The Lost Art of Slowing Down

My 11 year old was sweeping the kitchen floor after dinner one night. We had just hand washed all the dishes and were putting them away for the evening. The rest of the family was still outside, enjoying the cool but still comfortable warm, early summer night. All were excited for the promise of fire-fly catching later that evening.

“Lyla, what could we do to improve our life?” I asked, rinsing off the last dish. “What is it that you would like to see change or better around here?”

My daughter stopped sweeping and leaned on her broom. The bristles bent under her weight as she searched for an answer. I placed the last dry dish into the cupboard and closed the door. Hanging the towel up on the dry rack, I waited for her reply. The sound of my husband’s lawn mower sounded up in the background and I could hear the children playing on the swings.

Finally, this daughter of mine answered.

“Well, I would say … to have less stress….”, she said, now continuing her task of sweeping the well-used kitchen.



Okay, I thought, less stress …. I try to live a stress-free life as it is and provide the family with a stress-free life, but my little girl, one who really does not know what true stress fees like, still feels restless and stress in the air of our home. Interesting.

The opposite of stress is peace. And I crave peace. I want peace in my life and I desire to have a peaceful family life. Peace straight from the Lord, peace in our home, peace in our homeschooling, peace when we lay our heads down at night and listen to the crickets chirp in the fields about our home.  Perhaps this was a good, gentle reminder to slow down, have more patience and be intentionally peaceful. I believe it is very important to have a  peaceful home!

Later in the week, we happened to find this lovely, slow moving (if he was moving at all?) turtle attempting to cross our road. What joy it was to watch him just sit and be still! I brought the girls out and we all studied him in awe. It is rare to see a turtle around our area.

While the girls and the little boy watched in wonder as this strange looking, slow creature, I knew there was a lesson to be gleaned from this slow-moving turtle …

“Lord, show me how to make our home more peaceful! Help me to slow down,” I whispered in prayer, later that evening, as we retold our day’s adventures to a weary daddy after a long day of work.

I think, sometimes, I bring on the stress, I pondered. I am a go-er, a do-er. I get that from both my parents 🙂 and it’s hard to ignore. I like to get things done. I like projects. I like a challenge. And yet, I also love a low key life, a stress free day, a day of laundry fluttering on the line, lace curtains blowing the breeze and happy children playing after a morning of good, old fashioned chores. I believe you can have good, healthy work and still have peace. I do not think work is supposed to be stressful. Weeding our garden, hoeing a row, doing the laundry, preparing dinner for the family, cleaning out a closet … it can all be done stress-free. Perhaps we just need to give ourselves more time to accomplish the task, take things in stride, bite sized pieces and get done what you can get done.

Don’t stress. Just don’t stress. I have found I can still accomplish much even if I am just working at the project for 1/2 an hour at a time. By the afternoon, I am usually surprised- and pleasantly happy – with all we have accomplished, without rushing (too much).

However, I do need to remember to do things at a slower pace. Not every one wants to rush about. My husband likes a slow pace. He cannot be rushed, no matter what. He is a Mr. Steady. 🙂 Sunday mornings would stress him out because I would be rushing about, getting everyone ready for church and asking for his help. I have learned to lay out all the clothes the night before, make sure all church shoes are located, have everything ready, even the meal prepared or possibly cooked for Sunday afternoon. I get up extra early and get ready and prepare an easy but filling breakfast. I do not expect my husband to help – and that makes Sunday less stressful! He likes to sit and drink his coffee and have his shower and get dressed. Later, his job is usually to tend to farm animals in the morning and then possibly dress our little son, Lazarus, for church. And he deserves that day of non-rushing. He is the one that is required to leave the home every morning and get to work on time!  I have learned there is more peace if I do not rush him and allow his one possible day off to not be too stressful and rushed. And guess what? We always end up at church early. In fact, we are usually one of the first families to arrive.

Recently, our very sweet neighbours moved from their lovely farm residence. All these years, we have looked at their place and were amazed at the beauty of their landscaping, tidiness, and charming grounds. In one particular spot, there was a beautiful gazebo, tucked between weeping willow trees. When we went to say farewell to our neighbours, I asked her how often she had sat in her pretty little charming gazebo and if she would miss it. She sadly shook her head and admitted, “I never sat in there… I just didn’t have time.”

Living slowly, living with time to spare, enjoying the every-day, run-of-the-mill moments, not rushing … this is important to me. Yes, we do have to get things done, we have chores to accomplish and such, but I am going to be very choosy about what we are rushing to, what we are “stressed” about … I am going to purposefully guard our time and attempt to cultivate an air of peace in our home this summer. More front porch sitting. More fire fly catching. More story times under the shades of large trees. More in the slow lane and less in the fast lane.

More time just together at home. Slowing things down, even more than before …


 _ _

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Hebrews 4:9


June 13, 2018 - 6:12 pm

Kim I would have to say my 5 year old grandson most enjoys the days he spends with us when we are just home doing everyday stuff. He loves following us around and watching and joining in on whatever we may be doing. He also likes to play by himself for short periods and loves it when we stop to join him in play- it may be running a race, riding our bikes our playing with a ball.

His parents tend to be busy working and trying to keep up with work, house and lawn and everything else. Our house is a slower pace.

I think kids enjoy adults who are with them in the moment. He can take a piece of yarn and make all kinds of toys with it from his imagination.

His favorite crazy, silly activity is dancing. No money necessary- just a grandma willing to watch and smile and hug.

June 8, 2018 - 2:13 am

Lauren I literally come to your blog to slow down.
Lord Bless you and yours.

June 6, 2018 - 4:15 pm

Sarah I have been thinking about this too, and wrote about embracing the slowness of childhood. Living in the suburbs, people are rushing around everywhere – even in New Zealand, where we tend to be slower than other nations. I dislike it immensely. I would love to live in the country and live a slower life, but we can’t for my husband’s job. So I keep trying, but it is such a battle. It is literally a battle, so say ‘no’ to things (even to the kids who ask, “Where are we going today?”). I would say we live slower than other families, but it isn’t slow enough for my tastes! I like how you said to slow down our actions. I need to start that, too.

June 6, 2018 - 9:29 am

Laura It looks like your turtle could be laying eggs. The dirt has been quite disturbed near its tail end. Once when I was a young girl, we had a painted turtle lay eggs in the driveway of a neighboring cottage. Perhaps you could carefully check to see if there are eggs there and eagerly await their hatching if there are. How fun that would be!

June 6, 2018 - 8:45 am

Monica This is good! I believe peace is a state of the heart that spills over into our daily lives. I think even in times of stress, we can remain peaceful in our circumstance. It doesn’t seem possible but it IS a peace that passes all understanding. And yes I’m all for making time to purposefully slow down and make peace even perhaps when the Lord is still working on my heart part, and filling it with more peace. What a great thing to observe, Miss Lyla! Strangely enough I’m sure my children would say the same for our home. And great tips for Sunday morning. Because we are NOT some of the ones who get there early. Good to have a new post from you this morning!

June 6, 2018 - 7:43 am

Sarah We found a turtle by our stream earlier this week. My daughter was thrilled. Our turtle was smaller, and I was surprised at how quickly it was moving! : )It ended up in the stream and we enjoyed watching the turtle swim away.

Sometimes it is difficult not to hurry about, especially during the summer months with gardening and canning. You have given good advice about allotting more time to projects. I will keep that in mind.