Friday, September 18, 2009

Book Review: The Hidden Art of Homemaking

Many homemakers may feel unfulfilled while at home because they do not allow themselves the time or freedom to be creative.  Keeping a clean house, doing the laundry, teaching the kids, doing the dishes, taking care of the dog, exercising, and other tasks seem to take precedence over our creative tendencies (although some of these tasks can include some added creativeness).  We put the desires that are deep within us on the back burner and our home life begins to seem dull due to lack of creativeness.  In The Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer writes that every Christian should be creative because we are made in the image of Christ, the true Creator.  "Man was created that he might create.  It is not a waste of man's time to be creative.  It is not a waste to pursue artistic or scientific pursuits in creativity, because this is what man was made to be able to do.  He was made in the image of the Creator, and given the capacity to create - on a finite level of course, needing to use the materials already created - but he is still the creature of a Creator."  (pg.24)  As Christians, we should be more inclined to use our creative capabilities than non-Christians because we represent the Creator.  Being creative is a God-given ability and forgoing this desire or need is going to cause a numbness to the beauty of the created.  As homemakers, we must find a balance in keeping our house beautiful through cleaning as well as by being artistic in the home. 
 Because of our increase in technology and our hectic schedules, our creative abilities have gathered dust and are out of shape.  We spend too much time on the computer (this I am guilty of!), watching tv, playing games (um, this too), keeping our days full by going to and fro, and constantly squelching the desires God has instilled within us.  "Does this mean that we should all drop everything to concentrate on trying to develop into great artists?  No, of course not.  But it does mean that we should consciously do something about it.  There should be a practical result of the realization that we have been created in the image of the Creator of beauty...whether you are a man or a woman: the fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty, rather than in a gradual drying up of creativity, and a blindness to ugliness." (pg. 33)  Although everyone has creative abilities, the type of ability differs.  Just because Sally can paint beautiful portraits doesn't mean that Sue must paint as well.  If Harry can knit a manly scarf, it doesn't require Luke to knit a manly blanket.  Each person has a creative talent and some may not yet know that talent.  The point is to try something that requires the use of your hands, your mind, and your energy.  As you begin to use your creativeness, this will exercise your abilities and provide you with new ideas.  You may even inspire others to be creative as well.  "Man has a capacity both for responding and producing, for communicating as well as being inspired.  It is important to respond to the art of others, as well as to produce art oneself.  It is important to inspire others to be creative as well as to communicate by one's own creative acts." (pg. 25) 
Now that the idea of being creative has been strongly encouraged, Schaeffer goes on to describe various ways that a homemaker (or anyone) may put to use this God-given creativeness.  She discusses interior decorating, gardening, food, clothing, writing, etc. and provides some practical advice in these areas.  I was convicted about my lack of gardening (see previous blog "The Green Thumb Mandate") and about my uninspired desire to make my home more beautiful because of our old, falling-apart house.  "It seems to me that, whether it is recognized or not, there is a terrific frustration which increases in intensity and harmfulness as time goes on, when people are always daydreaming of the kind of place in which they would like to live, yet never making the place where they do live into anything artistically satisfying to them...Trying out all the ideas that come to you, within the limits of your present place, money, talents, materials and so forth, will not use up everything you want to save for the future, but will rather generate and develop more ideas." (pg. 66)  I am thankful for this book as it has given me the push I needed to garden and to be thankful for the home that I have.  It doesn't matter where we are or where we live, we can make any place more beautiful.  This book is relevant to all generations and to men and women alike.  I would consider creativeness a Christian duty and one that could be dangerous if gone unused.  Write, sing, paint, sew, dance, build, craft, garden, design, bake, photograph, act, draw, invent, knit, sculpt, CREATE!


  1. Love it! I remember you creating the night before you got married making that cabinet with the bamboo front. You're an inspiration, girl!

  2. Oh my gosh! I have just been discovering this!! The Lord showed me that we are made in His image and He is the ultimate creator! Wen He created, He said that it was good and I don't think He was just complementing himself! I think when He created it was good all around when he completed it!! When I create, I feel so alive!!:)