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I don’t make good choices if my phone is near, so I have an old school alarm clock.

I am not a morning person. I don’t fall asleep easily before 1:00 a.m., no matter how busy the day has been. This means I don’t wake up super early. I don’t seem to need as much sleep as other people do (I do pretty well on 6 hours a night), but I’m not sure if this is really a thing (requiring less sleep than other humans) or if I’m secretly exhausted and just don’t know any better.

Unfortunately, I have a job that requires me to be awake and at least a little productive by 8:30 a.m., so I’ve had to learn to fake it as a person who functions in the morning at least enough to show up to said job fully dressed and vertical.

The best way to fake it is to have a morning ritual that prepares me physically and mentally for the day.

There are a lot of suggestions on the intrawebs for making mornings go more smoothly. There’s even one that suggests that such suggestions can bring me joy. That seems a lofty goal for an a.m. time that starts with a number smaller than 11, but I appreciate the optimism.

My weekday morning ritual is designed to get me moving, motivated, and out the door. I start with about 10 minutes of stretching. I try to clear my mind of anything but how the muscles feel and how I’m breathing during this time. At this point, I am usually still in bed, so I look for a reason to get up. I try to think of the thing I’m most looking forward to that day. Once I’m up, I can get ready pretty quickly. I shower in the mornings, even if I showered the night before, because it wakes me up. I fill up my water bottle and grab my lunch before I leave.

How quickly I get out the door in the mornings is partially dependent on the success of my bedtime routine. It takes longer to grab a lunch, for example, that I have not yet packaged into portable containers. Showers are quicker if I washed my hair the night before. If the last load of laundry is still in the dryer, I will have to wait until it tumbles a bit to knock the wrinkles out of that skirt I inevitably need in order to get dressed.

Having patterns and routines helps me manage a busy schedule. It also provides a safe shore to swim toward if I wake up badly or if I can’t seem to get to sleep on time.

What do you need to get your day started or wind down?

 

I’m writing about creating my own luck this month. See the anchor post here.

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This is my view from the desk in my office. It’s amazing that I actually get any work done.

The benefit of cleaning my office is that I can actually see the books I have as I organize them.

The drawback of cleaning my office is that I can actually see the books I have as I organize them.

Last night was a light writing night, and it’s a good thing, because I definitely spent a good hour going over which books I want to read next. There are so many I haven’t read, and so many I want to read again. Just right there on my shelves.

And what you see is only about a fourth of the books I have (…in my office. There are other bookshelves by my kitchen and in my bedroom. There are so many books.).

Many of the book lovers I follow on social media have been tackling their unread shelves, and I want to start doing the same. It will start slowly, as I have a lot of unread library books left to read this year. As those dwindle down (probably around Christmas), I think my goal will probably shift to reading the books my book clubs read, listening to audiobooks, and diving into the books I own.

There’s so much joy on my shelves waiting to be discovered!

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24 hours of reading/listening

I’m very excited that I finished! Twenty-four hours of reading a book or listening to audiobooks in just one weekend. As expected, my goals were loftier than time allowed, but I finished:

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  2. The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington
  3. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

I also read/listened to a little bit of:

  1. Being Dead by Jim Crace
  2. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
  3. Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

I finished earlier this time than I usually do, probably because I didn’t leave my apartment at all until this morning, and that was just because I wanted a croissant to go with my coffee. Even that brief outing didn’t cut into my time, since I have Scarlet on audio CD (yes, my car still has a CD player).

After a busy few weeks at work (with both jobs), this relaxing weekend was just what I needed!

 

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I wrote and shared this a few years ago. I’m reading through Tanya Marlow’s beautiful Those Who Wait for Advent this year and thus dealing with some things I had buried. Maybe you are, too, this season.

“I will make you a great nation.  Sarah will bear you a son!”

The Visitor always did like to make an entrance.

None of the standards –

No, “How have you been?”

Or, “Friend, that was a long journey!”

Only a big announcement would do.

She heard while she was minding the supper dishes.

And Sarah laughed.

The Visitor was perplexed.

“Why is Sarah laughing? What – does she think I can’t?!”

Abraham, sweet man, tried

To act like it was nothing

To deflect the sound coming from the other room

“Probably just thinking about something funny that happened today.”

She stood in the kitchen, listening to men make plans,

And Sarah laughed.

Wouldn’t this have made more sense, Sarah wondered,

To have told me this Himself?

Abraham’s a good husband,

But there’s only so much even a good husband can do to bring a child.

I guess I should be flattered, she thought.

They’re throwing me a surprise party.

In my womb.

And Sarah laughed.

She remembered elusive promises and hopes stirred.

How long had the story been told?

Around tables and fires, shrouded in wonder and awe.

Descendants outnumbering the sand.

It need only start with one.

But the one was nowhere to be found.

She had been told of His perfect timing,

So Sarah laughed.

She remembered elusive sleep and garments rent.

How many tears had she shed?

Surrounded by a sea of children, but always on the other side of the door.

Skinned knee unbandaged, wedding unattended, grandchildren unheld.

Age showing her what it was capable of

As the bleeding stopped, and the book closed.

She had already cried,

So Sarah laughed.

Is this how promises are fulfilled?

To wait until all hope, desire, and ability are gone?

To finally bring her what she always wanted

But only after it was too late for her to enjoy it fully?

Just to make Himself look more special than everyone already knew He was.

Maybe what she wanted to do was punch Him

But she couldn’t

So Sarah laughed.

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Friday Five 4

Today I am in training most of the day. It’s about a topic I’m interested in, and there are snacks. But real talk? I kinda just want to nap.

Here are some things I’ve loved this week. My Facebook saves have been cute-animal-intensive. This solidifies my plan to do as little as possible this weekend and rest.

  1. I appreciate the work that Pastor Charles Johnson is doing in Texas. Fair warning – this interview is from a highly biased source, and I find the interviewer annoying in that regard, but I like his answers. Yay, public education!
  2. Tracee Ellis’s speech that lifts up single women with no children? LOVE.
  3. Andi is reading books about books during the holidays. I might have to join her. Drop by and leave suggestions if you want.
  4. This dog. “THROW THE STICK YOU MONSTER.” Hilarious.
  5. Goats really are the best animals. THE BEST.

Feel free to drop inspiring things (especially cute animal videos) in the comments. Have a good day!

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31 Days - Friday Five

Reading is one of the main ways I stay inspired, so it’s no surprise that reading about running is something I do more often when I’m trying to establish or maintain a regular running practice. Other than making my way through best-books-on-running lists (like this one), I also subscribe to various running websites. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Haruki  Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is delightful. He touches on issues like aging and self-awareness in the context of his habit of long-distance running.
  2. This month, I am measuring my mileage with mapmyrun (also available in app form, but my phone and I are old and set in our ways…so no). I also enjoy reading their blog, especially when they have gems like “7 Things Runners Should Know As We Get Older.” I like the use of the first person “we.” Very diplomatic, mapmyrun.
  3. Runners World is a great magazine for tips and tricks and motivation. I also subscribe to their newsletter.
  4. Myfitnesspal (also an app…also no for me…but you do you) is a great place to keep track of food and activity. I also enjoy their blog, specifically for ideas on form and strength training.
  5. Possibly my favorite book on running ever, Bart Yasso’s My Life on the Run is as inspirational as it is entertaining. He talks about the many places he has been, and while I can’t see myself running in Antarctica or Death Valley or anywhere there are rhinoceroses roaming about, reading about his adventures makes me remember why I like running.

Do you have recommendations?

 

I am spending 31 days running wild.

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Harvey Help

You’ve probably seen this already floating around your social media accounts, but here are some ways to help in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s damage:

  1. The best way to help is to send money to organizations already doing the work unless they specifically ask you to send other things. Texas Monthly has a list of groups that have been instrumental in relief efforts.  Also HEB has been badass.
  2. My friend’s church in Webster has an Amazon wishlist if you want to take a step out of the process of donation-receipt-deposit-buy for them. The address is
    Hurricane Relief
    Heritage Park Baptist Church
    2732 FM 528 Rd.
    Webster, TX 77598
  3. If you’re in Denton, one of our HAs is working directly with the Rockport fire department to deliver and sort donations. There will be donation boxes in the resident halls at UNT and at Rockin’ Rodeo.  You can also donate money here.

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