The Back Lane at  Aldrich, Walsall, England.

Find out why Less is More...
From the prophet Isaiah chapter 58

Share your bread with the hungry, and take the poor and homeless into your own house.

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your holiness will go before you.

When you see a man who is naked, clothe him, and do not scorn your brother.

Luke chapter 21

And he looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury.  And he saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins.  And he said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on."
A nineteenth-century Shaker hymn

'Tis a gift to be simple,
'Tis a gift to be free,
'Tis a gift to come down
Where we ought to be.
And when we find ourselves
In the place that's right
'Twill be in the valley
Of love and delight.

Melody Beattie speaking

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Ranier Maria Rilke

If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.

 There was a man who gave millions to establish a university in Texas.  Several years later he lost nearly everything.  Someone asked if he regretted giving all he had to the university.  His response was telling. "Regret it?" he said.  "Look, that school is the only lasting thing I've done with my money.  Had I not given for the school, I would have lost that money too and there would be nothing to show for it."  (Enough by Adam Hamilton  A book I recommend.)

 We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

(Famous words of Winston Churchill)

 The story of Homeless Hobbes from Jan Karon's "At Home in Mitford"  I highly recommend her entire series for a delightful look into the lives of everyday simple folk  seen through the eyes of Father Tim, their Episcopal priest.

Father Tim put two pies and a pan of Puny's sausage dressing into a basket and walked with Barnabas to Little Mitford Creek. 

When he reached Winnie Ivey's cottage by the bridge, he turned left and headed far along the creek, into the snow-silent woods...They followed fresh tracks to a low point on the creek bank and crossed the creek on a series of large boulders.  On the other side, the tracks led to the door of a ramshackle house, sitting near a derelict bridge.

The chimney sent up billows of fragrant wood smoke, and from inside the dwelling, which was scarcely bigger than a tool shed, came the sound of laughter.

"Come in, come in!" said Samuel K. Hobbes, as he opened the door and limped aside on his crutch.  "Come in and warm yourself by th' fire!"

...The rector was pleased to see that every church denomination in town was represented in that small room, and each had come with a bag or basket for Homeless Hobbes.

Homeless moved nimbly on his battered crutch, pouring coffee for each guest.

"You could use another chair in this place," suggested a Methodist deacon who was standing in a corner.

"Nossir, I couldn't," said Homeless, setting the empty pot on a shelf.  "Mr. Thoreau himself had two and often regretted it.  Fact is, m' two pairs of pants is one too many."

Father Tim unwound the wool muffler from around his neck.  "What about these two pumpkin pies?  You want me to take one back?"

"No, my good Father, I do not.  Pants and pies are two different things." 

"You got that right!" said Rodney Underwood, who had brought a pie himself.

Homeless hitched up his supenders and surveyed the little table.  "Lookit this bounty! Two, three, four, pies.  Scandalous!  Far too many pies for ol' Homeless.  And a big fat hen, and a sack of ham biscuits, and a quart of collards, and a fine mess of sweet potatoes..."...

"Well boys, much as I 'preciate all this, I've got to tell you the gospel truth...I'm goin' to give the best portion of these eats to folks who're worse off than me."

"I didn't know there was anybody worse off than you," said young Jack Teague from the Presbyterians.

"That's what you think son.  You head up the hill from this creek and all back in there, you'll find em worse off than me.  With little young 'uns too."

"Do what you want with it," said Rodney. "It's yours in the name of the Lord."

"And I thank you for it," said Homeless....

"Mr. Hobbes," said Jack Teague, "I here tell you used to live in New York City."

"That's a fact.  Had a big, fancy office on Madison Avenue, and an apartment right on the Hudson River."

"No kidding!" said Jack, shaking his head in amazement.  "And how long have you been homeless, sir?"

"My friend, as you can plainly see, I am not homeless in the least."  He indicated the wood stove, a rickety table covered with an oilcloth, two shelves, a kerosene lamp, a chair, a cot, a sink, and a toilet which was partially hidden by a red gingham tablecloth looped over a wire.

"The way I'm able to live today is not only one hundred percent stress-proof, it is guaranteed recession-proof.  No matter which way the economy goes, it don't affect me one way or th 'other.

