There’s Always Time

He entered a house and wanted no one to know
about it, but he could not escape notice.

From Mark 7:24

It’s Black Friday. Crowds in stores and malls everywhere swell exponentially with every passing minute. As I considered the mass of humanity of which I was a part this morning, I whispered a prayer of gratitude for those retailers who agreed not to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Of all of the holidays we celebrate in this country, Thanksgiving Day is the one we all enjoy without regard for our religious affiliations or lack thereof. I thanked God for the generosity of these employers whose workers enjoyed the holiday with their families yesterday.

After uttering a mental “amen” I returned to my list to determine where to go next. A voice near a cashier distracted. This person remarked that he would be wealthy if he had a dollar for every minute he spent waiting. As the man hurried out of the store, I chuckled to myself. I’d found my own wealth in the few seemingly wasted moments which allowed me to get my bearings. While the world rushed about me, I had also found the time to pray.

Perhaps this is the reason Jesus rose early and stole away for quiet time as often as he could. The scriptures also tell us that these moments were usually disrupted by those who desperately needed Jesus. The same is true of you and me. Today, I’m going to try to respond as Jesus would, with patience, genuine concern and love.

Dear God, our world grows busier every day. Still, I’m grateful that others occasionally need me. Help me to respond to them as you would. Then, remind me to pray a bit, too.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Make It A Good Friday

Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

Luke 21:28

Though I still savor the turkey, Thanksgiving Day is fading into a distant memory. I know. It was only yesterday. Still, shoppers headed out before the leftovers were put away last night. Others left their beds in the wee hours this morning to take advantage of sales. Many who are working today will go directly to the mall afterward with the hope that their wish list items are still available. Overnight, the Christmas Shopping Season made its stealth entrance quite effectively.

If you haven’t given much thought to shopping yet, don’t worry. Though today’s sales will make a dent in store inventories, those empty shelves will be filled again soon enough. The lagging economy beckons, and retailers everywhere will seek your contribution to the cause through 11:59 on Christmas Eve. In the mean time, I invite you to join me in letting go of the holiday frenzy.

I’ve decided to approach my shopping needs in small increments. My husband and I will decorate in small increments as well. We enjoy the Christmas Season best of all and we hope to attend to every minute of it. In the process, we will avoid the weariness which comes with trying to do too much in too little time. I invite you to join me in finding ways to remove just a bit of the hustle and bustle of the season from your life. In the end, you will find yourself enjoying Christmas more than ever before,

Caring God, though the Christmas Season is meant to celebrate Jesus’ birth, our desire to please those we love sometimes gets in the way of our good intentions. Give us patience with one another, endurance to do the things we must and the wisdom to let things go that really won’t matter in the end. And, please, be with us through it all.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

There’s Always Time

Jesus went into the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know
about it, but he could not escape notice.

Mark 7:24

Though it is a week before Black Friday, lines grow in stores and malls everywhere. While standing in a linear mass of humanity this morning, I whispered a prayer of gratitude for those retailers who have agreed not to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Of all of the holidays we celebrate in this country, Thanksgiving Day is the one we can all enjoy without regard for ones religious affiliation or lack thereof. Yes, blessed be these employers whose workers will enjoy the holiday with their families this year.

With that, I returned to my grocery list to see that I had everything I needed. A voice from the front of the line distracted me from my work. This person remarked that he would be wealthy if he had a dollar for every minute he spent waiting. As he hurried out of the store, I chuckled to myself. I had already found wealth in these seemingly wasted moments when nothing more than to wait was demanded of me. While the world rushed about me, I found the time to pray.

Perhaps this is the reason Jesus often rose early and stole away for quiet time. The scriptures tell us that Jesus’ moments of peace were usually disrupted by those who needed him. The same is too often true of you and me. Still, as Jesus did, we find the time to respond.

Dear God, this world of ours grows busier every day. Still, help me also to find the time to respond to one another and to you.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

The Gift of Time

Jesus went into the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know
about it, but he could not escape notice.

