Reflections On The Journey




Posted on October 3, 2022 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (71)


Monday Meditation – Called 10/3/2022


“Come,” the angel said to the writer of the Book of Revelation (Rev 4:1), inviting him to see the beauty of the Holy City coming from heaven. “Come and see,” said Philip, inviting Nathanael to meet Jesus (John 1:46).


Let me show you. Come and see. These are invitations each of us have heard at one time or another in our lives. When we are called, and we heed the call, we may learn something new or receive a gift. Or we may be called to do something for Christ.


As a Christian, I am called daily to listen to God and to respond. The problem is that I often don’t hear the call, or I find myself so busy with other things that I fail to listen to the call.


Therefore, I need to constantly ask myself: Where am I being called to recognize Jesus in my life? Could it be in the person standing by the side of the road holding a sign which says “homeless?” Could it be in the cashier who rings up my groceries, or the person sitting beside me on the bus?


And I also must ask myself: What am I being asked to do as a result of that call? Should I donate some money? Should I offer a smile and some encouraging words? Should I take the time to just be with someone and listen to them?


I am called every day to find Christ. And so I must look, really look, at the people around me, for all of them are Christ! I need to figure out what can I do for them that I would do if that person were Christ.


This past week I found an opportunity to do this. A person who I knew, but not well, started talking to me. I was in a bit of a hurry, but I decided to take the time to let the person talk. I tried to encourage them in a small way, and when we parted only a few minutes later, we both were smiling. I think unknowingly I may have had an encounter with Christ, and it didn’t take much time at all.


I challenge you to look for a call this week. Look at one person you meet in a new way. Smile at them. Say something complimentary or positive to them. Maybe take a little time to chat with them and listen. You may find a blessing as you feel the call.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022



Rest and Relaxation

Posted on October 3, 2022 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Monday Meditation – Rest and Relaxation 9/26/2022


Everyone deserves some rest and relaxation. Most of us work hard to earn a living and take care of our responsibilities, and it’s important to rest. We can’t work 24/7 without getting burned out, and perhaps we might even turn into cranky old people! We need time to chill out, to do something different or do nothing at all. Even Jesus took breaks from his ministry – recall all the times he went off alone to pray!


Our rest comes in many forms – sleep of course is quite important! But other kinds of rest are also good.


Vacations are often a good source of rest. We can put aside our regular responsibilities and go to visit relatives or see a new country. Giving our minds a break allows our brains to become recharged and we are better able to resume our responsibilities when we return from our rest.


Most of us take vacations periodically. We may travel to some special destination we have longed to experience, we might choose to visit family and friends, or sometimes we have a “staycation” and take that needed break right in our own homes. What qualifies as a rest break for some might not be a rest at all for another person, though – it varies according to people’s needs and desires. Most people also need several different types of rest breaks. I know I need a variety of types and lengths for my breaks!


One of my favorite activities is to travel to new places, and now that I am retired, I try to do that a few times per year. Usually I travel with my husband, but sometimes I go with friends. I also enjoy visiting friends and family for a long weekend or a week. It’s so good to get away and do something different from my usual routine. I just have to be sure that I don’t pack too much into my vacation – if so, I may come home not feeling rested at all!


While long vacations are valuable for relaxation, so are short rests. I enjoy day trips to hike at a nearby park or visit a local museum or zoo. Sometimes my break is merely taking a day all for myself – like treating myself to alone time, sitting in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and a good book, and perhaps a lunch out or getting a pedicure. These little breaks refresh me and allow me to get back to my regular schedule with renewed energy.


I recently returned from a vacation to Europe – it was refreshing to not worry about preparing meals but also seeing many historical places. And this week I plan to fit in a few small breaks – reading walking and something else not yet decided.


Are you taking time out of your life for rest and relaxation? If you can’t take a long vacation in the near future, I encourage you to at least set aside some “break time” for yourself this week, to recharge and renew your spirit. Do something fun or different and see what blessing you might get from your break.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022



Posted on September 19, 2022 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (736)

Monday Meditation – Trees 9/19/2022


I love trees - there are so many different kinds in our world! Especially during the fall months I have the opportunity in Minnesota to watch many trees’ leaves change colors – from hues of green to sunny yellows, vibrant oranges, vivid reds, and shades of brown.


But trees are also very symbolic, too. Remember back in the Garden of Eden when God said that Adam and Eve could eat of any of the fruits of the trees except for the one Tree of Life? When they chose to eat from that tree, their world changed. Sin crept in.


In a book I am reading, called “Be Healed” by Bob Schuchts, there is a wonderful analogy which compares sins to apples on a tree. Here’s a condensed version of his explanation: We all have apples (sins), but we can take our sins (apples) into reconciliation, leave the sins there and come out cleansed. The problem is that the tree continues to produce more apples (more of the same sins). The only way to permanently get rid of those sins is to get rid of the tree and its roots (the root causes of our sins). This analogy really made sense to me. The reason why I continue to have any given sin is because I have not rooted out the cause of that sin.


Bob’s book also has a lovely illustration of the Tree of Life. When we become reconciled to God, we have access to the Tree of Life. Its roots provide security (being rooted and grounded in love), the trunk represents maturity as we grow into “Christ-likeness” by increasing our capacity to love, and the leaves and fruit represent purity, which is the fruit of that love. That’s a very brief description of what’s in the book – I encourage you to read the whole thing!


So how can I root out the tree of sin and replace it with the Tree of Life? Ah, good question, and I know that the answer means a lot of hard work for me. First I have to identify my sins (maybe not so hard) and then figure out what is the root cause of those sins (much more difficult.)


For example, one recurrent sin I have is overeating. I enjoy food, and when a tempting dish is placed in front of me, I will eat way more of it than I should. What is the root cause of my sin? I think part of it has to do with the fact that for years I used food as a comfort when things went poorly, and as a reward when things went well. Ooh, that’s a dilly – food was there no matter what! So root out that sin, I must learn to “reward myself” with other things – perhaps a good book? And I must learn to take comfort in other things – God’s Word could be a good start! By doing these things perhaps I might begin to uproot that tree of overeating.


Are you faced with a bad “tree” of sin in your life? I encourage you today to look at your life to identify what that sin is, and what are the root causes of that sin. Then, take a step to pull up at least some of those roots so that you can replace them with the blessings of the Good Tree.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022



Posted on September 12, 2022 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (439)

Monday Meditation – Docile 9/12/2022


What does the word docile mean to you? For years I thought that it just meant meekness and submission. It seemed to me that only weak people would be docile since strong people would need to or want to be in control.


But docile comes from the Latin word docere (to teach). Being docile means being “willing to be taught.” We can think about it as being attentive to the instructor, having our ears attuned to the teacher’s voice and our pencil and paper ready to take notes. It means an attitude of receptivity to what the teacher offers, realizing that the teacher offers something which I do not have and is good for me.


Docility ultimately means that I have to step out in faith once I have some degree of certainty in the Holy Spirit’s will for me. We are called to “walk by faith and not by sight.” We learn to be docile to the Holy Spirit in degrees: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” (Luke 16:10)


I have a small booklet to guide me in praying for priests. In it, it says to pray that the priest is docile to the Holy Spirit. I understand that now to mean that the priest needs to be open to the instruction of the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit can guide him toward the truth and to what the priest should proclaim in his homilies.


I guess that means that I, too, should be docile. I should be open to the teachings of those people who can guide me on the path to holiness. So my prayer this week is for God to help make me more docile and open to receive instruction in the truth.


How about you? Have you been docile to the instruction of the Holy Spirit? If so, I pray you continue on listening to His Word and heeding His instruction. If not, perhaps you might pray this week that you can find a blessing in being docile to His Word.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022


Caring For Others

Posted on September 5, 2022 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (401)

Monday Meditation – Caring for Others 9/5/2022


At many times in our lives we need to care for others. It might be babysitting, caring for your own children, nursing a sick spouse, or tending to your parents when they got old. Some people even choose careers that involve caring for others, such as doctors, nurses, counselors, teachers, pastors and more.


Sometimes it’s easy to care for others – especially when they appreciate the work you are doing. At other times, however, the people we are trying to help do not appreciate our efforts or fail to even acknowledge that you were caring. In those times it can be very difficult to feel valued and you may even be tempted to quit caring.


I recently started thinking about all the people who care for others in indirect ways, who don’t often get appreciated other than by their paychecks. I thought about the people who clean office buildings, those who prepare food in commercial kitchens, and even those who pave our roads so we can get to the places we need to go. I have seldom had an opportunity to thank these people for the work they do which makes my life easier.


And then what about the downtrodden and the poor, the folks who are brokenhearted or desperate for someone to care for them? My husband and I give to several charities but with covid we have gotten away from personal contact with those who are poor. We haven’t been on a mission trip for quite a while, and I can’t even think of when I last went over to Feed My Starving Children (FSMC) to pack meals.


We are called as Christians to care for others. Jesus told us the first commandment is to love God, and the second is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) To me, this means we must care for everyone, for everyone is our “neighbor.”


It isn’t an easy task, I’ll admit. As a child, I innately wanted what I needed. I had to be taught to share and to consider other people’s needs. I have definitely improved in my ability to care for others, but still I often prefer to think of my own needs before the needs of others. When I do help others, I secretly hope to be thanked or appreciated in some way. And when I don’t feel appreciated, I can get discouraged and wonder if my efforts are even worth it. That’s when I have to remind myself to look to Jesus. He cared for and healed many people who did not seem to care (case in point: only one of the ten lepers returned to thank him). Yet he continued caring for His people.


Yesterday as I was driving a song I hadn’t heard in a long time popped up on my radio, “Give ME Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath. The words exactly fit this blog post. Here are the refrain lyrics:


Give me Your eyes for just one second

Give me Your eyes so I can see

Everything that I keep missin'

Give Your love for humanity

Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted

The ones that are far beyond my reach

Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten

Give me Your eyes so I can see


This week I am going to make a strong effort to do some extra caring. Although I won’t be able to go on a mission trip, or even get to FMSC, I should be able to do something. Doing something for my husband will not count, because that’s too easy! My challenge will be to find three other people outside of my household and immediate circle of friends whom I can care for in some special way.


How about you? Have you been thinking more about yourself lately and not so much about others? I encourage you this week to step out of your box and do something to care for at least one other human being, and it would be even better if it was not someone in your usual circle of friends. Who knows, you may even find a blessing in your caring.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022



Posted on August 29, 2022 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (421)

Monday Meditation – Family 8/29/2022


Family is important. We are all members of God’s family, of course, but we also have individual families which shape our lives.


It’s interesting to see how my definition of family has changed over the years. When I was growing up, it seemed my family consisted of just my mom, my dad and me. My mom had relatives, but we didn’t see them very often because most of them lived in other states. I did not have the privilege of having grandparents active in my life like many of my friends, because my maternal grandparents were gone and my dad’s family lived in Sweden. The photo attached to this blog shows my great grandmother Teresa and my grandmother Frances (both of whom I never met) and many other family members.


I did enjoy when we got together with my mom’s siblings and cousins, usually on summer trips to North Dakota. They graciously welcomed us, and I experienced what it was like to live with a larger family and on a farm. I got to share twin beds with my cousins, I learned how to ride a horse, and we spent countless hours (and late nights) playing the card game Liverpool Rummy.


When I got married, I experienced a new kind of family – having a husband changed things up! In-laws and more “new” relatives became a part of my family. We now had to split time with the two sides for holidays and other celebrations.


Then the family expanded further as we had children, and later two of my sons got married and had their own children. The delights of being a grandparent now added to my sense of family, as well as new in-laws and their extended families. It was nice to be welcomed and to participate in their gatherings too.


This past weekend my husband and I enjoyed a trip to South Dakota and Nebraska, where we got to spend time with his sister, her children and grandchildren, and some of my husband’s cousins. This was an opportunity for me to get to know those cousins a little better, as previously I had only met them briefly at gatherings. We enjoyed looking at old photos and reminiscing about their lives and that of their parents.


One sad part of the visit was my husband’s family realizing that there was much of the older generations’ stories that they did not know. Where had their parents lived and worked before they got married? What ever happened to some of the other aunts and uncles and cousins with whom they had lost touch?


I pondered some of the same things about my own ancestors – when I was younger I had never thought to ask my mom and dad a lot of questions about their pasts – I did know some things, but certainly not everything. Therefore, my children will not know those things either.


Many people are now doing research into their heritages. My husband and some cousins on my mom’s side have done extensive digging and have compiled much information, at least about the names and dates of those who had come before. While I don’t possess the same drive to do that kind of research, I do appreciate their efforts, and hopefully the future generations will also be grateful for that information.


Who is in your family and extended family? What do you now about them? It’s never too late to start learning about your heritage. If you are blessed to have an older relative still around, perhaps you can ask them some questions about their past. They may relish talking about their time as a child and be grateful to you for your interest. If you have old pictures which are not labeled, see if you can get someone to help identify who is in the picture. Who knows, you might be blessed by learning something valuable or exciting which you can cherish.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022



Posted on August 22, 2022 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (386)

Monday Meditation – Success 8/22/2022


When was the last time you felt successful?


My cast, crew and I just completed the performances for the play I directed this summer. It was a lot of work, but we are calling this project a success!


The actors in my cast were superb – they worked so hard and added some many funny things to a play that was already quite hilarious. The crew was amazing as well… they stepped up to do many things before I even asked. We had wonderful attendance at our four in-person shows and several people watched the livestream. Our ticket sales numbers were excellent! We are still tallying all the expenses, so the net number is still unknown, but at this point we are pretty sure we will have made a little money to help support our non-profit. The combination of everyone’s efforts helped to make this project a success, and I feel greatly blessed to have participated in it.


It’s a good feeling to know you have been part of something successful. But I believe our success was not totally just based on the hard work of all the people involved… I think God also had a hand in it. Why? For one thing, I prayed about the project before I even said yes. I wanted to be sure that it was something God wanted me to do, and I did get that sense when I prayed.


In addition, I prayed throughout the whole project. Now I don’t mean to imply that prayer is a guarantee that things always will work out, because we all know that many times when we pray we do not get what we ask for. But I do believe that prayer doesn’t hurt, and probably does contribute to success.


I also believe that when something is successful, it’s because God wants it to be successful. When a project is good and meaningful, something that is going to benefit people, I think God likes that, and He will help it along.


My prayers today are ones of thanksgiving for the project and its success. I am thanking God for everything that went right with the show, and even for the things that didn’t go so well, because we learned from those things. I am also giving thanks for each person who helped in some way to make this show happen, and for the new friendships that were formed during the process. This project has really been a blessing in my life.


Have you had a success recently? If so, I pray that you will thank God for His help and direction, and you will thank those other people who helped make your project a success. If you have not had a success recently, do not give up. Perhaps you aren’t working on what God intends. Pray to God to help you figure out what is the right focus, and to help you follow that path. And you may just get the blessing of a success.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022



Posted on August 22, 2022 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Monday Meditation – Inspiration 8/15/2022


Have you ever been suddenly inspired?


I have been inspired a number of times. Sometimes it happens when I’m really thinking hard about something I have to do, and in pondering all the facts a solution just pops up. In some conversations a witty remark will suddenly just materialize in my brain.


But when I write, it’s different, Sometimes, when I sit down to write the words just do not come. More frequently it seems that my inspirations pop up out of the blue when I am not really looking to write. For example, years ago when on a retreat I was out walking in the woods. I sat down on an old bench to rest a bit, and I saw across from me a gnarled, ancient oak tree. Inspiration hit, and I pulled out my notebook and began to write. Another time I was struck by something a friend told me, and again, I immediately wrote down what I felt.


Each of these inspirations had a source. Some of my inspirations may just come from having facts on hand and life experiences, a bunch of unattached pieces floating in my conscience and sub-conscience, which suddenly start to fit into what was needed.


Most of my poetry and spiritual writing have been prompted by something I saw or heard, and I believe it was the Holy Spirit that nudged me in the “write” direction. I can’t prove this, of course, but that’s what it seems to be for me.


People can be inspired by many things and are often delighted by what people call the “eureka moment.” For some, it helps to read or sew. For others, nature provides inspiration. Some folks do something which Albert Einstein called “combinatory play” – the act of opening up one mental channel by experimenting in another, sometimes totally different. That may explain why Einstein would often play his violin when he was trying to solve a mathematical puzzle.


Christina Capecchi, in last week’s Catholic Spirit newspaper, said that “this underscores the Catholic belief that the body, mind and soul are intimately connected. We can spark one by tapping into another. And the health of one dimension often leads to the health of another. A long walk, a clearer mind. An active prayer life, lower blood pressure.”


How true! Last week I went for a walk and then was able to sit down and compose something intelligible for this blog post. I find when I am struggling with a dilemma that playing a word game will distract me and then I am able to calm down and resume my task. You may question whether these things are inspired by the grace of the Spirit, but I believe they are. God is all around us, and when He wants us to do something, I believe He will give us the necessary inspiration to move forward.


Here is something I wrote some years ago after being inspired:


“A Woman of Faith”


A woman of faith is a sturdy tree in the forest of God’s creation.


She began as a tiny seed, planted by the Master in a unique place in His precious garden.


As time passed, she grew as she sought wisdom, knowledge and strength from the rich soil of the scripture foundation beneath her, and from the nourishing sacramental waters poured out around her.


When she stretched her roots deeper into the Word, she grasped nuggets of wisdom nutrients to foster her faith. She was fed by the fertilizers of passing souls who each left their legacy from their own struggles and stories.


The Master caused rains of graces to cover her at the times she needed them, although she often did not realize what blessings she had received.


As she grew in strength, she revealed tiny buds of faith. The buds blossomed, and she tested these against the trials of life. Some withstood the tests, and some were false hopes. Yet she continued to branch out as an extension of Christ, developing a raiment of natural splendor in the golden hues of her leafy garments and in her graceful response to the promptings of the whispering Spirit.


She began to open herself up to travelers who happened by the spot that she had been given. They stopped for varying lengths of times to nestle and rest in her arms. While they were with her, she used her gifts to offer food and protection to hungry youngsters, and shelter to aging residents.


As she continued to reach out in faith, over time her branches became entwined with others near her. She gave assistance to them willingly, and also accepted support when she needed it.


But life was sometimes hard. The pains came as beloved branches snapped and were carried away in whirlwinds. Jealous bugs looked for ways to burrow underneath her bark, and wicked birds pecked away at her hope. She often was surrounded by foggy mists of uncertainty which threatened her self confidence. And occasional black shrouds of fear descended over her, enticing her to give up.


She continually had to fight to retain her faith. Periodically she would start to feel cold, and devilish storms would whip her branches, forcing her to bend at odd angles. Inevitably, the tears of winter would come, and her finery would fall into dull heaps around her. But her rooted faith remained steady, and she quietly accepted the snowy burdens as she patiently rode out the barren times, assured that Spring would come again to renew her.


And always the Son returned, and she would gratefully soak up the warm love. Gentle prayers of friends rained down around her, washing away the dirt and stains, and forgiveness would come. Her spirits lifted, and she was refreshed in body and soul, and was able to face life once again.


Yet even during the good times, once in awhile the Master would prune her, stripping away a branch or two of rotting sin. This left embarrassing wounds and scars, and sometimes even a noticeable hole where some large hurt had eaten away at her. Yet, she was able to prayerfully ask for healing, and in time the hurts and scars diminished.


Now she graciously allows others to see and use these wounds, to comfort those who needed to be gathered inside her heart for an understanding caress.


The faithful woman does not stand alone. She stands in a great forest with other women of faith, each planted in their own special places, each with their trials and their own gifts. Together they stand, tall and pure, upright, prophesying and gloriously raising their branches in praise and thanksgiving to their Master. They sway and dance with tambourine leaves rustling joyfully around them.


The woman of faith is a sturdy tree, committed to endlessly love and minister to those around her. She is a beautiful creation of her Master.



Have you been inspired lately? If so, be grateful and rejoice that you were inspired. If you are struggling for some inspiration, maybe take a break and do something else. That might be just what your mind needs to open up a path for the inspiration to sail in. I pray that this week you are blessed by an inspiration, or maybe even several!


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022



Posted on August 8, 2022 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (539)

Monday Meditation – Treasures 8/8/2022


For the past week or so, there have been scripture readings at my church which talk about storing up treasure. The gospel reading from yesterday from Luke proclaimed these words of Jesus: “Do not be afraid of hunger, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.” That last sentiment is also stated in Matthew 6:19-21.


This reading hit home for me because I have been thinking about the stored up items in my own home for some time now.


I am slowly parting with things I do not need, and I am working to change my habit of collecting into a habit of recycling. I also am looking at a few new charities to which I can contribute some of my excess. There are so many people in the world who have much less than I do, and there is no reason that I cannot help them – I just have to DO it.


This does not make me perfect, of course! I have a very long way to go to get to where Jesus asks me to be, and I am very glad that these types of Scriptures keeps popping up in my daily readings to remind me of the treasures that really matter in life.


What should my treasures be? I think they need to be God and my relationship with Him, and a loving attitude of caring and helping others. I already really treasure the time I spend in adoration and in spiritual reading. So maybe I should try to do more of that, as these endeavors draw me closer to my Creator. I also treasure the times when I can donate cash or items to persons or charities that need these things more than I do. What I must also learn is to keep putting these spiritual treasures above the other, trivial treasures that my earthly heart seems to want. It’s not easy, and I’m sure I will continue to be challenged in this area. But I will keep trying.


What treasures do you have? Are they earthly ones? Are they heavenly ones? I encourage you this week to look at your treasures to see if they are truly the right ones. And if something needs to change, make a plan to do it! A blessing may await in the better treasures.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022



Posted on August 1, 2022 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (179)

Monday Meditation – Busyness 8/1/2022


I’ve found myself trapped in “busyness” several times over the years, and I’m currently in the middle of one of those times. My summer project (directing the community theater play) has required much more time than I anticipated. I’ve ended up forgetting to do some of my regular tasks (oops), and I’ve had to put off another goal that I have been working on. I’ve had less time to spend with my husband and friends, and I’ve even dropped into bed some nights without praying.


All this has resulted in stress and frustration on my part and probably also for others in my life. I feel bad that this has happened, but I have always been a person who honors all her commitments, so I’ve had to work extra hard to organize my time: plugging away at my urgent tasks and pushing off the trivial ones.


One good thing has come out of this – it has forced me to stop doing some things which are unnecessary. I usually play games on my phone every day – you can find many studies which say that working puzzles helps keep the brain sharp. I started out with two games. But soon I was doing five different games each day, and I discovered I was spending way too much time on them. Cutting back to my original two games has freed up time and allowed me to get some other things done.


I have also resolved to reprioritize my daily prayers. All I had to do was look to Jesus – He was constantly swamped with people and with ministry opportunities, being pressed on every side by needy people. And yet He always carved out time to meet with his Father. And if He, the perfect human, needed to pray, how much more do I need to pray?


It's getting better – reminders on my phone help me to remember to pray in the morning and at night. Periodically throughout the day, too, I’m trying to get in a quick prayer or two, even if it’s just the Our Father. Returning to prayer has tamed my frustration and cooled my stress level. I still am quite busy, and I will be for a while, but it definitely is getting easier to manage my time. I feel blessed that I have come to grips with my busyness and am taking steps to prioritize my life.


Are you finding yourself overly busy with many tasks? And have those tasks caused a disruption in your lifestyle? Perhaps, like me, you need to eliminate some unnecessary things and put prayer as a higher priority in your life. Who knows what blessing will you find in addressing your busyness?


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022