Hello Mornings! {Winter ’11} Week 5: Huddle Up!

By | Create A Morning Routine | 14 Comments

The following post is from HelloMornings gal, Michelle.

Hello, friends! We are five weeks into this challenge and I think it’s time for a huddle, so gather round.

Encouragement

Psalm 143:8, The Message:

Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for on You do I lean and in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my inner self to You.

Jesus Calling, February 25:

Rest In My Presence, allowing Me to take charge of this day. Do not bolt into the day like a racehorse suddenly released. Instead, walk purposefully with Me, letting Me direst your course one step at a time.

MYM Challenge

I don’t know about yours, but my children seem to be joining the early morning challenge with me. And, as our sleep tanks are getting depleted, so enter the grumpies.

In order to make sure they are getting the right amount of sleep, I asked the Twitter community how much sleep their kids get. The most frequent answer was 11 hours.

So, I scribbled out our schedule, making sure my kids are getting at least 11 hours of sleep.  Then I realized, if I am getting the recommended 8 hours, that leaves me with about 3 hours of free time each day.

Now to decide how to spend those 3 hours. Since I do enjoy spending time with my Husband, I decided to wake up 1 hour before the kids and go to bed 2 hours after them. (Any more time in the morning and I get tempted to go wake them up!)

Writing it down helped me visualize how my day could flow best.

Daylight Savings Time

Since my kids are already trending toward earlier wake-ups, I decided that they’re just getting ready for Daylight Savings Time early. (Remember, we lose an hour of sleep!)

Daylight Savings Time begins March 13 in most places. Some kids take the time change completely in stride, others benefit from a gradual transition. Either way, keep in mind that it’s coming!

Twitter Party Recap

We had a fantastic chat on Twitter the other week. There were over 500 #hellomornings tweets during that 45 minute chat!

If you weren’t able to make it, you can read over the transcript from that night.

You can read the transcript even if you don’t have a Twitter account!

Twitter Chat Transcript — February 15, 2011

Hello Mornings! Link-Up

Have your written a post about Hello Mornings? We’d love to read it!

Please add the URL to your specific Hello Mornings post below:

Next Week’s Link-Up

I thought it would be fun to include pictures of our HelloMornings! next week. It could be your cozy spot, your mornings beverage or your current reading material.

Get creative and get those pictures ready!

Question of the Week

Many of you are asking for ideas with the exercise part of your morning routine, so that is the theme for this week’s comments.

How have you included exercise into your routine?

OR, ask any questions you have, exercise-related or not!

Just remembered we were in a huddle, so… 1, 2, 3, Hello Mornings!

photo credit


Michelle spends her days keeping up with two energetic boys, ages 4 and 2. She loves bold coffee, Jesus, daydreaming, and her Mennonite.

You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or hanging out at her personal blog.

Hello Mornings! {Winter ’11} Week 4

By | Create A Morning Routine | 26 Comments

The following guest post is from the lovely Stacey of 29lincolnavenue.com.

#hellomornings…#mym6

How in the world can this little symbol (#) change your life? Well, it can’t really.  But the reason behind it can. The Person behind it can.  He is The Word Himself.  He has a special invitation for you each morning.  But, it will cost you something. Something that took me years to let go of.  But today, I can honestly say, I really don’t miss it at all.  What will it cost you?

Sleep.

Hitting the snooze button 10x’s.

A little morning television.

Whatever way you used to start your day.

For me, it was sneaking in a few more minutes of sleep when the kids slept late.  See, I am by nature a night owl. Which also means I do not do mornings – well.  So the thought of getting up before everyone else was about as appealing as going to the dentist.

I had time in the Word most days. For years, I enjoyed reading and praying before I went to bed.  But, I found myself slipping in that area. By the time I got to bed at night, I was too tired.  I would read a quick verse and drift off to sleep instead of really spending time with Him.  It was more like a bedtime snack, than a feast at the table.

Many years ago, my heart was greatly challenged in this area by Kay Arthur. She said it was vital to start your day and set your attitude with The Word of God.  “Start,” she said, “by setting your alarm 15 minutes early.  Grow it from there.  I promise it will change your life.  Can you give Him 15 minutes of your morning?”  I started that week.  *That was 10 years ago, and now I gladly get up at least 1 hour before my kids to sit in my chair and study God’s Word.  And she was right.  It has changed my life!

So, how does # come into play? This # is all about the love of sweet sisters who are doing the same thing you are.  This # is accountability.  This # is a high five for setting a goal and following through.  This # is we’re all in this together.  This # is hello mornings. I love this amazing group of Word girls.  You will too!  Won’t you join us?

