Jan 21, 2014

Card Making and SAT scores

A stamper wrote that she enters a lot of challenges and never wins.  Her attempts to get on design teams have failed.  She buys a lot from a couple of companies hoping to get the companies' attention.  They have ignored her efforts.  She is crushed and angry and clueless as to why this is happening.

I read this and winced.

We all wince when we recognize that feeling -- failure is hard.  It is even harder when you have no idea why you are being rejected.  No one posts a comment that says "no focal point" "messy layers" "too many colors".  We are nice to each other in internet land, and that is as it should be.  So it is hard to learn unless we are willing to ask.  By the way, I'm not asking!

However, once I did ask.

It was the practice in my high school to go to the principal and share your SAT scores with her.  I knocked on Sr. Ellen's door and walked in.  My scores were mediocre, and I was unhappy, particularly since I was a strong student in an academically rigorous high school.  I wanted to know why my scores weren't higher.  Not skipping a beat, Sr. Ellen looked me in the eye and told me that I wasn't very smart -- that my good grades were the result of my hard work, not my native intelligence. She did not say this with admiration -- almost pity.   I left her office stunned.  I remember thinking  "I thought I was smart but I'm not."

So here's my message to the stamper who feels the stun of rejection or failure.  Maybe you are like I am.   I've never been the best in the room at anything I've ever tried.  I'm not the star anything, except perhaps when making brownie cheesecake.  But even with my limitations, my humanity, I've succeeded when it really mattered -- in my heart I know that I have loved and am loved.  The rest, including card making and SAT scores and blunt principals, is gravy.

So, if you can find it in yourself to enjoy stamping without winning, pick up that ink pad and stamp. And relax and enjoy it.  Smile. And smile again and again, knowing that you are doing something you enjoy.  Sometimes mixing a hobby with competition just doesn't work.  Not everyone gets on a design team or gets an 800 in card making.  But everyone can get get an 800 in sending a card to a friend or a stranger, knowing that it will bring a smile to that person.

You be the judge on who the winner is in that competition.  

55 comments:

  1. Oh Joan...you truly hit the nail on the head with this post! Thank you!!

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  2. I love this, and I love you! Great post.

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  3. Joan, you are da bomb! I think Sr. Ellen was sadly mistaken (maybe her wimple was pinching that day).

    Over the weekend, I did send in my first design team application. It doesn't matter at all if I get chosen, I won by putting the package together and pressing SEND.

    Be persistent at being the best you possible. Anything that comes from that is gravy.

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  4. Oh my, how I have missed you!! Did not know this existed until today, thanks to our friend-in-common, Susan. Signing up. Loved the post about getting rid of stuff. I struggle with that continuously. Good winter project. Thanks for all of the thoughts and humor. I'm signing up to follow.

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  5. Such a great post! I'm inspired!!!

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  6. Hi Joan! Didn't know you had a new blog... I am so happy that I got a text telling me to go read this post!!!!

    As always, great post! Thank you for the advice... I entered challenges a couple of times a long time ago, but I don't do it anymore since I feel that I will never win. I will concentrate on putting smiles on my friends and family's faces.

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  7. So glad to find you again. I have missed your witticisms and insight on life. I searched and searched for you on the web and thanks to Susan R I can now start lurking again:-)

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  8. I love this post! And by the way, i once had a teacher say the same about me... but with complete admiration - i was still miffed.

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  9. You are a beautiful soul. I hope lots of us take encouragement from this.

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  10. Love this post Joan. I didn't know that you were blogging again! I've missed you. Thank you to Susan R. for alerting me to your new blog. I'll have to go back and catch up on all of your posts.

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  11. Thanks so much for this... needed to hear that!

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  12. Visiting from Simplicity blog to read your wise post.

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  13. Love this, Joan- esp. ' Not everyone gets on a design team or gets an 800 in card making.  But everyone can get get an 800 in sending a card to a friend or a stranger, knowing that it will bring a smile to that person.' I think sometimes we get so involved in making the card with x or y item that we can forget the best thing about making them... sending them to friends- thanks for the reminder!! :) x

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  14. Joan, this is a beautiful post. I love, love love making cards, but even better than creative time with inky fingers is the joy of thinking of that person as I put the card in the mailbox! I have just become on of your followers and look forward to seeing your blog in my Inbox.

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  15. I, too, found your new blog thanks to Susan @ Simplicity. Warmed me right up here in Antarctica--(Senior moment--Michigan).

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  16. Thank you for your thoughts...I need them. (Thanks to Susan R for her mention of your post.)

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  17. Wonderful words to live by! I found you via Susan @ Simplicity, but I think I'll stay a while!!

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  18. Omygosh, what a great post. To have remembered this incident so clearly, it obviously affected you deeply. How wonderful, though, that you saw the lesson behind it. What insight! We are all like you --- good at some things, not-so-good at others. But we can all do what we enjoy, whether or not we take ribbons and awards. I LOVE cardmaking, and the feedback I get from the recipients is a fantastic reward. Thanks so much for putting it all into words.

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  19. Another Susan R fan tagging in. I too plan to stay and look around awhile. This column was so interesting to me because it never occurred to me to do anything but enjoy this hobby, sell a few on the side, and hopefully grace other's with a card. I enjoy this craft and the people I make cards with. Perspective, people, perspective! Carol M

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  20. Thank you for the pep talk and thank you Susan R for directing us to your blog. My high school english/Shakespeare teacher wrote in my year book (senior) "good luck, you'll need it." Obviously I have not forgotten - but he was wrong.

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  21. I followed your old blog and then it ended. Now I've found your new blog. I just finished reading the whole thing. I wanted to tell you that you are a very good card maker. I pinned a lot of your cards because I really really like them--I hope that is o.k.. And your words are insightful--those posts that are introspective, about your mom, family, life. I find them helpful. My mom died in late 2012 and it broke my heart. Unlike you, I never got the chance to take care of my mom. But I was also spared the hard stuff that comes with being a caregiver, watching a loved one slowly fade away, and suffer in the process. Mom always said when she went it would be fast and she was right...she went quickly--a ruptured aortic aneurysm. I thought we still had a lot of time left together. She was almost 82. Yes, that is old, but I wanted more--more time because I loved her so. There were times when she was difficult and could be annoying. But she was so wise, so loving, in fact a remarkable woman. When she was alive I never bought her 'you are the most wonderful mother' cards. But I would now. Because she was. And I understand why people refer to the death of a loved one as "losing" them. It is such great loss and nothing can replace it. But life goes on--it must--so we continue. And find our joy here and there in small places and over time we adjust to the loss. Why am I telling you all of this? Really, I don't know, but I feel a kinship--we both like making cards, we lost our mothers, we are growing older, like you I have a lot of fears, real and imagined that rattle around in my head and I allow them to hold me back. Maybe we can both get through each stage and be stronger and better than we were. Thanks for sharing yourself on your blog. I no longer keep up my blog and have no desire to do so but I appreciate those who do. I remember the song we sang when I graduated from high school "no man is an island, no man stands alone, each man's joy is joy to me, each man's grief is my own...we need one another so I will defend each man as my brother each man as my friend." We are not islands. God bless you.

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    1. How lovely, moved me to tears as some of Joan's posts used to do. I share your pain in losing my mother.
      Thank you.

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  22. Very wise -- and very smart words, thank you so much! I´ve always been wondering why I don´t feel like taking part in a challenge - not that I feel bad about it - but I am so happy with my hobby and sending or giving my cards as presents, that´s more than enough. I guess I don´t need the "Ok" from people I don´t know and will probably never meet in my life, so I don´t have a blog and don´t post any cards on the net. But I do enjoy blogs like yours for inspiration and for the joy of reading. Thank you for that as well.

    Greetings, Christine

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  23. I also had periodically gone to your previous blog and was sent here again by Susan R. I had forgotten how much I did enjoy your writings. I had a similar experience with a high school principal. He told me that I should take the secretarial stream as I wouldn't make it in a university program (this was years ago) but I got determined and completed two university programs and eventually ended up in an administrative position. I wanted to go back to him and say "so there. I could do it". One either uses these comments as an incentive to work harder or as a done deal and not meet your full potential. Thank you for your comments.

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  24. AMEN. It's your happiness that matters and YOU are in charge of that!!

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  25. Oh that principal! Sadly she didn't understand... there's book smart and then there's real-life smart. Clearly you're a real-life genius. Thanks for sharing this, I needed the validation for the direction I was already heading :)

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  26. Susan R.'s blog directed me here & I'm so glad. Life's too short to be anything but happy. You go girl.

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  27. Oh how I would love to send copies of your beautiful cards and incredibly wise blog posts to Sr. Ellen....I know she would eat her harsh, sad words. Wonderful post, Joan. I think you're fabulous!

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  28. Love this post. It is so true. And, as the parent of a high school junior (you know what that means) your comments about scoring 800 really resonate. I think it is easy to lose track of the fact that this is a hobby and is meant to be fun. Not everything needs to be judged or won.

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  29. I <3 you, dear Joan! You rock in everything you do! And you are a crafty genius!

