Thank You, God!

Give thanks to God;
bless God’s name for God is good:
God’s kindness endures forever…

From Psalm 100:4-5

As I consider the things for which I’m grateful, I find that I have more time than usual to compile a list. It seems that I have more time than usual for everything these days! Though roasting a turkey and preparing all of the side dishes is always a challenge, portions will be much smaller this year. We can’t all gather around one table in one of our homes, so we will celebrate with one another in spirit. For this I say, “Thank you, God!”

The next point on my list of blessings is this family of mine. That I actually married was a huge surprise to me. That my husband and I have children is a miracle, literally, according to the doctors. I am most grateful for these developments! I’m also grateful for my parents who shared themselves and God with me. They appreciated God’s love and their resulting ability to weather any storm taught me to do the same. I’m grateful for my sisters and my brother, too. Each of them contributed to who I am today in so many ways. Thank you, God!

I appreciate the extended family and my friends who have added so much to my life and to me. Thank you, God!

I appreciate God’s love, too. When in doubt, I turn to Jesus who insisted that God loves us as we are with all of our frailties intact. He also assured us that God expects only what we are able to do, nothing more. Thank you for this, Dear God, because I sometimes forget that I’m good enough just as I am!

On this Thanksgiving Day, this reflection should be the longest I’ve ever written because my blessings are so numerous. Suffice to say that God knows them all and that I’m most grateful. I hope you find that the same is true for you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Generous God, thank you for everything!

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Be Grateful

I give voice to my thanks,
and recount all your wondrous deeds, O Lord…

From Psalm 26:7-8

Though I cannot tell you whose voice it was that I heard, I’m eternally grateful for the wise observation those words communicated. I was in the other room during the telecast. I have no idea of the program that my husband was watching. What I can tell you is that the words I heard remained with me throughout that day. Even as I write, I can hear that voice insisting, “A grateful soul is a happy soul!” As is usually the case when I hear or read something which gets to what I consider to be the heart of the matter, I mulled over this observation for days.

I’ve understood the value of gratitude since childhood. For as long as I can remember, I’ve begun my prayers by saying “thank you” for goodness in my life. Even when the moment at hand seemed devoid of reasons to be grateful, something within always compelled me to say, “Thank you!” to God. These initial expressions of gratitude never failed to influence the tone of the rest of my prayer. What might have been a litany of requests morphed into a conversation during which I spoke and then listened regarding the needs of others. Though I never actually heard another voice in response, I certainly felt God’s loving presence.

My recent heartache has distracted me from my mission to be grateful for far too long. But no more! Today, I begin again. Every time I look upward with a request, I’ll first give thanks for the goodness around me. When I do so, I’m quite certain that the request at hand will seem less urgent than it did before I said “Thank you!” to God.

Gracious God, I promise to thank you before I dare to beg for more.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

B… Blessed Are We!

May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.

Psalm 72:17

B is for Blessed. You are blessed and so am I. We wouldn’t walk this earth if we weren’t intentionally breathed into existence by our creatively loving God. I use the adverb “creatively” intentionally. You see, God’s blessings often befuddle me. Most of the time, I don’t recognize them until long after a given person or circumstance has moved on. A lifetime of chance meetings, one-liners which lodge in my memory, unexpected friendships, opportunities and seeming setbacks prove this over and over again. Though I don’t realize it much of the time, I am indeed blessed.

As I consider and offer thanks for the blessings in my life, I must acknowledge that these blessings include everyone around me. This is the challenging part because “everyone” includes those who occasionally give me a headache, a heartache, a soul-ache or worse. How can I look upon these people as blessings?

B is for Blessed. You are blessed and so I am. So it is that you and I must gently remove the wrapping which conceals the blessedness within ourselves and within others from the world. Only then will we discover the fullness of God’s precious gifts.

O Creatively Loving God, help us to see our own blessings and those of others with your perceptive eyes. Give us grateful hearts that we may appreciate both fully.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Happy Hearted and Fully Loved

From the day we heard about you,
we have not ceased praying for you…

Colossians 1:9

This past summer, we celebrated our two grandsons’ and a granddaughter’s birthdays. We also celebrated our own forty-something wedding anniversary and the anniversaries of our sons and daughters-in-law. In the midst of all of this revelry, my thoughts returned often to Mike’s and my wedding and our first encounter with parenthood…

I’ll never forget the day my doctor told me that, indeed, I was with child. This announcement came after a years-long struggle to have children. Yes, this news was most welcome! I also recall that from the moment I heard these words, I felt that I knew my baby. Though I had no idea of what he or she would look like and I had no idea of who this child would be, I couldn’t help loving this precious little one. It was on that day that I also began to pray, above all else, that this child would be happy. If God blessed this little person with a happy heart, I knew he or she would be able to handle everything else.

When our baby arrived, he proved to be all I’d hoped for and more. Still, I continued to pray for him every day; sometimes, several times a day. The truth is that this is my ritual regarding our second son, both of our daughters-in-law and our grandchildren as well. I do the same for my extended family and friends.

If I’m going to be totally honest here, I must admit that I call God’s attention to much of the world these days. If people were a bit happier, this world would be far more peaceful. It seems to me that it’s God’s wish for each of us to be happy. So I pray -often and with absolute faith- for just that.

Loving God, bless us all with happy hearts!

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

I Give Thanks

Give thanks to God;
bless God’s name for God is good:
the Lord whose kindness endures forever…

From Psalm 100:4-5

As I consider the things for which I’m grateful, I find that I have more time than usual to compile a list. My husband and I aren’t cooking today. Our older son and his wife have taken on our annual Thanksgiving feast. His younger brother and wife will do the same for Christmas Day. I admit that I’m quietly rejoicing in response to this turn of events. Thank you, God!

The next point on my list of blessings is my family. That I married was a huge surprise to me. That my husband and I have children is a miracle, literally, from what the doctors have told us. I’m grateful to my parents who shared their faith with me through their practical daily lives. They appreciated God’s love and their resulting ability to weather any storm taught me to do the same. My siblings each contributed to who I am today in so many ways. Thank you, God!

I appreciate God’s love, too. When in doubt, I turn to Jesus who insisted that God loves us as we are with all of our frailties intact. Though Jesus provided a lifetime of very good example, he also assured us that God expects only what we are able to do, nothing more. Thank you for this, Dear God, because I sometimes forget that I’m good enough for you!

On this Thanksgiving Day, this reflection should be the longest I’ve ever written because my blessings are so numerous. Suffice to say that God knows them all and that I’m most grateful. I hope you find that the same is true for you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Generous God, thank you for everything!

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Ever-Grateful!

Giving voice to my thanks,
and recounting all your wondrous deeds, O Lord…

From Psalm 26:7-8

I cannot tell you whose voice it was that I heard. I was in the other room during the telecast. Still, those words echoed in my mind throughout the day. Even today, I can hear, “A grateful soul is a happy soul!” Though I was too busy to run into the family room to see who spoke from our television set, I was not so busy that I ignored the message. As is usually the case when I hear or read something which gets to what I consider to be the heart of the matter, I mulled over this observation for days.

I’ve understood the value of gratitude since very early on in my life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve begun my prayers by saying “thank you” for blessings received. Even when the moment at hand seemed void of reason to be grateful something within always compelled me to say, “Thank you!” to God. These initial expressions of gratitude never failed to influence the tone of the rest of what I had to say. What might have been a litany of requests morphed into a conversation during which I spoke and then listened regarding the needs of others. Though I never actually heard another voice in response, I certainly felt the presence of our Benevolent God. It is no wonder that I wake up every morning saying, “Thank you for the sleep!” I simply can’t help myself for which I’m also most grateful!

Gracious God, help us all to be grateful heralds of your generous love.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved