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Welcome to my Christmas world. On Thanksgiving day, I began an experiment that I hope helps me break a cycle of grumpy Christmas seasons. If you want to know more about why I chose writing to seek the Christmas spirit, read the about page.

I’m using WordPress in a pretty basic way, nothing fancy. My general thoughts are categorized as “story news”. Any bits of story I share while writing will go under the “story snippets” category. You can filter by category by clicking on the category ┬áname in the right sidebar.

All posts are in reverse chronological order – except this one, which is “sticky” so it stays on top. You can work backward from latest to my first entry back in October by scrolling down.

Feel free to comment. I am moderating the comments so new ones won’t always appear right away. One never knows when some random surfer is going to stumble onto the site and be mean or naughty.

You can also get automatic email updates whenever I post something new. Just click over to the Subscribe page for a form. Once you have filled it out, you can return to the page to unsubscribe or change your settings.

Thank you for joining me in my journey. I hope you will enjoy – and be inspired – by the end result.

Not This Year

You may have been wondering why the site has been so quiet so far this year. I had great plans for my annual Christmas story but, as the calendar raced from Labor Day right past Halloween and toward Thanksgiving, my enthusiasm was replaced by stress and anxiety. The whole purpose of this project was to help me get and keep the Christmas spirit. As it stands now, having a story to write while I deal with the million other things going on in my life would do more harm than good.

I promise to make up for it next year. I’ll need it and maybe you can use it. See you then.

Mission Accomplished

The story has been out for over a week now and over a thousand people have seen it. I’ve only heard directly from a few readers but their responses have made the effort worthwhile. Not because of what they thought of the storytelling but because it helped them think more of Christ at Christmas. Of miracles at this miraculous time of the year.

As for me, it was a mixed bag. Pressing ‘submit’ on Christmas Eve was very fulfilling. I had just spent a month thinking of how people get relief when they turn their focus heavenward. It was also a big relief to be finished. That’s the part I have to work on next year.

Speaking of next year, I’m thinking about opening this site up to other people who want to try writing Christmas to put a jolt in their celebration. I’ll keep you posted.

Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and whatever other holiday you may celebrate to help put this life into eternal perspective.

Finished Editing

I just finished a pass through the whole story fixing whatever major typos, grammatical errors, and continuity problems that jumped out at me. It is far from perfect and I hope that you will help me clean it up.

Those of you with experience with autism can be especially helpful. Point out where my descriptions are so far out of line that they detract from enjoying the story. I might not be able to change it enough to be clinically accurate but I surely want to be respectful to people with autism and their loved ones.

The story will appear at noon tomorrow!

Finished! … Kind of

I just typed the last word of “Child Born, Son Given”. So I should be celebrating, right? Right. Except for the fact that I have 21,566 words to look at and fix the most obvious typos and other errors. It doesn’t have to be anywhere near perfect when I release it on Tuesday but I want it to be good enough that you can read it without stumbling over my mistakes.

I’ll write another post summarizing the whole experience. Bottom line: it was worth it.

The Home Stretch

Elizabeth just had a major moment in the story. Now I get to enjoy getting her and Gabe to the happy ending. Surely it’s not a spoiler when I tell you the story has a happy ending, right? It is a Christmas story, after all.

The jury is still out on whether the focus on Christmas balances out the stress of hitting a deadline. But I am certain that I am generally happier and more tolerant of Christmas cheer than I was the past couple of years.

It’s not over yet. I still have a few thousand words worth of story to tell. I will make it, though.

Now or Never

We sang Christmas hymns at church today. Then I listened to every Christmas album Manheim Steamroller ever recorded while I wrote a story built around successive Christmases. If I can’t get the spirit now, I never will.

Over the next few days I will be writing about family dynamics at Christmastime while enjoying having my family around me. I’m not sure I’m ready to declare victory but I can say that I’m less grumpy than at this time any year I can remember.

Halfway Home

By the time I go to bed tonight I will be about halfway through the story. Writing it, that is. The whole thing is pretty much finished in my head. At least that’s what I tell myself when I consider how few writing hours I have available between now and Christmas Eve.

I do have to relax and tell myself to emphasize the parts of the story that involve Christmas. The self-imposed stress of being finished in time gets to me sometimes. We’ll see how it works out but I might not be so strict next year about not writing anything until Thanksgiving. Maybe I will write a rough draft over several months and spend the time right before Christmas polishing it and enjoying whatever special moments I can create at my leisure.

That’s enough belly-button gazing for tonight. Back to Gabe and Elizabeth. They are about to learn something momentous. And Elizabeth’s sister Connie is about to add her two cents.

Real People

At least part of my goal is in reach. I care about the characters that are forming in my head and on the page. Elizabeth is a rock that doesn’t know it yet. Gabe is still pretty shallow but I can’t help but love him because I know how important he’s going to turn out to be.

Now if only I can steer them toward learning something about Christmas that jolts me awake, I’ll be nearly there.

A Wonderful Life

I was writing this afternoon when my wonderful Christmas-loving wife decided to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” on DVD. As much as I love that movie, I wanted to finish a section or two in my story. Rather than go upstairs, though, I put in my earphones and wrote while she watched. It was a really cool experience. In my ears was Christmas music. In front of my eyes was a classic Christmas movie that was completely familiar to me. It ran as a silent movie with a rich instrumental soundtrack. Somehow it didn’t distract me. In fact, I think what I wrote during those two hours is the best I’ve come up with so far.