I'm skipping my Tuesday night Bible study! First of all, I am NOT advocating skipping your Bible study or neglecting your spiritual life, but I wanted to share with you, what I am doing instead. You need to know that I'm in the middle of the Beth Moore study on Esther, and it is so good, so it is a difficult choice for me not to attend.
You see, the neighbor ladies are getting together tonight! Living here in Michigan, it seems like people go into hibernation during the winter, so we don't get to catch up with our neighbors during the cold, snowy months. My husband and I desire to have a real sense of community in our neighborhood, and that is why I am making this choice for tonight.
One thing that we have found is that you need to work at getting to know your neighbors. Yes, some are easier to hang out with than others, but a lot of times, it just takes making a phone call, or planning a party. Our neighborhood typically has a summer block / pool party in August. We were first invited to this party, before we even moved in! What a great way to welcome new neighbors!
A swingset in the backyard is a great way for the neighbor kids to get together! We have found that it also brings out the parents, and we have met a number of neighbors this way.
For the past three years I've hosted the Christmas cookie exchange. It has grown to include more neighbors and it makes another way to stay in touch during the winter. Not everyone can make it every year because it is a busy time, but it is always enjoyable, no matter how many people can make it!
NOW all these things are a lot of fun, but my challenge is to get to know my neighbors on a deeper level! To see if there are needs that our family can help with, without being known as the "nosey neighbors"! We live in a time where we like to be "self sufficient" and we have difficulty "leaning" on other people. It is amazing how we can go for long periods of time without talking to our neighbors. I realized my inadequacy in this area when I was trick or treating with my girls during Halloween. We had stopped at a neighbors, and I found out the wife had her baby, prematurely FOUR WEEKS earlier. Thankfully the baby is now healthy! I had no idea and I missed an opportunity to reach out to them!
My encouragement for you is to get to know your neighbors! Even if it means taking small steps such as:
* Walking across the street, just to say "hi"!
* Bringing them food, which always seems to be a welcomed favorite!
* Offer to watch their home while they are away.
* Invite them over for an evening fire-pit, along with making smores.
* Snow blow their driveway! We've had a lot of opportunities to do this!
I'd love to hear how some of you have built community in your neighborhood.