Fresh Start — Taking another run at 52 Ancestors

I accepted Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge to write about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks for the first time, last year. I ended up writing 18 stories, but most of them included multiple ancestors. I don’t beat myself up for failing to meet the 2019 challenge. I learned a lot about the ancestors I did write about—the places they lived, the circumstances and conditions of their lives, the tenacity and grit of their character that rose up in hard times, as well as their strong faith that kept them moving forward, with hope, to celebrate the small joys in life at every turn.

This year, I’m accepting the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge again. And I’m giving myself a pat on the back for taking another run at it. I’m thankful that Amy offers this challenge every year without attaching an all-or-nothing condition to it. That’s why I came back to it this year. It’s a perfect fit for someone like me. Each day I live in one of two time-zones—Life Happened or Life Happens. Sometimes I split my time between them.

When I’m in Life Happened, I spend my time traveling down the road to the past in search of ancestors I once knew, ancestors I only knew from family stories or ancestors I never knew existed. In Life Happens, I’m in the present moment giving my full attention to it and to those who are with me there.

On her recent podcast about this challenge, Amy said she developed it with the intent to get people writing more often about their ancestors. It did exactly that for me last year. I’m taking the same approach to it this year, I did then: I’ll do what I can when I can. The truth of the matter is that some of those darn ancestors needed more than a week’s worth of attention from me.

So, I’m putting on my running shoes and stepping on to the course. Will I stay the course? I don’t know. But if I don’t finish the marathon this year, I’ll consider every story I write as a training run to strengthen my writing legs, so that one year I’ll cross the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks’ finish line.


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