Sep 16, 2012

Love Thy Neighbor

I just have to say:  I LOVE MY NEIGHBORS!  I've always dreamed of living in a neighborhood where people genuinely cared about one another.  I've had some awesome neighbors in the past and made some great friends in each of the places I've lived.  But each place lacked that sense of community that we all so desire.  The ironic thing is, we didn't even pick this house or this neighborhood on purpose.  It was a total 'God thing'.  Let me tell you the story:

Chuck moved to Minnesota a month before the kids and I. The kids and I could not leave Texas until our current house sold and closed.   His job did not allow him to come home on the weekends or even pay for us to come up and do some house hunting.  We were adamant about buying a house right away and not renting.   We knew this would work best for our family. We don't do temporary living very well.  We wanted to get the kids established in a school and meet some friends and didn't feel renting and moving again in a year was in the best interest of the kids.  So we choose to find a house right away.

My favorite thing in the whole world to do (house hunt) and I didn't even get to look at one house.  Chuck did it all.  Granted, I got to see what he saw after the fact since he so graciously videotaped the floor of each house he walked thru (we had many a 'conversation' about his video taping ability).  So in a sense, I got to house hunt via the computer screen.  Chuck spent every spare minute he had after work and on the weekends looking for the perfect house for us.

It's so hard when you move to a new area.  You don't know where the 'good side' of town is.  You don't have the advantage of knowing what towns are desirable and what towns aren't.  We were house hunting blind.  Actually, we were house hunting by faith.  Sometimes that's one in the same thing.

We (I) had our hearts set on some certain features in a house.  We did not want a new build, we've had that before.  We wanted an established neighborhood with trees in the yards.  We did not want a flat lot with baby trees, something we could have easily had in Texas.  We wanted something unique to our new environment.  I was insistant on NOT having a split level.  Guess what I got?

Thank God He saves us from ourselves.  The town we ended up moving to was not even on our initial radar screen.  The realtor decided to show it to us because it had a lot of what we were looking for, just not in the area we were originally looking.  Chuck called me after looking at it and told me he thinks he just found our house.  I didn't believe him.  First of all, from the pictures, it looked like a one level house and nowhere near big enough for us.  We wanted to downsize, but that seemed a little drastic.  Then, he told me that it was a split level, but not a split entry, big difference.  Okay, I could acquiesce once I had my little lesson in architecture.   I couldn't picture it, but I was excited that it had everything we wanted.  

So, without ever seeing the house, knowing it needed a little TLC, and not having a clue as to what kind of neighborhood or town we were moving to, we moved in 3 days after the kids and I moved to Minnesota.  I put a lot of trust in Chuck and even more in God, trusting that He was directing our steps.  

I had no way of knowing that this town, house, and neighborhood would fit us like a glove.  That the sense of community here was unknown to anything I'd ever experienced before.  People look out for one another and their kids.  We watch each others' dogs and mow each others' lawns. We congregate in each others' drive ways talking about our days, we pick things up for each other at the store, we help each other build, install and fix things.  We have impromptu parties.  We look for each others' lost dogs and bring each other food and flowers during hard times.  These people fill my soul.


Just a few weeks ago, Bennett and his friend a few houses down organized a Boys vs. Dads basketball game.  The girls went around to all the neighbors to announce the big game after dinner that night.  It was so much fun.  Sharing life together is such a gift.  I'm so thankful I had no control of what house I wanted to pick, I might have just picked on exterior qualities alone.  How dreadful it would have been to miss out on the gift of loving neighbors and having the chance to love in return.


This was not everyone who showed up, just those that made it in the picture.  And for the record, the Dads won that night.  But the boys won the rematch a few days later.  This is an on going saga that is not looking good for the Dads.




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