The Biggest Danger in Having a Great Morning Routine

I do 7 things every morning that make a huge difference in my life.

I take selenium. I drink hot lemon juice sweetened with stevia.* I sort the mail for 2 minutes.

I write 500 words, I work on my blog for 15 minutes, I have devotions and I facebook my husband.

These habits have made a HUGE difference in my life, health and happiness. It’s been a long road of tweaking the habits and there’s more I can add, but these are the ones that help me now.

Because my morning routines are so helpful, they set the stage for the greatest danger.

I realized it when a line from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling** devotional flattened me:

Don’t make an idol of routine.

Here’s my problem. These routines are so helpful. They make such a difference in my life. I don’t want to mess them up or skip a day.

But, life happens.

There are demands on my time, energy and focus. Even at 7 am. Even at 5:30 or earlier.

So, how do I react?

It’s so tempting to get frustrated, to throw my whole day out of whack because my routines got interrupted.

I’ve gotten pretty good at plans B through G, but sometimes, I can’t pull that off, either.

And I have to let go and remember:

Don’t make an idol of routine.

 

 

 

*The selenium and lemon juice helps me deal with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

**More about Jesus Calling here.

Five Minute Friday: Overcome

It’s Friday!

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the FMF community.

Today’s word is: overcome.

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There’s nothing like the feeling of overcoming an obstacle.

Of summiting when you didn’t think you would reach the top.

There’s a lot of excitement at the beginning of something new, but the middle gets messy.

It gets discouraging.  There’s temptations to quit.  Momentum slows down.  It’s just hard to put one foot in front of the other.

But, when the end is in sight, when the summit is in view, that’s enough encouragement to keep going.

Then, you reach the top.

Oh, the relief.  Oh, the exhilaration.  Oh, the fading of memories of the messy middle.

The goal has been reached.  The prize is in hand.

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Five Minute Friday: Discover

Good week.  Busy week. Been doing some learning and reflecting that will result in some tweaking of my writing and blog.  Excited for those changes.

Linking up again with Kate Motaung and the FMF crew.

This week’s prompt is: Discover.

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There’s something about the wonder of a child when they make a discovery:

To see with new eyes the immenseness, the intricacy, the awesomeness.

To experience for the first time and to feel the thrill of uncovering a secret.

We lose that child-like wonder. The reds and yellows and oranges of fall cease to amaze us. The baby grows and we forget the miracle of birth. The butterfly emerges and flies away and we forget the wonder of transformation.

We live in a blaze of glory but it all becomes routine and ordinary when we lose the thrill of discovery.

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What I’m Reading, October 2017

Whew!  What a month.

Since September 15th, I went to Tribe Conference and my youngest turned 18.

Soccer season wrapped up with a heart break game.

We’ve had unusually warm weather, which is good for me.

On to the books:

  Buy now from Amazon

Fearless by Eric Blehm

I’m fascinated by the story of Adam Brown’s life.  He had some high highs and low lows.

The whole narrative around NAVY seals is interesting, but Adam Brown stood out, even it that elite group.

His journey to becoming a highly decorated SEAL is certainly not conventional.

What can I tell you that will let you know what a great book this is?  I don’t know how to describe it without spoilers.

I don’t know how to tell you what I was impressed with, what I was surprised by, how it all played out, because I want you to read it.

Okay, the interesting thing to me about Fearless is the addictive personality and the success as a Navy Seal.

He was a good kid. He did good when he was focused on the football team. But, when he got sucked into drugs he fell hard.

He got so many commendations for his work in the military.

He was able to deal pretty well with transitioning from his work to family life. He had lots of determination and drive.

He slipped up once after a few years of service and lots of commendations. He should have lost his job.

It was the recommendation of the father of one of his childhood friends that actually got him into the military service. Without that person sticking his neck out on the line, he couldn’t have done it.

 

  Buy now from Amazon

This Undeserved Life
by Natalie Brenner

It’s the pinnacle of compassion to see life through someone else’s eyes.

Natalie Brenner gives us a chance to do that: to walk her road with her, to feel her pain and know her sorrows.

She teaches us that everyone’s story matters, not just celebrities and newsmakers.

Transparency about our stories destroys the glittery facebook highlight reel that we imagine everyone else is living. Perceptions are not reality.

Her story isn’t just about fertility, adoption and parenthood. It’s also about relationships, calling and identity.

Natalie has given us the gift of her story.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

Reading People

by Anne Bogel

Reading People is a good way to get a quick overview of some of the personality frameworks. Some I was familiar with, some I wasn’t. I find personality fascinating.

It’s easy to see the practical applications and helpfulness of the different frameworks when Anne shares personal stories of how they have helped her.

I’m recommending this book to young people because it’s so important to know yourself. Having a vocabulary and reference points is so helpful for teams, co-workers, spouses and family members.

Highly recommended.

  Buy now from Amazon

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

Writers want to write best sellers.  Lots of books don’t sell well.  I’m a bookseller, I know.

The premise of this book is that it’s a better goal to write a book that will be enduring, that has good enough content to sell over a long period of time, not just spike to a best seller list and disappear.

He has a good point.

We often don’t look to the long view.

This is a challenge to consider what your body of work will be long term and not strive for long term wins.

Of course, the majority of the population can’t write a best seller or a perennial seller, but every author in the history of the world started unpublished, so there’s that.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

If I Perish by Esther Ahn Kim

Esther was a Korean imprisoned for her faith by the Japanese in the thirties and forties.

Quite a story. I learned history that I didn’t know before.

She endured quite a bit of physical hardship. Songs, scripture and prayer was the lifeline for the Christians in the prison.

God answered some prayers in miraculous ways, but other times the prisoners suffered a lot.

Many believers today are persecuted for their faith, but we’re not hearing their stories much.

What are you reading this month?

 

Five Minute Friday: Invite

Our youngest turned 18 this week.  So, the running joke is that we’re officially done with parenting.  Life is full of transitions.  Sometimes navigating them can be tricky.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday gang.

Today’s prompt is invite.

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When was the last time you were invited to rest?

Isn’t that a lovely word? Rest.

It conjures images of cozy fires and comfortable chairs. A rug on the floor and a lap blanket.

When we are weary and heavy laden, we are invited to rest.

To put down the burdens and put our feet up.

Wrap our hands around something hot and sweet and exhale.

To sit still in His presence and breathe peace.

What a great invitation.

Why do we insist on striving and worrying when He invites us to rest?

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Five Minute Friday: Story

This has been a good week, in spite of soccer season wrapping up with a heart break game on Wednesday.

I love, love, love this week’s word.

I believe with every fiber that story is one of the most powerful teaching tools, and probably the most underutilized.

So, three cheers for story.

Linking up today with Kate Motaung and the FMF crew.

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Story is the door.

The magic door that unlocks the imagination and emotion.

Through that door we embark on our personal journey. We transcend time and leave our lives behind. We walk with the hero. We follow the guide. Our hearts beat faster as we feel the fear. We feel the despair. Our cheeks are wet with sympathetic tears.

But then, we conquer the dragon. We feel the exhilaration of victory.

We come down from the mountain, we pass through the door and return to our own lives.

But we bring the courage with us.

That’s the power of story.

It creates within us a hope that we can conquer the dragons in our world.

The Master Storyteller used it to teach eternal truths.

He invites us to co-create with Him.

To touch hearts with the power of story.

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Five Minute Friday: Depend

It’s Friday.  Another week when I’ve been tempted to focus on what’s going wrong and overlook a lot of what’s going right.  I choose to be grateful for blessings.  There are many.

Linking up again with Kate Motaung and the FMF Friday gang.

Five minutes of free write on the prompt: depend

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When Pete’s teaching about faith, he often likes to use the illustration of the chair.

Do you have faith that this chair will hold you?

How do you demonstrate that faith?

By sitting in it.

It really doesn’t matter how much faith you have. What matters is what you’re placing your faith in.