The next best thing to a challenge by Kay Arthur is an ebook by Kat and constant encouragement from Michelle! You can download the ebook, Maximize Your Mornings right here.

*{I want to speak very gently here to moms of little ones.  I understand sleepless nights, as a mother of 4.  My youngest is 16 months old and did not sleep much for the first 7 months of her life.  Certainly, early mornings can be a challenge when you have been up in the night.  My times with the Lord sometimes are about me getting 3 cups of coffee in me and begging Him for strength to get through the day.  He has always honored whatever effort I given Him.  He is always there waiting for me with a grace filled loving heart.}


Stacey is wife to Mike and the mother of 4 vibrant girls.
You can find her blogging at 29lincolnavenue.com and tweeting @stacey29lincoln.

She is super excited to be the AC for #mym6!

Hello Mornings! {Winter ’11} Week 3

By | Create A Morning Routine | 6 Comments

The following post is from Michelle of So, I married a Mennonite…

Encouragement

The other day, I came across the perfect encouragement for maximizing our mornings:

Trust Me enough to spend ample time with Me, pushing back the demands of the day. Refuse to feel guilty about something that is so pleasing to Me, the King of the universe. Because I am omnipotent, I am able to bend time and events in your favor. You will find that you can accomplish more in less time, after you have given yourself to Me in rich communion. ~Jesus Calling

Accountability

We had such a great response to the Twitter Accountability Groups, we had cap them off for this session. If you @ mentioned me about being in a group, you’re in. Thanks for your patience while we sort through this for the first time.

You can see the groups at the Hello Mornings! page. (Will be updated soon!)

If you are not in an Accountability Group, you can still jump into the #hellomornings stream each morning. You’ll get to know people and enjoy the encouragement that goes on there.

You can also comment on the Inspired to Action Facebook thread each morning.

Twitter Chat

We’re excited to announce the first #hellomornings Twitter Chat!

Twitter Chat Details: 2/15/11 at 9:00pm est

Join us to talk about the MYM Challenge, ask questions, and get encouraged!

If you’re new to Twitter Chats, here’s a post that explains how to join.

Link-Up

Have you written a post about the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge? You can link it up below!

(Please add the url of your specific MYM post.)

Comment

If you’re participating in the challenge, we’d love to hear from you!

How is your morning routine going so far?


Michelle loves Jesus, coffee and her 2 man-children, ages 4 & 2. She married a Mennonite without realizing everything that entailed.

Now she writes and tweets from Amish country- and wouldn’t have it any other way.

HelloMornings! {Winter ’11} Week 2

By | Create A Morning Routine | 14 Comments

It’s the start of week 2, and the response to the MYM Challenge has been amazing! Thank you to everyone who has joined!

If you’ve been on the fence, you’re welcome to jump in!

Accountability Groups

We’ve assigned everyone to an Accountability Captain. {giggle} You can check the list on the new HelloMornings Page.

If you don’t see your twitter handle, don’t panic. Simply send me an @ message and I’ll get make sure you get in a group. (Ex. @michellebygrace Please add me to an AC group! #hellomornings)

Did you see the awesome Twitter tutorial written by our own Katie?

Encouragement

I started the first challenge in August of 2010. It took 4 months just to get my bedtime routine where it needed to be. It helped that I got sick and had no choice but to go to bed very early for a while. I was a die-hard night owl.

If you feel like you’re struggling over the days and weeks, remember that you are planting seeds. It will take time for them to root. You may not see green shoots till Spring.

Don’t get discouraged!

Aim to be faithful, not flawless.

Shake off yesterday’s “miss” and try again today.

If your scorecard is dragging you down, tear it up!

Take simple steps of faithfulness everyday.

You will see the fruit of your efforts!

Link-Up

Have you written a post about the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge? You can link it up below!

(Please add the url of your specific MYM post.)

Question

What will be your biggest challenge in creating and implementing your morning routine?




Michelle loves Jesus, coffee and her 2 man-children. She married a Mennonite without realizing everything that entailed.

Now she writes and tweets from Amish country- and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hello Mornings! Winter 2011 Challenge Details

By | Create A Morning Routine | 218 Comments

Hello Mornings Button
(Hi! Kat here. I just wanted to introduce today’s guest writer to those of you who may be new. Her name is Michelle and the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge is her brainchild. I had the honor hanging out with her at the Relevant Blog Conference and I just adore her. Many of you already do too. Without further ado, here’s Michelle with the details of the new Challenge.)

Welcome

Welcome to the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge!

Some of you have been plugging along faithfully since we started. Others are ready to jump in- maybe for the first time.

