Covering My Head

About a month ago I began covering my head. I’ve kept pretty quiet about it because I’m not a fan of drawing attention to myself, but I’ve had a few people ask me about it, so I figured I’d write a bit about my experience.

I have pondered the idea of head covering for a few years and was opposed to it until recently. Back in September, I went to a women’s retreat and got some major breakthrough in my relationship with the Lord, specifically in the area of hearing his voice. I’ve often struggled with doubt in that area – doubt that He would speak to me, doubt that I would recognize it.

After I got home, I couldn’t shake the head covering thing. God kept bringing people into my life who covered and I started thinking about it more and studying it more.

There are many reasons why women cover, and many different social backgrounds. In Judaism, it is a mitzvah of modesty, coming from Numbers 5:18 where the woman’s head covering is removed as part of the test for unfaithfulness, and further taught in the Talmud. In Christianity, it comes from the passage in 1 Corinthians 11 about praying with your head covered and is more about your relationship to God than your husband. There are also many other religious and non-religious reasons.

In my studies, I couldn’t come to a point where I believed either approach was a mandate for me – I’m not Jewish, and I’ve read enough in-depth study on the Corinthians passage to believe that God doesn’t mandate a cover in order to pray.

So I continued talking with the Lord about it, wanting a black and white answer, because that’s how I roll. 😉 And what I got from Him was that He wants me to cover my head for a season, and that I’ll understand why when I need to.

I’ve been covering daily for a month now and it has been such a blessing to me. First, I have peace knowing that I’m waking in obedience to God’s word for me. It helps me keep my focus on the Lord all day. Having something on my head is a constant reminder that He is with me, that He sees me, and that I need to submit to Him. It helps me stay accountable for my choices. Plus, I feel beautiful and special, and in that way it reminds me that I am a daughter of the King, and His hands in this world. 🙂

I think we all have a tendency to see choices others make and view them as a judgement on us. “You eat this way? That must mean you judge the way I eat! You parent this way? That must mean you judge the way I parent!” I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable with my choice because they think that I must be judging them. I don’t cover because I think that wrapping itself is what everyone should do – I do it because the Lord told me to do it. 

I don’t know how long this season will last, but it has been such a blessing to me – so much more than I expected!

Shalom…

– Judy

Journeys of Thankfulness

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Every feel like your life is one giant roller coaster?  I do. Lately it totally feels like I’ve been on a roller coaster ride, and not one of those new smooth ones – one of the old-style wooden ones that constantly shakes, even when you’ve slowed down a bit! And I’m not a fan of roller coasters either. I don’t like feeling out of control, I don’t like that feeling of shaking up my insides. I usually only ride them to appease the people I’m with. And when I’m done, I don’t feel that, “Wow, I did it!” feeling – I just feel sick and unsettled.

Such has been my life. On the outside, I’m doing my best to keep it together, to maintain some sense of normal – mostly for the sake of my kids. But on the inside I feel like one more twist on the rails and I’m going to lose my lunch.

(For some context, here’s the update on me/baby: Since my last entry here, I have continued to have unexplainable bleeding issues, to the point that my midwife has referred me to an OB. Hopefully I’ll be seeing him asap and getting some answers.)

This week was the beautiful holiday of Thanksgiving – a day we set aside to focus on something that we should be doing daily – giving thanks. And I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t feeling it this year! I don’t think I realized just how much I was struggling until Thanksgiving came and I actually sat down to think about it. I’m struggling with a lot of feelings that, as a follower of God, I should be overcoming. Fear, anxiety, inadequacy, incompetancy, and of course, sheer exhaustion.

I’ve been trying to talk to God about it too, but even that has been so hard, because I just feel so lost. In the stress of everything, I’ve neglected my quiet time, which makes me feel so far away from God.

But I think He designed this morning’s Shabbat service just for me. 🙂 Our friend, Ken, spoke on how we don’t have to work to get to God’s presence, or try to find it somehow in our own power, but He is always there – right there with us. And then Rabbi Hylan spoke on thankfulness when it’s hard, when your feelings aren’t with you. It was exactly, precisely what I needed to hear this morning! It was so encouraging, so full of hope. And so honoring – that God used these men in this worship service in another state to minister to my exact needs. I was brought to tears more than once.

And now? I guess I try to take some joy in the roller coaster for as long as it lasts. Soak up the smiles in my kids’ faces, the new words my daughter is learning, hearing my son sing worship music at the top of his lungs in his adorable toddler voice, and cherish every moment.

And I think it’s okay to pray for the ride to be over soon too! ;-D

Our Family’s Sabbath

Today is the Sabbath – the seventh day of the week.  We usually refer to it as Shabbat, the Hebrew word for Sabbath. Sabbath/Shabbat means “rest” or “cessation.” Sabbath-keeping has been a big part of our lives since we began walking down this path of Messianic observance almost 8 years ago.  We have discovered such beauty in the Sabbath!

This morning, Mark and I had a short but meaningful conversion of how our observance has been lacking lately. This has been in part to a crazy month with three trips away from home. But it is also a result of, quite honestly, laziness on our part. As many of you may know, we have been home-churching since we moved here almost 6 months ago. Every Shabbat morning, we plug our computer into our tv and watch our home congregation’s live streaming service. It has been such an incredible blessing to us to be able to stay somewhat connected with our community as we make the transition to life in Idaho. But it’s also so easy to get slack. When you can watch service in your pajamas while eating french toast, it’s hard to discipline yourself to engage in the service, enter into worship, and let God speak to you during the message.

This morning, as service was starting, I realized that our busyness and lack of routine had really made our lives go topsy-turvy, and this feeling was especially strong as I was trying to enter into the presence of God. Have you ever noticed how the state of your spiritual life tends to be a microcosm of the rest of your life? That’s what I had realized this morning. Mark had realized the same thing (don’t you love when He speaks to your spouse at the same time?!) and was really feeling the importance of getting back on track.

So, today has been a powerful Sabbath at our home. It has been a day of inward rededication to the Lord’s plans, purposes and priorities.

I’ve been asked before what Sabbath observance looks like for us, and I want to share that here, partly in hopes of inspiring you in your practice and partly in effort to hold myself accountable to keeping this holy day holy in our home. Don’t take this as a list of what you should do, but rather seek HaShem for what He would have you do!

A Typical Shabbat In Our Home

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(and, no, it doesn't look like this - but a girl can dream right?)

As laid out in Genesis 2:3, the Sabbath begins on sundown Friday and goes through sundown Saturday. We strive to make Friday night special as we welcome the Sabbath. This usually means a yummy dinner that is well-liked, and if I’m really on it, a loaf of challah (traditional bread for Shabbat). 😉 We light 2 candles and say a short series of blessings, thanking the Lord for the Sabbath day, for all He has provided for us – both basic necessities and those added extras – and then laying hands on our children and blessing them. We try to have a relaxing mealtime 😉 and evening. We do our best to stay off screens (one of those we’ve gotten lax in and need to get better about again) and keep the focus on each other and the Lord.

Saturday mornings are slow-starting, usually with lots of in-bed kiddo snuggles. We enjoy a relaxed breakfast and morning, and Mark and I try to make sure each other gets a quiet time. At 11:30 we turn on service in our living room. The kids are required to stay with us until the kids are dismissed from adult service after worship. (This is also something we have to work harder on. It’s so easy to just send them out so that we can focus, but then they will completely lose out on the service.) During announcements we usually make a simple lunch that we eat during service because it goes until 2ish. After service is over we make sure the littles are napping (they usually fall asleep during), and then we’re working on spending some quality spiritual time with the older two.

After that, we rest! Naps are awesome. 😀 This is also a discipline issue, because it’s so easy to justify away planning things for the day. But God’s word is so clear that the Sabbath is to be a day of rest.

There is also a short series of blessings to close out Shabbat that we sometimes do, called Havdalah. I’d really like to be more regular with this. It’s a beautiful way to bring closure to the day instead of just letting it fade away with the sun.

And there you have it – a typical (with God’s grace) Sabbath in our home! What does your day of 1st look like? Do you struggle with keeping your focus on this day? What helps you? Do share!

This Crazy, Beautiful Life

It’s been a crazy, busy month here in our home! In the past month, I have taken 3 trips out-of-state, leaving my kids (except Avigail) for the first and second times. It has been challenging, but it has been good. Even my trip to Minnesota for my uncle’s funeral was a good trip – getting to be there with my family for this difficult time was priceless.