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  30. After all of the past year's drama and emotional upheaval in our family, this refreshing breath of fresh airreally resonates with me. It is saying exactly how I now choose to look at Life.
    Thank you for the valuable and simply put words of wisdom, Joan. <3

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  31. Beautiful post....I am glad that I found your blog.
    Thanks so much for your inspiration! Seriously....

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  32. oh how too often we measure ourselves up against one another rather than standing together to boost each other up....I can feel the pain of the writer of those words. I take those rejections so personally sometimes. and then I have to remember why I craft in the first place - because of the joy it brings me to share this gift with others and to just release this creativity within my soul....

    we need to remember to just enjoy. that's it. thanks for the reminder.
    and I needed this nudge for another area of my life, too. for several years I've stopped doing something else that was precious to me because several people told me hurtful things.

    you are so important to so many, Joan. thank you for being YOU! :) love ya, dear friend!!!!!

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  33. Perfectly executed post, Joan! So glad Susan shared the link to your blog. My only entries have been to win gift certificates to buy more supplies or win goodies from PaperCrafts, and I've been successful. I want to enjoy this hobby as relaxation vs. stressful so don't want to put too much pressure on me. My friends and family love my cards and that's what matters most to me. Thanks for this awesome message!

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  34. Well-said, Joan! Life has slapped all of us across the face at one time or several. I've had the same heart-breaking comments made to me by readers and I even felt the same way when I first started blogging and sharing. Even in this loving card-making community, you can sense there are the "cool kids" ... I was just telling Susan that finally, now that I'm in my sixties, I feel like I'm not in high school anymore. It's a darn shame it has to take that long!! But the need most of us have to want approval, validation, and recognition is SO strong, even if we are loved and happy by every standard. It's not where you are positioned in the world, or how successful, it's being invisible that hurts the most.

    I especially love your advice about not mixing a hobby with competition. In this corner of the cruel world, cards must be made out of love, primarily, and given with love, always. Thank you for your insight! Hugs, Darnell

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  35. Entering for the sake of winning is a sure way to lose. You have to enjoy the process, otherwise why bother? Winning is the the icing on top, if it happens. If not, oh well. Hopefully you have a bunch of pretty cards to show for your effort.

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  36. Well said. And truth be told well commented everyone. Like Darnell I'm always amazed that High School politics seems to still be in my life so many years after I finished. I have been making an effort to live in the moment and enjoy the process. I think cardmaking has peaked and the "cool kids" have moved on leaving loads of talented people who are in it for the enjoyment and craft. It seems the focus has shifted to fun over competitiveness.

    FWIW I admired those on DTs but the 2 times I have been asked to contribute to a hop I had brain freeze and couldn't so I know that is not my thing!

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  37. So glad I found this post. Your words are so very true. As the mom of two high school girls, I see it is so easy to get all hung up on grades and test scores, and what they mean for what happens next. I agree in card making--it should be a hobby and source of joy, not a job or competition. When that takes over, what is the point? Why have a hobby that makes you stressed, right? So glad I found your blog again. You are very wise, and a fabulous card maker as well.

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  38. Fabulous post, and oh so true! Sometimes we just get tied up in enter competitions to win. That makes hard work of cardmaking, when it's not meant to be that way.

    Thanks for the reminder!

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  39. As an ex-teacher, I'm very sorry that you have spent your life feeling this way!
    What was NOT KNOWN at that time, the time Sister Ellen made this ill-advised, life-altering and cruel [you called it 'blunt'] statement to you, is that there are MANY different forms of intelligence! A person who does well in IQ tests, which in years gone by were used to indicate 'intelligence' ... may be extremely strong in other areas that were not tested.
    Which areas of development do SAT scores describe? Which areas are NOT covered by SAT tests?
    To have overcome this statement by a teacher [who to me, should never have been allowed in the position], shows extreme intelligence in the emotional area. Academic cleverness is a tiny facet of who we are as humans. Gentle criticism, kindly given, should be a welcome thing whenever people are trying to learn.
    People who run competitions should follow this principle perhaps. It seems to me that the 'winners' in cardmaking comps are often random!
    I loved the last part of your statement ... how true this is ... we can't all be great spellers, we can't all excel at Maths ... but we CAN all excel at being nice, kind people. Unlike Sister Ellen.

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    1. I should apologise perhaps, as I don't know you, and obviously I have no right to comment. I came to this blog through a friend. It did disturb me though, and so I left the comment. Please delete it if you feel it's inappropriate.

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    2. No need to apologize at all. thanks for the comments

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