About the Author

Michelle Reyes, Ph.D., is an Indian American pastor’s wife, writer, and activist. She is also the Vice President of the Asian American Christian Collaborative and writes regularly on faith, culture, and justice. Michelle lives in Austin, TX with her husband and two kids. Follow her on IG @michelleamireyes.

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  1. I LOVE this tradition, and have been searching for a rural equivalent ever since the turquoise table days. Acreage separates us here, so we just never have occasion to stumble over our neighbors. I have learned, however, that muffins open doors, and as our nest empties, I continually have leftover breakfast muffins that need a good home.
    Chuckling over the jumper cable directory service you provide . . .

    • Hey Michele! I must be missing out here, but you’ll have to tell me what a torquise table day is! Sounds fascinating! Love your idea of muffins. I agree – muffins always opens doors. What a wonderful way to connect with neighbors!

      • In 2017, there was a book published called The Turquoise Table , and the author had simply set up a picnic table on her front lawn (painted turquoise!) and decided to be present there at around the same time every day. I think it involved muffins sometimes, and probably lots of coffee, but she found that people got used to coming to that location, stopping to chat as they walked by with strollers, etc.
        I’m not sure I even read the book, but the idea was floating here and there on the internet, and it got me thinking about a rural equivalent–as you have also done today!

        • I came here to the comments just to see what folks were saying about the rural aspect where there isn’t close neighbors and a cornfield across the street.

          • Rural living does have its challenges in making connections, doesn’t it, Beth?
            I’m thankful for my church, but worship in another town, so it’s been hard to get to know the people I vote and share a post office with.
            When my kids were all small, I sat on the bleachers with parents as we watched very slow ball games and swatted mosquitoes together. I still feel connected to that parent group, but we don’t see each other much. Now I volunteer with my son’s drama group, and this has also been a good way of meeting and working and celebrating alongside people I’d not meet any other way.
            But, again, the challenge is that we have to go looking for “neighbors,” unless we want to befriend the raccoons who are helping themselves to that cornfield you mentioned. 🙂

  2. A beautiful tradition! So many times we pull in and close the door behind us without thinking twice. This simple act could change a community.

  3. I have been in a new neighborhood for 2 years now. At first, I really tried to connect! Waved, rang door bells with cookies, hollered hello when I would see someone out, would introduce myself and shake hands. Prayed for them all(still do) no one wants to be neighbors! I am an older lady, retired! They have kids, get up, go to work etc just are not interested! They have busy, busy lives and not a one is interested in a stay at home new lady that would take up a minute of their time! I was raised in a small community where we enjoyed everyone!
    I’m really thinking about moving as this place is almost enough to break my heart! I realize things are changing, however, this is really odd to me! I would love to open my garage door and just wave and say hi once a week if not daily! What a great place you live!!

    • Linda, God never puts us in a place that we are not meant to be!! Keep praying and reaching out! You may very well be the one that God is using to change the culture of that neighborhood! I’m praying for you and your neighborhood as well.

      • Linda,
        I’d like to second Michelle’s thoughts and prayer for you. It can be hard when it seems as though no one takes notice but remember that God is, and one day you might be pleasantly surprised. I hope that day is soon.
        Have a wonderful blessed day,
        Penny

    • Linda, I love your heart, and I’m sorry to hear that connecting with neighbors has been so difficult. There’s an old saying in Peru: “Americans may have watches, but we have time.” I find that to be true in that Americans are very busy people, and that busyness plays a big role in why we don’t connect as much as a community. Praying for you and that your neighbors will slow down to make oh-so-needed relationships for the sake of Christ and the gospel.

      • Thank you Michelle! Your words sooth the hurt! If people would just stop to look through His eyes, and try to see others as His masterpieces, all unique and in His image, I think the world would be a better place! Love the way you and your neighbors are creating a better place! I will continue to pray and I think stay were I am, I felt I was put here for a reason, maybe this is it and your words were to open my eyes! Thanks again!

    • Linda,

      Give it a little more time. People don’t sit on porches much anymore. We’re all so busy we don’t take time to notice anyone. A lot of people are private. They want to be left to themselves. God sees your efforts & will reward them one day. Just you wait. Someone will open up to you. Praying for friendships for you!!
      ☺☺
      Blessings

  4. I too had a chuckle over the jumper cables. Reminds me of the rural community I grew up in. It was never unnerving to come home and find a neighbor or relative sitting in our yard or living room waiting for us to come home. The coffee would be on – we never locked our door. In fact I don’t think there was a key. Still keep in touch with people I went to school with. I’ll be 73 this month and I am truly grateful for the wonderful memories of hay rides, church sing-a-longs, non fires for homecoming. Bless you for raising children to cherish the heritage you are providing.

    • Loretta, my husband and I are two academics, so we’re great with helping people with resumes, essays, job applications and the like…pretty much, paperwork but, when it comes to fixing and repairing things, we are helpless! Good to have neighbors that we can exchange services with!

  5. Linda,
    I would love to have you as a neighbor. I am a middle aged woman, married and mom of a young adoykt Daughter. I am Disabled, so I don’t get a lot of interaction with my neighbors, either. Most work or the one that stays home, is busy with 3 kids and not very friendly. I, like yourself tried fir the first few years to make contact and community closer, but it’s not working. Partly, I think is part of our street is rentals, so often neighbors are in and out.

    I love this community and description, Michelle, so wish more wanted this today…

    • Thanks for sharing, Jen! This is definitely something we can all pray for more. Apartments and rentals pose a unique challenge. I remember living in an apartment in downtown Chicago and having trouble making friends with my neighbors too. I just kept making cookies and inviting myself over! We can show relentless love to our neighbors, even if they never extend a hand back to us, and pray that they see Christ through us.

      • We live in an apartment complex in a small (4,000 people) town in a rural community, all our neighbors are renters but many have been here a long while. We are mainly the garage open and sitting on porches chatting type and it is a wonderful thing! We all help each other out whether it is conversation and smiles, car repair, child care or as we call it ‘voluntolding’ each other to do things! I am 34 but it is mainly older people, I call it our retirement community. And I think that’s the thing, older people understand this kind of living that is sadly dying off so frequently these days. Now we are moving, unfortunately, but I’ve noticed that even the more reclusive slightly grumpier neighbors are coming out to supply boxes or lend a hand. And those neighbors are often the ones I have a great rapport with. When I moved in with my husband, after we got married, his side of the apartment complex was noted as being the more reclusive side. But I came in and kind of changed that! I am reclusive myself but have had to teach myself to reach out, and I believe in doing so I’ve reached others like me! And with prayer and God’s graciousness poured out on others, and small conversations in passing, it may not seem like much at first but change happens. And even something small can mean more than I think to someone in need of a friend. As we face this out of state move, this post and people’s comments have reminded me to seek this kind of community in our new home, and to open doors to build this kind of community even if I don’t see it readily available!! Thank you all and may God bless your open doors and open hearts!

  6. Michelle,
    Thank-you for sharing your neighborhood it sounds like a fun, welcoming place to be. Our’s a bit similar in the way that people call out to each other, wave, or stop and talk for a bit. Most of us look out for each other, our pets, and our homes. We try to take notice. And although we didn’t choose this place that’s our home, I feel very blessed that my Mother who is no longer with us dd.
    Have a wonderful blessed day all,
    Penny

    • Thanks for your comments, Penny! I like to reflect on where God has taken me, the places I’ve lived and how He has grown me. Sometimes I can’t believe that He brought this Minnesota gal down south…and to Texas! But that is where He has called our family, and I pray He uses us mightily here. I’m glad that, even though you didn’t choose your current living place, you can see it as home and a place to live out God’s calling in your life!

  7. God does put us where we belong.. I agree with that:) been here 4 years now, retired with hubby and kids living an hour away and others 8-14 hours away.
    I’m glad I met a friend and then walking made a few neighbors.. after two years me & the friend ( who came to church and recently her & her husband got baptized!!)
    We decided to put letters in mailboxes having a women’s craft one particular Saturday am with coffee and goodies. 15 came! Next time I did Norwex party.. 10-23 came that morning! I made tons of free products for me and my kids ( I share)… in two years I’ve done 3 Norwex, 3 crafts and this summer we decided to do neighborhood kids rock painting! It was successful as 10 families painted rocks shared stories and ate ice pops for 4 hours! Those who want to meet others will respond.. sometimes it takes different ideas and out reaches but that’s what ministry looks like.. different with the same message… love your neighbors:-) blessings to and through each of y’all \0/

    • Sadie, I love this! What fantastic ideas for reaching out to your neighbors, and such a good comment that “it takes different ideas and outreach”. Not every neighborhood and not every neighbor is the same. What worked with one person may not work with another. I think about Paul’s words that He became all things to all peoples. I see that in your ministry of crafts, ice cream and walks. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Michelle,

    You are blessed to live in a vibrant community. I live rurally & only know two of my neighbors. We don’t interact that much, but I watch out for them as they are older. Ours isn’t really a community. We live on a dead end street with 3 houses at top. There are 3 other houses & some rentals on this hill. People are in & out all the time. Not many children around here either. These days people don’t sit on their front porches & wave at passer bys. We tend to stay inside & to ourselves. Not like in the olden days. Way back when you would find people doing barn raisings & other community events. Most young couples are just busy with daily living. They don’t have or make time for others. I long for the days of Andy Griffith when everyone knew everyone, sat on porches & waved at each other.

    Blessings 🙂

  9. I wish our neighbourhood was like that. I like sitting on our porch but I’m shy and even when I talk with the neighbours, I don’t feel connected to them. Plus our neighbourhood is not that safe, I can’t even let me kids play outside on their own.