Tag Archives: community

Teach Community

This post originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.  

Recently, I’ve realized that a theme has been cropping up to much of my reading, my podcast-listening, and my conversations. I must be in a certain sort of place in my life where God has started to push me in a specific direction, but I may have been too daft to notice it.

My husband and I made a decision when we started thinking about having kids (I know, this is related, I promise). We decided that we wouldn’t stop our social life just because I was pregnant, or simply because we had added a member to our family. For us, that meant  going out to events or dinner or drinks with friends. But what it really meant for us was continuing to have people over to our house. We’ve always had friends over for dinner several times a week, inviting new friends, bringing together old friends, and hosting our families in our home. It helps that my husband is a great cook (can I get an “amen”?!), but we have always loved the fact that our home is a place where people can gather, and we didn’t want that to stop when we suddenly had another (tiny) person that needed to be planned around.

Which brings me to the point of connecting these two thoughts. We’ve always had the desire to have lots of people and lots of good conversation in our home. And recently I’ve listened to two podcasts (unrelated, and not necessarily on this topic) that touched on gathering people into your home, inviting them to be a part of your life and it’s a running theme in two of the books I’ve been reading. Gathering and community-building has also been a theme in the church plant that I’m a part of, and a new job I just took at a local non-profit.

See? I told you I was probably daft to not get it until now.

I’m noticing that even more than usual, I am called to build community. Relationships. Connections. Yes, it looks different in each area of my life, but the goal is the same. Make meaningful connections. Help build relationships. Create a space for community to happen. On top of those things, I have a desire for people to feel welcome and wanted. I want them to feel like they are a part of something bigger.

Because at the end of the day, we are. We are a part of something bigger. We are an integral part, each of us, of the tapestry that God is weaving throughout humanity. We are lost souls, left to wander, if we don’t know about His loving pursuit of us. He has a great destiny for our lives, and all we have to do is come into His family and follow Jesus.

Jesus was the ultimate community builder. He gathered people from far and wide and welcomed them. Even people who had no business being near him, right? People who were usually shunned were welcomed at his table, into his life and his ministry. And as a mother, what more important thing could I let my children witness as they grow up? I want them to know intrinsically how important community is, to see it firsthand. My hope is that they will see the theme of community woven throughout their lives as well, and will, in turn, welcome people to their homes and pour into their own communities. It’s a part of what we’re called to do.

It’s Fun to Shop Local!

As the daughter of a small business owner, I am well-versed in the advantages and disadvantages of small businesses, and the disdain for “one stop shopping” at Wal-Mart and the like. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Target (and other stores like it) for its convenience and shiny red happiness, but I try to shop locally as often as I can. Here are a few reasons why:

http://www.opencopy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/buy-local.jpg
http://www.opencopy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/buy-local.jpg

Customer Service. Don’t you hate making a phone call to a huge corporation, speaking to someone who doesn’t know anything about why you’re calling, being on hold for 20 minutes, and transferred 13 times? It’s much better to call the small business with only a few employees. Every employee would be able to answer your questions, you wouldn’t be transferred anywhere, and it’s likely you’d only be on hold for long enough for the manager to walk across the store. When you go into a store and need help, small businesses want to help you, not just feel obligated.

Supporting Your Community. Small businesses are an integral part of every community. Every employee is a member of your community, and often if they’re outsourcing anything, it’s to another business in your community. Most of the money you spend in a small business stays local, and is invested back into the community. It’s cycled back in to other businesses, local taxes, non profits, and local families; you’re boosting your local economy!

One-of-a-Kind Products. Many local boutique stores have unique items that can’t be found anywhere else. Isn’t it fun to have something handmade or locally designed that you know not many other people have? Clothes, toys, jewelry, art, and furniture are just a few of the one-of-a-kind things you can find in small, local businesses.

It’s Trendy! This seems like a silly reason to do it, but it’s getting trendy to shop local, and that’s great! It means the overall experience of small business shopping is getting better: customer service, product quality, shopping environment/ease, and prices. The more people that buy local the better those things will get!

It’s Fun! Farmer’s markets, neighborhood coffee shops, small, local restaurants and family-owned stores often hold family-friendly events, draw other folks from your neighborhood, and may even have loyalty programs – those aren’t just for big corporations! And I like planning outings with and running into friends while I shop, and my kids do, too!

http://memegenerator.net/instance2/2467830
http://memegenerator.net/instance2/2467830

The pros of shopping local vastly outweigh the cons. And in addition to everything else, supporting local businesses just feels good. You’re helping families and your community. How much better can it get?

Check back next week if you’re local to me… I plan to compile a few lists of places I like to shop, eat, etc locally!

Doing Life Together

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

As humans, we are made for community. God created man, and then said he needed a companion. We need each other. We have the ability to help each other, enjoy each other, and make each other better people. There are countless cliches about community and being together: “It takes a village.” and “Two heads are better than one.” and “Birds of a feather flock together.” They show just how much we are meant to be with other people.

In the world of moms, there has been much talk recently of having or finding your “mom group”. Frequently that group is labelled a “tribe”. Tribe is an old word that’s making a reappearance in our culture. It makes me think of a bunch of people literally living together, in huts within a few hundred feet of each other, nomads even. Webster defines tribe as “a group of people that includes many families and relatives who have the same language, customs, and beliefs”.

Well, that’s really what it is, right? People living together, in similar stages of life, in at least semi-close proximity, surviving the trenches of parenting and doing life together. And – thank goodness! – those people I’ve got! My tribe won’t bat an eye when I call to ask about a weird-looking poop, or with questions about how to deal with my preschooler’s attitude. My tribe will come over to help us escape the rainy day (week!) boredom or meet us at the park to get the blues out of our systems. My tribe doesn’t think I’m a bad mom when we’re having Chick-fil-A for the fourth time this week.

It’s not always easy to find your tribe, but once you’ve got it, it’s a relief. It’s a great feeling to have someone you can chat with while the crazy swirls around you. It’s nice to be totally real, unaffected, and just plain relaxed around someone. Those people may be few and far between. Those people may be those you least expect. But be brave – strike up conversations, seek out those around you. Find your tribe. You were made to be a part of one.