Slowing Down

During the past weeks N and I have been reflecting on 2007 and thinking about our family in 2008. 2007 was a tremendous year for us. We pretty much finished our house and began turning it into our home. While we've worked hard, I don't feel like I've fully lived into our home or helped the children to do so either. I feel like we've been rocketing through life without real connection.

How to make the changes? It isn't that we need to simplify our life in the materialistic sense--we cleaned out before building. Our weekly schedule can't get much simpler. I'm beginning to feel that in order to slow down our lives, we need to ADD some things to our life that help us connect more deeply.

What to add?

Baking Bread--I think that baking bread is a great way to slow down. We make most of our food from scratch and we bake a lot, but the kneading of bread makes the connection even deeper. I am hoping to get back to baking bread this year. I am also going to renew my efforts at my garden and at canning --something we've appreciated this winter!

Playing Games--After dinner, we frequently all disappear into books (and fall asleep a little too early). By making an effort to get the game boards out, we'll connect with our children a bit more and hopefully stay up a bit later.

Being Outdoors -- Now that the children are older, I don't have to be outdoors with them as much. I'm realizing that I miss it. I, too, can put on the snowshoes or get on the sled. They are so happy when I come out and I am also re-energized.

Going to Church--N and I have struggled with church over the years. We've had different needs and have had sporadic attendance. We were very involved in a local Unitarian church for a long time, but then moved. I need the structure of a weekly time to sit and reconnect with my spiritual life. I wish I could say that I find the time in my daily life, but I just don't and I miss it.

It's kind of a funny list for a post about slowing down. But, really, it's about engaging in life more deeply -- in the outdoors, in the food we eat, in our time with the children, and in our spiritual life. My big wish for 2008 is that I don't look back on it and feel like it went by in a blur.

Any other thoughts about ways to slow down or connect more deeply with daily life would be most appreciated. Blogging has definitely helped me to connect with our daily life a bit more as has corresponding with many of you!

Dawn  – (January 17, 2008 at 10:30 AM)  

I love your list! Those are some great goals to have. I to have been trying to slow things down for my family but have found that it means adding a few things. Slowing my kids down on the t.v. viewing has meant that they need an alternative- I have found that making toys with them is a wonderful way to connect with them- both the process of making the toys and then playing with them.

Tara  – (January 17, 2008 at 1:44 PM)  

I think you've hit the nail on the head: everything, even slowing down, needs to be done mindfully to really make a difference. Now that my daughter is approaching teen years I find I'm having to think a little and readjust in terms of the activities we do together to help us stay connected. If I don't stay mindful and remember she is not a baby anymore, the wall begins to go up.
Sounds like you will have a wonderful time making your house into a home.

Suse  – (January 18, 2008 at 9:33 PM)  

We have instigated the Family Walk, either on a weekend morning (and we did on Christmas morning too), or one evening after work/school. It's a lovely way to reconnect with each other and nature. No iPods allowed!

These summer holidays I've been dyeing yarn with the children too, which I will blog about as soon as I get a chance.

As they grow up, it becomes a concerted effort to do things together doesn't it? After all those years of babyhood and toddlerdom, when you thought you'd never even be able to go to the bathroom alone again, now you find yourselves having to actively engage them in something as a family. Sigh ...

Baking bread together is a great idea. I use my bread machine, but the days when I do the dough myself are such a treat. Must do it more often.

Do you still read aloud together? We still do with the youngest, and often find the others hang around and listen too, even though they profess not to.

Gosh, that was a long comment wasn't it? Thanks for the cooling photos earlier. Much appreciated over here where it's so sticky and hot.

AIMEE  – (January 24, 2008 at 7:09 PM)  

Love your pretty's funny that sometimes I simplify TOO much and we need a lot umph in our days and nights! We are big game players too and that has been neglected as of late...must go pull out a deck of cards!

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