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Do you ever feel caught in an endless cycle of working harder and longer to get more while enjoying life less? The Stewart family did—and they decided to make a radical change. Popular Catholic blogger and podcaster Haley Stewart joins me on this episode of The Dignity of Women to explain how she and her husband gave up home, jobs, and comfort for a year-long internship on a sustainable farm changed her family’s life for the better, allowing them to live gospel values more intentionally.
Haley Stewart is a Catholic author, podcaster at Fountains of Carrots and speaker. She co-authored Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year with her husband Daniel, who is a farmer/beekeeper/chef. They live in Waco, TX with their four children and Haley tells about how they gave up everything to get to where they are now – living simply and happily. You can find her at Carrots for Michaelmas, where she blogs on cultivating a Catholic family through literature, liturgical living, and urban homesteading.
The Grace of Enough
When Haley Stewart married her bee-keeping sweetheart, Daniel, they dreamed of a life centered on home and family. But as the children arrived and Daniel was forced to work longer hours at a job he liked less and less, they dared to break free from the unending cycle of getting more yet feeling unfulfilled. They sold their Florida home and retreated to Texas to live on a farm with a compost toilet and 650 square feet of space for a family of five. Surprisingly, they found that they had never been happier.
In her book The Grace of Enough, Stewart shares essential elements of intentional Christian living that her family discovered during that extraordinary year on the farm and that they continue to practice today:
- live simply
- offer hospitality
- revive food culture and the family table
- reconnect with the land
- nurture community
- prioritize beauty
- develop a sense of wonder
- be intentional about technology
- seek authentic intimacy
- center life around home, family, and relationships
Drawing from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, Stewart identifies elements of Catholic social teaching that will enhance your life and create a ripple effect of grace to help you overcome the effects of today’s “throwaway” culture and experience a deeper satisfaction and stronger faith.
- How motherhood made her a maker – enhanced rather than diminished her creative spark
- I get emails a lot from young women who are scared to have kids.They have brilliant talents and passions to pursue and they are terrified that entering motherhood will mean that they will be trapped and all those dreams will die.
- Freedom in pursuing less
- too much stuff, too many hours, too much time apart
- Integrating lessons from the year on the farm to the return to ordinary life
- Christocentric understanding of minimalism
- Wonder and Beauty
- Embracing authentic community
- Return to the practice of hospitality
- Not allowing social media to separate the family
- Choosing hope
LINKS AND RESOURCES
- The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture (Ave Maria Press)
- Carrots for Michaelmas – Cultivating a Catholic family through literature, liturgical living, and urban homesteading
- Motherhood Didn’t Squelch My Creativity, It Made Me a Maker
- Fountains of Carrots Podcast
- Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year
- Fountains of Home
- Hosting a Crappy Dinner Party