One of Noah’s favorite places to visit is the aquarium. In his young life he’s made several trips to both the Chattanooga and Atlanta homes for water creatures. I was privileged to accompany him on his latest excursion to the Atlanta aquarium.
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On the morning of our outing I asked him what he wanted to wear. He told me he brought his shark clothes. I naturally thought he meant a cute little shark themed short set. No…he meant shark clothes:
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The cutest little shark ever!


To him this was the most natural thing in the world to wear on this day.   There was no attitude of showing off, pretense, or self-consciousness in his actions. Rather it was simply: “I’m going to the aquarium, therefore I will wear my shark suit.”  It was great! In fact, it was better than great. I was so proud to follow my little shark around as he enjoyed the underwater wonders. It was one of the most delightful days I’ve had in a very long time.
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I learned something from Noah on our trip that day. No, I’m not going to go buy a shark suit to wear to my next visit to the aquarium, but I am going to work at being more fully in the moment.  You see, Noah didn’t just GO to the aquarium: he experienced the aquarium!  He reminded me about the joy in doing something because it makes sense and because it is fun, no matter what other people may think.

I'd follow this shark anywhere!

©Brenda Pace, 2010

fishing with G’pa…

Noah and G'pa

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mowing the lawn…

I've been told some people actually enjoy this activity!

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a little shopping…

I may enjoy this activity a little too much.

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eating Chinese food…

Sometimes takeout is a necessity.

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playing with children…

A bright spot to any day!

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celebrating in God’s house…

I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the Lord.~Psalm 122:1

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Happy Weekend!

Silly Bandz
When Jolie comes for a visit she always brings several things with her to include books, a doll or stuffed animal and other little trinkets. Recently among her treasures was a key ring filled with a rainbow of what she described as silly bandz.™

A sample of Jolie's Silly Bandz™

The official count

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She was quick to educate me on this new fad, which includes both collecting and trading the colorful stretchy shapes.
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Fads intrigue me
A fad is something that catches on, then after a while interest fades and the novelty of whatever was ‘in’ is no more. Webster defines it as  a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal.

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What is it that makes something become a fad?  What makes something stop being a fad and become an ongoing part of life?
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It’s a Stretch a
This application may be a stretch (Ouch! Excuse the silly bandz pun!), but I was thinking about fads as it relates to my Christian walk. Referring to Webster’s description, there’s nothing wrong with zeal—in fact, I want my faith to be characterized by zeal. However, I certainly want my faith to be more than a fad.
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I think Ephesians 4:14-15 speaks to ‘fad’ faith vs. lasting faith: We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming, but speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in all aspects unto Him, who is the head, even Christ.
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True biblical faith is to be collected and passed on, not as a trendy fad, but as a lifestyle!
©Brenda Pace, 2010
Little Miss Harper is just barely 4 months old, but she already enjoys books. If I sit her on this funny little “Bumpo” seat (these things are great!), and hand her a book, she gets visibly excited and tries to turn the pages. It makes me laugh out loud it is so stinking cute.


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I pray this love of books will continue. Her cousin Noah is learning how to read and her other cousin Jolie has made books a constant companion. She’s got some good mentors!
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Do you have some favorite children’s books for growing readers?
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©Brenda Pace, 2010

This past weekend I had the privilege to spend time with some great ministry leaders. I am inspired when I look out at a group of women who have sacrificed valuable time to focus on becoming a more effective leader.

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It excites me to think about what such a weekend can mean in the discovery of God’s unique call upon each life. God may have called these leaders for a specific leadership role for this season, but the call to love, serve and influence others for His glory is a lifelong call.  It’s a call custom designed for each one of us! It may look different through the seasons of life, but it never leaves. With the help of the Holy Spirit we just have to make some alterations to adjust the fit through the growth and changes of life.

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Os Guiness says it this way, “There is joy, … in fulfilling a calling that fits who we are and, like the pillar of cloud and fire, goes ahead of our lives to lead us… Our gifts and destiny do not lie expressly in our parents’ wishes, our boss’s plans, our peer group’s pressures, our generation’s prospects, or our society’s demands. Rather, we each need to know our own unique design, which is God’s design for us.”

Celebrate God’s Unique…

for YOU today!

