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

amazing aviation

Can I tell you how awesome our Aviation department is? We all rely on them so heavily. My first experience riding in one of our little Kodiaks was the first time I came to Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. I remember that bumpy ride, and I remember the cool and steady pilot who got us through the turbulence and landed safely at my new home.

At the dedication of our 4th Kodiak aircraft

In the last few years, I’ve learned that there are a lot of people who work really hard every day to make sure we have trusty aircraft to get us where we need to go. So I thought I’d write a post letting you know how awesome they are!

Since I am a support worker (that is, someone who works in support of Bible Translation, not directly involved in the translation), I mainly just use Aviation as a means to get to/from our Capitol city of Port Moresby so that I can get to other countries. Flying is the only way to get in and out of Port Moresby.

Don’t worry… before he started the plane, the pilot told me “hands off!”

Recently, though, I worked with Aviation when the Finance department (where I work) had a small crisis. Normally when we need cash on hand, we have a security transport service bring the cash from another city a few hours away. When a local bridge fell down, we couldn’t get anything in or out of Ukarumpa. And we needed cash! So we ordered some from a bank in another city, and I flew to that city to pick it up. It was a sight to see… the security transport brought the cash to the airport, out on the tarmac and into the plane where I then counted it all!

One of our awesome pilots taking a break while waiting on some cargo.

Also while the bridge was down, our store ran out of beef.  We like our beef!  So our Aviation department stepped in and offered to pick some up – they carried 900kg (that’s almost 2,000 lbs!) of beef up to our store.

One of the many, many amazing views the pilots get to see on a regular basis.

There are lots of other things Aviation does besides transport us missionaries. They also do several runs a week for local coffee growers to get their coffee to the rest of the country! They fly to Cairns, Australia, about once a month to pick up things we need not available in country. They are also used whenever we have need of a medevac, to take the patient directly to Cairns.  And they are available for other missions and commercial work throughout the country (which helps to subsidize translation work).

So next time you’re able, say thank you to our Aviation staff! 🙂

Aviation staff hard at work offloading some coffee

One of our great pilots in his office

The controls are crazy! So fun to watch them work.

This might be my favorite photo of all time… taken at the dedication of the 4th Kodiak aircraft.

the art of buying plane tickets

My memory is horrible these days! I forget meetings, appointments, a conversation I had yesterday, a decision a friend and I made together, things I’m supposed to ask others, the grocery list. A friend today asked when I’m going on furlough… “four months from now”. That’s it, you have transition memory loss. …I’ll take it!

I don’t know if that’s really true, but I have been thinking a lot about furlough lately. [Furlough is the time that we missionaries take away from our main assignment to go home to family and friends, report to our supporters, raise more support, and have a home assignment.]

I’ve been looking at plane tickets almost every day for about 3 months now. Buying tickets around the world has to be an art form… and I plan on mastering it. Somewhere I read that it’s possibly true that when you’re flying between America and the Pacific, your best ticket prices are at about 4 months out. But disclaimer: Christmas time throws any research right out the door. And right before Christmas happens to be my traveling time.

In 5 days, it’ll be exactly 4 months from my scheduled departure date. In the last week, I have seen ticket prices for a few flights I’ve been tracking rise about $6 (staying around $1,500). This is my train of thought almost every day: “When will be the day they jump by $100. $500? Will there come a day soon when they’ll plummet before making that jump? Should I just accept that this might be the lowest ever and go ahead and buy them? But what if the price drops tremendously tomorrow? What if…?!”

And what do I get from all that thinking?  A headache.  And memory loss, apparently.

One thing I do know… once I buy my tickets, there’s no way I can allow myself to even think about going online to see anymore ticket prices.

Do you have any pointers?  Do you want to do my research for me?  Maybe even buy my tickets so I never have to worry about it again? 🙂

Oh the joys of a transient lifestyle!

-brandy

enjoy life!

imageI’ve written before about the hardest thing to experience on the mission field: goodbyes. June is crazy here – school is over, so people think it’s a good time to leave for furlough or permanently. It seems like half of our population left (including lots of my favorites) last month, but then the group that left a while ago comes back to fill those holes in, and new people are coming in all the time.

This was my third June here, but the first one that I’ve really experienced the mass exodus (I had just gotten here the first one, and I was in the US for last year). I got a lot of advice on how to deal with it better, even though I’ve been warned that it really never gets easier. I never want to become indifferent to it.  Goodbyes are important!

One piece of advice was to go away for a little while once they leave, just to get away and come back renewed, and I took it! I jumped at the opportunity to take 10 days off to go to Cairns, a very touristy, tropical city of Australia, only a 1.5-hour plane ride from Papua New Guinea’s capital city.

My friend, Jude, and I were able to stay with a lovely couple who have spent the last 25 years opening their home for missionaries. I was so happy that my friends, Sarah and Evan, were also in Cairns for most of the time we were there. Together we got to enjoy the beauty of Cairns, the amazing food of restaurants, browsing through all the shops, and checking out the new fashions (hello, shortest-shorts/dresses-ever, printed pants, messy hair, and leggings-as-pants!).

Jude and I snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef! I’ve never seen such beautiful fish. Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll try diving.  And I’ll buy an underwater camera so that I can share the amazingness with you!

So I’m glad I took the advice… it seems to be working so far. I don’t miss my friends any less – there’s still that hole they left in my life. But I find it easier to enjoy what God has kept in my life, and even added to my life. He has given me a new housemate, so I’m not so lonely without Leah. I do have great new friends who I am so looking forward to getting to know better. And I’m energized and ready to finish up my last few months in the Finance Office well.

I try to come up with a “word of the year” for myself each year, but I never did for 2014. Better late than never, I guess, so for the remainder of 2014 my word will be “Enjoy.” As I mentioned, God has given me so much. And I want be intentional about enjoying it all… the beauty of this place, the people in it, the work that God’s doing in and through the people of PNG, and most of all falling in love with Jesus more and more each day.

I hope that you are enjoying wherever God has placed you, and the people and opportunities he has put in your life!