Category Archives: Morning Routine

The Quest to Rise Early

Anyone else having a hard time waking up these fine Autumn mornings? The daylight is shy these days.

I need help from my readers! If I am ever going to embrace a Fantastic Morning Routine, I am going to have to wake up (and get up) with more gumption than I have.

Please send me your tips for waking up well!

Why do I desperately crave to wake up earlier?

  • Because those early hours provide room to be quiet.
  • Because in the stillness, truth is finally louder than demands.
  • Because meeting with God shapes my day. I want to wake up with this perspective: He has met all my needs and will walk me through.
  • Because “Breakfast with Jesus” reminds me that it is finished.
  • Because when I miss it, I spend my day searching for something to satisfy, be it food, attention, or even a sense of accomplishment.


I may not be proud of my sluggish start this morning, but I will remain satisfied in The Lord today. He is all I seek, and I have found my hearts desire.

It is 9AM already, and I have more on my to-do list than a late morning start can work with. In theory, my satisfied soul can go back to bed now… but there is still a day to be lived! Thankfully I can live it from a place of fulfillment in Christ.

Perhaps tomorrow I can meet with Jesus a few minutes earlier.


Thanks for posting your tips below! Ill try them out and let you know how the Quest to Rise Early works out over the next few weeks.

In Faith,













P.S. Don’t know how to post a comment? It isn’t complicated. Just write your comment in the “Leave a Reply” box below. Or click on the “speech bubble” next to the title “The Quest to Rise Early.”


Morning Routine: 10 Go for a Jog


Catch that sunrise. Breathe in the clear air before the smog settles in.

Sounds wonderful… now, but not at 5:55am. I have a really hard time motivating myself to actually jump out of bed a little earlier to go for a walk first thing. I don’t think that 20 minutes of sleep actually do anything for me, but they are very convincing in the moment.

So, in order to win the debate against my snooze button and embrace the fresh morning air, I will now list 7 reasons WHY a morning jog is just so sensational:

1. Jogging (or walking) in morning is a heart-healthy habit. It gets the blood pumping. Reminds me to avoid walking around zombie-style all day, as if I don’t have a pulse. I may not need to be aware of my cardio-vascular system in my mid-twenties, but its never too early to start a habit that will be helpful later.

2. It reminds me to stretch. It is awkward to run without stretching my muscles first. So it helps me kick out 2 healthy habits in one.

3. Here’s what I get to jog by every morning:

These epic alpacas are owned by the campus where we live, but we feel a certain attachment to them. They are, after all, our closest neighbors.

I feel like this reason alone should be sufficient. But I will continue.

4. 15 minutes of outdoor-activity freshens my perspective. I realize life is not all about laundry, missed blog posts, morning breath, and sleeping in. There is a big, bright world out there with God’s fingerprints all over it. Great reminder that the same beauty is imprinted on me. I am a beautiful part of creation too.

5. Jogging helps me stay in shape. I can strive to preserve the masterpiece God made me to be as a part of His creation.

6. It gives me a chance to listen to a motivating sermon podcast or my encouraging work out playlist. It’s another way I can multitask habits for a fantastic morning routine. I can simultaneously pursue outer fitness and focus on my inner-self looking more like Christ.

7. Cold showers feel great after a swift jog. I don’t worry about Shane taking all the hot water. Also, cold showers set a different tone for the day: energy and get-go. This is a productive change from my hot shower routine…. lackadaisical and dragging.

There you have it: 7 reasons not to hit the snooze button…Here’s to keeping up good habits in the morning!

Morning Routine: 9 Make your Bed

make your bedMy mom always said it: It will start your day off better. And then, when the day is over, you can crawl into smooth sheets and rest well.

So do your evening self a favor: make your bed in the morning.

pup in bed

Here’s what happens when I don’t make my bed in the morning. Mr. Darcy thinks it is his puppy-nest.

What other fantastic morning habits do you maintain every day?

Any habits you WISH you were more consistent with?


Morning Habit #8: Accomplish Something

to do listWhat better way to start your day than by finishing something. I think it sets a tone of productivity for the rest of my waking hours.

For me, it doesn’t have to be a huge thing! I don’t always have time in the AM to finish a big project. But I CAN start it.

It helps to break my “to-do” list down into smaller chunks. So if I have “Laundry” on the list, I might break it down to “towels”, “darks”, and “sheets.”

For the initial feeling of accomplishment, I’ll get sheets in the washer and hang them to dry within a half hour. Bam, by the time I’m done with a few stretches and a Bible study, I’ve got something done.

