Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An Excursus

excursus : noun : an appendix or digression that contains further exposition of some point or topic

Here is how I see (and as you can tell, take so seriously) where we shop for groceries. As a mother and homemaker, my primary ministry is to my husband and family. Bill works hard to provide for us and, for a large portion anyway, I spend the money. I decide what to feed my family and how to serve them. I decide what's important enough to spend our money on. So the actual cost of food is important. But the other side is missional ministry. Being a stay-at-home-mom, my missional ministry is limited by nap time and the demands of three kids. My outside contacts are generally the people we meet each week as we go about our routine. The lady at the library storytime. The seniors at the retirement center that oooh and aaah at the kids as we visit. And our grocery store friends.

When I see our grocery store friends and they ask how things are going, I try to give a better answer than "fine." I try to give a real answer, whether things are going good or bad. I hope to build a relationship and minister to people in whatever way they need. And in turn it's been a blessing and they have ministered to me. It might seem silly. But if we are all in full-time ministry, regardless of what we get paid to do, this is how I want to approach my weekly routine. This is partly why I don't want to just grocery shop wherever has the best coupon deal that week, but stick with what I know. For the cash and for the relationship that God has put in front of me.

Being "on mission" extends farther than what bible study I'm in, it should be something ongoing all the time. It wouldn't be bad if I shopped at Albertsons, because after a while I'd probably have some grocery store friends there, just like at Cost Cutter.

Just some thoughts. Although take it with a grain of salt as it is nearly 1am. The point though is we're always to be in ministry, wherever God has placed us. For me that ministry includes the people I meet while choosing what cereal to buy for the week. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Disclaimer: Here is a glimpse into the mind and heart of a homemaker. I write this partly for fun (see my past entries to Cost Cutter here and here), but also because it's been on my mind seriously as I learn new ways to steward my husband's paycheck into our budget, over which I have a great deal of control and responsibility to spend wisely.

Dear Cost Cutter,
It's been a while since my last letter so I need to write. I have been a Cost Cutter shopper for going on 7 years, with a few breaks in between, but loyally for about 5 years. I can't believe it. It's a real relationship now. Pastor Mark Driscoll cited that in a marriage the hardest years are the first 9-15, and I'm feeling it again in my relationship with you, dear Cost Cutter.

You have a special employee, Jane, my "grocery store friend." She is so sweet and kind to me and my kids. I feel an inexpressible joy when I walk in your store around 1pm on Wednesdays every week. Some weeks I don't see Jane, but I do see my other grocery store friends Barb, Lisa, and Cindy. In my head I hear "Where everybody knows your name..." Jane and I have exchanged gifts for holidays and the birth of my son Wesley. My daughters are so excited to see their grocery store friends each week too.

But, I'm torn. I am being lured by the thought of spending less, by cutting coupons. You are not a major chain, not one of the stores listed on the coupon blogs with amazing deal matchups. You have great prices and I only have to go to one store. But I'm torn. I want to jump into the world of couponing. All my friends are doing it. But if I shop at another store I feel guilty. I feel like someone will see me "cheating" on you. I'm not even kidding. I feel like I've invested 7 years into knowing your store, knowing your employees, feeling comfortable with the whole grocery experience...too much has been invested to throw it away on a trip to Albertsons or Safeway. And by the way, they ARE more expensive than you and you carry the same items. But you don't have all the glitter and shine.

I admit I cheated a few weeks ago. Thursday evening I gathered my coupons and headed to Albertsons to score an awesome deal on some cereal and other sundry items. But it was so frustrating. Wesley was very tired and cranky and hard to manage while shuffling coupons in an unfamiliar store where I didn't know anyone and felt anonymous. Like someone in the movie WALL-E shopping at a "Buy'n'Large." I probably saved some with the coupons I had, but on a good week at your store, with in-ad coupons and some manufacturer coupons, I probably would have saved more. But...everyone else was doing it. All I read on the coupon blogs was how great of a deal it was this week at Albertsons. But it left a sour taste in my mouth.

I really want to figure out how to make it work. I want to learn how to combine my manufacturer coupons with the in-ad coupons at your store. You already have good prices, it's been proven in the 5 years I've shopped with you. We eat well, healthy, and it doesn't blow the budget. The system I've been using has worked well. I want it to work better.

With love,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First trip

Wesley, the girls and I made the trek to Astoria today. This is Wesley's first trip anywhere remarkable. He did a great job on the ride and it was surprisingly calm for a 4-hour drive with three kids and just me. I hope to have some fun pictures to post about our time here.

Tomorrow we are hoping to "play clams" at the beach and have a tea party with Grama. On Monday Great Grandma Evelyn will be visiting too.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Month 1

Wesley's been an official part of our family for over a month now and it seems like he's always been here. The girls adore him and it's so encouraging. They are fairly helpful with getting me things, putting his binky in when he cries, and being very gentle when touching him. He is sleeping well and I'm feeling pretty much back to normal. I'm learning to see the little blessings throughout the day and God is teaching me how to truly enjoy serving my family. At Wesley's 1 month appointment he weighed 9lbs,7ozs and in about the 30% compared to other babies. Here are a few pictures from our time with Wesley in our family so far.