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My One Little Word – 2012

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Happy New Year to you all!

This past week life has finally slowed down.  My family and I have happily been doing a lot of nothing.

This heavenly break has given me the chance to think long and hard about my new One Little Word.

This is the fourth year I have chosen a One Little Word (inspired by Ali Edwards).  Each year I am surprised by how my word seems to choose me.

This year was no exception.  Once my word came to me, I couldn’t hold any other word in my head for very long.


My new word frankly scares me a little bit.  Especially given how much I’ve enjoyed these past few lazy days.  I’ve found myself thinking it would be nice if my word were something like PEACE or JOY or CALM or some other more reflective word.  But to every thing there is a season.

Here are few ideas that I’ve been thinking about.  Several months ago my Dad sent me a copy of his personal history that he’s been working on.  This is an excerpt:

While I was in the 9th grade, I got a job at Al Hohman’s Florsheim Shoe Store shining shoes…   I made $25-$35 each Saturday and during the summer I worked several days per week.  This was fantastic money for a boy of 14 in those days.  The minimum wage was less than $1 per hour.  Sometimes, guys from my school would come in for a shoeshine.  It was a little embarrassing but it was such good money! My mother would quote from my grandfather; “There is no shame in being poor, only in being lazy—no work is dishonorable as long as it’s honest work”.

When I read this passage it struck me and I’ve thought about it over the past few months.  It makes me think about what work ethic I am teaching my own children.  I want them to know that it’s OK if they are not the smartest or the most talented… those things are God given and out of our hands.  What I want them to know is how to work hard and do their very best.  I realized that if I want them to learn this value, I need to teach it by example.

This year as I focus on WORK I want to be able to say as many an old sampler says, “I done my best.”

Here are a few other ideas I’ve been thinking about:

This quote/poem from Lowell Bennion:

Learn to like what doesn’t cost much.
Learn to like reading, conversation, music.
Learn to like plain food, plain service, plain cooking.
Learn to like fields, trees, brooks, hiking, rowing, climbing hills.
Learn to like people, even though some of them may be different . . . different from you.
Learn to like to work and enjoy the satisfaction of doing your job as well as it can be done.
Learn to like the song of birds, the companionship of dogs.
Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house, and fixing things.
Learn to like the sunrise and sunset, the beating of rain on the roof and windows, and the gentle fall of snow on a winter day.
Learn to keep your wants simple and refuse to be controlled by the likes and dislikes of others.

-Lowell Bennion

These two quotes from Thomas Edison:

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

I am particularly struck by the second quote since it’s exactly the wisdom I need.

Just like in the past years, I can’t wait to see what meaning my little word takes on for me.  I hope I am up to the challenge of this year’s word.

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6 Responses to “My One Little Word – 2012”

  • I love this! My word has a similar feel to it: Fruitful. It’s not about being “busy” but being “productive”. To see the fruits of my labor and to share that with my children.

    Happy New Year and good luck with your OLW!

  • Lisa:

    I’m going to copy the Lowell Bennion piece and put it on my fridge so I can see it every day. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Oooh thanks Calli! I needed to hear those quotes too. I definitely need to spend less time surfing the internet and more time working on my little business.


  • What a great background story. And I hear you – we’ve had lots of time to hang out and enjoy the holidays, but now it’s time to get back to WORK. I like that your word means business! :-)

  • Holly:

    Great quote, and great word! Mine is Finish. Finish my degree, finish the partially-pieced quilts, finish organizing the long-neglected garage. I haven’t done a One Little Word before, but it was just as you said – once I started thinking about it, the word popped up in my mind and wouldn’t go away. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I must say you hit many nails on the head with this post. With my to-do list before me and a cup of joe in me, I’m off to investigate the intricacies of this thing you call work. Love your blog and generous postings. Thank You.

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