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i don’t know their names

October 7, 2008

we’ve lived in our home since january of this year. it’s a great home tucked in a wonderful neighborhood and backs right up to a city park. we love it here!

the neighbors to our left are an older couple. very nice. we met them right when we moved in but i can’t remember their names. we exchange friendly hello’s and pleasant waves.

the people directly across from us are also nice. a younger couple with a preschooler. again, i don’t know their names.

there’s a family 4 houses down that goes to our church. i know their faces. but not their names.

then there is another family at the other end of the street who have a couple daughters that brought us a big bag of candy when we first moved in. no, i still don’t know their names.

if you’ve been around here long enough, you know that i am all about community. as a believer in Christ, i love to get out of the bubble of “church” and “church only friends”. i long to be in the environment of every day people from all different walks of life.

but somewhere along the way…i’ve forgotten about the life right outside my front door.

so i have a goal this week. i am going to take a small gift to as many people as i can on my street. that’s all. if they’re home, i will introduce myself and see what happens next…let the Lord lead. if not, i will have a note prepared to leave with the gift.

how about you…do you know your neighbors? are you up to doing this with me?

50 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2008 11:23 am

    I do know some of the people outside my door…. but honestly I keep to myself! My neighbourhood is not the nicest…. let’s put it this way – I didn’t know what marijuana smelled like until I moved in! I know some of them, and have worked with my church in helping the children prepare for exams, but we have not tried to go out except for our immediate neighbours in a while.

  2. October 7, 2008 11:24 am

    Wait… I got the first post! YAY!

  3. October 7, 2008 11:27 am

    first commenter gets a prize. wait. no…but thats a good idea πŸ˜‰

    bajan – do you think you “should” meet your neighbors? could you be of benefit to them? a ministry maybe?

  4. October 7, 2008 11:38 am

    I have thought about this for a while. I drive pass the one house that brought us brownies last year and my heart sinks every time. we just have to make time for it.

    Love you!

  5. October 7, 2008 12:02 pm

    one of my neighbors picks up my dog’s meds for me once a month

    another brings me leftovers when she and her boyfriend go out to eat because they know I never leave the house or eat out

    the ones across the hall that just moved to town happen to be best friends with my aunt (so random), so they are really nice

    and the mayor (who happens to live in my building) told me if I can ever get out they would be happy to drive me to church with them. this is the mayor that my dog tried to bite when he first came to the door (see dog meds reference above)

    some busy-body older people that live in other buildings in my condo association just refer to me as “that little sick girl who’s so friendly.” one actually asked my neighbor if i was ok since i was never outside on my patio this summer. πŸ™‚

    i like my peeps.

    fyi… i’m typing this with my eyes closed because i’m on day 2 of a migraine but i just couldn’t not check you blog. i think it may be an addiction…

  6. Heidi permalink
    October 7, 2008 12:03 pm

    Eventhough I am very outgoing and very much a people person, ask my grocer, my waitresses’ and Cho who helps me at my favorite Sushi place, the fisherman Sam from the pier and Mona who gives me my beach coffee.

    (everyone who gives to me)

    But sadly I don’t know my neighbors.

    I live in an multi- apartment complex ( no excuse),
    I come home tired from dealing with people all day and have many commitments (no excuse),
    I have kids and worry about their security (no excuse)
    My church is 18 miles away (no excuse)
    I live in Chula Vista a crime ridden part of San Diego (no excuse)

    I need to get out, maybe homemade tamales again for them.

    I gotta do it for them this time.

    I ne

  7. October 7, 2008 12:09 pm

    I haven’t even thought about this. I don’t know any of my neighbors names. How sad!

  8. October 7, 2008 12:10 pm

    my one and only friend, Michelle, I’ve made here lives right across the street b/c she made the first effort and came over. Bless her. πŸ˜†

    The people next to us, I’ve met, introduced myself, they are very odd and anti social. Seriously. Their kids however are not anti social by any means. They are always playing in our yard. The people behind us we talk to every once in a while but they don’t have kids. Just dogs. They’re rarely out. The people next to them behind us have three kids and Dylan has a crush on one of them. πŸ˜† Moms name is Jenny and the girl Dylan likes is Mia.

    And that’s about it. On base though everyone knows your last name and rank. It’s on your house. πŸ˜‰

  9. October 7, 2008 12:22 pm

    I don’t like strangers. πŸ™‚

    No. I know a LOT of our neighbors – we live with fellow students. I see them everywhere. I do bible studies with the wives… It’s a great opportunity to really be in community. It’s a good thing. But I don’t reach out enough. And I don’t know all of their names…

  10. October 7, 2008 12:31 pm

    Hey Tam.

    No … I don’t know enough names.

    But hey. Let me introduce you to someone.

    Her name is Tammy. And she’s GratefulinGa (

    Tammy has a friend named Melinda. Melinda has a plan that is right up your alley … and I thought you’d want to be involved. (

    Tam, Tammy. Tam, Melinda. Melinda, Tam. Tammy, Melinda.


    Actually Melinda doesn’t know me. And Tammy found me i think via Mandy.

    The circle widens. πŸ™‚

    Seriously, though. Tammy sent me over to Melinda’s site, and it made me think of you right away … I’m only surprised you don’t know them yet! πŸ™‚ So I came over here to tell you … and I find introductions in order. πŸ™‚ Okay. That’s all. Loves!

  11. October 7, 2008 12:40 pm

    brent – i know. its the same house that gets me every time too. we’re changing that now!

    sara – i just love you! i want to live in your building.

    heidi – thats the thing i deal with too. when im home…i just wanta…be. i dont like interruptions. im selfish that way. but not in a good way.

    judi – so…are you in with me? ya gonna try to meet a neighbor this week??? πŸ™‚

    brandy – i love how your neighbor kids just help themselves to your house. and you love it dont you?!?! (she asks sarcastically)

    mandy – your mom likes strangers.

  12. October 7, 2008 12:50 pm

    That’s great!

    They probably won’t appreciate if you call them Vodka and what not!

    When I meet new neighbors I write all their names down on a small notepad and keep it until I know them all.

  13. October 7, 2008 1:00 pm

    I see these two older gentleman all the time out eating fast food in the evenings. By “all the time”, I mean almost every week. They both seem to be in their late 70’s. They always speak to us and especially to our three year old son.

    Last night we saw them again and I really felt the urge to FINALLY introduce myself. What a couple of neat guys! Jimmy and Woodrow. Both are neighbors that have recently lost their wives and spend a lot of time together. We enjoyed a quick five minute conversation. Can’t wait to see those two again and maybe even share a meal together.

    Who knows what God may be up to if nothing other than simple friendship.

    Good post.

  14. October 7, 2008 1:01 pm

    I did that once, you’ll never know who you end up meeting! πŸ˜‰

    We know our neighbour’s names, although the male counterparts on either side of us are…hmm… I don’t get a good feeling from. It’s like some stares we get when we go out as a family, if you get my drift.

  15. October 7, 2008 1:07 pm

    danielle – yes…vodka and schmirnof. they were great neighbors! writing down the names – what a great idea! thanks!

    jonathan – i love your story. it gave me goosebumps. and i bet those men were so blessed by that! thank you!!

    cheyl – i miss being your neighbor. and i regret not doing more as families together too 😦 sorry. but im learning now. but late than never, i suppose πŸ˜‰

  16. October 7, 2008 1:09 pm

    annie – you got trapped in spam. i freed you! ok. im off to meet my new friends – thank you girl!

  17. October 7, 2008 1:25 pm

    Tam, I like it. Good stuff.
    My spiritual Mom shared a good tip too which I practice. Whenever anyone new moves into the neighborhood, take a small gift and a heart of love. Invite them over for a cup/glass of something and see what God will do. I used to “prayer walk” my neighborhood (kinda forgot to do it in a while), but that’s another cool way to get a bead on what’s happening with your neighbors. Beside each house, just ask God what the people inside are in need of, then pray that as a blessing into their lives. Some neat spiritual battles can be won this way too.

    Love your heart, Tam!
    ~ Liza

  18. October 7, 2008 1:32 pm

    Um, yeah. I talk a lot. So do my kids. So, we know all of our neighbors. All of them. Their names, birthdays, which we all celebrate together, what their kids are allergic to, what size bikes their kids can ride, where the parents work, how much debt they have, whether htey drink skim or 1% milk, when the couple met. We know that our Italian neighbors go out of town each summer and spend it with their loud relatives. We know when cars belong and when they don’t.

