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Note From Carolyn:  For those of you who love our herbal detox, it’s our End Of Summer Sale! 10% off all orders plus freebies!  Here’s the perfect way to flush, balance and restore after summer-time indulging with company and disrupted schedules.  With all the joys it brings, we always welcome September and getting back to normal! This makes it easy. CLICK HERE

September Morn! Sing it Neil Diamond! We love that nip in the air, looking back at the summer and the good times, the beauties of September itself and the wink towards the approaching Autumn and the Holidays.  September, in many ways, is January’s back-to-school twin dressed up with a new backpack, cozy sweater, freshly sharpened pencils and an unopened box of brand-new crayons!  Oh, the things we’ll do!

My view of it all is especially clear and bright – literally!  Last September I got a brand-new prescription for bifocals along with a clean bill of health for my eyes. The doctor said there were “faint shadows of cataracts that are years down the road.”  Great!  I got my new glasses. When they started to fail in the early part of this year, I thought it was either the glasses (I’ve purchased my progressive bifocals for years and saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars by buying them online or perhaps a faulty prescription? 

Lo and behold, nine months later at my 65-year-old physical checkup  in May, it turns out that I had a common form of very aggressive, fast-growing cataracts! Both eyes needed new lenses!  But I would need to wait until August … two and a half months away.

It’s been a long summer as I knew what needed to be done but was unable to do it myself.  Hello, patience.  In the last two weeks, however, both eyes have been done!  I am delighted with how I can now see – without glasses!  Everything is bright and crystal clear! 

Don’t we all need, in a way, to have that experience spiritually as we seek to “improve the shining moments” with our ever-shortening and limited number of days here on earth?  I believe that’s why President Nelson has asked us repeatedly to seek personal revelation and to fine-tune our communication with our Heavenly Father who knows what we can be and do!

September is always a fresh start! How delightful and refreshing it is to embrace it as an opportunity to remove the shading and sharpen up our habits and lives.  With the cataracts gone and new lenses in place, I feel like I have taken off sunglasses and focused binoculars with what I’m experiencing now and want to extend that to all aspects of my life!  But don’t we all?!?
I am grateful this September for a prompting (and I believe personal revelation) that led my husband and I to purchase a book that was briefly mentioned in a business convention we attended early in the summer.  “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod is a short-read, based on the principle we know so well: 

D&C 88:124

Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.

Our full-time missionaries have such a schedule to start their days right and this is not too different. The author, at a very low point in his life (depressed due to serious financial trouble several years after a an extremely serious car accident that had impaired his body and brain) stumbled onto the principle of getting up an hour earlier than usual to give himself the jump-start he needed. He wasn’t quite sure what to actually do for that 60 minutes so he created an acronym to guide himself and made a personal promise to keep it up for 30 days.

Thirty days later, he was a changed man and ready to take on the world!   His book about his experience has created a wide online following. with many who have personal proof that the three little pigs (who beat the fox to the fair by arriving at dawn) were also right: The early morning hours are where it’s at for personal power!

As we have read in the New Testament this year, it is fascinating how many, many times we read where the Savior was up in the wee hours of the morning, long before He needed to have any interaction with anyone other than with Himself and His Father. 

This is an exciting way to follow and become more like Him!

Mind you, Bob and I did 11 straight years of early morning seminary with our five children.  We thought we’d left getting up at 5:00 AM in the dark behind us! But the book, divine prompting, perspective and the author’s easy to follow acronym have got us taking the 30-day Challenge and we are loving it!

(Please note that It doesn’t have to be 5:00 AM, just so that you have at least an hour before other responsibilities and schedules)

Did you realize that hitting the snooze button repeatedly tells our Heavenly Father that we’re reluctant to start the day?  Jumping up and getting going sends the message that we’re excited about our lives, the day ahead and its promises!  The bleary feeling is gone after the first 5-10 minutes with the following easy preparation.  We’ve found that we’re not tired during the day, and not any more or less tired at bedtime.

 In a nutshell:  You lay out your exercise clothes the night before and put the alarm in the bathroom so you have to get up and get moving!  You wash your face, brush your teeth, have a big drink of water, ( since you become dehydrated from a long sleep) then put on your exercise clothes and jump into his life-SAVERS:

S– SILENCE | 5 Minutes: Pray, meditate and focus on gratitude.

A – AFFIRMATIONS | 5 Minutes:   Read or repeat personal statements that describe the person you’d like to be and what you’d like to accomplish with your life.

V – VISUALIZATION | 5 Minutes:  How you want your day to go, dreams, hopes, etc.

E – EXERCISE | 20 Minutes: Do something physical! We like to get out and walk or run!

R – READING | 20 Minutes:  Something meaningful that will improve your life

S – SCRIBING | 5 Minutes:  Record in a journal your feelings, aspirations and blessings.

Of course they can be mixed up, and you can spend longer or shorter periods of time for each element. 

I am using the timer on my phone and setting it for 5 minutes for the first 3 parts:

1 – Silence:
is where it starts and you sit peacefully in a chair to pray and meditate.  I have challenged myself to learn how to meditate and empty my mind for 5 minutes. This is harder than it seems for those with busy brains like mine!  But the Lord is there and is whispering new things to me as I allow Him to with that silence.

2 – Affirmations and 3 – Visualization: 

I’ve started a 3-ring binder with my affirmations and visualization that I can flip through.  The book now includes my patriarchal blessing.  I’m using the plastic 3-hole page protectors so I can easily add pictures, thoughts, etc.  I’ve also got a little notebook where I can record notes and ideas.

I’m excited about the fun and power of this binder and using it as a mini vision board!  I have the following two statements front and center that remind me of the divine potential in each of us:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  (Marianne Williamson)

“God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future–to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities. God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.” Jeffrey R. Holland, Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast, CES Fireside, September 2004

In less than 2 weeks, I’m amazed with the personal power that is coming each day!  This is a thrill!  Getting up and going with that first hour has given me the impetus to get up even earlier so I have another 30-45 minutes to work on my own personal projects that I never seem to have time for!

4 – Exercise:  I love walking our neighborhood so early in the morning!The air is fresh, the dew and mist is still on the grass, the sun is just coming up. This week I even watched the moon go down!  I listen to my favorite motivational speaker and prepare for my calling as a Sunday School Gospel Doctrine teacher by listening to the Proctors fabulous podcasts,  the “Don’t Miss This” lessons on Youtube and another excellent Youtube broadcast each week called “Teaching With Power”.  Even if you’re not a Gospel Doctine teacher, these are so excellent and make each Come Follow Me lesson come alive!  I’ve included those links at the bottom of the article.

5 – Reading:  This has always been my favorite thing to do!  Twenty minutes isn’t very long, but I set the timer and am making the most with some books that are important to me.  By now my mind is bright and awake!

6 – Scribing:  Yes, I love to write, but my personal journal has been sadly lacking.  My handwriting is terrible and I don’t enjoy writing by hand.  The author asks you to figure out some way to do some personal journal writing every day – whether it’s an app, a journal, or whatever.

My great AHA moment came early on:  Why not just dictate an email to myself every morning?  From my phone?  So that’s what I’ve been doing!  I use the date as the subject line and can quickly summarize the events of the day before, along with promptings, ideas and feelings from my hour.  I send myself the email, then can print it out for a 3-ring binder!  Love it!

Now the 30-day challenges could be just for weekdays – but it feels so good to get up and crackin’ that we may just continue, as apparently many people in the online Miracle Morning community do.

The book elaborates on every element of getting up early and implementing the SAVERS.  It does take a little time to get yourself set up, but the benefits and habits that come are very quick and potentially life-changing! Implementing the challenge is as exciting as the first few weeks of a new school year. It’s more fun and productive than I had thought possible and I’ll report on it again in October!

In the meantime, here are the excellent podcasts that I listen to each week. The true miracle is not in the morning, but finding HIM in the morning so He can be with us all day!

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. 

She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of eleven. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox.  CLICK HERE

YOUTUBE:  Don’t Miss This:
YOUTUBE:  Teaching with Power: