Laresa Watkins

Balance in the Chaos – A Good Morning

Nov 18, 2017
mommyinbonlee

I am a morning person.  Before having children I was a high school teacher, and I got up at 5:30 every morning to spend time on a devotion, take long showers, drink coffee, watch the news, and just get my mind in order for the day.  Jason is not a morning person and was usually asleep during this time, so I had the house to myself. It was a good time for me.

After becoming a mom, my time in the mornings became hit or miss.  When the kids were babies, I slept later out of sheer necessity.  Now I’m on a pretty good schedule, but I’ll get out of whack during the summer and it takes me awhile to get used to going to bed and getting up at decent hours again.

But, ya’ll, that time in the morning is so important to me.  When I hit snooze too many times and sleep too late and end up having to rush around to do what needs to be done in the morning, my whole day is out of whack. That’s why I’m making it the very first post in this series aimed at finding balance in our chaotic lives. If it is at all possible for you to wake up a little earlier in the morning and have some time alone, just some time to get a jump-start on your day, it will make such a difference to you.  I’m not saying you have to get up at 4:30 or anything like that (because I think women who do that are a little crazy, but whatever floats your boat), but maybe 6:15 instead of 6:30, anything to give yourself a little extra time.

Here is what I do with my extra time most mornings:

1-Spend some time with God– I keep a book of people I am praying for and things I am praying about.  I spend some time thanking God for who he is and for all of my blessings, then I pray through my list, and do a short devotion.

In Isaiah 61:3 Isaiah tell us some of what Jesus wants for his people:

“to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”
He wants us to go through our days with a beautiful headdress, not ashes! Gladness, not mourning! Spirits of praise, not faint spirits! He wants us to be strong and glorify him in our day-to-day life. He will grant us all of these things, and spending a few minutes talking with him in the morning while our minds are fresh and we’re uninterrupted by everyday tasks gets us started on the right path for the day.

I highly recommend She Reads Truth.  You can pay to get the Bible studies on your phone or in book form, or you can go straight to their website to do your studies for free.  They have many great devotions to choose from, but I love doing the current one.  Knowing that women all over the world are doing the same devotion that day is so special to me.

If you don’t have much time (maybe you pressed the snooze button too many times and you have to lock yourself in the bathroom for your quiet time-not that I ever do this, but it could possibly happen 😉 ), I recommend Christine Caine’s “First Things First” Devotion.  She is just a straight-forward, get-it-done type of woman, and when you sign up for this you will get an e-mail each morning with a Bible verse and a couple of paragraphs about the verse.  You can read this in just a couple of minutes and it will help direct your thoughts for the day. I read it while I’m brushing my teeth.

 

2-Start a load of laundry– So, I wouldn’t necessarily say this is something I enjoy doing in the morning, but by having a load of laundry going, I feel a sense of accomplishment.  I actually put a load of clothes in the washing machine before I go to bed at night, then set the “delay wash” so the clothes begin washing around 5.  After my devotion time I’ll throw the clothes in the dryer. There may be another chore (unloading the dishwasher, etc.) that you would rather get out of the way, but by going ahead and doing something small, you’ll just feel better.

In addition to that, make your bed.  It has actually been proven that making your bed will make your day more productive, and actually make you more happy and peaceful! It only takes a second.  This is one of my kids’ chores each morning, and they don’t understand why I feel it’s so important, but one day they’ll get it.

 

3-Work out- I’m going to talk further about this in a later post, but I just want to mention this as part of a good start to your day.  To me, the greatest benefit of working out in first thing in the morning is that I don’t get that mid-afternoon slump.  I went through a stage where around 3:00 every afternoon, I was getting really tired and grouchy, and I’ve found that working out, even just for 10 minutes in the mornings, solves that problem.

I don’t have time to go to the gym (again, I don’t care to get up at 4:30 in the morning) so I love to find workouts on YouTube.

I’ve also found a new app I’m trying out and I LOVE called aaptiv.  More about it later, but if you’re looking for a good workout in the mornings, go ahead and try it out.

 

So, there are 3 simple things you can do in the morning if you’ll wake up 30 minutes sooner than you are now.  You’ll have more energy, begin your days feeling productive, and most importantly, feel prepared to wear your beautiful headdress all day long.

 

 

 

30/31 Days

Oct 30, 2017
mommyinbonlee

A friend of mine posted some pictures on Facebook today, and the caption along with one of the pictures said something like “I’m living the life I once prayed for.”

This is so true for me.  I vividly remember my middle school self sitting on my bedroom floor, my back against my white iron daybed, holding my Bible in my lap.  It was a white KJV, and I had a hard time understanding what I was reading.  It was always clear to me, though, that I would be ok.  That my prayers for a nice life one day with a good husband and kids and a home would all be answered.  I just knew it in my heart, and I know now that God was with me every step of the way.

Now here I am, living the life I prayed for 25 years ago, and now I find myself often wondering, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b, ESV) I know that these words were spoken to Esther when she was faced with saving the Jewish race, but I can’t help but feel that God also means them for me.

The reminder that I am living the days that I once prayed for gives me new perspective.  The mundane days full of teaching and cleaning and cooking and laundry don’t seem so unimportant.  God put me right here where I am for a specific purpose and this is my “such a time.”

 

29/31 Days

Oct 29, 2017
mommyinbonlee

Can you guys believe that October is almost over? Time is passing so quickly.  It’s FREEZING outside and the the wind is blowing all night, and I know when I look out the window in the morning the trees will have lost a lot of their leaves.

Tonight was my church’s trunk-or-treat, one of my favorite events each fall.  It grows bigger every year, and tonight was no exception despite the cold and wind.

This little festival is so much fun.  We have hayrides and hotdogs and cake walks and face painting, and a lot more.  The kids love it, and always come home with buckets full of candy.

What I love most about it is seeing my church come together to put on this event.  We’ve been through some difficult times over the last couple of months, and everyone joining together and working hard side-by-side to serve our community was definitely an answer to prayer-prayer for unity and forgiveness, and that we will not lose sight of our ultimate goal: to show Jesus’ love to everyone we can.

I’m going now to continue a Halloween tradition with Jason.  We always spend the days leading up to Halloween watching scary movies.  Usually we watch the Halloween movies, but this year decided to binge-watch Stranger Things on Netflix.  Ya’ll, it is SCARY! I’m scared already just thinking about it….

22/31 Days

Oct 22, 2017
mommyinbonlee

He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
Psalm 121:3-4

 

I came upon this Bible verse this morning and it really spoke to me.  I have encountered some people lately who are on a bad path, and it reminded me of where I could be today if it weren’t for the grace of God.  Looking back at my life, I remember making so many bad choices.  The only reason that I am where I am right now is because God was watching over me.  He was with me every step of the way, pulling me out of the pit over and over again.

If you’re struggling right now, I want to encourage you: just trust in Jesus.  He’ll get you right where you need to be.  He doesn’t rest or sleep or take a break from taking care of you.  Even if you’re making bad choices like I did, he’ll use those bad choices for good if you let him.

It’s such a relief to just believe in him.  Believe that he is Jehovah Rahh (our shepherd), Jehovah Rapha (our healer), Jehovah Shammah (he is here), Jehovah Jireh (he will provide), and Jehovah Shalom (he is peace).

He is all of those things and more.

15/31 Days

Oct 15, 2017
mommyinbonlee

I have written on mom guilt before:

Letting Go of Mommy Guilt

This was 3 1/2 years ago, and I while my mom-guilt is so much better (a result, I am sure, of better sleep and generally improved sanity) it still pops up sometimes.

Yesterday I felt guilty because we didn’t go to a festival in a nearby town.  We went to a dairy farm last week, spent several days either at friend’s houses or with friends here, and this week we’re going to the fair one day, zoo another, and pumpkin farm another.  WHY, then, do I feel guilty that I am not providing my children with this fall festival experience?

Is it because I have friends who took their kids and posted the pictures all over Facebook and Instagram? Or because I made the kids stay home and clean their rooms instead? Or because the real reason we didn’t go is because I just didn’t want to leave the house? I really don’t know.  I just know that I felt it.

I have to go back to the verse that I used in my first mom-guilt blog post:

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and

kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich

and satisfying life.”

John 10:10 (NLT)

Such a relief to remind myself that every day I have is a blessing, and God means for every day to be rich and satisfying.  Maddie and I thanked God tonight in our prayers for all of our blessings, that we have each other and that we get to do so many great things.

I’m just going to hang onto that.

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