My brother is four years younger than me. People who believe in birth order tell you when there are four or more years difference in age between children it’s as if each is an only child. There may be some truth to that hypothesis in our case. That is not to say my brother is not a significant part of my life. In fact, my first memory is of the day he was brought home from the hospital.  He was a quiet child to whom, (as illustrated by the alarming, sweet photo below) I’m sure I could have shown more kindness!
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Time has been the greatest separator for sibling closeness.  As we grew up I was in junior high when he was in elementary school. I was in high school when he was in junior high. I was in college when he was in high school. I married and moved away as he became an adult.
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Well, I’ve moved back to the town in which my brother homesteaded.  My little brother has the reputation of being an excellent contractor. He’s known for his work ethic, his attention to detail and his integrity. My desire was to live in a house he built and today that desire is a reality. My brother built me a house. It is a good and solid house. It is a well-crafted and carefully constructed house. It is a house I am so very proud to say, “My brother built it for me.” Thanks little brother! You are THE BEST!
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©Brenda Pace, 2012

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This says it all! The chaplain and I are in serious nesting mode.

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Things are finally settling from boxes and paper to normal living.

For over 30 years the chaplain and I have been moving to places we knew would only be home for 1-3 years.

The fact that this could be the final time to unpack brings mixed emotions.

I certainly won’t miss unpacking over and over again.

I’m wondering as time goes by what things I will miss, though. Time will tell…

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On the day we moved into our house I found this sweet hummingbird fluttering in the garage.

I identified with the sense of disorientation communicated by the frantic fluttering of this little bird.

As I went from room to room I didn’t know where to begin

in the process to make this new space a home.

But, slowly and surely it is becoming home–truly Home Sweet Home.

©Brenda Pace, 2012

“I believe in pink.”~Audrey Hepburn

Me too! Especially in the spring.

These beautiful pink blossoms announce spring in Tennessee!

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On spring days we should travel in pink…

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Eat in pink…

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Live in pink…

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Work in pink…

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Yes…

Our beautiful B&B in South Africa was truly an oasis.

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The South African accent makes everything sound so charming…even the signage.

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Some South African school children allowed me to snap their picture.

They told their teacher I was “a very kind American lady.”

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Our host took us to the South African Voortrekker Museum which tells the story of the history of South Africa and the Africaner settlers.

I was impressed with this statue as you entered the museum that pays honor to the strength and courage of women who made the strenuous and dangerous trek to a new land.

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This wall of tapestry told the story of the Great Trek to settle South Africa.

Nine women worked for eight years to complete the fifteen scenes that contains

over 3 million stitches. It was an incredible and moving sight!

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We took a fun trip to Chameleon Village where native wares were plentiful.

Fun shopping!

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I found South Africa to be a most diverse country in every way.

I hope to visit again one day and explore its wonders more thoroughly!

©Brenda Pace 2012

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This is a typical South African dish called bobitie.

It is primarily seasoned minced meat served with a type of gritty rice.

The chaplain and I decided it tasted like Cincinnati Chili.

We also decided we weren’t very impressed with the food

and we would save some calories on this trip.

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Until we ate this at The Pancake Place.

A pancake in SA is really a crepe.

This one was topped with cinnamon sugar,

butterscotch topping and stuffed with ice cream.

This was lunch!

The pancake came with a lemon wedge to squeeze over the top,

which didn’t sound good at all.

But oh my, it was delicious!

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Then there were the scones eaten at a lovely working dairy.

Of course they were served with fresh cream!

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A fun place called the Mugg & Bean offered the biggest muffin I’ve ever seen!

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Did I mention the crumpets…again with fresh cream straight from the dairy?

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I didn’t see a Starbucks anywhere–but the South African’s don’t need them.

Delicious coffee is in abundance!

My favorite three words during this trip:”Cappacino foam please.”

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Check out the 8th entry down the list.

I didn’t try “monkey gland” sauce,

but it sure caught my attention!

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The best meal however, was prepared by our host Colonel Addie.

We gathered in his backyard for a traditional South African braai (i.e., barbecue).

The food was delicious, the hospitality warm and the fellowship sweet.

from the book Women Travelers

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The African adventure continued…

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The sleepy lion cubs were so cute and innocent.

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The full grown lion is not cute and innocent, but majestic and powerful!

Truly an amazing sight. We had the opportunity to watch the lions feed.

This guy was an ALPHA male!

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This zebra wanted to get up close and personal.

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Amazing and beautiful! The giraffe is truly a gentle giant.

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On a ride through a game reserve I

spotted a water buffalo–one of the African Big 5 Game

(elephant, rhino, leopard, lion and water buffalo).

We saw 3 out of the 5.

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The ostrich–proof that God has a sense of humor.

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My brave husband!

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I did! I went on a GREAT adventure!

The chaplain and I began the month of March in South Africa. I took hundreds of photos and over the next few days I’ll post a few highlights from the trip. This trip served to whet my appetite to return and see more of this beautiful and diverse country.

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Elephant footprints with factoids welcomed us in the airport.

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The skull of an African elephant was proof that

“The African elephant has the largest brain in the animal kingdom.”

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I used the quick drop method to feed this big guy.

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IWalking with this giant fellow was completely out of my comfort zone–but I did it!!!

©Brenda Pace 2012

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Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends,

but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers.

The mind can never break off from the journey.

~Pat Conroy

Lately, packing and unpacking have been the norm around here. I am not complaining! I am replaying the great adventures that have been logged into my memory.

Happy 2012!  The first month of the new year is almost past. How can that be?
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I just read these words today from Job 14:5: Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. The older I get, it seems the faster the days pass. What’s up with that? I read this verse this morning and felt a pull of emotions. On the one hand, I trust God with my life and find comfort that He is in control of my future. But, something in me balks a little at the idea that there are limits. I know that it’s the mature person who can realistically recognize their own limits, but there’s still this part of me that doesn’t like to think about the limits–especially the ones brought on by age.
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I thought about the days ahead in 2012 and I wonder what they will hold. I want my part in that equation to include the commitment to live each day with God honoring spiritual and physical energy. There are some limits that need to be explored this year. I’m not talking about rebellion, I’m talking about reality. I look forward to the stretch!

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©Brenda Pace, 2012

The Chaplain and I spent the first week of 2012 on the east coast. I typed this blog post from New York City where it was freezing outside, but we had a crazy good time  eating and shivering our way through the city.

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Here are a few highlights from the trip…

An amazing gravity defying show in the NYC subway

A sobering visit to the 9/11 Memorial

A meaningful tribute

I had a hard time watching people take pictures in front of this Memorial with big smiles on their faces. Am I wrong?

Took a quiet stroll down Park Avenue

Snapped this in front of a Park Avenue brownstone. Pretty and simple for an outdoor winter arrangement.

Subway tile art...so cool!

Saw this fun show on Broadway

Enjoyed a most delicious meal here in Little Italy

...followed by cannoli from Parisi Bakery


Grabbed a bagel both mornings from Times Square Bagel shop

Couldn't leave without NYC pizza after a visit to...

Metropolitan Museum of Art

...followed by Junior's cheesecake

Added these to my winter gear--by necessity! It was cold!

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NYC is fun any time of year, but I think our next trip will take advantage of warmer weather. Oh, and yes…I haven’t eaten since this trip!