It’s a Wednesday night and I’m upstairs in my room, listening to twenty-five college kids take over my home. I’ve made 6 bowls of popcorn, three pizzas, and two gallons of Kool-Aid. I have delivered the goodies downstairs to the media room where the lot of them are sprawled on the floor, watching a classic version of Robin Hood on the big screen. “Thank you, Mrs. Warren,” they say as I put their treats on the buffet table and sneak away.
My job is done.
But I sit upstairs listening to the music as it leaks up through the floorboards and relish my Wednesday nights. After a year of having my two college kids away, I love having them home. I don’t care about the mess, or the fact that my grocery bill has doubled. I just delight in having them back for the ten weeks of summer.
In fact, with my son graduating next year, this may be the last summer he comes home. (My husband is hoping that, I think. I, on the other hand, am not quite ready to rent out his room.)
So, because I relish Wednesday nights, I made an executive decision back in January that I would not travel this summer. I would prioritize my family and stay home.
It’s sort of a big deal. I usually spend most of my summer travelling to conferences and conventions, speaking and teaching. It’s a part of an author’s life. In fact, in the ten years since I’ve been published, I haven’t missed the annual International Christian Retailers Show (ICRS) in July.
But it wouldn’t hurt me to miss one ICRS, right? I made my decision in January, happy with it. At peace. Looking forward to summer.
Isn’t it funny when you make a decision, life steps up to challenge you? Shortly after I decided to stay home, I received an invitation to teach at a conference before ICRS. I turned them down. Then, I was asked to present at a big book promotion event during the Convention. I turned them down. The listing for the Christy Awards Finalists, held during the Convention came out, and my book was on it. Yay! And yet, when my publisher offered to pay my way to attend, I turned them down.
Finally, another award listing was announced, and I couldn’t believe it when yet another book made the list. Again, during the Convention.
Four big events, all worth attending. And yet, I’d made my decision, right? I admit, it nagged me. I wanted to attend the convention, to enjoy the professional perks of publishing. But…what about my priorities?
Last week, as cars pulled into our driveway, as the kids began to pile into the house for the Wednesday night movie, my daughter came up to me (as I was popping popcorn) and said, “Thank you for making treats for us. You rock.”
So here I sit, my friends jumping on airplanes to head to Orlando for the convention, and I’m surrounded by pizza pans and popcorn bowls and plastic cups. (just a note: my children do a great job of cleaning up the next morning). But that’s okay because…well, I rock.
Priorities. Sometimes they aren’t easy to keep. I’ve heard it said the enemy of Great is not Bad, but Good. Meaning there are many good choices….but the great ones need to be preserved. Prioritized.
Sometimes, when life feels complicated, busy or overwhelming, I just need to sit down and prioritize. And give myself permissions to say no and let go of some of the “good” things. So…at the end of the day, I can rock. One of my priorities this summer is writing a new Deep Haven collection book – the start of a new series. I love this collection because I get to put into the stories all the things I love about Northern MN – in this book, campfires, small town rumors, the art fair, the outdoor music venues. This series is a family series about an American family trying to make a living with their resort. The first book, Take a Chance on Me, comes out in the spring. In the meantime, check out the next Deep Haven book, You Don’t Know Me, out in September.
You also are a priority to me. Thank you for your notes and letters, and for reading my books. I am blessed to call you reader friends.
You rock! Susie May Warren