This interview is with Lisa Hendey. Lisa is the founder and of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of The Grace of Yes, The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion, The Handbook for Catholic Moms, I Am God's Storyteller, and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. Lisa has inspired me for many years as she continues to create quality content for a variety of audiences. As a fellow Ave Maria Press author, I credit Lisa with the motivation to keep pressing on with my own book. She’s the best.
What is your typical morning routine?
My first stop in the morning is typically my coffee pot, where I give praise to God for the magical powers of dark roast. On most days, I go next to my prayer time, which is one of the best parts of every day. I, unfortunately, don't make daily Mass most days, but a consistent part of my morning routine is praying the day's Liturgy of the Word. After opening my quiet prayer time with informal prayers of thanksgiving and intercessory prayer, I pull up the readings for the day at USCCB and read and reflect upon them. I pull a line from each scripture passage, note it in my journal, and meditate upon it in Lectio Divina-fashion for a few moments. It always amazes me how God sends me exactly what I need most days! I journal for approximately ten minutes, review my appointments for the day, make a list of priorities for the day (often based on the things I didn't get done the day prior) and intentionally invite the Holy Spirit to guide my day. I typically close my morning prayer with the Morning Offering and the Allegiance Prayer.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I've prayed this way for several years, but my routine has evolved. I used to also spend time studying a saint during this time and praying the Liturgy of the Hours, but I have moved those portions of my prayer journey to later parts of the day, when I am more awake.
How has your morning routine changed in recent years?
It's actually shortened. As I've aged and have more independent time during the day, I've shifted much of the spiritual reading and planning I used to do early in the morning to later parts of the day. I find that by not trying to do a "laundry list" of prayer, I focus more clearly on my quiet time with God. For me, a planner and one has a tendency to get very list-oriented, I've had the problem in past years with seeing morning prayer as too much of a "to do" list item. This more leisurely approach that I've taken in the last few years has helped my morning quiet time with God to feel like a more natural, sacred moment as opposed to a rigid time of study.
Do you do anything the night before that makes your morning easier?
I definitely look at my calendar shortly before bed just to remind myself of any important commitments and to plan ahead for reserving quiet time for my morning routine.
When you travel, do you have to make any adjustments to your morning routine?
As it is now, my morning routine is pretty mobile, which means that I don't have to take much with me and I can adjust to wherever I am. I prefer when at home to read scripture from an actual Bible (no notifications!) but I don't carry my big Bible with me on the road. Another recent development has happened on my frequent visits to my parents' house. My mom's health has unfortunately resulted in her move to a Memory Care facility. Daddy is living on his own for the first time in 57 years. When I am at their house, my routine shifts a little to accommodate his need for some company in the morning. One great blessing is praying with Daddy as we pull out of the driveway to visit Mom at her place. And a tiny little part of my routine, when there, is to pray the sign of the cross immediately upon entering the security code to Mom's unit. Even that quick prayer reminds me that I am entering sacred ground with a mission: to lovingly serve my mom and her fellow patients.
In which ways does prayer in the morning set a course for your entire day?
Morning prayer is my roadmap for the day. It's my opportunity to place the gifts and blessings and challenges of the day in God's hands, to remind myself to trust God's will and to align myself with it, and to remember that if I do my best to give God my "Yes", my to do list for the day will not always line up perfectly with what actually transpires each day... and that's ok!