56. Read one non-fiction or business book each month for a year.

In December 2012, I applied for and was accepted to the Actionable Book Club. This probably means nothing to you, but it meant that I would put into action Mighty Life List Item #56.

And there were deadlines involved. 12 of them, to be exact. Because participants of ABC are required to write a summary of their books, which provides for the group actions we can take to improve our lives and work. Here’s how it went down:

January: Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

February: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman

March: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There In Sales by Marshall Goldsmith, Don Brown, and Bill Hawkins

April: Play by Stuart Brown

May: Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen

June: Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert Sutton

July: The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker

August: Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

September: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

October: Focus by Heidi Grant Halvorson and Tory Higgins

November: Creative Intelligence by Bruce Nussbaum

December: Wonder Women by Debora Spar

The best part of all this reading is that I get to do it all again for 2014. Follow along at Actionable Books.

41. And then learn to roller blade.

Because I’m obviously not a very good ice skater

And because a short snow skiing lesson turned out to be seriously fun…

And because I like a good challenge…

And mostly because I want that feeling of floating and zipping and zooming along.

Last weekend, we bought some inline skates so that I could practice in our neighborhood, which has a surprisingly unused recreation area. (There is a tennis court, a basketball court, a volleyball court, and a 1/3 mile track. All in a mild state of disrepair, but perfect for me – because nobody goes there and will thus be spared my humiliation.)

We also bought a couple tennis rackets. Partly as a protest against a horrible 7th grade tennis coach who basically said, “you’re a horrible tennis player, go find some other sport.”

I’m still holding a grudge. I really liked tennis then, poor player that I was, and I was heartbroken that she didn’t want to help me learn.

Flash forward twenty-six years (dear god!) to a slightly rundown court in a disused quarry in the heat of a hill country afternoon…there you’ll find me, grinning like a fool in love, tennis racket in hand.

I’m still bad at it. I just don’t care anymore.

Unwillingly Left Handed

So remember when I told you about learning to eat left handed? About that…


Two weeks ago, I fell during an ice skating lesson and broke my wrist. It’s a nice, clean radial fracture, but you cannot imagine the pain. Worst in my entire life, I kid you not.

Since that fateful Saturday, I’ve been stuck in a Short Arm Fracture Brace, Open Thumb. Which is actually a modern, removable hard cast that you can get wet.  Regardless of those amazing features, I still can’t actually use my right hand. My dominate hand.

So, I’ve been eating (and everything-else-ing) left-handed.

I’m totally over it.

But not really because I have to spend at least 3 more weeks in the brace. Doctor’s orders and all that crap.

Killing Monsters

I have a story to share with you, but it requires another story, first. Some context:

I have on my life list as item #11: Ice Skate. And while those two little words might not seem like such a big deal, they are to me. Those two little words sum up a huge amount of fear.

For years, I’ve been telling myself, and anyone else who’d ask, that it was a fear of having my fingers cut off by some errant skater when I fell down. I’m running on the assumption that I will fall down, probably many, many times, before I manage to actually ice skate. And the fear of having my fingers chopped off made it easier to stay off those skates and away from that ice.

Until last week. When husband wanted to ice skate. Which brings me to the real story I have to share with you:

Husband suggested that I could watch while he skated (note: he’s only skated once before in his life. This is kind of a big deal for him, too.) And while he attempted to not fall down, I could capture some amusing photographs documenting his caper. I could laugh at his “heroics.”

Except that I stood in that ticket line with him, shaking in fear. And anger. So I convinced him – manipulated him – into walking away from something he so dearly wanted to do. I was intentionally stealing his joy.

But kind man that he is, he insisted that I tell him what in hell was going on in my head. Because stealing his joy and walking away had not reduced my fear/anger and had not improved my mood.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

So, of course, I yelled at him. “I’ll tell you what’s going on. I hate that you’re braver than me. That I’m shaking in fear and you’re laughing. And I’m not really scared about having my fingers cut off or of falling down. I KNOW THAT I’M NOT GOING TO BE GOOD AT THIS, THAT I’M GOING TO FAIL SPECTACULARLY, AND I’D RATHER JUST AVOID THE PAIN OF FAILURE THAN ACTUALLY ATTEMPT SOMETHING I KNOW I’M NOT GOING TO BE GOOD AT.”

And he just hugged me. “I’ve got you.”

“I want to be braver that this. And I know in my soul that if I walk away tonight, that this monster is going to get bigger. It’s going to be harder next time to say yes to trying this new, scary thing. If I don’t go into that rink with you, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. And I kinda hate that I’m jealous of how fearless you are.”

You see, dear friends, I had looked into this man’s eyes and seen the disappointment and discouragement. If I shut the door to his adventure, we would have lost something precious.

I have to face myself in the mirror everyday, and I would have to acknowledge that I had stolen something precious – to admit, every. single. day., that I had hurt the one person who loves me most.

Because I am afraid to fail.

That monster of fear with the big, pointy teeth? Me.

It’s really hard to admit that the thing you’re most scared of is yourself. Or at least that the monster is some ambiguous mental creation, rather than something real. But admit it, we must. And I did.

On January 2nd, I looked my husband in the eye and asked him in trembling voice to take me iceskating. “Help me kill a monster?”

And he took my hand. “Of course.”

Mighty Life List #55: Find a favorite honey. {check}

Well, that was easy. Almost too easy. It was an accidental discovery, actually.

Some backstory: as a child, I LOVED honey. With the passion and abandon only children seem capable of. My father tells me that I used trip over my grandfather’s heels when he was collecting honey – stealing honeycomb directly from the hive and eating with bees buzzing over me. (Note: bees and wasps flying all around me still don’t bother me. Must have something to do with my granddad.)

Anyway, since childhood, I somehow lost my appreciation for one of my favorite treats. Every honey I tasted was bland, boring, or downright offensive. Especially that horrible clover honey at the grocery store. Yuck.

So I set out on a mission: find a favorite honey. And since I couldn’t replicate the honey of my childhood, I figured I’d have to dig around for a while.

I tried a honey from my hometown. Nope.

I tried a honey from Round Rock, our home of 10 years. Nope.

And then, I tried a local honey at the Farmer’s Market near our new home in the Texas Hill Country. BINGO!

Youngblood’s Natural Honey is a mesquite honey from Pearsall, TX, and it’s so good, I could drink it straight from the bottle. I haven’t, of course, but I totally could.

In reality, however, I’ve used it in oatmeal, in marinade for pork loin and turkey breast, in cocktails, and more. It’s versatile, smooth, and delicious. I love it!

So there, one more thing checked off the life list.

Mighty Life List #9: Visit New York. {Check}

You may have noticed from the previous post of snapshots, that part of my travel schedule took me to New York City for BlogHer ’10. And I probably could have spent a few lifetimes in that fantastic city.

But first, a big THANK YOU SO MUCH to my fashionable friend, Pam, who absolutely insisted I make this trip, come hell or high water. And, to tell the truth, I would have been lost there without her and our roommate, the inimitable April. Dear lovely ladies, please accept my heartfelt gratitude for allowing this last minute tag-along to enjoy your company, your stories, your laughter, and your friendship. Let’s do it again!

And big hugs to Karen, Jessica, Christine, AllisonAmber, StephanieNichelle, Leah, and all the other wonderful women I had the pleasure to meet. Ya’ll made my trip so much more than I hoped it could be.

Now I just have to figure out how to get back to New York for a longer trip!