Sunday, July 01, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Tea

The hot days this past week have given me permission to keep still and catch up on reading more than usual.  One of the books I read (actually my annual re-read) was the spark for my ponderings this past week... Edith Schaeffer's What Is a Family.

My copy is the original 1975 edition that I read as a bride.  I was still more comfortable with the title daughter than wife that year and the thought of grandchildren (as I read Edith's book about family) was unimaginable.

Time passes so quickly.  Here I am in my 2012 re-read of that original book with two grown children (a third in Heaven), the world's best son-in-law, my new daughter-in-law whom I grow to love more each day, and five perfect grandchildren (Stephanie is now choking on that one).

Edith shares about so many aspects of life in this book that it has required decades of re-reading, not to mention the number of times during the year I pull this and its' sister book The Hidden Art of Homemaking off the shelf just to find encouragement from one chapter.

This re-reading found me spending a lot of time in her chapter about the family being the birthplace of creativity.  Most likely as wedding plans, gardening, and pondering a few new goals have all been immersed in the atmosphere of creativity.

The subject of creativity has long been a passion of mine.  While author-mentors like Edith helped flame the fire of that passion... it started in my childhood.  I believe God plants within us certain embers of passion and interest which He enjoys watching grow in us through the years... a foundation of the journey He has for each of us.

One of my favorite sections of Scripture is in Exodus (starting around chapter 25) where God is giving Moses instructions for the building of the Tabernacle and all that is to go in it.  If anyone should tell you God is boring... and I don't understand how if one believes He created this world one could... however, should they still find God to demand dreary colors and bland food... lead them to these chapters in Exodus.  ;)

My favorite verses in this favorite part of the Bible start in Chapter 31 when God tells Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri... and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kind of crafts- to make artistic designs...".

Then He goes on to tell Moses, "Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach... to help him.  Also, I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you".

Later in the end of Chapter 35 and beginning of Chapter 36, we learn more about His filling them with the necessary skills of creativity... "craftsmen, designers, embroiders in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers -- all of them master craftsmen and designers".

As I re-read Edith's book this week, I couldn't help but think of my family and our creative pursuits through the years.  Christopher (who came up with amazingly beautiful centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner) told me you couldn't grow up in this family without being creative.  A compliment that was worth more than I am certain he knew.

Although his creativity... and God given talent and "bent"... has been mostly shown in the computer field.  He was creating computer games by the time he was twelve.  It should be no surprise that he now designs apps for smart phones and iPads.  He told me one time that he can think in computer code.  Definitely a God given creative skill.

My son-in-law and my husband (both following mathematical based careers) can think in numbers.   Although even with that, they are individuals with my husband's career as an engineer requiring more practical advanced math and my son-in-law understands theoretical advanced math... which amazes all of us who find it difficult to divide fractions.  All God given creative skills.

Many people were shocked when Stephanie decided to study Interior Design at the University instead of Law or Premed or Engineering.  She entered higher education as a Dean Scholar.  It didn't surprise me at all, though.

The University's program is designed to be a prerequisite to Architecture graduate programs as well as Design, should one want to seek further education.  I was proud of her for following her heart instead of the expectations of others who only knew her because of the abilities of her brain.  :)

Stephanie has always loved beauty and order and design and all that is lovely.  I think you can see that when viewing pictures of her "art" in the form of beautifully decorated cupcakes and cakepops at the wedding reception. She thinks in beauty and order, also a God given skill.  She uses her knowledge and skills all the time as a wife and homeschool mother.

So... why do I love Edith's words and certain chapters in Exodus... why do they inspire me?  Because they give me permission to be who I am, one who is created (as we learn in Genesis)... in the image of a creative God.

He knows.  He understands.  He delights in our use of the skills which are gifts from Him to equip us for the journey He has set before us.  I think He can smile when He sees us gaze at a finish product with pride (there is a good pride, you know) of work well done.  The same Creator who saw his original creation and said "It is good"... understands when you look at your creation and smile.

Oh, my friends... never let anyone put you down because you have a deep (God given) desire to create beauty... whether it is sewing a quilt, embroidering a tablecloth, painting a watercolor of the flowers in your backyard, sketching vegetables in colored pencils in our garden journal, cooking a stew, baking bread, refinishing furniture, raising organic veggies, writing a story, arranging flowers, shaping pottery, weaving a rug, pouring candles, making music...

...Or simply investing valuable time in providing an atmosphere of peace and beauty in your little part of the world.


Sarah said...

Amen! I would like to read that book now, so I must go request it from the library, pronto! :) Thank you for this lovely post.

HeatherMavis said...

I will have to find that book too. I've recently thought of Francis Schaefer. I think he's one of my dad's favorites. I need to read these for myself.
I aways feel so encouraged by the kind of message you shared today. Why is it that creative types get to feeling put down, like our pursuits are simply frivolous?

Nana said...

Hi Brenda
What a lovely post!! I love crafts, from drying botanical flowers and herbs to making homemade meals for the freezer. Thanks for a great post. Love and hugs, Nana

TeresaAngelina said...

At the beginning of the post, I admit, I sighed. Another reminder of being alone, of having no family. But it improved upon reading. Indeed, creativity honors who we are in Christ, created in the ikon of God Himself. I weave, engage in paper crafts, read, garden (pots Northern perfect but doable)quilt a bit and make a bit of bobbin lace. Another wonderful aspect of being creative is that you lose yourself in the project and can find rest...mostly from yourself. The project gives joy and that is universal, lack of family nowithstanding.

Jodi said...

Edith Schaeffer's books never get old. I still hold on to my copys!

cheryl (Copperswife) said...

I so appreciate your encouragements toward keeping the spark of creativity alive in our lives. So much of keeping a home is creativity, and I've always loved the practical aspects made beautiful ala Edith Schaefer.

Angela said...

I have always loved those two books, along with Tapestry, where you get to see some of the nitty-gritty of her life. I love her emphasis on using your creativity in your life wherever you are, whatever your circumstances. (I'm amazed at your son -- I'm afraid no one in my family thinks in terms of numbers:0)

Heather L. said...

Those verses in Exodus are some of my favorite too! Aren't they wonderful! I should read Schaeffer's book again since I do love it! Someday a modern one must be published....

Anonymous said...

In a perfect world, each would admire the talents of the others and visa versa. That is something I think we can look forward to in the KINGDOM. I think often our different talents make it hard sometimes to understand others with different ones. Many of mine I have more or less "put on the shelf" to a large extent. For the sake of peace. But it is ok. I still cling to a few, small ones. And it is enough FOR NOW!! ONE DAY twill be so very different!! I think you have written so nicely here of the many types of gifts each one has and your appreciation of them!! Seems to me with all the photos of your house, you are able to express a great many of yours!! LOVELY!!
Elizabeth in NC