Reflections On The Journey



Reflections From Faye

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Posted on January 9, 2023 at 5:30 AM Comments comments ()

Monday Meditation – Planning - 1/9/2023


I’ll bet each of you plans things in your life. I certainly do. I planned out which college I would attend, I planned job interviews, and oh my, what planning was required when I got married! Every day I plan for something – what I will wear and what I will make for a meal are my most common planning rituals. And of course, I plan what I will write for this blog!


Of course, I coordinate with my husband when planning large purchases, and I work with my family and friends regarding travel plans. But I do most of my planning on my own.


I got to thinking about planning this week because I have so much to plan for right now. I have to get my personal and volunteer accounting activities for year end completed. I have a few trips coming up (so I want to get a few blog posts written ahead of time) and I am hosting a gathering at my house this coming Friday evening.


But as I was thinking about all this planning, it occurred to me that maybe I’m not planning in the best way.


When I plan, I usually make “to-do” lists, which lay out the tasks that need to be done, and I note the deadline, if there is one. This helps me ensure I accomplish things in a timely manner. The things left undone at the end of the day move to tomorrow’s list.


To most people this type of planning makes a lot of sense. And it did to me, too, until I noted one thing that was MISSING from my list.




Don’t get me wrong - I definitely plan for my spiritual things, such as my adoration hour on Fridays (and planning for a sub when I cannot be there), choir rehearsals and Sunday masses. But regarding my other tasks, I wasn’t considering God. Is this a task that God wants me to do? Am I considering God when I say “yes” to some activity?


That thought had me searching my computer for a blog post I wrote just a few short weeks ago about “Good, Better and Best.” As I reviewed my plans this week, I realized that I had somehow slipped back into my old way of thinking – just doing tasks without considering how they fit into what is Best for me. And I certainly wasn’t bringing God into my planning.


So I sat down with my current to-do list. I compared each item to the chart I had started which identified things that were Good, Better or Best. Sadly, many of the items on my current to-do list are not necessarily “Best” items, although many were items for commitments I had already made (and I always try to keep my commitments.) So I left them on the list.


And for all of the items I wrote “God” next to them, even if they weren’t necessarily spiritual items. I did this to remind me to keep God in the forefront of my mind as I work on each task. For example, I can pray for the person or organization for whom I am doing the task. If the task may not be a “Best” item, I can pray about it right then and there, and maybe God will give me strength to say “no” next time. Or better yet, I can ask God ahead of time (that’s a novel thought!) if this is a task I should be doing. He might give me some direction!


I hope you are not surprised that I am still struggling with my planning and activities. It takes time for me to change my habits, and I must be patient with myself. I need to keep God in mind throughout all my planning so I focus on my “best.” And I need God’s help to do that, so I am praying for His blessing on my planning and on my work.


If you find yourself struggling with planning and prioritizing your tasks, know you are not alone! We all struggle with this. Just ask God to help you as you plan – always keep Him in mind so that you can accomplish your “best” tasks.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2023



Posted on January 2, 2023 at 8:30 AM Comments comments ()

Monday Meditation – Wisdom - 1/2/2023


They say that with age comes wisdom, and that’s probably true for most of us. We gain wisdom through learning and experience, so (in theory) the longer we live, the more wisdom we gain. Sometimes we learn from others (either from their mistakes or their successes) and at other times we learn from our own failures or wins.


Mentors are a very good source of wisdom. Typically, a mentor has had experience with whatever you are trying to learn and can guide you and give you tips to improve. I have been blessed with a number of mentors during my life, and I can attest to how helpful they have been to my own growth in many areas. I have also served as a mentor for others, which was a rewarding experience in itself.


Literature is another excellent source of wisdom. If you need to learn something, check out your local library or Google it! You can find books, papers and even how-to videos on YouTube to help you gain wisdom about things.


One source of wisdom that many people overlook is the Bible – a book that hopefully is not gathering a bit of dust on a shelf somewhere in your house! There is much good advice within its pages – just look at the activities and parables of Jesus! But Old Testament Books also have a lot of wisdom. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Wisdom are three books which are chock-full of good advice. Granted some of it may seem a bit archaic and difficult to understand but much of it has value.


