Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Wooden Box

Ok ya'll. Time for me to brag on my man for a bit.

Way back in July, our besties found out that they were pregnant with their first little one. When they went for their gender ultrasound this fall, they discovered they were having a little girl. {In an effort to make a very long, roller-coaster of a story short}, they were informed that little Noelle had some serious health issues and was not expected to survive the pregnancy.

I'm not sure that I've ever felt so helpless before...because there really is nothing you can do to make things better or easier. And I like to "do"...something, anything! Instead, in our living room, just hours after their devastating news, we began to walk a new road with them. One of prayers and tears, but ultimately knowing peace by trusting in the sovereignty of our Lord. Truth be told, they have been more of an encouragement to everyone else through evidence of how much grace the Lord truly gives.

I really wanted to be able to give them something special...a visual token of our thoughts, prayers, and love for them and their precious girl. I decided that a memory {or keepsake} box for Noelle would be perfect. I really wanted it to be made of a good quality wood and perhaps cedar-lined. I began to look online and Amish-made stores, but wasn't finding anything like I had pictured in my mind. I finally began to see if their were any men in our church that did woodworking. Then {duh!} inspiration struck in the form of {finally!} asking Aaron if he thought he could build the box for me. {Just a quick side-note, Ladies: ALWAYS remember to ask your honey first about these sorts of things! I really wish I really makes them feel valued, respected, capable, etc. etc. I don't know why I didn't think to ask him first, but now I will!} Aaron did some research {as is typical with him} and came to the conclusion he thought he could build this. Now, I know a few things about my husband. I know A) if he says he can do something, he can and B) if he's going to do something, he's going to do it right and C) he won't do a sloppy job.

I was not prepared for the amount of work and detail he put into this project. I was thinking, "It's a box. How much work can it be?!" First, he chose the wood he wanted to use. The box was to be made of walnut and include a removable cedar bottom on the inside. Oh yes...and he wanted to route out part of the cover and add an ash inlay. The first part of the week he spent building a box-joint jig so he could, you guessed it, make box-joints. The rest of the week was spent actually making the box itself. And when I say the rest of the week, I mean just about every minute he was not at work. Several nights he was up until at least midnight. This amazing guy chose pieces of wood with striations he liked, decided where it would be included on the box {ie: top, sides, back, etc.} and cut each piece to fit.

The end result was better than I even imagined.

front with pretty latch

top with the ash inlay

top & bottom are actually 2 pieces of wood. Perfectly seamless!

look at those beautiful joints!

he drilled a little hole through the cedar piece and I added a ribbon so it could be easily removed

so pretty!

Isn't it gorgeous?!?!

There is a guy Aaron works with that is a fairly accomplished artist. He told Aaron that when he paints a piece for someone, he always adds an extra day to the time estimate beyond the actual completion date so he can enjoy the art before giving it to the buyer. Aaron says that he now completely understands that. Of course, he will tell you that the box is not perfect and could point out every "flaw", but anyone else would be hard-pressed to find any errors.

The amount of love and care he put into this gift makes my heart swell and brings a smile to my face.

Oh, and Noelle Christine was born on December 8, 2011. She was 29 weeks gestation {but measuring at 23 weeks} and weighed 13 ounces.  Today, she is three weeks old and weighs one pound.  The roller coaster surely has not stopped, but the Lord is always still gracious and faithful.

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's time to start blogging again when...

Yes. It HAS been a few months. Quite a few months, in fact. And I've missed it. Not that I generally have something profound or original to say, but it's fun to leave my little mark in this corner of the blogosphere.

The past several weeks, I've been thinking that I'd really like to start blogging again. Things are settling into a more steady rhythm with having Levi here. Wait. That's right! You haven't met Levi yet! Well, he's the adorable little boy in the header pictures that isn't Alex. He was born on September 30th. We affectionately refer to him as "angel baby". To offer a bit of distinction, we've never referred to his brother as "angel baby". Not even once. Anyway, with life evolving into a new "normal" and Alex getting older, more vocal, more mobile, more cognitive, more trouble...{you get the picture} and with the fun that's certainly going to come from having 2 boys so close in age, I've been thinking that it's a great time to hit the keyboard again. I just have this inkling that life is going to get {more} interesting. Really, life is pretty interesting all by myself...I don't actually need the extra help. Aaron says the only reason I have so many stories is because I just don't pay attention. And when you aren't paying attention, things seem to "happen".

