Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

June 2, 2010

One Little Word : June 2010


My one little word for 2010 is story.

From the very beginning my word has had a slightly different meaning for me than you might think. When I first wrote about it back in January I talked about the obvious idea documenting stories from yesterday & today but I also hinted at my deeper truth: "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.

The real truth is that I chose the word story because I wanted to focus on changing my story.

My secret word for 2010 been athlete.

My journey so far this year has been about finding a piece of myself that's been missing since I stopped being an athlete when I left the pool in 1994. I was done with the practices, done with the competition, done with the time it took away from all the other things I wanted to be doing in college.

For many years I didn't miss it at all. Not one little bit.

After Anna was born I started to wonder what it would be like to be an athlete as a full-fledged adult. What would my life be like if I took the time to exercise and got in shape and liked the feel of myself in my own skin again? What if I could get to the place of seeing myself as an athlete again? I began having visions of myself as a super fit grandma. I liked the idea of myself as a positive fitness role-model for my kids.

I decided I wanted to make a change in the way my story was being written.

Since January, in ways little and big, I've been returning to this unfinished piece of my own story. A chapter I want to continue and add to in the years to come.

Most of the action steps in changing my story have been small. They've been little daily choices to get up and get out and move my body again. Some days and weeks I'm successful and others, not so much. So much of it for me is a mental game.

I've gotten back in the pool. I've bought a road bike. I've started running (with some serious daily support from Cathy). And I registered to participate in the Danskin Sprint Triathlon in Seattle in August. Crazy? Yes, totally. I found that for me I needed something to aim for, something to move towards, in order to start making the changes I want to see in my story. I am finding that I love the variety of swimming, biking and running so much more than when it was all swimming all the time.

Really, I just want to show up and participate.

So that's where I'm at with my word right now. My words in years past have been undercurrents, with less real-world action. They have ebbed and flowed with me throughout the year and existed as a place for me to come back to when I felt like I am drifting too far off my path. This year has been different in a really good way for me at this time in my life. I am on my way…

If you left your word back in January or February or whenever, you can always reconnect with it. You can also always choose a new word. It's never too late.

Anyone else happen to have a secret word you are ready to share? Or a
new word that evolved out of your initial word?


My 8×8 Rejoice photobook arrived in the mail from Shutterfly yesterday. I love it. And more importantly, Simon and Anna went nuts over it. It was all about the photos. Going to make a couple extra copies for a few other people I love.

You can view my completed book here and purchase the layered template package through Designer Digitals here.


  • 1.
    noell said…

    Ali, I didn’t choose a word this year and I’m not really in that place right now, but I wanted to share with you that I have adopted the label of athlete in my life over the last few years. Unlike you, it was never a label I gave myself before. I was a dancer, not an athlete. But every Friday Izzy and I go off-road biking on some pretty crazy trails. I strength-train. I love hiking. I love running and I run on an incline every other day or so. And I still dance (every Thursday night) but I now consider dancing as a part of my athleticism.
    So I’m right there with you when it comes to enjoying how wonderful it feels to shape your life this way as an adult.

  • 2.
    pidgen said…

    I’ve “played” along this whole time (which is surprising for me!) My word has also made me take on exercise (where did that come from?!!?) Cathy’s journey has also inspired me and I’ve been running on the treadmill with a goal in mind … I never expected it to be June and still have my word in mind — but I do! Thanks for the great gift!!

  • 3.
    taniawillis said…

    ali, you inspire me. :) that’s all.

  • 4.
    Noell Hyman said…

    Had to add to my own comment: My 12-year-old son thinks I’m strong and has commented on it. That is THE BEST!

  • 5.
    Jane Toft said…

    As a naturally grumpy middle aged Englishwoman my initial reaction to both you and Cathy Z getting your exercise groove going, was, of course, cynicism. After all that’s our default emotion here in the UK. It’s not our fault, just the way we are brought up ;) I for one wasn’t going to jump on this new bandwagon, no thankyou. But damn the pair of you, I have somehow bought a pair of trainers (running shoes), and dragged my unfit body around the local lanes 4 nights every week. I blame the pair of you! I feel a scrapbook layout coming on… Here’s to fit and healthy :)

  • 6.
    Nancy said…

    I was thinking this morning that I totally left my word a few months ago and that I really NEED to get back to it. Fast.
    I feel like my life – with exception of the most beautiful toddler boy ever – is a big mess.
    Today I have been feeling a lot of selfpity.
    This morning I gave myself one day to do that.
    Tomorrow is a new start.
    Your message – this strong message – right at this moment really reinforces that believe.
    Thank you.
    Tomorrow will be a better day!
    Go ME!
    And YOU! :)

  • 7.

