Oma is German for Grandma. Oma came to Ellis Island from Germany at 19. One of my strongest memories of her is her rye bread. Before she died she showed me how to make it. The recipe was in her head, I still remember the two of us calculating the ratios of flour, potato water, honey, yeast.
Making bread her way is an art form. You’re dealing with living yeast, water that can’t be too hot or too cold, the correct proportion of flour to liquid, temperature in the room, kneading the dough. This week, my wife has been attempting Oma’s rye bread. If first you don’t succeed, try try again, certainly fits here. I won’t tell you how many “distressed” loaves we have in the freezer. Wife was getting discouraged that she still hasn’t got it right. After every batch, we go over what might have went wrong. Like a post game wrap up, we discuss the details of her attempt. Sooner or later she’ll get it right. The trick is to keep trying. Success at anything doesn’t happen the first several tries. I love to teach, I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to pick myself up off the ground and identify where I missed my turn. At age 42 I discovered I love to write. I mentioned to someone recently, how after I post something, I will occassionally battle negative thoughts….“Why did I say that? What will people think ? You sound so insecure.” What a bunch of nonsense”…”It doesn’t make sense” on and on the negative thoughts come.
I continue to work at learning how to write. If you don’t take the time to evaluate, you are destined to keep repeating the same mistakes. If on the other hand, you stay humble and teachable, sooner or later, you’ll hit the ball. Whether you’re learning how to bake bread, write, make pottery (Hey lawyer chik..thinking of you here!), working with OSHA , you name it, there is a learning curve.
Want to finish with this powerful quote by Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”