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?
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