Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Me? Gift? February 27, 2010

Filed under: Deep thoughts — erikaivory @ 2:07 am
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Perry Noble‘s message this past week was on finding our “gifts” that the Lord has given us and using them to His glory.  That sounds easier than it is, I guess.  However, I think it starts with understanding that normally the area in which we are gifted will be accompanied by a joy in doing it.  Cool how it works that way.  He wants us to enjoy serving Him.  Of course there will always be times where we may not feel like serving with our gifts or it may not exactly be fun cause that is life BUT for the most part it makes sense that our passions usually accompany our gifting.

I follow Sarah Markley’s blog and she also shared a beautiful post on this today, called “Deep Gladness“.  I wish you would click over and read it.  And then take a few moments and reflect.  Hmmm…

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Love & War February 13, 2010

Filed under: Book reviews — erikaivory @ 4:56 am
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I realize it is hard to believe but I actually finished a book this time prior to posting my review of it:)  And this is pretty amazing when you consider the last two weeks of my life which have included pink eye, a car accident, out of town guests, and 4 family members enduring the stomach bug, including myself.  However, this shows just how AMAZING this book is.

The book is Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge.  I have read Wild at Heart by John and Captivating by Stasi.  I thoroughly enjoy their writing style and I love the way they both speak to the spirit and soul of a person instead of simply the mind.  So I was excited to be part of this blog tour.

I have read many, many books on relationships and tons of self-help books.  These days I often find myself skimming most of these books because so much are full of things I have already heard or learned.  Which is fine but I was very pleasantly surprised to need to read Love & War carefully and slowly because it was so full of “new” and helpful information!

They are very transparent about their struggles both in the past and recent issues that they are still dealing with as a couple.  This isn’t a pretty little Christian book on marriage.  They deal with making daily choices to love, the side of marriage that is hard and tiring, the internal battle that goes on during conflict, the spiritual attack that marriages are under and the internal work we need to do as individuals to have a healthy marriage.

Mark and I have been married 10 years and actively work at keeping our marriage healthy and growing toward each other.  I learned a ton from his book.  For my Valentine’s Day gift this year I asked Mark to read this book so we can discuss some of the things they address.  One of my favorite parts that I am currently chewing on is the emphasis they place on prayer in marriage.  They discuss in detail the power of prayer individually and as a couple in combating the plans that the enemy has to destroy our marriages.  They challenge couples to pray and do spiritual warfare for their marriage and the issues they face.  They include specific prayers and all the excuses we use to avoid praying together.  Good stuff.  They don’t sugar coat things and I love that.

I think an engaged couple or newly married couple could benefit from this, but I believe couples that have been married a couple of years and realize just how hard it is to stay “happily” married can truly reap the greatest benefit from Love & War.  It is definitely one that I will reread.  I am SO, SO thankful for the opportunity to read this.  I highly, highly recommend it.  I think if you read it you will want to pass it on to other couples that could use it.  They also offer a dvd/group study that I think would be an awesome experience.  So check it out!  I have included the book summary and author info below as well.

So this Valentine’s Day, sure grab your honey some chocolate or a cd but consider picking this book up and looking it over together.  It might just be the best Vday gift you ever give each other:)

You can purchase this book and others online at: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780385529808

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Book: Love and War

Author: John and Stasi Eldredge

Summary:

What the Eldredge bestsellers Wild at Heart did for men, and Captivating did for women, LOVE & WAR will do for married couples everywhere. John and Stasi Eldredge have contributed the quintessential works on Christian spirituality through the experience of men and the experience of women and now they turn their focus to the incredible dynamic between those two forces.

With refreshing openness that will grab readers from the first page, the Eldredges candidly discuss their own marriage and the insights they’ve gained from the challenges they faced. Each talks independently to the reader about what they’ve learned, giving their guidance personal immediacy and a balance between the male and female perspectives that has been absent from all previous books on this topic.   They begin LOVE & WAR with an obvious but necessary acknowledgement:  Marriage is fabulously hard.  They advise that the sooner we get the shame and confusion off our backs, the sooner we’ll find our way through.

LOVE & WAR shows couples how to fight for their love and happiness, calling men and women to step into the great adventure God has waiting for them together. Walking alongside John and Stasi Eldredge, every couple can discover how their individual journeys are growing into a story of meaning much greater than anything they could do or be on their own.

Cover art:

 

Have you taken your vitamins today? February 11, 2010

Filed under: Deep thoughts — erikaivory @ 4:08 am
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Every morning I set out two gummy vitamins for each of my boys.  They seem to like them and say they are tasty.  However, at least one day a week, once the boys are off at school and I set to cleaning the kitchen after breakfast I inevitably find this:

One of them has forgotten to take their vitamins!  Now the boys don’t realize that these two little gummy items are supposed to hopefully hold all the nutrients and vitamins that are missing from their diet (since their supermom does not successfully get them to eat all the fruits and vegetables that they are supposed to ingest).  They do know though that it is like a little candy treat before school.  And some days if I forget to put them at their place they will even ask for the sugary, vitaminy sweetness.  Yet there are days like above where they just hurry off and leave them behind.

It hit me the other day as I looked at the lonely vitamins and sighed (and also began to obsess about how they need that extra boost for their immune systems b/c they certainly don’t eat enough vegetables and what kind of mom am I to not only be slack about veggies but now vitamins too…anyone else have an internal Mommy Guilt with a megaphone/speaker system?)  This may sound just a wee bit cheesy but the way they rushed off and missed their vitamin treat is exactly how I am SOOOO many days with the Lord and what He offers me.

I have the opportunity to start each morning with an immune boost, energy shot from the Word that will get me going, set me on the right path and infuse me with EXACTLY what I need for that day…yet, more days than I care to admit, I opt for either completely skipping out…or even worse trading the health and life He offers for a cup of coffee with a friend, 15 more minutes of sleep, a little exercise or some time to catch up on the computer.

Come on, how sorry is that?!? And honestly, how stupid?  I need His Word to start my day.  I need His presence to help me face what He has for me, yet I usually just leave it sittin’ on my placemate while I trot off thinking I can handle it.  “I really don’t have time today, Lord” “Can I just listen to some praise music while I drop the kids off?”  “You and me, we’ll have a good chat while I’m in the shower.”

Mmm hmmm…I am the queen of good excuses.  So this year my theme is “Wake Me Up Lord!”.  I am determined that after 29 years of claiming my Christ as Lord I am going to get the hang of this waking up early to spend time with Jesus thing.  No, not because it seems like the ultra Christian thing to do, but because Jesus did it!  And because so many godly men and women that have gone before me claim that this is key.  And because truth be known if I don’t make it happen in the morning, it truly doesn’t usually happen.  Have I been successful every day?  Are you kidding me?  Of course not!

The days though where I wake up and start a conversation with Him before my feet hit the ground and then carve out time with Him and His Word before the craziness of my day begins…those are the days where I find more victory than defeat.  Those are the days that still may be insane with my cup full of life as a wife, mom, friend…but I walk in His peace instead of my own frenzy.

I am praying that He will Wake Me Up to deeper intimacy with Him, to a stronger prayer life, to deeper devotion as a wife, mother, daughter and friend, to dream the big dreams that He has just for me, to a passion for the lost around me and to the abundant life that He promises He has if I will simply abide in Him.

So, have you taken your vitamins today?