Thursday, October 9, 2008

Learning a Talent and saving a buck

I have some decidedly manlike characteristics. First and foremost is my fondness of jokes about bodily functions. (Incidentally, this is the key reason Sam decided to marry me.) Second is my insane refusal to read directions when making anything. Sometimes this works in my favor (my chicken noodle soup is pretty amazing, many will admit) and sometimes it blows up in my face (the dresser I put together for my daughter falls apart every time a drawer is opened).

With this in mind, I was never talented when it came to sewing. I tried a lot, but after about 20 minutes of using every word I had picked up as a child during calf branding season, I would usually shove my sewing machine back into a corner and whatever “project” I had been attempting into the garbage. At some point I just decided that sewing was not going to be my talent in this lifetime.

One day I found myself needing to be able to sew in order to help my family financially. I had prayed often trying to find a way to help out while staying home with the kids and over and over again I felt that I should try to sew again. In desperation I sat in front of my sewing machine one morning and said and very heartfelt prayer along the lines of, “I don’t have the patience, talents or knowledge to do this, please help me to find all three.” Then I started to sew. My first project was not good. But, I finished it. My second was also not good, but again, completed. I continued to work and eventually I saw improvements. I took some lessons and asked for help when I needed it. I researched my machine online, types of fabrics and threads. I read sites about sewing techniques. One day I woke up and had an email about how professional my sewing looked to someone across the country. That was 6 months after I started. Now I sew professionally several hours a day, every day. (And occasionally for fun.)

What changed? Why was I suddenly able to sew well when for years I had been an embarrassment to the world of sewing? A few things factor in. Desperation is a powerful motivator. Patience can also help. But, what I found most important was constant prayer and keeping my end goal in site; helping my family.

Learning a new skill is not always easy or even enjoyable. But, if it will better your family in any way, it is certainly worth it. I have a firm testimony that the Lord will multiply our talents in any particular area when we have a righteous desire. Now, that doesn’t mean that if I start baking bread I’ll become a master chef down the road, but I will be able to learn how to make bread without burning down my kitchen or poisoning my spouse (unless that was the plan all along…).

Having said all this, what is your goal? What is a talent you wish you had? Do you want to cook more meals from scratch? Sew or just mend clothing? Or maybe you just want to figure out how to budget better or grocery shop more efficiently. These are all skills that could potentially greatly benefit your family. So, now I ask you this: What is stopping you from trying---no, what is stopping you from succeeding?

Back to sewing, here some specific steps I took in order to develop this skill:

1. Prayer. I prayed before I turned on my machine, when I was confused and often when I finished. I still do. Why? Because to be blunt, I need the divine inspiration to work that machine!

2. Lose the pride and ask for help. I hated this. But, I sought out knowledgeable sewers and begged for help.

3. Research. I love the internet. I can find free patterns, instructions and even people to help me with whatever I’m doing.

So, take the time, develop a talent you WANT, to have, and grow financially and spiritually!

[Ed. Note: please see the sewing instructions articles on page 4 for easy sewing patterns you can try.]

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