Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - ch 7 quotes

Since I'm so far behind in my reading, I'm just going to copy some quotes from ch. 7. Ch. 7 is entitled  "Flower Arrangements".

Mrs. Schaeffer contends in this chapter that using flowers to decorate is an essential part of making a beautiful home atmosphere.

Referring to a flower arrangement at the table: (P. 100) When the call comes, 'Dinner is ready', 'Supper is served', or 'Hurry, the soup will be cold' then there should be something to bring realization, a warmth of knowing that someone has taken thought and put some originality into preparing the place where food and conversation are going to be shared."

(P.101) "the art of living together, of being a family, is being lost, just as the wealth of the earth is being lost by man's carelessness in his ignoring the need for conservation of forests, lakes and seas. The 'conservation' of family life does not consist of sticking a rose in the middle of the table; it is a deeper thing than that....what I am talking about is something anyone could do, anywhere: an expression of individuality, personality, originality."

This reminds me of a decision that we made several years when we sit down together as a family. We had, for convenience, been in the habit of lifting up our plates at the stove. My husband and I decided to switch to serving the food from serving dishes at the table. It means a few more bowls to wash but it's so much nicer to serve from bowls at the table.

"Children growing up in an atmosphere where beauty is considered an important part of daily life cannot help being inspired to develop their own original ideas in these areas, nor can they help being prepared to live aesthetically themselves." P. 104

"An atmosphere of love and consideration, in which one is trying to anticipate the mood of others, requires something tangible, something that can be seen, as well as a feeling inside oneself." P. 107

This inspires me to think about including flowers or other arrangements not just for special occasions but for every day as well. As a young bride, I made the foolish statement that cut flowers are a waste of money. I repented of that statement and thankfully my husband didn't hold it against me!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pray for Your City

Bliss Spillar has written an excellent article on praying for your city, found here.

Praying for the mission of God in our cities is one of the beautiful ways we join God in His renewal and redemption of our city. Let us be people who are marked not just by lives on mission in the everyday, but people who intercede daily and earnestly on behalf of our cities.
Below I have listed out prayers that we have recently been utilizing to pray for our city. My prayer even now, is that the Lord would use these to glorify Himself in the redemption and renewal of your city.

Monday, July 08, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Chapter 6

I'm behind (as in "where did June go?") but better late than never!

This chapter is about gardens and gardening and the beauty of the natural world. I'd like to simply show you some pictures after a few brief quotes from the chapter.

"Ecology is a subject that everyone is now discussing in a worried sort of frenzy. [note: this was written in 1971] But it is one thing to sit around talking about how the balance of nature is being upset and how black the future looks because of this, to sit and discuss the tragic felling of age old trees, the hacking of chunks out of majestic mountains so that unspoiled beauty is becoming rapidly a thing of past memory; it is quite another to ask ourselves what we are doing about our own plot of ground, whether it is a little four by four square, or an acre, or a whole farm or forest. This is where we should be doing some original landscape architecture which combines art with preservation and conservation, which produces a growing beauty, and which inspires other 'artists' to do the same thing." (p. 87-88)

"Certainly we who have a logical base for beauty, as well as morals, should be the ones to be fitting our landscape gardening into artistically beautiful and ecologically 'sound' treatment of land and plants." p. 89

"Dig [the seed] up and see the discouraging 'first appearances' after a day or so - but wait, watch - with water and warmth of sun, with the life within ready to burst, suddenly the first sprouts appear, and you can watch day by day, week by week and begin really to feel the reality of what Jesus said as that one grain multiplies itself. 'He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.' One sighs as one gradually realizes that there is simplicity here, and great and complicated depth all at one time. To come to a place where one is really wanting to 'die' to self and ambition, to come to a place of seeming to 'lose' one's life by handing it over to God's plan is, it seems to me, more vivid for a person living in the setting of seed-plant-fruit process, rather than always in the midst of the mechanical machine processes." p. 94

Pictures from my current garden:

The beauty of a tomato blossom

Columbines - aren't their spiky petals beautiful!

I was in BC last week on Shuswap Lake. The wildflowers are so beautiful this time of year - and so are the flowers in the yards. This poppy had obviously planted itself on the side of the road beside the lake. I only had my camera phone and I just missed the best light of the evening but it's still beautiful to see.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Chapter 5

Chapter 5 - Interior Decorating

Once again, Mrs. Schaeffer writes an interesting chapter with all kinds of side-lines. I suppose this style may bother some people but I enjoy her almost "stream-of consciousness" writing. It's interesting to see where she goes but always comes back to the main idea of the chapter.

The title of this chapter is "Interior Decorating". Now I have to say up-front - I am not a great decorator. I have a few ideas and I know what I like when I see it but I'm not great at coming up with ideas. And then I have to go shopping and find something that matches my inner vision at a price I can afford. Rarely do I find just what I'm looking for. Actually, I'm looking for every day dishes right now with luncheon sized side plates and cereal bowls that aren't big enough for serving! So far, I have struck out but hopefully sometime soon I'll find what I like. (Add to my pickiness about the look is also a desire to find something not made in China!)

However, Mrs. Schaeffer is not saying to copy the designs in House Beautiful, but instead to find what expresses your own personality, creativity and individuality. I think there is a danger in these days of show homes and a plethora of home decorating magazines, not to mention Pinterest, to feel that the only way to decorate a house is to make it all like a magazine look. Instead, have it reflect what you are interested in and your family life. In our family, we decorate in books. :-) And that reflects who we are as a family. Having been married for almost 24 years, we also have many items that have a special significance to us.* I'm sitting in my living room and everything on the walls has a story behind it. That's special. We visited friends a couple of weeks ago and I loved seeing her new house with her collection of tea pots and vases. Now I know what to look for when I'm shopping for a gift for her because her house reflects her interests and her personality.

One of her main points in this chapter is to live in the here and now, not in the future. Don't wait until you can afford the perfect house with the perfect furniture to start making your surroundings beautiful. She finishes the chapter with an admonition to a single person to start making a home now, not waiting until marriage. This is a good reminder that not only does this make your life more pleasant now, it also expresses one's personality and encourages creativity, which can only lead to personal growth.

"Your home expresses you to other people, and they cannot see or feel your daydreams of what you expect to make in that misty future, when all the circumstances are what you think they must be before you will find it worthwhile to start. You have started, whether you recognize that fact or not." (p. 76)
Mrs. Schaeffer also takes some bunny trails off into furniture building, furniture restoration and helping older people beautify their surroundings when they are unable to do it themselves. She gives an interesting recipe for restoring wooden furniture.

This book was written in 1971, and she says in this chapter, "Ecology is of vital importance in our moment of history." (p. 67) She ties it to our Christian stewardship of the earth.

I have often thought, and expressed to my husband, that Christians should, first of all, be the most "green" people we know and second, if one lives in a modest fashion and is a careful steward, one will be ecologically friendly.+ We don't buy a lot of new things (because we can't afford them), we shop at thrift stores and the like and we try to buy used when possible. All this is friendly to the earth and it helps us too. When I am threatened by discontentment, which is usually tied to what I've seen in a store or online, it's good to be reminded of that which is truly important.

I am reminded again of the importance of surrounding ourselves with beauty. I have plans to put up some photos along our stairway and this is a good reminder that I need to make my plan and put them up.

Excuse the clutter, but I wanted to show some of the special items that mean a lot to us. Pictures on the left were taken by our daughter, Emily. I need to reframe them but I love having them up. The quilt was a gift for our family after Emily's death and means a lot to us. The large landscape scene was a wedding gift from a special couple, books dominate the corner and the mirror on the far right was a gift that says "Stauffer - Bless this house with Love and Laughter".

* For years, any time someone admired something in our house, we would say "wedding present".
We've moved beyond that now. We still have lots of special items that were given to us when we married but now we have other special gifts on display too. Which brings me to another thought, which will probably veer close to a rant.

I've noticed that there is an increasing tendency on the part of couples getting married (and couples having babies too) to ask for either very specific gifts or to say that they prefer gift cards. Of course, this all started with gift registries. Certainly, gift registries have their place and sometimes gifts of money or gift cards can be very helpful or even necessary, depending on the circumstances. (I'm thinking of a couple who are moving farther away. Or even some cash is helpful for the honeymoon. We were shocked to be given, way back in 1989, about $900 in cash for wedding gifts. We bought a camera for the honeymoon and were able to enjoy our honeymoon much more because we had money to pay for it! So cash isn't always bad. But we also didn't ask for it - it was a surprise blessing from God).

However, I think that couples are cutting themselves off from a very great blessing by wanting to choose all their own gifts. For example, you may not realize what you need in the kitchen until someone older and more experienced gives you a tool or an appliance. Or you may wish to buy only "practical" items when actually in the future, those impractical items that are beautiful will be what lasts and what makes your house a home. When we got married, a couple, who we didn't even know that well, gave us a tea pot in the Royal Albert China pattern that we liked. In case you don't know, china tea pots are expensive and I would never have spent the money on one, even if I had thought about buying it. But that tea pot is still in the cupboard and still gets used regularly and it is a thing of beauty that I am thankful for. I think the main point I am trying to get at is to allow others to bless you and not try to control everything on your own because you will cut yourself off from blessings that you don't even expect. As one older friend of ours will say, "Don't take away my joy of giving!"

+ This is probably an urban legend but a good message nonetheless.

The Green Thing

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they actually were "recycled."

But they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power did the drying. Kids often got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for them. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a plastic bottle or cup every time they had a drink of water. They refilled pens with ink, instead of buying new pens, and they replaced the blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from a satellite 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But they didn't have the green thing back then!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Hymn - Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—Lo! on Thee I cast my care;
Reach me out Thy gracious hand! While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand, dying, and behold, I live.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homeschooling - Chapter 4

In chapter 4, Mrs. Schaeffer discusses the hidden art of art - painting, sketching, sculpturing. She says,

(p. 48)" ... come to a recognition of the fact that it is important for you to be creative in this area to the extent of your talent: important for you as a person who is a creative creature." (emphasis in the original)

She urges the reader to include sketches and drawings on all sorts of papers, even grocery lists or menus. Included in the chapter are illustrations of sermons that she did for small grand-children as they would sit beside her in church.

The chapter is a continuation of the idea that art does not have to be part of a career in order to be an important part of one's life. She concludes the chapter with this:

"There is no need to lock up this capacity for expression because you have not been able to make a career of it. Develop it for your own sake, for the enrichment of the lives of those you live with, and as an unconscious spark to set fire to other dry wood, other creative creatures on a finite level." (p. 63)

I completely agree with this idea of developing one's creative expression and enriching your own and others' lives. However, I have to say that this is one area that is not likely to develop very much in my own life, although we are trying. If I was to decorate a grocery list or menu, others would wonder what small child had been scribbling on them! We are making more of an attempt to include some artistic expression in our studies. And I also scrapbook which is a form of artistic expression and one that I feel much more comfortable with!

Once again, though, I really appreciate the reminder to not lock up our artistic expression because it's not part of a career (or school studies). As a homeschool family, it can be easy to put art firmly in the school studies and if we don't get to it in our studies, we assume that we can't include it elsewhere. I would love to have my children have the ability to draw, paint or sculpt and not only that, to include it in their adult lives on a regular basis.

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Chapter 3

Making music is a fairly natural part of our household so this chapter is an "easy" one for me. The girls each study piano and another instrument and sing; I play piano, am learning cello and love to sing when I can.

However, what is not so easy for me is combining all those into a group activity. I would love to be the type of family that always sings together or plays music together. Somehow we seem to get caught up in just the practicing/performing type of things. Or we just don't take the time. This is a good reminder to me to make things happen differently. Perhaps as we all get more fluent on our instruments that will help too.

We have a man in our church who is very good at bringing his guitar to various gatherings and we often sing together when he is there. It is really wonderful to do that.

On another note, my husband visited another church on a recent Sunday that is quite new and quite small. Their music consists of recorded music that the congregation sings along to. He said that it is quite difficult to sing as a congregation when the "accompaniment" is not designed for congregational use. As I said, it's quite new and they don't have musicians yet to lead. However, as we discussed this as a family, we wondered if no one even could just lead without instruments. Somehow, we first seem to have lost the ability as a society to sing together - it seems to exist mostly in religious circles - and second, to sing without an instrument or recording. And we also have lost the desire or even the recognition of the beauty of the unadorned human voice. I love musical instruments, although I do prefer them to be "unplugged". But there is beauty in just human voices singing together, especially singing praises to God.

I hope that my children will continue to sing together, accompanied or not. I hope that we can incorporate more informal music into our lives to go along with the formal music studies. And I hope that my children will have hymns and choruses tucked inside that they can sing to themselves and others throughout their lifetimes.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Chapter 2

From this website 
Chapter 2 - What is Hidden Art?

Mrs. Schaeffer begins the chapter by saying,

"I would define 'Hidden Art' as the art which is found in the 'minor' areas of life. By 'minor' I mean what is involved in the 'everyday' of anyone's life, rather than his career or profession. Each person, I believe, has some talent which is unfulfilled in some 'hidden area' of his being, and which could be expressed and developed."

I really like this idea of a "hidden area" of creativity. And that it doesn't have to be part of one's career or profession. It seems that these days, activities don't count unless one is paid for them.
But secondly, and more importantly, the assumption is made that only what is perceived to be "crafts" or DIY types of things are the only ways to be creative in one's life.

Third, I think we have a tendency to put creative activities on the back burner and do only what keeps us busy. The "Tyranny of the Urgent" often takes over our lives.

I personally find that if I don't have creative elements in my week, after a while, I feel more frazzled and frantic. Taking time to do something creative gives me time to breathe. And then the rest of the day goes much more smoothly.

The other part of creativity and living artistically is that everyone is different. I really enjoy handcrafts, music and cooking. However, I am not gifted in decorating. Others use their creativity in far different ways. How wonderful that God created us all differently and that we can express it in so many different ways. I'm looking forward to thinking about all the different areas of creativity as we progress through the book.

Final quotes:

"All art requires conscious discipline." (p. 32) - As I write this post a week late and have cello practice hanging over my head - discipline is definitely needed!

"But - and this needs emphasis - a Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively." (p. 32 - author's emphasis).

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hidden Art of Homemaking - Book Club

Cindy at Ordo Amoris, one of my favourite blogs to read, has started a bookclub on The Hidden Art of Homemaking. I'm so glad - this will hopefully keep me on track for reading and blogging.

You can still join! We are just on chapter 2 and the chapters are short.

Her first post reminds us not to compare ourselves with others because that is the temptation we face. Cindy says, "'Inspiration is good; comparison is bad.'" I think this is so true in our world of social media, particularly Instagram or Pinterest. We feel like everything we do must be just as perfect as the pictures we see (since we don't see the real lives but simply the pictures).

Years ago, when I first started to get involved with email lists, I remember feeling very pressured to organize our school just like so-and-so's on the email list because they seemed like they had it all together. Then if I read homeschool forums or curriculum catalogues, I was even more tempted to change things until I found the "perfect" curriculum or the "perfect" routine.

What I gradually came to realize is that the women I observed on the internet were not whole people. I only saw what they chose to share. Most of them were not doing it intentionally but it came about that way just because that's the way life goes. And it's very tempting to never share anything negative about your family but only the positives. Why would I take a picture of my kitchen not being clean for the 3rd day in a row when I could take a picture of something else that was perfect? Our accounts of our lives can come across in the same way - only the good parts survive.

Does that mean that we should never look on Pinterest, never read blogs, or even go off the Internet all together? I don't think that's the answer. I think the answer lies in searching our own hearts, identifying ways that we are tempted to sin and then dealing with that specific issue. What my temptations are will be quite different from my friend at church. But each of us needs to check and make sure that we are not making odious comparisons.

I love Pinterest for the inspiration. I like reading blogs of women who encourage me to look beyond myself. I especially like reading about how women are growing and changing because it challenges me to do the same. But I need to be wary of envy and discontentment and look for ways to fight against the particular sins that I struggle with.

I'm looking forward to being challenged not only by The Hidden Art of Homemaking but also by the lovely women who are reading and blogging about it too.

I was also challenged by Cindy to include a photo each time of something beautiful. This is one of my favourite pictures of Calgary and the Rocky Mountains off in the distance.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Interesting Links

A Candle in the Window  - I just came across this network and it looks like a great idea. We have been blessed with both hosting people in our homes and being hosted. Knocking on a "virtual friend's" door can seem a little strange at first but the bond of Christ quickly draws us together. We have had a couple of duds but not much and even at that, it was never terrible. I'm interested to pursue this a little further.
With household budgets becoming more and more strained, travel can be a challenge! A Candle in the Window Hospitality Network provides a creative, economical alternative. And while the thought of saving money in a struggling economy is extremely appealing, we strongly believe the greater blessing will be in the fellowship and relationships established as others "come through" our homes, sharing God's faithfulness in their lives and we have the opportunity to do the same.
Homeschooling and interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason? I'm going to join this discussion group over the summer. 

I found this article quite encouraging. 

Unbeknownst to those of us in the study, our leader had asked other women--older, godly women--to pray for a specific member of the group. Our leader's mom had received my name and over the course of that summer she prayed for me and for my future and for my future husband and for our life together. She prayed for me to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. At the close of the study, in August, she gave me a letter outlining many of the verses she prayed over me as well her hopes and prayers on my behalf. With the letter she included a paper bookmark with both our names written on the back and the date.
Something to mull over: education by subtraction.  Especially this time of year when I am starting to think about next year ...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Hymn - Jesus Shall Reign

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His Name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.

Blessings abound wherever He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.

Where He displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more:
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.

Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!

Sunday, April 07, 2013


I've been thinking a lot about hospitality the last while and what it is and what it isn't. I did a presentation about 8 years ago (when we had been married for only 16 years!). So I thought in conjunction with my (hopefully) regular posts on The Hidden Art of Homemaking, I would also add some thoughts about hospitality.

My presentation opened with this story. It came from this website.

When their daily devotions took Bob and Betty Blixmore to the end of the book of Romans, they came across the verse that says:Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (12:13)Deciding to take this seriously, Bob and Betty began to wonder about practicing this verse in their own home. Much of the planning fell to Betty, since Bob was very busy with his work. That was fine with Betty because Bob couldn’t tell a salad fork from a pitchfork and rarely linked more than four fully intelligible sentences together (the last time was when the Oilers gave up a 35-3 lead to lose to the Bills, back in ’92). 
Betty thought about having the Slakdings over, but the Slakdings had five children and her table only seated eight comfortably so someone would have to eat off a TV tray and that would be awkward and possibly messy on her new, expensive, velour-look carpet.
She almost invited the Wakzones over in April, but only had time to make a casserole and worried that casserole might make her look bad since casseroles are a better choice in the winter (although it had been a chilly spring).
She left a message for the Wingdaks, but by the time they returned the call on Friday afternoon Zippy the cat had gotten into the snail repellent and was barfing non-stop so that didn’t seem like a good weekend to have guests and Betty made up some other reason for having called when she ran into Marge Wingdak down at the Cart-N-Scarf.
All through May and June Betty waited to replace that horrid sofa before having company over. In July and August the Blixmores were off to the lake every weekend and in September everyone seemed so busy what with school starting and the next thing you know it was the holidays!
Next, Bob and Betty grew old. Before you know it, Bob and Betty died, never having had anyone over. The guys from the mortuary noticed that the Blixmore’s carpet was in really great shape.
 I love this story! Such a great reminder of what happens when we wait for the "perfect time" to practice hospitality.

The Hidden Art of Homemaking

With the death of Edith Schaeffer this week, I was reminded of The Hidden Art of Homemaking sitting on my bookshelves. It has been one of those books I've been thinking about reading for a while but never quite got to it. So I decided that I would start reading it and keep myself accountable by blogging about it.

Before I begin writing about the first chapter, I wanted to go back and think about the influences in my life on my view of homemaking. My first and primary influence has been my mom. I cannot imagine viewing my role at home without thinking about her example to me. She was always home and took pride in her role at home. Even now, she doesn't work outside the home in a paid position but she has continued to model the role of a wife and mother to her family, her friends and her church. On occasion, she has commented to me that she doesn't understand how anyone could be bored at home as there is always lots to do. Of course, that work also includes volunteering, whether in the church or the community.

