Nurture Hope

God will be gracious to you when you cry out;
as soon as God hears, God will answer you.

Isaiah 30:19

While I walked the mall with my husband, a long line of children waited to see Santa Claus. We chuckled about our sons’ first visits with the jolly old elf. As we continued our shopping, I recalled a decades earlier visit with Santa which almost ended badly for one of my students…

The week after Thanksgiving, Ronnie shared that he was going to prove to his older brother that Santa Claus is real. Ronnie planned to tell no one what he wanted for Christmas except Santa. When Ronnie visited Santa during his family’s annual day-after-Thanksgiving trek to the mall, he whispered into Santa’s ear so his gift would remain a secret. I’d hoped to catch Ronnie’s older brother in the hallway to let him in on Ronnie’s plan. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten this plan until winter break had begun. Though I normally set aside school concerns during the holidays to enjoy Christmas with my own family, that year I wondered often if Ronnie’s experiment had ended well. Happily, Ronnie returned to school in January with a bigger-than-ever smile.

Not long afterward, Ronnie’s mom shared that her older son had discovered Ronnie’s plan. As a result, the entire family went into detective-mode and they eventually discovered Ronnie’s Christmas wishes. So it was that Ronnie’s hope in Santa Claus remained intact for another year.

Loving God, when I see doubt in others, I sometimes wring my hands in despair because I don’t know how to convince them of your loving ways. Rather than fretting, help me to plant seeds of hope through everything I do.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Nurture Their Hope

God will be gracious to you when you cry out;
as soon as God hears, God will answer you.

Isaiah 30:19

While I walked the mall with my husband, a long line of children waited to see Santa Claus. We chuckled about our sons’ first visits with the jolly old elf. As we continued our shopping, I recalled a decades earlier visit with Santa that almost ended badly for one of my students.

The week after Thanksgiving, Ronnie told me that he was going to prove to his older brother that Santa Claus is real. Ronnie planned to tell no one what he wanted for Christmas except Santa. When Ronnie visited Santa during his family’s annual day-after-Thanksgiving trek to the mall, he whispered into Santa’s ear so his gift would remain a secret. I had hoped to catch Ronnie’s older brother in the hallway to let him in on Ronnie’s plan. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my intent until a few days after Christmas. Though I normally set aside school concerns during winter break to enjoy Christmas with my own family, that year I wondered often if Ronnie’s experiment ended well. Happily, Ronnie returned to school in January with a bigger-than-ever smile.

Not long afterward, Ronnie’s mom shared that her older son had discovered Ronnie’s plan. The entire family paid close enough attention to Ronnie and eventually discovered his Christmas wishes. With that, Ronnie’s hope in Santa Claus remained intact for another year.

Loving God, when I see doubt in others, bless me with the ingenuity that kept Ronnie’s hope intact that I may plant seeds of hope with everything I do.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Q… Quiet, Outside and Inside

Be still, and know that I am God…
From Psalm 46:10

Q is for Quiet. A few years ago, when I made my first attempt at meditating my way through the alphabet, I felt very good about my progress until I approached the letter Q. I wondered what I could possible come up with. When I voiced this concern to my friend, a light bulb immediately appeared over her head. “Quiet,” she almost whispered. “You know… quiet.” With that, I hugged Carol and thanked her for the inspiration. Q is for Quiet… Of course! Today, I will revisit her wisdom because I still need to work on creating and using quiet productively.

I’m a master at creating a quiet environment. When I’m home alone, the television is off and other noisy distractions are scarce. Still, this isn’t the quiet which Carol suggested. Carol nudged me toward the internal quiet where we encounter God deep within ourselves. This is the quiet that often comes in unexpected places at unexpected times. I find this inner quiet most often when I venture outdoors. When freezing temperatures keep me indoors, I look elsewhere. I’ve found this inner quiet here at home and in both a full and empty church. I’ve also found it at the mall. There is something about the faces I pass and the interactions between parents and children, spouses and groups of teens which reveal the Almighty to me. During these encounters, I don’t pray a word because these quiet revelations speak to me.

So it is that I learn to quiet my innards because it is in that quiet stillness that I come to know God.

Dear God, thank you for filling my quiet place with your loving presence.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Nurture Hope

God will be gracious to you when you cry out;
as soon as God hears, God will answer you.

Isaiah 30:19

While I walked the mall with my husband, a long line of children waited to see Santa Claus. We chuckled about our sons’ first visits with the jolly old elf. As we continued our shopping, I recalled a decades earlier visit with Santa that almost ended badly for one of my students.

The week after Thanksgiving, Ronnie shared that he was going to prove to his older brother that Santa Claus is real. Ronnie planned to tell no one what he wanted for Christmas except Santa. When Ronnie visited Santa during his family’s annual day-after-Thanksgiving trek to the mall, he whispered into Santa’s ear so his gift would remain a secret. I had hoped to catch Ronnie’s older brother in the hallway to let him in on Ronnie’s plan. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my intent until a few days after Christmas. Though I normally set aside school concerns during winter break to enjoy Christmas with my own family, that year I wondered often if Ronnie’s experiment ended well. Happily, Ronnie returned to school in January with a bigger-than-ever smile.

Not long afterward, Ronnie’s mom shared that her older son had discovered Ronnie’s plan. The entire family paid close enough attention to Ronnie and eventually discovered his Christmas wishes. With that, Ronnie’s hope in Santa Claus remained intact for another year.

Loving God, when I see doubt in others, I sometimes wring my hands in despair because I don’t know how to convince them of your everlasting love. Bless me with the ingenuity that kept Ronnie’s hope intact, that I may plant seeds of hope with everything I do.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved