Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

August 18, 2008

One Little Word : 8 Month Update


[ kite flying in Gearheart : july 2008 ]

Each January for the last few years I have chosen a word that has been my focus for the upcoming year (here's the posts about my word for 2007 and 2008). The simple idea is that a single word can be powerful. It can bring about change, propel you forward, slow you down, help you focus, make a difference in your life, etc.

I usually take some time in the middle of each year (or a bit later) to reflect on my word and what action or inaction has come about since January.

My word for 2008 is vitality.

And just like most things in my life, it's a work in progress.

I chose this word thinking of it as a healthy word. I wanted something that could help me focus on eating better and exercising and living more healthfully overall. I struggle with this in so many areas: time, energy, motivation, etc. What I really want is to just feel good – strong and vibrant and open and full of life and not weighted down physically, mentally, or emotionally.

This week I am reconnecting with my word. I lost it there for awhile. Today I am thinking a lot about the daily choices I make regarding food and exercise and stress. I am planning meals. I am walking. I am making some additional work changes and adjustments (especially related to travel over the next year). I am taking action.

Focusing on vitality has an even deeper meaning and importance for me now with this new little person on the way. 

Back in January many of you shared your word for this year. Here's a reminder link to that list (and I am sure there are a few missing): 2008 list.

Have you done anything with your word this year? Has it faded into oblivion or lived near the surface or been on your mind daily? Has it impacted you one way or another? Do you need a new word or has a new one surfaced as the year has progressed? I would love to read if you are being challenged by your word or celebrate with you if you are having successes.


CHAT : Join me for a live online chat tomorrow night, Tuesday, August 19th at 6pm Pacific at Serendipity Scrapbooks.


  • 1.
    Susan said…

    I’ve kept my word–Simplify–going. As we face the back-to-school chaos, I’m trying to find ways to simplify that. Of all the things I’ve simplified (wardrobe, cleaning process, getting rid of stuff so I don’t have so much stuff to manage, etc) back-to-school is the hardest so far!

  • 2.
    SueB said…

    After reading your inspiring post back in January I chose the word “learn”. It has been a good word for me because I want – and need – to learn so many more things. I began a little journal, writing down all things I was learning but unfortunately I have forgotten to add new thoughts for quite some time. Thank you for the reminder and today I will spend some moments reflecting on what I’ve learned since my last entry in my journal. I’m glad to hear that you are beginning to feel better.

  • 3.
    Jingle said…

    It’s funny you should bring this up today. My word, enjoy, has been brought back to the forefront for me this week. I was reading in Ecclesiastes after our Executive Pastor preached from it last week and I have found that I LOVE this book. I know…a strange one to love, but it reminds us to really enjoy ourselves because that is all there really is. Reading this really reinforced my word for this year. Perhaps now I will get on making that canvas that I’ve wanted to do with one of the verses from Ecclesiastes as the focus.

  • 4.
    Linn said…

    It’s hard to focus on vitality when all of your life energy is being directed toward a new life inside of you! It’s always good to refocus, redirect, rethink things and priorities, isn’t it.
    My word is listen, and I’ve definitely been listening more to my inner voice. My focus was to listen more to myself, my body, my family, and others. I have done well with the first three but now need to focus on the fourth. Thanks for the reminder.

  • 5.
    misti said…

    Mine was explore. So far I have tried my darndest to keep up with it: I’ve been to Bolivia, taped a sphinx moth pollinating a ghost orchid at night in the swamp, broke out of my shell of hiding inside on the weekends and doing more outside, started a pushup program. Trying hard to keep exploring the outer bands of myself.

  • 6.
    Jenny said…

    Wow. So interesting you brought this up – I have been thinking about my word a lot recently! I do not scrapbook, but I do a lot of other creative projects that have been slowly becoming my livelihood. In January, I chose the word “Go.” A reminder to myself to keep going, push forward, keep doing these things that bring me so much joy. And then, I realized, my word should really be “joy.” I have found it in a totally unexpected way! I notice the word around me, how other people use it, how some people and places are devoid of it. It reminds me that I am blessed and lucky to be able to do something on a daily basis that fills me and helps me bring joy to others! The one project I completed that used the word was lifted from your butterfly punch project – you can see it here!

  • 7.
    Maggie said…

    Mine was related to vitality, but I captured it in the word PURSUE. It was taken from a verse in 2 Timothy 2:22 I ran across during church one day that tells us WHAT THINGS are worth pursuing to take me to that place of vitality: “pursue righteousness (which means right standing with God through Jesus and repentance), faith (pursue FAITH? I just thought it happened to you), love (pursue loving people…not just waiting for it to happen as they grow to be who I like!) and peace (pursue peace…I’ve given this one to my kids all summer “seek peace and pursue it”), along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (I need community around me pursuing the same goals to reach worthy goals!)
    Since, I reviewed mine last month and needed a kick in the tail. I’ve decided to walk and run with my son instead of griping about the hour delay between elementary school and middle school. I work on eating in spurts, but working on it…Weight Watchers has helped me realize where I’m sabotaging my best efforts. More whole foods, less sugar. SO hard to break! I’m currently in revolt stage, but I’ll get there.
    Also, I found another verse that related to the first in 1 Timothy. It says “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
    That one added the two directives I needed right now: endurance, and gentleness.
    Having the Word of God, his truth, blanketing my goals helps focus them, mold them, grow them. I so love the word of God! Can you tell?

  • 8.
    lori peuterbaugh said…

    my word for this year is gratitude. i have daily kept a gratitude journal and written down one thing daily that i am grateful for. sometimes, it seems hard to find a specific thing to be grateful for but then i realize that we have to get our focus off of our circumstances and see the things that we are to be grateful for. this journal will be a wonderful memorial of all of the many things that i have to be grateful for. many of the pages are cards, envelopes, etc. from friends that i have received this year.
    i also just recently ordered a sally jean charm with the word gratitude on it. i can’t wait for it to come and wear it as a testimony of the many things that i have to be grateful for.
    thanks for reminding of us of our word for the year.

  • 9.
    Bloomingayls said…

    I began my own blog with my simple word – focus. I loved reading the comments posted above mine; I share their comittment and can’t thank you enough for the idea. I have strayed a few days, but I keep coming back. If life is transitory and I think it is, your relationship to your word is constantly changing. We are all a work in progress.(LOL) I want to embrace my word and have it become an intergral part of me. The idea is to become a better person and it will take me to the next simple word; rewarding if you make time to do it.

  • 10.
    alexandra said…

    I bet you are thinking differently now with your little person on board – amazing how a baby can get you thinking about your life, your body and how you want to live!
    Thanks for reminding me about my word – I had definitely lost track of it somewhere along the way though living with ‘soul’ is something I think I try to do subconsciously. Thinking I need to re-focus and dig a little deeper.
    Thanks again,

  • 11.
    Lu said…

    Honestly, I can not remember what my word was. This has been a year of major trials and triumphs. Yet, one word resonates with me and simply demands to be honored. My word for the rest of the year is Connect.
    I was invited to speak at BlogHer this year about Beautiful Blogging and Positive Posting. I went to this conference across the country knowing no one, yet I left having made so many…connections. Women who touched me deeply with their writing, their words and their spirits. I found myself coming back to center…connecting with my Spirit. Feeling whole from the inside out.
    My word is Connect. I honor it everyday as I honor myself. I honor it when I post to my blog and the message resonates with someone enough to make them want to try their hands at art and photography. It is as simple as that. Connect.

  • 12.
    Pam said…

    My word is organize. While I have struggled with this throughout the year, I have taken some concrete steps to improve. And I have another one planned for the next two months. Life seems to have a way of putting roadblocks not of our own doing in the way of progress. Perhaps my word for this year needed to be flexible.

  • 13.
    Jennifer said…

    My word was simplicity and I’ve been doing well with it. I’ve been trying to clean my house out and get rid of the extra junk I’ve had that is cluttering everything and making me stressed out. I’ve been doing the same thing with my scrapbooking as well. Just use what I have on hand instead of going out and buying new stuff that gets put away and not used.

  • 14.
    Jeanne Ann said…

    Enjoy is my chosen word for 2008. I have been able to remind myself daily that I need to find joy in my daily life. I am determined to enjoy everyday even if I don’t exactly accomplish everything that I thought I needed to. I want to enjoy my children more as they are growing way too fast and will be on their own in a few years. I want to enjoy my husband as it took so many years and 2 failed attempts at finding the happiness I know that I deserve. I am enjoying the little things that occur on a daily basis because they can be gone in a flash. I want to thank you so much for making me stop and think about myself and want better for myself. I find your art, words, life and creativity very liberating.

  • 15.
    Andrea said…

    I think about my word (challenge) a lot, but sometimes the motivation to really challenge myself to become a better person, to exercise, to move out of my comefort zone, and to really embrace life for all that it’s worth, is completly zapped. If I had known in January that the real challenge I would face would be getting up everyday and continuing to breathe I would’ve probably picked a different word. What I really need to do is learn to embrace the challenges that keep coming at me and challenge myself everyday to get up and get through it…maybe even with a smile.

  • 16.
    Susan said…

    My word was OPTIMISM. I made myself a canvas but was not satisfied with the outcome and passed it on to a friend instead. (She loves it by the way.) I had no idea how important my word would be this year.
    We moved from IA to TX. Let’s be optimistic that we will find a great house, a great school and new awesome friends. It turned out great! Then 2 weeks after moving into our house it was struck by lightening and severely damaged.
    Let’s be optimistic about a house fire. Is that possible? YES! Those great neighbors, that great school, all worked in our favor. We are now in a rental house that we refer to as our “vacation home” and the whole world lies before us. Our house was not a total loss, we are all safe, and we had insurance. We’ll be OK in the end. I am absolutely positive about that!

  • 17.
    Jenny Alfonso said…

    Thanks for the reminding! Mine was healthy and I was doing good for awhile but have recently been way off track. Today is the day to start exercising again for me. Thanks! I’m glad you are feeling better!

  • 18.
    Sue said…

    My word for this year is joy. I am keeping a ‘joy’ journal this year and making an effort to find something joyful for each day and so far, it’s working! I also set my New Year’s resolutions with that word in mind and have met 4 out of 5 of the resolution goals. The last one was to send each of my 5 grandchildren a card, postcard or a letter each month. I’ve met that goal so far but have 4 more months to go with that. Thank you for your wonderful ideas and for pointing me in the right direction the last couple of years.

  • 19.
    Celisa said…

    though i didn’t write in on yours or andrea’s post about it, mine was TRUTH…living my life my way, expressing myself and letting the chips fall where they may. it’s a work in progress. i’m much more patient because i am working and creating in a way that is true to who i am and what i think life is about. thanks for reminding me to refocus.

  • 20.
    sara said…

    My word was MAINTAIN. It’s a bit of irony because I have a painful and progressive disease so maintaining is impossible health-wise, but my goal has been to maintain my positive outlook, hope and calm in the storm. My health has gotten worse, but keeping my focus mentally and spiritually has really worked. I loved your concept at the time, and I love it even more than it’s worked in my life. Thanks.

  • 21.
    dawn said…

    My word is trust. I am working on letting go…of control that leads to anxiety, which I have struggled with, but am getting better…My word helps to remind me to stay on track…let go and trust the process…And yes, I forget a lot…But it seems something always pops up to remind me…lately, art pieces on etsy that have focused on the word trust…I do pages in my art journal…look at my rock that has the word trust carved in it…etc…

  • 22.
    tchrtiff said…

    My word is FUN. I tend to be serious and at times uptight so I decided to add more fun to my life–be a fun mom, fun wife, have fun with friends, etc. So far I’ve been doing pretty well this year. I shared the concept and my word with my hubby so he’s really been a great supporter of me being more fun. All around it’s made for a happy home here. Thanks for the inspiration, Ali!

  • 23.
    Sandy said…

    I also chose a word for this year, “fulfill.” I posted last week about the necklace I got from Lisa!
    I am also trying to decide if I am actually going to get a tattoo to memorialize this year as well. It would be little and discreet, but I would know it was always with me. I don’t know if it is just because this is my first year choosing a word or what, but I feel very connected to it.
    I chose my word because I want to do more to fulfill myself. I find myself focusing so much on the needs and desires of others that I wanted to truly decide what fulfills me. It has been a slow process throughout the year, but I think I am really making progress.

  • 24.
    Aubrey Raney-Avers said…

    My word was play, and I’ve noticed recently that a new word has emerged. Brave. Wow–so many things I don’t do that I would if I was brave. So I’m changing my word, and daily asking myself “What would I do if I was brave?” and making myself do it. It’s scary (can I say that if I’m brave? :) )!

  • 25.

    I missed the word thing, the first time around, but how about, “focus”? That could mean focus on family, life, fun, faith, etc, and so on. I want to focus more on the things that mean the most to me. I want to focus on the now.

  • 26.
    kris said…

    “Believe” was my chosen word, & while it was difficult to settle on just one word, I am confident now that it was not a “fluke” that this was my word. I did a twist on your Christmas 2″ square paper picture (how’s that for a description?!). I used 2″ sq. papers & then used chipboard to spell my word out & have it framed in my bathroom where I see it every day getting ready for the day. It has absolutely been a grounding word for me. I have used it time & again this year. My Mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor & there was much uncertainty, but the happy news is it was benign, is now removed, & I desperately “believed” all would be well. I also don’t think it’s a fluke that I returned to church as well. Most definitely the traditional “Believe” & then of course, I focus on it as a “Believe in myself”. It was the perfect word for the way my year has turned out thus far. Thank you for sharing!

  • 27.
    Colette said…

    FAITH is my word this year- and I have needed it…. more than I realized even in January. I thank you for inspiring me to take on a word for the year. I know that it is a small but positive thing I can do in my life, and I’m getting excited to think about next year’s word!

  • 28.
    jkhenson said…

    My “one little word” was Faith. I have been working on reconnecting/digging deeper, etc. I have been reading the Bible daily, for starters, and my family of four was baptized together last weekend! :) A huge step of faith for all of us!

  • 29.
    Steph H said…

    My word and I are fighting. It’s hard to be finding “bliss” when this infertility journey is taking so much out of me. Just trying to be happy in the here and now.

  • 30.
    Tara said…

    I live with my word every day. My word for 2008 is CHANGE. See I am going through a divorce and I’ve had to handle a TON of things changing. I even bought one of ooh I can’t think of her name. But you posted about her necklaces earlier in the year,, anyhoo,, I had her stamp a tag with the word CHANGE and I wear it everyday around my neck to remind me that change is in fact OK,,, it’s fine. Actually compared to how my life was one year ago,,, change has been wonderful. Thanks Ali,, your one suggestion to pick a word has helped me in a HUGE way.

  • 31.
    Deb Long said…

    I chose the word REACH. It has been a touchstone for me all year – motivation to try for things I might not otherwise. And so, two weeks ago, I gave notice at my job to try something entirely different, something that I’m hoping will allow a realignment of my time and the ability to be present much more for my family. So even though I don’t like changes much, I just take a deep breath and whisper ‘reach.’ Thanks, Ali.

  • 32.
    Ange said…

    My word this year was “BLOOM”. I wanted to inspire myself to open up and grow. But over the year I have come to realise I don’t really know exactly which way I wanted my life to go, what I should be focussing on, what exactly I should nuture.
    So I have taken a step back and decided that my word is now “LISTEN”. To myself, my body, my family. I need to cultivate a life that has space so that I can hear myself think. This word suits my life as it is now and focussing on it will give me the information that I need to grow.

  • 33.
    Teresa said…

    My word is “accomplish”. And I’m glad you wrote this post because frankly, I had forgotten all about it. So its good to regroup and reflect with it now that summer is winding down. Things have changed in my life since January in ways I never expected. But its funny though…even though I wasn’t conciously thinking of my word, especially this summer, I still “accomplished” alot. Just in ways I never expected.

  • 34.
    D said…

    Sadly, with my word, I am still at the same spot. My word is “transformation.” I have tried but it seems the devil (or something pretty close to it) gets in my way. I have desire to accomplish transformation. I wish I knew how to get started on it. I sat and read all of the comments and felt something so strong come over me. It just reminded me of all the wonderful people in this world and how important our words are. Good luck to everyone who is living it/attempting to live it!!

  • 35.
    Amy said…

    My word for 2008 has been HOPE. i actually meditate on it almost every day, which calms me down and makes me feel better.
    You see, my sister is going thru a very ugly & bitter divorce. It is such a terrible situation that i sometimes worry about what could happen to the point that i nearly have a panic attack, but i stop myself by breathing deeply and thinking about hope. All the hope i have for her and her 2 little girls. All the hope i have that they will not only survive this, but thrive. i feel so much better just repeating, “hope”. She is so much stronger than anyone thought she was. It will be okay, and then it will just get better. It already is getting better.
    Because i have hope. Thank God for HOPE.
    Thank you for letting me share about my word. It has been a wonderful word for me this year.

  • 36.
    Jeannie said…

    A friend once told me there is a difference when you ‘accept’ or ‘embrace’ a situation. When I replied about how challenging it can be for his sister-in-law to accept her son who is having a problem with sexual identity. So in 2008, I choose EMBRACE. I really took what he said to heart – wondering how my children will turn out. I’ve been living every moment to accept what we do on a daily basis. Rather than be upset that my son ran over his cell phone, I took that opportunity to teach him a lesson. Rather than be angry when my 4 year old daughter wets her bed in the middle of the night (that glorifying 2am to clean up the mess), wash her up, clean up her bed, and find that opportunity to have her sleep with us in our bed. My husband and I do not plan on having any more children. This is it. This is the last time we’ll have to clean up her bed at 4 yrs old. We are embracing every moment

  • 37.
    Michelle D in OR said…

    My word is organization. I scribbled it on a notepad and used a magnet to attach it to the fridge. I hired a professional organizer and she is helping me corral my craft room. This process is taking a lot longer than I anticipated, but the results so far are nothing short of amazing. I am finding the basic principles she is teaching me are spilling over into other rooms, my workplace, and my way of being.

  • 38.
    Lisa said…

    Well I was just thinking about my word “TRUE” a couple days ago. I haven’t done much with it…other than I believe I have tried to stand up for me in what I know is true, to speak up when Truth needed to be said.
    Many times throughout this year I’ve thought of what almost was my word “FOCUS”. I’ve had to just focus alot. I’ve thought that it really should have been my word, but TRUE is just so good too. Lots of growth in both words.

  • 39.
    janine said…

    There is definitely something about this time of year – the iminent new beginnings of a new school year that always excites me. I really lost sight of my word, simplify, for a few months. But after a week on the north coast of Ireland in torrential rain I was forced to find comfort in the simple things. It was just what I needed before I head back to life as a teacher and budding photographer with a major show looming! Gave me the chance to slow down and remember that the simple things are the things that matter – family, sharing good times, enjoying the little everyday details. I am encouraged to simplify my life again for the remainder of 2008 – should be interesting to see how that works out in the crazy run up to the holidays!!

  • 40.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. As the new school year begins, I need to constantly remind myself of my word: BALANCE. I haven’t been doing a great job of balancing my work life and my personal life: work seems to win out since I have an overwhelming sense of responsibility for making sure that I educate all of the kids in my care. However, sometimes I have to remember that it’s also about me. Your post helped bring this point back… I’m going to try creating some more balance signs (and posting them in prominent places in my life so I can remind myself of my OLW daily).
    Two Writing Teachers

  • 41.
    Sara said…

    My word is cultivate, I chose it to remind myself to learn and grow this year. The goals I had in mind with the word (gardening and digital scrap booking) have…well…slipped by. I’ll start again with my attempts to figure out the digital world and next year I’ll plant more but I’ve had a new baby this year so I’ve been cultivating our relationship and the relationship between her and her big brother. I can’t wait to see how much you enjoy your new little addition!! Thanks so much for helping me to learn about the fun of digital scrap booking and sharing all of your inspiration. AND How fun that it’s a whole family affair with your sister expecting too!!

  • 42.
    Tracey Holdyk said…

    I think about my word often and to help I did a 12×12 page (a piece of art really) that hangs in my office to remind me. I love having something that is for me only and something that I can work towards and focus on. It is hard work sometimes but hard work never hurt right! I also love the challenge it brings everyday. Thanks for the inspiration. Oh and my word by the way Vitality. Tracey

  • 43.
    Brenda said…

    I had the word pause. Wrong word. I fell, had to have back surgery then got a staph infection. I didn’t get to graduate with my nursing degree. So…..
    Choose your word carefully.

  • 44.

    mine was “fear less” and i’m not sure if i have followed it or not. i made a cover page for my frankin planner with that phrase, but i don’t always see it every day. i do think this has been a great year, so far. both my girls are in school and that has given me more time to work on my photography business. i’ve started reading books again. so while i’ve progressed, i don’t know if i’ve actually reduced my fears…

  • 45.
    Jennifer K said…

    I loved your idea of having a special, meaningful word when I read the original blog entry. But nothing came to me. I figured it would come when it was ready, I wouldn’t need to go looking for it. I have *just this week* figured out what my word is! I won’t be changing it at the year’s end, I’m keeping it until I need a different one. :-) Thanks for encouraging us to be more aware, otherwise, I might have just let the thought be temporary and not latched onto my word and made it mine!

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