As I have been reading my Bible I underline phrases which speak to me and may help me grow in Wisdom, so that I can refer back to them later. Here are a few of the gems which have meaning for me:


“Like clouds and wind when no rain flows is the man who boastfully promises what he never gives.” (Prov. 25:14)


“Be not hasty in your utterance and let not your heart be quick to make a promise in God’s presence. God is in heaven and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few.” Eccl. 5:1)


“Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given to me; I pleaded and the Spirit of Wisdom came to me.” (Wis. 7:7)


I interpret these passages to point to the value of meaning what I say, being wary of dominating the conversation, and the power of prayer to help me gain what I am lacking.


Perhaps passages from the Bible have not been a source of wisdom for you in the past. But who knows - maybe a blessing awaits you in some passage. I encourage you to open your Bible to one of these books this week and see if something stands out for you. You may read pages of text and find nothing, but it is possible that one or two verses might pop out and be exactly what you need in your life.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2023


Welcome Back

Posted on December 26, 2022 at 10:35 AM Comments comments ()

Monday Meditation – Welcome Back - 12/26/2022


How often do we fall short of our goals? How often do we sin?


The answer for me is: all the time. I am no better than any of you reading this blog. I fail so often, and I’ll bet my confessor tires of hearing the same old failures as well as a few new ones.


Yes, we are human. We make mistakes. The devil himself is responsible for many of the temptations that cross our paths, yet sometimes it’s our own fault. I imagine my poor guardian angel has often worked overtime trying to stop me from falling, and hopefully that has helped me not to fall too frequently, although I still fall regularly.


But the good news is that God always welcomes us back. As long as we are willing to admit our failures and come back to Him, repentant, He stands with open arms. What a blessing!


As we bask in the afterglow of Christmas, hopefully we are fully reminded of this precious gift: a babe in a manger, our Savior. He comes to us always, not just once a year at Christmas. He is present to us each time we receive Him in the Eucharist and each time we pray for and accept His forgiveness. He always welcomes us back.


This week, I hope you will take some time to thank God for this amazing gift, and fully let Him welcome you back, wherever you are coming from. Tell God your failures, and receive Him into your hearts.. May Christmas be the start of a beautiful new year of blessings for you, journeying once again with God.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022


The Nativity

Posted on December 24, 2022 at 11:25 AM Comments comments ()

Christmas Meditation – The Nativity - 12/24/2022


On Christmas eve I find it valuable to reflect. I love sitting with the lights dimmed, maybe only with Christmas tree lights aglow with the single C7 bulb in my manger scene casting a warm glow on the figures therein. It’s a lovely way to ponder the events of 2,000 years ago.


A lowly maiden with her betrothed spouse arrive in a small village where many other travelers are gathered for a census. As late arrivals, they find there are no rooms available. Yet it is urgent, a room is needed, for the woman is about to be delivered of her first-born child.


The man hunts, and finally locates a stable. Not the best room at all, but it is the Best for their needs. She is delivered. A baby boy. And the angels rejoice, as He destined to be the Deliverer of the world.


The story has been told hundreds of thousands of times, and I myself have heard it by the scores. Yet it still brings me to wonder that God had such an unusual plan for mankind. No one could have predicted this was how the Messiah would come. No one, that is, but Isaiah the prophet, who said “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” (Is. 7:14)


What a precious gift. God, who loved us so much, gave us the best present - that of His Son, sent to redeem us.


Today and tomorrow, as you celebrate Christmas with your family and friends, take a little time to remember the reason for the season. My gift to you this year is one I have given to you before in this blog, but it is worth giving again. The poem titled “A Winter’s Night.”


Small specks of glistening snow

Fall silently, softly, earthward.

A hint of the setting sun lingers in the west,

Only a narrow band of light shows through.


Above hang dusky clouds

Seeming to brush the treetops.

The vastness of the universe seems somehow gone,

And peacefulness reigns.


The snow stops.

A whisper wind tugs at the clouds.

They gently part, bringing to view

The thin sliver of a fading moon.


A star, brighter than the others, pierces the darkness

Between the trees’ webs of tangled lace.

Soon the sky is filled with bright points.

The majestic aura of the heavens is unveiled.


The world is watching, waiting.

The hour of midnight silently comes.

Creation rejoices with the heavens.

The Christ Child has arrived.


Have a blessed Christmas!


© 2022



Posted on December 18, 2022 at 8:55 PM Comments comments ()

Monday Meditation – Angels - 12/19/2022


Yesterday was the fourth Sunday of Advent, and the gospel reading at my church told the story of how Joseph got a visit from “the angel” who said to not be afraid to take Mary into his home even though she was found to be pregnant. My Bible does not say who that angel was, but tradition is that it was Gabriel, the same angel who announced to Mary that she would be the Mother of God.


