What About Routines?

Without meaning or planning to fall into a morning routine, it happened. Perhaps Templeton, my cat, helped. His brother, Wilbur, used to wake me every morning, but at a later hour. After Wilbur crossed Rainbow Bridge, Templeton took over being an unnecessary alarm clock. The twice a year time changes have confused him. He insists I rise no later than 6:15 am. I’d like to sleep another hour. But I digress.

My morning routine begins with a hungry cat’s insistence on his human putting feet on the floor immediately after a few words of thanksgiving to God. I stumble a little blurry-eyed into the “cat” bathroom to clean the litter boxes and vacuum the debris. Next I vacuum the rest of the house. Feeding the furry guy is next and requires watching where I step due to his eagerness to eat. Then I can turn my attention to my needs. Mostly the morning cup of tea. Decaffeinated or herbal. Breakfast before entering the office where I write a weekday blog post, then over to Facebook for a few minutes.

Kitchen cleaned, I brush the feline. Another thing he is insistent I accomplish before 30 minutes of exercise followed by a shower. It’s a routine. It works. Since I have no interruptions because Templeton and I live alone now. He prepares for his morning nap while I shower and dress for the day. He likes the routine and I’ve gotten used to it. Times when I have to change my routine due to other factors, I admit feeling a little stressed, which causes a lack of sleep the night before. Sigh.

As for writing, I’ve learned I’m most productive before lunch. Even writing has become part of my routine. After shower comes writing. Usually two hours in the morning. Then I need to break for lunch and give my back a rest. My writing goal is 1,000 words every weekday.

The flexibility in my day happens in the afternoon. I look forward for those hours when I can choose to color, diamond paint, read or work a jigsaw puzzle. Then the cat wakes from a long nap. Hungry. Insistent. I comply. During this time, I settle into the recliner and wait for him to jump into my lap when he has licked the last bit of food from his dish. It’s petting time. There’s something peaceful and comforting about rocking with a purring cat in one’s lap. It’s a time for introspection, for happy memories, for prayer.

When furry companion decides he’s had enough attention, he heads off to choose a place for an afternoon nap. It’s my quiet time to spend with God. To read scripture and learn as He opens my mind and heart and leads me into researching for more information. Personal insights are captured by writing notes in my Bible.

After dinner I allow a couple hours to watch television, usually podcasts like Unashamed with Phil and Jase Robertson. Templeton joins me on the sofa until my eyes begin to grow heavy and we head to bed.

Not an exciting routine by any means. I doubt many of my faithful readers, both of the blog and books, would picture a writer having such a dull routine. Such a “boring” kind of day. At my age, it works. I no longer have to rise early to head to an 8 hour job, and then have to fit everything else into the few hours left. Though, even then I had a routine. Looking back, throughout life, I’ve always had a routine. I believe we all do.

I’m happy in my routine, though I do wish I could talk Templeton into sleeping in an extra hour!

Oh, Those Scrambled Words!

For Mother’s Day my youngest daughter gifted me a puzzle book filled with various types of Bible related puzzles. There are crosswords, word search, cryptograms, and so many more. The ones that are the hardest for me are word scrambles.

You’d think these should be the easiest for me since I’m a writer. Honestly it took me a week to solve this puzzle:

My mind struggles to find words that make sense. If each letter was on something tangibly moveable, I’d do much better. But something about doing this visually in my mind becomes very difficult. I want to solve it myself and not refer to the answers in the back. I only look after I’ve finished to make sure I’m right.

It’s my belief that no matter how old we are, we need to engage our thinking processes. I love to learn and I’ve always loved to solve puzzles. Maybe that’s why math was fun for me in school. I planned to be a college math teacher…but my path turned in a different direction. Today I couldn’t solve a calculus problem if I was promised a huge reward!

I love the scripture: “A person’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.” (CSB) Every single day I have plans for what I want to accomplish. Sometimes they come to fruition, other times not. I believe one of the things we need to develop as we age is how to be flexible.

I have a routine to follow. Most of us do. But if we get frustrated when that routine is disrupted, we are not living life the way God would have us live. We need to learn patience, and how to find joy in the disruptions of life. Those can be great blessings in our day or not. In both cases, we need to turn to God and thank Him or to seek His guidance and comfort.

Aging is probably the hardest thing we live through. But we shouldn’t get upset about the wrinkles, the pull of gravity on the body, the gray hairs, and the aches and pains. Instead open a puzzle book, work a jigsaw puzzle, build a model, paint, knit, or find a new hobby to learn! Keep the brain active.

I have a suggestion. Try Bible verse mapping. That’s my newest venture for 2022. Don’t know what it is? Look it up or stay tuned for my next post!

Until next time…