Time To Get Back Into Routine


So far 2019 has been a strange year so far regarding my routine. Since mid-December, my office time has been hit and miss. Days off for holidays, snow days and retreats have caused me to have only a few full weeks in a weekly routine.

I am a creature of habit so these past months could have become very annoying to me, but I have been working on my patience by meditating in the morning while my coffee is brewing. Those few minutes each morning have been a great way to center my life on what is important and helped me feel at peace with the irregular schedule.

Have I been entirely at peace throughout the whole day? I wish I was peace especially when it comes to family, but I know that I would have been awful if I didn’t give myself a moment of reflection during the morning.

Now my schedule is back on track, and I can reflect on these months as a wonderfully anomaly that I don’t want to see again for a while.

Favorite Part Of My Morning

I am routine kind of person. If I am going to accomplish something, I need to do it consistently at the same time and in the same place. One of the many reasons, I hate vacations is because it takes me entirely out of my routine. So when I come back, everything is hard to get back into a routine.

(I know… I am insane)

For the most part, getting out of routine isn’t a big deal. So what that it takes me a day to get back into a routine at work. It just means that I have to get work a little extra the next day or two. So what that it takes me a little longer to get back into an exercise routine. A day or two (or week or two) won’t impact your life.

But some things are important to maintain my routine consistently. For me, it’s my CAB(s).

(Okay I am a recovering youth pastor from the late 90’s, so that means everything is an acronym)

CAB(s) stands for Coffee, Audible, Bible and Swag, which is my morning 6 am routine. I typically wake up during the 5 am period. I try to wake up around 5 – 515 am. I try to do some exercise, which consists of a light stationary bike, yoga, or if the weather is enjoyable, to take the dog for a walk. If I don’t wake up, I don’t stress out, but it’s an excellent way to get up. If I have time, I might catch up on a television show, podcast, or video game.

At 6 am, it’s time to make the coffee. Right now, I use a single serve pour over coffee, which is an aromatic patient way to make a good cup of coffee. While the kettle is heating up the water, I listen to my Bible reading plan at 1.25 speed, which helps me get through the entire Bible around 250 days (give or take). 1.25 isn’t fast at all and does help especially for Numbers….

By the time, the coffee is ready. It is around 615 (like I said, a patient way), then I sit down to listen to my audiobook, right now I am going through a book of church history. The children will wake up around 630ish and my coffee is almost done, which makes our conversations more relaxing.

The Swag comes from having my phone play videos for cash downstairs which is a little reward for waking up, which helps me pay for the kid’s school supplies and helps with gifts for the year.

Now that is my routine, and it works great if I can wake up in time. I can’t set the alarm, because my beautiful bride is a light sleeper and once she wakes up, she has a difficult time falling back asleep.

I love 5 am; she does not.

So waking up during the 5 am was hit or miss. But this year I made an investment, used my credit rewards, Christmas money and did a few additional surveys and bought an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch has been great because now I can set an alarm which gives me a vibration, that is heavy enough to wake me up but lite enough not to wake up my beautiful bride.

I am almost a month plus into a consistent morning routine, and the watch goes with me, so when I do take a vacation, I can wake up and do my CAB(s).

I want to encourage you not to wake up in the morning but instead find a way to have put a CAB routine in your life. It’s a great half-hour of intentional life, one which improves you spiritually and intellectually. Buy a slow pour coffee, and enjoy God’s word while smelling in the fresh fragrance of God’s greatest creation (coffee bean), then sit and relax drinking your coffee while enjoying a good book.

Try it out for a month, and it will be your favorite part of your day.

Evernote & Kindle Is A Great Match

Talking with a friend about tips and tricks in note taking.

I know I have interesting conversations

But one thing that shocked me a little bit was how he wasn’t using Evernote.  For those who don’t know much about Evernote, it’s an online file cabinet and much more.  Do you have a physical file cabinet in your office?  Well, image that being online, with every file can be accessed wherever you are, with an easy to search tool.  I love Evernote so much that it is one of the services where I pay for the Premium, and I am a miser.

Seriously I have a hard time paying $.99 for a premium app

One of the functions that I love with Evernote is with my Kindle books.  I read roughly 15 – 30 books a year, not including numerous magazine…

…and comic… 

…subscriptions.  And because of the number of books that I read, I switched to digital over physical so I can keep my office from becoming a library.

Where would I keep my old video games consoles and my giant Pee-Wee Herman doll (You read correctly) 

Another plus digital has over physical is that note taking and finding specific notes is so much easier.  I can highlight on my Kindle or Kindle App; then I can see all my notes on that book online at kindle.amazon.com, or in Notebook section on my devices.

And this is where Evernote comes in and changes everything.

I was gonna say “whole nother level,” but that would…. You know…

It changes how I preach, teach, and even made seminary a breeze.  Here is how I use Evernote and Kindle.

Let me show you a step by step instruction on how I use these two products together.

Here is a highlight from a book that I finished.


I prefer using the Kindle desktop when I am putting my notes together because I am faster with keyboard and trackpad.  But also, which you will see in a bit, it adds a nice footnote.  So when I have my note, I copy the highlighted note.

Next, I go to Evernote.  I like to create a notebook for each book.  I used to make a separate notebook for each chapter of the book, which I organize through Evernote‘s stack function, but I quickly realize that there is a 250 notebook limit for everyone.  Even if you are Premium member, it’s still 250.

So the created notebook for this particular highlight is called, “Practical Family Ministry” which is the title of the book.  Then I add a “New Note” and then paste my note in the note.


Once I paste the highlight, you will notice that it inserts its own footnote.  I believe this only works if you copy and paste from the Kindle desktop app.  It’s no MLA or APA, but you can fix that yourself.  I then add a generic title

If no title, it will say “Untitled Note,” and that drives me crazy.

Then I tag the note to specific tags that I want to keep track of a specific topic.  This one I tagged “discipleship”, “equipping” and “parent ministry”.  Tagging is critical to my file management because if wanted to preach on discipleship or equipping, I just search those tags to find particular notes on it.  If I were going to do a talk on parent ministry, I could find all my notes on that as well.

And this is just one filed note, now add a 1000+ notes all tagged for a variety of reasons.  Now when I need an illustration or an idea to enhance my messages, I do not have to search through physical files or spend countless hours online looking through generic sermon illustrations to find something to add.

The best part, both the Kindle App and Evernote are free to have, and if this method works for you, spend the money to go Premium.