Saturday, March 18, 2017

my irrational fear of grocery pick-up service

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I have a confession - I have an irrational fear of the grocery pick-up service.

What this is, in case you don't have this in your area, is the option to order groceries online and pick them up at the store (in our area Kroger & WalMart both offer this service). I was so excited when I first heard about it because I can not even number the times that I have had kids fall asleep in the car or sick at home and wished that there was a drive-thru grocery store. However until this week I simply could not get myself to try it.

Here's why - for one thing I have anxiety about new technology. Every iOS update makes me feel a little tight-chested and my husband has to practically demand that I try new things. It's slightly maybe a little bit ridiculous but it is what it is (is this what getting old feels like?!). Also I have heard that it is easier to order using a desktop computer and generally my attitude about all things online is that if I can't do it on my phone it isn't worth doing (can I get an amen?!). Plus you also have to pay with a card and I usually pay for my groceries with cash and you have to order more than $40 worth which considering I have a family of eight is not hard to do but it has been a mental hurdle for me. But I think probably the biggest reason why I haven't tried it is the whole planning ahead thing. You have to order hours (or the day/night before) you are ready to pick up and that has been a huge huge hang-up for me.

Here is another confession -  I usually go to the grocery store every day. I hate the idea of dropping my entire week of grocery money at the beginning of the week and I like leaving the store with some money in my pocket, knowing that if something comes up I can cover it - and you know what - this worked really well for me before Grayson was born. I would just quickly bop into the store with Eli on our way home from the park or the Library or wherever we had been while everyone else was at school but now with three boys it works a lot less well. I was spending at least half an hour every day grocery shopping (or traveling to/from the store) plus there was a lot of mental space being taken up worrying about what I was going to buy/make for dinner. Recently I have been trying to consolidate my free minutes and grocery shopping for the entire week has been my #1 time saver.

Last week I posted a picture on Instagram bragging celebrating another week of groceries bought and a friend of mine commented that she has been working on getting better at this too and has started using Click-List, Kroger's grocery pick-up service. I confessed that I just haven't been able to get up the nerve to try it and she challenged me to try it - and write a blog post about it. So here I am.

Last Monday I tried Click-List for the first time. And guess what? It didn't kill me. I didn't remember everything that I needed because the website is not super-well organized or easy to navigate for the first time, also I didn't sit down with a super-detailed list and that didn't help, but I sat down at my computer before the boys started their school work, pre-shower and in my pajamas, and I ordered my groceries while the boys danced to the Trolls Movie Soundtrack. We drove to the store on a rainy Monday afternoon to pick up our groceries and the boys didn't have to walk through the rainy parking lot or squeak their sneakers up and down the isles. I did not loose my ever-loving mind while trying to check out. Overall it was a win.

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And that has got me thinking - I had this irrational fear of Click-List and the more that I didn't try it the bigger the fear grew until it was completely out of proportion to how difficult it was to use this new service - I wonder where else these irrational fears have been growing? That article I haven't gotten around to writing and submitting because I don't want to deal with another rejection email, or even worse the non-response. The text message I didn't send. The conversation I'm only halfway open in because I'm not sure the other person can deal with my honesty. What am I saying yes to because I'm afraid of saying no? What am I saying no to because I'm not sure I could handle a yes? 

This week I tried something new that seemed overwhelming and yes it was new and a little stressful but it was okay. This week I said yes to something overwhelming - and survived. This week I sent a text I was afraid to send - and everything turned out fine, maybe even better than fine. This week I was afraid to say no and let all of my little people crowd into space I should have saved for my writing. This week I was afraid to say yes, even just to myself, and wimped out when I should have exercised some self-control. That's life too. That's part of the growing process. I'm practicing something new, so I'm not perfect yet, but that's okay. I'm learning to make better choices for myself and not let fear make my choices for me.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

on waiting well

Today I spent the day in Atlanta with my little sister Abi. She is wonderful. And that is an understatement.

All that time in the car by myself was also wonderful. It's about a three hour drive there, a little less because we met closer to mid-town in the coolest place called Ponce Market. If you're thinking about taking a drive into Atlanta I recommend it. So Very Cool! We enjoyed a delicious lunch together and we browsed the trendy market stalls and I took my first trip to Anthropology! Anyway, what was I saying? Lots of time in the car. Right.

So lots of time in the car is wonderful for me. It's lots of space to continue a train of thought, not something I get a lot of these days, I have at least four new blog posts to write but this one is the most important one, the one I need to say out loud, right away, so you can hold me accountable.

It's about my writing, and it's about waiting and it's about contentment. 

Waiting is normal. 

Noah waited for rain.

Abraham waited for the fulfillment of God's promise of a son.

Joseph waited in prison for the fulfillment of his dreams.

Moses waited in the desert while he waited to lead his people out of slavery.

David waited on God's timing to become king.

Jesus waited to begin his ministry until he was 33, even though he understood his calling, at least a little bit, when he was only 12.

