Developing a Morning Routine: What are my Big Rocks?

When I read The Money Saving Mom post about developing a morning routine I felt the desire to develop one of my own. I had a morning routine when I was working and had started to develop one before my son was born. But now I’m mostly just flying by the seat of my pants most days

I started by asking myself, what are my Big Rocks, the things I need to get done first in the morning or risk them never being done at all? Truth be told I have a rather long list. But the three that stuck out to me are Devotions, Exercise and Writing (I should add showering to that list, but alas that often gets a low priority, and can potentially be done in the evening when my husband is home to help with the kids).

Devotions
I’ve started doing my devotions in the morning while I nurse my son. Two years ago I began a “read the Bible in a year” program. I knew I probably wouldn’t finish in a year, but my goal has been to eventually finish and I’m now on year three. Hopefully I’ll finish by the end of this year. However, I also noticed that when I was slogging through particularly heavy areas of the Bible (Are Jeremiah, Lamentations and 2 Kings hard for anyone else?) that I had trouble wanting to read. So I started switching up straight scripture reading with devotional books. I started rereading Devotional Classics, compiled by Richard Foster, which was a textbook from my Foundations of Christian Spirituality class in college. I don’t know why I still have it, given how many other books from college that I have parted with, but there on my shelf it sits. As it turns out, reading excerpts from great Christians throughout history like C.S. Lewis and Dallas Willard is challenging but also interesting. You may find a few posts about those readings here in the future. Finally I am attempting for the third time to finish reading The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg, which was also a text book from the above mentioned Foundations of Christian Spirituality Class. This is also a fantastic book and an easier read though still quite spiritually challenging. By alternating these three methods I’m able to maintain interest and even desire for devotional reading for the first time in a long time. After I finish reading, or even when I am reading, I try to take time to stop and reflect or pray about passages that impact me, rather then flying by for the sake of time. While I don’t manage to do it every day and it isn’t a perfect system, I am finding that I like starting my day this way.

Exercise
Exercising regularly has always been a struggle for me. When I was taking dance classes two or three days a week and sometimes teaching modern dance classes as well it was easier to have physical activity. When I was working I would go to my mother’s house right after work and we would walk, at least when the weather allowed. But once I had children I found getting out to exercise difficult. I didn’t take advantage of having only one child as much as I should have, rarely taking my daughter out in the stroller on my own. Now she is three and when we do go out for a walk I have her in the stroller, though she is approaching the weight limit, and my son in the front pack. It is definitely a challenge. During my pregnancy I started regularly using my Wii Fit again when I developed gestational diabetes, but once the baby was born, it was hard to keep both of the kids happy so I could exercise. But lately I’ve been trying to sneak in some exercise directly after Robin’s morning feeding. Once or twice he’s gotten up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. to eat, and rather than going back to sleep afterwards, I’ve gotten up to exercise and do a few household chores. Though I find myself a bit tired by mid-afternoon, I also find that my day goes better. This method however, doesn’t work as well when he wakes to eat a 4:30. (Or 1:30, 4:30 and 6). So when my husband gets up for work at 7, I try to keep the baby happy in the swing if he isn’t sleeping and try to sneak in a half hour Wii Fit workout before my daughter wakes up. Plus, we are trying to take a family walk at least two days a week, when the temperatures are below the 85-90 degree range when my husband can’t stand being outside and truth be told I don’t love it either.

Writing

This is the one category that I have not succeeded with. I am getting better about writing my blog posts further in advance so I can keep up with my currently modest posting schedule. But unfortunately I’m still not writing at the rate I’d like to, mostly because writing takes a lot of energy, perhaps even more than exercise. I do write best in the morning when my mind is fresh, but unless I begin getting up at 5 a.m. I don’t think I’ll have the time to exercise, do devotions, (also preferably eat breakfast and maybe run a load of laundry) and still have the time to sit down and write. Just getting started takes time and energy. I scan quickly through my most recent work and try to move forward and add additional material to previous scenes. It’s easy to get caught up in editing, research and brain storming, which is fine, but the goal is to do some actual writing. Perhaps I can work on making better use of my time in the mornings (and sometimes during nap time) so that I can write more often. Or maybe I need to start getting up at 5.

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