Lifechanger: How would you like to live better in 2014?

The folks at Simple Living Works recently did an interview with Valerie Weaver-Zercher, compiler and editor of the updated 30th anniversary edition of Living More with Less (released in 2010).

ValeriePaulPaulEditor Valerie Weaver-Zercher, left, with Paul Longacre, spouse of writer, Doris Janzen Longacre, right, and original book editor from 30 years ago,
Paul Schrock (now deceased, back).

Gerald and Rita Iversen, who began, say Living More with Less changed their lives. Gerald calls Living More with Less the “seminal book for modern faith-based voluntary simplicity.” Simple Living Works is now the homebase and publisher of the Alternatives resources for Christmas, Advent, Lent and Easter that have helped so many of us really ponder the meaning of, and frequently change, our holiday customs and traditions.

I feel like I know Gerald a little from his frequent postings in the Living More with Less Facebook group where diehards share their latest finds, comment and compare the experiences of others, and in general keep pumped for doing what sometimes takes more work. (Okay, often takes a lot more work. Like recycling. It is amazing how many people and communities still don’t do this basic task.) Gerald works professionally for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a ministry associate.

Gerald puts together a twice-monthly podcast of interviews with people working at voluntary simplicity, so he interviewed Valerie about the book and her ideas. Gerald has spoken to over 300 groups in 40 states, continuing the mission that Doris herself could not continue when she died so young at age 39 of cancer.

You’ll find the interview with Valerie here.

9521Living More with Less was of course originally written and compiled by Doris Janzen Longacre as mentioned in the interview, (more information about Doris here).

doris-headshotShe was also the author of the well-known and bestselling More-with-Less Cookbook. The two volumes of Living More with Less (1980, 2010) are packed with ideas and actual life experiments in how real people do with less of everything.

We heartily support the goals Gerald Iversen lists at the Simple Living Works! website and blog, which, as they say, keep the spirit of Living More with Less alive:

1) To maintain the spirit of the five Life Standards of Living More with Less, the classic book by Doris Janzen Longacre

2) To continue Alternatives’ mission – “equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly,” to answer the question, “What might a Christian life look like?”

3) To offer – for free – Alternatives 150+ educational resources: text, video and audio, all under the Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial license.


Simple Living Works! is based on the simple proposition that voluntary simplicity is a faithful, satisfying and effective lifestyle. At a time when millions of North Americans (and billions of humans) are living simply INvoluntarily, we hope that Simple Living Works! will serve to show that simpler living is NOT deprivation. It is such a joy to get the burden of stuff off our backs! We focus on Enough, not Growth.

Simple Living Works! does not sell anything, nor ask for money. It is a completely voluntary educational organization. They do accept donations through their non-profit collaborator,

Their honorary board includes people like Walter Brueggemann, Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, Ron Sider and David Beckman and more.

In short, we are thrilled for the podcast Gerald did with Valerie, and Simple Living Works’ ongoing efforts in this area.

Doris Janzen Longacre would be proud, in a humble sort of way.

*** TshirtTo salute SimpleLivingWorks, we’re sending them a free Living More with Less T-shirt (picture) and will also put your name in the hat, so to speak, to win one of three T-shirts, if you leave a comment on this blog about how you have used ideas in Living More with Less, or any relevant comment or critique on voluntary simplicity. We will also appreciate it if you share this blog post with your friends and invite them to comment/win a shirt. We have a variety of sizes, but not all sizes. We’ll discuss that with the winners! (You can also buy shirts here to help spread the message.)

We also have many more resources on the Third Way Café website pages for Living More with Less including video shorts, radio spots, photos and comments from people sharing “How I live more with less,” excerpts from the book, and more.


How have you used any idea or ideas in either edition of Living More with Less? What is your best Simple Living/voluntary service activity or endeavor?
(It doesn’t have to come from the book!)

Drawing entries close midnight January 8, 2014. Tell your friends!



Melodie Davis, writer, author, producer, editor

8 thoughts on “Lifechanger: How would you like to live better in 2014?

  1. I loved and read both these books and have the first editions on my shelf. I sense a deep longing for simplicity in our world today. The more complicated technology becomes, the stronger and deeper this longing becomes. Every time I write about simplicity on my blog, many people respond. One theme that recurs is that shared goals in community help us simplify.

    • On this snowy day in many parts, it is interesting to watch the notes of families enjoying the respite from normal busy routine — but still staying connected through smart phones etc., FB, etc. So even though we long for and bask in simplicity, we also depend on it to stay connected. Anyway, thanks for the additional comment and we’ll enter your name for the T-shirt!

  2. I purchased Living More With Less E-edition about 8 months ago. I am on my third trip through the book and keep learning. I have been vegetarian for almost 4 years now so my footprint is much less that way. I am trying to convince my family that things are not what makes us happy. Too many things create chaos. Cluttered home equals cluttered mind. I am hoping to downsize in the next year. The space we live in is much greater than what we need. Am learning every day.

    • Anne, that is fascinating that you are on your third read of the book! As an ebook. I’m sorry I just discovered this comment–it is remarkable, not only for what you say, but for reading the book 3 times already.

  3. I’ve been thinking more about living simply after buying my first house. I bought a house as a single woman, so I didn’t have wedding and shower gifts to fill my house with and have had to buy everything on my own, and has really caused me to think about living simply and what I really need. I’d like to live in my house simply. Thanks for this perspective!

    • You have taken what some would consider a downer (no wedding and shower gifts, having to buy everything yourself) into making it a lifestyle statement and an opportunity. Love this!

  4. One of the bywords of our home church community is “Simplicity,” and we enjoy the freedom of not having a simple worship service, not maintaining a separate building for church activities, and not having to pay for staff. We are also very aware that living more simply is often a very complicated thing to do, or relies on complicated supporting systems and technologies. We’ve mostly come to peace with that. Hey, I guess I even preached a sermon on this: Freedom of Complexity “Simplicity is a means, not a goal. Choose to live the complex life of love.”

    • I will check out your sermon. Thanks for commenting! What do you mean about “we enjoy the freedom of not having a simple worship service.”? Is it a purposely counter-not-simple service? Or was that a mistype??

      I just found this. We get so many spam comments, this one slipped by.

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