10/13/08

Quiet Silence ...


God recently moved us to a lovely neighborhood filled with huge custom homes. We are a bit like fish out of water here since we have 5 loud kids, cozy coupes on our un-manicured lawn that we cut ourselves and a 2003 Excursion in the driveway. Get the picture? But when God forces you out of one home and gives you only one option for a new, you move. (We are renting right now as we pay off our land to build, hopefully debt free).

We are accustomed to our little cul-de-sac where all the kids ride their bikes, run in and out of the houses and share plates or dishes of food with one another.

The quiet of this new neighborhood is deafening. And I hated not even knowing my neighbor's names. So, after 3 months of waiting for at least a walk over for an introduction, I took the bull by the horns. I made a big batch of my whole wheat bread, wrapped it up and took a loaf for each of my neighbors (across the street and next door). Both were not home, so I left a note with our names, our address and my cell number.

The neighbor (husband) across the street called me and was dumbfounded. He was so embarrassed. I tried to just thank him for the call and welcome him over, but he could hardly utter the words of thank you. So strange to me. Are people not accustomed to good ole thoughtfulness?


I do hope I broke the ice and we can have some sort of community. However, I fear this is not possible. Most of the people in this area make their mass exodus at 7:40am to make it to work by 8am and return at 6pm and run errands during the weekend. I see more of their landscapers and housekeepers than I do of the people that live here.

At any rate, you continue to inspire me to reach out to others. Thanks!


I couldn’t help but share this powerful story that my friend Polly sent to me. I couldn’t help but think that her kind gesture could actually be changing the lives in her “cold” neighborhood.

So I wrote her back after she sent me her story, to encourage her that she was doing the right thing. Loving people! And to assure her that she is making a difference!

Three years ago we had the opportunity to find a bigger home to move our family into after we sold our house that we had lived in for 10 years. We chose to buy an older home that was perfect for us, and that was totally in our price range. (Not what the bank said we could afford, but what we wanted to afford!) Our neighborhood is simple with lovely people. Very down to earth. I'm so glad we are here.

But the “quiet silence” Polly is talking about keeps ringing in my mind.

There shouldn’t be deafeningly quiet neighborhoods. We should know each other, be there for each other, help each other – we should be reaching out to one another.

Do you know your neighbors?
Do your neighbors know you?


Check out past posts that I have written on moving and change:
Moving & Change
When Neighbors Move
Aliented?

(Top photo: My cousin Joy’s adopted and foster children – in their not-so-quiet neighborhood! Joy has a huge ministry of loving kids!)
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Yesterday we harvested and pulled out our garden. It was a bitter-sweet feeling for me, and here’s some photos of the beautiful bounty.

Naked beds (and Pupalicious Haggis, our Cairn Terrior)


Humongous sweet potatoes


Beautiful potatoes


Scrumptious tomatoes


Pumpkins, stunning in color

29 comments:

Hilty Sprouts! said...

Beautiful story and beautiful produce! We are blessed to have moved to a country neighborhood where everyone walks across the fields or down the lane to introduce themeselves or lend a hand. We are loving it compared to our last suburban neighborhood.

Thanks for sharing!

Barb said...

Her story is sad, and I understand her frustration. No. I don't know my neighbors, other than to wave to. When we moved into this house, I made an effort to get friendly. They weren't actually rude, but very standoffish and after four years, I give up.

I baked a cake and welcomed a new next door neighbor to our neighborhood. When I took it to her and introduced myself, the look of shock, and then apprehension, on her face was stunning. Honestly, you'd think I'd given her a poisoned apple or something.

People are so paranoid any more, even neighbors don't want to get to know each other. What a shame.

The bounty from your garden is gorgeous!

Ornery's Wife said...

Loved the pictures, and couldn't believe how much your Cairn terrier looks like my Skye Terrier! they could be related!
tm

Sandy Toes said...

I may live in your neighborhood! I have neighbors who leave at 6:30 am...come home at 7..close the garage door and do it again the next day! It is so different from what I came from! You inspired me!

