This Saturday, we had a blast at our house – the first ever ChiliFest! We invited several couples over with the idea that they would bring over their own chili to share with the rest of the guests. We provided drinks, salad, dessert, and corn bread. It was so fun to get together with couples who represented a hodgepodge of our friendships from the area. There were friends from our neighborhood, friends from our old neighborhood, and friends from our church. We enjoyed White Chicken Chili, Taco Chili, Buffalo Chicken Chili, Spicy Green Pork Chili, Pork/Beef/Beer Chili, and Traditional Tex-Mex Chili. As we enjoyed the Chili, guests voted for their favorite chili’s in six different categories: Most Unique Chili, Most Delicious Chili, Most Spicy Chili, Most Likely to Serve at Home Chili, Most Colorful Chili, and Best Overall Chili. The winners of each category took home a unique bottle of hot sauce.
Besides the great food, we enjoyed great times with friends. It was neat to see people from our friendship circles interacting with people they had never met before. When we bought our house six years ago, we planned to use our home as a place to welcome our friends and neighbors – to bring connection and community to those around us. Saturday’s ChiliFest was a great reminder for us! I can’t wait until the next get together at our house.
What fun ideas do you have for fun in-home gatherings?
Saturday morning after witnessing the Phillies‘ dismal performance on Friday night, I had a chance to lift by spirits by spending time with my family and the Bowersox family at the Norristown Community House. Our church was sponsoring a huge day of serving in our area, and we hooked up with the Norristown Community House thanks to a Grove City College connection with the Peter and Becky Bowersox, who are in charge of the House.
So what is the Norristown Community House? Good question. You can go to their website to get more details, but I’ll give you my take. The House is located in the heart of Norristown, PA which is the county seat of Montgomery County. Norristown is one of the poorest communities in the county. The residents of the House are young adults – primarily college students – who attend local colleges. By choosing to live in the House, they are agreeing to become part of a community where discipleship, serving, and reaching out to the community are expected. Peter and Becky (shown above with their 3 kids) act as their resident directors and guides. They make sure the House is running smoothly, and they meet with the young adults on a regular basis to participate in the discipleship process.
It really turned out to be a great morning as we helped them clean out a garage attic that was filled with lots of trash, some relics, and a few treasures. By clearing out this space which obviously hadn’t been cleaned out in years, we helped to make storage space for the residents of the house. We discovered an old salon style hair dryer, Vietnam War veteran documents, old clothes and suitcases, a box full of vinyl records, license plates, and lots of dust! Our kids enjoyed sorting through everything as we removed it from the attic.
This clean-up project was a great way to introduce our family to the Norristown Community House. I think we’ll be back to help out on some other projects and to rub shoulders with the young adults and the Bowersox family. Thanks, Becky and Peter for the opportunity to help out – and for getting my mind off the commencement of the Phillies’ golfing season.
How have you served in your community? What things have you done with your family to serve others?
Last night, we hosted an impromptu game of kick ball on our front lawn with our neighbors. I was inclined to do some yard work when I came out of the house after dinner, but I couldn’t resist the chance to get into the game that was starting to form with the neighborhood kids. It was fun, and it was so nice to hang out with the neighbors and to play with the kids.
It seems like we’re always running in a million different directions, and we miss out on the basic fun and the relationships with those who live close to us. It would have been easy for me to let this opportunity pass and to continue on with my original agenda. After kickball, the adults chatted on our front porch while the kids played another game. It was great to share about the end of the school year and our plans for the summer.
It seems so simple, but these are the times to hold onto. Our kids grow up so fast. I want to make the most of the times like this.
What games did you play in your neighborhood as a kid?
Well, we may finally be getting new neighbors in our tiny little “subdivision.” This is an exciting event in our house as we have been praying that God would send us neighbors who we could have a positive influence on for Christ or who could be a positive influence along with us in our semi-neighborhood. (We’ve also been praying that there might be a boy Isaac’s age for him to pal around with.) This brings to mind a question, “how can we be light in our neighborhoods?” I’d love to hear your thoughts, and here are some of mine:
1. Be available. Be around. Don’t be a stranger. Take walks, bike rides, etc. in the neighborhood, and stop whenever you get the chance just to chat.
2. Be yourself. Eventually the word will probably get out that you’re a Christ follower. People far from God need to see you in your successes and failures. How we respond to both of these can have a huge impact on our neighbors.
3. Be inviters. Have a party at your house. Take a neighborly trip down to the local ice cream parlor. Maybe even invite them to your church or an event at your church.
4. Be in prayer. Pray without ceasing for those in your neighborhood that they might find the hope of Christ and that it might become real and active in their lives.
These are just a few of my thoughts on the whole thing.
Until the next post….