Write Run Live

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Photo from Gretchen E.K. Engel

The Scriblerians regularly “get together” virtual style on Google Hangouts and the topic of our blog came up. We decided to do columns with our individual theme. It was easy for me. I chose Write-Run-Live. My favorite and easiest blogs are ones I do that center around setting goals and encouraging others in their journey.

Right now I’m finishing up the rewrite of a manuscript. I’ve changed it from first-person present to close third, altered the timeline, and changed the title as well as some of the focus of the story. Believe it or not the hardest part was flipping from pantser to plotter. It took a bit of tweaking scenes before I realized I had to strategize. I took the new timeline and made it work. Writing the scenes and editing them have been the easy part.

That’s a metaphor for my life right now. Along with writing, I’m training for my second, and perhaps third half-marathon. Then there’s the kids’ summer activities, and I’m in the middle of a large project with my day job. Scheduling my life is the hard part. Getting it done works with some planning. Did I mention that I’m becoming a plotter in real life too? OK, maybe I’ve always been a plotter who just looks spontaneous.

That said, I do crazy-busy as little as possible. It’s like the speed work part of my training. They’re my favorite runs. I sprint for 400m (1/4 mile) then walk for a 1/4 mile. This alternates for a number of sets. I can sprint knowing that I have time to rest. Toward the end of the rest, I’m ready to run again. Like life. I enjoy seasons of busy when I know there’s an end in sight. And relish the slow times knowing a busy season is around the corner. Another metaphor.

Do you like a scheduled life, being spontaneous, or a bit of both?

Traditions

I sing that word like a member of the chorus of Fiddler on the Roof. A tone-deaf one.

Christmas is a time for traditions. Both keeping and breaking them can be fun! So take a little time to reflect in the post eggnog and ham glow.

When I was a little girl, my grandparents had a Christmas Eve open house. Friends and neighbors stopped by and feasted on everything from ham and green beans to two of my favorite foods, mincemeat pie and “pink stuff”, which was my name for the Jell-O salad with fruit cocktail and cottage cheese. After everyone left, we opened gifts with my grandparents and often aunts and uncles.gret1012158

Christmas morning was the four of us with my little sister and me averting our eyes as we passed the living room to Mom and Dad’s bedroom. For the longest time, I believed the gifts would disappear if we spied the bounty Santa left before Mom and Dad joined us. Afterward, we’d go to my other grandparents’ house for more gifts and dinner.

Over the years, our traditions changed. Grandparents spent Christmases with other cousins, we went to Colorado for a ski vacation, and eventually I grew up and moved out of state. Now only my grandfather is living and my sister and I have our own families. But we still get together the years we travel to Indiana.

After marriage, “nontraditional” became a better word for our Christmases that have spanned from the idyllic holidays with family in Indiana to a fantasy Christmas in Disneyland. During our marriage, my husband and I get a live tree when we will be home and don’t put one up if we’re out of town. This year would have been treeless, but the kids insisted. We had a pre-lit we’d never used, so up it went. And it’s unanimous—we needed a tree.

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There are traditions we have observed over the years. And to me, they’re what define the holiday. Tree or no tree, I have always put up a nativity scene. In my first apartment, the set was a $10 Big Lots purchase. After we were married, it’s the beautiful, hand painted set we got as a wedding gift from dear family friends. Attending Christmas Eve service is the other tradition my husband and I have celebrated nearly every year. Both of these celebrate the coming of the Christ child, the true meaning of Christmas.

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What are some of your Christmas traditions?