Mom

When one becomes a mother, her new life is valued far beyond pearls.
Her children entrust their hearts to her. They are an unfailing prize.

Inspired by Proverbs 31:10-11

On this Mother’s Day Eve, I can’t help thinking about the most important work of my life. Thoughts of my own mom and the other amazing moms who’ve touched my life swirl about in my head. Still, I can’t escape the overwhelming joy which fills me up as I consider my own good fortune in this regard.

I’ve shared before that I didn’t grow up with an ambition to get married or to have children. I was quite certain that I would please God most and reach the fullness of my potential by entering the convent. This resolve remained under the surface through college until, amazingly enough, I fell in love and married. Because I’d embraced a new husband and a new career simultaneously, my potential to be a mom escaped me for a while. It was only after a few successful years in the classroom and the purchase of our first home that I realized the opportunity before me.

Though our hope for a little one took some time to come to fruition, I’ll never forget the day I heard the news. During what seemed to be our millionth visit to his office, Dr. Wool finally announced, “Mary, you’re pregnant!” Apparently, I didn’t hide my excitement because my husband heard my response all the way out in the waiting room. At that moment, my life changed forever. Suddenly, I knew God’s love firsthand because, sight unseen, I loved that baby more than anything. The truth is, I continue to love him and his brother just that much! Though the rest is history, I’d relive every moment as their mom in a heartbeat -a joyful heartbeat.

Dear God, thank you for entrusting me with the two amazing people who call me “Mom”.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Love Them, No Matter What!

“Let us move on to the neighboring villages
so that I may proclaim the good news of God’s love there also.”

Mark 1:38

While sorting through receipts, I happily discarded the ones which represented good Christmas gift choices. I was especially pleased that our growing granddaughters were pleased with Grandpa’s and my selections for them. As I continued, I recalled the unhappy little boy I’d encountered during one of those successful shopping trips.

The little guy had reached his shopping limit. I realized that his mother’s promise to head to the checkout in five minutes made no impression when he announced, “I hate you!” This mom couldn’t reply because she would have produced more than the single tear which trailed down her cheek. She simply pushed her cart with her son in tow toward the front of the store.

Though I still had things to purchase, I couldn’t let this poor woman leave without helping her. I took my own cart to the checkout line and waited behind her. I made a bit of small talk and then shared that my own son had spoken the same words to me more than three decades earlier. I admitted that I’d responded with tears as well. Fortunately, my wonderful neighbor helped me to deal with the situation. When I asked if her kids had ever said that, my neighbor responded, “Sure they did. They’re kids. And you know what I did? I pulled them close and said, ‘Well, that’s okay because I still love you!’”

I shared that I repeated my neighbor’s words to my own son and that this was the last time my son ever spoke those words to me. After thanking me for this bit of wisdom, the young mom kissed her little boy on the top of his head and headed back to pick up that last item she needed. As for me, I finished my shopping, too.

Loving God, your loving ways make good sense. Thank you for giving us the sense to share them.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Thank you, Mom!

I have competed well;
I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

On this Mother’s Day Eve, I count my blessings. As I assemble my list, I write “Mom”. I learned many things from my mom. Still, the grace with which she lived her last days touched me and taught me most.

Three days before my mom passed away, fatigue confined her to bed. Her daytime attire had changed from street clothes to a nightgown to a hospital gown within seventy-two hours. On the first of those three days, I arrived just as Ruth, her nurse, spooned tiny dollops of ice cream into my mom’s mouth. After giving me my “Hi, Mary” smile, my mom turned to Ruth to whisper, “Thank you for the ice cream.” Afterward, Ruth helped her to the washroom. As Ruth nestled my mom into her wheelchair, my mom whispered again, “Thank you for your help.” Mom held on tightly when Ruth wrapped her arms around her to ease her back into bed. As she left, my mom’s eyes followed Ruth to the door. Ruth turned to wave and my mom smiled in gratitude. Later, when the activity director came to see how my mom was doing, Mom met her with another of those grateful smiles.

In spite of her physical decline and her impending passing, my mother concerned herself with the people around her. She never complained and was ever-grateful for even the smallest kindness, whether or not it was part of ones job or ones duty to her dying parent.

Dear God, thank you for the gift of my mom. She revealed your generosity, grace and love all the way to your embrace.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Share Your Good News

“Let us move on to the neighboring villages
so that I may proclaim the good news there also.”

Mark 1:38

Though most people had made their Christmas returns days earlier, I waited. I’d purchased a little cash register for our grandson which would have been a duplicate gift. I didn’t have time to return it before Christmas and I’d forgotten to do so afterward. So there I was…

I enjoy people-watching perhaps more than shopping these days and that afternoon was no exception. While browsing, I observed a little boy and his mom. While his mother patiently urged him toward a checkout line, he skipped and wiggled and looked in every direction except hers. Finally, she patiently nudged him on once again. With that, the little boy announced, “You’re so mean!!” I couldn’t help noticing as that mom brushed a tear from her eye. She gently took her son’s hand and ushered him toward a check-out line.

Though I still hadn’t finished browsing before making my return, I couldn’t let this poor woman leave in her current state. I walked up to the checkout line where I waited behind her. I made a bit of small talk and then got to my point. I told her that my own sons had spoken similar words to me when they were her child’s age. I admitted that I responded with tears as well until I learned an important lesson from my wonderful neighbor. She’d taught me to respond with an “I love you” which apparently touched my kids. Both of my sons’ subsequent outbursts were few and far between. After thanking me for this bit of wisdom, the young mom smiled. As I walked away to take care of my return, I heard her telling that little guy, “I love you.”

Loving God, love is always the best response to our misdeeds. Thank you showing us the way.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Share The News

“Let us move on to the neighboring villages
so that I may proclaim the good news there also.”

Mark 1:38

While picking up the house, I found a gift receipt left from Christmas. Since that particular purchase was put to use immediately, I discarded the little white paper. I smiled as I reveled in having made a good choice for my granddaughter. As I continued the cleaning, images of that trip to the mall returned.

While perusing the toy department, I encountered a little boy who had reached his shopping limit. His mother’s promise to head to the checkout in five minutes made no impression. The little boy announced, “I hate you!” There was no room for anger in this poor mother’s heart. Rather, she brushed a tear from her eye as she pushed her cart with her son in tow toward the front of the store.

Though I still had things to purchase, I couldn’t let this poor woman leave in her current state. I took my own cart to the checkout line where I waited behind her. I made a bit of small talk and then got to my point. I told this young mom that my own son had spoken the same words to me three decades earlier. I admitted that I responded with tears as well and then added that my wonderful neighbor helped me to deal with the situation. When I asked my neighbor if her kids ever said that, she responded, “Sure they did. They’re kids. And you know what I did? I pulled them close and said, ‘Well, that’s okay because I still love you!’” I shared that I followed my neighbor’s advice and that this was the last time my son spoke those words to me. After thanking me for this bit of wisdom, the young mom headed back to pick up that last toy and I finished my shopping.

Loving God, your loving ways make good sense. Thank you for giving us the sense to share them.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Get Together!

“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.
By now they have been with me for three days
and have nothing to eat.”

From Mark 8:1-10

When I glanced at the calendar this morning, I panicked a bit. Thanksgiving is around the corner and my husband’s and son’s birthdays fall in the same week. Before I could begin wringing my hands, I noticed the small print just below the date. I took a minute to pause because I teared up as I read, “St. Cecilia.” This is my sister’s feast day. Since she passed away two years ago, these little reminders of her always give me reason to pause, to miss her and to celebrate her. In the midst of my pre-Thanksgiving worry, this reminder cheered me up.

Cecele is a lot like our mom who was an extremely hospitable woman. She opened her door to whoever knocked, offering a chair, a cup of coffee and whatever else she had to her guest. Though our kitchen table was already crowded, my mom extended her welcome to our friends who stayed for dinner occasionally. After our mom passed away, Cecele led the effort in scheduling our family gatherings. She also elicited just enough guilt from the rest of us to ensure good attendance at these events.

Today, our mom’s and Cecele’s welcoming ways live on in the rest of us. We continue to take turns hosting our family gatherings where food and laughter are plentiful. Though our attendance isn’t as complete as it used to be, we still enjoy good times in the good company of our family.

Nurturing God, you feed us generously with the gifts of this earth and with one another’s company. Help us to show our gratitude by extending the same toward those who need us most.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved