Category Archives: Turquoise Table

When Neighboring Well is Hard Work – An Introvert’s Struggle

tuquoise-table

I live in a great community. One of the things that sold us on our home here was the neighborhood. We were fortunate enough to find a home at the end of a cul de sac, and a neighborhood filled with lots of kids.

Our kids can play outside, and we know they are safe and having fun. In our old community we didn’t have any kids in the area and it was rare that someone came by and I heard “friends are here…let’s go outside.”  So to hear those words all the time is such a gift.

So you would think that neighboring well would be easy….

But in all reality, for a girl like me it just isn’t.

I convinced (bullied, manipulated, forced) Dominic to let me get a table for our front yard. I loved the idea of the #TurquoiseTable movement, bringing the backyard to the front. I had wild ideas about hosting parties and making our yard THE place for people to gather.

And then my insecure, unsure self got in the way.

I hosted a little summer party for the neighborhood kids last year and we had hot dogs, cheese balls and watermelon at the table, but I never once invited the adults over. I thought about it…and then fear would set in and I just walked away from the idea.

I started to feel a bit resentful about that table in my front yard. It was a daily reminder of my inability to neighbor well.

The kids have used the table to play chess in the summer, or Pokemon, so it isn’t that it is not used at all…but all those things I encouraged others to do – I wasn’t able to do them myself.

It is a bit embarrassing really.

I guess it just comes down to the fact that I am really not comfortable being me.

I have always struggled with feeling not enough, being not good enough. I know that they are lies, but I feel this need to gain approval and sit with the reality that I just can’t meet this unrealistic standard I have in my own head.

For crying out loud, I walked out of church yesterday and left my 3 kids in the pew alone. ALONE. I was FED UP. My two youngest lovelies weren’t listening. They were laying on the ground, kicking the seats around them, talking well above a whisper, throwing things. I reminded them over and over again that they had to stop.

They didn’t stop and so I said I was leaving and they could wait for church to be over and ride home with their dad. (He was running the projector over in the sound booth and my kids are extra not behaved when he isn’t there in our row.)

The reality was I went to the bathroom. I seriously considered actually leaving. I was over the disrespect and wanted to make a point. THAT is the kind of mother and person I am. Talk about not measuring up. Ha! (I did return after several minutes….against my better judgement.)

Seriously though, churches need an adult nursery. A safe and quiet place where adults can go during the sermon with other quiet adults to be able to LISTEN to the sermon. No kids to be whining or bored or loud and unruly. Nope in adult nursery they aren’t allowed. Kids can fend for themselves. Did I just say that outloud?! Anywhoo….I digress.

So back to my neighborhood.

We have a block party once a year. Everyone brings out their tables and chairs to the center of the street and we share food and stories. The kids love it. Karlena was asking when we got to eat in the street again and last night was the night.

I didn’t want to go.

It isn’t my neighbors, they are amazing. It is just again that I don’t small talk well, and I am nervous joining a conversation. I am the proverbial wall flower. So events like this make me sweat.

We originally had plans to be out of town helping Dominic’s family, so I thought I had an out. Then those plans changed. And we were home. After church we took down our big pool in the backyard, which really did take like 3 hours. But I hadn’t planned that we would participate in the picnic. So I had nothing prepared.

I guess I thought maybe we could just hide inside. 🙁

And Dominic says something like “So we, the family with the Turquoise Table, are going to hide inside and not join the party?”

So at 4:34pm (the party started at 5pm) I was frantically running around my kitchen, making a quick salad to bring, thawing out some meat to grill…all the while our kids are cheering because they get to attend the party. Oh to have their brave hearts!

The evening was really nice. I did still feel uncomfortable at times, I probably always will. But it is ok. I want my kids to learn to neighbor well. I want to be the kind of person that people could come to if they needed something. But I also will probably always be the girl that feels scared and unsure.

I felt like I had to share this post…not because I love putting all my insecurities and faults on display, but because maybe there is someone else out there like me who desires community but is scared of it too.

I get it. I really do.

