Zipping Along…

God has done great things for us.
From Psalm 126:2

Road construction surrounds us in every direction both nearby and faraway. As a result, my husband and I drove the “scenic route” when we returned home from Wisconsin a few weeks ago. Since Mike enjoys the drive, I contented myself with the beautiful autumn colors which graced the roadside. Along the way, we passed a zip-lining site. The lines and platforms stretched amidst a forest of trees for what seemed at least a mile. My view from the car indicated that those trees were the best of the scenery a rider would enjoy.

Though I don’t mean to be a “zip-lining snob”, I think I’ve become one. Five years ago, while visiting Alaska, my husband and I enjoyed an excursion in Icy Straight Point. It was there that we took advantage of the ingenuity of the Hoonah Tribe. These Native Alaskans operate the world’s longest zip-rider. For reasons unknown to me, Mike and I found the courage to take that zip-rider from the side of a mountain hundreds of feet above ground to enjoy the most amazing experience of our lives. For the entire duration of the ride, I repeated two phrases: “This is awesome!” and “Thank you, God, for giving me the courage to do this!” I recall that I smiled all the while.

When I looked back toward that roadside zip-line, I acknowledged that it paled in comparison to my Alaskan experience. Still, I wondered if I should give it a chance. After all, I’m the one who finds an adventure every time I walk my neighborhood. Every new day brings me a new perspective regarding the greenery I pass along the way. Perhaps those trees will provide their own wonderful soul-changing experience. With that, I turned to my husband to suggest that we may want to zip-line locally next time.

Generous God, thank you for showing yourself to me in all of the wonders of this world.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Advertisements

More On God’s Gifts…

Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.

Psalm 98:8

When friends of ours expressed doubts about taking a cruise, I promised to convince them otherwise. In an effort to do so, I showed them our album from an Alaskan Cruise we’d enjoyed some years ago. Though mere mention of the 49th State conjures up mental images of this trip, our album brought these beautiful memories to life…

Every morning, the majestic outdoors waited outside our window to welcome us to the new day. Mountains peered from above inviting me to gaze their way before the inevitable approach of cloud-cover. Gulls, salmon and whales gifted me with appearances as well and then quickly continued on their way. Even before breakfast, Creation filled me with reason to rejoice and be glad.

The people we met added to our treasure. I remember the Tlingit Tribe Member, the fifth generation Alaskan migrant, the Alaskan newcomer and fellow travelers who shared their stories with us. Each one embraced the simple life dictated by Alaska’s geography and climate only to find much more. Though it was impossible to understand each of their journeys completely, the peace within them was unmistakable. Life is not perfect for my Alaskan friends. Still, the beauty and simplicity around them lightens their burdens and frees them to focus more fully on the things that matter most.

Though I didn’t say much about the ship as I shared that album, the beauty we discovered on that cruise convinced our friends to give it a try.

Loving God, thank you for the wonderful gifts which urge us to expand our horizons and to appreciate your handiwork.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Delights Us

Great are the works of the Lord,
exquisite in all their delights.

Psalm 111:2

A few weeks ago, I admitted that I was as tired as my poor husband was that day. My admittedly self-imposed to-do list had overwhelmed me and I needed a break. So it was that I joined my husband in the family room to relax. It didn’t take long for us to be drawn in by the travel channel. We discovered a series of shows which featured Alaska. The week before, friends had shared that they’re planning a cruise to the 49th State. Ever since, I couldn’t help relishing flashbacks to the wonder we’d encountered there. Though cloudy weather had prevented us from viewing the Aurora Borealis, we encouraged our friends take every opportunity for a potential sighting. Much to my absolute joy, the program my husband and I watched that day featured the Aurora in all its glory.

Though I’m certain that these images didn’t do justice to God’s handiwork, they took our breath away. They gave my husband and me a most welcome distraction from our fatigue. Perhaps they’ve also given us reason to take the time to explore God’s other treasures as well.

Loving God, thank you for the beauty with which you surround us. Thank you also for these little interludes which nudge us to enjoy that beauty as often as we can!

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God’s Artwork

Great are the works of the Lord,
exquisite in all their delights.

Psalm 111:2

Our neighbor’s recent trip to Alaska reminded me of our experience there a few years ago. The exquisite beauty of that amazing expanse truly left its mark on my soul. Our only disappointment was missing the Aurora Borealis. Cloudy skies hid it from view every single night of our trip. This morning, Psalm 111 prompted me to search online for what I missed. Though I know the images and videos I found didn’t do justice to this wonder of Creation, they took my breath away just the same.

Just knowing the Aurora is out there for someone to see compels me to smile. Perhaps I will see it in person one day. In the mean time, I’ll enjoy the beauty at hand. This is far more productive than the fretting and worry I’ve been focusing upon as of late.

Loving God, thank you for the beauty with which you surround us and for giving us the ability to appreciate these gifts. Help me to focus more on these wonders and less upon my worries, especially the worries which are out of my hands.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God’s Great Gifts

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.”

Psalm 126:2

While finalizing what we would like to do during our “driving get-away”, I went online in search of nearby zip-lining. Two years ago, while visiting Alaska, we stopped in Icy Straight Point. It was there that my husband and I took advantage of the ingenuity of the Hoonah Tribe. These Native Alaskans operate the world’s longest zip-rider. For reasons unknown to me, Mike and I found the courage to ride hundreds of feet above ground to enjoy the most amazing experience of our lives. For the duration of the ride, I repeated two phrases: “This is awesome!” and “Thank you, God, for giving me the courage to do this!” I recall that I smiled the entire time.

As I perused the webpages of various zip-lining companies, their offerings paled in comparison to my Alaskan experience. I wondered if I should give them a chance or if I should hang on to that wonderful soul-changing experience which took my breath away. Perhaps I should stop while I am ahead. After all, nothing can compare to the amazing view I enjoyed from that vantage point. More importantly, nothing can replace my conviction that I rode in the palm of Someone’s hand all the while.

I think I’ll tell Mike that we’ll move onto to something else…

Generous God, I will forever be filled laughter and rejoicing with regard to that AWESOME experience. Guide me as I continue to strive to experience you in the wonder of this world.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Celebrate God’s Gifts

Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.

Psalm 98:7-8

Recent planning for a mini-getaway gave me reason to pull out our album from an Alaskan Cruise we enjoyed a few years ago. Though mere mention of the 49th State conjures up mental images of this trip, our album brought these beautiful memories to life…

Every morning, whether on the ship or in a rustic inn, the majestic outdoors waited outside our window to welcome us to the new day. Mountains peered from above inviting me to gaze their way before the inevitable approach of cloud-cover. Gulls, salmon and whales gifted me with appearances as well and then quickly continued on their way. Even before breakfast, Creation filled me with reason to rejoice and be glad.

The people we met added to our treasure. I remember the Tlingit Tribe Member, the fifth generation Alaskan migrant, the Alaskan newcomer and fellow travelers who shared their stories with us. Each one embraced the simple life dictated by Alaska’s geography and climate only to find much more. Though it was impossible to understand each of their journeys completely, the peace within them was unmistakable. Life is not perfect for my Alaskan friends. Still, the beauty and simplicity around them lightens their burdens and frees them to focus more fully on the things that matter most. Each one assured us that Creation gives them reason to rejoice and be glad every single day.

Loving God, it didn’t take long for the routine of “Life after Alaska” to dull my senses to the wonder around me. Thank you for once again waking me up to your gifts.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved