Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Walking for Water… October 28, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — erikaivory @ 6:42 pm
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In our home group we are doing the small group study for the book The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns, the CEO of World Vision.  I read the book a few months ago and it had a significant impact on me and how I view my responsibility toward the poor and the world around me.  I never realized how many verses there were in the Bible about helping the poor.  Like James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”   And 2 Corinthians 8:1-8, Luke 12:33, as well as Proverbs 28:27 among many others.  Stearns talks in the book about how in our American Christianity it seems we almost cut out many of these passages.  Thus, they leave “holes” in the Gospel.  We are supposed to show people Christ as the answer to their spiritual need but often we are supposed to first meet their physical needs.

It can truly be overwhelming when we look at the physical needs of those around us and downright immobilizing when we consider the needs of the poor and needy globally.  However, our inability to meet ALL the needs does not excuse us from doing what we CAN do as an individual.  And there is much that CAN be done.

The study has a website that you can go to for individual devotions, www.sixweekquest.com.  This site also has great ideas of ways to help your family and your children really feel the needs of others, at least on a small scale.  We have been talking about the problem that many countries face in not having clean water.  So last week I decided to try one of the ideas I found on the website with my boys.

In other countries people have to walk for miles to find water.  Many times children are the ones that have the job of walking to find water and then carrying it back to their families.  This one bucket of water may be all they have for their family for that day or even for many days.  Sometimes the children will walk for hours just carrying water.  Then that water is usually dirty and truly not healthy or fit to drink.  Sometimes they will try to purify it but many times they just bathe, cook, clean with and drink it, all the while exposing themselves to disease.

So I charted out a course from a park to a friend’s house that was a mile long.  We each carried a bucket and walked that mile and then filled our buckets.  We then walked back to the park with our buckets of water.  This was great!!  I was fully aware that it could have been a disaster.  It was late afternoon just before dinner.  I wanted them to feel the urgency of making it back before dark.  Where many people live darkness means danger with animals coming out that could kill them, as well as humans that will harm them.  I wanted the boys to be tired by the end of the walk.  I wanted them to experience the frustration of trying not to spill the water and being bored along the way.

They were really great.  Eli found a long walking stick and once the buckets had water in them, the boys figured out how to string the stick through the handles of the bucket and then two of them grabbed each end.  They were patient with one another and took turns carrying the lighter load and resting when Eli needed a short break.  We had lots of great conversations along the way discussing how many conveniences we take for granted in America.  They talked about how blessed we are to have indoor bathrooms, running water, electricity, heat and AC, refrigerators, among others.

Eli carried an empty apple juice bottle instead of a bucket.  I thought it might be easier for him to carry that.  At one point he dropped it and the lid fell off and water spilled out on the ground.  He rushed to pick it up and save the water.  All of a sudden that water was much more precious to him after he had walked at that point a mile and a half to retrieve it.  It was a great taste of the desperation people in other countries must feel for clean water.  He was super careful for the rest of the walk to not let any more water spill.

Eli is trying to talk Haig into switching back and letting him carry the bottle:)

This was such a great experience for all four of us.  It helped move our eyes off of ourselves and the things we take for granted.  It helped us realize in a tiny way the weight of some of the needs of other people that we can’t see with our eyes.  I am so thankful the Lord allowed it to be used as a teachable moment instead of a major meltdown:)  And a major meltdown is what I hear going on in the other room…so I better run!

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Morning Madness… October 22, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — erikaivory @ 7:58 pm
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I wanted to document this for my own sake but recently a couple of people have asked about our morning routine so I thought I would share:) I am SO NOT a morning person! I am definitely a night owl. I process better and my creative juices tend to flow more freely once I catch my second wind after about 9pm. This became a problem when McCall started attending school and I needed to rise early. So after floundering through each morning and really struggling for about a year and a half I decided something needed to change and it needed to start with me.

I needed to start my day with Jesus and I wanted to establish a routine for the boys that included time in the Word. I also knew in my own life the power of Scripture memorization so I wanted that to be a discipline in their lives as well. I am slowly learning as a mom that so many of the business/leadership principles that I run across online and in podcasts can be implemented in our family system. So as I examined how to reconstruct our mornings I tried to keep things simple and streamlined.

So not every morning mind you, but most mornings this is the rundown.
It actually starts the night before because I quickly learned that I should totally take advantage of my natural strengths…and since I tend to be a night owl I try to prepare as much as I can the night before. The importance of preparation is another good leadership principle that can make a huge difference in avoiding family chaos. So I put the coffee pot on a timer so it will be ready for me when I get downstairs, I set out their clothes and my clothes, I put lunch boxes out, vitamins and meds on the table and lay out our Bible and devotional tools right at Dad’s spot. I do anything I can think of to streamline our morning routine.

My goal is to be up at 6am (give or take) so I can have some time with Jesus before waking the kiddos up. I give the boys a 5 minute warning before it is rise and shine:) I like to hit snooze so this is their snooze button.

Once everyone is dressed and seated at the table we have our devotion time. Currently we are reading two verses at a time out of Proverbs. Nice and slow but wow Proverbs has so much to offer! There are tons of great children’s devotionals out there and we have used some, but my boys are old enough now that we are trying to teach them how to dig into Scripture. I have found in my own walk with the Lord that I love to supplement things that talk ABOUT the Word, instead of actually reading the word. Kind of silly but I do it way too much. So we are hoping to teach them not to be intimidated by God’s Word but to have a passion for it. We talk about the verses and explain any unfamiliar words and chat about how to apply it to our lives. When they were younger my very favorite devotional was “Step Into the Bible” by Ruth Graham . Good stuff!

Then we work on one memory verse a month, sometimes 2 a month, depending on their length. I pray through what we need to work on in our character development and truths I want them to hide in their hearts. Then I print the verses up on the computer and we have a notebook we keep them in. We review ones we have learned and then learn new ones. I make hand motions to the verses and this really seems to help the boys remember them quickly and easily. We usually use the NIV translation but we always make sure it is a translation that is easy for the boys to understand.  Some of the verses we have hidden in our hearts this year are I Thess. 5:16-18, Proverbs 12:22, Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 4:13, Psalm 119:18, Philippians 2:14(a personal Mom favorite!), Colossians 4:2, Psalm 56:3(good for soothing nightmares), Proverbs 17:22, Proverbs 15:1, Matthew 5:9, 2 Corinthians 9:7b, Ephesians 4:2.

Lastly, we pray together. I decided last Christmas to keep all the cute Christmas cards with people’s family pictures on them that we received. We keep them in the back of our Morning Devotion notebook and we pray for one family each day. It is a fun way to enjoy the pictures all year and pray for our friends and family both near and far. So if you send us a picture this year, you will definitely be prayed over:)

So that’s it…only takes 10-15 minutes. Sometimes the boys pray out loud, other sleepier mornings just Dad prays. We encourage them to participate and pray aloud but we don’t force it. We also have a prayer cube that we keep on the table. (Actually the last month or two the cube has been up on the shelf but it is coming back out next week.) I put different people’s names on the sides of the cube and the boys each choose someone to pray for that day. I try to include family situations that we are committing to prayer, friends or family members that are sick or in need, world leaders, national and local leaders, church leadership, etc. We rotate them and change them. I soon hope to add a prayer journal element where we can write down and then document the dates that God gives an answer to those prayers. One thing at a time but that is my goal:)

So if you are looking to implement a devotion time with your family…you didn’t really ask but my advice:
1-Pray about it and identify a “good” time for the whole family. We were all together at breakfast so there was no use in creating a NEW time for us to be together. Use a time that is already in your daily routine. Maybe that is bedtime. When I was growing up we read our devotion together on the way to school. We were all strapped in our seats and a captive audience:)
2-Keep it simple and as short as their attention span. For toddlers we are talking like 5 minutes. As they get older you can add more elements.
3-Make it fun! If your family needs music, do that…or if everyone wants a part, make that happen…don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
4-Allow everyone an opportunity to be a part but don’t make it a pressure situation. If this isn’t Dad’s thing right now just do it with him around but don’t make him feel like he HAS to lead this. Pray for him to have that desire and comfort level but without resentment simply do what God has laid on your heart with joy and a smile:) God will bring everyone in…no worries. Just start somewhere.

 

Intentionally Trying… October 21, 2010

Filed under: Deep thoughts — erikaivory @ 2:39 am

Okay, so yeah…it has been like forever and a day since I have posted on here. I started this blog so I could document my attempt at being a godly wife and mother. And as a journal of our wild and woolly life during this season. Then when I realized that people were reading it I think I lost some of my transparency. Well, I want to return to my initial intention of simply recording for my sake and hopefully for posterity what life looks like in the Chapman household.

Currently we are homeschooling, living a busy and fun life with 3 wonderful little boys, blessed with Grandma and Grandpa Edmond and Uncle Ben living with us, busy watching and participating in the work God is doing in Florence through Newspring Church and trying to balance all that entails.

I am more and more convinced though that part of balancing well is saying yes to some things, but also saying no to others. Some afternoons I say yes to a 3 hour afternoon at the park, but that means saying no to cleaning the bathroom and folding the laundry. It is give and take. Learning to let myself do that is hard for me. It is equally as hard for me to say no to taking the boys on a bike ride because I need to say yes to putting away laundry and grocery shopping. The give and take can be tricky.

However, I am certain that the Lord is trying to teach me that I must be intentional. I must intentionally set my alarm and make myself get up before the boys so I can spend some time with Jesus. It affects everything. I must intentionally find ways to let Mark know he is my priority and I love him even with so many other things demanding my attention. I must intentionally make the time to teach the boys how to memorize Scriptures and intentionally seek the Lord as to which verses we need to be currently focusing on. I need to intentionally set a menu and preplan a time to grocery shop so our week is not thrown into chaos. I must parent intentionally. This is the job laid before me and I desperately and intentionally want to do it well:) For an audience of One.