©Brenda Pace 2010

via www.mighty2save.com

Earlier this summer I asked people to tell me about their summer reads.  One thing that made me happy was the excitement that came when people shared about the books they were reading. This leads me to make an announcement:
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In this media saturated culture—books are still important!
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Here’s a compilation of the titles some of my friends have read this summer:
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Sunny has shared some great titles with me over the years. Her summer list includes:
Making Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa
The Walk by Richard Paul Evans
The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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Holly offered these titles:
Major Pettigrews Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Kingdom Keepers III by Ridley Pearson
Ghosts of Tsavo by Phillip Cavuto
Wrestling Prayer by Eric & Leslie Ludy
The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharius
Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas
Eat the Cookie Buy the Shoes by Joyce Meyer
Authentic Faith by Gary Thomas
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
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Diane shared her list:
You Never Stop Being a Parent- Thriving in Relationship with your Adult Children by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jim Newheiser
Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Alsup
Counsel from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James
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Belinda-Marie offered:
Lost and Found by Jaqueline Sheehan’
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer
Finding the Way Back to Mayberry by Joey Fann
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Cindy M found herself reading:
The Idiot by Dostoevsky
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb
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Kay enjoyed:
Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and a Fork by Mike Huckabee
The Love Languages of God by Gary Chapman
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Miel read:
TrueFaced by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol and John S. Lynch
Soul Cravings by Edwin McManus
The Remnant by Tim LaHaye
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Malinda recommends:
The Scent of Rain and Lightening by Nancy Pickard
Chalktown by Melinda Haynes
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Amy read Wives of the Signers by David Barton
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Melinda recommends Doctrine by Mark Driscoll
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Chaplain Dan read Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach by Peter L. Steinke
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Beth read several titles by David Barton, as well as, The Names of God by Ann Spangler
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Kimberly shared the title The Dead Don’t Dance by Charles Martin
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Rose planned to pick up The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
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Ashley enjoyed Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
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Val has the book Experiencing God Day by Day Devotional by her bedside
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Dawn read Women and Mystical Experience in the Middle Ages by Frances Beer
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Jennifer enjoyed the titles Dancing With My Father by Sally Clarkson and The South Beach Diet
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Gwen highly recommended Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper
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Cindy reread a favorite: Cries of My Heart by Ravi Zacharius
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Thanks everyone for sharing the books that you have read this summer. I’m adding some of these titles to my want to read list.
There once was a girl, who married a preacher boy.

She was young and immature and her mother in law thought she needed to become more flexible and adaptable.

The thought must have become a prayer because the girl and the preacher boy (now to be known as ‘the chaplain’) went to ‘how to become flexible and adaptable’ school,otherwise known as the US Army.

Even though the girl was not very tall, God used the Army to help her grow.

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Fort Benning, Georgia

At Ft Benning she was blessed to have a commander’s wife named Sandra who taught her what a joy it was to support military chapels and to become involved in the chapel women’s ministry PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel).

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At Ft. Benning the girl also received a Master’s degree, homeschooled her boys and learned new meaning to make a joyful noise unto the Lord from basic trainees who shouted Hooah instead of Amen.

And she grew…

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Wiesbaden, Germany

The chaplain made the girl very happy when he shared the news they were moving to Germany. It was there the girl developed a new sense of trust as she waved farewell to the chaplain when he went to the field on a regular basis.

She also had the opportunity to serve in Christian community (Camp Pieri) and live in a German community.

Mom and Joseph take Gregory to his first day of German school.

aAnd she grew…

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Fort Monmouth, New Jersey

From Germany to New Jersey the girl and her family made wonderful memories as they explored their own country after living in another.

American History firsthand!

It also gave the girl and her chaplain lifelong friends.

This friendship has been solidified by laughter and tears and four assignments together.

Our dear friends the Bloomstrom family.

and she grew…

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Fort Benning, Georgia (Round 2)

She returned with the chaplain to Ft. Benning where she developed friendships that are still rich and deep today.

Me with Gwen and Ruth back in the day

Friends like these and a close knit neighborhood Bible study…

Austin Loop Bible Study--Such great memories!

are all part of being able to say:

and she grew.

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Seoul, Korea

When the chaplain shared the news that Korea would be his next assignment, the girl asked him whom he had made angry?  Korea ended up being a wonderful place to live—at least for 2 years. The girl tutored Korean children, served as president of the PWOC…

So enjoyed spending time with these kids!

and met two friends who would remain life long sisters in Christ.

I brought wonderful treasures home from Korea...especially my friendship with Karen.

One of these women would be a catalyst of growth in the girl’s life when she made the statement:

Let’s write a book together…and they did—twice.

Book signing with Carol after the publication of Medals above My Heart.

And she grew…

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Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

The girl followed the chaplain to Ft. Leavenworth and was surprised as she sat in chapel one day she recalled a prayer she had prayed years before when the chaplain had attended a brief school there.

Fort Leavenworth is a beautiful historic Army post.

The girl was attracted to the history, tradition and small town life and she asked the Lord if she could live there one day–and here she was. This place ended up being a good and stretching place for the girl and her family.

The girl grew …

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Fort Bragg, North Carolina

The happiest thing about going to Ft. Bragg for the girl was how happy it made the chaplain.

Richard wearing his favorite beret.

It was also the place where the girl had a home that was not a parsonage, a rental or military housing.

Teacups took on new meaning in friendship and ministry…

Time for TEA with my dear friends Shellie and Deb.

Significant service with special people added to the joy of this place.

Tish and our friend Linda made service in PWOC not only meaningful...but fun!

But the delight of the girl’s heart here was the laughter of her family.

Laughter + teenagers=worth it!

And she grew…

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Washington, DC

In DC the girl began to describe the chaplain as a slug (commuting in DC is described as ’slugging’), even though he was working extremely hard trying to make dreams come true for others. There was much ministry and continued memory making with dear friends…

Felt so privileged to serve in ministry with these women!

Lots of great ministry trips with my dear friend Victoria during this time. Here we are at the Alaska pipeline. Amazing memories!

and indeed the girl grew…

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Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Round 2)

Then it was back to Ft. Bragg and if the chaplain was happy with his first tour there, he was thrilled with this tour.

Richard's 'change of stole' ceremony for 82d Airborne Division Chaplain

Little did he know…

Here the girl learned the meaning of the word sustain, as she literally felt the prayers of others throughout the chaplain’s absence.

Destination: Afghanistan followed by Iraq

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During this time the girl and the chaplain added to their family when their son Gregory married beautiful Megan…

Gregory and Megan

and a little girl named Jolie stole their hearts.

Sweet little Jolie at almost age 2

And the girl grew…

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Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania

In Carlisle, PA the girl learned lessons about how to grow older with grace and that one can never retire from ministry.

Me and Diane with our hero Joy.

Music and mentors are hallmarks of this place for her.

The most fun singing I've had in years. Thanks Cindi!

Oh…and while she was here she spent time with some amazing

Heroes on the HomeFront in Colorado.

She and the chaplain added to their family with the birth of Noah

Precious baby Noah

and the marriage or their youngest son Joseph to lovely Danya.

Joseph and Danya say "I do"

And she grew…

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Washington DC…again

When the girl and the chaplain returned to DC the watchword was ‘simplicity.’ The chaplain tried not to brag about his 3 minute commute to work, and was grateful to not be described as a slug anymore. The little one bedroom apartment became a productive place where the girl wrote a second book with her friend, and went to school in her pajamas.

Do you have a copy?

Truly enjoyed my year of seminary at Liberty!

She enjoyed fellowship with the great friends known as the brunch bunch…

? these people!

and some great chaplain wives…

Sheryl, Sunny and Merial...women I love and admire

and a new ministry endeavor…

Judy and I work together on the conference "Strengthening the Cords of Relationship"

As the chaplain worked assignments for others, the girl wondered daily where their next assignment would be?

And she grew…

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Atlanta, Georgia

No one was more surprised when that assignment turned out to bring the girl and the chaplain to Atlanta.

Time in Atlanta was too short!

And no one was more pleased to be closer to Jolie, Noah and now sweet little Harper.

This little girl is sunshine for the soul

God has used the time in ATL to prepare her heart for the next step of the journey. And she does believe it is the next step. And with these wonderful people by her side she is ready to jump into the future.

And she does believe she will grow…

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©Brenda Pace, 2010

We’ve lived in a variety of homes while my husband has served in the military. The best ever was our first house at Ft. Benning. I still remember the address: 101 Madden Avenue. It was lovely. It had great character and good bones—a maid’s quarters (from back in the day), basement, wood floors, charming built in cabinets throughout, a glass enclosed lanai type side room. The Army had me at ‘hello’ when they let us live in this place?

“White Elephant” Ft. Benning, Georgia by Diane Osborne. Diane specializes in artistic architectural designs of buildings, old home places, current homes, churches, etc. You can find out more about her lovely art or commission a piece of work by Diane at: www.artbydiane.net

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As cliché` as it sounds, the Army has taught me that ‘home’ is not a house. Home is the people with whom you build a life. I’ve built a life with wonderful people. I am grateful for the family God has given me. They are what have made every place the Army has sent us…home.

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Here’s a little presentation I put together last week to show at my husband’s retirement ceremony.  It’s impossible to condense 28 years of living into 3 minutes and 16 seconds, but leave it to me to try. Click the link below to check it out:

Home is Where the Army Sends You.

This young, brand new Army Chaplain Captain is my husband—28 years ago.

Lots going on in the Pace household lately, not the least of which was my husband’s retirement ceremony to celebrate 28 years of military service. Wow! How is it that 28 years has gone by since he raised his hand and committed to serve God and country as a chaplain in the US Army?
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We both look at this transition as the next step in God’s plan for our lives. It is certainly not an ending, although there is some grieving that must take place in the process.
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Last week I poured over boxes (LARGE boxes!! no time for blogging!) of photos and mementos. It was a nostalgic experience as I was taken back to times and places. The memories of the places were great, but it was the memories of the people that brought the smiles. We’ve met some amazing people as a result of my husband’s service in the military—people who have influenced us in profound ways.
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During my husband’s remarks at the ceremony he made the statement that the church was getting a better minister as a result of the experiences his wearing an Army uniform have brought. He is better for the wear. I would echo that and add that we both leave military life as better people…better friends…better neighbors…better people who are eager to love and serve others as we have been loved and served.
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I’m dedicating the next few blog posts to bid farewell to active duty service. It’s been a great 28 years—but as I’ve been told over and over by several people, “the best is yet to come.”
©Brenda Pace, 2010