I miss my old neighborhood so much...we were all outside every night! It's been a year but my heart still aches for them!

-Sandy Toes

Anna said...

I am sad to say that I am one of those people who leaves home before 7am and returns home at 7pm. My husband has more flexible work arrangements but keeps similar hours. We don't have kids as up to now we haven't been blessed with them but we did choose to live far out of Sydney city to build a new home. Most of the people in our neighbourhood are older with kids or retired.

When we moved into the neighbourhood we made really good friends with one of our neighbours however ended up having disputes during the construction of our home. This really had a negative impact on us and as a result we've ended up shying away from other neighbours for fear of ever getting into a neighbourly dispute as it became one of the most stressful experiences we've been through.

Having said all this I do live in hope and I do believe that you should be able to be welcoming and neighbourly so I'm not discounting approaching and getting to know other neighbours. It could just serve a reminder that sometimes there may be other circumstances at play behind someone being stand offish.

Christine Lynn said...

We live in a neighborhood with 105 homes in it and we pretty much know all of them. We have gatherings once a season and more with the others we are even closer to. When we moved in here 18 years ago I started a ladies night out in my neighborhood. We meet once a week at a different ladies house and share craft ideas with one another, teach each other things, share and even go to movies and dinner together. And during the holidays we have neighborhood parties such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween. Our neighbors across the street just moved and the new ones just moved in a couple weeks ago. Our new Neighbor Linda was working in her yard yesterday as we drove in from church and so we invited her over for lunch yesterday.I think she was in shock!She came over and had a great time! She and her husband are coming over for our big Halloween event and he is bringing his famous family soup. I really think we should all know our neighbors and be there for one another, maybe if more of this was going on, some would feel less of a need for the government to take care of them...lol

You go girl and I think passing out the bread was a wonderful idea! It is God shinning through you! Loved the story! And love your produce from your garden!

Kirstin said...

Several years ago when when we lived in our old neighborhood we had some neighbors that had been there since we moved in (they eventually moved). Both worked but they were very nice and we really liked them. one day I decided to make them a meal. I told the husband what I wanted to do and he wasn't quite sure how to respond. At the designated time, I brought over a yummy potpie, rolls, salad and cookies. About an hour later, my phone rings and I hear these huge thank you's on the other end of the line. They were dumbfounded that I would have thought to do something like that for them, all because we appreciated them as neighbors and just wanted to bless them.

Our new neighborhood is a bit more spread out (an acre or so between houses), but everyone is very friendly and I'm looking forward to making some yummy bread to bring around to share with them. we've met several, though I know it will take me awhile to remember all their names. A few of them have known my hubby since he was a kid.

Yard Sale Princess said...

It was like reading my own story. We still do not get a response from some of our neighbors (on our small cul de sac) when we say hi and wave. They look straight ahead and drive off. I have only been into one house (right next door) to visit. I have tried to leave goodies at the door and even attempted a "You've Been Booed" game...NOTHING! It frustrates me because I always viewed a cul de sac and the best place to be neighborly and helpful. I envisioned all of the kids trick or treating together, block parties and kids playing in each others yards. I don't think that this will improve until some of the "party poopers" move away.

Jen said...

You know....I reached out to my neighbors because of you dear friend. I take each one something special from my garden or my kitchen every month or week sometimes. They are as good to me though....I love them and their children.
Recently I have been wrestling with cooking dinner for some of my struggling working moms who do everything yet struggle to get it all done and serve up a dinner to perfection....I want to just double my food for that day and call them and say come and get it....dinner is on me...still wrestling with it. I know they would love it and totally expect it from me.....I love your inspiration...by the way my sweet potatoes came up 2 weeks up ago and they were oh so good...we tilled up our gardens and beds as well yesterday...it makes me ready for our long winter.

Betsy said...

