Mornings are rough. There are commutes, dark mornings, erratic coffee makers, and general grumpiness to contend with. Recently I have found a way to make my morning just a wee bit easier, and it is becoming my precious wind-up time in the morning. I start my morning off with a homemade latte, a homemade pastry and some quiet time.
In my current life, one of the perks of my stressful job is that I don’t have to be on duty until 9:15. Still, I get up between 7 and 7:30 to have some time before I rush out the door. (Also, it helps that I have a less than 10-minute commute, by car with no traffic.) Once I get to work, the minutes fly by and I exhale only when I leave the building for the day. So, this morning ritual really does grant me some peace and quiet before I head off into the wider, wilder world.
The centerpiece of this morning experience is my warm steaming cup of coffee and frothy milk. I bought an espresso machine for $5 at a thrift store years ago, and amazingly, this thing is still kicking. To make life even simpler, I load up the machine before bed so that I can just flip a switch through my sleepy eyes. I rotate between a series of favorite mugs: the cheesy Colorado mug and the free public radio member mugs. My coffee fixings depend solely on the quality of coffee on hand, which is completely dependent upon budget restrictions. One way to easily camouflage substandard java is with a dollop of good honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Voila! A latte served in a ceramic cup that can rival anything from a shop — with no waiting in line!
Second, I have a homemade bread or pastry on hand for my first breakfast. (Yes, I eat two small breakfasts every day.) A loaf of whole-wheat applesauce bread (from homemade applesauce, naturally) or a pan of cheddar biscuits can last a whole week and is such a welcome alternative from the processed frozen bagels.
Depending on my mood, I will tune in to NPR or read the online news. Many mornings I just sit and stare out the window, waiting for the sun to come up and the chickens to jump from their coop.
This simple way of waking up can really lay a positive foundation for my day. What I’m learning, and more importantly practicing, is that it is always the most simple and thoughtful things that create moments of happiness and peace.