Like the other day when I was temporarily distracted {notice how I didn't say "wasn't paying attention"?} and when I finally came-to, realized that Alex had drawn with a Sharpie all.over.the.hardwood.floors. Yep! I wish I would have thought to grab a camera and take a picture; however, I was too busy standing there chanting "crap, crap, crap" and thinking about what was going to happen to ME once Aaron came home...and how I would have to 'fess up that I "wasn't paying attention".

So the reason I decided to start blogging right now?

I took the boys to Target today to return a couple of things and to pick up some dryer sheets, soap, and hair spray. Yes...I went out 2 days before Christmas for toiletries. So there I am cruising down the shampoo aisle and all of a sudden, something with my shoe feels very drafty and very wrong. I look down and my shoe had literally fallen apart in front of my face

{right shoe}
{right shoe again}
Totally bizarre, right!? The shoe was in mint condition when I left the house and in a split second, it looks like this?! I'm thinking, "Ok, totally weird, but what the heck?! At least they have a shoe department here and at least I didn't go to Aldi first!" I begin to shuffle across to the shoe department {which is, of course, on the complete opposite side of the store}, when suddenly my other shoe starts to feel strange. Apparently, spontaneous combustion is contagious.

{left shoe}

Seriously. Notice the large chunk of heel missing?! You should have seen it. Trying to keep both shoes on, while pushing a cart containing a newborn attempting to drink from a bottle propped up by blankets and a toddler screaming for more apples. I {finally} made it to the shoes and manage to find a really cute pair, on sale, that match my outfit and that I'd actually wear again, but probably won't because since Levi came along, I find myself consistently opting for sneakers instead of cuteness.

Let me detour for a moment. Over the last couple of months, Alex has realized he can make himself gag if he sticks his fingers down his throat. For some reason, he really enjoys this...while we do not. Needless to say, we've been trying to break him of this weird ritual. No idea where he gets this stuff from. Like the time last month he gave himself a bloody nose on the way home from church by sticking his finger too far up it while quickly inhaling & exhaling....but I digress. {Can you see where this is going!?}

So there I am, trying to untie the stretchy things adjoining the 2 shoes so I can actually determine if a pre-pregnancy 8 will suffice or if, like everything else that's gotten fatter, my feet have as well and I now need an 8.5{of course the latter ended up being true.} Then I hear the gagging. I look up and Alex is choking/gagging, eyes red & watering, mouth hanging all open. At that exact moment, the shoe-stocker lady happens to be walking towards us to put something on the shelf. She literally stops dead in her tracks, leans backwards in preparation for what she's sure is coming and says, "ewww..." or "oh NO!" or something like that. Alex, of course, recovers and shoe-stocker lady sidesteps around us as I try not to make eye contact with her while resisting the urge to spank the daylights out of him as it would be unfortunate to spend Christmas in jail. About 10 seconds later the gagging starts again and the child ralphs Nice chunks of Golden Delicious. Down his shirt, on his pants, on the cart seat... At this point, I'm thinking that Christmas in jail might not be so bad. Maybe even worth it. Then, of course, the wailing starts {because we all know how enjoyable puking is} and the shoe-stocker lady is in the next aisle over speed-dialing CPS because she hears sympathetic mother-of-the-year telling Alex, "well, why did you gag yourself?! It's not my fault you puked all over the place! Stop crying, I'll clean it up!"  And I still hadn't separated that little stretchy thingy from the shoes!! I finally just ripped it off. Tag and all. Then the child has the brass to look at me and say "More? more?" Yeah right, kid.

I put the new shoes on, put the inexplicably wrecked ones in the box and proceed to checkout, where I have to then explain to the lady that I'm wearing the shoes that belong in the box because the ones I was wearing disintegrated before my very eyes.

And that people, is why I've started blogging again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The calories were totally worth it

I made this today.

I should probably save some for the rest of the family.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lemon ~ Blueberry Yogurt Loaf
adapted from this recipe

To make the loaf:
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup vanilla whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup {whole cane} sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest {about 2 lemons}
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
To make the lemon syrup:
  • 1/3 cup {whole cane} sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
To make the lemon glaze:
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
  • 2 ~ 3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of one 9 x 5-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess.

  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. After wet & dry ingredients are combined, use the medium dry bowl to mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour.  Fold the floured blueberries gently into the batter.

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing loaf to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.

  5. While the loaf is cooling, whisk together the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside.

  6. Place a plate or some sort of pan underneath the cooling rack...the next steps will be messy!

  7. Use a toothpick {or a matchstick if you happen to be out of toothpicks! :) } to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake. Brush the sides & top of loaf again with the excess syrup that dripped onto the plate.  Let the cake cool completely.

  8. Once the loaf has completely cooled, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a small bowl. The mixture should be thick but pourable. If the mixture does not easily pour, add more lemon juice in small amounts until you reach the desired consistency. Position a plate underneath the rack and slowly pour the lemon glaze over the top of the loaf and let it drip down the sides. {if you're like me and wanted every ounce of glazy-goodness on that loaf, then you can scrape the glaze drippings with a spatula and re-drip onto the loaf.}

  9.  Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.

  10.  It is perfectly acceptable, {normal even!}, to sneak 3 pieces before sharing with anyone else. :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How Mercy Looks {to Me}

Today in Sunday School class, we revisited a sort-of unfinished topic from several weeks ago that had resulted in much discussion. The subject matter was how "mercy" looks, and what our responsibility is, in the life of a believer as it relates both to the Body {our brothers & sisters in Christ} and to the world. Inevitably, the conversation turned to the homeless, the beggars, the "down & outs". Since moving to the South, Aaron & I have seen more of the homeless lifestyle than we have up North. We've had prior exposure for sure, but not to the extent we've seen here.  It seems as though almost on every busy corner with a shopping center, there is someone with a cardboard sign asking for help...and anything helps.

I have become accustomed to giving these individuals food or water, if I have it. There is one man who stands outside of Target, for whom I buy popcorn and sometimes a soda. One time he joked with that me "all he needed now was a good movie"!  I've also mentioned before how one time I even gave an angel a bottle of water.  I by no means feel guilted into giving to these people, nor do I feel as though it's a good deed that I can check off my list for the day. What I feel is compassion...and thankfulness and gratitude.  As I sit at the stop light in my newish car, with my trunk full of groceries and money in my wallet, on my way home to my little white picket fence life and family that loves me, I am overwhelmed with the realization of how abundantly blessed I am.

I have no doubt that many of these individuals have ended up in their current situation because of decisions they've made and paths they've chosen to take. However, I know that I've made bad decisions and that could just as easily be me. But by the grace of God, there go I, right? Many regular, upstanding citizens feel that the homeless have made their bed so now they have to lie in it and don't really deserve to be helped because of their bad choices. But I am forever grateful that God didn't leave me to lie in the bed that I made. I'm so glad that He bestowed much mercy and compassion on me and did not give me exactly what I deserved, because the only one thing that I deserve is punishment for my sin.

I do believe that some homeless beggars are just unwilling to work and don't desire to have a job. They are perfectly content to scrounge by on the generosity of others. However, one thing I always come back to in my mind is that if they did want to work, I can imagine the loss they feel as to where to start. Before Alex was born my career was in Human Resources, so I know and understand what it takes to get hired and keep a job. First come the you need an interview that requires a shower, a nicer outfit, a clean-shaven face, a resume... Not to mention that if you do get the job after an interview, you need consistent, reliable transportation so you can show up every day, you need references, you need a social security card, identification, a home address and phone number. Unless you're working under the table, even if you flip burgers at McDonald's or pick up someone's trash these are all things you need to be gainfully employed. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it wouldn't be easy and I believe every bit of overwhelming.

Scripture commands us to be generous and to put our faith into action, but I don't believe that every single person has, or should even feel, an obligation or responsibility to give to the homeless. I don't even think there's anything wrong with you if you can drive by them and not think twice. However, I am compelled to look them in the eye and share a smile and a bottle of water, an orange, or a bag of popcorn. For me, it all goes back to the fact that without Christ, I am that beggar stinky and dirty from my sin. Hungry, but not having what I need to be filled. But God in His loving-kindness cleansed me white as snow, clothed me in mercy, and filled me with His righteousness. And if I can demonstrate even one iota of that kind of mercy to someone that most would deem as "undeserving", it gives me great joy to do so. Because I am that undeserving.

At the close of class today, a quote by C.S. Lewis was shared and I turned wide-eyed to Aaron and said this is exactly how I feel! And he smiled and said, "I know you do."
"It will not bother me in the hour of death that I have been 'had for a sucker' by any number of imposters; but it would be a torment to know that I had refused even one person in need!" CS Lewis

Monday, May 23, 2011

Roasted Garlic Tomatoes with Gorgonzola

I got this recipe a couple of weeks ago while watching Food Network and knew right away it was something I had to make. We've had it twice already since then.  These tomatoes stand alone as a perfect, light appetizer or add a compliment to pasta dish. Both times I made them, I served them with a side of alfredo pasta. I actually think that if you were looking for a "lighter" not super-filling fare, they could act as the main course. In any case, they are super easy, super yummy and I just had to share. You could  substitute any cheese for the gorgonzola: feta, parmesan, goat, bleu cheese, etc. I'm not really huge into measurements when cooking, but if you wanted to see the exact measurements, you can view the original recipe here.

* * * * * * * * * *

Roasted Garlic Tomatoes with Gorgonzola

olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Roma tomatoes
gorgonzola crumbles
breadcrumbs {flavored or unflavored. I believe mine were Parmesan}

Preheat oven to 375.

Begin by slicing the tomatoes lengthwise and scooping out the seeds with a spoon or melon baller. Place the tomatoes upside down on some paper towels to drain for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, mix the olive oil, minced garlic, salt & pepper. Add in the tomato halves and mix with your hands to coat. Let them marinate in the olive oil mixture for at least 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix equal parts gorgonzola & breadcrumbs {ie: :1/2 cup to 1/2 cup}. When tomatoes are done marinating, place open side up on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Fill each tomato with the gorgonzola & breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle the tops with any remaining olive oil left in your bowl.

Roast in pre-heated oven for 20 - 25 minutes.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Sometimes I really wish my name wasn't "Ma-ma-ma".

There are mornings that I shut the bedroom door from the wailing because I'm just not ready to go there yet.

I look forward to naptime. And bedtime.

This year has given me a better understanding of why some animals eat their young.

On several occasions, I have encouraged sleep with a stiff dose of Tylenol.

I have even wondered why my child wasn't like normal children.

* * * * * * * * * *

Aaron had to remind me this morning that, let's be honest, not all days are bad. He pointed out that some days when he comes home, I'm very excited and happy and just glad to see him...and other days I can be mopey, tired, and apathetic. Back in the way-back recesses of my mind I'm sure I knew that when he comes home from work, my attitude matters.  That I have the opportunity to be an encouragement to him by how I greet him. I think that concept deserves a front-row seat.

He also mentioned that sometimes my mood can be something of a roller coaster...because I allow it to be dictated by Alex's mood. {UGH!}

Another gentle reminder from my leader-teacher that the Child is not my source of joy. "No", I say...he's the source of my frustration!

So today, {although I am currently ignoring the wake-up cries from a Ibuprofen-induced early morning nap} I will focus on the good. I will focus on my attitude. I will be thankful for this little whiner whom I dearly love. I will choose joy.

And I will most certainly look forward to bedtime. :)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;" ~ Galatians 5:22-23

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Day with Alex

Yesterday, I had planned that I wanted to do some shopping, mostly for maternity clothes. A few weeks ago, I happened across this super-uber-{not-so}-secret kids consignment store that also carries a fantastic selection of consigned maternity clothes as well. I'm all about finding deals on clothes in general, but especially maternity clothes because I think they're such a rip-off! You have to wear maternity clothes, so I {personally} think maternity-wear is this big, over-priced market. But I digress. I wanted to go see if she had any new consignments in stock since the last time I was there, plus check out Old Navy & Target.

Even though I knew a basic shell of a plan I wanted to do yesterday, I woke up really just wanting to spend the day with Alex. I wanted a casual, no-rush, nothing important to really do kind of a day where we could just enjoy spending time together. Sometimes I feel that with all the daily tasks that need to be done, I don't slow down enough to just stop and enjoy him and to temporarily forget about everything else. He has turned into such a little boy lately and is {generally} just so much fun to be around. He's started jabbering quite a bit and has developed quite the personality...with just the right amount of crazy. Needless to say, we keep each other entertained.