Interesting story from your friend. I'm sure the neighbor man was embarassed because they should have been giving the bread and welcome wishes instead of receiving them! But good for your friend to be warm and thoughtful anyway....a bright light of kindness in a cold world! :)

PS..I made crabapple jelly the 'green way' and it turned out great! My friend did applesauce and all the jars sealed! yay!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Wow, that makes me sad for her. It definitely seems like there are more and more of those neighborhoods lately. Good for her for reaching out anyway. I hope it pays off and she gets at least a few conversations! Maybe there are others in the same situation in the neighborhood, wishing someone else would take the initiative!
Carrie

Dee Light said...

We moved several months ago, and even though many of my neighbors are busy getting to and from work, they are very friendly. I don't know them all well, but I have gotten to know a couple of them pretty well. One neighbor brought a goodie basket filled with fruit and other kid friendly goodies. That really did help to break the ice!

What a wonderful ministry your cousin has. I can think of few things as wonderful as offering a home to children in need.

Love your photos.

Maryann said...

Sandy, What a nice blog you have here! Your smile lights up the site!
Thank you for stopping by FindingLaDolceVita! It's very nice to "meet" you :)

mrsjones6 said...

We really don't have neighbors where we live unless you count the cows and goats. I miss the coziness of living in a subdivision. Before we moved here over the summer we were fairly knowledgable our neighbors in our Atlanta suburb. Our home was a revolving door for the children who had parents working all of the time. I went out of the way to meet the parent of each child who visited our house so that they knew (whether they wanted to or not) where their child was hanging out! I do wish people were not so afraid of each other. Sometimes it seems as if people can't interact outside the office. Wouldn't our world be a better place if they could?!

Your harvest is just beautiful. Summer's end is often so sad, but then I love to start over in the spring!

Have a beautiful week,
Jen

Lis Garrett said...

The pictures of the food from your garden are beautiful! I have a bit of rainbow Swiss chard left, but it's about the only thing of color in my garden now. It's such a sad feeling . . .

I should really learn more about what grows well here as the temps turn colder so I can enjoy gardening more into the fall and winter.

GiBee said...

Your garden was beautiful, and bountiful!!! Our garden did NOT do so well this year. I was so disappointed.

As for our neighbors, we have great, gregarious, and fun neighbors of all ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicity, etc. We often get together on a weekend evening around a fire pit on someone's driveway, or bring some snacks out and chit chat the night away while the kids play amongst themselves. When one person is sick or injured, another neighbor jumps in to bring a meal.

It is a lovely community, and we are so blessed!

Connie said...

I do know most of my neighbors since we all moved in about the same time 7 years ago. We had block parties in the early years. Now we do talk to each other when we are out and most do wave at us...we live on the corner. Since reading your blog...I have been challenged to have the ladies over for lunch. Still planning it all in my mind and now should set the date and just do it! I have a new neighbor behind us and am waiting for them to move in...they have been painting the inside..to take them a little something and welcome them to the neighborhood. Thanks for your great examples of friendship and kindness. Connie

BC said...

Hi Sandy! Thanks so much for dropping a note at my blog! What a fabulous blog you have!

Love the story about the "cold" neighborhood. I remember first moving into our subdivision and feeling like everyone knew each other and we had to find our place. I am thankful we now truly KNOW a few of our neighbors and are getting to know the others as at least more than acquaintances. Great reminder to be more friendly in this often isolated world we live in!

Susie said...

Great post Sandy. Sadly, I haven't met many of the neighbors, and as Polly said above it is hard when the neighborhood is full of those working. We are also only renting for a short while, but I know that is no excuse.

It was so much easier in my last neighborhood because it was a new subdivision and each time a new person moved in, we would make acquaintance with them.

This post really challenges me.

Jerri Lynn @ Southern Sassyness said...

What a great post! This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. We just moved a state away - to OK - and are desperately trying to reach out in our neighborhood. Some have been welcoming,some not so much. What people fail to realize is that we need each other! We all live busy, imperfect lives and we need to uplift and encourage and help our neighbors - whether they are young, old or in-between!

Tammy said...

I'm so glad you shared this story with us...such a good reminder to reach out to neighbors even if they don't reach out to us!

We do know some of our neighbors-
but it has taken us awhile. We're shy by nature, too...but I do so believe in being neighborly and last Christmas time we did go over as a family to about 7 or 8 houses with small plates of cookies...

Barb's story in her reply was sad...it use to be the norm to take goodies to someone who just moved in...but that neighbor's response was like that fear of strangers on a subway.

Thanks for always inspiring us, Sandy!

The Tin House said...

Sandy, that's a very powerful story and I'm so glad to have read it.

Can I please ask for your help?

My dear sister in law had a horrible accident and is hospitalised in a city far away from me, separated from her three children by a roadtrip of a few hours. My brother is with her, and Mum is caring for the kids in their home.

Flowers, while beautiful, are a bit pointless and often not allowed in high dependency wards. She is very nauseous and has facial injuries, so perhaps chocolates are out too.

I would dearly love to be able to turn up on their doorstep with a dinner but they are over 1000km away.

Can you stretch your wonderful and caring mind around my problem and help with an idea for something practical I can do to let her know we are thinking of her and are so glad she is going to be ok.

I'm grateful in anticipation.

Lisa x

duchess said...

What a great post.
We've recently moved as well but our story is a little better....we went from a neighborhood with few kids to one where the neighborhood boys came over the first night to grab my son. They've been inseperable (when out of school) ever since.
Neighbors do make a difference.
Keep it up & maybe you'll get through...what about a block party?

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I had a hard time with this post. My husband and I just moved to a new neighborhood and we just haven't been home. I am one of those people that leaves at 7:40 and gets back at 6. And many other folks in our neighborhood do the same thing. But I refuse to believe that our neighborhood is cold because of it. Not everyone has the luxury of being home all day. I want to meet my neighbors but to be honest its really hard to find the time. Weeknights are bad because I'm bound to hit dinner time. And weekends are bad because after a long week and working on the yard and running errands I'm tired out. So speaking from a working person don't think that if we don't come over bearing a pie to introduce ourselves its because we don't want to. We're just trying to find the time!
I'd say if it really bothers you come on over. A few of our neighbors have done that and we're more than happy to talk with them and get to know them!

Sandy said...

I work almost full-time myself, so I absolutely know what the anonymous commenter means! Life is crazy busy with three kids in sports and very active with school. I'm thankful Polly shared her story with me, and I think it probably resonated with many readers. It's not even about taking a meal, pie or cookies to a neighbor. It's about being friendly, available, feeling like you can go and borrow an egg if you need to. I've learned that you definitely have to make time to go out of your way to say hi or be friendly. It only takes a few minutes .

BTW, thank you everyone for sharing your heartfelt experiences!

Gina said...

Yes, this does resonate-at least it does with me. We are blessed with a great neigborhood, but we have worked to meet and connect with everyone. We've had open houses, bbq's and all those. They've been great ice-breakers.

The remarkable thing about where we live is that there is so many kids who truly like each other and watch out for each other. Just last night one of the neighbor girls fell and got hurt pretty badly. Four kids ran to her house to get her parents and my husband ran to her to help her up. As he was doing this 10 other kids gathered around her to help and encourage her. It brought tears to my eyes to see how we all take care of each other.

But this post was also a great reminder to reach out to those I haven't seen in a while. I'll be bringing some muffins around this afternoon. Thanks for the nudge!

reneegrace said...

I enjoyed browsing through your blog. This was a great post, and BEAUTIFUL pics of the fall harvest... fall skipped us this year (Alaska) straight to cold cold cold!

Thanks for stopping by my wee corner. I'm a little scarce these days!

Nancy said...

This story really strikes home. I live in a neighborhood that is "quieter" than it should be. I'm lucky to have become close friends with my next door neighbor and know a few others. Can't seem to get the community feeling going, though. I even invited all nearby neighbors to my house last Christmas and a few came. I guess it helped a little. I hope the neighborhood will grow closer little by little. We Americans--especially in suburbia--aren't all so good at community. (I know some are, of course!)

Chris said...

Wow. I am so saddened by this post. I kept thinking you were going to have this great ending about your neighbors coming together and making you all feel welcome. What a bummer! I commend you for being the better person and reaching out to them. Will you be my neighbor? :)