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Sometimes Success Looks Like Failure

We live in a perfect world. A world that rewards perfect and only perfect.

The world’s filled with beautiful ideas, shared in awe by others while the ‘Pinterest fails’ are shared in mockery and mirth. As adults, we often belittle ourselves and, in some cases, others, when we make mistakes. So often we hear words like, “I could never do that, I’m not a [fill in the blank].” As adults we’ve learned that unless we’re perfect, we shouldn’t even try. We became square pegs in square holes.

Take a moment for that to sink in.

When we limit ourselves to what we’re already good at, we are merely square pegs.

For a long time I was a square peg, unhappily sitting in a square hole. Fear of mistakes crippled me and held me in place. My self worth hinged on being good and right all the time. If you’ve never lived in that kind of world, let me tell you, it’s a miserable place to be! When I saw my children showing signs of living in a perfection based world, I knew something drastic needed to change.

How can we teach our children they can learn anything, be anything, do anything if we constantly send the message that we need to be perfect the first time we try something? How will our children learn that practice makes perfect, if they see us never try anything new? But also, how will they learn that not being perfect is okay, if we never point out our own mistakes?

I made a cake this week. It’s not the first cake I’ve made, but it was the first time I’ve tried this technique. It turned out great! (For a first try). Everyone gushed over it (well except that one person that sneered and said, “it’s okay.” But we won’t talk about him anymore! lol).

As I made the cake, Ella and Agatha gushed over how awesome the cake was and how amazing they thought I was. Nothing feels better than knowing your children admire you!

My cake wasn’t perfect. Not even close! It looked like a zombie garden gnome (a la Harry Potter). Not pretty! The fondant ripped in a few places, and the entire thing looked a little creepy. I’d go so far as to say it’d be worthy of a ‘Pinterest Fail’ post. Except, I’m ridiculously proud of this cake. No. It isn’t perfect, I’m very aware of the differences between mine and the professional’s cake. But I tried.

I tried something new and I think it turned out really good, for someone that doesn’t do this every day, or even every month.

I’m not a cake decorator, a baker, or a chef in anyway (sometimes I despise anything to do with cooking), but it makes my children happy to have fun parties and fun cakes. It makes them feel loved and so I do it. Even though it takes all my will power to place that cake, with all it’s faults, in front of other people, I do it.

Today it’s cakes, a different day it was wire sculptures. Sometimes it’s words. I try. I work. I make mistakes, a lot of mistakes. Sometimes it looks like failure. Sometimes it feels like failure.

I tried something and it didn’t go the way I envisioned. I compare myself to others. I compare myself to the person I wish I was. That person that knows what to say and how to say it. The one that makes gorgeous cakes and throws elaborate parties, while also looking amazing. I see the dissonance between who I am and who I wish to be. Sometimes the distance seems so vast, and then I see how far I’ve come.

It may look like failure to some, but to me, it’s a huge success.

I want my children to see these moments of failure as success too. I pointed out the differences between the way my cake looked and the way I wish it looked. Together we watched the video I used as inspiration. We talked about the differences between what she did and what I did. We took maybe 3 minutes to really pick apart the problems with my cake, then I changed course and talked about how wonderful I thought my cake was. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was still a great try and I was able to see where my mistakes were, which meant I could learn from it.

Success!

Now that you’ve seen my cake, this is the video I used as inspiration:

 

 

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Embarrassment, Failure, Growth

Recently, I submitted some of my artwork to the Strathcona County Art Gallery@501. I hoped people would like my work. I hoped the county would buy my art to display. I hoped for a lot of things, but beneath, and on top of, that hope something else whispered to me.

Something whispered that I wasn’t good enough. Something whispered that people would laugh at my work.

I felt embarrassed by my submissions. I told myself the gallery accepted all submissions. I didn’t even need to be good and they’d still display my work. People would see my work. They’d see it for what it really was.

I saw derision.

In my head I picture people telling my they like my work just to be nice. In my head I see other people thinking my work is childish. They’re only saying nice things about my work to be – well – nice.

In my head I hear a lot of things.  In my head I hear all the reasons I should keep my art hidden at home. In my head I hear all the reasons I shouldn’t talk to real artists. In my head I am not good enough. In my head I do not deserve to have my art on display. In my head my art is not valuable to others. In my head I doubt myself. A lot.

I submitted my work anyway.

Even though I never received a phone call saying my art was selected, I attended the unveiling reception at the gallery. I talked to other artists. I praised other artist’s work. It was so hard to go. I felt rather sick while I drove to the gallery. I wanted to leave before they made the announcements. I wanted to leave as soon as the announcements were done and I knew my work wasn’t selected.

I stayed anyway. I was uncomfortable. But I stayed. I chatted. I looked at a lot of art. Particularly the art that was purchased. I wanted to see what the selection committee saw. I wanted to learn. I wanted to open my eyes a little wider.

I was sad my work wasn’t selected for purchase. I was sad my work didn’t win the people’s choice award. But in my sadness I was also happy I tried. In my sadness I see hope. I see growth. I see a chance to learn more and do better next year.

I don’t know if I’ll feel anymore worthy next year, but sometimes it isn’t about feeling worthy, it’s about proving worth just by showing up.

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Wire Bliss

It’s taken some time. Everything’s taken time lately. The kiddos all had classes, keeping us busy almost every day the week. Party prep followed by Christmas prep also kept us busy. Then there’s the time spent taking care of sick children and needy children.

Ryan and I have also been working on a business plan to open a store. That has a bit of a learning curve! It’s a big change for both of us, so there’s so much learning to do.

While we’ve been working on our business plan, we’ve also been working on our marriage. Sometimes something won’t be a problem, until it is a problem. Sometimes that can still be overlooked, but when starting a business together, we want to be sure we’re solid with excellent communication. We can’t succeed for long unless our relationship can withstand the time and energy requirements of a new business.

But the thing I’m really excited to talk about today is my latest sculpture! I didn’t make time to work on her for a while, but a couple weeks ago I decided I wanted to make this time for creating a priority in my life. This is the result:


This fairy found her way into my home moments before giving birth. I caught her in this pose as she leaned over in transition. Birth is such a magical, awe inspiring moment I really hope I captured some essence of that with this sculpture.

She’s not perfectly the way I’d like her to be, but I learned a lot while making her. I’ve found a technique I really like for pulling the wires. It creates a much more polished look when it’s complete. But I didn’t finish this sculpture in it’s entirety with this technique because the amount of time and material required to complete her wouldn’t translate to sculpture value.  I’d love to hear what you think about her!

 

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Big Changes Are Coming

WOW! The past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind and rollercoaster all rolled into one, a whirling coaster? Hmm when I put it that way, no wonder my heart and mind are running a million miles a minute!

The past few months since we’ve started this blog have really helped drive home for our family just how important certain things are to us, and how unimportant other things are. We stopped and did some serious soul searching, we talked about where we are, why we’re here, and where we want to be. We then prayed for guidance. We mediated. We focused on gratitude for all the amazing people and things we have in our lives.

Slowly a plan took shape.

We wrote down our ideas, we read books, listened to podcasts, read blogs, listened to books. I even hired a life coach to help me toss aside the chains that hold me back form being who I really want to be.

It isn’t easy.

I’m still knocking down the walls I put up so many years ago to protect myself. I’m coming face to face with a person I don’t like, and learning how to be someone I admire. I’m a work in progress (WIP). 650B4DE0-6F2C-47C9-A3C5-69FD2585B8E9.jpg

I’m okay with that.

My current (art) WIP is looking pretty awesome already. She’ll be even more amazing when she’s done.

I’d like to think I’m pretty amazing, and will be even better with each shift in self I make.

Ryan and I have been working on a business plan. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we brought it to the bank and asked for feedback. We need to make a couple changes to the formal plan, but the feedback to our idea has been super positive!

We have so much work to do, but our life is taking a huge change and it’s the most exciting, terrifying thing we’ve ever done! I can hardly wait to share it with you!

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Self Development

When Ella was a new baby, Ryan and I attended a parenting conference, I couldn’t tell you much about it now, except for one speaker. I barely recall her name, Ivy Shawl Song (or something like that), I don’t know anything about her, but she had a very powerful message.

She said in order for a person to have a fulfilled, happy life, a person needed ten ways of identifying themselves that had nothing to do with their work or family roles.

At the time I was an RN, a wife, a mother, but beyond that I had few interests or hobbies that I could pursue. The act of becoming both a nurse and a mother meant I needed to give up other aspects of myself. At the time, it hurt. I fought it. Looking back, I’m not happy with the person I was, though I know that person was me, and made me who I am.

That person was empty, but she tried.

