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.