One Little Word 2020: LESS

Every year for four years now, I’ve signed up for the OLW class that Ali Edwards hosts on her site. I do the January prompt and maybe even the vision board. Then, it goes to the side. I see the monthly emails about a new prompt…and toss them into the trash. But! It’s a new year. A new decade (depending on who you ask). I’m hopeful about this year and that includes being hopeful I may actually do all of the prompts.

2020 Word


The Plan

The plan this year is really simple. Interleave my responses to the OLW monthly prompts between everything else I’m recording in my bullet journal (more on that in another post). No buying new supplies – other than a single roll of washi I bought yesterday – for the project. Respond to the prompts within a week or so of their being posted on the classroom site. Of course, if the prompt is to do something throughout a month, I’ll comply.

January Prompt Response

The prompt was the same as past years, so I won’t dwell on that. Here’s how I responded in my notebook.



I am off to take advantage of my last day of Lizzie being at her grandparents’ house. Lots of nothing for two hours. Quick stop at the farmer’s market we’ve gone to for over 10 years. Brunch then shopping with a friend which seems so much more DC-gal-in-her-30s than I actually am. Really, we just like food and both need something from the mall and don’t want to go alone.

I’ll be back with more on this whole bullet journaling thing in a few days.

One Little Word 2019: Present

I’m participating in Ali Edwards’s online course for One Little Word again this year. If you’re not familiar with the concept, I won’t try to paraphrase Ali but point you over to her page about OLW. My words in previous years were WORTHY (2013), ENJOY (2015), and CONNECT (2016). I’ve never been great about completing the course or, if I’m honest, even keeping my word at the front of my mind all year.

My word this year: PRESENT

Materials for the Year

Most folks who participate do so as a scrapbooking exercise, using Ali’s recommended materials, both digital (included in the class) and physical (not included in the class). I tried the scrapbook approach before but it just didn’t work out well for me. I worried too much about it being pretty enough. I’m using a Leuchttrum 1917 dot grid notebook and am going to try to keep things very straight-forward and simple. Couple pens or markers. Some washi. Maybe a sticker or two.

January Exercise

This January, like in previous years, Ali encouraged participants to respond to a series of short prompts/journaling exercises. I’ve included copies of my responses, below. You can see how minimal I’m trying to go with this, a plain Sharpie pen and some fun washi to mark the edge of the page that starts the month.


I’ll share more about my OLW journey next month with how January went and my responses to the February exercise. If you’re also in the class, look for me in the Facebook group and say hello.


I have all sorts of excuses why I haven’t blogged in awhile. Use of Instagram for sharing photos and stories. Trying to connect with people more in person. Lack of desire to get anywhere near a computer after a work day spent on one.

But, really, I just haven’t felt like blogging. And that’s okay, right? Ya’ll haven’t come at me with pitchforks, demanding I post more often. I do this blog for fun and self-expression and, okay, sometimes it’s for the likes and new followers.

2017 Wrap-Up

I would say that 2017 was a year of ups and downs, for me and my work and my family and, well, the nation. (Don’t worry, I won’t elaborate very much on that last one. Let’s just say I see it as more of a downward motion with occasional bright spots.)


I started the year with a giant plate of cinnamon rolls at a favorite brunch spot and spent the rest of the day clearing out and organizing our closets. We also went to Rose’s Luxury for the first time in a little bit. (Yes, Lizzie spent the first few days of the year at her grandparents’.) Lizzie got really into painting, taking advantage of her new easel. I took another ballet class – the only session I actually completed for the year, though I did start too others. We all went to the Women’s March on Washington – even Lizzie was a happy camper, despite the crazy crowds. I made a lot of envelopes and pom-poms. Maybe hundreds of each. We helped with robotics again, though I mostly stayed home to watch Lizzie.


We went to the National Zoo with the family of one of Matt’s high school friends on a drizzly day. Spent a long weekend in Florida with my parents, including lots of playground time and a trip to the Everglades (my first, can you believe it??). I visited the new MGM resort for a friend’s birthday. We started a fun activity of hallway bowling.


Lizzie started her second round of swim lessons, still with us on the pool with her. She did really well, though didn’t end the class being unwilling to be in the pool without us. Her second haircut was just as easy as her first. We got a good amount of snow. Well, enough snow for Lizzie to “help” make a snowman.


Matt went to South Africa for work – the cards were brought back for me. Lizzie attempted a soccer class – this accurately shows her feelings towards it. We went with some friends to a DC United game. We spent a lot of time our new hammock. Lizzie participated in an Easter egg hunt with church. Matt celebrated his favorite time of year -strawberry season! My parents came for a weekend and we spent a day in Annapolis.


I had a major sinus infection but it was over by the time we had our annual Cinco de Mayo party. Neighbor Sara joined me at Maryland Sheep and Wool. We spent an evening at Great Falls and a weekend in Shenandoah. We had dinner and played board games with old friends. Lizzie ate the first of many, many popsicles for the summer.


Lizzie spent lots of time outside or in our porch with E from next door. I made some fun creatures. We spent 10 days in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We re-did our basement (finally!).


We spent as much time outside as possible, including fireworks with neighbors, trip to Shenandoah with friends, and a visit to Florida (where Uncle Rob took us all the zoo).


Lots of time with the neighborhood families. Matt and I spent the last half of the month in England and Wales. (For more info on the trip, see my Instagram from August.)


Going through my photos, it’s all about Lizzie’s friends’ birthday parties and a random Saturday afternoon spent painting in the porch. I’m sure other stuff happened, too, but that’s certainly what kept weekends super busy.


Birthday party next door and TWO Shenandoah trips – one for our usual fall weekend and another, as a day trip, when my parents came to visit.


Another birthday party, Lizzie’s first college football game (Maryland vs Michigan). We had Thanksgiving with Matt’s parents and aunt and one of his coworkers. Everyone who had Thanksgiving next door came over for dessert. Of course, zero pictures of that but here’s our leftover turkey ramen from the next day.


Lizzie had a great Prince and Princess birthday party, where she and her buddies decorated foam crowns. We took her on her first Santa Train. She’s still scared of Santa but loved being on a real (non-Metro) train for the first time. We got a little bit of snow.  The girls – Lizzie and neighbor’s – attempted to make gingerbread houses with non-structural components. Celebrated Christmas with my in-laws and without my parents (long story). Lizzie fell in love with Legos.

Looking Forward to 2018

Let’s just leave this for another post, okay?

One Little Word 2017: Connect

There’s this thing in scrapbooking – a project, I guess you’d call it – called One Little Word. The idea is to pick a single word which will be the focus of your energy in the next year. There’s a whole online course associated with it to guide you in implementing your word and, as it is a scrapbooking thing, in creating an album to record your implementation journey. But, really, it’s about living out your word, not just being introspective and putting together the album.

This year, I chose the word Connect. I took a few days and worked to respond to the prompts for the month, which are much the same as in the two previous years I participated (2013 and 2016).

Why I Chose It: I chose it because 2016 was a year spent trying to learn how to enjoy my life and everything in it after being diagnosed with depression. This year, I need to stop being so inward-looking and pay attention to the world around me. Connect (or, what will be more likely, reconnect) with what I found I enjoy and makes life worth living last year.


“Before you can ever inspire, motivate, or influence, you must connect.” – Greg Smith

“Creativity is just connecting things.” – Steve Jobs

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among these fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes and they come back to us as effects.” – Hermon Melville

Invitation: I want to connect to the people, causes, and activities I enjoy more fully.

Let Go: I want to let go of connecting to things instead of people. Let go of taking these personally when I’m not connected to something.

Currently: I am connected with Matt, Lizzie, and some parts of our extended family, plus a few friends.

More and Less: More texts and phone calls. Less just liking things on Facebook. More exploring my faith. Less hiding from others in plain site (by being in my own little world).

Fear: I am afraid something I think is an important connection to make/keep will turn out to be not important. I am also afraid I will try to connect with someone who doesn’t want to connect with me.

Excitement: I am excited to make connections with new people and things that I like to do. I am excited to get out of my own head.

Intentions – Physical: Learn the connections between how I feel physically and what I eat, drink, and do. Learn to connect my energy level with what I’m doing.

Intentions – Spiritual: Connect to other people of faith and to God through reading, prayer, and conversations.

Intentions – Emotional: Realize how what I do impacts others, especially negatively. Try not to connect what others do to me immediately – work to become less easily insulted/offended.

Intentions – Relationships: Connect with family members not as close to. Keep an eye on how close I am feeling to Matt and Lizzie, to make sure those connections stay strong.

Intentions – Creative: Find out how I connect happiness with a given type of activity. Be willing to not do something if it doesn’t satisfy me creatively.