ClickList or Bust

Kroger is my store, ya’ll.  I used to shop at Tom Thumb and Central Market on the regular when we had 2 incomes and cable TV.  Now it’s store hopping to get the deals- Sprouts for produce and bulk, WalMart for toiletries and household, and sometimes Albertson’s for meat.  But since they opened a Kroger WITHIN SIGHT of my house in 2012, I am there just about every other day for EVERYTHING.

So I am mildly amused and somewhat sympathetic for the poor Kroger marketing peeps who decided to rush this ClickList to market in an attempt to keep up with WalMart’s Grocery pick-up.  I mean, they gave me a soggy brown paper bag with my first pick-up! Every parent who makes their kids’ lunches knows if you put a cold drink in a paper bag it gets soggy.  Nobody thinks that’s appetizing.  Not that the “goodie bag” is a big seller for me, but it’s the little things.  No, it’s the big things too.  Accuracy and efficiency, to name a couple.

The first time I ordered with ClickList I got all the way home before I noticed most of my meat was missing.  Yet my final receipt was just what I expected to pay.  Lots of duplicate entries, expired sales, and voids later, I drove back to the store to claim my chicken and an “I’m sorry” $10 gift card.  Fast forward a month or so and I decided to try ClickList again (they gave me a $5 coupon, I caved).  The same thing happened except I caught the elusive chicken before I left the store.  I saved $19.50 on that run.

Can Kroger overcome these major speed bumps on the road to claiming market share in the grocery pick-up scene?  Could Kroger stores become abandoned warehouses where your teenagers skateboard on the weekend?  Or, more likely, WalMart stores? 🙂

WalMart, although not my first choice in fine grocery dining, has done a lot to woo this stay-at-home mom in the last few months.  Grocery pick-up for FREE (with a $30 min) is revolutionary.  They are rarely out of stock and the few substitutions to date have been generously in my favor.  Yes, I’ll take the 40oz honey for $6.

What do you like or dislike about local grocery pick-ups?



How much better to get wisdom than gold,
    to get insight rather than silver!  Proverbs 16:16

 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  James 3:13-17


1 Corinthians 1:17-31

 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called,both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Could the wisdom of this world really be foolishness?  Is it “foolish” to go to school, learn a specific trade, or get an advanced degree?  Does God really mean for us to throw out knowledge?  The wisdom of the world according to James 3 is disorderly, selfish, envious, even demonic.  Although God is calling out the teachers of the law and philosophers of the age in 1 Corinthians 1, He wants wisdom to be exemplified in a good life and humility.


A Birth Story

My birth story started about 3 months ago when I first interviewed my doula and she mentioned there was a birth center right by our house. “A birth center?!” I thought. I had 2 other babies in a hospital with an epidural and both were wonderful experiences. I was very close-minded about birth centers, but…..I had started asking questions of my new OB with this pregnancy. Answers led to more questions, questions, questions. I finally decided I’d like to try for a natural “delivery” (you know you say this word in a hospital but say “birth” out-of-hospital). And that’s when I contacted Mandy, our doula. I hinted that I wasn’t thrilled with the new doctor and she suggested I go for a consult at Origins Birth Center just down the road. I knew we were in for it when we walked in and it smelled amazing, not to mention the cozy, inviting atmosphere. Gina talked to us for over an hour, after hours, and answered all our questions.
I had decided on a natural delivery because my previous epidurals were too strong. I never felt the urge to push or anything other than a little pressure. My questions led me to research showing other nuances could be avoided by skipping the epidural- tearing, continuous IV fluids, catheters, baby too sleepy to latch, the list goes on. For me, I had no sensation during pushing with my other babies and the coaching I got from the hospital staff did not reduce tearing. In fact, I had more stitches with my second baby.
Soon after I met with Gina, I got an answer to prayer in the form of a song. We had been wrestling with the decision to birth at Origins or our hospital for about a week and I decided to drive by the birthing center on a whim. As I got closer, Hillsong’s Oceans song came on and I heard the words:
“…Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
Where my faith would be made stronger”
And I knew. I knew my faith would be made stronger here, no matter what fears I had. I knew He was “calling me out on the water” for a water birth. About a week later, I got another confirmation through a song as I was driving near the birth center. God is so good.
As I got nearer my due date, I especially looked forward to each midwife appointment. I met with Kaitlyn on Thursday for my 39 week appointment and she cheered me on, saying she could very well deliver my baby this week as she was on call. Then I got a call on Monday. Beth told me the news that Kaitlyn had lost her 4 year-old son, Paxton Jude, suddenly and they were arranging for another midwife to be on call. We spent the week in a sort of sorrowful anticipation. My husband and I were so sad for the Wages and prayed constantly for them. It was hard to have that anticipation of our new baby without thinking of them and their loss. I knew God had called us here and His timing is perfect, but I also prayed God would tell this baby to wait.
On Thursday, my due date, I woke up feeling crampy. We had tickets to see my brother in Christ Chapel’s production of Mary Poppins for Friday but changed them that night at the last minute. I started having lots of contractions so we left at intermission. My contractions were steady coming home, but not strong enough to make a move to the birth center. Still, I called all hands on deck and told everyone to be ready- my mom to come over and watch the kids, my doula to meet us at the house, and Origins to contact the midwife. Kristine Tadawater was on call for Origins that night. I came to find out later her and her student assistant were filling in on a volunteer basis in honor of Kaitlyn. Kristine was coming from East Dallas so she said she needed 45 minutes heads up. I called her at 3:30am saying we would be at the birth center within the hour. When my husband, doula, and I got to the birth center around 5am it was dark. No one was there. Amazingly, I didn’t panic (but I think my husband did!) The midwife said she was stuck in traffic on 635. Only in DFW, can you have traffic at 4:30am! We were able to get a key and get in, my husband and doula running around and quickly getting everything turned on and ready. Not long after, Kristine arrived and I checked in at 9cm. So close! I got in the water, and contractions seemed to space out a bit. It was impossible to stay relaxed during these last contractions and pushing, but that’s all they tell you! Relax! I had never felt pushing contractions before and those were the worst. I had no control over my body and, although I’ve already forgotten the details of the pain, I remember saying, “I can’t do this!” at each one. My sweet husband and Mandy kept telling me, “you ARE doing this.”
Suddenly, midwife Kristine told me we had to get the baby out. Looking back, I may have just thought she was finally agreeing with me and I didn’t see the seriousness of the situation! She told me to get out of the pool and everyone helped me out quickly. The midwives tried to coach me to push harder and, within seconds, baby’s head was out. My handsome baby boy entered the world at 6:48am just as dawn was breaking, on the floor beside the birth pool at Origins. My husband cradled me as I cradled baby and we sat there in blissful shock for awhile. They helped us get into the bed for the painful 3rd stage. The cord was cut, breastfeeding started, and my contractions were building. About 30 minutes later the placenta was delivered and Ben and I got some sweet alone time to study baby.
By the grace of God and the help of my wonderful birth team, I had a natural BIRTH without any medication, IVs, or stitches! I had a superficial tear from baby’s nuchal hand which was pressed against the cord and his head in the birth canal, which was the reason for the quick exit. Our homecoming was especially sweet as my 2 toddlers didn’t know we had the baby. We just walked in the door with a special delivery and they’ve been amazed and infatuated with him ever since. My husband and I also enjoyed the serenity of going to sleep shortly after arriving home in our own bed with baby. This is something we didn’t get to do in the hospital. The first few days are filled with frequent health checks, procedures, and paperwork. It was nice to get that breath as soon as we got home.
Our little guy has a special name. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl so we had amassed a looooong list of possible names for each gender. We didn’t agree on any of them (except for a couple girl names, go figure). After the sad news about Paxton Jude, I looked up the meaning of his name. Jude is a shortened form of Judah which means “praise.” My husband and I both loved it. God reminded me a few days ago that life is but a breath, but we will spend eternity in praise. This name is not only in honor of Paxton, but a sweet reminder of our future Life.

Colossians 3:1-2
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Four days after his birth, we completed his name:
Micah Jude Leonard Alvarez
Leonard is a family name and Micah means “who is like God?”

Isaiah 40:12
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?

