September 30, 2013

Routine, routine, routine...

This blog has gone silent over the last two weeks. The reason why is quite simple: routines. Our two oldest kids are back in school. This year, they are at two different campuses. With the two of them back in school comes a whole new morning routine from that which we had all adapted to over the summer. In addition to their school schedule, the kids also have extra curricular activities that brought changes to our weekly schedule. Of course, before the start of school, Brooke and I sat down to discuss how we would approach the new schedule for the school year–who would take the kids to school, pick up, take to practice, etc. It's something we've done for a number of years now. But this year, I experienced this adjustment in a different way.

Throughout the spring and summer this last year, I had developed a consistent morning routine. I would get up, go for a run or work out and then read or journal before making coffee and getting the rest of the family ready for the day. I've never been very good at routines. I do my best to break them, it seems. But for a significant period of time I was finally becoming more disciplined and increasing what I was able to accomplish. I am near completing reading the Bible from cover to cover within a year–something I've always wanted to do. I had slowly increased my running distance and time–something I've always hated doing. I was doing good at setting and reaching goals! And then our fall routine demanded a small change: I needed to get up at least 30 minutes earlier everyday in order to do these things and still get everyone out the door in time school and work... and I couldn't do it!

I work a lot of evenings and often catch up on e-mails late at night when I haven't been in front of my laptop during day. Late at night is also when I tend to draft and schedule most of my blog posts. So, going to bed earlier wasn't likely to happen. And over the last few weeks, I've found it really difficult to get out of bed that half hour earlier in the morning. The few exceptions have been when Sam has sneaks into our bed in the wee hours of the morning, unintentionally rolls over and head butts me... Best alarm clock. Ever.

This break in my routine had a much bigger impact than I had imagined. I felt as though I didn't think as clear, I was moodier, my energy level went down and I struggled to find a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction almost daily. While we were washing the dishes after dinner one evening recently, Brooke and I were reflecting on this. Suddenly, I was aware that how I was feeling was how I felt when I was in seminary, working full time and we had a newborn. I know a lot of you can relate to that, but for those that need an image, imagine life as always foggy, muffled–a little gray. Something, had to give!

So, blogging had to go by the wayside for a couple weeks while I realigned things. I don't share this as an apology. This is more to reflect on life realistically. Too often, we sacrifice care of ourselves and are unaware of how it diminishes our care of others, or how well we do what we are called to. I've found that full schedules can't be an excuse for not doing those things that give you life, a sense of fulfillment and make you a better person.

I still struggle with getting up that extra half hour earlier. But that's the other part of putting this out there. Hopefully, this will serve as some public accountability to follow through!

Last of all, this is to simply say: We're back! Yes, we. I know some of you are simply waiting to read Paige's short stories. She needed a reboot too. Homework takes the priority over creative writing at her stage of life.

So, what routines are you working on creating, maintaining or breaking right now?

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