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  • Writer's pictureThe Farmer's Wife

My Farm Wife Failures (and a “recipe” below to prove it)

Failure and I have a rocky relationship.

I actually try and avoid it at all costs.

I try to pretend it doesn’t exist.

When it does come around, I stuff it in a closet and I’d rather not talk about it.

Those are the pictures you delete.

The cakes you throw over the fence for the barn cats to eat.

The things you cover up before anyone else sees.

Failure is uncomfortable, embarrassing, and it’s not Instagram “worthy.”

Remember when I was so elated about my plants two weeks ago? Don't be *too* jealous. But we're gardening pretty hard over here.

These are the pictures you DON'T SHARE on social media. When's the last time you followed a plant killer on Instagram or Facebook? Yeah. I thought so. It just doesn't happen.

This week I was ‘experimenting’ with a different project. It was not going well. My daughter innocently brought salt to my wound when she puzzled - “Mom…..”, “Is that how it’s SUPPOSED to work?”

I plastered a smile over my deflated soul and launched into a discussion about the benefits of failure to push us toward learning.

Her confused face told me she didn’t understand.

When is the last time we celebrated “failure” for our kids? We don’t WANT failure for our kids. We want SUCCESS!

We venerate successes. Achievement. Accomplishment. Not failure.

Several years ago, I heard a story of a Dad routinely asking his kids what they were failing at as a barometer of whether or not they were trying new things. In this family, failure was celebrated as a success. If they weren’t failing at something, they weren’t succeeding. This gave his kids the freedom to be learners.

Although I gave my daughter the “failure is good” speech, there was (is) a chasmic disconnect between my words and my feelings. “This is good!” my plastered smile said. “You’re a failure!” said my feelings.

But therein lies the rub. Since when does outward failure create inward definition?

How come a failed project so quickly turns into “I AM a failure”... What is with that? That doesn’t even make sense. The truth is - you had a failed project. The project is OUTSIDE of you. The project is NOT you.

It is astonishing to hear my kids do this exact same poisonous thinking. “I can’t do this!” leads to “I’ll never be able to ....” leads to “I’m a failure!”..... Nope! Sorry! Not allowed. We stop everything and I force them to rephrase, often with their age. “I’m 4, and I’m LEARNING how to draw”. “I’m 7, and I’m LEARNING how to read”.

It’s cute when they say it, but why isn’t it as cute with adults? “I’m 31, and I’m LEARNING how to take care of my house”.

It sounds childish, but so is calling ourselves a failure in our heads because dinner didn’t turn out like we hoped. THAT’s childish.

Assigning disproportionate weight to things is childish. It’s the MELTDOWN from the paper cut. Childish. It’s OKAY if dinner didn’t turn out. “I’m 31, and I’m learning to cook.”

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” I’m sorry Tom - I probably would have told you to quit your day job. 10,000 failures? Seriously? I don’t think I could unsuccessfully try anything that many times and keep going. 10,000 failed dinners would last for 27 years if I cooked all 365 days. It’s laughably horrifying to me.

Do you realize the ridicule he got from people?

His sailing was far from smooth.

But how many of us today are using one of his inventions? I’ve got at least 5 light bulbs within 10 feet of me at this moment. Sure he didn’t invent the very first one, but he made a more workable bulb so people like me could own one. Thanks for failing Tommy.

Pretty sure we all enjoy watching movies - which are shot with a camera… Thanks for failing Tommy.

How about listening to music? Recordings started on his phonograph… Thanks for failing Tommy.

Alkaline Batteries?**... Thank for failing Tommy.

The point is - failure didn’t define Edison, it propelled him.

When is the last time I let failure propel me?

I often let it do just the opposite.

Truth is: defining ourselves as failures is actually taking a position that isn’t ours to take.

Since when does a creation (of any kind) get to assign its own value?

It’s like a painting just deciding that it's a million dollar work of art.

But that’s not how it works. Paintings can’t assign their own value.

I once heard a sermon that said the worth of something is purely determined on how much someone will pay for it. If someone will pay 1 million dollars for my painting, it is valued at 1 million dollars.

If you’re a person of faith, I’m guessing my drift is being caught. We needn’t look any further than the cross to see how much Someone was willing to pay for us. How absurd that I would glaze over the cross and wallow in my earthly failures as my definition. How nearsighted of me.

If this is true, I think the only failure is robbing the power of definition from the rightful Definer.

Trouble is - we do it all the time.

...So where are you defining yourself as a failure? ....Stop it! :)

That is way above your pay grade.

What if we re-framed it as learning? What if our VALUE had nothing to do with our failure, and we could just live and learn?

What if :

You're not failing to cook healthy meals. I’m learning how to cook healthy meals.

You're not failing to exercise daily, I’m learning how to order my priorities

You're not failing to be a good wife, I’m learning how to be a better wife

You're not failing to organize my house, I’m learning that I need to de-clutter.


You are incomprehensibly valuable to your Definer, friend.

Don’t let failure tell you otherwise.


As hinted at above, here's my "recipe" after lots of "fails" this week. But I'm not a failure - I just needed 10,000 tries to get it to work right...;) and now YOU get to benefit from it! This was so fun to make this week.

"Antique" Farm Sign from the LEARNING (not failing) Crafter

1. Grab some wood. (I repurposed the crate from our mini Raw milk tank. -- A pallet would work well!)

2. Screw some cross pieces on the back.

3. Paint with Chalk Paint (1 Cup Paint to 1 Tablespoon Unsanded Grout mixed well)

  • *Fail Alert*: Stucco Powder and Cow Calcium Powder don't work.

  • If you don't have Grout, Sheet Rock Powder works ok-ish too :)

4. After it dries, sand it off if you want the weathered look.

5. Take a regular old print from your printer, (I made mine on,

  • *Fail Alert*: Not all printers will print in mirror image. Mine does not. After fighting with it for semi-endless hours, I used Google Draw to flip my image to make it mirrored.

6. Slather it with modge podge

  • *Fail Alert*: ***ONLY ON THE PRINT SIDE***

7. Stick it to the face of your sign

  • *Fail Alert*: If your image is bigger than one page, you have to tape it together on the backside of the paper. If there is tape between the words and the board, it won't work.

8. Press down firmly on all areas - run a credit card over it and super duper press it down

9. Dry over night

10. Use a wet rag to soak off the paper "backing" (This is messy and touchy - if you scrub like crazy, you'll take your words off... so be careful)

  • *Fail Alert*: When you accidentally rub off your image, you can touch it up with colored pencil

10. Touch up any other stubborn spots with some sand paper

11. If you want your words to pop, you can also fill them in with colored pencil

12. Let it dry, then varnish over everything!

13. Tada! You're a learning crafter!

Nice work friend :)


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Need Raw Milk? Yes Please!

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1 Comment

Dave Sebald
Dave Sebald
Jul 17, 2020

Cute crafty and encouraging. Keep up the good work.

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