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Lady Pastor: Early morning is time to rise and shine

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Watching a sunrise on a warm summer morning is pure nourishment for the soul. Before the season ends, I encourage you to make time to watch a sunrise. Be prepared for doses of wonder, peace and perspective.

Over the last few months, we've all been making summer memories. My previous two Summer Mini-Adventure Road Trip (SMART) suggestions were to visit your church library and explore our Rochester-area parks.

The goal of the SMART project was to provide ideas for enriching, inexpensive summer activities for you to do alone or with others.

The final installment features a pastime you can enjoy completely free of charge. Of all the experiences that the past summer has held, one of my very favorite mornings took place in my own front yard.

My alarm sounded at 5:45 a.m. Then I microwaved some water for a cup of instant coffee. I gathered up my camera, journal and a blanket, and headed outside to the driveway. I laid down the blanket and plopped myself on top, pajamas and fuzzy socks included.

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Initially, I brought my phone along, too, but then realized I didn't want any distractions, so I took it back inside. No Instagram or Facebook updates. No text messages. No phone calls. Instead, I wanted to absorb the experience like a sponge and immerse myself in the increasingly lost art of being "fully present."

First, I noticed all the dew droplets. Every single blade of grass held a droplet at its tip. A misty fog filled the region, and the smell of summer was pure and sweet. The traffic hummed. The crickets chirped. And I sipped a warm beverage, already feeling more connected to the world around me than I had for quite some time.

The colors. Oh, the colors of a sunrise! Pink, blue, orange. These words don't do justice to the moments in which the sky transformed from night into day. As the birds awakened, the sky did, too. Vibrant shades stretched higher and higher until eventually, the sun made its way above the tree line.

Being an avid user of sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats, it had been awhile since the sun and I had come face-to-face. The early morning light hit me like a spotlight. It felt glorious. No wonder the birds all gathered on the power lines for a front row seat.

By the time I headed inside an hour later, I was ready for the day in a new way. And maybe even ready for life in a new way.

Watch a sunrise this summer. Observe it in a special, intentional way. Pay attention as the night transitions into day and our floating planet turns ever onward.

Those morning moments gave me a renewed perspective on the hugeness of life, the sacredness of quiet moments, and the eternal reality that the world is a pretty remarkable place to be.

The Lady Pastor is a weekly column by Emily Carson, a Lutheran pastor in Stewartville. Visit her blog at: theladypastor.com.

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