of our presents are more immersed in pain. And some of us have had choices stolen from us through abuse, disease, death, and divorce. But there is one choice that no one can steal from us, and that is our choice to follow God.

Day after day, choice after choice, every choice is a seed, every seed bears fruit.

May God strengthen us to plant well!

Chew on that for a bit:)  I really might need to see a dentist…


Kiss Me Again September 23, 2009

Filed under: Book reviews — erikaivory @ 2:53 am
Tags: ,

I am finishing up a blog book called Kiss Me Again by Barbara Wilson.  It talks about restoring intimacy and sexual desire to your marriage.  I was under the impression that the book discussed relationships that had to deal with “invisible bonds” from the past and overcoming “baggage” from past relationships.  Wilson definitely does deal with these issues well but she also talks about ways to improve intimacy in a thriving marriage between believers that have been faithful to one another.

I am about halfway through the book and am thoroughly enjoying it.  She really deals with many, many unspoken issues that Christian women deal with.  I also love the way she talks to women that may not be currently walking with the Lord but are searching and desperately want healing from past sexual relationships and are seeking a whole intimate relationship with their husbands.  She even walks through salvation.  It would be a great gift for a girlfriend that is feeling stuck, or apathetic about intimacy with her husband.  Wilson delicately addresses issues around sexual abuse as well as guilt over past sexual mistakes.

I am looking forward to finishing this book up to see what other nuggets of wisdom Wilson has to share.  I recommend this to any woman who wants to sort through issues and improve your intimacy with your husband.  It is well rounded and helpful!  I have included below a summary of the book and bio on the author.

Kiss Me AgainDo you ever wonder why marriage can seem like the end of intimacy and sexual desire instead of the beginning?

Ever wonder why it was so hard to resist sex before marriage—and so easy to resist it now? If so, you’re not alone! Many married women genuinely want to feel more desire toward their husbands…and can’t figure out what went wrong. But there’s good news. In Kiss Me Again, Barbara Wilson shows how powerful “invisible bonds” from past relationships can cause heartache, disappointment, and distance for couples in the present. Then—with sensitivity, honesty, and hope—Barbara walks you step by step toward healing…and a rekindling of the closeness and passion with your husband that you really want.

You don’t have to live any longer with confusion, disappointment, resentment, or shame. You can rediscover desire. You can say Wow! again.

With assessment tools, write-in exercises, and gentle guidance, Kiss Me Again offers a biblical plan for rekindling the closeness and passion women long for in marriage. Because no past is beyond the reach of God’s healing touch.

In Kiss Me Again, Wilson:

· Shares her own story of healing and renewed desire

· Helps women forgive themselves and their husbands for past choices

· Shows readers how to break free from “invisible bonds”

· Explains God’s plan for helping a husband and wife to re-bond

· Includes conversation helps for both wives and their husbands

· Helps couples reignite the passion that they thought was lost

Barbara Wilson is the author of The Invisible Bond and former director of sexual health education for the Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center in Sacramento. She speaks nationwide to youth and adults with her message of sexual healing, and she teaches frequently in the women’s ministry at the multi-campus Bayside Church in Northern California. Barbara and her husband, Eric, have been married for twenty-eight years.

You can also purchase the book online:

– <>


Tangled mess September 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 6:09 pm

It is late afternoon and I have less than an hour before I go to pick up kiddos from school.  Eli is napping and I am trying to prepare for home group, straighten up and I really need a shower but I have a post that has been ramblin’ around in my brain for a couple days and is knockin’ to get out.

As a kid did you ever weave potholders?  I did my fair share of them.  Remember the stretchy thin cloth with the hard plastic frame?  It took forever to weave the little rubber band things together and eventually wore your patience out?  At least mine it did.

McCall brought one home from art class last year and never finished it.  He pulled it out last week and asked me to help him tie it off or finish it, but we discovered that he had very neatly layered the cloth strips but didn’t weave them in and out of each other.

Neat and tidy rows but not woven together

Neat and tidy rows but not woven together

I tried to explain to him that it was very neat and tidy but when pulled off the frame they would all pop off and not stay together.  He decided to try and see if what I said was true when I left the room.  Soon he came to me, very frustrated, with a big pile of jumbled, tangle mess:)

Pretty colors, about to become a mess

Pretty colors, about to become a mess

I slowly showed him how to restring the frame and then slowly weave each new elastic through the rest so they would become interconnected.  The point of doing that is so when it comes time to attach the edges all the pieces pull together to make a complete potholder without holes.  Hard for my very non-spatial mind to picture and understand but because I have seen it happen, I know it indeed works.

I am not crafty however McCall is and set to work once again to complete his potholder.  (He made one for me last year and midway through making this one he asked if I use the other one.  I explained that it doesn’t hold the heat very well…whereupon he decided that it was far too much work making another one if I don’t use the first one:)

This process set me thinking a bit.  It is nice having our lives organized with activities, compartments all neat and pretty.  Work here, school relationships there, church friends over here and family business over there.  It works and keeps the plates spinning.  However in my own life I have found that when something out of my control knocks me off balance and some of my plates come crashing down…I need some help.  This is when I needed the support and help of friends and family and dear ones that were not just occupying space next to me but were interconnected and woven into my life.  These relationships kept me from unraveling into a tangled mess.

Woven together

Woven together

Their willingness to be woven into my life during the good times also meant that they were involved in the mess of my hard times.  But praise be to God for them because they helped keep me and my marriage and my sanity afloat.  Like those elastics on the frame if they had not been woven in and out of my life and my days through home group, dinners together, sharing date nights, times of honest accountability, shared times of prayer, difficult questions, transparent conversations and day to day life…my potholder would be looking a lot different.

Sometimes lining our elastics up in neat rows, looks pretty and doesn’t take nearly as much time, inconvenience, patience and sacrifice; however, the extra time is certainly worth the effort when it comes down to times of real need.  When you need a potholder to face the heat you want one that is stuck together with strong ties, not a tangled mess.  A tangled mess doesn’t do anyone much good:)

So how about you?  What is your life looking like?  Neat little rows or are you blessed to have the complication of others being daily interwoven into your life?  Some great ways to make that happen are to join a small group through your church, ask some friends to meet in your home to pray and study a book together or ask a few to join you for coffee and honest, transparent discussion.  The initiation and courage to create an environment and opportunity for transparent community can be challenging but so, so worth the effort.  Weave away!


You Were Born for This September 19, 2009

Filed under: Book reviews — erikaivory @ 2:17 am

I am all about some inspiration, some encouragement and a spiritual challenge.  Throw in some amazing stories about faith and miracles…. and WHAM! you have my attention.  You can find all these in Bruce Wilkinson’s new book You Were Born for This.

The past few years have provided me with some life lessons that have led to a deeper faith and a strong belief in God’s Sovereignty, as well as His desire to be involved in every detail of our lives.  I have written here and here about an awakening and a sense that we are meant to not live “normal” lives.  Christ did not die for me to just live an average life.  He died so He could fill me and use me and change the world through my hohum little existence.

Bruce Wilkinson speaks to this notion and runs with it:)  He shares amazing principles and stories that help someone like me accept the amazing challenge to live out a dynamic, miracle filled existence.  If you have ever felt like there is just supposed to be “something more” to this life than please, PLEASE go buy and read this book.

You can purchase this book online at or at your local bookstore:) Check out below a summary of the book, bio of the author and a video clip about the book.


His New York Times phenomenon The Prayer of Jabez changed how millions pray. Now Bruce Wilkinson wants to change what they do next.

Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by a direct intervention from God. Around the world these acts are called miracles—not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expecting God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn the “protocol of heaven.”

In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can be a “Delivery Guy” from heaven in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose, and spiritual growth.

You Were Born for This will change how readers see their world, and what they expect God can do through them to meet real needs. They will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today—and I expect to!”

