Building Community in your Frontyard.
Community building has been something I’ve been passionate about for a while. It all started in college when I first read Jane Jacobs ‘The death and life of great American cities.’
The last few years I’ve talked about it a great deal over on the blog but I can honestly say that it wasn’t until this year 2017 that it’s garnered so much interest. Fine by me because I am happy to continue writing more about it. The stronger our communities are the better we are as a people.
So when I came across the Turquoise Table movement out of Texas I was thrilled. Thrilled to see how other neighborhoods are building community. The Turquoise Table is about finding community and connection in your own front yard. The basic concept is we put tables in our frontyard to encourage people sitting together to chat with no pressure to clean the house and entertain. The idea that when we sit around the table we share much more than just a meal, we share an experience, we build relationships and we kinder long lasting friendships.
I’ve shared many ideas over the years about building community from magazine exchange bins to poetry poles. The simple concept of sitting down together around a shared public space resonates with me. It’s literally as simple as placing a table and chairs in your front yard then sitting out there for coffee, or evening appetizers and watching the magic happen. That’s it.
This is why I’ve been following Turquoise Table movement over the last year and just last month Kristen Schell the creator of the movement has come out with a book called, ‘The Turquoise Table, Finding community and connection in your own front yard’. I love the simplicity of this concept. But the reason behind the Turquoise Table is not as simple. It is the story of a family of 6 who yearned to slow down in the busy world. That ‘keeping up with the jones syndrome’ or whatever you may call it. I know it all to well with my family of 5. All 5 of us could, if we choose to, go different directions each day. And there is a lot to be learned from those 5 different experiences. But are we really embracing all that is life. Some weeks the only time I slow down is when I’m sitting at church. Yep, it’s the one time when just about everyone in my family is quiet and focusing on themselves. One thing I love about the Turquoise table movement is that it speaks to the idea of carving out a quiet place for life and a deep understanding of the bible and what this road of life is all about. All of that led this mother to start this movement and subsequently write the book, ‘The Turquoise Table’.
Here are a few quotes from others and the book that resonated with me.
‘A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.’ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
‘Our culture is hungry for table time.’ Leonard Sweet
‘I’m a busy working mother, and truthfully my house is a cozy retreat that is mostly reserved for downtime with my family. It’s also a fairy small house, so having large events in my house is out of the question. But with my Turquoise Table, I can host friends and neighbors regularly without the pressure of having them inside.’ Nicole from Texas.
And this quote from Kristen, ‘I believe what happens in our front yards matters.’
Kristen and I share a lot of same beliefs. So if you take anything away from this story today I’d hope it encourages you to re-embrace your front yard by gathering a few friends together to share how you can simply gather and love in your neighborhood. Click here to learn more about The Turquoise Table.
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