(Update: Giveaway added below!)

Halfway to Each Other

When I pick up a book these days, it is usually to learn something. I want something to encourage me spiritually, or organize my life better, or help with homeschooling, or deal with adoption issues, or….you get the idea. It’s been awhile since I read just a story. In fact, it has been so long that when I was asked to review HALF WAY TO EACH OTHER by Susan Pohlman, I almost refused.

But the topic of this book! An escape to Italy. Trying out life in a different country. Who hasn’t imagined what that might be like? I had to read this book. I whizzed through it in three days, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Interestingly, it turned out to be more of a how-to book than I expected. As well as telling the story of a family on an adventure– a family that managed to stay intact by going on an adventure together– it also pointed out some of the things about their slowed-down life that knit them back together and improved their family’s quality of life. I highly recommend this book, both as an ‘adventure’ story and as a way to be more mindful about family life in general.

A week or two later, I received another book in the mail– NOT SO FAST by Ann Kroeker. I didn’t realize until I sat down to write both of these reviews that the message of both of these books is the same: slowing down life enough to treasure family connections.

The really great thing is that you don’t have to move to Italy to do it. NOT SO FAST does a wonderful job of describing the benefits of a more laid back lifestyle. And, more important, it shows in many ways very clearly how to do it, right here, right now, in the midst of your current life. Although my family is already doing some of the things mentioned in the book, I got some new ideas, as well as a great shot of motivation to keep on evaluating our priorities for the good of my family. This book comes highly recommended as well.

And here’s a fun thing. Ann is offering a copy of her book NOT SO FAST to one of my readers. Just leave a comment below and tell me what you do when you need to slow down.


  1. I like to read a book, go for a bike ride, have a Mom’s Night Out, or take a nap to slow down.

  2. If I can’t think of how I slow down, do I get two shots at the book, or none? :o)

    Seriously, we like to load the kids in the Yukon, make a stop at Baskin Robbins drive thru and then go for a drive into the hills around our home….

  3. We don’t do any work on Sundays. That commitment helps us rest.

  4. I need this message – I feel like I have to constantly be running to say that I am productive – what’s the hurry? Thanks for the chance to change and grow

  5. I hop in the tub with a magazine and try and relax. But I need some ideas for our family. Thanks for the review!

  6. We have a family night at home when we need to slow down. And we love it! Thanks for the giveaway and the reviews. They both look great!

  7. It took our family (of almost 7) a few years of endless soccer seasons, after school activities, piano, scouts, etc. to realize that there are a LOT of great opportuntities “out there” for our kids to participate in …but not every great activity is a “GOOD THING” for our family, and we were missing out on some much richer experiences. Now- we have learned to say no and not get caught in the trap of “keeping up with the Jones’ Kids” and we head for our family farm in the country when we need to back off and slow down.—no tv, video games (we don’t own any anyway), ipods, computer, etc. We just take walks, climb haybales, fish, read, etc. It’s very calming and there is no giant laundry pile beckoning…

  8. When we need to slow down I usually stop “hosting” things and just settle in for a few days at home with just my boys. It usually reminds my boys that they can entertain themselves at home and I can sit back and think about what really matters.

  9. We definitely need to slow down more than we do, but probably the best way is to stop and play a game with the kids! The cleaning/ work will wait, they just keep getting bigger!

  10. We live in the Washington, D.C., area and find it so challenging to slow down. I am a Christian school teacher and my husband works for a ministry called Young Life. There’s just always something. But one thing we are good at is being intentional about time together, for just us. It brings us joy and fills us up so that there is more to give out in the rest of the week.