Cover art:

Author Bios:

One of the world’s foremost Christian teachers, Bruce Wilkinson is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Prayer of Jabez. He is also the author of numerous other bestsellers, including A Life God Rewards, Secrets of the Vine, and The Dream Giver. Over the past three decades, Wilkinson has founded several global initiatives, including organizations that recruited and trained thousands of Americans to address hunger, AIDS, and poverty in Africa. Bruce and his wife, Darlene, have three children and six grandchildren. They live outside Atlanta.

David Kopp has collaborated with Bruce Wilkinson on over a dozen bestselling books, including The Prayer of Jabez. He is an editor and writer living in Colorado.

Below is a video clip about the book as well:


Lessons from a spider September 15, 2009

Filed under: Deep thoughts — erikaivory @ 2:47 am
Tags: , ,

Over the past couple of weeks I have found a new favorite place in the Rail Trail.  During my new gift of morning time while Eli is in school I have been trying to get some exercise.  If you haven’t explored the Rail Trail, well, what are you waiting for?  I have been trying to find the different outlets.  The Trail is really huge and each part I have been on is well kept up.  I always see (not sure their correct title) men keeping up the trails.  I have also seen one walking policeman patrolling and 2 policemen on 4 wheelers.  I have taken the trail from the Ebenezer Park entrance, from McLeod Health and Fitness, from behind Naturally Outdoors, from the Pepsi plant and from where it comes out by the Memorial Park.  I also just tonight saw the Magnolia Mall entrance too.

I have taken the boys on it a couple of times.  I love it in the mornings because it is so quiet and peaceful and cool.  I always see other runners or people walking their dogs.  The thing I see the most of though is spiders.  I am not a fan.  Particularly because most of the spiders I see are the big long yellow ones that make huge webs.  Yuck!  I thankfully have not run through a web although probably because I generally run swinging my arm in front of me, just in case:) (So if you see me out there don’t walk too close to me you might get slugged by mistake. )  I will start to feel safe and then I will glance up and see a huge spider with its massive web slung across just over my head.  Ugh!


Really though I am invading their territory.  So the more I run the Trail I am becoming a bit more comfortable sharing and respecting their space.  I usually stop a couple times each visit to examine the amazing webs.  They really are beautiful you know?  I have tried several times to take pictures of these intricately spun homes but they never turn out.  I love the zig zag patterns that some of them hold.  I wonder if that is where there was a tear or break and the spider had to sew it up and make it extra strong?

I was watching one spider the other morning as it finished weaving the very middle of the web.  Its web was actually attached from a bush to the ground and I almost broke it.  I watched for a long time as it carefully completed the inner most circle.  As I observed I stepped to the side and mistakenly broke where the web was anchored and it all swung back against the bush and was broken.  I started to think about how each night the spider weaves a web but usually sometime after sunrise and the dew dries either nature or wind or some creature breaks the web.  The poor spider worked so long and hard to create this beautiful but also functional home and yet most of the time it only lasts 24 hours or less!

I am sure I could do some amazing research and find some incredible parallels but I quickly was struck by this one.  I must admit at the end of each day as a stay-at-home mom I often find myself feeling defeated.  So many of the tasks I put my hand to accomplish throughout the day are usually undone by bedtime.  I scurry around to run the dishwasher, put away clothes, clean the toilets, pack the lunchboxes, lay out clothes for the next day, plan tomorrow’s meal in preparation for it all to be undone so quickly!  Do I have a good attitude about it?  Sometimes but usually if not externally, internally I am mumbling and fussing and complaining inside.  “This will never end.” “As soon as I do it, it gets undone.” “What is the point anyway?”

Does the spider complain?  Little Miss Spider sure doesn’t according to Noggin.  It would be a funny episode though to hear spiders complain about making their web each night:)  I was convicted as I watched that little spider tirelessly weaving away that I too am given daily tasks that are just that…tasks.  Thankless jobs that are assigned to me by my loving Father.  Should I complain? No.  Because this is the job He has put before me.  Does it achieve some higher, ultimate good?  Maybe or maybe not.  Perhaps I am just supposed to weave away and create a home and environment that is beautiful to Him.  It is enough to do what He asks me to do because He loves me like that.  Surely He does not ask me to do something that is not for my ultimate good.

