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Nissa GadboisSimply Speaking
by Nissa Gadbois


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Simple Gifts



Simple Living
by Nissa Gadbois

It seems that more and more families want to return to a life of simplicity.  We’ve grown tired of the pressure to consume.  We long for a life focused on simple family pleasures.  We are interested in building wealth of a different kind. 

Let us stipulate at the outset that ‘simplicity’ is not ‘ease’.  In fact, those of us living more simply will tell you that it’s anything but easy – but it’s enormously rewarding.  Being simple means eschewing modern conveniences and disposable merchandise.  Being simple means living from the heart, using your God-given talents to care for your family and yourself.  It means freeing ourselves from a consumerist society.  It means being who you truly are, and fulfilling God’s plan for you.  It means being happier than you ever imagined because you know that you are doing exactly what you were meant to do.  It is the honest-to-goodness hard work that makes each and every day full of accomplishment, full of joy, rich with memories.

There is a deep sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing how to bake a loaf of bread, knit a hat, or to sew an apron.  There is a joy that comes in knowing that you no longer need to run to the doctor for small things, that you don’t need to worry about additives in foods or cleaners because you know exactly what goes into them, that you don’t need to break the wardrobe budget because you can refashion, repair, and sew your own wardrobe from affordable quality fabrics.

The single factor that makes simplicity a difficult goal for most modern women is that since World War II, the numbers of little girls that learned to cook, bake, knit, sew, clean, and garden has dwindled to almost nothing.  My grandmother knew how to do all those things and more.  Her daughters never learned any of those skills.  My grandmother didn’t have time to teach them.  She worked in a factory all day long.  Her daughters came of age in a time of TV dinners, convenience foods, and disposable diapers.  Her granddaughters came of age in a time of fast foods, microwaves, and disposable cleaning products. 

It is expensive to live this way.  It really does take two incomes to afford such things.  What once was a luxury is still a luxury for simple families – and not worth the cost in time away from our primary vocations to obtain.  We have traded careers for the more rewarding work of raising children, we have traded a steady second income for a life of self-sufficiency, we have decided that the greatest stewardship of our time, talent and treasure – and ultimately the best living out of our vocations – is to do for ourselves, and to support other families who have chosen the same path.

I hope that through this column, I will inspire you to live more simply and to see your work as a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings of our married vocation.


Nissa GadboisNissa Gadbois is raising six children, with Brian, her husband of more than 16 years, on a small homestead in the hills of central Massachusetts.  Over the years, Nissa has worn many hats: floral designer, professional seamstress, event planner, etiquette consultant, business owner, farmer, home-educator, publisher, and writer.   It is the experience she has gained from these positions that she uses to encourage and inspire women to live a simpler, family-centered life.  Nissa is the editor of Simple Gifts magazine and journals about her hearth and home on the Simple Gifts weblog; and she can be heard on the Simple Gifts Podcast.  The first annual Simple Gifts Conference is planned for 2008.  You can find her giving inspiration throughout the Lenten season at These Forty Days.  Nissa is currently at work on several publishing projects, including a series of books for ‘tween Catholic girls.  She is known to burst into song at the drop of a hat, and loves to dance around the kitchen with babies in arms.

© Nissa Gadbois 2008

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