The day will arrive

Salvador Dalí's house - photo by y Szoltys, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Salvador Dalí’s house – photo by Szoltys, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

“It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot…In a few moments the day will arrive…For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands.  It is now that I must make a choice.”Max Lucado

Many years ago my friend Gloria, who has been a psychotherapist for more than 40 years, told me that people with depression often have the hardest time in the morning. At first that surprised me, since sunlight has always lifted my moods so effectively. But when I stopped to think about it, it made sense that morning would be a big obstacle to anyone who feels despondent.

As far back as I can remember, mornings have been quite difficult for me, and never more than now. The bed is such a quiet, restful retreat. The business and busyness of the day loom, intimidating me with the challenges of complex tasks and the drudgery of simple but unappealing ones. If I awaken early (which happens often) I have a bad tendency to start ruminating on all the things that are worrying me. Almost every day, right before I get out of bed, I begin the day with a simple prayer: God, please help me.

Usually I am able to get myself going and shake off the doom-and-gloom apprehension, but some mornings my crankiness carries right into the daily routing, affecting not only me, but Matt and now, Jeff. (Before retirement, Jeff left for work so early that Matt and I were still in bed. I bet there are some days he wishes he still did that.)   😀

It’s a curious fact– or maybe not so curious– that the first few minutes of the day seem to exert a powerful influence on the remaining 16-18 waking hours. It could be my imagination, but those frustrating days when everything seems to go wrong almost always begin with my “getting up on the wrong side of the bed” as the old saying used to go.

I’ve developed some coping mechanisms which seem to help, beginning with my brief but heartfelt prayer. Tea has been a wonderful thing to look forward to each day. I also give myself a head start by preparing as many things in advance as I can the night before, laying out clothes and checking Matt’s daily log and packing most of his lunch. If I have to check his Coumadin level in the morning, I set the meter out so I won’t forget.

Instead of turning the alarm clock off, I might leave the classical music playing as I make the beds. Some mornings I will step outside on the deck and listen to the birds. In the summer it often feels deliciously cool before the heat of the day has set in, and it’s almost impossible to feel dejected when one is surrounded by green trees and singing birds.

Lucado is right; each morning we have a choice to make. However good or bad things may be, we can make them better or worse by the choices we make about how we approach the coming hours. Getting off on the wrong foot won’t necessarily derail the entire day, but it almost always goes better if we resolve early to recognize the day as the blessing it truly is.

Are mornings ever hard for you? If so, do you have any secrets for getting through those first few minutes with a good attitude?

 

51 Comments

  1. JillBortell

    I think King David said it best: “This is the day Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!”

    • Jill, that’s my Mama’s favorite verse! She has recited it to me (often with a somewhat bossy tone) many times over the years! Of course, it has been very good advice and I hope I’ve put it to good use.

      • Sheila

        Good Sunday morning, Julia. I wanted to add the visual of this gave me a smile to start my day. I think of your folks so often! Blessings cross the miles this morning! 🙏

        • Thank you, Sheila. I so appreciate your being here with us! ❤

  2. Janet

    I really needed this today.Blessings,fellow traveler.

    • Thank you, Janet. Miss you!

  3. Carolyn

    Yes, there are times I just want to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed and for get the day. I can’t do that when there are other things to do, just give me my coffee and hope the day goes without any problems, I’m sure there are days that Terry wishes one of use where are to work. I will be glad when fall gets here and I can enjoy my porch again. Coffee and my porch makes my morning better. Hope you all are doing okay and things are going good for Jeff. Love and hugs.

    • Hi Carolyn, I too am looking forward to weather cool enough to allow sitting outside for awhile. We had a really nice few days there and I began to think autumn was upon us, but suddenly WHAM! Heat and humidity again. Not complaining, though, because I love the sunshine. Jeff is doing OK. Some days are better than others. We can always use the love and hugs! Sending ours right back to you too!

  4. MaryAnn

    Good morning! This morning, I was “looking” for the joy you describe. Thank you for your hints. Yesterday, I had what I will call a misstep. At our bank there are many friendly people. We have been on 1st name basis for years. Two tellers looked at me at the same time. One had another employee standing with her, so as I walked up to the other one, I said,
    “It appeared you were about to arm wrestle over me.” That is the kind of joy & fun I experience at this bank. Then the glitch: the teller asked about my day. I complained about the heat. WOW! I felt convicted right away. Prayed a lot on the way home! I am used to counting my blessings & sharing uplifting comments. This passage in 1 Thessalonians 5 (NCV) “16 Always be joyful. 17 Pray continually, 18 and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus” is a great guideline. I will apply it today! Praising God for this new day to be who I am in Him!

