I have a tough time loving my neighbors.
For me, this is just not something that comes naturally. I can say hello and make a bit of small talk here and there, but beyond that I mostly try to ignore my neighbors. That sounds so mean! However, I think it’s something that’s true for most of us. We are comfortable to a certain degree with the strangers that surround our own personal space. But beyond a quick hello or wave, I think most people prefer to tuck away and not be sociable.
To me, it feels funny to be expected to make friends with complete strangers. After all, my friends are people I’ve CHOSEN. Neighbors are not chosen. I choose to surround myself with like-minded people. Because I like to be comfortable in expressing myself with the people I spend time with, I choose them accordingly. I also like to surround myself with friends who have similar parenting styles. Someone I trust my children to. None of these qualities are things I get to choose in my neighbors.
A Light for Christ Cannot Be Hidden
I do, however, recognize that I cannot possibly shine my light for Christ if I’ve kept it hidden away behind the door to my house. And so each year I try to do something nice for my neighbors. That sounds pretty lame now that I’m writing it out. Once a year? Is that all I can muster? Perhaps I will have to find other opportunities throughout the year to bless my neighbors. For now, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my children and I bake pumpkin bread for our neighbors.
The recipe I want to share with you today is from my dear friend Megs. There is probably someone who needs to be credited with this recipe, but she’s the one who first made it for me so she’ll get the credit here! This recipe turns out incredibly delicious, so keep that in mind when you’re baking! You’ll want to be sure and leave some for your family as well.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
1 1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 (3oz) packages of instant vanilla pudding
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs well. Add oil and pumpkin and beat until smooth. Next, combine all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and stir to mix. Gradually beat into pumpkin mixture, scraping the bowl between additions. Pour batter into two well-greased 5×9 loaf pans. Each pan should be a little over half-full. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a knife can be inserted and removed cleanly. Let stand 10 minutes to cool. Remove from pan and serve!
Mini-Loaf Option for More to Share
When I make this for the neighbors, I use a mini loaf pan that holds 12 mini loaves. I grease the pan generously and fill about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes. After my mini loaves cool completely, I wrap them in plastic wrap and tie a pretty bow around the loaves. I try to include a message of well wishes from our family and we hand deliver them to the neighbors.
How does your family like to shine the light of Jesus?
What are some ways that you love your neighbors?
Be encouraged by these posts as well!
- Introducing Quiet Time And Sticking To It! - June 1, 2018
- The Parable of the Persistent Widow - April 20, 2018
- Maintaining Friendships During Motherhood - March 22, 2018
Wow – looks like a great recipe – but I also love your reminder to reach out to your neighbors – it’s so so true… Years ago we lived in a small home with our neighbors on either side that were right “on top of us” -I loved both women…. but now we had a little more space and I didn’t really get to know the neighbors… but a home was built – again – right up on top of us now – much younger couple – but I should bring something over to them! Thanks for these simple but… Read more »
It’s certainly hard to put yourself out there to new neighbors! But I find that it’s almost always worth it just to make contact and get that part over with! I hope you can find a way to break the ice with your new neighbors!
Love this! I myself struggle with approaching my neighbors! But I always feel the need to shine the light of Christ to them! This year I made apple butter and had my kids deliver it to them! I including a verse and a note thanking them for being great neighbors! From what I know they do not know the Lord, and I hope each year when I bring them a little note or gift it prompts them to look it up themselves in His word! I also think its great to pray for your neighbors as well, hopefully we can… Read more »
Heather, I agree! I often feel compelled to share Christ with my neighbors, but how awkward it can be! I love the idea of apple butter! It’s one of my favorite treats as well 🙂
i live in an area where there are a lot of people who dont’ speak English – and i’m always asking God to open up doors for me to be able to minister to them
That can certainly be a challenge! Food can speak through all languages! Perhaps you can drop off some bread or other goody with a smile? It could open a door for you!
Sadly, I’m not very neighborly. They aren’t people I would associate with. But I do need to start praying for them, and working on some acts of kindness. Thanks for the encouragement! I think I’ll borrow your recipe! 🙂
I hope you enjoy this recipe! You hit the nail on the head about praying for your neighbors! I really don’t do that enough, and like you, my most immediate neighbors are not people I normally associate with. We make small talk and whatnot, however many of their choices are not things that I like or appreciate as a neighbor. I definitely need to be praying for them! Thank you for the reminder 🙂
Yes. 🙂 Shine that light! And pumpkin bread…yum. 🙂
I struggle with this as well. For me it is pure laziness… I want so badly to look outside my own little world, but I continually fail to do so! Thank you for this reminder!
I can certainly understand where you’re coming from! I really don’t like to get uncomfortable, do any of us really? I know some years I struggle to reach out more than others! I hope this year you find a way to fulfill your desire to look outside your world!
We have wonderful neighbors and I am always baking something for them to enjoy. Pumpkin bread freezes well to be used later.
How blessed you are to have wonderful neighbors! We have often had wonderful neighbors as well. Thanks for stopping by!
Oh man it’s so true. Small talk is easy but with certain neighbors, especially, it’s so much easier to just ignore them.
Yes some neighbors can certainly be more challenging than others. A little friendly gesture might go a long way!
I love the seemingly old-fashioned idea of taking a loaf of bread to neighbors. Food has the potential to connect us on so many levels.
It’s so very true! I hesitate to share food so often because it seems that everyone has special dietary restrictions these days, but I continue to bite the bullet and do it anyway in the spirit of bridging the gap!
I know exactly what you mean by just wanting to keep it at a wave and hello from across the street! I am really struggling with this right now since my oldest has started getting out and playing more in the neighborhood. It is way out of my comfort zone. Maybe I will make them all a loaf of your bread so that they will be my eyes and ears around the neighborhood so I can stop lurking out the door (so often) to make sure he is okay!
I had to step way out of my comfort zone this year when we moved and the neighborhood kids would just show up at our house to play whenever! It is very uncomfortable when you’re not that sort of person. But alas, our children force us to step outside of our comfort zones so very often! I hope you try the mini loaves and maybe make some new neighbor friends in the process!
I love the mini-loaf idea! That’s such a great way to share.
For me full loaves can be very daunting and take up a lot of space and time but mini loaves are enough that people know you care but aren’t stuck with an entire loaf that they can’t finish!
This sounds so good! I love the idea of delivering mini loaves to your neighbors!
We are gearing up to deliver to our new neighbor’s since we have moved! I’m glad you were encouraged and I hope you enjoy the recipe!