Sometimes you come across books that change the way you think, sometimes something you read gives you a new and fresh perspective on something and sometimes a chance find in your church library can set your mind going in directions it hasn't gone before.
This gem of a book was one of those finds.
I stumbled across this book eight years ago. At the time, I was a Church trainee, with reading time built into my week. I recognised the author immediately; Edith Schaeffer, wife of Christian theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer, and author of one of my favourite autobiographies ever - L'abri.
The title intrigued me... "The Hidden Art of Homemaking". I was not a homemaker at the time, but a 21-year-old, single girl and still living with my parents with plans to train as a primary teacher the following year. Homemaking was a bit of a distant dream, and I would never have called myself an artist.
But when I opened the book and looked at the chapter headings, I was caught off guard. This seemed to be a Christian book unlike any other... dealing with the theme of creativity in the Schaeffers typically deep-theological and yet down-to-earth practical way.
And from page one I was hooked.
The original advocate of beauty in the ordinary... Here are some favourite quotes...
"I would define 'Hidden Art' as the art which 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"
"If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation"
"People so often look with longing into a daydream future, while ignoring the importance of the present. We are all in danger of thinking, 'Some day I shall be fulfilled. Some day I shall have the courage to start another life which will develop my talent," without ever considering the very practical use of that talent today in a way which will enrich other people's lives, develop the talent, and express the fact of being a creative creature."
"People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which way cannot have, and looking for it when they will never find it"
"We recognise the importance of living artistically, aesthetically and creatively as creative creatures of the Creator"
Edith Schaeffer has been a resounding influence in my adult life... She helped me transition from the structure and recognition of the working world, to the sacrifice and often monotonous nature of homemaking and motherhood... And she has helped me to cherish it, appreciate it and see the beauty in it. This practical, yet theologically rich, little book has impacted the way I lay the table, the way I take notes in church, and the way I write this blog. It kept me playing the piano, and planting vegetables in the garden. It encouraged me to spend time nurturing creativity in myself and in my children... And it reminded me to take time, to put worth and value in those little details because at the end of the day...
"The most precious thing a human being has to give is time. There is so very little of it, after all, in a life"
- Edith Schaeffer -
What books have had the biggest impact on your life?