This summer has been really weird. Many of my people have moved away, and I’ve stayed put. My roommate moved out, my neighbors and dear friends moved south, and another set of good friends are moving in the next few weeks. The school where I teach had a major teacher turn-over and growth this year, and we now have a new principal.
Yesterday I went up to the school, stood in the office, and got really overwhelmed. All of the changes seem to be good ones, things that I am excited about. I’m excited to get to know the new people, I’m excited to be moving from preschool to kindergarten, I’m SUPER excited to be team teaching with my friend, but change and transition are hard, too.
Sometimes I feel like I’m standing in the midst of a whirlwind. I felt like that this week, and yesterday as I drove home from school, I decided I needed to think of things that are constant.
I’m so thankful for community life. I’m thankful that I live 2 blocks away from the post office and the library. Those are such stable, safe places. I’m thankful that the mail comes 6 days each week, and sometimes something comes on a Sunday from Amazon Prime. I’m thankful that I typically know when my neighbors will be home. Gosh, I’m so thankful for my neighbors. The ones that I know well have moved away, but there are others who are constants in my life.
As I’ve stepped into living in a house by myself, there are occasionally things that I realize I don’t have because in the past, I’ve used my roommate’s. For example, a can opener. Now, I’ve been working on my budget, and it’s pretty tight. I’m not good at sticking to a budget. A few weeks ago I was having some friends over for dinner, and as I was cooking, I realized I didn’t have a can opener. I said, “LORD!!!! This is why I need a miscellaneous category in my budget!! Because I need a can opener! But right now I don’t have that category so please help!!!”
I decided to try to borrow one instead of going to buy one (practicing sticking to that budget…). I walked across the street to some neighbors whose car was home, but there was no answer at the door. I texted them…and still no answer. So I thought, I’m going to have to try my next door neighbor, Wok. He speaks Chinese (I think) and English, but English is his second language and so sometimes we have a little trouble communicating. I went to his front door, rang the doorbell, and knocked, but there was no answer. I thought, He HAS to be in the backyard. He’s always in his backyard. The man, who is about 50, is a master gardener, built his own pond, has multiple fish, and as of this week he has 2 pet birds. He likes to take walks in his garden, which is about 1/6 the size of your typical Walgreens store…but he works so hard on it and has so many beautiful plants. He loves his garden.
So anyway, I walked back there, and he was there. From my side of the fence, I said, “Hi, Wok! I have a question. Do you have a can opener?” He doesn’t understand me. I proceed to gesture and make motions and describe what you use a can opener for….and he says, “OH! Can opener, yes! Yes!” He disappears into his house, and I wait for a few minutes. He comes back out, gives me the can opener, and says, “You keep it! I have two!” I said, “Oh, no, Wok, I can’t keep your can opener…” and he insists, “No! I buy one, I can’t find…I buy another, and then I find this one. I have two! This is why! You keep one!”
Ok, Lord. Humbling moment. Thank you for providing a can opener. Thank you for Wok. Wok is a really good neighbor.
Another dear neighbor likes to walk bare-footed. He can often be seen a mile or three away from his house with no shoes. He is probably 60, an engineer who drives a red moped, is married to a teacher, and practices tai-chi. When I see him, or talk with him, I am reminded to slow down and enjoy life. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the logistics of the daily, and to miss the beauty of the moment. This man reminds me to slow down and enjoy life.
It seems like that is a constant way the Lord speaks to me. He puts people in my life who are playful, who remind me that splashing in puddles is fun. When I’m stressed, if I can go on a walk and wander to a playground and hang upside down from the monkey bars, it is good for my soul. I know, weird. One friend refers to me as a bat…but seriously, go try it. It relieves pressure from your spine and makes you feel like a little kid.
In the past, when I’ve nannied, I’ve been able to play with children. Now, I sometimes get that privilege, and of course I still work with children, but oftentimes it’s adults who remind me to play, to work in my yard or go for walks, or laugh. Play is grounding. It reminds you that you stand on solid ground (what a gift from the Lord and a picture of his stability!!), it allows you test your strength, and builds courage.
I’ve played with decorating my house this summer. Loving this cabinet from a local vintage chic store, and the fresh flowers, and the picture of the horses from my friends’ farm. Also loving Shauna Niequist‘s book Savor. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out!
Self explanatory. DO IT.
Another neighbor had an overgrowth of cone flowers and decided to share! Apparently they multiply each year….so I’m excited to watch these grow! AND they are native to Missouri. #midwestisbest
The best kind of play in my book….playing with my friends’ kids. Loved this little on a trip to Memphis.
Yep. Mr. Magoo glasses.
Working on my garden.
A trip to Purina Farms. Piglets??? How can you get more playful than that?
Lizzy and I playing at modeling at the foot of the arch. If you’re interested in being our agent, contact me.
This katydid stayed on my car for over an hour while I drove all over the city. It came home with me, and I released it into my garden, where I am sure it is devouring my cone flowers…
So much fun with my friend Shannon and her baby who came to visit. Shannon is a friend who reminds me who I am. I am so thankful for her, and so glad to meet her baby boy.