The trouble I get into is “one-track-mind” syndrome. Working from home allows me this luxury/problem.

If I get one thing done, I want to get it all done in that specific category. I will spend hours working on a set of tasks, creating more ways to accomplish within that category, while the rest of my list gets pushed aside.

I quite literally did this a month ago while editing my book. I even forgot to eat lunch.

I accomplished quite a bit, but my house was still a mess, my freelance writing deadlines were whizzing by, and my husband got home and I was still in my pajamas!

I think the key is this: take the feeling of accomplishment and sprinkle it on every thing in your path, like the accomplishment fairy. Don’t become so fixated you become the get-it-done monster.

Ok, maybe this is something I still need to work on. I would appreciate your suggestions.

Morning Habit #7: Dress for a Purpose

dressed for a purposeOk, I definitely struggle with this.

At the moment, I am a “stay at home wife.” My husband’s job has strange hours, so we both decided it would be best if I was available when he was. So I work from home (sort of), by maintaining our college ministry administration stuff, and writing.

I hope this will make the eventual transition to “stay at home mom” a little easier, but we will see. The one thing I have mastered is staying in my pajamas all day.

Well, really my pj’s are more like work out clothes, but that doesn’t mean I am actually working out.

This is one habit I really need to change.

Lately I’ve been asking as I get dress, “what’s the purpose?”

I am not going into the office. I will probably just be cleaning or writing most of the day. And, regardless of how lazy my outfit choice is, there are still people trolling Walmart who make me look just fine.

But I realized my day has much more meaning than that. I am a wife to an amazingly diligent man. With the right attitude, I can help to be his sanctuary, his “welcome home”, in the way I present myself. So I’ve been dressing with a purpose: to be a complimentary and welcoming wife to my husband.

I put on a cute pair of jeans and a comfy white t-shirt. The picture above is actually one that Shane took randomly one day. I take it to mean he liked the way I looked. So I try to dress for him more often. I want him to feel like he is worth the effort.

Of course, I feel better about myself too. When I put a little bit of effort into it, for Shane and for me, the day goes well. Or maybe the day is a disaster, but at least I don’t look like a disaster.

We have a lot of power in our outfit choice. We can be completely self-centered about it, wearing whatever we feel is comfy, or will draw the most (or least) attention to ourselves.

Or we can say that the people around us are worth the effort. Whether its our family, loved ones, co-workers, or co-shoppers at the Walmart line.

How about you? Do you struggle to dress for attention, or are you like me who hardly puts any effort into her wardrobe? How can you start a fantastic morning habit and dress in a way that honors God and brings a loveliness to the world?

Morning Habit #6: Stretch


Stretch in the morning.

It is pretty self-explanatory.

My dog does it. Every morning. He never gets distracted by his breakfast or going on a walk. He never forgets to stretch. He sets a good example.

All living creatures need to wake their bodies up. Stretching gives our muscles a moment to expand and prepare for the tasks of the day. It gives our lungs a chance to breathe in as much life as possible. It releases lots of kinks and knots that inhibit proper blood flow, which brings that life giving oxygen to all parts of the body.

Need a moment?

Move over Twix! Candy bars don’t always cut it. But I have noticed that stretching gives my mind a much needed moment. Stretching is a slow activity. It requires us to stop. Breathe slow. Move gingerly. Take inventory on how we are doing. Not many activities in life have this effect.

I particularly appreciate my morning stretching routine because it lessens chronic back pain. I have always been a busty girl with a tendency towards clumsiness. Its an excellent recipe for constant, dull lower back pain. Really impressive posture can’t always compensate for few falls over the years.

A few months ago, I realized my back pain was practically gone. At this time, I was stretching and jogging almost every day. I prioritized healthy habits.

Dropping those habits during a hectic season brought back the pain. I am anxious to be a habitual morning stretching-guru again now.

Getting Started:

There is a plethora of stretching tutorials on Pinterest to help get you started. You could also join a pilates class at your local gym (I do not recommend yoga unless the program offers a specifically non-spiritual experience).

Here are a few of my favorite/most helpful stretches (I am not affiliated with the following links whatsoever):

A stretch to rotate hips and ease lower back pain: click here.

More stretches for hips/back: click here.

Stretches to ease neck and shoulder tension: click here.

Every day stretches: click here.

Lets take the time to wake up our minds and bodies. I’m sure our muscles will thank us.

Morning Habit #5: Eat Something Delicious

Eat Breakfast

 It doesn’t have to be a decadent breakfast. Just one you enjoy. 

