Reflections On The Journey

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Meditations

Reflections From Faye

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Encouragement

Posted on March 28, 2022 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (692)

I love the word “encourage” and its variations – which is why it is a part of the mission of Reflections On The Journey: To provide help, encouragement and inspiration during the journey of life resulting in stronger faith and purpose.

 

The word “encourage” is described by Dctionary.com as a verb meaning to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence. You will note that the word “courage” is a part of encourage. Courage is a noun which means the ability to do something that frightens one, or strength in the face of pain or grief. The word courage comes from the Latin cor, which means “heart.”

 

So to be encouraged means to be given strength of heart.

 

Every one of us has “down” days – days when things do not go well, and we may feel like we want to give up. Even when we have had good things in our past, when some trial comes along we can easily fall prey to worry, fear and anxiety. We can forget that God is always with us in the midst of our battles.

 

I have had days like that. I know how hard it can be to stay positive and not to give up.

 

That’s when I need to run to God. God tells us “Be strong and of good courage“ many times in the Bible – some sources say there are at least twenty variations of those words in the Bible. I guess that means God is constantly reminding us to be encouraged despite our trials. How wonderful is that!

 

Do you need some encouragement today? Try reading Psalm 31! Hope in God, for He will be with you. And may you find blessing in God’s encouragement for you.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Funerals

Posted on March 21, 2022 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (1049)

This past week my family laid to rest my ex husband. We held a lovely funeral at the church, followed by a luncheon to visit with family and friends. Later, we interred his ashes at the cemetery.

 

Some people wonder why we even bother to have a funeral at all. The deceased can’t enjoy it, anyway. But the funeral is very important in my opinion. It serves many functions.

 

The funeral service a celebration of the life of the deceased. Every person is important, and their life had meaning to many people. By holding a funeral, we celebrate his or her life as we remember them and we express our thoughts and feelings about the deceased. It is a chance for family and friends to gather and mourn together their very real loss, and it provides a support system for the family and friends.

 

Christians recognize that the person’s life here on earth may have ended, but their eternal life is just beginning. The funeral service gives everyone a chance to say that final goodbye and yet celebrate that his or her life is not really over, just changed. We pray that they will soon be joined with Jesus in Heaven.

 

The funeral we held was difficult at times, and tears were shed. But it was also very supportive for us. It was such a comfort to see family and friends present as we said goodbye. Some people who attended did not know Jim very well or at all, yet they came anyway, because they recognized that Jim had been an integral part of our family, and they were there to support us.

 

If you have lost someone recently, know that your family and friends will support you. Hopefully you are able to have a funeral to celebrate their life and feel the love and support of family and friends.

 

And if you know of a friend who has lost an important person in their life, I encourage you to attend the funeral service, if at all possible. Your presence may be the blessing your friend needs to help them through their grief.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Reflections

Posted on March 14, 2022 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (1253)

We mark milestones in our lives in many ways. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, years of sobriety and years on the job, to name a few. Today I am celebrating a milestone: this is my 300th reflection post.

 

When I started this blog in 2014, I didn’t know how long I would continue. I thought I would give it a year and see how it worked. Then I just kept writing…..

 

There were times over the years when I had lots of ideas and I would write three or four posts ahead. Then there were times when I would not have any ideas at all. Occasionally I would just plain forget and find myself working late on Sunday night to write something intelligent and hopefully meaningful for the next morning’s post.

 

I know my posts are not necessarily “media-worthy,” and I don’t have hundreds of followers on my “Reflections On The Journey” Facebook page. I have about a dozen people who get the emailed version of this blog, and even fewer that actually visit my website. But that is not the point of my work.

 

I write my “Reflections On The Journey” blog because I find joy in the writing – writing is one of the spiritual gifts of the Spirit which I have been given. My message is to provide help, encouragement and inspiration during the journey of life resulting in stronger faith and purpose for my readers. And I find that the writing helps me, too, through the trials of my own life.

 

My blog shares my personal journey in small reflections, and occasionally I throw in poetry, references to songs or a portion of the writing of others. I toss in things that are meaningful to me and which have helped me through my own issues. My goal is to allow my readers to see that we are not perfect, it’s ok to have problems, and to give encouragement that we can work through our issues.

 

It is encouraging when I hear from one of you. I am glad my words are fulfilling my mission to help you through your own journey. I would be honored to pray for you about a specific problem you are having or write about a topic that is meaningful to you – so please feel free to email me or comment on my posts. This blog is for YOU.

 

I plan to continue writing this weekly blog as long as I am able to do so. I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire me to write meaningful words and thus continue to fulfill my mission. May you find blessings in these words.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Grief

Posted on March 7, 2022 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (1112)

Are you dealing with grief right now?

 

About ten days ago we had a death in the family. My ex-husband and the father of my oldest two boys died unexpectedly. We all were shocked – we never expected this.

 

My boys are grieving their loss. I, too, am grieving. Although my ex and I had many rocky times during our marriage, after the divorce and annulment my ex managed to turn his life around. He renewed his faith, and we began to have a cordial relationship. He once again became a part of our family gatherings, thanks to the kindness of my current husband. I am grieving for the loss of his kind soul, and I am grieving for my boys.

 

I am extremely grateful that I had a long conversation with my ex only a few days before he passed. I have spoken to his friends, and it is very comforting for my family to know that in those last few days he also had good visits and phone calls with other people that were close to him. What a blessing to know that he was in good spirits in those last few days. But the loss of someone, especially one who was part of your family, still hurts.

 

It has been hard for us to go through papers and sort things out in my ex’s home. We have come across photos of happy times, which have helped us to recall him with fondness. We have also uncovered things we didn’t even know existed, and my boys have learned things about their father that they previously never knew.

 

I know it is going to take time for all of us to heal from this tragedy. But during this time, we will not bury our grief. We will grieve together and find the support we need to get through this time. We are leaning on each other and our friends and family.

 

An unexpected blessing out of this is that members of our family are coming together in a way we had not done for a long time. I am looking at this as a positive outcome of a very difficult situation, and I hope we can go forward and maintain these renewed relations. Even though it is hard to see right now, I am confident that our Lord has a hand in this, and that we will get through this difficult time and grow as a result.

 

Everyone grieves differently, and for different periods of time. Some may feel overwhelmed. Others may bury their feelings or stoically try to get through it. If you know someone who is grieving, see if there is something you can do to help them. Think about what that person really needs right now. Some may need a shoulder to cry on. Others could benefit from a listening ear. Still others may need some guidance on what to do, or actual help doing things. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do for someone who is grieving – but it’s good to try.

 

Stay in touch with your friend. Your contact may mean the world to the person who has lost a loved one. Put your friend’s well-being before your own, if possible. Consider carefully what you say so your well-meaning remark is not misinterpreted. And prayers are usually always appreciated!

 

We all experience grief at one time or another. If you have lost someone recently, know that I am praying for you. Please do not bury your grief when you have a loss. Talk about it with others and ask for support. And accept help offered - your friends want to help if they can. And of course, pray and ask God for help, too. It may be a difficult time, but you will get through it. And who knows, perhaps an unexpected blessing awaits you within the grief.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Feeling Inadequate

Posted on February 28, 2022 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (1082)

Last week I talked about perfection, and that led me to think about feeling inadequate. When I am faced with a new or big project, I often feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I feel inadequate to take on the new task.

 

My friend Lili talks about this is one of her “Life Tools By Lili” podcasts. She talks about how she felt spooked out and unsure of herself when faced with a new opportunity. What she did was to first take a break, and then come back to her situation with a new perspective. Lili says there is always going to be competition, but perhaps instead of being afraid of them, you might try to learn something from those competitors. Or perhaps you may even be able to team up with one and work together to achieve common goals. You can watch this particular episode of Lili’s here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4ieAcVFCA4

 

I am currently looking at a new opportunity for this summer. I have some something similar, but not on this big of a scale. And I know that I don’t have all the skills needed to do this task to perfection, so that old inadequate feeling has come popping right up. But, like Lili suggested, I took a little break from thinking about the project. I prayed, and then I decided to approach it a bit differently. I have located a few of the “competition,” and will be asking them to be my mentors for guidance and help. Although I haven’t officially gotten the go-ahead to do this project, you can bet the butterflies are already surrounding me. But with guidance from my mentors and much prayer, I am feeling more confident that I will be able to take on this project and the end result will be a success.

 

Are you looking at taking on something new? Are you feeling a bit inadequate to take on this new task? Or maybe you are feeling inadequate about a task you are currently charged with? I encourage you to step back, pray, and see if you can look at the task in a new way. You may be blessed to locate some mentors and discover it’s not going to be as difficult as you thought. God’s grace will guide you!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

 

Perfection

Posted on February 21, 2022 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (879)

Monday Meditation - Perfection 2/21/2022

 

Have you ever tried to be perfect? My parents held me to high standards when I was growing up, and I often felt like I had to be the best at what I did. Fortunately, I was naturally gifted in most academic subjects, and in school I brought home excellent report cards.

 

But there were some things I just couldn’t do well. Sports, for example. In grade school, I was often picked last for teams, and I managed to just get by in gym class. I was tall, but that didn’t mean I could handle a basketball well. I could throw a softball and even get some decent long hits, but I was not a fast runner, so I was lucky to get on base.

 

Even in music I had my limitations. I could sing decently, but I didn’t do well playing instruments. I remember one time playing one short piece over and over on the piano for two whole hours because I wanted, just once, to get through it without making a mistake. I got so frustrated.

 

Even in my adult life I strived for perfection. When I became a supervisor and two of my employees had a big blowup, I didn’t handle it well. When my manager talked to me about it, I became so frustrated that I broke down and cried right there in the office. What an embarrassing display.

 

It took me a long time to really accept the fact that I was not perfect in most things. I have made many mistakes in my life, some of which might surprise you. I have often had to go to confession for both big and small things which I have messed up over the years.

 

But one thing has helped me keep going – the fact that God loves me, even though I am not perfect. In fact, besides Jesus and His Mother, Mary, no human being has ever been perfect. Even Jesus’ own disciples were far from perfect – just look at how Peter denied Him on Good Friday!

 

God doesn’t call the perfect. He perfects those He calls. Peter became a magnificent preacher and promotor of Jesus. St. Paul, too, had a big conversion. He tells us “My grace is sufficient for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection.” (2 Cor. 12:9) I still know I should strive to do well in everything I do. But I can rely on God to give me what I need, when I need it, to help with my inadequacies.

 

Are you feeling less than perfect today? Know that you we are not alone! We all need assistance to do well. Trust that God will give you what you need. I encourage you today to read one of the psalms that specifically talk about trust: Psalm 11; 16; 23; 27; 62; 63; 91; 121; 125; and 131. May you be blessed in your weakness and in your trust and God will help you.

 

The year-long project “The Magic of Kindness” has started! Have you thought about what kindness you will do this week?

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Loneliness

Posted on February 21, 2022 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (186)

Monday Meditation - Loneliness 2/14/2022

 

Happy Valentines’ Day to you all!

 

You may be surprised that today’s post is about loneliness. Why did I choose this topic on a day of love celebrated the world over? It’s because there still is a lot of loneliness in this world, especially on a day like this.

 

I suspect most of you have a special person in your life – a spouse, a significant other or close friends and family. And you may be doing something special today, on Valentine’s Day. But there may be one or two of you who do not, for a variety of reasons. Or maybe you know someone who is experiencing loneliness due to loss of someone in a close relationship, due to physical distance, or for some other reason. On today, many of these people are likely feeling their loss more profoundly than before.

 

Loneliness affects all of us at one time or another. Whenever we are separated from those people we care about, there tends to be a hole that crops up in our heart, soul or both. Loneliness creeps in, and it can bring us down if we choose not to face it and address its source.

 

Henri Nouwen was a priest and spiritual writer whose was able to reach audiences from every denominational, cultural and political persuasion. He died in 1996, but his writings and books continue to inspire and encourage those who seek to live a spiritual life. The following quote from Henri about loneliness inspired me:

 

“Whenever you feel lonely, you must try to find the source of this feeling. You are inclined either to run away from your loneliness or to dwell in it. When you run away from it, your loneliness does not really diminish; you simply force it out of your mind temporarily. When you start dwelling in it, your feelings only become stronger, and you slip into depression.

 

“The spiritual task is not to escape your loneliness, not to let yourself drown in it, but to find its source. This is not so easy to do, but when you can somehow identify the place from which these feelings emerge, they will lose some of their power over you. This identification is not an intellectual task; it is a task of the heart. With your heart you must search for that place without fear.

 

“This is an important search because it leads you to discern something good about yourself. The pain of your loneliness may be rooted in your deepest vocation. You might find that your loneliness is linked to your call to live completely for God. Thus your loneliness may be revealed to you as the other side of your unique gift. Once you can experience in your innermost being the truth of this, you may find your loneliness not only tolerable but even fruitful. What seemed primarily painful may then become a feeling that, though painful, opens for you the way to an even deeper knowledge of God’s love.”

 

Are you facing some kind of loneliness in your life today? If so – I send you my deepest love and support – please reach out if you would like to talk to me about it.

 

Or perhaps you know someone who is facing loneliness. If so, please consider reaching out to them today. Perhaps you can help them address the cause of their loneliness. Or maybe you can do something special for them as part of “The Magic of Kindness” project! You can be the hope that your friend needs. I encourage you to be a blessing for someone today!

 

The year-long project “The Magic of Kindness” officially starts this week on February 17, the National Day of Kindness. If you’d like to follow or join the Facebook page for the group, check it out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/353118999969369/posts/356150409666228/?notif_id=1644162002928572¬if_t=group_post_mention&ref=notif

 

If you’d like to participate, let me know! I’d love to hear your stories. And thank you to those friends who have already joined this wonderful project!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Special Intentions

Posted on February 7, 2022 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (1987)

I’ll bet you probably have several “go-to” prayers that you say for various situations. I do too. I say the rosary regularly, the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, and I also use the quick exclamations of “Jesus, Mary & Joseph!” or “Jesus, mercy!” in emergency situations.

 

I also like the Memorare: “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins my Mother; to thee do we come; before the do we stand; sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen.” As our Mother, Mary is the perfect person to go to for help!

 

There are thousands of prayers available for specific purposes. If you don’t have a book of prayers in your home, try Google! Search for “prayer for” followed by your need. You’ll be amazed at what you will find!

 

In addition to praying to Jesus, we can pray to patron saints for help with various things. Many of the saints have been designated as the patron of some cause – like St. Jude for hopeless causes and St. Anthony for lost articles. I seem to use St. Anthony a lot these days, and I sometimes just say the quick words “Tony, Tony, turn around, something’s lost and must be found!” Just as we may ask our friends and neighbors to pray for us, why not ask those holy people who have gone before us?

 

For more serious problems, you can pray a novena. The word “novena” is derived from the Latin word for nine, or “novem.” Typically, a novena refers to nine days of prayer, asking God for a specific intention, often through a Saint’s intercession. Novenas are a beautiful way to grow purposeful, consistent, and persistent in daily prayer. Many of the most popular and widely-prayed novenas begin or end on a Saint’s feast day. And it’s important to note that while most novenas are indeed nine days long, there are some exceptions, like the St. Andrew Christmas novena, which is 25 days long!

 

Special intentions are a specific way to pray for the needs of others. The specific needs may be voiced as you pray, or when confidentiality is important, for example when you are in a group and want them to pray with you, just ask for prayers for a special intention. God knows the need.

 

I just started a nine-day novena to St. Joseph a few days ago, for a special intention. St. Joseph, as Husband of Mary and Foster Father to Jesus, is a good one to pray to for matters related to families. I am going to trust that he will help the people in the particular family I am praying for.

 

Do you have any special prayers you say? I encourage you this week to seek out a new prayer, one you have not prayed before. You can think about a need you or someone else is having and look up the patron saint for that need in case there are special prayers available. It can never hurt to say a prayer (or several) for your needs and the needs of others, and maybe you could even include something like “and for the special intentions of all people.” You don’t need to know the specifics to offer up a prayer.

 

Perhaps you could also say a quick prayer for my special intention, too. I pray for each of you every week because I know that lifting others up in community is a beautiful way to live in solidarity with each other and remind ourselves we are all one in God’s family. Perhaps this week you can bless those around you with your prayers!

 

One last note - the year-long project for Acts of Kindness now has an official title: “The Magic of Kindness.” If you’d like to follow or join the Facebook page for the group, check it out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/353118999969369/posts/356150409666228/?notif_id=1644162002928572¬if_t=group_post_mention&ref=notif

 

If you’d like to participate, let me know! I’d love to hear your stories. And thank you to those friends who have already joined this wonderful project!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Acts of Kindness

Posted on January 31, 2022 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (1031)

I was recently challenged by my friend Carol to participate in a challenge with her – to do one random act of kindness per week for a whole year, starting on February 17, 2022 – the National Random Act of Kindness Day. The kindness doesn’t have to cost anything, and it could be for someone you know or for a stranger. My friend did this a while ago, and she said that it brought many blessings to her and to the recipients of her kindness.

 

This idea is fabulous, and I accepted the invitation to be part of her challenge. Carol is hoping that this effort will spread both here in the US and internationally – she says she already has one person in Afghanistan and one person in Scotland who will be participating!

 

In my opinion, there are not nearly enough acts of kindness happening in our world. People tend to focus on themselves and their own needs (and I know how easy that is to do!) and not on the needs of others. Yet there are so many people who can use some help and encouragement!

 

Mary Davis said, “We can’t heal the world today, but we can begin with a voice of compassion, a heart of love, and an act of kindness.” St. Faustina devoted her life to spreading the mercy of Jesus – and mercy is often just acts of kindness. They can be good deeds, kind words, or even by offering prayers for others.

 

I foresee that this challenge will help me to focus more on others, looking specifically for something I can do for one of my fellow children of God. And it’s not difficult – one act of kindness per week is very manageable! And I will not pass up other opportunities that just pop up – if I see something I can do, I will do it!

 

In my future meditations I will remind you of this challenge, and I plan to share some of my acts of kindness and how they affected me and possibly how they helped the recipient.

 

This week, I invite you to consider joining in with me on this challenge. If you would like to participate, please message me back with your name (first name only is fine) and where you live, and I’ll report it back to my friend Carol, so she can update just how far the kindness is spreading. Just so you know, the challenge includes posting about it on Facebook, but if you don’t use Facebook or just choose not to post it there, don’t worry. Participate anyway! And I’d love to hear the blessings that radiate from your kindnesses!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Learn Something New

Posted on January 24, 2022 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (1066)

 

Do you feel like you are in a bit of a rut? I do a lot of the same things every day. Oh, I do exercise my brain by reading, doing puzzles and playing word games. However, I often read the same kinds of books, eat the same kinds of foods and watch or listen to the same news programs, pretty much every day! I can feel like my life has turned into one big “same-old, same-old.”

 

Years ago, I was good at learning and trying new things. Those of you who know me well probably know I have learned cross-stitch and plastic canvas work. I discovered how to be a better leader and speaker through Toastmasters. I got my MBA and attended some bible studies and faith-building programs. In our travels I learned more about world history and other cultures. I even took some watercolor painting classes.

 

But for a while after my retirement, I slacked off on learning many new things. Why? I think I was so grateful to be rid of the daily 9 to 5 routine and stress that I stopped learning. I was happy in my new, easy routine. It was too easy to just do the same things over and over day after day. Why, to learn something new I might have to put forth some effort! I would have to research my topic, possibly purchase supplies, and schedule time in my days to actively work on my new endeavor. That sounded like work!

 

But as the old saying goes: if you don’t use it, you lose it.

 

The website healthnavigator.org.nz has an article about how learning something new is so good for us. The site lists several benefits of learning something new: it helps you to improve your brain function, allows you to meet new people, gives you the opportunity to become involved in your community, helps you to feel good about your new skill, and allows you to have fun.

 

Looking back to the times when I have learned something new, I’ve seen all these benefits! Some of the blessings I have received from learning new things include making several new friends! I have helped my community in many ways and have learned some new skills, which certainly have improved my brain functions! I sure feel good when I have learned something new, and I am definitely having fun! I’m continuing to learn something new just about every week.

 

Have you learned something new lately?

 

You may be thinking that can’t learn something new because so many businesses have had to reduce hours or even shut down during the pandemic. But there are literally millions of things we can be learning! Many of them are available through our libraries and on the internet, and lots of it costs you nothing more than your time. It’s amazing what you can learn by searching YouTube videos!

 

Each new day is an opportunity for you to learn something new. It doesn’t have to be something big, but it certainly could be! I encourage you this week to make plans to learn something that you haven’t done before. What will you do? And what blessing will you get by learning that something new?

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 


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