In my Bible, whenever angels visited people on earth, they seem to always say the same thing when they first appear: “Do not be afraid!” I don’t know what angels look like, but probably they are not tiny, delicate, cute creatures – I suspect they are large and very majestic beings! If I were to be visited by an angel, I would probably be a bit frightened, too, so the phrase “Do not be afraid” would hopefully calm me down a bit!


Angels tend to visit people when important things are going to happen. Angels visited Abraham, and soon he and the barren Sarah conceived a child. Gabriel visited Mary and announced that she was destined to be the Virgin Mother foretold in Isaiah. I can’t imagine what Mary must have felt – young, betrothed but not married, and here she was to bear a child, and no ordinary child at that! Wow. Do not be afraid, indeed.


And the angel came again, this time to tell Joseph that Mary’s situation was all part of God’s plan – I’m sure he must have been a bit frightened at the thought of caring for Mary and Jesus, the Savior of the World, so it makes sense that the angel had to reassure him and encourage him to take on that responsibility.


Have you ever watched one of those tv shows or movies about angels interacting with people? The ones I have watched depict the angels in human form, helping people who usually don’t even realize that an angel is there. It’s a nice thought, and it causes me to wonder how many times this has really happened on earth? How often has an angel helped someone in some way? I like to think it happens more often than we think!


The other question is how many times have we been an angel for someone else? I believe every time we do something kind for someone else, we are being an angel to them. We may never know exactly how our actions benefit others, but chances are they do. One evening last week I went out into the church parking lot after an event, and these was an inch of snow covering all the cars. I decided to brush off a few cars that were near mine – I don’t even know whose cars they were, but it doesn’t matter. Let them think an angel came along to assist them!


My suggestion for you this week is to think about times when you have been blessed by another, perhaps by someone who may have been an angel in disguise. And then think of something you could do this week to be an angel for someone else. It might be something done anonymously, or something else. Just do something for someone. You never know how that action might bless them, and how much that might mean to them as we near Christmas.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022


Good, Better or Best

Posted on December 12, 2022 at 8:00 AM Comments comments ()

Monday Meditation – Good, Better or Best 12/12/2022


Already we are in the third week of Advent. Why have the first two weeks gone by so quickly? It seems we just turned the calendar page to December, and now Christmas is less than two weeks away. And I am behind.


When I spent some time thinking about why that is, I realized that, like usual, I have gotten involved in so many things. I’ve been so busy that I have been under more stress, gotten behind in some of my tasks, and as a result I have not always been able to do my best.


That’s frustrating to me.


But God has a way of pointing things out! As I was trying to catch up in my Bible in a Year (BIY) readings last week, I came across Sirach Chapter 40, which spoke directly about my problem. If you are not familiar with Sirach, it’s a book containing many statements similar to Proverbs, offering wisdom and thoughts for pondering. The particular passages that hit home are Sirach 40:17-26. These verses list things that are good, followed by something that is better. For example, Sir 40:25 says “Gold and silver make one’s way secure, but better than either is sound judgement.” I noticed that some of the particular items listed in these verses didn’t necessarily apply to my life, but more important was the idea behind the verses: there is a difference between what is good and what is better, and sometimes we need to choose what is better.


And to reinforce this, in a little mini retreat this past weekend I listened to the speaker talk about the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) and how Mary had chosen the better portion, that of being with Jesus. Although we may need to cook and clean, that doesn’t mean we can’t also spend time with our Lord. That better portion is available to every one of us!


Wow. All this hit home. I always want to help people and to improve my relationships with God and others, so I sign up to do many things. And I think those things are pretty good! But when all these good things overwhelm me, I perhaps can fail to choose the better portion, or fail to do my best.


To help me sort out my life, I listed out the major things that I do, and I came up with nine categories, and within each of those categories were several tasks and projects. I think the majority of them are truly good things that help others, and some of them are even necessary for my health and well-being. Some don’t take a lot of time, and others do. Certain ones require effort several times per week, and others are more episodic, or can even be put off for a period of time.


This analysis was eye-opening - no wonder I’m so busy and under some stress!


