Joseph noted that I hadn't posted in a while. That's because I have been too busy being absolutely stunned by Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking. What a blessing. At first, it wasn't what I was expecting, because it was about using artistic talent, of which I'm certain I have little. But, I got so much more out of the book.
Mrs. Schaeffer's premise is that God is Creator. We are created in his image and have the need to express our creativity. We use this creativity in aesthetic aspects of our lives - art, music, writing, acting, home decorating, etc. - and that the use of these gifts and talents express our love and devotion to the real Creator behind our abilities - and show our love to others as we do so. The example that jumps out at me most is the story she tells of beggars coming to their back door when they lived in Philadelphia looking for something to eat. Rather than shooing them away or simply giving them something to get rid of them, she sets an elaborate place setting - flowers or candles and all -, a Bible, and a substantial meal to warm the man both physically and spiritually. What an example of generosity!
Another story she shares is of two young men from Africa who are studying in Europe and visiting the Schaeffer's home. They told her that one of the things that had turned them off Christianity earlier in their lives was the absence of beauty in the home of the missionary working in their home village. This was not to say that we need to spend a lot of money to create beauty, but that a house can be differentiated from a home.
I'll probably post a bunch of quotes in here as I re-read parts of the book. I didn't want to write in Mom's copy (although I'm certain she wouldn't mind) ... but after I order my own tomorrow, you can bet it will be highlighted, underlined and become as obviously well loved as the one I will return. I highly recommend this book to women (and men!) who want to explore creativity in their lives and how it can develope their family and community.