Love a Stranger

Over the weekend, our neighbors had some friends of theirs move into their basement. A young couple with an almost 2 year old, were unpacking their very modest collection of things, and were moving into a 300 sqft basement. I am not even sure if this basement is more than cold cement. Bryant and I were sitting out on our patio and overheard bits and pieces of their story and it broke us. Their financial struggle was at a place that I found unimaginable, and watching their toddler play in the grass brought it all to another level.

Bryant and I decided we’d pick up a giftcard for them, not really knowing exactly how they were brought to this place, but not really feeling like the details were important. I did that on Monday, and had it sitting on the counter for a few days. I had tried making small conversation with the wife whenever she was outside, and was trying to just know her better before I gave it to her. On Wednesday, I just decided to walk over there and give it to her. I had been struggling with how she would respond, or if she would consider it offensive. I didn’t want it to be an intrusion of privacy or come off like we were looking down on them; but, on Wednesday, I had a moment where I accepted that my intentions may not be understood, but I needed to just do it anyway.

I walked out my front door and across the street and said “I really hope this isn’t awkward, or makes you feel uncomfortable, but my husband and I overheard a bit of what your family is going through, and we just wanted to say we are happy to have you here, and do something nice for you.” I handed it to her, and she said thank you, and shared a bit about how they ended up without a house, and I just listened and formally introduced myself and then came back home.

About 10 minutes later, there was a knock on my front door. I opened it and she was standing there sobbing. I hugged her, and she told me that it was her 25th birthday. She said she was out of diapers and food, and had been crying about it being her birthday and feeling overwhelmed by what they were going to do. Lots of tears were exchanged on my front porch.

I’m telling this story not to get praise or high fives. I’m telling it because I’m not sure how you can be a witness to this and not see God’s incredible timing. I didn’t know it was her birthday. I didn’t know very much about them at all, but I just suddenly got up enough courage to go over there. It was a fleeting moment of courage too. I think I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water or something, saw it sitting there, and just decided to do it already.

My faith was encouraged by the vulnerability that was exposed on my front porch yesterday. She told me that I was rare, and I felt my spirit send up a prayer. That moments like these wouldn’t be so rare; not just in my own life, but as humans. That we, as a collective community of people wouldn’t rarely help others, but that we would make it a habit.

Do something nice for someone today. Pull your neighbors weeds, or buy the stranger behind you a cup of coffee. It makes a difference.

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Our Little House on Park

We bought an adorable little house in downtown Salt Lake City. It is in an area that is walking distance to both Liberty Park and Whole Foods. I can stroll over to Trader Joes and pick up peanut butter cups whenever I want (dangerous)! Kinsey and I can go to the park regularly (once it isn’t below 30 degrees outside), and we can have Saturday morning breakfast at Pig and a Jelly Jar. 9th and 9th is a few short blocks away. We are going to be living around the best of the best, except the bestest (a non-word that I am going to use anyway) part is that we will have a yard. I never have to walk down a hall and two flights of stairs and back up again to take Franny and Zoey outside. I can say things like “I think I’ll spend the day in the garden today.” Though, I don’t have a garden yet, but I will build one! I don’t know how to keep plants alive either, but somehow, I’ve kept Franny alive, so I imagine that I will be able to grow some lettuce at the very least.

I was afraid to blog about it, because home buying is like one giant question mark. You picture yourself in a house long enough to put an offer on it, but then try not to get too attached after that because there are so many things that could go wrong. Surprisingly, this home buying process was 1000x better than when we purchased our home in Oregon. It was not drama free by any means, but I also wasn’t almost homeless this time around. WIN!

And so, on Thursday afternoon we will sign papers and become official owners of yet another home, except this one we will actually get to live in and enjoy. One of our first (of a few) projects will be building Kinsey’s loft bed/play-room downstairs for when she outgrows her crib. It is a finished basement, but has half walls that are carpeted, since it had to accommodate the bungalow style foundation. It will be pretty perfect for a little person, so I’ve been busy pinning loft beds and reading nooks like nobody’s business. I have to tell you: I am really excited to live in a house where we will have projects. Our Oregon house is beautifully perfect with its Ikea kitchen and fresh newness, and so we never had to do a single thing. This house, though it has been majorly re-done, still has some things. I daydreamed out loud to Bryant this weekend about how we won’t be sitting around the apartment anymore, but instead can be all “Let’s build something! I’m going to go pull some weeds! Shall we saw and hammer things today?”

I leave you with a few of the many loft beds that I’ve been gushing over for inspiration.

A Fresh Start

I always feel like the dawn of a New Year is about more than just resolutions. People feel like the past can be put behind them…the change of the calendar year brings about a fresh dose of motivation and focus. I am not necessarily a resolutions person, but I am very goal driven year-round. Though, when I do not accomplish a goal, I just re-set, tell myself its ok, that I will try harder next time, and give it another go. For some reason, 2013 feels different than other years. I think it is mostly due to the fact that my life is less focused on myself now that I am a mother. It is a little sad, but true when I say that it took having a child for me to see how happier I am when I am giving rather than taking. I feel like my self-goals are driven by my interest in wanting to be the best wife I can be, or best mother, or best friend, and by making it about them and not me, gives me the extra push that I need to actually follow through.

I made a before 30 goals list. I’ll add to it I am sure, but next week I will be entering my late twenties. Even typing that, I heard the theme music from the Tower of Terror. I am young, but getting older, and it is about time I figure out how to follow through on things. Running for instance. I like it, so why do I pretend like I hate it so much? I should do it more. So, I will. I want to find fun activities to do with Kinsey. Our days do not need to be the same. I want to be ok with messy. I want to not just tolerate mess, but create  it with her. So, I will. I will throw flour and water in a bucket and let her dig her hands in it. I will give her a bunch of (non-toxic) paint, and let her make a mess in the bath tub. I will stop stressing out about the thousands of mega bloks all over our living room, and instead get down on my hands and knees and make her towers for her to knock over (though my heart does sink when I have spent a lot of time creating a solid foundation, only to have her throw it across the room). I want to have more fun this year. I catch myself feeling tightly wound. Why? I have no idea. I have no reason to let my panties get all tied up in the knot (is that the expression? If it is not, I am sorry, because it sounds weird to me too). A lot of 2012 was spent dealing with doctors and residual health issues post-pregnancy. 2013 started out that way, what with the hives and facial swelling…I know I can’t help that, but I can choose to not let it get me down. YOU HEAR THAT?! NOTHINGS GONNA GET ME DOWN!

Shine Bright Like a Diamond…

This year is going to rulez and kick 2012’s ass.

Tell me your goals.

Tell me your plans.

Tell me your words if you are doing #OneWord365.

This sort of stuff gets me excited.