In a country that has been recently rocked by several disasters, the news has been full of “neighbor helping neighbor” stories but, in reality, there was a lot more “stranger helping stranger” because Americans don’t know their neighbors anymore. What if a Turquoise Table could change that? Help you learn your neighbors names not just their faces. Would you be able to ask them about their day at work and greet their kids by name?
Kristin Schell had this idea. She longed for greater community in her Austin, TX neighborhood. She felt called by the Lord to serve him and make an impact for his kingdom but, with a household of busy kids, it seemed more like a pipe-dream than a calling from the Lord.
One fateful afternoon, she had what I can only describe as an answer from the Lord. After ordering a couple of inexpensive, wooden picnic tables from Lowes, the delivery men accidentally set one up in the front yard. She raced out to correct the error and stopped short. There was the answer to her predicament sitting out front under her big shade tree. What if she sat at a table under her front tree regularly and actually interacted with her neighbors? Well, with that vision – and a can of turquoise paint (her favorite color) – the Turquoise Table was born. And with it, a movement that would sweep the nation. She didn’t expect that.
If you haven’t read her book, The Turquoise Table, you need to. Its full of amazing true stories from her life and the lives of others who’ve put Turquoise Tables in their front yards. These people, from all walks of life, all backgrounds and all geographies have three things in common, they love Lord, love people and want to build community. Oh my goodness, doesn’t that sound exactly like us?!
If putting a turquoise table in your front yard sounds scary, that’s because it is. But as one of my favorite bloggers, Ruth Soukup, says – “Do it scared!” If you don’t take the risks you don’t reap the rewards. God never asked us to play it safe. Kristin was nervous. She left her table in her garage after painting it for almost a week. But, when she finally put it out and sat out there, she had a delightful visit with one of her neighbors after just a few minutes. For Kristin, one of the big draws was the simplicity of it. She never needed to worry about the state of her house or what she was cooking. She just had to show up with an open heart. She invites all sorts of people to her turquoise table now – not just neighbors – everyone is welcome. It’s the sort of “bring your own coffee” mom thing we all dream about. Who doesn’t love connecting with others when you don’t even have to clear off your kitchen table or brush off the living-room sofa?
Kristin offers something for everyone in her book. For some, a straight up turquoise picnic table is the way to go. For others, the focus is to be more “Front Yard People” and stop hiding away in the back. I LOVE the concept of a Turquoise Table. I almost bought one (without even asking my husband) after only reading two chapters of the book. But I had to acknowledge that a frustratingly steep yard and two toddlers who still consider obeying optional made it not the best idea – for now. So, I’ve taken the front yard people approach. I even threw an ice cream social for my neighbors which was a huge success! (A blog about that is to come!) But, guess what, I did it scared. And when I do it again, I’ll probably be scared again. But easy things don’t reap the rewards.
So, here’s my challenge for you. Think about your life would transform if you were surrounded by a community rather than a bunch of strangers. How could God use you to be his hands and feet within a block of your home? What simple changes could you make to be more “Front Yard People?”
And, if you haven’t read The Turquoise Table, seriously, you need to check it out. It is a short easy read, even for a busy mom! Let this video give you a taste of the goodness you have in store and then click here to order your copy. Your heart will thank you!
Are you interested in being a better neighbor? Don’t miss my post on welcoming new neighbors!
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