Flames and Failure

Drip, drip, drip.

I gazed sleepily at my coffee pot that was taking all to long to brew this morning. It would have been faster had I grown my own own coffee beans, ground them, and used a French press coffee maker.

As I wearily watched the the monotonous dripping off my tiny hand-me-down coffee maker, I sniffed the air. What was that smell? Was something burning? SOMETHING BURNING!! I rushed to my oven to see my rice cake I was attempting to toast engulfed in flames. I slammed the oven door shut in panic thinking, “oh dear God, don’t let my house catch on fire! Or my hair. OH GOD, NO, NOT MY HAIR.” After taking a moment to regain composure, I shut the broiler off and grabbed an oven mitt to pull out the still burning rice cake. After several minutes of huffing, puffing, and spitting, I finally tamed the flames.

Now, I fully realize the package says no toasting but surely broiling was different? Well Quaker, I’m the reason you’re going to need a new warning label.

I told my boyfriend what had happened and he laughed in shock and said he wished he had been there to witness me mess up something I had cooked. As someone who is fairly famous amongst her tiny circle as a good cook, it was understandable that he was shocked by a cooking failure.

The truth is I fail a lot. Especially in the areas I define my life by and what I think I am particularly good at.

I am a dairy farmer, but I’ve left the gate open more than I’d like to admit.

I am a girlfriend, but I have gotten outrageously angry at the man that means the most to me over being late to dinner.

I am a aspiring powerlifter, but my back has rounded in my deadlifts, my hips don’t always get below my knees in my squats, and my can barely bench 10 pounds above my body weight.

I am a Christian, but I have blatantly ignored God when He has spoken to me.

I am a friend and family member, but I have avoided and been hurtful to those I care deeply for.

I am a fur mama, but more than once I’ve forgotten to feed my dog and stopped at a gas station to get him a protein bar…

I fail often. But I always try to fail forward.

I learned that those weird warnings on packages are there for a reason. And in all my culinary mishaps, I’ve learned to pay close attention to detail. I’ve added too much spice or salt and have had to learn how to fix the dish so it’s something palatable. Often my best dishes are created out of making an extreme mistake that I’ve had to reverse. Except a fiery rice cake. There’s no fixing that.

In all my years of leaving gates open, I’ve grown into a better cattle woman. With plenty of opportunity to wrangle my cows that are frolicking through the yard and roadways, I’ve learned to read how cattle work. I’ve learned to stand in just the right area so they can see me and to remain calm so they remain calm. I’ve also learned the importance of teamwork and working well will my family.

After too many nights seething with anger at my prodigal boyfriend, I came to the realization that he was not showing up late because he intended to hurt me. He is a good willed person who loves me deeply. He would never do something just to spite me. He just has a big heart and gets distracted by helping others he also cares about. In addition to that, I learned when I make our home an enjoyable, welcoming place to live in, he makes it a point to be home more. Funny how that works.

Though I’m not textbook perfect in my lifts, I’ve realized training to be strong enough to do my physically tasking job and to one day be a healthy 85 year old with good mobility and joints trumps winning a competition that I have not even signed up for.

If I were perfect, I wouldn’t need a God. My failures and mistakes keep me humble while His perfection and strength helps me through life.

Though I regret the person I’ve been at times, through my inability to be a phenomenal friend and family member has made me realize the quality of the people I’m honored to have in my circle. They genuinely love me and forgive my bad attitude, hermit tendencies, and extreme use of sarcasm.

I’m still trying to figure out the highlight of feeding my dog a birthday cake flavored protein bar… That was a pretty low point as a parent, I’ll be honest. Highlight: he didn’t die. Downfall: he now comes running whenever I eat a protein bar.

The point is here, failure is good! If you learn from it, that us. My dad often told me when I messed up at work (i.e cows getting out), “the people who don’t make mistakes are the people who aren’t doing anything.”

So go make mistakes. Make lots of them. Embrace them. Fail often, but always fail forward.

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