adventuring

I love adventuring.  Almost every day I get to adventure around my town.  I get out for a walk and discover new awesome roads and houses, blossoming trees and flowers, people, pets.  I usually get to stop by my family’s office on Main St. to say hello in the middle of the work day.  I like to think I’m a bright spot in their day. 😉

My favorite Spring tree - pink dogwood!

My favorite Spring tree – pink dogwood!

I’ve also taken some recent adventures around my great state – most of which happened to have been in the beautiful Appalachian mountains.

My sister and I have hiked a couple of the South Mountain State Park trails.  The last time we hiked loads of wooden stairs to the top of a waterfall.  It was so beautiful – and peaceful at the top!

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A month ago, my sister and I went to Atlanta for the Braves opening weekend!  They lost, but I still love them.

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The next week, my mom, sister, and I went to a women’s retreat held by my church, Freedom.  We went to Ridgecrest in Black Mountain, NC, where we studied the book of Titus, got to know and encourage and love on each other, explored the small town of Black Mountain with new friends, and enjoyed the beauty that surrounds that area.

If you're ever in Black Mountain, stop by here for a cuppa!

If you’re ever in Black Mountain, stop by here for a cuppa!

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in downtown Black Mountain with sweet friends

And a couple weeks ago we did a pre-Mother’s Day outing with my mom, sister, sister-in-law, and cousin to the Biltmore Estate!  I love that place so much.  If I lived closer I would totally buy an annual pass, if only to explore the vast grounds – almost 3 million species of plant life!!  Also this time they had a Downton Abby display – several of the costumes worn by the characters, information on how they made those costumes, and details about their life during that time period.  And the rooms!  Every time I go they have different rooms open for viewing.  The whole place is stunning.  The gardens, the conservatory (with so many different orchid species), the forests, the views, the winery – all so lovely.  When I go, I like to get unique shots of the house.  Here’s my shot from this trip!

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the ingle girls!

the Ingle girls!

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favorite flower shot of the day

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conservatory and rose garden

Last weekend I got to visit some friends who live in Papua New Guinea with me.  They’re on home assignment, too!  They live in Boone – I hadn’t been there in years and years!  It was so great to share a meal with them, play a game (a favorite pastime in PNG), and explore downtown Boone and some hiking trails.  I even did some yoga at the summit!

dancers pose is my favorite.   i'm getting better!

dancers pose is my favorite. i’m getting better!

Laura and me

Laura and me

My next adventure: move to Atlanta and connect with my friends and ministry partners who are there, while being a dancer in a production of Annie Get Your Gun and taking a couple online classes!  I’ll be there mid-May through the end of July.  Can’t wait to hang out with all you Atlantans. 😉

❤ brandy

life, etc.

I’m sorry for the little blog hiatus. I’ve also had little bits of life hiatus lately. It’s been good.  It’s been restful.

For the first time in three years, I got to spend Christmas, New Year’s Eve, all the family’s January birthdays, and my birthday with my family (and some Atlanta friends, too). I also moved in to a cute apartment in downtown Lincolnton, NC, with my sister. We love our new little place. And now I get to do life with my whole family within 30 minutes of me.

Jessica and me in our new apartment

Jessica and me in our new apartment

My second month home mostly consisted, shamelessly, of watching Netflix, another thing that I haven’t been able to do in 3 years. It was cold that month, so I spent a lot of time inside. My sister also calls me her wifey, since she has a full time job and I get to stay home and keep the house clean. 🙂

God’s been teaching me a lot, too, during this time.  Mainly about his love.  His love is so great, so vast, unending, unfathomable.  I love all this extra time to spend with him and in his word every day.  Sometimes I wish that could just be my profession!

Lincolnton, NC

Lincolnton, NC

I haven’t lived full-time in Lincoln County for almost 15 years (4 years in VA, 7 years Atlanta, 3 years PNG). I am now part of a church in Lincolnton where I am meeting so many new people. I love these new relationships. I’m super excited that I get to spend a weekend with the women of the church on their annual retreat next month. I love hearing how God has worked and is working in this body of believers. And I love that I’m now in that story, if only for a season.

One thing I greatly miss, though, is having daily conversations with people who know my life in Papua New Guinea (PNG). They’re part of my daily life. They get what I’ve experienced and what I’m going through. They get why I miss the things I miss about PNG. I’m so fortunate to have a very close friend from PNG living less than a couple hours away, and we have been able to get together a few times.

In February, I got to be a part of a week-long course called “Connection” at my organization’s headquarters in Orlando. The staff were there for us, to love on us, speak truth into our lives, give us little hints about how to deal with home assignment… but the best part for me was getting to spend that whole week with other people who have lived overseas, who understood what that life looks like, even some of them from PNG as well! It’s like we speak a common language. So refreshing.

PNG group in Orlando

PNG group in Orlando

I want to be better at blogging going forward. I want to communicate with you, since many of you pray for me on a regular basis. I usually just feel like my life is boring. 🙂 So if you have any questions about me, about PNG, about small-town life… or if you want to just give me a topic and see what I come up with… let me know!! Maybe that will give me more ideas for writing.

❤ brandy

brave

This is what has been happening in my life since you last heard from me:

Nov – Dec 9: prepare for going home, pack, say goodbyes, make plans, finish up work

Dec 10-11: the trek home from Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea, to Charlotte, NC… yay family!

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Dec 11-20: jet lag takes over my body and I can’t function normally… dizziness, nausea, lack of appetite, weird sleeping patterns

Dec 21-28: sinus infection takes over my body… but praise the Lord for doctors who work on Christmas Eve and prescribe awesome antibiotics (and for nasal rinses… I swear by them)

Dec 24-25: Christmas with my family for the first time since 2011!

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Dec 28 – Jan 5: my friend Leah (she lives in PNG with me!) comes to visit me on her way back to PNG (she’s been in the US for 6 months).

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Jan 6: do nothing. rest. catch up on Once Upon a Time.

And today.  My heart is full.  I feel like a person again.  My God is good.  It’s time to do some planning for this year I have at home.  First things first… my word for the year 2015.

Brave.

God taught me a lot of things during the year 2014.  A lot of them he’ll have to remind me of later, since I didn’t write them down and tend to forget things easily.  But one of my favorites and most impactful was how much bravery is involved in living a full life.

Here’s one example: in John 5, we read that Jesus came across a man who had been an invalid for 38 years.  He sat by the pool of Bethesda hoping to be the first one to it after it was stirred each day, because that first one was healed.  But he didn’t have anyone to carry him there and someone else always beat him to it.  This was his life.  It was all he knew.  He had probably forgotten what it was like to walk, if he ever even knew at all.  He was used to his life.

Can you imagine a man, who you had never met, telling you to do something that you didn’t think was possible?  Jesus told him to get up and walk.  And he got up and walked.  You can imagine that it would take a lot of bravery to believe someone telling you to do something completely foreign, and instantly act in obedience.

That’s what we’re called to do.  Instant obedience.  But sometimes what we’re asked to do isn’t easy.  We don’t know, or remember, how to do it.  It would be much easier for us to just stay put.  Keep doing what we know how to do.

The year 2015 will have a lot of new things in store for me.  Talking about my experiences while in PNG, going back to school (if only for one class), living as an adult in the town I grew up in… the first time I went to PNG, it seemed easy.  I didn’t really struggle with moving my life.  At this moment, it seems like the easy thing to do would be to just stay where I am, not go back.  I think it’s going to take a lot of bravery just to leave my family again.

So that’s my word for this year.  As I seek to bravely trust my God to guide my steps, I pray you are able to do the same.  Be brave enough to trust.  Be brave enough to love.  Be brave enough to show grace.  Be brave enough to act in total, instant obedience.

Be brave!