Now that I’m home, we’re working on getting back into a routine.  We’ve restarted school again after a 3-week break.  I’m so thankful that my home was kept in great shape (thanks especially to my wonderful mom-in-law!), but I’m trying to get caught up on the random chores that tend to get neglected when I’m busy.

And on top of all of that, I’m super tired because… I’m pregnant again!  Yep, we’ll be welcoming another sweet little one to our family next May.

And I think this is where I want to go for this blog.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to blog about, because I have had so much on my mind lately that it’s been hard to focus it all into a cohesive thought.  But I think that what the Lord has been teaching me has a lot of value, and hopefully you will be able to glean something from it as well.

Finding out that I was pregnant was not just surprising, but rather terrifying.  To be brutally honest, when I saw that second blue line, I sobbed and sobbed – body-racking, uncontrollable sobs.  When I was finally able to stop, it wasn’t for long – I cried many times during that first day.

See, way back when Mark and I first had Eliza, we wanted to have five children.  And that has been the case ever since.  But when I was pregnant with Avigail, Mark told me that he was thinking that he really wanted to be done having children with four.  I told him that if the baby was born a girl, I would probably be okay with that, but if it was a boy, I’d want to try again for a girl.  🙂  He sorta-agreed with me, and we left it at that.  It was still very stressful for me.  I didn’t feel done having children, didn’t feel complete, didn’t feel ready to end that season of my life.  Then Avigail was born, and the talks began again.  I actually struggled a lot with depression because of it. Even though I was sorta-okay with the idea, it was like a part of me would have to die.  But I love my husband, and I totally understand that he’s exhausted with parenting young children and ready to move on to the next season of life.  And over the next year, I finally came to a place where I agreed with him.  I was ready to move on.  While I knew I’d miss getting to have another baby, I also knew that I’d always wonder what it would be like to have just one more!

Anyway, back to my story.  So, I’d wrestled with all sorts of emotions over the past year in coming to a point where I was excited about being done having children and being ready to move beyond diapers and sleepless nights.  And no sooner had that happened (and we’d decided to take the next step towards that), than this happened.  It was as if God was answering us with a firm “No.”  I didn’t understand it.  Why?  Why had God caused me to get pregnant when I shouldn’t have been able to?  Why didn’t He listen to my exhausted husband’s heart’s desire?  Why did He wait for me to finally come to grips with not having any children, just to yank the rug out from under me with this shocking news?  And why did He pick me (again) instead of one of those couples who can’t have children and want so desperately to??  I was angry, hurt, sad, frustrated.  I felt so lost, and walked around all day in a daze.  I called my best friend, my mom, and my mom-in-law – all in tears.  It was a hard, long day.

But in the back of my mind, I knew that I really didn’t have an option.  I really didn’t have a right to question God, a right to argue with His infinite wisdom and power.  So I had my day-long pity party, and went to bed an emotional mess.

The next morning, I came downstairs for my quiet time.  Thankfully I was up before the kids were, so my quiet time was actually quiet.  Ahh..  I opened up my gratitude journal, as is my habit first thing.  But I couldn’t think of a single thing to be thankful for.  My heart was hurting and raw.  I began to cry again.  I sat there on the couch, talking my thoughts out to the Lord.

“Why, God?  I don’t understand!”
“I’m SO tired, so very tired.”
“Why did you let me finally get to be okay with being done and then put this on me?”
“I can’t do this again!”  

And one by one, the Father answered me with His calm, sure words.

“Yes, Judy, you can do it.”
“You have learned so much through each of your children, but I have more that I still want to teach you.”
“I want you to trust Me.  Trust that I know best.  Trust that I will give you the strength you need.”
“You will come out of this stronger, and better equipped for the life I have for you, but you have to trust Me.”

As I began to let go of my own worries, He filled me with peace – and even a bit of joy!  I’m not saying there aren’t times when I still struggle.  It’s been 4 weeks already since I found out, and I’m still not always very joyful about it.  But if I keep my eyes on my Creator, He helps me see the joy and the blessing.  Remember this post? (You Are Joy)  This was my heart’s meditation that day, and it still is now. God IS Joy – He IS Peace – He IS Love.  And His ways – they are perfect.

Learning the Blessing of Mourning

Wow, where do I start?  This month has been one of the most roller-coaster months I have ever experienced.  In the course of one month, we have started school for the year, celebrated family birthdays(including my 30th!), traveled to Seattle twice, made some major life decisions (more on this later), received some surprising family news (more on this later, too), started a college course, celebrated the arrival of my newest nephew (welcome, baby Owen!), and lastly, received the shattering news of my uncle’s murder.

For those of you who don’t know me on Facebook, here’s the quick recap: on Thursday evening (the 27th), there was a shooting in Minneapolis.  A disgruntled ex-employee went on a vengeful shooting spree at his former office, killing 4 people plus himself.  My uncle was an innocent bystander – the UPS delivery guy dropping off a package at the wrong time.

My Uncle Keith

My uncle, Keith Basinski, was an amazing person.  Everyone loved him.  He radiated happiness and joy.  He was genuine and giving.  I remember his selfless hospitality – we always stayed at his house when we visited Minneapolis and he was always willing to do whatever to help us feel comfortable and welcome.  Mark said that he holds a special place in his heart as well – so full of joy and kindness.  Learning of his death was quite a blow. 

Death is hard to process by itself, but I’ve learned this week that murder is a different story altogether.  It’s so dark, so evil. 

I’ve been working through my grief these last few days.  My uncle was a believer, so I have the comfort of knowing his destiny and that he is with the Father right now.  But it is still hard to have someone snatched from life so quickly, so cruelly.

Mark has been reading a book about the Beatitudes, and he suggested the next chapter, which was on mourning.  So I read it this morning in my quiet time, and it really ministered to me, so I wanted to pass along some of the most poignant passages here.

“Mourning means they have given up their self-delusions about control, power and protection.  They know that life is fragile, and that they are not in charge.”

“Only when life jolts us do we see the real picture of our existence, that we depend on God’s graciousness for every breath.  Mourning brings about the acute awareness of powerlessness – an essential ingredient in spiritual growth.”

“Yeshua looked out on the brokenhearted in the crowd and saw that some were ready, posed to accept the incredible announcement about to be theirs.  they were ready because they were the blessed ones.  God could reach them, now, in the moment of their raw openness.”

“Yeshua knows that this comfort has two critical elements.  First, it is comfort found only by those who are at this moment open because of their agony.  And secondly, it is a promise that reaches beyond the immediate.”

“It is the guarantee that no matter what crisis comes upon us, God is here.  God is in control.  Our lives are not adrift on a stormy sea of emotional trauma.  The Holy Spirit will stand as our Advocate when we fall.  He will intercede.  All of His unfathomable power, care and love will be ours because God hears our cry.”

“So grief comes upon us, not as a judgment or a punishment but as the single most clarifying moment of life – the moment that I see that my life is not my own, that it is not even mine to keep.  At that moment, when I know my limits most intimately, I am ready to hear God’s message – comfort is upon me.”

My prayer in all this is that through grief, many people who were blessed by my Uncle Keith’s life will be even more blessed through his death.  May they find the One who was the source of my uncle’s joy, the foundation of his giving and generous life.

“Oh, so happy are those who at this moment are broken over life’s finality because the day is upon them when God’s gracious love is at hand and they have the promise that death is defeated.”


“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

A few links honoring my uncle, Keith Basinski:

http://www.kare11.com/news/article/992930/396/UPS-driver-killed-in-shooting-remembered-as-a-gentle-spirit

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/video?clipId=7779705&autostart=true

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_21654524/minneapolis-shooting-ups-driver-was-devout-christian-packers

http://fridley.patch.com/articles/amazing-gentle-minneapolis-shooting-victim-keith-basinski-of-spring-lake-park-remembered

* All quotes except for Scripture are taken from “The Lucky Life – The Backwards Beatitudes,” by Skip Moen, D.Phil.

