Thursday, June 20, 2013

Life On The Road

We've been in the U.S. for five weeks now, and have been "on the road" pretty much the whole time. We have spent a week at a time in a few different places, interspersed with one or two nights here and there. It is the nature of "home ministries" (or "furlough" for us old-timers who still have a hard time remembering to call it home ministries).

That said, we head to Michigan on Saturday where we'll stay put (more or less) for a whole month. Each weekend we'll be traveling to a different church, but weekdays will find us home in Jonesville. As much as I've enjoyed the time with friends and family in Georgia and Indiana over the past month -- and I've enjoyed it a LOT -- I do look forward to getting settled.

Settled being a relative term, of course.

As I've mentioned before, we planned this furlough home ministries differently, in that we set aside blocks of travel time rather than being constantly on the go. We learned that for our own mental and physical health, we do better if we have some down times in the midst of ALL THE TRAVELING.

I'm most looking forward to having the time and space to start working on a very special baby quilt ;) I finally settled on a design, and have started gathering fabrics. Next I need to graph out my design to size so I can make the templates. Kyle and Tina won't find out whether it's a boy or girl for a few more months, so the quilt will have a gender-neutral color palette: gray and aqua with touches of lime green and magenta.  Even though the parents-to-be know I'm making a quilt, I want the design to be a surprise so there won't be any sneak peaks here on the blog (except maybe the fabric).

I'm also mulling over the design for a wall quilt, but decided to stay focused on the crib quilt for now.

And I'm looking forward to spending time with my Michigan buddies. Summer is a great time to be here, because even though everyone is busy, schedules aren't quite as full as they tend to be during the school year. We're ready for sitting on porches or out on decks, talking and laughing and catching up. Since we are only here for a few months every couple of years, this is a luxury for us.

Luxury used to be associated solely with the things money can buy. But recently I read a great post on the topic, and I really like what Lauren had to say about it:
These days, luxury seems to be more about small details and comfort and quality and time. The phrase "the luxury of time" has been around a while so we have always put value on that but I think the idea that "luxury" can be simple and meaningful has really taken a hold of our society.  I'm not sure the definition of luxury includes "little things that make life feel special" but it really does seem like that's what it's becoming, or at least how I've started to view it: clean sheets on a newly made bed, open windows, fresh flowers on the nightstand, time with the people you love, an unexpected note on nice paper, space, al fresco dining, a place for everything, reading leisurely, an exceptionally comfortable sofa, a mudroom, a fire in the fireplace, a simple yet beautiful meal, candlelight, an organized closet, time, time & more time.
Amen! It truly is the small things that often bring the greatest pleasure. And for us, "time with the people you love" would be right at the top of the list.

What do you consider a luxury?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

To Switch or Not To Switch

I've been pondering a switch to WordPress for a couple of years. Being rather technologically challenged, I've been hesitant to make the move. But I decided while we're back in the U.S. for a few months I'd look into it and see if it's something I really want to do.

On the one hand, I've used blogger for six years and there's the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". On the other hand, I do get frustrated with what I can't do -- or can't do easily -- here, and I keep hearing how much more user-friendly WordPress is in that regard.

Lots of googling has ensued, checking out the tutorials for switching content over, oohing and aahing over the pretty templates on WordPress... and I'm still as indecisive as ever.

And then there's the whole name thing. Do I stick with "Just A Southern Girl", or is it time for a change?

Back in 2007 I was coming off a bad bout of bronchitis and had some time on my hands while recovering, so decided to check out this new blogging thing I'd heard about. I didn't put a lot of thought into it when I started, and chose "Just A Southern Girl" after brainstorming less than half an hour. I figure if I want to change my "name", the time to do it would be if I make the switch.

Although I do like being Just A Southern Girl...

Oh, to be afflicted with such a severe case of decision-making disorder! What's a southern girl to do?!

Monday, June 3, 2013

This week in Atlanta blew by fast...

It's our last night in Atlanta and I can't believe how fast the week went by. It's been mostly good, with a few bumps along the way. Wishing we had a few more days so we could touch base with more friends, but also anxious to get back to Indiana and see our kids.

Thursday night we had dinner with Lisa and her extended family. Lisa's usually the first one I contact at the mission when I have a question, but we hadn't met her until this trip. So we enjoyed getting to know her and her clan.

Friday night we had dinner with old friends, Rich and Kristin. It's always a joy to sit and visit with them and their lovely children. Well, their son might not appreciate being called lovely, but you know what I mean. They're some of our favorite people. 

Over the weekend I had so much fun hanging with my blog buddies, Scoots1Mom at My Hands, His Glory and Robin at Be Still & Know. I feel like we've been friends forever, even though I've only met Robin once before (on our last trip to Atlanta in 2011) and this was the first time for meeting Scoots.

I mentioned in my previous post that this computer was having issues the other day. Thankfully there have been no further episodes of rebellion and today we achieved our primary goal: finishing a short presentation video.

Of course it didn't go as planned. What ever does?!

The couple who do videos for the mission ended up being delayed on their way back from Indonesia so they didn't arrive until Friday. We felt badly for them because their return trip was a nightmare, and the resulting jet lag horrific. Knowing what they went through and how they must still be feeling, we're grateful they were willing to spend today helping us.

But that wasn't the only bump in the plan...  

Sunday evening Ivan started feeling a bit congested and by bedtime was fully plugged up, completely unable to breath through his nose. As a result, neither of us got much rest last night. We'd planned to have Steve videotape us both talking for a few segments of the presentation, but we're pretty sure Ivan's highly contagious right now so we didn't want him spreading the germs. Instead Steve just audiotaped me reading the script which we then used as a voice-over to go along with photos and video clips from Argentina. But without the additional video footage we thought we'd have, I ended up having to pull extra photos to fill in. No big deal, and we probably didn't spend any longer in the end than we would have if we'd followed Plan A.

We're really happy with the end product, thankful we have something under 5 minutes to share with our supporting churches.

After getting back from doing that I grabbed a box, packed it to the gills, and got it ready to mail. We picked up a few *ahem* things this past week and rather than trying to find a suitcase which we'd then have to lug through two airports, we decided to just mail the excess to ourselves. We also saved a little money since mailing the package was cheaper than paying to take an extra suitcase on the plane. Score!

Now I'm just praying that Ivan will feel a whole lot better in the morning. You know it's no fun to fly when you're congested. He took some cold medicine and went to bed, and I hope he can get some much needed rest before we have to get up at 4:30 to head to the airport.

This coming weekend we're excited to spend some time with our kids and their spouses. Since Jon and Natalie moved to California last year, these get-togethers require some planning ahead. Mike and Rita are letting us use their house while they're in Spain, making it possible for all of us to stay in one place. We're looking forward to cooking yummy food, playing games, laughing and talking... this mama's heart will be full.