Grateful, in Spite of It All

Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord,
and let your faithful ones bless you.

Psalm 145:11

I’m usually tired on Wednesday. This is a good thing as it’s the result of spending Tuesday with my grandson. This week, I found it particularly therapeutic to run with Danny for the day. I’ve been in a dark mood due to circumstances all over this world of ours. Though things have deteriorated closer to home these days, some of our sisters and brothers across whichever ocean you chose have suffered the equivalent for lifetimes. The worst part of all of this is that much of the suffering is long-term. I can donate to relief efforts, which I will, but I can’t do much more from here. What’s worse is that I can’t seem to make much difference regarding suffering which is closer to home…

I consoled myself with a walk. As I headed down the block, I saw our neighbor’s car. They’ve returned from a weekend away. I smiled as I congratulated myself for remembering to bring their baby bottle to church. We filled them with spare change to support a program which assists women in difficult pregnancies. That same weekend, a doctor and nurse from the Mission Doctors Association also made an appeal. The outpouring of support for both causes amazed everyone. In spite of my dour mood, I felt a twinge of gratitude.

For the first time in several days, I noticed the blue sky, an assortment of wispy clouds and the lush trees which line our neighborhood. For the first time in several days, I took notice of the goodness which surrounds me. Though a day with our grandchildren is always a treat, so is a day touched by the goodness of the people who grace my life. Though floods and poverty and injustice won’t be wiped away in an instant, every effort to respond will make a difference every time!

Dear God, help me to live with a loving and grateful heart by responding to those you have given me to love, both near and far away.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Living Gratefully

Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord,
and let your faithful ones bless you.

Psalm 145:10

This occurs occasionally and without explanation. Unexpected feelings of gratitude overwhelm me. I’m a creature of habit who walks the same route every single time I venture outdoors. Still, the blue of the sky or changes in the trees which I’ve seen a hundred times before fill me with awe. The familiar green branches looming overhead reveal new knots and gnarly twists every time I pass under them. Chirping birds provide the frosting on the cake. Even drizzling rain gives me reason to be grateful.

Perhaps I’ve been an unwitting student of Creation’s wisdom during these treks outdoors. Perhaps the gently clouded sky that beckons my eyes toward heaven and the trees which continuously raise their arms upward are reminding me to do the same. Their very existence points to God’s glory. And then there are those people I’ve been given to love…

Perhaps my existence on this earth is meant to point others in heaven’s direction as well. Like Nature around me, perhaps I’m meant to do everything I do with a spirit of gratitude. After all, being a part of God’s creation is a privilege and honor and something for which to be extremely grateful.

Generous God, when I appreciate what I have, it’s easy to share my gifts with others. Help me to do so generously.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

T… Thanksgiving, Today and Every Day

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

Psalm 136:1

T is for Thanksgiving. I’ve probably made it more clear than necessary that life isn’t always perfect. Still, I can’t help feeling grateful. I have much to be thankful for -far more than I ever expected or dared to hope for. My family tops the list. I never intended to marry and never dreamed that I’d be a mom. When I became a grandmother, my life took a turn which I never imagined possible. My other precious blessings aren’t tangible -like love, joy, compassion and understanding, to name a few, but they’re very real to me just the same. Yes, I’m a very blessed soul.

When this life presents unpleasant challenges, I face them most effectively with a grateful heart. I hope our dear Lord never tires of hearing me pray, “God, I know you’ve been very good to me, but really? I don’t mean to complain, but how can I deal with this?” It usually takes me a few minutes to calm down, to adjust my thinking and to re-word my prayer. I continue, “Thank you, God, for being with me in everything. I know that all of this will end well. In the mean time, help me to respond as you would.”

T is for Thanksgiving. Today and every day, I will do my best to face everything with a heart full of thanksgiving.

Generous God, thank you for everything!

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

T… for Thanksgiving

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

Psalm 136:1

T is for Thanksgiving. I hope I have made it clear in one way or another that life is not always perfect for me. Still, I have much to be thankful for -far more than I ever expected or dared to hope for. The most precious of these gifts aren’t tangible, but they are very real to me just the same. Yes, I am a very blessed soul.

When this life presents unpleasant challenges, I face them most effectively with a grateful heart. I hope our dear Lord never tires of hearing me pray, “God, I know you have been very good to me, but really? I don’t mean to complain, but how can I deal with this?” It usually takes me a few minutes to adjust my thinking and my prayer. I continue, “Thank you, God, for being with me in everything. I know that all of this will end well. In the mean time, help me to respond as you would.”

T is for Thanksgiving. Today and every day, I will do my best to face everything with a heart full of thanksgiving.

Generous God, thank you for everything!

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Picture Perfect

Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

Psalm 145:13

When my first grandchild was born, I organized our pictures of her and the rest of us from Day 1. Some family members and friends acknowledged my new role as “Grandma” by gifting me with photo albums and I put each one to immediate use. Rather than storing them away, I displayed the albums on our coffee table for easy access. I didn’t want to forget a bit of this new adventure.

Three more grandchildren and a few memorable trips have enticed me to keep this “album thing” going. Twelve volumes later, I find that my thinking in this regard is sound. When visiting, our grandchildren, their parents and their aunt and uncle look through these albums often. Numerous conversations regarding the places we have been, the kids’ growth spurts and a variety of special occasions result. The smiles that accompany all of this indicate that my photo album collection is truly a celebration of who we are and where we have been.

Though I have no photographic evidence, I am certain that my family and I have not been alone in all of this. God has been with us every step -and click of the camera- along the way.

Generous God, thank you for the memories and for the wonderful family who build them with me.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

My Thanks

Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord,
and let your faithful ones bless you.

Psalm 145:11

Perhaps the arrival of our newest grandchild and his slow evolution from preemie toward full-grown is the reason… As soon as I established my pace for this morning’s walk, feelings of gratitude overwhelmed me. I am a creature of habit who walks the same route every time I venture out. Still, the blue sky and the changes in trees which I have seen a hundred times fill me with awe. Every day, nature reveals something which I failed to notice before. Chirping birds are the frosting on the cake. Even drizzling rain gives me reason to feel grateful.

Perhaps I am an unwitting student of God’s wisdom during these treks. Perhaps the clouded blue sky that beckons my eyes toward heaven and the trees who continuously raise their arms upward are reminding me to do the same. Their very existence points to God’s glory. Perhaps my existence on this earth is meant to point to God’s wonder as well. Certainly, little Daniel’s progress does this on a daily basis. Like Nature around me, perhaps we are all meant to do this with a spirit of gratitude. After all, being a part of God’s creation is a privilege and honor -something for which we can all be grateful.

Dear God, help me to live with a grateful heart and to share my gratitude with all of those you have given me to love.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved