I am an ex-pat living in the Middle East with my husband and two kids. We have been here for three years, and serve with our time. I have changed a lot since moving overseas from my passport country. I am a music teacher and have the privilege to teach at two different schools, mostly in English! I love HelloMornings and cherish the studies. Winter is a tough time for my quiet time with the Lord because the apartments here are not built for the winter and it is very cold with stone floors and no insulation.
What does your morning look like?
I usually wake at 6:30, and go to bed between 10:30-11. For my HelloMornings, I am barely awake, but I enjoy the quiet. I have breakfast after because we live in a one-story apartment and I don’t want to wake the kids! I have eaten the same breakfast for a year a half: oats mixed with milk and microwaved. Then I add peanut butter and a small amount of honey. It’s very filling. On Shabbat, Saturday morning, we don’t set an alarm. My son does not go to school that day (they go six days a week here). We let them watch a movie and it is a much slower paced day. We don’t go anywhere because nothing is open, so it’s very family-focused. Our church service is that evening, so Saturday morning and afternoon is just rest.
What does your HelloMornings time look like?
I have been part of the group for a year and a half. My Bible, my pen, an open mind, and my space heater are items that are part of my routine. Parker pens are common over here, so I have one I keep on my desk. I brought a spiral bound notebook with me when we moved over here. I don’t listen to music during my HelloMornings time. Because of my music training, listening to music is very distracting. I have to have absolute quiet. The tools I use for my planning time is all online because I try to keep down the paper clutter (since we move around as ex-pats in ministry). I use online calendars, meal planning, reminders, and so on. No, exercise is not part of my HelloMornings routine. I exercise later in the day with the kids. I have to do my morning time while the kids are still resting. If that falls through, I do it at another time during the day. When I first started HelloMornings, it was about making sure I had read the passage and then checking it off. But often, as in the case with Bible study, it soon became more about my heart attitude and where I was when I approached the Word. Now, if I miss a day, I give myself lots of grace and continually think of him and his word throughout the day.
What are some words of wisdom you have for our HelloMornings community?
I am not a perfectionist, so if I miss a day, I just pick up where I left off. I look at my life and what is required of me and give myself lots of grace. I am better off to myself and my family if I’m not stressed out about what I didn’t get done. God loves me and understands when life happens and when we miss. I think he is more concerned about where my heart is than if my schedule happens every day. The hardest part is when things go not as planned (kids are sick, or something out of the ordinary happens). It’s easy to get off track and not be as consistent. In winter, it’s hard to get out of bed! My advice for someone starting a morning routine is: Don’t be intimidated! We all have the same tools to study his word. Jump in right where you are; you don’t have to wait to become “perfect” before you start gaining from spending time in his Word. You are His child, and He loves you so very much. Some days will be better than others; give grace. Something else I want to add: when we study books or passages in the Old Testament, I really like reading the passage in the original Hebrew and comparing it to the English. I’ve been blessed to learn a lot of Hebrew these past few years and enjoy using my Hebrew/English Bible. It adds a lot to my understanding and comprehension.
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Thank you, Angela, for sharing YOUR HelloMornings story with us.