Neighborhood Hospitality: Nebraska Nice

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Don’t be so quick to forget who we are.

Do you not remember last year at this very time what Nebraska was up against?

We are Nebraska Strong.
We are Nebraska Nice.

With recent events keeping us all at a distance, I hope we remember just how important hospitality is. I know this does not apply at this exact point in time. But I hope that “when this too shall pass” we would move from physical isolation and find ourselves moving towards those in our communities.

Hospitality
National Neighbor Day Out 2019

Opening your home draws people AND ourselves out of isolation–because of hospitality.

Before COVID-19 hit us all, as a mom of multiples, I found myself wrapped up in my five-foot radius. I told myself it’s easier not to host people, not to get out of the house, not to reach out to that friend. I didn’t verbalize this to myself because my actions did all the talking for me. It’s easier to get on a strict schedule for the benefit of our kids. I don’t want the mess. I don’t want to be an entertainer. I don’t want to allow anyone in because they’d see what a hot mess our family is.

Isolation can be a scary place to live.

Remember who we are.

We are Nebraska Strong.
We are Nebraska Nice.

We’ve lived in our neighborhood for over two years now. I’ve lost count on the many ways families have opened their homes to build this community. Here are a couple of ways to provoke hospitality within your neighborhood.

  • Volunteer snow removal
  • Lemonade or hot-cocoa standHospitality
  • Once a month ladies bunco night
  • Backyard BBQ’s
  • Any type of sport pick-up games
  • Babysitting date-night swap (Find a family and swap-free babysitting for a date night)
  • Set up meal trains during both the high of welcoming a baby and low of burying a spouse
  • Carpool when school starts back up
  • Share a simple meal at your kitchen table
  • Kids movie night
  • Vacation Bible School
  • 4th of July open swim and fireworkshospitality
  • Celebrate ‘National Neighbor day’ (Which is September 28th this year)
  • Go on a walk with no time restraint (Have a purpose of starting conversations with those who are also outside)
  • Halloween pot-luck (After circling the neighborhood with all kids in tow, meet back together at one home and share a meal)
  • Start an annual ‘summer kick-off’ event (My favorite event!! We walk the neighborhood, hand-delivering an invite to each home. On the day of the party, we close down the street, bringing in a port-a-john, snow-cone machine, and a live band. Everyone contributes in one way or another. We eat, celebrate community, and dance the night away.)

At the end of all that is happening, I think people will be ready and willing to jump back into the community. So, why not be the hospitable one? Ask. Reach out. Stay persistent. Stay consistent. Keep your door open. Draw one another out of isolation and move into community.

And for the time being, let me remind you, you can still be Nebraska Nice!

What a gift we have with technology.

The ability to connect even though we may be physically isolated is something we should never take for granted. Here are a few ways ideas to start implementing hospitality if you haven’t already.

  • Virtual coffee dates (Zoom works wonderfully for this!)
  • Step out on your patio/deck/driveway and wave hello to your neighbors (Yes, even if you’re still in your pajamas!)
  • Send a text to check-in
  • Set up an actual phone call
  • Use Face-time to connect
  • Mail a handwritten letter
  • Send a card

We will get through this, Friends.

Together, we are Nebraska Strong.
Together, we are Nebraska Nice.

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