I love to set the tone for my day with something yummy. It reminds me to

“Taste and see that the LORD is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8

Enjoying a delicious breakfast doesn’t require indulgence. I try to mix it up each day of the week. I am a sucker for a good bowl of cereal, but I know this isn’t always the best for me. So I make eggs a couple of days and enjoy a fruit smoothie on others. I might even make scones or a coffee cake for special occasions (thanks for the tradition, mom).

But I always enjoy my breakfast. I don’t eat low-fat breakfast substitutes or skip the meal. That sets a bitter tone for me. Its like setting a pattern to skip on the good things in life, or find a substitute for what is most delightful.

Of course, breakfast is very important to me because it is my time with Jesus. Having “Breakfast with Jesus” is a crucial reminder in the day, not just to taste of God’s goodness, but also to trust in His sovereignty. Read more about this lesson that Jesus taught Peter, and how it impacted me, here.

So, if you are wondering how in the world you can manage 10 habits every morning, here is a small suggestion: receive your physical nourishment and your spiritual sustenance at the same time. Read your Bible as your eat or prepare your breakfast.

Breakfast+Bible… might be the most delicious combination ever.

Morning Habit #3: Drink Tea

drink tea

 Or Coffee.

Drink tea or coffee or whatever beverage fits the occasion of the day.

Just savor it.

Smell the aroma, relish the liquid warming you from the inside out. Even on hot summer mornings. Let it thaw your heart to be receptive to God and others throughout the day.

And drink it in a charming mug.

Something that makes you smile. I have several favorites, including a mug I found on sale a Pier 1. The handle is shaped like a parakeet. It is adorable.

Or this orange mug, from Starbucks. My amazing friend sent it along with the tea and card pictured, to help me celebrate the completion of my writing studio. She is amazing (and an excellent photographer. All of my photos with the “AG” symbol are from her. Amazing talent I tell you. Catch more of her gift to humanity  Here.)


Because tea is amazing. And it forces you to stop and enjoy the little things. Good way to start the day.

I think there are some other health benefits, but I don’t remember them right now. For me, tea is best taken with 2 scoops of meaningful music, and one lump of a journal in my lap.

Find more great habits for a purely fantastic morning routine here.

Morning Habit #2: Keep a Journal


The anchor frame I used on this picture is significant. I believe that journaling keeps me grounded and “anchored”, if you will, through each season of life.

Through journaling, I connect intimately with God. Journaling helps me process the confusing stuff in my heart. Also, it is an avenue of prayer, for myself and others.

Most importantly, my journals are a record of God’s continual work in my life.

Recently, I was blessed with a few quiet hours to glance through a few of my old journals.

I sipped an ammaretto americano and read page after page of God’s goodness in my life. So many notes, doodles, questions, prayers, and musings filled those pages. I am so glad I have maintained a habit of journaling these past few years. Reading them again gives me so much perspective. What was, what I hoped for, what I was anxious about.

And how God walked me through it all.

The hectic changes of the last few months made me forget journaling. With that, I lost perspective. The absence of yesterdays notes is the absence of a road sign or a mile marker. I have no clue where I am.

“Here I raise mine ebenezer”

The Bible refers several times to Ebenezers (1 Samuel 7). You probably know the name from A Christmas Carol, or from my favorite hymn, “Come Thou Fount.”

But most people don’t know what an ebenezer is. In Hebrew, it is “Stone of Help.” (reference)

We refer to it in “Come Thou Fount” as a monument or road sign. Like many prominent characters in the Old Testament, we sing “here I raise mine ebenezer,” to say, “I am putting a marker here in this moment to honor God, and to remind me in later years of the significance of this relationship.”

My journal acts as an ebenezer.

What’s Inside:

Each journal entry is varied from the last. But I try to include a few specific things to help me remember the journey.

  • Date: What day is it? Anything special, like a Birthday, holiday, day off, etc.?
  • Song of the Day: I usually wake up with a song in my head. So I write it down. It is interesting to see how the songs change. I think it helps to define what kind of season I am in.
  • Describe what is going on: Is it a cloudy day? Am I sitting at church, preparing to hear a sermon? What event is approaching, or just happened. These notes help to get my emotions and thoughts in gear to start processing life on paper.
  • Processing through: This is crucial for me. I am an extrovert in that I have to process the stuff in my brain outside of myself. Most extroverts do this by talking to someone. I find that writing it down is a helpful alternative (but not a complete substitute to a good friend.)
  • Verse/Psalm of the day: Journaling can be an intense “me-centered” activity. I know that my heart needs to process things, but my words and emotions can run wild, creating havoc. I write down a verse, often from Psalms, to keep me grounded in truth.
  • Doodle: Sometimes words don’t cut it. Recently, God told me “wait” on a specific dream I was praying about. I had a mental image of God letting the air out of my hot-air balloon until I was ready to fly. So I’ve been doodling hot-air balloons. It’s a simple way of acknowledging God’s kindness and my willingness to be patient (even when it is difficult).
  • Prayer: I always felt like I should have this grand prayer time with the Lord at the end of the day. Well, that never happens. Our nights are typically very busy. We do most of our socializing in the evening (that’s college ministry for you).

