I have long been a fan of Haley Stewart’s blog, Carrots for Michaelmas. For a time, it was the only blog I read. I connected with her voice, loved her reading recommendations, and was inspired by her vigor for the Catholic faith. I couldn’t wait to read her first book, published last fall by Ave Maria Press, titled The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture. I’ve yet to read Laudato Si’, which lies at the foundation of Stewart’s premise, so I looked forward to learning more about that important document while digging into stories of the Stewart family’s life on the farm. What surprised me was how moved I was by the chapters on relationship and hospitality. I expected a book about the environment, food, and farming, and it is that. But this human element resonated more deeply with me. I love that the lessons about stewardship and God’s creation were expanded to our approach to our communities, the need for greater hospitality and generosity, and even intentional use of the Internet. “Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we were willing to look outward and bless those in different circumstances?” Stewart asks. Yes, I think it would. And here, too: “When we stop to show someone that they matter to us, we are sharing with them the love that God has for each of his creatures, his love that considers each individual irreplaceable and worthy of great sacrifice.” As Lent approaches and I consider what sacrifices to make and what efforts to pursue, my heart is drawn toward my relationships with others, as a tangible reflection of my relationship with God. Stewart got me to ask myself some impactful questions about how I’m using the gifts I’ve been given. Is my home a place of peace and refuge? Are the meals I cook generous not only to our family but to the world outside our walls? Am I using the Internet to build community in a way that glorifies God? Unfortunately, the answer to none of these questions is always a resounding “Yes!” The good news is I know where I can focus to grow closer to God this upcoming Lenten season, and with God’s grace, to bless my community in the process. If you’re struggling with how to deepen your relationship with Christ this Lent, consider simplifying some aspect of your everyday routine. Try less technology and more face-to-face conversation. Try fewer meals on the go and more time at your own kitchen table. In doing so, you’ll see the world less through your own eyes and more as God sees and loves it. There are lots of Lenten resources circulating this time of year, but I think The Grace of Enough would make a great read before Lent even gets started. Have you read the book? What did you think? How do you feel called to observe Lent this year? Share in the comments!

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Copyright 2019 Lindsay Schlegel This article contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchases through these links benefit the author.