I don’t have a magical “cure” to make it easier. I just know that there are times that I will have to do something that makes me uncomfortable, and I will survive. And I may even enjoy myself in the process. So friends, if you understand this struggle, know you are not alone!!

I really do love my neighborhood, it is filled with great kids and fantastic people and I don’t want to miss out on more fun events just because of fear! Maybe this is the first step in stomping that fear right out of my life!

And if you see me in church with my lovelies, would you pray for me…clearly I need it! 😉

Neighboring Well

ArtOfNeighboring

It was clear that she was “new”. As a new dance mom myself and just a few months into the routine, I could tell that she was attending drop off for the first time. I raised 3 boys before we had a chance to welcome a girl into our family, so this dance mom thing is new territory for me.

And can I just say it is a bit intimidating.

Maybe it is just women in general, we can come off as illusive and unapproachable. I do the same, I make myself busy with my phone so that I don’t have to make conversation with a “stranger.”

As an introvert and shy to boot, it is work for me to join a conversation, to make friends.

It isn’t comfortable, it never is, but I am learning that sometimes God calls us to step out of our comfort zones and do something different.

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My friend Kristin Schell is doing that with her #theturquoisetable movement.  I love this idea and can’t wait to get a table this spring. Recently she told me about another book that captures this idea of neighboring well.

The Art of Neighboring arrived at my door yesterday and I started reading it as I was getting ready this morning. If I didn’t have to be at work, I would be on the couch reading this. I had flagged pages and underlined in the Foreword. Oh it is going to be good.

“I am convinced that living in close community with our neighbors is the best way to live. The command to love our neighbors lies at the core of God’s plan for our lives, and when we follow this mandate, it changes everything. The journey begins when we choose a lifestyle of conversation and community over a lifestyle of busyness and accumulation. It’s about making room for life and choosing to befriend those God has placed around us.” p11

So often we make assumptions about people. We wave and smile as we drive down our neighborhoods, but it doesn’t go beyond that. And when we haven’t taken the time to really get to know someone, we assume we know what happens in their homes. Good, bad or otherwise…we don’t really know.

“Perhaps we’d find that the people on our block are normal people just like us. They go to work, hang out with their kids, and put their pants on one leg at a time. At the end of the day, they long for a place to belong, a place to be accepted and cared for. They want to do something significant with their lives, something that really matters. What good things might happen if you truly got to know the people in your neighborhood and they got to know you?” p18

These words put a lump in my throat.

If there are people in my neighborhood that are looking for a place to belong, and I can do something about it – what is stopping me? As a believer in Jesus, isn’t this my calling?

Love your neighbor as yourself.

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I am telling you that this isn’t going to be easy for me. My heart beats fast at considering hitting publish to these words, knowing that my neighbors may read them…people in my church. I don’t want to be someone who talks the talk and is afraid to walk the scary road ahead of me.

But this idea of better community, or neighboring well is hitting me on all sides and I can’t ignore it or assume that someone else will do the hard work.

So once again, with knees knocking, I step forward willing to let God use me. (<====Click to Tweet)

As I headed back to the dance studio to pick up my girl, I saw the new mom waiting…phone in hand, scrolling, because it is what we do.

And I turned and said hello, asked if they were new to Marshall, or just new to dance? They had just moved here for a job, new community and new people. Another mom joined the conversation and she also has been here only 2 years “And I don’t know anyone.”

I want that to change! So in a few minutes we stopped and share “newbie” stories and next week maybe that conversation can continue.

We don’t have to do this alone, we shouldn’t do this alone.

It will likely be baby steps for me, but they will be steps forward, to learning the art of neighboring, and neighboring well.

Will you join me?

Photo Credit: From The Art of Neighboring

We All Need a Little of That!

Community

As many of you know just a little over a week ago I was surprised with a getaway birthday weekend to Houston. It was a weekend filled with love from my friends and family.

While Gindi and I shared a delicious BBQ chicken pizza from California Pizza Kitchen (which by the way was YUM!!), we talked about this idea of community. On FB the night I found out about my surprise I posted a picture of my letter and this comment “To say that I am floored and overwhelmed and crazy excited all at once is an understatement….not exactly sure where I am headed on Saturday but the “three birthday bandits” have completely surprised me!”

130 people liked that post and I had over 40 comments…

I don’t say that to brag, it is a reflection of how much something like this would mean to so many people.

“Best present ever!!”, “I want to get kidnapped”, So fun, can’t wait to hear about it”…and on and on.

People, women especially, long for this type of community.

Maybe we don’t say it or admit it…but it is true. We love to feel loved. (<====Click to Tweet)

I think it is in our nature, it is how we were made. I know so many women who love big and love well. But this experience for me was proof that we all have a secret wish that someone would love on us in a HUGE way like I was.

And I don’t want it to end with me.

I realize that many of us might not be able to plan such an elaborate surprise like I received…but as Gindi and I talked I was challenged to think of ways that I might be able to love on others well, here in my own front yard.

Because we all need a little more of that, don’t we?

Of community, friendship, lavish and unconditional love?

This may mean that we have to step out in faith…and what if it isn’t well received? What if we put a Turquoise Table in the front yard in April, invite our neighbors over, and no one comes?

It could happen.

It probably won’t, but there is that risk.

But you know, I have found that by being willing to take the risk, the crazy leaps of faith…that I have been given back so much in return.

If I hadn’t been willing to open my heart to the idea of online friendships…well last weekend would have never happened. And what a blessing that was in my life.

I hope you can understand that I face these challenges with the same fear that I expect many of you are facing. We are in this together!!

That is why I felt like it was so important to write about this today. I often make decisions based on fear, especially fear of the unknown.

But when we see a need – how can we NOT respond?! Maybe your response isn’t with a surprise trip, but instead a call to a friend for a lunch date. A card in the mail to a neighbor or introducing yourself to a “stranger” at church.

The act itself doesn’t have to be monumental, but I am seeing that the small things can become monumental if we are invested in and working at community. (<====Click to Tweet)

So I come here willing. Prayerfully considering how this looks in my own life and open to being pushed to where I may feel uncomfortable…because if I can be the hands and feet of Christ here…who knows what might happen!

Photo Credit: Niall Kennedy

Dear Dominic, We Are Getting a Turquoise Table!

turquoise picnic table

Dear Dominic,

Can I first start by just telling you once again how grateful that I am that you helped arrange my birthday trip. What a gift it was. Especially when you got to have several days full of “barf duty”…I am so sorry about that!! That being said…there is something that I want you to know….

We are getting a Turquoise Table.

I know that when I came back from Allume and told you all about this turquoise table idea, you thought that I was a little crazy.

You may be right, but you know….I am ok with that! 😉

I am crazy, but I want to create a better environment of community in our neighborhood. We have wonderful neighbors, we really do. But the reality is we don’t ever really take time to spend time with them.

We have an annual block party, which is awesome…but I am craving more. More for us, more fun for our kids. I want them to grow up craving community as well. To learn the art of hospitality…even if it starts in our front yard.

I realize that logistically we don’t live in a place that can accommodate a turquoise table year round. But my hope is that if we try this…try and encourage and build community in our own front yard, that even in the winter we might desire to find ways to gather together inside.

That is my prayer with this idea.

The good news is that we now have a truck that can get the $98 table from Lowes in Brookings, to our front yard. And conveniently enough I have almost a full gallon of paint left from our toy room redo! Woot for keeping the costs down! 😉

So there it is Dominic.

In my mind I have pictures of the kids from the neighborhood gathering at the table. I am taking ideas from Gindi’s events and hoping that we can invite our neighbors once a month to our yard for treats and conversation.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy, doesn’t have to cost too much money…but if we make the effort I think that we might see something blossom. These are my wild ideas and big dreams.

It is wonderful that I have met such amazing people online. But I am now challenged to try to build and strengthen relationships in our own community.

I believe it is possible and maybe a turquoise table in the front yard is crazy enough to make it happen!

Thank you for loving me even when I have crazy ideas…I am hoping that you will come to enjoy the turquoise table idea as much as I already do!

And now I cannot wait for April to come, snow to melt and the painting to commence!!

Love, Your Dreamer Wife

Photo Credit: Shabby Old Potting Shed

 

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