Helping my Daughter Sell Chocolate Bars.

We just moved about 2 months ago into this new neighbourhood. Its a small hamlet on the north side of Lacombe. I’ve been beginning to feel anxious about meeting our neighbours and how that was going to happen. Like for example, should we go around from door to door with some cookies or baking of some kind and introduce ourselves that way? Well that’s like adding one more thing to the to do list which already is filled with other good things. So we haven’t done anything. Yet in the last 2 weeks I’ve met over 9 neighbors in our little hamlet. One I met when my wife left me at church and I walked home. We just met on the street, a man who had lived here for over 35 years with more history to share than we had time for. Then I assisted our 14 year old daughter going door to door to sell chocolate bars for to raise money for her grad trip. We went to 6 houses. I held the chocolate bars while she did her presentation. After she was done I explained who we were and that we had recently moved into the neighborhood. We exchanged names and said we would look forward to meeting again( it just happened to be around –25 degrees outside). This week I met 2 more neighbors by walking the dog and checking the mail at our local kiosk. Then the neighbor next to us who just moved in a came over while I was out and asked my wife a question about the water condition in this area. When I came home I went over to see him and became acquainted. I gave him the name of a reputable water conditioning company we had used. During Christmas 2 senior long time dwellers in this area dropped off small baking treats. So all this happened without us doing anything out of the ordinary. It feels good to be here! No more anxiety.

Sock your neighbour!

Perhaps you may want to “sock your neighbour.”

Maybe even think about the neighbour that may need MORE cheer than any of the others!

There may be nothing spiritual here, so do not read into it….

but it is a great idea to get started in your neighbourhood.

(Read the instructions on the card in the pic.)

We enjoyed filling the sock with gifts for a neighbour.

A tree ornament, something homemade, a giant candy bar…perhaps a ‘thankyou’ card.

Don’t get caught when hanging it on your neighbours door.  And don’t let the dog hear you or it may not be a silent night.

May your neighbour be blessed!

Coffee with a neighbour

It has recently come to my attention as a coffee roaster/missionary that a Dutch coffee company instilled a “have coffee with your neighbour day” in Holland, each and every May 26th.  It is a simple challenge that has given way to what the Happiness Institute (Denmark) declares as having produced more happiness than buying more ‘bling.’  A cup of coffee and an intentional connection may just put more of the “Merry” back into Christmas than another Black Friday deal.  So why wait till May 26th?  Treat yourself!  And if you submit your neighbour/coffee story here (before Christmas/2018) I will personally send you a package of Good Neighbour Coffee!

Terrace, BC

This past week I had the privilege to spend nine days of training in Terrace, British Columbia.  At least 40 households seemed to have read our book, “Neighbouring for Life” prior to my arrival which proved helpful in preparation for the days ahead.  Among the evenings of teaching and training were the small walks through various neighbourhoods.  I was amazed at how people were in tune with their neighbourhoods, albeit they acknowledged parts that were left to be discovered.  Day one began with the classic mapping exercise, defining neighbourhood boundaries to which we added names, attributes and matters of the heart.  The participating neighbourhoods seemed to blanket the majority of Terrace leading to the vision of their collective community impact; if everyone invested in their neighbourhood by ‘loving your neighbour,’ healthier community and enriched lives would be inevitable.  While travelling from neghbourhood to neighbourhood, I heard a variety of stories:  Out of nowhere came a man from three doors down who suddenly suggested they should have a block party… if he had been listening to us the whole time.  Another story highlighted the emergency appendix operation of a young man from across the street who now was telling us the story as we bumped into him on our short neighbourhood walk.  More to come.   The trip through Terrace was unbelievable!  What a great community!  I look forward to our follow up training in the new year.  

