Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Lessons from Aslan April 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 2:06 am

I’m reading The Horse & His Boy by CS Lewis with the boys and we are on the last chapter. I am so not a crier but this book keeps bringing me to tears. I think it is my favorite of The Chronicles of Narnia so far. I read them as a child but rereading them as an adult is a beautiful experience.

All through the journey the characters take, they continually run into lions. Eventually it is revealed that it was one single lion the whole time, and it turns out the Lion was Aslan. The mighty Aslan explains He was always there walking with them and that so many of the difficult and painful things that happened were caused by Him….but He gently reveals why some of those things happened. How there was a greater purpose for their good…and it reveals His kindness that was so misunderstood.

They ask for more details about other people and Aslan explains, “I am telling you your story, not theirs. No one is told any story but their own.”

It was just SUCH a beautiful and tender reminder to me that sometimes the very wounds I cry over were meant for my good and I was lovingly wounded toward a greater purpose. Reminded to trust His heart for me….He is with me. And reminded to not fret about other people’s journeys or even understanding. He doesn’t want me to compare my path to theirs.

What I understand and think I know with my limited vision and insight, might be totally different than the reality that is known with the whole picture.

Trusting that HIS heart and desire is for my good….viewing what I feel and what I see in my circumstances through the lens of His love for me…THAT brings me great peace and security. ūüôā

 

Seasons…shifting, seashells and surfing September 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 4:22 am
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I’m in the mood to put down some of my random thoughts. So this is your warning that this post is full of randomness:)

I am finally old enough to begin to appreciate seasons and the predictability of some of the things they bring.  Fall brings cooler weather (eventually), school days, stricter schedules (heaven help us), football, Halloween, pumpkin spice lattes and did I mention football?

I have to admit though that it is hard to not be sad waving goodbye to sweet summer:(  It was a good one for the Chapman clan!  We had so many fun days like this:

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There is no place I would rather be!

And celebrating with friends like this…ImageAnd enjoying road trips…

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And I loved my leisurely mornings…

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And the end of summer means saying an extended “see ya later” to these BFFs:(…

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And got into mischief like this…who knew pecan juice from unripened pecans would stain hands and faces for almost two weeks?…not this girl!

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We enjoyed lots of stay-up-late fun family times…

ImageBUT just as certainly as summer was A MA AZING…there is a purpose for this next season too.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3:1

I know this is Truth.  While we wait: we work, we live, we pray, we laugh, we praise, we grow, we serve and we beg God to fulfill His purpose in us during this season that we may bring HIM great glory!

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts. Isaiah 26:8

So that is kind of where I’m at. ¬†Last weekend Mark encouraged me to slip away on Saturday and spend the day on the beach. ¬†I absolutely love to be there with my boys…but I also love to just sit and listen to the waves and dig my toes in the sand. ¬†It truly is the place I feel closest to the Lord. ¬†I found this great stretch of the beach where apparently everyone comes to surf. ¬†There were about thirty people out there surfing. ¬†From about 9 year olds to mid-20s. ¬†But then there was one man, who had to be mid-fifties at least. ¬†I watched him for the longest time. ¬†He was loving it….and you could tell he really knew how to surf. ¬†He was so good. ¬†He would go pretty far out and straddle his board and just wait. ¬†He was so content watching the horizon. ¬†Apparently he would see a good wave coming from pretty far out and then he would just wait….patiently…he would shift slightly…waiting for just the right moment…and then the wave would catch him as he lay on his belly on his board and every time, just when it looked like it was too late, he would pop up to standing and ride the wave across and in. ¬†It was so cool! ¬†I took this picture of him in the white shirt facing the water and watching for the right wave…Image

That is how I want to be.  Trusting that the wave WILL come.  Ready, expectant, trusting and anticipating that what is coming is going to be good and exhilarating and maybe even the greatest ride of my life!  I need to be ready though and let it pick me up and just keep my balance while the Creator of the whole universe controls the wave and the ride.

One of my favorite, favorite things at the beach are the little different colored shells, a certain kind of tiny clam or bivalve/donax I guess, that dig themselves into the sand as the waves come in and out. ¬†The boys and I usually collect them in a bucket with a little sand and water. ¬†We love to collect them and compare all the beautiful colors and color combinations and then release them back into the water before we leave. ¬†And I love how often in the late afternoon there seems to be just an abundance of them! ¬†I was trying to take pictures of them with my phone and finally someone came up and asked me what in the world I was doing?! ūüôā

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Can you tell how many there were?! ¬†And that picture totally doesn’t do it justice. ¬†I guess it just amazes me that the Lord made ALL of those seashells with such amazing colors, and detail and cared enough to create such beauty. ¬†He numbers the sand on the seashore…and loves me intimately. ¬†It amazes me…I suppose looking at those little shells that find life in the sand and looking out at the expanse of the massive ocean puts things into perspective for me:) ¬†Sometimes I just need that.

Okay last randomness. ¬†Read this quote by Beth Moore from her study on James this summer. ¬†I’ve been chewing on it for about two months and I still have more to glean…hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!

“…the point is not just getting us into our proverbial lands of promise where we bear much fruit. ¬†The point is developing the spiritual muscle on our way so once we receive it we are strong enough to keep it. The hardest part of possessing the land is defending it. ¬†A person has hardly begun to have a real fight on her hands until she starts serving in her full-throttle effectiveness. ¬†She who proves a threat earns an enemy you can bet will do everything he can to make her sorry. ¬†Nothing in the visible realm is a greater reality than the unseen battle raging over our heads.” ¬†Beth Moore pg 164

Hmmm…lots to ponder. ¬†Praying we build some muscle in this season:) ¬†You with me?

 

Summer lovin’ August 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 1:23 am
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It has been FOREVER ¬†since I have posted here. ¬†This blog is supposed to be more about life with my boys, kind of a digital scrapbook…but I have been doing a lousy job. ¬†My other blog (boy I sound like a blog nerd) www.everchangingchapmans.blogspot.com is supposed to be focused on the adoption journey. ¬†I have kind of a one focus/obsessive personality so I have to really try hard to not be mentally and emotionally distracted by the “wait” and miss out on the fun and joy of living each day with my fellas:)

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So this summer has been fun….full of beach trips, lots of trips to the YMCA outside pool, dreaded afternoon reading time:), spending time with friends that are moving away:(, an archery class at Bass Pro Shops, growing our tomato plants and some time at the river with Nonny!

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I’ve also spent quite a bit of time researching and pouring over homeschool curriculum catalogs. ¬†We are homeschooling McCall next year for sixth grade so it has been fun prepping for that. ¬†We actually started school yesterday. ¬†We are trying to get a jump on it so when things get hectic with Christmas we won’t have to stress.

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I LOVE summer time. ¬†I love sleeping in and staying up late, eating lots of fruit because it is so hot nothing else sounds any good, I love going outside around eight o’clock when it is finally cooling off and just sitting outside until it gets dark. ¬†I love buying ice cream in the afternoon after you sweat to death at the pool. ¬†I love spending all day on the beach and driving home sticky, sandy and just a little bit sunburnt while the boys nod off during the long ride home.

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But at the same time, as bittersweet as the thought of fall and school is, I also love the anticipation of what is ahead. ¬†Planning schedules, preparing for the next season. ¬†We are all starting to miss a bit of normalcy whether we want to admit it or not. ¬†I used to dread change…but I am hope I am finally maturing enough to look forward to whatever God has next for us around the bend. ¬†This growing up stuff is hard! ¬†Learning to revel in the now and soak in what is going on around me…while preparing myself for whatever is ahead and trusting God with the next unseen season. ¬†Whew!!¬†

Glad we still have a couple more weeks to splash in the pool and explore some tidal pools:)  Regardless I praise Jesus for a sweet summer, for old and new friends, for lots of tomatoes and ice cream, no hurricanes (yet!), some time to read some good books and for beautiful sunshine on our faces and precious little boy hugs:)

 

A little monkey ninja action:)

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 1:14 am

 A little monkey ninja action:)

 

What I am learning…10 points February 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 4:39 am

I’m in a learning season it seems. ¬†Everywhere I look the Lord is pointing out things He seems to want me to put into practice. ¬†I feel kind of like middle school basketball practice when you went from wind sprints to layup drills to running laps to ball handing drills and you kept looking at the clock hoping for a water break…yet the tiredness kinda felt good because you knew it would only last so long. ¬†I know this intense learning phase is a season and it’ll let up so I really do want to take it all in.

Hopefully I’ll have time in the next few weeks to put more down here. ¬†I went to a conference recently and picked up some really neat parenting practices from some wise moms that I really want to put into practice. ¬†I’m gonna try a few out and then let you know how it goes. ¬†Things like asking the Lord for a verse for each of my children for the year to pray over for them. ¬†Putting it on the fridge so they can see what you are praying over them. ¬†Praying through that now. ¬†A mom of 10 told us about that and she showed us laminated verses from the last 15 years of praying for her kids. ¬†Cool, huh?

But tonight I wanted to share something I found on the inspiring Ann VosKamp’s blog that I have now posted in my kitchen and try to read over each day. ¬†It has helped me focus….I have to refocus MANY times a day…It is 10 Points of Joyful Parenting. ¬†It truly is best to go to her blog and read the whole thing because the blue parts link to other posts, but here is the summary:

1. Today, I will make our home a house of prayer. I will pray at set times. And I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God.

2. Today, I will transfigure all things into beauty, and I will refuse to see anything else.

3. Today, I will not have any emergencies. There are no emergencies! Only amateurs hurry.

4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be intervention with verbal thanks. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!

5. Today, I will pray to speak words that are only STRONG words, words that make these children feel strong. Grace words. Grace is the only non-toxic air. All other words I breathe are death words.

6. Today, I will pray to be consistently consistent. I will create safe rhythms that our children can find security in. I willcreate daily ceremonies because everyday we are CELEBRATING the gift of now!

7. Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child’s behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

8.¬†Today,¬†I will hug each of my children¬†as many times as I serve them meals¬†‚ÄĒ because children‚Äôs hearts feed on touch. I‚Äôll look for as many opportunities to¬†touch my children¬†today as possible ‚ÄĒ the taller they are, the more so.

9. Today, my priorities will be all Things Unseen.

10. Today, I will laugh! And I will let the little children laugh! I will create a culture of JOY!

I hope this challenged and blessed you as much as it does me each day!  Blessings in the journey friends:)  

What are you learning during this season?

::

 
 

Wearin’ my Hat Bible… July 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 3:27 am
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This is where I’m at:

Yes, that is a Bible on my head. A big, honkin’ Bible.¬† I’m considering the best way to pass this idea on to Beth Moore for a Hat Bible.¬† I need His Word to be a constant IV drip into my system. I need to soak it in and fill me up!

You may have never been in a similar season in your life but right now I am hanging onto the Lord and His grace and strength and mercy for dear life.¬† I wake up talking to Him and grab my phone and pull up YouVersion (the Bible) and start reading. Because I am so holy…NO, SO I DON’T FREAK OUT!!!

Certainly I can be overdramatic and do not in any way feel sorry for me, but I’m just keepin’ it real…I need some Jesus right about now:)¬† And He has been showing up BIG time…through friends and family, circumstances, notes and particular Scripture verses right when I need it most.

Sigh…the drug Mark was a rep for went generic rather unexpectedly and about two weeks ago Mark’s entire sales force was laid off.¬† We’ve been down this road before but the last time his company provided two months severance but not this time.¬† So he is diligently job hunting.¬† We are on our faces seeking the Lord’s direction. We know He will provide and He already has been SO faithful!

At the same time Mark’s sister just found out that she has breast cancer.¬† So there is a lot going on in our lives.¬† We are really doing well.¬† We are thoroughly enjoying time together as a family and truly making the most of it.¬† At the same time there is a TON of uncertainty (that’s an understatement) and some big giants we are staring down…I’m honestly not a fan of giant slaying.¬† Oh yeah and you throw in that whole waiting on the adoption thing…which, by the way Mark does need a job in order to be able to bring our baby/babies home.¬† Plus he needs to make a certain amount, as well, to stay approved to adopt.

HOWEVER, none of this is a surprise to God and He truly has a plan, we know this.¬† Our biggest prayer is that He will be glorified through our lives during this season and He will get all the glory as He reveals His plan. We desire nothing less than our lives be a monument of His goodness and glory.¬† He will make a way and we want to be faithful as we wait.¬† We don’t want this season to be wasted.¬† We want to learn and grow and be transformed through this process and prepared for whatever is next.

It isn’t easy though and some days I find it hard to find my Pollyanna positive attitude.¬† People have so graciously and lovingly helped us already…and I am finding it SO hard to accept help.¬† I LOVE helping other people, but doggone it, it is not as much fun to be on the receiving end!¬† Just being honest here.¬† This is truly revealing to me so many areas where I am unbroken and full of pride and I need to be stripped.¬† It is not pretty.¬† It is draining…and exhausting…and just plain old hard.¬† I am SO, SO thankful. And that’s another thing…the Lord keeps reminding me that I am supposed to be TRULY thankful for this season…and that’s just hard too!!

I’m learning a ton…about who He IS and who He ISN’T…about my idols that need to be torn down…about dark corners of my heart that need to cleaned out…about how amazing my husband is…about how truly selfless and grace-filled and compassionate my friends are…about how rich I am in the friends department (like Donald Trump rich!!)…about how much I depend on my circumstances to determine my peace instead of Jesus’ promises and presence…

Is it becoming more clear why I need the aforementioned Hat Bible?¬† If you’ve seen one marketed anywhere-hook me up!¬† If not maybe I can go on the Shark Tank and present my idea…whatcha think?

So if you see me in Wal-mart wearing my Hat Bible holler out a reference for me or simply look away:)¬† But certainly stay tuned because I just KNOW my amazing Father has a really cool something up His sleeve:)¬† And I am believing that the other end of this story is going to be just incredible and I also am convinced that what He is doing in us through this…is just as significant.¬† He’s writing a really cool story in us…we certainly would love your prayers!

Maybe I should call it Bible Hat instead?…

 

 

 

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 ‚ÄúI 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:)