Sunday morning, I woke to the dark, soothing sound of rain. What time is it? I wondered. I stared at the digital clock on the bureau facing our bed and blinked to bring the red-lighted display into focus. 

7:00 am.

“Keith! It’s 7 o’clock! We need to leave for church in fifteen minutes!”

“Okay.” Keith rolled out, made the bed, and headed upstairs to shower.

I let the dogs out for their morning constitutionals. Freya and Heathcliff readily complied with the routine. But Cato puppy backed away from the cold rain and took refuge in his crate. 

“Come on, Cato. Outside. Go find Heathcliff.” With that, Cato joined the pack. I knew they’d be back soon.

While getting the dog’s kibble ready, I warmed a mug of coffee—left over from Saturday’s neighborhood meeting that we’d hosted—and munched on a ginger cookie, also left from the meeting. I warmed another mug of coffee for Keith and fetched his to-go cup as the dogs ate. Then I showered quickly, brushed my teeth so I wouldn’t be blowing coffee and cookie into my flute, applied minimal makeup to my face, and dressed.

We pulled out of the garage at 7:25. 


As we drove to church through rain and fog, I thought about the benefit of oversleeping, how an awareness of the finiteness of time focused us on what we valued, beyond the essentials of presentable cleanliness and tending dogs. For Keith, it was taking a few seconds to make the bed. For me, it was coffee and cookies. For both of us, it was church.

I also noted what I’d put off for later in the day: checking news, social media, email—other than a quick check for messages—faith journaling, exercise, and therapies to improve my sense of smell that I’d lost a year ago. What of my morning routine did I miss the most? 

Time with God and checking in with family.


When Keith and I walked into church at 8:05—only five minutes late—pianist Janie and organist Carolyn were rehearsing a duet of A Mighty Fortress, after which the ensemble of organ, trombone, flute, cello, string bass and accordion rehearsed Martin Luther’s hymn. Yesterday was our celebration of Reformation Sunday.

In his message, Pastor spoke about the gospel’s “new reality” that Luther had highlighted in his 95 Theses: the truth will set you free (John 8:32b). What is the truth? Salvation is God’s grace alone in Christ Jesus rather than by works; salvation is revealed by scripture; salvation is for the glory of the Lord.

We’re all experiencing a “new reality” in our earthly lives these days. Many routines have stripped away. Perhaps by oversleeping, I woke up to the finiteness of time, which clarified how I want to spend it.

Note: Next Sunday is All Saints Day and the end of Daylight Savings. 7 am will be 6 am.

Another Fall-back to essentials.


  1. Richard

    Carole, thanks for sharing. The hectic moments of life make us appreciate the more quiet times, especially in prayer and with God’s Word.

    • Carole Duff

      Yes indeed, Richard, and thank you for following me to my new site! -C.D.


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