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Slow Down Challenge: Stopping to Smell the Roses (Day 1)

This week, I’m joining Jeff Goins for his Slow Down Challenge. If you want to participate, sign up for the free Slow Down Challenge email list. Also, you might consider grabbing a copy of his book, The In-Between. Jeff is such an inspiration to me as a writer and I highly recommend reading all of his books, if you have a chance!

We live in a frantic, rushing world. Busyness is a virtue, a badge of honor we proudly wear.

But where does busyness get us? Often, it just leads to exhaustion, frustration, stress, and burn out.

That’s why we need to take time to breathe. We need to soak up the sunshine, the beauty, the smells, the sounds, the wonder of life teeming around us in all directions.

Stopping to smell the roses is not only rejuvenating, it’s imperative if you want to lead a healthy, well-balanced life.

Today’s Project

Today’s project for the Slow Down Challenge is to walk around your home, neighborhood, or even your workplace, and take time to notice the things that other people might overlook. Read more here.

Here are a few things I saw:

A fall-scented candle.

Kaitlynn’s art project (I love how she always has some new creative project she’s working on — usually spread out over the kitchen table!)

A stack of new books that I can’t wait to dive into… just as soon as I finish up the books I’m currently reading. 🙂

Beautiful flowers in a vase.

Coupons sitting on my dresser waiting to be filed (so thankful for all of the money we’ve saved over the years thanks to coupons!)

Are you joining me for the Slow Down Challenge? If so, feel free to share about what you learn from the projects in the comments. Or, if you’re blogging about the challenge, leave your link to your blog post below.

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  • Carla says:

    I have a part time job and one of my many tasks I do for the elderly couple I work for is to take their dog for a walk. Today as I was walking him, I noticed a Queen Anne’s Lace flower (weed) and just HAD to take a picture of it with my phone camera. That is the one thing I can think of today that I actually stopped to look at. I am very excited about this challenge!

  • Shelly says:

    I just purchased The In-Between. I read through the slow down challenge last week and I am hoping to join in with you on this challenge tomorrow.

  • Slowing down. I know it’s important but it can be so hard! I recently got rid of a four-hour commitment on Monday nights, freeing up that evening completely. It’s been so nice to be at home on Monday nights… but I almost feel like I should go find something to fill that space, instead of just resting! I guess it’s just a habit we get ourselves into (of being too busy)? Anyway, I will definitely follow along with this challenge and try to resist the urge to fill in my nice, free Monday. 🙂

  • Lana says:

    This is something I have been working on for a few months now. Our children are grown and we were just as busy if not more so than when they were at home. I saw us running at this frantic pace until we just crashed at some point or age and realized that we were not enjoying anything. Our lifestyle had become just a list to get checked off every single day. We have just started to let go of having to do everything and allowing ourselves to even sleep in on Saturdays instead of meeting friends for breakfast every weekend. It has been really freeing but we have a long way to go. Our society has drilled this busyness into us and we just have to say no!

    • Crystal says:

      There’s such wisdom in this comment! Thank you for sharing.

      • Lana says:

        Thank you! I forgot to say that I am joining in! I was just standing at my kitchen window looking out at our beautiful hardwood forest. People come over to our house and just stand on our deck and exclaim over our view and we don’t even see it anymore. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • Marie says:

    I put the Christian radio station on and had it on all day. No TV or DVD players today. And the kids went off and played together with no fighting!!! This was HUGE. And I noticed when my daughter would come upstairs she would start dancing and humming to the music. This also allowed my littlest one to be more content. Even though I was trying to do some baking I stopped to help her make a fort, play with sensory beans, color etc. She’s 2 1/2 and very active. But at the end of the day my kids were happy and I felt like for the first time in a long time I got a lot done! But I wasn’t wiped out, stressed or overwhelmed! I felt very peaceful.
    My husband’s been taking them to swim lessons for me but tonight we all went and it was so much fun to enjoy them!!!

  • Robyn says:

    The book in your stack…Families Where Grace is in Place…that book changed my life. Someone gave it to me for a wedding gift….some sixteen years ago now.

    I was raised in a very legalistic environment, and that book just turned it all upside down for me and made me wonder…what if? What if our family could really model God’s radical grace?

    Life raising three kids is messy and we don’t have that “perfect christian sheen” covering our family…and yet…it’s all so vibrant and real.

    I guess it changed my perspective in some good ways. Raising kids isn’t about doing it all perfectly or–worse–having them do it all perfectly. Rather, it’s a relationship.

    Anyway, I know this is long and probably makes little sense…but I’d love to hear your thoughts on that book! I need to re-read it myself. It’s been a long time. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      If your comment is at all indicative of what the book is like, I’m pretty positive I will love it. It came highly recommended to me and I can’t wait to dive in!

  • Lora C says:

    I ordered Jeff’s book last weekend. Definitely signing up for the challenge!!!

  • This is a great challenge. It has been a busier summer than expected and now that we have started our fall schedule and I am beginning classes myself next week, this is the perfect challenge to take a deep breath. 🙂

  • Molly says:

    I think I am going to join this challenge. I am constantly on the go, go, go. I need to slow down. I will be posting this on my blog as well. Has this book hit the libraries yet? I would like to check it out.

  • jennifer says:

    I’m not interested in slowing down but I do like the idea of noticing overlooked things.

  • bethany says:

    I really liked this post. I was just thinking about this last night- how it truly is perceived as a “badge of honor” to be busy. We all talk about how busy we are and it seems like everyone tries to “up” the other with their busy-ness. I was talking with a friend of mine and she was telling me how stressed and exhausted she was. We were talking about how to save money on groceries- I told her that I sometimes coupon and visit a certain store for certain things. She scoffed and exclaimed that she’s too busy to coupon, relax, or even stop at a specific store at milk (we were talking about how they had the cheapest milk). I just remember thinking how sad that was and it made me sad for her because I just wanted her to be truly happy and not stressed and exhausted constantly. I understand busy-ness but I definitely am not proud or happy when my life is that chaotic (and there are times that it is, most definitely!). It’s like it’s become this thing where it’s a competition to see who’s the busiest mom and expectations are so high in this area. If you’re not running 99 mph every hour of the day, you’re not really “living” or you’re perceived as though you can’t handle it. Personally, I want to take more time to *try* to get out of the rat race. I want to purposefully try to keep my calendar more free and not schedule something every night of the week if I can help it so that I can try to be more of a blessing to my family. My husband’s family has zillions of extended family get togethers and there is a lot of pressure to attend absolutely everything- which gets difficult, especially at the holidays. I’m already stressed about that at the holidays. It’s just too much sometimes. 🙁 I don’t want to not enjoy time with my own kids and have those days rush by in a blur because I felt like I needed to do everything. It will be gone before I know it. 🙁

  • Meredith says:

    I have had insomnia since March now. I am finally on natural medication but just started doing this last week to slow my life doing. Going to the library today to see if they have the book. Will definitely be joining you. My “baby” starts Kindergarten tomorrow so I don’t need to overstress myself!

    Today I noticed….
    My daughters plastic pumpkin in her play kitchen. It was her first word….Puh puh.

    Two crooked tiles on our backsplash. my husband and I did it ourselves a little over a year ago. I was thankful we had the cash to pay for it.

    The plastic M&M’s candy dispenser on top of my husbands bookshelf in his office. That was the cake topper on the grooms cake at our wedding.

    A scarecrow my daughter made two years ago. Thinking I am going to take it downstairs for fall (I can decorate for fall now if I want to, right???)

    A spare pink lego on the toy box. I am going to miss my little girl during the days….sometimes it’s nice to look at it and not ask her to put it up. One day, there won’t be any legos in the house at all!

    Am I getting emotional about going back to school?!?!?!?!?!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I kind of daily try to just take a deep breath though I don’t get much time to ever stop but it can be very peaceful and beautiful when the chemical factor is near empty and you can pause for a moment to watch the light that breaks through the slow rotation of the industrial fan set into the building. Find beauty and peace where you can because stopping rarely becomes an option.

  • Chanda says:

    My 19 month old is a good example of this….literally, she must stop to smell the roses. We have roses in our front yard and she will not go from house to van or van to house, or anywhere else for that matter, without quickly running to smell the roses 🙂

  • Luba says:

    My husband is reading a book called _Preparing for Peace_ by Steve Curington. In that book, Steve gives this acronym for busy:

    Thank you for the wonderful challenge, Crystal. You are such a blessing to me!

  • What a super idea! I’ve been noticing some of the late summer/fall wildflowers. What wonderful beacons of color they are, plus so amazing for storing up their energy and waiting to bloom when most everything is past. At first I thought most of them were yellow, but upon closer inspection I’ve been able to find pinks, purples, and whites interspersed here and there. Seeing a beautiful flower makes me smile, and smiling makes me remember what a treasure life is.

  • Carrie says:

    Your flowers are GORGEOUS!!! Just seeing the picture of them brightened my day. 🙂

    Also, I always enjoy seeing your book piles. I too have “Into the Whirlwind” (for a blogger review) and can’t wait to dive into it . . . just as soon as I finish my current blogger review book, which I have about 15 chapters left in. 😀

  • Candice says:

    Not certain if I want to sign up as it just may be one more thing that has to be checked off an already too long list of items to be completed each day…except to slow down and do it in slo mo..ugh..I have a problem wouldn’t you agree?

  • Rachel says:

    This was the absolute worst day for me to start this challenge but I did my best anyway. Hopefully tomorrow there will be more time for it!

  • Molly says:

    Well, since I joined this challenge yesterday, I think I am a day behind, but, better late than never. Yesterday, it started to rain, so I decided to open the door and let the rain air waft through the house and listened to the sound of the pouring and then just watched as it rained, my girls got in on the action too. It was so peaceful and relaxing and it made me feel so much better. Sometimes, we overlook the rain, it can make you feel so relaxed.

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