Our Precious World

Truth shall spring out of the earth…
From Psalm 85:12

When I drive just south of our neighborhood, I pass a greenhouse, Mary’s Greenhouse to be precise. I chuckle when I read the sign on that building full of flowers and greenery. For years, I’ve told my husband that he should have been a florist or tended a greenhouse because he has an amazing green thumb. Though I’m a worthy assistant when it comes to digging up flowerbeds, trimming roses and weeding here and there, my knowledge of annuals, perennials and most other aspects of gardening is minimal. The good news is that my husband loves these things. As a result, the land which flanks our home is beautifully picturesque. I appreciate his efforts more than words can express and I find a world of inspiration in the loveliness of his handiwork.

As I write, it occurs to me that “Mary’s Greenhouse” provides the perfect reminder of how generously God has blessed me. God has given me both my own gardener-in-residence and the sense to recognize the wonder present in his flowerbeds. In each one, I enjoy both the fruits of my husband’s talent and the fruits of God’s love for us. How much God must care to have created a world capable of producing such beauty! How much God must care to have given us those who make the most of this gift!

Generous God, we can all find joy in the beauty which springs from this earth. Make us good custodians of this precious gift.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Co-Exist with Love

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Matthew 5:9

Yesterday, after stopping for lunch, my husband and I continued our gardening efforts. While Mike drove off to pick up one more hosta, I stayed home to sweep displaced soil into the appropriate flowerbeds. In the process, I noticed sprinkles of soil next to two planters on the patio which we’d tended to the other day. As I swept the soil, I saw a squirrel watching me from afar. “You little stinker!” I whispered. After all, I didn’t want to scare the poor thing. Still, as I swept, it occurred to me that I should have scared my furry friend. He was likely the culprit who displaced that dirt while digging around the begonias in our planters. So it was that I decided to engage that squirrel in conversation. “You know,” I said loudly enough to scare him away, “You can dig up the entire yard if you want to. Just leave the flowers alone!” Afterward, I went on to wash the bird bath. When I finally went into the house, that squirrel (or his twin brother) scampered up to the planters. I knocked on the patio door glass to remind him of my offer. I couldn’t help laughing as he ran off full speed ahead.

My husband and I will figure out a way to keep our squirrel friends from our planters. In the mean time, we’ll continue to welcome them into the rest of the yard because they really are fun to watch.

God of Love, help us humans to find better ways to co-exist with one another as well. When we do, we’ll be much more fun to watch, too.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God’s Treasure

How shall I make a return to the Lord
for all the good he has done for me?

Psalm 116:12

I recently shared that my husband has replaced a very tall blue spruce which has been dying a slow death over the past few years. We delayed the inevitable until this spring because Mike and I have a very hard time parting with trees. Our friend Daniel-the-Gardener and his assistant took down the tree. My husband planted three much smaller arbor vitae in its place. This morning, Mike finished his handiwork which included filling in the empty space around those new little trees with some sturdy perennials. While Mike planted, I raked the displaced landscape stones into place. In the process, I managed to rake lots of twigs and leaves as well. So it was that I knelt next to the piles I’d formed and separated the rocks from the dirt, twigs and leaves in which they were hiding.

Since I was on my knees, it seemed appropriate to offer a word or two to the Almighty as I worked. I could have finished this task in half the time, but I didn’t. Rather, I took the time to look at each stone, even the ones which were covered with mud. I brushed that mud away and added each precious bit of treasure to my collection. As I worked, I prayed, “Dear God, I will use every one of these rocks just as you use every one of us to share your love. Thank you for considering each of us a treasure.”

Dear God, you reveal your love for us in our work and in our leisure, even when we are knee-deep in mud.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

More On Time…

A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot the plant.

Ecclesiastes 3:2

A time to be born… I enjoy walking outdoors because of Nature’s ongoing evolution. The entire world seems to engage in rebirth during springtime. This growth continues through summer when flowerbeds and gardens flourish. Leafy trees respond to September’s mix early on with subtle changes in color. October brings those changes to fruition only to give way to November winds. Leaves crunching beneath my feet remind me that winter is near. Even then, barren trees hold the promise of new life. Yes, it seems to me that there is always time to be born.

A time to die… Just as Nature engages in rebirth, it also engages in dying all the while. Something old continually gives way to something new. Seeds fall from trees and dance in the wind until they find rest on the ground below. Though no longer part of a living plant, they hold all of the potential they need for life anew. These seeds nestle into the ground with great hope in the things to come.

A time to plant and a time to uproot the plant… If those seeds are lucky, a watchful gardener will see that they are covered with enough soil to survive. If they sprout too closely to one another, that gardener will gently relocate them so each will have room to take root and to receive its share of sunlight and water.

A time to love… Fortunately for us all, God feels it is always time to tend to us, the most beloved of all God’s creatures.

Caring God, thank you for your always timely love.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Tend Your Garden

Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.

Psalm 85:12

As I drove south of our neighborhood, I passed Mary’s Greenhouse for the umpteenth time. I smile every time I that building-ful of flowers and other greenery. You see, for years, I’ve told my husband that he should have been a florist or tended a greenhouse because he has an amazing way with vegetation of every sort. Though I am a worthy assistant when it comes to digging up flowerbeds, trimming roses and weeding here and there, I have minimal knowledge of annuals, perennials and the many other aspects of gardening. The good news is that my husband loves these things. As a result, the land which flanks our home is beautifully picturesque. I appreciate his efforts more than words can express because a world of loveliness and inspiration lies just beyond our windows and doors.

As I write, it occurs to me that Mary’s Greenhouse provides the perfect reminder of how generously God has blessed me. God has given me both my own gardener-in-residence and the sense to recognize the wonder present in his handiwork. In those flowers and plants, I see not only the fruits of my husband’s talent, but also the fruits of God’s love for us. How God must care to have created a world for us which is capable of producing such beauty! How God must care to have given us the capacity to make the most of Mother Earth’s gifts!

Generous God, though we are not all blessed with green thumbs, we are each blessed with unique talents. Help us to use them as aptly as my dear husband does. Help us to make our little patches of this earth inspiring and beautiful as well.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Our Loving Caretaker

Thus have you prepared the land:
drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.

Psalm 65:11

The other morning, I looked at our calendar to find that neither my husband nor I had anything scheduled that day. Shocked, I quickly called to him and asked, “Do you have anything going today?” He replied, “Miraculously, not a thing!” Having said that, he appeared in his most threadbare shorts and t-shirt. Before I could ask what he was up to, he recited a laundry list of outdoor chores which he planned to accomplish by noon. I laughed as he headed out the back door to the yard.

After taking care of a thing or two myself, I checked on my husband. He had weeded around all of our perennials and checked all of the planters and pots. He had also fertilized every flower he’d planted around the yard. When I found him, he was assessing his old bird house and trying to decide where to put its replacement. When I asked why he was devoting this uncommon free-day to so much manual labor, he replied, “Are you kidding? I love doing this stuff!”

As I headed back to my own chores, I looked upward and smiled. “You love doing this stuff, too. Taking care of us and watching us flourish makes your day. Nice!”

Loving God, you never take a free day from caring for us. Whether our troubles are great or small, you tend to them and to us with great love. Thank you!

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved