Monday, June 13, 2011

Reclaiming the Morning - Week #17

Welcome friends! Come on in and visit ... I've been waiting for you!

Without too much fanfare, (Oh, now, what is that I hear?? BELLS? WHISTLES?? MARCHING BAND??? CHEERLEADERS????) I must say at the get-go that I have finally lost 30 pounds!!! I have been working hard to get here, and it has taken nearly four months. It feels tee-rrific.

What's the best part, you ask? I'd have to say that I no longer openly cringe every time I catch my reflection in a mirror. I'm pretty much down to one respectable chin now, but I've added some new calf and thigh muscles, so quid pro quo, ya know? What was the hardest part? Trying to eliminate snacking after dinner. Which I haven't yet completely conquered. How has my life changed? I am medicine-free, joint pain-free, sleeping well, running 12 miles per week, and plain old feel a whole bunch closer to what I'm supposed to feel like. Most fun change? I catch my husband smiling at me at random times, and his eyes light up as he tells me I look great. Not gonna lie, it's pretty amazing.

It's true, I've "miles to go before I sleep", but today I'm celebrating. Thank you SO MUCH for the encouragement, support, and love you've given me throughout the first part of my Excellent Experiment. The greatest compliment you can pay me is that what I share here has made some kind of difference in your life, too. It is wonderful knowing that we're in this together.

One overhaul that I'm making in my life, that goes hand-in-hand with my "get healthy" journey, is capitalizing on my morning hours. I began to see that if I didn't have somewhere to be first thing, I'd drag around the house in my jammies, talk on the phone, sit at the computer, watch a DVRd TV show ... before I knew it, it was 11:00am and the lovely morning hours were gone and my day was off to a schlumpy start. As I have set out to RECLAIM THE MORNING, everything in my life has improved.

Og Mandino sums it up perfectly:

"Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don't waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail."

By now you know that I'm a list-maker. The idea of my List of Dailies has seemed to resonate with some of you, so I offer up my Ideal Morning Plan in the hopes that you'll find something else that will inspire you to improve in some way. Or, if you've got this "down", I'd love to hear what YOU do to make the most of the first part of the day.

The following Plan is based on the assumption that I have nothing going on on this particular morning. I am home until after lunch time. If this is the case, then what you see below is what I am using as my routine, or morning ritual. On the frequent days that other duties call, though, I do what I can -- it is extremely helpful for me to have a concrete list of what I know works for me in the morning, and I use whatever time I have to do what I can to start the day off right.


Awaken ... good morning! Take a moment to mentally embrace the day ahead and to let myself be EXCITED for the possibilities it holds. Smile a big cheesey smile ...force it, if necessary ... it's amazing what this can do to jump start my attitude. Do a couple of easy stretches before my feet hit the floor.

Throw open the bedroom drapes and the window, regardless of the weather. Let the sun shine in!! Take a deep breath of fresh, morning air. Hello, day!! What sounds do I hear outside?

Most likely my handsome husband is already up and out for a morning surgery or a run, or he is pounding out emails in his office down the hall. Cheerfully wake up my beautiful 13 year-old daughter if she's not yet up.

Wash face with invigorating cleanser, brush teeth, brush hair ... take a deep breath, exhale, and hop on that scale to see where I'm starting today. No matter what it says, remember how far I've come and commit to staying strong today. Wipe off bathroom counters. (in honor of Eileen)

Tidy room, put away folded, clean clothes on dresser, make bed. Look around and feel good about how the bedroom and bathroom look. Dress in clean exercise clothes.

Turn on swing-arm lamp over bedside table. Sit down on Chinese stool at bedside and think about how the light symbolizes the Heavenly Light that is available for me this day if I allow myself to access it. Say morning prayers, remembering to ask for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Open Inspiration Journal and make a quick plan for the day ahead. Briefly organize meals, exercise, housekeeping To Dos, places to be, people to remember, errands to run. Leave mental room for ditching everything if the Spirit prompts me in a different direction at any point during the day.

Go downstairs. Put on a cute apron. Be happy about the job I've chosen to sign up for. I am a wife/mother/homemaker!! Take it seriously!

Open windows, put load of laundry in the washing machine, sweep front and back porches, water flowers on porch. Turn on News Radio so that I'm abreast of what is going on in the world today. Remember what I've planned for dinner ... does meat need to be taken from freezer? Do I have all ingredients? Is it a crockpot day??

Make breakfast for family. Choose placemats, pretty glasses, flowers for table! No matter how simple the meal, little details make it special and lovely. Say blessing together. Talk about who's going where and when. Make a mental note to be at the day's crossroads for my family.

Take daughter to school. Make an effort to have a real connection about what is ahead in her day. Laugh together. Tell her I love her. Tell her how nice she looks. Give her a hug. Remind her that I'll be in the usual place at 2:35pm. Watch her walk in to school and be in awe of how terrific a young lady she is.

Back at home: Touch bases with handsome husband if he's still home, or via text/email if he's off and running, about what he needs me to do today for him. Errands? Phone calls? Change in his calendar? Dry cleaning? Make sure his items are near the top of my list today.

Yoga time! (without the apron, of course) Unroll purple mat in family room, light candles (because it just seems yoga-ish), and turn on wonderful AM/PM Yoga DVD. Be aware of sun streaming in window, or rain pounding on patio, or breeze blowing the curtains. Center here, and recommit to the things I prayed about earlier. Remember the sacredness of my physical body ... it is a temple ... ease into stretches and concentrate on breathing. Feel inner health improve. Acknowledge peace.

Feed Harry Doodle, and have a cup of warm herbal tea. Study the scriptures for 20-30minutes, if possible. Seek inspiration relating to what is on my mind.

Apron back on. Spend one hour on the day's housekeeping. I am on a mission to prove that it is possible to keep a house quite nicely with just one hour of work per day. Not including laundry and dishes. More on this later.

Head out for a run if it's M, W, F, or Sa. If not, shower, dress, and tackle the rest of the day. Think about all I've accomplished this morning ... let it make me really, really happy. Know that my stage is set for success today.

If you are like me, having an Ideal Plan to refer to might bring you peace and help you feel more accomplished. If you are not like me, you may think all of this is utter nonsense! And that's okay! I know that for me, if many of the above things are in order in the morning, I am able to concentrate on living my life for the remaining hours of the day. If I'm struggling to play catch-up until dinner time, I feel frazzled, frustrated, and unaccomplished. And I really, really don't like that feeling.

Now. As a little treat because you actually read this far down my blog post, I am going to offer a little give-away. I have an extra copy of the beautiful little inspiration journal that I have been using to plan with. If you will answer the question below by posting a comment before June 19, I will put your name in a lil' drawing and you'll have a chance to win my extra journal. Sounds like a win-win situation for us both! You inspire me with a few of your words of wisdom, and I just may send you a prize. Here's the question:


Hope to hear from you! See you back here really soon. xoxoMacy


  1. Macy... I love that quote by Og Mandino and I thank you for sharing it! I definitely needed to hear that and all you shared about reclaiming the morning. I awake with the sun (fairly early these days) and then sometimes just lay in bed longer because I'm still tired. What you wrote solidifies in my mind what I've already been thinking: I need to start my days differently. The way we start our day can have a profound effect on the outcome of our day.

    These are the things I try to do to keep my morning running smoothly: 1, PRAY before anything else. Think about my day as I'm praying and ask for SPECIFIC help with the events that I have ahead of me. A few years ago, Elder Bednar talked about creating our day spiritually before we physically act on that and then follow up throughout the day. I try to do this daily and have found that it has helped and I'm more in tune with what Heavenly Father wants for me. 2, Eat a hearty and healthy breakfast. It sounds simple, but it definitely has an effect on my day and how I feel physically. Evan helps me out by making me breakfast every morning. 3, Get out of bed! Waiting until the last possible minute to start getting ready rushes my prayers, rushes my breakfst, and everything else about my day. If I get out of bed with plenty of time, I feel more relaxed which, in turn, helps my day.

  2. Macy, I.LOVE.THIS.BLOG. You have inspired me in so many ways. I have a couple of blogs but finally began one to record my commitment and journey to becoming a leaner me.

    Three morning things that I try to do that help my day run more smoothly are #1 Do not hit the snooze button. The should really rename in the procrastination button because that's what it causes me to do ALL DAY LONG. The days I wake up at the first alarm I find I'm so much more productive! #2 Have a morning chat with my best friend. I'm in the little kid stage of life where adult conversations can be few and far between. This morning ritual helps me not feel trapped in a three year olds world! It is so good for my sanity #3 I have to work with a kitchen timer. I go room to room and set the timer for 10-15 minutes and focus all my energy there, making beds, gathering laundry, cleaning out a drawer. It's rare that there is nothing that needs done. Getting it done first thing in the morning and working until the timer goes off is achievable and rewarding for me.

    I sure miss your wonderful family!

    Shannon Jex

  3. Macy-Did not realize you have a blog too! Thank you for sharing your morning routine, it is always great to glean ideas from other women/mothers/homemakers. The three things I do in the morning: Pray with my children, exercise, and get showered/dressed before the kids are off so I am ready to hit the day hard when everyone is out the door (except the four year old, he is my shadow all day :-)
    Thanks again for sharing!
    Amber Puzey

  4. Macy, I continue to love and be inspired by your excellent experiment! Just cleared 20 lbs - finally after a long plateau at 18 - and continue plugging along with my own life changes. Thanks again!

    My three morning things 1) Get up when the alarm goes off. This is very hard for me, I am an unreformed night owl but it is also absolutely essential to a good, productive day. 2) Scripture study and prayer, often coupled with some list making and journal jotting. This little worship trifecta just sets up my day for success even when it doesn't go the way I planned. 3)Hot shower, baby! With something that smells delicious this approaches a religious experience some day:-) Seriously, I do not feel awake until the shower.

    Keep on fighting the good fight!

  5. You are so cool. I get more excited to read about your stepping stones than I do to read any other blog. Seriously!
    First, scripture study on a stool next to my husband at the kitchen bar. Compliment him on his good example to me, since he's usually the one helping me out of bed at 6:30.
    Second, take a relaxed shower. No rushing! Splash the water on my face and feel my pores open to the day.
    Third, pick an outfit I will feel great in all day. Put on good smelling lotion (the fragrance that fits my mood). Pack my canvas bag with current book, journal, pens, snacks.