Welcome to Costco, I love you

Has anyone seen that movie from the early 2000’s called Idiocracy?  It stars Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph and it’s a hilariously crude and cautionary tale of the world in 2525 (or something like that).  If you can get past the crude language and sexual humor and the kids are definitely asleep, it’s great!  Ben and I love the part where they go to Costco.  Costco of the future is about 20 square miles, has a time machine, and awards college degrees.  When you walk in they greet you, “Welcome to Costco, I love you.”  BaHaHAHAHA!

So I couldn’t stop giggling when our family went to the local Costco for it’s Open House a couple weeks ago.  Everyone is MAD CRAZY about this place!  Well, they also had a lot of free food and you know how we get like restless cattle around a buffet line.  The comically large jars of mayonnaise and ketchup make me laugh.  The size of the OTC drug containers makes me worry about the kind of people shopping there.  And the unit cost per item makes me want to go to Wal-Mart.  But with a recent surge of large families al la the Duggars, I get it.  You really don’t want to go to 3 different stores to get the best deals or have to shop more often with your 8 kids in tow.  Just go pick me up a case of Brawndo while you’re there- it’s got what plants crave.

Facebook, I like

Facebook, oh, Facebook…Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?  Thou art more lively and tough to quit.  Rough winds do shake the many posts of May, for many graduate and have a pretty prom date.

I’ve always been a little wary of posting on Facebook.  I never understood the mom who feels the NEED to post a daily picture of their child(ren) or a couple who posts incessantly about their vacation while ON it (can you say, um, burglary?).  But, I, like most people on this earth got caught up in the fun…and it just got crazier once I have kids.  It’s nice to throw some intelligent sounding words out into the web-o-space while your everyday life consists of phrases like, “Big chip, I like” and “Veggies in space.”  Awhile back I decided to take a little sabbatical and see what happened.  No more figuring out news feed changes on a weekly basis or constantly comparing myself to friends pictures…”I don’t have ANY clothes that fit!  I MUST go shopping now right after looking at Facebook.”  “My baby girl NEEDS a new bow, yes, that bow RIGHT THERE!”  Facebook wasn’t only debiting my time it was debiting my checking account. 

So I still check out news stories when the kids are napping and I need a laugh break.  Today, I saw the fight between councilman Joel Burns of Fort Worth and the Weather Channel peeps about their app not showing Fort Worth pics (really?!) and bullying. *Yawn* Ok, I did laugh a little bit.  But case in point, social media makes it really really easy to shoot off your mouth.  And didn’t your mother always tell you not to shoot off your mouth?  If I had a tape recorder in the car for all the bad things I said in a moment of rage I’d be in trouble.  Oh, wait.  I do- he’s 2.

For Women

It’s Mother’s Day and I’m motivated to write a word for Women….and not necessarily moms.  While today is a day of joy for many moms, it’s a hard day for lots of women.  Women who long to change their name and have someone hold them every night.  Women who have lost all hope of being a mom biologically.  Women who have lost their sweet babies at 5 weeks, 8 weeks, 34 weeks.  Women with an autistic child who cries at a loving touch and doesn’t look them in the eyes.

God is teaching me to have affection and mercy on these women.  He is patient, He is kind.  His love for you is boundless.  When Jesus planned to visit the Samaritan woman at the well the Bible says he “had to” go through Samaria.  Samaria is kinda like that part of town you drive AROUND to avoid, so to say he “had to” go through Samaria gave us a little heads up- he had something important to do there.  In fact, He didn’t come to condemn the Samaritan woman because of her many husbands but to entrust her with a huge role in the kingdom.  She was the first person outside of the disciples to whom he told he was the Messiah, “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:26).  It didn’t matter what her girlfriends thought about her or how the town gossiped about her status behind her back.  It didn’t matter that she wasn’t Jewish or didn’t go to church.  Heck, it didn’t even matter that she was a female and considered property to most men!  Jesus PLANNED to reveal himself to a woman – this woman – first.  We hear about her dubious past so we would know how radically she would be changed.   He told her specifics so she would know that he was speaking truth.  She was the first missionary of the gospel and many in her town believed right then (John 4:29).

Sometimes we are waiting on God to get us out of our lonely or hopeless situation and sometimes he just shows up unexpectedly.  For the women on my heart:

“I am still confident of this: I will see the GOODNESS of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  Psalm 27:14

Wait with confidence because the Lord wants to show you His goodness while you are living.  Wait with a strong heart because he may be about to entrust you with a huge role in His kingdom.