"There needs to be a homemaker
exercising some measure of skill,
Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family
I love this quote by Edith Schaeffer, all of her books have inspired my creativity but especially reading Hidden Art as a bride (now called The Hidden Art of Homemaking) and What is a Family... over and over in the
My own mother was a wonderful woman but the circumstances of her life did not make for creating a beautiful home. It was through Edith's books that I found not only the permission to create... but the understanding that it was essential to the joy of my family. Which is why the above quote is so special. A family needs someone to be the one who creates beauty and makes memories and thinks of ways to bring the joy of the Creator into the home.
As this is my year to Create, I have been praying for and looking to ways I can bring that creative spirit back to my life. One such road to creativity came about in a rather unusual conversation with my sister, Bonnie. We were chatting away one day when she suddenly asked me if I realized how much work I had caused her last summer... ummm... no.
Then it turned out to be a rather If You Give a Mouse a Cookie sort of adventure. She reminded me of the lavender plant I had dropped off one day, when I realized I didn't have room for it in my own herb garden. Yes, I remember that... I was there. She ended up enjoying the lavender so much that she purchased a couple dozen herb plants when they went on clearance (for twenty cents each!), grew them, dried them, and enjoyed it all so much that she asked for a dehydrator for Christmas. All because there was no room in my garden.
As a further result of that conversation, talk went to growing and harvesting and canning and getting together this spring so her granddaughter (now that is a twist) can help us do some canning. For you see... umm...I have this problem with learning new things so I have this pressure canner that has never been used. Over ten years old and it has not seen one glass canning jar... or any other material for that matter.
It's not that I a perfectionist (family laughing in the background at that one), it is more that I don't like the learning curve involved in something new... especially equipment with all those instructions to keep it from blowing up... and knitting needles.
But God has other plans and one must be careful what they pray about... as in telling Him I submit to this being my year to create. For this simple gift of an herb plant last summer will most likely end up in getting back to water bath canning and learning the pressure canner this year... small beginnings always necessary before they become something more.
I've made another start as one of my organizing projects was going through the fabric I held onto through my non-sewing years. My sewing machine has been dropped off at the shop and a part ordered. A discussion about knitting and learning to knit with my friend who has promised a beginning lesson. The dust taken off the cake decorating kit I bought with Christmas money... last year. The materials for my scrapbook journal all assembled, ready for use. A decision to better organize recipes I want to try and then... really make them.
Oh, I have been creative through the years, my house is my canvas and you know how I love to display all things teatime... as well as vintage. I made the decision to (finally) start a vegetable garden a few years ago and I'm learning more as each season passes. There is always more to learn about any form of gardening.
So, it isn't that I never create, it is just that I fear not being an expert. There, I've said it... it is hard to not do things well (let's not even talk about perfectly). And when you begin... you often are far from good. Believe me, have you ever had a child learning to play a violin???
I think especially those of us in modern Western cultures, where there are experts on absolutely everything, need to return to being Renaissance men and women. We need to do without being an expert. Perhaps that is what I loved most about the homeschooling years, we dabbled a bit in "this" and "that" and it kind of gave us permission to try and fail and try again and get really good at some things.
So, in this this year of... create... I'm tossing aside the need to become an expert in anything to try a lot of creating. I may only have minutes to work on the scrapbook journal, and an hour here and there to sew, and if I'm fortunate... an afternoon to try my hand at pastry bags and royal icing. I'm going to try new herbs and cooking with kale and braided bread and knitting a scarf and perhaps I may even learn what all those little symbols on my camera mean... maybe.
Everything has to have a beginning, no matter how imperfect it is. As my very favorite quote of Edith goes, "If you expect perfection or nothing, you will always end up with... nothing". Same with not starting at all, if one does not make that first effort... one ends up at the end of the week and the month and the year and the lifetime with... nothing.
No books written, quilts to hand down to children and grandchildren, knitted scarves to remember one by, no scrapbooks, no memories of beautifully decorated cakes or cupcakes, no songs written or sung, no handwritten recipe cards with chocolate stains, no paintings or photographs, nothing... because we were afraid to start. How sad...