From Mark 7:24-30

Though it is a full week before Black Friday, lines in stores and malls everywhere are growing. As I considered the linear mass of humanity of which I was a part this morning, I whispered a prayer of gratitude for those retailers who have agreed not to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Of all of the holidays we celebrate in this country, Thanksgiving Day is the one we can all enjoy on without regard for our religious affiliation or lack thereof. I thanked God for the generosity of these employers whose workers will enjoy the holiday with their families this year.

After uttering a mental “amen” I returned to my grocery list to see that I had picked everything I needed. A voice from the front of the line distracted me from my work. This person remarked that he would be wealthy if he had a dollar for every minute he spent waiting. As this man hurried out of the store, I chuckled to myself. I had already found wealth in these seemingly wasted moments when nothing more than to wait is demanded of me. While the world rushed about me, I had found the time to pray.

Perhaps this is the reason Jesus rose very early and stole away for quiet time as often as he could. The scriptures tell us that Jesus’ moments of peace were usually disrupted by those who desperately needed him. The same is true of you and me. Today, I am going to try to respond as Jesus would, with patience, genuine concern and love.

Dear God, this world of ours grows busier every day. Still, I am grateful that others occasionally need me. Help me to respond to them as You would. Help me also to find the time to respond to you with prayer.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

And So It Begins…

Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

Luke 21:28

Though I can still smell turkey in the kitchen, Thanksgiving Day has faded into a distant memory. I know, it was only yesterday. Still, shoppers headed out before the leftovers were put away last night. Others left their beds in the wee hours this morning to take advantage of the best sales. Those required to work today will go directly from their jobs to the mall with the hope that their wish list items are still available. Yes, overnight the Christmas Shopping Season made its stealth entrance quite effectively.

If you haven’t given much thought to shopping yet, don’t worry. Though today’s Black Friday sales will certainly make a dent in store inventories, those empty shelves will be filled again soon enough. The lagging economy beckons, and retailers everywhere will seek your contribution to the cause through 11:59 on Christmas Eve. In the mean time, I invite you to join me in post-op induced procrastination.

Because my arm will remain in a sling for another few weeks, I must shop in small increments with my husband’s assistance. We have had to scale down our holiday decorating, too, as the poor man can only do so much while continuing to care for me. So it is that I find that we are simplifying the entire Christmas Season to accommodate my recovery. I find that this simplification is also accommodating my once-weary spirit. Will you join me in finding ways to remove just a bit of the hustle and bustle of the season from your life? I can tell you from experience that you will be grateful you did.

Caring God, though the Christmas Season is meant to celebrate Jesus’ birth, our desire to please those we love gets in the way of truly enjoying this time with them and with you. Give us patience with one another, endurance to do the things we must and the wisdom to let things go that really won’t matter in the end. And, please, be with us through it all.

©Mary E. Penich All Rights Reserved

Thanksgiving Monday

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exulted above all for all ages.

Daniel 3:52

Early on in my teaching career, I discovered that the onset of Thanksgiving Week automatically turned my students’ thoughts to Christmas. Though I don’t recall any references to “Black Friday” at the time, I know that the children were aware that Christmas shopping and visits to Santa began the day after Thanksgiving. In an effort to keep them interested in school during those days of anticipation, I devised all sorts of projects and lessons which covered the prescribed curriculum while also acknowledging their mindsets.

During Thanksgiving Week, we named, discussed, listed, spelled, wrote about, added up, illustrated, sorted and charted our collective blessings. Though the public school setting did not promote conversation regarding the Almighty, the children certainly understood why the pilgrims felt the need to express their gratitude to their Lord. Who was I to disallow these innocent ones expressions of the same? By the time they left my care on Wednesday of that week, most of the children had joined me in not worrying quite so much about what we wanted and in being a bit more grateful for what we had.

Today, I will do the same.

Generous God, thank you for your love, for the gift of this life and for the blessings you supply along the way. Give me a grateful and generous heart, that I will always acknowledge your gifts and share what I have been given.

©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved