Reflections On The Journey 

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Meditations

Reflections From Faye

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I've Learned...

Posted on August 10, 2020 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I’ve learned a lot of things during my life. I’ve learned how to make mistakes, to laugh, to cry, to help others, and much more. I recently received an email from a dear friend with these words from the late Andy Rooney, and as I read them I felt it sums up a lot of what I have learned. So today I am sharing his words with you.

 

“I’ve Learned” – by Andy Rooney

 

I've learned....That when you're in love, it shows.

 

I've learned ....That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.

 

I've learned....That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

 

I've learned....That being kind is more important than being right.

 

I've learned....That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

 

I've learned....That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in any other way.

 

I've learned....That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

 

I've learned....That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

 

I've learned....That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

 

I've learned....That money doesn't buy class.

 

I've learned....That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

 

I've learned...That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

 

I've learned....That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

 

I've learned....That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

 

I've learned....That love, not time, heals all wounds.

 

I've learned....That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

 

I've learned....That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

 

I've learned....That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

 

I've learned....That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

 

I've learned....That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

 

I've learned....That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

 

I've learned....That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

 

I've learned....That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

 

I've learned....That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

 

I've learned....That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, you're hooked for life.

 

I've learned....That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

 

I've learned....That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

 

 

I don’t know what you have learned in your life, but I hope you have learned some of the same things that Andy Rooney has learned. And I pray that you will learn something new this week, something that will bless your life.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

In My Hometown

Posted on August 3, 2020 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

One of this past week’s readings was the gospel of Matthew passage where Jesus came back to his hometown and began to teach the people (Matt 13:54-58). The people were astonished and were disinclined to believe him, saying “Isn’t he the carpenter’s son?” He did what he could to teach them, but due to their lack of belief, Jesus was not able to work many miracles there, so he moved on to another area.

 

This passage hit me when listened to it proclaimed at mass. I think about how hard it is when I convey my beliefs or suggestions to people who are close to me. And I have to admit that I too have found it hard to listen to advice or words of correction from those close to me, like my husband or my parents! Just why is it that it’s sometimes easier to learn the tougher life lessons from those with whom we are not so close?

 

When I need to have a difficult conversation, I recognize that at times I’m going to mess up. And sometimes the other person will not heed what I say. So I have learned that it helps if I pray about it first. Then I must do my best to be gentle and try to converse openly, honestly, and with a loving heart. And it isn’t easy – back when I was a manager at my company, this was the hardest part of my job.

 

No matter what, it’s important that I stick to my faith and beliefs. As a member of the Body of Christ it’s my responsibility to share that with others. At times, my words will fall on deaf ears, but that’s ok – the same thing happened to Jesus! I will just need to move on, and trust that God will somehow do what I was unable to do.

 

The next time you need to have a conversation with someone from your “hometown,” remember that it’s ok if it doesn’t always go well. At times we will fail, but at times we will succeed. The important thing is to persevere and remain faithful to your beliefs.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Sunshine

Posted on July 27, 2020 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Lately we have had days where the clouds prevail and rain intermittently passes through. This helps the crops grow tall and flowering plants are refreshed. Unfortunately the rain also leaves the dewpoint high resulting in high humidity, so on sunny days we get sweltering heat.

 

But I still enjoy Minnesota summers. I love to spend as much time outside as I can, especially on the sunny days. In my younger years I would lay in the backyard reading and trying to gain a decent tan. I often rode my bike over to the city pool to enjoy the cool waters and time with friends. These days I still pedal my bike around the neighborhood and laze on my patio to enjoy the outdoors as much as I can, although I’m more careful about spending too much time directly in the sun!

 

I love sunshine. Our sun sends needed light to our earth, and provides energy used by plants in the photosynthesis process to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. The process releases oxygen which we need to breathe. The sun gives us this food and oxygen as well as wonderful light for us to see and enjoy the world around us. We may not always see the sun, but it is always there. And without the sun, human beings would not survive.

 

When ever I think about the sun, I also think about the Son. The Son of God provides us with His body for food, the Spirit for breath, and light to guide us on life’s journey. Even though we may not always see Him, He is always there. Without Jesus, we could not survive spiritually.

 

This week, I encourage you to spend a little time out in the sun if you can. Soak up its warmth and meditate on the photosynthesis process going on all around you. Breath in deeply the life-giving oxygen, and while doing so, gently shift your thoughts to Jesus. Thank Him for the gift of life, and for the blessings He has bestowed upon you. Rest in that spot for a moment, gliding in the physical sunshine and in the eternal Sonshine.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Nature

Posted on July 20, 2020 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

One blessing I have received from the pandemic with the need to stay close to home is that I have more free time. Since I am unable to do some of my volunteer activities (for now), and visits and lunches with friends are less common, I have time to focus on other things.

 

I have taken on a few indoor projects (and my husband will tell you that it’s about time…;) and I also have been spending more time outdoors. With my large table umbrella open, I can manage to stay cool in the shade on my main floor patio on most days. I enjoy a cold beverage, and burrow into a new novel or do a little writing on my pc.

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am taking more walks. This has been very enjoyable - we have ventured to several nearby parks and lakes, so we can traverse new trails and experience an assortment of views of ponds, trees and plants. In one park we were inundated with beautiful dragonflies – I spotted at least four different varieties.

 

Yesterday my husband and I dropped by the Conservatory at Lake Como. We were overwhelmed with the myriad of plants and flowers that graced the Japanese garden outside, and the unique combination of trees and plants in the indoor exhibits. God has created such variety of beautiful plants and flowers!

 

I’m enjoying the nature in my yard as well. On the very hot days, I retire to the cool basement where we have a patio door walkout to the back yard. While working at a table I can view the greenery and wildlife. Cardinals, sparrows, black-capped chickadees, mourning doves and a few other birds I haven’t yet identified can be seen enjoying a snack at the bird feeders. Below the feeders I have spotted rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and even wild turkeys foraging for anything the birds tossed aside.

 

Even on the very hot days we can enjoy the outdoors by taking a little driving trip. A few weeks ago we visited a nearby waterfall in Wisconsin. During the country driving portion of the trip, we observed tall cornstalks dancing in the breeze and patchwork fields on rolling hillsides containing the fruits of many farmers’ labors.

 

Nature really has so much to offer. I encourage you to spend a little time outdoors this week when you can. Go to a new park to take a walk. Hike around a lake. Drive a bit into the country. Or even just sit outside on your deck. Take a bit of time and thank God for the amazing nature that He has given to you.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Encouragement

Posted on July 13, 2020 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Did you know that I now have been writing these blogs for four years? It doesn’t seem like that long! But it’s true - my first blog was published on July 11, 2016. Looking back, I remember it was kind of scary, taking that leap into the world of blogging, and knowing that I likely would not reach a huge readership following. But that did not matter to me then, nor does it matter to me now.

 

My purpose for writing this blog remains the same as it did on that summer day four years ago – to follow the mission I had chosen for myself: To provide help, encouragement and inspiration during the journey of life resulting in stronger faith and purpose. Our world has so much negativity in it, and I want to remind people that there are still many good things out there, even though we may have to dig a bit to find them. So whether I have four readers or four hundred, I will keep writing.

 

If you were to go back and read my past blog entries, you will find that in them I have touched on many topics, and have shared problems and struggles I have faced in my life. Some of them were minor and some more challenging. Many of the issues I have dealt with in the past still occur in my life. And every day we must make decisions on how we will react to and act on events that occur around us. I have found that having a positive attitude helps. We may struggle and fall, but if we look for the good we can get up and try again. I write these words as much for myself as for you, my readers.

 

We all need encouragement and support as we walk through life. As we face our individual challenges, sometimes a supportive word or two will be enough to get us through.

 

My challenge for you this week is to say or do something to encourage someone else. Perhaps it might be as simple as putting some things away, or it could be more important, like being there to listen as someone pours out his or her heart. Spread encouragement within your circle, and you may be pleased to find encouragement circling right back to bless you.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Take Your Time

Posted on July 6, 2020 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

We’ve likely all done it – rushed to finish a project and found that something wasn’t right. It’s happened to me more than once – okay, a lot. When I realize I have made a mistake, I have two choices – live with a poor product, or spend extra time redoing it to make it right. If the error was small, I might be able to let it go. But a big error? No, I had to do it over.

 

Most things cannot be rushed. To complete a project, I must do things one at a time, in the correct order, and pay attention to details to be sure I do things right. If I don’t, the end result will be less than stellar, and quite possibly very bad indeed.

 

But how hard it can be to take my time! I know what the end result should be, and I want to get there now. Here’s one of my most recent examples. I wanted to make cinnamon rolls for my son who was in town. It was late afternoon when I started, and I hurried through the kneading process (mistake # 1). Then I did a Google search for hints to make the dough rise faster (mistake # 2). The dough rose, but not as far as I had hoped even though I did wait the full recommended time for rising.

 

I punched down the dough and rolled it out, noticing that the dough wasn’t really the consistency it should have been. But I prepped it anyway and rolled it and cut into pieces for the second rising. And guess what - the dough barely rose at all. At this point I just went ahead and baked the rolls. The rolls were edible, but definitely not anything I was proud to share with my family. And it was all because of my lack of patience with the process and trying to take shortcuts.

 

The same thing happens when I don’t take a proper amount of time each morning for my prayers. My spirits sag throughout the day and I may fail to adequately rise to my tasks. I experience a “day” but not the wonderful one I would have had if I had focused on my prayers.

 

These experiences reminded me of the importance of taking my time and doing things right. There are reasons for taking things one step at a time and allowing enough time to do them well! I need to remind myself that trying to take shortcuts when doing important things will result in a bad end result.

 

How about you? Do you take adequate time to properly do the tasks at hand? Or do you rush through them? This week I invite you to take your time when doing the important things in your life. It may take you a bit longer to finish something, but you will be blessed by a good outcome.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Water

Posted on June 29, 2020 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

God created an amazing thing when He conceived of water. It was an essential part of the creation story – Gen. 1:2 says “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”

 

Water is essential for life. Crops need an adequate amount of rain to produce their bounty, pastures need moisture for cattle to feed, and we would not have lovely flowers without water to give them nourishment.

 

We humans too need water. Our bodies are comprised of up to 60 % water, and we would likely die after three or four days without it. We use water for cooking, purification and nourishment. One of our sacraments, Baptism, uses water as a key ingredient. And we use consecrated Holy water to bless items of importance and ourselves.

 

I love water. One of my favorite spots to be is on an ocean beach, just sitting and enjoying the glimpse of God’s glory found there. I revel in the crashing of waves as they overturn on themselves near the shore or make the full run and splay out on the sand. Lakes and rivers are good spots too. The waves are usually gentler, teasing the sand and depositing broken shells at the edges.

 

When by the water, I love to watch the clouds meandering across the sky forming delicate lace patterns and casting shadows on the waves. On the beach, the sand is soft and squishy under my feet as I wade in the cool liquid. I can take a beach chair and sit at the water’s edge, my feet soaking and the ripples gently washing away my body’s tensions.

 

If you happen to be lucky enough to know someone with some water sport equipment (or own some yourself) you can enjoy so much on the water. Many people enjoy fishing, riding on jet skis or lazily trolling up or down a river on a pontoon. A kayak ride on smooth lake waters on a quiet evening can be a peaceful way to become still and tune yourself in to God.

 

Water can be treacherous, though – hurricanes and tsunamis can rip through areas leaving mass devastation in their wake. Thunderstorms can wash out roads and raging waters can sweep away homes. So although water is important, we also need to be respectful of its power.

 

Most of us have all the water we need, inexpensive and ready at the turn of a faucet. But there are some people in the world who do not have enough water. Their supply may be scarce or contaminated. Thankfully, there are organizations who work to help these people get access to good, clean water.

 

Do you appreciate your water? I encourage you today to think a bit the next time you use water and give thanks to God for this blessed gift.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Criticism

Posted on June 22, 2020 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

I am currently reading “The Next Right Thing” by Emily P. Freeman in an on-line book club. I am about three-fourths of the way though the book, and I definitely recommend it for anyone who might be looking for help in making a decision in life.

 

Chapter Eighteen definitely struck me – the chapter title is “Don’t Give Your Critic Words.” The premise is that positive, constructive criticism from good sources is valuable, but the negative, destructive criticism that comes from those who do not believe in you – who perhaps may only be interested in tearing you down – is another story.

 

As a Christian who wants to grow closer to God, I need regular support and guidance to keep me on track and help me make decisions. Those people who love me and care about me will give me words I need to hear and heed when I start to stray. But if I allow the words of those people who do not have my best interests at heart to pull me down and lure me into negative thinking about myself, that does not help me. Therefore, I must discern whose words are good and helpful and whose words are not.

 

I recall a time when I was a teenager and was just starting to attend a public school. At the bus stop, there were some girls who teased me about several things, including my appearance, and their remarks devastated me. Because I wanted to “fit in,” I let their remarks hurt me and cause me to strive to emulate them in certain ways, but the end result was they still didn’t like me and I was miserable.

 

A negative self-image trailed me for many years as a result of my continually replaying the words of those critics. It was much later in life that I came to realize that their comments were not the ones I should have been listening to all those years. Those words did not reflect my true self. I finally decided that those critics should no longer have a say in my life. And thankfully, my self-image has gradually changed for the better.

 

Sadly, I can also name other examples from my life where I listened to the wrong critics. It has taken much discernment to realize this and make more changes in my thinking.

 

I suspect that maybe you too have had poor critics in your life. If there are any of those critics still hanging around, trying to put negative words into your mind instead of constructive feedback to help you grow, maybe now might be the time to banish them.

 

Instead, like I did, you can listen to God and His non-judgmental love of us and to those truly reliable mentors who have your best interests in mind. Oh yes, they will occasionally tell us a few things we can change in our lives, but they will do so in a loving way that is designed to help us to become better versions of ourselves.

 

Stay away from the negative criticism this week, and instead bless yourself with positive thoughts!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Walks

Posted on June 15, 2020 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

With the weather getting nicer here in Minnesota, I am spending much more time outdoors. If I am up early I might take a cup of coffee out onto the patio (or into the sunroom if it is raining) and listen to the birds singing their wake-up melodies while I say my morning prayers, peruse the news or work on the daily crossword puzzle.

 

Then later, after my daily tasks are completed, I will often take a walk – sometimes alone and sometimes with a friend. My husband and I have been getting out several times per week also, exploring different local state and county parks.

 

Our adventures include meandering on trails, occasionally taking a wrong turn and retracing our steps, and observing all the wonders of nature. The trees wave their branches at us as we pass, and wildflowers provide splashes of color as we stroll through the prairies. We’ve seen lots of dragonflies, butterflies and even a turtle. We have walked beside streams, piles of dead branches and fallen limbs, and majestic pines towering besides ponds, lakes and rivers. I have been capturing photos along the way as reminders of our sojourns.

 

Even the clouds above us are entrancing – sometimes small and wispy and occasionally forming wavy ripples that slowly move across the pure blue sky.

 

Walking has been very good for me. I am exercising muscles that I admit were not used much over the winter and I don’t mind the slight ache I might feel later in the evening. It’s gratifying to feel the vibration of my fitness tracker as I pass my step goal for the day. Perhaps I will even shed a few pounds as the weeks pass!

 

But even more important is the opportunity for me to appreciate nature on my walks. I never was very good at botany, so except for the dandelions and red clover, I cannot identify the myriads of plants covering most of the ground in these parks. I can tell you when we pass a birch or a red oak tree, but I can’t tell you what kind of pine trees are in that grove over there.

 

Yet it doesn’t matter that I don’t know the names of all the plants. What is important is that I appreciate the wide variety that exists in our parks. And those which are found in Minnesota are only a minute portion of the vast number of plants that exist in all the other corners of our planet.

 

God has created a marvelous world for us to enjoy. When I stay cooped up in my home I can easily forget this – all the more reason for me to get outside and enjoy nature’s splendors.

 

I encourage you to get outside and talk a walk or two this week. Even if you only circle the block, take a look around you and observe nature. If you reside in Arizona, you could count the different species of cacti you see. For those who live in Florida, take a look at the palm trees. If you live somewhere else, I’m sure you can find some kind of unique plants to observe. And while on your walk, take a moment to thank God for His wonderful creation and the fact that He has given it to us to enjoy. What a blessing He has given to us!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Birds

Posted on June 8, 2020 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

As I write this meditation the birds are singing like crazy in the trees by my house. Perhaps they know I am writing about them? I’m trying to learn the different bird calls, and I even downloaded an app for my phone which is supposed to recognize the calls. But I keep forgetting to turn it on…

 

I do know the whistle-like song of the cardinal, though. There are several inhabiting the wooded areas near our home, and I have spied both males and females getting a snack from my feeders. I am not a very good whistler, but when I do manage to squeak out a few notes, the cardinals invariably answer back. I love it!

 

Birds seem to reveal the glory of God in creation. When I catch a glimpse of the beautiful red coat of a cardinal, the majestic soaring of an eagle, or the plumage of a peacock, I’m ready to burst out in song, something like “All Creatures of Our God and King” or “All Things Bright and Beautiful.”

 

The beauty of birds offers a natural opportunity to bear witness to God. Scripture tells us that “The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. . . . There [that is, in the trees] the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the pine trees.” (Psalm 104: 12, 17) God created these amazing creatures and placed them all around us, and even if we cannot see them we can hear their lovely songs.

 

God both plants and waters the trees so the birds can sing and nest in them. Indeed, all creatures are dependent on the delicate environment which God has developed. And He gives them everything they need, and He does the same for us: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt 6:26)

 

After sitting here listening to the beautiful songs for several minutes, I returned to my writing. I typed a few words and suddenly it hit me – do I listen to God’s voice as intently as I listen to the birds?  And even if I cannot see God, do I heed His still small voice as carefully as when I cock my ear to figure out which bird is tweeting? This was an excellent point for me to ponder this week, for I often do not heed God as well as I should.

 

I have decided that starting now, whenever I hear a bird’s tweet or call I will try to remind myself of God. And I will stop, if I can, and spend just a few moments reflecting about God and His glory, and see if I can hear His call to me. Perhaps if I listen intently, I will hear something He has been trying to tell me!

 

Do you listen to the birds? I hope you can enjoy the great variety of colors and songs that God has given to all the birds. I encourage you to listen to the birds this week. And perhaps you too will start hearing the call of God.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net


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