I’ll be honest and admit that sometimes when Val brings up planning a camping week that my mind starts to race and sometimes my first response is, “no – we don’t have time!” But here’s the secret. We will never have time. But we will always try to find a way to make time.

I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) that as a family, we have to prioritize what’s most important to us all – time together. And saying that doesn’t mean that everything else isn’t important. But we try to start with the basics.

Guess what? We already have 12 camping trips planned and placed on our family calendar for next year. Now, are we going to go on all 12 trips when they’re planned out? It’s not likely. Things will move and plans will have to change. But I’ve taken the time to think about what weekends might work best with the school calendar, family commitments, and work events already. I’ve outlined the calendar and I’ve said “these are the three days that I want to spend with my people.”

It’s SO easy to fill weekends. I’m a yes-person. I RSVP yes to 99% of the birthday party invites that we get. I love coordinating girls nights with my friends. I enjoy when people from out of state visit us. When I see “Tentative Camping Weekend” on the calendar — I’m less likely to schedule things on that weekend, and I can put them on a different weekend. I’m aware to save space in our schedule for what matters most – time together.

Some weekends we’ve actually found it really hard to be able to step away from reality for a few days. As a substitute, we’ve found day-camping. Now, it’s nowhere near as fun as spending three days completely off the grid. But it sure helps to have four hours to go grill some hot dogs, play with the dirt and just slow down, take a deep breath, and enjoy being together.

Say “yes” to slowing down in 2020. Say “yes” to the things that matter most.