Tag Archives: Early To Rise

Early to Rise!

Screen-shot-2012-10-11-at-2.15.22-PM-300x421I’ve discovered that I have a self-sabotaging habit that I need to stop.  I have the habit of going on Readability, Longform, Medium, and other such sights and sending articles that may be of interest to me to my Kindle.  When I open my Kindle, I ask, “why is this here?”  And I’m determining more often than not, that it’s “because I could send it there.”  The result is a feeling of unresolved guilt.  Who cares if I don’t get around to reading all of those articles.  Better yet, I should delete them all and just read books!

Had a worthwhile Lord’s Day yesterday.  Amy and Hannah were both ill, so I went to church by myself.  I was inspired to read some Puritan literature from A Puritan Theology by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones.  Finally got over the intimidation factor to crack the covers.  I read the first chapter on preaching, on the Sabbath and Religious Worship, and a couple of other chapters  Pure gold!  For those who really want to see the best of theology applied, I can’t recommend this volume highly enough.  I’m sensing a new appreciation for the graciousness of God in the gospel and a personal renewal in Bible study, prayer, worship, and studying the Word to preach.

I got up earlier so that I could spend more time reading and studying.  I’m in the process of turning my internal clock back to getting up at 5 AM so that I can be a little more selfish with my time and read and study more when there are no other demands on my time.  Right now, this is about the only way that can envision doing the reading and writing that I’d like to do.  I’m pretty worn out by the time evening comes, and this is also the only opportunity that we have as a family to visit and check in with each other and see how the day went.  So, here we go!  Early to rise!

Yard Sale

Self-Talk-Poster-2-15-13Self Talk.  I knew it would a good day today because I slept late and woke up with an attitude!  I don’t remember the last time that I did that.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever done it.  Typically, if I wake up at 8:30, my internal taskmaster screams at me with his loud voice, “YOU’RE BEHIND!”  But today, I’m talking back.  “Behind WHAT?”  “Behind WHO?”  Generally, if I wake up with that much of an attitude, it’s going to be a great day.
Today, what gives this self-talk credibility is that I am in a good place for being ready for next week.  Grading for the week is finished and posted.  Lesson plans still needed to be done and copies of quizzes and handouts still need to be made, and the “play chart” still needs to be made, but that only takes about 2-2.5 hours.  Domestic chores need to be done too, but again, the amount of work is far from overwhelming.
Daily Run.  I ran three miles today, continuing to listen to A Year of Reading Dangerously.  It’s still a compelling listen.  I love books about books, but it will truly do its job if it spurs me on to devote greater time and effort to reading.  However, heading south down the beach into the cold, driving rain, it may have been more enjoyable to listen to the cornucopia of sound provided by nature in the crashing of the waves against the shore, the swish-swish of my feet upon the sand, and the driving wind and pelting rain I headed out into.  Close call.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll opt for immersing myself in the echoes my surroundings instead of an audiobook.
Plato’s Republic.  The detailed reread of Plato’s Republic plus taking notes and outlining it is taking its toll on other books that I want to get to.  However, it’s well worth it as I’m getting much more out this read (I think it’s my eighth) than any previous reading.  Halfway through it and still going strong!
Paradise Lost.  I still need to make it through Paradise Lost with some degree of comprehension of the plot, structure, characters, allusions, and an informed opinion about what Milton is trying to do in this epic, which is no mean feat.  Right now, I’m having to trust our Puritan forebear with this.  I’m finding it the literary equivalent of finding a 32 oz. chateaubriand on my plate and being expected to at least make a dent in it to show gratitude to my host.  It’s about the richest work I’ve ever read outside of the Scriptures.  I feel like I’m missing so much every time I pick it up.  Maybe I need to think about what I’m taking away rather than what I’m missing.
What kind of self-talk do you give to yourself so that you can get through the day with “attitude”?  What are your strategies for getting through difficult tomes like Paradise Lost?
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Morning Routines

818kGmg0fFL._SL1500_I thought I would share my weekly routines and get some input as to what works from you.   Monday-Thursday.  I get up, write for a half hour or 45 minutes. Then, I read the Bible and pray.  Usually, at some point I’ll do a quick check on my favorite internet sites and email to make sure that nothing life-altering has happened overnight that will change my plans  After that, I get ready to do in and teach.  M-W I teach straight from 9-3.  T-Th I have a 3 hour break when I can get some things done:  grading, work that doesn’t require quiet or sustained attention.  at 3, it’s time to go home, go run, see how I can help with dinner, and eat dinner with my family.  I generally put in an hour and a half to two hours reading, writing, or planning content to teach.
I don’t teach Fridays, so I try to get myself ready to go on Monday morning.  If there are things to be read, studied, lesson planned, work that needs to be done on a sermon, or the like, it usually takes place on Fridays.  I try to keep Saturdays open, but generally I will need to put in a couple of hours on Saturday.
Sundays, I usually have church responsibilities, so I’ll get up early to prepare to lead worship and go over what I’m teaching.  Sunday afternoon and evening are generally when we “veg.”  I’ll often do some planning for the next week.
That’s how I usually roll.  I’d love for you to share what works for you!
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Small Things, Big Influence

The new year often brings out the belief that we ought to make sweeping changes in our lives.  Beginning a rigorous exercise regimen, losing a substantial amount of weight, living within our means, and disciplining ourselves to save for the future are common New Years Resolutions.  Some of us also serve in professions or capacities that continually pressure us to do the “new,” the “unexpected,” the “unprecedented,” and to be “innovative.”  All of these desires and expectations may seem a huge burden to us.

However, the small things, done day by day, have an incremental value that we often overlook.  We underestimate the impact of faithful habits, incorporated into our days.  Those who have deep influence are faithful in what we would consider the small tasks.  For me, one example is circulating among my students and greeting them, talking to them about how their day is going and other small talk, instead of having my head down and ignoring them because I have “significant projects.”  Will I have deeper influence in their lives because of how well I prepare my lessons, or how much I connect with my students?

There is some proportionality here as well.  We are not to ignore what Jesus called “the weightier matters of the law” and be satisfied that we can check off the details.  This is the error of the Pharisees that Jesus condemns in Matthew 23,  However, Jesus is not advocating that we neglect the details and concentrate on the big picture only.

Faithful, daily tasks, as small as they may seem at the time, grow into something greater than the tasks themselves.  Consistent care of children usually results in more than a checklist completed of child care tasks, but children who are loving, well-behaved, and a pleasure to be around.  Sometimes it’s difficult to remember this.  But it’s encouraging when we do and are able to carry out this idea in specific ways.

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How Not To Rise Early

A couple of days ago, I posted about the “Early To Rise” Challenge.  I did not rise early today, unless you call between 7:30 and 8:00 am “rising early.”  So now, I can tell you what not to do:

1.  The night before you will attempt to rise early, sit in positions that bad for your posture so that your back is sore when you lie down to go to sleep.

2.  Stay up late.  Make sure you don’t get to bed until at least 11:30 or 12:00

3.  Waste the extra hours that you stayed up.  Go through your RSS feeds . . . slowly.  Alternate between checking Facebook, ESPN, ESPN soccernet, and EPL transfer rumors (note:  EPL transfer rumors generally have no factual basis whatsoever).  Check your Amazon seller account every five minutes for new sales.  Wash rinse, repeat for two hours.  Don’t read a book or do anything that may even be slightly construed as productive.

4.  Eat.  Ignore the fact that your body is 99 percent lard already and that today’s calorie expenditure has been roughly 50 calories more than if you had slept for the past 24 hours.  Eat lots of snacks.  You can even eat “healthy snacks”  like I did — black bean chips, peanut butter bars.  These “healthy snacks” will still give you the same caloric intake as a bag of potato chips and a couple of candy bars.  Just make sure you add another 600-800 calories to an already bloated diet.

5.  Tell yourself, “I deserve to sleep in for all of this!”

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Early To Rise

I am participating in a challenge by Andy Traub called Early To Rise.  Below is the link to Amazon if you want to check it out.  The basic idea is by creating a habit of getting up early, you have a greater opportunity to do what matters.  You can take control of your day and seize the opportunities that come with it.  You can fill yourself with goodness and make a plan for achieving what is important for the day.

So far, it’s been fantastic!  While I would consider myself a “morning person,” I don’t think this is so much a matter of inborn temperament as much as it recognizing that for me, not much productive activity takes place after about 9:30 pm.  I have enough on my plate right now that I really can’t afford to invest two hours in vegging on the couch watching television.

The benefit of rising early (5:00-5:30) is that that it gives me ample time to pray, to plan the day, to decide what’s important, and to formulate a strategy.  I don’t necessarily get everything accomplished in the daily plan that I hope to.  But it does set the stage for living intentionally and being deliberate in my decisions rather than taking the path of least resistance.

It would have been of great benefit to me to take this challenge and approach to life much sooner, like in my twenties.  For too long, I’ve made excuses, such as, “I can’t get up early! I have kids!” Or “church meetings last too long to get up early.”  What about the people that go to those church meetings and have a job that requires them to be there early?  Or what about all the nights that I didn’t have meetings?

However, I’m glad that I made the commitment in the last year to live more deliberately, to be more intentional in my choices, to act instead of reacting.  I don’t know what will come of it, but I’m having the time of my life!!!


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