Monday, October 01, 2007

The Hidden Art of Homemaking: Just the Beginning

Part 1 in a series on Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking

It's October. A new month, and like someone much wiser once said about a new day, it is "always fresh with no mistakes in it." To inagurate this new month and to put a little life back into our blog (We are so close to 1,000 posts. Too bad it's taken us almost four years...), I am starting a new blog series.

Last week I finished reading Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking. Perhaps some of you have heard of this book. Maybe many of you have read it. I, however, let it sit on a shelf for about three years before diving in to this treasure trove of wisdom. It's a quick read (I finished it over the course of three days of Jacob's nursing sessions), but her thoughts and ideas will stick with you.

The basic premise is that we, as Christians, who realize that we are created in the image of the Creator and are endowed by Him with gifts and talents, are the ones who best understand why it is important to live creatively. Therefore, we should be the ones bringing beauty and art to every area of our lives and to demonstrate it for those most important to us: our family.

Though she acknowledges that some are called to art as an occupation, most of us only dabble in the arts as hobbies. Even worse, many of us wait for the day when we will "have more time" or "take an organized class" or "join a community theater group" or even, God forbid, "retire," in order to use those passions and talents. In contrast to another book I read recently that sees how Americans focus on our future (sometimes to our detriment), Schaeffer constantly reminds her readers that we should never wait to begin adding beauty and creativity to our lives. She urges us to begin now, today, and that it takes only a small gesture to realize our "Hidden Art" and edify someone else. She also stresses that these Hidden Arts are to be done for those we love-- our family and friends-- rather than waiting for an audience or admiring public to appear. It can be something as simple as buying fresh flowers for the table or reading aloud to each other. What I appreciate most is that this book is not just for wives and mothers-- it is for everyone: single or married, old or young, male or female, those with children and those without. Her ideas and exhortations are timeless and I think greatly benefit the church today.

In order to celebrate this book and share her ideas with those who might not have read it, I am starting a new blog series. Every weekday for the next three weeks (beginning tomorrow, Oct. 2) I plan to create a post on one chapter of her book. There are 14 chapters, and I plan to cover each one by giving a short summary, include some of her ideas I've found inspiring, list ways we have implemented that art in our family (or plan to) and, most importantly, include a list of internet resources with ideas to enrich the lives of your family through these Hidden Arts.

I encourage you to share this series with others and become involved in the coversation through the comments below each post.

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