Lydia Marie Child was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights activist, novelist, journalist, and opponent of American expansionism. She was also a New England housewife famous for her book published in 1829, The Frugal Housewife. The introduction offers a very interesting glimpse into how much has changed in our mindset since that time:
“If, then, God is so easy to find and can be discovered either through the beauty of the stars or in every tiny pleasure of earth, which like a sea shell speaks of the ocean of Divinity, why is it that so few come to Him?”
-Fulton J Sheen, Peace Of Soul, 1949
Photo taken at St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery and Shrines in Kennebunk.
“A snug and a clean home, no matter how tiny it be, so that it be wholesome; windows into which the sun can shine cheerily; a few good books (and who need be without a few good books in these days of universal cheapness?)–no duns at the door, and the cupboard well supplied, and with a flower in your room! There is none so poor as not to have about him these elements of pleasure.” -Samuel Smiles, Eliza Cook’s Journal, 1850
There was a lone late October rose growing on one of the bushes that I cut and placed in a stem vase today. I came across the above quote minutes afterward! It really speaks to me. One doesn’t need to be poor or have a large, modern kitchen to enjoy the many riches to be found in the simple things! Here are some more gifts I’m appreciating right now:
A quick and tender conscience is among the best gifts of grace; let those who have it guard its delicacy with jealous care.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The philosopher Diogenes was sitting on a curbstone, eating bread and lentils for his supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king.
Said Aristippus, “If you would learn to be subservient to the king, you would not have to live on lentils.”
Said Diogenes, “Learn to live on lentils, and you will not have to be subservient to the king.”
-Louis Israel Newman
Take thrift, that presumed state of misery and penny-pinching. Proper Yankee thrift, on the contrary, feels delicious. In my experience there is a kind of nausea that attends too long a time of buying too many clothes for too much money; of paying more for restaurant dinners than they are worth; of disgorging lavish tips for which one is not even thanked (as who doesn’t have to, these days).
“There is no end to the coquetry of a New England spring.”
New England Bygones, Ellen Rollins, 1883
The Supreme prayer of my heart is not to be learned, rich, famous, powerful or even good, but simply to be radiant. I desire to radiate health, cheerfulness, calm courage and good-will. I wish to live without hate, whim, jealousy, envy, fear. I wish to be simple, honest, frank, natural, clean in mind and clean in body, unaffected – to say ‘I do not know,’ if it be so, and to meet all men on an absolute equality, to face any obstacle and meet every difficulty unabashed and unafraid. –Elbert Hubbard
Any one who uses the term ‘menial’ is touched with intellectualism. There are no menial tasks.
“God will not look you over for Medals, Degrees or Diplomas, but for Scars!” -Elbert Hubbard, The Note Book of Elbert Hubbard
I’ve learned that time does NOT heal all wounds but God loves them and us! There can be beauty in a graceful brokenness when we use God as a crutch. But wait, isn’t needing a “crutch” a sign of weakness?! YES! Aren’t we weak when we’re left to only our own devices? I choose spiritual prowess over destructive earthly vices I’ve given up. I no longer feel ashamed about my scars, a shame which fueled a lot of my destructive crutches (smoking, drinking, overeating). I’m not ashamed to say I’m in recovery, my last drink being almost twenty-five years ago. I’m cool with not being cool. My deepest scars are invisible, although I do have, shall I say, an “oven kiss” on my hand I acquired while removing a lasagna from the oven last fall.