Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.


Donít be afraid to try

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

ďOh, I canít do that.Ē

We hear people say it all the time. Whether itís a new skill or a big change, people are very good at putting themselves in a box and deciding thereís no way out. Some will say itís entirely too optimistic to believe you can do anything you set your mind to, and thatís partially true. Everyone has limits, but thereís only one way to discover what those limits are.

That brings me to this past weekend when Gideon and I took our laundry to our friendsí house. Weíll be taking advantage of their kindness until our new washing machine is delivered in a couple of weeks. While the clothes clattered around in the dryer and Gideon disappeared for a long phone call, our friend Stephanie asked if Iíd like to help her make some wreaths for her to sell over the holidays.

I feigned confidence and said Iíd love to. Then I issued the following disclaimer, just in case I ruined everything.

ďYou should probably know Iíve never made a wreath before. Iím not sure how to use a hot glue gun and this could turn out to be a really ugly wreath.Ē

Steph smiled and told me it was OK. She said it was her first time making wreaths, too, and we could learn together. Now keep in mind that Stephanie knows her way around a hot glue gun. I think of her as the queen of crafts. She crochets hats and booties. Sheís a fantastic painter and loves to draw. She paints rocks and hides them all over Northwest Arkansas to brighten someoneís day.

She could have talked down to a first-time crafter like me, but she approached the situation so humbly that I started to feel a little less out of my depth. Maybe, just maybe, I could create a beautiful wreath on my first try. At the very least, I thought, it would be passable.

And so it began. For more than two hours, we hot glued ornaments and tied ribbons to wire wreath forms. In the first few minutes, I was so nervous. What if this ornament was in the wrong place? Once the hot glue dried, the bell couldnít be unrung. I couldnít take too much time to plan it out, because Iíd end up losing precious time. I donít know if youíve ever seen one of those wreath forms, but they are huge. If you donít consistently fill them in, it could take days to finish one wreath.

Slowly but surely, I filled the wreath in. Somehow the base was done. I could hardly believe it. I had an even harder time believing that it looked so good! Stephanie was so kind and complimented the wreath to high heaven. I certainly felt like I was floating on clouds.

After a few final embellishments, the wreath was complete. It looked like something youíd pay big bucks for at Hobby Lobby or Michaelís. I kept wondering how I had pulled that off, and then I wondered why I doubted myself so much to begin with.

Life is full of challenges you arenít so sure youíre up for. But if you look at the challenge like a handmade wreath, all the pieces fall into place. You start with an empty canvas and so many steps to go. Then you place one ornament, then another ó wash, rinse and repeat. Before you know it, youíve done it. Youíve accomplished that thing you were so sure you never could.

This week, I hope you believe in yourself a little more. I hope you realize that you can do anything you set your mind to, so long as you put in the work and take it one step at a time. Donít be afraid to try something new ó you just might discover some valuable about yourself in the process!