Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

October 23, 2013

10 Things Right Now | Ali


I figured I’d keep the 10 Things Right Now theme going this week and include 10 things about me too. You can read the lists about my kids here: Simon and Anna.

1. Focusing on open, my One Little Word for 2013, has been huge for me this year. I continue to find myself in situations where I’m presented with the opportunity to open a little wider, to consider a different option, to let go, to live in the grey areas, to stretch and grow and change my mind and learn new things about myself (and who I want to be) and to take another brave deep breath. It has challenged me in so many ways and I’m thankful. This is definitely a word I will carry with me into the future. I’ll have more details about a One Little Word workshop for 2014 next month.

2. I’ve been traveling quite a bit the last three weeks mostly related to business. I knew it was coming but man when you lump it all together it’s definitely not easy. My parents have been really supportive and helpful during my recent trips and the kids love having them here. Travel for me is very much a yin/yang. I love going and I love coming home. I’ve got one more big trip this year coming up in the next couple of weeks with ScrapMap to China. I don’t think it will actually be real until I get off the plane in Beijing.

3. Sea salt caramels in a jar from Costco. Enough said.

4. That holiday nudge to beautify my home/surroundings is starting to come on strong. I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving this year and I’m so looking forward to the activity and food and family noise in my house (and focusing on that vs. wishing my walls were all white even though I would love to make that happen). Christmas will also be with family this year and I’m so, so thankful.

5. Along with the holiday decor are the Christmas gifts. I started my list today and am seriously considering simplifying things for the kids and going with the Want, Need, Wear, Read idea this year. More meaning/more meaningful interactions is what I’m after and what I’d like to have as a piece of our conversations about gifts and giving. Less stuff.

6. All my recent travel has resulted in a few new books on my bedside table (I have trouble resisting airport bookstores). New titles include: When America First Met China, Facing Codependence, and Wonder. Yes, totally random assortment but all interesting nonetheless.

7. I’m learning that the saying “it’s likely that your kids need you more as they get older” is true. Navigating life with a child in middle school and all that goes along with that age is a very real piece of my right now (add on some special needs challenges and it’s all the more interesting). I’m working on my own communication skills every single day.

8. I have a post in the works (I usually have a bunch of draft posts in the works but not all of them come to fruition) called Life After Divorce. That’s all that I’ve got so far – the title. The words seem to be swirling around in my head and on my heart and I feel like I have something to say about this point in my journey, but I’m still not sure yet. It’s likely it will be one of those things I’m never really sure about and I’ll simply have to take a leap.

9. December Daily™ is front and center this week as I work on my new digital products and start putting together my foundation pages and a plan for my album this year. I hope to post about that early next week and you should see the first of some of my new products at Designer Digitals this weekend.

10. Last weekend I finally found a new puffy vest at H&M. I’ve been on the lookout for a new puffy vest for some time after Katie let me know she was about ready to burn/throw away the black puffy vest I’ve been wearing for years and years. It’s affectionately (from my end) come to be known as my security blanket – a go-to on many occasions in my life and something that literally does make me feel protected and comforted. Katie calls it old and worn out. She’s right. Of course. So I’m finally letting it go.


  • 1.
    Katrina said…

    Love this list, Ali. #7 – I’ve often said that teens are like toddlers. They need structure, routine, and help with making good choices.

    • ….
      Elizabeth Rosemond said…

      Katrina, that is the TRUTH. I have kids at all ages (19, 10, 5 and 3). The teenager and the 5 year old could have been the se person when they were 17 and 3 :)

    • ….
      Elizabeth Rosemond said…

      *same person

  • 2.
    Christin Dukes said…

    Love number 5. May have to use that for Christmas this year,

  • 3.
    Desiree said…

    I agree about middle school age. It is a heartbreaking age and I know its about to get worse as my daughter gets older. Not being invited to things, friends not talking to them for one reason or another . School getting tougher. And all you can really do is be there for them and listen and give advice and watch them navigate this scary time of life.

  • 4.
    Brenda said…

    We’ve lived in a shanghai the past year and a half. If you have any specifics where you will be when you are here and people can stop by please let me know!!! Also please email me if you need anything or have any questions. Have a safe trip!!

  • 5.

    Ali, you inspire me to be better and to do better on a daily basis. Your honesty and willingness to share your life with us is super inspiring. Thank you.

    • ….
      Bonnie Lamothe said…

      I agree, you are very inspiring Ali… and brave! I’ve been following you for many years now and have much respect for all you do. :)

  • 6.
    Abby P said…

    Re #7, totally true. I have two boys, 17 and 21, and I find they need a lot of guidance to navigate the waters of freedom and responsibility. They’re great kids…just want them to stay great! Parenting never ends when you love your kids.

  • 7.
    Kirsten said…

    Wonder is awesome! I feel happy every time someone new gets to experience it. Enjoy (and keep a few tissues close by) :)

  • 8.
    Melissa said…

    Thanks Ali for sharing. #7 has resonated with me because I am learning quickly that my 3yo cant comprehend, ‘pick up the toys’, it needs to be, ‘pick up the legos off the carpet in the living room’. Working on my communication skills is an everyday challenge. You can do it. =)

  • 9.
    Susan said…

    In regards to #5, we have been giving one gift from each person for about 10 years now and it makes gift finding and gift giving very meaningful. (Oh, plus stocking stuffers). And in regards to #7 I agree. I began homeschooling my twin boys in 7th grade and it was probably one of the best decisions we’ve ever made: time with them has been invaluable. In regards to #9 my plan is to keep it simple and digital and I’d really like to finish this year too.

  • 10.
    Gayl said…

    I love art, I love words. . .I love the insight of this kind of post that says so much and inspires me to think about my own 10 things.

  • 11.
    Stephanie said…

    We threw out the idea of #5 to our kids last year and found that it made them be very conscious of what they were asking for and allowed them to be a little creative with their wishlist because some wishes could fall under multiple categories. We decided to do this because 1) too much stuff! and 2) we want to travel with them – we want to make memories! My kids agree that they would rather go on vacations with us than have a massive Christmas and I am so thankful for that. It really allows us to focus on what Christmas really means to us.

    And, #7, absolutely 100% agree! We are now the home of two teenagers and they require such intense focus, love and guidance. It is exasperating, fun, busy, and wonderful!

  • 12.
    Dianne said…

    Sea salt caramels — the best!! My “good girl” treat.

  • 13.
    Cathy L. said…

    I don’t dare bring those caramels into my house!

  • 14.
    Audrey V said…

    Oh boy, #7 is so true. I have 2 teenagers. I look back at the years when they were younger, and those years definitely look easy in comparison. But everything you do in the younger years builds up your success in the teenage years. The worst part is that they still need you in the teen years, yet they are struggling to walk that road of independence.

  • 15.
    Jen said…

    Great share Ali! #5: Santa visits my children (their “wish” small trinkets) come from him but the gifts under the tree there are always 3 because Jesus received 3 gifts from the Kings. I worried when I started this 8 years ago would it seem minimal but it has been AMAZING! It simplifies my shopping, I don’t get caught up in the holiday craze (so many deals!) and honestly between all the gifts they get from friends and family they have P_L_E_N_T_Y! I also remember as a child the holidays when my parents had money and the ones they didn’t – so when I started on this journey with my own family I didn’t want my kids to ever feel “that” – I knew I could always manage 3 gifts in some way and as our family has grown I appreciate that I started this because no one has ever felt like they now get less since they have a sibling.

  • 16.
    Mary Sara P. said…

    Hi Ali, I so appreciate you and your way of sharing things. Plus, who can’t love Sea Salt Caramels – I have to look for them at Costco next time I go. Have a wonderful day! :)

  • 17.
    Dori said…

    Ali, you don’t have to let go of your beloved black puffy vest! Wear it while gardening! My dear husband doesn’t say a word when I wear my 15-year-old ‘Army Mom’ sweatshirt. That garment has seen me through several deployments and always makes me feel like I’m wearing a big hug from my son (who gifted the sweatshirt to me). Now as thin as cheesecloth, it isn’t fit to wear in public, so I wear it around the house or yard, and occasionally even to bed. I pray it will last for any future deployments. Thank you for this beautiful post and God bless.

  • 18.
    Lori said…

    God knew what he was doing when he put Katie in your life. A friend who tells you what you need to hear, even when you don’t want to hear it is invaluable. This entire post is wonderful. Blessings to you, Ali.

    • ….
      Sue M said…

      This beautiful Katie sounds like she’s my beautiful granddaughter! Love her bunches.

  • 19.
    Patti L said…

    You are awesome as always. I need to push myself to write more of this stuff down too.
    I think its interesting how you said #7 about your kids, but in #2 you referenced the support of your parents. I think it is even more true that young adults need their parents still too! I know I do.
    I know its a tough subject, as I can relate, but I really would love for you to work on that #8.
    I started visiting your blog way back when bcz of scrapbooking, but I think I come more now for the life stuff. Whatever it is, you have a way with writing that is relate-able and healing.
    So thanks for that.

  • 20.
    Sara said…

    I feel the same way about my black puffy vest. It feels so cozy and comforting.

  • 21.
    Stephanie George said…

    Thanks for the reminder that sometimes just making a list of the “Right Nows” is enough. I’ve been wanting to write letters to my kids (trying to write yearly ones for my four year old and monthly ones for my son’s first year). But I’ve been struggling to find the words. My mind sometimes seems cluttered with the drone of every day life and by the end of the day when I have some peace and quiet, my mind is too tired to write anything significant. Maybe a list will do!

    Also thank you as always for sharing YOU. I know so many of us feel this way. When you open up and share about you, I am always inspired. I love that you try to simplify and that you are always evaluating where you want to be and who you are. I would love to hear your thoughts (or whatever it is you are formulating) on life after divorce. It’s not necessarily pertinent to my life, but your philosophy towards life and the clarity with which you present it makes your words relatable even when they aren’t directly/literally (does that make sense?).

    And along those same lines… I CAN NOT WAIT for December Daily to start. Not only do I love to see daily layouts created by you, but I also just love to see the cheer with which you go through December. I’m sure you struggle with creating a new reality for your family, and yet, you approach this season with so much joy and love that you are creating a “Christmas Morning” feeling for us every day of December. Your kids are so lucky to have such a strong, smart Mom. Good job. And thanks for sharing.

  • 22.
    Susan Rosen said…

    You are so wonderful. Thank you for sharing about your life right now. Tell the true stories!


  • 23.
    Katie said…

    I too have a child in middle school, my oldest is 11. It is definitely a journey. I find myself refining my communication skills daily as well.
    I don’t want to say that I am “looking forward” to your post about Life after Divorce, but in a way I am. I feel like it’s a bit taboo (kinda like the deep, dark truths about pregnancy or marriage ;0 ) but it is reality and I think we might all fare a bit better if we DID talk about it! Ahem, there’s that pesky communication again. I have been searching high and low for scrapbookers who are divorced and doing project life and how it affects your scrapbooking method (especially trying to go back and play catch up) and there really isn’t much out there. I am torn myself so I can easily see why it’s not prevalent. I’m three years out from my separation and I’m just not wanting to get back in to scrapbooking my present life but still feel at a loss of how to start and even more at a loss of how to go backwards and catch up. :/

    • ….
      Tess said…

      I totally hear what you’re saying. I can’t stand the thought of pulling all the “old family” type scrapping out or trying to sterilize it. I pulled most of those, and put them in scrapbooks for just my son someday. I also gave alot of them to my daughter (who started out as a stepdaughter… kept her, divorced her dad!) I got divorced almost 10 years ago, I have to admit, I’ve become jaded (and I know it’s unhealthy, but it’s where I am) and I keep a few filler pics and also make sure I take lots of pictures of just my son, daughter and I that way I can put in a second string picture if my relationship fails. I hate that there are entire Christmas’s and Thankgsgivings that I have to look at my ex’s face in so many pictures :( I’ve become creative with hinges, and layering flips that can be altered if someone needs to be removed. The thing that I feel bad about is these are relationships that span 2-3 years, and I still need the ability to know I can keep “my history and my son’s history” but remove their faces (and existence) if need be. But, yes, back to your point, there are alot of older pics I’d love to address honestly, but, I’ve found if I don’t do it at the time, the feelings change anyway. So, backtracking isn’t all that scary. At least for me. I just went on a trip to a place where I used to live with my son, his dad, and my two stepchildren. I had my son and my daughter (who used to be the stepdaughter) with me, and we went to some places that were special to us, as individuals and as a family. I have an older picture that was a snapshot, taken in a one of these special places, and was our first “family” picture. I want to include that picture, and I’m not sure how. I don’t really want to hide it (I’m pretty good at hidden journaling-essential skill) as the purpose of including it is the physical and emotional growth we’ve all experienced. But, there was no picture taken that day of just my son and I, or my son, daughter and I. Just the one of the 5 of us. My kids love, and savor our scrapbooks, and I am very careful to be complimentary of their dad on the very rare example these days that he gets mentioned. The hidden journaling includes more authentic emotional journaling, and likely won’t be found til long after I’m gone. I agree, I’d love to find a talented scrap booker’s blog that addresses this. I loved in your video, Ali, how you mentioned Elf on a Shelf and how it fits into your family. When you’re ready, go for it!

