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

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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

A Happy Heart

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

Colossians 1:9

A few week’s ago when we celebrated our little grandson’s first birthday, I couldn’t help recalling my own encounters with motherhood. I vividly recalled the day my doctor told me that, indeed, I was with child. This announcement came after a years-long struggle to have children, so 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 could not help loving this precious 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 one with a happy heart, I knew he or she would be able to handle everything else.

When our baby arrived, he proved to be everything I had 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 is God’s wish for each of us to be happy. So it is that I pray -often and with absolute faith- for just that.

Loving God, bless us every one with a happy heart!

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

A Child On The Way

When a couple receives news that the child they have awaited for what seems like forever is on the way, everything changes. Whether this child is biological or adopted matters little. Whether this child arrives on Day 1 of life or at age three months or four years matters less. Whatever the case, this child’s impending appearance transforms the lives of the parents-to-be in unimaginably unexpected ways. Though the expectant pair continue their work schedules, day-to-day routines and social activities, they engage themselves with an expanded purpose. Suddenly, even seemingly mundane decisions are made with their soon-to-arrive child in mind. External adjustments on the home front such as furniture purchases and bedroom preparations only hint at the internal upheaval which refocuses the parents-to-be for the foreseeable future and well beyond it.

I laugh as I recall the months my husband and I spent preparing for the arrival of our son. We decorated his room and set up his crib with plenty of time to spare. We created needlepoint likenesses of little animals which eventually filled a wall. (Yes, my husband helped with this!) While purchasing linens, diapers and a few tiny toys, I also read the most recent edition of Dr. Spock’s childcare book. We attended birthing classes and consulted with experienced parents we knew. During the months, weeks and days before our son’s arrival, I felt quite confident about my ability to parent the little one who was on his way. After all, I loved him more than anything from the day I discovered I was pregnant. When I finally saw him, I loved him even more. Those early days in the hospital, when the nurses guided our every move, went very well. It was the day they ushered us with babe-in-arms to the exit door of the hospital that reality set in. Suddenly, Mike and I realized we had no idea of how to care for a child twenty-four/seven on our own. Though I knew I could not love the baby in my arms any more than I did, I also wondered what God was thinking when God entrusted that baby to me.

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, the passage from Luke’s gospel (1:26-38) reveals the upheaval which occurred in Mary’s life when she discovered that her child would soon be on the way. How could a fourteen year old girl prepare for motherhood under any circumstances? Taking on the role of Mother of God seemed out of the question even for the greatest woman among us. Mary was an exemplary daughter, raised in the Jewish Faith by devout parents who dedicated her to the Lord God early on. As was the custom in their community, Mary was betrothed to an older man, Joseph by name. Her family lived in a small town, and Mary likely expected to live out her life there with her intended husband and their children. When Gabriel appeared to announce an alternate plan, the news startled Mary at best. “God’s Son? My Son? How can this possibly be?” Still, this brave teenager listened on and opened herself to the challenges which lay ahead. Like the every parent among us, Mary allowed her life to be changed forever by the child God had given her to love.

In just four days, we will celebrate Christmas. Life for the next ninety-six hours will be more hectic than any of us prefer. Nonetheless, each of us is invited to adjust, refocus and prepare once again. The child who changed everything more then two millennia ago remains among us to do the same today. Like the children whom we parent, this child seeks our attention, our focus and our love. Though our own children grow and leave our homes to make their own way as we did, Jesus of Nazareth never leaves. Though he grew and prospered, died and rose, Jesus remains around us and within us every moment of our lives. Though we continue our work schedules, day-to-day routines and social activities, Jesus asks that we engage in these things with an expanded purpose. Jesus asks that we do whatever we do with him in mind. Like our own children, that cute little babe in the manger makes unimaginably unexpected demands upon us. Like our own children, he rewards us with greater love than seems possible. Like our own children, Jesus changes our lives forever.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved