Terri Kaiser

Did you ever watch someone perform a song or read a poem, paint a picture, quilt a cozy blanket, or carve something out of wood, and think, 'I could do that.' I think we all have. The artist creates or performs with such grace that it appears to be effortless, lulling us into that false sense of 'I think I can.’ Please don't be deterred. Stepping out of our comfort zone is definitely worthwhile.

Our over-inflated opinion of what we are capable of can serve to inflate our egos quite handily until, that is, we actually try that which we think we can do. At times, we surprise ourselves with our accomplishments, and other times we gain another life lesson in humility. And who among us can't use more life lessons? But for heaven’s sake, try. You never know.

I like to sing. Sometimes, I think I'm rather good at it, but every once in a while I hit a clunker of a note and my ego balloon pops like a pimple on a teenager. Sorry, that was gross. But there are so many things I like to tell myself that I can do if only I had the time to do it, the resources to make it, and the knowledge to understand how.

Once upon a time, I joined a singing group — only to find that the way I sound in my car does not rival the real deal. I could blame it on the accompanist and say she used a key too high for me, but honestly it was probably stage fright, a giant case of the nerves. Yes, that was probably it. I can sing just fine in my car or my living room, but in front of others? I could have a coronary just thinking about it. Most times, that nasty thing called fear robs us of much of what we could accomplish.

I might be able to paint a pretty picture if I practice long enough. I enjoyed it in high school. Art class was the highlight of my day back then. I haven't really tried since, other than to paint some flowers on our mailbox, which didn't turn out too shabby. Not too long ago, I went to one of those painting parties. It was great fun and I'd love to do it again, but I found I was no Picasso, although abstract art is really not my thing. I'm more into landscapes.

Growing up, my mom sewed a lot of our outfits. In high school I tried, truly I did, to make some of my own clothes, but my taste in patterns was questionable. The most memorable was a maxi dress with peace and love signs all over it in a plethora of colors. Good grief, I was a geek. I can only assume there were a lot of shaking of heads and rolling of eyes wherever I went.

I am pretty good in the kitchen. The smoke alarm rarely goes off these days. I can make a mean strawberry/rhubarb cream pie or a pumpkin dump cake or smothered chicken, and my pork and dumplings is to die for. There's no better way to beat stress than putting on some great music, pouring a glass of wine, and creating something yummy. But, I will say my downfall here is that I look in cookbooks, and if there are a lot of steps to a recipe, or too many ingredients, I am most likely to turn the page. I guess when it comes to it, I'm a great cook if I don't have to work too hard.

The main thing is, we try. You never know when you may uncover hidden talents. And if you don't, it's really the journey that counts. Try that recipe, sing that song, paint that picture, sew a new wardrobe, just create to your heart’s content. As long as we take pleasure in the process, it's worth every second. It's corny to say, but there's no success without failure. And there's nothing wrong with trial and error. That's how we navigate through this life and find our place.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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