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In Surprising My Neighbors you leave your house one morning to find that someone has dropped a deuce on your front doorstep. Not knowing which of your neighbors did the deed, the only rational response is to punish them all!




Surprising My Neighbors



After my brain registered what was happening, I immediately started brainstorming and googling how to remove a bat from your home. Reading warnings about rabies, biting, and animal control led to a near mental breakdown. All the while, my foster daughter was insisting she could rescue and release it outside. She loves animals and was terrified it would get hurt trying to get it out of the house. As my husband was out of town, I was on my own to handle this. But after my other foster child had a meltdown over the whole ensuing drama, I decided to reach out to my neighbors for help.


A few minutes later, there she was on my doorstep with two other neighbors with eager faces, holding a laundry basket, work gloves, and a blanket. I led them to the door where the bat thankfully still slept. My neighbor informed me that animal control could be hours before they arrived and cautioned them not to approach the bat. But they were all armed and ready.


A yard full of neighbors laughed over the whole ordeal. I thanked them a hundred times for coming to my rescue. For entering my chaotic situation. They thanked me for adding some excitement to their day. My perspective on my keep-to-yourself, wave-from-the-driveway neighbors shifted to a mindset of ready reciprocation: gratitude. Thankfulness for kind neighbors. And gratitude for a bat that literally opened the door to discover them.


Begin Within is a series to inspire a year-round lifestyle of gratitude that will impact not only your own life, but the lives of your neighbors as well. Gratitude is a theme we talk about often around here because it ties so closely into other missional living rhythms. Practicing gratitude reminds to keep our hearts soft and expectant and our eyes open. Therefore, the more we embrace gratitude, the easier it becomes to truly see our neighbors and where we can join what God is already doing in our neighborhoods.


I had the wonderful pleasure of sitting down with Morgan Neville last week during the Los Angles press day for Won't You Be My Neighbor -- and it was at the very end of my interview that I heard this funny story. Knowing I only had one question left, I asked the filmmaker about the great stories that he simply couldn't squeeze into the final cut of his documentary, and he offered the surprising way the always-working Fred Rogers connected with his son, Jim, at a young age.


I'm afraid that in praising the virtues of ''My Neighbor Totoro'' I have made it sound merely good for you, but it would never have won its worldwide audience just because of its warm heart. It is also rich with human comedy in the way it observes the two remarkably convincing, lifelike little girls (I speak of their personalities, not their appearance). It is awe-inspiring in the scenes involving the totoro, and enchanting in the scenes with the Cat Bus. It is a little sad, a little scary, a little surprising and a little informative, just like life itself. It depends on a situation instead of a plot, and suggests that the wonder of life and the resources of imagination supply all the adventure you need.


They are your neighbors. When you pull out of your driveway, you wave at them as they water their lawn. Your kids attend the same school; they play touch football in your yard. You may have even picked up their mail while they were on vacation. But have you ever invited them to your church?


We are all guilty on some level of not being obedient to the imperative of Acts 1:8, sharing the gospel message with all who will listen. And many of us have not taken the step of inviting our neighbors to church. Some of us may not even know our neighbors.


Many of your neighbors are unchurched. Several of them may not know Christ. Who are they, and what are their perceptions? Our research team asked this question and found several things you must know about the unchurched.


Sincerity. The majority of the unchurched would like to develop a real and sincere relationship with a Christian. Our neighbors who do not attend a church value relationships that go beyond a superficial wave and hello when we pass by them on walks through the neighborhood.


Honesty. One of the more surprising elements of our research involved who the unchurched wanted to talk to about spiritual matters. In fact, most of the unchurched would rather speak with a layperson than a minister about spiritual matters. The excuse that you lack theological training is simply not enough to pawn off your responsibility to share your faith. The unchurched want to hear about your honest spiritual struggles and victories.


Most of your neighbors who are not part of a local church are receptive to an invitation and have a positive view of the church. More importantly, the opportunity is there for gospel work. Be obedient to the calling of the Great Commission, and God will work great things in the church.


But after 13 years of living in his dream home in central Texas, Barnes decided to move when he learned his neighbors had agreed to have several giant, white metal turbines installed on the edge of his property line, decreasing the value of his land and ruining his picture-perfect view.


REDWOOD CITY -- With all of the trees being blown over across the Bay Area due to Tuesday's high winds, it is not surprising that a KPIX camera captured the moment a falling crashed into a home on the Peninsula.


They do recognize dogs. My neighbors chickens come over the fence everyday, and they know which dogs will kill them, and which dogs are safer to approach. They also know their schedules, and where which dog will be at any given time, as I move them around the yard and house.


If you're being disturbed by a barking dog in your neighborhood, the best first step is to ask the dog's owner to stop the noise. But a surprising number of people ignore or botch this process. Perhaps it's not all that surprising; approaching someone with a complaint can be unpleasant and in some cases intimidating. And if you're afraid of your neighbor's burly watchdog, which snarls at you whenever you come near its owner's house, you're probably not eager to drop by to discuss things.


But even with the recent increase in complaints, which the ALA says is due in part to the use of book lists created by censorship groups, America has long had a history of book banning, one that stretches to at least the 1960s. Here is a look at some of the country's most surprisingly embargoed works through the years:


Harriet the Spy was banned from shelves because its titular character is, well, a spy. Some schools blocked Louise Fitzhugh's book from shelves when it came out in the 1960s because of concerns that the 11-year-old child's penchant for peeping on her neighbors, jotting down her brutally honest observations, and being generally disagreeable could negatively influence kids by setting a bad example. Early critics argued that Harriet "didn't spy, but rather gossiped, slandered, and hurt other people without feeling sorry about her actions," Thought Co. said. 041b061a72


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