"To tell the plain truth, this is th' finest home I ever had, and I've lived in high style from New York City to Dallas, Texas, not to mention one stint in Los Angelees, California."

"Wow!  What business were you in?"

"Advertisin', my boy!" said Homeless, with a wicked grin.  "Advertisin'!"

 Expect nothing; live frugally on surprise.  Alice Walker

 Living below ones means is a difficult skill to acquire for the average American because it means we must sometimes be disappointed and say "No." to our desires.  The skill once mastered is a great stress reliever and gives one the amazing experience of being able to surprise others with generosity.

Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves. 
--Edwin Way Teale

“The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”
                                                                                                    Thomas More

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.”
                                                         a quote from E. F. Schumacker

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be as one, two, three and to a hundred or a thousand… We are happy in proportion to the things we can do without.”
                                                                          --Henry David Thoreau

“Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a burden, and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.”
--Robert Brault

We are the first generation with a television show called "Hoarders Buried Alive" and a disease which it defines.   Pat Pryor

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”
--John Burroughs

To everything there is a season. (Bible)

 Living simply does not mean destitution.  It does not mean that you lack shelter or clothing or medical care.  It does not mean that one gives up all recreation or rest.  It does not even mean that you cannot have money.

Living simply means that one lives in such a way that there is an abundance of resources left to share with others who are in need of them.

Fr. Thomas Dubay labels this the "sparing/sharing" lifestyle.

Sirach writing in chapter 29

Life's prime needs are water, bread and clothing, a house, too, for decent privacy.  Better a poor man's fare under the shadow of one's own roof than sumptuous banquets among strangers.

Agatha Christie

I like living.  I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.

Year by year the complexities of this spinning world grow more bewildering and so each year we need all the more to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities.

From Woman's Home Companion, December 1935

 Who knew there were  so many simple paths to explore?  Find one near you, and take a walk.

 One of the defining characteristics I hope you and I will be remembered for is generosity.  My hope is that people would say of us, "He was defined by generosity." or "She lived what Jesus taught 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35) (Another quote from Adam Hamilton)

 Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have. 

Doris Morton

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
                                                                                               --Lin Yutang

“Our affluent society contains those of talent and insight who are driven to prefer poverty, to choose it, rather than submit to the desolation of an empty abundance.”
--Michael Harrington

 Years ago, I was having lunch with a church member.  He was vice president of his company, well respected and quite successful.  He lived in a large house, nice, but not too extravagant.  He drove nice cars.  On that particular day at lunch he was excited.  He said, "I bought a new car this week."  I said, "Really, what did you buy?  "I'll show you after lunch.

We went out into the parking lot after lunch.  I expected to see a new BMW.  To my surprise he pointed to a seven year old Honda Civic.  I said, "Tell me about this car."  He said, "It is a cream puff, one owner, low miles, always garaged car.  I paid cash for it, and the insurance and the taxes are nothing.  It is fun to drive."

I said, "You surprise me.  What's up here?"  And he said, "I just realized that I could do other things with the money I was spending on a car--things that were more important to me.  Since my life mission and purpose is taking a new turn, I felt I could use that money to support that?"  As he drove off that day, do you think I admired him less or more?

taken from Enough, by Adam Hamilton

 We are not on this earth to see through one another but to see one another through.

 Wisdom from the Rule of St. Benedict

It is written: "Distribution was made to each one as he had need." (Acts 4:35)  By this we do not imply that there should be favoritism--God forbid--but rather consideration for weaknesses.  Whoever needs less should thank God and not be distressed, but whoever needs more should feel humble because of his weakness, not self-important because of the kindness shown him.  In this way all the members will be at peace.

from Christian prayer

Our Father, Who art in heaven.  Hallowed be Thy Name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread...

 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the Lord of hosts:  Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?    

from the Hebrew scriptures book of Malachi 3:10

I will live simply by investing in people and reducing my

dependence on stuff so that I may truly love all that’s been

given to me and create a better world for those around me.

Jonathan Blundell  in the Simplicity Manifesto

“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”
--Vernon Howard

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.
--Elise Boulding

“The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.”
                                                                --Robert Louis Stevenson

“Material blessings, when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache.”
                                                                                --Philip Wylie

“Simplicity is the glory of expression”
                                                                             --Walt Whitman