Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Zucchini Bread & Neighbors

Being "neighborly" is slightly outdated these days. Or so it seems. It's easy just to come and go without ever saying more than "hello" if you and your neighbor both happen to be walking to your car at the same time. People tend to have their own circles of friends and a jam-packed agenda, so the need to make friends on their street is a low priority.

When Andy and I were looking for a place to live, one Bible verse kept popping in my mind. "He [God] determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." (Acts 17:26) I felt so confident that God had a house picked out for us and that there is a reason why He wants us to live there. I feel that way about all of our neighbors, too. There is a reason why God put us on the same street at the same time.

There are 8 other houses on our street. So I decided that I would make everyone a loaf of zucchini bread, write them a brief note, and we'd go over as a family to introduce ourselves. Our neighbors have been shocked (some even skeptical) to see us standing as a family of four on their front doorstep. But it was so worth the effort. No one had so much as said hello to us since we moved in, but after delivering the bread two of our neighbors dropped by our house last Sunday to bring us some goodies!

I'm not sure what these relationships will turn into. Some will probably reciprocate more than others. But Andy & I are praying for them and we want to be a blessing to the people who live around us.

I want to challenge you to reach out to your neighbors. Even if you've lived there for years, get over the awkwardness be the first one to initiate. You may have to initiate a few times before getting any reciprocation. You have people living just a few feet from your front door who are precious in the sight of God and may or may not have a relationship with Him. He could use you to love them, encourage them, and be a source of light in their lives.

Feel free to take the zucchini bread idea and run with it. And after you meet them, make sure to write down their names and any little details you find out about them (job, school, kids, hobbies, etc...). Remembering those things endears you to people and they are great conversation starters in the future.

Here's the note that I wrote and the recipe for the zucchini bread:

Dear Neighbor,
We recently moved into the house at [our address]. We are so excited and thankful to be living in our new home. We wanted to bring you some homemade zucchini bread as a way to meet you. We look forward to getting to know you more in the future. If there is ever anything our family could do for you, please don't hesitate to ask!
                                                                                                    The Wood Family
                                                                                                    Andy, Stacie, Caedmon & Sammy
                                                                                                    [our phone number]

Zucchini Bread
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Instead of flouring the greased bread pans, I sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar which gave the outside of the bread a sweet crunch. Also, my bread always took at least an hour to back. It is really yummy and somewhat torturous to bake when you are fasting! :-) 

1 comment:

Mary Lu said...

Stacie, I love you and your posts could not have better timing. We just accepted an offer on our house today. As we have been working on the new house, I have been hoping to catch a glimpse of the neighbor just so I could say hello...but they are always inside. Guess I need some Zucchini bread to lure them out :)