The Gift of a Renewed Habit

Reclaiming a healthy routine seemed impossible to do for myself, but when a beautiful brown-eyed girl entered our lives, it became effortless.

Before my daughter was born, I woke up 45 minutes earlier than I needed to every morning for the sake of self-development. I would be sure each day started with a positive thought of intention, read something spiritual or personally progressive, and end with a set of simple calisthenics. Every self-improvement guru will advise you to do this. So will this anal-retentive blog author.

Unfortunately, once the sleepless nights of motherdom hit seven and a half years ago, I fell out of this habit and never managed to restart it. As a matter of fact, the stresses of long-term joblessness in my household and the addition of a scrappy son have, for years, dunked me continuously under the waters of chaos. I can honestly say that the loss of this one clarifying habit has, for me, been the main contributor to a chronic sense of “not having a handle on things.”

predawn
Stepping into the predawn, starting the day with a breath of fresh air. (Thankfully, she doesn’t poop until later.)

This habit gently resurfaced in my life a couple of months ago, and it should be no surprise to the reader that I owe it to the adoption of Josie Junebug (Greatest dog in the world). You see, I felt guilty that, after spending all night in her crate (to insure she didn’t chew up the entire downstairs whilst we slept), she got only a short reprieve before returning to her crate while we were at work and school.

The Monday after Thanksgiving break, my alarm rang half an hour earlier than usual. What had seemed insurmountable for years suddenly just happened. Since that day, and every work day since, after showering and dressing, I liberate her from the evil crate (her sentiments, not mine) and am rewarded with grateful adoration displayed via entire rear-body wags.

Friedrich Nietzsche picture quotes - He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how. - Inspirational quotes
Reclaiming a healthy routine seemed impossible to do for myself, but when a beautiful brown-eyed girl entered our lives, it became effortless.

I drink my coffee while it’s hot, not having to set it aside to pour chocolate milk, or cut up an apple. In 15 minutes, I am able to read more of C.S. Lewis’s  Mere Christianity than I could accomplish in hours while wearing the Mommy Hat. I put away the clean dishes, accomplishing something before I even leave the house.

In the stillness of predawn, my dog and I peacefully step into the day together.

 

Leave a comment: What good habit has your pet (or loved one) inspired?

 

 

Bedtime Routine

Bedtime for Junebug

This dog has her routine, and she thrives on it. Like Peter Pan’s Nana, our girl makes sure the kids are tucked into bed with love. Of course, the lights don’t go out until each young one has his or her favorite toy and a cuddly blanket. My son is the most trouble, getting out of bed to fetch a truck, or talking to his sister. However, Josie is also known to stir up some mischief, the usual conflict being that she considers her half of the bed to be the middle half.

nana
Disney’s Peter Pan, 1953

Please tell me we’re not the only ones whose bedtime resembles cat herding. If you’ve just successfully tucked away your progeny and pets, pour a tall glass of wine and enjoy this awesome oldie but goodie:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

 

Haiku on Our Street

My friend called during our New Year’s Eve revelries to let me know I was the winner of the haiku contest at our local Hippie Hot Spot. If you don’t have such a place, you need to go find one, right after you finish this post. The Irvington Wellness Center quickly became one of our favorite places to visit when we moved to the East side.

The truly funny thing is that, when my husband and I were looking to buy our first house, we told our realtor, “We don’t have a strong preference for any particular part of town–as long as it’s not on the East side!” Lucky for us, my awesome friend (same who called above) was born and bred on the East side and changed my tune. Turns out, our perceptions of “the East side” really referred to a few rough neighborhoods smattered around. One problem I’ve made my peace with: when you choose big city living, “good” and “sketchy” neighborhoods can be pretty closely interspersed until you get waay out into some named City Suburbs. But don’t get me started on urban sprawl–that’s another day’s rant.

Back to topic: this is the first time in my life, including growing up in a smaller town (pop 60K) that I’ve really enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a neighborhood. We don’t technically live in Irvington, but since we’re a five minute drive to the main drag (counting the ridiculously long traffic light at the end of our street), I claim it.

What’s so great about it? Well, aside from living the childhood dream of that Sesame Street experience, here’s a few reasons: ironically, as part of a community, you become more of an individual. People recognize you, even if they don’t know you. Also, maybe this is just me, but there’s a sense of responsibility for your community. You see trash on your street? You pick it up.

The kids feel like celebrities when we walk down the street on a nice day and run into people we know. Seriously, I’m not really a chatter, but we stopped for forty minutes one day to talk with a lady from our church. The day the kids and I went to drop off my haiku, we ran into my friend (same friend, but I swear I do have more than one) in the parking lot. Library story time means that now we wave to Mr. Joe every time we visit. We have a communal sense of “our” pizza place,  “our” brewery, “our” gift shop, “our” wellness center.

Simply said, it’s awesome.

Anyway, what the heck does any of this have to do with Josie Junebug, world’s best dog? Well, thanks for hanging in there with me. My winning haiku was about her. Enjoy.

irv tree
Holiday tree with handmade ornaments at Irvington Wellness Center. Kids made bird feeder pine cones after Kid Yoga last week.

 

New Puppy

Babe with four foot reach

and wood chipper for a mouth

Dear Lord, help us all!

 

 

Do you write haiku?

Please leave one in the comments.

Are people out there?