Love Your Neighbor

I grew up on a street where everyone knows each other. My parents still live there and we are still friends with the neighbors I grew up with. I love that when I go home to visit that I have an extended neighborhood family.

We have lived in our same house now for 14 years, except for the year we lived in Amsterdam. We kept our house while we were away so still have the continuity of being in the same place. The other day I came home after meetings and Jeff was standing in the driveway talking to a neighbor. He knew everyone’s story on the cul de sac and how long they have lived there. I loved hearing him share about everyone, and seeing his dog hanging out with us. It is comfortable knowing his schedule and seeing him come and go and to watch him play with his dog after he comes home from work. I like the routine of my neighbors’ lives. One neighbor carries a bucket around her yard and hand waters her trees every day from a big, white bucket. She doesn’t speak English, but always waves and nods her head.

There is another lady that drags her feet when she walks and clicks her cane from step to step. I love seeing and hearing her.

Another man is widowed and walks early in the morning with a cap on his head as fast as he can.

There are the dog walkers, and couples holding hands and the lady with cancer. There are the teens with loud cars and there are the moms driving kids back and forth from here to there. And there is the man with the dog who pooped on my lawn and didn’t bother picking it up who I confronted and gave him a bag to clean up after his baby and was shocked that I confronted him. There is the guy with no teeth and the mama with 14 grown kids who doesn’t speak English yet waves and says hello every time I see her. There are friends with kids and friends who have become family. There are people I know and people I don’t and some I say hello to and wave to and others who are strangers still.

I love this diverse neighborhood and I love that there are people who have lived here for than 50 years.

This morning my neighbor George came by and offered me some vegetables from his garden.


I love that he chose to share with me and told me all about the different types of tomatoes and cucumbers and green beans. I loved hearing about his wife and his children and grandchildren and how he spends his time.

Life is good and I am thankful to be living in such a great neighborhood.

I love this life.




Look at this little rose tree. I’d like to call it a bush, but it isn’t bushy. It looks like a long green stick with a few green leaves on it, barely surviving.

This little tree is so loved and tended to daily by hand. It is on the side yard of my neighbor’s house.

Everyday she comes out with her bucket of water and pours it on her tree. I imagine her collecting water throughout the day from half filled left over cups and cooking water. Sometimes she walks around with the hose, watering spots on the grass. And sometimes she brings a bucket and collects fallen leaves, keeping her yard tidy.

She used to come outside with her husband and they would take walks together, with her in front and her husband shuffling behind her with his cane. He doesn’t come out anymore and I have a feeling he passed away.

I look forward to seeing her outside from my kitchen window, with her long white hair pulled back in a ponytail and with her glasses on.

She usually waves back when I see her but never utters a word. I don’t think she speaks English, but her eyes and smile say it all. I enjoy her daily routine. One time when she saw me on the bakfiets, her smile was larger than usual and she gazed at me a bit longer, and gave me a thumbs up.

She likes me and I like her.

We are friends. We are neighbors. And I look forward to seeing her everyday.

Simplicity and joy.