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New in the Neighborhood

Whew! As I finish content for Roy Lessin's new blog site (meetinginthemeadow.com) and prepare to get grandkids again, I am {pausing} and *reflecting* on this summer.

Yes, there are playgrounds full of school children already, homeschooling mommas have already put their plans in place for the new year, and we're losing daylight each day (which makes me SO sad!), but there's still some summer to be enjoyed! Days are still warm (ok, HOT) and there are still plenty of hummingbirds at the feeders. Despite the fading daylight, the lake water is still warm and inviting and summer's blooms are still bright and cheery. Sunsets are still to be enjoyed from the front porch (or landing) or on a walk in the cool of the evening. There's plenty of summer left to enjoy a tall glass of lemonade or sweet tea!

It's also the ideal time to get out and meet your neighbors! Our neighborhood is slowly-but-surely being built. I don't know if any other houses are sold, or when the sold houses will be occupied, but I'm praying for the people that will move in, in time. I'm praying for the neighbors I've met recently too, for the new family next door, and the few empty-nest couples on our street. I'm praying for the family that keeps to themselves, and the single grown-ups that are alone. Mostly, I'm praying that we can be salt and light, encouragement and help to all of them, that we continually point them to Jesus.

Ours is a brand new neighborhood, so we are all coming from someplace else, but sometimes I've been the new person on the block, and everyone else has known each other for a longer time. There are already disagreements in place and boundaries drawn, people know each other's stories and have formed opinions on issues. Everyone else knows who roots for Alabama and who cheers on Auburn (the struggle is real around here!). Sometimes being the newest on the street leaves you feeling like you're living in a fish bowl, with everyone looking in at you and you not being able to clearly see or perceive what's going on in the rest of the neighborhood.



Take heart, dear friend. It's ok if you're not warmly welcomed with a plate of warm cookies and a casserole. Find your feet in your new home and take a little time to catch your breath. Then bake up a batch of cookies and go visiting your neighbors, or just take a walk when you notice everyone is out doing yard work. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself and extend a hand of friendship. It's so much better to make acquaintances on the neutral turf of a front yard rather than over the fence about the barking dog. Lay a foundation of friendship and build on what you have in common (a property line? leaving for work at the same time? kids in the same school?). Don't be afraid to expose your real-life messy and invite the other stay-at-home mom over for coffee, or to linger at the bus stop a little longer to exchange pleasantries. Friendships are to be made, and it just takes a smile and a hello!

So be brave, dear soul, and open the door to all the possibilities. Prayer walk (or ride or drive!) your neighborhood, and let the Lord lead. Listen to the Holy Spirit prompt you, nudging you in whatever direction He pleases to bring you a new friendship. Take advantage of these last days of summer to see what will come to bloom before the short days of fall rush in. It's not too late to plant a few seeds of friendship and see them take root!

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