FREE WHOLE FOODS
James here! (aka Laurie’s husband).
I never get to be a guest poster for PPP, so this is a very rare occasion. And when I say never, I really mean never. Maybe I get to do a video and show how even a disaster of a husband can prepare a meal one night for the family using the PPP menu box recipe plans. Sometimes, I get to demonstrate a yard task or home project that I learned the hard way over the years, but I never get to post my thoughts here at PPP. For years I have wanted to add something to the blog to maybe inspire, but mainly just let the world know how proud I am of MY Passionate Penny Pincher!! Some of you have been here since almost the beginning, so please bear with me, but for those who are new, here goes. This is my tiny contribution as we approach Mother’s Day!
As a kid, there were always football and baseball players I looked up to. I used to write to Tony Dorsett with the Dallas Cowboys so he would send me autographed pictures. Dale Murphy, Atlanta Braves, was my hero even though he played for a stinky team at the time. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how lucky I am to look up to someone who constantly makes me a better person, my wife. Not because she is better, but because she treats others better.
From the start, Laurie ensured that Passionate Penny Pincher never made the focus of the blog or the business, about herself or her team. There have been plenty of opportunities to “toot her own horn”, “focus on herself”, or become prideful or conceited about where PPP has gone. Since the beginning, PPP has always been about others. This is the neat thing about Laurie and the individuals she has been blessed to find and grow PPP with. Her spirit and sincerity have grown in the hearts of those she has touched over the years.
This attitude has motivated her and the team to sacrifice without complaining when long hours have been required to find the best deal for a specific reader, or research a product to make sure it works correctly, or fits the way it claims. By putting others first, an expectation has developed that if something isn’t as advertised, it would be noted and not presented to you. This is what is so special about her Facebook Live videos that always make me smile. Sometimes there is a touch of reality and real life that she presents. A spilled ingredient, an outfit that you personally wouldn’t be caught dead in, a doorbell disruption, or even a phone call from her husband who forgets she films from a specific time each morning. She is real, and this is the person we all get to see.
Laurie has proven to be a compassionate business leader wanting the best for her team AND readers, while maintaining our home and raising 3 wonderful kids (and a mess of a husband). Take a few moments and read the back stories she posts or even the personal responses to readers in the comments, and it is clearly evident that her heart is about others. She is one who cares deeply and loves when WE ALL have a success, which sometimes could just mean a family meal, a clean counter, or a made bed.
I remember when PPP first started (actually it was called Publix Penny Pincher at the time) Laurie’s main focus wasn’t on how to get rich quick, create a business, or even find something to satisfy her need to work. It started around the time when my dad was sick and in the hospital and I was having to travel frequently. We were concerned for our income, and trying to figure out how we continue living frugally on a small budget. She was trying to figure out how to help support me, her husband, who always tried to have it all together for her and the kids, but never could get over the day to day worry. Laurie sacrificed to provide for us, her family.
Through PPP, she found a way to support me, and us, which led to ways to support you. Starting with simple coupons and deals, then pairing those coupons with recipes, and then finally developing the meal plans and home planners that PPP has now. I remember those many nights where I would get home from work, we would go to the ball field with our kids, have dinner, put the kids to bed, then when I went to bed, she would START working. Looking for deals to post, ways to help folks save money and write great content for the blog. She would work for hours while I slept, then finally coming to bed only to get up at 4 in the morning to exercise and then work a few more hours before the kids would wake up. There were years of her living daily on 4 hours of sleep, all because she had to find a deal that was “real” or a coupon that provided “value”. I would get up and go to the office, while she handled the family and maintained our home. She did more than I could have ever done and still does to this day.
During those early and very long hours, she would constantly tell me she was learning to help others. I'll be honest, this is hard for me at times to fully understand as I am one who struggles with selfishness. She might not know it all, but no one would out work her. This is what amazes me the most about Laurie. I repeat…no one EVER would out work her. And as the years went by, her team of support in the business continued to grow.
She found Shannon in the beginning who has the biggest servant’s heart of anyone we know. And together, they have been able to keep the focus of PPP on serving, missions, and therefore, growing with a purpose towards God. I believe this is what makes PPP special. Laurie’s concern is always on how can something be better for her team, her customer, her viewer, while trying to avoid an inner focus on herself and making herself be the star. She values her team and the PPP Community and readers alike for the success they’ve achieved.
Laurie has continued to see the blogging world change and was always able to “pivot”, one of her phrases she constantly tells me. While I am an engineer with 30 years in my business, I hardly ever change, which she calls “stubbornness” 😊. She constantly sees the need to re-invent to stay relevant. We have seen many coupon blogs that have come and gone since the beginning of PPP. It is easy to quit something, and harder to stick with something when it gets hard. This is a great lesson we try to teach our kids in school, sports, friendships, and someday, it will even be true for them in marriage and life. And this has not always been easy…We as a couple have been tired, sacrificed fun things sometimes, but realized we can’t give up or let the complaints overweigh the joy we receive from the purpose and ability to help others.
Every time something gets hard in PPP and Laurie feels the weight of the world, God continues to provide for her. Not saying this happens instantly, as we have learned patience, but He always provides, even if his direction is a change in the plan we think it needs to be. This has been shown in the many blessings in team members that continue to support her, friends we have found throughout life, and blessings from kind words, sometimes from places least expected. I continue to be so impressed with Laurie and her team and how they have continued to grow in the changing economy, market, and even transitions of life. Her business has never been consistent, it couldn’t, but she has shown perseverance. This is the best trait anyone could ever have.
I see the grit and determination shine each day when I hear her or her team talk about tasks in the daily planner or checklist. This just takes effort and a little extra work some days. The simple tasks of making a meal, eating at home, cleaning your sink, not buying the expensive coffee, or even some days just keeping on. She and her team have persevered, never quitting, all while focusing on others, not themselves.
While my business is SOOO different, I have learned from her that the very nature of the online business world forces her to constantly change and stay ahead of the curve. Changes in Facebook, social media, advertising, heck, even the way people order products, continually require a vision that I could never have. One of her best tips show her ability to adjust: “Never be the smartest person in the room. You can always learn one thing from someone, and if you learn just one thing, you can take that one thing and make yourself or your business better.”
This willingness to allow others to help you grow, shows a great deal of grace and humility. These are characteristics I strive to emulate from her. She is special and WE ALL are very lucky to have her looking out for us.
Over the last several years, her team has been able to continue to grow and refocus on providing additional resources and better methods to serve you; things like improvements in product shipping/delivery, additional customer service team members, and even new product lines that will continue to help you try to live an organized, family-centered life. The team continues to increase the ability to support missions not only in the United States, but around the world. Looking in the rear view mirror, it is amazing what has been accomplished since 2009. This is the kind of business I hope I can model for my engineering customers!
There are days when times are hard and you want to quit and just give up. We all have them! But truly, serving others brings true joy when the focus is not on yourself. When you choose to serve, you can learn true love and see the value your life brings to others. These are very true words that I have learned by watching the AMAZING ladies at PPP led by my real hero, and lucky me, my wife!
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Note from Laurie… um, my sweet husband James shared this with me a few days ago and I was REALLLL hesitant to post, but he was so sweet to take the time to write it (especially as someone who doesn't write all that often ~ he did write me the sweetest card a few years ago though, apparently he needs to write more often!)
I feel so incredibly fortunate to have such a solid cheerleader behind me each day, and can't even begin to count the number of times I've questioned what I was doing around here, only to have him keep me grounded and encouraged. For sure, what we do around here WOULD NEVER HAPPEN WITHOUT A SERIOUSLY AMAZING TEAM. They do so much of the work, I just get to be the one who pushes their direction a tiny bit, but they're the ones who make all the things actually happen around here. (Along with the very sweetest readers and customers on the planet. Y'all are just the best!)
I've said it before and I'll say it forever ~ I truly am the luckiest.