Last week I invited another family to go out for Bar-B-Que with my family. My friend replied that they were busy all of October and suggested next month. I simply said okay and let the matter drop. I didn’t want to explain our travel plans again, but my friend remembered that we wouldn’t be home in November. Then she gave me a “maybe we can work something out” comment. I knew dinner probably won’t happen, but I was still glad I asked. I’ve asked other friends to do things, but sometimes my own travel gets in the way.
We are only home in San Antonio, Texas for a few months before we leave again on another trip. We plan to be gone in November and three months in the Spring of 2015 with a bunch of little trips around those long excursions.
We enjoy seeing friends and being part of a community, because it’s the one thing we miss the most while traveling besides tacos and brisket. Meeting up with people is one of the biggest reasons why we come back home to Texas in between trips. Traveling can get lonely at times so we do our best to fill up on friend and family time while we are home.
How do we connect when we keep leaving town all the time?
The people you already know: Don’t stop inviting.
Some people are great initiators and some are not. Even if someone doesn’t ask you to hang out it doesn’t always mean that they don’t want to hang out with you. Sometimes they are simply the kind of people that don’t think to ask. So Daniel and I keep asking and inviting. Eventually someone says yes, the dates line up, and we are thrilled.
Church and life group: Don’t be flaky.
It’s easy for us to skip a Sunday here or there. Especially when we can watch the church service live on our television screen at home. We do our best to make church every Sunday while we are home. We miss our comfortable and predictable church while we are away. Some of the best parts of church is seeing people you know and greeting each other before and after the service.
We are in a life group, but it can also be called a small group, a home group, a growth group. We are big fans of our life group leaders and they support us in our travels. Our leaders hold Daniel and I accountable and are aware of what we are up to when we leave town. So when we are home we make every effort to attend our life group so we can get to know others and they can get to know us.
Service: Serve when you can.
Our church is doing a lot of service projects in November like a trip to Reynosa, Mexico and filling bags with Thanksgiving food for the weekly food delivery outreach. Daniel and I are going to miss those projects, but we can do the service opportunities that happen while we are home in October. Last Friday I took my three kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes to a nursing home with our homeschool group. My middle child is generous with his hugs and songs for the residents. This past weekend my life group had a garage sale to raise money for an adoption happening within one of our families. I was home this weekend and I was able to help. When we are home I work in the nursery during a church service.
I know Daniel and I are not available to serve in a weekly commitment over months. However, we seek out opportunities that are available to us while we are home. Our church goes to Reynosa, Mexico four times a year. We won’t make the November trip, but maybe we’ll catch the next one.
New people: Try new things.
Trying new things leads to meeting new people. Most people like to talk about themselves so it’s easy to begin with simple questions. This past Summer my kids took a soccer class every Saturday. We were able to get to know other parents. One of the parents we met had a history of attending Renaissance Festivals. I had never met anyone who participates in Ren Fests on a regular basis. She was completely interesting to get to know. People are fascinating!
Serendipity: Leave room for the unexpected.
Our schedule is normally wide open. We homeschool our kids and we aren’t home long enough to have weekly night time commitments. Leaving at a moment’s notice on a whim or scheduling something the day before can be a lot of fun.
While Daniel was in Bulgaria for 6 days in September I prayed to find things to do with my kids and other people. I find doing events with friends and family really helps my loneliness and pass the time quickly. My kids were outside church after service playing on the playground. My daughter saw a friend and they started talking. I didn’t know the mother of my daughter’s friend well and I asked if we could do a playdate sometime. She invited me to go to the zoo with them the next day. We ended up having a blast and spending almost the whole day together at the zoo and the park. This playdate was an answer to prayer. I was really glad that our schedule was able to make room for the serendipity.
Connecting with family and friends is not always easy. Everyone is busy in their own way. Even though we are home for only a few months at a time we do our best to connect, invite, and try new experiences.
Oh, and the family that I mentioned at the beginning of this post? They texted yesterday and asked if we could have lunch together this Saturday. You never know what will happen!