won’t you be my neighbor

“Love is sacrifice.
Love sacrifices itself for its neighbor.”

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

“People are almost always better than their neighbors think they are.”
George Eliot

(the next generation of neighbors / Julie Cook /2023)

In my neck of the woods, neighbors can have either two legs or four.
However, if the truth be told, the majority most likely come with four…
that is unless we count all the birds…be that songbirds, crows, turkeys, grouse,
etc…but I digress.

So imagine my surprise while I was mindlessly walking toward the kitchen sink
when suddenly something odd caught my attention.

It was as if some sort of super power laser vision took over—-
my eyes immediately locked on the eyes of another….

There were wee brown eyes curiously peering in at my green eyes.

All the while, eyes locked… this curious wee one was making a bee line
toward my kitchen window.

Seeing how small my inquisitive new friend was,
I knew mother couldn’t be too far away.

And just as I suspected, it just so happened that mother was close…
close near the front door. Yikes!

Throwing caution to the wind, I grabbed my phone, heading out that same door..
all the while my young friend had quickly retreated
meeting back up with mom on the opposite side of my car.

It seems my wee friend has a few siblings who aren’t as bold nor as
Yet that matters not because a new group of neighbors have made their presence known…
and I am the better for it.

“When I say it’s you I like,
I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more
than anything you can ever see or hear or touch.
That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without
which humankind cannot survive.
Love that conquers hate,
peace that rises triumphant over war,
and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

Fred Rogers

The gift

Gift better than Himself God doth not know,
Gift better than God no man can see;
This gift doth here the giver given bestow
Gift to this gift let each receiver be;
God is my gift, Himself He freely gave me,
God’s gift am I, and none but God shall have me.”

― Robert Southwell
(also known as Saint Robert Southwell–a martyred English Catholic Jesuit, known for being a clandestine missionary in Post Reformation England)



A pretty little box, with a simple white bow, sits for no one in particular.
There is no sign of the one who placed it on the counter. There is no specific occasion in which one should or would leave such a gift.

Seeing such a box arouses curiosity,

It begs to be unwrapped,

Just seeing such a box evokes excitement,

How does one wrap up insatiable Love?
How does one offer Light to the darkness?
How does one give Hope to the hopeless?

The gift of Life is given by the taking of a life.
The gift of Redemption is bought with 30 pieces of silver.
There are no pretty boxes or pretty bows on Golgotha
No sense of excited expectancy.

The gift evokes suspicion,

When did forgiveness cost so much?
When did the accepting of a gift cause embarrassment?
When did refusing a gift become commonplace

And yet the season of gift giving is once agin close at hand
With too much spent on pretty boxes and pretty bows.
Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold fit for a king
while a mere babe offers the greatest gift of all

Salutations Madame

“And then, just as Wilbur was settling down for his morning nap, he heard again the thin voice that had addressed him the night before.
“Salutations!” said the voice.
Wilbur jumped to his feet. “Salu-what?” he cried.
“Salutations!” repeated the voice.
“What are they, and where are you?” screamed Wilbur. “Please, please, tell me where you are. And what are salutations?”
“Salutations are greetings,” said the voice. “When I say ‘salutations,’ it’s just my fancy way of saying hello or good morning.”

― E.B. White

RSCN7616 2


(images of a praying mantis resting on a sweet bay / Julie Cook / 2014)

How gracious and kind most creatures seem to be upon first meeting.
It all begins with the startling moment of the initial encounter.
There is an equal and somewhat awkward moment of contemplation.
Not so much a confrontation, but more of a cautious observation.
Both parties wary yet curious.

A wide berth is usually offered by both opposing parties.
Plenty of space with the avoidance of claimed territory.
Eyes remain intently locked on one another’s every move.
No one wants any trouble, as the curiosity remains.
A healthy respect provides a safe barrier.

Heads pivot as glances are exchanged
Each partner vies for the best viewing advantage
One scampers under as the other moves in a bit closer
A minuet of odd dance partners befitting an eloquent choreography.
Slow step in, slow step out, turn, up and under all in 3/4 time.

And just when each entity grows more relaxed, more comfortable,
the exchange is suddenly over,
as each individual returns to the world of other.
Appreciation, respect, wonderment and awe,
it all begins with a simple greeting