    Way to go, Ali! So proud of you for rediscovering the athlete part of yourself. My word for 2010 is brave…and it’s taken on so many meanings. I have a necklace now that says “brave” and I’m wearing it all the time…a constant reminder of what I want to focus on this year.
    I’ve recently taken up yoga too and am loving the feeling of moving my body in new ways. It feels good and right.

  • 8.
    Gina said…

    Your book is so beautiful Ali.

  • 9.
    Denise Laborde said…

    “Really, I just want to show up and participate.” Well said.

  • 10.
    Leora said…

    I love your word and your story. Thanks for sharing with us and good luck with your training. I will be sending vibes. I love the vision of a super fit grandma. How is that for a long term goal. Thanks for inspiring all of us.

  • 11.
    Patti said…

    My word is family. And it has turned out to be a year (so far) where I really needed to give a lot of myself to my family, even more than usual. Wonder what the rest of the year will hold?

  • 12.
    melissa said…

    No word for me this year. Just a goal: Complete a marathon. I’ve done a 10k and two half marathons. I run my marathon just after 2010 comes to an end. January 9, 2011.

  • 13.
    Myra said…

    Congratulations!!! My word was discipline and I didn’t really connect with it until April. It was just another word, another resolution that was going broken (except I don’t make resolutions for that very reason). I started Weight Watchers in April and have used major discipline since then. Very proud of myself. And that word of mine.

  • 14.
    Abbey said…

    For me, the athelte (feels weird to use that word) needed to find an exercise that created joy. For me, it was Zumba. Glad you’ve found joy and acceptance in your exercise world as well.

  • 15.
    celeste said…


  • 16.
    Sara said…

    Way to go training for a triathlon! That’s amazing. I’m training for a 5K only, but enjoying it. It feels good to move the body and it certainly helps me now that the weather is nice out. I love the Rejoice book! Really beautiful.

  • 17.

    I love that you had a secret word! My only word, which was really secret as I was a little scared at 40 it wasn’t going to “work” is Grow. Of course there are a lot of little ways I want to grow, but the biggest way was that I wanted to grow from a family of 6 to a family of 7. I picked the word in January and am now officially 14 weeks pregnant! It worked! :) Good luck on your triathlon!

  • 18.
    Tracy said…

    What a wonderful story Ali! It’s so hard to get back into the swing of things once you’re out. I’ve been trying to get back into tennis again since leaving competitive play some years ago. I found cycling two years ago and fell in love! Haven’t looked back since.
    I had emailed you a month or two ago when you had your big giveaway- I was lucky enough to win something- Yay! But I never heard back from you. Did you reply to all of those emails??

  • 19.
    Emma said…

    Thank you for sharing this Ali – you have a wonderful way with words, I am inspired x

  • 20.
    marty said…

    congratulations on your journey as an athlete. I have been on a similar one for the past 2 years and I love it. Like you I gave up swimming without a tear, but after my 3rd child, I realized I really needed to do something for me. Enter triathlons – love them. Such a motivator and the cross training is great. Right now, I am training for a half Ironman in September. I still can’t believe it, but training sure has been a lot of fun! Good luck on your journey and remember to enjoy the process.

  • 21.
    Kelly said…

    Good luck in the tri!!
    I have recently started to try running again…I too am a former high school/college athlete and I’m trying to get back into shape. It’s so much harder now, and I get very discouraged because I can’t do what I used to do. But hopefully I’ll get there. Hope you post more about this journey…love reading about Cathy and Donna, would love to hear your story too.

  • 22.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I did Tracy – can you please email me again?

  • 23.
    Tami said…

    after a few years of being a runner, I have come over to the dark side of triathlon training and I love it. i love what I ask of my body and what it gives back. My first sprint tri is in two weeks and I can’t wait. I learned to swim! I couldn’t swim from one end of the pool to the other in January and now a fish, well maybe just a small fish but I am so happy. it’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind on something.
    instead of a word, I picked a quote this year
    it’s not what you achieve
    it’s what you overcome.

  • 24.
    Shruti Goradia said…

    You truly are a great motivator Ali. I used to be an athlete as well, though one can’t tell looking at my post baby body. I’ve been wanting to do something for my body and myself for so long – it’s time I make my resolve and follow Cathy and you and get back in shape.
    PS the Rejoice photobook is beautiful.

  • 25.
    Jenna said…

    Hooray for another Seattle Danskin participant! :-) I was talked into signing up for the same tri this year and it’ll be my first one too!
    It’s crazy training, but feels so great. Awesome that you’re doing it! WTG!

  • 26.
    LauraM said…

    That book is just beautiful!

  • 27.
    kari o'connell said…

    My world started out as relax, but lately is been moving towards enjoy. I was and sometimes am worrying about too many little things. I wasn’t enjoying life. These next 6 months will be all about enjoying my life. Thanks for the inspiration Ali!

  • 28.
    tchrtiff said…

    What a beautiful book. I love your templates and think I need to create a similar book. Thanks for your inspiration!

  • 29.
    Jamie said…

    This is so awesome Ali!!! Good for you for getting real and making it happen….so so awesome! I can’t wait to hear about your journey.

  • 30.
    sansku said…

    awww, i’m so envious you’re actually doing it. so i guess my word of choice would be focus. i want to do this and that… and then i lose my focus. where art thou focus? wilt thou please come and visit me… :)

  • 31.
    Heidi said…

    That is AWESOME! After I had my 2nd (my little girl) I took on the triathlon scene as something to do for myself. Just me. Alone on a run, a swim or a bike ride. I felt as though I had given so much of myself for so long, that it was time for me again. I wasn’t even sure what a triathlon was, but I signed up, bought a bike and made time to do it. The first one was all about just finishing the race. Then what everyone had told me came true…once you do one…it is hard to stop. I competed for 4 years and had a blast. I still run, swim and bike, just not for competition anymore. Your post hit me like a ton of bricks. I was there at one time. Wondering where that side of me had disappeared to. Could I feel good again in my skin? Could I finish the swim leg of the race without looking like an idiot, or worse, drowning? I am so proud to hear another voice echoing those same thoughts. GO ALI GO!

  • 32.
    Maureen said…

    My word was/is BEGIN. I have had that as my screensaver for a couple months and the undercurrent issue was fitness.
    Yes, I’d like to lose weight, get thinner, but mostly I want to be fitter – at 65.
    I started out well, joined a local gym, went daily and started to …gasp…enjoy it. Then came the snows of February, then came a pulled back muscle and weeks of physical therapy… I realized I could begin again, which I did. A European vacation and I began again tho I noticed walking in Italy was easier than the last trip.
    I have never been an athlete, nor wanted to be one. My competitiveness comes out in other ways and still hate to have my hair soaked with sweat but each day I begin anew, and boy do I feel good about that!

  • 33.
    Amy said…

    Thanks for the inspiration Ali. I actually never really thought about my own ability to change my story. Like “Duh!” When you’ve come this far in your life story, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the past, and wallow in certain things that happened back then. I have the sole ability and responsibility to my children to change my story for the better. No one can do that for me. Wow! How inspiring! Great thought for today. Thanks!

  • 34.
    Verbena said…

    Congratulations, Ali, on making such great progress toward your “athlete” goal. My word is “appreciate” (I wear it most days on a necklace), and it has been a great word. I have been revisiting it each month in a mini-book just to touch base with my thoughts on where I am with appreciating all of the good things in my life. You and Cathy Z make me want to concentrate more on being healthy so that I can “appreciate” the value of good health and good habits.

  • 35.
    Susan said…

    Ali, that is so, so awesome! I noticed your “hint” about athletics and wondered what all you were up to. I too am taking on a sprint triathalon this August. I am a homeschooling mom of a dozen and our baby is now three so I am entering a new “season” of life for me. It has been a blast to get out and try some totally new things. I have worked out for years at home doing aerobics, etc, but tackling triathalon has been a real stretch for me, way outside of my comfort zone. And that is completely good~ good for me and I hope a good example for my children as well. I’ll be cheering for you from Missouri! You go!

  • 36.

    when my youngest started full day kindergarten 2 years ago, i decided to pick up a tennis racquet and start group lessons. i have never looked back, and the women’s team i play on has just made it into the playoffs! i can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have something that is “all mine” and to watch my body grow strong as a result of the hard work and dedication i put in. if i have a “cranky” day now my kids ask me, “mama, did you get your tennis in today?” love it!

  • 37.
    Jane said…

    Ali! Congratulations on your progress!! And I have to say…THANK YOU again! Your post today has caused this gigantic [and I mean pilates-ball-gigantic] lightbulb go on for me! I am totally inspired to start directing my story rather than telling it after the fact. Looking ahead to the story I want to tell about myself rather than back and telling what’s happened. Cool and empowering. Thanks for sharing this personal story and GO Ali!

  • 38.
    Teresa said…

    Thanks for the inspiration. Makes me realize we all can make our life as beautiful and eventful as possible if we make the choice.

  • 39.
    Kim H. said…

    I’m not surprised at your “secret” word. I remember a comment you made on your blog right after Anna was born as you watched a marathon or some kind of event while visiting your parents. I observed that undercurrent bubbling up inside of you of wanting to be an athlete then in your words.
    Not surprised at all at this blog post. :)

  • 40.
    Beth Ann said…

    Congratulations on this Miss Ali. You always always inspire me. Hugs!

  • 41.
    Bonnie W said…

    Go Ali! Just want to say how delighted and honored I am to be a reader of your blog. You are a great inspiration. Thank you.

  • 42.
    Tami said…

    My word was Move! I had made a commitment to move everyday. In January I signed up for Tri training with a group of women and I will be doing my first sprint tri this Saturday!!! Good luck!!

  • 43.
    Amy said…

    Good luck with your triathlon! That is really awesome!

  • 44.
    Jessie said…

    Go Ali go! Have a blast doing the sprit Tri! I did my first a few years ago and it was a great time! Love reading your blog. Look forwards to hearing about the results in Aug! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

  • 45.
    dawn said…

    Hi Ali, I just love the way you write and express your thoughts. Good for you getting back into your groove again. My word was “move” to get me moving and my family moving. we have our ups and downs about it. I’m trying to commit to it once again now that the kids are out of school. I turned 40 last august and told myself that I wanted to be in good shape by my next birthday.Well it’s not going well but I’ve decided to jump on the wagon and try again. Ilove reading Cathy’s success with her own running. She is doing great and sounds like you are too. Thanks for inspiring us and your words of encouragement.
    I saw your book and love love it. Those two kids of yours are so cute together.

  • 46.
    Trish said…

    I picked SELF! At first I meant it to be take time for myself, fix my hair and make up every morning when I get up, go to the grocery store by myself and try to get more healthier. I am over 100lbs over weight and I took They Year of Self to another level. It became about my weight loss journey. It became the year of getting myself more healthy and thinner. Last year I noticed that I had dropped about 20lbs, but since taking on One Little Word I can say I have lost 35 more lbs. A 55lb weight loss!! And with that weight loss came more SELF…energy, muscles, more endurance, shopping for new clothes, shoes and a new bathing suit! I have been documenting it on my blog each time I have an update.
    With 4 kids taking time for yourself is so hard, and trying to eat healthy and exercise everyday with Jillian Michaels is even harder with 4 kids. Especially when they don’t finish their dinner and I throw the rest away when I used to eat it. That was so challenging!!!
    I love myself more now, because even though I have 50 more lbs to lose, I look at all that I have accomplished being more aware of SELF. There is only one me, one SELF and I want to be here to see my grandkids and I want to be able to run & play with my kids now.
    So I thank you for doing the One Little Word! It was a huge wake up call for me! Reaching deep inside myself and finally seeing me, has been worth all the hard work!
    I am excited to see what the next 6 months of SELF brings!

  • 47.
    Becky S. said…

    Excellent Ali!!! I did the exact same thing after the birth of my daughter in 2008 – trained for and completed the Danskin Seattle Triathlon! I loved it so much, that I’m doing the Portland Triathlon this summer. I loved getting my body back, loved the training, and loved the sense of accomplishment. Triathlons are really something that even approaching middle age, busy mamas can do and enjoy! Thank you for sharing your story. Can’t wait to hear more about your training this summer and see the pics from Danskin! It’s a fabulous first tri – and all women to boot. SO empowering and fun. Good luck!

  • 48.
    Carole Hepburn said…

    It is ALL fabulous – thank you for sharing

  • 49.
    Gabi said…

    Excellent post, Ali! Congrats on your sport’s journey. I’ve been trying to get into shape as well, now with kids being bigger it is a lot of easier to do it. I know when I exercise I feel better in general. And it always makes me feel happier. And as I can see, exercise makes you happy too! :) I love that photo of you!
    Your book is beautiful! The photo of Simon and Anna you have above is priceless.
    Ali, may I ask you a question? How do you do that you can reply to someone’s comment? I have typepad as well but I can’t figure out how to set it up, it always makes another separate comment, not a reply to a certain comment. Thank you so much in advance for any tip.
    And thank you so much for your comment at DD on my 10 things right now page, you made my day!The template is awesome!! I have had this template of yours for so long and always put it away unfinished but I finally finished it today. Now I’m going to make a page about my son as well.

  • 50.
    Amber Lee D. said…

    Hi Ali! As always your daily post is inspiring. Thank you for letting us in on your secret! My word this year has been focus. Something, that is so hard for me to maintain in a very busy and chaotic life. However, I too have a secret word that has crept into my life. It is Run…say it like Jenni says it in Forest Gump. Run, Forest Run. I have never been athletic, but for some reason my word Focus had me try something new to fully achieve it’s meaning and it was running. So now as I run I chant focus and run over and over to myself. I love it…it clears my head, and has been such a wonderful addition to my life. I completed my first 5k this spring and I am working on a 10k next. I think it is awesome that you are doing a triathlon. You and your family will benefit so much. You will amaze them and yourself with your story.

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