When I was younger I wondered if I had any talents.
I wasn’t sure if I did.
My talents weren’t obvious.
As I’ve aged,
I discovered the secret to finding my talents--
that is to cultivate my natural abilities
and nourish them.
One of my natural abilities
As a young girl,
I used to write my name
over and over and over again,
with different angles, loops, and styles.
Then, years later
my husband was in college,
I had a new baby at home and
didn’t want to work out of the house.
But we needed some extra money coming in, however small.
To say I was not interested in babysitting other people’s kids
is an understatement.
I’d have rather had my eyeballs poked out
one at a time than do that.
The new baby was number four for me,
I just couldn’t take on more kids.
I was already getting through post-partum depression,
and needed a creative outlet too.
I had a friend who began sewing window treatments
to make a little extra,
and another friend who started baking her famous chocolate cakes
for small restaurants in town to bring in some money,
and I thought I could try something too.
So I went to the local public library
and checked out some books and videos (yes, videos)
on calligraphy and purchased a calligraphy pen and practice paper.
I taught myself how to calligraph each letter,
and practiced, practiced, practiced!!
A friend of mine had a baby
so as a gift to her,
I offered to do her baby announcements.
From that I got referrals doing wedding announcements,
graduations, work certifications,
you name it.
A business was born that I really enjoyed.
I still have opportunities these 20-some years later
to express that talent and make a little money on the side.
I’m always very interested in listening to others’ stories
about how they developed their natural abilities
into true talents:
Michael McLean, a popular LDS songwriter and musician shared
his experience at a BYU Women’s Conference
that he had submitted his own music to producers
years before the public heard it.
And each time, he was rejected.
And lest you think he took it all in stride,
he generously shared that he’s struggled with depression
most of his life, so it’s not like the rejections were as
water off a duck’s back.
But he continued to develop his talents and passions
and finally someone had the good sense to say “Yes”.
Sally DeFord, another renowned composer, songwriter, pianist
shared her beginnings in a Relief Society meeting.
She had grown up in a home where there wasn’t a lot of money.
A neighbor had an old piano they sold to her for twenty-five dollars.
It even had some missing keys.
Still, she loved it and nourished her natural abilities until
she was accepted at BYU’s School of Music.
She shared that once she got there,
she realized that was not where she wanted to be.
She heard music differently than how they taught it
Still, she continued to develop her talents and as a member of her Stake,
I can tell you, she is THE source for our musical productions,
composing some of the most beautiful hymns I’ve ever heard.
And her website lets you download all of it for Free.
She said the music isn’t hers, she’s just the channel it comes through.
Karen Jones is an Interior Designer.
She just won her 13th Parade of Homes
“Best Designer” and “People’s Choice” awards
last Fall here in Colorado Springs.
She did not go to school for Interior Design.
She did have a knack for it though,
and that natural ability grew into a talent
as she continued to design and re-design her own homes
and was hired by others to do the same for them.
Karen has taught small classes to homemakers for years
on how to decorate smartly without a lot of money.
She also shared on a Parade of Homes Tour
I attended that she looks at lots of magazines and books
about design and decorating to get inspiration for her own work.
My good friend Dotti Kirkpatrick is a mother to many.
After having a less-than-good birthing experience
With her first child,
She began looking at home-births and midwives on her own.
Then after having some positive home-births,
She bided her time until her eighth child was three years old,
And went to school to become a Certified Professional Midwife.
She is now the busiest Midwife in Colorado,
And women of all ages look to her for her wisdom, strength, and care.
She was my midwife and I have worked alongside her as a Midwife Assistant—
something I had always wanted to do since my own homebirth experiences.
I am inspired by others’ talents—
Whether they have the talent for making a delicious meal,
or sewing their children’s clothing,
playing an instrument,
or other “less noticeable” talents like
expressing their beautiful talent of compassion,
a listening ear,
a willing shoulder to be leaned upon,
a kind word when none else are to be found.
Those are talents too.
And just like every other attribute, we humans have,
All the good stuff must be developed and cultivated,
I have also met others who were not willing to share their talents—
There was a man in our ward who was an accomplished pianist.
He played with a city orchestra—he was that good.
Yet, he refused to play piano for Church meetings.
I know a sister who is a lovely painter.
specifically at tole painting—
I recall sitting beside her at a craft night and she shrugged off
the request of help to younger sisters just learning to paint,
saying she wasn’t there for them,
but for herself.
Obviously, her response impressed me,
because that was over 10 years ago
and I remember it clearly.
And never think you're too old to learn something new!
My mother-in-law, Doris went back to school at forty-two years old
and got her Masters' Degree in Library Science and Education.
She taught in a California Middle School until her untimely death.
But she was doing something she loved.
What an inspiration.
I find I am happiest when I get to express
my natural abilities,
talents or gifts
in any setting, for any person or cause.
The joy I feel is immeasurable.
What about you?
What are your talents and how have you developed them?
What inspires you?
Midwife Asst./Doula, Home Stager, Writer, and Convert to the LDS faith. She lives in the Colorado Rockies and blogs about it all at Momza's House.
*image used is from my own collection