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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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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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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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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 »

“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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The author of Not So Fast just survived a whirlwind two weeks of travel. I need to sit down. Catch my breath. I need to employ some slow-down solutions!

All of us—even those who prioritize a simpler, slower life—need reminders to slow down, pause, reflect.

On this site, I’ve offered a list of “Speed Bumps,” which are simple ideas for how we can slow down the pace of our days.

Someone recommended Terry Hershey to me.

On Terry’s Facebook Fan page, he offers daily “Pause Reminders,” much like Speed Bumps. Here’s a sample from today:

PAUSE REMINDER for Today: Write a letter to someone you care about, to say “thank you,” or “I’m glad you are in my life”, or “did you see the clouds today?” With real paper, pen, envelope, and stamp. (I received a thank you letter this week, really, a letter. . .at the post office. “I wanted to send this to you via sn…ail mail,” DM wrote, “as my way of pausing.” It works. And the letter made my week.

Check it out for yourself:

Click HERE for Terry Hershey’s Facebook Fan Page (where I discovered his Pause Reminders).

His main website is HERE.

His blog, HERE.

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Overcoming Busy is a great resource for people trying to slow down. Marci just kicked off a new layout for the website and invited me to be part of the celebration.

She interviewed me last week, if you’d like to read my responses (and please chime in with your opinion of The Red Badge of Courage).

I’m sorry to report, however, that the giveaway is closed. There is such a thing as too slow.

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Take some inspiration and advice from The Beautiful Life, who seeks beauty in the ordinary, treasuring each moment.

She offered two great quotes:

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” (Elizabeth Lawrence)

“It is never too late to have a happy childhood.” (Tom Robbins)

Click HERE to read several suggestions to slow down and take time to play.

If you’ve got snow on the ground, act now, before the fun melts away!

Photo provided by The Beautiful Life. Used with permission.

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Sam Van Eman is another of the HighCallingBlogs.com people I’m getting to know.

Culture Editor at HCB, Sam also blogs at New Breed of Advertisers: Becoming Good Neighbors to the Consumer Next Door, inviting marketers to become good neighbors to the consumer next door.

He wrote On Earth as It is in Advertising? Moving from Commercial Hope to Gospel Hype (Brazos Press), about which he humbly advised, “Folks either love this book or doze off by the middle of Chapter 2, so go into it with mediocre expectations and you’ll be alright.”

Sam is also a staff specialist for the CCO, an organization that partners with colleges, churches and other organizations to develop men and women who live out their Christian faith in every area of life.

Ann: HighCallingBlogs explores the intersection of work and faith. Please explain your work for my readers.

Sam: Thanks, Ann. For years I’ve cared about something we call double-study. For college students that means putting as much time into knowing the Bible as they do their Biology textbooks. C.S. Lewis said, “The job is really on us, on the laymen” to inform Christians how to go about their work faithfully. It’s silly, he notes, that people believe, “The Church ought to give us a lead.”

Read the rest of this entry »

I saw this video long ago but didn’t think to link to it until Lisa at Stretch Mark Mama reminded me of its existence.

Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slowness and Under Pressure: Rescuing our Kids from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting, spoke in 2005 on the danger of speed … and the impact of slow.

He does so, by the way, while speaking a mile-a-minute.

Of course, I can’t criticize. Not one bit. I, too, am a mile-a-minute-speaker, living the same irony, concentrating on s-l-o-w-i-n-g my own speech patterns…

Enjoy hearing from a slow-down expert.

(disclaimer/note: Honoré comes from a completely secular perspective, including discussion of slow s[*]x, which I’ve typed in lame code in hopes of reducing unwanted visitors.)

Mega Memory Month January 2010 has returned!

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