I once invited my whole family to a neighbor’s house for a party. Let me explain.
Several years ago, we canceled cable TV. This has mostly been a brilliant decision except for important activities like watching the US Open for my high-school-tennis-coaching husband or catching the 8,437 basketball games during March Madness.
For other important TV watching experiences, we usually manage to get ourselves invited to friends’ homes. Except there was this time, last February when there was big weather in these parts. It was a blustery, level-3, no-one-but-medical-personnel-and-law-enforcement-should-be-out-or-you’ll-be-fined kind of snowstorm, and so we were stuck—quite literally—in our cable-TV-less home on Superbowl Sunday.
So I did what any self-respecting American would do: I texted the neighbors and asked if we could pretty-please come to watch the game at their house.
Now let me pause right here to tell you that we had never been to this neighbor’s home before. I’m happy to report that they enthusiastically (or maybe sympathetically) let our whole family crash on their couch, eat their treats, yell at their TV, and criticize the commercials.
This same neighbor?
She recently made hot blueberry crisp and shared the photo on Instagram. My husband commented that he’d be “right over,” and fifteen minutes later, she brought over enough steaming hot, glorious blueberry goodness for our whole family.
(Wait … could it have been that she didn’t want us to invite ourselves over again? Never mind…)
My point is this … our little neighborhood is no different than any other little neighborhood in any other small town in any other state. It’s a street with some houses on it with some people living inside them. The difference is that there are a handful of people here who are taking the time to connect with the people in their circle.
Like the time Donna knocked on our door to hurry us across the street to dance in a flushing fire hydrant in the summer heat. Or when she invited us over to dissect a hornets’ nest in her driveway.
Or when Abby fixed us a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies on that day she kept our 3-year-old hours longer than planned during a medical emergency.
Then there’s Meg who just yesterday painted our youngest’s finger and toenails during a play date with our girls, who also invited all the children to go Christmas caroling the past several Decembers.
There’s also MaryEllen who has taken the time to get to know our tender teenager through a journal as they write back and forth to one another on the days when our daughter looks in on their Golden Retriever when they’re gone. And her husband Tom who was such a good sport when our three-year-old not-so-accidentally poured a bucket of water on him from her blow-up pool.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed that “the person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”
It’s easy to keep our noses so intently buried in our own calendars and lists and phones that we fail to engage those around us, all the while ironically lamenting the elusiveness of close-knit community.
But people here in my neighborhood?
They are teaching me to ditch the nebulous Norman Rockwell-like dream of community in exchange for simply loving and loving simply the people right next door … with a plate of cookies or some fingernail polish, a dance in the fire hydrant or a quiet conversation in a 25 cent notebook.
And all this leaves me prayerfully wondering: What one small act of kindness can I do today to love simply the people in my neighborhood? What can I do to be creating community one neighbor at a time?
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
What Women Are Saying
-- Renee Fisher, author of Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships4 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith5 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships9 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture1 month ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions