South Charlotte

A hand for a missionary

When Judie and George Fiegel decided to retire, they moved from the D.C. area to Tega Cay three years ago. They supported missionary work through the years and continue to support some who serve in Africa.

This spring, Judie learned that one of the missionaries that they supported needed assistance returning to South Carolina for a family wedding.

Judie decided that she could go to help the missionary bring her two small children to the States, and the trip would give her the opportunity to see the efforts in Africa.

After discussions with George, she decided to step out of her comfort zone and agreed to accompany the missionary, Joy Johnson from Bujumbura, Burundi, back to South Carolina. She gathered items to take to help the ministry in Burundi, packed several bags, and set off on a journey of 25 hours before she met Johnson and her family for the first time.

With temperatures in the 80s and what Judie described as “monster” rain storms, she enjoyed her time meeting many people and getting to know the Johnson family.

Riding in vehicles in Africa was a new experience for Judie as there are no traffic lines, lots of potholes and occasional animals on the roads. She was amazed that there were not more accidents with the driving she witnessed.

She enjoyed the diversity in meals, especially the many fresh fruits such as mangoes, papayas and bananas fresh from the trees.

During the two weeks that Judie was gone this summer, she pulled from her fourth-grade teaching knowledge and helped with English classes before flying back to the states with Joy and her children.

Smith does Boys Nation

Taylor Smith of Tega Cay is the first student in the history of Fort Mill High School to be a representative to Boys Nation in the Washington, D.C., area.

He was chosen as one of the two representatives for the state of South Carolina for the week in July after being one of 840 to attend Boys State this summer.

Taylor just returned from Boys Nation, where he learned more about the federal government and visited historical sites. While there, he was elected to chair a committee and was named the assistant attorney general at Boys Nation. He also met President Bush.

Taylor has also represented the high school in the Mock Trials competitions in the past.

Boys State is sponsored by the local and state organization of the American Legion.

Tips for ‘staycations'

Jan and Tony Todd decided to save some gas and really relax during their summer vacation this year. They planned a “staycation” by staying home and enjoying the local fun such as spending a quiet morning on the lake and just not working.

After experiencing this, Jan compiled some tips:

Plan to take off work just as you would before a normal vacation. Jan thinks you should work hard before you take your staycation and then make sure that you use some serious self-discipline to refrain from “just answering a few e-mails” or finishing up a project or two. That is not allowed.

Advise co-workers, family, friends and others that you are on “staycation.” Make sure they know that you won't be answering phone calls, working on projects or attending meetings. This is your time off.

Plan your menu and grocery shopping, including some fun foods, some favorites and some easy-to-prepare meals.

Don't count calories, fat grams or the cost per meal. You're on vacation. Enjoy.

Enjoy local attractions and activities. Spend time doing some things you've always wanted to do, such as visiting a local museum, playing at an amusement park or just enjoying a lazy day picnic at a local park.

Stay home and relax. Be sure to have lots of downtime. Don't be tempted to “get a few things done around the house.” Leave all unnecessary chores for later.

It is good to move around, so take a walk or a bicycle ride. Take advantage of the lighter weekday crowds on hiking trails or water skiing on the lake.

Include friends or family in your fun. Maybe you could plan a staycation with another family or some neighbors just like you might have gone on vacation together.

Realize a vacation is more than a place; it's a state of mind. It's easy to enjoy a staycation in a place as wonderful as Lake Wylie. With a little planning, and a little self-discipline, you'll find that it may be one of the best vacations you'll ever have.

Thanks to Jan and her great tips. This sounds like a great way to save some traveling money, avoid the stress of traffic and still enjoy a week of fun.