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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Putting the Groceries Away

Today’s reflection is adapted from my book, Everyday Epiphanies. There are essentially two attitudes toward putting the groceries away: Attitude A and Attitude B.

(Source: TeroVesalainen)

A: I hate carrying groceries into the house. These bags weigh a ton. Those check-out clerks always put too many things in a bag. And I have to walk up 6 steps to get into the house. What a pain!

B: How lucky I am to have these bags filled with food to carry into the house. And while I’m at it, how lucky am I to have a house!


A: Now I have to sort everything. What goes into the freezer downstairs… What goes into the pantry up here… What goes into the refrigerator… what goes into this cupboard, what goes into that cupboard… It takes so long! I hate this job!

B: Just look at all the different places I have available to store all this food. Wow! How lucky I am!


A: Humpf! The price of lettuce went up again.

B: Thank you, God, for giving me fresh lettuce this week! I’m amazed at all the food that is grown locally during the summer months—watermelon, corn, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli. I’m grateful for the farmers who grow these things and for the people who harvest them.


(Source: 2204574)

A: I hate this freezer! It’s so small, I can hardly fit all this meat and all these vegetables into it!

B: How fortunate I am to own a freezer when most of the world’s people have never even seen a freezer—let alone own one!


A: That stupid store was out of strawberry frozen yogurt, so I had to settle for peach.

B: I’m amazed at all the flavors of ice-cream and frozen yogurt we have to choose from these days. There are so many, it’s hard to know which one to pick! I’m grateful for the many choices I have in life.


A: I can’t believe that clerk charged me for four cans of tomato soup when I bought only three. What an injustice!

B: So the clerk charged me for a can of soup I didn’t buy. I’ll go to the service desk next week and get that can of soup I already paid for. What kind of an injustice is that compared to the kind that deprives millions of people of basic food—including even soup?


A: There! I’m finally finished putting all those groceries away. I hate this job. I’m glad it’s over with!

B: There! I’m finished putting all the groceries away—except for this one bag of canned goods. I’ll take that to church on Sunday for our parish food pantry. I thank you, God, for all the food I have in my house—and for all my other blessings too. Make me always mindful of those who have little or no food. Help me to find ways to help feed them. Amen.

What’s your attitude when you put the groceries away? Or when you do grocery shopping? Or when you clean your house, work out in the yard, cook supper, do the dishes, make the beds, drive someone to soccer practice or to the doctor’s?

Do you see the blessings that are inherent in your work and your chores? Do you see the blessings in inconveniences? Is there something in your life you’re taking for granted—like clean air, clean water, clean sheets?

God’s greatest gift to us is, of course, Jesus. Here’s a song that celebrates this great gift. It’s called “Give Thanks” and is sung by Janella Salvador. This song was the official song of the Papal visit to the United States in 2015:


Is there something in today’s reflection that you’d like to comment on or respond to or add?


30 Responses

  1. Sr. Melannie,

    What a beautiful reflection as I begin a three week retreat today! I am so grateful for this special time away with Jesus.

    Please pray for me. God bless.


  2. Good morning, Sr. Melannie. Thank you for yet another blog post that makes us question the “every day” of each day. When it comes to lugging in the groceries, I’m more example A than B, but I’ll say this: this weekly chore will never be the same again! On a similar topic of perspective, read/view the poem, “I Ate the Cosmos of Breakfast.” Fascinating!

  3. Guilty!!!! Thank you so much for the reminder of how blessed we are. It is so easy to slip into example a. My husband has moved me to a place that I do not like. Instead of grumbling about all the things that I do not like….you have reminded me that I am blessed to be here. I will try to see and concentrate on all the good things of this place. Thank you again for always writing the things that I need to hear. May God bless you!


    1. Sister What a great reinder of how good we have it here in the USA.WE should all be thanking GOD & do less complaining.

  5. Boy, did that hit home!! My husband and I stopped at the grocery yesterday on our way home from Mass and both of us had nothing but complaints. They no longer carry my family size decafinated tea bags or his favorite cereal because those items don’t sell quickly. We complained about how difficult it is to find plain old chocolate chip ice cream because now it’s mint chocolate chip or chocolate chip and cookie dough. While we were busy complaining, we were filling our cart from shelves filled with a multitude of choices. We even complained about having too many choices!
    Hopefully, next time we will be able to focus on B.
    Thanks so much for your insight on the things in our everyday life, Sr. Melannie!

