I wish I was clever enough to come up with great captions for these photos, but actually I think they speak for themselves. Our Little Princess can’t say words, but there is no doubt she and her G’pa are communicating!

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In case you can’t tell that last one is her clapping. She’s quite pleased with herself. Yeah, words are sometimes overrated!

©Brenda Pace, 2011

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Overheard words from my favorite 6 year old to his dad while he was putting on his shoes
to leave my house:

“My grandma loves her job!”
“Oh yeah? What’s grandma’s job?”
“She tells people about God’s love!”

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These words came out of the blue. We hadn’t been talking about ‘my job’ or anything related to work I do. I was moved that this little guy somehow heard this through our interaction.  I do love telling people about God’s love! I’m headed to Georgia this weekend to do that very thing. I’m eager to share an encouraging word and I can’t wait to share the joy of the trip with my little guy!

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What about you, do you love your ‘job?’  Is it evident to others?

©Brenda Pace, 2011

In the Nashville area there are several ‘Marti and Liz’ shoe stores. In my mind’s eye I imagine Marti and Liz as two church ladies who have taken it on as a ministry to make sure Tennessee women have stylish but inexpensive shoes. Don’t laugh, shoes are serious business to a woman, but they were close to sacred to church ladies of days gone by. Now, before you think I am being irreverent let me reminisce a little bit.

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I grew up in an environment where holiness was measured in a large part by how you looked on the outside. Praise the Lord this emphasis has taken more of a shift to the view that holiness is a heart issue that will be evident in every part of a life. But, I remember at age 5 wearing a pair of pants to play in and my mother being told by an older minister to get a dress on me when we arrived for a visit to his home.  For the most part jewelry was limited to a watch and a wedding band. Well, since I was too young for a wedding band, you better believe I had me some watches!

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So I ask you,  what does a church lady who wants to be stylish and express herself with fashion do? She buys shoes! Shoes were the church lady’s legal adornment. My mother took this very serious. When I was a teenager she worked as a secretary at our denomination headquarters. Someone asked me to describe her and as I did they lit up and said, “Oh, she’s the SHOE lady!” Yep, that was my mom. The woman loved pretty shoes. She had them in every color and heel height. When Clinton and Stacey brought back the pointy toe stilettos I longed for the chance to once again raid my mom’s shoe closet of long ago. Those of more ‘sensible’ style have long since replaced the colorful varieties of foot coverings. So sad…

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Back to Marti and Liz and the reason for my “church lady” imaginings: When you walk into the store you are immediately taken back with the unique nature of the music that is playing in the background. No elevator Musak in this place…no hard rock beat…no oldies but goodies. The musical choice for Marti and Liz is Southern Gospel quartet music. LOUD Southern Gospel quartet music! It’s different. It’s unique. It’s fun!  Especially when there are bargains like this:

Cole Haan Nike Air heels!

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My favorite and another Cole Haan Nike Air!

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These ballerina flats have been great to stuff in a suitcase for travel

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These Clarks boots are the most comfortable shoes I own!

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The Chaplain even found a pair of Cole Haan to wear with his new uniform :)

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Oh, did I mention that not one of these pairs of shoes cost over $35?  Bring on the quartet music!

©Brenda Pace, 2011


I’ve spent a few days blogging about a phrase that gets some bad press. As I thought about what it means to ‘go through the motions’ I had to admit it isn’t always a negative thing. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments that have been generated both here and on Facebook on the topic. Thanks so much for the input!

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So, being a fair-minded person I must present a few thoughts from the other side:

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1) Going through the motions can be negative when the motion is an end in itself. The Message version of  Psalm 51:16 is spot on in its explanation: Going through the motions doesn’t please you; a flawless performance is nothing to you.

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In other words, when we just do spiritual things to check a box, or just because it’s what we’re supposed to do, it’s meaningless. This is one of the main criticisms about formalized religion, especially among young people. When there is no true meaning in the acts of ‘worship’ we are simply going through the motions.

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2)Going through the motions can be bad when you are going in circles. Think about the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness. There was no growth, but there was lots of grumbling and complaining. There was lots of going through the motions, over and over again for 40 years! No thank you! (My husband noted that the only time he could think of going in circles to be a good thing in Scripture was in Jericho. Good point!)

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3) Going through the motions can be bad if you don’t know where you are going. Commentary: As stated earlier, sometimes the understanding follows the movement, but the danger is when we get stuck in purposeless motion. Abraham was moving a lot, but  his movement was purposeful. He was looking for a city who’s builder and maker was God (Hebrews 11:10).

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So, here’s the bottom line: At the beginning of this New Year I have been challenged to not be content to simply go through the motions in my Christian walk. I recognize that sometimes it is important to move even when my feelings don’t cooperate.  I recognize the danger of being stuck in purposeless motion. In 2011 I do not want to focus on past things at the expense of the new things to which God is calling me! Join me?

via www.beautifullwell.com

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©Brenda Pace, 2011
One more way going through the motions can be a good thing:

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Going through the motions can be good if you are headed in the right direction.

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The phrase “going through the motions” implies there is no enthusiasm in what you are doing. I remember some classes I had to take while going to school. I didn’t have much enthusiasm for some required course work, but it was part of the process of getting a degree. I was headed in the right direction.
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What about times when you didn’t feel like going to church for one reason or another, but your kids were being taught the Word of God in their classes? You were going through the motions, but you were heading your family in the right direction.
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Think about it: are you going through the motions, but at least you’re headed in the right direction? Exhortation for today: keep going!
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©Brenda Pace, 2011

So, here’s another positive thing about going through the motions:

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Going through the motions can be good because at least you are moving!

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Think about Elijah after his great victory at Mt. Carmal. He goes and he sits down under a tree and he wants to die.  (You can read this most interesting account in 1 Kings 19.) An angel came and told him to get up and eat. Elijah was sent to a mountain where he received further instructions that included going to anoint a king. (Please forgive this very abbreviated and paraphrased version of a most amazing encounter!)  The point is: God got him up and moving.
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Sometimes people don’t want to move when they become depressed or feel hopeless. The Lord’s remedy for Elijah was to start moving: get up and eat…walk to the mountain…go anoint a king. We don’t get any indication that Elijah was any more excited about doing any of these things than he was when he was under the tree, but God’s instructions got him moving.
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Elijah functioned anyway! There are times in my life when I have had to ‘function anyway.’ You know those times when you have to function whether you feel like it or not? The alternative is to stay under the tree and die. Folks, that is NOT a good alternative! Sometimes going through the motions means for a season I function anyway. The good news? Elijah had much more ministry ahead–and so do you and I!

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©Brenda Pace, 2011

Week before last I had the great privilege to share a message with a women’s ministry group in Pennsylvania. The topic I was asked to address was “going through the motions.”  I thought about this phrase and the negative connotation it holds. But, is that always the case? Is ‘going through the motions’ always a bad thing? I don’t think so.  For instance…
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Going through the motions can be good when your heart is not far behind your feet.

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Let me illustrate…
On a recent family night we played a Wii dance game. My favorite 6 year old did NOT want to play. He gave every excuse in the book to not take part. But, we coaxed and encouraged and coaxed and encouraged some more, and finally he dragged his feet and said a weak, ‘ok.’
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Well, he went through the motions and danced with his G’pa…
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Then he started having fun while he danced with his dad…
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Then he really got in the spirit of things as he danced with his mom…

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Then he showed his uncle how it was supposed to be done…
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The hesitant performer even danced with his sister!(Not sure why he didn’t make it into the photo below, but he was there–dancing up a storm. Oh, and check out the big smile on his face in every photo above!)
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The significance as it relates to going through the motions? Sometimes we just have to move our feet before we feel like dancing.
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Have you experienced something like this before?  I sure have.  I can recall times when I didn’t feel like moving. It may have been from something as silly as anticipatory embarrassment or as serious as malaise, but once I was up and moving it wasn’t long before joy and enthusiasm followed. I’m grateful for the people who gave me a little push during those times when I was hesitant to move forward.
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What about you? Are you hesitant to make a move in some area of life?  May I encourage you to go ahead and go through the motions, move your feet and anticipate joy and enthusiasm to come!

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©Brenda Pace, 2011
I’m noticing there’s a window theme going on in my posts this week. It must be a carry over from the major time and energy (not to mention $$$$) spent recently on choosing windows for the house being built. Who knew how hard it would be to pick out windows? I had no idea!
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The thing the Chaplain and I DO know, is that we want to take full advantage of the beautiful view that is to be outside those windows. As so often happens with me, there’s a spiritual parallel going on…thus, the window theme. I’ve stated  it all through this week’s posts: as I look ahead to this new year, I want to take full advantage of what’s outside the window of each new day. Each day I’m faced with the view I will have of my circumstances.
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Andrew Peterson wrote and recorded a wonderful song “Windows in the World.” It’s on his Resurrection Letters Volume II album. There’s no cynicism in the view from the windows of which he writes. It’s this type of outlook that I want to view the world. I desire to see God’s goodness as depicted in Peterson’s lyrics. Peterson writes of this goodness that comes as a result of the resurrection of Christ. It’s a glimpse we can have on this side of the window of eternity. Click on the link in green, take a listen and enjoy the view.

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09 Windows In the World

So you’re sitting at the movies.

You’re watching how the story finds a way.

And you’ve seen it all before, but still you love to see the hero save the day.

It’s a window in the world, a little glimpse of all the goodness getting through.

And all along the way the days are made of little moments of truth.

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And every Sunday morning you can see the people standing in a line.

They’re so hungry for some mercy, for a taste of the Communion bread and wine.

It’s a window in the world, a little glimpse of all the goodness getting through.

And all along the way the days are made of little moments of truth.

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It’s the way the clouds are burning from the angle of the light

as the earth is slowly turning you to meet it,

and you’re watching at your window at the ending of the night–

it’s as plain as day so any fool could see it:

it’s a window in the world.

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I can see the groom is waiting, he’s watching for the moment she appears.

They are laying down their lives for love and Love is laying waste to all my fears.

It’s a window in the world, a little portal where you get a better view.

And the wonder of it all is all you need to see the goodness getting through.

And all along the way the days are made of little moments–

all along the way the road is paved with little moments of truth.

Words and Music by AP


Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
(Matthew 6:22-23 MSG)

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So, open the blinds and…

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From slidesideways etsy shop (www.etsy.com)

Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.

(Ecclesiastes 11:7)

These words from Ecclesiastes written so long ago by Solomon infuse hope in me even today. They encourage me to remember that each day is a gift and I am to savor it as I savor something sweet. (Oh my, it makes me think of all the holiday sweets I savored…and savored…and savored!)
I trust you enjoy and savor this new day and each day in this new year!
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