Thursday, July 31, 2014

Picture of the Week - 7/31/2014


This post is very likely to be a giant cliché.  And while clichés are probably likely to cause lots of people to go running, I've never shied away from a good lesson to be learned from something.

So today's lesson...  Failing is really not a bad thing.  In fact, failing is pretty healthy.  It's also critical if you have any desire to ever improve...  in anything. 

If you never struggle in school, you will never figure out how to learn. 
If you never forget your lunch or lose your keys, you will never devise an organizational strategy.
If you never screw something up while rushing, you will never figure out that doing things right takes time.
If you never make a bad choice, you will never appreciate all the good ones. 
If you never fail, you are not taking the risks you need to take to really shine.

Without "failure" there is no growth.  Pretty cliché, right!

There are 2 different things that have brought this little life lesson to the surface for me lately.  One is Spencer and football.  The other is quilting. 

Spencer first...

You will all recall that Spencer, while having a great time and zero regrets, did NOT get much playing time on his football team last year.  He learned how to be a good teammate and he had a blast participating on a winning/championship team, but not getting playing time in the games was a pretty hard lesson for a kid who thought he was DA BOMB.  (For the record, I do not consider his experience last year a failure in any way!)  He came out of that season determined to be better.  He knew how much harder he had to work.  He knew how he should eat and what he needed to study.  And that less-than-satisfying experience last year has molded my oldest into kind of a beast. 

  • During warm ups, he pushes himself when the others don't.  The coaches seem to be noticing.
  • During team talks, he positions himself next to the head coach instead of melting to the background. No more out of sight, out of mind.
  • When there is a need for someone to do something, he runs. 
  • When the team has a water break, he's the first one back up on his feet with his helmet on ready to go.
  • He's got the added benefit of a relatively early growth spurt and is easily one of the most fit "big men" on the team.  He's pretty impressive in a football uniform.

I don't know, yet, if the months of personal training he ASKED FOR are going to pay off in playing time.  He is off to a pre-season tournament this weekend in Knoxville and then there are a few more weeks of practice before the regular season line-up is finalized.  I don't know if he will be a starting Defensive End or a backup Tight End or a bench warmer.  I am praying that we can cap off this whole 18 month experience/life lesson about working for what you want with a happy ending - and some playing time. 

Without the struggles he went through last year, he would never have the work ethic he has now.  The things he learned should serve him well in many, many areas of his life for years to come.  And if that's not a good example of turning a "failure" into positive change, I don't know what is!

Good luck Spencer!  I will love you with all my heart no matter what role you are pegged to play on the Paladins 6th grade team this year. 

And then the quilting...

So I'm participating in a quilt along right now.  The idea is pretty simple - a group of like-minded folks follow a facilitator (in this case the pattern designer) through a series of blog posts and lessons to complete a project at the same time as the other participants.  This QAL is so perfect for me it's almost comical!  I get to play with fabric.  I get play in online forums.  I get to comment on other people's progress and pictures.  And I get to post my own pictures for people to see. 

If there's anything a quilter (in the age of social media) loves, it's nearly instant feedback.  And I seem to be particularly keen on sharing as I go, so I've been having a BLAST with this QAL using a Celestial Star pattern. 

I've completed almost 3 blocks now and have another about halfway done.  I flew through the first 2 blocks I tried.  I was feeling very successful.  Then I cut fabric for #3.

I was feeling very pleased with myself until I started sewing.  I messed up left and right.  I had pieces in the wrong places.  I sewed stuff on backwards.  I messed up the colors.  I questioned my templates.  I miscounted when cutting and had to stop and cut more stuff out.  I ripped out so many seams that I thought I was going to cry.  I worked on this thing for at least 4 hours.  Probably more, but I refuse to admit to spending more time than that on a 18"x18" square of fabric.

I was determined not to let it beat me.  And then I finished it and held it up to admire (trying to look past the visible marks left from the seam ripping.)

And don't you know it that the whole thing is crooked.  Because that's how I colored the pattern.  I wish the outside red points were lined up with the corners.  I can't see past the fact that they aren't.  It bugs me - a LOT.  Boo!

So I set this guy aside and decided to learn from all the challenges.  I will not cut pieces without stopping to make sure my blocks are oriented in a way I like.  I will color both sides of all my pattern pieces to help prevent mistakes.  I will double-check and take my time.  I will count all the pieces I cut before I move on to the next step.  I will slow down!

It still bugs me, but I can tell you that the stuff I learned from this block made putting together #4 easier.  And I expect that the rest of this project will involve lots more sharing of happy finishes and much less frustration.  Live and learn...  and don't be afraid to share along the way!

PS - Rooster is NOT a helpful quilting companion.  He very much wants to eat my pin cushion. 

I am wondering if transferring the POTW emails into a blog format is gonna be another failure.  Please send along your thoughts.  Would you rather I stick to emails?  Do you think the blog is a great idea?  Should I do both?  I could send email and update the blog for archive purposes?  I would love some feedback on this!!!

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