Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelly Stuart celebrates the ways mothers can live their art in the midst of their mothering. By following God's leading to embrace His gifts, renaissance moms can model the joy of obedience for their families. It's a celebration of motherhood, creativity, and the faith that binds them.
This isn't a how-to book for running a business, or for developing creativity, or for developing time for creative pursuits in the midst of a busy season of life, but it is a book full of encouragement for creative women (with scriptural backing), and yes, some tips for running a business, developing creativity (in oneself and one's kids), and finding time.
This is especially geared toward mothers, and that aspect I had a hard time connecting with, being as I am not a mother. However, there was a lot of good, applicable encouragement for creative women that one doesn't need children to appreciate.
A couple highlights that impacted me:
Recognizing the worth in our creative abilities: While I can accept that I'm quite creative, sometimes it's a struggle to find the worth in it. It's not earning a fortune, and my artwork certainly isn't a Monet or Van Gough; I'm hardly at professional couturier-caliber in my sewing. I'm not providing a vital service, like doctors, farmers, and car mechanics; nor is much of my creative work overtly spiritually uplifting. However, the authors emphasize that using these creative abilities--in whatever capacity we are talented--is an act of worship, full of worth. God gave us these desires and talents and abilities for a purpose, and it is to His glory when we use them; saying that they aren't worth much belittles His good work.
Another aspect of worth the authors discuss is the placing of monetary values on our creative goods and services. It can be hard to charge for something that isn't a necessity, especially when we struggle with not feeling like a professional at our craft. And while the authors acknowledge that one should listen to God first on whether to charge or not to charge, they also emphasize that one should not be afraid to make a profit--the worker is worthy of his wages. And a lot of times things we create are truly A LOT of work and worth monetary compensation.
The importance of partnering with our family: This was one of my learning areas, as I tend to do a thing on my own (sometimes secretively, especially for something in which I don't have a lot of confidence in the outcome) and then maybe discuss it later if it was successful--like when I started writing short stories and submitting them for publication. When the first one was published, I felt obligated to tell my husband--but I had never hinted prior to that that I was writing them. The authors point out that it's a blessing to have the blessing of one's family--husband, kids, whoever. Chances are, they will be supportive and encouraging, helping in the areas one is not strong, if one only gives them the chance. "Creative woman, your husband is for you, not against you . . . even if he doesn't always understand you. You are two different personalities there in one flesh, and it can rub something awful. Still, if you feel called by God to do something more, then you've been called to do more together." (134).
There's a lot more in here, with recognition of boundaries, what to do if one doesn't have the blessing of one's family, how to incorporate family into one's creative pursuits, how to encourage creativity in one's children, and things the bible has to say about mothers and creativity (yes, it's there! Check out the Proverbs 31 woman). I definitely recommend it to both those who are creative and those who wish they were--chances are you actually are, and this book can help you see it. And also for any woman who is a mom and still wishes for a little more out of life.