Monica recently loaned me a book she'd enjoyed called Living Simply by Joanne Heim.
I am glad I read it, but I don't plan to add this title to my collection. While conversing with a friend who had also read the book, I agreed with some of her reactions. This friend mentioned she had looked for more of an "earthy" tone to the book: "I love the writer's ideas of family and hospitality and being intentional about all you do, but I also think living simply involves frugality, resourcefulness, and environmental responsibilty." I heartily agree with that statement. Of course we all have different definitions of simplicity, and I think my definition probably varies some from that of the author's. I'm not saying my understanding of simplicity is right and someone else's is wrong, and I don't disagree with Heim's definition as stated in the book ("a simple life is centered on people rather than things," "a simple life is focused rather than scattered"), I just feel there were elements of simple living which were absent from the book (such as those listed above).
As with Frugal Luxuries, there were sections and quotes from the book that I enjoyed. Like Monica, I appreciated Heim's references to Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables as models of simplicity. I have often wondered how Ma would have entertained a bustling toddler, especially in a one-room house!
I nodded along with this paragraph: "I wonder why the word homemaker sounds so funny to my ears in this day and age. Because when I stop to think about it, making a home is a really cool thing. In fact, the word encompasses much of what I do as a wife and mother. Our home provides my family a place of refuge and safety, a place for rest and relaxation. Our home is a setting in which we make memories and create our life together."
I appreciated the chapter on the importance of the Sabbath, and Heim's insights about how to incorporate rest on that day and set it apart as a covenant with God. "How do we take Sabbath in a world that never stops? When life moves on around us without slowing down for a rest, it's hard to imagine stepping back and resting as God desires."
Towards the end of the book, Heim acknowledges that "there's no perfect recipe for living simply. What is simple and works for my family may not work for yours. There's no one-size-fits-all simple life. The point is to choose wisely--to know what you're choosing for your family, and why." Heim of course shared what works for her family, and it's fun to read her stories and examples. I appreciate her thoughts on simplicity, even though simple living looks different for me.
Has anyone else read this book? What did you think? Any suggestions for other books on this subject? By the way, you can read Monica's review here--she loved this one and thus offers a different perspective from mine.