Learning from Botched Efforts

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"Learning from Botched Efforts" by Leanne Willen (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: By Kristina Tripkovich (2018), Unsplash.com, CC0/PD

The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” seems to sum up my life pretty well most days. I am capable of cleaning the house and cooking a decent meal. I’m pretty good at teaching and tutoring. I get crafty every now and then. I enjoy writing when I can find the time.

Lately, however, it seems like everything I do is just one botched attempt after another.

I have made real progress in my journey to health, joyful mothering, and stronger faith. I have amazed myself at some accomplishments.

Made-from-scratch biscuits and pancakes? Taking my kids to a petting zoo and helping them feed carrots to the animals? Boldly volunteering to head up a position within a new ministry at church?

I’m leaping out of my comfort zone in all sorts of unexpected ways these days. But for all the ways I do something right or things turns out well, there are so many more where I mess things up.

Last week, I tried to make a “healthier” version of no-bake cookies (my favorite!) by using raw cane sugar instead of granulated white sugar. They turned out nearly inedible. Days later, it still feels like I have sand in my teeth.

I also tried to make quiche from scratch. The pie dough is simple to make, except I put in 1/2 tablespoon of salt when the recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon. I didn’t realize it until the first bite.

I attempted a new craft with my toddler. I put blobs of paint on a piece of drawing paper and covered it with wax paper. He “finger-painted” on the wax paper. In theory, this would have created a nice little painting without the mess, except I used parchment paper instead of wax paper (because I thought parchment paper WAS wax paper). It was a bigger mess than if I’d just let him finger-paint.

One failed attempt after another (after another) left me beyond frustrated.

What’s the point in making homemade granola or gluten free peanut butter cookies or meatloaf with organic ketchup and oats? I always manage to ruin something.

Why bother doing crafts with my kids? It’s always disastrous.

But it finally occurred to me that things aren’t always going to come easily or naturally. That doesn’t mean I should quit. It’s the things that take the most effort that are the most worthwhile in the end. So what if making things from scratch (and cooking, in general) doesn’t come naturally to me? That doesn’t mean I should stop trying to prepare the most nutritious meals possible for my family. The same goes for adventures gone awry and craft projects gone messy. That’s what life is all about.

It’s when we give up that there’s a problem.

If you’re like me and life seems to be one I Love Lucy episode after another (without the sidekick or the fame), try not to get discouraged. You’re doing better than you think and you’re doing the best you can.

So you burned the biscuits. You learned not to cook them so long, right? So what if you tripped all the way through your first exercise class? You got out there and moved, didn’t you? Who cares if your latest craft experience (with or without the kids) was less than Pinterest-worthy? You had fun trying, right?

The important thing is that we keep moving forward, that we give things another try, learn from those botched efforts, and readjust when necessary to make it right.


Copyright 2019 Leanne Willen

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About Author

Leanne Willen is a Catholic mother of four young children, a wife, a writer and a preschool teacher. She writes about faith, family, and finding joy. Her blog, Life Happens When, encourages others (and herself) to embrace the moment and enjoy the journey of life.

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