Here we are in a season we never saw coming. I am guilty of making lighthearted comments about this virus just three days before pulling my children out of school a week ahead of the county closure. Since then, we have hunkered down like never before. Yes, there is some anxiety. Yes, there is uncertainty. Yes, there are gatherings we really miss. But, friend, there is a beauty is what has remained.

Early on Monday morning, I saw the grace of the Lord in generating rhythms in my life that I would not know were so necessary at such a time as this.

Mornings: In 2015, the Lord proved to me that an early morning wake up is a wise and wonderful choice. It was in the morning time that the Lord chose to open up his Word to me in fresh and meaningful ways. Choosing to exercise in the morning gave vibrancy and accomplishment to my day like nothing I’d experienced beforehand. Prepping a healthy breakfast I could look forward to gave me incentive to get moving. Now that there are no 6:25 am alarms for early school days, I could choose to offer myself a few more moments of shuteye. But, the treasures are not found in extra sleep, the real treasure is discovered as the Lord chooses to satisfy us in the morning with (his) loyal love! (Psalm 90:14)

I’m here to encourage you, friend, to keep waking up before the demands say you must. While the kiddos relish in that extra long dream, you can dive deep into all that the morning offers you, time that no one can steal away.

Tip: Set your kids clocks for their individual sleep personalities. I have one who will sleep til noon so I set hers to wake her at 9am. The other is up ready to play when the sun rises so I set his to announce that coming downstairs at 9am is fair game.

Fresh Air: Getting outside is good for the soul. From the vibrancy of the spring colors to the carefree birds and squirrels prancing about, the beauty of spring is breathtaking and a timely gift from our Creator. Oh, and what wisdom those little creatures have to offer! Matthew implores us to “look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26)

To fill your lungs with fresh, clean air (minus the pollen) gives a dose of fresh perspective and renewed energy. Stepping outside, especially in the coolness of the morning, offers an invitation to hope – hope that you will move through the next hour of school at home differently, hope that your next conversation will be more uplifting, hope that it’s okay if it all doesn’t get done.

Tips: If you can’t take a super long walk because of your kiddos, do short laps around them as they play outside. If you can take a longer route, do! And, when you go out, leave your phone in! Even though much of our “connectedness” right now is via screen, being connected to the Lord and his creation is a much more dependable and meaningful connection to maintain.

Exercise: An established routine of exercise is good at any time; but, it is especially good right now. In fact, I am finding the good it does for my mind right now is as helpful as the good it is doing for my body. There is indeed no better time to include 30 minutes of challenging exercise in your day – even if it has to be broken down into little chunks. The Lord is gracious to have provided so many means of exercise by using our own body weight, the plodding of our feet down the road, or the use of technology to stream doable workouts into any time, place, and space.

Tip: I personally have enjoyed streaming Beachbody On Demand workouts for years. P90X3 has been a favorite series over the long haul; it is a 13 week program I complete at least once a year. I’m on week 11 now and am so thankful for this series of doable, challenging, no-stress workouts. If you don’t have a go-to workout that can be done at home over a period of several weeks (not just a random scroll online for something free), I’ll set you up to try what’s worked so well for me….drop a comment or send me message on FB.

Eating color: Do you feel like everything you’ve stocked up on is colorless? I began craving color in my fridge after a day or two. Now that we are pretty well stocked otherwise, our grocery runs should be for the colorful items! All the fruits and veggies. Keeping some frozen and canned options on hand is smart, too. Throw some tomatoes in with your eggs. Spread avocado on toast. Blend in some spinach to the soups or sauces you are making. The sight and the nutrients will do you good!

Tip: Buy a bag of fresh spinach and then freeze it. It’s super easy to add into chili, spaghetti sauce, and smoothies. I prefer freezing my own – it’s not as chunky and twisted up as the previously frozen kind!

Music: George Eliot said, “Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.” I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say there’s no effort, but music drastically changes the cadence and mood in our home. A wise counselor once told me that as mom I set the temperature of my home….I’ve decided music is a way for me to set that temperature. It can be classical, country, Christian, or instrumental depending on what you are going for at the moment. Music keeps us from drowning in silence or getting lost in the doldrums of our minds and the right music can send the right messages to our hearts, priceless now and always.

Tip: My favorite Pandora stations (the $5/mo with no commercials is so worth it to me) are Zach Williams, Brooks and Dunn, Inspirational Hymns, Luke Combs, Sovereign Grace, and Totally Kids Worship. We play hymns during the kids schoolwork and my writing time and we just might break out a country sing-a-long while making dinner. Music brings our moods up and offers memories worth making!

Which of these can you incorporate today? Just choose one and see how it works for you! And, share, please share the rhythms that work for you – the encouragement, the inspiration, the reminders we can be for one another right now – what you or I have discovered, or what we count as second nature, could be the very thing(s) the Lord will use in the lives of our family, friends, or followers to keep us faithful, hopeful, and joyful in times such as these.

Be well, friends!! Now, go turn up the tunes!