Welcome to What We Learned, a series I’ve been hosting here for over two years. In the past we did it monthly but we’ve switched to a quarterly schedule where we spend a little time reflecting on the past three months before we move ahead into the future.
At the end of this post, you’re invited to link up to your own list of what you learned this month – be it silly, serious, sacred, or just plain useful.
Here are 12 things I learned this Fall:
1. How to create and launch an online course.
At the end of August I was deep in the work of learning how to create an online course. At the end of September, I finally launched it.
As it turns out Marie Forleo is right – everything is figure-out-able. (At least when it comes to stuff I didn’t know how to do online.) Course enrollment is closed now, but here’s where you can see proof that I did it and get on the waitlist to be notified when enrollment opens again.
2. Vivian Howard’s chicken and rice tastes as good as it looks on TV.
Vivian is a chef in Kinston, NC and host of the show A Chef’s Life. We haven’t been to her restaurant yet, but we got to taste her food from her book tour food truck in Chapel Hill. Her mom’s chicken and rice recipe with the magic celery leaves on top was divine.
3. Grace for the Good Girl has been translated into Dutch!
Two years or so ago, my publisher told me a Dutch publisher bought the rights to publish my first book in their language and I promptly forgot about it. So when I got the book in the mail, my first thought was “Why has a foreign businessman put my name on his book?!”
Evidently they did not consult the English Urban Dictionary when titling it. (insert cry laugh face and also red-face emoji).
4. Instagram stories are fun. I think?
Do we like Instagram stories? I think I do. Now, I’ve never been on Snapchat, though I have a username because it seemed like the right thing to do. But when Instagram launched their story feature a few months ago, it seemed an easy place to experiment with video.
I’m still figuring out how to use it well, but I already know my favorite ones to watch are the ones that actually feel like stories. To be continued.
5. I am more fully myself with Yoga and Zumba in my life.
I tried spinning (once – yuck), run-jogging (my knees!) and elliptical action (this one I still do some). But this past year I finally found the movement combination that fits my body. And then I promptly stopped going in August because of traveling and TV and deep work and making dinner and the Internet.
Finally a week or so ago, I’ve gotten back to it and I remember all over again why I started in the first place. Give me all the deep stretching, thoughtful breath, and old lady latin dancing thank you and amen.
6. Kitties are yoga masters and John isn’t allergic yet.
We’ve had a dog for years but never got a cat, mainly because John is allergic. I grew up with outside kitties and loved them so very much. But then to my sister’s cat had kittens and I brought one home in October to try it out and never gave it back.
He is friendly and lovely and flexible (is he right side up or upside down?!) and lives inside my house. Also he matches our dog. And John hasn’t sneezed yet.
7. Hope*writers has a life of its own.
It’s been a year now since we first launched our membership community for writers.
We hosted our first live workshop last month and after meeting over 200 of our hope*writers in person, I realized this is more than an online membership site – it’s a community and a mindset.
Theres me, my dad, my sister, and our friend Brian taking a selfie with the hope*writers just before we recorded The Hope*Writers Podcast Live. (You can listen to it here).
8. From now on I will vote on election day (not early).
I voted early this year because I was nervous about long lines and didn’t think it was a thing. But then when election day came, I had this weird FOMO thing happening and remembered how much I enjoy voting on actual election day even if the lines are long.
9. Acknowledging the feelings and experience of others goes a mighty long way.
The morning after the election, I wrote a post called I Dare Not Tell You How to Feel This Morning. It is now my most visited post in months. This reminded me how important it is to be sensitive to the experience and perspective of other people.
10. I still have trouble knowing how to rest well.
Even after that book I wrote about celebrating smallness and learning to waste time well, after writing for over 10 years about the importance of creating space for our soul to breathe, I still have to work on resting well.
For example, my number one biggest work goal this year was to create and launch my first online course. And then I did it (I did it!) and promptly forgot to feel like I accomplished something. While I’ve been wise enough not to take on another giant project like that yet, I still have this brain gremlin that pushes me around, bullying me into productivity.
11. I love recording audiobooks.
This month I had the honor of recording the audiobook version of my third book, A Million Little Ways. It was so much work and so much fun. It felt like such an honor to read the words I wrote directly to a reader. What a gift. (I’ll let you know when it’s available!)
12. Israel is more beautiful than I ever imagined.
Surprising to absolutely no one, I still haven’t fully processed my trip to Israel at the end of August. (Slow process much?) I did write one post about it: This is Not How I Pictured Jerusalem. But one thing I learned for sure is this: Israel is a stunningly beautiful country.