A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

First of all, let me thank you for the outpouring of support yesterday!  You all made me feel much better and gave me some confidence about stepping up for my kids.  In answer to a lot of your comments, I received an email last night from the principal thanking me profusely for my email and asking for a description of the staff member so that the incident would not be repeated with other children.  I am really glad Bean is attending this school and I know that this is not a reflection on how the school year will go at all, so we are moving onward and upward.  Hopefully, that staff member will find a better position for morning duty where she can be a bit more effective.

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Today after school, I had a routine doctor’s appointment.  My doctor’s office is in my neighborhood, and I have been seeing her since we moved into our house three and a half years ago.  She was recently married and told me today that they are now expecting.  We chatted for a while before I left, and then one of the nurses stopped me in the halls to talk about how my first week back at school has been.  I left feeling good inside and out.

After my appointment, I had a little time before I went to pick the kids up, so I headed over to Gracie’s new ballet studio to complete the paperwork.  The studio is also in our neighborhood and is about five minutes from my house and my doctors office.  When I got there, I chatted for a while with the owner, whose husband works with Chris at the theater.  We caught up about our summers and checked in about our families.  It was a nice, quick little visit.

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I still had some time, so I quickly headed over to our neighborhood YMCA to check on Bean’s soccer team.  He is supposed to start practicing next week, but I haven’t gotten an email from the coach yet with information, so I stopped to see what I needed to know.  I ran into a friend from church while I was there, and we chatted about a new Bible study we both wanted to try out and made plans to attend the first meeting together.

Next, I headed literally across the street to where the kids are in daycare.  I love our daycare.  Everyone is so friendly and happy to see us.  And the kids were in great moods when I got there.  We stopped and talked with a few friends who were also picking up their kids and I think I might have convinced them to sign their daughter up for ballet lessons at Gracie’s new dance studio, too.

I loaded the kids up and we stopped by Michael’s on our way home to check out their big summer clearance sales.  While shopping in the dollar aisle, one of my neighbors stopped to say hello.  She talked to Michael about his first week of school and I talked with her for a few minutes about her husband who has not been feeling well.

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The kids and I paid for our goodies and headed over to the pharmacy in our neighborhood where I get all of our prescriptions.  We headed back to the pharmacy counter and it was the usual girl working there who I have gotten to know a little bit since our kids basically spend all fall and winter months on drugs (oy!).  She told me she’s getting married next weekend, and I told her about my doctor and how quickly they became pregnant.  And I think that scared her, so I left.

We got home and I threw some chicken on the grill while the kids played outside in the back yard.

When we bought our house, we bought it with forever in mind.  We bought a house that was too big for us at the time.  I remember thinking, “We don’t need all this space!”  But it has been amazing how we have expanded and grown into this house and made it our home.  As the kids grow up, this house will grow with them and that makes me proud to pull into the driveway every night.

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We bought this house in this neighborhood with grandiose ideas of how our life would play out.  Our kids would go to church with the same kids they go to school with.  We’d know our neighbors and swap recipes with parents of our kids’ friends.  Kids that we knew from our street would be on sports teams and in dance lessons with our kids.

We saw our whole lives rotating around our neighborhood in ways that we thought only existed in movies or TV shows.  For us, this has been our first real “neighborly” experience, and we have tried really hard to plug into our community so that we are a part of something and not just existing inside of something.

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Today, as I looked back over my errands, I realized that those “wouldn’t it be great if…” conversations that Chris and I had over the heads of our sleeping babies have come to pass.  Our kids are growing up in a community that we are involved in.  Our lives are full of people who matter to us.  We wave to neighbors and speak to nurses about our personal lives.

People know our names.

I think back to the very first time someone knew our name in Orlando.  It was our minister at our first church here.  He called us by name one morning on the church playground, and it was such a meaningful exchange.  “We know someone!” Chris and I had giggled.

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Today I came home and looked out in my backyard at my kids playing and I thought about all the people in our lives that we have prayed would come.  Friends, family, ministers, caretakers, teachers, and all those people who touch our lives and make us feel connected.  And my heart was full.  God blesses us, doesn’t he?  Beyond anything we can plan.  Beyond anything we can hope.  Beyond anything we can imagine.  But sometimes, those blessings seem so mundane – a friendly face in the grocery store, a warm hello in the doctors office – that we forget how truly powerful God’s presence in our lives can be.

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But make no mistake.  There is not one hello, hug, phone call, kind word, shared meal, conversation, or smile that is not strategically placed in our lives by a God who exists in the mundane just as much as he exists in the miracles.  And that’s a God that I am thankful to serve.

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11 thoughts on “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

  1. And God strategically brought you into my life. I’m so thankful he did!

  2. Jacquie

    This blog made me so grateful for you and so thankful for friends! What an amazing community God has brought you to live in, reminds me of where I grew up! I hope to be within a larger community like that in my future!

  3. Tabs

    Oh, I love this! I love this a lot! This is such a great reminder to be content where we are because that is where God has us for now. Even if we don’t have our forever home yet or that job we are working towards. He is working in us, with us, through us on a daily basis, even just in our errands. You also remind me that He is faithful. He knows the deepest, truest desires of our hearts and listens intently to our prayers. He loves us so much he wants to give us those things and will, or change our hearts so that what we want aligns with what He has planned for us. So very comforting. So glad you guys are living your dream, lovin’ life and letting God be a part of it!! 🙂

  4. Melissa

    You always have such beautiful, positive things to say about the way the Lord works in your life. Reading this post was wonderfully encouraging for me, as my husband and I are currently expecting our first child, and dreaming about buying our own home in the not-so-distant future. I only hope to find a community that’s half as supporting and connected as yours is!

  5. Meghan

    I have tears in my eyes because your post reminds me of the community I just left earlier this summer. We only lived there 4 years but it was the kind of place where neighbors waved to each other and there were block parties, I said hello to the same people on the streets every morning walking my kids to school, we always saw people out and about that we knew, and we felt such an incredible sense of community, belonging, and love. I miss it so much. We now have the amazing opportunity to live in the Netherlands for 2 years, which is something I’ve always dreamed of for our family, but I have told my husband we must have left a pretty amazing place if it can make me feel sad about living in Europe. Communities don’t just exist, they are made–so congratulations on helping to create one and definitely enjoy it.

  6. I love this so much and feel the same way about our community. I can remember thinking I’d never run into someone that knew my name, and everywhere we go, there is someone that knows us.

  7. We just moved back to our hometown and this is what we are finally experiencing!! It is one of the BEST things ever. We see people we know everywhere. And we go to church with people we play soccer with who also go to our school who we also see at the grocery store, etc, etc. We love it! And you are so right about God being in the mundane. Such a blessing!!

  8. “God blesses us, doesn’t he? Beyond anything we can plan.” So Good!!

  9. vicky s

    Great post! We are finally moving back home to Orlando next year after 11 years away. Even after all these years where we live currently never felt like ‘home’. I never thought I’d say this but I miss my old I-4 commute to downtown!

  10. jenny-bird

    Well, it sounds like ya’ll are in full bloom. Congratulations!

  11. kat

    that sounds amazing! I am seriously jealous

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