Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

March 19, 2013

Navigation & Contemplation

Forsynthia from my front yard.

Navigating middle school. Simon will be heading to middle school in the fall. The school district will place him in a middle school that they think will be a good fit for him and the services he needs but we (Chris and I) are also touring schools and talking with administrators and teachers and considering options for him. He is excited. Open. Willing. I want to bottle that up.

Navigating meetings with my CPA and attorneys. Work stuff. Life stuff. Tax time. Listening. Receiving advice. Making decisions. The business stuff of business. There are days I feel very alone in these decisions. Sitting with the fear of the unknown, sitting with the fear of making the wrong decisions, educating myself, practicing bravery. Out of my element but wanting to be a “grown-up” and make the best possible decisions for myself and my kids.

Navigating office floors. If you are taking One Little Word you probably heard me talking about my action item for this month which is to make a decision about new floors for my office and re-arrange the space again. Katie and I will be cleaning out my office this week – removing everything in preparation for the floor guys to come in next Monday.

Navigating soul-searching. Finding a home for myself between independence and need. Between “I can do it all myself” and “I really want to be sharing this journey.” Between control and letting go. It will likely be one of my greatest struggles throughout the course of my life.

Navigating the everyday. Last week I had the best dinner table experience with Anna and Simon. It wasn’t one thing in particular but the entire experience in general. There was back and forth conversation. Everyone stayed seated at the table. There was minimal complaining about the food that was served. It was all these things in conjunction with one another that seemed so awesome. It might have had something to do with the new chart set up – I’m not sure. Whatever it was, I noticed it and my heart was happy.

Navigating towards open. All of this navigation results in a lot of contemplation. Sometimes I feel frozen and literally have to will myself to take the next step (or be pushed over the edge). Other times it all feels fluid and smooth and easy.

Navigating time. Those of you that get my newsletter might have read about how I’m changing up how I approach my work schedule. This past week I spent time assessing how long some of my tasks actually take. Now it’s time to take action. I’m noticing that I’m thinking way too much and not implementing (and adjusting as I make progress vs. living it out in my head without any forward movement).

Life is a constant series of navigations. Figuring out what makes sense, directing, recovering from mistakes, celebrating success, opening vs. closing, riding the waves, surviving the lows, listening, learning, choosing, taking action.


  • 1.
    dawn said…

    Ali, this was so awesome to read!! Love that you used the word NAVIGATING here, it’s something we do everyday in life. Will add this word to my blog post list, thanks so much for the inspiration. Doing a lot of that in my world too, just reading this makes me feel less alone, hope by you sharing this you will feel less alone too. We are all here with you Ali and supporting and cheering for you!!

    Sam gets to be one of the first 6th graders to start in our new middle school. We are so excited to have a bigger, brand new, CLEAN awesome school to start in the fall. Hard to believe our boys will be that old already, good luck to all 3 of you!

    Peaceful/happy dinners are the best, doesn’t always happen here either but when it does my heart is happy!!

    Thanks so much for this inspiring post Ali and sharing bits of YOU with us. HUGS!

  • 2.
    Ilona said…

    Great post Ali!!!
    And I think a lot of us reading your blog can relate to one or the other point you listed. Thanks for sharing!
    Go Ali, GO :-)

  • 3.

    I love this post because it is brave. Though you don’t go into details, you see your heart and the steps you are taking. Thank you for sharing your journey. xo

  • 4.
    Robyn said…

    I really appreciated this post this morning. I am going through a lot of the same things you are, and I’m also preparing for a cross-country move (not sure how I’m going to do that yet!) and a new job. It’s good to see that, even though it feels that way sometimes, I’m not the only one.

    Best wishes to you as you keep on keeping on.

    • ….
      A. Sanborn said…

      Wish you well in your new endeavors. Think of it as life adding to -your- bucket list!

      There’s a season and a reason for everything in life. Sometimes it’s not for us to understand the why or purpose but have faith it’s a postive.

  • 5.
    Dori said…

    Wow, it’s kind of hard to put into words what I’m feeling right now so I’ll just say ‘thank you’ from my heart.

  • 6.
    Rosie said…

    A wonderful post, Ali, to which I can so relate to. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • 7.
    Lori said…

    Thank you for being so candid–I enjoy your words b/c they echo so many of my own thoughts, struggles, goals and overall “journey” experiences. Glad to know I am in good company.

  • 8.
    Marsaille said…

    “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

    ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

    • ….
      A. Sanborn said…

      Love Louisa Mae Alcott!

      Beautiful post Miss Ali. I enjoy the honesty, integrity, grace and geniuness of your up and down shares of life with your readers. As I’ve always told our daughter… Always be kind for everyone is battling something.

      God Bless…

  • 9.
    Karen Hamad said…

    Ali- great post…have you read the book “Wonder”? I am a pediatrician and a mother of two, and found it incredibly moving and well written- about a boy and his family with some special challenges facing middle school.

  • 10.
    Lindsey said…

    I love this. One trope that has been central to my life is the image of maps. A few years ago I realized that the maps I’d been given as a child were broken now, and I needed to figure out a new way to navigate. I love what you say here about adjusting how we move through the world, how we decide what and when and how and who. xox

  • 11.
    Katie Johnson said…

    Great post Ali! You do such a good job of putting your thoughts into words…and then into action. I so often have the thoughts and ideas in my head but have difficulty verbalizing them accurately. I admire your bravery, your intelligence, and of course your artistry. Bravo!

  • 12.
    bridget joss said…

    thank you for sharing your indecisions and decisions so deeply. Many are stuck and its nice to know we are not alone. Will keep you in my prayers.

  • 13.
    Katrina said…

    THIS – Between “I can do it all myself” and “I really want to be sharing this journey.”

    So very much.

  • 14.
    Beverly said…

    I loved this post, Ali. I have been married for 30 years with two grown children. My husband has always been gone in the summer, fishing for salmon in Bristol Bay. The summers with a “plan” were far easier and much, much better…so, I love reading about your intentionality and desire. I would like to recommend a book by Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts. I started her Joy Dare on January 1 and it has been transformational…noting the small and large miracles that we experience daily and experiencing thankfulness…eucharisteo! Thankfulness grows and grows and I cannot help but experience JOY in the knowing and seeing. Peace and Joy to you, Ali. You are blessed beyond measure just because of who you are.

  • 15.
    melissa said…


    Once again.. you navigate and express yourself and your current life situations with such grace. You are such an inspiration for all of us woman. (frozen and navigating to free and navigating) You just find the right words to say it perfectly. You are in the arena showing up and I am grateful for that.

    Have a wonderful day.

  • 16.
    {vicki} said…

    totally with you on the school thing.
    my son will be entering high school this fall and i am having a tough time with it… when i dropped him off at school—i had tears in my eyes thinking about how his days as a middle schooler are numbered.

  • 17.
    Alison D. said…

    This post really resonated with me, particularly your thoughts on navigating soul searching. Thank you for putting yourself out there creatively and personally.

  • 18.
    Lisa W. said…

    It is very nice to know “others” have the same stuff! Beautiful post:)

  • 19.
    Susan said…

    This is an awesome post. So OPEN! and I’m so sure all of us are in the same boat with at least one of the same – if not many. Love the word navigating for a prompt too.

  • 20.
    patty said…

    thank you…

  • 21.
    Yvette Christopher said…

    I love reading your posts. Thank you for putting your feelings into words. I am reading a book “The Five Love Languages of Children” bu Gary Ghapman and Ross Campbell. The book is fantastic and is so helpful in relating to children and providing them with emotional support. The support leads to better relationships and in turn, reduction of parent stress. I realize I have done so many things wrong as a parent, and allowed my work stress influence my relationship with my husband and children. This book was recommended to me and was very helpful!

  • 22.
    Carla said…

    Thank you for that Ali. I am not sure if I will be able to express in words what your thoughts, your photos, what “you”, mean to me. I feel so inspired and gain so much strength from you. Just knowing that you are out there going through the same struggles, really helps me face mine. You really do inspire me in every aspect of my life. I just wanted to say “thank you”.

  • 23.
    Peggy said…

    A moment of thanks for sharing your heart, again. I love how you include all the bigger stuff (MS, finding yourself alone in ways you don’t always like) with the ‘little’ stuff like flooring. :) You inspire me so much and hope you know how very valued, supported and, frankly, loved by so many of us who have never met you. Hugs today!

  • 24.
    Paula said…

    Thank you from me too Ali. I have taken a bold step to see a therapist to help with my anxiety from all of the constant “changing and rearranging” – my phrase for navigating through challenges that take lifetime creative ways of thinking about. And it is helping me alot to have this time for me, to literally sort myself out and reorganize my inner thoughts. Most of my own challenges are also my blessings in life, it’s just learning how to take all the expectations, goals, hopes, dreams, and stuff of life that comes at us (e.g. taxes) and make it all work, and that’s – well – challenging! Visiting your blog and using your products to create with really adds some depth and contemplation to my life, thank you from my heart.

    • ….
      kelly said…

      Good for YOU!! I’m a huge believer in the power of therapy and talking it out!! I had struggled for YEARS with OCD and anxiety; undiagnosed. But, now I am much better and happier : ) You can do it!

  • 25.
    Jennifer said…

    Hi Ali, while reading this I was thinking of your word, open. Navigating is a great way to describe your thoughts but to me “be open” to all the possibilities that are coming your way. Even the business side of the business, being open to the possibilities of being alone or having a partner to share with, being open to tour new schools for Simon and deciding on the best one, being open with the idea that the chart might be helping. Love your writing, love your classes, love you!

  • 26.
    laura g. said…

    you are a wonderful mother and a stronger person than you think! as for making a mistake…mistakes are just ‘learning experiences’, and sometimes something better comes from having made one! it’s hard to make decisions on your own, but i think for the most part you are doing a GREAT job!!!

  • 27.
    Jacque said…

    Sweet Ali–Your post today, once again, shows us what the world could be like if we all have your ability to love, forgive, accept and navigate even when life is difficult. I know the last few years have often been very trying for you but the way you have handled yourself with dignity and grace shows everyone what a kind and generous person you are. just know that you are so appreciated and cared about by so many of us that only know you through this blog. You inspire us by sharing your life and your awesome work. Thank you for being Ali!!

  • 28.
    Nishi said…

    Awesome post. Thank you for opening up so much to the world . Its good to know that I am not alone when I feel similar feelings. This post really touched my heart & again a big Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

  • 29.
    molly said…

    Thank you for being so OPEN, Ali. I’ve been cautious/protective about sharing my contemplative moments, hence my blog space is at a complete halt. (Somewhat mirroring life.) There’s strength in sharing, and I’m certain that in doing so you’ll benefit in ways greater than imagined. xo

  • 30.
    Barb said…

    Thanks for the great post-even though all of us are at different points in our lives, I can really relate with all you said and are feeling.

  • 31.
    Jenny said…

    I’m getting ready to dive into a completely different life, as I resign from my 24-year career and begin a more creative life and calling as a singer and vocal coach. I’ve been struggling with how to manage my time in a creative field… sucked in to Facebook/Pinterest/Blogger way too many hours in the day if left to my own devices. Your newsletter article linked from this post describes exactly my plight, and also is the same approach I’m taking. Good luck to you, and here’s to trying new things!

  • 32.
    Suz said…

    Thanks for sharing this Ali.
    Take care you.

  • 33.
    wendy said…

    Can I just say how awessome for Simon and Anna..that you and Chris make an effort to be on good terms and to both be involved in life decisions. It hurts my heart that we don’t see more of this in our society where divorce is so prevelent. I am divorced as well. Due to life choices, my son’s father is just now forging a relationship with our son (he will be 16 Saturday).We both agreed in the beginning of our divorce to be civil and respectful to each other and about each other in our son’s presence.

  • 34.
    krugthethinker said…

    What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing and for being so open with us.

  • 35.
    Peggy McDevitt said…

    This is why I have you as my top blog. Life is hard, I have navigated many of life’s issues and appreciate your well spoken words. When I look back I know I did the best I could at the time and that’s all we can do. I pray that I am ENOUGH and will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • 36.
    Paula O said…

    so honest raw and real!!! thanks for sharing your navigations!

  • 37.
    HeeJin Ramsey said…

    Your words are inspiring to us all. Thank you for opening up to us,sharing, and being real. It touched my heart. Hugs to you all.

  • 38.
    Patti L said…

    A good reminder that I need to write down all that is happening in my mind sometimes. Thanks for sharing. It feels good to know that people like myself (& like you, i think?) are not alone in their quest to just sort their lives out and make it better.

  • 39.
    JosieK said…

    Thank you Ali..I needed to read this..As parents, partners, women…we are constantly “navigating” and keeping everyone safe from harm..make sure everyone is having a good time and enjoying the experience. Sometimes, getting all those things noticed by us..the navigators, is exceptionally hard. I commend you and bless you.

  • 40.
    Ruth G said…

    I think it’s awesome that you’re taking a good hard look at what schools Simon might be attending. I hope that you have success when you’ve made your decision! Change will probably always be challenging for Simon, but if everything else is working for him the transition will be easier.
    I know what you mean about enjoying those little victories when everything just seems to fall into place! I think it’s in those moments that the true joy of parenting mesh with the idea that you are doing the right thing – loving, caring and being there for your family.
    Thanks for sharing!!!!

  • 41.
    Natalie Murphy said…

    thanks for sharing – you make me think more about my life and I appreciate the gift you give us by sharing your life. You always make me want to better myself. You are so much more than a scrapbooking inspiration – you are a life inspirator.

  • 42.
    Brenda Grubbs said…

    Ali ~

    I have been meaning to write to you before, but I just can’t delay any longer. I found you several months ago, and fell in love with your handwriting, you stamps, your blogs, and your struggles have touched my heart. I am much older than you, but I know what you are going through and the jobs you are experiencing with Simon. My daughter has a son who is Autistic, and just recently had another son with a physical disability. She spent the first 9 years of her first son’s life was spent as a single mom. Without even meeting you, I know your strength and admire your courage.

    I was so touched this morning when I read your piece on “navigation”. My husband and I are at retirement age, but I recently lost my job. I have just had back surgery, and we’re trying to sell our house (out of necessity). I don’t know where we will live, but the comforting part is that God knows. I also know that my husband has been and will be by my side the whole way.

    I’ve decided to take a huge risk (for me)…start a blog with the intention of becoming part of a design team. I don’t know if I will be successful, but you have so inspired me to go to the edge.

    Ali, thank you so much for your openness and sharing of yourself with us. You have no idea how many people you have inspired.

    Prayers will be lifted up for your struggles and the jobs of success.

    ~ Brenda

  • 43.
    slmnontec said…

    Dear Ali, You have inspired me to write a list of what I’m navigating right now. Number One is the recent death of my father (only 8 days ago) and helping my mother navigate without him.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      So sorry to read of the loss of your Dad.

  • 44.
    Abby said…

    I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for years, and from what I “know” of you from reading, all I can say (with total confidence) is: Ali, you got this!

  • 45.
    Jocelyn said…

    I have too navigated a similar road once upon a time. I sincerely pray for you and your family. I truly appreciate your honesty and the way you navigate through life and still share it with us in such a refreshing way. OPEN and honest. I am (and I am sure many more of your fans) are pulling for you! You truly are inspiring to me. Your creativity is what drew me in but your strength to persevere through the daily struggles that life sometimes throws at us is what keeps me coming back! Keep going! One phrase that keeps me going through some of the roughest times is “it came to pass, not to stay”.
    Thank you for sharing your life with us through your art and your awesome blog!

  • 46.
    Deirdre said…

    love this voice. I’ve missed hearing more of your personal voice in this space, I realize. I love your work and your products, but it is your shared journey that keeps me coming back.

    Along the lines of your journaling above, I want to recommend a movie rental: Safety Not Guaranteed. It’s a B-movie without big names and it’s not polished, but I found it so moving in its own quirky way. I think you’d like it—the final line of the movie is one I’ve had to say over and over to myself as I navigate life & my desire for independence and self-sufficiency with my desire for companionship and inter-dependence.

  • 47.
    Raylene said…

    Thanks for a superb post! I have recently fallen into a new path in life and really needed to hear your words! Thanks for being OPEN . . . it is really making a difference for me too!

  • 48.
    Sherry said…

    If you need help making decisions check out the desire map….wow!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks for pointing that out Sherry – I get her daily emails and newsletter but hadn’t looked at that closer. Thank you.

  • 49.
    Tona said…

    I think if i had to give one word to describe you it would be aware. You seem to always be aware of what needs to happen & why, what is happening & why… A very admirable quality!

  • 50.
    Jenni Hufford said…

    i love your heart ali!!!

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