936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
Two months ago, my family turned down the lights. We lit candles, gathered books, steeped tea, and canceled regular activities. We hunkered down. We had no idea, as we stepped into our annual family hibernation – which we set aside two weeks for every year – that in two months we would be embracing an extended season of hibernation.
I know that many of you, like me, find yourselves in situations you never thought possible or probable a week ago. As our schools shut down, our churches went online, and our county urged no one to travel in or out, we’ve had to adapt in big ways we feel ill prepared for. How the next few months roll out will greatly boil down to perspective. For my family, we are choosing to view our isolation as an extended hibernation. Every year we set aside two weeks to “hibernate” as a family, and this year, hibernation will be a bit drawn-out.
This time has being called “unprecedented.” But you know what else is unprecedented? The opportunity to take this time and become closer as a family, develop new habits, step into a slower pace of life, learn new skills, and grow through hardship. With the unique situation we all find ourselves in, I want to encourage you with the following ways and resources we are embracing a Calm Quarantine.
Besides our regular times of study and work, we also have times set aside for quiet. This normally looks like time out in the yard, or the kids building Legos in their room with an audiobook playing in the background. Now is a good time to vigorously attack your 2020 reading list! At first, you can set a timer and tell them it’s “room time” or “yard time” for an hour.
On the note of audiobooks, our kids listen to several hours of books each week. A great story has a magical way of drawing kids in and quieting a home. This year, we invested in a bluetooth radio for the kids room, and it’s been well worth the money! We either purchase books through Audible, or we loan them out for free from our local library using apps like Hoopla and Libby. My kids love: The My Side Of The Mountain Trilogy, The Way Of The Wilderking Trilogy, The Adventure Collection, The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, and Ballpark Mysteries.
One way we keep a calm atmosphere in our home is by playing calm or instrumental music in the background all day long. I often have worship music during art time, and instrumental music during reading or studies. We also regularly break into dance parties together in order to burn some energy and remind ourselves to have fun! Here are some of our favorite playlists:
Focus & Creativity (Mostly instrumental and nature, inspiring)
Scripture Lullabies (I work for this company, and the music is AMAZING. Super peaceful truths from God’s Word)
Fear Not (Worship songs full of promises from Scripture)
Creation Songs (A compilation of worship and nature-based songs)
I found it interesting this past week that while most staple foods were cleared out from our grocer’s shelves, fresh flowers were in full stock. I came home with a fresh bunch of waxflowers, eucalyptus, potted pink heather, and a bouquet of bright daisies. We have always kept a fresh bouquet on the table, especially during colder months, along with live plants around the house. Live plants and fresh flowers brighten the atmosphere of our home and surround us with life, even on the days we’re stuck inside.
My mom was scheduled to stay with us for five weeks this spring. There were tears at the airport yesterday when we dropped her off to go home four weeks early. However, she set us up well by leaving us with supplies to begin planting our garden. We’ll start this week by planting seedlings indoors. This will keep us busy and focused on bringing life. As long as I can keep the plants alive, our plan is to deliver them to neighbors in coming months. Spring time and planting have an incredible therapeutic effect. And of course, this counts as school! And well, we’re all homeschooling now.
While our family normally spends generous chunks of time outside, we’re embracing it more than ever as we “Isolate outdoors.” Being in God’s creation reminds us just how powerful our Creator is. We’re getting out at least once a day for a walk, and visiting our local natural areas. Now might be the time to use money you would otherwise be spending on now-closed restaurants and theaters, and investing it instead in national or state park passes and some outdoor gear! Our family spends $80 a year on a federal lands pass that gets us into all national parks and federal lands. It has proven to be one of our best investments! I deeply believe that time outdoors will preserve our mental, spiritual, and physical health during this time.
A strategy that has helped us in past years to maintain a calm home is identifying angst triggers. My husband and I have a shared angst trigger: clutter. If our home is cluttered, neither of us can think straight. Since we will all be using our homes much more over the coming weeks, now is a great time to dive into spring cleaning (one small project at a time), and create inspiring living and work spaces. Identify what causes your shoulders to tense, and choose to step outside, take a deep breath, or find a healthy solution to mitigating that trigger.
Many families I have spoken with have told me they struggle with developing a habit of family devotions. My own family has certainly had a difficult time in this also! Many families have a hard time with this because everyone needs to be up, fed, and out of the house early in the morning. Now might just be the greatest opportunity you’ll ever have to create a habit of family prayer and Bible reading. Here are some of our favorite devotionals:
It’s a given that we all might be catching up on some shows and movies over the coming weeks. However, if we curb the tendency toward screen dependency early on, we’ll have a healthier hibernation. One rule we’ve used in our home is that the kids can watch a show so long as they have:
None of us wanted this. Some of us are still in shock as new numbers and guidelines flash across our screens each day. However, in the midst of fear and uncertainty, we have incredible opportunity to find the good, as well as to create the good.
Let’s create some good in our homes during this extended time of hibernation!
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!