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We Do

In our family...

We do magic. Moments of surprise. The ones that take your breath away. We create opportunities to experience magic both big and small.

We do adventure. We take trips and see new places and experience new things to expand our worldview.

We do hard things. With grace and courage and bravery. We face our fears and we support each other. Challenges are welcome as a path towards greater personal understanding.

We do forgiveness.

We do compassion. For others. For ourselves.

We do community. We have friends over. We invite. We welcome. Our doors are open. And we accept invitations and show up.

We do movies. On the couch. At the theater.

We do outside. We swim. We bike. We walk. We play. We chase. We dine.

We do failure. We know without a doubt that trying hard and making mistakes and screwing up and getting back up again is one of the ways we all grow.

We do quiet times. In our own rooms. On the couch. In the reading room. We value time on our own.

We do one-on-one time.

We do creativity. We build. We paint. We might not all do the same forms of creativity but it is encouraged and celebrated.

We do laughter. We do joy. We do giggles and silliness.

We do different. We embrace and celebrate our individuality. We celebrate imperfections. We challenge assumptions (our own and the ones others have about us). We help others to see that different is amazing and makes our world and our lives a much richer experience.

We do family. Our family might not look the same as other families. Ours includes a wonderful collection of people who are related and un-related by blood or certificate. Some we see everyday and others on occasion. Love binds us together and we are thankful.

We do reading. On our own. Together.

We do education. We are involved and active and in-touch with our teachers. We thank them when they are awesome and gently challenge them to question their own assumptions when we know there's room to grow. We are always learning.

We do gratitude. Around the table. In the car. On the page.

We do love. Every single day. No matter what.


I wrote this last month in a flurry of inspiration while sitting in the car waiting for one of the kids or just after dropping them off at school (I can't remember which it was now). "We do..." is basically a family manifesto of who we are and the things I value and want to pass along by example. I wrote it out using Evernote which is the program I'm definitely using most these days for writing things down and keeping track of ideas while I'm on the go (thoughts, post ideas, workshop ideas, etc).

As I was getting this post ready Katie and I went back through many, many photos looking for a recent one of the me and the kids and we are severely lacking in that department. This needs to be remedied very soon. Katie printed out and put together the fun collection of recent photos you see above.

PS | Thank you so much to those of you who have taken the time to fill out the 2014 aliedwards.com Reader Survey. I appreciate it greatly. There's still time to fill it out if you haven't yet. I'll close it up on Monday.

What do you and your family do?

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38 thoughts

  1. Erin in Germany says…
    04/10/2014

    Absolutely beautiful and very moving, Ali. Thanks so much!
    Our family does together. Especially meals eaten when everyone is at the table are precious to us.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Michelle t. says…
    04/10/2014

    Lovely and inspiring. My boys are in their first year of high school. There have been trials. Confidence, or lack thereof. A long bus ride. They are not around the corner and near me anymore. But they are goal oriented. They want so much for themselves. It's a beautiful sight. I'm proud, I'm constant, I'm here for them, I raise them. Even when it's heavy, and I'm mired in whatever crisis the home care company is fighting to fix. My girl is a normal, happy 9 yr old. And she's a dream. Perfect to cuddle with. She's not yet growing up too fast. She loves her dolls, it brings me joy. It's hard to raise girls in this day and age. And I'm lucky. We are fairly alone. My sisters and parents have moved away. I have a close friend who'd move mountains for my kids and me. My husband has a decent job, and I'm lucky. I've lived my life acknowledging my blessings, and have taught my kids to. That's family , my family, and yes, we all may be different, families I mean, but really, we are all the same. Thank you for this, and I will 're write this in my journal. Michelle t

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Delia says…
    04/10/2014

    Been following you since 2003/4 and this may be my favourite post of yours ever. Thank you! You all do it so very, very well.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Giorgi says…
    04/10/2014

    Love it, can relate to it, might have to steal it. Been following you forever too. So inspiring. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Karen d. says…
    04/10/2014

    Lovely. As my family grows to include in-laws and grandchildren, we are making great efforts to get together on a regular basis. Just back from visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandgirls in Ohio. I know we are doing a good job of being together when the route is SO familiar!
    Have a blessed day.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Angie Hall says…
    04/10/2014

    Ali, I loved this post, the first read of my morning today, and thank goodness! You are such an inspiration. I am encouraged by everything you've shared here. Things are gonna be different and hard and scary for me very soon, but you inspire me. I can do hard things. What encourages me most is where you talk about doing forgiveness. Still working on this one, but thanks for the reminder that it can be done. Y'all do (I can say y'all…I'm in Atlanta) so maybe I can.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Jill says…
    04/10/2014

    Beautiful post, Ali! This is why I come here each day as I drink my morning coffee. In our family we do much the same as you do in yours. I'd like to do more of some of the things on your list. You have inspired me to make a similar list for my family. Just a list of things that we are already doing and that I'd like us to do or to do more of. I am learning from you how important it is to get ideas out of my head and onto paper or into a file on my laptop. It is easy to forget (especially as I get older!) what I did an hour ago let alone try to stay grounded and live intentionally vs. just letting the hours and days float on by. Thank you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Chris says…
    04/10/2014

    Love this:)

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. emily says…
    04/10/2014

    I love this, what a lovely idea! I'm inspired to sit down an write my own family manifesto. Thank you for all that you've shared here, each and every day.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Lori says…
    04/10/2014

    Awesome!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Debbie says…
    04/10/2014

    Lovely. Absolutely lovely!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Tammie says…
    04/10/2014

    Thanks for more inspiration Ali!
    In my family we do: a lot of laughing, cooking & baking, photography, puzzles, nails & hair, popcorn & movies, walks in the park, prayers, shopping, bedtime reading, gardening, Instagram, fashion and visiting with family/friends.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. dawn says…
    04/10/2014

    WOW!! This was beautiful Ali, loved it so much! Will have to write down ours now. Hope you include this in your PL or on a layout.
    THANK YOU!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. rachel del grosso says…
    04/10/2014

    oh ali, i just love this! it has inspired me to write mine down now, while my son is so little, so that we always know what we are aiming for as he grows and learns.

    thank you for sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. allyson says…
    04/10/2014

    simply love this. thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Kim B. says…
    04/10/2014

    What a rich, rich life. Beautiful.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Monica says…
    04/10/2014

    B e a u t i f u l .

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Charlotte says…
    04/10/2014

    Love this, Ali. In our family, as in yours, family is defined by who is in your heart, not who you share DNA with. I like that it makes family expansive, not restrictive.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Alecia says…
    04/10/2014

    You and your family, my friend, are AWESOME!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Paula says…
    04/10/2014

    Thanks for this beautiful post. I applaud you for what YOU DO - your children will always be able to look up to you and cherish everything you have provided and created. You are a thinker, a doer and a creater - and I really appreciate all that you share.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. casie says…
    04/10/2014

    Ali,
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! A family manifesto! Perfect! You continue to be an amazing inspiration both in life and in my creative realm. Please continue these awesome posts!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. {vicki} says…
    04/10/2014

    Thanks for the 'prompt

    Will definately do this'

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. patty says…
    04/10/2014

    love. love. LOVE this...
    thank you for sharing openly and honestly.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Ann says…
    04/10/2014

    Inspiring!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. carrie wohlt says…
    04/10/2014

    LOVE THIS post ali. so heart warming. I could totally see this as something put on a wall in your home or on some big piece of art to hang. as always YOU ROCK!

    Reply 0 Replies

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