I've been reading three books this Lent: Radical Homemakers, Style, Sex and Substance, and Introduction to the Devout Life. A random mix, but all are tied together by a common thread and that is vocation. Honestly, it has been my intention to write about this for some time but I can't quite put my thoughts into a proper, organized post or review so don't expect much here!
This is especially true of Radical Homemakers. I loved so many of the ideas in the book, especially that of a living home that is a unit of production instead of (solely) consumption. Our home is very much a living space and there is evidence of that in every room. ;) Our garden is the same - it's rarely worthy of a photo shoot - there are currently several bags of manure piled around waiting to be applied - but I value it not only for beauty, but for what it produces.
I love the idea of relying on oneself to do what one is capable of doing - echoing the Catholic social teaching of subsidiarity, to which I've primarily credited our decision to homeschool.
I love the idea of lives centered around learning new things. There are so many times I backed out of a project because I told myself I couldn't do it, for no good reason. That is not my mindset anymore and I relish the thought of acquiring new skills now. (I have plans to steek, my knitting friends, and I'm looking forward to it.)
I love the idea of investing in relationships as opposed to careers.
I need health insurance for starters. That was the weakest section of the book and one that bugged the heck out of me. Yoga and organic foods are fine, y'all, but they are not going to prevent a devastating car accident. I hesitate to write much more, but obviously if you live in America (even if you don't) you know that this topic is heated and complex.
I also, for lack of a better description, wrinkle my nose at some of this 'simple living' trend. It's not simple. Simple is zooming through the drive through for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It can be better, but it is, for most of us, expensive and time consuming to grow and prepare foods, keep our own homes tidy, educate our children, and invest in our communities. This book hints that it doesn't have to be, but for the average person like me, who doesn't have the desire to go all out and start... slaughtering things, it is tricky.
OK, so that's enough about Radical Homemakers, but I could go on for hours if we were chatting in person and I welcome any thoughts in the comments. I would love to discuss this book further. If you are looking for a well organized review, Faith's is excellent.
One last quote from the third chapter of Introduction to the Devout Life because I don't want to forget it and it is on my mind every morning when I pray.
When God created the world He commanded each tree to bear fruit after its kind and even so He bids Christians - the living trees of His Church- to bring forth fruits of devotion, each one according to his kind and vocation. A different exercise of devotion is required of each - the noble, the artisan, the servant, the prince, the maiden and the wife; and furthermore such practice must be modified according to the strength, the calling, and the duties of the individual.
He's just brilliant and I wish I could memorize every word.
I'll talk more about the other books later. It's all a big jumble in my mind and that is the last time I read more than one book at a time.