Friday, September 21, 2007

Knowing My Neighbors - the Continuing Story

Remember when we talked about the beauty of Mitford and the relationships between neighbors? I did meet my first challenge which was to use all the small breads I already had in the freezer and deliver them. But, I've still had it in my mind that I want to keep at it so I can get around to each house - I'd like to have this completed by next summer if possible.

Anyway, this week - I got busy baking and made small loaves of banana bread and poppy seed bread. I printed out the same note I used last time. I also cut a few flowers (pictured above) to make four more gifts so that I could finish one whole street - this puts me at the half-way point.

So, with thirteen loaves of bread, four cups/cans of flowers and the notes and two darling little helpers - we loaded up the wagon and started out yesterday afternoon.

We managed to finish all the houses on that street! But, can I just share something here? This is HARD! I love the idea of doing this and baking the breads is easy and fun. But, getting out there and going up to people's houses and delivering something just removes the anonymity factor. I am not super outgoing and this is just outside my comfort zone. I feel so intimidated - I guess because I'm afraid of being found out. I guess I feel like a lot of people kind of want to be left alone and I fear meeting someone who might get upset.

I was so glad to see my cozy and peaceful house welcoming me home - I had a splitting headache and tummy ache (nerves) - I was just so glad to be done! I do want to finish and I am glad to be promoting being neighborly - I just didn't realize how out of my comfort zone it would be!

How are the rest of you doing?

Updated: After my first round, I never heard a peep out of anyone. But, this time one neighbor did call and thank me for the bread. She said her girls had already eaten it and loved it! This was a much needed encouragement!

28 comments:

Niki said...

It's such a difficult thing to do...stepping out of your comfort zone, I mean. Bravo to you for doing it!!! It will bless you in the long run, and will certainly bless your neighbours..even if they seem to want to be left alone. People have lost their sense of community for the most part I think, but almost everyone wants a feeling of community! So persevere, Monica, good things will follow.

Mary Ann said...

I have done a few but not nearly enough! In the next couple of weeks I want to bake some fall goodies and deliver them.

This is so out of my comfort zone, too! I try to put it off.:-( But yet I feel a continual nudge from the Holy Spirit to reach out in this way.

I find that when walking with my childcare kids, that the neighbors are a little more friendly and willing to chat. Children will do that! But overall, I sense too, that they want to be left alone. That is the society that we live in. It is so unheard of for people to reach out and be there for each other. I want to do my part at being a welcoming neighbor!

Great follow-up post, Monica! And the ladies look so sweet in the wagon!

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I am a quiet person, so this is hard for me. When I went out I took the whole family. We went in the evening with a wagon of extra produce to hand out. It was helpful to have hubby with me since he is more outgoing. It has made the neighbors more friendly. I notice that they are more willing to wave or stop and chat when Megan and I are out for our walks.

Keep up the good work. I am sure it is an encouragement even if they are not letting you know!

Grace said...

We have had new neighbors move in all around us. I have really tried to introduce myself right away as it makes it much less uncomfortable. I know when I wait forever I probably will not do it. I really want to do some baking and bring it around to all the neighbors even though I have met them. That is one good thing about living in Military Housing. We are always getting new neighbors.

Missy said...

Bless you for doing this, despite your aching head and nervous tummy-- I would be the same way. This is a good challenge for me too.

Katy said...

That would be soo hard...but congrats to you for doing it! How sweet and thoughtful of you and I hope you receive many blessings in return from it!!! xoxo

julie said...

Hi, I just found your blog and enjoyed reading about your life. What a great idea to meet your neighbors. Good for you for leaving your comfort zone and doing something so kind.

Have a great weekend with your family.

Leanne said...

I think its so hard to step out of our comfort zone... but you never know who might just need a friend... Its a great example to your girls also!

Anonymous said...

Monica,
That is awesome!! I have been meaning to do that here in my neighborhood. We moved in 2 years ago and I still have not taken anything to any of my neighbors. This is just the nudge I needed to get it done.
Hope your next venture goes well!
Elise

Tamara said...

Monica,

We've been doing something similar. Last fall we had a "Bring Your Own Mug Party" coffee, cocoa & cider). We went door to door through 3 blocks, inviting our neighbors to join us on our front lawn. This summer we entered (& won) the Dreyer's Ice Cream Neighborhood Salute Party. They provided free ice cream for up to 100 people. Again, we went door to door inviting folks. It is incredibly intimidating, and like you, I'm rather shy and not very adept at social small talk! Still, once people got over their initial reticence to open the door, they were very gracious. We had about 30 come to the fall party and about 45 come to the ice cream party. In both cases, we passed out invitations, & put a large sign in our front yard. We also held the parties in our front yard, so people couldn't help but see us. Though we haven't had huge crowds, the parties have been very well received. People always ask us if we'll do it again next year, so we keep praying that the Lord will provide resources for us to minister to our neighbors. And He has! The first time, it was an unexpected bonus check. The second time, it was the free ice cream party. God has been so good to us in this area, and it has encouraged us to keep "Walking Across the Room" (http://justwalkacrosstheroom.com/)to our neighbors.

Sorry for the long comment post...but I know God will bless you for your willingness to be a blessing to your neighbors!

Jenny said...

I am with you on being out of my comfort zone when doing what you are doing. Although you have inspired me. I have only lived in my neighborhood for going on 5 months. I only really know 2 neighbors. But want to get to know more. I am going to take your challenge and bake a treat of some sort and hand deleiver it. Thanks for the inspriation. "ok comfort zone, lets get uncomfortable"sv

It's a Mom Thing said...

