Not Afraid of New

Been baking, been baking!

And writing…

As a writer, my most awesome adversary is fear. Do I really want to know that character’s deepest secrets? Do I want to reveal so much of myself through my words? What if I spend my whole adult life pursuing this career and end up being a dud? Fear. It’s the root of writer’s block. Fear. It’s what makes me stop writing mid-thought and head to the kitchen for potato chips.

Having been a gymnast as a young girl, each day I was challenged to try new tricks. I was asked to become stronger, more flexible, faster and more daring. In general, the entirety of a child’s life is built on learning and having to master new trick after new trick. Dressing themselves. Tying shoes. Learning to swim, and read, and make friends, and share, and brush their teeth until they gleam.

I’m not a child anymore; my life has steadied, and is full of routine. The learning curve has dipped… I’m even forgetting things! We’ve lived in the same house for over ten years. We send the kids off to school with the same peanut butter sandwiches. I struggle with the same vices over and over again–against impatience, against anger, against being sluggish and selfish. And I’m noticing that the older I get, the more fearful I become.

I see this in myself, and it has turned me more toward prayer, but it has also brought about a desire for being child-like again, for being vulnerable and willing to tackle something new. And as I try new things, I know my kids are watching.

Here are a few simple things that I’ve been up to…

Jalapeno bread. The other day I chopped up some spicy peppers and tossed them into the mix. Super spicy. I’ll be making this mix again when cheese is back on the menu!

French corners. I recently pulled out the sewing machine and taught myself how to make a version of French corners. Took three napkins till I’d figured it out, but now I know!

Japanese bags. I recently purchased some fabric and a crafting book from a Japanese company, to help in that country’s recovery . I love the little book, which has patterns for bags and book covers and blankets. Problem is, the headings are in English, but the text is in Japanese! I went for it anyway, admiring all those foreign characters, trying to match the photographs and pattern drawings.

Giving in the spirit of forgiveness. I’m still in the middle of this new experiment and have had only one success. But there are 17 days left until Pascha; time is on my side.

What about you? What sorts of new things have you either talked about learning or are currently trying? Knitting? Planting a garden? Surfing, sailing, skateboarding? Playing the harmonica?

I’d love to know!


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9 thoughts on “Not Afraid of New

  1. This past week we planted grapes, berries (blue-, black-, and rasp-), figs, and kiwi! (I use “we” loosely.)

    Our second child is due April 13, so that’s something new to learn, too.

    Please pray that our efforts bear fruit. 🙂

  2. My goal for this lent was to learn to make prosforo. I made some with the assistance of some seasoned church members last week and my plan is to attempt it alone this coming week.

  3. Though I know how to knit, I never learned how to crochet. So while I was visiting last week, I asked my mother-in-law to teach me some basic stiches, and I’m off and running … away. True to form, I already have more projects started and planned than I know what to do with or have time to finish. But it’s fun to learn something new and something I can do while sitting on the couch in the evenings after the kids go to bed and while listening to Ancient Faith Radio. Maybe I will get the hats for my little girls done in time for Pascha … we’ll see :-).

  4. New for me:
    Being limited by my physical therapist to two hours at a time on the computer. Tonight Fr told me, “And I say ONE!” (I need to find out if he was serious.) This means trusting God more that things that need to be taken care of will be, and those that don’t either don’t need me or they can have me later. This is a very hard new thing for me to accept. For the same reasons you mentioned in the beginning.

  5. Since October I’ve been trying to learn how to read and sing Byzantine chant. As if that wasn’t hard enough, I’m learning it in Greece- in Greek! (A language I only started learning 3 years ago). But I wanted to take advantage of all that I can while in Greece.

    I’ve also started “learning” Zumba (in the privacy of my own home) so that I can live a more healthy lifestyle. It’s interesting. I’m not one for dancing out in public but for the sake of keeping healthy I’ve found it quite fun and challenging in a good way.

    I hope you find your new adventures to be just the thing you need to maintain childlikeness!

  6. Well, Jane, you already know about the latest NEW thing I’m trying, which is a whole new business venture that I would have never chosen in a million years. But here I am, selling natural supplements, green cleaning products and nutrition for the skin!

    Talk about fear…I experience it every single day, and it can be absolutely paralyzing. But I just remember the wise words from Fr Nicholas who told me that it is a true blessing to work from my weakness instead of from my strength, because then I can truly experience the strength and work of God in and through me.

    How’s that for a new way to view my fears?!!

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