Is the object of your faith up to the task?

Too many times we depend on chairs that fail us, that crack under our weight.

We depend on a bank account, a relationship, a position or a reputation, without realizing that those things can’t hold the weight of our expectations. They will fail.

The object of our faith needs to be infallible. Rock solid. Able to handle the job.

It’s critical not to choose inferior chairs.

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When you’re feeling a little wobbly. Tribe Conference 2017

You’re about to walk into a room of 270 where you don’t know a single human.

You’re feeling a little wobbly.

Nervous and excited and hopeful.

Hopeful that the people in this room are YOUR tribe.

You feel a connection with some of them because they have shared their stories online.

They were vulnerable and generous.  They showed you a piece of their heart.  You got a good look at their values.

And you wanted what they have.

A chance to share your words with a wider world.

A chance to impact at the deepest level.

A chance to make a living by sharing.

Because these people and their words have already marked you indelibly.

Take Jeff Goins’ 500 words a day challenge, for example.

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I’d been blogging about a year when I took the challenge.  I was having problems posting consistently and I thought 500 words a day would help.
So, I started and found 500 words a day was pretty easy to hit.  Sometimes I could do it in 20 minutes.
The first result I noticed was I started posting on my blog LESS often– once month down from once or twice a week.
The second result was a marked improvement in my emotional health.
In order to get 500 words a day in quickly, I was brain dumping– stream of consciousness writing.  Scattered thoughts, random rabbit trails, whatever was on my mind.  Not focused, one topic writing good for blog posts.
But I was less angry, less depressed, more grateful.
After four months, I started to wonder if I just needed to journal and not be posting to the world.
Then I started mining the ramblings to develop into blog posts.
I started using part of the 500 words directed to specific posts and the remainder to whatever was on my mind.
I started spending fifteen minutes a day on editing, picking photos and all the non-writing tasks needed for my blog.
I still have lots of tweaks to make to the creative process, but I don’t ever want to go back to a life when I’m not writing at least 500 words a day.
500 words a day changed my life.
It hit number one on my list of  What’s Saving My Life Right Now.
And that’s just one example.

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So, you step into the room.  And you fasten your badge onto your lanyard. And you ask if this seat is taken.

And it all begins.

And it’s just as exhilarating as you’d hoped.

And you knew it was okay to be where you are in the journey– stumbling, stalled, hopeful.

They had been there too.

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Interested in finding out more about Tribe Conference?  Check it out.

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Accept

It’s Friday!  What a week.  Still processing what I learned at Tribe Conference in Tennessee last weekend.  SO glad I went.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the FMF gang.

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We have a deep need to be accepted. To feel accepted.

To have a community that knows us and loves us anyway.

To go through life feeling unaccepted tears at the soul, takes away our hope, blows out the candle of warmth in our heart.

We crave it like a hibernating animal looks for food in the Spring.

We wander, restless, until we find it.

And once we’re there, we flop down and rest, weary from the struggle of looking for home.

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Five Minute Friday: Support

How can it be Friday already?

Headed out this morning to Tribe Conference in Tennessee.  Yep. Nervous. Yep. Excited.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the FMF gang.

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When Moses was too tired to lift his hands, he needed the support of his friends, Aaron and Hur.
It was critical to the mission that Moses had his hands lifted during the battle, because the troops would win as long as his hands were lifted.

But the reality remains:

He couldn’t do it alone.

We can’t do it alone.

Sometimes we’re the ones on the roof, ripping apart roof tiles, lowering our friend down into the room to have access to Jesus.

Sometimes we’re the ones on the cot being lowered down.

It’s easier on our pride to be the ones helping, to be in partnership with the Savior.

It’s hard to be the needy one. Devoid of strength, lacking even the resources to help ourselves.

We want to be the Good Samaritan, even if it means helping the unlovely.

What we don’t want to be is the one on the side of the road, beaten past the point of helping ourselves.

God help us to help others

and

give us the humility to receive help when we’re helpless.

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