The 3 Stages of Emotional Connection to Costco

Going to Costco for the first time as a youngster was startling to my young mind. The experience changed as I got older. Here is what I have identified as the three phases of connection to Costco.

Shock and Awe (the teenage years)

Shopping in a warehouse? I can get a sweater, a blender, a new couch and a pallet of eggs, all while eating a giant polish dog with refillable soda for pocket change? Somehow this doesn’t compute. Hey…a mega box of candy bars?? OK, this place will do.

Disdain (the young adult years)

After getting used to the idea of buying in bulk, it gets old and, in my case, laughable. As a single girl with roommates, the idea of buying a box of cereal almost as large as my allotted space in the cupboard seemed a bit foolish. I scarcely set foot in Costco in my 20s or early 30s.

Acceptance (full on adulting)

Now that I’m married and the primary shopper for our household of two, Costco came back into my life. My husband got us a membership several years back primarily so we could save money on gas. For the first few years, my young adult disinterest reigned, and I wasn’t particularly interested in going inside to shop.

One day a few years back, a friend shared with me a delicious snack he had gotten at Costco and raved about what a bargain it was versus grocery store prices. Naturally, it came in a family-sized two-pack. I liked it so much, I decided to go get some for myself.

That is when it all began.

I started wandering the aisles and allowing myself to be tempted by the Amazon-sized portions of things we consume in ordinary quantities. The one snack became a regular purchase. Which turned into two when I discovered another tasty treat in bulk.

“Maybe I do need a pallet of toilet paper, five years worth of anti-bacterial wipes and 20 cans of black beans,” I thought to myself as I continued wandering. “I could always find a spot to stash some of it in the basement.”

With that thought, I realized I had finally become a responsible, possibly boring, adult. While part of me gets a little sad on the inside at such a thought, mostly I just laugh and embrace it. And console myself with a five-pound bag of sweet potato crackers.

Have you found similar phases in your emotional connection to Costco? Please share what your thoughts are!

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Why People Hate Christians & Christianity

These are fascinating times in which we live. Since my childhood, I’ve seen Judeo-Christian ethics slowly but surely move from basically accepted standards and the cultural norm to rejected, stomped on, and moved to what, subjectively, seems like a shunned fringe of society. This sentiment is reinforced heavily on Twitter and other social media sites.

To devout Christians (among which I admittedly count myself), this is no surprise. The only startling thing is how quickly the tables have turned in the last few years. My reflections on this topic involve a combination of sentiments expressed by others in conversation, in various online forums, and Scripture.

Here are five reasons I’ve concluded why Christians and Christianity get so much hate hurled at them.

1. “Christians are hypocrites”

This one is a bit yesteryear. Dismissing Christianity because “Christians are hypocrites” was common before it became a national pastime to dismiss the Bible and Christianity. To address it briefly, however, yes, Christians are hypocrites. Because they are humans. All humans are innately capable of claiming to believe a set of principles and then turning to act in a way that defies those principles.

This behavior is not limited to Christians, but it is highly devasting when they make themselves out to be hypocrites. Cringeworthy is not a strong enough word to describe it.

We have the perfect, sinless Savior as our example. When one calls themselves a Christian then engages in behavior contrary to Christ’s commands, it is painful to behold. And the watching world pounces mercilessly on it.

When a pastor has an extramarital affair. When someone who identifies as a Christian on social media personally attacks someone with whom they disagree. When “church” groups picket events and institutions they find immoral. When believers cheat, lie, disrespect others, or engage in any sinful behavior, people notice and claim that as a reason not to believe Christianity.

Word of caution to sincere Christians: Don’t be a hypocrite. Know what the Bible says, and live by it, thus showing your lives to be beyond reproach. There are enough fake Christians out there; let’s not make the problems worse.

Word of caution to non-Christians: Yes, there are those who call themselves Christians, but are actually not. Fakes have existed since Christ incarnate was resurrected and ascended back into heaven. It is nothing new. One of Satan’s brilliant tactics is to turn people off from Christ by placing impostors in the church who dishonor the faith.

2. A Christian has hurt them

This one is a painful reality. Even though Christians are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6), they are still capable of sin.

I’ve heard stories from people who abandoned any interest in the God of the Bible because the ugly behavior of one of God’s children was so hurtful to them, the resulting bad taste in their mouth caused them to reject Christianity altogether. It breaks my heart when I hear this.

This calls for another admonition to Christians from Philippians 2:12, to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

As one who grew up in a Christian church, I often heard that people are watching to see if we are faithful to Christ. While sometimes it is hard to tell if that is the case, it becomes crystal clear when a prominent Christian falls into sin. People come out of the woodwork to celebrate the fall, right along with Satan and his demons who rejoice at how many can be led astray by such an occurrence.

3. They’ve been hurt by the church

The Christian church is full of humans that are still capable of sinning. It is therefore capable of acting unwisely towards the outside world, and to its own members, in the process turning people off who were looking for an excuse to dismiss Christianity.

I shudder to even cite this as an example, but the most extreme case I can think of is the Westboro Baptist “Church,” whose members are infamous for picketing, hate, reprehensible behavior and zero evidence of Christlikeness. Yet, they unironically do what they do in the name of God.

They are in no way representative of the message of Christ. Not even for a second. Yet, to someone who has never read the Bible or interacted with a true follower of Christ, they might actually believe that is how Christians think and behave. Satan is probably winded from all the victory laps he has run while seeing what they have done to Christ’s flawless name.

There are more moderate examples, to be sure. The point is, when God’s Word is mishandled or ignored by the church, it is capable of doing immense damage to the watching world.

4. They always have been hated (Jesus predicted it)

It didn’t take long after Jesus ascended back into heaven (after being killed by His own people and being raised again three days later) before His followers began being persecuted, scattered and murdered. Just like Jesus predicted:

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
– John 15:18-19

Other than the last few hundred years in Western civilization and the unprecedented first 200 years of the American experiment, Christians have had a rough go of it off and on since the beginning.

5. The most important reason

Though all the above are true, there is one reason that stands far above others, why people shun Christianity: because they prefer to sin rather than to get right with God.

“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” – John 3:19

God, in His generosity, gave each of us a conscience, and undeniable evidence of His great works in the world (Romans 1:18-22). Our sin nature rebels against God, and we fight mightily against that which is obvious – the need for God.

Dearest reader, my hope, and prayer is that you will respond rightly to God and His wonderfully gracious offer of salvation through Christ alone (John 3:16, John 14:6) if you have not yet done so.

What is your response to Christ?


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The Theology of Weather: Seeing God in the Elements (Snowy Day Thoughts)

As I write this, snowflakes are gently falling, and have been all day, in my corner of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I still get giddy like a little kid when it snows. Even more so when the snow sticks to the ground. Though my zest for snowball fights and building snow art has diminished with age, I remain filled with childlike wonder at the beauty of it.

As I observed the silent splendor on a morning walk, I began to think of God, and how the snow is a gift from Him, as is weather of various types. It is a gift, as well as a reminder of His character if we pay closer attention.

Snow is pure

The white that blankets the ground after a winter snowfall makes everything appear clean, beautiful and pure. It can be seen as a symbol of God’s work of redemption in our lives, through Jesus Christ.

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow; – Isaiah 1:18a

That alone makes me appreciate the snow even more!

Additionally, the beauty of the glorified Christ as revealed in Revelation 1 uses snow as part of the imagery to describe the purity and holiness of the Son of God.

Moving from the figurative to the literal, a practical observation about snow.

It disrupts our lives

Those of us that live in areas that are perpetually ill-equipped for snow regarding clearing roads, proper vehicles to navigate it, and a lack of knowledge about how to safely drive in it, find our lives disrupted by the beautiful white stuff. Schools get delayed or canceled, people can’t make it to work, kids (and some adults) cannot contain their glee.

For a substance that imparts such serenity, it sure can disorder schedules.  Not unlike the transformative work of God in the lives of Christians. For all the peace and joy it provides, when done right, it changes everything.

The beauty of God can easily be seen in other forms of weather as well.


Pacific Northwesterners have a love/hate relationship with rain. The consistent 8-10 months we get a year can be overwhelming. Especially when the temps are low, and we have stretches of dozens of consecutive days of drippiness.

Though there is a temptation to complain, an honest evaluation requires acknowledging that the stunning greenery and beauty we get to enjoy here necessitates the rainfall. I’ve had more experiences of profound worship of our Creator through beholding His creation than I can count. If rain is what it takes, then I say bring it on.

The wisdom of God in giving us the water cycle to keep our planet and its inhabitants hydrated also must not be overlooked.


I scarcely meet someone who doesn’t enjoy the sun. Yes, they are out there, but they are a scant minority in my observation. Sunshine is amazing!!

To once more draw on my native Northwest perspective, we cherish sunny days. We wait through months of cold, gray, liquid sunshine for those few months when that bright orb warms up our lives.  Seasonal waterfront restaurants open, and remain consistently crowded. People who have been hiding from the elements come out in droves. The best our region has to offer is on full display.

The sun is arguably the most poignant weather metaphor for the glory of God. Its warmth sustains life, its heat can be deadly, one cannot gaze at it directly, yet its light makes seeing possible.

Ancient cultures worshipped the sun. Yet, the Bible plainly describes it as part of God’s creation — and that through which we can rightly glimpse His character.

Psalm 19:1-6 is one of the best passages to tackle this:

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their [a]line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from [b]one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the [c]other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

To summarize, it is fascinating to observe how God reveals Himself to us through weather of all kinds. Not only do the seasons give what we need to sustain life (and themselves are a metaphor for the stages of life), but the weather contained within each is an invitation to investigate the One who gave life to us in the first place, and freely offers eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Thoughts on this subject? I would love to hear any questions or comments!




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The Miracle of Santification

“The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

This phrase, oft-used though it is, pertains to so many different situations. The mind and the ways of God are so incredible, there are really no words to describe them.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

Today’s topic is sanctification. It is not a word that is used much anymore, unfortunately. I don’t even hear it in church circles much. To use ye old Merriam-Webster, sanctification means:

1 : to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use : consecrate
2 : to free from sin : purify
3 a : to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, or respect to
b : to give moral or social sanction to
4 : to make productive of holiness or piety

In short, it is the process God uses, in His mysterious ways, to make people more like Christ as they follow and seek Him throughout their lives. I call it a miracle, because, it is. How God can take a filthy sinner, save them from their evil ways, and begin a supernatural work in them to make them holy is truly beyond comprehension.

I had a conversation recently with a teenage girl who expressed frustration at the fact that she didn’t know if God was working in her life. She wanted to be a mature Christian but didn’t see that it was happening.

Two passages immediately came to mind which address that topic, more or less.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6

That verse has brought me comfort over the years. Knowing that God is continuing His work in my life, even when I can’t tell, is quite encouraging.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:8-9

While this passage isn’t specifically about sanctification, it does help us refocus our perspective on time. While a year feels like a year to us mere mortals, the God of the Bible has the advantage of looking at the whole continuum of human history, from start to finish.

With that perspective, we can begin to appreciate that God sees the long game. He saw all our days long before we were born (Psalm 139:16). He knows each step we will take, and therefore can see how our walk with Him is going to turn out.

Having traveled a few more miles down the highway of life than my young friend, I took the opportunity to reflect on the years that elapsed since I was her age. I can say, it has been an incredible ride.  Thinking about the status of my faith 20 years ago versus now reveals to me how much God has been at work, shaping my attitudes and growing my love for Him.

To those Christians wondering or perhaps concerned about the process of sanctification in their lives, I would offer the following admonitions.

  1. Be Patient.  Considering the passages above, we know that God is working in our lives. The fruit of His labor will unfold over the years, and may not be evident right away. It wasn’t for yours truly.
  2. Be Prayerful. To borrow from a country song, “Don’t let your praying knees get lazy.” With the command to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) in view, let us continue in fellowship with our heavenly Father, seeking His ways as we pour out our hearts to Him in prayer.
  3. Be Persistent. Don’t give up on your walk with God. Become a student of the Word, reading it daily, and see #2. 🙂 Continue to seek Him first (Matthew 6:33) and watch what He does in your heart. Keeping a journal of things you are learning along the way helps a great deal to track your progress.

