Monday, January 12, 2009

Good Starts

"This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24).

I am a night owl by nature, so usually morning's light has me wanting to bury my head under the covers pleading for a few more hours of sleep. But with children's schedules to manage and responsibilities to take care of, I can't always hit the snooze button.

Too often I begin the day in a mad rush, feeling behind and stressed, but what a difference it makes in my attitude when I start my day off right. This new year finds me yearning for balance of body, spirit and heart. And I realize that a good morning sets the tone for my whole day.

So I started thinking about some of my favorite ways to begin the day. As I began compiling my list, I thought about how I would photograph my perfect morning. Some of my breakfast favorites piled onto a breakfast tray would look so lovely, I thought. But then I laughed, thinking, why would I make myself breakfast in bed?

But then I stopped myself and wondered, why wouldn't I make myself breakfast in bed?

Like so many moms, I pour myself out daily for my family. Serving loved ones comes easily, and I enjoy investing time to create special memories for my husband and children. But too often it just doesn't seem worth the extra effort to put the same attention into my own experience.

But this year I'm determined to treat myself better: taking care of my body with nutritious food and exercise; growing in my relationship with God; and making my own life more beautiful. And in seeking balance in the areas of physical, spiritual and emotional health, I'm hoping to find myself a better wife, mother and friend in the process. And a happier me, even in the morning!

Here are some of the good starts that make a difference in my day:

  • Breakfast in Bed. Doesn't the thought sound so indulgent? This idea actually came to me in thinking about photographing some healthy breakfast favorites to share with you on the blog. But then I realized how pampered I would feel enjoying a leisurely breakfast in bed. So I hope to treat myself from time to time, perhaps as a reward for accomplishing household chores. In a way, you inspired me on this one. So I hope you will reward yourself with a pretty breakfast tray of your own!
  • Oh, My Darling. Joe's sister introduced us to clementines two years ago, and this refreshing winter fruit has been a family favorite ever since. Seedless and easy to peel, clementines are a sweet treat any time of day. We can find them in our area in December and January, so I buy them by the sackful and cluster them in bowls for healthy snacking. I recently read in Health magazine that the scent of citrus can brighten our moods, so maybe clementines will help us avoid the wintertime blues (without the guilt that might set in later if we reached for our normal sweet treats).
  • Going Green. I love the comforting warmth of a cup of tea, but also enjoy the health benefits of choosing green tea. Sources say it can strengthen the immune system, improve mental function and boost metabolism. Green tea takes less time to brew than other varieties -- only 1-3 minutes. If you are partial to a particular brand of green tea, I would love to know your favorite selection.
  • Wholesome Goodness. Although I haven't gotten my husband and children on board with this healthy breakfast option, a bowl of oatmeal is a great way to start my day. I enjoy the Weight Control selections of Quaker Instant Oatmeal. My favorite flavor is the banana bread; it's delicious served with a handful of frozen blueberries sprinkled on top! And maybe the girls are coming around. Although they have yet to ask for their own bowl, they do enjoy snuggling up to sample bites from mine.
  • Time with a Friend. I know that my day starts out better when I begin it with the Lord. Greeting the morning with prayer and Bible reading makes a difference in my attitude that helps me throughout the day, yet it is so easy to fall out of this daily habit. I am challenging myself to be more consistent about this in the new year!
  • A Little Easy Reading. What a treat it is to curl up with a magazine for a few minutes in the morning. The beauty that fills the pages of my favorite magazines can give me inspiration for adding loveliness to my day. I love to reach for TeaTime, Southern Lady, Christian Woman, Martha Stewart Living and Southern Living when I can spare a moment. And please tell me I'm not the only mommy who keeps childrens trunk show catalogs on her bedside table!
  • Blooming Joy. Some friends of mine were recently talking about how much we enjoy having fresh flowers. It is so nice to wake up to the sight of fresh blooms arranged in a pretty container. If nothing is blooming in the yard, an inexpensive bouquet picked up along with the groceries can make any day feel special. I picked up the above bouquet of pink carnations nearly a week ago, and they still look pretty clustered in a favorite teapot. Mary Ashley and Emma were asleep when I brought these flowers home, so I decided to surprise them with little bouquets of their own on their bedside tables. They were so excited to discover them in the morning, they ran around the house giggling and twirling. (I'm hoping their daddy took notice of how much we girls like flowers!)
  • Get the Day Moving. We all know the benefits of exercise: endorphins, energy, stamina, weight loss, stress management, toning, strengthening, and on an on. I wouldn't exactly say I like exercise, but I feel so proud of myself when I do workout. And it seems that accomplishing that first goal gets me moving toward other goals through the rest of my day. I recently discovered that I can pop a familiar exercise DVD into my laptop and exercise while I watch a TV program, and the chatter on TV helps me get through more intense segments of the workout. Do you have any tips for staying on track?
  • Add Bubbles. A morning shower is invigorating, but if I have extra time a bubble bath is such a relaxing way to ease into the day. And it's a great reward for checking exercise off the morning's to-do list!
  • Starting Early. I know that one of the secrets to a good morning is saying goodnight. Getting more rest is a definite priority for me this year, so I hope to get myself into an earlier bedtime routine. This one will require some serious adjustment, but I know it will bring tremendous benefits.

These are just a few of the ways I want to start my days off right this year. And I hope that being good to myself will make every morning a good morning. Even on a Monday like today.


rosabeer said...

Your day starters are great.
I do a lot of them myself and it works. When you take good care of yourself it makes you happier.
Have a nice week.
greetings Marja

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

You are exactly right and those are wonderful ideas. I'm resolved to do more for myself this year also and I am definitely NOT a morning person!

Sandy Toes said...

Oh ..I love clementines..they are so yummy and sweet! Your picture makes me want to brew some tea!
-sandy toe
p.s. come over today for my giveaway!

Anonymous said...

What a great way to start my day by reading your blog. I too should consider doing some things you favorite is spending time with a friend and you are right it is easy to "give that one up". Moms generally do whatever is in front of them and often times we neglect the most important. Time to get to know our Savior. God bless, julie

Lora said...

What an inspiring post! I really enjoyed your list of ideas.

becky said...

i have been thinking about these exact things. balance and how i never mind serving others, but i never give to myself. thanks for this. i hope you don't mind if i link to this particular post on my blog. a lot of mommies sure could hear this.

Dawn said...

I like your ideas! You always have so many good ones! Thanks for checking on me! I do like Blogger better than Spaces. :)

Susie Harris said...

Sounds like a good start to a great year!

julie said...

What a great post! I am the same! I stay up way too late and have to get up early to take my son to school and other things! I so need my sleep! I wanted to also see if you would give me some ideas! I am doing the valentines party for my son's first grade class and a bible breakfast! Do you have any suggestions on food and crafts for either one? I would love your help since this seems to be one of your gifts! Julie

bfs ~ "Mimi" said...

I appreciated this post very much!

Karin @ 6ByHisDesign said...

some great ideas/things to think about --- I'm trying with the getting to bed earlier, too. It's difficult to alter such a long-term habit. I do some of my best work after 9:00 at night. But that makes it super challenging to be at my best with my kids all day long.

Nancy said...

I am 53, lived in the country and cities, and have never heard of clementines! I need to look into these, as I love fruit. And yet, another beautiful post, Melissa!

Live.Love.Eat said...

I LOVE all your ways to start the day. I need to work on that because I am easily affected by how I begin my day. I just got off the treadmill but it's 5:20. I should do that in the morning!!!!!!!

mommy2gabby said...

I would love to do the breakfast in bed! Somehow I don't think it will happen around here. I tend to be off and running.

I agree though if I get to bed earlier enough it is easier to get up in the morning.


Lisa Robertson said...

I am a firm believer in Green Tea. I drink it at night while I am at work. I buy the Kroger brand but every once and a while I treat myself to Starbucks Green Tea. Hot or cold it is very good.

maryanne420 said...

oh my goodness! this is such a great post. i needed it so bad. thank you so much for posting this. you have such wonderful ideas and maybe, just maybe, i will get to do them soon.

Marcie said...

I am "trying" to make myself a priority this year often, I am like Oprah says "last on my list" is so sad! Thanks so much for these suggestions...they make me hopeful and sound so lovely! :)

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