    • Mary Ann, I can just picture that scene in the bank. Having been a teller I can assure you that we all did have our favorite customers and yes, there were times when we hoped a sunny or funny person would end up at our window. In that job I learned that we are never as anonymous as we might think we are. To this day I can remember many details about many of our customers, even though i was only at that location for a year.

      I love the verses you mention. They are often hard to put into practice, but if we can manage it, they never fail. Do y’all ever sing “This is how we overcome” at church? It’s a great song, especially how the tempo gets faster at the end. Thinking of you with thanksgiving in my heart!

      • MaryAnn

        You are one of my “treasures”!!! I love you!

        • Thank you Mary Ann! We love you too!!

      • MaryAnn

        I looked up the song on line, found more than one version. All offering praise to our Lord! I have not heard of it, nor sung it.
        Do you sing “Fix your eyes upon Jesus”, or “Cornerstone”? Both very uplifting & encouraging.

        • I think we’ve sung them occasionally, but not enough for me to know them. We try to mix old & new songs, so there are always way more than we have time to sing whenever we have request time.

  5. Carol

    Dear Julia,
    The first thing that strikes me is how very ordinary Dali’s kitchen appears. It’s Salvador Dali’s kitchen for goodness sake. Wouldn’t one expect a bit the “strangeness” that defines his art? Not so! I’ve always posited that the more outrageous a public figure is (think David Bowie) the more ordinary they are in private.
    Of course that doesn’t apply to many who live out their public lives in private with drugs, etc.
    That said, to address today’s message, I call those moments when I awake as my morning terrors. I’ve thought about it long and hard, even to be able to name it, and have come to much the same conclusion. I ruminate over what’s expected of me and whether I’m really up to the tasks. I often feel as if I’m being lead along, being pushed/pulled through the day. I think the saying “flying by the seat of ones pants” fits nicely. And I too say my prayer for the day, get up, get my coffee and do my devotions which you are a part of twice a week. Thnx for being there and doing what you do. 😊

    • Carol, thanks so much for this comment! Yes, I too was surprised that Dali’s kitchen looked about like anyone else’s. I kept wondering why there were no melting walls and skillets drooping from the ceilings and trees growing out of the stove burners. I think you are right about “strange” artists, and David Bowie is a prime example. I am a fan of his and once read an interview where he discussed his frustration at how people would assume he was like his characters in his real life, though of course it’s a natural mistake to make. Gustave Flaubert supposedly said “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

      I really identified with what you wrote about your morning terrors. Holly Golightly (in Breakfast at Tiffany’s) talked about the Mean Reds, and of course, I also grew up hearing (from my pilot father and brothers) about “flying by the seat of one’s pants” so that too is a phrase that hits home with me, especially in recent years. Just the fact that we have such colorful phrases to identify our struggles somehow makes them less oppressive, I think. Thank you SO much for making me part of your devotionals! We are honored and blessed to be remembered in prayer.

  6. I can appreciate your morning experience and how you improve it, Julia. I tend to not get depressed but some morning-usually after sleeping poorly–I awaken foggy and lower than I would like. And all you mentioned works well. I step onto our balcony, also enjoy my Bengal Spice or Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea, listen to classical or jazz, depending on the programming on radio. I also have meditations books, and the Bible with Upper Room readings. That really turns the tide for me. And then get going on what I planned the day before in my Moleskine book. And walk after breakfast.
    It would be nice to hear what others do, too 🙂

    • Bengal Spice! One of my all-time favorite flavors, especially in the fall and winter. I think your morning routine sounds ideal. I miss the Upper Room. During the time Jeff was first on chemo and I had to go with him, we would get up around 5:00 and head out before 6:00 a.m., as soon as Matt’s caregiver arrived. That would give me the time to spend there during the long hours of waiting. I really drew a lot of strength from the fellowship of so many kind people there, many of whom I am still in touch with. I hope to write for Upper Room again someday.

  7. Like you, Julia, I do a lot of prep work the night before. First I write and speculate what I will try to get done the next morning. I add my gratitude for the day and the possibility of another day. Not everyone gets another day as you well know. . Then I play some happy music like Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. We’ve been collecting happy music to keep me moving along. 🙂 I’ve started trying to do a little yoga or take a short walk before I have my coffee as the movement seems to help cheer me even though I’m not fond of exercise. Then I’m ready to take a reflective break. Having struggled with depression for a good portion of my life, I find it necessary to use any tool possible to keep it at bay. I don’t have the stress in my life you have though. makes it so much easier for me.

    • I just played Three Little Birds by Bob Marley– great morning song! In college I had an 8-track tape I had titled “Good morning” and it had a lot of similar type music on it. One of my favorites was “Skybird” by Neil Diamond. To this day I feel happy inside when I hear it. I had a whole tape of joyful music. I am trying to remember some of the others. I think it included “The Eagle and the Hawk” by John Denver. Matt has always loved “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin.

      I definitely find that an early morning walk is a great thing to do, though I rarely ever manage to prioritize it. But I probably should. You know, sometimes I think my life circumstances give me an odd form of support, insofar as I have no choice but to keep going. Many years ago, I lost a dear friend to suicide shortly after her adult son (who had significant disabilities) had moved to a group home. I have always wondered whether she might still be alive if her son had been there to force her to keep going.

      I had periodic problems with something very like depression long before these recent crises, and really, I can remember spells of it going back many years, though I never had a name for it, let alone a diagnosis. I never thought of it as true depression because I managed to fight it so well, but it’s the wolf that’s always just outside the door for me. As you say, one needs an entire arsenal of tools (not to mix metaphors or anything) at one’s disposal, because it often takes quite a few, and what works best may vary somewhat from day to day.

      • My daughter turned me on to Imagine Dragons. They have a song called On top of the world that is an ear worm like many of their songs and so happy. You are correct in assuming your friend gave up when her son was removed. I’ve seen a woman beat cancer 3 times to keep taking care of her “great- grandchildren” We all need to be of value and of service. It’s a driving force in us. Another tune I found on another blog was by Elbow called One Day like this. You can listen to it on U tube. Another ear worm. 🙂 The fact that you are so needed, means you have to take extra care of yourself so you can help others. That’s how I see it anyway. A few yoga stretches will help even if you can’t do a walk everyday. You do spend plenty of time with nature so that is always a big help. If I get down, I play in the dirt.:)

        • Marlene, I’m in a big hurry tonight but I do want to take time to find those songs, because I’m always on the lookout for happy music. Another one I totally love is “Save the Country” by the Fifth Dimension. When I listen to that it brings back my early teen years, a time that was miserable for me in some ways, but happy in others…and the music was wonderful. We need to start playing this song on the radio again, nonstop. It cheers and energizes me so much, and when nobody is around I sing along LOUDLY, even trying to hit the high notes. I especially identify with the words “I got fury in my soul” but I love where they go with it.

          • I’ll check out that song. We don’t even want to talk about my teen years. I think most of us would rather forget them. Sometimes I think I’m just now starting to really live wide awake. Have a wonderfilled day, Julia. Hugs.

            • Marlene, one of the great privileges of getting older (at any age) is the chance to keep “waking up” and growing. For most of us, I think life gets better as it goes along. I love being the age I am now. I would not want to be younger (though I reserve the right to change my mind about that, hee-hee). Giant vintage hugs!

  8. Ann

    Wow, what a timely message! I am not a morning person and after I get up l like some quiet, alone time with my coffee. Until two weeks ago, my sweet husband would get up first, make the coffee, empty the dishwasher etc.. And then wake me to have my coffee and quiet time.

    That changed when He had to have emergency surgery August 12. He is home now and recovering nicely but I can’t be ‘a spoiled princess ‘ now. I get up first, get his meds ready plus all of the chores he did. So, I would appreciate tips too.

    Julia, sorry for the whining, feel free to delete or edit this post, ann
    i’m so tired and scared

    • Ann, I would never delete or edit that post. My heart goes out to you and I hope you are able to hang on during the tired and scared times. It’s terribly hard to have the tables turned and be taking care of someone in ways that they once took care of you. I have no advice except to say that you should be very kind to yourself and cut yourself lots of slack in terms of trying to do all that you once did. Sometimes I look around me at the paperwork that has piled up and the dust on the furniture and the letters I long to sit down and answer, and wonder how on earth I will ever catch up. Then I tell myself, I will get done what has to be done, and the rest is not essential to survival. Friends understand if I’m late getting in touch, and the work will be there for me when I can get to it. Much of it might just as well go undone. As someone said in a different context, “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” I grieve with you for the lost mornings with your beloved husband, and pray you will get them back soon! I know that many who see this comment will pray for you. Remember I will keep you close in thought. As Alys says so sweetly, “arms around you.” ❤

      • Ann

        Thank you seems so inadequate but it’s heartfelt. It’s been a help to admit that I’m tired and scared to someone who would understand.

        • Ann, sometimes admitting we are tired and afraid can be the beginning of healing. Somehow, when we admit to something that troubles us, its power to control our lives seems more limited. I don’t really understand why, but I’ve found that to be the case (as long as I don’t go on and on about it, or lapse into a rant or something). Fred Rogers said “It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it.” I agree. Thinking of you!

  9. Good mid-day Julia xo. I’ve been so absent here, so this morning I’m making a new commitment to take time for things that make me happy. I generally feel pretty optimistic about the day when my phone chimes the first time. I have two waking bells, one an hour later. This way, I know if I feel like it, I can just close my eyes and take my time. What a luxury right? My apologies for this unintentional bravado, I sure don’t mean to rub it in. I would surely crumble under the weight of what you carry.
    The second thing I do is look at the kitty’s snoozing at my feet and that makes my heart sing. Pets are a magical mood potion. Then I flip to the end of the bed for our morning ‘love fest’ that involves me telling them they’re pretty, soft and loved. There’s lots of petting and tummy rubs. I think you just can’t get out of bed on the wrong side if you stop to rub a kitty tummy first. So that’s my Rx Julia 😀 Set you’re alarm an hour before you ‘have’ to rise and get a cat or two…..LOL. Sorry, that probably doesn’t help one bit but maybe you had a tea while we visited xo K Love to you all

    • Kelly, I love reading about the two morning bells! I don’t see it as rubbing anything in. I will just tuck that idea away in my someday file and I know the time will come when I will decide to try it for myself.

      Pets are indeed a magical mood potion. We are still unable to commit the time to adopting one, but sometimes I imagine having one, and certainly I enjoy the neighborhood dogs. I don’t get to see the kitties much as they are hard to spot outdoors, and even harder to approach successfully. However, I can pretend P & B are here with their sleepy kitty eyes. OF COURSE it helps to hear about them! The are part of my Boomdeeville Happy Place (BTW tell Alyster I said hello, and I found an old baby photo of Drew doing the trademark leg kick.) 😀

      • Love seems to find me when I most need it. Funny this, your sweet and dear mail arrived Fridayl. The photo’s you sent just cracked me up. Thanks for all the tidbits too. I laughed about that night all over again. LOL, what a nut, “the bad news is, I can’t find the bottle opener, the good news is, I brought a tiara”. There’s just no end to the silliness. All that after our blitz through the Military base…good grief 😀 Too bad I wasn’t wearing a tiara for that ! LOL Thanks for your mail and as always making me laugh. Oh BTW, Alyster’s flip flops have been seen near the garden but no sight of him yet. I heard he was still traveling. xo K

        • I’m so glad you liked the photo memories. I loved your postcards from Europe, too. Those photos I sent you made me smile every time I saw them. What a hilarious time that was. If When you come back we’ll have to go back to Ft. Myer with the tiara. There’s so much more to see and given my tendency to get lost and take wrong turns, it will take three times longer to see it than it would take you with a normal tour guide. 😀

          • Ya, we’ll take the scenic route…with our tiara’s on. I’ll bring an extra 😀 ❤

            • Daahhhliing, how perfectly lovely of you. Her Majesty doesn’t live close enough for me to borrow hers.

              • No lone-sies….you really must have one of your own. You could wear it reading bedtime stories to Owen and Grady. You could also wear it just driving down the road…maybe add white gloves, ha! That’s bound to give someone a chuckle xo ❤ Oh oh! What about just out raking leaves? Your neighbours will think you've lost your marbles. xk

                • K, wearing it outdoors is an excellent idea. It would certainly impress the critters. Maybe the voles would even quit chewing up my flower bulbs. 😀 It’s worth a try.

  10. Sheila

    Julia,every day is a blessing,indeed. Wow! My recent days have been challenging, and I’m not feeling like my usual sweet self. Just ask Bill! He referenced your blog for Thursday, and I knew it hit home for him, too. I read recently that remodeling and renovations have never brought a couple CLOSER! I think it’s a real challenge to any marriage! I’m on the same page as you, my friend. I really happily await our ninth VERANDAH of 2016. What a fast and furious year. 💛

    • Sheila, I can’t tell you what a relief it was to have most of our remodeling behind us. It’s unbelievably stressful and definitely not good for relationships, health, sanity or anything else, at least until it’s over. Then you can only hope it has turned out well enough to make it all worth it. Thursday’s blog was a sermon to myself, but if it helped anyone else, that’s a bonus! Only two days until the weekend, but we get a jump on it September first on the Verandah…

  11. HarryS

    I am a seeker and I want to thank you for Neil Diamond”s beautiful rendition of Skybird.
    I caught a long glimpse!