    You know, there isn’t much to do in Oklahoma. So, we have a great, big back porch that we open up to the rest. Great fun and ministry.

    Proud of you for stretching yourself.

  19. October 7, 2008 1:48 pm

    fade to black – thanks! i like prayer walking. thats good. our church used to do that years ago. i remember people loving that! and many great relationships were formed too.

    cindy – i bet you’re everyone’s favorite neighbor! you’d be mine! FYI – we drink 1%, have a dog that uses a pee pad, have fridays off, and rarely go out of town, i vacuum every other day and hate cleaning showers. πŸ˜€

  20. October 7, 2008 1:48 pm

    I just wanted to say thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation on Homosexual Lifestyles….Thanks!

  21. October 7, 2008 1:53 pm

    HEY! There are no regrets here and no apologies needed, Tam. At least we got to be neighbours for a season! It’s all good! Can we move to your neighbourhood πŸ˜‰

  22. October 7, 2008 1:56 pm

    vagabond – of course! great discussion. bold topic!

    cheryl – yes!! how does yesterday sound???

  23. October 7, 2008 2:34 pm

    Yes, I am in this with you. You may come by with your gift of brownies Thursday evening.

    I’m so excited. :LOL:

  24. October 7, 2008 2:36 pm

    We know our neighbors. We’ve been here for nine years. Our first neighbors have moved. They had kids the same age. They all lived at our house. We got to know eachother well. Now my son is dating one of the girls…never know where things will lead. Many kids still come and go, but now that they’re older they go out quite a bit. We know the retired neighbors. I think, they think, I’m retired too. We visit when I make it outside.

  25. October 7, 2008 3:31 pm

    In my condo building we each take turns cleaning the hallways to save on the maintenance bill.

    We also take turns sweeping out the laundry room.

    We have monthly association meetings I go to. I use to be on the association board of directors but got tried of hearing nothing but complaints.

  26. October 7, 2008 3:40 pm

    ric – very funny! thursday’s good tho πŸ˜‰

    michelle – ooooo – thats the thing there….i am NOT a block mom. i dont like other peoples kids.. well. no…i like kids. im just not a big kid person. send’em to my house when they’re 16! yah. that works πŸ™‚

    ed – complainers? did you try sweeping them out of the complex?

  27. October 7, 2008 5:24 pm

    Not to show off or nothing.. But you asked…

    Across the Street the Leatons… To the left the Hammens.. left down two the Mikes…

    To the left of the Leatons are the McLardys. Around the corner Wasabo’s, across the street from them are the Hammonds(my Brother and sister in-law.. πŸ˜‰ ) I can go on….

    Oh did I mention I am the treasurer of the Homeowners association so maybe I had an advantage.

    My mission for the HOA this year is to get the families out of their homes more.

    Peace and love sister.

  28. October 7, 2008 5:28 pm

    ck – show off.

  29. October 7, 2008 5:44 pm

    Great idea! My wife and I have been witnessing to our neighbors for quite a while now, and think there has been some real progress. A single father moved in next door about 1 1/2 years ago; he’s rough around the edges, but has a heart as big as all outdoors. His girlfriend and her two sons have moved in, too.

    Well, a few weeks ago he was out of state working for his company, and there was a crisis at the house. We were just coming out of our evening service when my wife heard a commotion and went to their house. One of the sons had run into the mail box and hurt himself. My wife was able to calm Mom down and take care of the boy.

    We have checked on that family several times after the incident. They know there’s someone next door who they can call on when they’re in need. Pray for us we’ll be able to lead them to Christ.

    The other neighbors next door to the parsonage are a very old couple who wouldn’t hurt a fly, the Cookes. We rarely ever see them because they both stay inside about 95% of the time. Poor old things have a nurse stay with them during the day weekly and for most of the day on the weekends.

  30. October 7, 2008 5:52 pm

    preacherpen – that is fantastic. sorry about the boy runnin into the mailbox tho 😦 but its great to see how the Lord uses any and everything to allow for opportunities to reach out to others. and thats what youre doing!

    and dang it. its so hard for me not to shorten your name when i write it out. but the only thing that ever comes to mind is “PP”. im thinking that would just be wrong 😯

  31. bahava permalink
    October 7, 2008 6:20 pm

    Great idea! This has actually really been on my mind since we moved here in May, but I have such a hard time finding time and a great non-intimidating way to get to know the neighbors. But, I’m definitely up for trying things πŸ™‚

  32. October 7, 2008 6:22 pm

    hi bahava!!! ya know what im gonna do? im gonna get some nice little tins from the dollar store, put some homemade goodies in them, write a little note and leave them on the doorsteps… during work hours.

    baby steps people. baby steps!

  33. October 7, 2008 7:13 pm

    I know my neighbors pretty well. Growing up, most of the family’s in my neighborhood were either my age, or young enough that I babysat for them, so I had an advantage. However, my neighborhood is pretty tight. We’ve had neighborhood block parties in the past. It probably also helps that we live on the corner of a cul-de-sac so we are more friendly by default.

    The Spani’s, Sheffield’s, Mabie’s, Cordell’s, and the Sanderson’s. πŸ˜€

  34. October 7, 2008 7:14 pm

    Good for you!!! I couldn’t remember my neighbors’ names for 2 years until our next door neighbor’s 11 yr old son died in an ATV accident. The entire neighborhood rallied and 8 years later we’re still a pretty close knit group. But even before that, I remember thinking I have no relationship with my neighbor except for waving goodbye to them as I’m off to another church function. I decided then that I had to make a better effort. Do what our other neighbor did a month after they moved in–throw a huge family party and invite the neighbors so they won’t complain about the huge party! We attend every year now.

  35. October 7, 2008 7:24 pm

    mandy – i love cul-de-sacs! for that reason exactly. i need to be “forced”. if i were an animal…i’d be a mule.

    joni – brilliant! have a party and invite the street. why havent i thought of that before?!

  36. traciejane permalink
    October 7, 2008 7:32 pm

    I don’t know but I was driving tonight and your post came to mind with this verse I recently became familiar with so I thought I would post it.

    Proverbs 27:10
    Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend,
    And do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity;
    Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away.

  37. October 7, 2008 8:04 pm

    Love that you are doing this.

    I’ve lived in my house for over 3 years and I don’t know my neighbors that well. A few “hi’s” here and there but no real community. Thanks for making me feel guilty! πŸ™‚

  38. October 7, 2008 8:11 pm

    traciejane – perfect. thank you!

    jenni – you’re welcome πŸ˜‰

  39. October 7, 2008 8:25 pm

    holy cow, now I’m convicted. We’ve lived in our neighborhood for 6 years and I still don’t really know anything about our neighbors. I’ve often thought about that very thing, and it has always kinda bothered me. Yeah, I’m in!

  40. October 7, 2008 8:31 pm

    rachel – ok. lets check back in with each other after we’ve made our first “contact”. mmmmm- its like a secret mission. only, not.

  41. October 7, 2008 8:48 pm

    Hey, tam. You could always call me Pastor Ron; that’s my handle over at the MEPISlovers Forum. In case you are unfamiliar with that, it’s a forum for Mepis lovers. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ (Linux distro forum) You could then shorten the name to PR. What do you think about that suggestion? Will it work?

    One more neighbor to talk about, please. Miss Florence is an 80+ year old woman from the Dominican Republic who calls me “my pastor”. She is as sweet a lady as you’ll ever find. One very hot summer day last year, Miss Florence was working in her yard, so I went over to help, clearing some brush away; it was just too much for her. After coming back to our yard, we heard a scream so I went back over the fence to see what the problem was. There was a very large garden snake that had made its way into her yard, and she let everyone know she wasn’t impressed. Here’s the fun part: she said “you can’t stay here, there’s no room in the inn”, which she spoke in her thick accent. You would had to have been there; my wife and I still talk about what Miss Florence said. She is a good neighbor.

  42. October 7, 2008 8:55 pm

    pastor ron – thats a good name. thats the name of one of my pastors too.

    i love your story! especially since my moms name is florence. you dont see that name much.

    you sound like the perfect neighbor. ya wanna come over and help with our yard? huh? ya wanna???

