As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking {Chapter 9: Writing--Prose and Poetry}

Writing as thoughtful communication is another one of the hidden arts of homemaking. Not many of us are published authors, but any of us can express ideas or emotion or creativity through the written word.

I have thought many times that it is easier to communicate through the written word than through the spoken word. 

I say this as someone who panics when the situation calls for speaking "off the cuff." For years I'd hang up on answering machines. There was entirely too much pressure to say something coherent to an inanimate object with no time to prepare my words. Ron, who speaks on the phone a good part of every work day and thus could not understand my stage fright, convinced me that I could leave a simple message and the world would go on. I do leave messages now, but I still panic and stumble and stammer and leave the impression that I am brainless. 

Should I tell you about the time I was making a series of phone calls about a club meeting? I got to Betty Smith's name on my list, but when I dialed Betty's number, the voice that answered didn't sound like Betty's.  

"Hello, is Betty there?" I asked. 
"This is Betty," the voice answered.
"Betty Smith?" I ask, still not convinced.
"Yes, it is," replied the voice.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I have the wrong number."

What?! Did I really do that? 

I'm afraid I did.  And then I had to call Betty back and confess my "error" because I knew that I would be seeing her again and wouldn't be able to look her in the eye.  

I am not the only one who freaks out under such pressure. My brother-in-law has a similar problem at drive-through windows. He once ordered "two spicy chicks" while his family laughed so hard they were wheezing. 

All that to say, I am most able to articulate what I want to say if I can write it. 

When writing, I can ponder. I can carefully choose my words. I can ruminate a while and then write it down and then consider. I can change it up if it doesn't say what I want to say. 

I can express my feelings without embarrassment or hesitation. I can have my say without something or someone interrupting the flow. I can say what is in my heart.

Writing is also a more enduring method of communication. 

I like this old Chinese proverb...

The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.

I don't get "stage fright" when I talk to my family or to close friends, but even then there is value in the written word. 

I enjoy reading papers that I wrote for high school and college, revealing who I was then and what I was thinking. 

As a young mom, I once sat down in the midst of a very messy house and wrote an essay based on Proverbs 14:4..."where no oxen are, the crib is clean." I have searched high and low and cannot find it, but I'd love to see it again and remember those days.

I value the handwritten notes on birthday cards, some of them from those who have gone on. I enjoy reading old letters and thank you notes from family and friends.

I love reading old love letters from my husband. 

I treasure the sweet notes and cards written in a child's handwriting, complete with misspelled words. 

And so I have marked several occasions with letters of my own. A letter to Ron one Valentine's Day. A letter to my mother one Mother's Day, and to my father one Father's Day.  A letter to my faraway granddaughter Eve on her second birthday.

There is more that I should write... 

Continuing the book club discussion of The Hidden Art of Homemaking at Ordo Amoris...
Click ~here~ for all the posts in the discussion. 


  1. I'm a saver of cards and letters too. I really should write more as well, to mark important dates or events.

    I am not a poet - but a writer yes. And I need to see how it can be an important tool in the lives of my children!

    Thanks Cheryl for causing me to ponder today!

    Love you!

  2. I do stuff like that too and my husband is notorious for getting muddled in the drive-thru. So funny to watch. I will tell him about your brother-in-law. It will make him feel better.

  3. Ahem...I would just like to remind you that you are, indeed, a published author, as is anyone who blogs.

    Oh my goodness. We could be long lost cousins or something. I could have written this except for the part about sitting down and writing an essay on that particular topic. I'd have had to clean first because that's what I do...clean and then clean some more. It's also an affliction.

    Phones? Impossible! I once had dear blogging friends call me from Great Britain. Great Britain! First of all, I didn't give them my number so that was shocking. Then, I was so stunned, I'm certain that I had my foot in my mouth continually. They were so gracious with me and I was much less so with them trying to get them off the line as quickly as possible. No, no, like you I need time to frame things (and then I can still get in trouble). At least, with a face to face meeting, one can correct things when needed.

    My mother also had this affliction. We sat at a border crossing one day when the guard asked for her name. You'd think that that would be pretty easy. No. She said, " You wait a minute and I'll think about it." I nearly melted into the floorboards.

    Very funny post! I've had a good laugh.

    (John once had a meltdown at Subway. Too many choices! Now I make all those big decisions for him.)

  4. Oh good heavens! I wrote a book. How embarrassing.

  5. My husband is the same way at drive-throughs, and I also feel I express myself much better through writing than speaking. I tend to panic at answering machine messages, too.

    I'm running late with this chapter due to company but this is one I definitely did not want to skip.

  6. I am so much like you. I don't think or speak "off the cuff." I don't mind speaking in front of the group if I have it all written out ahead ... my husband is wonderful at reacting in a discussion and expressing his thoughts. So I enjoy writing and I could go on and on about this subject. I recently discovered some sweet notes my parents sent each other on their birthdays, They didn't give each other gifts other than a love note. I have tons of letters to read between my grandparents and parents when I get the time. The younger generation will miss so much with only emails or texts--no thoughts saved, not that texting brings much depth of thought anyway!
    Off my soapbox now!

  7. Thank you for sharing your love of the written word and confessing that it is difficult to speak under pressure. I get tongue-tied too and my brain freezes up many times when I go to talk. I'd much rather write!


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