Day 10: Reclaim the Morning.
I used to hate mornings. When I worked for a travel magazine several years ago – and later for the French Tourist Office – I'd sleep until the last possible minute, throw on clothes, brush my teeth, and rush to work, picking up coffee and breakfast on the way.
You can imagine that my state of mind when I arrived at work (after battling crowds on the subway or bus) wasn't exactly one of peace and calm. I felt frazzled and overwhelmed. Part of the problem is that by nature, I'm a night owl. Left to my own devices, I'd eat dinner at 10 p.m., and go to bed after 1 a.m. When I was single, I kept those late hours, which made waking up for work at 7:30 a.m. not so fun.
All that has changed in the past couple of years. Now that I work for myself, I've learned to love early mornings. Sure it's taken some adjustment to my bedtime, but I've come to crave that feeling of stillness and quiet – when it's still dark outside, before B is awake, where I can sit with my coffee, my Bible, and my journal and just be still. It's my time to prepare my mind and my heart for the day, to breathe, to pray, and to be thankful. It's also my time to write down my fears and anxieties – my feelings of "I'm not enough" and "I'm not sure I can do this" – and to be reminded of what is true: that I am loved by God, and nothing I can do (or not do) can change that.
For anyone that goes to Trinity Grace Church, you've heard the phrase "reclaim the morning" a lot. Our head pastor Jon Tyson started talking about this concept a few years ago, encouraging us all to set our alarms back and start our mornings a little earlier, with a time of solitude with God. Back then, I groaned when I heard this. 'What about the non-morning people out there?' I said to myself. But I gave it a try, and little by little, getting up early became less painful. And now I completely agree: there's something powerful about starting your day in stillness and solitude. And it literally is a "reclaiming," because if we're not intentional, that morning time will get crowded out so quickly with email, social media, news, and the demands of the day.
Spiritual matters aside, I should also note that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Probably because it's my chance to shamelessly eat an entire meal of carbs! (I blame it on my time living in France.) Along with coffee, my breakfast of choice is good, grainy toast – preferably with salted butter and really good honey or jam, and sometimes almond butter (with honey, and bananas). I love plain, whole milk yogurt as well. On Sundays, I'll go pick up croissants at Balthazar, and the Sunday edition of The New York Times (my favorite weekend ritual), and spend a few hours reading all of my favorite sections. It all comes back to that concept of everyday abundance: of starting your day off with rituals (and foods!) you love, with a mindset of gratitude, and with a few moments of peace that can sustain you for the whirlwind of a day to come.
Do you have a favorite morning ritual? If so, I'd love to hear about it!
See you tomorrow - we'll be talking all about recipe-testing! How it works, why it's important, and how you can help out! :)