Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Routines

For a couple of days I get to have three of my grandchildren with me. I always learn so much from them. :) The two youngest (11 & 12) have a routine, set up by their mother, that they follow every school night. Yesterday when older brother brought them home he and his sister (the 12 year old) had a snack and began homework while I took the younger brother to soccer practice. He had his snack in the car on the way, because you know children are just starving when school is over for the day. After soccer practice I fixed dinner and they had free time until 7:00. At 7 they get showers and put on pajamas, at 8:00 they have a snack and brush their teeth, at 8:30 they get in bed and read for 30 minutes, and at 9:00 it's lights out. Older brother is exempt from this routine because he has different needs - for instance, last night he had a band concert at 8:00 and didn't get back home till 10:00 when he needed to finish a paper he was writing.

Children need routines. They thrive on security and that's what routines do - they let them know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. Younger brother knows I always have Toaster Strudels for him because he loves them. Sister knows I always have Chocolate Pop Tarts for her because she eats one every morning of her life (except now when she gave them up for Lent - brave girl!). They know that dinner will be provided and that teeth must be brushed for good oral hygiene and that their mother wants them to become lifelong readers so for 30 minutes every day they get to read something for fun, not for school.

Adults aren't so different. We need routines too. The older we get the more we need them and the more we treasure them. My morning routine includes a Diet Dr. Pepper first thing. Yes, you heard it right - a DDP instead of my normal chai tea latte. I started Weight Watchers last week so I've traded in the lattes for something with 0 calories. I haven't given them up entirely - life's too short to give up something we really love - they've just become a special treat when I save my points for them. But that's a whole 'nother lesson. Today I'm talking about routines.

I even have a routine in the way I clean my house. I guess we all do - there's that question of dust first, then vacuum or vacuum first, then dust. Some people do all the dusting all over the house at one time and others clean one whole room at a time and then move to the next. Some of us are morning people and like to do our work when we first get up - that would be me. Others prefer to drink coffee, read the paper, watch the news, take a shower - work after all that's done. I like to clean house in my pajamas, then take my shower when I'm done. It doesn't matter what the routine is, it serves the purpose of grounding us. It lets us know that we're safe and we're "normal", doing normal things.

The routine that really makes my day go well is my morning devotions. Every day I read one chapter from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and make a few notes in my journal. At my age if I don't write it down I don't remember it. :) And then I get out a special calendar and I write the names of all those I'm sending up special prayers for. After a time on my knees I'm ready to begin and to face whatever the Lord sends my way. If I don't get that time in the mornings, like on mornings we are traveling at the crack of dawn, the day doesn't feel right.

When I was younger I wasn't so big on following a routine. I wanted spontaneity in my life, or thought I did. Oh my children had their bedtime routines, sure. Some stuff you can't survive without! But I wanted adventure, I wanted to meet new people and do new things and go new places. Now I like the tried and true - the things that have served me well in the past. I prefer going to places I've been before, staying in hotels I've experienced and know the bathrooms are clean, visiting quilt shops I've loved and restaurants that have stuff I enjoy. I don't want to never do something different - I still want to go to Israel and walk where Jesus walked even though I've never been farther than Mexico or Canada out of the U.S. But for everyday....I mostly want what I had yesterday.

What about you? Routine or adventure? Tried and true or new and different?

13 comments:

Milah said...

I'm like you, I want a little of both. I love traveling but I also love sleeping in my bed with my pillow. I think routine is good, we all need the discipline. But, it can also be boring if we don't mix things up and live a little!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Routine and tried and true, definitely! And yet, I am always looking for ways to streamline my routine so that I have more time to do the things I really want to do... at least that's what I think. But, isn't it really the routine that I wanted in the first place? Hmmm...
I may simply be a dog chasing her own tail!! :)

Arkansas Patti said...

I still crave spontaneity and will tear off in a strange direction as a whim hits. Sadly, they don't hit as often so when one does appear, I jump on it quickly so as not to lose it.

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

I like order but I also like to give myself permission to do something I really want to do that may mean putting the routine on hold. But most days I stick to a routine.

Tracy P. said...

Your grandkids have a great routine! My routine is not so much daily as weekly. My kids have some routines, of course, but mine depends on the day. I love my non-scheduled days, and yet, sometimes they fill up faster than the scheduled ones. I enjoy both kinds equally. But I agree, whether a more structured routine, or a looser "rhythm", it's just critical to make sure that time with the Lord has a place.

Cornfield Quilter said...

I love routine and when I stay in a routine I usually never get sick. Go figure. :D

Debbie said...

Come link your blog to Arkansas Bloggers! We are just a "connecting group" - no obligations. Eventually, we hope to organize everyone by location, so be sure to give us yours. Hope to see you there:) arkansasbloggers.blogspot.com

Phyllis said...

Hey Marlene,

Personally, I prefer routines but I get thrown curve balls pretty frequently. I'm definitely a morning person. When time permits, I like to enjoy my morning coffee and make a list of things I want to accomplish that day (always way more than possible, of course). Then when the caffeine hits, I'm like a white tornado.

香蕉哥哥 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glenda said...

I love the security of my home and the routines there, but sometimes it just does a girl's heart good to strike off to adventures unknown. Fortunately, I'm married to a man who will go along with my whims! :)

Jody Blue said...

I do like routine but also like to mix it up on occasion just for fun, so I don't get bored!

Teresa said...

I have always like change in my work as it helps keep the daily grind interesting, but for at home I like consistency. I love feeling I can come home to no surprises, relax and let the stress just leave my mind and soul. Now when we travel, I love new places and like to come home a different route than when we left. As far as routine, the only routine I have in my life is that first morning cup of coffee.

Lori said...

Anymore, I can get off on a rabbit trail pretty easily so I stick with routines for the most part or I would never get anything done.