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  • Betsy James

Rise and Shine


Simple, joy-filled ways to welcome your kids into a new day.

In my past life - meaning, my life before children - I very much enjoyed sleeping in. Having seldom held a "normal" job that required alarm clocks and early mornings, my natural rhythm involved late night creativity followed by however many hours of sleep I wanted. (Don't hate me, that lifestyle was short lived.) When God gave me 3 children, none of whom enjoy sleeping for long periods of time, I was in for a rude awakening. Literally. It's very rude to be abruptly awakened by screaming children and then expected to begin serving meals and meeting needs the moment you open your eyes.

I say all this to let you know that I'm not naturally a joyful person in the early morning hours. I'm writing this article, not because I naturally spring out of bed with a smile, but rather because I have had to learn early morning joy. I have also seen the beautiful fruit that grows from a joyful mother greeting her children with kindness and helping to welcome them into a new day. It is possible to overcome a bad morning, but I know we can all agree that it is preferable to set the right tone from the start. In light of all that, here are a few simple habits I have adopted that have helped us all to rise and shine.

1. Offer each family member a warm and happy greeting.

I wrote an article called "Do Your Eyes Light Up?" that talks about all that is communicated with our eyes when our children enter a room. I would encourage you to read that here. This seems like such a simple thing but it makes a huge difference. When you see each family member for the first time each morning, look them in the eyes, smile, say good morning and offer a hug. When your child feels you are glad to see them and that they are welcome in your presence, you have given them a wonderful gift. Totally worth the small amount of effort it takes to stop what you are doing and offer a warm greeting.

2. Music.

My mom used to wake me up with a song and I have adapted her version for our children. You can sing the following verses to the tune of "Happy Birthday".

Good morning to you

Good morning to you

Good morning sweet ____________

Good morning to you

We love you so much

We love you so much

We're so glad God made you

We love you so much

Let's have a great day

Let's have a great day

For Jesus is with us

Let's have a great day

This works especially well when you are greeting a child who is still in a crib. I have sung this hundreds of times while lifting a baby/toddler from their bed and changing their diaper. Again, to greet your child like you are happy to see them (even if you wish they would sleep for another hour or two) is a gift you give to them each morning. As a bonus, I find that singing this song helps my heart to be happier as well!

With my older kids, I sometimes have soft worship music playing in the kitchen so that when they come downstairs for breakfast the atmosphere is peaceful and uplifting. ( I like this album)

3. Scripture and Prayer

Even if you only have a few minutes around the breakfast table before everyone rushes in different directions, you can find time for a bite of Scripture and a prayer for the day. This doesn't need to be a full-blown Bible study. As you feed their bellies, feed their soul. Help them to lift their eyes and remember who they are and to Whom they belong before they jump into the activities of the day. This is sometimes done in under a minute in our kitchen and other mornings we linger a bit longer. The point is simply to remember that this is the day the Lord has made. It is He Who made us and we are His. This truth gets our thoughts and feet moving in the right direction.

What about you? Have you found simple ways to set a joyful tone in your home each morning? If so, I'd love to hear about it! Send your routines and ideas to me directly at simpleofferings@gmail.com

If behaving joyfully in the morning is something you struggle with, ask the Lord for help! Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Ask Him to grow more of this fruit in your heart. If He could help this night owl, I know He can help you too!

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24


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