Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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I remember when we first moved into our home. We were young (very young for having a house) and clueless. We spent those first few weekends driving back and forth to Home Depot for tools & supplies we didn’t even know we needed (or how to even use them). We were thrilled and excited. Eager to make a mad dash away from our 750 sq. feet one-bedroom apartment where we experienced the joys of the first year of marriage, we were very much excited to have our very own home. A home with a yard in a neighborhood with our very own neighbors. We felt grown-up now!
I always think back to my sweet childhood and treasure the moments spent running from backyard to backyard, ringing the door of our sweet, sweet neighbors (we had so many). The joy on Christmas morning of ringing each other’s door bells exchanging baked goods. The pantry exchanges we made when one needed an egg or some sugar. And of course the infamous block parties. So much of where I came from can be defined by those who I grew up with.
So, when Justin and I finally had our own home in our very own neighborhood, we were thrilled and excited to embark on this same journey. And sure enough, on that first weekend in our home.. the door bell rang and when we answered it, our sweet neighbor Chris was there, with a cookie cake.. the sweetest gesture welcoming us to our abode and the neighborhood. A gesture that still means so much even though it was 4 years ago.
Disclaimer: When an opportunity presented itself to collaborate with RecWarehouse, an Atlanta-based leisure and recreation company, I was thrilled to jump on this wonderful opportunity. While the views expressed below are opinions of and in support for RecWarehouse, I completely support them and have received compensation for sharing.
In his classic poem entitled, “Mending Walls ”Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbors.” The sentiment is having your own space, clearly defined and differentiated from those nearby, provides a distinct dividing line and means you can separate yourself from others. It gives you a place to retreat to all your own. You make the rules on your side of the fence and whoever occupies or owns the adjoining lot can rule the roost there. There is no doubt about who makes the rules for each dominion. But are fences really the building blocks of neighborly behavior? Do we really want to start at the very thing which divides us when it comes to the people to whom we live closest?
1. Deliver a meal. A home-cooked meal can go a long way when you are in the throes of a move, after or during a surgery or sickness, after the delivery of a new baby, or when you start a new job or have another major life event. Be alert to the needs of your neighbors and pay attention for times when they seem to be struggling. If you are not much of a chef, consider gifting your neighbor a one-time meal subscription box or even grab them some hot carryout to warm them up on a chilly night. The sentiment will not be forgotten or go unappreciated.
2. Ask for a cup of sugar. With grocery delivery services available with the click of a finger, neighbors have stopped needing to rely on one another for even the simplest of things. Next time you find yourself in a pinch reach out and ask a neighbor for help. The worst they can say is “no” and then you will owe them a favor. Sometimes allowing others to do for us can actually help build a mutual relationship of trust.
After you borrow sugar, consider baking up a batch of cookies or cupcakes as a neighborly thank you.
3. Keep an open mind. Break down the proverbial walls (or fences) which keep you from connecting with your neighbors by being open-minded when you interact with them. You were not brought together based on shared interested, it is merely a relationship based on proximity. Each party will have a lot to offer the other from a cultural standpoint, past experiences, religious beliefs, work and family life, and perspective of the world. Be patient and listen to their views and opinions before forming preconceived and unsubstantiated notions. You may be surprised by what you can learn about your community and the world by merely talking to your neighbors.
4. Give them time away. When a nearby resident goes away on vacation volunteer to watch their home. Just keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, taking the trash to the curb, gathering mail until their return, feeding homebound pets, and watering plants can be a display of your kindness and openness. Plus when a neighborhood thrives you are an immediate beneficiary of its prosperity.
5. Invite them inside. A quick chat while tending to your garden or after collecting your mail may be the extent of the communication you have with your neighbor but when you open your home to them and invite them in for a drink, you allow a relationship to blossom beyond just the surface level. You do not need to make a big deal out of it just extend an invitation for coffee and donuts one random Saturday morning. Afterward, you should notice more of an ease to the chatter because you will have more context for your conversations.
6. Have them over for a backyard BBQ. Nothing brings neighbors together like a backyard BBQ. Meat and vegetables grilled for all attendees with ice cold beverages submerged in oversized coolers. Kids running around playing while music fills the air with the sweet sounds of summertime. A barbeque or potlock is a creative way to get to know your neighbors in a comfortable and casual setting. Make the gathering even more memorable by making it a pool party!
When you have an above ground swimming pool from Rec Warehouse, your neighbors will look forward to an impending invitation to hang out. Rec Warehouse sells fun for less, and they specialize in the sale of recreation and leisure equipment ranging from hot tubs and patio furniture to pool tables and tanning beds. In fact, they sell more above ground pools and hot tubs than any other retailer in the Southeast.
Whether you have plans to swim, play, or just relax in the cooling waters of your private pool, Rec Warehouse can help you achieve your goals and have the coolest house in the neighborhood.
And you can bet that when we finally lay down our plans to create our below-the-deck patio with a hot tub and all, Recwarehouse will be our first choice to help us achieve our dream backyard goals!