Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Early Morning Studying

I love getting up early so I can feast in the scriptures.  The house is quiet and I feel the Spirit speak to me. When I am in my regular routine, like I am now finally, here is what I do:
  • Drink lots of water! This helps me wake up more completely.
  • I don't pray yet, I'd fall asleep, but I have a prayer in my heart.
  • Go out to the living room and write in my journal.
  • Read one or two or three conference talks.  I take notes and think about the message.
  • Begin reading my scriptures.   Going from journal writing to conference talks and then scriptures helps to also wake me up and to stay focused.  When I go straight to my scriptures I stare at the incoherently for a while before I realize it!
  • As I read I always keep a notebook close by.  The main thing I write down are my questions.  Then I brainstorm.  Get an idea or two.  Do some cross referencing and more pondering.  I think about how the story or lesson or scripture applies to me. I keep thinking and writing.  For me to ponder I have to write.  If I just ponder in my mind I can't stay focused and my mind goes to activities for the day or I begin to get sleepy.  I receive so many great insights when I write things down. I have multiple notebooks filled with my thoughts.  In this way I feel like I am studying the word of God not merely reading it and I am an active participant in communicating with Heavenly Father.
  • Now I pray.  I ask about all the things I pondered on.  Are they right? What am I suppose to do today? Etc.
Here's how my brained worked today.  I wanted to think more about the blessings of obeying the commandment to get up early.  I read in D & C 88 at the end of the section and section 89.  I thought about those scriptures for a while.  Then I did a topical guide search on sleep.  I noticed this morning that I've done this so many times that my topical guide natural falls open to the "sleep" page.  I made a column of the commandments to do with sleep and then a column of the promised blessings.  Then I decided to list all the blessings I recognize when I get up early.  This was my list:
  • Receive more revelations, personal insight and answers to my prayers when I get up early
  • Feel the Spirit more strongly through out the day
  • The day goes LOTS better
  • I don't feel "behind" all day
  • I do a better job of eating healthy all day
  • I get more done and I feel productive
  • I feel more obedient
  • Kids are better behaved because I make sure they get up early too
  • We follow our schedule
Then I listed the drawbacks to getting up early.
  • I am tired in the afternoon
  • I get anxious about getting to bed by the time I need too
  • My brain tends to stop functioning in the afternoon (This seems to only occur the first two weeks or so as I get back on my schedule.  After that I don't have this problem).
  • I don't get to keep snuggling with my sweetie.
As I reviewed though I realized that I am usually always tired in the afternoon regardless of whether I get up early or at 8.  I felt again that I need to get out side and walk more during the day (I don't like going outdoors.  Maybe I'll talk about that sometime. Silly really.) to help give me that extra energy that I need.  I also recognized that in the afternoon I've a tendency to think that I am entitled to free time all afternoon also and I don't want to be bothered.   The truth is that I'm not in scholar phase any more.  I'd like to have that excuse to keep studying, but deep down inside I know I've learned what I need too and it's time to move on.  I really only need an hour or so to read something deep or write down some thoughts, but I feel I'm suppose to do other things right now.  Sigh, I so love reading lots of books.  Time to move on.

As with all things in life I realized again that doing the right thing simply requires me to exercise my faith.  When I obey and trust the Lord then I see the blessings.  No, I don't want to get up early when the alarm is buzzing, but I need too.  When I do I have seen and will see that I am blessed for obeying.  Sometimes you just have to step out into the darkness before you see the light. 

When I'm done studying after about an hour or an hour and a half I check my emails and maybe write a blog post.  Then I practice the piano to help wake up the kids.  Once they are conscious and moving for the day then I take a shower and continue to get ready.


Mr. Smith said...

It's that stop snuggling with sweetie - I noticed you didn't provide a positive spin for that one - that's difficult for me. Mrs. Smith was just forming a routine of getting up early "with" me (30-60min afterwards, before I left for school/work) when the pregnancy hit. Now I've discovered I'm less prone to get out of bed on-time because I know I won't see her again until the evening or sometimes later, after she's already asleep. Yes, it's a commandment to rise early, but it's easier when others can do it, too.

crazy4boys said...

Maybe someday I'll wake up early. And then make it a habit. Since I want to grow up to be just like you, I'll make a bigger effort to do so!!!

Christy said...

I love the idea of practicing the piano when it is time for the kids to get up! I'm going to try that one. It seems like it would be so much nicer to wake up to piano than to an alarm or to Mom nagging.

Misty said...

Thank you once again for sharing your insights with us. I have been trying to get up at 4 or 5 am and it is great when I do.

This particular post has given me a lot of insight into things I can do to make my early hours even more productive.

crazy4boys said...

I read in a book today about a woman who makes a list of things she feels NEED to be done that day then she sets it aside and reads her scriptures and prays. When she is done with that she looks back over her list to see what the LORD needs her to do that day, to prioritize according to the Spirit. I thought it was a great idea and wanted to pass it on. So many times what I feel are the most important things, aren't.

The Lazy Organizer said...

It's going to be a long time before I get back to my early morning schedule but I have been enjoying my deeper study of the scriptures immensely! I too love to start with a conference talk or two and then go from there. Since my children are getting up before I do these days I have to do my studying in the afternoon but it works for now. One thing I like about it is that my children see me reading my scriptures and they are getting in the habit of reading them on their own too. Fabulous!

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

Mr. Smith-You're right I didn't provide a positive spin on it. Is there one though? : ) Actually after a week of getting back into our schedule Mr. Patriot starts getting up with me too. I just have to hold out until then!

Crazy-I think that is a great idea to list what you think you should do and then review after studying!

Kendra said...

I needed to read this tonight. I am getting up early, but having a hard time balancing my blog time, exercise time, and scripture reading time. I think I need to re evaluate my morning!

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

I thought I would had one more step that I forgot to include earlier.

I put my alarm across the room and under my tread mill. So I have to dig it out every morning to turn it off. It's usually much easier to get up at this point!

Nina said...

Thank you for sharing your daily routine. It helps to read about the sacrifices that others make to maintain their relationship with God. I'm a night owl and struggle to get to bed on time. Speaking of which, would you mind sharing at what time you usually go to bed, get up, and how long you do each activity for? (i.e. journal writing, conference reading, scripture study, etc). I enjoy my study of the scriptures so much that sometimes I over indulge and spend too much time studying which then throws off the rest of my day. Just wondering what your time frames were like. Thanks!

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

Hi Nina,

Thanks for writing. I usually spent 15 minutes each on journal and conference talks. Then I read the scriptures for 30-60 minutes depending on when I get up. After that I get ready for the day, make sure the kids are up and going. We eat breakfast at 8:30.

I go to sleep anywhere from 9:30 and 11:00. I wake up anywhere between 6:00 and 7:00. That has been the story lately. I hope that helps.

I love the scriptures and strive to have a good feast everyday.