Whoever you are- whether you rise when the rooster crows or are rolled out of bed by your hungry kids-

Welcome!

Today is a crisp, white page in your notebook. Crease open the binding and take a moment to savor the promise of a fresh start.

Winter Challenge Details

We’ve made some exciting changes to the Challenge, increasing the amount of support and switching things up a little bit.

The Winter Challenge will run through March 25th. Look for new posts here every Friday.

Accountability

New for 2011, we are adding an accountability component!

For those of you using Twitter to say #hellomornings, we have rounded up some wonderful women who will be assigned to encourage and support specific participants. This way, no one can drop off the face of the earth without someone missing them.

We call these women Accountability Captains, because… well – we’re dorks and it sounded cool.

We’re still assembling our AC’s, but we want to give a shout out to Katie, Andie and Lara for eagerly joining our band of merry women.

We are also working on expanding this challenge on Facebook, so be sure you like Inspired to Action!

Twitter Chats

As if Accountability Captains weren’t enough to make you stop and join Twitter, we will also be hosting monthly Twitter Chats!

These Chats will allow you to meet & mingle, get lots of encouragement and ask questions you may have about implementing a morning routine.

Weekly Guests

You will also get the chance to hear from other participants about their personal experiences through our guest writers. We hope you gain lots of useful tips for creating a morning routine of your own.

How To Join

If you are joining us in this round of the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge, simply leave a comment below letting us know you’re in.

If you like, join the Twitter conversation each morning using the hashtag #hellomornings.

If you’re new to Twitter, simply copy and paste this as your very first tweet:

I’m joining @inspired2action & @michellebygrace to say #hellomornings!

Action Steps

  • Print the eBook and begin working through it.
  • Choose a bedtime that allows at least 7 hours of sleep & stick with it.
  • Comment below to officially join the MYM Challenge!

{photo credit}

………………………..

More information about the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge:


Michelle loves Jesus, coffee and her 2 man-children. She married a Mennonite without realizing everything that entailed.

Now she writes and tweets from Amish country- and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hello Mornings! Round 2: Maximize Your Mornings Challenge: Week Three

By | Create A Morning Routine | 4 Comments

Salutation Nation - 121
Note from Kat: Here is Michelle, again, with everyone’s favorite part of the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge. Exercise! Ok. Yeah. Maybe not….but it’s sooooo good for you! Read on.

Step 3: Develop An Exercise Plan

(You know the drill – check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.)

Read pages 10-15 of the eBook. They go something like this:

  • Pick a Workout — What type of exercise would you enjoy? Mix up the cardio and strength training.
  • Make it Fun — In order to develop a fitness habit, choose a workout that’s simple and fun. Once the habit is in place, you can concentrate on getting those abs of steel!
  • Have a “Habit Workout” — What’s something quick you could do when you wake up late? Kat does 10 pushups, 30 bicycle crunches, and 10 squats. Be creative!
  • Keep a Routine — Figure out a way to do something every day!
  • Set a Goal — Post a simple goal that you’ll be proud to accomplish.
  • Choose a Workout Soundtrack — What songs make you want to run outside and start chest-bumping your neighbors?

Action Steps

Pages 23-24 of the eBook will walk you through creating your Exercise Plan:

1. List all the ways you could possibly exercise.
2. Specifically plan your workout — What, Where, When?
3. Create Your Habit — What is 1 thing you’ll do everyday?
4. Set a Goal — Why are you exercising?

Group Support

Don’t forget that Kat (@inspired2action) and I (@michellebygrace) are on Twitter each morning, along with a bunch of other gals, sipping our morning beverage of choice and tweeting #hellomornings! If you mention you are newly joining in, we’ll introduce you to the gang.

If you have any tips for starting a morning routine, why not jump over to the Inspired to Action blogfrog community and join in the discussions!

Link Up

Each week you can link a relevant post from your own blog! Simply type your information and link to the specific post in the boxes below.

Are you ready? Let’s get physical!

Feel free to leave a comment letting us know you are joining in this week. If you have been participating, we’d love to hear how you did last week.

What’s your action plan for the week?

What workout will you try? What’s your back-up routine? Share your answers! Do you loathe exercise or love it?


Michelle is a wife, mom, and educator, who spends her days chasing two lively boys. Hey, wait- that counts as exercise… right?

Hello Mornings! Round 2: Maximize Your Mornings Challenge: Week 2

By | Create A Morning Routine | 8 Comments

morning

New Every Morning

I’m so thankful for grace.

For that wonderful, amazing gift that greets us each morning after we’ve tried and failed, resolved, repented, tried again, and failed again.

Grace. Never earned. Never ending.

Yeah, baby. Embrace it.

With that in mind, how did you do last week?

I set a few more alarms to go off consecutively, which are making it really hard to stay in sleep-mode. I literally get so mad at them I can’t fall back asleep. 🙂

Step 2: Create a Quiet Time Schedule

Here’s what we’re doing this week:

  • Read pages 6-10 of the eBook.
  • Read Step 2 on page 20.
  • Pages 21-22 are there for you to put your Worship Plan in writing.

Action Steps

1. Select morning worship music.

2. Create or select a Bible study plan.

3. Create or print a prayer calendar.

4. Be quiet and listen.

What’s your action plan for this week?

What tools (music, studies etc.) will you use to help you? We’d love to read all of your answers below!

Group Support

It’s been so encouraging to see your beautiful faces on Twitter, bed-head and all! Keep up the great chatter!

There are some great discussions going on in the Blog Frog Community about this challenge. Feel free to jump in and ask question or offer suggestions!

Link Up

Don’t forget, each week you can link a relevant post from your own blog! Simply type your information and link to the specific post in the boxes below.


Michelle shares her story as a wife & mom in Amish country at So, I married a Mennonite…. When she’s not tweeting her inner monologue, you can find her perfecting her cushion-fort building technique and choreographing living room performances.

Hello Mornings! Round 2: Maximize Your Mornings Challenge: Week 1

By | Create A Morning Routine | 30 Comments

The glow of new love

Note from Kat: Here is another wonderful post from my dear friend Michelle.

October Wrap-Up

If you joined the challenge last month and worked through all the steps, Congratulations! I’m giving you a big round of applause!

Have you noticed an improvement in your days? What benefits to yourself and your family have you noticed? What did you learn this month?

Confession Time

Can I be perfectly honest?

I’m kind of mad at mornings. They’ve become unwelcome, interrupting my dreams and pulling me out of my cozy bed. I resent them right now.

I’ve been going too bed late. I have “good” excuses for burning my candle at both ends. Days-end leaves me wishing for more hours and “enough sleep” seems like a luxury I don’t deserve.

I’ve reached the end of my willpower. Okay, I reached it a while ago. My self-discipline is flabby. I’m whooped. I need help.

If you can relate, be encouraged!

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
-Isaiah 40:29-31

November is a new month!

Step 1: Get Out of Bed

The goal is simple. Everyday, when the alarm goes off, resist the urge to hit snooze and roll over. Let’s throw off those covers and say “Hello Morning!” together!

I’m going to emphasize an equally important step for most of you. GO TO BED!

Action Steps

1. Print the eBook.
2. Leave a comment letting us know you’re on board!
3. Read pages 1-6 & page 20 of the eBook.
4. Find an accountability partner.
5. Set your alarm.
6. Get out of Bed!

Online Support

Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter for encouragement using #hellomornings. If you’re new to Twitter, follow Kat @inspired2action and myself @michellebygrace, and we’ll make sure you know some people there!

You can also join in the discussions in the Inspired to Action blogfrog community!

Link-Up


Michelle shares her story as a wife & mom in Amish country at So, I married a Mennonite…. When she’s not tweeting her inner monologue, you can find her perfecting her cushion-fort building technique and choreographing living room performances.

Hello Mornings! The Maximize Your Mornings Challenge: Week Four

By | Create A Morning Routine | 7 Comments

Pebbles
Note from Kat: Michelle is here again to walk us through the last week of the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge for October. But remember that we’ll be doing this Challenge again in November, so if you struggled or just need a fresh start, you can join us again!

Better Late

Last week was an (unexpected) bye week! I didn’t realize how all-consuming prepping for the conference would be or how little time I’d have for actual blogging! But I think you’re getting the better deal, since I’m including some nuggets from the conference on scheduling and time management.

Week 3 Recap

How did your exercise routine work out? (hehe, get it?)

What were you able to incorporate? What will you add or tweak?

Personally, I failed at the exercise part, unless you count all the running around I did at Relevant. I’m the type of person who only runs when something is chasing me. Or when I’m chasing my boys. Which is all the time. (I’m secretly hoping no one asks me about my exercise plan!)

Step 4: Create a Planning Routine

Read pages 16-17 of the eBook. The 3 planning areas are:

  • Calendar
  • To-Do List
  • Dinner

Create a Time Budget

We had the pleasure of listening to Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom, give the opening keynote at Relevant. I think everyone was scribbling furiously as she shared her time management techniques.

Do you know the illustration of the jar of rocks? Your week is an empty jar of time. Fill it wisely.

