Neighbors: Success!

Introducing my family to my wordpress.com neighborhood!

Due to the prompting of the sweet babies above, I have had my first, introduction-to-the-neighbors success!  It turns out that the man, woman, and baby “across the way” have names!  Who knew!

We drove by their house yesterday, returning home from my oldest kids’ last day of summer camp.  The woman was in her yard, holding her baby by the hands and walking her around in the grass.  Emry pipes up, “awww, baby,” and Lexi chimes in, “I want to meet that baby!”  It was too perfect a situation, that I could not doubt divine intervention.  “Okay, Kristel,” I said to myself, “you can’t put it off any longer.”

We dropped off our stuff in the house and I rushed Emry to put his shoes back on (he takes them off first thing when he gets in the car after I get him from daycare).  We started walking “across the way” and I noticed my neighbor had gone inside.  I almost turned around as I thought, “maybe I’ll be interrupting her…she could be changing her daughter’s diaper and not be able to get there on time…” but the kids started running ahead of me and continued our odyssey.  I arrived at her door, rang the bell, and waited.

[crickets chirping]

She opened the door and I started to ramble, “I saw you out…I’ve seen you a couple of times, but I still haven’t come by…I just wanted to introduce myself, even though I’ve lived here for four years…my name is Kristel and my husband is Seth, who you’ve probably seen out already.”  She nodded and introduced herself as Heather and her husband is Charles.  Her daughter, Harper, is seven months old, she answered after I continued to probe for more information.  I wondered if she was a stay-at-home mom and she said she was a special education teacher at the primary school and her husband was also a special education teacher and coach at the high school.  Is it crazy that I wanted to get on the district’s website and find out more about them?

Funny that something that caused me so much dread and anxiety was so simple.  I was elated afterwards because I was so proud of myself, but mostly because I made another connection.

James 1:12 reads, “blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”  I may not be under trial for my faith, but I was under a trial of obeying God’s prompting to connect with my neighbors.  I persevered over my anxiety which grips me on a day-to-day basis.

I definitely have been shown that to obey God’s direction is not as scary as I thought it to be.  I have many more neighbors to introduce myself to, so “here I come, neighborhood!”

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Neighbors Part II

I can write a great thank-you note.  I remember all the compliments I received after I sent out the bizillionth wedding gift thank-you notes and each one for all three baby showers.  Everyone told me that they were so personalized.  I thought I was just writing – how hard is it really to say “thanks for _______.  I plan to use it for __________.  I really appreciate your thoughtfulness” ?- but these compliments bolstered my confidence in this skill.  While working on Beth Moore’s James bible study, I have been thinking a lot more about ways I can use my skills in the church.  It occured to me that I could probably use this note-writing skill to reach those on the prayer list.  I could probably also use it to let all members (whether I know them or not) know that I was thinking of them.  It seems a bit trivial that I am just now realizing this knowing that the “card-writing” ministry has been pretty steady at my church and people’s names and addresses are usually put on the prayer list so you can send them cards. How is it just now dawning on me that I could use my writing skills for these ministries?  Regardless, this thought also led me to another about my neigbors.

My neighbors sort of know what I look like, probably little of what my kids look like, and mostly what my husband looks like.  What if I combined all of us in a family photo, stuck it on a card that could be made by shutterfly.com or tinyprints.com (I have discounts for both), and a nice introductory note written inside?  Why didn’t I think of this before!  It serves the purpose to introduce myself and my family to our neighbors, but it also is a baby step towards my larger goal!

My next question for anyone reading this is: am I just trying to avoid geting out on my street to meet my neighbors in person?  Image

(Mission cont.) New Title: Neighbors

“Well, well, well…so much for doing; can’t say I wasn’t surprised, considering you’re so diffident” my conscience reminds me.  Alas, it has been sixteen days since I noted that it had been nineteen days since I had challenged myself to meet my neighbors.  So much for my “once a week” goal.

I’m not beating up myself, despite what it may seem.  I actually made a semi-introduction to some neighbors who live “across the way.”  This direction means that if you were looking out my front door, you couldn’t see them, but if you turned NW a bit you could see their driveway.  What I mean by “semi-introduction” is that I allowed them to see me outside of my house as they were sitting outside their house, and I made an effort for them to see me outside of my house.  You may be reading this and thinking, “so much for making up excuses.”  Truthfully, I could be justifying my inaction, but read on to humor me please.

I was on my way home with my three kids in tow and as I drove past their house, my neighbors (a man, a woman, and a baby) were sitting on their front porch.  I did the standard, wave-like-I-know-you-hidy-ho-neigbor, and pulled into my garage.  I knew that about the only way they would be able to see me is if I walked to my mailbox.  That was the right spot where “across the way” was visible for both parties.  I rushed the older two of my kids into the house and decided that I would show the neighbors, in case they wanted to know, that I, too, have an infant.  I took my eight month old daughter, Devin, to the mailbox with me and played up the “mom with kid on hip” situation.

Yes, I peaked over my shoulder to see if they had noticed me.  They did! (well, at least their heads were turned in my direction…”across the way” is too far for me to judge eyeball focus area).

Another instance of my Mission: Neighbors occured whilst arriving home Friday.  I pulled in just as my neighbor across the street was doing so.  He got out of his car and I played like I was getting something really important out of my car, while he rummaged in his garage.  I knew he was about to come out of his garage, but I didn’t want to be an oddball and just stand there, watching him in his garage, waiting for him to realize that I was standing there waiting and watching for him.  He finally came out, pushing his mower.  As I raised my hand in preparation to wave, I said “hi there” at the exact moment that he started his mower.  I’m not sure he ever saw me either, because he definitely didn’t act as though he did.  That’s my luck.

It is probably a sign that I shouldn’t rely on “across the way” introductions, however.   I sincerely hope that I can come back to this blog sooner than sixteen days, or nineteen days, or sixty-one days, or ninety-one days and say I have talked with a neighbor within a yard of him or her.  I hope that I can say that, if not in less than sixteen days, I at least was able to manage a small conversation.