Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Art of Neighboring - It's a Start

Why did I spend days sorting Skittles this week? Was it an elementary math assignment gone awry? No, I was making St. Patrick's gifts for the staff.... I started thinking I'd use quart jars...and well that was going to take MONTHS and cost zillions....I ended up with twenty-two of these half pint jars filled...with the rainbow and the little note.....and they are ok cute - not over the top cute - but o.k.

BUT - tying all that twine wasn't working for me...so I did this instead.::snort:: 

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I was "in the zone" and decided it was time to begin taking monthly treats to the neighbors. Our friendly waves and hellos haven't seemed to break much ice. We were excited to move into a neighborhood - as opposed to the home with the chickens in the boonies - because of the close proximity to neighbors. I'd read, "The Art of Neighboring," as we left Misawa.  This is an easy read. It is about building genuine relationships with your neighbors. Changing your city by simply building authentic relationships. And - you know - my life verse is Mark 12:30-31; Love God - Love Neighbors. Somehow we've spiritualized neighbors to mean anyone but our REAL neighbors. While we certainly ARE to be neighborly to all - I doubt Jesus meant us to neglect our REAL NEIGHBORS. We knew living in an off-base neighborhood may provide challenges you don't find on a military base - people are more guarded. We had great hopes...but it's been hard to get our neighbors to warm up. The front of the book displays a neighborhood map. The idea is to know the names in all the houses around  yours. Then, to learn a few things you would know from observation or a casual conversation, and then at least one thing you'd only know if you really talked with them. Tonight we set out to create our map. Michael made a google map....

I made nine more little St. Patrick's gifts.  We got the printer working and wrapped more little bars.  I really LIKE the jars...so we bought more jars. We filled them with "lucky chocolate pennies" and the small bars. I printed a label that said, "We're lucky to live in your neighborhood," added our name and house number and then attached. No photo with tags for security reasons.

They turned out fairly cute.

The only thing left was to go deliver them...and none of us really wanted to. It's a bit scary to continue to reach out without reciprocation. No one really WANTS to look like a dork in their neighborhood.

Our family vision this year is to love courageously....so off we went. Of the nine homes we visited....we had two real conversations, several quasi conversations, and left two gifts on the doorstep when no one came to the door. It would have been creepy to take a map with us - right? When we got home we wrote names on the roofs of the houses on our map and our little facts for each family. We'll put the map on the fridge which will help us remember names, and we'll pray for the families in family circle. We met one family who moved here three weeks ago. I think they were happy to meet some neighbors. I can't believe we missed a big moving truck on the street.

It was a fun evening.  We really enjoyed getting to meet our neighbors. It's a start....and we're brainstorming for April...Easter themed....NO sorting of candies, or melting of candies either for that matter. ::snort:: A bit stymied as I refuse to do bunnies and eggs on EASTER...and yet I don't want to "talk Jesus" with folks who don't know me - I want to "live Jesus"....I'll keep thinking and praying.

Stacia has suggested we make a lemonade stand this summer with "Free lemonade."  She is sure people will stop to talk. She may have a point.

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

3 comments:

Renee said...

I found during our 20 yrs of service, that many times non-military don't want to become friends with us because we'll be leaving in a year or two... so why make that investment? :(

DeEtta @ Choosing Joy said...

I've found the same - which is why we're being so intentional and making the effort....even if it doesn't work - we'll know we tried and kept trying while we were here. LOL

Jen Guyer said...

Love the ideas. I have been slowly working at this over the last few years. Finding different ways to reach out to the neighbors around us. Many of whom we have lived near for 20 years. Some a shorter time. This is a good reminder to find more opportunities. Will check out that book! For Easter we have done Resurrection baskets for some neighbors. Similar to what we do for our kids. But for some neighbors, we left just a small basket with a flower and some candy. We did add Gospel books, but you could leave that out if you are going slowly there.