I used to live in a six-bedroom, three-bath house on 57 acres. Due to circumstances both within and without my control, I now live in an undesirable neighborhood. It was my choice to leave the hard times in that house, but it was not my choice to live here. I often witness things that I would rather not see. Nevertheless, it's actually comfortable and pleasant. Here's how I make it work:

Keep your faith

Wherever I am, I try to maintain my faith, my convictions and standards. But, I do so without prejudice to others who do not have those things. I try to live in the world and not of the world.

A life lived in fear is a life half lived

If I were afraid of my neighbors and my neighborhood, if I was afraid every time I walked out the door, then I would lose my quality of life. I know that God is watching over me and I live my life the way I believe he would want me to.

Be aware of your surroundings

You may see things you wish you hadn't, but don't close your eyes. Monitor your surroundings. Don't live your life at the window being nosey, but do be alert.

Listen to your intuition

Ask God to warn you if danger is imminent. If you feel in your gut you should leave, leave. If you feel you should go lock your door, do it.

Be friendly and helpful to the neighbors

Make friends with your neighbors. Bake them cookies, watch their children or drive them to the store. Teach reading, sewing, cooking or computer skills. Be as helpful as you can without relaxing your own standards.

Judge not, lest ye be judged

Don't make up your mind about how anyone got into this situation. Believe me, I never imagined myself living in these circumstances, but it works and I'm happy. Don't make the mistake of judging people and thinking that they made their bed and are now lying in it. We are all given trials and they are for our benefit.

Be firm in saying "no."

If someone offers you drugs and you don't do them, don't start. If someone asks you to borrow your car and you don't feel comfortable loaning it, don't loan it. Don't be apologetic or offer lengthy explanations. A simple "no" will let them know your stand.

If you feel prompted to report something, do it

If you witness child abuse or endangerment, please consider yourself a mandated reporter. Do not let your fear stop you from reporting any action that endangers the life or welfare of a child.

It's okay not to answer your door

If you have any inkling that there is danger in answering your door, it's perfectly fine not to.

Look people in the eye

Experts will tell you that predators go for people who look like victims. If you make eye contact with the people you meet, you will be less likely (not immune!) to be made a victim.

Your circumstances are what they are. Find joy in your circumstances wherever you are. Make the best of your situation. Play nice with others. Don't be a victim. You can make it work!

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