Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My stew...

STEW: I decided to cook barley stew for my stew project. Here's the link to the recipe I used:


I just found this recipe today, and I thought I'd try it as I have had some barley in my pantry for a while. I made a few little changes in the recipe. It's a nice, rainy day to be in here, and I didn't want to run to the store to buy a few little ingredients when I knew I had stuff on hand that would work as well. The stew looks yummy!


Here are five ways to add an artistic touch to your home keeping. Some of these may overlap with points we've already studied, but they should help keep our motivation fresh:

1) What artistic talents do you have? Read the Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Shaffer to learn ways to use your obvious or hidden talents in the home. You may discover that you have a talent you never even considered. This is an old book, but you might find it on the shelves of your local library or be able to order it for reading through your library system.

2) Read an interview talking about the life of a gifted artist. Perhaps, you will read about a musician, a dancer, or a painter -- depending on your particular interests. Note the dedication required to become accomplished in any artistic field. One key ingredient is practice, practice, practice. Those of you who have taken ballet lessons or who who have played a sport know what I mean. The way you learn is to practice drills over and over until they become second nature to you. Even then, you continue to perform theses drills in an effort to perfect your technique and to stay in practice for your art or sport. These drills are done not in the spotlight, but in the background. When we see an athlete step on the field or an artist come out onto the stage, we see the performance and we applaud. However, this feedback for a wonderful performance is only a small part of the time the artist or athlete has spent learning his or her craft. Most of his or her time is spent in the lonely pursuit of improvement, and often feedback from coaches and teachers is corrective in nature. To keep the joy of the art or sport in the "off hours", the artist or athlete must practice merely for the love of that art or that sport.

Home keeping is a lot like that. We have "drills" that must be done every day: make the bed, do the laundry, cook the food, clear the table. We also have drills in terms of the people we love -- making time for them, doing kind things for them, etc. Much of the time, our families do not applaud all of this behind the scenes practice that goes into the keeping of a beautiful, loving home. But, they do appreciate the overall beauty of our home, even if they don't realize the minute planning and practice and detail that produces beautiful memories of home. In order to keep going in the little things, we must do it as a labor of love with all of the dedication (and more!) that an artist or athlete pours into his or her profession. After all, we are doing something even greater than producing a beautiful painting, scoring a game winning touchdown, or composing a symphony for the ages. We are loving the souls of our family and our guests. The impact of our work might be felt in eternity.

Also, the great thing about keeping a home is that you can always learn, always grow, and always move to a higher level of skill. So, we must not give up on the "drills" of home keeping because they seem boring or burdensome in the moment. We can remember that these things add up to our goal of creating a godly, loving, sheltering, and welcoming home.

3) Work from your inner spaces out. Keep yourself neatly groomed. Keep your bathroom fresh, your bed made, your clothes in order. Keep your planning notebook up to date, and your purse cleaned out. Aim for peace and beauty in your heart first of all, and then think of it spreading out from there. You don't have to aim for perfection in this, but just an atmosphere of peace and beauty. It's hard to keep a beautiful home when you are feeling disordered in your thoughts or are disordered in your personal spaces. Of course, we will all face troubling or discouraging emotions in life, and we do not do ourselves a service by stuffing them and trying to just soldier through tough times. But, we can keep serenity in our hearts by looking to Christ, praying to the point of peace, by sharing our feelings with a trusted friend, by focusing our thoughts on the things in Phil. 4:4-8, and getting help if we need it. Inward calmness, peace, and order have a way of working outward in our lives.

4) Read a book about drawing or painting. Even if you never pick up a paintbrush, the things you learn about perspective, color, lines, and shape will help you bring beauty into your home keeping. For example, you will have a better eye for materials to select when doing crafts. You will also have a better eye for arranging furniture or knickknacks or pictures on a wall. For advanced study, read a book about photography and use the tips you learn in taking family photos.

5) Review your mission statement to help you keep on track. If you haven't written one yet, read the posts in this course pertaining to the mission statement. Use your mission statement as a positive tool. You may focus too much on what you don't get done or how you may have made a home keeping mistake or two (or many!), and, thus, discourage yourself. Instead, forget what is behind and set your mind on the goal. Remind yourself that mistakes along the way are just part of the process of learning. No household goes smoothly all of the time. Every home keeper experiences troubles or flops. Just keep on the path, and you will see benefits in time. In fact, you probably already have many things to be thankful for in your home keeping, and you probably have already achieved more than you know. So, look for the blessings and the achievements and thank the Lord for these things.

Happy Home keeping!


Rona's Home Page said...

My son and I made an amazing beef stew this week. My husband loved but requested next time we make more.

gerie said...

This post is just what I was looking for.God bless you