5 Tips to Create an Early Morning Routine

I’m not a morning person. I remember saying this statement to friends as we discussed what time we get up in the morning. I convinced myself of this and I didn’t think that would ever change. Then I started having babies and that drastically changed my morning schedule. As you know, with young kids its a given you’ll be up early. Once my kids grew out of the tiny newborn stage, I started to yearn for time to myself. It was getting to be too much to wake up at the same time as my kiddos and then be instantly on. Everyone needed juice, breakfast, teeth brushed, and hair combed, all at the same time. On top of that, immediately starting the chores and tasks of the morning were draining and I just woke up! I knew I had to change my morning routine to ensure I had some time to myself before each crazy, busy day began. Below are my top 5 tips to ensure a peaceful early morning before the tasks of the day come knocking.

Commit to an Early Bedtime

Bedtimes don’t have to be just for the kids! So often, it is easy to be distracted by an addicting show or catching up social media. My husband and I always like to watch a show together once the kids go to sleep and we love to be able to get some time together. But if you sit down on the couch with the understanding you’re only going to watch a few episodes that sets an exception for your evening. Typically our kids go to sleep at 8:00 and Ray and I start winding down by 9:30. This allows us to have time to ourselves and time to relax but also get to bed at a decent hour. Its the best of both worlds!

Prep the Coffee Maker

What’s the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning? I open my sleepy eyes and head to the coffee machine. It’s so nice to not have to be knocking around the kitchen searching for the coffee grounds and filling up the reservoir with water in the early morning. I set the automatic brew for 30 minutes before I wake up, and each morning the smell of the coffee filling the house helps me get my feet on the ground. Pouring the creamer in my coffee and having that first sip of hot coffee to start my day is such a treat. It’s the perfect way to start the day without much effort.

Set Out Your Workout Clothes

After I spend time in prayer during the early morning hours, I try and squeeze in a workout before the kids get up. One thing I do to motivate myself to workout in the morning is set out my workout clothes. This allows me to quickly get dressed for my workout since the time is short in the morning. In addition, once I see those clothes laying out, I know my workout is going to happen. This helps me especially on days where I’m not feeling particularly excited about working out. It seems the quicker I put on my workout clothes, my mind and body start waking up to the idea of a workout. After you tie those tennis shoes, there is no turning back!

Screens Off Before Lights Out

On nights where I go straight from the TV or phone right to bed it takes me forever to get to sleep! My mind is thinking about a million things a minute and before I know it I’ve been laying in bed for a hour without falling asleep. One of my favorite routines my husband and have about 30 minutes before falling asleep is turn off all screens. We pour ourselves a hot cup of tea and sit together and read books. This allows our minds and bodies to decompress and wind down. I fall asleep so much quicker when I read before bed. My mind is at peace and I zonk out in no time!

Keep the Morning Routine

I’ve found that the more consistently I’ve kept the habit of waking up earlier the easier it is to wake up. I typically keep this routine everyday. During weeks that I wake up early on some days and sleep in on others, my early mornings become a lot more difficult. However, the weeks I wake up early every morning, the easier it is to keep the routine. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. It just becomes apart of who you are!

Give the Morning Routine a Try!

I can’t wait for you to give these a try! So commit to your bedtime, prep the coffee maker, set out your workout clothes, and try and stay consistent. I promise once you begin these habits, you will become addicted and wonder how you ever survived before! I hope these tips help you to succeed in enjoying a peaceful early morning before the start of a busy day.

Check out my article on tips and tricks to squeeze in a workout when you’re a busy momma.

I also loved reading Her Highness Hungry Me advice on starting an early morning routine. Check out their tips by clicking below.

Xo,

Merr

Happier Teens with Less Screens

Rich results on Googles SERP when searching for 'limit screen time exercise more'.

Screens Galore

Netflix, Instagram, Facebook, Video Games, the options are endless. Everyone is surrounded by countless options of screens for their entertainment. But how do we know how much is okay before it starts effecting our mental health, especially for our children?

Less Screens, More Exercise

I recently read an article in the Epoch Times that discussed the importance of monitoring screen time in teens and encouraging healthy habits such as exercise is vital for teens mental health. In the article it discussed a study that was done on teens between 11-15 years of age and the effect of screen time amongst mental health. The lead author, Asaduzzaman Khan of the University of Queensland, Australia, says, “If screen time goes beyond about two hours per day, there’s a detrimental relationship with mental health”. He also added teens who got more regular exercise had “greater life satisfaction”. Less screen time and more time exercising seem to be recipe for a happier life.

Model Behavior

As parents, we have a responsibility to model exercise and monitored screen time to our children. If we are constantly on our phones or watching TV, our children will be doing the same. However, if we can monitor the time on the screen and ensure we are exercising on a regular basis, our children will follow. “If I’m watching Netflix for five hours, it’s nonsense to assume that my teen is going to go outside and do activities there,” he says. “Parents and kids need to work together on this and figure out how to replace some of their screen time with ‘green time” (Khan). Our kids are like sponges, whatever they see, they will model! Let’s be role models to our kiddos of limited screen time and regular exercise for an all together happier life.

Click on Learn More to read, “Why Your Teen Should Replace Screen Time with Green Time” on The Epoch Times Website.

Click on the button below to read my blog discussing Joanna Gaines’ Tip to curb cell phone use of kids.

Xo,

Merr

The Momma Workout

Investing Time to Exercise

In addition to prayer, another huge passion of mine is exercise. It relieves stress, clears my mind, and puts me in a great mood. As moms, it can be a huge challenge to find time in your day to workout. However, I am a huge believer of investing time in myself and allowing myself to have quiet prayer time and time to work out, because I truly feel like I am a more patient and loving with my kids when I do. As moms, we often put our wants and needs last. It’s so important to break this tendency! If you’re not getting time to fulfill your needs, you won’t feel like your best self, which then reflects how you parent your children.

Tips for Working Out as a Mom

Many moms may feel like there is no way they have time to work out. Trust me, I get it. Being a mom is nonstop and exhausting! I recently found this article that discussed tips on finding time to work out for moms. These are tips that could work for working moms and stay at home moms. The author, Jena Bradley, mentions early morning workouts, exercising during nap time, or over the lunch hour. Then, she makes suggestions on how to stick to a workout schedule, like finding an accountability partner and setting a reminder when it is time to exercise.

Click on the image to read Jena Bradley’s article, “How to Find Time to Exercise as a Busy Mom with a Baby”.

I hope this article inspires you to find time in your crazy busy schedule to invest in your beautiful self!

Xo, Merr

Daily Guidance

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).

Awareness of Jesus’ Presence

Most mornings, I have my quiet prayer time in the morning where I begin my day feeling clear headed and energized. But so often, as the busy day progresses, I lose sight of the Lord’s presence. I become so busy with the day’s tasks, that I forget to check in with the Lord. I forget to acknowledge his presence after my early morning prayers. If I don’t remind myself of this throughout the day, I lose sight of this.  It is so important to be aware of Jesus’ presence throughout our busy days and the many decisions we make.

Consistent Dialogue with the Lord

Let us make this a focus of today; to talk with the Lord throughout the day. To thank him for his bountiful blessings we experience throughout each day. To ask him in quiet prayer for guidance on the day’s decisions, whether they are big or small. To ask for forgiveness of any wrongdoing. To call on him in times of fear and anxiety during the day. All it takes is a whisper of his name, Jesus, I need you, Jesus, guide me, Jesus, forgive me, or Jesus, help me. The Lord does not want us to have to experience this life alone. He is always here with us to help, guide, and support.

Day to Day Adventures

Each day we experience is an adventure and may sometimes feel like a rollercoaster. There are moments of joy, fear, excitement, sadness, peace, anxiety, fear, and frustration. Let us talk to God about these experiences, ask him to guide us throughout it all. If we do, we will receive joy, peace, and clarity each day, throughout day-to-day moments. Because in the end, these small moments, and decisions of an average day, lead to the big moments in our life, the paths that leads us to completing the Lord’s will for our lives. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Learn more about navigating everyday emotions in my blog Release my Fears.

