Posts Tagged ‘routine’

I’ve spent the last few hours trying to come up with blog content that would interest anyone. Nothing. So you’re going to get a blow by blow of my week. Sorry. Stop now unless you’re having difficulty sleeping. This may work as well as melatonin and Unisom combined.

50 degrees. The difference between the temperature on Monday and the low temp for tonight. Iowa, gotta love it.


Chicago hot dog from Bigg Daddy’s food cart, downtown Cedar Rapids

Monday’s lunch hour walk through the neighborhoods was so beautiful – blue sky, birds singing, trees budding. Found a hidden park but it was locked up tight. In honor of the Cubs’ warm home opener, I stopped for a Chicago hot dog at the Bigg Daddy’s food cart  downtown. And it tasted as good as it looks.

The rest of the week’s weather was awful. Each day got progressively colder and windier. Though I’m very grateful we aren’t experiencing the extreme winter conditions  that our northern neighbors are suffering through, this cold, driving rain brought more water trickling through the recently discovered crack in my basement walls. More home repairs. Yeah.

But I am determined to pursue gratefulness. Tuesday found us celebrating my soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s birthday. Wednesday night we prepared for our church’s annual Easter egg hunt, bagging candy, constructing the tomb on the church platform, transforming into an Easter garden.


Using real rocks to construct the tomb for Troy Mills Christian Church Easter services

And these people we call our congregation, our friends, our flock. They work hard. No matter how their day has gone, they show up.

Head down, hanging on tight to my umbrella, I ventured out of the office at lunch on Thursday. The wind was howling, seemingly from every direction. So thankful for the nearby sky walk – got in another great walk, above the streets and away from the nasty weather.

Short day today – love those early out summer hours. Had to smile when I got to Barbers Etc for my hair cut and saw my stylist’s cape. Made her take a picture. Cubs began my week, and ended it too.

img_2415Nothing special happened in the last five days. I prayed and cried for friends going through trials. I read my Bible, sent cards to friends and family. I worked, walked, wrote, repeat. Sometimes I get caught in the hamster wheel – the same thing over and over – hypnotized by my mundane routine. But looking back I see a thread throughout the week. God never left me. He walked with me on the beautiful days and the ugly ones. He listened, comforted, provided, protected and loved through each and every moment.  Good weeks, bad weeks…do not fear. He will never leave your side.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

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Daylight Saving time is tough on several groups of people:

  • Children, specifically those between birth and 13…tired, hungry and grumpy at awkward times. This is true every day for teenagers so I’m not including them.
  • Moms and Dads, because of the children mentioned above.
  • Old people, for much the same reasons as children. This age group has come to depend on a routine and losing/gaining an hour throws that out the window. The term “grumpy old man” refers to a guy the Monday after Daylight Saving Time.
  • Church attendees, and more specifically church workers, those who have to be at church at least an hour earlier than everyone else. DST always occurs in the early morning hours of Sunday which results in at least one person walking into service an hour late. And the kids’ church workers stumbling around trying to corral those children I mentioned in the first bullet point.

So my couch is calling. I’m in at least two of the above categories. Had a wonderful morning at church, worshiping, celebrating, praying, listening, eating, laughing but now I’m “verbed” out. I think the only ones left for me are napping and snuggling.

Happy Daylight Saving Day! May your naps be long and your children be merry.

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daily-routinesThere’s nothing inherently wrong with liking routine. In fact, most of us would be a whirling mass of chaos if we didn’t have a set routine to follow, for at least a portion of our day. As a list-maker (and follower), I need the day-to-day routines in order to function well. I wear a lot of different hats each day and without a set routine, I’d be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong supplies more often than not.

As a working woman, I get up early Monday through Friday to achieve as much as possible prior to heading to my job. I have a to-do list with me at all times and often type myself a quick reminder in my iPhone, if I’m without paper and pencil. (Oh yes – the pencil. The master tool of any list maker! I don’t have the confidence to write my calendar items in pen…though I have been known to complete a crossword puzzle in ink.)

Routine helps us complete our commitments…give us confidence that we are where we need to be…assists us in getting the most accomplished in the least amount of time. There are no surprises in routine.

BUT, routine can be a adventure-killer. Routine can become a fixed mindset, keeping you from enjoying the journey you take everyday. Routine can keep us from embracing the experience, discovering the treasures hidden in each day.

I’ve enjoyed developing routines but I’ve totally embraced the wonder of new things, new places, new food, new people, and even new routines. Don’t allow yourself to get stale by doing the same thing over and over. It becomes mindless…our vision blurs…our ears tune out the voices around us…our feet become entrenched and that is when a routine becomes a rut. I would rather consider routine as a thin wire act – delicately balancing the new and the old, the sameness of routine blending with the excitement of discovery.

So put away your pencil, your list, your time piece and take a walk outside…spur of the moment, go off grid for an hour, change up your routine for a day. The freshness will blow those left over winter cobwebs right out and you’ll be able to enjoy the hope of spring with a fresh sense of adventure!

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My definition of “Hard Things”:

  • It must cause you to make a decision you may never have made before.
  • It must move you outside a comfort zone, a rut or a routine.
  • It must cause your heart to flutter or better yet, race.
  • It must make you learn something new about yourself.

Some examples of “Hard Things”:

  • Getting a new job in a different field (or city or country) because it’s your passion and you’ve put it off long enough.
  • Taking a trip by yourself to a place you’ve never been but always wanted to go (may involve going through customs or a foreign language).
  • Adopting a healthier lifestyle and all the food choices, or workout commitments, which that entails.
  • Changing your “look” because, seriously, high school was like, 30 years ago.
  • Engaging someone new in a conversation about them (not you) and by conversation, I mean, they talk and you listen.
  • Volunteering somewhere you are not comfortable (cleaning pens at the animal shelter, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, serving meals to the homeless, teaching children Bible stories, changing dirty diapers in the church nursery, etc.).
  • Stretching your physical abilities until you have new physical abilities.

Please feel free to add more examples in the comments section.

One “hard thing” I try to do periodically (and sorry, it never gets easier) – I play detective on myself. I ask myself questions like: Why do I choose “easy” when accomplishing something “hard” gives me such a rush? Why haven’t I learned a new skill or taken up a new hobby lately? Why do I sit back and allow others to experience inspiring adventures? Why do I get defensive when someone suggests a new perspective?

Therefore, my summer will be filled with “hard things” – saying “no” to sweet treats and beautiful carbs…hiking up and down hills until I’m sweaty and out of breath (and then doing it again)…carving out time to sit and listen to others (without giving advice or inserting my own story)…writing this blog (even when I don’t feel like it).

For some of you, my “hard things” may seem smooth and simple. And your “hard things” may appear effortless for me. I don’t have any problem speaking in front of groups of people, but others find it heartstoppingly difficult. I love learning stuff about technology – others would just as soon throw their computer against the wall.

The important thing is to make the decision and then follow through. And let’s encourage each other. If you’re attempting to accomplish something difficult, let’s hear about it. Either put it in the comments section of this blog, or on my Facebook post. Use the hashtag #DoHardThings and together we can all cheer you on.

BTW – there is a pretty good book entitled “Do Hard Things” written by a couple of homeschool kids a few years ago about teenagers rebelling against low expectations. I liked it. You may also.

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Are you resistant to change? Sometimes I am…sometimes I like it. It usually depends on what is being changed. Changing my clothes – good. Changing my sleep schedule – not so good. Being forced to change is where we usually resist. If we can choose what we change, then we seem more accepting. For instance, some women love to change their hair style or color. But if I told you what you HAD to have for a hair color (Purple? Let’s try it!), you may be a little more resistant.

Last year I spent a couple of months dedicated to thinking up ways to change things up in my routine. I visited places I had never been, tasted new flavors, challenged myself physically and mentally (which meant I was challenged emotionally too). And I loved it! Some of the changes I made were planned, which made them a little easier to accept. A couple of the changes were definitely not planned and they were much harder to deal with. But my mindset for change, which I purposely chose to buy into – that mindset which allowed the good and the bad, the planned and the unexpected – it pushed me beyond what I thought I could do.

I’m going to tackle this challenge again in April. It’s spring, the season of new beginnings. I’ve already thought of a couple of new changes I want to try. I’m using a little different criteria this time around. I’m specifically looking for changes which will challenge what I’ve always said about myself. So if I’ve said “I’ve never” or “I can’t” about something, that’s going on my list. Don’t worry – I’m not going to compromise my morality (in case you were fearful I’d end up on the 10 o’clock news) but there are plenty of things I’ve never attempted because I thought I couldn’t or shouldn’t. Like eating sushi, or learning to bake bread, or running a half-marathon. Of course, there are plenty of things I won’t be changing because some things just shouldn’t be done. Dark hose with white shoes and wearing yoga pants to work are some of the first things coming to mind.

Give me some ideas – what would you do to change things up for yourself in April? What have you always said you couldn’t or wouldn’t do? Make a list and then go for it!

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