I have now begun the next step of my analysis, which is harder: going through the list and trying to identify which ones are truly “better” than the others, and perhaps even which ones are “best.” Questions I am asking about each are “Does this activity enhance my faith life and draw me closer to God,” “Does it improve my relationships with my family and my friends,” “Does this energize me so I can better perform other things,” “ Is it worth the time and effort I must put into it?” and “Is it truly necessary for me to do?” And I need to take these items to God. What does He want me to do?


I know I won’t be able to finish this analysis in a day, or maybe not even by the end of this week. This is going to take some serious reflection, and no doubt I may ultimately have to make some hard decisions about activities I should discontinue. I hate disappointing people, so saying “no” is going to be difficult. But in the long run, I know in my heart that choosing the better and the best things will ultimately help me manage my life more effectively, and perhaps even give me some new blessings.


This week, I suggest you take a look at your own life. Are there some things you do that are not good? Maybe it’s time to stop. If you have gotten too busy with “good things,” like me, maybe you could take a look at all the good things in your life and decide which ones are better and best. Ask God to help you! This reflection may take you a little time, but as we journey closer to Christmas and the coming of Christ, it may be just the right time to do this. Perhaps you will ultimately decide it’s time to stop doing some of the good things in favor of the better or best things. I believe God will bless us when we choose “better” and “best.”


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022


Strengthen Your Relationships

Posted on December 5, 2022 at 7:40 AM Comments comments ()

Monday Meditation – Strengthen Your Relationships - 12/5/2022


How are strong are your relationships with other people? Could some of those relationships use some bolstering? Clinical psychologist Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., has three suggestions for improving relationships which I felt were worthy to pass on. He says:


First, start with kindness. Kindness is like a magnet. People like to be around others who are kind because they feel cared about and safe with them. The age-old Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you” still rings true today.


It’s also reciprocal. When we practice kindness, not only do we feel better, but we help others feel good, too. And this just increases opportunities for positive connections throughout our day, which, in turn, contributes to our own health and well-being.


Second, let go of toxic people. Take an inventory of your relationships to get a sense for who’s nourishing you and who’s depleting you. A strong friendship will make you feel comfortable, confident, and fully supported.


Once you know who is really there for you, try to spend a little less time with those who deplete you. This isn’t always possible, of course (ie: family members, coworkers, etc.), so in those cases, see if you can change your relationship a little bit by recognizing that those people may be dealing with some instability in their lives. Practice sending them some kind intentions using a loving-kindness meditation and see what comes up.


Third, focus on similarities, not differences. If you want to foster a greater sense of connection in your life, it’s helpful to think of what we share as human beings — even with the people you might not always see eye to eye with.


As you go through your day and encounter someone who you think is different from you, silently say, “Just like me,” and see what you notice. You may just experience the awareness that each of us wants the same things: to feel cared for and understood, and to experience a sense of belonging.


I like these suggestions of Elisha. I can see how they apply to my own relationships, and I am trying to put his suggestions into practice. I know at times I have not been as kind as I could be to people, so I am looking for ways to be kinder.. I have also had some toxic relationships which I have had to let go, and I am trying to nourish those relationships that enrich me. And since I have unconsciously marked people as “different” without realizing how much those people are similar to me, I am now trying to be more aware of others and how they want the same things I do.


This week I encourage you to look through these three suggestions on how to strengthen your relationships. Pick one and see if you can change yourself in some small way this week. Who knows, your relationships just might become stronger and become a blessing for you.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022


The History of Advent

Posted on November 27, 2022 at 7:00 PM Comments comments ()

Monday Meditation – History of Advent - 11/28/2022


Yesterday we began the Advent season. Advent is an important journey over the four weeks leading up to Christmas. During Advent we prepare for the coming of Christ in the flesh, and also for the Second Coming of Christ as Judge at the Last Day. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah…by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.” (CCC, 524).


Do you know the history of Advent? Thanks to the weekly email I get from my church I learned a lot!


“Advent first appeared in the 4th C. in Spain where it extended from December 17 to Epiphany since the date for Christmas had not yet been set at December 25. The first liturgical reference to Advent in the West appears in the 6th century. The Gelasian Sacramentary, composed in the 8th Century, contains Collects, Epistles and Gospels for the five Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays before Christmas, and the season was six weeks long. It was Pope Gregory the Great who decreed Advent should be four weeks long. The season now begins on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew, November 30, and it is the beginning of a new liturgical year. In the Eastern or Orthodox Church, the season is longer, beginning in mid-November.” (St. John Neumann email 11/25/22)


Are you planning anything special this year for Advent as you prepare for Christmas? Some people choose to light an Advent wreath, one candle for each Sunday. Others say extra prayers (which is one of the things that I will do, thanks to a little blue booklet distributed by one of my church sisters.) Advent calendars are also popular, where you open one “window” each day. There are many themes for these calendars – some have little gifts, others have prayers or thoughts, and still others have little kindnesses you can do. Any of these things (and many others) can bring you a blessing or two as you travel through Advent.


