The Miracle Morning

Miracle Morning

For most of my adult life, I’ve been a morning person. Up until my son was born, I started every weekday with a workout, followed by coffee and a couple solid hours of productive work. I loved my morning routine, and I really did try to get back into it post-baby. But the lack of sleep that first year (thanks to said baby!) made it nearly impossible, and I fell into the habit of sleeping until he woke up.

However, recently I’ve been setting my alarm and taking advantage of those early morning hours while the house is still quiet. My son is a wonderful sleeper now, and since baby #2 will be here in just a couple of months, I figured I better take advantage of this short window of time.

I listened to the audio version of Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 am), which further motivated me to make the most of my mornings. And while I don’t employ all of the components of his miracle morning routine, I’ve adopted many of the tips in the book.

I’m definitely noticing a positive difference in my mood and overall well-being on the days I wake up early, not to mention a huge increase in my productivity levels. My biggest complaint in life is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but creating my own “miracle morning” is at least a start to solving that problem.

Someday — maybe in a year or so when I have (fingers crossed!) two good little sleepers — I would love to craft my mornings as outlined in the book, which would include exercise, journaling, meditation, and reading. But for now, having some extra time to tackle my to-do list while my brain is still fresh seems to be just what I need.

Are you a morning person, and if so, how do you spend those early hours? And if you’re not, maybe reading The Miracle Morning will inspire you the way it re-inspired me.

Sidenote: this isn’t a sponsored post. I just really enjoyed the book and wanted to share the positive impact it has had on my life.

Friday Fave: Tuneful Teens

When I first started out as a new music therapist, the population that intimidated me the post was the tween and teen crowd. I felt very comfortable working with children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, but it took me awhile to feel just as comfortable with the older students.

Even today, it takes more effort to plan a music therapy session for teens than it does for my younger kiddos. They can be just a little harder to engage, not to mention they don’t always think my interventions and activities are “cool” enough!

That’s why I was so excited when my friend and fellow music therapist Amy Kalas launched her e-book, Tuneful Teens: Creative Ideas for Engaging Adolescents in Music Therapy. It is chock full of intervention ideas, song ideas, sheet music, and templates for a variety of activities that are appropriate and engaging for teens.

The book is divided into categories (musical games, instrument jams, social skills, songwriting, move and groove, relaxation) and Amy provides everything you need — step by step procedures, templates, sheet music, etc. — to implement the interventions in your music therapy sessions.

I highly recommend Amy’s book, and also want to give her a shout-out for celebrating the first year of her wonderful blog, Wholesome Harmonies. It has grown leaps and bounds since last year, and I’m excited to watch it continue to do so!

Friday Fave: Izzy’s Ukulele Adventure

Izzy's Ukulele Adventure

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I LOVE the ukulele. So of course I was super excited when my friend and mentor Lisa sent me a link to this book, which is available for free in the iBookstore.

I immediately downloaded the book, but then got distracted and completely forgot to take a look…until a couple of weeks ago, while sitting on an airplane with my iPad in my lap. Shockingly, my husband wasn’t as amused with the book as I was — but I think you will be!

The illustrations are great and the story is perfect for any child who has tried or is currently learning to play an instrument. I have so many students who really, really want to be able to play well, but they don’t quite understand that it takes a lot of hard work to get there.

Izzy doesn’t understand that at first, either; like my kiddos, she’s frustrated that she can’t make the ukulele sound good on day 1. But the more she practices, the better it sounds, and the story has a happy ending :) I plan to share this book with many of my own students.

The author of the book is Mollycules, and from the looks of her website, she has some other great books I’ll be checking out soon. You can download the book for free here or buy a hard copy on Amazon.

Friday Fave: Singable Stories About Habitats

Singable Stories About Habitats

I spent some quality time (as in 4+ hours) with these books last Saturday afternoon…and I’m still not tired of them. After finishing a special project for one of my Listen & Learn Plus! members, I am just that much more excited to use these singable stories with my own students.

You’ve all heard the tune “Over in the Meadow” — which is the melody for this collection of stories. I own 9 of them, but I’m sure there are more out there. Marianne Berkes and Jennifer Ward are the two authors who have (separately) written most of the books pictured above, and they’re all fantastic.

The illustrations are beautiful, interesting and detailed, and the stories themselves are chock full of information and vocabulary for students.

I already owned Somewhere in the Ocean and Over in the Jungle prior to taking on the special project, but I’m so glad to have the collection at my fingertips now.

These are just the kind of singable stories I love: the repetitive melody makes it easy for my students to catch on quickly, and the content creates endless opportunities to address goals and objectives.

Friday Fave: Anything You Want

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

If you are an entrepreneur, own a business of any kind, or plan to someday, stop reading my blog right now and go buy this book.

I have fallen way out of the internet loop, so I only found out that the amazing and inspiring Derek Sivers (founder of CD Baby) published a book because Kat Fulton posted it on Facebook.

Of course, I immediately dropped everything I was doing, downloaded the audio version and consumed the entire thing — it’s only 1.5 hours long — in one sitting.

What I love so much about this book is that, in the author’s true style, he teaches through storytelling.  Anything You Want is centered around the development of CD Baby, but it is jam packed with lessons for success.  It’s the kind of book I already want to read again, and take notes this time.

Thank you for the heads-up, Kat. And everyone else: go get the book! (It’s super cheap and comes with 200 mp3 downloads, not to mention my wholehearted endorsement.)

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