Plod Along As Best You Can

And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south…

From Luke 13:29

A few weeks ago, runners from everywhere ran the Chicago Marathon. My son Mike did the same five years ago and my niece did so some years before that. Because I’m not an athlete, I feel especially honored to share my gene pool with these two. Thoughts of their accomplishments have kept me on track as of late. Though I prefer walking outdoors, I jog in place for a few minutes during every hour when my writing has kept me at my keyboard for too long.

The other day, when those indoor jogs weren’t enough, I abandoned my writing for an hour. Once outdoors, I pushed myself to walk a bit more briskly and a bit farther than usual. Once I established my pace, I attended to autumn’s beauty which surrounded me. The sky above boasted a beautiful deep blue over the trees which showed their vibrant colors. The spraying fountain I passed near our village hall sparkled in the sunshine like an array of diamonds. “Thank you, for all of this!” I prayed.

You know, we all embark upon very different journeys along our way. While serious runners remain attuned to what their bodies tell them along the way, I tend to the things outside of me. We all do what is necessary to accomplish our goals. In my case, a bit of exercise in the midst of God’s handiwork is just what I need to get to where I need to be.

All of our journeys bring unique demands. All God asks is that we tend to these things as best we can. God will see to the rest.

Gracious God, thank you for running and walking with us wherever we are.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Just Pace Yourself!

For a thousand years in your sight are as a day…
From Psalm 90:4

The day after July 4, the house was quiet. Our sons had taken their dad out for a belated Father’s Day excursion. I’d decided to use the time to write and to walk outdoors before the day’s heat set in. When I headed out, I noticed remnants of fireworks strewn about. Before walking, I swept up the contraband which had no doubt entertained someone nearby. As I worked, a delivery truck sped down the street. The driver’s urgency indicated that he was likely making up for his holiday off. I couldn’t help smiling because he reminded me of Mr. UPS, my favorite employee of that company.

Some years ago, Mr. UPS frequented our front door. Every time he set down a box in my foyer, he asked, “More books?” Mr. UPS knew that I write because he had the dubious privilege of delivering hundreds of books to me. In spite of their weight, he presented each box with a smile. I replied in the affirmative and then added that I was struggling with a year-long devotional. He smiled more broadly as he suggested, “Just pace yourself!” This advice was quite helpful back then just as it was on July 5.

After sweeping the driveway, I walked. I also gave a good deal of thought to Mr. UPS’s suggestion from long ago. “Just pace yourself!” I repeated. As I walked, I considered the beautiful flowers that adorn so many of my neighbors’ homes. “Those flowers didn’t plant themselves!” I mused. “They’re blooming today because someone made the time to plant them and to take care of them.” With that, I quickened my pace, finished that walk and headed home. As I sat at my keyboard, I reminded myself, “Your book isn’t writing itself either!” after completing a few more days’ reflections, I pulled up that neglected file and began again…

Dear God, thank you for the messengers who remind us to use the time we’re given well.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

It’s Time!

For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday…
From Psalm 90:4

After my neighbor stopped by to announce his second book’s publishing, I ran to my computer to order a copy. A few days later when the UPS driver dropped off my copy, thoughts surfaced of Mr. UPS, my favorite employee of that company. I didn’t ask his replacement about him as it’s been a while since I’ve seen him. Rather, I took a trip down Memory Lane where I revisited Mr. UPS’s valuable advice from a few years ago…

I was home when Mr. UPS arrived, so he obliged me by setting the box he carried onto the foyer floor. As he did so, he inquired, “More books?” Mr. UPS knew that I write because he had enjoyed the dubious privilege of delivering hundreds of books to our door during the previous several months. In spite of their weight, he presented each box with a smile. I replied in the affirmative and then added that I was struggling with a book of fifty pages which required at least another hundred and fifty pages for completion. He smiled more broadly and advised, “Pace yourself!”

At the time, I gave a good deal of thought to Mr. UPS’s suggestion. “Pace yourself!” I repeated. Determined to heed his words, I made a schedule for the rest of that week. Amazingly, I accomplished everything I’d hoped to do with time to spare. I spent this found time writing. After several weeks, I had completed almost half of the book.

Unfortunately, my discipline has diminished and my frustration has grown. It seems to me that Mr. UPS’s words echo in my memory with good reason. “Pace yourself!” he repeats. And so I will. I’ve got to finish that book!

Dear God, thank you for the messengers who remind us to use the time we are given wisely.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

About Pace…

And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south…

From Luke 13:29

A young woman I know ran the Chicago Marathon a few weeks ago. My son Mike did the same three years ago and my niece did so years before that. I’m not an athlete and I feel honored to know three people who’ve accomplished this awesome feat.

The other day, thoughts of these marathon runners nudged me out the door for a trek of my own. As I considered what they have accomplished, I pushed myself to walk a bit more briskly and a bit farther. Once I established my pace, I attended to the beauty around me which is my constant companion during these jaunts. The sky boasted an amazingly deep blue and the trees showed off their vibrant colors. The spraying fountain which I passed near our village hall sparkled in the sunshine like an array of diamonds. “Thank you, for all of this!” I prayed.

You know, these runners and I embark upon very different journeys when we head outdoors. While they attend to what their bodies tell them along the way, I tend to the things outside of me. We each do what is necessary to accomplish our goals. In the end, all concerned feel very good about what we’ve done.

Each of our journeys through this life brings unique demands. All God asks is that we tend to these things as only we can as best we can. This is all that is asked of any of us.

Gracious God, thank you for your unique call to each of us. May our efforts be a blessing to all whom we meet along the way.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

All In God’s Time

For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday…
From Psalm 90:4

A recent delivery reminded me of Mr. UPS, my favorite employee of that company. I didn’t ask his replacement what had happened to him as I didn’t want to seem unappreciative of his efforts. Rather, I took a trip down Memory Lane where I revisited a very important conversation from a few years ago…

When Mr. UPS set the box on the foyer floor, he asked, “More books?” Mr. UPS knew that I write because he had enjoyed the dubious privilege of delivering hundreds of books to our door. In spite of their weight, he presented each box with a smile. I replied in the affirmative and then added that I was struggling with a year-long devotional. He smiled more broadly as he said, “Pace yourself!”

At the time, I gave a good deal of thought to Mr. UPS’s suggestion. “Pace yourself!” I repeated again and again. Determined to heed these words of wisdom, I made a schedule of sorts for the rest of the week. Amazingly, I accomplished everything I’d hoped to do with time to spare. I spent this found time seeking inspiration in Creation and writing. After several weeks, I had completed one-third of the book. Over time, I admit that my discipline waned. I added only a few reflections during sporadic sittings. To date, I have completed half of this book.

It seems that Mr. UPS continues to work on my behalf in spite of his absence through the words that echo in my memory. “Pace yourself!” he says. And so I will.

Dear God, thank you for the messengers who remind us to use the time we are given well.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

All In God’s Time

For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday…
From Psalm 90:4

I was out of breath when I opened our front door for the UPS Man. When he handed me the box, he asked me if I was expecting any more books. Mr. UPS knows that I write. He also has enjoyed the dubious privilege of delivering hundreds of books to my door, always with a smile by the way. When I replied that I was struggling to get going on a yearlong devotional, he smiled and said, “Pace yourself!”

After closing the door and opening my package, I thought about Mr. UPS’s suggestion. “Pace yourself!” I repeated. Though I wasn’t certain that Mr. UPS knew, I knew that this was precisely what I needed to hear at the time. I also knew Who inspired this seemingly off-the-cuff comment. Determined to heed these words of wisdom, I wrote up a “To Do” list for the rest of the week. Then, I selected the tasks I thought I could finish that afternoon. Amazingly, I did everything I’d hoped to do with an hour to spare. I spent these precious extra moments on my patio enjoying the bright sunshine and the cool breeze. As I took note of a beautifully fluffy cloud overhead, I offered a smile to the One who I knew was watching. “Thank you for the advice,” I prayed, “and for letting me know that we all have the responsibility to use our time well and the right to rest in between.”

Dear God, your timing is always perfect. Thank you for the messengers who remind us to heed your timepieces rather than our own.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved