Hello Mornings: How to Build a Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine

Hello Mornings: How to Build a Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine

by Kat Lee


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Are you ready to wake up for your life and not just to your life?

Don't worry; you don’t have to be a morning person to start each new day well. Join Kat Lee and thousands of women from countries around the world who have learned to maximize their mornings. In Hello Mornings, Kat introduces a simple yet powerful three-minute morning routine that integrates Bible study, planning, and fitness into a foundational morning habit that fits into every schedule. She then helps you build each of these core habits for life-long growth.

Everyone can find three minutes. And instead of adding one more thing to the list, Hello Mornings lifts the weight off women by revealing a grace-filled way to establish a powerful morning routine that offers

  • a simple way to incorporate the most-sought-after daily habits into a simple morning routine: God. Plan. Move.
  • the latest research on habit formation and development
  • practical tools to help readers develop and grow their own personalized, adaptable plan for mornings
  • stories of transformed mornings from women in every season and stage of life

Hello Mornings helps readers renovate their mornings to establish and grow a powerful daily routine—a long-term, Jesus-centered habit to anchor them in every season. Each morning can then become a launch pad into God’s amazing plan for their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718094171
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 12/05/2017
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,000,490
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Kat Lee is passionate about teaching others how to jump-start each day with a grace-filled, life-giving morning routine. She is a writer, speaker, podcaster and founder of HelloMornings.org. She and her husband, Jimmy, live in Waco, Texas, with their three children. Stay connected with her at TheKatLee.com.

Read an Excerpt


Setting the Stage

In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Derek Redmond was Great Britain's best hope for a medal in the four-hundred-meter race. At the semifinals, everyone expected him to qualify for the finals. He lined up for his event. The gun went off; Derek charged around the track, fending off the other runners.

But at the two-hundred-meter mark, Derek collapsed in a heap on the ground, writhing in pain. As the other contestants passed him by, leaving his dreams in their dust, Derek wrestled with the realization and pain of a ripped hamstring.

Everything he had worked for his entire life had just ended. In an instant, his failure was complete.

Derek wouldn't win the race. He wouldn't win an Olympic medal. He would need to be carried off on a stretcher. He didn't meet his own expectations or anyone else's. He could have labeled himself a failure in that moment, but he wrote a better story. He refused to quit.

As the other runners approached the finish, Derek struggled to his feet, gripped his leg, and with tears running down his face, began hobbling toward the finish line more than two hundred meters away. He couldn't win, but he could finish. He took excruciating step after excruciating step, determined to complete his race.

Slowly the crowd realized what was happening. A wave of cheers spread throughout the stadium, and, by the hundreds, spectators rose to their feet. The announcers barely acknowledged the winner of the race, too choked up with emotion and focused on the greater story happening at two hundred meters.

Then, something even more incredible happened. There was a small commotion in the crowd. A man who was a little older and a little grayer than Derek pushed his way down to the railing. He jumped over the railing onto the track and fought off security guards and officials as he ran to his broken and beaten son. Derek's father wrapped his arms around him in support and spoke words of love, hope, and courage over him. You could see the relief wash over Derek as his father helped him carry his pain.

Together, they crossed the finish line.

Later, reporters swarmed the elder Mr. Redmond and asked what inspired him to push through the crowd, fight past security, and jump onto the track with his son. Mr. Redmond simply said, "I intended to go over the line with him. We started his career together; I think we should finish it together."

Friends, I don't know where you are in your journey with God. I don't know how many times you've tried to spend time with Him or read the Word or prayed and felt as if you failed. But I do know that He does not merely stand at the finish line awaiting your triumphant victory. Our loving God, our faithful Father, is fighting to come alongside you in the journey. To push past all the discouragements and distractions. To speak words of love, hope, and courage over you. To wrap His arms around you and finish the race with you. Because of Jesus, God does not require our perfection; He wants a relationship with us. That's what this book is all about. If I help you build the habit of connecting with Him every day, no matter how broken and beaten you may feel, I know He can take you the rest of the way. He can heal, He can restore, He can redeem, and He wants you to be a part of a great and powerful story.

The God of heaven and earth wants to come alongside you each and every day and run your race with you, starting first thing in the morning. Maybe you've tried waking up early before. Maybe you're in a season that makes mornings challenging. But please know this: creating a life-giving morning routine is so much simpler than we are often led to believe.

As the founder of HelloMornings.org, I've seen thousands of women in countries around the world build lasting morning routines that start their days well — routines that impact their hearts, their communities, and the world around them. They weren't born "morning people," and you don't have to be one either. You don't need to wake up at the crack of dawn. You don't need to lose sleep or even set your alarm. What? How is that possible? That's what we're going to learn together.

You'll meet women just like you — women in every stage, season, and situation of life — who have found a way to make mornings work for them. I'll share my story and help you understand yours, and together we'll build a new morning routine for you. I'll show you how you can begin a long-term investment in your life that will influence not only you but also those around you. You'll understand the process of building a lasting morning routine, read stories, and learn the science behind how God-centered, small, simple habits can transform your life. And we'll begin with a step-by-step, three-minute morning routine. Everyone has three minutes.

What to Expect from This Book

I'd like to give you a little roadmap of what's ahead in this book. I've divided Hello Mornings into three parts. The first part introduces you to why mornings are important, the second gives you a blueprint for your daily routine, and the third part offers tools to help make your morning routine a consistent part of your life.

If you want a crazy hard, complex solution, this isn't the book for you. If you want a quick fix, this isn't the book for you. If you want a simple, scalable solution that leads to a deeper relationship with God and permanent personal change, then keep reading.

Keep in mind as you read that the inspiration doesn't end with this book. Our thriving online community at HelloMornings .org will keep your morning routine going strong. We're here to answer your questions, keep you motivated, and learn new things together.

The Solution (yep, right here in chapter 1)

You picked up this book because you need a solution for your mornings — your life — so I'm going to give it to you here in chapter 1. The best part? It only takes three minutes. As you read, you'll begin to understand the power of such a simple routine. You'll learn in later chapters how to scale it up. And you'll learn how to keep it going.

The Three-Minute Morning

1. Read / memorize / pray Psalm 143:8.

2. Look at your calendar for today.

3. Drink a glass of water.

There you go. That will change your life. There's nothing magical about each step, yet each one is crucial. Feel boxed in by how specific it is? You can change it up, but I recommend you understand the purpose behind each item first by reading through the rest of this book. Do you already have a morning routine? Great! Add this. You'll learn why and how adding something small can make a big difference.

Three minutes can change everything. Start now.

Remember: everyone has three minutes. It's what you do with them that can make all the difference. For me? It took me around the world and back.

My Story

My name is Kat Lee. It's nice to meet you! If we were sitting down for coffee, you'd quickly learn that I'm a forty-something, half-Asian Texan who loves sports, office supplies, and coffee. If you're into Myers-Briggs, I'm an ENFP (an extroverted, intuitive, feeling perceiver). I love planning and organization, but I'm not naturally neat and tidy. I'm passionate about people, and I absolutely love cheering on others. If I were standing next to you right now, I'd be whisper-cheering, "You can do this! I'm so proud of you! Keep reading! Go, you!" I might even be holding a big sign or banner with your name on it. Think "adorkable" rather than "stalkerish."

I started being intentional about my mornings after marriage and family filled my days. This isn't a mom book, but I have to tell you: the way my life has unfolded is a core part of the story God has written for me. He has woven redemption and restoration into my years in unexpected ways. And all along this bumpy road, I've felt His hand on the small of my back, gently leading me at each turn. I'll share some of those twists and turns because my motherhood story and my morning story are inextricably woven together. I pray you'll find hope for your story and vision for your mornings.

Her name was Cristina, and she was beautiful. She had an olive complexion, brown Filipina eyes, and a petite frame. She could sing like an angel. She was my mother. She loved Jesus and my daddy, and I've been told she loved me too. I'd like to think so. But I never heard her say it — at least not that I remember, because just nine months after I came into the world, her illness-ridden body left it.

Motherhood was always a mystery to me. What was it like to call someone Mom? To see her eyes light up? To call her name and have her comfort me when I was sad or sick? To say it with entitled ingratitude knowing my emotions were safe with her? What was it like to be able to look into the eyes of the woman I'd someday become? Mother. Such a simple, universal word ... that I'd never fully understand.

It was the small things I missed the most. I didn't hold her hand on my first day of school as I crossed the street in front of Komarek Elementary. I didn't wiggle around as she tried to brush the knots out of my hair. I didn't argue with her about my clothes. I didn't roll my eyes, ignoring motherly advice to put a jacket on before going out to play in the crisp Chicago air. I didn't ask her if she knew the secret to good, tight-rolled jeans.

My mama was a nurse, they told me. She was from the Philippines and met my blond-haired, blue-eyed father at a get-together in Chicago that my aunt hosted. Growing up, I don't think I could have told you the difference between the words Philippians and Philippines. I'm sure I confused the two more than once. My mom had been the only member of her family to come to the United States, so I knew absolutely nothing about Filipino culture and very little about my other family on the opposite side of the world. I grew up with my Swedish-Dutch dad and his side of the family.

But I'd heard a few names: Lolo and Lola, my grandparents. Aunt Rufe. Cousin Esther Sandee. I even got a few airmailed letters. But that was about it. I wasn't sure how they were all related exactly. How many brothers and sisters did my mom have? What were their names? How many cousins did I have? I had no idea. So much about my mother was a mystery to me.

Few things highlighted my ignorance more than the second Sunday of May. No one thought much about the little girl who always threw her Mother's Day craft in the trash on the way out of Sunday school. Holding back tears, I looked around at all the moms and daughters and felt as though I was on the outside looking in on a relationship that I would never know.

But I was never alone. Just like Derek Redmond's father, God walked alongside me in my pain. He brought women into my life to show me how to live. And as I followed Him along the journey, He orchestrated a beautiful and redemptive plot twist that I would never have known if I hadn't been walking with Him day by day.

She was born in June 2002. My husband, Jimmy, and I were parents of a precious little girl. I was a mother. I was a mother. We named her Anna, and she was beautiful, just like my mama.

God redeems.

But He wasn't done.

Allison, my mini-me, was born two years later. I felt a little like Job at the end of his story when he received back twofold all he had lost. I had not only one but two precious daughters. Two opportunities to experience that elusive relationship I thought I'd never know. Two opportunities to be the very thing I always dreamed of having. And two beautiful reasons to look forward to Mother's Day.

God redeems.

But He still wasn't done.

We have three children now. Jackson was born in 2007, and he is a joy. I know I make mistakes, but I'm also fighting every single day to be all God dreamed when He chose me to be the mother of my three children. I'll be the first to admit I have no earthly idea what I'm doing. I just know I desperately need Jesus moment by moment. Apart from Him, I'll hurt these beautiful children He has entrusted to me. Apart from Him, I'll be apathetic. Apart from Him, I'll set my expectations too high and pass on the pain of my childhood.

But I don't really mind being inadequate because it's a daily reminder of my need for Jesus. I can't be wise enough, patient enough, or loving enough, but in Christ, I can do all things (Phil. 4:13).

Early on in motherhood, I learned to fall at His feet first. I learned to let Him fill me before I tried to fill anyone else. That's how my morning routine started: just a prayer and a few verses.

And that one simple, small habit has taken me places I never would have imagined. To a deeper relationship with God than I'd dreamed. To a messy and wild life that feels peacefully well anchored. And into a story of redemption that brings encouragement and hope to others.

I started a mom blog in 2010, when my children were seven, five, and two, and I found it deeply ironic. Who was I to start a mom blog? Not only was I clueless about motherhood, I was also not your typical mom. I hate cooking. When anyone mentions the word crafts, I end up in the fetal position in a corner rocking back and forth. Give me a ball and something to throw, kick, or shoot it into, and I'm happy as a clam.

But I was passionate about the nobility of motherhood. I knew the power of a mother's influence — positive or negative, present or absent. A mother's impact is undeniable. I clearly felt God calling me to speak encouragement to moms.

The motherless mom blogger. It didn't make sense, but God doesn't usually pick the obvious choices.

When I started my blog, the first thing I wrote about was my morning routine. I made it into an e-book, actually. I shared how I'd wake up before the kids and what I did in my morning time. Riveting, right? I am a party wherever I go. A wild one, I am.

But, very unexpectedly, that e-book was shared far and wide. Eventually, a reader asked if we could do a group challenge based on that morning routine. We called it Hello Mornings, and, over the years, thousands and thousands of women have joined together and encouraged one another in the journey.

By fall 2010, the blog was doing really well. So well, in fact, that I got a message from Shaun Groves, the director of the Compassion Bloggers program.

Compassion is a child sponsorship program that our family has been involved with for years. At the time, their blogger program selected writers to take on trips around the world to show what Compassion does to help children. I'd followed every single one of their trips because some of my favorite writers went and shared their experiences. I wept buckets at Ann Voskamp's stories and laughed at the adventures of Melanie Shankle, and I added a new sponsor child almost every trip I followed. Now it was my turn — Shaun invited me to go with them on their next trip.

Growing up, we weren't a world-traveling family. Sometimes we'd drive up to Green Lake, Wisconsin, during the summers or visit Uncle Merl and Aunt June on their farm in Indiana, but we never flew anywhere. I had friends who went overseas, but I never imagined myself in far-flung places.

But there I was. The motherless mom blogger with an opportunity to use my words to help children. I was honored.

I reread Shaun's message several times to make sure it was meant for me.

But his next message left me undone. My husband, Jimmy, was out of town, the kids were asleep, and I remember how I just fell into my creaky dining room chair and wept when I read it.

Shaun's message said, "We're going to the Philippines. Interested?"

Compassion works in countries all over the world. The trip could have been to anywhere. They didn't know my story. But God did. The great Redeemer was redeeming my story. I was going to get to see the country my mother knew so well. I'd glimpse her culture and see sights she saw. One more rare connection to the woman I always longed to know.

He redeems.

But He still wasn't done.

A few weeks before the trip, I was up far too late wrapping up a blog post as I sat snuggled under my favorite thick blanket on my couch. Then a Facebook message popped up.

"Hi! My name is Esther Sandee. I'm one of your cousins from the Philippines ..."

Esther Sandee? I'd heard that name before. We exchanged a few airmail letters when I was in elementary school. How did she find me? Why was she even looking?

It dawned on me: I hadn't been forgotten. My brother and I had never been forgotten. All those years we wondered about them, they had wondered about us too.

More tears and messages back and forth. I told her I'd be in Manila in a few weeks, and she replied, "You will?! We'll come meet you."

I never could have dreamed ...

Oh, how He redeems.

Have you ever been so excited to arrive somewhere that when you walk up to the baggage claim you start to cry?

Yeah, probably not. I didn't expect to either.


Excerpted from "Hello Mornings"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Rachel Lee.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Why Mornings?

1 Setting the Stage 3

2 Do Our Mornings Matter? 19

3 Are You Ready? 37

4 Laying the Foundation for Your Morning Routine 63

Part 2 Your Morning Routine Blueprint

5 God Time 83

6 Plan Time 95

7 Move Time 114

Part 3 Your Morning Routine Toolkit

8 How to Build Habits 139

9 The Power of Preparation 160

10 Community and Accountability 177

11 Call to Action 197

Appendix: Resources 208

Acknowledgments 220

Notes 222

About the Author 227

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