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

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Room In The Inn

“For my house shall be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.”

Isaiah 56:7

With just a few days left until Christmas, my husband confirmed the church decorating plan with all concerned. When he was assured all was well, we laughed over our annual futile attempts to provide seating for everyone who will come to worship on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Though such discussions might include comments about the “Christmas Birds” and “Easter Birds” whose only appearances for worship occur on these two holy days, this wasn’t the case. Mike and I take seriously the quote from Isaiah which I cite above. So it is that we will come up with more ingenious ways to squeeze in as many chairs as possible. We will make all of God’s children welcome as best we can. If we do a good enough job, perhaps some of our semi-annual visitors will feel welcome to join us more often!

In the mean time, all concerned work extremely hard to prepare our beautifully adorned church, amazing music and engaging liturgy. Everyone from our youngest parish children to our devoted seniors is involved. Yes, we’re making our church welcoming to everyone. After all, it’s God’s house and it’s Christmas!

Loving God, you open your house to all who come to your door. Help us to echo your welcome in all that we say and do.

©2017 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

God’s Timing

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 autumn colors 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.

©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

Time To Be Born

A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot the plant.

Ecclesiastes 3:2

A time to be born… I enjoy walking outdoors because of the constant changes in the environment. The entire world seems to engage in rebirth during springtime. The growth continues throughout summer when flowerbeds and gardens flourish. Leafy trees respond to September’s mix early on with subtle changes in color. October brings those changes to fruition only to give way to November winds. Leaves crunching beneath my feet remind me that winter is near. Even then, barren trees hold the promise of new life. Yes, it seems to me that there is always time to be born.

A time to die… The lesson in all of this is that as Nature engages in rebirth around me, it also engages in dying all the while. Something old continually gives way to something new. Seeds fall from trees and dance in the wind until they find rest on the ground below. Though no longer part of a living tree, they hold all of the potential they need for life anew. Everything has changed for them. Still, these seeds nestle into the ground with great hope in the things to come.

A time to plant and a time to uproot the plant… If those seeds are lucky, a watchful gardener will see that they are covered with enough soil to survive. If they sprout too closely to one another, that gardener will gently relocate them so each will have room to take root and to receive its share of sunlight and water.

Compassionate God, you are the watchful gardener who places each of us precisely where we are meant to be. Help me to embrace my place with the certainly of those seeds who entrust their futures to your loving hands.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved