From Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride
Part I: Philosophy
Chapter 6: Sowing Seeds of Time and Grace
"I once heard a story about an immigrant family who, after arriving in this country, owned virtually nothing but the clothes on their backs. They were living in a tiny shack that had stood empty for years. When a group of charity workers came by with food for this family, they were startled by what they found inside the shack.
The first thing they noticed when the door was opened to them was the old wooden floor - it was scrubbed clean and gleaming from a wood wax. The smell of apples and cinnamon wafted through the air from a simmering pot set upon a circle of coals on the hearth. A gentle fire crackled in the old river-rock fireplace.
A large round table, in the center of the one room, was covered with a floor-length cloth of dark-green-and-white-checked gingham. (They later discovered the table was an over-sized spool discarded by a cable company.) The windows were clean and framed by simple curtains, made from the same green-and-white-checked fabric as the tablecloth. They hung, not from metal rods, but from thin branches of a willow tree.
The most amazing thing of all was an evergreen garland that graced the chipped plaster walls. It was composed of ordinary items from the local woods. Boughs of evergreen and pine-cones were tied onto a length of heavy twine with torn strips of the same gingham fabric. It was looped into swags and hung just under the ceiling. It looked for all the world like an expensive wallpaper border. The ladies from the aid society were asked to sit down on what looked like a small backless sofa with bright red cushions. In truth, it was a series of wooden fruit crates, draped in a loosely fitted slipcover made of the same green and white gingham. The lady of the house graciously offered a drink of fresh water to her visitors, while thanking them for their generous gifts to her family.
Perhaps this is an extreme example, yet it beautifully illustrates the philosophy of frugal luxuries. with their attitude in mind, let us face the tasks of living with joy and embellishing ordinary days with comfort, beauty, and a renewed faith in the fact that the most precious things in their life are those things that no amount of money can buy."