Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Grandma's secret



My grandma was the thriftiest lady I ever knew. She the daughter of Norwegian immigrants, homesteaders on Vashon Island, Washington. She grew up with little, married my minister grandfather, and lived her entire adult life on his small salary and pension. She was a master at "making do," fixing, stretching and maintaining. She never had much of this world’s treasure.

Yet I always thought my grandparents were “rich.” Grandma was generous, hospitable and fun-loving. She always seemed to have more than enough, and was always willing to share.

One time when I was a teenager, Grandma was making a dessert. I noticed she put a scant cup of sugar (a commodity highly valued by those who had been through the Depression) instead of the full cup the recipe called for. I asked her about it.

In her typical cheerful fashion, and with a twinkle in her eye, she replied,

“Sometimes, less is more.”

I was puzzled. How could less sugar in anything ever taste good? Surely she was just trying to skimp. What I failed to realize was that Grandma had probably made that recipe hundreds of times before. She didn't have to follow the recipe. She knew from experience that it would turn out just fine.

I’ve thought about that statement so many times since then. Grandma used may have used it with regard to baking that day, but that was just one example of her lifestyle of contentment.

She had learned the secret.

I look around and realize I have been very blessed materially. But like Grandma, I still want to live my life with a “Less is More” mindset. I want:

Less quantity… more quality

Less house… more home

Less fashion…more style

Less talk…more listening

Less busy… more deliberate

Less advice… more empathy

Less chit chat…more meaningful conversation

Fewer acquaintances… more friends, family and neighbors

Fewer rules… more principle

Less of me…more of Him

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hunger, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

7 comments:

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I loved this post. Thanks so much for writing it out for all of us.

Beck said...

What a great post - it really spoke to me. I'm trying to lead a "less busy... more deliberate" life, and it was a great reminder. Thank you so much for writing that!

Susanne said...

That was awesome, Katherine! Looking over that list it struck me how the world is geared almost in a total opposite direction to that, isn't it. How nice to have this written down, before our eyes, not just sort of floating about and never quite grasped. Thank you!

Nicole said...

I love this post. In a world where we are bonbarded with "more" of EEVRYTHING, it was refreshing to read your list. I will be thinking about this all day. I also think that your memories of your grandmother are priceless. I loved the story!!!

Joy said...

This is an amazing post!! I agree with you wholeheartedly...especially less of me...more of Him. Amen sister!

Amy said...

Beautiful post and oh, so true! Your grandmother was a smart lady and less is certainly more. I need this reminder daily particularly when I look around me and believe that more is more- this seems to be philosophy in America.

Thank you for this reminder!

Laurie said...

What a precious reminder to focus on quality in our lives and not quantity. It is so easy to get on that slippery slope of believing we must have more, even when we have been convinced that we don't. The key, as always, is more of Him.