Snow & GROW!

We woke up this morning to a soft blanket of snow. And then it just kept snowing. And snowing. And snowing. It's still coming down. The moisture is much needed here...so we are rejoicing! Matt took the day off, and we've been enjoying a slow snowy spring day.

Last week at the library, I got a little over zealous in the documentary aisle. There was no way I could watch all the DVD's that I checked out before they came due...but as today unfolded, I had high hopes for choosing ONE to watch.

The documentary I chose is called "GROW!". I've been watching it in small snippets throughout the day...and I am a bit SMITTEN. I'm only about 1/2 way through it, but I just knew I had to pass this one along to you.

The description reads: "GROW!" profiles a new crop of idealistic young farmers who have turned to the fields for a more fulfilling life, driven also by a strong desire to change how our food is grown. There is an emerging movement of young people, both women an men, who are leaving the cities to take up an agrarian life. Not happy with their current lives and what they see as a broken food system, they  aim to fix some of the current shortcomings by growing and distributing food locally and in a more sustainable manner.

Filmed on 12 different farms during an entire growing season, GROW! provides an engaging and inspiring look at this next generation of farmers through the eyes, hearts, and minds of 20 passionate, idealistic and fiercely independent young people In the film, they speak of both the joys and the challenges involved in tending the land, and what it takes to be successful as a farmer.

You can find them on their blog here and on Facebook here. Spread the word about this awesome film! Have you seen it?

I'm still on my mad hunt for knowledge and information. We're loving Alaska: The Last Frontier and I'm all caught up with The Fabulous Beekman Boys.This one looks interesting as well.

What are your favorite documentaries or shows about farming/self-sufficiency?

5 Simple Ways To Engage Your Community

After traveling the country far and wide, the places that we love the most are those in which we made true connections with the community. No matter where you live (on the road or in a home), if you don't feel that "connection"...my guess is that you will eventually be unhappy there. But connection doesn't just magically happen...it takes a little work on your part.

Here are 3 simple ways to help you build that connection:

1. Go out your front door.

This is as simple as it gets. Walk out your front door and look around. Pull up a chair and sit there for awhile. Read a book and drink an iced tea. Take it all in. When someone walks by, say hello. Know what happens around your neighborhood...who comes and goes, etc. See it all with fresh eyes and BE SEEN. If your neighbors see you out there regularly, they will be more likely to come out of hiding as well.

I'm challenging myself (and you too!) to spend 1/2 hour a day "out on the block". Taking a walk, sitting at the park on the corner while the girls play, throwing down hoops, working in the yard. In addition to just being fun, it gets me out there in a place to truly know my surroundings.

2. Talk to people.

Do you know your neighbors names? What about that couple with the chihuahua across the street? Or that elderly man at the end of the block? It always amazes me how few people actually know their neighbors. When we move into a new area, that is our number one priority! I love coming down the street and being able to greet people by name and have them do the same. You all wanna be "where everybody knows your name"...right? *insert Cheers music*

There is something magical that happens within a community when neighbors are no longer strangers, but friends.

3. Do Nice Stuff.

Do nice stuff for your community and for others. Look outside of yourself and see where there is a need that you can meet. Bella and I declared a trash pick-up day at our local park...it only took us 15 minutes to gather it all up...and it made such a difference! Set the example in your community. You might be surprised at who you will impact!

Bring a treat basket to the single mom next door. It doesn't have to be fancy...it doesn't even have to include homemade goodies! Throw in a gift card to your local coffee shop and some chocolates and you'll make her day!

When we moved to Longmont, we hadn't been inside the house more than 5 minutes when our sweet neighbors next door brought over a loaf of warm banana bread. That one little gesture made us feel so welcome and happy...and it was a great way to meet them and have a conversation. Neighborly hospitality is a lost art that needs to be revived!

4. Attend Events

Go to that concert in the park. Make time for the mom's night out that you've been meaning to get to. Check out the farmer's market. But when you go, don't just walk around...look people in the eye and start a conversation! Get their number. Make friends! If this is completely out of your comfort zone, just start by talking to ONE person. You can do it!

Last weekend we attended an Arbor Day/Earth Day event and just by throwing down some hoops, I met 7 women from the community and had lovely conversations and made plans for future meet ups! Then, this weekend we went to check out the food carts in Prospect and talked with several other locals. It's not hard to do...you just have to GO! :)

5. Plan a Community-Building Event

If you've done numbers 1-4 and need an "extra credit" boost...

Host a monthly potluck or BBQ! Invite 4-5 neighbors over and talk about stuff and have fun! Or...go all out and

throw a block party!

:With summer almost upon us, it's the perfect time. This does take a bit more planning but is really fun! Crank up the music, throw some food on the grill, and bring out the lawn chairs. It will revolutionize your neighborhood. Sometimes you can even get a little funding from the city for things like this. It can't hurt to ask :)

Start a tea party: This is something they have done in our neighborhood in the past. All the ladies of the neighborhood gather for tea and pastries on a Saturday afternoon.

What have YOU done lately to engage your community?
Let's share ideas!

Want more? Here are some additional resources:

How To Meet People In Your Neighborhood

Meet The Neighbors (networking site)

Meet Your Neighbors Without Seeming Like a Crazy Person

Jesus For President

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If you've read through my blog at all, you know that I'm a big fan of Shane Claiborne. Huge. His book, "Irresistible Revolution" was a major catalyst in our decision to sell our house, downsize, and spread the love. You can imagine my excitement when his second book came out. Oh yes. He's back at it! This one is called "Jesus For President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals". Here is a little amazon.com review snippet for ya:

Here is the must-read election-year book for Christian Americans. What should Christians do when allegiances to the state clash with personal faith? Haw and Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution) slice through politics as usual and well past the superficial layers of the culture wars with their lucid exploration of how Christians can and should relate to presidents and kings, empire and government. Their entertaining yet provocative tour of the Bible's social and economic order makes even the most abstruse Levitical laws come alive for our era. They also provide a valuable political context for Christ's life, reminding readers that Jesus did not preach the need to put God back into government—he urged his followers to live by a different set of rules altogether, to hold themselves apart as peculiar people. The compelling writing is enhanced by a lavish, eye-popping layout. The pages are a riot of textured callouts, colors, photos and fonts—the perfect packaging for a message that must compete in a world of sound bites. With this second book, Claiborne emerges as an affable, intelligent, humorous prophet of his generation, calling people out of business-as-usual in a corrupt world and back to the radically different social order of the biblical God.

You can read about the book tour here and read the main website here (the tour is over now...but they drove a veggie bus!). I haven't read all of the book yet...but I am loving it so far. Even the formatting and layout is cool. I'll be back to discuss my favorite parts :) Now go get yourself a great new book!