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Labor Day and Routines

I have a love-hate relationship with Labor Day weekend.

I love the fact that it’s back-to-school time. Because it also means back-to-routines.

And I love routines: getting up earlier than in the summer for coffee and quiet time, then seeing Mary and the kids off to school, then realizing I still have the bulk of the morning ahead of me to get a morning run and a little bit of writing done before heading over to the office for more regular office hours and the excitement and energy of the program year.

But I also hate the fact that it’s back-to-school time. Because it also means back-to-routines.

And I hate routines: being forced awake by the alarm, needing three cups of coffee just to be alert enough to not fall asleep during what little quiet time there is before seeing Mary and the kids all go off in their own directions, having to squeeze in a run (and writing time? — fuggedaboutit) before heading over to the office for more regular office hours and the busy-ness and demands of the program year.

It’s a matter of perspective, a matter of attitude, isn’t it?

It turns out that I love the post-Labor-Day routine as long as I don’t allow it to become a spirit-crushing rut.

So if you’re like me, you’ll want to remember God’s wisdom in creating Sabbath time, and now – before the schedules fill up too much – to block off a 24-hour period once a week for the next seven or eight weeks (Sunday makes the most amount of sense, but any 24-hour period will do) where you can stay away from the cell phone and computer and reconnect with God and family.

And (odd as it sounds) it’s also a good time to schedule a little bit of summer spontaneity in your fall routine. For example, we’ve found that one way to combat the “ships passing in the night” phenomenon is to schedule a Family Dinner Night – we take turns spontaneously picking what to cook or where to go – so for at least one night a week we can all sit and eat together and catch up.

Routines are good. Ruts are bad. Here’s to finding ways to break ruts and create life-giving routines.


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