Tuesday, January 6, 2015

One of the Makers: 5 Thoughts on Creating

When I was putting up our Christmas tree this year I started admiring all the beautiful handmade ornaments that my mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother have made. I come from-and married into-a line of talented makers. My mother-in-law drew this picture to the left with a sharpie on a piece of cardboard from a shoebox. It probably took her about five minutes. But I'm not just talking about the people with "creative" skills. I mean people who spend their time doing. Doing, making, creating with their time and hands, whether it's cabinets, artwork, music, houses, books, or gardens.

While I was decorating our Christmas tree Justin was installing a new faucet on our kitchen sink. (It's gorgeous, by the way.) We were discussing how many people never learn to DO things. They don't know how to put in a faucet, how to make bread, how to change the oil, how to budget for groceries, how to schedule appointments, how to live. They spend their time playing video games and surfing social media and shopping online. Activities that leave them with nothing when the time is over. Activities that only waste time when done on a regular basis. Now I understand that we all need hobbies and downtime and I guess the occasional video game doesn't hurt, but why not choose an activity that leaves you with something? 

My mom cross-stitches in her free time. She has made gorgeous pictures and ornaments and baby decorations with her time. My mamaw crochets. I have some snowflake ornaments that she made for me; I would say it's likely that the other granddaughters have some too. My dad gardens; he has some beautiful spaces in my parent's yard. He's done quite a bit at our house as well. 

I want my children to learn how to do things. And to find out how if they don't already know. There's really not much of an excuse for this nowadays. Of course, we shouldn't try brain surgery by this method but you do know there are tutorials on YouTube for about everything? You can learn how to change that faucet, paint with watercolors, build a birdhouse, or start your own blog. 

Being a maker requires some work. It's not as easy as plopping down in front of the television at the end of a long day. Here are some ways I will help myself be a maker.

1. I will do things with my children even if it's messy and inconvenient. I will invite them to mix the bread, roll out the tortillas, stuff the pillows, and participate in what I'm doing. I will let them create their own work with markers and playdough and piles of grass. 

2. I will carefully monitor my time on the internet. Blogging is one thing (it's a great creative outlet for me); endless facebook surfing is another. 

3. I will make time to create art. Whether it's writing or piano or bread-making or even actually drawing for a while I will spend time making. 

4. I will remember that our home life requires creating. I am making a home, meals, and memories every day with my actions and attitudes here in my work. It's not just specifically "creative" activities that are "making" activities. 

5. I will use my creating for the benefit of others. I want to teach my kids to take food to someone who's grieving, mow the neighbor's lawn, make thank you cards with scrap paper, or build machines from legos. 

I want to use my time well. When this year ends I won't be proud of how much I looked at Facebook or watched tv. Instead I can have hours of piano practice and writing and sketches and meals and memories of time with my family to look back on. 

God only gave us so much time. We are to number our days (Psalm 90:12) and to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16).  In what ways are you a maker? How can you be more intentional about using your time?  

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