Never Too Late to Learn Something New

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Never Too Late to Learn Something New


Welcome to my Tuesday Tea chat. :o) I hope you’ll grab a cup of coffee or tea, scoot up your chair, and join us for  a little visit while we take a break from our busy days. What I’d like to talk about today…is really the idea that learning is a life long process. And that talent is over-rated. :o) There is nothing quite as fulfilling as creativity or learning something new. 

Is there something that you wish you could do..but think that you never could learn..or that it’s ‘too late’. Well, I’m donning my cheerleading cap to tell you that is just isn’t so! It’s never too late!

tuesday tea

Have you ever heard the saying that success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration?  It really is TRUE! My son, who does indeed love to talk, is, of course, ‘naturally’ gifted with an ability to speak that he is not afraid to say what he thinks--he’s comfortable with a crowd. But 90 % of his gift is practice… A LOT of practice! He actually doesn’t have very good grammar. But when he prepares a speech, he talks to himself, incessantly, practicing  his speech over and over again day in—day out his bedroom all evening..  cutting out words, adding words, practicing gestures…refining…polishing.


This week, we learned that not only did he win first place at the Right to Life Oratory contest this year (second place last year), but that now he is wanted for several speaking engagements at various clubs, public schools and organizations around the area.  He wowed so many people by his ‘natural’ gift of speaking..but what they don’t know is that he’s practiced his ‘art’ of public speaking for YEARS…and his speech was written the DAY after he got 2nd place last year. He’s been practicing all year.  Did he win because he was gifted? No. He didn’t. Did the gift help? Of course. But mostly it was just plain old hard work.


My kids are ‘gifted’ at photography. Sometimes I see how, with so little effort, they produce a stunning photograph. Me? I have zero talent in photography. However, four years ago, I got inspired by friends like Shona, Shannon, and Anita M. to take better photos. Blogging forced me to break through my lack of natural ability. I needed good photos..lots of them! But linking to photos online..finding credits and giving them was so time consuming. 

I started reading tips, blogs, taking a digital photography class. I started getting ideas from my kids…who love photography and could critique mine and push me beyond my comfort zone. 

DSC05851Kitty bites my camera cord

Some of you think I take good photos..but it’s not ‘natural’. And it’s not that I have a good camera. I don’t have an SLR..I have a pocket digital camera.  But I practice..practice..practice..and I read everything I can get a hold of! I’ve worked through a frustrating ‘learning curve’ on how to edit photos.  Why? To make my tutorials more pleasant and enjoyable. That’s all. I thought that  there was no way I could ever learn. I was wrong. So what if it doesn’t come natural?  You can can practice. That will result in a 90% success rate!     

Elisabeth and Andrew's Graduation Cake

Why this topic?  Because it always embarrasses me when you, my sweet friends, ooh and aahh over my creations. When’s just the result of tons of practice!  Really…even creativity takes practice. 

In the past, my creative efforts resulted in messes most of the time (i.e. check out my first two altered art pieces).   When you guys blessed me with your sweet comments about the cake I’s time to fess up! It doesn’t take talent! My first cakes were duds. Plain and simple. 
 The kids in Sugarland

What did I do to learn cake decorating? Well, my dad gave me the smallest tray of tips (all I ever needed) as a birthday gift--I bought the 1993 Wilton magazine and some parchment paper. Then I made a pint of icing...stuck it in the fridge...and when the kiddos were napping...I practiced shells...over and over and over again. Just as Shona, author of The Artistic Mother suggested, I worked a little 'creativity' into 30 min. to an hour of 'spare' time..which isn't much when you have a house full of little ones. 

After YEARS of making, to the best of my ability, all of the cakes the children picked out ...I became a little more creative..and much more skilled. Some of my cakes and decor didn't look too good..but they were always appreciated when a cake was needed.  In a year, you can learn all you would ever need to know about most hobbies to make practical use of a new skill.       
 Whole-Wheat Bread

Here are the hobbies I’ve year at a time...
  • As a child…gardening, piano, drawing, choir,  camping, embroidery, animal husbandry and beginning sculpting 
  • 1970-1980 Poetry Writing and Accordion Playing
  • 1974 Jewelry Making
  • 1975 Crochet
  • 1977 Sewing 
  • 1982-80 Guitar and Worship Leading
  • 1980-84 Secretarial Work, Accounting, Budgeting, Shorthand
  • 1986-89 Homeschooling
  • 1985 Cross-stitching, Cooking
  • 1985-1995 History and English Literature (especially Dickens)
  • 1986 Bread Baking (without yeast!), Canning   
  • 1987-93 Cake Decorating
  • 1988 Homemaking
  • 1989 Sewing
  • 1990 Home Birthing, Home Remedies (Thanks Mom)
  • 1991 Child Training
  • 1992 Weight loss
  • 1993 Gerontology
  • 1994 Gardening, Public Speaking
  • 1995 Wildlife Rescue, Missions
  • 1996 Gliding (I didn’t fly..I just encouraged son and rode in a glider) 

  • The Rodgers and Herolds building new office.bmp

  • 1997 Exotic Pets: Sugar Gliders, Rats,  Boa Constrictors
  • 1998 Ice Skating, Civil Air Patrol
  • 1999 Horseback Riding
  • 2000 Quilting
  • 2001 Appliqué, Beading, Embroidery
  • 1998-2003 Formal Dress Making
  • 2004 Song-Writing (CD) 
  • 2005 French Quilting (Boutis)
  • 2006 FlyLady, Linux Scripting
  • 2007 Chicken Raising and Horse Raising, Construction of a Building/roofing, Canning
  • 2007 Frugal Weddings: candy molds, Altering Prom Dresses
  • 2008  Candle Making,  Knitting Loom
  • 2007-9 Fabric Art:  Indian Button Blanket, Civil War Ball Dress, Ball Room Dancing
  • 2008 Convention Booth Sewing, Square Dancing
  • 2009 Banner Making , Glass Painting, Soap Making, Persian Rug Weaving
  • 2010 Blogging  and Photography
  • 2011 Hula Hooping, Altered Art

This year it’s Hula Hooping with Trudy…
and Altered Art…with Shona…

Next year? How about sculpting or cheese making?
I’ve always wanted to learn how to do these things…and some day! I will!

So please, don’t feel too impressed at what you see on my blog. :o) What I’ve learned has been YEARS in the making!  Like Kerrie, Shona, Needled Mom, Julia, and Mickey.., I’ve been LEARNING for years! When you start setting goals and practicing every’ll get there too! 

Start today on a new hobby! It’s never too late to learn something new! 

Tim plays cello

Just ask my dear hubby who learned to play the cello..LAST YEAR at age 47.  And me? I’m hula hooping!!! Thank you Trudy of Sewing with Trudy for inspiring me to try. It’s so fun!!

You’re NEVER too old to learn something new!

Want to Join our Tuesday Tea party?

Linking with
Raising Homemakers Homemaking Link up
Lady Katherine's Tea Time Tuesday
The Plumed Pen's  Tea for Two
Rose Chintz Tea Time Tuesday
A Delightsome Life: A Return to Loveliness


Right our house....


 Brennan, age 3

Colin, Age 5
 Self portrait of Grandma and Nikolai, Age1

(I held the camera up in the air and pointed at me and the grandbaby for both of these photos...
I prayed I'd 'catch' us in the lens.)


Amy said...

Reading this amazed me. How encouraging! I want to focus on one thing at a time to learn. Many times my weakness is trying too much at once, getting discouraged, and quitting. Loved this inspirational post!

Trudy said...

That is quite an impressive list! You are so right that it takes tons of practice to become accomplished at any given thing. I was quite impressed with Jacob myself.
That is so wonderful that he is receiving so many opportunities.

You are quite welcome on the hula hooping. I'm so glad you are enjoying it.

Needled Mom said...

I agree. I think many people find it easier to just say they can't do something. It sounds like you have made good use of your time in learning all of the various things too.

Love the pictures of the little ones!! So fun and so cute!

Enjoy the hula hooping.

Julia said...

i'm challenging myself to learn one new "something" every month.

GlorV1 said...

That's a great idea. Learning keeps one going. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment. Good for you. Great photos, all of them. Enjoy the rest of your week. Take care.

Caroline said...

I love your list! Maybe I will learn to play the mandolin. And some advanced sewing stuff. I've learned : cooking without milk, gluten free baking, making kids clothes, aLOT more about knitting (how to knit diaper woolies and how to sew fitted cloth diapers) sewing with knits, I learned I could teach my child to read ... and that's just in the last five years. When you sit down to think about it ...

Was jacob's speech recorded? Can I watch it on Youtube?

Rae said...

yes...i'm about to start chapter 4 of my life. Love reading all yours so far!! You have really cute kids thanks for sharing the photos and stories, and thanks for hosting the tea every week also!

Donna said...

BTW..I'm not PROFICIENT at every single thing on the list especially linux scripting and horseback riding..but I've dabbled..and somethings I'm GREAT just depends on how committed I was.

I had just a whole minute to read your sweet comments! Crisis with medical papers, son's last minute trip to Austin..just got back from the park with mommy and kiddos... ahh..bedtime!

I'll be visiting sometime this afternoon or evening..I think. :o) I will tonight if not sooner.


YOu guys are so inspiring too! I love your comments. :o) See you tonight. :o)

Martha's Favorites said...

Wow! I got tried just reading all the things you can do. You are amazing. Have a great week. Blessings, Martha

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

You are a busy lady, Donna! I have to agree; you're never too old to learn! Thanks for tea and for your inspiring post. Thank you for joining me as well. Hope you're enjoying this first week of Spring.


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