I love Ali Edwards’s yearly workshop One Little Word.
2016 will be my fourth year joining in on the workshop, and it’s been wonderful for me. The concept of choosing a word to guide you and meditate on throughout the year is a great way to focus on self-improvement and self-reflection without feeling too hokey or self-help-y.
Self-help subjects usually make me uncomfortable and guarded, because they tend to be baseless and predatory. But this? You choose what is guiding you. You choose what you want to improve in your life, what you want to invite in. The workshop is just a way to check in with yourself and think about your goals creatively.
In 2015, my word was WEAVE. I didn’t blog about it much, other than my reasons for choosing weave and my intentions with my word. I also didn’t do many of the prompts from the course last year, when in past years I’ve completed all of them. This was partially because I had other priorities and partly because I need a bit of distance from a lot of deeply personal things relating to my word before I feel like I can reflect on them properly.
I invited in lots of things relating to my word that were lighthearted, like swimming with my family more, going on more local adventures, and working on my skills as a memory keeper. I wove a little more time for myself in with things I enjoy but haven’t made much time for in recent years, like going to concerts and playing video games.
But mostly this word was about keeping myself together for what I knew would be an extremely difficult year.
The biggest change this year was weaving another member into our family through fostering. Our foster baby (now a foster toddler, really) is an amazing source of joy. Helping to raise her and watch her grow has been a privilege. I’m not sharing much about our fostering experience at this time to protect her privacy, but I will say that every experience with her is bittersweet. Interwoven with all of the wonderful moments of love is worry rooted in not knowing what her future will bring. A lot of my emotional energy this year has been focused on trusting the system and keeping in mind that, whatever happens, she will be safe and nurtured and loved.
One of my goals was to repair what I imagined as a broken family tapestry to restart relationships with estranged family members. Weaving ourselves back together began as extremely emotionally difficult, but emerged as one of the most wonderful things that happened this year.
Starting a relationship over is hard. It’s awkward at first because no one knows where to begin. It’s painful because you have to face the things that broke you in the first place. But by owning my mistakes and apologizing and working to understand my family members’ perspectives at the time, we all forged forward to forgiveness and that has had a powerful effect on me.
Even as I repaired relationships with some family members, others fractured. One of my loved ones is struggling with mental illness, and has been difficult to provide support while still protecting myself and my immediate family as that person engages in destructive behavior.
Because of all of these things, 2015 was a year of high highs and low lows. I’m proud of how I worked through these things and I’m thankful to my friends and family for being so very supportive along the way.
All of this is vague because none of these family matters are just my story to tell. But this gives you a peek into the things I’ve been working through over the past year and I hope that if you are also struggling, you find support from your loved ones or through a mental health professional.
Though I didn’t do many of the One Little Word prompts in 2015, I did make a few projects for my word. One was a little 4×6 weaving I made with a rigged shoe box loom as I reflected on the year. I wanted to do a little literal weaving! I love that this fits into a pocket page, so I can use it on my end-of-year OLW wrap up memory keeping.
I also painted my word on the canvas I’ve used for every word since 2013. I love the idea that each of my words are layered on top of one another. This time, I painted over SAVOR with black paint and squeezed white paint directly from the bottle for a slightly dimensional look.
WEAVE was such a good fit for me in 2015, but now I’m ready for EXPAND in 2016! I’ll share more about my word for the year next week.
Each year it’s my goal to complete 52 Projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain might venture into. They might be collaborative or independent. The point is to MAKE. I’m numbering in the order these projects are shared.
These are projects 40-41 of 52 for 2015! I’ll be sharing the rest throughout January before starting in on 2016 projects.
Check out the other projects: 1: Class Quilt / 2: Valentines with Eliza / 3: Crabitat / 4-7: Refinishing Our Hardwood Floors + Other Room Updates / 8: April Gardening / 9: Handprint and Footprint Butterfly Pots / 10: Ornate Frame with Clipped Photos / 11: May Gardening / 12-15: DIY Play Dough, Beach Painting, Badge Magnets, and Friendship Bracelets / 16: Fish Bowl Succulent Terrarium / 17: Summer Gardening / 18: Blackberry Trellis / 19-20: Stamped Fabric Harry Potter Pillow and Embroidered Anniversary / 21: Twin Sized Striped Blanket / 22-26: Halloween costumes–Batman, Riddler, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Robin / 27: Autumn Gardening / 26-27: Hallway Hooks and Painted Hallway / 28-30: Knit Hats / 31: Paper Garland / 32: Painted Wine Glass / 33: Wreath / 34-39: Photo Calendars /