  11. To slow down I like to make a big batch of popcorn and snuggle with my kids and watch a movie.

  12. I have been so unsuccessful at this. We do like to camp to get away from everything as a family.

  13. Sometimes when I need to slow down there isn’t time to (I’m a mom to 7) So what I do is slow things down mentally. I write a list of what needs to be done so I’m not constantly running things through in my head then I step back take a deep breath… and look around and take note of thing I have to be thankful for… and mentally say thank for them. It always seems to slow things down. it makes you look closer at the loved one talking to you, helps you to really listen to what they are saying. Even if the topic is why green playdough this the best on ever;-) And makes me wonder, “wow how did I get so lucky to have such and amazing, interesting, fasinating person in my life.”
    Or saying my thank yous, deep breath and look around at this cool life I have.
    Praticing gratitude always relaxes me and slows me down even when I the moment I phyically have to keep going. Often things nseem to slow down on their own from there. Peace in the heart is contagious;-) try it you’ll see.

  14. It’s not a special trick, but some weekends we just have to stop – no friends over, no extended family, no extra plans. We just laze around. Enjoy each other. Catch up on ourselves, together. Hmmm… I think we are due for another one of these weekends….

  15. When I need to slow down, I find a quiet morning hour, and I write. I write for me, and it doesn’t matter what I write, I just let the busy flow out onto the paper until I feel poured out and renewed. Would love a chance at winning this book!

  16. I was just debating this concept with my sister. She says that since we HS we HAVE to put our children in EVERY possible activity. “They can’t just sit at home and be stagnate!” Humm, I disagree. Home is the center of our lives. As it should be. I’d love to have some ammunition to back up my slower, home centered life style. Thanks!

  17. Monique in TX says:

    When I need to slow down I either get in the kitchen and make something slow, like bread, cookies, or a long-simmering soup. Curling up with the cat or poking about in the garden are also good.
    Love your blog.

  18. My kids are just starting to get to the age of doing stuff… soccer, piano… I want involved kids but I notice that the extra stuff after school is hard on the school kids and hard on the babies. The latter would much rather play at home on the family room carpet than be hauled about in car seats. I am not sure if I need to slow down already or what… The best thing for me and my kids (7, 5, 2 and 8 months) is to lay on a blanket in the back yard shade, jump on the trampoline and talk about the day.

  19. We do this even when we don’t need to slow down–we dedicate Saturdays to “playing and praying,” Eugene Peterson’s definition of a sabbath. We realized that between set up/tear down, worship leading, preaching and small group responsibilities on Sundays it wasn’t practical to plan to just “pray and play” on that day. So Saturday is our day and it starts with pancakes and tickle fights and ends with black bean quesadillas or homemade pizza…we fill up the spaces with “gratefuls and grumbles” and naps…I guess it more PREVENTS us from speeding up, but hopefully it still counts…

  20. Lately, I have been singing “Be Still and Know” ….Be still and know that I am God, Be still and know that I am God, Be still and know that I am God. It slows me down, it calms me down, it makes my kids stop, and sometimes they even sing a time or two with me and we all get to “be still”.

  21. When I need to slow down I usually get sick.

    Okay, so that wasn’t the answer you were looking for, but it is generally true. Usually takes a crisis to snap me to attention.

    When you mail me this book for this very insightful and witty comment, can you enclose a copy of your own as well?


  22. I bookmarked your site months ago and then I haven’t been able to visit for quite some time. This post brought a huge smile to my face. I love Ann’s book. Don’t enter me in the contest. I already have a copy and I had trouble not reading it too fast. I keep going back to it because it is incredibly encouraging. I am looking forward to checking out your other book recommendation.

  23. Last night, for the first time, we waited til after dark then took our kids out to lay on the trampoline and look at the stars. It was so fun and relaxing…I think this will definitely become a “slowing down” habit.

  24. we live at a camp 24/7. Many people come and they say, “we come to camp to get away, quiet down and hear God speak, what do you do?”. Well we don’t usually stay here when we have time off. We go to town, since we’re 13 miles from town, or we have friends that loan us the use of their cabin for a day or two. ahhh….that’s relaxing.


  1. […] I finish for the day and yawn my way to bed, I wanted to announce the winner of Ann Kroeker’s book  NOT SO FAST. has decreed it to be Carrie Callahan, commenter #40.  Congrats, Carrie! Share and […]