my life in the land down under


One Word

As 2012 ended and 2013 began, I kept reading about the concept of choosing a word for the year rather than a set of goals or New Year Resolutions. I’m certainly no good at keeping resolutions, and gave up on them a long while ago. However I still find myself wanting to make some goals or a list of ‘things I want to achieve’ each time a new year begins.

As I pondered what word to choose for this year, I came up with ‘Focus’.

Some definitions of ‘focus’: (noun) a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity; (verb) to concentrate, or (of a person or their eyes) to adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

Some ways I could live this out in 2013:

decide on the right priorities and goals for me

keep my mind and heart on the goal(s) I’ve set

aim to complete things

don’t be so easily distracted by all the little interruptions and choices that take me away from the longer-term goals

avoid (or at least limit) time-wasting, both activities and thought patterns

be more mindful about what I choose to do (and not do), and how I use my time each day

be consciously moving forward

let go of past situations and relationships that have caused stress & anxiety

Appropriately to our interests,  focus is also a photographic term. What happens when you focus incorrectly? Maybe nothing in the frame is focused sharply – or maybe everything is equally sharp, and there’s no single object that stands out amidst the detail and clutter? Either way you could end up with a messy and confusing image, leaving the viewer wondering where to look.

Blurred Gum Trees

Blurred gum trees



Using selective focus and shallow depth of field makes the subject of the photograph stand out more clearly.

Monarch on Dahlia

Monarch on dahlia



I’m definitely not there yet. It’s so easy to get distracted from my goal(s) by a multitude of interesting or necessary things, and then reach the end of the day with tasks unfinished, and feeling frustrated at my lack of progress.

However, I will be doing my best to stay focused and move forward this year.

Are there more of you out there who are giving this ‘one word’ thing a go? I’d love to hear from you!

Related posts:

Ann Voskamp’s blog post on moving forward – When You Don’t Want a New Year but a New You

Hearing this song again last week – The Feelers ‘Stand Up’ – about letting go of the past and moving on.

Zack Arias’s video ‘Signal vs Noise’ – the need to simplify, and to decide ‘What is signal? / What is noise?’ in relation to my own life.

From CalmHealthySexy (a Christian marriage blog) – “Every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you say ‘no’ to something else.” – Learn to Say ‘No’.

Others who have chosen one word (thanks for the inspiration!):

Paperkeeper – It Takes Just a Nudge to Budge

Katie Swanberg – 2013

Too Darn Happy – Your OneWord is calling – Time to Answer


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Links to blog posts that stood out to me this week:

Zack Arias’s tribute to his wife Meghan


God’s Amazing Timing


Fight to Make Your Marriage Work


1 Comment


Jason from the camera club we attend has recently started an activity called GOYA (Get Off Your A–). He arranges a date and club members who want to be involved meet at a local cafe that morning, to be given the set subject for the day. Photos have to be taken before midnight that day and your best effort emailed to Jason by 6pm the following evening. The entries will be shown anonymously at the next camera club meeting and a popular choice vote takes place. There is no prize as such but the glory of winning. Its a great idea for people to get out and photograph in as creative a way as they wish. It also takes the pressure off those who are self-conscious about entering their photos for evaluation and being critiqued in public.

The GOYA idea was originally started by Zack Arias, a photographer in the States, as a way of getting himself and his colleagues out to do some personal photography as opposed to the commercial shoots they were involved with. Thanks Zack, your idea has now spread to our part of the world. 🙂

This morning we met at the cafe and there were about 20 people present. After some discussion it was decided that only those present would be able to enter – several others had emailed or texted Jason saying they also wished to be involved but weren’t able to make it to the meeting for various reasons, and asking for the topic to be sent to them. The group decided that as part of the reason for GOYA was a social gathering where club members could get to know each other better, there should be no exceptions – those who couldn’t make it to the meeting weren’t eligible to enter. Some of us thought it was fairer to make an exception this time but make the rules clear for future meetings, however there were some strong personalities who over-ruled. I could see both sides of the argument but found this especially hard as it excluded husband John, who was unable to attend the meeting as he had an appointment with a client this morning. We had planned to go out together and photograph the set subject this afternoon, incorporating it with another appointment out of town.

This was the second GOYA meeting; the first was held on a Saturday at the end of March but neither of us made it to that one, I was sleeping after a night shift and John was also busy with work commitments.

Now I’m waiting for John to finish with his client; lunch is made, the thermos cups are waiting to be filled, and camera gear is collecting by the front door. We’re heading out of town via the cafe so John is ‘official’…

I will announce the subject in another post, after entries are in, but here are a couple of photos from today.

Sunlight on Trees

Seat and Shadow