I am a morning person. Really, truly, down to my toes. I love mornings.
Summer mornings that start around 5 am, even. I love 'em. They make me want to wake up earlier so that I can soak them in.
I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that if I'm going to work out, it's going to have to be in the morning. Working out at night is bad for me. It wakes me up so that I end up staying up later than I should. It takes up time that would otherwise be used for cooking and eating and hanging out with my husband. That is not something I can handle. Getting up a little earlier? Now that's something I can wrap my mind around.
This morning, my alarm woke me up at 5:15. I checked my phone and found a really sweet text from my sister-in-law, who is working at a summer camp in Texas (yowza) right now, and had finally gotten the chance to try on her b-day presents. That was enough to make me smile and not get back in bed (thanks C!). I laced up my running shoes and headed out into the cool blue morning. I haven't been running lately, and I tend to get wicked shin splints, so I had decided to take it easy - a little walking, some stretching, more walking to a park nearby, a 1/2 mile run around the track there, and a walk back home. It was so refreshing, and felt like giving a gift to myself.
As I walked along the tree-lined boulevard, looking at the cloudless summer-blue sky, and listening to Audrey Assad, I felt so close to God. It's always been that way with me - God shows up in blue skies, in thunderstorms, in the Rocky Mountains, or Lake Michigan; in a bouquet of fresh peonies or a thousand-color sunset. And those are the times when prayer feels the most natural, the most genuine to me. Because I feel like those moments of great natural beauty were created just for me, out of God's love for me. And I feel so blessed, and so thankful that I got out of bed to receive that gift.
After a shower, I got down to breakfast. I cut some apricots in half, dipped them in raw sugar, and broiled them until they were soft and caramelized. Meanwhile, I toasted some pecans, and made some oatmeal. I cut 3 of the apricot halves into bite-size pieces, chopped the pecans, and stirred everything into the oatmeal with a little more brown sugar and a little drizzle of cream. I didn't have enough time to give my breakfast the attention it deserved (so tomorrow I'll get up at 5 instead of 5:15), but it was delicious. I wolfed it down, grabbed my keys, kissed my husband, and ran out the door to work. It's great to feel like you've already accomplished so much before you've even gone to work! I look forward to further honing my morning routine.
Do you have a morning routine? When do you exercise?
What can't you put in oatmeal? I've been experimenting with different combinations, and this one is a winner. The apricots are sweet-tart and juicy, with a burnt-sugar crust on them. The pecans add the perfect amount of crunch. You may think that this sounds a little labor-intensive for a weekday morning, but if you roast the apricots the night before (and eat some for dessert), it comes together in a snap! If you haven't pre-roasted them, do it anyway - you only get to live this day once, and this day deserves a delicious breakfast.
1/2 cup old-fashioned (not quick-cook) oats
1/4 cup pecan halves
2 T raw (turbinado) sugar for dipping, plus more to sweeten oatmeal, if desired
1 T heavy cream (or milk or half-and-half)
Preheat your oven's broiler. Cut apricots in half, dip the cut side in raw sugar, and line them up on a pan. Broil for 3-6 minutes, until they are bubbling and browned on top. Meanwhile, toast the pecans until fragrant in a dry saute pan over medium heat. Cook the oatmeal in 1 cup of water for 3-5 minutes. Combine everything, drizzle with cream, and eat. Preferably with a cup of great coffee and a little extra time for sitting to enjoy.