Start with the big rocks. These are the absolute most important things in your life. For most, that might be God, husband, children, sleep and/or work. Look at your empty weekly planner and schedule in specific time for those things. Quiet time, one-on-one time, meals and bedtimes are some good starting points.

Next, decide what your medium rocks are. Other relationships, ministry commitments, blogging, housework and appointments might fill those spots. Look at your planner again and schedule your medium rocks around the big ones.

Finally, list everything else as small rocks. These are the things that may seem urgent and could easily fill your entire day if given the chance. Examples include television, social media, returning emails and phone calls, and staring blankly into space. Oh, you never do that? Neither do I. Whatever time is left over is the set amount you have for these things.

You also want to build in a margin of unscheduled time, because what day goes exactly according to plan?

Everyone’s jar will look different when filled. Melissa Michaels, The Inspired Room, added that on different days, different rocks are her big ones.

Action Steps

Found on page 25.

  1. Create a Master Calendar with all your events and responsibilities.
  2. Make a Master To Do List – get your to do list out of your brain and onto paper (or pixel). Separate your tasks into Active and Someday lists.
  3. Select 3-5 recipes to make each week.
  4. Print out the Daily Overview (or make your own) and fill it out each day.

What’s your action plan for the week?

When do you do your weekly planning? What systems do you use for planning? What will you do each morning?

Group Support

Need daily accountability? Kat (@inspired2action) and I (@michellebygrace) are on Twitter each morning, along with a bunch of fantastic gals, quietly tweeting #hellomornings!

If you have any questions or tips about morning routines, jump over to the Inspired to Action blogfrog Community and join the discussion!

Link-Up

Each week you can link a relevant post from your own blog! Simply type your information and link to the specific post in the boxes below.

Tomorrow’s a new day! You’re doing great!!


Michelle shares her story as a wife & mom in Amish country at So, I married a Mennonite…. When she’s not tweeting her inner monologue, you can find her perfecting her cushion-fort building technique and choreographing living room performances.

Hello Mornings! The Maximize Your Mornings Challenge: Week Three

By | Create A Morning Routine | 17 Comments

Product (RED)

Note from Kat: Once again, the illustrious Michelle is here to walk us through the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge. Click here for all the info on the MYM Challenge.

Also, I made a nifty HelloMornings button.

Just copy this code to add it to your site:

::

Week Two Recap

Well, here we are at Week 3 of this challenge! Right about now is when it starts to get tough for me. The initial momentum of, “Hey, this is fun!” wears off a bit and reality kicks in.

If you are feeling that way, keep in mind you are just shy of the point where this new “skill” starts to become a habit. Don’t give up!

How did this the week go?

Step 3: Develop An Exercise Plan

(You know the drill – check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.)

Read pages 10-15 of the eBook. They go something like this:

  • Pick a Workout — What type of exercise would you enjoy? Mix up the cardio and strength training.
  • Make it Fun – In order to develop a fitness habit, choose a workout that’s simple and fun. Once the habit is in place, you can concentrate on getting those abs of steel!
  • Have a “Habit Workout” — What’s something quick you could do when you wake up late? Kat does 10 pushups, 30 bicycle crunches, and 10 squats. Be creative!
  • Keep a Routine — Figure out a way to do something every day!
  • Set a Goal — Post a simple goal that you’ll be proud to accomplish.
  • Choose a Workout Soundtrack — What songs make you want to run outside and start chest-bumping your neighbors?

Action Steps

Pages 23-24 of the eBook will walk you through creating your Exercise Plan:

1. List all the ways you could possibly exercise.

2. Specifically plan your workout — What, Where, When?

3. Create Your Habit — What is 1 thing you’ll do everyday?

4. Set a Goal — Why are you exercising?

What’s your action plan for the week?

What workout will you try? What’s your back-up routine? Share your answers!

Group Support

Don’t forget that Kat (@inspired2action) and I (@michellebygrace) are on Twitter each morning, along with a bunch of other gals, sipping our morning beverage of choice and tweeting #hellomornings!

If you have any tips for starting a morning routine, why not jump over to the Inspired to Action blogfrog community and join in the discussions!

Link Up

Each week you can link a relevant post from your own blog! Simply type your information and link to the specific post in the boxes below.

 

Are you ready? Let’s get physical!


Michelle’s a crazy-dancing, Jesus-loving, undomesticated transplant in Amish country. A teacher & perpetual student, she enjoys biting off more than she can chew & sharing the juicy bits at So, I married a Mennonite…. When she’s not goofing around on Twitter, you can find her perfecting her cushion-fort technique and practicing her dinosaur roars.