    • Harry, I’m so glad you like it! Have you read Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach? “Skybird” came from the movie version of that book. I hope to re-read it again because I loved it when it first came out in the early 70’s. Neil Diamond had many beautiful songs from that movie.

  12. Good morning, Julia!
    Early morning is typically my favorite time, and I wish it would last longer so that I could linger, but eventually I have to get on with other things. Four mornings per week, I wake up to Michael W. Smith’s Agnus Dei. I think I’ve been doing this for the better part of six years (?); how time flies! I’m usually smiling before the end of it, even on cloudy days. God is so good!

    • Susan, I’ll add that song to my “must listen” list; I hope to be having time to do that sometime in the next week. Yes, time flies, and God is very good, ALL THE TIME as our California preacher used to say. You are blessed to be a morning person. I’m not sure I’ll ever get there but I do enjoy those rare mornings when I wake up too early; I’ve learned to see it as a gift instead of a frustration.

      • Hi Julia, This is my favorite version:

        I hope you enjoy it, too!

        • Thanks, I did!

  13. Mike

    Another song mentioned-“Save the country”: was that also done first Laura Nyro? Recently I heard Cat Steven’s “Peace Train.” He did a concert a while back and did some of his favorites. His conversion to Islam at the time was puzzling.

    • Mike, Laura Nyro did write that song, but I don’t know whether she ever recorded it. I was a total Cat Stevens fanatic during my high school and college years. He was my dream guy. I thought he was SOOOO good looking and I loved his music. In a way, I was surprised by his conversion to Islam, but in another way, not so much. His music always had quite a searching quality to it. He recorded (and made quite popular) the old Christian hymn “Morning has broken,” and he sung of Jesus and Buddha and a wonderful song called “Drywood” that is a favorite of mine to this day.

      “Be like the light in the shadows, throw down your mask and be real
      Don’t wish to win, and don’t mind to lose; that is just a cycle, like a square within a wheel…
      Like drywood takes to fire, the truth will come to you,
      Like streams that seek the ocean, they will find ways through.
      Like morning meets the moon, my love will guide the way.
      It’s time to wipe your eyes now, and away…”

      I was, of course, disappointed that he ended up choosing Islam as his faith. I mostly missed his music that he gave up during his early years of conversion. I was not surprised that he later changed his initially strict interpretation of Islamic teaching, which allowed him to once again enjoy his musical gifts.

  14. Mike

    Is the Megan Anderson- of Indiana- who did a meditation on Sept 4th in the Upper Room a famous person also on this Blog site? The meditation involved tea so I could not help but think of another site. Tea is the the tie that binds us. We have been mixing Oregon chai bagged tea with Lipton and it is not bad.
    Wow 55 degrees out today and our Atlanta visitors coming on Thursday may have to bring a sweater along.

    • Mike, thanks for telling me about that devotional! I really enjoyed it and I thought her analogy was a good one. I had never heard of Megan Anderson before, but it was fun to glance through the comments (no time for more) and see so many familiar names again. Tea is indeed a tie that binds. Through my love of tea, I feel a connection to many different lands and people. It’s a favorite the world over, and for good reason. BTW I’m a big fan of mixing teas. It’s even easier and more fun with loose-leaf tea, but I do it with bagged tea all the time too, especially on a second steeping. I like to keep a pot of loose-leaf tea going all day, starting with black tea and gradually add in green tea as it gets later (lower in caffeine).

      Your Atlanta visitors will probably love the cool weather! Their autumn is likely to be at least a few weeks off, if it’s still as it was when I was young. Here in Virginia it comes a good bit earlier.

  15. Mike

    I don’t remember that song Drywood. We do have a CD of Laura singing “Save the country.” Cat Stevens voice is somehow soothing and “easy listening.”
    I don’t have much time now for UR comments either some of which seem to go on and on.But I digress. Raynard is always uplifting with his unique style and world view.

    • It wan’t a hit at all; the album it came off of (Numbers) was one almost nobody I knew had heard of. His music is definitely easy on the ear, and often quite deep.

      I agree with you about Raynard. A breath of fresh air in cyberspace, and always so positive and supportive.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: