Tag: slow living

Want to win a copy of my new book? Get on over to Live Mom and read the interview she did with me and enter to win one of 2 free copies. I loved her questions! And I am loving the fact that she’s got two copies to share!

 

 

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Let the Book Tour begin!

Check out  this beautiful review from Suz Lipman author of Fed Up With Frenzy and creator of Slow Family Online

You will get a lot of ideas from Slow Family Living, both big-picture and everyday, that will make you pause and reflect, and will help you lead a more connected and joyful family life…read more

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If you follow me at all on any social media, you’ve most likely heard by now, my book is coming out soon! (!!!!!!) And I’m pretty darn excited. Longer than the gestation of a human being, this book has been in the works for many months.  And now, with less than one month to go, the countdown has officially begun.

So, for the next 3 weeks, from today until the release date on March 5th, Slow Family Living has paired up with Brain,Child Magazine and we are offering some fabulous prizes. If you pre-order a copy of my book, Slow Family Living; 75 ways to slow down, connect and create more joy,  from any source at all, (or if you’ve already pre-ordered it) be it Austin’s own BookPeople, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Powell’s or the bookstore of your liking, you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive one of five  free one-year subscription to Brain, Child Magazine.

Simply send me an email to Slowfamilybook at G Mail with the subject: I PRE-ORDERED and I’ll put your name in for a chance to win.

Okay?

Either way you win with a great read!

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On Friday evening I was standing in the kitchen talking with my 10 year old and I realized that as she was speaking I had my phone in my hand and I was wanting her to HURRY UP because right before she walked in the room I was about to check ye olde Facebook on my phone. I was distracted as she talked. I wasn’t looking at my screen but I might as well have been because my palm was just itching to tap the little blue App button. And I only half heard what she was saying because of it.

“Enough!” I said to myself as she talked.  Actually, I think the voice in my head said something more like, “are you freaking kidding me???”

So when she finished up and walked out of the room, I sighed a big old sigh. And I tapped the little blue square with the lower case f on it and held it long enough for it to flicker. And I hit delete. And I decided I’d take Facebook off my phone for the whole weekend.

Simple as that.

It was perfect. Several times during the weekend I found myself taking my phone out of my pocket and then remembereing that I had hit delete and so just tucked it right back in. By Sunday I was no longer taking it out at all except to take a few photos – habit broken just like that.

What I realized that first day was just how much I DO take my phone out. Ridiculous really. And most often on the weekends there really isn’t much going on on Facebook anyway. Certainly not enough to warrant wishing a conversation with my 10 year old would end!

By Sunday I was feeling the joy and connection of full on presence. Really. I know it sounds kind of simplistic but maybe that’s because it actually is. Simple that is.

Because while I love the FB for connecting and for taking little breaks from my writing and other random computer work and for promotion of events and products and blog posts, I simply don’t need it on the weekends.

And hitting delete was just so easy. And allowed me to break the FB spell for the whole weekend long.

Try it. And let me know if your habit is easy to break. And if you don’t find something beautiful in its place.

 

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Here’s something I’m trying to do at home. And even in the very brief period that I have been practicing it, it has made an incredible difference in how we all get along. I learned it this weekend at a workshop, along with lots of other great tips for creating more love and joy in my life and especially in my home. It’s such a simple shift, and honestly, it has had a ridiculously profound effect on my interaction with my children and my partner.

Instead of saying “but” I say “and”.

Instead of saying “you want to do it this way BUT I want to do it that way.” Instead of thinking, “You want to go here BUT I want to go there.” Instead of feeling, “You like this BUT I like that.” I replace the “but” with an “and”.

So it sounds like love and acceptance instead of arbitration and rejection. It feels like agreement instead of contradiction. It allows for two realities co-existing instead of argument of one way being right and the other being wrong. AND it feels like a whole lot of understanding that in a family with 6 people in it, there can of course be 6 different ways of feeling/thinking/wanting/seeing.

We all like different things. We all have different ideas. We all need/want/have/love different ways of approaching life. AND it’s all perfectly true and beautiful and okay.

Honestly it is that simple. AND it is that good. You want this AND I want that. You feel this AND I feel that. You see this AND I see that. You are perfect AND I am too.

It could be just the tool you need this holiday.

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Letting Go

Letting go seems to be my theme this week. Actually, maybe it’s a recurring theme it’s just that now I”m paying more attention to it. And funny enough, paying attention was the theme for the past several months. Which I guess means I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. In that big giant universal sense that is.

Every year for Halloween we take a family photo on the bench in the yard. Every year. Since we’ve been in this house. Since all the kids were little. Before some of the kids even existed. We would all get our random costumes on and take 10 minutes for a photo shoot. I love those photos. The sessions and the photos too.

This year we were kind of in a hurry because of new schedules where big kids get home later than usual. And costumes were chosen last minute which took a little bit of time. And we were  just a little bit more scattered. So the photo shoot was rushed. And one child didn’t want to participate. At all. At first I insisted. But only for about a minute. And then, like a wave, I felt myself let go of the expectation.

In the big picture, who cares about the picture? Yes, I like it but taking a photo with 5 of us instead of 6 will serve as much as a reminder of where we all were at that current moment in time just as much as a photo would. I’ll remember that moods were off and we were feeling a little frantic and so the photo was different.

And I’ll use that photo of 5 as a metaphor for so much more. I’ll remember to let go of expectations. I’ll remember to let everyone feel the feelings. I’ll remember that we all need/like/want different things. I’ll remember that where we are in one moment of time does not define us for all time. I’ll remember, hopefully, to try to meet everyone where they are at any given moment of time. And hopefully I’ll remember that it’s crucial in this family life of ours to choose my battles. Which ones matter? Which ones can I just let go?

I think this year’s picture is going to give me more than I could have ever dreamed because what’s in the picture is just as telling and crucial as what isn’t.

 

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The Countdown Begins

I just did a calendar check. Looks like there’s only 6 more weeks of school to go. Time to ponder summer plans and swimming holes and camps and craft projects and all the other things we can do with the long stretching hours of school-less days.

And time too to check in with your child’s teachers and see what they need in these last 6 weeks. It’s when the crunch for testing is over and the options for creative teaching expand. It’s time too when the kids get a little restless, especially those 5th graders who are experiencing their first dose of senioritis.

If you’ve planned on volunteering in the classroom, now’s your chance. And if you haven’t planned on it, might I recommend it? It’s a great way to connect with your kid in a whole different way. You’ll gain insight into their day to day and into their peer group and into the whole world where they spend a good deal of their awake time.

Ask your teacher what they need. Figure out what you can offer. And get in there for an hour or so. You’ll be glad you did. And who knows what you’ll end up creating.

 

 

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This is your life…

…and this is what it’s like.

I came to that conclusion many moons ago, when I was on the cusp of true adulthood, before partnership, before children. I was working the graveyard shift in an Austin cafe, sweeping the floor at 5am, after the late night crowds had left and before the shiny breakfast crew arrived. As I swept, I pondered, “I wonder what my life is going to be like.” And then I realized, “Oh, this is my life. And this is what it’s like.”

My mom, age 87, says it this way, “this is not a dress rehearsal. This is it.”

Now is what we’ve got. It’s up to us to make it good. Make it count. Make it joyful and fill the moments with the things we want in life. From this truth is the why and the where from which Slow Family Living really began, with the idea that this is what we’ve got. Right here. Right now. And we can make the moments count.

It’s sometimes hard to remember that within the minutiae we can find and create the joy and connection we truly desire. But sometimes all it takes is a shift of attitude. And a recognition that this is our life. And this is what it’s like.

This little video from The Happiness Project really sums it up nicely. Take a minute, that’s all it is, and treat yourself to a viewing. It sums up nicely the power of creating connection with all we love now in order to have the connection for our whole lives long.

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Keep a Soft Eye

I went to a beautiful wedding this weekend at which a married couple served as the officiants. As they spoke to the bride and groom the one spoke of the need to keep a “soft eye,” a term he had heard on The Wire about the need to see the big picture rather than just focusing on the evidence in front of you.

“You know what you need at a crime scene? Soft eyes.” Detective Bunk

He instructed the bride and groom that in a marriage, it was necessary to keep a soft eye in order to keep seeing the whole scene. He told them not to focus on the one infraction or misspoken word but rather keep a soft eye on the love they had for each other.

I searched the term “soft eye” today and learned that it is a martial arts term, also used often in horseback riding, and means to take in the periphery of the scene – to take in everything but be distracted by nothing.  According to the Urban Dictionary a soft eye is “The ability to see the whole thing. If you have hard eyes, you’re just staring at the tree and missing the forest.”

In family life I can think of nothing more essential than to keep a soft eye.

What are we doing here all together? What is the essence of our family forest? Not what is happening right this minute but what is the overarching desire/feeling/emotion? What’s in our big picture?

How can we remember the joy, love and connection when there are harsh tones being used or piles of endless work to do or a child who won’t go to bed or seemingly incessant whining or hunger or fatigue on everyone’s part?

Keep a soft eye. Stay focused on the big picture.

I’m going to try it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

 

*Thank you Eric!

 

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Treating Family Like a Good Book

I am fully immersed in the Hunger Games trilogy. I am notoriously a slow reader but I finished the first one in a week, looking for any moment possible to pick up the much read tattered copy and read a few pages. Deliciously compelling. And I found it amazing how often I could find a few minutes squeeze in a little reading time.

You know that feeling of a good book? When you can’t wait to steal a couple of minutes from the day in order to jump in? When you are somehow able to put everything else on the back burner in order to immerse yourself in the glorious world of whatever book has got your grip? It’s so satisfying and even decadent in a way. To put the world on hold in pursuit of this incredible immersion.

And then I started thinking…

What if…

What if we could apply that same feeling to family life? What if, when we were home together in the afternoons or evenings, we could give family time that same attention that we give to a really good book. What if, on weekends we would get stuff done in between the family time instead of the other way around.

I’m going to try it this week and see just how many moments I can steal away from the world in order to be with the best unfolding story tellers I know. One person, one day, one lifetime at a time.

Let the next chapter begin people, I’m ready!

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