Paul waited after his conversion before he began his mission work.

Each of theses stories in the Bible have really difficult seasons of waiting.
Some of these stories are an example of waiting well.
Some of these stories are an example of waiting not so well.

Noah worked faithfully while he waited.

Abraham took matters into his own hands to force the prophesy to come true.

Joseph kept practicing his gifts and eventually during that long time learned to forgive so he was ready to be a leader when his time came.

Moses seems to have given up on his calling and was hiding in the desert he basically says "please pick someone else" when God finally calls him up.

David honored his leader, even though he was truly awful, even though God said he'd be next.

Jesus was obedient and submissive to his parents.

Paul waited then exploded onto the scene and had a huge impact.

What about me? 

Over the past couple of years I've embraced my identity as a writer and a teacher, but in the middle of that I've been struggling with the waiting. I've been struggling with the "you need to grow your platform" line. Struggling with that a lot actually. Struggling with the "what now?"

This morning I was drying my hair, getting ready to go, listening to the album by Amanda Cook that I've been listening to on repeat for the last year. This song came on

 "You are not a tyrant king. 
You do not delight in suffering..." 

and I broke down.

Here is the heart of the matter - sometimes I feel like God is holding out on me. I know that He says no good thing do I withhold but I see this good thing, and I feel like it's being withheld.

But a good thing for the wrong reasons isn't a good thing.
And a good thing at the wrong time isn't a good thing.

Here is one tiny little piece of understanding I am getting about contentment. Contentment is the belief that God is not holding out on me - He is not withholding anything that would be good for me. When I see something that I think would be good but God is saying no, or not right now, I can rest content that God is not holding out on me. He is not keeping me from something good. He sees the end from the beginning. He knows what is best for me. So I can cease my striving and trust in God's timing. And ignore the lie of the ticking clock that says I'm running out of time. I'm actually running into my time.

Today I got a new vision of waiting. A vision of a vibrant woman - a woman who writes because that is who she is. She publishes on her blog and on community blogs because that is how an online community is formed. She is reaching out and growing a community of support around herself. She is supporting others and they are supporting her. She is thriving. She's not obsessed with numbers or traffic or platform or reach. She is setting boundaries for herself - she needs the time to write, but writing and blogging hasn't taken over her life. Writing is not crowded out or crowding out everything else. She's speaking truth, hope, light, and love and she's honest about hurt and heartache and confusion and mess. She's committed to honoring the image of God within herself and she trusts Him with whatever outcome that means. She's not scrambling (or scrabbling) for attention, but she's not hiding in a corner either.

This is not an image of me. Um, no. I'm over here all worried and stressed out and trying to figure out the next ten steps. I think God is calling me to chill out for a hot minute. Be present. Focus on what needs to be done and learned right now. Trust Him with the future, whatever that might be.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Brave: But Why?

I don't know if you have heard me say this before but I am terrible at ending  things. I am pretty bad at ending sentences when I speak. I'm super bad at ending rants once I get started. I am super-majorly bad at ending blog posts which is why I have a metaphorical stack of drafts stuck in unfinished thought-land. Here is a finishing thought though, because I have spent the better part of the last two years thinking and writing about what it means to be brave and the thought has felt unfinished till now. Here it is. Are you ready for it?

God is calling you out to be brave but not only for yourself.

He didn't call me out onto the water, into the deep places with Himself, just for me. It was for me a little bit for sure, but that wasn't the point. He didn't call me to walk out onto the water just to have a religious experience or to get a spiritual high. He called me out and began to teach me what it meant to be brave because that is who he needs me to be within His body.

I have had this growing thought, and this growing sense of urgency, that He wants us to fully understand that He made us each unique and it is amazing really that we each carry this splinter of the image of God. But we need to show up as that piece of the image of God within His body.

If God made you to write - write! This world needs your words and your friends need you to open your mouth and pour out encouragement and wisdom. If you write music - God gave you that gift and we need your art now more than ever. If your gift is hospitality - we need places to speak and sing and worship and gather. You are so valuable in the community of faith. If your gift is organization or administration - girl I love you so much. I need you in my life.

Your gifts are important in the body and so are your passions and your uniqueness. Now more than ever diversity is an asset and not a liability and Satan is hell-bent to convince us it is the other way around. The truth is if you are the most intellectual person in your group of friends then they need you to be fully yourself and not hide behind trying to fit in and if you are the most artsy or the most charismatic or the most liberal or the most conservative then we need you to be you fully and beautifully and uniquely you. We don't need all the intellectual Christians to gather together in a bubble talking and agreeing amongst each other we need them scattered and bumping into everyone else and shining their splinter of God's image into our lives. We don't need all of the liberals or conservatives all huddled together agreeing with each other we need them working shoulder to shoulder in love shining brilliantly into this dark world. We need to learn about the true unity and that take an awful lot of bravery. True unity doesn't happen in the context of uniformity. Gospel-fueled unity happens in the context of diversity and that is a tough transition to make.

Now, more than ever, it is time for us to rise up out of our distracted discouraged daze. I know you might not be seeking the spotlight but is there a chance that you are so busy not seeking a spotlight that you're not being a light at all? Could you be denying the God-splinter inside of you that the rest of us need?

It takes bravery to put yourself out there. Bravery to be criticized and misunderstood. Bravery to be ignored and unrecognized. But it is the most needed bravery there is. God is calling this generation of women to embrace the bravery He offers to us. He is calling us out onto the waters. He is calling us out away from the safe places, away from our comfortable spaces, out into the deep places with Him. He is calling us out into the scary and the hurting, but He is calling us out into something beautiful, He is calling us with buckets and buckets of love. He is calling us, to come fully alive to who He is calling us to be.

So who am I to stay hidden in the corner? Who am I to be always quiet? Who am I to keep myself safe? Why do I think that it is okay to get stuck in my busyness and distraction and ignore the image of God within me?

I know it is easy to get beaten down by life - by the need to pay the bills and get the kids to bed on time and get to our places and keep up with out people. Life is exhausting. But it is time to rise up. It's time to rise above our plethora of excuses, no matter how good they might be. It's time to embrace the bravery God extends to us. It's time to start practice walking in bravery and see where it leads.

Not onto us but onto God be the glory.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Kid Lit Book Review: Good Morning Superman

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From the author of Bedtime for Batman comes an adorable book about the morning check list. Our tiny Super Hero and his grown up counterpart get up, go potty, eat breakfast, brush teeth, pack a bag and head out for the day. And that is it. The language is super simple. Not simple enough that my early reader could read this to himself but not complex enough that I would want to read it over and over to my little super-hero loving guy. What this book has going for it is some super-adorable pictures that my 5 year old said he enjoyed. If you have a kiddo in that stage where they need only a few words on each page - this is a good book that will captivate your child's attention. Even if it's just for five minutes!  You can pre-order a copy here. It releases on March 1.

I received a digital copy of this book to review from
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Kit Lit Book Reviews: Don't Dangle Your Participle

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Don't Dangle Your Participle is a delightful supplemental book to demonstrate proper grammar. The illustrations are delightful and engaging. While the sentences given as good grammar could use some improvement they are a springboard to writing prompts and demonstrate a principle that might be difficult for some students to understand.

I received a digital copy of this book to review from


Thursday, February 9, 2017

in the wind and waves

Life, right now, is a storm.

It's crashing waves

it's a cold and biting wind

whipping my hair around my face

stinging my eyes,

it's visibility of about one quarter inch.

It's a lot.

It's not just one thing,

and it's not just my story.

It's just overwhelming.

It's been tears before breakfast,

it's been looking around myself and thinking

what am I supposed to be doing right now?

It's reaching down into the deepest parts of my faith

it's reaching up into the deepest parts of Him.

It's reaching out to let my people know what's going on with me

it's taking a deep breath as they pray over me.

It's this song:

I'll be honest, the synth in this song won me over first. 
Did you know the whole new album can be found on YouTube here?

It's worship music on repeat,



It's breathing in trust.

It's breathing out peace.

It's taking today one moment at a time

and doing the best I can

even if it's not checking off every item on the to do list.

It's Jesus, the one you love is heart-sick. 

And knowing that He weeps with those who weep.

I don't have the security of any one certain outcome

I do know I can be certain that my God my Father will never let me go

I don't have a timeline for things getting any better.

I do have security in God's love for me

and I have a hope that for all of this...

something good is coming.

So I can take one brave step at a time,

I can choose love when I want to choose to act in ager

or fear.

I can seek the face of my Daddy God

where I see Him smiling

proud of me

even if my attempts often fail

and choose love.


Always love.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday mini-Bible Study: not what I was planning on

I sat down at the computer to write something else altogether. I pulled up to copy and paste today's verses into my blog post and the site totally glitched out and did not give me the verse I searched for - it gave me the verse I needed for today.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) 

The NLT translates these verses "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!"  I don't know about you but there is a whole lot going on over here that is the farthest from peace. I need my mind to be stuck on Jesus. I need my thoughts to be fixed on God. I need my trust to be in my Heavenly Father and not on my problems and stress and struggle.

The next verse in my crazy mixed up search results was this:

"Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength they shall mount up on wings like eagles they shall walk and not be weary they shall run and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) 

I need these words like I need the air I'm breathing. I need my strength renewed. I need strength to keep on loving in difficult situations.  I need my hope renewed.

So this morning this is my mantra - I trust YOU Daddy God. I trust Him will all of my mess and junk that I woke up with. All of the weariness and heartache and struggle. I trust Him with it. I welcome His peace, His strength, His hope. I give up trying to figure it out. I trust Him. I'm listening for His voice in the middle of my chaos. Trying to get my heart and my mind still and quiet even while my body is chasing around a 15 month old baby and two homeschooling boys.

Feel free to share these pictures on your social media pages or save them to your lock screen. 

The font is called "moon flower"