Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

April 10, 2014

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 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?


  • 1.
    Erin in Germany said…

    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.

  • 2.
    Michelle t. said…

    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

  • 3.
    Delia said…

    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.

  • 4.
    Giorgi said…

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

  • 5.
    Karen d. said…

    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.

  • 6.
    Angie Hall said…

    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.

  • 7.
    Jill said…

    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.

  • 8.
    Chris said…

    Love this:)

  • 9.
    emily said…

    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.

  • 10.
    Lori said…


  • 11.
    Debbie said…

    Lovely. Absolutely lovely!

  • 12.
    Tammie said…

    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.

  • 13.
    dawn said…

    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.

  • 14.

    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!

  • 15.
    allyson said…

    simply love this. thanks for sharing.

  • 16.
    Kim B. said…

    What a rich, rich life. Beautiful.

  • 17.
    Monica said…

    B e a u t i f u l .

  • 18.
    Charlotte said…

    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.

  • 19.
    Alecia said…

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

  • 20.
    Paula said…

    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.

  • 21.
    casie said…

    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!!!

  • 22.
    {vicki} said…

    Thanks for the ‘prompt

    Will definately do this’

  • 23.
    patty said…

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

  • 24.
    Ann said…


  • 25.
    carrie wohlt said…

    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!

  • 26.
    J3SS1C4 said…

    This post is seriously awesome! It is such an inspiration, and I really love that you are so willing to share such touching details about your every day life with us!

  • 27.
    Dori said…

    Ali, you do magic with paper and photos, but especially with WORDS. Thank you for this beautiful post, dear (virtual) friend.

  • 28.
    Robyn G. said…

    Any chance you could put this in a print out version so we can use it as inspiration for our own journaling?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Robyn – you are welcome to copy and paste the text into a Word document or text editor to print it out at home.

  • 29.
    Mary-Lou said…

    Ali several of your posts this year have given me the cyber smack up side the head (obviously I must need) so thank you. Today’s smack was your “We do community. We have friends over. We invite. We welcome. Our doors are open. And we accept invitations and show up.”

  • 30.
    Alishia said…

    Deliberate. We are working on being more deliberate. Attended a marriage conference 2 weeks ago, came home with “Our Legacy Pledge” and read it to each other in front of the kids. Had them sign it as our Witnesses. Thanks Ali. Love that you are deliberate about documenting.It goes by too fast. How soon we forget.

  • 31.
    michele said…

    Very well stated. Very inspiring.

  • 32.
    yin said…

    So beautiful. You do so well and so deliberately. Very inspiring indeed. thank you!

  • 33.
    stacie d said…

    Ali, I love this “We do…” to prompt all of the descriptors of our family life (crazy as it is!) Thanks for sharing your insight!

  • 34.
    Leslie S. said…

    Love this post!

  • 35.
    Bonnie Lamothe said…

    I love this…. I am especially moved by the fact that you included a pic of your ex husband and his ?…. you are such an amazing person! I hope with time (after my separation) I can get to that same place of peace and clarity. You are an inspiration.

  • 36.
    Carolyn K said…

    I clicked quickly through the question at the bottom of this post to the next post (I’m Ali-binge-ing this am trying to get caught up-) and then clicked back, realizing the prompt was perfect, your example shining so easy to take 3 minutes and grab something that could very well be our family manifesto. So here goes:
    we do loud. Music. Voices. Laughter.
    We do responsibility. Pets, chores, and independent work.
    we do praise. big time. we do rewards for great report cards and surprises for no reason.
    we do family times together. We race cars, we watch movies, we eat out, we drive together. we make time to celebrate us as a threesome.
    we learn. we stop for the teachable moment. we observe, investigate, and collect information.
    we communication. sometimes not well, sometimes very well. we reach out to friends and family, we say yes to people coming over and try to feed them often.we invite others to join us often.
    we take time for one on one. Me and her. Him and her, me and him. we get babysitters.
    we do theater. all the time. all of us.
    we do activities, activeness. making things. running. classes, swimming.gardening, hula-hooping.
    we do experiments. we change things up. we try things out with failure and possible uncomfortableness.
    we apologize. we say thank you. we ask nicely. we think of others.
    we do creativity. we do mess. we do paint elbow-deep projects that take over tables and floors. we do clean up and organizing constantly.
    we build opportunities for traditions. we make memories. we keep memories. we appreciate photos and stories and color and paper.
    we do love.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Love reading this Carolyn :) .

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