  43. October 7, 2008 9:19 pm

    Tam? have you been reading the Word of Jesus Christ lately or something? πŸ˜‰

    Matt 5:43,19:19, 22:39, Mark 12:31, 12:33, Luke 10:27, Rom 13:9, 15:2, Gal 5:14 and James 2:8.

    How can we be Christians if we do not what He tells us all?

    However you might want to check these out before you plan a party. Heb 8:11-13, Rom 13:10, and particularly Luke 14:12!

    Kedar and Dhuri and their two kids Ishmael and Ishmaela (Nepalese immigrants) to the left invited us to their Daughter’s 21’st party and give us bananas and fruit from their garden.

    Chris and Debbie to the right, no kids, work for the police force – have a Blue heeler dog called Marla we give our lamb bones to.

    Three doors down Graham and Leila – went to a male choir with Graham.

    Across from them Helena, Elizabeth and Steve, Mum visits Elizabeth who is almost bedridden, for company.

    Up from them is Kevin and Barbara. Kev and i discuss Shares often.

    Next to them and directly across from us is Lyn and her daughter Stacey – the only people i know of who are openly Christian Church goers and who we rarely speak to as they are not really very nice people – were close friends with until they split with Lyn’s Husband Terry who was a wonderful man but whom his ‘Christian’ family treated like dirt and a doormat. So much for honouring thy mother AND father.

    Two doors up Ray and Jean – Jean brought my Mum cooked plates of food shortly after my dad died of Cancer so she would not have to cook.

    Living in my parent’s house they have owned for almost 40 years so i might have an ‘unfair’ advantage πŸ™‚

    Why is it we don’t love our neighbours? Because we have reason to hate or dislike them?

    Is that Christian? How easily discouraged are we from doing His word and commandment?

    Surely this is not an insignificant Commandment he gave to His followers? How well do we yet do it 2 000 years after we received it?

    Do we lay the blame on our neighbours – is it their fault we don’t even know their names, let alone Love them?


  44. October 7, 2008 9:41 pm

    love – yes, you certainly have an advantage here πŸ˜‰

    “Why is it we don’t love our neighbours? Because we have reason to hate or dislike them?”

    now, now. who said i didnt love my neighbors? i do…that is why i will be reaching out. i am just confessing to you all here that i havent yet, and for that i have regrets. there is no excuse for that.

    and it certainly isnt their fault i dont know their names. that is up to me. i surely cannot blame them for my failure. i agree.

    ive been working this evening on putting together little gifts for them. its been fun, actually, but totally out of my element. its stretching me thats for sure. all part of the things God has been pointing out to me lately πŸ˜‰

  45. October 8, 2008 7:07 am

    Ugh. I can’t even read through the comments and I barely skimmed your post because this is so convicting! I’ve let myself off the hook by saying “I’m just not neighborly.” As if that makes it okay?!!!

    My husband is good at visiting with our neighbors, and I’ve been half-heartedly saying we need to have a neighborhood BBQ to get to know them better. I need to follow up on that…

  46. October 8, 2008 8:38 am

    We live on a church camp – We live on a street w/neighbors – We know them very well. A few years ago I went around with an actual handout – if you need assistance, anything on an emergency basis call my number. I do not due regular maintenance things except I mow two other yards besides mine – at no charge, a widow right behind us and my mother-in-laws. I have been called to reset a TV remote, minor household repairs, carry bags of softener salt to the basement, drive someone to dr. appt.s or grocery shopping. Just call. I think the question is; are you available and are you looking? Mama does free baby sitting so a lady van attend Bible Study. We are really trying to be servants of Christ.

  47. October 8, 2008 1:18 pm

    That’s funny….my upstairs neighbor talks to me all the time and I feel terrible because I cannot remember her name.

  48. October 8, 2008 10:08 pm

    photoqueen – get on that BBQ and check back in, k? really!

    papa – will you be my neighbor? please???

    cbgrace – HI!!!!! its SO good to see you! well. dont make the mistake of trying to play off forgetting her name by asking her how to spell it. you know like, “hey – how do you spell your name???” i did that once. the response…”um – P.A.M.”


  49. October 31, 2008 12:16 am

    what a great “intentionality” for your week.

    how’d it go???? what’s come of it????


  1. outside my front door… « inProgress

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