I wrote yesterday about not getting much accomplished. However, I looked through some pictures I took early in the week and realized I have been doing the most important thing I could be doing–playing with children.

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Check out Harper learning to play peekaboo!

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SO sweet, right? Yep, this is important work!

Peekaboo

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The cunningest thing that a baby can do
Is the very first time it plays peek-a-boo;

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When it hides its pink little face in its hands,
And crows, and shows that it understands

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What nurse, and mamma and papa, too,
Mean when they hide and cry, “Peek a-boo, peek-a-boo.”

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Oh, what a wonderful thing it is,
When they find that baby can play like this!

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And every one listens, and thinks it true
That baby’s gurgle means “Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo”;

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And over and over the changes are rung
On the marvellous infant who talks so young.

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I wonder if any one ever knew
A baby that never played peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo.

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‘Tis old as the hills are. I believe
Cain was taught it by Mother Eve;

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For Cain was an innocent baby, too,
And I am sure he played peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo.

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And the whole world full of the children of men,
Have all of them played that game since then.

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Kings and princes and beggars, too,
Every one has played peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo.

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Thief and robber and ruffian bold,
The crazy tramp and the drunkard old,

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All have been babies who laughed and knew
How to hide, and play peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo.

This week I’ve felt a little overwhelmed. I have had plenty of time to get things done, but have added very few check marks to my to do list. I have responsibilities that I must fulfill—both to my family and to ministry in which I am involved.  When I look at all that must be done by the attached dates, instead of getting it done, I have been immobile.  Instead of being motivated to move forward, I find myself stuck. My couch suddenly feels like it is made of superglue—with me affixed.
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Just Not Feelin’ It

Merriam-Webster defines overwhelm: “to overpower in thought or feeling.”
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This definition makes it sound like I have some choice in the matter—especially if it concerns my ‘thought or feeling.’   Now, before I am too hard on myself I remember that feelings of being overwhelmed can accompany major transition.
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But, even though I know some of what I’m experiencing is part of a process, what do I do about this time of not ‘feelin’ it?’
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Here’s what I’ve been thinking would help:

  1. Give myself a break—It’s okay to put aside the ‘to-do’ list for a few days.
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  2. Rest and do something enjoyable—Today I went to the library and checked out some movies that I am eager to watch. I’m also going to sleep in tomorrow!
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  3. Remember that it will get done- The most important things will get done. Stepping away from things for a time helps bring the essentials to the surface and allows the non-essentials to fade away. I like doing extras, but too often I allow the extras to drive the train.
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  4. Spend time talking to God about how I feel-David wrote Psalm 142 during a time when he was feeling overwhelmed.  What did he do? He cried out to God and he reminded himself that God would provide direction and help.  I find great comfort in his words: “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn” Psalm 142:3 NLT.
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What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Do you have anything to add to the list?
©Brenda Pace, 2010


Click on the words Cardboard Testimonies on Vimeo link below to see a great version of what has become known as ‘cardboard testimonies.’ Powerful views of spiritual transformation!

Cardboard Testimonies on Vimeo

I have had the surprise opportunity to spend a few days in the mountains of Colorado with some American heroes. The words below are taken from the entry for May 20  of The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional that I wrote with my good friend Carol McGlothlin. Today I pay tribute to these wonderful women who bravely wait for their military husband to return. I’ve had such a good time getting to know them and sharing a word of encouragement from God’s Word with them.

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HEROES ON THE HOME FRONT                                                             May 20
The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!-Psalm 16:3 NLT
The last five summers I have had the privilege to spend a week in the Colorado Mountains with true heroes.  They were being treated to a week of ministry to refresh their weary bodies and spirits.  Most of these heroes were experiencing their second or third long deployment. They were not the ones who went to Iraq or Afghanistan, but the ones who stayed behind.  These were the heroes that said good-bye to their husbands once, and eight months after they returned said good-bye again.  They did not even have time to take the yellow ribbons off the trees.
Who are these women who face life with such courage and have their lives presently defined by waiting?  They are your daughters, your sisters, your girlfriends with whom you went to high school or college.  They are women whose emotions stay right at the surface.  Yet, they are women who function anyway.  Their lives are characterized by the hope they have in their husband’s safe return and the fear they fight in his being called away again.
I listened to their wisdom as they shared the things this war has taught them.  I watched them serve one another in the spirit of true community.  I heard them as they honestly spoke of their fears and frustrations. I watched as they prayed for one another and as they opened their minds and hearts to the refreshment of God’s Word.  I saw them care for their children with the constant prayer that they wouldn’t do anything to ‘mess them up’ while dad is away.  Oh, and I heard them laugh!  It was cleansing laughter that bound our hearts even closer.
Jim Ryun in his book Heroes among Us writes, “Is one born a hero, or are heroes made?  I cannot help but think that one becomes a hero through consistently making small decisions that build one upon the other, fortifying one’s character through a lifetime of right choices.” (1)
I commend military spouses who are making right choices during a season of deployment.  They are looking to God as their refuge and strength, their ever-present help in the time of trouble.  They are looking to each other to build each other up and encourage each other.  They are looking at creative ways to serve others.
I am better for being with them.  I am proud to be a military wife alongside them.  They truly are heroes on the home front.

Father, thank you for the sustaining power you provide in times of need.  Thank you for the example of faith and courage exemplified in military spouses in difficult times.  I pray you would be all they need as they wait for their own military hero to return.  In your name, Amen.
(1) Jim Ryun, Heroes Among Us: Deep Within Each One of Us Dwells the Heart of a Hero. (Shippensburg, PA:Treasure House, 2002).
Taken from The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional by Brenda Pace and Carol McGlothlin. Published by Tyndale House, 2008.

Today is the birthday of my first-born.

I delight in his humor

I enjoy his company

I appreciate his hard work

I value his opinion

I admire his care for his wife & children

I respect the man he has become

I am proud to be his MOM!

I traded the mountains of North Georgia for the mountains of Colorado.

This week I’ve been surrounded by this view….

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The view from my little cabin in Spring Canyon, Colorado!


It’s been a perfect setting to meditate on Psalm 121:
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip— ?he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel ?will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, ?nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
The Mr. and I have spent a lovely weekend in the North Georgia mountains. Today we took the mountain route from Blue Ridge, Georgia to Dahlonega.

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Birdseye view of a happy man...

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...on the open road!

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America the beautiful!

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Along the way we spotted signs of alive and well patriotic spirits!

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Happy 4th!

Along roads in Dahlonega are flags and crosses with names of veterans.

These memorial crosses were in honor of a father and son. The father died in WWI and the son in WWII.

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Uncle Sam taking a break on the square in Dahlonega

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A choir singing patriotic songs

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A roadside tribute to the 4th!

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The fire hydrants in Blue Ridge, GA show their patriotism all year round.

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Always grateful when I see a sight like this! God bless America and God bless military personnel in far away places.

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Hope your 4th of July weekend was blessed with pleasant things in the

company of those you love!

Do I really have a picture of Miley on my blog???  It’s the only cover of The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks that I could find. Once again this book was read as the result of a recommendation. A friend told me the book was  much better than the movie. Must confess, I haven’t seen the movie, but will tell you I did enjoy the book. I especially enjoyed the spiritual development of the characters—actually, it was more the spiritual transformation of the characters.

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Verdict: Quick read. Decent story. Great for an airplane.
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The stories of Andy Andrews in Return to Sawyerton Springs, have a Mayberry like appeal to them. This book is especially true of that vibe since it is all about the small town in which Andrews grew up. “It is a place where the paper comes out once a week, and everyone already know what’s in it. When the pastor speaks on Sunday morning, his congregation already knows what he will say. As the children bring home their report cards, the parents already know their grades. This is a place of character and love and memories. Good memories…” Homespun humor.

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Verdict: Light read. Would make a good gift for parent or grandparent.
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One of my favorite Christian authors is John Ortberg. I enjoy his ability to write with simplicity and humor, while he simultaneously presents profound truths. Once I got past the self-help sounding title I found The Me I Want to Be, Becoming God’s Best Version of You to be a very practical and insightful book on the basics of spiritual formation. Consider this quote: “God’s plan is not just for us to be saved by grace, but it is to live by grace.” Ortberg guides the reader through practical discussions on finding identity, flowing with the Spirit, renewing my mind, redeeming my time, deepening my relationships, and transforming my experiences. The book comes with a code that can be used to receive a personal spiritual growth assessment from a site called MONVEE.
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Verdict: Recommend to anyone!
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Finally, last week I completed The Book Thief. Listed under young adult fiction—which I’m glad I didn’t know before I read the book since it may have deterred me—this is an excellent and engaging read. Set in Nazi Germany during WWII, the story follows a young orphan girl who is fascinated with words. Narrated by ‘Death’ (yes, you read that correctly), the story is both winsome and weighty.
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Verdict: Interesting and engaging. Recommend.
One of the genres I regularly read in the non-fiction department are books on leadership. We are all leaders in some sphere of influence. I also have a desire to continually become aware of resources that might be helpful to others.
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Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges is the latest leadership book to be added to my shelf. The book was given to me as part of the resources for a leadership team on which I currently serve. I have to admit I did not read the book until someone else commented on how much they got out of it.  (Hanging head in shame.) I had read a Ken Blanchard book before and even though he is a best selling author and business leadership guru, I wasn’t sure how it would translate into Christian leadership. If I were honest I would have to say I looked at the book with some suspicion, (i.e., business guru trying to break into the Christian leadership market).
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Heart?Head?Hands?Habits
I was very wrong, and I am very grateful to have been influenced to read this book. Blanchard and Hodges challenge to Lead Like Jesus comes out of a genuine desire to live as a Christ follower. They provide a convincing argument that leading like Jesus is the most relevant leadership style for today. I found Blanchard & Hodges description of servant leadership to be well defined. They say the journey of a servant leader starts with the heart (motive and intent). [BTW—The discussion on pride and ego are worth the price of the book. EGO is described as Edging God Out as opposed to Exalting God Only.] Then it travels through the head (belief system and perspective). To have hands of a servant leader is to be a leader who puts into practice  internal skills and values (investing in and caring for followers). Finally, all of these things will translate into the servant leader exhibiting habits like Jesus (solitude, prayer, study and application of scripture, accepting and responding to God’s unconditional love, and involvement in supportive relationships).
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Verdict: Recommend this book highly to anyone whether or not they are in a formal leadership position.