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how to: make mornings more merry

Hey! I know, mornings are not my thang either. Not that I can or would ever do it again, but in college, there was not a night I was not up hanging out with the girls in the dorm freshman year where I was in bed before two a.m.! I cannot physically do that nowadays, but I still enjoy the night time. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I am exhausted at the end of the day with three girls under three, so nighty night time is the only time I have to myself for something FUN! At the end of each day, I have to decide if I want to get some extra rest or do something fun. Oh, the struggle is real! Since I have to be up because of the girls, I have learned a few tricks to help me be able to get up early...and function! Maybe you have to be at school early or you have a job that requires you to be up early too! Maybe some of these ideas can help you get yourself up and going as well!

Do as much possible the night before! I pick out clothes the night before and lay them out. Previously I did not believe that physically taking clothes out of the closet would save that much time, especially if I knew in my hear already what I would be wearing, but trust me, it does! I know because on some days, minutes count and throwing clothes on already laid out and ready to slip into saves an exorbitant amount of time! Lay out your backpack or work bag by the back door. I have three diaper bags hanging by the front door with the flaps open, ready to fill with bottles, diapers, and snacks, set to go each day when we leave for the gym. Even having an exciting breakfast ready to go in the refrigerator is helpful. Sometimes when I am feeling exceptionally Betty Crocker, I make an egg quiche and it helps me look forward to the day. I know I can forget stuff, so if there are items I need to take somewhere the next day, they are set by the garage door so I will not forget them!

Get to bed earlier! I hear you. I am a night owl too. Plus, I like to watch a good show on netflix at the end of a long day. Did I mention a brownie and ice cream and a couch? It is my sweet reward at the end of a day of hard work (and diaper changes, poopy pants, fixing food, soppy cups, whining, temper tantrums, and the like). I also know that to be a productive member of society, better friend, better wife, better mom, and better mood, I need rest as well. God made our bodies to need rest. I also see that rest helps many problems, including stress, wrinkles, moodiness, under eye circles, and the list goes on. I always work with my clients on rest, especially when they are struggling with stressful life situations. It is unreasonable to go from going to bed at one a.m. to hitting the hay at 10 p.m., so moving bedtime back in 15 minute increments is a great way to begin. After a week or so at one set time, try going back another 15 minutes the next week. Rest will bring more refreshment and the ability to greet the day with a better attitude.

Set an alarm (or two...or three...)! I despise the alarm sound, even on commercials. That sound causes my skin to crawl because I know what it represents and what it feels like to hear it! NOOOOO!!! Since most of us need an alarm of some kind, pick some music you like to go off first thing in the morning. If you must use an alarm like I do because I just use my cell phone, pick a NICE ring tone. I use chimes. It is the least offensive one, in my opinion. :) If needed, set the alarm across the room, so getting out of bed is required! Another key here, is no snoozing! I know, I know, I am a snooze button fan myself, but don't give in! Research shows we feel more tired when snoozing, so get up on the first alarm!

Open the blinds! Maybe most people would not think of this, but let in the sunshine! Allow the natural light to help adjust to day time. If makeup is done in the bedroom, it also allows for better light for that too, just sayin'. I personally feel like seeing the light (or rain as the case may be) and nature helps with waking up in the most relaxed state of mind possible.

Have a little quite time reading in the still of the morning! I totally get that realistically, this does not always happen. There are interruptions, but in my own life, I still strive for this. I feel my day goes more smoothly if I can have time to wake up, read a short devotion and Bible reading, and get myself ready before the girls wake up. That way, I am completely ready myself and do not have to remember to go back to my room for anything else. Having something completed is always a good feeling. Let me reiterate, this does not always happen but it is super great when it does! I keep my Bible easily accessible with my colored pens and highlighters. Making it easy will make it possible and more likely to become a habit! I read, study, and pray before my feet ever hit the floor. First thing in the morning may not work for you. In middle school and high school, I spent time with God at night because that time worked better. In college, mid-afternoon was the best time. Do what works for you.

Establish a morning routine! Since I want to be completely ready for the gym before the girls wake up, I know I want to be dressed, have makeup on, and hair done, even if that is a simple top knot. At least I am completely through. I can focus on greeting them and getting them ready. I also know I need time with the Lord. I know that if I do not take time with the Lord first thing in the morning, there is not much chance I will get to it later in the day. When the alarm, my beautiful chimes, ring, I do not snooze, but sit up and grab my Bible and go to reading. I then, open the blinds, pull up the sheets quickly to make the bed, brush teeth, get dressed, and get breakfast going. By this time, the girls are usually up, so I get them ready, we sit at the table, eat, read a Bible story, and head out to the gym. Find a routine to enjoy.

Plan something exciting first thing in the morning! For me, this changes sometimes, and some days, there is not anything super exciting, but it makes it easier to get up when there is something to look forward to. It could be a fun mug to drink coffee out of, new shoes (woohoo), or sitting outside on the porch for quiet time and reading emails. Find fun and beauty in the small things!

These are some ideas working for me in my life at this point. How are your mornings? One thing I want to leave you with is a verse I wrote in sharpie on the concrete slab in our garage as our house was being constructed. Just outside the step that leads out of the house into the garage under the rug is Lamentations 3:22-23, " Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." I feel like it is appropriate for that spot in the house. No matter what has happened the day before, when we step out into the garage to face the day, we can remember that He is with us and His love and compassion is constant. Enjoy your day, friends!



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