I’ve spent too many mornings getting out the door in one of two ways. I would either stand in front of a mirror, trying to make sure every hair was in place (a losing battle for someone with hair like mine!), my eyelashes were curled exactly right, and, most of all, wishing I had a perfect body to put inside a perfect outfit so I could have a perfect day. You can probably see this was a set up for failure and disappointment. The alternative was that I’d wake up late. I’d probably be cranky. I’d ignore or snap at my mother and the rest of my family before rushing out the door. You can probably see I’d be leave stressed and unhappy. Either way, I wasn’t being my best self on those mornings. I was self-absorbed, unfocused, and undignified. In my insecurity and rush, I certainly wasn’t treating others with the dignity they deserve.
Somewhere along the way that changed. Thank the Lord!
That’s not to say I don’t still have days I take too long worrying about my appearance or futzing around wasting time only to leave in a rush. In both of these instances I still sometimes regret how I let my failures affect how I treat others, but fortunately, those days are fewer and farther between and the extent of fallout is less.
I attribute some of that to maturity, some to planning, and a whole lot to God’s Grace. My mornings are now often a slow, gentle, and intentional reset helping me prepare like a Warrior and also appreciate beauty and gratitude for every day with the wonder and near innocence of a child.
Maturity comes with time and circumstances that produce maturity. It is too big a topic to toss in here, but I’ll write more about it another time. Receiving God’s Grace is an idea I couldn’t express if I wrote a million blog posts so I won’t try to cram it in here either, but I will humbly and inadequately try to cover that in other posts.
What I want to focus on today is what I can control – planning a morning routine.
Planning Your Morning Routine
We spend so much of our time wishing things would be different and worrying about things we can’t control. At the same time, we assume we have little control over our own outcomes. We excuse ourselves with statements like, “I’m not a morning person.” This kind of thinking leads to patterns that reinforce our beliefs. We don’t recognize that we default to comfort and therefore make like more difficult for ourselves right from our first waking moments.
instead I’d urge you to approach each morning with intention.
Define the type of person you want to be and list what that type of person would do on an ideal day. Then commit to acting like that type of person. This is regardless of whether you “feel” like it or not.
When I write my list of who I want to be like I include the following.
- Someone who loves God and knows He Loves me. I want to be the type of person who puts Him first.
- Someone who loves my family and does what is best for them.
- Someone who loves my country, shows I believe the good that is in America and will stand for her even when the rest of the world goes crazy.
- Someone intelligent who sees things from different, strong, and beautiful ways.
- Someone who recognizes Truth and dives deeper into it so I can express it more confidently and recognize lies when the deceiver tempts me with them.
- Someone who honors God’s creation of me through clean(er) fueling, exercise, and rest.
Surprisingly, when I began living intentionally, I found I could honor each of these desires in the first hour of every day. The secret to doing so is humility and keeping my goals small and consistent so I can move forward with big plans.
A Typical Morning Routine
I begin each day with my prayer before getting out of bed. Then, instead of using snooze for an extra eight ridiculous minutes of shallow, interrupted semi-sleep, I use my snooze time to read non fiction. There’s so much to see and learn and do in this world with such a limited to to do it all in. I love taking the time in the predawn darkness to learn from others. That morning period when I’m not quite ready to climb out of my comfy, cozy bed is the perfect opportunity to learn from the experiences of others, things I’ll never have time to learn on my own.
Eventually though I have to get out of bed. Where others may I head to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, I head to the kitchen for a glass of water to rehydrate. It may sound weird, but it’s amazing how great that first glass feels going in!
Then it’s time to put on my sneakers and grab my Rosary beads and flag. I put the flag up in our yard. While doing so I say three prayers every day. The first is the prayer for the dead honoring and praying for the souls in Purgatory who have fought for our country and to give my boys and me the freedoms and opportunities I am eternally grateful for. The second is the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. I ask him and the angels and saints and our deceased American heroes to continue to fight for our country and the souls of our people. Finally I pray a Memorare asking My Mary to watch over and Love a one of America’s Wounded Warriors, a Man who is very dear to me. It seems like a lot, but these prayers are quickly said while raising the flag and securing the rope.
Then, no matter what the weather or temperature, I hit the street for at least 10 minutes or more of fresh morning air and outdoor cardio. If my injuries are too painful to push that day, I use my outdoor cardio to refresh my mind. In the past, I’d make excuses and skip outdoor workouts or push to hard and worsen injuries. Again, with maturity and Grace, I’m learning to listen to and honor my body as God’s creation of me. If I can push, I push and appreciate the fitness that push gives me. If I must walk, I walk and appreciate the clarity of thought the outdoors gives. Either way, I pray the Rosary as I go.
Either before or after my outdoor cardio, depending on whether, temperature, sunrise, and where I’d like to go, I do something for my sleeping or absent family to make the house more welcoming for them. I clean for ten minutes every morning. That could mean emptying the dishwasher, folding laundry, or something else depending on how busy we were the day before. Ten minutes isn’t going to do any deep dives into housework and honestly some days you can’t tell I’ve done anything, but it’s amazing how much you can do in ten focused minutes. Ten minutes is always better than none. To top things off, I often listen to a podcast during that time as well. These also help grow my faith, intelligence, and gratitude and see things from different perspectives.
In the first hour of my day, I’ve covered many of the things most important to making me the type of person I want to be. By living intentionally, I become more of who I want to be. I’ve done this for years, long before asking God to please make me a Saint, and a great one, and can’t help but think it’s contributed to my getting to this point. My morning routine has been vital to my desire to Live Not Ordinary.
I wouldn’t trade it for time in front of the mirror or an extra eight minutes in a snooze bottom followed by a rush out of the house for anything.
What about you? What type of person do you want to be, and what does your morning routine say about you?
Gratitude Journal… April 27, 2023
Thank you Lord for…
- Not being hungry while fasting today.
- Talking to A on the way in.
- Annie and Beth our long conversation.
- Karin and Beth and the exact words I needed to hear.
- C making a perfect catch in the game today!!!
- Making it to the game on time today.
- Talking with Meema.
- Taking her parking spot – that sounds worse than it was! Lol
- A sense of humor.
- Praying for those who persecute me.
- The Holy Eucharist at Ad Orientem Mass today.