Morning Routine

A huge thank you to everyone who has participated in this series so far! I’ve been sharing my favourite things of the year in honour of my birthday, and anyone who comments on these posts will be entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card. I have loved reading everything you’ve had to contribute! If you have any favourite things to share or thoughts on the topics of these last two weeks, please feel free to comment! You have until Friday, July 21!

This was the year I got serious about my morning routine. It’s so hard – I totally get it. Having young kids who wake up early makes it very hard to wake up even earlier. For the longest time, I just couldn’t do it.

But, as I’ve been talking about a lot this week, I’m an introvert, and waking up at the same time as Everett and having no personal time to get my day started on the right track was not working well, and I knew it was time for a change. I decided to start waking up just 15 minutes earlier than when Everett usually woke up. Even that felt super hard, but I knew in my head that 15 minutes wouldn’t make a huge difference in my energy levels, even if my body felt like it was a bad idea!

I stayed there for a long time – 15 minutes wasn’t much, but it was enough for me to drink some water and read my Bible for a little bit before Everett woke up. I don’t know how long I would have kept things there, if God hadn’t given me a big nudge! For some bizarre reason, I suddenly went through a phase last fall where I woke up at 5:30am, every single morning for a week or two! Oh my word, I was so tired! But I could not fall asleep again, so finally, I just gave up and climbed out of bed. I didn’t want to be out of bed that early, but I tried to make the most of it, since it was happening anyway!

It turned out to be amazing. I had all the time I needed for morning devotions, and I got my exercising done before the kids were up. By the time I went back to sleeping normally, I was hooked. I craved that alone time each morning, so I asked Ben to start setting my alarm 20 minutes earlier, with the intention of working my way earlier very gradually. Finally, I told him one day that I was ready to wake up at 6:30, and he cheerfully told me I’d already been waking up at 6:30 for a few weeks, because he’d kept setting it earlier and earlier without telling me! I guess I stumbled out of bed so bleary-eyed, I never looked at a clock!

Fortunately, my body has adjusted, and I usually wake up before the alarm now, happy to get out of bed at 6:30am. There was a time in my life when I would NEVER have thought that would happen, but here we are, and it’s been one of the biggest turning points of my life this last year. I start my day with intention, I get more alone time, my relationship with God has grown because I’m spending more time with Him each day, and I’m exercising very consistently. It’s been a process, but totally worth it!

So here’s how I start my day:

  • Drink two cups of water first thing, and take any supplements I need to on an empty stomach
  • Read my Bible and write in my Five Year Prayer Journal, which is a new thing I started this year
  • Exercise for 45 minutes, or as long as I can until Everett wakes up, while listening to a message (which I shared in my post on podcasts)
  • To keep my mind coming back to where I want it to be throughout the day, I use an app that has an hourly beep. I got this idea from a Bridgetown podcast on hourly prayer, and it’s been so good! Every time I hear that beep, it’s such a great reminder to pray about whatever is on my mind right at that moment. I’ve found it to be very helpful for keeping my thoughts more on track.

That’s all been working well, but my goal for this next year will be to get more sleep! I listened to a great podcast this week called “Why Sleep is More Important Than Diet and Exercise Combined”, and it was a huge kick in the pants!! Yikes, I have some work to do. It’s pretty amazing how much sleep impacts absolutely everything, so I’m setting out to improve my evening routine, and get to bed earlier. I’m excited to see how this will go!

Do you have a consistent morning and evening routine? What works well for you?

 

Save

Advertisements

Switch on Your Brain

I’ve been reading such a fantastic book recently. I bought it for myself for Christmas. I’d been watching Caroline Leaf youtube videos, and finally decided I needed to try some of this “brain detox” stuff she was talking about.

Switch on Your Brainsource

Like any detox, it was quite nasty at first, and then it was quite wonderful.

The nasty part is that to begin with,  you need to learn how to become aware of what you’re truly thinking. Sometimes, negative, critical, stressful, or fearful thoughts just whip right through our heads without us taking enough notice of them to even be aware of what we’re truly thinking.

I was a bit shocked when I began to record my thoughts. I had no idea there was so much junk going on in my head. I just hadn’t ever stopped to notice. According to Dr. Leaf, it takes three weeks to get rid of a negative thought. Pick one, and just work and work and work at replacing it with something positive. The steps in her book are incredibly helpful, and I can honestly say I have experienced very positive changes since doing my first round of detox.

Dr. Leaf recommends taking 10 minutes a day to write down what you’re thinking, and then replacing the negative thought with Scripture, or some kind of positive thought or action. The first week, it seemed as though all my thoughts were negative, in some form, when I sat down to record them.

But during week two, I began to see positive thoughts popping up about things I used to think negatively about, and when week three rolled around, my original negative thought was gone. I just wasn’t thinking about it anymore.

The pull to return to old, bad habits is strong, but the longer a person resists, the stronger the new thought patterns become.

Another thing I love about this book is that Dr. Leaf shares how important journaling is – but not your basic, writing in straight lines kind of journaling. She says writing employs both the right and left sides of the brain, but the more colorful you make it, the more artistic and all over the place it goes, the happier both sides of the brain will become. It’s so much fun!

And it’s what inspired my work of art that I shared during one of my photo challenges:

Day 7

I have missed pencil crayons! It feels good to be coloring again.:)

To learn more about retraining your thoughts, you can check out Dr. Leaf’s books or Youtube videos.

Crazy?

So I know that some of my friends and/or family think that I am slightly crazy when it comes to the projects I take on with my pictures.

I started scrapbooking when we moved to camp, because that is what ladies do here on Monday nights, and I’ve always kind of enjoyed that kind of thing. So I decided to make a scrapbook of our first year here at camp.

It has over 100 pages in it. I won’t be doing that again with the pictures from any of our other years here, because… that would be crazy.

Then I started blogging, at first on the camp blog, and I wrote “365 Things I Love About Camp” and took a ton of pictures all year for that. Won’t do that again, either. It was fun while it lasted, but it was a pretty time-consuming commitment.

My project for this year was something called “Project Life.

It’s this big kit that I bought, and the idea is that you take a picture every day for a year, and write down something about that picture on a little card, and put everything all together in one big book. And I have loved it. I can’t keep a journal worth anything, but I can write little cards. And I can take pictures!

People think it sounds hard to take one picture a day, but really, I’ve got small children in the house. I’m taking pictures all the time, anyway. If I happen to miss a day, I take pictures of my favorite food, or the shoes I’m wearing all the time, or the books I’m reading, or a room in our house and what it looks like right now, or anything that would work for any day.

And when this year is over, I will have all of my pictures, plus my journaling, in one (honkin’ huge) book. I already love looking back to the beginning of the year, because Kaylia has changed so much, and it’s just interesting to remember life stuff, even from a few months ago. (That makes it sound like I just lounge around on my couch all day, looking at pictures of our family, but I don’t. Really. I’m too busy taking more pictures…)

Anyway. I’ve started a new project. It’s called “A Week in the Life.” It could possibly drive my family nuts by the end of the week. We’ll see. The idea is that you take a picture of everything you do all day, for a week straight.

I took 140 pictures yesterday. Which sounds like an insane amount, but it isn’t my fault. Think about it – I’m taking pictures of a very active and unpredictable toddler, a girl with a mind of her own who has decided she doesn’t want her picture taken anymore (wonder why??? 🙂 ) and a husband who loves to make really dumb faces in pictures to wreck them. And then I have to keep taking pictures until I get a good one.

See? Not my fault. So out of those 140 pictures, I deleted at least half of them.

And today, I only took 50! And deleted a bunch of those, too.

So, why would I do something like this? There are a number of reasons:

1) The life we live right now is not a normal one. Someday, when we’re living somewhere else and have a totally different kind of lifestyle, I want our girls to remember this time, and the unique schedule that we have right now.

2) I love the challenge of capturing pictures of things I don’t normally take pictures of. And I want to remember this stuff forever.

3) It’s all going to go into a pretty little book, and the whole project just brings joy to my life, for whatever weird reason. (My sister says, “Why would I want to remember, 20 years from now, what I ate today??” I don’t know! Maybe it will be interesting by then!)

So, for anyone who’s curious what kind of pictures I’ve taken so far, here’s a peek:

MONDAY

Reading “A Little Princess” to Anika:

Afternoon yoga:

Hanging pictures in Kaylia’s room:

Stew for supper:

Supper dishes:

TUESDAY

Driving to the city:

Physiotherapy appointment:

Grocery shopping:

Filling up gas before the drive home:

Sitting in the van:

Bags of groceries to clean up: