Doris Janzen Longacre

This collection of pages has been created as a tribute to Doris on the occasion of the publication of Living More with Less: 30th Anniversary Edition. It is intended to celebrate her life, honor her lifelong quest for ways to live responsibly and joyfully in a world of need, and to pass on her vision for simple and sustainable living to new generations.

About Doris


Doris Janzen Longacre was born February 15, 1940 in Newton, Kansas. She received her BA degree in home economics from Goshen College and did graduate studies at Goshen Biblical Seminary and Kansas State University. With her husband, Paul Longacre, and two daughters, Cara Sue and Marta Joy, she worked with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Vietnam (1964-1967) and in Indonesia (1971-1972). She served as chairperson of the Akron Mennonite Church, as a member of the Board of Overseers of Goshen Biblical Seminary, and as a frequent speaker on world hunger.

Doris became well-known across North America and around the world through her two books: the More-with-Less Cookbook, a collection of recipes and suggestions on how to enjoy more while consuming less of the world's resources (Herald Press, 1976), and Living More with Less, a collection of tips and testimonies of people searching for ways to simplify their lives. Living More with Less was published in 1980, shortly after her death, at the age of 39, on November 10, 1979.

Life is too short

Doris kept a list of things she felt were the frivolities of life—things one should not let get in the way of the enjoyment of living.

Life is too short to ice cakes; cakes are good without icing.
Life is too short to read all the church periodicals.
Life is too short not to write regularly to your parents.
Life is too short to eat factory baked bread.
Life is too short to keep all your floors shiny.
Life is too short to let a day pass without hugging your spouse and each of your children.
Life is too short to nurse grudges and hurt feelings.
Life is too short to worry about getting ready for Christmas; just let Christmas come.
Life is too short to spend much money on neckties and earrings.
Life is too short for nosy questions like "How do you like your new pastor?" Or—if there's been a death—"How is he taking it?"
Life is too short to be gone from home more than a few nights a week.
Life is too short not to take a nap when you need one.
Life is too short to care whether purses match shoes or towels match bathrooms.
Life is too short to stay indoors when the trees turn color in fall, when it snows, or when the spring blossoms come out.
Life is too short to miss the call to worship on a Sunday morning.
Life is too short for bedspreads that are too fancy to sleep under.
Life is too short to work in a room without windows.
Life is too short to put off Bible study.
Life is too short to put off improving our relationships with the people we live with.

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