I think that one of the ways that my parents most influenced me was in the area of hospitality. Our home was always open to people and my husband and I have benefited from this example. I hope to write more thoughts about hospitality in the coming weeks as well.

We didn't grow up with a lot of money or a fancy home but we did have a home where people were valued and Mom contributed much by her careful husbandry of the family income. I remember times when the month was longer than the money but we always ate well and had enough to be generous. This is the legacy that I hope to pass on to my family.

Another influence are a couple of women that I met at camp. They were both cooks at the camp. They served up delicious food but they also took time to make it and the surroundings look beautiful even for the younger campers! I often think of these women when I'm preparing for company.

Over the years, Edith Schaeffer has had a tremendous influence on families as well. The first chapter of The Hidden Art of Homemaking is titled "The First Artist".

I found her definition of art to be interesting and challenging. According to Mrs. Schaeffer, art involves creativity and originality. It satisfies and fulfills both the artist and the observer.

The most perfect artist is God. Creation is "a communication of the glory and greatness of the Artist. They communicate the wonder of who He is and what was in His mind as He created: not all of what was in His mind, but something truly of what was in His mind." (emphasis in original)

She goes on to list uses of art forms in creation. I had never thought of these before.

Sculpture - mountains, the human body
Movement in art - the wind, waves, trees, clouds
Light shows - lightning, the sun, northern lights
Sound - our ears have the capacity for appreciating sound; song
Landscape architect - God planted Eden, it didn't just appear. He planned it!
Man - created in the likeness of a Creator and we create because of God the Creator

Creativity involves choice. We always have to make a choice when we create - will it be this or that? We are limited by time, talent, resources, skill. God isn't limited at all.

Even though sin has spoiled the world, there is still "leftover beauty" in God's creation. We retain fragments of the perfection in creation.

Mrs. Schaeffer finishes the chapter by reflecting that those who love God and know Him should be more creative than those who don't know God. It should lead to more creativity, not less, because we know God the Creator.

"But, not forgetting the above, then what I call 'Hidden Art' should be more important to one who knows and admits that he made in God's image, than to those who do not."

I think this is a really important point. As Christians in the 20th century, we have tended to want to leave the creative arts to the world because we have been fearful of being influenced by the world. I think that Christians should be the most joyful artists precisely because we see what we reflect. And we also should celebrate all aspects of art whether or not they are created by a Christian because we recognize God's common grace to us all.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Mennonite Girls Can Cook

Mennonite Girls Can Cook is one of my favourite cooking websites. They have a new book coming out and I'm looking forward to seeing it. For today, check out a recipe for using up ham leftovers - guess what we are having for supper!

Monday, February 11, 2013


My blogging has been virtually non-existent lately, which I would like to change but I don't have a lot of time for writing. Brandy at Afterthoughts always inspires me with her Monday round-up. So here's some links to articles and sermons that have blessed me lately.

Doing the Math
Dear Sister, Yes, you. My sister in Christ. My fellow-servant. You who think you are in the wrong place, heard the wrong call, followed the wrong man. You who wake up every morning and just want to stay in bed, or, better yet, go back to your last church, or, best still, move forward to a new one. You who are unhappy where you are.

Living 3 Dimensional Lives

Ken Sande spoke at Covenant Life Church a few weeks back. I was looking for something to listen to this morning in my podcasts and clicked on this. Great message - I'm thinking a lot about grace these days.

I am Blessed

I haven't listened to Mark Driscoll much recently. I happened to listen to this message which is the 3rd in the Ephesians series and really enjoyed how pastoral he is. One highlight is how he reminds us of who we are in Christ and that it should make a difference in how we live. He gives some examples of how being a Christian changes how we live.

Communicating Respect to Our Husbands

I stumbled upon (snicker) this list on Pinterest. Good reminder for wives. And her husband wrote a corresponding list about how to show love to your wife.

Corresponding List for Husbands

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blogging at "Out of the Ordinary"

I did a guest post at "Out of the Ordinary" today. You can read it here. http://out-of-theordinary.blogspot.ca/2013/01/god-came-down.html?m=1