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

A friend once shared his weird insight.  He said, “You don’t know, what you don’t know.”  The obvious statement seemed to go a little deeper when he said it.  I suppose that is why we have ‘aha’ moments, or why we try to get others to, “See what I mean?”
We are approaching the heart of block party month.  We would like to make resources available to help make it easy for anyone to start a block party.  But perhaps we need to be reminded that the relationships in which we look to engage in our neighbourhoods is of greater value than the block party itself.  We can be overly concerned about numbers and getting the ‘party’ just right at the expense of “loving our neighbours.”  And it is in the loving of neighbours that we most likely have those ‘aha’ moments.  As a result, some have seen neighbours in different light, some have finally gotten to know them in the first place, and still others have been surprised at how neighbours actually want to engage.  But when neighbours eat and share together, it is not uncommon to hear that “their eyes were opened.”


Grisham’s book, “Skipping Christmas” is one to make you tear up with joy.  Ironically, Christmas was filled with joy and the idea of skipping it was more stressful in the end for the family.  Read the book or watch the movie, “Christmas with the Kranks” and you will see the neighbours rally around the Kranks!  There is no doubt Christmas is prime opportunity to share the joy with neighbours.  Bring a meal, host a party, or simply enjoy the fireworks that the neighbourhood wants to share.

Neighbourhood Life is about awakening the power of families and neighbourhoods.  Here you will find stories, insights and challenges from life in various neighbourhoods throughout Central Alberta.  The greatest commandment includes, ‘to love your neighbour as yourself’ and when this is taken seriously so much happens that make neighbours say, “Why don’t we do this more often.”

Remember, the Christmas season is about giving.  This seems simple and maybe even rhetorical.  Too often neighbours who understand the command may try outsource this to others or by getting their neighbours somewhere for them to experience this love.  Busyness/distraction and fear are the two  biggest reasons that keep us from obedience, but when we hear the Christmas story it may surprise us to find these reasons  play a role in those who missed the gift that day in Bethlehem too.



resized_20161007_114011For Thanksgiving weekend we harvested the garden together with neighbours.  Not because we wanted to be neighbourly, but out of necessity – the weather.  This did lead to a neat bartering system.  Today the trade will be red beets and some meat from the last hunting trip in exchange for freshly roasted coffee.  Last week our Thai neighbours loaded us up with cilantro for a beer (not really a trade, but we needed something to drink while discussing our gardens).  The barter is not the point either.  All in all, it seems that the gardening and bartering are a means in which we enjoy the love of others, more than the gifts themselves.  This is what we are ultimately thankful for, which is why we are just glad that those who love, simply show up.  The rest is just bonus!

And so I am thankful for those neighbours who garden together, who share their gifts and goods, encourage on a weekly basis, and are simply present.

The Neighbourhood Mower

One of the ways we are seeking to connect with our neighbours is through lawn mowing. My twelve year old‎ son has a small mowing business. He calls himself “The Neighbourhood Mower.” So, every spring he goes around the neighbourhood with his business flyer, offering to mow people’s grass. Not too many take him up on his offer, but regardless, it allows us to connect with our neighbours in a practical way. I go with him on his rounds, and strike up a conversation about things other than mowing. And then usually those conversations continue and are deepened if that neighbour becomes a client. Building relationships with neighbours isn’t the only reason we mow grass. My son appreciates the money, and I appreciate the work experience it is giving him. But one of the blessed results of this sort of small business activity is the opportunity to form relationships with your neighbours. How are you serving your neighbours?

  • Neighbourhood Life participant

It never ceases to amaze me how others add to the tool kit for neighbouring….now lawn signs that match the invitations and name tags and…our travelling trailer BBQ!  What’s next?IMG_2881

Little Free Library

It was one year ago when Ron and Monica put their Little Free Library in front of their home for their neighbours to use.  They intentionally put the idea into action with a ‘launch’ which included the neighbours and food.  The official kick-off helped gather neighbours and introduce them to the concept.  It sits on their front yard, with a little stone path leading up to it.  The actual design matches the other buildings on their yard – pretty cool!  Now that its been a year, Ron and Monica are delighted to share that their Little Free Library has been a healthy contribution to the life of their neighbourhood.  Many of the neighbours take a book or leave a book and it has proven to be another doorway through which we learn about the people in our neighbourhood.

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