I encourage you to choose something special to do during the four weeks of Advent this year. Maybe it’s saying some extra prayers or doing something kind for others. Or perhaps you have an opportunity to give extra gifts to those in need or add more to the charity causes you regularly support. Whatever you choose, ideally it will be something over and above what you do during normal weeks. The important thing is to prepare your heart for Jesus – clean out your heart (maybe go to confession?), open yourself to His love, and then spread that love to others. The blessings of Advent and Christmas await those who prepare!


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022



Posted on November 21, 2022 at 9:00 AM Comments comments ()


Monday Meditation – Friendship - 11/21/2022


Friendship is very important to me, and I assume it is to you as well. I know I have spoken about this before in one (or more!) of my blogs, but it bears repeating. I am so very blessed to have a number of friends in my life, and as we head into Thanksgiving week, this is a perfect time to give thanks for friends.


I can’t count the times when it meant so much to me to be able to confide in friends about things that are happening in my life. I have been able to share the joys of my life, the sorrows, and even just the ordinary events that occur in my week. I have a few close friends with whom I can talk to about anything, and many more good friends whom I can call on in times of need. I also consider my confessor as a friend – he acts in place of Jesus when I need to confess my sins, and he give me solid advice on how to improve.


You can find many books and online posts written about the value of friendship, and you can put a search into Google and find many appropriate quotes. But I also find Scripture as a wonderful source of information about friendships. My favorite passage is this one from Sirach: “Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth.” (Sirach 6:14-15) I truly treasure my friends and give thanks for each and every one of them.


I encourage you this week to think about those special people in your life whom you call your friends. Thank God for the gift of those people in your life! You also might like to give some of your friends a call or send them a little note this week and express your appreciation for them. As you have been blessed by them, take time to bless them as well.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022




Posted on November 15, 2022 at 12:30 AM Comments comments ()

Monday Meditation – Technology 11/14/2022


I like technology. So many wonderful things have been invented that make our lives easier – I find my smartphone and my computer to be invaluable. And all the applications that exist to make it easy for you to shop, order food and keep track of your business. Amazing!


For me, a prime example of how technology has blessed me is this weekly blog post. I use my computer and my Word program when I am writing. I use the Facebook app to post the blog, and the MailChimp app to mail it out to those who do not use Facebook. I even have a website, using another application. And Google is one of my dearest friends – I can research Bible quotes, song lyrics, quotations and more to include in my posts.


Yet technology can be very frustrating. A year and a half ago the hard drive on my computer crashed, and I lost a lot of data. I did have a backup drive, but my backup was several months old, so I couldn’t easily recover my data. I was able to go back to old emails and recover things I had sent out or things that had been sent to me, and I was able to copy off older blog posts from my website to recreate my cumulative blog file. But it has been a time-consuming process, and not one that I relish ever tackling again. One solution: I bought a new external drive and am backing up my data once a month now!


Technology can also NOT be a good thing. I enjoy playing some games on my phone, and I periodically scroll through Facebook posts as a distraction. But I have caught myself spending way too much time on these things. When I get pulled into some of these apps I find I don’t always have enough time for more important tasks. I may have to stay up late to finish a report. Spending too much time on apps can also isolate me from others… I neglect to call that friend or visit with a neighbor. So I must consciously limit my time with these apps. And we have all heard about harmful apps and scams using technology that are very hurtful to many people, so we have to be careful with what apps we use and the data we access.


To me, technology is still a good thing, but I need to be diligent in using it. I must be careful with the information I access and use, and I need to be cognizant of the time I spend using certain technology. I must remember that non-technology things are also important… things like prayer, reading and time spent with others. A proper balance is key.


This week I encourage you to look at how you use technology. Are you careful with your data and do you have backups? Do you limit your time with “distraction apps” and find enough time for prayer and interacting with others? Technology can be a blessing, but also a curse, so make sure you are wise in its use.


Have a blessed Monday!


© 2022