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Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come
(Revelation 4:8)

Sunday we pull out our Advent wreath and begin the season of anticipation, praying, pondering and worshiping the Lord Jesus, who was, and is, and is to come.

I bought an Advent wreath years ago and decorated it simply without realizing the fake plastic berries and cheap gold beading would be with us for years.

But that’s how traditions sometimes tumble into our lives:

We try something out.

And it sticks.

Here’s a picture I snapped last year:


It’s simple and humble, but it’s an integral part of our Christmas traditions.

We tried it, and it stuck.

Traditions … wow, traditions are so wonderful.

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sand thank you

Over at my personal blog, I encourage readers to slow down and give thanks—not only this week or this Thursday, but regularly … all through the year.

The habit of giving thanks is a slow-down solution that can change our lives.

Thank you for joining me in seeking a slower lifestyle.

My hope is that this site becomes a place where you can keep up with research, studies, books, blogs and articles pertaining to slowing down.

More than anything, I hope we can learn to rest in the Lord, trusting in Him at all times.

Giving thanks to our Father through Christ Jesus is a way to grow in our understanding of who He is and how He works in the world and our lives. It’s a way to be in relationship with Him.

This week, as we try to slow down with family and friends to share a meal together, I hope we can all find ways to give thanks.

Give thanks to the LORD for he is good;
his love endures forever (Psalm 107:1)

Image by: Gisela Giardino.Giving Thanks,” 23 Nov. 2006. Flickr. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. <; (All sizes of this photo are available for download under a Creative Commons license.)

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weary kid

In case you haven’t already seen this popular post at Time, pay a visit to Nancy Gibbs’ article Can These Parents Be Saved: The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting.”

Overparenting goes by other names, like hyperparenting and helicopter parenting. It boils down to being overinvolved in our children’s lives—perhaps to the point of holding them back.

Kids growing up with parents who take these approaches end up smothered, overwhelmed, overprotected, and ill-prepared for their transition to adulthood.

To give you a taste, here are some excerpts and memorable lines taken directly from the article (with bold from me):

  • We were so obsessed with our kids’ success that parenting turned into a form of product development.

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dogsled team Matt Dickerson wrote a great “slow-down” article at The High Calling (a resource for people seeking the high calling of their work and daily life) entitled God’s Prescription for Workaholics.”

He begins:

We are a society addicted to work. Our culture worships a god of productivity, or more accurately a god of frenzied activity.

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fastbikeFor some light humor about the high-paced lifestyle, visit this link:

You’re living too fast if…

Here are two that come to mind (updated to clarify that I made up the first example, but am probably guilty of at least thinking the second):

• You’re living too fast if … the drive-through employee knows your order by heart.

• You’re living too fast if … the dentist asks you why you don’t floss every day and you reply, “I just don’t have the time!”

How about you? Leave your own “you’re living too fast” scenarios in the comments!

High-speed motorcycle photo by Rob Owen-Wahl from stock.xchng.
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This year, once a week, I’m leading discussions on American literature for a group of high school students.

To prepare for the class, I’m studying the material in depth.

It slows me down.

I’m getting more out of each book and hoping the students will, too.

As I learn to read carefully, utilizing resources I’ve pulled together for the students, I’ve learned to appreciate at a much greater depth the material, style, themes, conflict, characters, history, and context.

By slowing, I am gaining much more—and retaining more, as well.

The first book we tackled as a class was The Scarlet Letter.

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driver with cell phone

An article in The New York Times stood out to me at the end of September: Driven to Distraction–multi-tasking in the car is risky business.

Our high-speed culture seems compelled to get as much done as possible in every moment, multi-tasking in motion, even if it puts us and others at risk. The article focused on the dangers of attempting office work while zooming along at 60 mph.

The story began with a man named Paul Dekok, who used to talk on his cell phone regularly while on the road.

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pressurecookerSome kids need encouragement to do their best and aim high; there are students who settle for average when they are capable of much more.

But some parents take it too far. The pressure is on for their children who are pushed to pursue an ideal. These parents believe it is necessary to push their sons and daughters toward a vision of success. The students must be driven to be the best if they are to compete in today’s world … or so the logic goes.

I read a book two years ago addressing this mindset called No More Push Parenting. An excerpt, “Introducing the Seven Hypes,” can be read here (and an excerpt from the excerpt follows):

Unfortunately, many of today’s parents, many of us, go at this whole parenting thing full tilt. For reasons, some good and some misguided, that we’ll explore, we feel that our child’s ultimate success is all up to us, and that the goal is to win, or to get our kids to win. This is not news to you. You’ve read the articles about test prepping for the best colleges that rivals astronaut training; bar mitzvahs that demand the financial and emotional fortitude of a Broadway producer; and athletic competition so fierce that it has actually been fatal to at least one parent.

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