Reflections On The Journey

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Reflections From Faye

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Perfection

Posted on February 21, 2022 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (952)

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 (238)

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 (2061)

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 (1079)

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 (1143)

 

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

 

In The Silence

Posted on January 17, 2022 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (1181)

I don’t know about you, but I value silence. When there is too much noise going on around me, I can’t concentrate very well. I know that I do my best work when I am alone and in silence.

 

Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder and harder for me to find silence. My life has been so busy with volunteer activities and family and friends, and I realized I haven’t done any serious writing for a few years. I usually do my best writing when I can get away from “the usual” for a long period of time, but I haven’t been able to do that. Even when stuck at home during covid distancing, I managed to fill my time with other things rather than taking advantage of the silence.

 

“A soul that has never tasted the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others,” said St. Mary Faustina Kowalska. This makes sense to me – I realized that I have been feeling restless lately. I have had a sense that something was missing, and that something was enough of the right kind of silence.

 

I decided that to remedy this, I would get up early each morning to have some special quiet time before the rest of my day begins. I am using that time to pray, including saying my regular morning prayers and studying that day’s installment of the Bible In A Year podcast.

 

After having completed two weeks now of this practice, I can say that spending more time in the silence has given me an extra sense of peace. I feel calmer, and more focused during the rest of my day. I haven’t found the inspiration to write yet, but I feel confident that it will come.

 

Because I have been thinking more about writing, I decided to review some of my previous prose and poetry. I found this one that I wrote in 2007, which really hit me – this describes that silence I have been missing. So today I share it with you.

 

In The Silence

 

In the silence of my heart

I come to know you, Lord

When I listen deep within

To the message of Your Word

 

Daily when my heart is still

I can truly pray

I come to know the silence

Of Your eternal way

 

Deep within the silence

My heart will open to

The love you want to place there

My soul you want to woo

 

Peaceful, blessed silence

My soul is joined with You

My Lord and God is in me

His silence is mine, too

 

Are you in need of some moments of silence? Do you need to “get away” for a while to reconnect with your soul and with God? I encourage you this week to find some time. Maybe the first thing in the morning is a good time for some silence, before the craziness sets in. Or perhaps a quiet time after the evening’s chores are done would be better. Whatever time works for you, give it a try. Spend a little time with God. You may be blessed in your silence!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Storms

Posted on January 10, 2022 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (1240)

A few weeks ago here in Minnesota we had a snowstorm that dropped close to 20 inches of snow in our town. The fluffy flakes fell for several hours, creating a winter wonderland right in our back yard!

 

This storm was a nice one – it came slowly, we had nowhere to go, and we ended up with a lovely blanket covering our yard to greet our grandsons who would soon be arriving from Texas.

 

However, not all physical storms are nice. Hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes have ripped through neighborhoods and caused extensive damage, injuries, and even loss of life. Many of these kinds of storms hit our world during the past year, and even the rampage of covid has caused much suffering. So much devastation and sorrow. It can take years to rebuild following one of these disasters.

 

Possibly even worse, though, are the emotional storms we face. Broken relationships can be more devastating than a having a tree fall on your roof. Facing the death of a loved one can wrench your heart. Emotional damage caused by illness, addictions and selfishness can be very hard to survive.

 

I am currently going through the book of Job in my Bible study. Job was faced with many terrible things. His so-called friends kept telling him to admit he was a sinner, but Job knew that he was a righteous man. I often wonder, like Job, why God sends all these devastating storms into our lives. If God is a good and loving God, why does He allow these things to happen, especially to good people?

 

It’s difficult, but we must remember that God is good. He knows our situation, and He is truly in control, even if we can’t see or understand it. After all, He is the Creator of all things. Sometimes God allows storms for an unknown reason. God just asks us to journey with Him through the storms.

 

My personal life storms have been as challenging as any hurricane or tornado. My divorce years ago turned my life upside down. It was a difficult journey, and it was only due to the support of friends, much prayer and lots of time that I finally healed. However I have found that I did get a few blessings from my storms – I am now a stronger person, my faith life has blossomed, and I have been able to speak about my struggles with others and help them through their challenges.

 

Are you facing a storm in your life right now? If so, know that I am praying that you will feel God’s love wrapped around you. Perhaps reading some of the book of Job will help you know that you are not alone. Reach out for help from trusted friends or your pastor – they can help. And I will pray that you will receive a blessing from your storm.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

A New Start

Posted on January 3, 2022 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (788)

‘Tis a new year once again, and an opportunity for a new start. Many people make resolutions at this time of year – to lose weight, to regularly work out at the gym, or to make some other positive change in their habits. All of these resolutions are noble and good, and if you feel a tug to make such a resolution, I encourage you to do so!