Xo,

Merr

Achieving Peace

I strongly believe prayer and exercise are a huge part of health and wellness, but another crucial ingredient to a life of peace and contentment is limiting technological distractions and living in the present. So many of us are stuck in wishing we could change mistakes from the past or we are obsessing over excitement or fear of the future. Instead, awaken your mind to enjoy what is happening right in front of your eyes. One of my favorite people who lives by this mantra is Joanna Gaines. Attached is a article where she describes tips on focusing on what’s “unfolding in front of me”. She mentions she made it a challenge to live in the present. She also told herself a special saying anytime she caught herself distracted from the present moment. Click the image to visit the article and read about Joanna Gaines trick to remaining present throughout the day.

The Best Things in Life Are Free

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Isaiah 55:2

Finding Joy in the Simple Things

There is a huge misconception of the importance of money to live a happy, stress-free life. The real problem is we are investing our free time in all the wrong things. I can think of the many times I picked up my cell phone the moment I opened my eyes in the morning. Or the first thing I did at the end of the day was scroll through social media and catch up on my friend’s daily activities. Even turned on the TV for a mindless show to wash away a busy day. Of course, these things in moderation are okay but we use technology to the extreme and in the end we feel empty.

Gifts from God

God has given us the greatest blessings that are available to all people at any time. It doesn’t matter how much money make or where you live. God made sure these gifts were available to every single one of his precious children. We must make the choice to utilize these gifts. So, what are these gifts that God has given us?

A Relationship with Him

God has blessed us with his friendship. God craves to have a relationship with us, but we need to invest the time in that relationship to draw nearer to him. Through the practice of spending time with the Lord during my free time, I have found an incredible sense of peace and clarity in my life. If something has upset me that day, I talk to him about it. If something special has taken place, I thank him. If I am nervous about something, I ask for guidance. I often sit in silence with the Lord and listen for his voice. I have found that God has guided me to do things that I would never have imagined possible through time with him. God has given the gift of prayer to guide our lives and to have a beautiful friendship with him, we just must carve the time in our day to do this. Make it a priority!

Nature

God has blessed us with the beauty of nature all around us. My favorite morning routine is to go outside in the morning, feel the heat of the sun on my skin and breathe in the fresh air. I love listening to the birds singing all around me and the sound of the grass blowing in the gentle wind. I love walking around the yard and smelling the flowers and soaking in all the vibrant colors around me. Watching the tiny insects that are crawling on bright green plants surrounding me. I love going for a walk without my cell phone to look at the sky and watching the sunset at the end of the day. These quiet moments in nature clear my mind and allow me to enjoy the beautiful gifts of nature God has given to us.

Love in Relationships

God has given us the gift of love to enjoy in our life. A kiss from our spouse, a hug from a friend, a smile from a child, a nudge from a dog or a pet. Instead of passing these on in our day like they are no big deal, soak them in, and relish them as they happen. God gave us the gift of love because he is love. If you really focus on the gift of love, you will see it and experience it throughout your day. 

Embrace these Gifts

We all crave these vital gifts God us given to us but so many of us are in a habitual cycle of technology we aren’t noticing them. We are so busy looking at the screen that we are missing out on the most important things int life. Your time is so precious so use it wisely and enjoy the gifts of nature, prayer, and soaking in the love surrounding you.  Use the gifts God has given each and everyone of us to live a full, meaningful life and use your free time to invest in activities that are fulfilling to you! Soon, the stress and anxiety you are feeling will melt away. You will begin to treasure every moment of every day and use your time more wisely. The saying is so true, the best things in life truly are free!

Read more about embracing God’s joyous gifts in my blog Soaking in the Simple Things.

Xo,

Merr

Release My Fears

Overwhelming Anxiety

Recently, I have had extreme fear and anxiety watching and listening to the news. So much hate, division, and devastation. Many times, I have trapped myself in an anxiety filled state by engrossing myself in this destructive habit. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17-18). This is what the evil one wants. He wants us to feel alone, angry towards those who have different views, and fearful. 

Stronger United

Now think about what is broadcast on the news, on every news site on the internet, and any current events podcast. This is exactly what they report on; terrible events that are happening around the world, that often include death, destruction, and separation amongst the Lord’s people, thus, heightening fear in our hearts. If you tune your ear to hear it, you will find this is the devil whispering deceit in our ears. Prescribing a way to enlist worry in our lives, divide people so they are not strong and united, and to encourage people to not trust God’s handling of the future. 

