Friday, March 17, 2023

Five on Friday - Rituals and Routines


I was given a beautiful vaseful of flowers at Tim's retirement party a couple of weeks ago. The flowers lasted and lasted, and this week I cut them down, threw out the dead ones, and created a smaller new bouquet. 
Beginning a new phase of life - retirement - has meant a shift in routine around here. It's subtle, but things are different. I've been thinking about the routines I've established for myself that are important to me. The non-negotiables, one might say. The things that ground me and help me structure my day.

#1. Exercise: Walking is my favourite form of exercise, along with a bit of stretching and strength building. I'm happy to walk by myself, or with someone else. Often, after dinner Tim and I would walk together through our neighbourhood. Now that he's home, but working on the renovation, he likes to relax in the evenings. I've taken to walking after lunch, or when the noise of saws and drills gets to be too much. How lovely it is to walk in these brighter days, although the wind is still sharp, and mornings chilly. 

#2. Cooking. My kitchen is still functional - to a degree. I'm shifting things around, and more cabinets will disappear this week. After breakfast, Tim covers the counters with drop cloths, we close what doors we can, and I stay out until noon when we find some leftovers or soup for lunch, then the kitchen shuts down again until 5 pm. That gives me time to wipe down the dusty counters and make dinner. 
This is a definite change in routine. I never realized how much time I spend in the kitchen. 

One evening this week I baked banana muffins and granola while preparing dinner. Although I prepared ahead and have meals in the freezer, some last minute things need to be done. I'm adjusting my cooking habits and so far it's going well. I have a few months of upset and things will be back to normal.

#3. Prayer. I hem my day in prayer, beginning by saying "Good morning, God" as I come to wakefulness in my bed. Gratitude for food and health, lifting children and grandchildren to the Lord, amazement at the wonderful world we live in, and prayers for so much brokenness all around. Communication with God throughout the day. Then, at night, a prayer of thankfulness for the day. 

#4. Reading. A day without a few moments with a book just doesn't feel right. Sometimes I manage only a few pages, but I always, always read something. To me, reading is self-care. I lose myself in a story, or am challenged to think about a new concept, or find comfort in re-reading a favourite passage. My husband, to whom reading doesn't mean quite so much, once told me, "For you, reading is like breathing." I thought it a lovely thing for him to say.

The library above is one I visited in Austria, in 2019, at the St. Florian Monastery. My breath caught when I walked in - not visible in my photo are ethereal painted ceilings. It's the most beautiful library I've ever seen. Books are magical!

#5. Eating. We eat three meals each day, with our main meal in the evening. Tim snacks, I usually do not. I cook because I like to eat good food, and because I enjoy it. Meals often anchor a day. I recently enjoyed a lunch of salad greens, sliced pear, and blue cheese. Eating together or alone provides stopping points throughout the day, time to regroup and relax. 

Anne Lamott writes "Daily rituals, especially walks, even forced marches around the neighborhood, and schedules, whether work or meals with non-awful people, can be the knots you hold onto when you've run out of hope." 

What are your rituals and/or routines? Do find they provide structure to your day?


  1. Your rituals smooth living into a joyful image. Reading breathing, that is a beautiful thing to say.

  2. Being outside... very important. Relaxation at all... enjoying nature.
    And yes, I also spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and baking and I enjoy that... mainly because I have a good customer, my husband, he loves my bread, my food and me :-)))
    I also visited the library at St. Florian Monastery... beautiful, and yes, the sight fills one with wonder and joy. Thanks for your foto. So beautiful.
    rituals? I regularly do sports and make something for my selv or for others... e.g. sewing etc. I like that... produce.
    I wish you a relaxed and happy retirement.
    Hug to you.

  3. I couldn’t agree more about reading. Your world sounds serene.

  4. Anonymous8:07 AM

    When my husband retired my routine changed! We do more together now which is new and different from our previous work lives. My sacred time is first thing in the morning. I light a candle, sip my coffee and give thanks. Then I read the news and my “socials” online. Like you walks are a priority as are books and reading. As the weather warms up I will be in the garden a lot more. Your new kitchen will be fun, a fresh new spot to cook and bake. Congratulations to your husband on his retirement.
    Imagine you’ll be boating soon too!
    Hostess of The Humble Bungalow

  5. Lovely vase and flowers! Your attitude regarding day structure in retirement , is the right one. The daily walking, the habit of cooked meals, and especially the praying part - are essentials.

  6. Congratulations to Tim on his retirement - little did he know perhaps that he would be working harder than ever, at least through the reno, haha! Good luck and keep those delicious homemade meals coming - I agree and love eating at home although we do late breakfast and supper, usually skip lunch!

  7. Congratulations to your husband. I know he'll stay busy and enjoy spending time on projects he wants to do. It is so freeing and a real blessing. I like routines too but I walk whenever the weather is best or I have free time. I would add too that it's nice to do things separately when you are both retired. My husband and I hike together some but if he is busy with something, I take off by myself. Enjoy your day!

  8. Interesting the ways life has changed for you, Lorrie, and will continue to change once you have your kitchen fully restored. Thank God for a handy husband. I am impressed with your organization in meal planning and still managing to get meals on the table. Yes, that was a perfect compliment for a book lover. That library is something else! Truly beautiful.

  9. I see happy days ahead, Lorrie. New routines to sort and a new kitchen in the making too! Grace for all the transitions. I love the rituals and routines you have for yourself. So very like my own. They undoubtedly will be, as Anne Lamott has said, "the knots you hold onto when you've run out of hope." And yes, reading is like breathing for me too. Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

  10. Anonymous6:09 PM

    It's challenging to do the necessary work in the kitchen while it's being renovated. Yours seems to be a very big reno. It will be lovely once it's done.
    The bouquet is pretty. What would life be without books and flowers!! GM

  11. Every morning I prepare my husband’s sandwiches then take my breakfast upstairs and have eat in my bed with my dog. My husband does not sit and is always in a hurry before work. Then I read about one hour I used to walk 5 km every morning with my dog then do some housework have a very quick lunch and in the afternoon do some craft and read. This is my day. But I expect when my husband retires my routine will change, I am used to be on my own from 8am to 8pm it will be very different!

  12. Dear Lorrie, your daily routine sounds serenely beautiful. Tim's retirement will bring changes, and what a great start with a new kitchen. My husband seems to have decided to retire mid-year, so there are many things for us to think about too. I loved to read that you have a prayer routine, and can see mine needs a bit of improvement. Australia has become a very irreligious nation in recent years, and I never thought this could happen. Those of us with a religious commitment are derided in the media constantly. Thank goodness for my friends I meet every Sunday at Mass. The library at the St. Florian monastery is absolutely beautiful, and what a treat to see it. The only library I have seen which might be a bit similar is the one at Trinity College in Dublin. I read something every day too, and cannot imagine not doing so. To lose one's sight must be cruel indeed. I feel the same way about making art - I need to stitch and sew, or draw or paint, almost every day. It is nice to be productive :) Great topic for a post.

  13. You have some healthy rituals to anchor yourself and keep you going. It will be nice when the dust settles and you will enjoy the new spaces. My day starts anchored in the Bible and my favorite devotionals and moves on from there. 'Spring' is in the air and I'm looking forward to outdoor walks again. Happy weekend to you.

  14. Your daily routine sounds nicely balanced and well thought out. I think it will serve you well in this new retirement phase of life.
    I do prefer a day with some structure, although not too rigid at this stage. Like you, I always make time for reading.

  15. Those flowers still look beautiful what wonderful colours.
    I like your plate of salad greens, sliced pear, and blue cheese... delicious.
    ... and like you I enjoy reading.

    Enjoy each and everyday.

    All the best Jan

  16. Congratulations on your husband's retirement! Kitchen renovation is arduous but the final results are always worth it. I also read in the morning. I take a thyroid medicine that has to be taken one hour before eating breakfast and I use that time to read, Then after breakfast my husband and I often take a walk, but lately there has been so much snow and ice we've cut back on that. Hopefully spring will give us more opportunity. Then I do chores for awhile, check my phone or read on my computer, and before I know it it is time to begin preparing dinner! I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. After dinner we watch the news on TV and then a show or two ( or I read and my husband watches sports) and then before we know it, it is bedtime. The day seems to pass faster than ever the older we get!

  17. Yes very much daily rituals here too. I love to walk too although it can be at any time of day. Morning walks feel special when you retire and you know others are working. Lots of time in the kitchen too. I can remember those building days when I had to wipe away the dust before starting anything. Hopefully it will all go smoothly for you . B x

  18. I guess I do have daily rituals -- or at least daily habits, which sometimes change, season to season. I start morning doing my PT home program (or most of it, and catch up later); start on the computer -- email, blogs, etc.and spend much of the morning doing that with a break for breakfast. Usually a day doesn't go by without a doc appointment or PT or such and I'll do errands while I'm out. Home to paint, write or (dare I say it!) find a few pieces on my puzzle. I try to limit time there. Lunch is loosey goosey but dinner is either made here or at Rick's -- we almost always eat together unless one of us has a conflict. In the evening I read and/or watch Brit mysteries. And of course in there, always Lizzie time! I love your routine!

  19. Congrats to your hubby on his retirement.
    Happy days are ahead, Lorrie.

    Hugs and blessings.

  20. Your daily rituals sound comforting and grounding, especially now that you are experiencing some disruption and change. The salad looks delicious. Lovely flowers for a new chapter! Congratulations to your husband! x K

  21. We share a lot of the same rituals - reading, cooking, for me also crafting, and walking is my favorite form of exercise as well.

  22. Yours is a wonderful example of an intentional life.

  23. Jag har liknande rutiner med promenader och mat :) Det är viktigt för mig. Jag försöker stressa mindre och måla mer, det går sådär. Måste bättra mig! Nåja, livet ska vara gott att leva och vila är en underskattad syssla...
    Varm kram från Titti

  24. Reading and eating are also part of my rituals! The monastery library is my dream library!

  25. This is such a lovely post, Lorrie. Learning about your day's routine explains so much of you and reminds me of my own except that I have let walking slip away from my routine since we moved from Valley View in 2016. There I had 24 acres to walk through and memories of all the walks I took with my dogs and my children and grandsons as they grew up are some of my fondest. Here we have an acre and a half so there's no excuse not to, especially with the pond next door to walk to, but I've become limited to strolls around the garden as neuropathy has gotten worse. You know I'm all there with you in reading, cooking and eating! And I love how you described your day as being hemmed in with prayer! Last year I adopted a morning prayer from Agnes Sligh Turnbull and now before I open my eyes I pray 'With God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit I begin my day.' It has become something that gives me so much comfort before I even swing my legs over the bedside.

    After having been through five months in 2004 of no kitchen, cooking from one electric skillet and the microwave, I know how taxing a new kitchen is, even with the promise of a beautiful new one around the corner. I think you two have a wonderful routine worked out in going through this! You have organized and planned this the best that could be under the circumstances and I can't imagine anyone at your table ever not being nourished in every way. So congratulate yourself on this! Rearranging your life after retirement is a slow process, even though very welcome. I've learned that it does take still having a routine to feel that my days go well and almost as hard is learning to throw that routine to the wind when a morning comes that the opportunity to leave the house pops up and I really need to take it. After your kitchen is done be sure to do that before tackling the next project!

    Best to you both,

  26. Happy retirement years! May you enjoy them as much as we have (and how blessed we are to be able to do so!) We've lived through more than one kitchen remodel -- you'll be back to even better than normal when it is done, but it does take more adjustment than pretty much any other home improvement project my husband has tackled. (Sometimes I helped a little, but most of the time I just stayed out of the way as much as possible!) I continue to be grateful that he can do so much himself and that he enjoys it still.

  27. I love this post. Walking is definitely my favorite form of exercise -- and I've got to take advantage of the good weather while it's still here. Happy Spring!

  28. Hi Lorrie~ What a lovely post. Keeping your regular schedule after your husband retires is so important for your soul, and sometimes your sanity ;0) I love your schedule, it sounds like one that can be easily followed each day. That library is beautiful! Books are also my refuge, as is time with the Lord each day. Your salad looked amazing, I don't think there is anything more delicious that fruit and cheese on a salad, delicious. Walking is something I plan on doing as soon as I can get outside . . . More snow predicted for today, so not for a while. Your flowers are gorgeous! Enjoy these wonderful days with your husband! Hugs, Barb

  29. You are very organized and structured despite the chaos that renovations create! I hadn't really thought about the 'rituals that ground my days'. But they do. Morning coffee, devotions, regular mealtimes, exercise (walking or cycling), are part of most days for me. Enjoy this new stage of life!

  30. I have to smile at the underlying changes in routines upon retirement. I like how you describe what is important to you and I know that we have husbands who are good with that. I like to sleep in when there is nothing urgent to get up for, even if he gets up at six or seven. He does not wake me, but just goes to read and exercise, maybe a walk or a bike ride. Then we eat breakfast together. I still walk with a friend, although less. We also like to walk together, especially when the days get longer.
    I wake with a short prayer and we pray together before we fall asleep. We set up our office with two desks now, and we can work together. One of us used to kick the other one out. =) I think one thing that he has been surprised about, observing my day to day, is that I'm busier than he realized. Hhmmm...😂


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