I have been thinking about the different places we have lived and the different neighbors we have had. I wanted to record some thoughts about what I have learned from the wonderful people we have lived by.
Neighbor #1- Aunt Martha
Our first little apartment was managed by Aunt Martha and she lived across the street from us. She was a strong woman, and not a lovey dovey type person, but she was loving. We had never known each other before I married Paul, but once we were married I was family to her. She always treated me like family and I knew she loved me. She liked us to sit with her at church and was very "motherly" towards us. I appreciated her and all she did for us as we were newlyweds. She was a good woman and neighbor!
Neighbor #2- Terri
Terri wasn't our exact next door neighbor, she lived in the duplex next to ours. I actually didn't have that much interaction with her, but there was one event that has stayed with me. She had a cute little family with 2 little boys and was pregnant with her third when she miscarried. She was a few months along, so it was harder on her body than if it had been a very early miscarriage. I remember offering to watch her boys for a couple of hours one day so she could have some time to rest and recoup, and she gladly took me up on it. When the time came for her to bring her boys, they were not very happy to stay at my house-practically a stranger to these 2 shy little ones. But she left them, and I could see it was hard for her to leave them because they were not wanting her to go. I did my very best to keep them happy and occupied while I had them, and they did alright, still teary for much of the time. I got the impression from that experience that she was letting me serve her because I needed the experience of serving even more than she needed to be served at that time. I appreciated that. It taught me that sometimes we need to give others the blessing of serving us, even if we feel we don't NEED the service so much.
Neighbor #3- hmmm, we didn't really have any true neighbors that we had much to do with on a friend basis in our third home. It was an apartment complex in a rather bad area of town. A bit scary, actually. So...skipping this one.
Neighbor #4 - Charlene
This house was our first official home that we actually owned. A cute little house with a nice backyard. Anyway, the neighbor I wanted to write about was not actually a neighbor. They are a family that lived a street away, but we were good friends. We had children all about the same ages and had very similar houses. I admired the way Charlene was such a good mom. She was a great teacher to them and they were obviously placed first on her list; above her home, above her own interests. But she did place her own spirituality above it all, too. She was the first person to suggest going to the temple once a week to me. I thought she was crazy, to be honest. We had so many little kids I just didn't see how that would work. But it made me think about my priorities and since then I have tried to go more often. My goal now actually is once a week. I don't always make it but it's my goal.
Neighbor #5 - Debe
We moved into my grandparent's old home and became neighbors with Debe. She was such a great neighbor. She is a bit older than me, and had a surprise baby the same age as Little Miss. She had a rough life, but didn't wear her trials on her sleeve. She was always happy to have the kids over to play, and to share her photography talents. She took all my maternity and newborn pictures while we lived there. One thing that especially impressed me about her was her relationships with her older kids. She had a daughter that was a teenager at the time and they were best friends. Really close. Then one day, her daughter up and left and they didn't have contact for quite a while. This really, really hurt Debe. The daughter eventually came back to the family and Debe just seemed to pick up where they left off. She never rubbed it in to her daughter that she had hurt her so badly, or made her feel guilty. She just loved her and accepted her back into her life. That was a great example to me.
Neighbor #6 - Lindsey
Oh boy, we loved being neighbors! We have kids all the same ages and Lindsey was the neighbor I had always wanted. Our kids would sit on top of the wall between our yards and talk. They were back and forth all the time - from our house to theirs. Swim in their pool, climb in our treehouse. I loved it! Whenever we made something especially yummy we would take each other some to taste. We would show each other our craft triumphs and get each other's decorating advice. It. was. great. Then, I ruined it by moving. We got a GREAT house, but the saddest thing was leaving Lindsey and her family. True, we are only a couple streets away, but there is something about being right next door, ya know? She is a great example to me of being a loving and friendly person. I am glad we are still "neighbors" even though there is a little more distance between us now.
Neighbor #7 - Katie
The only thing that softened the blow of leaving our last neighbors (besides the new house) was our new neighbors. Katie is a powerhouse of a woman. She can do anything, and everyone who knows her would agree. I love her attitude, her kindness and generosity. Like Lindsey, I love that we borrow stuff from each other all the time. She is the embodiment of Christ-like service. Her life isn't perfect, and she doesn't try to pretend it is. But she gives her whole heart and effort to whatever she is doing (like to all 4 of her church callings. no joke). We have several kids that match up in age, and they enjoy each other. Thankfully we are in a cul-de-sac so they can play outside without me worrying too much. I have learned so much from Katie in the short year we have been neighbors and look forward to spending many more by her.