I’m glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

I turned my Instagram account public. I’ve been using it to collect & document celebrations. I love it. Please follow me there: @ruth_ayres to find celebrations throughout the week.
I’m pretending we’re having a chat over a warm cup of something. I sit across from you in a comfy seat and listen. I like to listen. I like to listen especially when I’m exhausted. I hope you’ll share your celebrations today and imagine me on the other side of the screen with a cup of something warm being inspired by your stories of celebration.

At some point, you might ask ask me about celebration, I’d take a deep breath and a long sip. I’d smile at you and then maybe say something like this…

Recently I read a quote from Arianna Huffington and she said, “Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.” It’s been tumbling around in my mind, redefining failure, accepting that if there’s success, then there’s also failure.

I’ve made no secret that I’m having a hard time finding my footing as a writer. I keep trying to make space….make space…make space. I miss blogging. I miss writing 1000 words each morning. I miss the easy way words lined up when I draft articles or chapters about teaching writing. I miss writing slices from my family life. I miss jotting wisps of stories in my notebooks scattered around my daily life — in the laundry room and the car and my nightstand.

I miss these things. And yet, no matter how hard I try to make space, my brain is still muddled. I sit in front of a blank page and I don’t even know how to begin. I write anyway and am left with a jumbled mess and too much frustration.

It feels like failure.

My editor said, “You did become a mother to four active kids quite quickly.”

Yes, this is very true.

That’s part of the story, though. Those four active kids teach me about young writers and storytelling and faith. Those four active kids teach me grit and compassion and grace. Those four active kids teach me about culture and overcoming stereotypes and mercy. Those four active kids teach me about using technology for creation and the power of video and mixing medias. 

It feels like failure that I’m not filling pages with these stories and reflections and teachings.

The celebration is this: Just because it feels like failure doesn’t mean it is. Rather, it might just be one step on the road to success. I’m going to fight to stay on this road. Fight to keep believing that I am a writer. Fight to ignore the world’s definition of success. Fight to hold on to this piece of me being a writer because I know it is who I’m made to be.

I’m glad you’re here — joining me in the good fight. Each of us, no matter our corner of the world — are fighting to hold on to the pieces of us that we were made to be. Failure is part of the journey to success. I’m choosing to believe this and hope that you will too.


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  1. It's amazing how perspective is everything! I'd say you have an amazingly full life and are a prolific writer – by my still hoping to get published standards. I'd say you have an amazing powerful story that you share that inspires me and others in ways you can only imagine. I'd say your “ministry” is a gift that keeps on giving. At this juncture of life, I am sure the path of life is always muddy because you are walking it with lots of others! The path to success is likely paved with disappointments 'cause when you get there, you can appreciate the victory! From my humble perspective, you have already been SUCCESSFUL!

  2. And with my own cup of coffee, across from you, I would simply sigh and say “It's good to keep keeping on no matter the frustration of the mess because I know that some day it will feel right and you will soar!” Thanks for having our conversation that's so true, Ruth. As I've taken over this class, my life has changed so much from what it was, hard to find that small measure of time and thought to write what I want, and I don't have a houseful! Looking forward to seeing you! across the table!

  3. I drank my own coffee on the front porch while reading this. You are such an inspiration to me. You have to remember that life is this big picture made up of all these small important things. You aren't doing nothing when you aren't writing, you are gathering up more things to write about. Keep a notebook with you so you always feel like you're gearing up for a writing binge. xo

  4. Kicking off Saturday morning in my favorite way – catching up with friends who write and celebrate and continue the good fight.

  5. Can you know what success is if you have never failed? Every week I look forward to my time to read your celebrations because you have such a wonderful way of reading and interpreting events in your life, then sharing them with the world. Looking forward to the day we will chat over a cup of coffee.

  6. Loved reading this post. Maybe your wonderful and very active situation does “muddle” things up a bit. It certainly makes it less orderly and space is harder to find. Yet the creation is happening and will come out on that blank page. I'm sure of it. Keep up the fight, because that in the end it is the really good part of life. Thousand thanks to you for your celebrations. I don't always comment, but I appreciate all your posts and this place to come together.

  7. I think that is such an important lesson. So many of my students think that failure is the end, rather than seeing a failure as part of the process towards success.

  8. Not knowing where life is taking us is scary! You are a writer. You write. I hear you on the feeling like a failure thing, but here's a reminder to be kind and gentle with yourself. I just picked up a book today that you may enjoy. It's by Elle Luna, it's called, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. I'm finding it so inspirational!!! Thank you for this space! It's so special to me! I am grateful to you for following your own MUSTs!!! 🙂

  9. I agree with Katie. This is an important lesson. It may look like failure, but every step on the journey is part of the process and teaches us something even if it doesn't seem like a positive step at the time. You are a writer. You are an inspirational writer. Keep writing for you.

  10. Ruth, your writing is always so introspective allowing the reader to reflect as well. These lines are meaningful: “The celebration is this: Just because it feels like failure doesn't mean it is. Rather, it might just be one step on the road to success.” I am opening a site tomorrow called “Eduhero Voices” to gear up for Monday night #NYEDChat convo. Perhaps you would consider writing an eduinspiration for the site and/or joining in on the conversation at 8:30 pm EST. You have so many to share.

  11. Ruth, If I were sitting on your porch with a cup of coffee I would tell you that life is like a quilt. When you look at the underside it is all nots and no pattern. When you turn the quilt over you see the pattern and the beauty. Right now you are busy quilting. So you are working on the underside and can't see the pattern just now. I know from your writing that you are making a beautiful quilt.

  12. First of all, I would love to sit on a porch and chat with you, Ruth. In fact, how delightful would that be if the celebrate community could do just that?! But that is why we show up here, instead. I think that feeling of failure is what all writers feel – all writers who are juggling children, jobs, commitments to life and people. Still we find time to write. It may not ever be (yet) the length of time we'd like…but it's time we found, and we wrote. That is something to celebrate!

  13. Your post reminded me of the times when I assumed that I had failed at something, only to realize later that the “failure” was really a stepping stone to something incredible. Thank you for encouraging all of us to keep fighting and to appreciate that failure is a part of our writing journeys.