I really enjoy taking a few minutes to think back over my month and share a few of the things I’ve learned. (This idea is from both Emily P. Freeman and Modern Mrs. Darcy).
1. I am incapable of being calm when surprised with good news. (Or . . . I *will* make a goober out of myself when something awesome happens).
On June 17th, my phone rang and even though I didn’t recognize the number, I answered it. When the voice on the other end of the line said, “This is Casey Herringshaw . . . ” Well, honestly, I don’t exactly know what she said after that because there was only one reason for her to be calling me and I couldn’t quite let myself believe that it was possible until she confirmed she was calling to tell me that Covert Justice was a finalist in the Short Novel category of the Carol Awards. I don’t actually know what I said after that, but there was a lot of laughing (I’m calling it laughing…Casey might call it maniacal giggling). Other that that, it’s pretty much a blur—although that might have been because of my tears of joy. I generally try to act like a professional, but I must say, it was way more fun to enjoy the good news. Which leads me to the next thing I learned…
2. It is REALLY hard to keep good news a secret! I had to wait 10 days before I could tell anyone about the Carol final. It was *killing* me! I wanted to ask my friends if they had finaled (and quite a few of them did!) and I wanted to share it with the world. But I kept my mouth zipped up tight (no small feat for me) and waited not-so-patiently for the announcement on the 27th.
3. Good news in one area will not fix the rest of your life—or even fix that part of your life. I had one of my most challenging writing weeks - ever - in the space between finding out about the Carol final and being able to talk about the Carol final. Awards are awesome and fun, but they don’t actually make it any easier to write your stories, and I don’t know of a single one that will do your laundry. (If there is an award that comes with a laundry service, please someone let me know because I want to win that one bad). Life goes on. The plot line that was kicking your rear an hour before you get a “call” will still be making you crazy an hour later. The dishes still need to be done. The bills still have to be paid. People will still cut you off in traffic. It’s a very bizarre thing to be simultaneously joyful and despondent, but it is possible.
4. I love to read the Psalms in the summer. I run to the Psalms when I am frustrated and frazzled, and summers are challenging for our family. Children who thrive on routine can struggle mightily in the free-wheeling, carefree days of summer, and that makes it hard on this mama. Without being consciously aware of what I was doing, I just turned to Psalm 1 and started reading . . . and realized I’ve done this before. My Bible is marked up in pens, pencils, and all sort of random notations, but there is nowhere that I can remember what I was feeling when I highlighted a particular passage as when I re-read the Psalms.
5. The best way to wean yourself off caffeine is S-L-O-W-L-Y. I’ve gone cold turkey before and paid the price. In June, I took a slower approach and cut way back on my caffeine. I still had a few migraines, but it wasn’t anything like before. Now, I’m avoiding caffeine in most things except my morning coffee, and even there, I’m drinking less and going with a half-caff approach. I’ve even skipped it entirely several times with no drama. I sleep better and don’t crash so much in the afternoon, and more importantly, don’t get the jittery feeling I had been experiencing far too often before I made the switch. And speaking of coffee…
6. Some things are worth the calories. I drank my coffee black for a while, but I just didn’t love it the way I had before. And yes, I could give it up entirely I suppose—maybe try to switch to tea—but I’ve decided that some things are worth the calories. I drink my coffee with a splash (or two) of half & half. I enjoy every sip. I sit on my deck with the Psalms and I get my head on straight before I dive into the morning. Life is too short to say “no” to everything under the sun just because it might be a tiny bit better for you. Some things are worth saying “yes” to for the simple reason that they bring delight to your day. Cream in my coffee is one of those things.