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Something to Treasure

Digging Up Clues author Kelly Ann Riley recalls a time she was faced with a tough choice.

By Kelly Ann Riley, Somerville, Alabama

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“Georgia?“ I asked my husband. “Is that our only option?”

“It is if we want to change our situation so I can be home more,” Rick said. “They’re going to transfer a team of engineers to the new plant near Atlanta. If we want to be considered we need to be put on the list right away.”

I leaned back on the couch and took a deep breath. “We need to think about this.”

I reached down to stroke my one-year-old daughter’s downy blond hair while she slept beside me. My five-year-old son sat on the area rug playing with his Lego blocks.

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I really didn’t want to leave our snug cabin in the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains. It had been our dream house and where we’d brought home our two newborns.

But recently my husband’s work situation had changed drastically and instead of a 30-minute commute, he was driving two hours one way on the crowded California highways. We had to do something.

This was not the first major decision we’d faced as a couple. When we’d gotten married we both had great jobs. I’d gone to graduate school to obtain a MBA and had goals to climb the corporate ladder. Life was fast-paced and full of adventure.

We had enough income and time to travel extensively, and enjoy beaches, mountains and deserts of Southern California. Even when I found out I was pregnant with our son, we saw no reason that our active, fun lifestyle would have to change.

However when I held my son for the first time in the hospital room, something did change. He, and later my daughter, became the focus of our lives. Our weekends and vacations became happily centered on them. I even made the huge decision to change from working full-time to part-time.

Now we were faced with another major decision. If we moved closer to Rick’s work, I would have to go back to working full-time to be able to afford living in the city. But if we moved out of state to where the cost of living was lower, I could temporarily give up my career and stay home with the children.

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The move across the country would come with sacrifices but it would buy us something else: Time. Something we desperately needed. We had to figure out what was most important in our lives.

We were blessed in having a choice, but it was difficult. In my most recent book in the Secrets of Mary’s Bookshop series, Digging Up Clues, Mary Fisher faces a similar situation: deciding what’s important in her life.

For some people in the story the treasures they sought were gold, silver and precious gems. For Mary, the treasure proved to be something else.

“Start packing. We’re moving,” I said after some discussion. And within a few months, we’d moved across the country and started over.

It was difficult leaving family and friends and a home I loved, but I could stay with my children full-time and even home school them. My husband thrived in his new job and he was home in time for dinner. Eventually I was even able to start a new career as a writer.

Do I regret changing careers, moving across the country and giving up some things and opportunities that I could’ve had? No, because I had decided what most important to me and that was time with my family, my greatest treasure on this earth.

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Award-winning author Kelly Ann Riley lives in Northern Alabama where she writes inspirational mystery and romantic suspense novels. She enjoys many adventures as a youth leader in her church, wife to an engineer and mother to two wonderful grown-up children.