The Hidden Art of Homemaking

My daughter sits across from me, spitting beets in all directions.

My husband sternly,

“Zenie, put that back into your mouth and eat it.”

“Then look at your mother and tell her thank you for this yummy food.”

“You know Mama doesn’t have to cook for you, she does it because she loves you.

And I’m a little bit surprised, not at my daughter, I totally understand disliking beets. No, it is my husband’s words that give me pause. Making dinner an hour ago I could have sworn that I did indeed have to do it, far from being an act of love it felt much more like a chore that needed to be completed. And while I do enjoy cooking, getting something edible on the table at meal time, on most days feels like just another task that has to get done.

Of course  I do have some obligation to feed my family, at least to feed my child. But there is no requirement that I make marinated beets with Venison Tenderloin, or  homemade yogurt and granola for breakfast, or to feed them anything more elaborate than tuna straight from a can at lunch.

When I stop and think about it all of the extra steps I take to make a meal for my family are, exactly as my husband put it, they are because I love them. Cooking is a way to show them I care, to give them a personal, creative and tangible experience of the love that I have for them.

Now cooking may not be your thing and there is nothing wrong with tuna from the can from time to time if that’s what y’all are eating, but we all have something. Maybe you clean, and having an orderly home speaks love and care from your heart (this is definitely not my thing). Or maybe you knit scarves or wash cars or write notes. Whatever it is, most of us at some point in our everyday life, choose to go above and beyond to take care of someone we love.

It is something uniquely human. When a wolf drags home a dead deer or a bird  coughs up a worm meet their family’s needs, their family won’t know the difference if they set the table with flowers or a cloth napkin. But to us those little steps speak loads to us. A set table to us says, “we’ve been expecting and preparing for you,”  a flower arrangement says, “I wanted to make make something beautiful for you.” When we creates something pretty, or tasty or comfortable for someone else it is  a communication of love.

This week we are beginning The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Shaeffer in the Liturgy of Life Reading group. In it Shaeffer challenges us to take those tiny everyday things and give them a second thought. To remember why we are so disappointed if we burn the pancakes or why it means so much when our husband vacuums the floor or our roommate sends us a get well card. Each of these little acts are powerful communications to those in our lives.

Shaeffer challenges us to reclaim the ordinary, to remember that God dwells in each of us and when we are creative and thoughtful we express His creativity and care.  Now being intentional is not my strength and paying attention to details does not come naturally for me (if you don’t believe me I’m sure my husband vouch for my careless and lazy ways), but I want the people around me to know that I care and to feel loved (by me and by God), most of us do. So let’s work through this together. Join in and read along as Shaeffer helps us to recognize that life is made up of nothing more than lots of tiny moments and we have the choice  to live purposefully in them.

Who’s excited?


This post is part of The Liturgy of Life Reading Group. We are currently Reading the Hidden Art of Homemaking. We would love to hear from you, or join our group and read and ponder along with us.

Thanks for being here.



  • Tamara @ This Sacramental Life Reply

    The Hidden Art of Homemaking is in the list of the top books I love. I can always read it again and would love to join the group! How do I join?

    • egjarrett Reply

      Awesome Tamara. I’ll add you to our email list. Most of the discussion of the books right now takes place as comments on the blog. I send out emails every few weeks to keep us all reading more or less together along with a little more info or updates. I’m working on some formatting updates to make the blog a bit more accessible and engaging in the coming months. Such a learning curve to blogging! I’d love to have you read along with us!

  • Emily Reply

    I’m loving the revisit to one of my old favorites. Hidden Art speaks to me so holistically, and I just find myself wanting to implement ALL THE THINGS Schaeffer suggests. She makes living through art so accessible, even for the self-labeled un-artistic. What an amazing thing, that God has given us His creativity for us to participate with Him in making beauty abound.

    • egjarrett Reply

      I know Emily, I tend to go to extremes and I want to incorporate everything too! I love it though, that she reminds us that we can do such little things, writing a note, setting a table, arranging a book shelf, that all stir up our own creativity and inspire others. I also love how she calls those of us who say we are Christians to pay more attention to the beauty or art and creation, I feel like Christian culture sometimes misses that but it is such a powerful way to speak to the world about how beautiful and loving the God is that we worship.

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