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My One Little Word : Story

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Lovely word of the year necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs. Look for a giveaway from Lisa this weekend.

For 2010 I have chosen the word STORY.

Ever since I started scrapbooking back in 2002 I have been capturing life and telling stories. Over the years I have learned that for me, it is the words and the photos that are the most important parts of gathering and documenting our lives (vs. the products that make the albums pretty and the process visually creative).

The Yesterday & Today workshop I have been leading at Big Picture Scrapbooking for the last three months really solidified and increased my specific desire to get the most meaningful stories told. The preparations for that class and the resulting pages I created left a lasting impact on me.

One of the things I realized through the duration of that class is that I have so many stories I want to tell from the past and the present. Some are big and some are small; some detailed and some only faint memories. I don't feel anything but excitement when I think about working through the process of telling them. I am not upset that I haven't told them yet or worried that there are too many. I just want to make it a priority to get them recorded.

With all that in mind I am giving myself an assignment this year. I am going to aim for one layout (one story) told per week in 2010. Some stories will be long and some will be shorter but I am going to make the time to go through my list and proactively tell those stories that are most meaningful to me. I will be posting my layouts here weekly and will be inviting you to tell your meaningful stories along the way.

AE_Books


The other inspiration for my word this year are two books I have been reading over the last few months: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
by Donald Miller and Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story
by Christina Baldwin.

Both are all about stories: telling, listening, characters, sharing, living. 

Both have inspired me to focus more on the concept of story and what that means in the context of my work and my life.

The Storycatcher book has a really nice companion website here. This is a good initial read: Becoming A Storycatcher. You can find excerpts from the book here

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years has inspired me to look at my life differently. To literally see myself as a character in the story I am living and that I can make changes to impact the outcome of my own personal narrative. I think in some way or another I have always known this and lived this way at some level, but something in Donald's words solidified and clarified some things for me and has given me a new path forward - a new way to think about myself and my story.


One of the biggest things is that I have a couple threads in my own story that I would like to weave in a different direction. I hope to talk more about these storylines in the coming months as I begin writing & living new chapters for myself.

Story is a powerful word and concept. I am excited to continue investigating it throughout this year and throughout the rest of my life.

DottedLine


ONE LITTLE ACTION
One of the thoughts I had as I read the list of words (and the wonderful reasons and stories) over the last couple of days is that it's really not enough to just choose a word. Some sort of action is required to really make a difference. That action may be simply thinking about your word every couple of days. What sort of thing can you make or buy that will serve as a reminder to you? Here's a post from 2008 with a few simple ideas to get you started. I invite you to consider one action you will take related to your word: one little action to go along with your one little word.

EDITED: I just came across this really nice free download "Word of the Year Discovery Tool" from blogger Christine Kane. It's a worksheet for thinking through your word and essentially telling the story of your word. Totally recommended. This is a great action step.

Happy New Year! Peace and blessings to you and yours!

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110 thoughts

  1. amy tangerine says…
    12/31/2009

    inspiring. as always. thank you.

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  2. Julie says…
    12/31/2009

    Funny to read this post today. My daughter just sent in her final college application essay ~ the topic was Stories. It was so heartening to me that she seems to understand the power of story at a relatively young age, while I tend to take stories for granted. I'm thinking I may have to adopt STORY as my word for the year too. It is certainly a word which deserves some in depth reflection! Thanks for continuing to share your stories - both written and scrapped - with your blog readers!

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  3. Stephanie Wheeler says…
    12/31/2009

    Sigh. I saw Donald Miller last month at a conference and picked up his new book. I've been a fan for several years, but this book really hit a nerve in me. So I sent it to a friend for Christmas. I hope she loved it as much as I did.

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  4. Honore Francois says…
    12/31/2009

    On the subject of action for our OLW, readers may want to look at Leo Babauta's new blog: http://6changes.com/
    It deals with the practice of making or breaking habits, aka as " automatic actions."
    Leo is the author of Power of Less and Zen Habits blog: http://zenhabits.net/
    Thanks Ali for your continued inspiration in helping us all lead more authentic lives.
    Cheers~

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  5. Ali Edwards says…
    12/31/2009

    I love Leo - thanks for those links Honore.

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  6. Monica says…
    12/31/2009

    I decide to join you this year in embracing a word. I've picked "clean" as my word. As in a clean house and eating clean. Clean out the negative to make room for the positive. I'm looking forward to seeing were this will lead me. My small action was to get a magazine subscription to Clean Eating and getting some cookbooks with clean recipes.
    Have a wonderful New Year and I look forward to seeing your stories unfold!

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  7. Nicky from Canada says…
    12/31/2009

    Ali I must tell you your class was life changing for me - just being able to get started and the writing has brought me so much more depth - or maybe it is just getting the depths written. The writing seems so much easier now that I have started and your class was what I needed.
    Thank you so much for helping me with this process and always encouraging to go forward.
    All the best to you and your wonderful family in 2010.

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  8. pidgen says…
    12/31/2009

    I love that this has come at the end of your YT class. I really thought it would be fun to do a layout (class layout) using my word/phrase. So my "little action" was a natual extention of your class. Wow!
    I'm going to see about trying to find a why to condense my prase so that I can make a piece of jewelry (because my chances of winning are nil! LOL!)
    I've found passionatehomemaking.com to be a daily reminder of my phrase (graceful productivity).

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  9. Sharon F "Fletch" says…
    12/31/2009

    yes, I too, found your class part of my daily life. I thought about my stories in a whole new way as if they were really mine, not just a story to tell about someone else - disconnected emotionally. This was huge for me. Thank you for your inspiration. I feel honored to have been your virtual friend here and on FB and look forward to learning more from you and all the folks who comment and share. Cheers to a new bright and "clean" (love that Monica) year!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. christine says…
    12/31/2009

    This post could not have come at a better time, I have been doing a lot of soul searching the last few weeks and this post really solidifies that I am on the right path. Thank you for sharing all your stories and for being such an inspiration.

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  11. Allison Kimball says…
    12/31/2009

    Ali, I can hardly believe how this has grown. Everywhere I look (online) there you are and the "word of the year". It's wonderful!!! What an inspiration.

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  12. Jeni Barbas says…
    12/31/2009

    I also loved your YT class. I found that writing out stories was much easier than I thought it would be. I think the journaling on my older layouts was much less in depth because I was afraid to write more. Now I will have no fear! So looking forward to following along with you this year and see all the stories you document!

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  13. tracey says…
    12/31/2009

    brilliant ali, just like you. xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. christy a says…
    12/31/2009

    Story has always been important to me - especially to leave my girls. So I started about 3 years ago, at the end of each day (hopefully) i write a little story (keep a word document on my computer for the current month) about what we did that day, funny things said, new accomplishments. And at the end of the month - print it out and place it in a box for each child. This helps me go back and scrapbook things that have already happened (to remember the specifics of the story) and to remember my girls at each age. It works well for me. Thanks as always for the inspiration!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Solgunn says…
    12/31/2009

    On the subject of action - My word (focus) will be in my blog header, and serve as a constant reminder to live every day focused on my projects :)
    Happy New Year Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Susie says…
    12/31/2009

    I've had it in the back of my mind (for nearly a year now) to write down all those old stories. Both those that belong to me and older generations. I've just been overwhelmed at bit as to where I should start.
    Thank you for sharing your plan. I'm going to join you in simply telling one story...big or small...a week.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Geralyn Gray says…
    12/31/2009

    I woke up this morning thinking how I was going to start focusing on using my word AGAIN for 2010.....I really can't wait. I love how blogging really lets you take action and lets you work at your own rate and you have something to show for all your thoughts because it it documented.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Bethany says…
    12/31/2009

    i havent picked my work yet -- but WOW!!! I LOVE urs! & i love all ur reasoning! i love ur goal of 'telling' 1 story per week via LO - how neat!!!! i love it! i havent yet prioritized what my scrappy goals are gonna be this year -- but i sure hope i can do this right along with you!!! i think its a wonderful idea!!!
    thank u for all of your inspiration this year! u are so talented & I love reading ur blog & seeing ur beautiful creations!
    have a wonderful & safe new year celebration tonight!
    take care♥

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Katie says…
    12/31/2009

    Wonderful post, Ali. I can't wait to see how "story" plays itself out in your life this year. I loved A Million Miles, and may have to check out Storycatcher!
    Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  20. Ali says…
    12/31/2009

    I love that and think I will do that too :).

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Michele H. says…
    12/31/2009

    I love your word Ali!
    You're class at BPS has really inspired me to look at documenting my life differently as well! In the last month in a half, I have become overwhelmed with the amount of "stuff" that I have accumulated and as much as I love the products, I've truly loved the process of photo and words. I'm looking forward to seeing how this evolves for me creatively as well as following along with you weekly.
    Here is to wonderful happenings in 2010. Happy New Year to you, Chris, Simon and Anna!

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  22. Judith Kirk says…
    12/31/2009

    Happy New Year Ali! I woke early this morning and my first thought was new year new word. Last year I chose consolidate so I could build on the achievements of the previous year including improved health. This year I want to choose resilience. I need thicker skin sometimes and the courage to believe in myself and to keep going. So reslience is my word.
    thanks for sharing your story as always.
    Judith (Adelaide)

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  23. Karen says…
    12/31/2009

    I am looking forward to learning the role {story} has to play out in your coming year. Its interesting that you posted about action that must go with our one little words. The action is a good part of what I toyed with in my mind as I selected my word. And while I did not post specifics today when I shared my word and photo, I did solidify a couple of actions that I will be working on throughout the year. I have not done this before and thank you for sharing this. :>

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  24. peg risley says…
    12/31/2009

    Hey Ali! Have been thinking about my word for a few weeks...was going o choose control,, cuz I really need to get some control over most-if not all areas of my lif - house, clutter, weight, feelings... read Monica's msg - her word is clean....hmmm, maybe I need to rethink my word!

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  25. Cynthia Friese-Hassanein says…
    12/31/2009

    Thank you Ali for the continued inspiration!!!!!! Yesterday and Today workshop was amazing. Such gratitude for the creative growth. I wish you and your family a wonderful New Year!!!!!!

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