The fantastic thing about sanctification is that it is an ongoing process, for as long as we live. If I can see the differences in 20 years, I can only imagine what 20 more years will bring.

God is truly good, and His works are wonderful. I pray dear reader that you will experience this for yourself if you have not already.


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Understanding Introverts: A lesser known fact or two

Life for introverts has a unique set of challenges. I feel fortunate that I have learned more about introversion over the years so I can embrace the way God made me, rather than be ashamed of it. This post shares some of the things I’ve learned, that may well help fellow introverts. It is also helpful for extroverts because it includes advice for interacting with the introverts in your life.
I originally posted this one year ago.

Summer Sorensen

Hi, my name is Summer, and I am an introvert.

No, I didn’t recite that line while sitting in a circle of metal folding chairs in a high school gym at a 12-step meeting. Sometimes it seems like that is how it is, though. As if I need help. Fortunately, I don’t.

That’s right, I am OK with being an introvert. After years of struggling and self-doubt with my introversion, in recent years I have come to understand, accept and embrace it as who I am. Not only that, but I’ve learned how valuable it is to be an introvert, and I’ve also realized it has saved my bacon more times than I can count. I’ll explain shortly.

I’ve noticed that the topic of introverts/introversion has been covered in articles and memes more in recent years. I applaud that. Most efforts to explain introversion seem to be a good thing…

View original post 1,475 more words

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The Good News Isn’t Good Without the Bad News (A Brief Look at Gospel Implications)

Sometimes, you cannot comprehend how wonderful something is until you are aware of or experience the opposite, to glean an appreciation.

“You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone.”

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

“There are unknown unknowns, things we don’t know that we don’t know.”
Courtesy of Donald Rumsfeld

“I didn’t realize how much I cared about my ex, until I saw her with someone else.”
– A paraphrase of 50% of country songs

I think we can all relate to that idea.

I want to talk about how it pertains to the Gospel, the greatest story in the history of mankind. defines the Gospel as:

“the story of Christ’s life and teachings, especially as contained in the first four books of the New Testament, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

If I may be so bold to write about the Gospel, I’ll start by using the famous verse(s):

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” – John 3:16-17

The Gospel is the miraculous account of how God offered up a plan to redeem the world from its fallen state, through the sacrifice of the Son of God incarnate, Jesus Christ.

Rather than go into detail about what the Gospel is, I will list a few resources for further study.

  • Ligioner Ministries has a good article here.
  • Grace to You (John MacArthur) goes into detail here.
  • Here is a four-minute video with Ravi Zacharias explaining it.

I want to briefly touch on what preceeds the Gospel: our need for salvation, one and all.

The noise and confusion of our current time, as well as abundant erroneous messages found in pop culture, serve to distract and mislead the searching soul from the truth found in God’s Word.

The truth of God’s law isn’t pretty. It tells us in no uncertain terms, that God is holy and perfect, and that nothing that falls short of perfection can be in His presence.
(Romans 3:23)

Furthermore, it spells out in terrifying detail that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is born into sin as a result of the curse brought on by Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3)

We are all sinners by nature, and are slaves to sin.

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.‘” – John 8:34

Lest you hesitate to believe that, consider the law itself, in its original form, the ten commandments.

Ever done something disrespectful to your mom or dad?

Ever stolen anything?

Ever taken the Lord’s name in vain (yes, saying “OMG,” but the whole phrase, counts)?

Ever considered everything in life as more important than God?

Ever told a lie?

Even doing one of those things, one time makes you a sinner, guilty before God and unable to redeem yourself. Yet all of us commit sins, constantly. Often as second nature. Because sinning is our nature.

Because God loves us so, so very much, He longed to redeem us from our sins to restore our fellowship with Him, as he intended for humans.  That is why He offered a divine, miraculous intervention through the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

God, in His great mercy, made a way for us to avoid the damning justice we all deserve for our sins. There are no words fit to adequately describe what God freely offers to all who receive Him.

The problem is, so many are deluded into thinking that they don’t need God or the salvation He offers through Jesus. Or they think they can appease God and earn their way to heaven through being good.  Fortunately, God was gracious enough to give us the law so we’d know the depth of our depravity and our desperate moral bankruptcy apart from Him.

“…On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’
– Romans 7:7b

“as it is written,
There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.’ – Romans 3:10-12

The unspeakably glorious truth of God’s plan of redemption is there for anyone to find. We just need to be made aware of our helplessness (the bad news), before we can truly appreciate the Good News, that new life comes from God through Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

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Waste Fewer Veggies, Save Money & Make Your Fridge Look Amazing

This is my tale of how I made the subject of this blog a reality in our home.

For years, I bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t get to many my fresh veggies before they spoiled. This was disappointing to me not only because I was wasting food, but because it was not cheap in the first place. The pain of wasted food becomes much acuter once you enter into adulthood and have to start paying for your own.

Part of the problem, admittedly, was that I didn’t plan my meals. I didn’t have a strategy for how to incorporate my produce into my daily eating.

Another part was that they just don’t last that long in the first place.

Thirdly, I relegated them to the crisper drawer at the bottom of the fridge. They were bought, deposited and promptly forgotten.

This was a three-point formula of inevitable waste.

Here is an example of what not to do:


Messy crisper = forgotten veggies

I am pleased to report that my discontent at the status quo chipped away at me persistently enough to activate my search for a solution.

Concurrently, my husband Mike had, on more than one occasion, mentioned how amazing the veggie fridge at Panda Express looked, with bin after bin of fresh veggies chopped and ready for action.

Like this:

veggie fridge

It all came together for me when I heard a podcast that suggested that putting veggies in glass or plastic bins not only extended their life but also, placing them on the high shelves of the fridge keeps them top of mind. If they are top of mind, they are less likely to get lost in the mess of the crisper drawer until they are brown and mushy.

I eased into it by starting with cilantro — the one that seems to go downhill the quickest. Placing it in a glass bin remarkably extended its shelf life. That made me extremely happy because wilted cilantro is a real shame.

Gradually I eased into doing other veggies too. I haven’t transferred ALL of them to the top, but it is getting mighty close.

Overcoming the challenges

I’ll be the first to admit that reorganizing was difficult.

First of all, using the bin system meant washing the veggies before putting them in containers. That created a wrinkle in my “system” of cramming in a trip to the grocery store either late at night or with barely enough time to put things away before I had to head out the door for something else. In either case, I was too tired or too rushed to wash and dry the veggies in the same block of time in which I unloaded my groceries.

So they were often doomed to obscurity in the crisper drawer.

A few things that helped

To minimize problem one above, I made a determination to start planning meals a week or two out. That way I had a much better idea of what I would need, and could buy accordingly to minimize waste.

Secondly, I had a realization. If I didn’t have time to wash and dry the veggies for storage immediately after shopping, I could always do it later. For some reason, I had a mental block that suggested I had to do it all at once or not at all. Giving myself the permission to do it later, even sometimes the next day, was a breakthrough for me, small though it might seem.

Sometimes examining the voices in your head that tell you why you “can’t” do something need to be critically analyzed to see if they are actually true.

I took this breakthrough and applied it.

fresh veggies

Look at those beauties!

My fridge won’t ever be quite like Panda Express, obviously. But it is satisfying to open it and see this:


Vegetables for days.

That sure is pretty if you ask me.

Even better, however, is our veggie waste has plummetted dramatically, and our actual consumption of them has increased. Win-win-win. Not to mention that this method does indeed keep them fresh longer. At least double the lifetime of hanging out in the bag in a drawer.

If that wasn’t enough, the psychology of it, that I learned from the podcast, is that your eyes (or your kid’s eyes) are most likely to gravitate toward whatever is on the top shelf. So if less healthy snacks get demoted lower, the theory goes, they won’t get eaten as much. And if you’re hardcore enough to pre-chop all your produce, they are even easier to grab for a healthy snack. If you’re into that.

Since this habit has made a positive impact on how we rock the vegetables in our house and is saving us money, I wanted to pass it along to you, the reader. Do with it what you will.

Does this seem crazy? Do you do something similar or aspire to? Your thoughts are welcome, as always.


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