I picked up various hobbies, tested them out, saw if they fit. Many I put back. Others I held onto. But mostly I remained where I was.

Over time, 1 child turned into 2, then 3, then 4. Plus 3 cats and 2 dogs. Our lives became very busy. But those titles of mother and wife weren’t enough. I needed more. I needed to find myself.

It’s taken time, but now I have many different hobbies and interests that help define who I am as a person, singular. Myself.

I am spiritual. I’m still not sure if this falls into one of the categories that doesn’t ‘count’ or not. But my spirituality brings me comfort, and it’s a part of who I am outside of my relationship and work roles. If it wasn’t for my faith, I don’t know if I’d have made it through the past ten years or not, and I know my faith brought me so much comfort and healing while I had cancer and was going through chemo.

I love Disney. I enjoy reading about the company, the parks, resorts, and entertainment. And of course, I love spending time at Walt Disney World. I can hardly wait for the day when we can experience all the things we’ve yet to experience there!

I sew. Not often right now, but I make dolls, stuffies, and even clothing. I’m self taught, and sometimes I feel very insecure about my sewing abilities.

I enjoy reading. Often my reading is done online, but at least once a month I pick up an actual book and I read. I just took Lisa Scottoline’s book, “Most Wanted” as well as Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” out of the library, both highly recommended books by people I like.

I love to craft. Most recently I’ve been working with wire. I’m really excited about my newest creation and can hardly wait for it to be finished!

I enjoy entertaining. This includes creating party themes, decorations, activities, and the food.

Cake decorating is an interest I have as a result of our dietary restrictions. But I enjoy the challenge, even if the results frustrate me to no end!

Gardening is my passion. It’s how I spend my time relaxing. It doesn’t matter whether I’m digging holes, or sitting staring at my flowers, I find both equally refreshing.

I’m a dreamer and a planner. These two are intertwined so closely, even as they’re almost polar opposites. I love to plan for everything, and change plans as needed, but I also love to plan for the ‘what ifs’ and the one days’. What if this dream of mine came true? Then what? I know what I’d do. It’s something I find great joy doing.

It’s taken time for these interests to develop organically. There were times I had neither time nor energy to devote to anything other than the basics. But I’m now happy with where I am and the person I’m becoming. A few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to say that.

I can hardly wait to see who I am in a couple more years!

What are ten interests that define who you are?

 

 

 

 

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Pride and Accomplishment

The past week’s brought so much to us! We weren’t sure what to expect when we stopped using our second vehicle, but we wanted to try.

We’ve now walked or biked to almost everything this week. I did use the other van to run to Costco when we had unexpected, but very welcome, company, and Ryan uses it to get to work. Otherwise we’ve left ourselves to the mercy of the weather everywhere we’ve been.

It’s been amazing! I know it’s only been a short time, but we’ve put more thought into our outings because of the effort involved. We’ve also used them as a way to connect with our children while we go about our day.

And we discovered Agatha needed a new bike. Poor girl. Turns out we live downhill from everything in our town. Hahahaha Coming home is nice and easy, but leaving home always requires a bit more effort. Agatha’s back tire was a little wobbly, the bike was a little short, and there were no gears. That ride uphill was a lot of work for her!

I hopped onto kijiji and found a nice bike for a good price, and even better it was just around the corner (and up a steep hill lol). I rode my bike, Agatha used a scooter and together we went to check out the bike. On the way home, she rode the bike, I carried the scooter in a backpack, and she fell in love with gears. 🙂

Today she practiced riding her new bike around our neighbourhood, tomorrow we’ll take it out for a longer ride to see how she does.

While she was checking out her new bike, Cordelia decided  learn how to ride a bike. So she did.

The first time she tried, she fell after about half a meter. She looked back at me with a look of such discouragement on her face. I knew the wrong response would end her efforts immediately.

I looked at her, beamed, and said, “That was awesome! Look how much farther you went today compared to any other day. All by yourself!” Then I high fived her. She beamed the biggest smile and demanded I help her do it again. And again!

We moved to the top of a small hill, I steadied the bike, let her get her feet ready, then gave her a little push and let go. She peddled and made it to the bottom of the hill. We all cheered her on, including random people out for a walk. High fives all around. Within a couple minutes she was off down the path, wings spread wide. Ready to soar!

There is nothing more amazing than a smile of pure pride on the face of a child after accomplishing a huge task like that!