Ingrid Friesen Moser, MA, RDN, has worked in wellness for over 25 years. In addition to her role as wellness coordinator with Mennonite Church USA’s (MC USA) Corinthian Plan, the health plan for MC USA pastors and church workers, she works with children and adults at Maple City Health Care Center in Goshen, Indiana. Her degrees in nutrition (Goshen College) and Christian formation (AMBS) reflect her passion for the intersection of health and wellness with spiritual disciplines.
What are the simple, everyday things you do that set the course for your day and life?
My grandfather, my father’s father, liked to sing, “I Owe the Lord a Morning Song.” When he was in his final years, widowed and his world shrinking around him, he told me that he began each day with the stretching exercises that his physical therapist taught him to do while still in bed. He chuckled as he told me that he added the practice of “stretching his mouth” with all four verses of “I Owe the Lord a Morning Song” before his feet even touched the floor. He knew it must have been quite the sight (and sound) — an old man in his pajamas doing such things in bed. Still, he did it faithfully. It was a powerful and transformative start to his day.
My dad is a morning person. He was often the first one up and got breakfast going when I was a child. He grew up going to boarding school, which I’m sure impacted the order and routine he brought to breakfast time. I remember the table always being set in the same way, the kettle humming as it warmed water for tea, and the familiar voices of radio news broadcasters sharing the day’s headlines. We didn’t sing with regularity, but a short devotional reading and prayer graced the beginning of the day. As my siblings and I became teenagers and involved in sports and after school jobs, this morning routine provided a centering time that we did not experience later in the day.
Fast forward to my own household. When I pause to think of routines that make a difference, morning, again, comes to mind. After our sons were born, my husband and I started the practice of setting the table for breakfast as the last act of the day before we went to bed. As exhausted parents of a baby and a toddler, we found it easier to get the day off to a good start knowing the intention was already set for gathering and eating breakfast. Now, with teenagers, we still set the breakfast table at night because of the pressure it takes off hectic mornings. In our home, this habit creates a cherished space for the day to start nourished and connected and an opportunity for a brief devotional word.
Our habits and routines form us into the people we are.
In this continued time of collective struggle, I wonder, what are the routines that you find yourself doing that sustain you?
Rather than focus precious energy on establishing a new habit this year, how might you celebrate or lift up a habit/routine that is already sustaining you?