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Reflections From Faye

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Strengthen Your Relationships

Posted on December 5, 2022 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (885)

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!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

The History of Advent

Posted on November 27, 2022 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (730)

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!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Friendship

Posted on November 21, 2022 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (794)

 

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!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 


 

Technology

Posted on November 15, 2022 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (1162)

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!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

 

Acts of Kindness - Part 2

Posted on November 7, 2022 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (810)

 

Monday Meditation – Acts of Kindness – Part 2 11/7/2022

 

Do you remember my blog post from January 31st about the “Magic of Kindness” project? It told of how I was 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 didn’t have to cost anything, and it could be for someone you know or for a stranger.

 

The Facebook group for this project has 282 members, and I understand there are also some people participating who do not use Facebook. That means probably close to 300 people are doing at least one kind thing for someone else each week! I think that is incredible!

 

I have done several acts of kindness over these past several months, and it’s been enjoyable, rewarding, and also humbling. I feel that I am giving a blessing to someone else each time I do a kindness.

 

As I read the Facebook posts written by others, I am delighted at their generosity. I get some ideas for things I can do for others, too. It’s especially fun when I can do something randomly, so the person on the receiving end doesn’t know where the kindness came from. I also feel blessed that I am able to help someone else, even if it is just doing something small.

 

Have you done something kind for someone else this week? If not, I encourage you to do at least one thing, and maybe more. You don’t have to be an official member of the group to do an act of kindness – any one of us can bless another person at any time. And you might just find that YOU receive the greater blessing!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

All Saints Day

Posted on October 27, 2022 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (1757)

Monday Meditation – All Saints Day 10/31/2022

 

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of All Saints, November 1. On this day the Church celebrates those Christians who have achieved spiritual maturity. It is a day to venerate all the holy men and women who have been canonized by the Church.

 

Back when I was in Catholic grade school, we often had parades on November first where the children would dress up as saints. I had forgotten about that until a few years ago when my husband and I happened to be in New Mexico attending church on Nov. 1. The schoolchildren paraded into the church dressed as the various saints! It was adorable and a great reminder that we have all these holy men and women. I confess I didn’t recognize the particulars of many of the saints who children were portraying, but I did recognize a St. Francis and a Mother Teresa among the group.

 

There are more than 10,000 saints recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, though the names and histories of some of these holy men and women have been lost to history. The saints of the church are a diverse group of people with varied and interesting stories.

 

Saints can be a source of inspiration and blessing for us. Knowing that others faced difficulties in their lives and yet managed to do great works and stay faithful to God is an encouragement to me. I can also pray to these people and ask them to help me with whatever I am struggling with. Many saints have been designated as the patron of something – for example, St. Francis of Assisi is not only the patron of the environment and animals since he loved creation, but he is also the patron saint of many cities, including Quito, Ecuador, and he is co-patron (with St. Catherine of Sienna) of Italy. I have chosen St. Anne (the Mother of Mary) as my patron saint.

 

Have you ever read about the lives of some of our saints? I’ve tackled a few, and I admit that it’s hard for me to relate to the lives of some of them, especially those who lived in monasteries or convents. However, I have also read some of the writings that these saints penned for us. There is some powerful information in their works to help us live holy lives.

 

Besides Sacred Scripture (written by Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, among others), some of my favorite works include those of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. I can’t say that I fully understand all of their writings, so I find myself digesting their works in small chunks, sometime re-reading things so that I can better understand. I know this is going to be a continual process for me, but one that I believe is helping me to grow closer to God.

 

This week as we celebrate All Saints Day, I encourage you to pick up something written by one of the saints. If you don’t find something that resonates with you on your first try, select something from another saint. Keep going, if you need to - there’s bound to be a blessing just for you somewhere in Christian literature – you just need to seek it out.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Bitter or Better

Posted on October 24, 2022 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (592)

Monday Meditation – Bitter or Better 10/24/2022

 

When was the last time you hit a rough spot in your life? You know what I am talking about – a time where you were given a poor health diagnosis, faced a rocky relationship, faced daunting difficulties in your job or something equally challenging. When these issues crop up (and they inevitably do), we have two choices we can make.

 

The first choice is to be bitter about it. We may feel resentment toward others who are not facing the same problem. We can be angry at those persons who seemingly caused the problem or be mad at God for letting this happen. When our thoughts turn negative we can become bitter.

 

It’s often slow and sneaky. Bitterness often stems from some form of hurt, offense, injustice, or disagreement. And if our emotions are not checked, they can become vicious. A root of bitterness will begin to grow. It’s human nature.

 

It’s probable that we all know someone who has become bitter. They may be perpetually grouchy and seemingly unable to enjoy life. Their bitterness may show in angry speech or distorted actions toward those around them.

 

Choosing to be or stay bitter is sinful - it’s not God’s way. The Bible shows us this:

Proverbs 10:12 tells us that “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.” Proverbs 20:22 says: “Don’t say, ‘I will get even for this wrong.’ Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.” Hebrews 12:15 remarks: “…Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”

 

You probably know deep down that you should avoid bitterness, and yet it can creep in easily. Maybe that’s why you’re continuing to read this blog. Bitterness is destructive and a hindrance to our spiritual growth and productivity.

 

I have found that when I start to feel bitter I need to let it go. It’s not easy, I know. But don’t let bitterness rob you of your joy, productivity, or love. Don’t let it steal your peace. Don’t allow it to cause you to be mean, angry, or slanderous and destroy good relationships. Our great enemy Satan comes to steal, kill, and to destroy, and one way is by encouraging bitterness.

 

So the better option is choose to make ourselves better.

 

I know that I should find something I can learn from the negative events to make things better. Did someone else commit a wrong? If so, maybe I need to let it go and forgive them. Perhaps I made a mistake. If so, I probably need to forgive myself and learn from it so I don’t do it again. Maybe I failed to fully research my project and because of that I went off in the wrong direction. If so, I need to learn from that too. Or perhaps I sinned in some way which contributed to my downfall. In that case an examination of conscience may be needed, along with a good confession. The point here is I need to examine myself and see what I can learn from the situation and what I can change in the future.

 

Live in the abundant life in Christ. When things don’t go the way you planned, don’t let the enemy rob you of your right to forgive. Love people deeper and dwell in peace as much as possible with others as the Bible states. Let God’s mercy flow over you and through you. Choose to be the bigger person, let go, and move on. Try to set your thoughts on things that are lovely and pure, and on things above, not on things below.

 

Scripture has some advice: Ephesians 4:31-32 says: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ Jesus has forgiven you.” And Romans 12:17-18 reminds us: “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”

 

So when things don’t go the way you want them to and you are tempted to become bitter, think about how Jesus would want you to respond so that instead you can become better. Perhaps a blessing will return to you as a result.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Music

Posted on October 10, 2022 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (976)

Monday Meditation – Music 10/17/2022

 

I’m a big fan of music. I have heard music evolve over the years, and I must admit I enjoy most genres. I listened to classics as a child, with Rock and Roll and British pop playing a major role in my teen years. As my faith grew, so did my interest in choral music as well as contemporary Christian songs. These days I mostly listen to a Christian radio station, although the “oldies” from my growing years still strike a sweet chord in my soul, and love it that I can ask Alexa to play a song for me.

 

Out of curiosity, I googled music genres and stumbled across hundreds of images showing different types of music. I never knew there were so many variations! I saw lists, pie charts, bar graphs, Venn diagrams and more showing the relationships and popularity of music types. The image included with this post was one I found easy to read, although it does not include every type of music.

 

Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, help with blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory. This is true! Periodically I go with a friend to local memory care units, where she plays the piano and we sing songs with the residents. The music stimulates their memories, and it’s so gratifying to see them tapping their toes and smiling as they recall songs from their younger days.

 

Music provides great comfort to me – when I am struggling with a problem I listen to some music to take a break. When I am sad, I locate some old favorites to take my mind off the sadness. And when a great praise and worship song pops up on the radio, you will find me singing along and doing my own worship wherever I may be.

 

Do you enjoy music? If so, maybe this week you might want to dust off those CDs and play some old favorites. Or get a subscription to a music service and create personal playlists to have available whenever you need it. Make music your blessing this week!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Our Colorful World

Posted on October 10, 2022 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (116)

Monday Meditation – Our Colorful World 10/10/2022

 

We are once again in the midst of fall here in Minnesota, and the leaves are changing into brilliant shades of colors. When mirrored against the calm waters of a lake on a sunny day, the reflections are simply gorgeous!

 

We live in an amazing world, don’t we? Everywhere we look we can see the evidence of God’s handiwork in His creation. We have flowers in all sizes and shapes and in every color of the rainbow. In the fall, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves on trees and plants stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange and red colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor.

 

God has granted most of us with sight, which allows us to view and enjoy the splendors of our world. I love to go walking in the fall, enjoying the many facets of creation. The vibrant colors shimmer in the sunlight, and the dry leaves crunch beneath my feet. The crisp breeze rustles the leaves and send them tumbling to earth. And sometimes I can catch a whiff of burning wood or leaves, which remind me of campfires in my childhood.

 

Do you think God thought about all these delights for us as He created our world? Did He purposefully create the changing colors and the sounds and smells we enjoy in the autumn? I like to think that He did, and He did it all just for you and me to enjoy.

 

I invite you this week to spend some time outside and enjoy the colorful world we live in. Marvel at the changing leaves, drink in the aroma of the flowers and harken to the wind as it blows through the trees. For I am fairly sure you will find a blessing in the colorful creation we live in.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Called

Posted on October 3, 2022 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (678)

 

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!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

 


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