Over the years, I've experienced quite a shift in perspective. Twenty years ago, for example, my focus was purely on career, and what kind of dynamic one I could (and should- I was a child of 80s entitlement after all) have, and how successful and prosperous that career would make me. Etc., etc., it gets quite boring if I go on because it's basically the story of every young lady my age who watched Working Girl.
However, times change and so do we. Twenty years worth of experiences, including grad school, motherhood, and working often more than one job to make ends meet have lead me to realize that, at the end of the day, when we are tired and dragging and exhausted by the world, there is one safe, almost holy place we retreat to.
What makes our home such a sacred place isn't trendy furniture, mod wall decor or stainless steel everything, it's us. It's the story of our little family, in photos and child-rendered art and postcards on the wall. It's the smell of something baked earlier in the day that lingers in the air for hours. It's the inherited antiques and handmade items that remind us where we came from, and it's our faith and the joys of a life simply lived to remind us where we are going. It's mending a beloved shirt and picking one's supper from a backyard garden. It's a feeling of taking care of ourselves, others, and the earth through simple living and honoring nature's cycles. It's stepping out of the fast consumer pace of mainstream society into something a little...bit...slower.
I discovered Shannon Hayes' book, Radical Homemaking, at the perfect time of my life; a time when I was coming to terms with who I really was and what I really wanted from life, and trying to wrap my brain around how I could have gotten to such a dramatically different mindset from where I started. Hayes' book laid it all out and made something painfully clear - it just makes sense. For the sake of our families, our communities, and our environment, there must be change in how we live our daily lives.
And this change must start at home.
It isn't easy or simple to change one's lifestyle overnight; my journey took years and involved coming full-circle back to faith and accepting the idea of inter-dependence over independence. As a single mother, I have to be a breadwinner as well as homemaker, but my heart is fully centered on my family and making the most of the time I don't have to be at work (Luckily for me, working in education, I can enjoy more time off that typical careers offer!) Over the past few years, I've found amazing ways to save money vs. having to work additional jobs to make more money, which has opened up new paths in our lives for friendship and connection with like-minded others. Trading, bartering, using less, reducing waste...as I type this, three small baked pumpkins cool on the stove. Decorative? For a short while, maybe, but they will soon become pie filling, and their big brother outside will become pumpkin butter next week. This little bit of work is just a tiny taste of what a producing home looks like. Just like last year, the majority of our holiday gifts this season are handmade, either by ourselves our others. And much of it is edible.
Small steps towards stronger, healthier families, communities, and environments. Lifestyle changes that will make a lasting imprint on our children and provide for them the groundwork to leading more sustainable lives. If this interests you, please consider joining or creating a Radical Homemakers Group in your area! (our South Carolina based group page is here!) If you are in my area, consider attending our first official meeting next week, where we will be crafting holiday garlands (inspired by this post by Faye at Blessed Hearth, one of my favorite blogs!) and eating and drinking yummy homemade things. To kickstart our group's first official meeting, I am giving away Hayes' popular book, The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook: Healthy Cooking and Good Living with Pasture-Raised Foods.***
To participate in the giveaway, leave a comment below with your name and email address! Extra entry if you share this post on social media (mention in your comment that you did this!) And, if you are already in the SC based FB group, comment on the blog post on that site for an extra entry as well!
Happy Homemaking! Will be blogging soon about keeping the holidays simple and the importance of Small Business Saturday (coming up next week!)
***Giveaway open to US residents only! So sorry my foreign readers but shipping costs on the book are just insane! :-(