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Giveaway is closed.

I met Tracey Bianchi earlier this year at the Festival of Faith & Writing. As we introduced ourselves, she recognized my name as the author of The Contemplative Mom, a book she had been given many years ago when she was a new mom.

With the fun of connecting as moms and writers, we immediately swapped our current books: she handed me a copy of her just-released Green Mama, and I gave her Not So Fast.

Tracey invited me serve as one of several hosts for her blog tour, offering to write a slow-themed post that I can share with Not So Fast readers. After you read her guest post below, leave a comment describing some of the ways you “go green” to be entered to win a free copy of her book, Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet.

If you tweet this link, I’ll toss in another entry for you (only one bonus entry per person, but feel free to tweet as often as you like!).

Contest ends Saturday morning, June 19, 9:00 a.m. (giveaway is now closed)

Without further ado, meet Tracey Bianchi:

Going Green by Slowing Down

by Tracey Bianchi

My four-year old has endless questions about traffic these days. Why do cars stop or go? What about caution signs? Why do we either slam on the brakes or go crazy fast at yellow? What is rush hour? The one signal he has no query about is green.

“Green means go, go, go!”

He often hollers this as if our trip to Target was tantamount to the Indy 500.

Green means go. Whether traffic signals or that childhood game, Red Light/Green Light. Green is associated with movement, activity, permission to get on with it. Even our money is green and with the right amount of that hue you can sprint off to just about anywhere.

But can green ever signal slowing down our lives?

With the burgeoning green trend in our culture, the one connected to eco-friendly, save the planet  chatter, living into this new shade of green might also provide another avenue to stop racing through life and start relaxing into God’s rhythms.

Perhaps you simply think about recycling when you hear the words green living. You may also associate the trend with a new “to do” list that now includes organic gardening and composting. Many families I know find eco-ideas incredibly guilt-provoking and stressful.

However, an honest, greener faith is actually about embracing simplicity. Overhauling our lifestyles so that we can pursue healthy families, deeper communities, and enjoy God’s planet. It is about slowing down to see what is truly most important.

To “go green” is to reflect wisely on what we buy, how we shop, where we drive, and how we move through life. Which is to say going green is also slowing down. Perhaps we should re-title the trend, “slowing green.”

Greener living dovetails beautifully with the conversation Ann brings forward in her new book, one that embraces simplicity and wisdom rather than chasing elusive trends and cultural icons of success.

So, what does a slower, greener life look like?

A greener afternoon might be one where you or your family walk to your destinations rather than drive. Take your time, talk as you saunter along and save on your CO2 emissions in the process. Green might mean staying out of the malls and playing at home. Curbing our consumption is one of the most planet friendly maneuvers we can make. Buy less, shop less, stick together at home more.

Plant a tree, spend the day at a park or take a hike. All less anxiety producing than jockeying for position on three traveling teams in one afternoon.

Let your children get dirty. Help them to fall in love with God’s Creation, with the mud and the muck, the dirt of the earth. Help them live into the Genesis narrative by enjoying all that God says is good. Muddy faces and skinned knees indicate time well spent. Moments in the trees rather than in classes, the carpool, or the over-achieving lane.

So take another look at “going green” and in it you might find a deeper invitation to slow down a bit and breathe deeply of God’s green life.


Tracey Bianchi is the author of “Green Mama: The Guilt Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet. She is the mother of three and an author, speaker, and women’s ministry director. You can find more of her musings on life, faith and sustainability at http://traceybianchi.com. You can find her new book at here: http://tinyurl.com/3xzvpnx

The Green Light” photo by Ted Percival. Available for download under a Creative Commons license through Flickr.

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Get to know Ann Kroeker better at annkroeker.com

child eats yogurtHeidi of God is Doing a New Thing wrote about busyness and her “refusal to rest in the Lord”:

“I don’t know how you do all you do!”

Compliments like these cause me to evaluate if I unwittingly parade “all I do” around specifically so I can get accolades from others. I hope not!

The truth is, I don’t do *any* of the many things I do well. (Even now, a part of me wants to list them all for you, so you can know what I mean. The other part of me–the suspicious part of me–thinks this would merely be a perverse attempt to win yet more accolades and encouragement…so I will restrain myself!)

What if my busyness (something that is celebrated and respected in our culture) is just another way to keep from being in the present moment?

What if God wants me to be still and know that he is God?

Be still and know that I am not?…

Read all of  “Busyness – My Refusal to Rest in the Lord” HERE.

Yogurt” photo by “MOEVIEW”/Aaron Molina. Available on Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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Get to know Ann Kroeker better at annkroeker.com

Leila of Like Mother, Like Daughter is always full of helpful tips, many of which have rocked my world, like her macaroni and cheese.

In a recent post, Leila shares her secrets for staying cool without AC.

Among many other simple, creative, frugal ideas for keeping the heat out and the breezes blowing, she adds:

In the hot hours everyone can be reading, and that is a good, good thing.

Keep your lemonade cold and take the hot days a bit slower, rather than trying to obliterate them.

I love living without AC, too, but my husband is rather fond of it. I’m going to incorporate her ideas and see if I can persuade him to do without.

Read all of “Living without AC and liking it

Iced tea photo by Leila.

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Get to know Ann Kroeker better at annkroeker.com

My eldest daughter recently completed driver’s ed classes, where they showed the students sobering movies of terrifying wrecks—cars crumpled in accidents caused by speeding, DUI, and distracted drivers.

The instructor also warned the students that if they drove even a tiny bit over the speed limit on the drive test, they would fail.

This input combined with the fact that my daughter is a naturally cautious, rules-oriented person, has resulted in a “not so fast” beginning driver. Read the rest of this entry »

As our family counters the culture to live a less frenzied life, we like knowing we’re not alone. It’s delightful to discover that others are refusing to follow the “more-better-faster” path.

But we don’t often find those people in our neighborhood.

So I love finding slow-down camaraderie and inspiration online.

May I introduce you to some like-minded, slow-down, not-so-fast bloggers? Read the rest of this entry »

“Moving Slow in the Fast Lane” article in The Atlantic.

What does it take to really slow down and unplug?

Abraham Verghese tried it on vacation. After two days of lounging in the slowness, the barnacles finally fell off.

Click HERE to read the entire article.

“Wrack and Barnacle” photo by Eric Heupel, August 9, 2009. Available for download on Flickr and sharing through a Creative Commons license.

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Get to know Ann Kroeker better at annkroeker.com

Visit GodSpace to read the prayer offered by Christine Sine for the second Sunday in Lent.

It begins:

God we have scattered ourselves

Looking for pleasure

We are dissatisfied with wanting, tasting and getting

God we have exhausted ourselves

Running after wealth

We are drained by long hours of pressure and stress

We have diminished ourselves

Seeking glory through our own efforts…

Read the post in its entirety HERE.

The Quiet One” photo by Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic available through Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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Get to know Ann Kroeker better at annkroeker.com

Visit A Sideways Glance and you’ll discover that Zoe Sandvig spent a couple of months in the country where she was born: Australia.

In one of her posts she describes “one of the most breathtakingly sleepy towns on the southern edge of New South Wales: Nelligen.” A town that “invites passersby to take a Sunday afternoon nap with it.”

Is there a place you’ve been that invites rest? That creates an oasis, a retreat, a space to let go? Have you found your Nelligen?

Read the rest of this entry »

Christian musician Bebo Norman enjoyed a snow day not long ago and wrote about it on his blog, saying, “there’s this little tiny surprise window of freedom in moments like that.  All of the sudden, completely outside of yourself, you’re given back this window of time that was two seconds ago otherwise occupied.  A brand new, unexpected, guilt-free open window.”

He and his family accepted the circumstances and made the most of the situation:

And the truth is, it’s not like we had any grand plans otherwise for the weekend, but the gift was still given.  Or better yet, it FELT like a gift was given.  And so we crawled through our open window and we did what we had not planned to do, which as it turns out, was not much at all.  We kept a fire burning and showed Smith how beautiful snow is…

All that to say, nothing life-changing happened.  Probably would seem pretty boring from the outside looking in.  But the older I get, the more I like “boring,” and I did get a sweet reminder that whenever I happen to get “snowed in” or find myself with an unexpected open window of time, the people inside the walls of this house are exactly who I want to spend it with.

As another snowstorm looms on the radar. I wonder if we, like Bebo and his family, can learn to make the most of any upcoming snow slow days?

Read all of Bebo Norman’s post “Open Window” HERE.

Have your snow days been slow days?

“Snow Tree” photo © 2010 by Ann Kroeker

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Get to know Ann Kroeker better at annkroeker.com

Reviewing the clip of an upcoming CBS documentary about hyperparenting, Bad Moms Club claims that it’s really a thing of the past, that most parents these days are no longer tempted to host $4,000 birthday parties, that “bad is the new good.”

The recent Bad Moms Club post writes:

We all have moments of wanting to give our kids everything, we all get confused about what ‘everything’ means, and we all worry and wonder about whether we’re doing enough. We all want the best for them, but most of us do daily literal and figurative cost-benefit analyses of what, exactly, constitutes ‘best’ and most of us – I think – come down on the side of happy-healthy-loved.

I hope so.

Read the rest of this entry »