Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Summer Fun November 17, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — erikaivory @ 3:48 am
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I never posted any pictures of our fun visit from our Canadian cousins!  My brother Karl and his wonderful wife, Stephanie, came to visit us this summer with their kiddos, Taryn and Sean.  They drove all the way down from Canada!  They came because my brother Jacob married sweet Danielle this summer.  We had so much fun!

We desperately want to drive up and visit them sometime soon, even more so now that we had soooo much fun.  We spent two days playing on the beach and then had some fun being tourists in Greenville too.  If you have never visited downtown Greenville, you definitely have to go!  We love looking for the Goodnight Moon mice downtown, going over the gorgeous Reedy River Bridge, playing in the river, running around in the hidden Children’s Garden under the overpass and finishing the day off with pizza from Mellow Mushroom and ice cream from Spill the Beans.  Hope you enjoy some of these pics:)  They certainly make me smile!

Eli, McCall, Sean, Taryn, Haig

Steph & Karl at our family reunion at the Seneca Chick fil A:) last wedding we convened at Ikea!

How cute is Layla!!! We also got to see my sister Maura, her hubby Ben and their sweet Layla and Reilley:)


Spending a hot afternoon at the Greenville Children's Garden, such a NEAT place!


Aren't they cute? The boys fought over who could st by, walk with dance with Taryn:)

Reilley is in this picture of the handsome crew at the wedding!

Fun family picture that we now realize is not complete:)

It was so fun being with most of my sibs! It doesn't happen often enough. Great pic of Kelly. The ladies represented on the dance floor!

Dani and Jacob, the happy couple!

Haig and Taryn sharing the dance floor:)

McCall & Taryn attempting a fancy dance move!

I couldn't resist...I just think this is the cutest picture of Layla announcing that she was "done" with the whole thing:) Even mad as fire she is a cutey!

This is an old picture but I just wanted to post it because it is so cute:)







Grapevine Purgatory November 10, 2010

Filed under: Deep thoughts,Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 3:38 am
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This girl is NOT crafty.  Hot glue guns, ribbon and construction paper actually kinda make me break out in hives….so when Mark came up with this amazing idea to create some craftiness to help out with our exciting new endeavor that we announced over here:) ….I took some Benadryl and reluctantly agreed to tackle it.  I just feel so out of my element and unsure when it comes to anything artsy.  However, I jumped in and asked a friend if I could cut down some grapevines in her yard and attempt to make wreath-shaped things.

Cutting the tangled mess and transporting it in the van with the boys was humorous enough.  Then once we had it home I started to try to untangle it and make it twist and turn into little circles!  As I wrestled with the stuff all afternoon and my fingers were pricked and scratched…it got me thinkin’.

You know in John 15 where Jesus talks about how He is the vine and we are the branches?  Well those grapevines were alive before I pulled them out of the woods.  They were dormant I suppose and not currently growing, but when I cut them inside each branch was green.  The outside was brown and appeared dead, but if you followed that branch, eventually it led to a life source.  But I cut them off from the life source.  I corralled and captured them in the back of my van and drug them home.  By the time I was wrestling them into wreath shapes they had been cut from the vine for about 5 hours.  When I first started working with them they were bendy and pliable but by dinner time they were almost useless.  They wouldn’t bend into a circle.  Instead they simply snapped.  Slowly their flexibility ebbed away and they pretty much became useless.  As they became more and more difficult to work with, I was certain I had entered grapevine purgatory.  Early in the afternoon I even soaked them in my bathtub to see if that would help the elasticity of the branches.  It helped for about 15 minutes after I pulled them out of the water.  Without receiving the moisture and energy they needed from the vine, their life source, they quickly became useless.

It made me think of Jesus’ analogy.  We are the branches.  When I stay connected to my life source, Jesus Christ, I am alive.  I am useful and I can produce fruit.  Even when I may not be producing much and I may not be looking very “pretty”…inside I am still alive and green and filled with potential.  However, when I remove myself from the vine…I quickly become hardened, empty of potential, brittle, easily broken and useless.  Even when I try to connect to false sources of energy, it may perk me up for a short amount of time, but eventually I return to being dried out.  Oh, I can find plenty of false sources…fill me up with a great girls’ night out, or lots of exercise and fitness, how about a new project, or a super busy, productive schedule.  I still end up empty and useless to the One that created me for His good purpose!

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”  John 15:5-6

I can certainly see how this happens in my own life.  The further I disconnect by oversleeping and not spending time in His Word, by being lazy and not memorizing Scripture, by focusing more on Facebook, Twitter and my favorite sitcoms instead of intentional choices with my time that push me toward Jesus…well, the more easily broken I become by simple, daily struggles of life.  When I am not plugged into my source of Living Water I soon begin to scratch and prick the people around me and quickly snap and break under normal pressures.

This was big for me!  I want to be pliable in the Perfect Gardener’s hands and I do want to produce great fruit for Him!  It was SUCH a tangible reminder for me that I HAVE to stay connected to the Vine.  It also reaffirmed my great aversion for all things crafty:)