The word I felt called to pursue was SLOW, thus 2013 was the year of slowing down.
Here in America, we don't live in a culture where slowness is valued. We are encouraged and expected to multi-task, to be busy, to involve our kids in any and every activity, and sometimes we wear our business as a badge of honor and rate the value of our lives by how busy we are. This kind of life is just not my dream for myself or my family. I really want to give my family - myself - the great gift of freedom that is found in living counter-culturally.
I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all definition of what living slowly looks like, but I do know that when you are intentional about slowing down, the rewards are great.
For my family of four, living in the suburbs of a Pacific Northwest city, slow, intentional living includes the following:
- choosing to home educate our daughters
- embracing the "home" part of homeschooling
- not participating in extra curricular activities outside the home (no sports, no lessons, no clubs)
- weekend adventures (hiking, sailing, traveling, exploring)
- reading books aloud as a family
- preparing and eating dinner as a family every single night
- planting and maintaining a backyard garden where we can grow our own food
- pursuing ministry and missions as a family
- pursuing individual interests within the context of family and home (we are musicians, artists, photographers, readers, writers, teachers and more)
- finding ways to nurture our creativity
- pursuing a healthy lifestyle when it comes to diet and exercise
- pursuing a minimalist lifestyle and turning our backs on mainstream consumerism
- active participation in and fellowship with our church
- actively living out our faith daily - praying, studying and worshiping together
- learning to be better stewards of God's creation through environmental awareness and care
I'm sure there are more ways, and I could easily write a post on each of the above items, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of what slow, intentional living looks like for our family.
I am thrilled to be part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour today. Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. In her new book, Tsh gently shares her own story of wanting to slow down the pace of her family's life here in the US. After experiencing life in another culture, she and her husband sought ways to live life more slowly...more intentionally. Tsh covers so many topics in her book with personal stories and practical examples of what this means for her family.
We don't all have to downsize our homes or move to smaller cities or homeschool our kids to live more intentionally. We can make small choices and changes and find freedom from a slower pace.
The years seem to pass too quickly on their own, and I don't want to rush through my girls' childhoods. I want to enjoy this time - savor each moment (or at least most of them). I want to wake up each day with energy and a positive outlook on the day. I want to go to bed each night with a smile and a heart full of gratitude.
This is what slow living does for me.
Here is a bit more from Tsh about her new book....
If you want to know more, visit Notes From a Blue Bike.