I am thankful for my neighbors, and that I live in a neighborhood. I often lament urban sprawl and the suburbs. But I grew up in a really great neighborhood. A neighborhood that was safe for kids to run around in and a neighborhood where kids actually ran around. Every Sunday we would play 'night games'. On Christmas we had neighbors come in and out all day well-wishing and just having fun. I remember countless moments of calling our neighbors, the Dukes, for everything and anything (eggs, sugar, a pan, etc.).
When I grew up, got married, moved to Texas, and bought a house I thought, "that's it, I'll never have another neighborhood like that again!" Well, I was right... at first. I never saw my neighbors. I didn't know who they were. But at Christmas time we brought cookies around to all of our neighbors. And then last year we did it again. And last year, our neighbors reciprocated by bringing us cookies. We know our neighbors. We are building that love and relationship I remember from when I was a kid. Why, just yesterday I saw my next door neighbor using a hedge cutter and I asked him if we could borrow it. Without hesitation he said, "sure." It took me back to memories of my childhood neighborhood and made me happy.
A neighborhood is really what you make of it. I am thankful that we've made our neighborhood a place of love!
Now, this is a weird one. I am often a HUGE fan of the state of Texas. And let there be no doubt- I still am. But today I am also grateful for my Utah childhood. Yup, I said it. I found a reason to like Utah. I am grateful for the foundations I learned growing up there. For the opportunity to know what it's like to be part of the majority in the religious area. I am thankful for the great leaders and good examples I had who taught me to be better. I am thankful because now when things don't go perfectly and there are problems, I can look back to my childhood and separate the gospel for the culture- the personality from the principle. So when I get frustrated with how Relief Society is going, or I feel weird asking people to stand and sing in sacrament meeting, etc. I know that it's going to be okay! That my way of doing things is not the only way of doing things. And that is alright.