  6. Dear God,
    Please always give us an attitude of gratitude in all aspects of our lives, everyday in everyway. Amen.

  7. I just returned from a shopping trip and put away what I had purchased. When you live with 20+ women, food shopping can be a real challenge. Thank you for attitude B. I say thank you with a grateful heart

  8. I used to be an A, now I am a B. And you know what? Although life has not gotten easier, it is much more pleasant when I realize how blessed I am to have anything. The gratitude attitude is, I think, part of that “easy yoke” Jesus encourages us to put on.

  9. What a beautiful reflection! The attitude of gratitude is a gift we need all the time because we are so blessed. Please keep the Sisters of St. Joseph, Watertown in your prayers this week. We are presently reflecting on our many blessings and looking forward to our future to carry forward our charism in our Chapter of Affairs this week. Sr. Janet Mock, CSJ is our facilitator. The Spirit continues to guide us. Many thanks for sharing with us your ways of challenge of BEING holy in wholistic living through contemplation. Last year’s experience with us last summer set the tone for deeper contemplative prayer. Thank you!

  10. Thank you for reminding us of gift of thanksgiving. We humans do need a nudge in the right direction. We tend to take things for granted.
    We need these reminders !!!

    Thank you Sr Melanie, and continued peace in your retreats.

  11. Thank you Melanie.
    Attitude is everything. We can make life drudgery or make it a gift.
    I have a gratitude journal. It has made me think about all the blessings I have been given. Thank you for reminding me of this today.

    1. Thankful for your wonderful words. I take so much for granted but do appreciate all Our loving God has given me. I am truly blest in every way.

  12. Thanks for this reminder, and for the comments from others. My hope is to apply this attitude to the task I like least: planning and cooking dinner every day. I am grateful for a nice kitchen, choice of food to cook, ability to make the food into a healthy meal, a family to enjoy it.

  13. I’m amazed & in awe that you’re putting out your Sunflower during your retreat! Kudos to you for keeping your ministry going for people like me!

  14. What a delightful post. I really am tired of the whoa is me attitude that so many people have today rather than an attitude of thanksgiving.

  15. Thank you Sister, that certainly hit home. I am definitely more like A but I can assure you that from now on grocery shopping will be totally different and I will strive to become a B.

  16. Thank you Sister. I exercise with a group of women of a certain age and
    we complain about how hard it is. I am going to be grateful for the use of
    my arms and legs that allow me to exercise and stay in good health. It’s
    all about the attitude.

  17. Wow! I have within the past year written in my daily prayer book “ONLY BLESS, DO NOT CURSE!!” on a small post it note & move it each day to the next. More difficult than I thought, at first, but now I am joyfully able to rejoice & bless! You are a blessing, dear Sister. Thank you so much! M.

    1. Thank you for such a great idea! I plan to put a post-it in my journal also as a reminder of the abundance of blessings I have each day. More gratitude and less “attitude”. Thank you, Michelle!

      1. Deb, thank you!! You made me cry!! God is so good & we must never let the negative enter in. Even through gritted teeth, I have to ask HIM to be my positive. Thank you & Sr. Melannie. You made my day. Sorry for the delay, been a hectic week! Blessings, dear Deb. M.

  18. Dear Sister Melannie,
    Your writing today reminds me of a prayer reflection I read many years ago. The writer suggested that with each meal, we reflect on the number of people who made our meal possible. The suggested simple prayer, said during meal preparation, is offered “for those who planted, watered, harvested, packed, shipped, shelved, and sold” the food we are about to eat. Further, we pray also for those who will be hungry during this meal time, especially parents unable to provide for their children. Amen.

  19. I really enjoyed grocery shopping with my mom when I was visiting my parents recently. In addition to being grateful for the food and the time together, I am so grateful to have my mom!

  20. As a home bound disabled person, I am grateful for online grocery ordering and weekly delivery. Also for someone who puts things away for me. Another blessing is mass on the internet. Just found your blog from the August issue of “Give us This Day”. Thank you for your sharing.

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Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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