Do some spider webs go unnoticed?  Certainly.  But isn’t that a shame?  Shouldn’t each little spider be appreciated and praised for her hard work and diligence each night?  It is enough that her Creator looks down and smiles and says, “Ah, you are weaving just the way you were created to.”.  So I am trying to learn to serve and weave my little web.  Without seeking approval from others, without needing daily affirmation that I am indeed making a difference.  Simply doing what I was created to do and feeling the sunshine of His presence while I spin.


Sorry if you now have the willies thinking of spiders:)


MomsNext September 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 12:42 am

I have included below a flyer that was sent to me by some great ladies announcing a chapter of MomsNext beginning this Monday night in Florence.  You may have heard of or participated in M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers), well this is the next step for moms of elementary school-aged children.  M.O.P.S. is near and dear to my heart and I am excited that these ladies have felt the calling to continue ministry to moms as they move from one stage to the next.  So check out the info below.  I hope if you fit the criteria you will give it a try and meet some new faces and be encouraged and share your wisdom with others as well.


First Meeting is September 14, 6:30-9:00pm at 3609 Hoffmeyer Rd, Youth Center.

Momsnext is a group experience designed to encourage, equip and develop mothers of school-age children.  This is a new ministry area of MOPS International extending the current mission statement to reach more mothers and their families for Christ.

Every mother of a school-age child, ranging from first through sixth grade, is welcome to a Momsnext group.  Our focus is on the value of mothering during the school-age years, leading women to Christ and building upon that relationship.

Our theme this year is “Together on Planet Mom”.  Please join us as we discover this universe of attitudes, ages and phases, and alien behaviors.  Let us boldly go where no mom has gone before.

Meeting Times:
First Monday of the month (Except September, meet second Monday)
September through May

What to expect:
Light snacks
Special Speakers
Discussion Groups
Lifelong relationships


History anyone? September 11, 2009

Filed under: Book reviews — erikaivory @ 7:00 am
Tags: ,

Mark is quite the history fan, not myself.  However I received a new book to review recently and it is FULL of amazing information.  It will take me weeks to dig through all the treasures and nuggets in this book.  The book is The Book That Made America:How the Bible Formed Our Nation by Jerry Newcombe.  I have included the summary and bio info below.

Newcombe gives historical background and countless stories and accounts that trace our heritage and roots as a Nation back to the Word of God and our forefathers faith in the One True God.  Lots of deep history and pictures galore.  The kind of thing though that I want to know in my head and heart to share with my boys.  And Yea! I have a copy for one blessed blog reader that makes a comment to say “I want that book!”.  Or something like that:)  Happy reading!

The Book That Made America: How the Bible Formed Our Nation (Nordskog Publishing) by Jerry Newcombe is a definitive volume on the Christian roots of our nation. Those who want to restore knowledge of our Christian heritage have their work cut out. As secularism continues its stranglehold on American education, we move further and further away from retaining our Christian roots. The Book That Made America will challenge anyone to know the true origin of our Nation and to fight to keep it. Newcombe hopes to educate Americans by providing the facts of history, proving that America began as a Christian nation and American’s have every right to preserve and uphold that heritage.

All that is positive in our foundation can be traced back to the Scriptures. Recently, President Obama declared that America is not a Christian nation, while Newsweek announced the demise of Christian America. This book is the answer to America’s critics with the facts of history.

Jerry Newcombe, D. Min., is senior producer for Coral Ridge Ministries and has produced or coproduced more than fifty documentaries. The host of two weekly radio shows, he has also been a guest on numerous television and radio talk shows – including Fox Business News, C-Span, USA Radio and Moody Radio. He is the author or coauthor of twenty two books, including with Dr. Kennedy, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, How Would Jesus Vote?, and The Presence of a Hidden God.

Coral Ridge Ministries is a media outreach founded by Dr. D. James Kennedy. Its programming reaches a national television, radio, and Internet audience at

You can also purchase the book online at: <>