OLW 2014: January Update

This year, I took on a new challenge… this post is a monthly update on how my challenge is going. So far, so good!



If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may already know this but I signed up for a challenge this year called One Little Word. The word I chose for this year is NATURE. This book (above) is the book I chose to alter to store all the sweet little bits that I am creating for my OLW.

As it happened, I was going through my stuff, clearing out junk when I came across this great little calendar book for 2012. It was so BEAUTIFUL. I did not want to toss it. That flap on the right is magnetized to keep all the pages in. I came across it just as I was about to start my creations for the OLW prompt, so I decided that this would be my OLW book. Those letters are Scrabble letter stickers that I had. There was just enough to make the word “nature” but the N was missing. So I made an N from Sculpey and then painted it a glittery blue to match the glitter paper where I wrote 2014. Voila! My cover was done.

One of our first assignments was to do some journalling to explain why we picked the word we did. So this is what I wrote. (Click on the image for a larger view – then click on the image to zoom in to see it clearly.)


When I think of nature, I think of the outdoors. I live in Minnesota, so the month of January for us here in Minnesota was not really an “outside month”. It was cold. VERY cold. The school system in my town was closed FIVE TIMES this month due to extreme cold. On January 6th this year, I started a new job as the tech person at our local middle school, which means that I had five “freebie” paid days off this month, which was a rare joy.

So, in a way, NATURE gave me some bonus time. Thank you, Mother Nature!

One of the things that really excited me about my new job is that I am going to be able to walk to work. So far, I have only had one day that was warm enough to walk to work but I am very excited to do more of that once it warms up. To me, walking instead of driving is one way to connect with my natural world. It slows me down. For nine years, I commuted to work – driving about 45 minutes to an hour EACH WAY. I had no idea how much that impacted my daily existence until I got this new job. Wow. What freedom to work so close to home! Now I can drive home in less than five minutes.

So to practice incorporating nature into my life, I went for a few nature walks. I am trying to walk completely across a huge lake we have called Lake Minnetonka. I live on a peninsula of that lake. Here are some photos I took from that walk. The first one is the ROAD that big trucks drive on. Yes, on ice! This photo shows how thick the ice is. This was about 1/4 of the way across the lake. (NOTE: I still have not been able to walk all the way across, but I am building up to it!)





This is a selfie I took. We were asked to create a selfie that represents our word so I wanted to take a picture of me outside.




This is a selfie of my boots on the snow on the lake. I like this one. I made it into my new FB profile shot.

On this first month, I looked for ways to incorporate nature into my life. Walking is one way, but there are lots of other ways to bring more nature into my life. I am doing a deep study of the I Ching this year also, and so I have been studying the stars as well. Ancient people used to know the sky. They used to know where they were based on looking up at the stars. I don’t know much about that as is clearly indicated in my latest post on the Big Dipper. But I am learning. This is all a part of my study of nature.

Another exercise to connect us with our word is to write a list of intentions. I started out with a simple list… (Click on image for larger image). In the pocket on the left side, I cut out the exercise of what we were asked to do and stuck it in there so I could review it as necessary.


But then I decided to try a mind map to take another poke at it… I just made this mind map yesterday, so it hasn’t made it into the book yet.



Another exercise was to write down what you want MORE of in your life this year and LESS of in your life. This is what I put… (Click on image to zoom in.)


We were also asked to write about what we most hoped and feared for the new year.



So that is what I have so far. I am excited to take some time this week to review what everyone else is doing for this challenge. If you are here visiting me for the first time, WELCOME! I look forward to getting to know you through your comments and by clicking back through your blog if you have one.




  1. I took a photo of my boots in the snow too last December when I was in the US. I liked that book when you showed it on FB, the insides are going to be so colourful too.
    Missus Wookie recently posted…Week-long Salads ZIZOMy Profile

  2. I’m reading this indoors (on my new bicycle desk!!!). Beside me to my right is a huge, two story window and I’m looking out at nature right now. At the semi-forest that is our back yard, to the manzanita thicket and forest beyond the fence. This morning on the way back from the barn I encountered a small family of deer. There was one particularly assertive buck who began approaching me. I maintained eye contact while talking to him and edging my way over to a shed. Bucks can be quite dangerous. I wanted him to know I was no threat and I wanted the safety of the shed if he came any closer. We watched on another as I stood by the door, then he turned and left. That was my encounter with nature today 🙂

    Now the stars are another matter. It was clear and cold last night. I took a dog out around 3 AM and stood there in awe of the heavens.
    Susan recently posted…Bring on the Feng ShuiMy Profile

    • How cool, Susan! I wonder what the buck is in the animal totems? That was certainly a totem experience! Yeah… about the stars. After the hilarious mixup on my Big Dipper post, I have been meaning to go out with my star map and check out what Louis was talking about in the comments but it has just been so COLD! I will soon, though!

    • Love the bicycle desk, by the way! COOL!

  3. These journal pages are just beautiful! I feel very honored to have seen such an intimate glimpse of your life through your photos and journal pages. Thank you for sharing these. I especially loved clicking on your handwritten page to read more closely. There’s something so close and personal about handwriting – and about being with someone outdoors. I feel like we’ve just been on a long walk across that lake together.
    Harmony Harrison recently posted…The Attack of the Larynx-Busting Vampire Bug from Space, and Other Forms of Voicelessness (plus a Brand New Header that Celebrates Artsy, Animalsy Goodness!)My Profile

    • Awww. Thanks, Harmony! Yes, I was a little apprehensive about sharing such details at first. Then I thought that perhaps it really was OK to do that. If you were a new friend that I had met, I would not hesitate to share this with you so why not share it on my blog? Thank you for your thoughtful kind comment.

  4. What a great reclaimed journal to dedicate to your journey with your guiding star word this year. I really enjoyed the peeks into your process. And I’m feeling really excited got you – that new job feels like a pivot point for lots of new openings. Yay! Love the winter nature selfie, but if think you should do one each season so we can see you and MN through the seasonal cycles.

  5. Yes – I love Deborah’s idea of doing one each season.

    Am astounded that you can not only walk but drive on the lake. Amazing. It doesn’t get cold enough to do that here. Keep working on walking all the way across! I look forward to reading about that adventure!
    Kelly Mckenzie recently posted…Paler Than PaleMy Profile

  6. You are so brave to be out and about in this weather! I hate being cold so I hibernate for much of the winter. I hate being hot, so I hibernate through the worst of the Summer heat and humidity too. I LOVE and ADORE Spring and Fall and enjoy getting out for nature walks as much as possible, often with camera in hand.

    Your recycled calendar book is PERFECT for this project. I am using a Smash book – never occurred to me to do an altered book – I could get all art-journal-y with it. I’ve been doing OLW for five years. And I really love it! So I’ll keep the recycled book in mind for next year!

    Thanks for all the nice comments you left on my blog.
    Cheri recently posted…One Little Word – JanuaryMy Profile

  7. Amy, I use nature for balance. I find nature to be the perfect balance. When I am feeling out of sorts I connect with my Mother (nature ) and she never fails me.

  8. Amy, I love you and am so proud to be your mother. I just listened to four hours of an enlightened being named Adyshanti and am reminded of you.
    love, Mom

  9. Frozen or not, I don’t like being on the lakes in the winter. But, laying in the snow on my back making angels is a fun thing for me. I love your word nature…I live by it. I’d shrivel up and die if it weren’t for the ability to be in nature. I cannot even imagine living a life as some that just go to and from work and don’t get their hands dirty ior sweat in nature. Enjoy your walks. Have camera in hand. Sounds like you’ll love it. 🙂

  10. Looks like you are moving along smoothly with your OLW! I am really looking forward to diving into our new prompts this month!
    Tiffany recently posted…What the heck is a “FO”?My Profile

  11. First of all, I really love the book you found to use to document your journey with your word. Such a great idea! I love your idea of bringing more of nature indoors. I’ve been thinking about that lately anyway, and have been trying to find ways to do this. I’m excited to see how you do this.
    Naomi recently posted…Photo-heart connection: three leaves in a pondMy Profile

  12. Great post Amy! Congratulations on the new job and connecting with nature. What part of Lake Minnetonka are you at? I am from Wayzata…actually Plymouth, but it wasn’t really a town back then. I hope there will be lots of birds to listen to and see when you walk to and from work. Just don’t be late to work, if you get to gawking!

    I love your journal too!!!

    Cindy Mihalko recently posted…Rumba Ruffle Diaper Covers and Hats!My Profile

    • That is so cool that you are from Wayzata! I always forget that Michele’s groups have a lot of Minnesotans in there. Very nice! I live in Mound, on the peninsula behind PDQ (which is now called Shell). I keep telling Michele that we need to do a Minnesota blogger meet up!

  13. It’s so nice to see all these pieces that work together to help you realize your intentions. I noticed that your mind map is very focused on Nature and is cute and colorful. So glad to see it here!
    Heather Koshiol recently posted…Explore: Mind-Mapping your Vision MapMy Profile

  14. Thank you, Amy. I’m grateful to see your journal and to get a glimpse of Minnesota in the winter. This past summer I visited Grand Marais. Though it was early September, I had an inkling about how cold and silver, grey blue the sky and water gets. And snow! I live in Texas some and Florida. So, your type of cold is hard for me to imagine.
    Susan Michael Barrett recently posted…I chose my word: smile. Oh, and I’m keeping a list of my laugh attacks.My Profile

    • I love that area! It is one of my favorite spots in MN. Have you hiked the Devil’s Cauldron there? It’s a lotta steps but very worth it! The “cauldron” is a hole about 25 feet wide where a wide waterfall pours into it. They have tried to identify where that water comes out but they have never found the exit point. They have even poured things in there and scoured Lake Superior for evidence of where it comes out and never found it. It’s a mystery! There are about a mile’s worth of steps to get down to it, but it was the coolest thing we saw on the North Shore. It’s at a park right by Grand Marais.

  15. Amy–I love your beautiful book, and I am impressed with your dedication to nature. I am a winter wimp, I admit. I am happy for you with your new job and your opportunity to walk to work. Good for you!

    • Thanks, Janet. I think most people are winter wimps – myself included on most days. This winter has been a tough one, for sure! Thanks for the nice note.

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