From time to time this blog will “host” book reviews by me. My first review is: The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Shaeffer. How delighted, surprised, and blessed I have been by this wonderful book. I am dismayed it has taken me so long to feed upon its riches. I first learned of L’Abri and the Schaeffers, long ago during my one semester of seminary… then as I embarked upon the home schooling journey- I read For the Children’s Sake and learned a little more… but I was never enticed enough to purchase and begin exploring the writings of the Schaeffers. Let it be said- I am now enticed! and look forward to much happy and fruitful reading as I study their books in the future.

I am going to allow this book to be a “slow burn” for me. I will savor, I will linger, I will turn to these pages again and again. It will be a friend…  I have been positively inspired, nurtured, and compelled by what I have read in the pages of this book.

From page 31, ” 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.”

From pages 104-105 [Flower Arrangements], “Children growing up in an atmosphere where beauty is considered an important part of daily life cannot help but be inspired to develop their own original ideas in these areas, nor can they help being prepared to live aesthetically themselves.  There is a ‘togetherness’ in sharing a prepared table that even very small children feel, although they cannot express it verbally…Even the little one in the high chair will like to smell a single rose and look at it for a few minutes.”

From pages 124-125 “If the one who cooks is the wife in a family, her attitude toward the marriage as a whole should be to think of it as a career.  Being challenged by what a difference her cooking and her way of serving is going to make in family life gives a woman an oppurtunity to approach this [the hidden art of “food”] with the feeling of painting a picture or writing a symphony…The cook in the home has opportunity to be doing something very real in the area of making good human relationships.”

How I have begun to apply what I am learning: I have enjoyed taking care in serving some special meals for my family. One cold Saturday recently, when I was alone with my children, I took care to serve them warm cocoa and fresh made cinnamon rolls, warmed ham slices, and grapes for their noon meal. All this was served with some beautiful music playing in the background and special care taken in the preparation of their plates. They were suprised and pleased by this special treat and the obvious show of my love.  They were also quiet and well behaved… in response the peaceful atmosphere ( I hope!…)

I have taken up the writing of this blog… in the hopes of stirring the embers of my long laid aside writing gifts. I minored in writing in college and filled rubber maids with journals when I was young… hopefully this will help me stir up this gift once more. I found that I write for myself- it makes me better- it makes my life more real. I live. If this blesses someone else too- what joy and blessing!

I am encouraged in my goals toward developing music talents in our family. We are hoping to start some of the children on piano lessons soon- and my oldest has learned a small amount of recorder. Then we can experience the joy of music and worship together.

These are some of my applications from this thoughtful book. It is a rich and meaty read. And I… with my days filled with one task after the other… and varied thoughts that flit so maddenly around at times… cannot hope to apply all- but one step at a time… it will make a difference.