Relax and Rest

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered,
“you are worried and upset about many things,
but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better,
and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42

It has taken me a lifetime to appreciate my need to slow down and to relax a bit. I truly enjoy the natural beauty around me. Still, I sometimes use more energy listing the reasons that I can’t head out to walk on a particular day than I would have spent actually walking. In the end, I accomplish far less than I might have if I’d been energized by that trek outdoors.

As I contemplate my need to relax, I look up from my keyboard to respond to the tree outside of my window. I watch as it seems to wave to me. It occurs to me that I must listen to the Wise One who once told Martha that she worried far too much. Martha needed to be more like Mary who sat peacefully at Jesus’ feet, drawing in his every word and all of the love that came with them. It occurs to me that I must ask Mary to move over a bit so I can sit with her. It is there that I’ll learn to stop worrying about the tasks which lie ahead and to enjoy the moment at hand.

I’m going to sign off now and go for a walk. I want to wave to that tree outside my window in person. Perhaps I’ll find a bit of Mary’s peace along the way.

Generous God, as I set aside my own worries, help me to assist others in doing the same. Teach us all to find your peace in our much-deserved rest.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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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

God’s Timing

For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday…
From Psalm 90:4

I was out of breath when I opened our front door for the UPS Man. When he handed me the box, he asked me if I was expecting any more books. Mr. UPS knows that I write. He also has enjoyed the dubious privilege of delivering hundreds of books to my door, always with a smile by the way. When I replied that I was struggling to get going on a yearlong devotional, he smiled and said, “Pace yourself!”

After closing the door and opening my package, I thought about Mr. UPS’s suggestion. “Pace yourself!” I repeated. Though I wasn’t certain that Mr. UPS knew, I knew that this was precisely what I needed to hear at the time. I also knew Who inspired this seemingly off-the-cuff comment. Determined to heed these words of wisdom, I wrote up a “To Do” list for the rest of the week. Then, I selected the tasks I thought I could finish that afternoon. Amazingly, I did everything I’d hoped to do with an hour to spare. I spent these precious extra moments on my patio enjoying the autumn colors and the cool breeze. As I took note of a beautifully fluffy cloud overhead, I offered a smile to the One who I knew was watching. “Thank you for the advice,” I prayed, “and for letting me know that we all have the responsibility to use our time well and the right to rest in between.”

Dear God, your timing is always perfect. Thank you for the messengers who remind us to heed your timepieces rather than our own.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

W… for Write

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me…
From Psalm 25:21

W is for Write. I realize that there are many more meaningful words which begin with “w”. I chose “write” because this is what I need to be doing at the moment. I’m in the midst of writing a book which is very important to me. Perhaps a reader or two will find it has meaning for them as well. The process, however, is grueling at best. I get on a role for a day or two or three only to be interrupted by what I call “real life”.

The other day when one of these incidences of “real life” threatened to monopolize my time, I retreated to the outdoors to clear my head before tackling the inevitable. In the midst of this much-needed walk, it occurred to me that I’m always writing something with my attitudes, with the things I say and with my actions. Though I’d like to leave something significant in written form, the truths I share through my daily life will be far more lasting. Just as no book store owner or librarian can predict which books patrons will pick up, I can’t predict who will read my attitudes, my next word or the things I do. Whether I opt to or not, I’m writing something with every breath I take.

With that, I returned home to “write” my next chapter by tending to the tasks at hand with patience and love.

Loving God, inspire us just to “write” of your wonder in everything we say and do.

©2016 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

Rest!

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered,
“you are worried and upset about many things,
but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better,
and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42

It has taken me a lifetime to appreciate our need to slow down and to relax a bit. I truly enjoy the natural beauty around me. Still, I sometimes use more energy listing the reasons that I cannot head out to walk on a particular day than I would have expended by actually walking. In the end, I accomplish far less than I might have if I had been energized by that trek outdoors.

As I contemplate my need to relax, I look up from my keyboard to respond to the tree outside of my window. I watch as it seems to wave to me. It occurs to me that I must listen to the Wise One who once told Martha that she worried far too much. Martha needed to be more like Mary who sat peacefully at Jesus’ feet, drawing in his every word and all of the love that came with them. It occurs to me that I must ask Mary to move over a bit so I can sit at the Lord’s feet as well. It is there that I will learn to stop worrying about the tasks which lie ahead and to enjoy the moment at hand.

I’m going to sign off now and go for a walk. I want to wave to that tree outside my window in person. Perhaps I’ll find a bit of Mary’s peace along the way.

Generous God, as I set aside my own worries, help me to assist others in doing the same. Teach us all to find your peace in our much-deserved rest.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved