A Simple Life

My great-grandmother lived a simple life.

She woke up and made the coffee.

She sipped it alongside a small breakfast: usually toasted Italian bread with real butter.

She’d step into a simple dress and slip her feet into comfortable shoes.

She’d put in the day’s wash and iron her clothes to the Price Is Right, sprinkling water on each piece from an old Aunt Jemima glass bottle to make steam.

apartment, arredamento, bright, casa, chairs, cosy


She’d make a hefty sandwich at noon, and would pray her Rosary right after.

She’d knit great masterpieces—warm, soft, comforting afghans I still have today—through Ryan’s Hope, All My Children, and One Life to Live {and whispered putana to herself any time a couple exchanged kisses on screen}. By the time General Hospital was on, she’d put her yarn and her needles away and start preparing for the night’s meal.

She loved her family, filled our bellies with delicious foods, kept linens fresh and crisp like no other, and made a house feel like a home with her very presence.

And she never once whined that she didn’t feel fulfilled.

Every simple act she performed was consecrated to her God and her family. Every simple act was one of love.

And I so want to be just like her.

I want my first and last words each day to be a sweet “thank you” to my God and my family and my friends.

I want to take joy in the small and ordinary things I do, so that even though I may never write a book, have a recognizable name, or a 1,000 followers, I’ll know I served my purpose with love and with grace.

I want to stop feeling like I have to be more, do more or have more.

I want to be my great-grandmother’s great-granddaughter and to remember that

I am enough.

Today, I’m linking up to these lovelies…


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I still have my afghan….

  2. Oh, bless you. This is what I was trying to say today, over at the Wellspring…but I didn’t say it nearly so well. I think this yearning, this longing…sometimes it feels like it might drive me crazy. But this morning in Bible study we read the scripture where Jesus’ mother and brothers went to get him because they said he is “out of his mind”. And I didn’t feel quite so alone. And now I find you too. Grateful to journey with you.

  3. yes, you are. It is so hard to slow down and realize this! My post today is being “enough” of a mother… I struggle with this too. Love how you paint the portrait of your sweet great-grandmother. {I want to be like her now too!}

  4. Sorry! I’ve been a bit behind my blog readings and just read this. Life has been crazy and hectic this week. I am definitely one of those who struggle with more. Even though sometimes, I have no idea what the “more” is. I just have this annoying, nag of needing more. I think, for me, that it’s the nagging to want more of that which is simple. Your blog said it best. We need to embrace that which we already have. Thank you!

  5. Michelle,
    Found you through SITS day. Congrats by the way! Love this post. I write a similar message, about fulfillment, but with a different voice. It’s a worthy message, and should be told in as many different voices as possible so that everyone has a chance to hear the version of the message that resonates with them. Thank you for your beautiful blog!

  6. This post is like mission statement for you. I love it. Really enjoy your style.

  7. I love this. It’s such a great message, and my grandmother, who is someone I admired so much was the exact same way–so happy and fulfilled with such a simple life. Thanks for the reminder, and thanks for sharing your blog today!

  8. Beautiful post and inspiring to me today. I often feel like I am running, trying to do and be so much, when I only want this simple life too.

    Happy SITS day!

  9. I love this post. There is nothing greater than waking up and going to sleep knowing you are serving God with joy and showing gratitude for all that has been given to you by living a life of no complaints. So lovely.

  10. I’m visiting from SITS and am amazed by your ability to inspire by sharing your experiences and memories. Your voice is amazing! I am in awe.

  11. She reminds me of my grandmother Flora, who when asked how she was doing never failed to say, “I can’t complain.”

    Thank you for the reminder.

  12. Found you through SITs Michelle.

    Beautifully written. I got a lovely sense of your great-grandmother. Thank you for the lift and the feeling of gratitude!

    A Mom On A Spiritual Journey!

  13. Happy SITS day! My great grandmother was only in my life a very short time, but this post reminds me so much of my grandmother. Every day she is still in my life is a blessing from God. Very sweet blog post. Thank you!

    Shine On

  14. My kids are grown now and looking back at my years raising them as a stay at home mom – i never felt unfulfilled. I loved the time. I loved the privilege. Being a mother was always enough. And now that they’re out of the house – my life is still more than enough. Lovely, lovely post.

  15. Your words brought back so many memories ~ of my Nana and Aunt Lucy. I know it is so much more than our Italian heritage, it’s the love, the grace and as you said, the simple acts consecrated to God and her/their family. You see with soft eyes.

  16. That is so beautiful! I started a blog called, What Grandma Taught Me. Your words brought back so many memories! The Simple Life!

  17. Found you via SITS. Let me say, this post brought tears to my eyes. In today’s day and age, it’s constant hammered into us that “enough is not enough” and we all “need to do more” and, by doing so (and in my case the constant workload), I always end the day feeling a bit lost like I didn’t do ENOUGH. Quite frankly, seeing how our grandmothers did it and never complained makes me think that perhaps I need to take a breather and figure out where exactly my path is leading me (and maybe – just maybe – take up some knitting).

    • Amen, girl. Seriously, we women are mighty creatures, but we cannot do it all. We need to slow down, be good to ourselves, and make deliberate choices {and that doesn’t mean filling up every hour of every day with activity!}. Life is too short.

      Please, ENJOY that breather!

  18. I soooo get what you mean. Someone once told me, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears”. I’ve also heard that “the third time you hear something, it’s confirmation”. And I have to tell you that, somehow, what you’ve shared here speaks into both of those areas – for me. We “do, be, and have” enough, for sure. And I found out that we matter in the universe. Couple that with what you’ve said, and that’s power!

    Happy SITS Day, my SITSta! May you enjoy every one of your days to the fullest.

  19. Beautiful post! I want to be that kind of person too and I have not been doing a very good job lately. A good reminder for me. Happy SITS day!

  20. Stopped by from the SITS girls. So glad I did. Great article and great blog!

  21. I want to be like your grandmother too! Truly a role model. Glad to find your blog through SITS!

  22. I understand the feeling of “I want to stop feeling like I have to be more, do more or have more”. It’s had not to do that sometimes though. We all are “enough” and need to remember that. We all want to be your grandmother too! Very lovely post! Btw, I liked you on FB as my page and as myself 🙂

  23. I’m so happy to have found your blog. I’ve only just read this first post and already feel inspired by your positive spirit. I love that your grandmother consecrated her life as a ‘HOME MAKER’ to God. I feel much the same way and I think if you think of each little thing you do for your family as a blessing, it will be. Congratulations on your SITS day – I’m very glad I stopped by. Blessings, Tia

  24. I love this, because now you can pass this same simple beautiful life on to another generation.

  25. I love this, because now you can pass this simple beautiful life on to another generation.

  26. Once you have the life you want, why whine about not having anything else? What a great lesson…

    Happy SITS day!

  27. Thank you for these beautiful reflections on the joy of womanhood. And for making me think of my grandma.

    What a beautiful message. One of my 2012 goals was to send more (more many any at all) Thank you cards to friends, family, etc. – just to let them know I appreciate them. Who doesn’t love some snail mail these days when so many things are done electronically and without much care or attention.
    thank you for this post and for this reminder.

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