You're doing a great thing, Monica. I really hope all of your neighbors enjoy your kind gesture. I know I would. I'm glad one of your neighbors called to let you know that she enjoyed your bread. That sure is encouraging.

Carrie said...

Well what a great idea, and I'm so proud of you (and inspired!) for doing this. I, too, would have a hard time coming out of my comfort zone to do something like that. And what a blessing that one of your neighbors called you back! I thought about doing something like that around Christmas - dropping of a small plate of goodies - but I never had the guts to do it. Maybe this will be the kick in the pants that I NEED!
Hope you have a great weekend!
God bless :)

Meredith said...

Monica, I am also very uncomfortable approaching people I don't know--so much so that whenever I have a little "extra" dessert or muffins, I ask my husband to take the kids and deliver them for me!

Anonymous said...

I wish I was brave enough to do that! About 18 months ago a new family moved in across the street and a couple houses down from us.

I decided to bake some bread, put it in a nice basket and deliver it and welcome them to our neighborhood (our neighbors are for the most part are nice but NO ONE ever came over to welcome us and doesn't seem like neighbors have much interaction with one another).

So kids and I went over - talked briefly with the mom...never heard a peep from them since.

I find it even very difficult to invite friends or church family over for dinner - it's something I really want to do - but I'm very introverted and such...I do do it - but it takes me awhile to get up the nerve.

Anonymous said...

I read with interest your experience and the comments others have left regarding calling on neighbors. I admire your efforts to reach out to every house in your neighborhood! I don't think I could do it! (I think there should be some way to be a good neighbor without making your head and tummy hurt!)

What about praying for each neighbor as we walk past their home? (Maybe you've already done this.) They wouldn't know we are doing it -- but it would bless them anyway! And as we pray, God may bring ideas to mind that would be something we could do for each one. I think just being out in your neighborhood contributes to a sense of community because the neighbors who are home will see you (and your darling little ladies) and recognize you as "belonging" to the neighborhood.

I usually take something to new neighbors right around us -- that is a custom I want to help keep alive. But even that I find to be hard.

Thanks for sharing! I love you very much -- Mom

LinesFromTheVine said...

How thoughtful of you...this is something that I have wanted to do around me neighborhood as well...how nice to go and deliver flowers and bread. I know that they were very much appreciated!

Tracy

Joy@Joy in the Journey said...

I appreciate your willingness to get out there and do it, even though it's so far out of your comfort zone! Visiting my neighbors is something that I honestly don't enjoy much either. Finding something to give them (they don't like bread or cookies), conversing in another language, and always being aware of not offending them culturally makes it sometimes hard for me to get out there. I do go and visit my neighbors from time to time, or they come here...I'm hoping that as I pray about it God will give me the energy to reach out even more!
Blessings,
Joy

Jenni said...

I love this idea, but I'm one of those house hermits who fears the neighbors:) I did take some plants I was digging, to my neighbor across the street last month and ended up talking until well after dark. It was such a surprise!

I think breads and flowers sound lovely.

Jthemilker said...

I really admire you for doing this. I am one of those quiet keep to yourself type neighbors myself. We live in a townhouse so you know there are plenty of neighbors to meet. I am already out of my comfort zone just living here (as opposed to the quiet country life I adore). I shall have to think on this a spell. Perhaps I can reach out to a few close by... Hmmm...

2boysmama said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Being neighborly goes both ways. The neighbors have to want to be friendly as well.

We are blessed with having a super friendly neighborhood, the best we've ever had! So nice to know I can get help when needed.

Do you have other small children in the neighborhood? That is a good way to break the ice, a neighborhood playdate at a park or your house. Its really nice for my kids to have playmates in the neighborhood and other moms for me too. (and the emergency childcare option too!!)

As your kids get older and you put them in community activites or sports you will meet more neighbors too.

Angela said...

What an incredible thing you are doing and I would LOVE to be your neighbor and the recipient of such a sweet gesture. I know I baked an apple pie once for a new neighbor as they had moved in. They basically took the pie and closed the door never to be heard of again. I felt defeated but have tried to remain constant in that God wants us to "love our neighbors" so good for you!!!

Elise said...

Truly difficult to do, and truly inspiring, Monica. Thank you for sharing this in such a humble, honest way.
We're living in an apartment right now, and it's been on my heart to reach out in some way, for my children's sake especially - I want them to see it in action!

thehomespunheart said...

Thank you all for your encouraging comments! You all offered great suggestions and I'm thankful to know that it is not just me that this intimidates!

Tamara - I entered the ice cream contest too, but didn't win this time. I'll keep trying - it sounds like a great way to get the neighbors together!

Elizabeth - Scrappygolden said...

I just love reading about this sort of thing you do because it inspires me! And your honesty about it making your head and tummy hurts helps others. I am going to pray about this and see what I can do in my own neighborhood.

Abbi said...

That is such a cool idea. I havn't exactly that but we did leave May baskets with cookies one year. I know it can be very scary but I don't think people neccasarily want to be left alone, I think they are just to busy and to shy as well to make the first step. This year we had a neighborhood party and invited everybody on our street. We went around two times; to deliver invitations and then reminders. People seemed for the most part very friendly. Not everybody came to the party but probably half did. All that came were very apprecative of us putting it on.

Susan said...

You did a great job! Congratulations on being brave and reaching out in friendship. I've never done anything like that.

MommySecrets said...

You guys should read the children's book, "You Can Do It, Sam". It's about a mother & son that deliver surprise goodies to their neighbors - then enjoy a treat for themselves. It's cute!