Strong and Graceful

I believe in love. I also believe in education, so I’m enrolled in a class titled, “Write Better, Faster.” Speed doesn’t interest me–Margaret Mitchell wrote one book, shifted significant discussions, and retired wealthy–but the part about writing better…that caught my eye.

One of the course instructor’s first points is that when we focus on our strengths in addition to our weaknesses (not instead of), we often see astonishing benefits. She cited a study done by the Gallup Institute (of Gallup polls fame), involving reading speed. A group of school children were all given the same instruction on how to improve reading speed. The slow readers doubled their reading speed (from an average of 70 wpm to 140 wpm) which is a fine result. The fast readers increased their reading speeds up to ten times, some of them reaching speeds of 2900 wpm.

To get a sense of how fast that is, those fast readers could zip through a 90,000 word manuscript in about 32 minutes, but because they were already fast readers, the likelihood of them ever being put in the path of speed reading instruction was slim to none.

We don’t teach to our strengths.

One of the realizations I’ve come to early in this course is that I had to stop and think–hard, at length–to even identify my strengths, while my weaknesses are… I have a list right here. I’ve been carrying that list around since childhood, adding to it a lot more frequently than I cross anything off. While we see our weaknesses as susceptible to improvement, we tend to badly underestimate the effort necessary to address them.

This half-empty mindset can make for a lot of frustration. The data is, when we spend our days focused mostly on what we do well, what we love to do, what comes naturally to us, we’re happier, healthier, more productive, more creative, more energetic, more resilient, and better learners. That seems like common sense, but life–in the form of bills that must be paid, children who must be raised, and employment situations beyond our control–has a way of obscuring common sense.

I also think this is a gendered issue. Women are culturally expected to put their own needs behind those of family and co-workers, and thus doing the blah jobs, ignoring our own boredom, and forgetting what a great day feels like, goes with the gender terrain for many of us.

I hope to widen the portion of my life that comes from my strengths. I want to be a happy camper, same as everybody else, but I’ve also learned that when we have that great privilege of playing and working to our strengths, we’re much more likely to make progress tackling the weaknesses.

What’s something you absolutely love to do and do well? Is there a way to do more of it?

To three commenters, I’ll send signed author copies of A Rogue of Her Own.


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80 comments on “Strong and Graceful

  1. I enjoyed being a trainer many years ago It gave me great pleasure to teach my care team the required training sessions they would need to qualify has a care/support worker.It soon became clear to me who in the session would sail through and would be biting at the bit to go home.It also became clear who would need extra time and support for various reasons.In the end they all qualified but it may take a different route to get there or a thing called patience.We are not all speed drivers sometimes the long route is the most rewarding.It gave me a great satisfaction that I helped people along the way achieve their goal.I have my own goals now I am retired and that is another story for another time.My strength is being approachable my weakness my time sharing does not always include me .My daughter tells me off””you are retired mother act like it””‘.What is that suppose to mean curl up and ignore everybody!.But I do know what she means so I must make an effort to give my time over to relaxing.Bye for now have a good week every one.

    • I owe so much to the people in my life who taught ME, not the curriculum, not the syallabus, but me. My first piano teacher was a treasure in that regard, some of my riding instructors as well.
      I’m looking at life after lawyering, Brenda, and wondering just how retired from that profession, and from life I want to be. I know I can’t write books all the time, but neither can I just sit on my toadstool and eat vegetables. Interesting conundrum, finding meaning after a lifetime of being told meaning is in supporting others.

  2. I am a sped reader and a voracious reader. It’s something I’ve always been good at and that fulfills me. Last year I started meditation for my health, though, which means less time to read, which is a bummer. I’d choose to read more if I could, but I’m trying to do right by my health.

    • The benefits of meditation are so well documented that it’s a wonder we don’t get introduced to it along with times tables and dodge ball. And it doesn’t take a lot of meditation–ten minutes a day will drop blood pressure, improve sleep, reduce anxiety… I’ve often wondered how society would change if after twenty minutes on social media, we got a prompt to go sit quietly and decompress for five minutes. But nooooo….
      Good luck with the meditation (and happy reading!).

  3. I like to problem solve. I miss that aspect of my prior position at my company. Listening to someone’s issue and figuring out a way through it gives me great satisfaction. I am taking the skills in my new job and trying to build them into strengths as I add to my resume.

    My daughter has been prepping for a trial team competition. Dress rehearsals are this week. We talked about her strengths and tip toed over her weaknesses. Focus on the positive was my advice to her. Take constructive feedback and focus.

    Am interested in becoming a CAnine Good Citizen evaluator. I believe strongly that dogs need to be socialized and have manners. Am working on the CGC title with 12 1/2 year old Molly and 12 month old Laci. Molly remembers most of the skill-set and is happy for a morning out. Laci is full of energy and has got Molly back into the game.

    How I would put this altogether??
    Am not sure…but it’s all good.

    Have a great week.

    • Wishing your daughter all the best. I fell on my sword in moot court. Had all the precedents down, could argue well in response to questions from the judges, knew how to dress… but at one point, because my partner had argued one of the issues, and I was arguing the other, I referred to him not as “Mr. Smith,” but as, “Barney…” That was his NAME, that was what I called him, but all three judges nailed me on my lack of professional address for a colleague.
      So I’m in court twenty years later, and the judge is summarizing counsels’ arguments. He refers to Mr. Jones, the DSS attorney, Mr. Miller, attorney for the mother, and “Grace…” attorney for the child.
      Thanks for that, Judge Bill. At least my lack of professional address wasn’t sexist.
      I agree with you that dogs deserve to be equipped with the rule book for public behavior, and it’s a cultural thing. In the UK, most dogs are off-leash even in public spaces, and they know how to behave. People ALSO know how to behave around the dogs, and the public spaces are happier and friendlier for it.

  4. My oldest son has autism. One of his earliest teachers said something in one of those first IEP meetings which has stayed with me ever since: let’s enhance his strengths. People with autism like ritual and schedules and order so having a fairly strict schedule helped him. Once he learned to do something in a certain way, he learned it forever. He is the only one of my three sons—the younger two are very bright and talented with multiple graduate degrees–who ALWAYS takes his plate to the sink after dinner and ALWAYS puts his dirty clothes in the dirty clothes basket! Instead of focusing what he CAN’T do, we concentrate on what he CAN do; he’s happy and we are too.

    I am a woman conductor…..I do EVERYTHING for my choral organization. I am used to it since as a daughter, oldest sister, wife and mother I ALWAYS do everything for everyone and I am good at it. I suppose my needs are the choir’s needs so it works out. But sometimes…….I want to be a Diva/Princess!

    • I am of the opinion that most of what we regard as “behavior disorders” are adaptations in disguise. People with ADHD have two advantages, for example: They notice almost all incoming stimuli, like grazing horses in unfamiliar pastures. Nothing misses their radar. Horses that alert live a long time, and their alertness tends to get perpetuated because it’s the difference between life and death. Only in a classroom where a six year old is expected to focus for long periods is this skill labeled disorderly.
      The other gift a child with ADHD has is the ability to perseverate, to hyper-focus on an absorbing task, to the exclusion of almost all else. Great things can be accomplished, and learning can be in-depth when focus is that extreme. But at a time in life when a child’s schedule is entirely determined by others, that focus becomes a problem.
      ASD is such a varied challenge, I can’t generalize with the same assurance, but you point out significant advantages: Learning sticks, behaviors don’t require constant reinforcement once learned, retention is phenomenal.
      Good on you and that early instructor for playing to strengths and appreciating them.

  5. I love to do word searches. I find it relaxing because I can’t seem to focus on my problems AND find all the words at the same time.
    The fastest I’ve ever completed one was probably 15 words is 3 minutes.
    I’m pretty good at them.

    • This book had me stumped for a while, Carol, because Charlotte and Sherbourne were both such stubborn, principled people…. and so in love. Fortunately, the blue bird of plot inspiration landed on my shoulder in time, because I was worried!

    • I hope you do take those lessons. I’m no good at visual arts AT ALL, but if you have the talent, those lessons will send you miles ahead of where I could ever aspire to be–and you’d have fun getting there, while I’d regard the whole business as frustrating.

  6. I love baseball, always have since watching my beloved Chicago Cubs on my 6 inch black and white TV in my bedroom, while my mom took a nap from raising 7 kids with only 9 years separating us. I am a numbers person, and baseball stats such as rbi’s, on base percentage, strikes/balls, pitch counts, you name it, I love it. I AM A BASEBALL NERD and I am proud of it.

    • I just saw somebody post this week: Pitchers and catchers report in two weeks! I could feel his joy in the upcoming season, and there will be another post: Pitchers and catchers report!
      And you will have another season of numbers to frolic with.

  7. Gardening love plant flowers.yes there is away to improve with more time energy and effort to keep it weeded so you see the beauty of my backyard.

    • I’ve come late to this one, but I love flowers, and regard the pleasure of planting them to be one of the primary justifications for having a two-acre yard. It’s snowing here today, but on the next mild afternoon, I have another 100 bulbs to stuff in the magical ground, and I will be so happy doing that.

  8. The gender gap is very real. When my son was in preschool, he answered a questionnaire about his parents’ likes and dislikes. When he was asked about our hobbies, he had a mile-long list of his dad’s hobbies, but my hobbies were “doing laundry and falling asleep on the couch while watching Thomas the Train.” I also realized that after a decade of being in school, working 60+ hours a week, and raising a newborn and a toddler, I couldn’t even remember what I liked to do for fun or to relax. It took awhile for me to get reacquainted with my likes, dislikes, and hobbies, but I’m finally at a point where I know what I like and have some time in which to do those things. Reading, baking, and outdoor walks are the things that will always bring me joy, but I’m always up for trying something new!

  9. My experience with this is how hard it is to realize what it is that you actually do well. It took me until a few years ago to finally realize what it is that I do well – composing, arranging, singing with the harp. These things coms so easily to me that I never really realized their value. They seemed so easy, I just though everybody could do them. When I finally realized that these abilities were actually my own special gift, I finally began to value what I can do. I am amazed at how this brought out confidence, purpose, focus in my life that had never been there before. Of course, I wish I had realized all this about 50 years sooner but better late than never. I am now using these talents, these gifts, full steam ahead every day and have never felt so happy, centered and “where I am supposed to be” in my life until now. We life in a culture that extolls book learning or athletic ability. Is that why it took me so long to realize my own talents? I don’t know. I only know I am so grateful to be on the right path with my life at last!

  10. I love to write. Love it. Even the editing. I’m good at it and improving all the time. Trying my best to make it a priority.

  11. I work in banking so I am good with money. I can spot a counterfeit a mile away and I count fast. I enjoy working with money and helping people with their accounts. My true love is reading and I do it every chance I get. People think something is wrong if I don’t have my Kindle with me.

  12. It’s so difficult to look objectively at one’s self to identify strengths. I think some of it, for many is having been taught not to brag or rub it in when you’re better at something than someone else. I’m a great cook and I truly enjoy the process but I’m gone 12 hours a day and by the time I get home, my husband, (luckily for me he’s also a good cook and likes cooking), is usually either just finishing supper or ready to go out and grab a bite. I try to fit cooking a couple of nice meals in on my days off, but sometimes there are too many other things to get done.

  13. I’ve got a few things I can think of. One of them is martial arts. I’ve been doing it for fourteen years now. I really should try to spend more time helping teach at the school I attend; I’ve got the rank and experience. I tend to get nervous being front and center like that, but that’s just something to conquer.
    Then there’s creative stuff. I draw, I write- or rather, I used to. I just seem to hit walls now and over-think everything and have such issues getting started. I get ideas and spin my wheels because I have trouble with specifics and motivation. I have to find a way past this, but I just can’t think how, because I truly want to create again.

  14. I work in retail and putting together displays of items (that sometimes don’t go well together) in a visual pleasing way is something I’m really good at. It’s easy to say, but it’s my job, so I’m learning to take the compliments when they come because I know others struggle to learn this ease and ability to do it quickly to stay on top of projects.

  15. I love to read and do it very well. I am increasing my reading time everyday. I enjoy retirement immensely because it gives me more time to read.

  16. Something I like to do is make connections. It’s a little hard to describe but here’s an example: I belong to a service organization called Altrusa. A sister Altrusa organization in a nearby city had a project of setting up an elementary school library in an impoverished public school nearby. I asked the person who was leading the project about herself and her project. She was fascinating, an animated speaker who had dyslexia and didn’t learn how to read until she was 10. She went on to earn her PhD, became a librarian, and won a national award for her work with children’s literacy. Our Club was planning a District-wide conference and I asked if she would be willing to speak. She is African-American and one of my big desires is for our club to be more inclusive. I also wanted the rest of the District to think about how they could get involved in a small way with her library project. Well, she did a terrific talk her story at our Conference and I am just happy that I helped bring all of it together. Although I’m an introvert and it’s not natural for me, I started this networking thing when I became part of the BATS (Badass Teachers Association), an organization advocating for public education and social justice. This year I started a new position in my school district as a literacy coach. I work with many layers of our district structure, along with state supports, and two elementary school buildings. There’s a lot of connecting the dots there.

  17. Happy Sunday! I just reread your The Duke’s Disaster earlier in the week. It was a wonderful story about how Thea and Noah learned to communitcate and trust one another to reveal their love and appreciation for one another. They both discovered wonderful qualities about each other but also learned to appreciate themselves as well. Doing things well, I am a fast reader and I love to write letters. I am also a good listener and I think that I am empathetic. I love to learn too. Thank you for your many great books! Have a blessed week!

  18. Education is among the most important things we can do. I am 80, my mother was 92 when she died, she was born in 1912, I only give these numbers to illustrate how far ahead of the curve my grandfather was. He and my grandmother had 11 children, four of whom were girls. He made sure that each of the girls had a college education, his reasoning was that the boys could find jobs and support families but it would be more difficult for the girls. 2 of my aunt’s were teachers, the oldest declined college and became a cook, traveler, wife, mother, my mother was an accountant. As for the boys, the youngest was killed in world war ll,the brother a couple of years older was a contruction foreman who was killed when an iron beam hit his head, the oldest was a foreman in a steel mill,next , I am not sure, always wore a suit, Uncle Elmer was a policman, Uncle Clarence was a horse trainer (trained the show horses for HJ Heinz, the ketchup king the tack room was filled with the trophies the horses won) and Uncle Frank was a very successful farmer.probably more than you wanted to know and off subject

  19. As both my children are both gone to university, I have been focusing on redefining myself as me and no longer Mom. That is not to say I am no longer mom like I have always been me. Just a flipping of roles and priorities. I am discovering what I like to do and it’s kind of fun. When I went on a Kurt Cobain pilgramage, my son in a very exacerbated voice “You don’t even like Nirvana!” My reply “how do you know when I don’t even know”.

    I like to discover and I am trying dailyvto do more.

  20. I am good at reading, proofreading and crafts! lol! Kind of a detail freak! I would LOVE to do more of any and all!! But our son & crew moved in and absolute chaos has erupted in our house!

  21. I’ve discovered that I love to write fiction, and wish I had more time to do it. The more I do it, the better I seem to get. The only way to do more is to find more hours in the day, unfortunately. I’ll have to wait until I can comfortably retire to really be able to dedicate serious time to writing.

  22. Read. I do that best. I once remembered the books better than now, I have to look at this as a good thing, I’m able to enjoy them with a fresher attitude when I reread. I do reread. I’m on books I first bought in 2006 and it is a treat right now.

  23. I love stories with “rogue ” in the title. I know they’ll be good! Also by Grace Burrowes, guaranteed to be a must read.

  24. I would love to do more with my knack for paper arts. It relaxes me and perlite seem to like my cards. It is finding the time and the energy to do it more.

  25. My favorite thing that I love to do is cook. One day I hope to write a cookbook for single people. So far I’ve only found what I consider one such cookbook that I consider worth buying.

    At one point I was studying for a Culinary Arts Degree at a local community college. Now that my RA is under control I’d love to go back and probably would if I could find somewhere to live within walking distance of it.

    I’m so looking forward to this book and the others to follow. And a signed copy would be a wonderful thing.

  26. Yes, I agree with you. When you can use your strengths in your everyday life, it is so validating. When you know that you know something, deep down, and don’t need anyone else to substantiate it. Makes a world of difference.

  27. I’m able to break information down into concepts that work for my audience – kids, parents, colleagues, strangers –
    It’s the traditional gift of gab with a bit of chameleon overlaid on top.

  28. I love to make quilts and I think I’m pretty good at it. I could do more of it if I could only get my sewing room organized. It seems that every time I get into working in there, life intrudes. The best way I can think to fix this is to schedule an appointment with myself to get the work done!

  29. I love to make treats for my friends; homemade caramels and pies (both from scratch) for the most part. I come from a long line of “down home” cooks/bakers, so I learned from a very young age to make sweet deliciousness for all occasions! I wish I had more time to spare for making goodies, but alas, goodies don’t pay the bills. Thank you for the opportunity to win, and all the best to you and yours!

  30. Right now I’m trying to be better at organizing everything. Moving in 6 months and trying to sell 1,000 cookbooks and other parts of my library. I love to read and have all of your books on my keeper shelf! 🙂

  31. “What do you do better than anyone else,” was an interview question once upon a time. My answer was “Untangle gold chains.” My father owned a drugstore. They saved me the knotted chains to untangle.

    In a larger sense, I am curious. The internet has become a good friend. Sometimes I’ve even been paid for finding a birth sibling, or the heir to an estate. Often it’s just vocabulary. Grace, you introduced me to “egregious.” “Rigwelter,” “cat tax” and “nerfed” are some of my new words.

    And, yes, it makes me happy. Now, if I had paid subscriptions to some of the sites I can’t access… but no one would ever see me again, and there does need to be balance!

  32. My one strength is that I am a very detail oriented person. Some would say I have OCD. It comes in handy on my job. I hang price tags and signs for a supermarket chain. Most of my co-workers find it tedious but I love it.

  33. I love to travel, and planning trips for me and family or friends is something I am particularly good at. My husband has suggested that I take this skill and become a professional planner, but I believe the joy of planning trips would soon become drudgery. I look forward to reading your new book and hope that I get picked for a signed copy!

  34. I love to read and do it well! I wish I could make a living reading. Something I am not perfect at but do preatty well is treat other people fairly (and take care of people I care about – yes very much a gender roll). Because I manage to treat my team well, they are happy working for me. Last year I was the only manager out of 14 whose entire team said they were happy working at their store and had no plans to move on. I’m pretty proud of that.

  35. I love to take pictures. If I could I would do it all day. I am rather good and since I have no confidence when I say this I know it is true.

  36. Thank you for this post, Grace. I have what some of fandom friends call a “competence kink” — as in, I love love love reading about characters who do things well and are (usually) unapologetic about it, and also when their men understand that they have been made to feel unwomanly, freakish, etc. through much of their lives because of it. There’s a scene in Nora Roberts’s HEAVEN AND EARTH where Mac tells Riley that she’s not a freak, she’s a miracle, and I melt, and the same thing happens whenever I reread Lady Louisa’s story and Joseph repeatedly demonstrates how he _gets_ her.

    As for my own strengths: (1) I’m a fine utility singer. I can cover most parts except for bass and higher-end soprano, sight-read fairly well, and don’t care if I’m next to someone singing the same part or not, so ensemble directors can put me anywhere and switch me at a moment’s notice for balance. I showed up to a sacred harp session this afternoon where I sang the soprano line by myself for two hours, what with a number of regulars away/ill. Wouldn’t want to do that all the time in that genre since community is key, but it was nice (after having been on the fence about going — the temptation to stay home and nap was mighty strong) to show up and provide some soar.

    (2) I’m a fine English country dancer. Many others have (much) more experience, and I screw up a-plenty, but I also have grace and good timing and — even more important — I try to truly partner my partners, and I have been rewarded a number of times both with people showing eagerness to dance with me (which is *immensely* satisfying after having been mocked in grade school for my lack of coordination and social nous) and with that pleased, almost-stunned glow of happiness I’ve seen on some people’s faces when they’ve gotten to experience a dance where _everything_ is fully in sync — when the music and movement and eye/hand contact are so in tune that the sweetness and intensity possible within the dancing just _blooms_.

  37. I am very good at giving people a safe place to discuss their problems. I do it quite a lot because I am homeschooling my 4 youngest and my husband works from home a great deal. Also, I negotiate A LOT. I’m really good, but I’m also really tired.

  38. Having lived as long as I have has made me realize that despite being strong in accomplishing many things well, when I come to love something that I do well, the impulse to take it further mostly results in re-direction and loss of effort. “I’ve learned that, now put it on the shelf to admire, but do not risk further development. You might fail.” I can learn almost anything (except math!) but got poor grades because of failure to finish assignments. I taught myself photography well enough to become professional, but backed off working in photography because of self-doubt and lack of follow-through. I learned early how to write in many genres, but failed to finish or follow up on efforts. I can draw and paint, but mostly ignore it. I have been a good cook for years, and even taught cooking, but mostly use the microwave! Gardening is a passion–but I still kill plants by neglect. I can do most needlework–crochet, knitting, needlepoint, cross stitch, crewel embroidery- and fortunately, am still doing it daily. I guess I am a classic quitter!

  39. My friends often joke that I am a past master – or should I say mistress – at reinvention.

    The hard knocks of life, the challenges of breaking through every conceivable glass ceiling, have taught me how grateful I am to be born female.

    I have a strength that I never imagined I possessed when I was 10 or even 20.

    I have seen many male friends and colleagues fall victim to stress and angst, while the women in my circle keep going through illnesses, both their own and in the family, passing of loved ones, unfairness and downright victimization at work place – difficulties galore – soldiering on with grace.

    Books have been a friend when none other was around, historical romance my escape when day to day life was distinctly lacking in magic.

    With a passage of years has come peace. External irritants rarely bother me any longer. This acceptance of myself as a woman and being thankful for the challenges in my life has allowed me to relax and enjoy life more.

    Thank you all of you brave women out there who have been friend, inspiration or author of my daily fix of romance. ❤

  40. I don’t know about it being a gender thing. I think a lot of men drag themselves to work everyday and work late and travel for business in order to keep their jobs to provide for their families, not because they enjoy it. At least my husband does, and his friends do. They also need to be reminded of their strengths and they don’t hear praise often enough. I’m pretty sure it’s universal.

    Also, I LOVE bunnies! So I enjoyed your post double this time 🙂

  41. I’m retired. I love to cook now! But I don’t like typical breakfast foods so I don’t cook breakfast. I could look for recipes that appeal to me and cook those.

  42. I’m a great problem-solver, knitter, and “critter-whisperer”; it is my unofficial job to civilize any and all new barn cats. I really do love doing all of those tasks.

  43. Everywoman I know could build a list of her 10 weaknesses and 30 seconds flat a list of strengths might take a month. But some of those “witnesses” are necessary for us to be who are. The trick is to fix what should be and retain an honor what’s and inherent part of each of us.

  44. Early in my working life, I was uncertain about what path to follow; we liberal arts types don’t have a clearcut road to success awaiting us. I soon realized that something I loved to do, writing, seemed to be a skill that was needed in the workplace, and I have since parlayed it into a lifelong career. Although I’ve had to re-invent myself several times (business writer, journalist, PR professional), the writing I love has always been the skill that allowed me to do so. Doing something you love makes work a pleasure.

  45. I enjoy problem solving and putting people together that can help others provide resources to solve problems or help one another. Did this a lot on the last two jobs I had before I retired. I realized that it was a common thread throughout my career and in life as well. Often people don’t realize the resources they have available near them nor do they think creatively in solving a problem. Sometimes we resist the harder solutions. Although I helped a friend recently with ideas last week for raising funds for an event he’s planning, I spend more time now working on Genealogical research on the family.

  46. Sounds like another great read Grace. Thanks for the opportunity. After my 7 children were grown with their own families I needed something quiet and relaxing. I found bit in reading. I’m a very fast reader and read constantly. It’s the relaxation that I needed after being a single parent for the most part. Enjoyed your post.

  47. I love to bake! As the oldest of seven children I helped my mother with my younger siblings
    Because I enjoyed baking and cooking I had fun!
    Now my grandchildren benefit!

  48. Aside from being a strong teacher and doing all the caretaker stuff for years, I have discovered that for myself, one of my guilty pleasure strengths, is that I excel at research across all kinds of fields and zeroing in and finding good authoritative and or decent resources and information sources that are credible and relevant. And I really enjoy it as a journey.

  49. I really enjoy grocery shopping because I get a cheap trill out of saving a little money. There’s no guilt afterwards either. Don’t know how I could do more of it though 😛

  50. I like to learn foreign languages and I wish I had taken more time to focus on that to become fluent in them. But I still dabble! I have a love for the English language and definitely take that into account with reading and writing. I love learning new words the Oxford dictionary is my favorite!

  51. Reading, obviously. And gardening–just a little, down by the front porch (I live in an apt). Last yr I counted over 100 cherry tomatoes growing in a space bout 5×5. I hope to repeat that this yr. Flowers too–and I hope to have more flowers this year. I have a bed of mint mixed in with cilantro. I plant jalapeno peppers every yr and end up with more than I can possibly do anything with. I’m aiming for lettuce this year in two planters. Reading–I have bookshelves full of books, stacks and stacks of books and kindle books on my computer. I’m a fast reader but have to read in snippets of time, here and there. Romance is my choice, but nothing modern.

  52. I have to admit that the thing I do well is to Read! That is no talent… It just means It’s the only thing i enjoy the most and it is a very solitary thing… I feel defeated somewhat. I also throw paing at canvas with not a very good atempt at talent…

  53. I love to build stuff, or make things. Pinterest is a friend of mine 🙂 I love taking something old and re-purpose it. My latest project was taking an old dresser and turning it into a new bookshelf. I like to think i’m pretty good at it.

  54. I seem to be really good at cooking. Not just anything – everything. I just put stuff together. My family sometimes can not believe it. I just whip things up. I can even bake. It’s really weird.

    Anyway, thank you for the chance.


  55. My best skill is smiling. I’ve been told so often by people I never would have thought even SAW me! So my goal is to smile with intention, with eye contact, and good will.