I bought my 'More With Less' cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre back when my boys were still very young, maybe 7 and 6. They're now almost 24 and almost 23 and it's still my favorite cookbook. It was also the book that got me started on the long and often arduous journey to a simpler life. So when 'Living More With Less' by the same author became available through PaperBack Swap I snagged it in a hurry. It's an amazing book, loaded with information on saving money, responsibly using resources, and caring for others and what we've been given. Mrs. Longacre weaves the words of others into her pages and although the book has been out for over 25 years, so much of it still stands true. Here are a few of the tidbits that impress me and marked by '**' are my thoughts on the concept and how I can put it to use in my own life.
I challenge all of you who read this entry to honestly look at your own life, your own priorities, and see if there are changes to be made that would improve your life or the life of another. Even small changes can make a big difference.
"Fremont always drinks his tea without sugar, remembering those who work unjustly for our abundance. Little acts of worship and sacrifice are a beginning." - Sara Regler
**That a person would make even think to make such a small change in remembrance of others strikes something deep within me. I already drink my tea without sugar as a matter of preference, but I think it can't hurt for all of us to give up something, be it small or large, in support or remembrance of others who have less.
"Most Americans don't live very simply. The money they waste by buying a dishwasher can better be sent to developing countries where people perish with hunger. The use of dishwashers and other electric things is much lower in Holland." - Ellen Orthmann, Netherlands
**I don't know if Holland is still well behind the U.S. in electric appliance useage but even if they aren't, many countries are. So many of us whine and act like spoiled children if something goes wrong with our dishwasher, food processor, air conditioner, etc. and really, in the scheme of things, how important are they? I don't use my dishwasher and I don't own a food processor, either. I hand wash dishes, hand chop vegetables, and hand mix batters and doughs. I do love my air conditioner but I've lived without air conditioning before and although the humidity and heat here in Texas are horrid, I can live without it again. Now that's something I can do - go without the air conditioner one day a week or set the thermostat higher and be a little less cool. Yes, it's just a small thing and yes, it will be unpleasant but it can't be pleasant to live without running water, electricity, and ample food, either. I need to remind myself of that daily.
"North Americans have to work more in order to buy things. For that reason they spend less time with their families, thinking that to be comfortable is more important for the family than to give them love and time together." - Inez Morales de Rake, Bolivia
**This is another one that rings true today! It's all about 'things' for most of us, and the pursuit of those things takes us away from family, friends, community, and Yah. My life is simple compared to most people I know but I'd like it to be even simpler. Sure, I'd like to have more money so that bills could be paid on time and so I could get some much needed repairs to my home but all in all, money isn't a big issue for me. I don't have much of it and don't need much of it so I don't chase it aggressively. I have little debt, no payments on cars, trucks, boats, or other toys, I pay cash for almost everything I buy, and I buy little. I could buy still less, though, and spend more time with my family. I'm going to cut down on my computer time and spend that time doing things with and for my family.
"When we first walked into a North American church, my friend from Indonesia said, "The cost of this carpet alone would build a beautiful church in Indonesia." - Sammy Sacapano, Phillipines
**And this was long before mega-churches sprang up! Imagine now, with churches that literally cost millions to build, how much good could be done with just a portion of that money. I've been in churches with first class audio and video equipment, sprawling buildings, brand new mini-vans and shuttles, and I often wonder if all that is necessary. Yes, it might be nice to look at and nice to brag about but is it necessary? And is it good? That depends on how those things are used but looking at the big picture, I think the money spent on some of those things would be better spent on helping the widows and the fatherless. James 1:27 tells us "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." That's what pure and undefiled religion is and if that's what you're looking for, why are you contributing to a church that does nothing or very little to help those in need? Do you even know where the money received by your church goes? Do you have any say at all in that process? Don't you think you should? Surely we can build and manage simpler church facilities and put the excess where it really should be.
Okay, I've rambled enough and I need to rest. I'm not over my throat infection yet and the medication I'm on is doing a number on me. I'll be back later to discuss tonight's dinner which will be Jewish Chicken, salad, basmati rice, and caramelized onions.
Is there something you can give up in an effort to be more resourceful or share with others? Are you willing to give it up?