Sunday, 23 June 2013


100945-82I am familiar with the word ‘moonlighting’ – having a second job in the evening, to supplement one’s income, and I admire those diligent people who work so hard both day and night. I recognise that many have no choice.

But I recently came across the word ‘dawnlighting’ – that has a slightly different meaning. This is not about paid employment.

Dawnlighting is when you get up an hour or two earlier than the rest of the household in order to get extra tasks completed. These can be

  • exercise- going for a run, walking the dog, using a rowing machine, doing some yoga
  • household tasks – finishing the ironing, sorting finances and paying bills, making some bread, thinning out seedlings
  • crafts – finishing some stitching, knitting a few more rows, making some cards, hooking another Granny Square
  • writing – a letter, a blogpost, the next chapter of The Novel
  • reading – the end of the library book, a Bible Commentary, last week’s Sunday Supplement, the 2012 Man Booker Prize*


The idea is that having begun your day with such positive activity, you get a real sense of achievement which inspires you through the day with a sense of purpose. As day is breaking, you are beginning a new time of creativity.

I am a fairly early riser anyway – and Bob works late into the night [why do so many larks seem to end up married to owls?] which means I very rarely get a full eight hours under the duvet, so I am not inclined to make a habit of dawnlighting.

BUT as I thought about it, I remembered something that happened when I was a very young child. I was staying at my grandparents and Nana and I were sharing the double bed in the back bedroom. I woke very early to hear the birds singing outside. “What is it Nana?” I asked. She explained it was the Dawn Chorus – and that every day, as the sun comes up, all the birds sing. She maintained they were praising God for another new day [and who was I to argue with that?] “Angela, if you are woken by the Dawn Chorus, and you do not have to get up for a while, but you cannot get back to sleep, then you should use the time to talk to God too” she told me. She suggested thanking God for a new day, praying for friends with problems, and asking for God’s help to do my best in the day ahead.

And so that’s been my practice for many years now**. I confess that often I drift back to sleep again and am awoken later by the alarm – but always find the quiet time of meditation a blessing and help.

woman_sleeping alarm

* Hilary Mantel- Bring Up The Bodies. It is waiting on the bookshelf till my holiday in August

** For the sake of Bob and others nearby, I pray silently, I do not attempt to sing along with the birds!


  1. I do tend to spend my dawnlighting time on the computer, reading blogs, checking emails and banking, and then getting myself organised for the day ahead. I am always up first, especially on Sundays.

    As for quiet time with God, my first thought on waking is always one of thankfulness that we have come through the night. I tend to set two alarms, ten minutes apart, so that I can spend a few minutes with the Lord as I wake, but if I am tired and drop off again, the second alarm wakes me properly! My proper quiet time and bible time doesn't happen at the same time every day, but gets fitted in here and there...depending on when I can find the quiet.

  2. I get up around 5:30 most mornings, depending on what shift hubby is on he gets up an hour later, much as I love hubby, that hour of me time is great & sets me up for the day.

  3. I often wake up during the night - I'll try and remember this, and use the time positively.

  4. As soon as the cats know I am awake they dive on the bed for a cuddle then nag for breakfast,not much time for reflection but I do love my morning cat cuddles!
    Jane x

  5. Bring up the Bodies is fantastic. I do like the concept of dawnlighting, very much; yes- great concept!

  6. I try to do this if I wake during the night. It stops me worrying and fretting and is a better use of the time. I also work on the premise that if I fall asleep praying then I was probably meant to be asleep anyway.

  7. I am often awake a lot in the night due to pain. I use the time in prayer. I am often in too much pain to pray vocally but contemplative prayer is a wonderful way for me.
    I am early to bed due to my health probs but the early mornings are wonderful :)

  8. Angela, I get up early to blog so I guess I am a dawnlighter. Hope things are going well

  9. There is a sense of real achievement in getting up much earlier than normal, especially in the Summer when it is light and sunny (some days). I potter in the garden with a cup of tea!


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