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conversation

Dan King over at High Calling BlogsThe Secret Ingredient” today about community in our culture … and how Americans don’t really seem to talk much anymore; how we don’t truly connect. posted ”

His post reminded me of a time when we were making plans to have another family over for dinner. As we were discussing the get-together, they said, “So, after we eat at your house, what will we do? I suppose we’ll just sit around and … talk?”

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handhammock

L.L. Barkat hosts Poetry Friday at Seedlings in Stone and Random Acts of Poetry (RAP) every other Friday at HighCallingBlogs.

The poetry prompt she provided that some participants utilized was as follows:

Poetry prompt: We’ve been celebrating ’slowing.’ Make a “word pool” of at least five slow words. Yeah, I guess molasses counts. But verbs are good too. Create a poem using a minimum of one of your slow words, but feel free to use the whole pool.

At RAP, she featured poems that recognize the “blessing of being ‘slowed.'”

Click over to read through some of the words.

You’ll find yourself sitting quietly.

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thermometer

Sometimes circumstances force a family to slow down.

Like the flu.

If your family is forced to stay home thanks to H1N1 or some other flu bug, this may be your chance to live a temporarily less-frenzied life.

Here are some ideas for you to experiment with on the days you’re stuck at home:

  • Set out a puzzle and encourage everyone to place a few pieces throughout the day.
  • Start a read-aloud book.
  • Have tea time mid-morning or in the afternoon. Take tea, water (or a drink with electrolytes) to the sick ones along with a simple little snack. Take it on a tray and it’ll seem rather fancy, even if the snack is just toast with jam. Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a whole lot of slowing going on.

People all over the blogosphere and sharing their slow-down stories.

Read more HERE.

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Get to know Ann Kroeker better at annkroeker.com

apple in handWe all zoom through life so fast that small moments—events or interactions that might matter—can get lost or forgotten in the hubbub of the next thing.

There’s no time to ponder or pray about anything that stands out to us—if it hits us, it’s only for a fleeting moment before we move on.

No time to linger over some cute phrase the preschooler exclaimed over lunch, right? No time to stop and stare at the heron soaring overhead or the frost patterns glittering across the window pane. There’s always the next thing—it’s time to rinse those dishes and head out the door for gymnastics!

Next time something stirs you, or you sense a tug toward someone, or a phrase stands out in something you read or hear—stop.

Don’t rush off.

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Not So Fast was reviewed on Breakpoint today!

Listen HERE

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Get to know Ann Kroeker better at annkroeker.com

In our fast-paced world, even our thoughts run at top speed. It’s a challenge to resist the speed of television, nonstop music lyrics, and the influx of words on computer screens in order to slowly and deliberately think, ponder, contemplate or reflect.

Taking in information and ideas is an important step in thinking and learning. And when it comes to spiritual matters—truth from God’s Word—it’s crucial to take it in and chew on it.

As I read from the One-Year Bible this morning, I read the verse from Colossians 1:10 that says, “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”

I stopped in particular on just the phrases “live a life worthy of the Lord and … please him in every way.”

I thought, This is what I want my life to be: worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way.

So I scribbled that out on a note card and stuck it in my pocket. I’d pull it out to remember those phrases and think about them on and off throughout the morning. I prayed it, too. “I want to live a life worthy of You, Lord. I want to please You in every way.”

And I thought, “I want to please Him, but I don’t.”

So I ask for grace, too … grace to be worthy. Grace to please Him.

The grace to be those things for Him comes from Him.

I’m just a child holding out her hand to Him, to receive what He has to offer me that will make me more worthy and more pleasing to Him.

LL Barkat has me thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. When Mary was told, “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end,” she answered very simply, pleasing God in every way by yielding to Him:

“I am the Lord’s servant … May it be to me as you have said.”

At the beginning of her life—and her Son’s—she said something very close to what her Son would say to His Father toward the end of His: “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22: 42).

Jesus pleased the Lord in every way.

And now He helps us please Him, when we yield, submitting to the Father.

Throughout her life, Mary listened and watched and thought. After the shepherds visit, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). And when they found Jesus at the temple, He said, “Why were you searching for me? … Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Neither Joseph nor Mary understood what he was saying to them, the passage says, but Jesus went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.

And Mary took it all in. She “treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).

I’m no Mary. But I’m trying to listen, watch and think. I want to yield and submit to the Father’s will.

I want to slow down enough to notice and store up what the Lord is revealing, treasuring all these things in my heart.

And I hope that in some way, by God’s grace, I might please Him.

** Visit LL Barkat’s Seedlings in Stone, where she is giving away a copy of The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus.

Subscribe to NotSoFastBook.com by e-mail or RSS feed for continual updates.

Get to know Ann Kroeker better at annkroeker.com

onecar

Back in May of 2008, I read an article that Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer wrote for BlogHer, entitled “Ditching the Second Car?” This could be thought of as a slow choice; maintaining only one vehicle instead of two could simplify and slow down a family.

But I think U.S. families around me have a hard time imagining life with only one vehicle, so I asked my good friend Trish Southard, who has been making-do with only one car for a while, to write about that experience for NotSoFastBook.com.

Meet Trish (who, by the way, is also a contributor to the “Live from the Slow Zone” section of Not So Fast):

During our years in Tucson, our small group read a book by Randy Frazee entitled Making Room for Life. The Navigator staff couple leading the group asked us to read and implement Frazee’s recommended changes in every area of our life.

Our first challenge was purchasing a home within walking distance to our daughter’s school and the market, and within bike-riding distance to work and church in good weather. Our perfect location would also have the junior high school athletic fields and tennis courts where our daughter was able to take private tennis lessons less than a block away. Our previous drive was 30 minutes in each direction. When we finally bought our home, it fit our criteria perfectly, situated within walking distance, just as we hoped.

The second thing we did when our second vehicle finally died, is choose not to purchase another vehicle. Instead, we chose to “do without” for a season of life, thus freeing ourselves from the additional expense and hassle of a second car (car payments, fuel and repair costs, insurance). We now have less windshield time, and more family time. We recently moved again and determined that our new home needed to fall into similar categories to be a “go.” As I walked home from work today, it took me exactly 16 minutes.

These steps have had hidden blessings of sunshine in the occasional cloud of inconvenience. The first is time — time on the road and time together. Windshield time has been reduced dramatically, and we have stopped going in all different directions. Instead, we more frequently move in the same direction as a family—laughing, exercising and simply enjoying each other’s company as we are “forced” to physically be in each other’s presence and one another’s lives more often. It’s wonderful! We communicate each day about our various errands, talking through our day instead of living out our lives separately.

In our new home, the school, tennis courts, restaurants, market and work are also in close proximity to our neighborhood. We find that walking anywhere or riding our bikes not only provides refreshing time together, but also models to our daughter a way of life together—a smarter, simpler lifestyle for our teen that in a big metropolitan area looks more like small-town living and values.

Our daughter had a flat tire recently. Undeterred, she rode her skateboard beside me as I rode my bike to the new breakfast spot that opened nearby. We have ridden our bikes to the orthodontist, our family doctor, the post office and the library, all in ten minutes or less, usually less. I even rode my bike to pay my recent speeding ticket at the local police station; and no, I wasn’t riding my bike when I received the speeding ticket. It was my first ticket in twenty-three years.

My husband keeps our one car in tip-top shape, keeping up with maintenance and repairs. A nice treat is that all the money we save from not keeping up a second car frees up plenty of funds to rent a car when taking long trips out-of-town. When attending a women’s retreat in Dallas, I was able to rent a very nice sedan for the weekend from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

My encouragement to you? Park a car for a day or a weekend and try living a simpler life. Work up to a month and perhaps permanently, if possible. Methodically move towards a slower and healthier lifestyle, creating a tight-knit family in today’s jam-packed world. Free yourself up. Financial benefits? Yes.  Smaller carbon footprint? Yes. Better family relationships?  Yes. And most of all, and of all relationships in your life, free up time to cultivate your relationship with God—make room for life lived in Christ.

Resting in Him,

Trish