Jesus’ directive is clear:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Mark 12:31 (NLT)
Fully expressed that would include “love your neighbor as Jesus’ loves your neighbor.”
The year 2023 blasted into our life bringing many tough challenges, and opportunities to be thankful for neighbors who love like Jesus commanded. One occurred in June while we vacationed in Idaho, 3,000 miles from home. A fifteen-minute storm ravaged our tree-filled neighborhood.
By the grace of God, very few homes were damaged or destroyed despite hundreds upon hundreds of old trees within a two-block by one mile area being snapped or uprooted. Power lines broke like matchsticks up and down every street. Everyone who saw it described a war-zone.
Neighbors who had come to our rescue several times before, kept us updated on the cleanup and restoration underway. The morning we would be flying home, they messaged to ask if we would be offended if they began cutting up the tree that was blocking our driveway and garage. Offended? Our answer, absolutely not. When we arrived home that evening, not only was the tree cut up, but the logs were all piled at the street.
Those neighbors followed God’s directive. Thankfulness to them for their servant hearts took me down memory lane through the many times neighbors had been a blessing in my life. The story below is one of them.
Jesus loves all people without consideration of any of the marks we often put on another’s worthiness. My family moved frequently. Many ‘new neighbors’ doled out their judgment of our worthiness (or better said – lack of it) in almost as many ways. But others reached out in kindness. Looking back, I remember the small ways others touched our lives. Those new friends left the big imprints on my heart. Mrs. Marge was one of them . . .
When I was five years old the first of my family’s sixteen traumatic moves in twelve years took us away from my grandparents who lived next door. Many new next-door neighbors would occupy that spot in our lives with each successive move. While none replaced the treasured place at my grandparents’ side, our family gathered other blessings from new friendships.
Our first relocation landed us in a very old home in a very tiny town. It also landed us next-door to Mrs. Marge. Her recipe for Polka-Dot Macaroons became a new family favorite.
During our daughter’s toddler years, these cookies ascended to Godsend status. When red polka-dot patches popped up on her skin with no apparent reason, an elimination diet helped us determine her allergy to wheat. What little child doesn’t love cookies! No flour required, this favorite recipe from my childhood gifted us the perfect solution – at least to the cookie portion of the challenge.
She outgrew the allergy, but Polka-Dot Macaroons remain one of her favorites to this day. Her own daughters love them, too. Friends and activities keep us from baking together often these days, but at 9-years old our now fifteen-year-old granddaughter was an aspiring baker/chef. She asked to make them often and excitedly shared them with her mom. With each batch we baked, I remembered that first move and Mrs. Marge with a thankful heart.
9-year-old (at the time) Baker/Chef Emmy (complete with pink chef coat) and the Polka Dot Macaroons.
Polka Dot Macaroons
Yield: 2 ½ dozen
Preheat oven to 350
1/2 tsp salt 3 cups corn flakes
3 egg whites 1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup sugar 1 cup chocolate chips
Add salt to egg whites. Beat salt and egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating after each addition until stiff peaks form. Fold in remaining ingredients. Drop by tablespoonful onto greased cookie sheet 2” apart. Bake 15-18 minutes. (Meringue cookies like meringue on a pie may brown lightly.) Let cool for 1-2 minutes before removing from pan.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT make these on a rainy or damp day. They will be very sticky and rubbery if you do.
Lynn U. Watson is a devotional writer, occasional quilter, reflexologist, and great-great-grand-daughter of a baron from Southwest Germany. Lynn combines her passions and her heritage Stepping Through Time Stitching Stories of Faith. Snippets of her family story inspire her fiction writing. She and husband, Steve, make their home in Bartlett, TN, where Jasmine the resident feline considers herself Princess of the Palace. Her debut novel, Tangled Promises, releasing May 21, 2024, from Celebrate Lit.