Thursday, November 7, 2013

Building Community

I've been thinking a lot about community lately. My husband and I talk often about the benefits of belonging to solid community, and how the community we build will affect the lives of our children.

I grew up in a place out of a fairy tale- I lived in a neighborhood full of children, with my cousins and aunts and uncles just across the street from me. All of my friends from school lived within a minute's walk, and my parents knew everyone in our neighborhood. It was a wonderful place to be a kid, and the sense of community was so great for my parents as well.

Now that I'm a mother, building a life far away from my own family, I want that same sense of community for my children. One of the things (besides my husband, of course) that drew me to Arizona was the community I stumbled into and immediately became a part of. I had really good friends, encouraging, loving, fun friends who made me a better person through their friendships. They all come from strong families and I felt drawn in to these families, which really made up for being away from mine. A lot has changed in a few years- all of those friends are still around and still wonderful, but I've married and had Emmett and my life has changed.

So now I'm working hard to rebuild that sense of community. I'm working on building new friendships within my neighborhood, and with mothers of young children. I love to bake things and walk them to my neighbors. I love to bring meals to families with brand new babies. I take Emmett for walks around the neighborhood, waving hello and often stopping to chat with friends along the way. These are some of the ways I like to build relationships and community in our daily life here in Arizona.

I used to throw baby showers for my friends whenever I could. I love to host parties and celebrate my friends that way. I hope to do that again when I have a house big enough for hosting. I really love creating a menu and gathering the perfect decorations to make the party beautiful for my friends. It's one of my love languages I think.

Lately I've also been thinking about finding ways to grow and build community online. I've stumbled across a few girls who are working hard to do just that. Mary Beth from Annapolis and Company (I wrote about her here!) has created a wonderful little community through her blog and Instagram through the hashtag #theeverdayproject, where she teaches and encourages people to find and capture beauty in everyday things and to share them on Instagram. Nicole over at Today Is My Favorite is working to create community through her blog (I especially loved this idea!), just by really trying to connect with her readers and sponsors. She also created the hashtag #todayismyfavorite on Instagram (inspired by The Every Day Project) as a place where people can share the special moments from their day to day.

These ladies, and many others, have inspired me to find ways to build community through my blogging and my day to day dealings with others through social media. So today I decided to branch out and try a couple of new things, and I want to share them with you.

The first is a blog hop geared towards mama bloggers like me, hosted by Hannah of Joyful Life. This is just a place for bloggers to link up, find each other, and become friends! I've never done this type of link-up before, but so far it's been really fun!

Joyful Life
The second is pretty cool- it's called The Great Christmas Exchange, hosted by Elizabeth from Oak & Oats. It's basically a big gift exchange, open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike! You sign up with your contact info and some things you like, and in a few weeks you'll be matched up with a total stranger, who you'll send a Christmas gift to. You'll receive a gift from another stranger, and hopefully make some friends in the process! Isn't that awesome? What a great idea. I'm really excited to try it!


How do you build community in your life, either online or in your neighborhood? I'd love to hear your ideas!

11 comments:

  1. I am excited for you and the community you are investing in. the first steps are always the hardest because it involves making the first move and opening yourself up. i am excited you are part of the Christmas exchange as well has participating in the hashtags and link-ups! it is great to have you around!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Anna! I found you through the Mom Lovin' Hop! I love this post so much. I too found myself in the same scenario after I had my first baby. It's not as easy for me to get out and meet new people but blogging has been a good way I can do that. It's very nice to meet you, and I'm excited to start following along! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer! I'm so glad you found me! Being a new mama is so wonderful, but I definitely felt alienated from my single friends, and still do a little bit. I'm so glad you have been able to connect and make friends through your blog- as a mom, friendships with other moms is life-altering and so restorative! So necessary. Thanks for following and can't wait to chat more!

      Delete
  3. Neeeeeeeded this encouragement today, thanks so much! Hardcore community fan unless it means I have to host the party/do the work, God is changing my heart on all that though.:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Emily Kate! Love your name, by the way ;)

    I'm so glad this post spoke to you! Hosting the party is usually the hardest part, but so worth it in the end! I'll say a prayer that an opportunity arises for you soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for linking up with us! I simply love this post, as this has been heavy on my heart lately as well! I love the blogging community and have met so many amazing women. I just wish all these new friends weren't scattered all over the world! Ha! Have you read the book Bread and Wine? I highly recommend it...a real emphasis on community and inviting people into your home to share life over the table.

    I think once we become mothers it is so much harder to make friendships and connections with people. I know I've struggled with that a lot this year. So, in turn, thankful for the internet. :) Glad to connect and am following you on bloglovin. -Andrea :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Aw this is SO awesome Anna Kate! I seriously LOVE this! This is exactly what I am trying to do with the Mom-Lovin hop. I have been thinking about Community so much lately too ((which is what spurned my change to free sponsorship)) My husband and I are so blessed to have an amazing community here, its amazing to be able to "do life" together. Things have gotten a lot busier and harder since we have all had babies but im still so thankful for it, and thankful that our children have it now too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Hannah! I'm so glad you have a great community where you live. That's so important! It really makes life so much better to have great people around you to share it with. It is so hard to see friends when everyone is busy with babies, but so worth it to make time! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. I just stumbled across your blog from Grace and I was completely surprised to see that we are from the same area.

    Also love this! and the Mom-Lovin Hop is such a great idea. I'm new to the blogging world (been a blog reader for years) just for that reason, the community and friendships. As a new mother I don't really fit in with my "real life" friends anymore and personally I don't really care for most of their lifestyles. I find myself quiet lonely sometimes because of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amanda, I completely understand! I felt the same way after Emmett was born and it took me almost a year to feel like myself again and to sort of rebuild friendships. I was also lucky to find new "mom friends". I will pray that that happens for you too!

      Delete
  8. thnx for the information..
    blog is really gud,Help my india is the World Best Forum and Blogging Site which provides the all category of forum and blogging and Social Community site.

    Online Communities











    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...