Tag Archives: routine

A Revised Beaten Path

Updated from 2015:

walk

Despite my rebellious nature, I’ve become a slave to routine. Where my young, healthy body once took life as it happened, I now must deliberately prepare myself for each day. This takes me considerably longer now than ever before, even longer than when I had my four young boys in tow.

With the aging process grinding away on my physical self, my routine somehow became unforgiving and unappreciative of my mental self. One little skip can result in an almost immediate blunder, frustration and sometimes bruises.

The new routine is grudgingly predictable:

1. Wake up – This can take a while.
1.1. Take a thorough inventory of every joint and vertebra, then gently move them.
1.2. Be sure my brain is also awake enough to rise without injuring myself or others while getting to the bathroom and then the kitchen. Prayer typically comes into play here.

Note: I’ve come to accept (not like) the sometimes intimidating, frightening, occasionally surprising, (and embarrassing when involving witnesses,) waking process. I often inadvertently successfully integrate other tasks – mostly for fun. I.e. Prayer while in bathroom. Shame or pride? Omniscient. Omnipresent. Look them up.

2. Clean soot from floor and counters. Wood stove heat. Enough said?
3. Water and coffee (slamming sixteen ounces of water before coffee seems cruel, but empirically it’s a good practice).
3.1. I like Krups (yeah, when affordable).
3.1.1. Who are we kidding? Refillable K cups require forethought and more motion. Default to Mr. Coffee pot and microwave to reheat.

4. Bathroom time. Again, this could take a while.
4.1. Contemplate actual need for visible eyebrows.

5. Fuel – The most forgiving point, interchangeable with items 4 – 4.1. Rather than burn muscle on my power walk, I must force down food and supplements.
5.1. Disregard notion about forgiving. Do not forget fuel. (Um, I’m Out of Gas – Again story (c) 1995).

6. Stretching – With bursitis, tendinitis and joint pain I’ve learned to not minimize the importance of stretching or give into temptations to “stretch as I go”.
6.1. There are better ways to meet the neighbors than screaming, “Call 9-1-1,” from the ground.

7. Sun block. Should have learned about skin cancer attending grade school in central Arizona.
7.1. By this point the searing sun will be above the tree line. Surgical excisions are costly. Do not trifle with this.

8. Lace up, walk toward door.
8.1. Yes, you turned off the lights. If you left the coffee pot on, you need another one anyway.
8.2. Everything else can wait an hour, continue walking through the door.
8.3. Just walk away.

9. Incorporate socializing and checking on family while warming up (before heavy breathing begins).
9.1. Offspring and siblings sufficiently annoyed. Now punch it, Chewie.

10. Shower, deodorant, lotion, dress, then get to work.
10.1. I work at home, clothes are optional.
10.1.2. Gravity is rude. Forget 10.1.

All of this reaffirms my philosophy: Relax and enjoy the ride, no one gets out alive.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV)

Go Readers. Redefine life along the way.

 

Featured image courtesy Pixabay

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Acquiesce

I was to board another plane soon. Nothing new: hurry, clear security, find the right gate, and then wait. Walk around. And wait…

With planning and foresight long journeys have never been that big a deal. But as this third departure date neared the deal felt huge. Traveling on an unforgiving budget required me rising at ungodly hours. By ungodly I mean – no matter how I tried to rest – I’d drag my exhausted self up 60 – 90 minutes after I finally drifted off to sleep.

Despite all my forethought and intentions, as desperately as I wanted restful sleep before traveling, my mind unfailingly kept me awake. The beast is simply unruly.

*

I was packed and ready to walk out the door. And yet hours after praying and retiring as I’d planned I was still awake, rehashing my mental check list:

  • Clean house.
    • Why? First thing upon returning I will clean again.
      • Wait. Did I vacuum under the bed…
  • It’s been too long since I visited the grand kids. Skype and Phone calls don’t tell all.
    • What if they don’t like their gifts?
  • What if my hand washables don’t dry in time – a first ever since the 1960’s?

This is crazy. I  MUST sleep.

  • Did I chuck perishables from my ‘fridge? I don’t want foul ‘fridge when I get back.
    • I refuse to get up and check.
  • What is that smell? Did I overlook something?
  • Crap. Did I pack the new underwear?
    • I am NOT getting up to check.
  • Did I send the final version of my last submission?
    • (Still haunted by that time I actually posted a first draft by mistake,) a panic-stricken Roo sprang from the bed, unpacked the laptop, started it up… Yes, I’d sent the “final.”
      • I repacked even better this time.

Before long I wondered if I dozed through my alarm. My phone blindingly insisted it was after midnight. Hmmm… The date was the 29th.

My flight is at oh-dark-thirty – on the 30th.

I laughed out loud. And then prayed again, “Okay Lord, the joke’s on me. Please, please take over now.”

With that amen I was sound asleep.

I awoke the next morning refreshed, energized, all packed and ready to go. After a great work out I hiked the river trail and then gathered from the garden. When it was time I went right to sleep and woke as planned.

You’d think God planned it all that way.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:6, 7 (NLT)

 

*Image and Feature Image courtesy APSFreePic.com

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Re-entry

I may need help!

My calendar app says I arrived home days ago.

And yet my legs continue to feel rubbery like I’m still getting my step count in by bumping my way along an airliner isle or pulling my carry-ons around crowded airports between (multiple, affordable) flights. And instead of actual thoughts, my mind is ablur with mini-playbacks, like Pixar short features.

Though most of the smoke from the wild fires cleared while I was away, not much seems completely clear yet.

Today my Rainbow Manicure done by six-year-old TexasGrandGirl is barely recognizable after three days of innumerable washings in public rest rooms and repeated slatherings of hand sanitizer. Now this is truly phenomenal. Ordinarily I would never step outdoors without employing much polish remover to these nails. The blobby, bubbly, streaky, chipped and rubbed remnants of color delighted me all over town, through holiday airport crowds, over the clouds right through to even now.

But this morning as I walked the drive up to the road I noticed children waiting for the school bus. Labor Day and my vacation are certainly behind us. If It’s Thursday This Must Be Home.

I admit I’m stuck on how the mismatched fingernail colors on my hands bless me beyond even my impressive imagination. Days later I now realize it’s solid, inarguable evidence:

I’d been on my first vacation with my family in decades – an actual vacation and not pauses on the way to a funeral, a wedding or moving my household – yet again.

I had scrimped, saved, planned, recruited help and then together we actually made it happen. My Illinois Grand girls and I got manicures and tried new fashions. I played Pokemon with Grand boys in Illinois and in Texas and together we explored some of their worlds. I visited with my grown kids, studied their faces extensively and we celebrated our life – together.

It’s been several years of my dreams coming true.

Still:

*

As I re-enter my life here on the ranch the odd polish illustrates the astounding love the Father pours over and through us. Had anyone told me I’d still enjoy the faded mess on my hands days later, I wouldn’t have believed it. I’m only now getting to where I can stand the thought of stripping it off. But thinking about it I realize how, despite all the distractions while traveling, the disrupted prayer and devotional time, God is nearby. Whether I’m crossing deserts or oceans, doing chores, even when I’m simply not paying attention, God adores me.

Like my worn nail polish.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! …” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

*Can’t brain courtesy Onsizzle

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Chop Chop

This morning Cole popped in earlier than usual. He spouted his routine list of matters that may or may not interest me – I’d think about that later. Then satisfied he’d sufficiently set my head spinning, he and Ol’ Dog departed, headed for town.

I now wonder if I should make a mental health appointment. I actually enjoyed the intrusion.

This morning Cole reminded me of when Seagh, Roan, Opal and I occupied the main house. As John Denver put it, coming home to a place I’d never been before. Cole lived in the cottage with his entourage at that time.

Every morning I’d already be working on my laptop in the living room when the sliding door would open, Cole would enter, loudly announcing, “Let’s go! There’s work to do. Get to it! Chop, chop!” Comically Cole is the youngest (aside from Opal).

Roan and Seagh practiced ignoring him even when he continued down the hallway toward the bedrooms without pausing his oration. On the latter occasions I would hear from my chair,

“Sleepin’ here!!” from Roan who’d worked the night shift,

I have a gun…” usually followed by a muffled chuckle from Seagh, or

“Dammit Cole!” from Opal as she’d bounce on the carpet in the tangle of blankets he’d pulled from the bed (my personal favorite).

Satisfied that he’d sufficiently roused everyone, Cole would stride back out the door once more commanding, “Chop chop!” and he’d be off. Of course other suggestions would continue sounding from behind the doors, but I abstain from such language – mostly.

Roan (after graveyard shift), Cole mocking her.

As when we were young, for that season we were a little like kids again. Most evenings we’d lounge together watching TV, critiquing, overdubbing or arguing about details. On weekends and holidays there were card games and howling at the moon by a bonfire. Occasionally the youngsters would dance to local bands at the nearest pub while I caught up on my reading.

Most mornings whoever was home would share the quick, hot breakfast and strong coffee I’d prepare, usually Seagh’s favorites. Seagh often brought in a friend or hired hand to the table. Some days Cole would come home on his break and share breakfast with Seagh. I would realize later that Cole was as concerned as me about Seagh’s more and more frequent late mornings.

Home.

The characters have moved around a bit but it’s still home. Although Seagh’s gone on to heaven I still hear his unique, laconic humor and advice. And the longer I’m here the more I understand his devotion to Cole.

Despite the heartbreaks that come with even the most perfect life, this morning I’m warmed by our brand of love and so many precious memories. With all that, who has time to be lonely? C’mon. Chop chop!

“Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults.” 1 Peter 4:8 (The Voice*)

 

Rocky Mountain High, by John Denver

*The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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Carpe Diem

With clear skies soon after sunrise, the yellow and gold that’s been gradually topping the trees seemed to be waving to me at my window, urging me back outdoors again this morning.

I did my best to dismiss the notion while hoping to get back around to it. Heaven forbid I defy my routine. That was when I heard, “tomorrow’s not promised.” I turned on my heel to check for some unannounced guest, but the time was perfect to catch the changing light outside my window. Perhaps my heart spoke out.

That’s when I saw the cloud bank rolling across the distant hillside, caressing the giant fans of the wind farm, ribbons of light vignettes radiated from the blanketed hillside. My resistance caved.

Not thinking to take my camera, I bolted out the door. I’d seized the day. I didn’t capture the ground fog image, but my mind’s eye did.

Back at my desk I’m glad I defied routine. I reflect upon the leisurely moments, thankful for the memories.

 

“Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14 (NLT)

 

 

Wind mill image courtesy Pixabay

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Routine

For the past few days I’ve been reflecting upon my early thirties. Then I’d finally come to appreciate the value of routine.

2014-05-09 09.15.39

**

God blessed me with a good foster mom. I often recall her saying during my child bearing years, “Mijita, todos ustedes tienen que tener horarios.” Not really grasping her meaning, I’d typically melt into her arms, soak up the love and forget what she said. In Spanish it sounded far more pleasant than when she would later tell me, “Girl, you must get your act together!”

I’d dismissed suggestions that I had more challenges than dyslexia, possibly other forms of autism. Who had time for health care while caring for four boys, an unpredictable, “bi-polar” and often violent husband, and all their companions-du-jour? Yeah, I knew about crazy – in other people. We were fine…  😉

For me if we all got up, everybody ate, got to school or whatever, nobody permanently harmed and got back to bed at night, it was a good day. I couldn’t grasp the value of scheduled daily tasks, a routine until my marriage finally ended. By then I stopped being a DV victim.

20160530DnR

**

Fast forward some decades and I live within a very structured routine. The time-space continuum shifts when my routine is altered. Erin and I are comfortable with this. She’s a night owl and I rise long before the sun does. Until the dam broke in the plumbing, etc. Aye!

We were unprepared for the disruptions to the entire property. Hourly the sudden changes annoyingly altered our habitual behaviors.

construction pixabayI confess, minutes into this morning I was setting things down and closing doors harder than necessary. “Where is the…” Living alone, controlled but intentional banging and “slightly slamming” doors, etc. to release tension worked for me. Such timid forms of violence is nothing compared to the savagery I’ve survived.

I remembered I no longer live alone as Erin stepped away from me – without the coffee pot. Violence here is never appropriate.

Because today, with so many tasks demanding immediate attention, Erin was up early with me, making coffee, using the bathroom, etc. The newly replaced futon mattress loomed over the love seat in the living room, against the linen closet – where we keep cleaning rags. The vacuum cleaner was parked wherever we used it last – and often. This is not our m.o. Have I mentioned our 480 square feet of crowded living space upstairs?

Now imagine the two cats nervously observing everything, add some large bags of items for family visiting for the first reunion in ten years. And we’re grilling for a small army of out of town family in light, intermittent rain, of course. That had to be ready for someone to pick up and deliver to Keira’s whenever they arrive. Then add contractors working all over the property. Chaos.

There we were, waking our bodies and our brains – in the same tiny room of the house together, simultaneously. One can imagine this is a potentially volatile scenario with two old broads well set in our ways. As the sounds of my banging around Erin increased in volume, she paused quoting, “Something vexes thee?*”

We laughed – hysterically. The frustration and tension from our disrupted routine was dispelled. We sat down together – with coffee and prayed. Several times. All morning.

friends coffee pixabay

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 (NLT)

 

*The late Alan Rickman and Geraldine McEwan from Robin Hood; Prince of Theives video clip courtesy YouTube

Photo Images courtesy Pixabay

** (c) 2016 Rapture Practice! Publications images not to be duplicated, shared or otherwise distributed without prior, written permission. Thank you!

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Extended Pause

I hereby express my heartfelt regrets to friends, family and my blogosphere community for my extended distance. As dear brothers Seagh and Edmund would strongly advise, appreciate the quiet while it lasts – 😀

Now that we’ve acquired a new (to us) sofa and love seat, Erin and I continue the integration process. Rearranging her family’s years of collecting wondrous belongings to make room for “The Great and Powerful Roo” and her stuff, much has temporarily slipped between the cracks.

Things I have missed:

  • Daily perusing the very enlightening and entertaining posts from my fellow bloggers,
  • Emptying my inbox daily,
  • Exploring the Reader for new blogs,
  • Daily texts or chats with one of the kids and grand kids,
  • Reading – anything other than momentary pauses in the library (bathroom), and short emails marked “urgent” or “immediate attention required,”
  • “Urgent” and “immediate attention required” have become subjective to the tasks du jour,
  • Make up. Scary, I know, but we’re all getting quite used to it,
  • Leisurely walks around the neighborhood
    • our walks have been exclusive to the post office and grocery store,
  • Daily vacuuming has been deferred to every other day – or so.
    • The 2 cats have no problem with this,
  • Yoga and my daily weight workout – lifting and bending to sort boxes suffice,
  • Meal planning – we eat whatever is ready when we notice excessive silliness,
  • Paperwork – a box for catching “non-urgent” mail and receipts must suffice “for now,”
  • “For Now” has become an extended course,
  • Early May planting has been deferred to late May,
  • Daily texts and conversations with Roan and Opal have paused,
  • Tony DiNozzo is leaving the NCIS Team? What in the world…
  • Doing absolutely nothing for almost an hour.

With all the newness New routines:

  • The view of the Mesa and the Monument every morning,
  • Sunday dinner with the local family – every single week,
  • No moist heat packs or cold compresses needed – every single day,
  • Hearing “We are/I am so glad you’re here” and “I love you” – every single day,
  • Saying, “Good night, sweet dreams” and “Good morning. How was your rest?” – every single day.

And yet with all this change the world continues to turn. {Happy sigh}

 

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” Philippians 4:11 (NLT)

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Flexible But Grounded

hopi 02aug2009

Hopi is our dog. As I understand she came from Champion Golden Retriever and Grand Champion Australian Shepherd breeding lines. Regardless of her lineage, with her natural instincts, devotion to the pack and sweet disposition she is the best herd dog I’ve ever known. The offspring of two work breeds, to say she naturally has high energy levels is an understatement. To keep her calm, happy and fit she needs lots of exercise daily.

After we moved from our rural home to a suburban condo, many of our habits changed; for one, from a third floor apartment Hopi became a house dog. In inclement weather we could no longer simply open a door and turn Hopi loose outside. So, more than ever before, daily walks became as important to me as to Hopi.

The harsher Midwest winter weather interrupting our daily routines brought even more change. After couple of weeks of ice storms and weeks of deep snow we discovered a change in Hopi. Instead of getting right down to business outdoors, she would sniff the snow and get so obsessed doing that, she began ignoring my commands. One evening instead of walking at my side as usual, Hopi bolted out the door ahead of me to meet another smaller dog, frightening the dog’s walker. This was radically different from her usual behavior which all the new neighbors had initially enjoyed.

For the first time in years I had to harness and leash Hopi to protect her and other tenants, reinforce her training, and keep her attention on me, which had previously been her second nature. We became more careful to exercise Hopi as much as possible and continually work her through her paces regardless of the weather. Now we enjoy happy adventures most every day again and during inclement weather we explore the indoor hallways and stairs, visiting with the neighbors on the way.

There’s a noteworthy parallel between Hopi’s first winter in the suburbs and the Christian walk. When circumstances cause us to change our routines it is very easy to become distracted to a degree that is not always best for us. An exciting television series can lead to the set being on habitually and valuable attention to other tasks can gradually be lost. Skipping an exercise routine to have coffee with friends can become the rule rather than the exception, or enjoying one extra snack after doing some extra running one day and then another the next day too, and before we realize it we’ve put on a couple of pounds.

Regardless of one’s faith base, daily meditation, devotional time, prayer, reading Scriptures or attending worship services can slip away into oblivion after rearranging schedules to include other tasks too. Whenever I did any of that, I soon noticed I was not as patient or content with my life as I typically am. Even after identifying what changed, it took strict personal discipline and help from God just to get back in the habit of putting everything aside for foundational enrichment.

Like Hopi, we all need exercise and socializing as well as discipline and spiritual nourishment to be well balanced individuals. Variety is good – provided it doesn’t undermine the groundwork of our purpose in life. With so many choices and distractions in our world pulling us in many different directions, routine discipline can be a mainstay to keeping that balance. Without it we could all be chasing rabbits and scaring the neighbors!

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)

 

Preceding is a slightly edited repost of an original Roo’s Ruse Blogspot post from 2009. Much has changed in my world since I wrote the article; Hopi and the rest of the fur kids have gone on to await us at the Rainbow Bridge and I now live with Roan and Opal in North Texas. However, like The Scriptures the message still rings true.

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Ready to Dash: Fast Forward a Decade

walk

Despite my rebellious nature, I’ve become a slave to routine. Where my young, healthy body once took life as it happened, I now must deliberately prepare myself for whatever a day may bring. This takes me considerably longer now than ever before, even longer than when I had my four young boys in tow.

But these days, with the aging process grinding away on my physical self, that routine somehow became unforgiving and unappreciative of my mental self. One skip results in an almost immediate stumble, frustration and sometimes bruises mysteriously appear.

The new routine is actually predictable:

1. Wake up – This could take some time.
1.1. Take a thorough inventory of every vertebra, gently wake them and the numb arms.
1.2. Be sure my brain is also awake enough to rise without injuring myself or others while getting to the bathroom and then the kitchen. Prayer typically comes into play here.

Note: The waking experience can be intimidating (embarrassing when involving witnesses), frightening and occasionally surprising enough to make me occasionally wonder if I slept through the Rapture. Am I actually in heaven. Prayer while in bathroom usually works well for me. Dispel shame and guilt: Omniscient. Omnipresent.

2. Remove any carcasses from kitchen counter.
2.1. Wash and sanitize kitchen counter.

Note: We live in an older rental that is astoundingly void of a sill wall that would entirely enclose the kitchen from the outdoors. During the hot summer months, creepy crawlers trafficked in, up the wall behind the cabinets, through the gap from the missing section of back splash tiles (refer to the 2015 New Year, New Life story), and across the counters. Sometimes bugs (and even slugs – yeah, eewe) survive the insecticide for moments. Often they die on the counters. It’s all good: we’re now aware of their existence whether we see them or not – and sanitize.

3. Water and coffee
3.1. Slamming eight ounces of water before coffee seems cruel, but empirically it’s a good practice.
3.2. Immediate availability of fresh, hot coffee is largely contingent upon who in the household has already been in the kitchen, and if that someone was coming or going. This can be complicated.
3.3. We like Krups when we can afford K cups.
3.3.1. Refillable K cups require forethought and many more motions. Just saying.

4. Bathroom time. Grooming can go on for a couple of hours.
4.1. Again, prayer time and perhaps some reading.

5. Fuel – The most forgiving point, interchangeable with items 4 – 4.1. Rather than burn muscle on my power walk, I must force down food and supplements (one won’t stay down without the other).
5.1. Disregard that thought about forgiving. Do not forget fuel. (refer to Um, I’m Out of Gas – Again story (c) 1995).

6. Stretching – Pulling a hamstring, bursitis, tendinitis and joint pain taught me not to minimize the importance of stretching or give into temptations to “stretch as I go”.
6.1. There may be better ways to meet the neighbors than hollering, “Call 9-1-1!” from the ground.

7. Sun block – Something I didn’t take seriously as a youth. Melanoma will change that.
7.1. This is Texas and by now the searing sun will be up over the trees.

8. Lace up, walk toward door.
8.1. Walk through the door.
8.2. You turned off the lights. If you left the coffee pot, you need another one anyway.
8.3. Just walk away.

9. This just in. Incorporate reminding Roan to walk also.
9.1. Remind or otherwise check Roan each step of the way.
9.1.1. Roan continues to resist all elder sibling influences as well as she always has.
9.1.2. Now that Roan is also experiencing the same gift from the gene pool and the accompanying pain and physical therapy, gilt will get the best of me if I don’t push or pull at her on my way out the door – a good two hours later.

10. Shower, deodorant, lotion and then get to work.
10.1. Since I work at home, clothes are optional.

All of this reaffirms my philosophy: Relax and enjoy the ride, no one gets out alive.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV)

Go Readers. Redefine life along the way.

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