The Grocery Shopping Blues

Dear Walmart,

I love your prices on paper towels and cleaning products, but I can’t find things like Brita filters or matches in your store, and neither can your employees. I know they are there- we just… can’t… find… them. To be fair, if I worked in a store that size I probably couldn’t find things either. I do have one question, though: Why is it that no matter how empty the store is, it always takes me at least 20 minutes to check out? Anyway, I guess I’ll keep coming back for the Great Value sandwich bags.


Bargain Hunter

Dear Kroger,

Nice low price on the organic chicken; I hope to God it really is free range, and not “free range”. I’ve had many moments of despair walking up to that refrigerated case and seeing only empty space where the Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain bread should be; however, I can perk myself up by visiting your Natural Market and walking that big, beautiful aisle of reasonably priced natural cereals. Oh, the cereal! 

All the best,

The cereal lover

Dear Trader Joe’s,

There’s only one of you in the city, so there is never any parking and the store is always packed. I gladly suffer through it all just to buy your frozen, wild fish. Thanks for introducing me to Mahi Mahi; I’m forever grateful. As for the selection of raw nuts- I have no words. I also must have your organic popcorn kernels, almond butter and coconut oil- when they are in stock, which, unfortunately, is only about every 4th time I come. I’ll never give up on you, though. We’re gonna ride out this whole “almond butter recalled for salmonella contamination” thing.


The Health Nut

Dear Whole Foods,

There’s a reason why people call you Whole Paycheck. On the other hand, thank you for providing me with local, grass fed, free range meats and eggs. You’re the go-to for protein in my house. Can’t live without the reverse osmosis water dispenser either. The deli pizza and juice bar smoothies are sinfully delicious. Now I’ve discovered the bakery, so It’s getting hard for me to leave the store without one of your donuts…. but I digress… Love the local body products as well!


The Lady who loves Local

Dear Costco,

I hear you are amazing! I hear you have tons of organic offerings and great prices. But the thought of you, and your size, and your bulk items, and your membership fee overwhelms me. I promise, I AM going to come visit you sometime soon. Really. I promise. I’m gonna get around to that. It’s just that, well, I need to know- are you gonna let me down, or will you come through for me? Can you replace Walmart, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, and/or Whole Foods in my life? 

Eagerly awaiting your response,

Hopeful Shopper

Creativity and Consumption

My thoughts today extend from my post on Netflix.

Creativity and consumption: I’m aware of a constant balancing act between the two as I juggle work, marriage, friendships, family, church responsibilities, my dreams and the needs (or desires) of my own body.

My heart says, “Write a poem.” My body says, “Watch Netflix for a few hours.”

My soul says, “Try a new recipe.” My flesh says, “Get a Quarter Pounder.”

One part of me says, “Start a conversation with that person.” The other part says,”Just keep reading your book.”

Consumption. There is so much out there for us to consume- various forms of entertainment, Internet content, social media, fast food, sweets, and so on. These things are an important part of how we unwind and connect with others, but consuming too much can lead to anxiety and depression. When I spend a lot of time surfing the internet or watching TV, I become discontent with my own life as I compare my circumstances with those of celebrities and people who don’t exist, or I start to want things I don’t have and don’t need.

Creativity. Over the past few days I’ve been thinking about the many manifestations of creativity. I could write a poem, decorate my living room, cook a meal, start a conversation, build a relationship. I often long to be creative but shirk away from the effort and concentration that is required. When I get home from work I just want to flop in front of the television, but oh! if only I would push past that inertia and choose to spend even a little time making something new. The results are worth it: peace, a feeling of accomplishment, renewed energy.

I know a family in which the children don’t watch TV… and these children are some of the coolest I’ve ever met. Their creative skills are highly developed- they sing, draw, play the piano, create videos, cook meals. They can have great conversations, from the three year old on up. I contrast them with some of the students I see in the high school where I work- faces in their phones, earbuds forever in their ears, unable or unwilling to respond to a simple greeting.

Both consumption and creativity are part of a balanced life, and social media, the Internet, a trip to the movies- these do connect us. However, when we share something that we’ve created with others, and vice versa, our souls are fed in a deeper way. And we are meant to create, aren’t we? We are made in the image of the Creator.