    • ….
      creole wisdom said…

      couldn’t agree more (and we’re both named Katie, how fun!). I wish more bloggers who are “non traditional” and I don’t like that word because 50% of our families are divorced in this country, would share more. As a single woman with no children yet I appreciate hearing all sides of the story especially in the DIY/scrapbooking/photography blog world. Authenticity is so liberating!

  • 24.
    Karen said…

    A thought in response to your “open” comments. The first rule for birds: YOU HAVE TO SPREAD YOUR WINGS IN ORDER TO FLY. The same goes for people (young and old alike). I think it’s more a challenge for adults as they grow older to be more open than for children. It comes naturally for them. We’ve had many more years to listen to that voice in our head talking us out of things our heart yearns to do. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  • 25.
    Amy said…

    Great post Ali! I, too, have a son in 6th grade middle school this year and it has been an interesting transition. He is doing well, but it’s definitely something new every day. I love the want, need, wear, read….I am going to put that in practice. Thanks so much for sharing a peek in to your everyday life. I always come away from your posts with a smile, and most often having learned something.

  • 26.
    Evie said…

    Hi Ali! What an amazing post. TFS your thoughts! Although my style is quite different from yours I consider your Life Artist book as my scrapbooking bible. It actually gave me the courage to develop my own style. I feel like I’ve been rediscovering you and at the same time why I scrapbook and it’s importance. I am looking forward to your new projects and thank you for all you do!!
    :) :)

  • 27.
    Paulette said…

    #10 is funny Ali… my BFF made me burn my security blanket too, 8 years ago… a leather jacket 3 sizes too big :o ) Thanks as always for sharing!

  • 28.
    Anne S. said…

    #8, hits home to me. I too have a draft of a blog post titled “the lost months”….post divorce. And all I’ve got is the title. After 18 years of marriage and 2 kids, I am 4 months post final divorce hearing and a year and 9 months post separation. Some might think that life after divorce is easier than the time of separation, but I am finding out that it is not and actually is full of a different kind of grief, the kind that is hard to explain. Hence the title “the lost months”. It seems that most people expect you to be fine. They expect that if you are not already healed, then soon you will be. They expect you to be ready to move on. And I’m finding, so much of these expectations just aren’t applicable to me. So yes, I completely understand how hard it is to string the words together when trying to talk about “life after divorce”. It’s such a conflicting time. Most conflicting time of my life. So hugs and prayers to you as your heart and mind put those words together…and if they never reach the keyboard, so be it.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I simply don’t think you are ever the same and I’m thinking about that a lot – there’s so much beauty and sorrow all mixed together.

  • 29.
    susan garner said…

    When the children get to High School is where you are going to have to have strength.

  • 30.
    dawny dee said…

    life after divorce .. such a tender and raw place for so many – even years later. would love to read your kind, thoughtful and gentle take on a situation that is fraught with so much emotion on all ends of the spectrum. please share if you can.
    how to go from the “us” of a nuclear family to the “me” and “new us” of the new order. no answers of course just gentle understanding and growth.

  • 31.
    Natasha said…

    We have been doing the want, need, wear, and read gifts for Christmas for years. It works out for the best all the way around.

  • 32.
    Nita K. said…

    You will love Wonder. It is an amazing book! It is the book that has changed my own son, who is 8, as a reader.

  • 33.
    Suzanne said…

    I do #5 and have for the last couple of years – since 2010. I can’t say how enough how happy I am I decided to do this. Now all my girls (all four of them) know they will get the same number of presents and they enjoy guessing what they will get in each category. If you would like to, I wrote a short post on it a year or so ago. Even if you don’t want to read about it – it’s a fantastic system!

  • 34.

    Life After Divorce… YES!.. leap ….. Divorce is life changing. Knowing that it’s something that you have to deal with forever when you have children can sometimes be a heavy burden. Sometimes we all need to speak about our triumphs and our losses while we navigate the new life journey.

    • ….
      Bonnie Lamothe said…

      so many of us are going through this challenge … I would certainly welcome some words of wisdom, as I am just embarking on this unwelcomed journey

  • 35.
    Fiona said…

    Thanks for the 10 things lists, I have read yours often and never done it and now I wish I had. Writing those lists for our whole family tonight has helped me be grateful in season with the children where it is too easy to see the negative and be stuck there, not only that but consider myself and DH in a different way. I will definitely do this again!
    Thank you Thank you Thank you

  • 36.
    Peggy said…

    you may want to consider one of your words for ONE LITTLE WORD in the near future SEPERATION! as I read your posts about your children and how VERY MUCH they mean to you….I have 3 and they are my world….I now have to say WERE my world. I was an at home mom and my life was centered around who they were and what they did each and every day. Those days have long been not a part of my life and I miss those days SO VERY MUCH! I do hope when the time comes for you, that you can let your children fly with the wings that were given to them….because if you think having a middle school aged child is a little challenging just wait until they leave home and are many, many miles apart from you. You give me strength every day to do some type of journaling and writing down my thoughts in words. I’m still not that good at it, but I continue to work at it. THANK YOU!

  • 37.
    CJ said…

    Such a lovely post Ali, you do so inspire me. And you’ve left me feeling just a little festive, in a “time to start thinking about it” way. After bonfire night (November 5) it will definitely be time to start taking action! I’ve been reading your blog for years now, and you never cease to leave me feeling a little better than when I arrive. So thank you. Your thoughtful posts have a little magic to them. Hope you have a good weekend.

  • 38.
    Kary in Colorado said…

    #7, yes. I have four (30, 22, 18 & 16) and learned quickly that the early years are physically taxing, but the teen years are mentally and emotionally challenging. You need brains and patience and insight and tact and the ability to carry on a deep conversation at midnight after an already long day when you have a teen. It’s a wonderful age, but stressful for all involved (and we thought babies were hard!).

  • 39.
    jaimee h. said…

    Tied in with your one little word for the year, I will say (as I find I often do when your posts compel me to comment) thank you for being so open with us. I love reading your words and somehow find some common thread between your thoughts and mine, even though we are living different realities. I LOVE #5 and was actually just thinking about that this week as the holidays are already creeping into my mental to do list. My son’s birthday is on NYE, right after Christmas; so his abundance of “stuff” seems to grow exponetially at the end of the year. And I was reading an article recently that talked about the more toys a child has, the less he/she actually plays with. I could probably count on one hand the toys that get touched and make a two page list of the toys that don’t. So definitely hoping to simplify this year.

  • 40.
    cinback said…

    I agree with #7. I have two teenaged girls and they definitely still need me. I guess in a different way though. When they were younger they needed me physically…to play games with them, to cook their supper, help with homework, teach them to do laundry. Now, they need me mentally…what do I think about their essay? how can they support their friend who just broke up with her boyfriend? should they quit their job to focus more on school? So, the focus shifts. But man, is it ever rewarding when suddenly my eldest leaves me flowers and a note saying how appreciative she is of my input into her life…

  • 41.
    Teri H. said…

    Cross-reference #1 and #8. :)

  • 42.
    Paula said…

    What a lovely post. Much of what you and everyone who has responded said strikes a chord with me too. I love lists, and I both like and have experienced things on your list. I am very happy with my OLW “understand” that I have dwelled on so much this year – and come to the conclusion that sometimes the “understanding” is that complicated issues in our life don’t have to be resolved, we can just understand their complexity and that we did the best we could. I can say that with both my kids – neither is/was the “popular” teen and both have missed out on some of the expected “milestones” like homecoming, prom etc…but I have come to “understand” that finding your path is not about fitting a set mold, and that that set mold does not guarantee fulfillment anyway. There is no right/wrong way to move forward in life if you are a kind, caring person with good morals who tries their best. I am blessed with a good marriage relationship, but that said, even those of us who have never seperated have deep seated hurts and unresolved situations that we have buried in us. As humans we are a mix of strengths, abilities, insecurities and vulnerability. I love that you celebrate all of those traits here on your blog. :)

  • 43.
    alecia said…

    How is it that whenever I pop over to your blog you always seem to say a few things that I need to hear? You have been on my mind lately! Is that the same puffy black vest you had in college? Though I agree it may be time for a new one, when you spot it in the back of the closet it will make you recall some great memories. Miss you!

  • 44.
    Alicia said…

    Great reflections for yourself! It’s really important to reflect on our lives and feelings outside of our kids. Great journaling.

  • 45.
    Kari Lynn said…

    I love the idea in #5. Great idea for Christmas, I will definitely use that this year.

  • 46.

    Love this list, Ali. #2.Great idea.

  • 47.
    Erin said…

    Love…love…love the book Wonder! Everyone should read it! Enjoy!

  • 48.
    Jill said…

    # 3 – Amen sister. I’m not sure my jar lasted a month – maybe even just a couple of weeks. :)

  • 49.
    see this said…

    personal vaporizer 10 Things Right Now | Ali | Ali Edwards

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