three books

Drowsiness pushes its heavy shroud over my head, but today I will fight it.  If there’s one thing I learned in reading Don’t Waste Your Life (John Piper), it is that work is not a curse, as I’ve often treated it.  In my work I will have pain and trouble because of the Eden curse, but even without work, pain and trouble will plague me.  They are unavoidable.  And so I try to not fight work anymore.  I’m doing my tasks with my eyes on Father-Creator-God, trying to see laundry and cleaning as neutral tasks that can be transformed into God-glorifying actions.

When I read Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology, I started to wonder if, at the root of things, the desire for more and more technology came because of man’s view of work being a curse.  In the book, Eric Brende discovers that in the Anabaptist community in which he’s living and working, socialization comes during the lulls between loading the wagon with hay, and meeting new neighbors comes with a barn raising.  Rejuvenation comes with the morning light, from a body fed with healthy foods and exercised through daily work.

Brende discovers that when driving a car, anxiety levels skyrocket even if the driver feels completely relaxed.  Driving horses and bicycling and walking, however, do not result in such unnatural stress.  This idea fascinates me.  How many things that I have invited into my life in the name of convenience are actually tearing me apart from the inside out?

I enjoyed Brende’s book.  Brende’s prose can get a little dull at times, but the ideas in the book were invigorating for me.  Yes, they do make me want to move to the country to farm with motorless machinery and eat the fruit of my own labors.  Yes, they make me want to get a horse in exchange for a car.  Hey, maybe the horse manure could be my main source of fuel for cooking!  I don’t think there’s anything innately wrong with technology; after all, the horse-drawn plow was once a new invention.  I do think that humans need to create with more ingenuity and thought.  Does our technology make us more holistic individuals?  Or does it take away from our person in the name of ease or comfort?

The third book I’ve recently read is The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule.  It was a natural sequel to Better Off, and it was a much more practical resource to boot.  I didn’t want the book to end.  It is chock-full of ideas to help you and your children be creative together.  Soule recommends using nature and natural materials in play.  Plastic toys need not apply.  Sewing, dressing up, creating art with the best quality materials possible, enjoying nature, journaling, gardening:  these are activities that I want to make thrive in my household.  Had I read this book before writing my post on gift-giving on the Crunchy Domestic Goddess blog, I think my list of ideas would have been twice as long.

Back to Don’t Waste Your Life:  This wasn’t an “ah-ha!” book for me, but Piper did help me direct my focus back to God.  He is constantly preaching that God is to be glorified, and that we are to be joyful in Him.  His sections on taking risks, letting go of materialism and riches, work, and spreading the message of the gospel were the ones that impacted me most.

These three books have been inspiring for me.  They make me want to face my day with energy and enthusiasm for work and creating.  I’m excited to teach my children the wonders of living.  My greatest fear is that through mere habit, my ideas will not be transformed into actions.

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