Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

June 29, 2009

One Little Word : Mid-Year


My word for 2009 is nurture.

I am nurturing a young boy's love of Star Wars & leogs &
reading & Harry Potter. I am nurturing an inquisitive mind by answering a lot of awesome seven-year-old questions about the way in which our world works. I am nurturing his social skills as I encourage and model and role-play.


I am nurturing a baby girl's enchantment with the world around her. I am nurturing her physically as I nurse her and emotionally as we engage in all that great mama-baby bonding. I am nurturing her natural rhythms and helping her adapt to life in our home.

I am nurturing my relationship with Chris as we navigate the waters of being busy parents (with passionate professional lives).

I am nurturing myself as a second-time mama with as much patience as I
can muster. I have been taking things slow and focusing on the projects I
think are most important and letting the rest go. I am trying to live
fully present in this season of my life without hurrying on to the
It's a minute by minute choice.

I am finding that a lot of my creative energy is currently going into
my relationship with my kids. I feel really good about this. Life with two kids is a very creative
endeavor. Creativity in focus, in juggling, in entertaining, in attitude, in setting up a day that
is "full of life" for each of us. To me "full of life" means a
combination of healthy things: play, rest, work, nutrition, etc.

I may not be producing as many layouts and projects right now as I have in the past, but I am exactly where I want to be in terms of being available & active in the lives of my children.


How are you and your word getting along this year?

Did you write anything about your word back in January that you can review now? One of the reasons I love having a blog is being able to go back in time and see what was documented. Reading what I wrote then vs. how I am feeling today is a gift to myself.

Don't feel bad if you haven't really connected with your word this year. It's been my experience that some years I have a strong connection with my word and others not so much. Have you really given your word a chance?

Take some time today to reflect or reconnect with your word. Consider posting an update on your blog or here in the comments.


  • 1.
    Jacky Carter said…

    Great timing, Ali! Last night I had the urge to revisit my word because I’d been thinking (for months) how it wasn’t right for me any more. My new word feels like a much better fit:

  • 2.
    Carole said…

    I loved reading how you are nurturing yourself and those around you. My word for the year is strength. I’m finding it difficult with all that is happening in my life at the moment. Some days I know I have the strength and other days it is all gone.

  • 3.
    Kristisb said…

    Thanks for the inspiring post (as always). I just had to comment that the picture of Anna is adorable, but what really caught my eye were her little curled toes…SO CUTE! Love it when I get a picture with that kind of detail that I wasn’t trying for, or didn’t even notice when I took the shot. Your devotion to your kids is inspiring and their happiness is so evident in your pictures.

  • 4.
    jkhenson said…

    My word has been put to the test. I chose peace this year. Working on having peace and not worrying was my big goal. I have been successful in some areas, but not others. It is a continuing process for me. :) I am working on having peace with what comes our way… Thanks for being inspiring! :)

  • 5.
    sharna said…

    When I chose my word “calm” I was expecting a challenging year with BIG changes and knew I needed to be the calm that kept normalcy alive in our family. What I did not know was just how BIG (and even devestating) those changes and challenges would be. I’m so thankful I started focusing on “calm” way before I needed to draw upon it in a big way. I had amassed some thoughts in a journal and quotes too and I have again and again found comfort there.

  • 6.
    soulemama said…

    Oh, Ali. I am loving your words today about your word. What a perfect choice that was for you this year. You’re nurturing beautifully. xoxo.

  • 7.
    Loretta Artful Yogi said…

    Oh, gosh. I will have to track back to remember my word! I remember last year’s but not this.
    i love how you admit to taking more energy to nurture your family. Good for you. I often am amazed at how you can complete so much with two little ones in the house. Those lists of layouts will be there when the two little ones are off at school.

  • 8.
    Betheroo said…

    My word for this year is open, and I have been trying to be open to new experiences. I also try to be open in my thinking and not make snap judgments.
    On another note, I wish I had been able to slow down more and live in the present when my children were young. I was not as aware as you seem to be and I admire your maturity in doing this and not getting lost in the day to day craziness of rearing children!

  • 9.
    janaina said…

    My word was beginning, and indeed has been so many beginnings for me, you made me reflect and write this on paper, so I can concentrate on my beginnings

  • 10.
    Allison Kimball said…

    Beautifully said Ali!

  • 11.
    Jenny C said…

    my word was serenity. although i haven’t made a conscious choice to put my word into action, it has been put into action none the less. i feel myself going with the flow more often. i am for sure that while i haven’t thought about my word since i chose it, it was the right word for me and for this year.

  • 12.
    Vintage Mommy said…

    Sweet sweet pictures.
    I didn’t choose a word in January, but I wish I had. I’d like to choose one now for the next half of 2009.
    I first thought of focus, but it’s too directive. Then I thought of balance, but I’ve settled on equilibrium – much more poetic!
    Thanks for this idea.

  • 13.
    Samara said…

    Wonderful thoughts, Ali. The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that people often don’t make a plan to come back to their goals, reassess and commit to making progress on them through the year. You coming back to yours is great reminder for me. I really enjoyed reading this post — lovely photos and all.

  • 14.
    Calli Taylor said…

    “Do” has been my one little word… and this year I launched my blog called “Make it Do” I have been focused on making and doing projects with and for my family. “Do” is about not being afraid of hard work. But I have tried really hard to work hard with purpose and focus on what’s really important.

  • 15.
    jakki said…

    ummmm I like your word…can I borrow it?

  • 16.
    Jen Davis said…

    Wonderfully and thoughtfully put Ali, this is what it’s all about really. =) Anna is just so sweet!

  • 17.
    Marla said…

    This sentence made me tear up: “I am trying to live fully present in this season of my life without hurrying on to the next.” The best parenting advice I ever received was from an elderly friend at my baby shower before my first was born. She said, “Don’t wish away the present age, phase, challenge, or joy. Savor each and every stage your children are in, while they are in it, because it all goes by so quickly.” I think of that often as I look at my two (now 11 and 7) and catch myself thinking about the next phase. There is always so much to treasure in TODAY. My baby girl is about to turn 8 and it seems like only yesterday that she was Anna’s age. Thank you for sharing your beautiful blog, and a peek into your life.

  • 19.
    rebekah said…

    But layouts and projects are how you make your money, right?
    I’m starting to notice a cycle with professional bloggers. At first, they give so much of their lives over to building their blog and readership, and then later in building relationships with sponsors. This all goes well for a time until, for whatever reason, the blogger needs to scale down and take part of their life back.
    All of the sudden, the bread and butter of their blog isn’t there like it used to be. The readership may get disappointed because they aren’t finding the ‘product’ they were initially drawn to, but no one can blame someone for wanting to devote more time to their family.
    My question though is this. I remember a post a long time ago where you said that you were motivated to create on a regular basis because that is how you supported your family. Now you are saying (and with good reason!) that you need more time for your children. But, if you’re running a business, as you said, how can you keep expecting people to pay you for what you aren’t doing anymore, or not doing with regularity?
    I think this is the difficulty with lifestyle blogs. The blogger wants to make money off of what is basically their personal life, turning their day to day life into a business, but they still want to be able to take a break or just slow down whenever they want to. I don’t think any other kind of business could survive with that kind of business plan.
    In the end, can a balance be found? For the blogger? The readers? The sponsors who are expecting the blogger to use their products and talk them up on the blog?
    Maybe the greater focus of your blog from now on won’t be on projects and will focus more on your personal life. I hope that readers and sponsors will feel comfortable making that shift with you as you have great talent and have really made a lasting impact on people’s lives.

  • 20.
    Casey M said…

    My word has taken on a whole new meaning. It is create, and originally it was chosen to inspire me to create more art this year, possibly even an inventory for a future Etsy store. After finding out that my son and I have Celiac, it has turned into creating a whole new way of eating and living for our family. Now that we can’t have gluten, I have to create new menus, new recipes, new ways of eating, of viewing food. We are creating a new, healthy way of life.

  • 21.

    I did think of a word that beginning of the year, I did just recently create a family contract, our word? Go. Go outside and play in the sunshine, go for a walk around the block. We want to be able to do more and to enjoy our family. We get caught up in being tired and end of being lazy around the house. Now that’s it’s summer, we are focusing on going and doing and experiencing the blessing that God has provided for us.

  • 22.
    Sue said…

    Hope is my word for 2009. While our economy continues to be a mess, hope is what we have to hang on to. Hope was the word I used before our family vacation a couple of weeks ago. I was hoping that everyone would arrive safely and have a great time. Hope rocks! 16 of us in a mountain cabin for a week was a wonderful time. Hope is my anchor this year.

  • 23.
    Susan Westberg said…

    Hi Ali! My word for the year is BLISS. I find myself seeing the word while out and about every once in a while. I’ve definitely been connecting with my word this year … I’m doing things that are making me happy and not really caring what other people think. Sometimes it can be a challenge because of other people’s choices that don’t cause bliss in my life, but I try and center myself and bring positivity back into my life so bliss is what is being created!

  • 24.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Hi Rebekah – thank you for the thoughtful comments and for giving me the opportunity to clarify.
    From the beginning this blog has always been a mixture of personal posts & projects/layouts. At times it has been heavier on one end or the other, but both have always been present. It is continually evolving & shifting back and forth between the two.
    This blog continues to be a big part of the work that I do. My creative time is also spent making layouts for my monthly column in Creating Keepsakes (this past month I put together 14 layouts for an upcoming issue), designing digital products for Designer Digitals each week, and right now I am working on content for a three-month long class for Big Picture Scrapbooking.
    I think my comments today spoke more to an awareness that some of that same creative energy I have put into making pages in the past is now going into the raising of my children. I think that has always been the case but I am noticing it more now that I have two.
    I am definitely not stopping anything – just ebbing and flowing and continuing to move forward documenting & celebrating our lives.

  • 25.
    Elizabeth said…

    THANK YOU!!!! once again Ali. Reading your blog entry has made me take a step back and STOP. Through the rush of keeping the kids busy during summer break and the thought that I could use this time as a “catch-up” time to do all those things I wasn’t able to do earlier this year, makes me realize the importance of prioritizing and to “JUST BE”.
    My “to-do” list is so long and daunting, I feel overwhelmed. Thank you for reminding me yet once again to live in the moment and enjoy the little things! Have a great day!

  • 26.
    Wendy said…

    I actually have two words for the year: Live Simply. I am realising that life is too short to be complicated and focused on the future. I am still processing what that means for my family, but having that in the back of my mind has helped us to make family vacations a reality (and a priority) and deciding to keep our smaller house in lieu of a bigger one so we’d have more time/money to spend on each other instead of our stuff.

  • 27.
    cheryl yelverton said…

    My word was “SELF”. Being new to the “empty nest” I felt lost and deserted and found myself floundering like a fish out of water. I bought a framed doodle of my word (linked from you) and it sits in my studio where I spent 95% of my time. I asked 10 of my friends to send me “definitions of me” the way they see me for a journal and that was enlightening. I have scheduled activities for myself that did not include kids. I have attended GASC. I just got back from a weekend with Cheryl Darrow and Tim Holtz at Ten Seconds Studios. After 6 months of crying and pondering I am happy with where I am and realizing my “SELF”.

  • 28.
    marg said…

    I am so impressed with your thoughtful and thorough response, Ali, to Rebekah’s comment. You share so much with your readers, including your example of being true to yourself and your family. I appreciate your honestly and candor. Thanks.

  • 29.
    Lydia said…

    Thank you for revisiting your word! I’ve been thinking about mine lately, wondering if it really fits. I choose ‘courage’ and planned on taking on challenges and pushing myself creatively. I imagined myself learning to fly, so to speak. Instead I’ve been learning to look fear in the eye and creating anyways. Baby steps. Still hoping to fly a bit by the end of the year!

