We are coming up on one year in Alabama! I am amazed at how quickly the time has flown, and how the moment we arrived, we immediately felt like we had come home. Thankfully, that has not worn off.

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Our first week in our new home, one of our neighbors came over and said he would mow our lawn for us, and he did. Front and back, which is about half an acre. Then that evening, he brought us a dinner of his freshly smoked chicken and his wife’s homemade banana pudding. Over the span of our year in the Yellowhammer state, several more neighbors and new friends from church have come over to help us with yard work, because it’s quite a thing, and they knew we didn’t have all the tools of the trade to do it properly.

In our years in California, the neighbors ranged from meh to horrible, with some gems in between. There was the illegal alien flop house, with a revolving door of residents and broken-down cars. Then there was the neighbor who complained about our dogs barking during the day. And then the party animal neighbors, who turned it up in their backyard at 2 a.m.—on a weekday. 

The good neighbors were the ones we had in our first year of marriage, 16 years ago. They were L.A. rare: they always said, “Hello,” they watched out for you, and while they weren’t overt with their assistance; if you asked them, they were more than willing to help. 

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But the Southern folks are beyond awesome, and have been uniquely special in their hospitality and outreach. Apparently, Idahoans are also pretty special, so good neighbors are the subject of this week’s Feel-Good Friday.

These good neighbors from Idaho are the entire Barnes family. Someone in their neighborhood felt they needed to be acknowledged for their kindness to their fellow man and woman. The husband Shannon, his wife Brie, and their two sons don’t even wait to be asked to assist. Like our neighbor, they offer service to their neighbors in everyday things, and in times of need:

Shannon has taught his sons well! Not only have they shoveled my walk, but I know at least two other people they shovel their walks regularly. One single lady told me they get up at 4 a.m. to shovel her sidewalk and driveway so they can get to work. I have also had people tell me that they have helped them with yard work and other tasks.

Brie is a wonderful cook. She has a home bakery business. She will often bring people food when they are sick or after having a baby or surgery. She also takes time to talk to people. She really cares about others and serves them according to their needs.

Shannon and Brie have helped me in other ways, but I don’t want to be specific to give away who I am. I just know that their family has been a big help to me and many others!

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We hope we can settle in one place long enough to return the kindnesses our neighbors have shown to us. As the Proverb says, better a nearby neighbor than a brother far away–and nearby neighbors like the ones we have, and the Barnes family in Idaho Falls, are worth their weight in gold.