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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Cookbook Review: Good Veg

I spent a couple years in my teens as a vegan, eating primarily raw foods, and then last year our family spent nearly a year eating a vegan diet. My husband wanted to try it and try it we did!  We ate some really cool foods and some really awful ones. All of this to say I have a really special place in my heart for vegan and vegetarian cookbooks and this one gets all the huge heart eyes. It is stylish, it is chatty. It has knock-your-socks-off beautiful photography. I have been looking at a lot of gorgeous cookbooks lately and I have not fallen so head over heels in love with a cookbook as I have with this one.

In Good Veg there isn't a photo for every recipe but all is forgiven because of the style of the rest of the photography and the superior style of the whole layout. This is the exact opposite of a cookbook with twenty ways to make a quick chicken dinner with ingredients you have on hand. There are a good many out of the ordinary (my ordinary anyway) ingredients and plenty of dishes I'd never heard of. But the appeal of making a vegetarian banh mi is really strong. These recipes are made with an eye out for the vegan and most are gluten free without a big neon sign screaming "I'm health-food".

Is it okay if I say this?  Good Veg is a cookbook that makes veggies look sexy in the best possible way. Some days, when you are sick of the same pasta and peas, you need a book like this that gives you hope to try something new and exiting. Maybe it will become a moment hilariously gone awry but maybe it will become the discovery of your new favorite food. It is available for pre-order now and will be in stores on April 4. I received a digital galley from for the purpose of review. Links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!! 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

my irrational fear of grocery pick-up service

A post shared by faith raider (@faithraider) on

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.

A post shared by faith raider (@faithraider) on

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.