  • 30.
    Jeni said…

    Thanks Ali – It’s good timing for me to reflect on my word for 2009: ACT. I have been doing a lot of “taking action” this year and it is good for me to remember that because I am always down on myself for not getting enought done. In 2009 I have really gotten into actually scrapbooking instead of just collecting scrapbook supplies. I am getting married and trying to get pregnant (big big ACTS). I took a financial planning course. I connected with a bunch of local creatives. I started a serious exercise program. Thanks for the reminder Ali.
    PS – I am happy that you wrote about your creative focus these days (your children). I noticed that you haven’t been on your blog as much and I was hoping that you were doing something fun and satisfying (even though I miss you).

  • 31.
    Diane said…

    First, I can’t even remember what my word is/was. :-( I’m thinking it might have been patience. If that’s the right one then I’m not doing good at all. Thanks for the mid-year reminder!
    Second, PERFECT post! Sounds like you are right where you want to be and are loving it!
    Kiddos look adorable as usual.

  • 32.
    Marnie said…

    as with many others, I think your timing is perfect with this post. My intentional-ness has long disappeared back into the chaos of my life. I need to refocus adn redirect.
    I work a short week this week and then move onto vacation for three. A good opportunity to renew!

  • 33.
    Alison said…

    Perfect timing to come visit your blog today:) Thanks for the inspiration. Now to figure out just how to do that.

  • 34.
    Paula said…

    My word was/is professional. Of course I chose this before I knew I was going to be a mama again! While it’s been a struggle with all the restructuring and mistakes made around the workplace, I’m overall pleased that I’ve been able to make this word mine.
    Thinking about another word for the second part of this year…

  • 35.
    rebekah said…

    ali, thank you for your response! you are awesome! i really love your work, your vision, everything. i’m glad you took my comments as an honest inquiry, and not as an attack. i find the business end of the creative world to be fascinating, and since this is a somewhat new industry (as far as blogging goes), i take interest in seeing how things evolve.
    again, thank you so much. i was really looking for your views. thanks for taking the time to respond and answer my questions.

  • 36.
    darlene said…

    what a great post, thanks for encouraging thoughtful care of children and reflection!

  • 37.
    Jackie said…

    Oh Ali! As always…I love to visit your blog. You are truly an inspiration. My little word is “Hope” and it has helped me tremendously. I constantly surround myself with “Hope”. Thank you for inspiring us with “one little word”, and for inspiring us with “your world”! I have appreciated so much more since I started to visit your blog (Fall 08).

  • 38.
    Barbara said…

    Simplicity was my word for this year. I chose it as I was getting ready to come home from a 6 month deployment. Although, I experienced several new and demanding activities while deployed my life was simple. Now home with a full time job, two beautiful boys and a wonderful husband I find it a daily struggle to simply live.

  • 39.

    I love that you remind us about our yearly words! I decided to repeat my word from last year (create) since I didn’t do as much creative stuff last year as I wanted to. Guess what? Reusing it again has really made all the difference! I finally finished my book, “Dirt and Sunshine” and got it printed, now it’s on Amazon! So there is much power in focusing on a word. The past few months are a testament to that for me! I would love to send you a complimentary copy (for you and your family) if you wish to contact me offline. There is a section about ‘living in the moment’ that I feel will resonate after your post today. You are always such a breath of fresh air and it’s a pleasure to visit your blog!
    All the best
    Kathy Besser

  • 40.
    Dee said…

    Ali – Can I pick a word mid year?! My word today is JOY. As a frequent reader of your blog..(but a very infrequent poster of comments!) I have to tell inspire me…in many different ways. You seem to balance everything so well. I am inspired by the way you create. The way you love what you create. The way you nurture your children. And your husband. I love the way that everyday life is reflected in your blog. And I love the way you share that you are many things. A wife, a mother, a woman, an artist. I am amazed by very few people…you amaze me!
    Today I had week 12 of a 12 week chemo treatment…There were days I didn’t think this day would get here!! Reading your blog really was calming for me…just that you are living life with a joy that is clear in your pictures and your postings. Thank you for sharing your world, your talent, and your own inspiration with all of us. I hope to continue to find joy in the little things..because after all…that’s what really matters.

  • 41.
    Sarah George said…

    Love the post today Ali!
    Thanks for revisiting this topic because I never picked a word for the year and now I feel inspired to do so for the rest of the year. Don’t know what it’ll be but I’ll decide on one in the next couple of days.
    Thanks and so glad to see that your family is doing well.

  • 42.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Peace be with you Dee :) .

  • 43.
    Enjoli said…

    My word this year was Tenacity. Just like last years word (possibility) my whole year has worked really close to the theme of each respectively. Last year was full of possibilities that either blossomed or they didn’t, but they were there, and I embraced both outcomes. This year has really proven challenging which has meant I needed to call a lot on my tenacity to make it through. I can see where I need to be more tenacious no matter how uncomfortable or scared I might be to face it. And in other areas of my life I feel like my tenacity is record breaking. Thank you for all that you are, Ali. You have really made a wonderful mark in this world. Best wishes to you and your family!

  • 44.
    ACHA said…

    I´ve never thought about words but I would choose ENJOY. Enjoy life, time with my family, enjoy being healthy, having work… I really love reading about your kids. My little boy looooooves legos and Stars Wars too!!. Elena (Spain)

  • 45.
    Elizabeth said…

    Hi Ali, I’m not sure I have commented before but I am now. I just wanted to say that I had originally read about having an inspirational word on a blog called ‘Goodness’ as it’s a Japanese tradition to start the year with a word that has reflected or reflects the year! On re-reading Leslie’s post I realised you were the inspiration behind a new word for the year! I love it…So I Have adopted donethis process for the past three years. So my word that I chose for 2009 was & is GROWTH. It celebrates a great many changes that I was prediciting would happen, as it has happens 6 months later there have many significant changes in our lives that have stimualted ‘Growth’ and some of them most unexpected…it certainly has been an interesting and inspiring year to say the least and it’s only half way…I wanted to Thank you for your continual inspirational words on your family, creativity and balance of life work. Also echoed through your readers with some of their wonderful thought provoking responses made in relation to this post. I am constantly amazed at empowerment fo words!…thanks everyone. cheers, Lil

  • 46.
    Andrea said…

    My 2009 word is “Downsize”. Not just the amount of stuff that I have, but also my weight, my temper, my impact.
    I have lost 15 lbs this year taking pilates and a class through my local community college called “boot camp” and jogging. It has been so much easier than I imagined to muster up the energy to make it through a class. I’ve also downsized the amount of junk I eat, and by exercizing regularly, I’ve been less angry and sad, and I’ve learned to walk to the store rather than drive. It’s weird how changing one habit changes so many things in you life.
    Congratulations on doing so well with your word and for just having a beautiful family. Thank you for such an inspiring post.

  • 47.
    Samantha Piette said…

    Hi Ali! You have inspired me to blog about my word for this year, which is exactly what I did yesterday. My word is AWARE. Thanks so much for the CONTINUED inspiration! I may just have to turn this blog post into a scrapbook page!

  • 48.
    Meghan said…

    Ali, you are an incredible inspiration. I am new to your blog and new to all the creativity that abounds here… but thank you for sharing all of it. I figure that I still have time for a word in 2009 and I am going to pick it and scrap it today– mmmm… maybe that IS my word… TODAY… thank you for sharing with the world as you do!

  • 49.
    Katie F said…

    I didn’t pick a word this year, but, over the last several months, I believe it has picked me. Patience. After losing his job last year, my very brave better half joined the US Army at 37. He did end up working in another state for a time before leaving for basic training and AIT. We have spent more time apart this year than together and it has been really difficult. One month down, five to go. Patience.

  • 50.
    Laura Lee said…

    My word is Appreciate. I’m not sure I’m doing enough to appreciate what I have. So, I am trying very hard to be appreciative of a nice day, a chance to play with my dog or cat, and to help where I can. I am really trying to appreciate that I am alive and comfortable in my world.
    Things I really need to document. :) Have a great Day Ali and thank you for making me think about my word. Although Appreciate is my word, I’m still looking at last year’s word on my wall. Is it ok to use the same word next year? I really like LIVE!

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