Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An Open Letter to a Lady Discouraged by Poverty and Poor Living Conditions

My friend Jes, of Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, recently received a comment on her post "Swept and Good Order" ~ The Mistress of the House. I felt compelled to respond to the comment and share it with you.

Dear Discouraged,

   I feel so glad that you chose to share your discouragement with Jes. She shared some good ideas. I know what its like not to be able to fix things up like you'd like to. Even after 28 years, most of what we own was either given to us (usually second hand) or bought second hand.

  Please don't be discouraged. You've got to get creative. Find the things that cheer you. Maybe a candle burning (often cheap at yard sales), music playing (try Pandora or Spotify on-line if you don't have a collection), the fragrance of supper simmering on the stove shouldn't be underestimated!

I find that when I think about what I can do instead of what I cannot do, it helps.

When I didn't have furniture for my living room, I baked cinnamon rolls and sold them to businesses in town for their break times. I bought my furniture from Craig's List. Perhaps there's something you could do to make a few dollars here and there.  I get to squirrel away all the money I make by selling books on-line to buy my school books and whatever I can use PayPal for.

As for hospitality,  years ago we had people over even when we had to sit on the floor,

We once went for Sunday dinner to someone's house and they served a simple bean soup with cornbread.  Inexpensive, true, but hospitality was given as they shared what they had with us, and we enjoyed our time very much. Their situation and home was similar to yours, but it was the friendship offered that I remembered.

If blogs and Pinterest discourage you, don't look at them! If you do look, just let them be jumping off points to think about what you can do with what you have available to you.

For now, think about the things you have that you do enjoy and how you might make the best of them.

Here are a couple of posts from my blog that might be encouraging to you:

40 Ways to Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without
A Few Ways to Enjoy Homemaking

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop
This post was featured at A Tray of Bliss Five Star Frugal.



  1. Great response to this sincere question Laura! I pray that she is encouraged after your response :)

  2. What great encouragement you've given by leaving her this comment Laura. I've actually seem some stuff on pinterest that might help - frugal living (groceries, making furniture etc. DIY's) Blogs like yours help too to keep up the encouragement and give helpful hints!
    It's all just looking at things differently isn't it. Not so much of what I don't have -but what can I do with something I do have or maybe something I found beside the side of the road....
    You are a blessing Laura

  3. It is discouraging to be in that kind of position. I had to go over and reread the post on her blog. You gave a very kind response, and the other ladies did as well.

  4. I understand Annie. I've been in tough spots, too. Thanks for your kindness.

  5. You're right Vickie. Have a great week.

  6. Great advice! Some of my happiest memories are of a time we lived in an old, beat up trailer with dry rot in the floor boards. Some of our best times were spent with a mother and her daughter playing board games and laughing and eating pbj's!

  7. I did not see the original comment but what great encouragement you gave!

  8. Wonderful words Laura ~

    "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."

    ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

  9. Bless you! What a great and honest response.

  10. What beautiful, honest encouragement! I have been there many times in my life. I had next to nothing and had to rebuild over time. Those periods make me appreciate my life today and everything in it so much more!

  11. Great advice, Laura. I learned during a very difficult financial time in my life to get very creative with decorating my home. Everything came from thrift stores and garage sales. I painted and re-purposed and restyled long before it was popular.There was no Craig's List at that time. Anyway, it was really fun and much more satisfying than going to the store and buying something new, and ever since -- even when I could afford to spend more -- I prefer to decorate frugally. It's become a way of life for me. I'm sure your words have encouraged many. xo ~ Nancy

  12. Thanks so much for sharing your story and your encouragement, Joyful Cottage.

  13. Yes, Candace. We've "started over" many times, too.

  14. Thank you, Jes. That's a super verse.

  15. There were many inspiring answers on the original post, Spicing. I hope all who read this are encouraged to do with watcha got and think positively in negative circumstances. I know I am preaching to myself, too.

  16. Laura,
    What a wonderful post and it was a true encouragement to me! I wholeheartedly agree with your advise and found a kindred spirit in you! As I look around my house I have either been given the things in it or garbage picked, sewed or garage saled everything! I agree that creativity is the key and oh what a gift creativity is. I also think that I view God as my provider more completely by living this way! Thanks for taking the time to write this encouraging post!

  17. What an encouraging response. I stopped watching home decorating shows years ago when I found myself being discontent with what I had. It is so easy to be content when we do not constantly compare our situation to those of others.

  18. A good response and I saw nothing in your friend's post to suggest her home was a designer's showcase....my first thought is: how is this person paying for internet but maybe she is using a public one at her library.....I find sometimes people complain about not having one thing while they spend money on something else. Take my niece by marriage: one summer her husband was laid off from his job so she had the AC cut off but she still managed to keep smoking....just spouting off here....
    Thrift Stores are excellent sources for furniture. I have a chair in my Living Room that I paid $25 for, no one would ever know......and people are all the time leaving things curbside for garbage pick up where we picked up our patio furniture: a few minutes with a hose and some 409 and it was good as new, we've been using it for 5 years....my husband built his garden shed from roadside refuse......I guess the thing is to make the most of what you've been given and count your blessings, someone is always worse off.
    Mama Bear

  19. Hospitality comes from the heart - not decorations or stuff! There's such good wisdom here!

  20. Thanks so much Love Bears All for "talking back". There are some terrific ways we can make our homes cozy with low or no cost items, but counting blessings sure does help.

  21. Thank you, Blue Cotton!

    That helps so much Theresa F.

    Thank you, Janelle. I look forward to getting to know you!

  22. Wonderful post Laura! I think every piece of furniture in our house has come from either a thrift store or a garage sale or my husband has made it. And it has been fun! As others have said, just count your blessings that you even have a place to call home. And a family to reside within!


  23. I was brought up to be frugal, so not having was the norm. My house was furnished from thrift stores and roadside. I was never ashamed of what I had or didn't have. My door was always open to friends, family and neighbors, it seemed everyone knew Wednesday was soup night at my house, I cooked it in a water bath canner, the only big pot I owned, and most of the vegetables were from my garden or bartered for, sort of an exchange of my garden goods for yours. I would make cornbread or biscuits to go with it, you never knew how many people would show up to eat. I had less than most that came but I was always happy to share and no one looked down on me because there wasn't a place for them to sit, they just sat on the floor and had soup out of mismatched bowls that came from thrift stores or yard sales.

    I felt blessed to share what little I had and God always blessed me with what I needed. End tables were cardboard boxes with tablecloths over them, I felt I stepped up in the world when my end tables graduated to tv trays. Over the years my surroundings changed and now I even have furniture bought at a furniture store, of course 50% off sale, never thought it was wise to pay full retail on anything.

    Never feel depressed over what you may not have physically, because what really counts isn't the tangable items in life.

    The best jam I ever had was made from blackberries my son found while playing in a patch of trees and picked and brought home for me to "make into something good". At 36 he now tells his children of the tall tails of elderberry searches and the thrill of the find.

  24. Yes, Jane. When we married, we had one chair in the living room. We picked it out of someone's trash, and it had no legs! We just threw a sheet or blanket over it.

  25. What a sweet comment! I truly agree. Look for the positive and things will be lovely. NEVER compare ourselves and our financial situations to others! Although hubby and I have as much money as we need, I certainly remember the days that we were so frugal and saved every little penny we could. While friends bought new vehicles, and play outdoor toys we did not. Hubby never even owned his own truck for years. Not until the company he worked for bought him one and then he just used it for company things. Now when my friends tease and say we are rich I just think, "rich in blessings". We scraped and saved while they played! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  26. I understand, Jann. For me, it's a struggle just to buy groceries. The cupboards and fridge are pretty bare. God will provide.

  27. What a wonderful comment filled with encouragement and a gentle spirit. Great post!

  28. Thanks Scrappy Quilter. I'll be over for a visit in a bit.

    Blessings to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,


  29. You have not only encouraged this dear lady, but you have blessed and encouraged me as well :) May the Lord richly bless you for sharing these words of wisdom and comfort.

    Thank you, my dear, for sharing with ROI. Hugs to you!

  30. Hugs to you as well Stephanie!

  31. Laura, thankyou so much for sharing this beautiful, heartfelt post at Five Star Frugal. I hope you will share more of your inspirational writing this week. Mimi xxx

  32. Thank you Mimi for talking back!


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