Trust in your Future

When I watch the news, I often begin to stress about the future. By worrying about the future, we are forgetting and not honoring the fact that God is in control. Jesus asks us to trust him so we can enjoy living in the present. We can offer these feelings of fearfulness to the Lord and ask him to carry the weight of these stresses for us. Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall (Psalm 55:22). When life is too much for me, and I ask God to take these feelings away, I literally feel a weight lifted off my shoulder and a sense of calm. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6).

Find the Light

It is so easy to get lost in what is broadcasted all over the news. Remember, most people are kind, loving, and generous people. Don’t let the news convince you otherwise. If world events are causing you to stress, take the simple step to just turn off the noise, and instead take that moment to ask God to hold your hand. Tell him you trust in his plan, and to take away any troubling feelings. These quiet moments with the Lord will bring you great serenity amid any storm. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).

Read my blog on Listening to God’s Gentle Calling to discover God’s gentle but powerful ways he speaks to us on a day to day basis.

Xo,

Merr

Joanna Gaines’ Advice for Curbing Phone Use Amongst Kids

Phone Addictions

Even though my kids are too young to have phones yet, I’m already researching ways to help curb phone use amongst kids. I am so bothered when I see kids eyes glued to their screens for hours upon hours. The addiction seems to be taking hold earlier and earlier!

Phone Station

I recently read this article about Joanna Gaines, where she discussed what she does with her own children to limit their screen time. She said she has a cell phone station where everyone puts their cell phones. Their children are not allowed to carry their cell phones on their bodies. So if they would like to check for messages, they need to go to the cell phone station. I thought this was brilliant! If your cell phone is not in your pocket or right next to you at all times, you will not be distracted by constant notifications. This allows you or your children to complete conversations or activities without constant disruptions. I thought this would be a good tip for adults as well!

Why Chip and Joanna Gaines Are Leaving HGTV 'Fixer Upper'
Chip and Joanna Gaines

Click on the image for a link to the article.

I sincerely hope this tip helps you and your family live more in the present and enjoy all that each day brings!

Click below to read my blog on finding peace and renewed energy during a busy day living the momma life.

Xo,

Merr

My Superhero

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:30

Grandma Rita

When I think of superhuman, and super mother, I think of my grandma Rita. She was a true angel on earth and a servant to the Lord. She raised eleven children with my Grandpa Ed on a small farm in Mantador, North Dakota.   Life was not easy taking care of the daily chores of a farm, tending to her eleven children, all the while maintaining a cozy home for her family. She must have been exhausted by the end of the day!

Special and Loved

I was one of many grandchildren and every time I came to visit, she would love me beyond measure. She had so many people depending on her to take care of them, but she took the time to make me feel so special. She always had homecooked meals, a comfortable bed, and gave me lots of hugs and kisses. We prayed before every meal and she shared the passion of her faith with me. In talking with my mom, siblings, and cousins, she made everyone feel this way.

Faith Passed Down Generations

Rita is survived by 11 living children, 39 living grandchildren, and 77 and counting great grandchildren.  She instilled such a strong faith in her children, that this beautiful gift was passed down to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. All of these people are faith-filled, kind, and loving because of the love and faith my grandparents modeled to them on a day-to-day basis.

The Most Important Job

This makes me realize how important our jobs are as parents. God has given us the greatest gift in the world, the gift of his children. He asks us to love them beyond measure and raise our children to be followers of Christ. If we do our job correctly, this beautiful gift of love and faith is passed on to our children and our great grandchildren and so on. Raising our children in a home of peace and security is invaluable to our children, our children’s children, and our world. We mustn’t take this job lightly.

I Gratefully Accept

When you wake up in the morning, gratefully accept this gift of being a mother the Lord has entrusted to you. What you teach your children will be passed on for many generations. He knew you were up for the job, and it is truly is the most important job! Everyday is equally as important as the next to show up for your children. Be present, model faith and love to them, and show them kindness. This seed of love you plant in them will be passed on for many, many generations.  

Click below to read by blog on finding peace and renewed energy during the busy momma life.

Xo,

Merr