Always In Good Company

Give thanks to God, for God is good
and God’s mercy endures forever.

Psalm 136:1

I was a little “off” when I woke the other day. I’d enjoyed a string of busy and happily peaceful days. Still, I found myself immersed in sadness. For unknown reasons, my first thoughts that morning were steeped in relatively ancient history. I asked myself, “Why did I wake up with that on my mind?” Though I did my best to focus on happier things, nothing seemed to help. So it was that after breakfast, I bid my dear husband farewell and headed out for a walk.

As soon as I reached the front of our house, I looked back at the ever-present greenery and the colorful annuals Mike had planted this year. They’re prettier than ever and, for a few minutes, they took my mind off of those pesky old memories. As I walked further, I couldn’t miss the flowers which grace so many of our neighbors’ homes. “Thank you, Dear God, for these perfectly placed distractions!!” I prayed.

As I walked on, an uncommonly cool breeze nudged me along the way. “I love the wind, Dear God, because it reminds me that you’re with me.” As I continued on, those bothersome worries faded in the shadow of the beauty around me. Green trees seemed greener than ever. Lush lawns seemed even more beautiful. Every blossom I passed seemed to be in its prime. As I basked in all of this, that breeze continued to nudge me along the way. Finally, I realized that God was with me. Finally, I remembered that God is always with me. Finally, I knew that all would be well. Should those memories emerge once again, God will handle them with me.

Dear God, thank you for your patience, your company and your love.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Gifted Freely!

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
all my being, bless God’s holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and forget not all God’s gifts.

Psalm 103:1-2

I’d been walking indoors quite a bit, so I seized the opportunity to hike around a nearby lake with my husband. Though the scenery wasn’t really very different from that of our local park, I enjoyed the change. The breeze which urged us along caused leaves to rustle and tiny waves to form on the lake. Though we could easily see from one side of this body of water to the other, it looked mighty and strong in its own right.

As we walked, I found myself distracted from our conversation by unfamiliar flowers, an oddly shaped tree and a chubby chipmunk who dared to scamper across our path. A very large and unleashed dog gave me reason to pause, though my husband ambled toward it without fear. The dog’s master likely noted my alarm as she quickly attached a leash to her furry companion. I admit that I thanked her for this consideration after I complimented her admittedly cute canine. When we began our second trek around the lake, I hoped to see that dog again so I could exhibit my newfound bravery in its presence. I also hoped to notice even more of the treasures hidden in this beautiful place.

Though that walk around the lake was free of cost to me, it was jam-packed with treasure. It seems to me that this is true of all of God’s gifts.

Creator God, I enjoyed that walk. Thank you for giving us the capacity to appreciate this beautiful world. Thank you for our capacity to appreciate you. Thank you for everything!

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God’s With Me

The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear
the sound it makes, but you do not know
where it comes from or where it goes…

John 3:8

You’re probably tired of reading that I enjoy walking outdoors more than any other physical exercise. Please forgive my repetition. It helps me to renew my resolve and to walk as often as possible. You see, regardless of my mood, walking lifts my spirit. If a soft breeze caresses me along the way, I relish nature’s attention. If a blustery wind pushes me onward or threatens to push me back from where I’ve come, I welcome nature’s challenge to continue on my way. Whatever the conditions, except perhaps pouring rain or below-zero temperatures, the outdoors never cease to speak to me. Even then, they cause me to reflect from the comfort of home.

I think I enjoy these treks outdoors because I do my best praying when I walk, especially on breezy days. Though the trees and the pond that I pass are beautiful, it’s the wind that nudges me out the door every time. There’s something about the wind that assures me that God is attending to my praise, my gratitude, my remorse and my requests as I amble along. At the same time, I also feel most listened to when I walk in the midst of Creation. I imagine God swirling down, sometimes in a whirlwind and sometimes in the gentlest breeze, simply to let me know that I’m never alone. I always return home convinced that I’ve been heard and that I’m in very good company!

Dear God, I thank you for the creative ways in which you make your presence known.
I thank you even more for the inspiration which lets me know you are with me.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God’s Here

Give Thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.

Psalm 136:1

Before I set out for my walk this morning, I decided that I would empty my mind of the day’s concerns and open myself up to God’s presence. I admit that I was not a block away from home when I realized that my mind was as cluttered as ever with worries of every sort. While some of these things matter greatly, most will make no difference at all in the grand scheme of things.

“Ugh!” I said aloud. “Why can’t I concentrate?” Though I expected no answer on this mid-June morning, an uncommonly cool breeze nudged me along the way. “O God, I love the wind! It reminds me that you’re with me.” As I continued to walk, those bothersome worries faded. All the while, that breeze pressed against my back and God continued to remind me that I am never alone. None of us is ever alone!

Good and gracious God, thank you for walking with me. Thank you for walking with every one of us.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God’s Gentle Path

Teach me your paths, my God,
guide me in your truth.

Psalm 25:4

By now, you know that my favorite solo activity is walking outdoors. The weather matters little to me as I find these treks enjoyable regardless of the temperature. A breeze of any velocity enhances these excursions exponentially.

I do admit that my walks have been irregular these days. I’ve had trouble juggling my schedule and making time to write as often as I’d like to. A few days ago, I couldn’t deal with my restlessness and frustration any longer. I announced to my husband that I was going for a walk and that was that. Not two minutes out of the house, a gentle breeze enveloped me. Two blocks later, the breeze’s strength increased and nudged me along the way. This was quite a feat as I was already walking briskly. Halfway into this adventure, my head cleared and our good and gracious God took residence there for the duration. Suddenly, my writing schedule -or lack thereof- seemed less of a problem and more of a blessing. Somehow, I knew I would find the time to do what needs to be done.

It seems to me that we sometimes learn God’s path best when we walk in search of it.

Merciful God, thank you for having pity on me as I fretted. The moment I opened the door, you came.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

A Holy Breeze

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.

Psalm 136:1

Before I set out for my walk this morning, I decided to empty my mind of the day’s concerns and open myself up to God’s presence. I admit that I was not a block away from home when I realized that my mind was as cluttered as ever with worries of every sort. While some of these things matter greatly, most make no difference at all in the grand scheme of things.

“Ugh!” I said aloud. “Why can’t I concentrate?” Though I expected no answer on this August morning, an uncommonly cool breeze nudged me along the way. “I love the wind, Dear God, because it reminds me that you are with me.” As I continued to walk, those bothersome worries faded. Green trees seemed greener than ever. Lush lawns seemed even more beautiful. Every blossom I passed seemed to be in its prime. As I relished the beauty around me, that breeze continued to nudge me along the way. All the while, I knew God was with me. All the while, I knew all would be well.

Today, I didn’t need to pray a word. I needed only to make room on that sidewalk for God to walk with me.

Good and gracious God, thank you for your patience, your company and your love.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved