Right now, I’m experiencing the post Easter hangover that so many of us, with less than perfect families, are experiencing.
• I spent way too much money on Easter baskets no one in my family really liked. (I was tempted to ask them for the candy back, but I resisted.)
• The NINE DOLLARS worth of strawberries I bought on Thursday were rotted when I went to cut them on Sunday.
• When we texted our second oldest “Where are you?” to find out where he was for our 1:00 lunch, his response? “For what?”
Maybe you had some of your own crazy going on:
• Your kids didn’t say thank you for the toys your in-laws brought over.
• You cooked all day Saturday and half of Sunday, and someone had the nerve to ask you why there wasn’t any artichoke dip.
• Your brother got drunk and obnoxious. At EASTER.
If your Easter didn’t go according to plan, let me just remind you of this:
New life isn’t just about eternity. It’s about Mondays too.
Luke 1:78 “A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.” GWT
We don’t have to leave the new life in God until next Easter. We get to celebrate each and every new day, each and every day.
God loves a do-over.
Go into today with new hope for what God can do.
Go into today forgetting the perfect Easter that every other family had (and by the way, stick with the friends who share about their kids saying a “grown-up word” when there was nothing in their little orange plastic egg. Those are the friends you need for a lifetime.)
Go into today knowing what we celebrated yesterday: a Christ that cherishes you enough to give you everything he had so he could be in relationship with you forever.
I would have never in a million years have thought I would be writing a post about becoming a morning person. Because I never would have thought I would actually be a morning person.
Friends, I like to sleep. I just do, I love my warm bed, and I love my husband who sleeps in it with me. As I struggle with chronic pain and fatigue, sleep is important for my health. I never dreamed it possible for ME to become an early riser.
However, by God’s grace for the last month or so, I’ve officially become a “morning person.” I wake up at 5am every morning (except weekends) to have time for prayer, Bible study and reading. And it grants me little extra time for work before the kids get up.
How did I become a morning person?
Honestly, I’m not naturally a morning person. At least I wouldn’t describe myself as one. BUT, I am definitely NOT a night owl.
I’ve tried putting off projects with the excuse that I’ll work on them later, after the kids go to sleep, but the reality is that come 9pm I’m tired and my brain is not functioning productively. All I want to do is lie on the couch and watch a show. While I can do some work in the evenings, I have found my most productive hours are the morning hours.
Even though I might feel tired in the morning, once I get going, those early hours are when I come up with my best ideas and when I’m most focused.
So, when I found myself struggling with more projects than I had time for and frustrated that my “quiet time” for prayer and Bible study always felt rushed. I felt like the Lord wanted me to change some things around.
I desperately wanted to be a good steward of my time and my responsibilities, so I started to pray for “extra time” somewhere. As a wife and mom of four, I desperately needed quiet time before heading into my busy daily schedule.
Then a friend shared with me how she had started waking up early. It was such a blessing for her and asked if I would be interested in trying it?
Um, OK, God, thanks I get it. (Sometimes He’s so direct in answering prayers, right?)
It took me a few days to get on board, but I knew early mornings were the answer to my prayer. I was apprehensive at first as I had tried waking up early before but couldn’t do it consistently. Initially I started with a five-day time commitment. I would wake up at 5am for five days and if I didn’t want to continue I’d go back to my usual wake-up time.
I was sold after day two. My time with the Lord was so sweet.
There was no going back.
5 tips to becoming a morning person
A few tips that helped me develop a consistent early morning routine:
#1 Pray about it: If you’re feeling like your “quiet time” lacks, or you feel rushed during the day and want to rethink your morning routine, bring it to the Lord. There is nothing in my own strength to make me think I was capable of being an early riser. I needed Jesus to make this happen.
Consider the season you’re in. I had tried to be a morning person before, but it wasn’t the right time. In this life season, I don’t have little ones. My youngest kiddo is six. They all sleep through the night and don’t wake until 7am. My days are not as physically exhausting as they were when I had babies and toddlers.
Becoming a morning person may not be feasible during certain seasons of life. Pray about it. If you feel God speak to your heart that early mornings should be a time to spend together then He will be your strength, but if not, feel free to put it off for another season.
#2 Accountability: Find a friend or group of friends to wake up with you (ideally in the same time zone you are in). Accountability is literally what wakes me up in the morning. I’m part of a group of women who checks in by text every morning.
I know I’m accountable to this group, so I want make sure I get up and send my text to encourage my friends. It helps to know I’m not alone in spending early morning time with the Lord. We share our plans and just have a simple check in every morning.
#3 Set yourself up for success: Waking up early can be hard, but there are things you can do to prepare and make your morning routine go a little more smoothly.
- Make sure you set your alarm (use a tune to wake you up rather than lull you back to sleep).
- Set the timer on your coffee pot so the coffee is ready and waiting when you wake up.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Take care of your health. I personally feel more sluggish and struggle waking up when I’m overdoing it with sugar. Consider what your body needs to feel energized.
#4 Focus on what you get not what you’re giving up: Waking up early is hard. Sometimes I just don’t feel like it. But I’ve found it’s more helpful to focus on what I’m saying yes to. Waking up early for me means saying yes to my time with the Lord, and it’s totally worth it.
#5 Save a seat for Jesus: A friend of mine once shared with me how she asked her mom how she maintained such a consistent quiet time. Her mom confessed she saved a seat for Jesus, where she imagined meeting Him every day. She never wanted to keep Jesus waiting.
I love that and totally borrowed it, now Jesus has a seat at my table where I know He’ll meet me every morning at 5am.
If you are considering becoming an early riser trust that the Lord will honor your sacrifice. Like the loaves and fishes I have watched the Lord take my small offering of the first fruits of my time and multiply it. My days feel more meaningful, and I accomplish so much more by offering Him my time before anyone else. I firmly believe God will honor your sacrifice as well.
Are you considering becoming a morning person? Or are you one already? We’d love to hear any tips you have below in the comments.
Zohary Ross is a life coach, speaker and author of the Aligned Parenting Workbook. Zohary is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to have clearly defined “most importants” and live out their values and priorities. Connect with Zohary at http://zoharyross.com/.
I wanted to share with all my friends a great opportunity to attend a unique retreat with my friend Pat Layton. After learning all about her plans for the 40 lucky women who will get to attend, I WANT TO GO but I’ll be speaking with another great group of women on the same dates. Read more about this fantastic event in a letter Pat wrote to you all below:
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
If she had been a spitter, I would have been a prime target from my coveted spot at the Beth Moore conference in the summer of 2007! A few embarrassingly bold girlfriends waited in line with 10,000 of their “closest” girlfriends to seize the coveted front row seats when the doors opened that evening.
I can still recall going to that event needing desperately to hear from God about a very specific decision I was facing in my life. God used Beth that day to very clearly and unquestionably answer my request. I will never forget it.
Over the past 32 years of chasing every nugget God has for my family, my ministry and me, I have enjoyed many other fabulous women’s conferences where my life of faith has been changed, enriched and inspired.
The thing is, as great as those conferences are (I speak at lots of them myself), there have also been those times in my faith journey when I needed a deeper, more personal and specific time of ministry. On some occasions I simply needed answers to some questions that loomed in my heart and soul. Other times my ministry or personal life got STUCK in a specific area of confusion, brokenness or disappointment.
Over the years I have invested in many personal ministry opportunities that have advanced my faith like none other.
I have invested in personal prayer retreats, in fact one I attended for 5 years in a row, which have changed my life and, I believe with all of my heart, set the foundation for the ministry I have today.
I have invested in personal life coaching—both individual and small group.
I have invested in one-on-one writer coaching with a best selling author and editorial coaching for my first general market book Life Unstuck.
Over the years I have spent thousands of dollars pursuing clarity and excellence in my ministry and personal growth.
I believe I am worth it. I believe you are too!
I believe that the calling God has placed on us is worth our investment in both time and money to pursue and improve. I am a life long learner and am very certain I have not offered my last day or dollar in learning more.
The Life Unstuck Retreat I am offering on September 30-October 3 is THAT kind of investment.
This personal retreat will offer you a very personalized time of refreshment, restoration and renewal. You may need this time of focus for your marriage or your ministry. Maybe you have been through a recent life changing trauma or transition and seek clarity and redirection in your life.
At A Life Unstuck Retreat, you will encounter:
• A time of personal inventory and evaluation.
• Introduction to a Life Mapping tool called A Freedom Flower? that is YOURS to take and will provide a map for you to follow for years to come.
• A vision boarding process that will apply to your life right now and provide clear and measureable steps towards your dreams.
• An intimate gathering for worship, rest and prayer that will be personally planned for YOU!
• Last, but far from least, you will be pampered, prayed for and personally ministered to for your specific season of life and longings.
I sincerely hope that the Life Unstuck Retreat will be where we meet, face-to-face, to encounter God in a fresh way, together. My desire is to inspire you, to serve you and to set a table for you to enjoy the presence of God in a way that YOU will never forget.
The details are on my website along with a little “Is This Retreat For You Quiz”.
Contact me personally with any questions you might have.
In His Grip!
Pat is a passionate and inspiring leader who, during her 25 years in full time ministry, has founded a variety of non-profit ministries including A Woman’s Place Pregnancy Resource Center in Tampa, Florida; a Christian Adoption Agency; an abstinence education program; and Surrendering the Secret, an international post abortion recovery program.
Pat is a busy Speaker, Writer and Life Coach specializing in “Dream Design” for women. She is a published author of 6 books. Her post abortion recovery bible study Surrendering the Secret was published by Lifeway in 2008; her personal testimony A Surrendered Life was released by Baker books in August 2014 and her newest book, Life UnStuck “Peace with the Past; Purpose in the Present and Passion for the Future,” was released in Spring 2015!
A man’s confidence is the key to his entire world. And he gets most of his sense of confidence through two places: his work and his wife.
It’s a big responsibility (especially if his work life isn’t all that fantastic) but one that we are called to as his wife.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
When God calls us to something, He also equips us with the ability to follow through. So before you start the internal tape of all the reasons why building up his confidence isn’t really your “job,” let’s talk about what happens when we don’t.
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
OK, so now that we have that out of the way, let’s work together to come up with SIMPLE ways to build up your man.
5 simple ways to build your husband’s confidence:
- Verbally tell him why you love him — he works hard, he plays with the kids, he has the best butt, he treats your mom like a queen, etc. SO TELL HIM!
- Kiss him every single time you are parting ways and every time you come back together.
- Pray for him every day (check out my Pinterest board for suggestions on how to pray for him).
- Grab his hand when you are walking through Lowe’s. Place your hand on his leg next time you are out to dinner. Physical touch is a big deal to our guys and not just when it’s in the bedroom.
- Brag on him in front of others! This one is a huge deal. We know a couple that is very sarcastic with each other. But the wife recently confessed that sometimes her sarcasm comes out more like a complaint or putting her man down than just a funny jest (and usually it’s intentional). She has committed to bragging on him rather than putting him down in public, even if they are having a good verbal sarcasm session among friends.
For ideas on how to brag on your man and build your husband up, I have included a download you can use to help build your man’s confidence every single day.
DOWNLOAD BY CLICKING HERE>>>
It’s GIVEAWAY time!!!
I want to give away a My Husband is a Hottie T-Shirt to two people! To win, visit my Facebook page, like it and then comment on the post at the top of my page with the question:
What’s one way you have found you are able to build your husband’s confidence?
Then, during my daily The Husband Project video on Wednesday, I’ll announce the two winners LIVE!
This bruschetta recipe is proof that not all yummy things are hard to make. Goat cheese bruschetta is a fantastic appetizer for a lunch with friends, or for a refreshing dinner.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
1 baguette, sliced
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley, or basil
Preheat broiler to high. Combine balsamic vinegar and herbs. Place bread slices on a broiler pan. Char bread on each side under hot broiler. You can also grill bread if you prefer. Drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette over slices of toasted baguette and spread with goat cheese. Finish with another drizzle of vinaigrette. Garnish with thyme.
Last year, just three weeks after her most recent (and most radical) surgery, Michele Cushatt and I hung out on her family room couch with friends Traci Sheer and Joy Groblebe, chatting about her newly-released book Undone: a Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life.
Today, I’m excited to share some of our convo and for Michele to tell you about her new Undone Life Together: a 5-Week Conversation about the Unexpected Life that begins February 22.
Kathi: You and I have talked a lot about self grace. This is something you’ve really struggled with. When we first met, I thought, “That woman is harder on herself than anyone else I’ve ever known.”
Michele: You’re not the first person to tell me that.
Kathi: I’m not surprised.
Michele: I’ve pretty much heard that my entire life.
Kathi: Reading the chapter about your upset over the A- … if I’d come home from school with an A-, my parents would have thrown a party! But all you saw was the minus.
Michele: I only saw the minus. And isn’t this true about so many of us? We look at our lives and all we can see is the minus? We can’t see the “A”? That has been a theme in my life.
Kathi: I think a lot of people have pocket perfectionism. They’d be cool with an A-, but there’s other things they’d lose their mind over.
Michele: Not me. I’m pretty much across the board.
Kathi: So, speak to that. I feel like in the last couple of months, there’s been a lot more self grace. There’s been a shift.
Joy: You’ve had to ask for help. … I work with you every day. There’s stuff we’re doing that normally Michele would have handled, but she’s been handing over, saying, “Could you do this for me?”
Kathi: But her standards haven’t slipped.
Joy: Not at all! It’s still this high level of excellence. But it’s a reall sweet soft side of you. And I like watching God work in your life like that.
Traci: It’s what we get from you as your friends. You are very grace-full and very forgiving, and you see all of our As…
Traci: …but you don’t see yours. So it’s nice to see you give some of that back to yourself.
Kathi: That’s good. Because she is the biggest cheerleader in the world.
Kathi: What’s been the transition?
Michele: I’ve landed in a circumstances that have given me lots of practice. Where I have no ability to control all the errant details of my life. So I have to let go at some point. And it forces me to see that not everything is my fault. Not everything is within my control; some of it is just life. Just life.
I have to find my value in somebody other than myself and my performance.
I have to find my sense of worth and value in something other than myself and my performance. For 43 years of my life, I had find my value in my ability to perform well. To produce children who behave and listen. To have a marriage that looks spotless. To do everything with excellence.
And I have learned that’s very shaky sand.
Ultimately, the only sense of value I can find that will not move, that is unshakable, is the love of God for me.
The only thing that I know I can wake up to tomorrow that will not be different than today is the fact that God will still love me. He will still know my name. And He will not leave. Romans 8:35, 37-29. It’s the only thing I can stand on that will not change.
I have no idea what my children will do tomorrow. I have no idea what kind of kids they’re going to grow up to be. I don’t even know if my husband will be here tomorrow; we never know these things. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to speak once everything is done.
The only thing I can stand on for sure, in cement, is the love of God for me.
And that allows me to first of all grace myself, because it’s not dependant on me any more. It’s not about me getting up and working really hard to talk well. It’s not about me reading a bunch of parenting books and being the best mom and winning some kind of parenting awared.
It’s about the fact that nothing is going to change the wide, high, long, deep love of God for me.
And somehow, that helps us make peace with our unexpected lives and undone selves.
Joy: Because that never gets undone.
Who can change the mind of God?
His love for your is already established.
It will never change.
(You can view the entire conversation here: https://youtu.be/TBi3-0TLWpg … the portion shared above starts around 26:35 and runs through 34:55. Begin at 26:10 for a bit of fun banter!)
I’ve come to believe we can endure just about anything as long as we know we’re not alone.
Problem is, too often we feel alone. Utterly and completely.
In spite of the emails and messages and well-wishes, our crises isolate us, creating a divide too wide to bridge. It makes us feel “other,” separating us from those who seem to carry on unhindered in their ordinary, pain-free lives.
But here’s the thing: I think pain-free is a fantasy. I don’t know anyone who’s living the life they always imagined. I know more than a few people who are pretending to. But behind their well-crafted charade sits a schism of struggle they’re too afraid to expose. Thus we trudge on—both the pretenders and the strugglers—each of us swallowed up in our aloneness and fear.
But what if …
What if someone went first?
What if someone dared to create a safe place for the complicated questions and conversations?
And then, what if you and I could find a way to laugh and cry and be undone together?
I think there is.
That’s why Monday, February 22, I’m launching Undone Life Together: A 5-week Conversation About the Unexpected Life. Picture it like a giant family room with a bunch of fluffy pillows and chairs. There’s a seat for you there; me, too. And we’ll circle up and unpack the tough questions we bump against every single day. Only, this time we won’t do it alone. We’ll do it together.
When you join Undone Life Together, you’ll receive:
- A 5-week Daily Reading Plan through the chapters of Undone: A Story of Making Peace With An Unexpected Life. If you’ve already read it, no problem. You can revisit the chapter themes and engage in the conversation. Don’t want to read it? That’s okay, too.
- Daily emails designed to create conversation around your biggest questions.
- Dedicated Facebook group conversation around the days themes.
- Weekly videos where I dive a bit deeper into the most complicated topics.
We won’t come up with all the answers nor will we resolve all of life’s unknowns. But we’ll open the doors for an honest conversation. I believe, in the process, we will discover a God who is faithful, a peace that is unshakeable and a community of fellow strugglers who will walk with us in this Undone Life Together.
Like cold water in the driest of deserts, my friend.
It begins February 22 and ends March 25. Even better, it’s absolutely FREE. That means you can participate as much or as little as you like. You can even lurk in the background for the entire five weeks if that’s the most you can do. Believe me, I get it.
But you need to sign-up to join.
I can’t wait to get started. And, honestly, my heart is aching for you to join us. I may not know all the details of your story, but I know what it feels like to be alone, drowning in questions without answers. And I know the One who holds the key to staying afloat.
I’m so glad we’re in this together.