Better Is….

“Better is a handful with quietness than both hands full with painful effort, a vain striving after the wind and a feeding  on it.”  Solomon


I came across that proverb two weeks ago.   It continues to resonate and give me a warm,“I am on the right track feeling,” with our most recent decision to downsize and take another look at our finances.   I am  enjoying a season of “quietness” on multiple fronts of my life currently.

Is “a handful with quietness” worth pursuing or have you bought into “two hands full with painful toil”   road map for your life?

That is a watershed question, each of us gets to answer😉

If you are a dad with a wife and  children in tow, then before you answer all by your lonesome, include the family in that decision.

I do know what it feels like to have the wolf is at the door.

It is not a fun place to be.

Back when I was in my late 20’s, under tremendous self-imposed stress I came across the following ditty:

You are a fool if your goal is to make it to the top of the company ladder but end up loosing your family in the process.


Like someone took a 2 by 4 and smacked me across the nose.

I wasn’t trying to climb a corporate ladder.  I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, putting in long days at work, etc.  It wasn’t until my wife was almost at her breaking point, that I finally stopped long enough to see what the heck I was doing to everyone.

(It may not be making it to the top of the company ladder, but making payments on  stuff.  Stuff  that rusts, breaks fall apart, including a fancy house.)

In talking with another young dad recently about his financial pressures, I was dumbfounded at how much money they were spending on “needs” like Internet/cable, school activities, extra curricular activities, etc. that were costing $100’s of dollars a month.

I just listened as he rationalized all of their well-meaning decisions.

I never quite know if I’m dealing with a fool or a wise man so I tend to keep my thoughts to myself.

I don’t need the grief.

But since this is my blog, and you are free to leave, I will tell you what I think.😉

When we had kids in the home, part of what it looked like to make ends meet included starting a family cleaning business. We cleaned the offices,  a bank, and a house.   The kids got in on cleaning  toilets, scrubbing floors and experiencing the joy of getting a pay check for a job well done.   We bid the bigger jobs, so rather than working by the hour, it was a set price.   Each of us had our specific jobs and were usually done in an hour .  The money they made went to help buy their clothes.

We rented instead of owning, the first 12 years of our marriage.  At that time, coming up with a 10% down payment on a house was impossible on my income.  I remember coming to the painful realization we would probably never own a home. That was so counter cultural, and painful to my ego , but I had a higher calling, I wanted to have some energy left at the end of the day to be present with my wife and children.

* By the grace of God we were eventually able to own a home.  It can be done.


Thanks for stopping by.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this one. DM

Here are some  pictures taken by a photography club  when they visited our home:



libby 2014

Libby the Great

doug in the orchard 2014

Interacting with photography club


Heirloom variety of apples

honey crisp

Honey Crisp ready to be picked

litter carrier

Litter carrier in the barn

sun crisp

Sun-crisp variety of apples

And finally, if you are still reading along and have a minute,  here is a link to one of my favorite songs on Youtube :


6 thoughts on “Better Is….

  1. Good ‘proverb’. We all want to do the best for our family, but that shouldn’t come at the price OF our family. I guess it’s all a case or priorities, knowing your means, and keeping within them. Getting the family on board as you do that is a definite bonus!
    Can almost taste them apples! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I believe less is more. I’ve traveled down that slippery road in the pursuit of the stuff I thought we “needed”. I reached a point in my journey when I realized that all that “stuff” was nothing more than a ball and chain around my ankle. My family life was not what it should have been; the priorities were all wrong. I wanted and needed a radical change and sought the support of my wife. She went along with it for a short time, but in the end, she balked. She preferred the things we had acquired, her career, and structure she had become accustomed to.

    Off the topic – from the looks of that litter carrier, your barn must have been for dairy cattle?

    Liked by 1 person

    • for a short time we thought we wanted to be landlords..were in the position to make payments on a second home (with the help of the rental payments) found out the more you own, the more it owns you ( or as you put it/ nothing more than a ball and chain around my life) And yep, the barn used to be a dairy barn with wooden stanchions before we moved here.

      Liked by 1 person

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