Alex really likes Chick-fil-a, so I decided I wanted to take him there for lunch. Plus I was kind of hoping it would "bribe" him into being tolerable while I shopped. :) We started our day as normal, I did a few loads of laundry, he took his morning {9 am} nap while I got ready. Once he woke up, we left around 11 am and headed out to Old Navy & Target before heading to Chick-fil-a. I was pleasantly surprised at how well-behaved he was before lunch. Not that he's usually a bad kid, but he's a lot like his Daddy {in more than one respect}, but this case being that he is super busy and can only sit still for so long. Because of this, sitting in the stroller for any length of time can start to make him a little batty.

Anyway, Alex got his own 4 piece nugget meal with waffle fries for lunch...and a strawberry milkshake. The milkshake was a HUGE hit and thoroughly enjoyed {by both of us}.

He was hysterical. Every time he took a {loooooooong} sip, in a raspy little voice, with his mouth wide open, he would go "Baahahahahahaha". I couldn't help but laugh out loud at him and I think the more I laughed, the more he was encouraged to act like a goofball. Which, of course, is fine by me.

We got home around 4pm yesterday and I couldn't believe how quickly the day flew by. But we had a great time just hanging together. Oh, and between Old Navy {which I never shop at} and the consignment store, I made out like a bandit.

As far as Monday's go, it was a great day.

Friday, January 28, 2011


"If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted."
~ Amy Carmichael

* * * * * * * * * *

I read that quote over here yesterday and I thanked the Lord for His love gift of conviction. For loving me enough to use someone that I don't even know to speak Truth. You see, I'm a mom now. And if I didn't struggle with impatience before...well, I certainly do now. I am convinced, after 10 months, that God will forever use our children to refine us. He uses my little boy to bring out the darkest areas of my heart that most need to change

During these past 10 months of his little life, we've often struggled to discern when he has a real need and when he doesn't.  We believe that many times his boredom, the fact that he'd like to be more mobile, or maybe he's not in a place that he prefers to be, manifests itself as discontentment. Whatever the reason, his behavior is often marked by tears and wails.  Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do for or with him, is not what he wants.  There are days when I feel that I've heard just about all the incessant wailing that I can handle.  And I'll speak impatiently to him. Or I'll think to myself, "why can't you just be like other quiet, normal children?!" Or I secretly hope a gypsy caravan will come take him away. Maybe I even wish {for a second} that I was like normal people and went to work every day. 

And then, when I eventually look in the mirror, I see the discontented tears & wails of my heart. I see the Love that, in spite of my wretched self, only has kindness for me. And then I confess.  I confess to the One who loves me and gave me this wonderful life I don't deserve and with tears I confess to littlest one who does not yet understand my words, but I know can see my heart through my words.

This process of Motherhood and sanctification is one that forces me to look at myself honestly and to diligently tend to my soul-garden. Weeding out the ugly hurts...but it hurts real good.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Experiment

It's probably no secret by now, but I love freebies. Getting the mail is usually pretty exciting for me, because a lot of times there will be nice "surprises" waiting for me. Some things I do remember requesting through various promotions {like Burt's Bees lotion, or Kashi cereal samples} and sometimes I can't remember requesting it and figure I must be on some sort of mailing list. Every month, I even receive magazines for Baby Talk, Parenting, Parents, Rachel Ray, Southern Living, Woman's Day, Traditional Home, and Kiwi...all of which are free. "Free" as in, I've paid nothing for the subscriptions.

A couple of years ago, I emailed some brands or companies asking them to send me coupons for their products. And surprisingly enough, many of them did! Some of the coupons were even for free products! Like Sweet Baby Rays' BBQ Sauce. Now who doesn't like Sweet Baby Ray's!?  I had actually been considering doing this again when my girlfriend told me that she had emailed a company recently and 3 days later she had coupons in her mailbox! So, that was that. I decided that when I got back from Buffalo, I was going to send out emails and get some more freebies and/or coupons.

Sending an email to a company can take as little, or as much time as you want it to. I would say from start to finish, it usually takes me about 2 minutes. That includes filling out the contact form and writing my little message/feedback. If I've tried their brand, I will most likely tell them what my favorite product is. If I haven't tried the brand, I will say I haven't, but that I'd really like to! Ultimately, I always ask for free coupons, samples, or a couple of times, {like to Nature's Path} I've told them that I L.O.V.E. their pumpkin granola and could they please send a large box full of free samples. :) For some products, I've actually mentioned that "my 10 month old son" is starting to eat normal foods and it's important to me to be able to provide him with organic, wholesome products. Yeah...I played the baby card. We'll see if it makes any difference. :)

Most of the time, all that's required is to find the "Contact Us" link on the brand website. Sometimes there is not a form to fill out, just an email for Customer Service. In those instances, I just copy the email address and past into Gmail.

Last time I did this, I did not keep track of what brands I emailed or if I received any responses. This time, however, I will be keeping track of the date I emailed, any responses I received, and what, if anything, they sent me. Also, the majority of my requests are focused on organic or all-natural brands.  As I think of new brands, I will send an email and add them to my list. Some of the brands do offer periodic coupons on their websites, but I figured it couldn't hurt to see what else they might have to offer.

I suggest going through your pantry, cupboards, and bathroom and see what brands you use a lot of and start with those. Also, think of any brands that you've seen that maybe you'd like to try, but haven't for whatever reason. Maybe you're afraid you won't like it, or it's too expensive. Email those companies as well. Remember, even a $.50 cent coupon could be very valuable if your store doubles coupons! {$.75 cents are my favorite.}

So, without further ado, here are the brands that I've emailed since yesterday and any responses I've received. I'll keep updating as things {hopefully} start rolling in. 

Annies Naturals

Back to Nature

Bear Naked

Boar's Head - no email, so I had to call. They do not offer coupons, but instead give discounts to the distributors so that the stores can put the product on sale. She gave me the number to my local distributor and said he would be able to tell me what stores participate in the discounts and when they put the product on sale. A++ for the customer service! 

Brown Cow

Burt's Bees

Cascadian Farms

Celestial Seasonings

Earthbound Farm - four days later I had coupons in my mailbox. {4} $1 off any item coupons, {1} $.75 cents of any item, and {2} free item coupons!

Eden Organics

Green Mountain Gringo - replied to me early the next morning. Said they don't have "free item" coupons, but will send me what coupons they have.

Happy Baby - replied next day telling me they're glad I like their product and they'll sign me up for their quarterly newsletter which contains coupons. {Booo....!}

Muir Glen

Nancy's Organics

Nature's Path

SC Johnson {re: Glade soy candles}

Sweet Baby Ray's

Tazo Tea

Yogi Tea 

Have you ever emailed companies for coupons? Any you would suggest? Do you enjoy getting freebies? What kinds do you receive? Check out the $39 Dollar Experiment here. It's interesting and funny and might give you an idea of what companies to "target".

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the {PureGrace}Life blog

Yes, I've changed blog names....again. I promise it's not an obsession and I can assure you that this is it. This is something I've been thinking about doing for some time and I've held off on doing so only because I do feel somewhat foolish for going through another change. While I do enjoy keeping a blog, I've never really felt "at home" on it.  Perhaps the lack of emotional attachment is part of the reason why posts can be few and far between. Who knows. Regardless, I really wanted to create a space that represented me.

Though most people call me "Sue", my full name is "Susanne". With an "s", not a "z". Sort-of like Anne with an "e"...I'm very touchy about it. :) It's always been somewhat humorous, that, Susanne with an "s" means  "pure & graceful", because "graceful" I most certainly am not. However, I now believe that my name was no accident...dare I say even providential? Keep reading.

"Grace" is my favorite word. It is beautiful and powerful...and a constant reminder that my very life, both mortal and situational, exists only because God willed it so.  Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary defines grace as:
  • Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.
  • Favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.
  • A state of reconciliation to God.
  • The application of Christ's righteousness to the sinner.
  • A state of reconciliation to God.
  • Favor; mercy; pardon.
  • Favor conferred.
  • Privilege.
Even though I knew the Truth, I spent almost 10 years of my life chasing the World and everything in it.  Every single thing I did was to gratify my love of self. I intentionally chose a lifestyle that hurt many people, including those I loved and even some I barely knew. It was a mere 5 years ago that the irresistible grace of God drew me from the bondage of self and into His loving arms. And I was made pure.

On the header, you see the phrase "mercy's robe, a ring of grace, such favor undeserved". That line is taken from this song that may as well be my life, given words and set to music. If you like, please take a moment to listen to it. I will never understand God's amazing love that causes Him to sing and celebrates over me!

But I do understand that everything I have, everything I am, my family, and my position in life at this very moment is sola Grace alone.

I am privileged, honored, and forever humbled that He chose me, Susanne, to live this {PureGrace}Life.