Every morning, I remain awake after Joe wakes up to use the washroom at 5 AM, and I watch the trees outside of our window. I listen to the water running in the creek at the bottom of the hill. I feel the house creak and breathe a bit, and I am awake while all of those that I love best sleep unaware.

I always feel like I’m praying in those moments, like some part of my marrow is singing a quiet hymn that belongs in a country church.  Thanksgiving, another old church word, breathes in and out with the leaves turning in the rain drops falling, kelly green side up, dull green underside up, back and forth, waving and dancing, good morning, good morning, good morning. Today, I carefully dressed in the early light. Brian sprawled, tinies breathing in their bed, and I crept down the stairs, silently freezing in terror every time the steps creaked.

I drove to the coffee shop, through the rain, and they were playing “No Diggity, No Doubt” or whatever that song is really called. I used to listen to it when I was in high school. I dated a boy for 3 years that was a hip-hop/rap artist, and I mark my high school years by Lauryn Hill, for some reason it always makes people laugh to realise that I know all the words to Gangster’s Paradise. So I chuckled when I heard that song, I remembered driving down Deerfoot Trail in Calgary in my dad’s car, speeding towards curfew, holding hands over the console, listening to someone rap and sing that entire song out loud as practice for a someday-stage, and it made me feel very tender towards those weird high school years, very tender towards my old self, all of our old selves. I still knew all of the words.

I have my coffee now, and the shop is quiet. If it wasn’t pouring rain, I’d likely be out for a solitary ramble. I like to walk in the mornings, by myself. Sometimes I listen to CBC Radio 1 and go for a drive, because I get very attached to my morning news shows and I like to drive alone. I will be one of thse old ladies, knitting by the radio, listening to “my stories” and talking about Stuart McLean like he’s my neighbour.

Everything seems more possible in the morning. People seem more beautiful to me, memories lose their sting, yesterday’s passions find their rightful place, the words flow a bit more easily, I don’t feel so confused and worn out and tired. I feel awake and alive, thrumming with life and hope and, yes, art. The night hours are for poetry, for books, for conversation and quiet and friends, for love making, and for cleaning up the supper dishes. The day time hours are the work hours, the wipe-up-the-floor-for-the-thousandth-time hours, the diapers and laundry and nursing and working and cleaning and cooking and feeding and schooling, and the laughter hours.  Those are the hours of a childhood happening, right before my eyes, of butterfly watching and scraped foreheads and babies toddling in the back of the church because they won’t sit still for two minutes together.

So these morning hours always feel like my own hours, whether I’m lying in bed, wide awake, watching the trees, or whether I’m sitting at a coffee shop table on a holiday Monday, alone, watching the rain fall and listening to old songs from the 90s. The Cranberries just started to sing.

In the night hours, when the tinies have gone to sleep, I want to write poetry or read books. But in the mornings, I want to write about the gloriousness of the mundane life, the wonder of all of us walking each other home for another day, the holiness of how we all save each other, every day, we are sacred in our daily rhythms, this is the life we’re living and it’s right now, and so put the coffee on, there is grace for all of us, there is something holy in just waking up to start all over again, new.


I'm an evangelical Christian. And I think same-sex marriage should be legal.
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  • Cassandra Leigh Frear

    My feelings exactly. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing. 

  • i devour mornings just like this, and around abouts noon start wishing for the next one. love this so much.

  • And there is something holy, here, a few hours ahead of you in the day, to quiet my morning to read you, to be present and still, and find myself stumbled into an unexpected peace. Thank you, friend.

  • Elizabeth

    This is beautiful writing, these are beautiful thoughts.

    I hear some echos of themes that Frederick Buechner often explores.  I love Buechner…do you read him much?

    Thanks so much for sharing glimpses of your life with us.

  • Such beautiful words, Sarah. Thank you.

  • Dahobbs

    I feel all of what you wrote but cant quite put it into the words you use.

  • For about a year I woke up at 5 am to start writing. It was a wonderful time that I miss. Somehow I’ve lost the discipline of going to bed early enough to make that realistic, but reading this post tapped a longing in my spirit to get back to it. I love writing as the sun peaks over the horizon and sets the world on fire again.

  • The mornings hold a certain magic. I’m too alive at night, and there’s something about the mist or crisp of morning that softens the world a bit. Love the peace in your coffee shop words.

  • Oh that last paragraph, sweet oil of truth, the sacred daily rhythms. Off to dig in the dirt, plant seeds to bring forth new life after a week steeped in the sorrow of death. Sometime it seems like the rhythms of the day, the cleaning, the growing, the feeding have a mysterious healing power.

  • so helpful! i just recently realized i don’t have to lay in bed and think grumpy, insomnia-related thoughts in the wee hours (oh it burns me that the hubs can go back to sleep in the blink of an eye). i can choose to take those hours as something precious. thanks for the nudge!

  • So, so lovely, Sarah. I can practically picture myself sitting across from you at the cafe.

    I’m also smiling bemusedly at myself as I recall the lyrics to No Diggity and Gangster’s Paradise. In fact, GP was one of the first singles I remember buying. I think I held on to the cassette for nostalgia’s sake. 

  • Amy Ellison

    This post resonates with me so much. I was sitting alone this morning, coffee in hand, in a quiet house, gazing out the window at the trees, contemplating the wonder of a new day. So often my favorite time of the day. Thanks for.your warm words.

  • Beth Lehman

    ‘there is grace for all of us, there is something holy in just waking up to start all over again, new.’  that is truely how i feel.  god’s gift is a new day.

  • Guest

    This is wonderful. Every word. And makes me hunger and thirst–while it fills.

  • Katie

    Thank you for the beauty in your encouragement today. The reminder that all things are new every morning, and that mundane daily life is art too. I needed that today. 

  • I woke real early last Friday and did a bit of online writing …

    Bleary-eyed and incoherent, I ended up crashing for an early afternoon nap.  I think from now on I’ll wait til after the sun rises before anything of value will roll from my pen!

  • “talking about Stuart McLean like he’s my neighbour”
    This is why we are friends. (Well, * you know *… on teh internetz…) Tell us stories about your time in Cowtown, and I will tell some of mine 😉

  • Carlo

    Thanks for that – it was a little treat. Early morning at this time of the year really is the best part of the day indeed. Looking forward to your book when it comes…..

  • Okay, I’m thinking we must me closer in age than I thought. Miseducation of Lauryn Hill came out when I was in middle school, I played that album non-stop (when I wasn’t listening to No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom and Five Iron Frenzy). I also really liked that “No Diggity” song.

  • Laura


  • you write so beautifully.  the end!  <3 Traci Michele @ Ordinary Inspirations 

  • Oh, this is just so beautiful.  I agree entirely but could never put it into such glorious words.  Thank you. xo

  • Reading this almost makes me rethink my strictly anti-early stance, Sarah. Just pure goodness here. 

  • I have to admit, I got stuck on the line, “I remain awake after Joe wakes up to use the washroom at 5 AM.:” Because law woman. I can’t stay awake at 7 AM, even after I’ve gotten out of bed and poured some cereal for the kids. My bed beckons to me in the morning.

    But when I do fight the siren call and get up, I’ve tasted the magic. (And to be clear, it tastes like dark roast with a splash of cream and a pinch of raw sugar.) 

  • It is now the afternoon slump hours.  So I have nothing brilliant to say.  But, I loved this, you lovely lady, you.

  • What a beautiful reflection—so direct and yet so poetic, all at once.

    I especially love this feeling of morning clarity:

    “..yesterday’s passions find their rightful place, the words flow a bit
    more easily, I don’t feel so confused and worn out and tired.”