Reflections On The Journey




Posted on May 29, 2017 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (12441)

Today is Memorial Day, and in the United States it is a day of remembering. We recall the many persons in the military who have served and are still serving to protect our country and our freedom. Most of us probably know someone who fits this description, and several of us have lost a loved one who served in a war, knows someone who suffered terribly from the after-effects of war, or is anxious about someone who is currently overseas.

Whenever I visit the Fort Snelling National Cemetery near my home, and see the thousands of white tombstones each marking a life lived in service, I always say prayers. I remember my mother, who served in WWII and now has a stone there, and my father who received the privilege of resting beside her. I also pray for all the veterans who have ever served, wherever they may be.

As I walk the cemetery grounds, I am grateful for the caretakers who keep it looking beautiful. I am also grateful to the countless people who take time out of their day to visit and remember: kneeling before the stone of a loved one, walking slowly among them to reflect, or placing a flag or bunch of flowers next to the worn letters inscribing such a brief piece of the person’s life. Sometimes I sit on the soft grass amid the stones for a while to reflect. I watch the flags wave and drink in the scents of the flowers while offering my prayers for those resting beside me.

John 15:13 says “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Although we usually think of this phrase as applying to Jesus’s salvific death on the cross, I recall this verse when remembering our beloved veterans. Many gave their lives for their friends as well as for people they never knew. Our freedom is such a precious gift, and we wouldn’t have it if it weren’t for the sacrifices of our veterans.

I hope today you will take some time to remember our veterans. If you can, visit a National Cemetery, if only to grasp the magnitude of the number of men and women who have served our country. And if you know of someone who served or is still serving, how about calling them up today to say thank you? You might just make their day brighter!

Thank you, Veterans!

Have a blessed Monday!


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Posted on May 15, 2017 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (3690)

Yesterday was another lovely day here in Minnesota featuring azure blue skies, a warm temperature and birds twittering thanksgiving for spring in full bloom. But more importantly, it was a day of celebrating mothers. It was made even more special for me because I got to spend part of the day with my middle son and his family!

Celebrations of motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. The origins of Mother’s Day as celebrated in the United States date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. The official Mother’s Day holiday arose as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children, and began to actively promote this event.

By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Each year at this time, in addition to reminiscing about my own years as a mother, I fondly remember my mother Cleo. She needed a lot of patience to raise me – I have been told I was a bit unruly as a young girl! But Mom nurtured me and instilled faith in me as I grew, and later she became a valued friend I could turn to with any question.

My mother accomplished a lot of things in her life besides raising me – she served as nurse in the US Army and at Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and she staffed the nurse’s office at my grade school for many years. She was an avid knitter, creating many items to be sold at our annual church bazaar, and she helped construct costumes for my high school’s musical productions. She wasn’t perfect, of course, but I know she tried her best to raise me as a faithful, loving person. Mom died in 1992, but she is not forgotten. I think of her each time I use her old Pfaff sewing machine, and I treasure the flag I received when she was buried at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery.

Mothers are unique and they have different skills and talents. I think most mothers struggle with some aspect of parenting, and of course they all make mistakes along the way. I know I was not the perfect mother. There were so many things I did not know. There were lots of times that I just became overwhelmed with parenting and I didn’t do the best thing for my children. Yet despite my failings as a parent, all three of my boys turned out well and I am proud of the men they have become. I have to credit the guidance of God and our Blessed Mother Mary for that! Mary serves as the perfect example of a mother, and she is always available to us in prayer for guidance.

I encourage you to connect with your mother this week if you can to thank her, or perhaps you could say a prayer for her. And don’t forget those “spiritual” mothers as well – teachers, aunts, in-laws, neighbors, co-workers, etc - the many other women who have guided you and provided love and encouragement for you in some way on your journey through life. As the saying goes, God couldn’t be everywhere, so He created mothers!

Thank you, mothers, not only for the gift of life but also for your endless love and support!

Have a blessed Monday!


If you like this meditation, please share it with others. And if you have any suggestions for topics for me to address in this blog, I’d love to hear from you. I write this blog for YOU.

You can also subscribe to my weekly emails – just send your name and email address to [email protected] and I will get you added to the list!

Giving Thanks

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (1900)

Thanksgiving in the United States is a holiday that began long ago as a harvest festival. Eventually, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” and it became an official holiday. For years it was an important day to gather at church and with family, to give thanks for blessings received throughout the year.


Today, although we can still find images of turkeys, cornucopias and pilgrims, the store aisles of Thanksgiving merchandise are dwarfed by the gigantic Christmas displays which have been set up even before Halloween is over. Many people now see Thanksgiving Day as merely a day off from work when they can get an early start on their Christmas shopping.


So whatever happened to the “Giving Thanks” part of Thanksgiving? I don’t know. Some people say that today there is nothing to give thanks for. It is true that our world is experiencing wars, natural disasters, illnesses and famines. One needs only to look at the daily paper or the nighttime news to see it.


But I think there is still plenty we can give thanks for, if we look hard enough. Maybe you struggled with a dysfunctional family at one point, but you can look back and see that there were one or two special people who were there for you when you needed them. Perhaps you have lived through several days or weeks when you were hungry, but today you have enough food to put on your table. Maybe you are currently unemployed, but you still have a decent home to live in. Perhaps you can give thanks that you have a warm winter coat and boots to ward off the wintery chill.


This weekend I will not be shopping. I will be spending time with family members, and I will be giving thanks for the blessings that I have received. I am thankful for each one of the members of my family, both living and deceased, all of whom have played an important role in my life. I give thanks for good friends who I know I can count on when the going gets tough. I am thankful that I have a decent home, adequate clothing and enough food. I give thanks that God has given me the gift of writing, and I hope I can use it effectively to praise Him and help others. I even am thankful for the many challenges which have strengthened my faith and facilitated my growth into a better person.


I hope that this week you will spend some time looking for the blessings in your life and giving thanks. You do have many blessings, probably many more than you realize, and I’ll even bet that you will be receiving many more blessings over the remainder of your life. What are you giving thanks for this year?


Thanks and blessings to you this Thanksgiving week!



Cherished Friends

Posted on August 15, 2016 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (4908)

Thank you to all those people who have been friends to me over the years.  I am so grateful for you! Some of the friends I made years ago in school are still good friends today. And I have made friends over the years at work, at church, through Toastmasters and even in my travels.

In my cricle of friends is that special group I call my cherished friends.  These friends have been there for me during the lowest parts of my life. I recall friends who listened to late night phone calls, sent bouquets of flowers, and wrote touching notes offering prayers which helped me get through tough situations. Today it is more common to get texts and emails from these friends, but each time a cherished friend reaches out to me, I feel uplifted.

Who are your cherished friends? It's probably not your entire Facebook list! Look instead at who has reached out to you in some way, has held your hand tightly, given you a needed hug, or even just offered a shoulder to cry on during the difficult moments. These are your cherished friends.  If you only have a few of these people in your life, that's okay. The quality of these friendships is what counts, not the quantity.

May you be blessed with many cherished friends!  I am including in today's post a poem I wrote several years ago for one of my cherished friends. May it inspire you to think about your friends - is there someone who may be hurting today and could benefit from a kind word from you? Who can you reach out to today?



Face to Face


I don’t want to look into your face,

For I am afraid that I will face your pain,

And somehow that pain will be drawn into me.

It seems easier to look right past you,

Shielding myself from experiencing your darkness.


For I want to believe that if I refuse to see.

I do not have to get tangled amid your hurts.

I will avoid confronting my own anguish,

And I can convince myself that I am okay.


But somehow I hear your soul’s voice,

Quietly tapping at my heart.

I feel a pleading tug at my spirit.

Inexplicably I sense that you need me,

And your need is much greater than my own.


Your heart aches for someone to be with you,

To love you, to listen to you.

And you cry out for a healing embrace,

For another soul in whom to surrender.


Will I allow myself to become vulnerable?

Do I have the grace to take that step of faith,

To look with love into your sorrowing eyes,

To peer deeply into your soul’s bare face,

And really see you as God?


Yet, when I take that hesitant step,

When I become willing to truly seek your face,

When I bend down and sit close beside you,

Gently taking your hand in mine,

When I let myself be drawn wholly into you,

I embrace each part of your pain as my own.


I feel your struggles swelling within my spirit.

Your aches immerse my soul and become mine.

Our hearts join together in the precious dance of life,

Our souls intertwine in agape love

In a way I do not understand,

But somehow it feels perfectly right.


For you are my sister; we are not alone.

Right now; in the pain; in the fear,

Face to face, we are grace.

Together, we are the living God.

Together, our spirits are healed.


Bless The Caregivers

Posted on August 1, 2016 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (2391)

Caregivers are everywhere, if you just look. They include persons who care for the sick and disabled as well as those who care for children.  Some choose a career as caregivers, some become caregivers when they become a parent, and others kindly volunteers.  Yet many others are thrust into the role suddenly and without warning due to an illness or disability. 

A caregiver is responsible for the health and safety of another human being who is unable to care for himself, which means that other person’s life often becomes primary and the caregiver’s life becomes secondary.  A caregiver may no longer free to choose what to do with their own time, because they need to find a babysitter or schedule respite care. 

Life for a caregiver revolves around high-gear planning – ensuring everything in the home is safe, carefully prepping so meals and snacks will be ready on time, and strategically scheduling errands so no one runs out of some needed item.  When the caregiver needs to take her charge along with her, she must do even more planning and preparation, to allow for plenty of time to load them up, get there, and unload them when you arrive.  And don’t forget the diaper bag, snacks, change of clothes or needed medication!

I believe all caregivers are angels walking here on earth.  God bless them for all they do!  Caregivers are charged with the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of their charges, acting as teachers, healers, comforters, bathers, feeders, and so much more. They are dedicated, organized, patient, selfless, loving, big-hearted and just plain amazing.  To give up part of one’s life solely to care for another human being is an incredible gift of love, and far too often caregivers are not adequately recognized or appreciated.

If you are a caregiver, God bless you!  May God grant you adequate strength and perseverance to continue to serve with great love those special humans who have been gifted by your presence in their lives.  And may you be blessed as well with adequate rest, nutritious food and solid support so you can care for yourself. 

Please take a moment today to thank the caregivers who selflessly give up their time and energy to make life better for another human being, whether for someone in your own family or circle of friends, or even those you may meet randomly.  These blessed angels make our world a better place.