Habits, good and bad


I don’t need to remind you how unpredictable the weather pattern has been this year. Unseasonably mild temperatures early. A snow in November – just enough to remind us that Old Man Winter is just biding his time until he chooses to dump on us. More unseasonably mild temperatures and a few smatterings of snow.

Then came January! Mr. Winter chose to mix in some cold winter days, kicking the bottom out of those mild, enjoyable temperatures. Oh, and he sent snow, too.

Regardless of temperature, precipitation and wind chills, Kelly still has to have her daily walk if at all possible along with her need to investigate our own lawn several times a day. For those excursions, it’s like getting kids dressed to play in the snow.

When wind chill is a factor, I dress for that. First, a lightweight jacket with hood that turns the wind. Then my winter coat which also turns the wind. Gloves in the pocket are available as needed. Then, Kelly. She gets her ever constant leash and halti and her winter coat. And finally we’re ready to brave the elements.

Oh, I did forget one thing – that black knit scarf. Not a thing of beauty but very useful. It has a hood as part of it. Since it is knit, it doesn’t cut the wind so it goes on before the light weight jacket. That gives me the warmth of the knit hood and scarf which, when covered with the jacket’s hood, feels cozy and warm – until we step out the door, at least!

Now, for a brief walk, taking care of business and allowing time for Kelly to bury herself in the deliciously entertaining and alluring white stuff. How she loves it! I stand by (patiently?) awaiting her decision to go back inside. She gets cold, too, so the snow plowing time is shortened when wind chills are zero and below. That’s as much her decision as mine.

Ah-h-h! Back into the warmth of the house. First, undress Kelly and then and remove all my layers. Sometimes the scarf is pulled into the sleeve, but more often it lands on the couch while the coats go to the coat closet. (That closet thing is on a really good day. Sometimes they also land on the couch as we’ll have to do this again in a few hours.)

One day recently on a cold but not a deep freeze day, I thought I would skip the light jacket and just use the scarf. I looked in all the usual places – the sleeve, the couch, my computer room (not usual but who knows?), the coat closet. No scarf! So I started over – the sleeve, the couch, the computer room, the closet. No scarf! I found a black item on the floor in the closet, but it wasn’t the scarf. So I finally just went without it.

Later, I needed my wallet. It was on the kitchen table right on top of the illusive black scarf. When I had come in through the garage door, I had apparently divested myself of the scarf in the kitchen as I undressed Kelly. It wasn’t gone, just simply not in its habitual place.

As we know, habits can be good or bad, If I had followed my usual habit with the scarf I would have had it to use. If I follow my usual habit, I am in church every Sunday. It would be easy to stay home on a deep freeze winter day, but staying home that one day could be the beginning of a bad habit and soon I might be staying home every Sunday.

I don’t know about you, but I need that Sunday time of communal worship and Christian fellowship to jump start my week. I need to spend time with like-minded believers.

Hebrews 10:25 cautions, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (NLT)