By Carrie Roden

As we enter our second month of “safer at home,” we are all in different situations, and some of them are much more difficult than others. Many people are dealing with loss of life, health, or jobs, and all of us are dealing with loss of normalcy, convenience, and community. Even if you are one of the most fortunate in this time, it is easy to feel irritable, stressed, and overwhelmed. I tried to think about the things that have helped us the most during this time to see if any of our favorite quarantine things might help you too.

#1 – Dr. Teal’s Bath Salts – Yes, I know it sounds strange that one of my favorite quarantine things is bath salts, but these are strange times, y’all. I’m normally a shower-in-the-morning girl, but quarantine has found me needing a nightly retreat. I don’t know what it is, but somehow, I’m less stressed. You can pick them up for $5 a bag at Target Drive Up, which leads me to #2

#2 – Target Drive Up – My love for Target is not new. I use cartwheel like it’s my job, have a red debit card for extra savings, and save up gift card bonuses for Christmas shopping. What I love about Target Drive Up is that there is no fee, no increased prices, you can still use your cartwheel discounts, and most things are ready in less than 4 hours. Now they never have toilet paper or paper towels, but who does?

#3 – Getting Outside – I already knew that we all feel better mentally and physically when we get some kind of exercise outside. After dinner walks and scooter/bike rides have become even more important to how we are functioning as a family. The couple of times we have skipped the routine, we wished we hadn’t.

Last week we were able to go blueberry picking, and that was honestly as close to normal as we’ve felt in weeks. There is just something about getting outside the walls of your house! And there hasn’t been one time that I’ve walked (including the time that I was trying to increase my pace and fell flat on my face) 🤣 that I didn’t feel better when I was finished.

#4 – Encouraging Someone – So much is out of our control in all of this, not the least of which is when it will end, but maybe the only thing we can control is how we choose to respond. For us, it always helps to focus on someone else. I’ve been so encouraged by the heroism and selflessness of so many people during this crisis, and we’ve enjoyed several opportunities to thank or encourage people who are sacrificing more than we are.

My little girls have made cards and signs for Instacart drivers and grocery employees. We’ve joined in with friends fundraising efforts for causes we could never singlehandedly meet the needs of. Pat and Mary Grace Davis are raising money for Publix gift cards to help single moms and God has multiplied their efforts beyond what they imagined.
My friend Stephanie Simpson who works at Restore in NYC is raising money to support sex trafficking survivors who are finding themselves once again vulnerable due to job loss during Covid 19.

And of course, we are always so proud of how Grace Family Church loves the Tampa Bay community through the many outreach opportunities. The drive-through drop offs of groceries and masks on each campus are helping keep the people in our community fed and cared for. Whatever way you choose, find a way to encourage someone else because focusing on what you can do with whatever you’ve been blessed with is so helpful in a time when you feel powerless.

#5 – My last quarantine favorite is the Scripture app Dwell because this is the easiest way for me to get Scripture into my heart and mind right now. I love the choices of reading plans, I love that I can listen outside while I’m walking. And I love that it keeps up with where I stop and even reminds me to listen. When we have a kid struggling with anxiety, that kid goes to sleep listening to a playlist of Scripture focused on worry. If I’m struggling with anger there is a playlist for that. We are hearing so much information and it can be hard to know what part is true. Having daily access to a hope-filled Truth that we can be sure of, written by the only One who knows how all this will turn out is my absolute favorite quarantine thing.

Our quarantine days have not been all sunshine and rainbows. I’ve had days when I haven’t utilized any of the things I’ve found helpful, but rather have let my frustration determine the mood in our home. Those aren’t the days I’m proud of and they certainly aren’t the ones I want to repeat. The days I’ve relied on my new favorites and embraced where God has us have resulted in days that are worth repeating and that I hope will be the ones we remember when we look back and remember this crazy time.

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  1. Just downloaded the App! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Amazing, Carrie! I love your honesty, transparency, and practicality in a time when we all need a little reassurance – and the reminder to keep our focus on God! Thank you!

  3. Great words of encouragement!

  4. Thank you, Carrie! Yes, yes to getting outside and encouraging someone else – taking our eyes off ourselves. And I’m ordering some Epsom Salt!

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