 

We also just celebrated the feast of the Epiphany – the visit of the magi to the Child Jesus. The word epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphaneia, which means “radiance,” “manifestation,” or “striking appearance.” Epiphany marks the striking appearance of God into the world in the person of Jesus Christ. We honor and adore Him as our King and Lord

 

This year I’m going to make a new start to honoring Him.

 

Like many of you, I have lots of things on my plate. I have my relationship with my husband and family members, many volunteer commitments for my church and my local arts organization, personal goals I would like to achieve, devotions, and certain leisure activities to take my mind off the “work.” All of these are good things, and my days are almost always full.

 

Yet too often when I reach the end of the day, I wonder whether I accomplished the right things. I have fallen into a few bad habits which I think contribute to this. And the number one bad habit is not starting my day out properly.

 

What do I mean? I haven’t always been starting my day out with God. Some days I do get prayers in before the rest of my day gets started. But often I fit in my prayers at other times during the day, or I find I have been so busy that I have to squeeze in my prayers just before bedtime. This isn’t good. Like many other people have reported, my days just don’t go as well if I don’t first spend time with God.

 

God wants us to be like Him and to mirror Him, so that we may share Him with everyone in the world. God desires us and He especially desires our “first fruits,” and I have realized that for me, that means I need to give Him the first several minutes of my day. Therefore I have decided that this year will be different – my “new start” goal is to spend the first half hour or so of every morning in prayer with God.

 

I will start out with my regular daily devotions, but I will also include the daily Bible In a Year podcast – and this year I will not only be listening to it but I will be reading along in my own bible. I have created a prayer journal to add my thoughts about each day’s passages. I am on day three so far, and so far, my 2022 days have been productive and enjoyable – what a blessing!

 

Do you need a restart in your relationship with God? Do you need to get to a regular prayer life? If so, perhaps this week you could take a look at your life and see what you may need to change to help bring you back on track with God. Maybe you could choose a new daily devotion of some kind or pick up a spiritual book to read. If you pray about it, I’m sure God will guide you to whatever it is that He would like for you to do. And may you find a new blessing in your new start!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

 

Post-Holiday Blues

Posted on December 27, 2021 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (309)

Christmas eve and Christmas have past, the kids have gone home, and I’ve done all the laundry and put things away. The only thing I have left up is our outdoor lights and our Christmas tree… I will continue to sit in the quiet light of the twinkling branches for several nights into the new year, cherishing memories and being thankful for all the blessings God has brought into my life.

 

I know, though, that this is a tough time of year for many people, including some of my dear friends. Those who have lost a loved one or who are dealing with an illness have been struggling through the holidays, and now when the holidays are over, they may face more sadness.

 

Sending encouraging cards to those people can help. But I’ve also found what seems to be even more effective is face-to-face visits to let them know I care. I have had to be content with phone calls and video chats to many people this year due to distance or health concerns, but I can readily hear the smiles in their voices and see the joy in their faces when we do chat.

 

Several people I know have made that extra effort to visit others who are facing these struggles, and I have heard many uplifting stories of how those visits helped. My goal is to reach out more in the coming weeks to those who I know may be facing sadness. I hope that reaching out will help combat the blues.

 

Have you or a friend lost someone this year or are facing an illness? Please know I am saying prayers for you. If you have a chance, now might be a good time to reach out to someone you know who is facing a loss. Give them a call, or visit if you are able, to let them know that you care. You might be the blessing that someone needs after the holidays.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2021 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Joy

Posted on December 20, 2021 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (246)

Are you feeling joy right now? No doubt you are feeling more like the opposite - stressed out with all the preparations you still need to do, worried about the increase in covid, and frustrated with many events occurring in our world. I too, have been feeling depressed about these things.

 

Yet joy is the response we are encouraged to make to the trials in our life.

 

Psychologist Martin P. Seligman states that we tend to focus primarily on our problems, rather than any good that occurs. But he claims that our good mental health requires that we focus on our well-being and happiness as well as the difficult experiences that occur.

 

St. Paul encourages us to focus on the good things in life, too. In Phil. 4:8-9 he says, “Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

 

When I begin to see the good in the situations that I face, and celebrate that good, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, I can begin to change my attitude into one of joy. Challenges will always be around. But even roses have thorns. If I focus solely on the thorns, I miss the joy of the beauty and fragrance of the flower.

 

We also have that wonderful event coming this week – the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus! With joy I am looking forward to celebrations with family and singing at our Christmas services.

 

I encourage you this week to look specifically for something good in your life and experience the joy of that thing. Don’t ignore your problems completely but look for the good and be joyful. And especially await with joy the birth of our Lord. You may be surprised to find a blessing in your joy!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2021 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 


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