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

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!

via tumblr

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

via Pinterest

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.

I’ve enjoyed the travel that being a military spouse has provided. Our family lived in both Germany and Korea and I’ve had the great privilege to travel quite a bit to other parts of the world. There’s a story behind so many of the ‘things’ that decorate my home.

A Korean letter box presented to me by a woman after I spoke at a retreat; The blue and white pot in the background purchased on a trip to Hong Kong; The tall vase beside the mirror hand carried from a recent trip to Hawaii; The gilded mirror snagged at a Tennessee flea market

A former gold K-mart mirror hanging beside treasures from China

Remembrances from an incredible trip to Turkey

Sea glass from beautiful Okinawa adorns a plate in the guest bath

A Kokeshi doll keeps watch in my kitchen. The doll's kimono unties and becomes a scroll on which women at a retreat in Japan wrote notes of greeting and appreciation. Such a special gift!

Traipsed through the streets of Seoul to find the medicine chest, painting, and brush box. What fun memories!

Saw this shelf idea on a decorating blog. The shelf was purchased for our former apartment. Because of the high ceilings in this place it looked squatty and unattractive. I found two end tables at IKEA and elevated the shelf. The spaces underneath were filled with small storage chests. I really like the result!

The shelf became the perfect display for a collection of celadon from Korea. Is there a more perfect color than celadon green?

My favorite display of treasures in all the world--art by my son Joseph.

©Brenda Pace, 2010
Spring arrived in Georgia in mid-April. I had the joy of seeing fresh blossoms again in Alaska in late April. It was such a surprise to view spring blooms yet again in Germany just last week. During my stay I took a couple of walks into the German village close to the conference hotel. Here are some of the sites of my third spring this year:

Every spring is the only spring--a perpetual astonishment. ~Ellis Peters

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil. ~Bishop Reginald Heber

Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. ~Hal Borland

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring will come again. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

I’m headed home tomorrow. It’s been a wonderful trip and season of travel and ministry, but I am eager to be home. I’m eager to discover what life’s next leg of the journey brings. Lots of changes around the corner!

“There is nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

photo via Mighty2Save.com
I’m enjoying a few of my favorite German things to include:

Bienenstich Cake

Nothing like it…creamy, crunchy, delicious!

Schnitzel

Nothing like it…savory, crispy, wunderbar!

Spaetzle

Nothing like it…velvety, rich, tasty!

German Coffee

Nothing like it…full, aromatic, robust!

German Konditori

Nothing like it…quaint, relaxed, pleasant!

Kinder-eggs

Nothing like it…ingenious, creative, fun!

Ritter Sport Pfefferminz

Nothing like it…sweet, dark, scrumptious!

Euro pillows and comforters

Nothing like it…soft, comforting–Guten nacht!

via WideOpenSpaces.com

Most of all this is where I want to go..with all my ?:

There is a place of quiet rest,

Near to the heart of God.

A place where sin cannot molest,

Near to the heart of God

O Jesus, blest redeemer,

Sent from the heart of God,

Hold us who wait before Thee

Near to the heart of God.

From the hymn, “Near to the Heart of God” by Cleland B. McAfee

Packing again
I’m traveling again this week! Last big trip for a while. I do consider the opportunity to travel a gift, although the process is not as glamourous as it sometimes sounds. Packing can be a challenge–I tend to forget important things. Sitting for a long time in close quarters can be a challenge–even people with short legs have issues in airplane seats. As I was getting ready for this trip I remembered a devotion I wrote for The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional on the topic. Thought I’d post it today in honor of packing dilemmas.
It Will Fit
How can we understand the road we travel? It is the Lord who directs our steps.~Proverbs 20:24 NLT
“To the child of God, there is no such thing as accident. He travels an appointed way. The path he treads was chosen for him when as yet he was not, when as yet he had existence only in the mind of God.” A.W. Tozer[1]
A desire of my heart has been to travel the world. As a military spouse I have not only had the privilege to do this, but I have lived in both Europe and Asia. There have been countless miles logged over the years as God has provided opportunities to share a word of encouragement with others throughout the world. The stamps in my passport are treasures of these gifts.
I’ve had to travel alone enough to appreciate the times I’ve had a traveling companion. My friend Victoria and I journeyed many miles together during a term of leadership for the military chapel women’s ministry Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC). Each time we are together something reminds us of one of our many expeditions and we find ourselves laughing as we relive a special time.
In preparing to return home we always ended up having much more to pack than when we started and the concern would be if it would all fit. Our catch phrase and declaration was: it will fit! Many times we realized that there were some things we could leave as a gift for the hotel housekeeper or our host. But, someway, somehow those things that were most important always did fit into the suitcase.
It will fit continues to be our catch phrase today as Victoria and I compare notes on things other than literal packing of a suitcase. Now we discuss our schedules and the ministry goals and dreams the Lord allows us to have and we encourage each other that if it truly is God’s appointed way, it will fit.
We do have to be cautious that we don’t crowd our lives with so many things that we become too busy to enjoy the gift of life God has given us. God does have an appointed way for each of us to travel. If we find that doing what God wants doesn’t seem to fit, then maybe that is the time we should consider removing something that is unnecessary.
—Brenda
Father, thank you for the promise of your direction through life. Keep me ever mindful of the priorities that are pleasing to you. As I begin this new day, I place all of the choices of how I can spend this day before you. Help me to complete the things that truly fit and to remove the things that are extra weight. In your name I pray. Amen.

[1] A.W. Tozer, We Travel an Appointed Way. (Camp Hill, PA:Wingspread Publishers, 1988) 1.
This devotional thought is taken from The One Year™Yellow Ribbon Devotional by Brenda Pace and Carol McGlothlin. Entry from October 1 It Will Fit.