Porch Dwellers

New neighborhood …new rules …new sounds …new faces …new normal!

There are some things that take some getting used to about our new neighborhood — things like sirens, lots of street lights (you’d have to know where I lived before to appreciate that!), litter, locking your car, locking your house up even when you go for a short walk, closing your blinds at night  (or even having blinds at all, for that matter!), being careful not to walk barefoot in certain places (don’t ask!), police cars patrolling the neighborhood (we only had a total of 3  in our last town),  city buses stopping just beyond our front door, large trucks entering a metal recycling business across the street  — to name a few.

But there are also   things I LOVE about our new neighborhood  — people walk everywhere (not everybody has a car, believe it or not !), everybody waves, many stop by to talk to you on their way to wherever they’re going , everybody knows everybody else, they’re not often embarrassed to ask for help and they offer their help as well, they look out for each other –watching out for the safety of others, complete with a community watch lady who knows each house by number,  the names of all who dwell there, what skills or jobs they might have,  and what kind of assistance they might need as well.

But one of my favorite things of all is that we live in a neighborhood of porch-dwellers.  By that I mean, in the early evening , people move out of  their houses  to their porch and they “dwell” there until nightfall …talking , laughing, waving at all who pass by,  enjoying the summer nights, etc.  My husband and I like to take walks after supper and we rarely get a fast walk in anymore.  We stop and talk or give a brief summary of  life  to …the porch dwellers.  It’s living in community with others  …life on the front porch.

Porch-dwelling has also been perfected here!  You might see anything from typical porch furniture — wicker, etc . — to rockers,   couches,  dining room chairs   or metal folding chairs.  You gotta love the diversity of  porch decor !  This takes Pinterest  ideas to a whole new level, my friends !

At first I was a little frustrated that I could never seem to get a steady pace of  my normal  exercise walking  in until I realized something of much greater value was happening here ...we were actually walking in relational community with our neighbors!   You see, in our neighborhood you won’t see many garages with door openers that allow you to slide right into your house –almost unnoticed– and possibly never encounter another human being in the process until you open the garage door again the next morning.  This neighborhood has an “open door” policy when it comes to relationships !  If you live here, it’s wide open !

Illustration of a garage door.
Illustration of a garage door. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a recent conversation with one of our neighbors …

“Have I met you yet?”

“I’ve seen you sitting on your front porch rocking your grandbaby!”

My “porch activity” speaks something of the kind of person I am !

We even have a 10-year-old neighbor who  likes to sit on our front porch and just talk about life — he’s 10! , not  100 !  Porch-dwelling life is normal for him.

Sitting on our front porch in the morning allows us to give our morning blessing to all who walk by on their way to work or the local convenient store for breakfast. It’s also the time to catch up on their latest news …or needs. Relational. Community. Doing life together.

Some call me “Miss Joy” , you know !  Old and young alike may walk by and yell, “Hey Miss Joy ! Tell Roger hello for me !”  or my favorite …”Is Roger home?  He’s a friend of our’s!”

Life on the front porch …you gotta love it !  I might have to make sure I’ve locked the back door before sitting on my front porch but it’s worth it !  It’s one new normal I think I’m growing to like quite a bit !

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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  1. dawn aldrich

    Oh Joy, this sounds like a great place to be! What an example of Kingdom living. I know you and Roger will be/ are such a light in this new place. May God continue to bless you and challenge you as you live among the porch dwellers!

    1. Joy Martin

      Thanks Dawn ! Cover us in prayer !

  2. Debbie Mueller

    I love my front porch! It’s why Al and I bought our house. And the southern that we are, I have been able to sit on it and watch parades in my shorts, in January, in my pink fuzzy slippers! What a life!!!

    1. Joy Martin

      Oh Deb …I can totally picture that scene on your front porch !! I’d love for you to join me on mine when you come this way 😉

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