I realized I need to seek God while I am most available, mentally and physically, to give complete attention to Him. The morning is often my best shot.

You do not need a journal to pray, but it is helpful for me. It keeps me focused.

I am able to recognize my sin, write it down, and repent of it. I can cross it out, or draw a big “X” over it, symbolizing that God has forgiven me and is cleansing me of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

I can worship God, noting His awesome characteristics:

You are Holy,

Jesus, thank you for your kindness to me,

Your love never gives up,

Oh, Lord, you are so GOOD!

Open the eyes of my Heart:

This system is an excellent way for me to prepare to receive His Word. I try to journal with my Bible in my lap, referencing a verse here and there. But I don’t view this as studying the Bible. Merely preparing my heart to receive truth. Actual reading of the Bible comes later, sometimes with my journal alongside.

I think the difference between the two is this:

  • Journaling is about my heart.
  • Bible study is about God’s heart.

But we will look at Bible study later in 10 Habits for a Purely Fantastic Morning Routine.

Thanks for joining me!


Morning Habit #1: Avoid too much Social Media

Social media

Welcome to 10 Habits for a Purely Fantastic Morning Routine. These habits are in no particular order whatsoever. That being said, I will focus on this habit first for several reasons.

1. It is the first thing I do in the morning.

Somewhere along this life journey, I decided browsing Facebook and Pinterest would be the best way to help me wake up. I actually end up lounging in bed an extra hour. Catching up on pins and posts and completely useless knowledge from “Buzzfeed.” It takes away the golden minutes of my morning.

2. Nothing worth reading about typically shows up in the morning feed.

Facebook is full of posts about weird dreams, dramatic night fights, and how upset everyone feels about getting out of bed. Pinterest users have spent their insomnia hours pinning ambiguous quotes about relationships and late night food craving recipes without legitimate links. Nope, nothing good to see here people. Wait till 4pm. That’s the best time to scroll.

And for that matter, I really don’t think anyone really wants to hear about 1.6 mile run in the morning. Or see my fabulous pin about arranging picture frames. No, I think I will wait till I’ve done something more significant with my day before I post for my 15 seconds of attention.

BONUS!  I still come up with a really great Facebook status every morning. You know, the one you can’t get out of your head. But instead of posting it online, I text it to one of my sisters, or write it in a letter. Now I am reaching out and connecting on a personal level, which is great! Bam: building  real social skills before 9am.

3. My immediate pursuit of social media is idolatry.

For instance, if I replace God with social media, each of these verses accurately describe my habit:

Psalm 5:3
Lord Pinterest, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch scroll.
Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love Facebook status updates, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Mark 1:35
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [s]he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there [s]he prayed repinned 15 outfit ideas and 9 recipes.
I do not want to replace time with my Lord and Savior with the worship of people and things. I greatly value how Facebook helps to connect with students, friends, and co-laborers in God’s Kingdom across the planet. But it does not exist to ease my waking in the morning. Or to curb my boredom. I value my Facebook FRIENDS more than that.
Pinterest is the same. I really appreciate how many helpful hints and creative ideas I’ve received (and used!) from this site. Pinterest has also been an effective agent to spread the word of God’s work in my life through this blog. I am still in shock how many people repin from the “Bible Study Tips” series everyday. I hope it is helpful.
But I feel like Jesus has become just another pin among many gods. The things we put our attention to, spend time with, talk about… that is what we worship. The Bible is reduced to something I scroll through on my Youversion app after all other apps have been exhausted.

But no more!

I will not give my precious morning hour(s) to social media. Or TV, Netflix or Youtube, for that matter. I will seek Jesus first, while He may be found. I will give Him the honor and attention He deserves.
Today is my first day. And it was difficult. I was annoyed at how many times I reached for my phone out of habit. Well a new habit is forming now, and it is clearing up my AM schedule for greater things!

Check In:

Do you struggle with any specific distractions in the morning? What do you wish you were doing with that time?