One Little Word | Community Member Feature: Michelle & Heather

From time to time this year I'll be sharing stories from people who are embarking on the One Little Word workshop journey at Big Picture.

My hope is that their stories will inspire you as you make your own word visible in 2012.

Today I'd like you to meet Michelle and Heather:

NAME | Michelle
2012 WORD | Learn

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE "LEARN" | I chose learn for my 2012 word because I often find myself craving to know more about everything. I choose "Learn" this year so that I would be more intentional in the areas I want to focus my learning, rather than always jumping from one idea that interests me to another.

HAVE YOU DONE OLW BEFORE? IF SO, WHAT IMPACT DID IT HAVE? | The first year I choose a word was in 2011, the word actually choose me. A post on Ali's blog on December 1, 2010 prompted me to write down a word that encapsulated 2010 in one word and imagine a year later what word would capture 2011 for you.

I wrote: 2010 in one word…Chaos. It has felt like we are chasing our tails all year. Our business was so consuming so we stopped, but the rest of the year has been a whirlwind. Some self imposed, some imposed on us. As we are winding up the year, work for me has been more crazy than normal with a structure reorganization. And November brought us heart break in the sudden bad turn in my mom’s health. Now that we are in December, I am spending my evenings in the hospital, my days at work, the few minutes I have in the morning with my boys and squeezing in Christmas shopping on my lunch hour. As I look to 2011 I hope for Peace. Time to enjoy our life, time to enjoy our boys, and some freedom from everyday worries. No life is perfect, but I pray we have some peace in our days.

Little did I know when I wrote those words, that we would be faced with more before the year would end. Ten days after I wrote this, my mom passed away. The focus of my word "Peace" helped me persevere through the rough months of mourning our loss, while battling off depression. Having a word to focus on helped me change how I reacted to stressful situations and it helped me to work through the huge loss I felt when I lost my mom. I never imagined choosing a word would have such a profound effect on me.

WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST HOPES FOR 2012 | I hope in 2012 I will open my mind and heart to new experiences that push me to grow and learn new things.

NAME | Heather
2012 WORD |

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE "FOCUS" | My word for 2012 actually started speaking to me in the Fall of 2011. Last year, I chose "explore", and really made a connection with it. I found myself reaching for new things constantly, always seeking new experiences, really making exploration a way of life. I explored my environment, photography, the world through the eyes of my toddler, literature, my relationships, and so many more things, all the while thoroughly enjoying the process of documenting my experiences with the help of Ali's prompts. Still, as much as I embraced the concept of exploring things, I wondered how much better life could be if I was able to pick a few of these things that I loved to do or think or feel, and really hone in on them. And so the word "focus" chose me, I really didn't choose it.

HAVE YOU DONE OLW IN THE PAST? IF SO, WHAT IMPACT DID IT HAVE? | I love how my word for 2012 blossomed out of my previous years' chosen word. This has created a sense of continuity in my life that I know I will carry through this year and beyond. My word last year, the first year I actually declared one, was always in the background of my thoughts and actions as I went about my daily life. It didn't become so much a project in and of itself, but a way of improving and enriching a life that I already loved. The process of documenting the experience in Ali's class gave me a tangible product, my album, that made my word and it's impact even more real to me. Furthermore, the memories that I created with the help of this simple concept are priceless. I love that result most of all.

WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST HOPES FOR 2012 | I sincerely hope that I make a deep and lasting connection with my word again this year. I can't wait to watch it evolve and change and grow over the course of the year. It really is a journey that I'm so excited to be a part of.

Thanks Michelle and Heather for sharing your One Little Word stories.

22 thoughts

  1. Patty A

    2012-01-17 06:53:54 -0500

    Thank you Ali so nice to read and learn from others. Both these stories touched me in a very meaningful way.

  2. Susan

    2012-01-17 07:15:43 -0500

    Thanks so much for this Ali. I took your class last year, completed the january prompt and did absolutely nothing else with the class or my word. This year (i'm not taking your class) but I have chosen a word and it is definitely my word. While it is just a little over a month my word encompasses my day to day. my word is nourish. my plan is to use your classes assignments from last year and make that album of this year's word and see where my word takes me - even farther. thanks again for your inspiration

  3. Lee Currie

    2012-01-17 07:15:59 -0500

    It really is a meaningful journey. It took me a while to "get it" but once gotten, "one word" four years in has been significant. So nice to read your stories, ladies! See you in class :) (Thanks Ali, for your generosity.)

  4. dawn

    2012-01-17 08:28:16 -0500

    Thanks Ali, I love that you will be sharing these OLW journey's with us. It will be fun and inspiring to read them.

  5. jamie

    2012-01-17 08:46:38 -0500

    Ali...This is a great post. I look forward to more in this series. Always a joy to read the stories of others in community. Because of your impact I am being joined by a few friends new to olw this year. It causes me gratitude to share in this journey with them.
    Thank you for all you do.

  6. Amanda C

    2012-01-17 10:24:03 -0500

    This is an amazing Post! Thank you for sharing their stories with us. I am debating on joining this class because I am not a digital scrapbooker and very seldom use the printer, just for coupons mainly. I love the concept of having a focus word for inspiration and a wonderful journey where ever it takes you. With the bonus of seeing it documented in a scrapbook. You are an inspiration to us all!!

  7. Pidgen

    2012-01-17 10:27:37 -0500

    These stories were so wonderful to read! I love getting a "wide perspective" to this journey we are taking. Our words are so "single perspective" that it's really great to see the whole story -- to see what the influences and continuity to these words are in realtion to the current year's word. Thank you for sharing these this year!

  8. Sheri Morrow

    2012-01-17 10:28:42 -0500

    Thank you Ali, Michelle and Heather. A blessing to read stories about the journey we are all on together. My word for this year is Praise. My previous words have been JOY FAITH and HEAL. Michelle, I lost my mom in 2011 also and it has changed who I am. God is good and He restores my soul. Having a word, to LEARN from and FOCUS on is a gift. Thanks for sharing your hearts. Sheri <3

  9. Cynthia

    2012-01-17 11:28:14 -0500

    Great post and thank you for sharing Michelle and Heather's journeys with us! I got so much from OLW last year and feel the power of my word this year (and I am working hard not to judge myself too harshly for not sharing more in the forums over at BPS - a goal for me). It is incredible the power of One Little Word can have in our lives. Thanks for being such a great guide and facilitator!

  10. Karen Mountcastle

    2012-01-17 12:30:34 -0500

    The stories are so poignant and so relatable to all. What power this one little word has - it takes a different path with all of us. It's as if once you choose it - or it chooses you, somedays you just hang on for the ride! My word last year changed my path in so many good ways - so unimaginable and so wonderful.
    So amazing to share this journey.

  11. Becky P.

    2012-01-17 12:31:55 -0500

    I love that you are sharing the stories of others -- thank you!

  12. sharon

    2012-01-17 12:51:26 -0500

    Although I am not formally enrolled in class, I chose the word simple because I restrain and curtail myself by attempt to make the situation elaborate. Simple and to the point. Gets the accomplished task at hand.I can allow myself to go back and elaborate if I chose.
    Thanks Al for all you do and you and the family are in my prayers.

    hugs and blessings,

    sharon Phoenix AZ Creative escape

  13. Paula G

    2012-01-17 14:09:23 -0500

    I am also feeling connected to my word, hopeful, and I feel it's a natural progression from last years word, soul. Actually my words are kind of co-habitating in 2012, and that's a good thing! I love the access to the gallery more so than the message boards at Big Picture - to me that alone is worth the price of the class. Your handouts and templates are icing on the cake.

  14. Sandra K.

    2012-01-17 14:12:57 -0500

    What a lovely post. I love being a part of this class. So much encouragement and to know that you don't struggle alone with the facts of life.

    Sandra :)

  15. Julia Spencer

    2012-01-17 19:53:53 -0500

    If all these women ever did was capture their one little word year after year, their stories would be told in amazing ways for their families.

  16. Segolene

    2012-01-18 02:38:22 -0500

    Such inspiring stories... But it makes me feel bad about not being able to find "my" word for 2012. I read lists, made lists,but for some reason, I just don't get it. All the words I see in other people posts are nice and do speak to me, but I just can not pick one single word. I am getting so frustrated. Maybe that's a sign that I should forget it this year. Or simply I should wait a bit longer and not focus too much on it. Who knows if I will not have a word in June? LoL.

  17. helen

    2012-01-18 03:03:59 -0500

    Thanks so much for sharing your stories ladies, they encourage me so to hold on to my word each time I feel overwelmed.
    :) helen

  18. ale

    2012-01-18 06:26:19 -0500

    thank you for the inspiration, girls!
    i also loved what you said to cynthia here in the comments, ali - those words hit home.

  19. Creative Photo Albums

    2012-01-19 10:07:20 -0500

    Ali this is an inspiring post. These are very encouraging words from people in the community. Thank you so much for bringing in such great posts. Every time I visit here you never fail to amaze me. My word is faith. I usually get depressed when things won't go the way they used to be but I know should keep calm and have faith because things will be alright. Thanks again!

    Annabella Merlin

  20. Bev

    2012-01-21 12:20:07 -0500

    If only...we could have 1 word? Love it..Thanks in advance

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