In the 7 years we’ve been married, Toby and I have owned 2 houses. And our neighbors at both of those houses have been extraordinary. At both places I have struggled with the thought of whether we picked the right neighborhood. In Central Illinois it was Maybe we should’ve bought a house in Champaign or Urbana, instead of this small town. In Southern Illinois it is Maybe we should’ve bought a house in the subdivision next to Tri-C, instead of this subdivision that is farther from the school.

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But every time I start thinking that way, I come back to this fact: I can’t imagine life without the wonderful friends that we’ve made in our neighborhoods. Not just the “Hi, how are you today?” neighbors that you stop and chat with during your evening stroll (although we have lots of those neighbors too!) but the kind of friends that are there for you in the good times and the bad ones.

In Central IL, we turned to our neighbors when I was pregnant and bleeding and scared. “Can you come watch James so I can go to the doctor?” (These same neighbors kept James again the next evening when I went to the ER to deliver the miscarried baby.) In Southern IL, we turned to our neighbors when my sister was hit by a semi truck. “Can I drop James off so I can go to the hospital to be with my sister? I have to get there fast!

Both neighborhoods have rejoiced over our children and shared our happiness. They’ve brought us food, helped us pick paint colors (it’s a good thing our neighbors are HGTV nerds too!), let James play with their kids, and spent time just hanging out with us. We love our neighbors. I thank God for them.