I discovered this picture on a blog I frequent and it captured my attention. I’ve been ‘going’ a lot lately and wherever I ‘go’ –whether through travel or through a day—I want to ‘go’ with all my heart.
What does that look like? Off the top of my head…
An awareness of what’s going on around me to things that bring delight…
  • For instance, last week at the Dallas airport I spotted a sight that made me smile. A nun dressed in her white habit was carrying this bag: I think I would like her!
An anticipation of surprises that may come…

  • Can I just mention the beautiful Alaska rainbow one more time?

    Thanks Rose for this great photo!

A choice to minimize disappointments…
  • I have a choice in how long I hold on to disappointments.
An expectation of the blessings each day brings…

  • Definition of expectation: “anticipating with confidence of fulfillment” — i.e., I anticipate with confidence that I will see God’s blessings in each day!
As with my life, this list is a work in progress.
What would you add?
©Brenda Pace, 2010

It’s going to be a long flight

Have you ever noticed the way most people enjoy being around children—except on an airplane? I’ve been flying a lot lately and I have been struck by the attitudes people have when they are placed in a seat near a child. One father traveling with his teenage daughter was across the aisle from me in a recent cross-country flight. The aisle seat in his row was empty, until another father traveling alone with his almost two-year-old daughter claimed it as his. The dynamics were fascinating to observe. The father of the teen put forth a great effort to be gracious, but there was much eye rolling, giggling and even the words to me while the young dad was out of his seat: “It’s going to be a long flight.”

Kid zone?

This flight wasn’t the first time I have noticed the aversion to little ones in the confines of an airplane. Just a week earlier I was flying on a red-eye flight returning home with a two-year-old sitting in the seat behind me. Her continuous kicks to the back of the seat and weary cries because of the late hour were indeed unsettling.
My mother heart goes out to the parent that has to care for a child who must be restricted to the small space of a fuselage. The independent nature of a two year old was not designed for such borders. In the cases mentioned above, both parents did an exceptional job focusing on their child and the challenges faced by the boundaries imposed—not to mention the negative attitudes of their fellow travelers.

Makes me wonder?

My traveling experiences have made me wonder about my own behavior—(not on an airplane. I resisted the urge to kick the seat in front of me, even when the passenger was talking loud and I wanted to sleep). I’ve viewed some childish attitudes in my own behavior lately. I cringe to think that because of a rotten attitude I have one day my husband, children or friends would think, “it’s going to be a long day.” Does my behavior illicit the same reaction that I saw from the man in the airplane—that of wanting desperately to get away from me, of being annoyed and inconvenienced? Scripture tells me I am to become as a little child (Matthew 18:3). However, the line between childlikeness and childishness is quite distinct. As for childishness, I’m told to put away those things:
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me (1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV).
Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults (1 Corinthians 14:20-21 NIV).
Oops, gotta close this post…time to catch another plane.
©Brenda Pace, 2010
I have  met women who struggle with the transition of growing older–in fact, I am one of them! On the occasion of turning __ ?I faced unfulfilled dreams and found myself questioning the future. The process of getting from there to here*  came through deep prayer and reflection. Here are some things that have been helpful in the process:
  • The study of scripture on the topic of growing old.  Reflecting on the lives of biblical women who were older, such as Sarah, Naomi, Elizabeth, and Anna have been helpful.  These women continued to serve God with enthusiasm and purpose as they advanced in years.
  • Adjustment of my attitude. Life is too short to hold on to negative emotions. It is essential to forgive freely.
  • Establishing and revisiting goals–I think in terms of the future. I ask myself what do I want to be or do in 5, 10, 20 years? I remind myself of goals I have  set and  things I would possibly regret if I did not pursue. One of those goals for me was continued education. I completed a seminary degree as a tangible illustration of taking a step forward.
  • Investment in those things in life that are eternal: people and God’s Word. My husband and I have been intentional in enriching our marriage and  have developed new rituals to promote closeness. I strive to develop creative ways to relate to my adult children and my grandchildren. I am committed to deepen relationships with friends and often do this through involvement in women’s Bible study.
  • I remind myself that spiritual gifts do not cease. The words of Billy Graham ring true, “There is no retirement mentioned in the Bible” (Curry, 2003). In a spiritual sense ‘a woman’s work is never done’!
Midlife years can be the most productive and enjoyable years. Scripture promises we can go from ‘strength to strength’ (Psalm 84:7) and ‘glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18). I desire to help women “reflect the goodness of God through the joyful acceptance (and transformation) of all things” (Stafford,31), and help them be able to say like Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
My response: Praise the Lord! I’m another year older!
*Here=Content and dare I say it? A hint of excitement for the future! I continue to be ‘in process.’
Erin Curry, Mission San Diego with Billy Graham marks 413th crusade in half century. Baptist Press, posted on May 8, 2003.
Stafford, Tim, The Old-Age Heresy. Christianity Today (September 16, 1991), 30-31.
©Brenda Pace, 2010

Today I welcome my web creator friend Rochelle as a guest blogger. The lovely photo was taken by her brother Bill Boling who serves as a missionary in Costa Rica. I know you will find both of these amazing views worth a look!

Twists and Turns
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not very concerned about “fitting in” or even being considered “normal.”  In fact, I’d like to know what “normal” is.  Normally, we want life to be smooth…straight…not too many twist and turns.  But I like a little excitement now and then.  I look forward to the “off road” experiences.  The ones filled with bumps that launch me into the air and turns that make me hang on so tight my knuckles turn white.
Old as Mud?
Seems as though the journey that God has entrusted me with has been filled with plenty of those bumps and white knuckle turns and because I’m not normal, I find that I look forward to my off road times.  I must admit that many times the off road stuff causes me to get covered in dirt and mud but the older I get (my daughter would say I’m as old as that mud) the more I realize that the momentary discomfort is well worth the end result.   There is nothing like launching off those bumps right into the arms of God and hanging on so “white knuckle” tight that the fear and weariness give way to the exhilaration of who God is and the growth to be learned in that place.
Yep, I love life’s off road adventures because it is there that I find the most spectacular views of my God and many of my most rewarding encounters with life.

A Fellow Sojourner