For the past few weeks, I've been reading The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. The title of the book makes it sound as if it is a Christian Home Economics textbook but all one needs to do is read the first chapter to know that is definitely not the case. The book's subtitle more accurately describes it's content: "Creative Ideas for Enriching Everyday Life." And the book begins by explaining why we should even attempt to enrich everyday life: because God himself was the first Artist and it is obvious, from looking at creation, that beauty and aestetics were absolutely paramount to God. So, according to Schaeffer, "The Christian should have more vividly expressed creativity in his daily life, and have more creative freedom, as well as the possibility of a continuing development in creative activities...then what I call 'Hidden Art' should be more important to the one who knows and admits that he is made in God's image, than to those who do not." (She goes on to define "Hidden Art" as the art which is found in everyday life.) She makes no gender or marital-status distinctions either - male, female, single, married, widowed/er, divorced, etc - she calls all Christians to exhibit creativity in daily life. The reason: "There should be a practical result of the realization that we have been created in the image of the Creator of beauty....the fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty, rather than a gradual drying up of creativity, and a blindness to ugliness."
So the rest of the book is devoted to the different aspects of everyday life and Schaeffer, in her quirky yet intelligent and inspirational style, makes the case for the importance of each and ties them all back to the Master Creator. Topics covered include: music, painting/sketching/sclupting, interior decoration, gardening, flower arrangements, food, writing, drama, creative recreation, and clothing. Since I'm a convicted plant killer and have absolutely zero drawing skills (much less sculpting!), I have been picking and choosing the topics as opposed to reading thru the book. And I have been so inspired by something in every chapter I've read so far that now am afraid to read the chapters on gardening or painting for fear that I'll want to take up hobbies in those areas as well...and there is only so much time for creating! :)
Anyway, my next few blog posts will each contain some highlights from the chapters I have read. I would list them all at once but I'm afraid would get bored and stop reading my blog. :)
So, to kick off my series...
- Defined as anything we do with the place in which we are living for any length of time - your "spot" (regardless of whether or not it's a hut, a palace or a hotel room)
- Your spot shoould express something about you - what you like, what is important to you, who you are
- She challenges her readers to express themsevles not only in selecting things to buy but also in what we can make ourselves...and she goes on to describe the joy and satisfaction that comes from creating something for use in decorating one's "spot." And she gives ideas for creating home decor items
- She further challenges her readers to start somewhere and try something in the area of doing something creative in the area in which we live
- She also mentions how important creativity is to children: "'A child won't notice' is a very bad and untrue phrase to admit into your mind. A child will be affected by originality, beauty and creativity. And a child in a Christian home should connect being in communication with the Creator God with having been made creative, in his image...creativity...should be enhanced adn developed because of being brought up in a Christian home, not in spite of it." (I found this particularly inspiring.)
- Another way of showing creativity in decorating is to do something for someone else who may not be able to express creativity in their "spot" - an elderly homebound or nursing home resident or someone who is disabled.
- Finally, she mentions continuity as an important factor in home decoration because "to have familiar things around us is to feel 'at home.'" And so she challenges us to make continuity a priority for ourselves and our families because it can help ground us in uncertain times and times of change.
That's all for now! Stay tuned for more from Edith on enriching daily life. :)
I have to say before I close how much I am enjoying being Charlie's mom. I wish I could freeze him in time at 9 months. He is so precious right now - laughing, kissing me, scooting around. He has brought so much joy to us in general, but particularly so these last few weeks.
Here he is enjoying his new favorite food, tofu. The kid just can't get enough! He's eaten it everyday next week and cries for it while I'm cutting it.
And here is today, dressed up for church. I thought he looked so cute, I couldn't resist taking a picture (or 10 :)). Even Ryan liked his knee socks (and you can see my sewing machine, still boxed up awaiting next Saturday's lessons).