You Are Joy

My meditation this morning, hope it blesses you too!  (Video at the end)

            ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Through life I’ve seen storms will come and go
You’ve promised me I’m not alone
When my faith is weak and I’ve fallen to my knees
I find You are all I need, all I need

You are love, You bring healing to the hurting
You are peace, You bring comfort to the worried
You are joy, You turn my mourning into dancing
You are good, You are good

The joy I find in facing every trial
Gives me hope and makes it all worthwhile
I’m looking towards all the plans You have in store
Cause the victory is Yours, it is Yours

You are love, You bring healing to the hurting
You are peace, You bring comfort to the worried
You are joy, You turn my mourning into dancing
You are good, You are good

So I’m not gonna complain
My lips will speak your name
My voice will give You praise
And I’m not gonna give up
My strength comes from above
Your grace is more than enough

~ You Are Joy, by Warr Acres

As A Man Thinketh

“The aphorism, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” not only embraces the whole of a man’s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”

-James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

As I said the other day, I struggle with depression. It’s a topic that I’ve read a lot about and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. I have tried hard to keep it from getting the best of my life. But no matter what I do, it keeps resurfacing.

So the other day, as soon as I felt it creeping back in, I confronted it head-on. I remembered what a huge difference it made for me last time when I finally admitted to my friends that I was struggling. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders, and just felt this shift in my mindset – like I was no longer a passive victim, but a fighter, and it had to go! Shortly after that time, I was feeling much better.

Anyway, I’ve been pondering a lot over the past couple of days. Why do I get depressed? Is this something God has allowed in my life as a lesson to learn? Is it an attack? Is it physical, spiritual, or both? Am I going to struggle with this for the rest of my life?

And as I’ve been thinking, praying, and meditating on Scripture these past few days, I’ve felt HaShem impress upon me some important truths. I want to share them with you, and my hope is that someday my openness will be a blessing to someone else struggling with this ugly beast.  I don’t have all the answers, but I will share with you what I have!

God is bigger. No matter what I’m facing, He is so much bigger than all of it!

This morning I read the last several chapters of the book of Job. It is HaShem’s answer to Job after everything he has been through. Very powerful words, very moving. If you haven’t read it recently, do it!

God knows. He sees everything. He knows my heart. He knows my thought processes.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, …discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  -Hebrews 4:12

God’s love never fails. It never gives up. He knows all of this, and yet His love doesn’t give up or even waver in the slightest.

“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever.”  -Psalm 100:5

God created my mind to have a strong influence over the rest of me. My mind is of utmost importance, and I cannot ignore it.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” -Romans 12:2a

God tells me what to focus my mind on, and His plan for me is abundant life.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  -Philippians 4:8

God does not force His will on me – I must choose it daily.

“Choose this day whom you will serve.”  -Joshua 24:15

Finally, to close I want to add one more thing.  It is important to remember that I can go through all the right motions but not truly let Him speak to and change me.  This does more harm than good, tricking myself into thinking I’m doing well, but setting myself up for failure! This is why I believe there is so much power in admitting my challenges. I must be real with myself.

So today, I am choosing to renew my mind with the truth of God’s word. I will set my mind on Him, and walk in faith.

“If then, you have been raised with Messiah, seek the things that are above, where Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”  -Colossians 3:1-2

~ Judy

P.S. If you enjoyed the quote at the top, you can download the entire short book for free off the website, asamanthinketh.net.  It’s a good read!

Our God Is For Us

For the past few weeks, I have been listening to Kari Jobe during my morning quiet time. Although I like all of the songs in the album, the last one really ministers to me. As a busy mom, I sometimes feel alone – like no one quite “gets” me, and all the emotions and challenges that I face. When this song starts to play, it feels like a soothing salve to my spirit and I just sit quietly and let HaShem minister to me. Anyway, I figured I’d share it this morning, and if the lyrics minister to you, go hit up amazon and buy the mp3!

So faithful – So constant
So loving and so true
So powerful in all You do

So patient – So gracious
So merciful and true
So wonderful in all You do

You fill me – You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to You

I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness
I know that You have come down, even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

– You Are For Me, by Kari Jobe

Choosing To See

“Because this is how you begin to spend your one life well –
receiving each moment for what it really is: holy, ordinary, amazing grace. A gift.”
– Selections From One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp

As a busy mom, there are days – a lot of days, if I’m honest with myself – that I get lost in the mundaneness of it all. It’s the same thing over and over – cooking, cleaning, teaching, correcting. I know that what I’m doing as a mom is the most important job on earth, but there are so many days that come to a close with the thoughts of “Isn’t there more to life than this? This plain repetition?”

A year and a half ago, I came upon the book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. The book shook me to the core, brought me to tears and gave me hope. The answer to my struggle? Choosing gratitude. And more – choosing to see God’s hand in the little things, to see His blessings in those mundane things that I had grown so tired of.

And even though it has been a year and a half since then, I still struggle. Struggle to be thankful for those mundane things that fill most of my days.

Earlier I was thinking about my recent striving to set apart alone time at the start of each day. For the past couple of days I haven’t had that time. My two youngest have woken up with me, turning my devotional time into a juggling act and leaving all of us frustrated. I found myself being resentful of the time they took away from my morning “me time.”

Then I caught myself – “me time”? Wasn’t this supposed to be “God time”?

And how am I supposed to meet with God if I can’t even see the biggest blessings He has given me as just that? This life that God had given me is an amazing gift that I am to treasure and cherish – even those everyday aspects of it. And as I choose to see God in the everyday-ness of it all, I believe that it will change my outlook on life and in turn my relationships with my children and my God.

So this is my personal challenge for this week: to choose again to see blessings in the mundane, choosing to see the annoyances as opportunities. To try to find balance between my need for alone time and my children’s need for me.

This is my challenge.

~ Judy

An Early Bird Stuck in a Night Owl’s Body

I’m convinced – I am an early bird who is stuck in a night owl’s body! If left to itself, my body will naturally wake up around 8-9am and go to bed between 12-1am. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember.

For years, I have wished that I could wake up earlier without extreme effort. In high school, I had to put my alarm clock on the other side if the room AND cover the snooze button with cotton to keep myself from turning it off in my mostly-asleep state and going back to bed. In college, I got the worst grades in my earliest classes, often because I just couldn’t get myself there. And now, as a mom, it means I wake up with my kids and get my alone time late at night.

This might work out fine for me except for one *small* detail – those rare days when I wake up early are amazing! I love them. I love waking before my family and spending time alone in prayer and thought in a quiet house. Being the introvert that I am, I get my energy from those alone times, and starting my day that way gives me such a better perspective and attitude about the rest of the day.

Back when I was pregnant with Avigail, for the first time as a parent, I was able to get into a routine that enabled me to wake up early. For a couple of blissful months, I woke up around 7am, got ready, and went downstairs to read, pray, and think before the kids woke up for the day. The trick for me at that time was buying a new coffeemaker that I could set the night before. Knowing that I would get my fix, hot and fresh, as soon as I got downstairs was enough to coax me out of bed most mornings. Well, that and the fact that if I waited too long it would be burnt! It was still hard, but so worth it. And with each day my resolve grew stronger.

But eventually Avigail was born, and my time was no longer my own. Sleeping through the night became a faint memory, and I returned to my former pattern of late nights and late mornings. Even on the mornings when my babe didn’t allow me to sleep in, I was still living in a constant state of new mom sleep deprivation.

So, that brings me to today. It’s been over 9 months since our little girl entered our lives, and while sleeping through the night is still an elusive escape artist who I’m pretty sure won’t be returning anytime soon, I’m ready to put my game face back on! Life is flying by at a dizzying speed, and I desperately want to be at a place in myself where I be present in and can cherish every moment. And for me, I know that will include bringing out the early bird in me!

And so it is with great trepidation that I share my morning routine!

– Bedtime (with a clean house, preferably): 10:30-11:00pm | First of all, an early morning has to start with an early bedtime. This has been a major struggle for me, but Mark and I are on the same page, so we’re trying to encourage each other in that area.

– Wake up, shower, get dressed: 7:00am | My ultimate goal is 6:30 so that I have a half-hour to work out, but for now this is where I am.

– Head downstairs for tea, Bible reading, and prayer time: 7:30am | I recently gave up coffee in favor of the less-intense effects of tea. I quit cold-turkey and felt like a rock star. 😀

– Kids & Breakfast: 8:00am | This is when the kids typically start making their way downstairs. I’m working on making a habit of spending a few minutes focused on each child as they wake up (inspired by a friend of mine). Then I start breakfast and do dishes, and on goes our morning!

My morning isn’t complete without these two things.  Well, and the iPod.  🙂

Is there anyone else out there trying to become more self-disciplined about their personal time?  Anyone other early birds stuck in night owl bodies?  Leave a comment and let’s encourage each other!

~ Judy