Reflections On The Journey 



Reflections From Faye

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Posted on May 20, 2019 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

How often do you stop and just breathe?

Everyone of us breathes, all the time. We would not be alive if we didn’t breathe! Oxygen is needed for life. Yet breathing is something we seldom thing about, since the capacity to breathe is “hard-wired” into our bodies. God created that within us!

Whenever I get a cold, I become very aware of my breathing. It is challenging to struggle to get in enough air when my nasal passages are clogged or my lungs are congested. Fortunately I have a few tricks I use to help my breathing when this happens, and I am very grateful when I can breathe normally again! And I am currently dealing with a bout of bronchitis, and I have become very aware of how a person with asthma must feel trying to take in breaths.

People who meditate or wish to relax often focus on their breathing. They use voluntary breath control by inhalation, retention and exhalation which is performed quickly or slowly, depending on the need.

Singers too are usually quite conscious of their breathing. They need enough air to sustain their notes, and breath can also be used to impart texture to their voices. Taking deep breaths from the diaphragm is encouraged to develop strong breath techniques. This does not come naturally for me, so I must be very mindful of my breathing when I am singing.

I have found it very beneficial to stop periodically and just breathe. I don’t follow any particular meditation techniques, but I have found mindful breathing to be a good way to help me relax. I can also use my breathing to reconnect with God. One tool I use is on Christian radio - whenever I hear the song “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz I try to stop and focus on my breathing. The refrain goes like this: “Breathe, just breathe; Come and rest at my feet; And be, just be; Chaos calls but all you really need is to just breathe.” Yes, just breathe.

If you have not stopped to just breathe for a while, maybe you’d like to give it a try. It’s not hard, and you might find some real benefits and blessings from just breathing. Focusing on your breath can help you reconnect with God, too. If you need a little guidance in this, you may enjoy this reflection that I wrote this week.


Be still and breathe.

Breathe in.

Take in a deep cleansing breath,

Push aside the world for a while.

Breathe out.

Let go of the distractions of life.

Release the tension pent up inside.

Breathe in the Spirit.

Let Him fill your being.

Let Him give you grace.

Breathe out your worries.

Drain the fears from your mind.

Give up your anxiety about something.

Breathe in Love.

Sense Love’s warmth enter and permeate your flesh.

Experience the sweet tingle of grace.

Breathe out.

Let the feelings of disquiet leave

Place your problems into God’s hands.

Breathe in.

Let God’s spirit infuse your soul.

Feel His calm inspire you.

Be still and breathe.

Have a blessed Monday!


© 2019


Posted on May 13, 2019 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you had an encounter that changed your life?

Unless you happen to be a hermit, chances are every day you will interact with people. We speak to our family members, coworkers and neighbors. We pass people on the street and in the store. We volunteer with others at church. And we may even have a chance to meet a well-known person at a book signing event or conference.

How do these encounters affect us? I think most of our encounters with others are casual - meetings with everyday folks who are just like us. We get out of these meetings just what we expect: casual conversation, day-to-day transactions, and maybe a little fun and laughter.

Just look at the many “random” encounters we have in our lives. Those of us who have Facebook accounts can scroll through the news feed and “encounter” friends in what I would call a rather impersonal way. Hitting “like” may convey something to the sender of the post, but in my opinion this doesn’t really make a connection to that person – I may only gain a bit of information about them from their post, and they get little from me as well. Adding a comment to the post does provide a bit of a “two-way” conversation, but most of these conversations are superficial. I don’t really “connect” with most of my Facebook friends.

The interactions I have with people I transact business with, such as a store clerk, might be a little bit better – I might at least exchange a word or two with them. But I usually learn nothing personal about them other than their name from their name tag.

But encounters I have with people on a committee, at an event or over a meal – these are usually higher-quality encounters. We can ask each other questions, we can delve into certain topics, and we can learn something about the other person. I leave these encounters feeling like I have truly connected in some way. I have had an opportunity to get to know them. I can learn about their families, their jobs, or any number of relevant subjects if I just take the time to ask a few good questions and listen to the answers.

But how many of these encounters make an important impact in our lives?

Fortunately, I can think of many encounters and events that I would consider extremely important in my own life – encounters which impacted my direction and focus. Some examples include the bus ride where I met my best friend, the counseling session where I made an important decision about my difficult situation, late-night conversations with good friends, and of course the dance where I met my husband. Happy 29th, dear!

Illustrations of many encounters with Jesus abound in the New Testament. Meeting Jesus and talking with him had a major impact on people – take the woman at the well, for example. She changed her ways and became an evangelizer all because of an encounter with the Lord. I have also had important encounters with God which have blossomed my faith life. I fondly recall that special retreat where I re-encountered Jesus and redirected my faith, and the special times in adoration where I encountered the Holy Spirit in a deep way.

These encounters made a huge difference in my life. I realize that I am not a solitary creature – I need interactions with others. I would not be a very healthy person if I had not met and spent quality time with various people over the years. And I need to continue to reach out to others. I never know when some special spark will ignite something due to an encounter with another person.

How about you – are you taking time to have some deep and meaningful encounters with others? How well do you know the woman who lives next door to you? How about the person who works with you on that committee? Have you encountered Jesus lately? I encourage you to take some steps to turn a future encounter into a really meaningful one. Spend quality time with the person and get to know them. Ask questions and show your support by listening. You’ll be blessing them, and probably you will gain blessings as well.

Have a blessed Monday!


© 2019


Posted on May 5, 2019 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Your scars make you who you are.

If you are like me, you probably have many scars. I can still see the marks on my knees and feet from that time when I crashed my bike in 4th grade. I have a few scars on my face from a bout of acne, and I have a long scar running down my lower back from my spine surgery. These scars are reminders of physical hurts that have healed over time, and often I don’t even think about them anymore.

But I also have unseen scars - emotional and mental scars. Trauma that I experienced at various points in my life have left these scars – most of which have “healed” with counseling and time, but others still cause some pain.

I imagine that most of you have emotional scars as well – it is rather difficult to go through life without any problems! Perhaps like me you have gone through a divorce or had a close family member pass away. Maybe you have suffered emotional abuse at the hands of a parent or other family member or felt the sting when colleagues said hurtful things about you.

These unseen scars can affect us more than we realize. Because of my emotional scars, at times I became withdrawn and began to think negatively about myself. Other scarred people lash out at others or even consider taking their own life because they are unable to deal with their emotional trauma. And unfortunately this occurs all too often in our imperfect society.

One of my favorite Christian artists TobyMac just came out with a new song called “Scars.” I believe he speaks the truth when he sings “You are not alone; We've all been there; Scars come with livin'…. It doesn't matter who you are; This world gon' leave some battle scars.”

For me, this song is a reminder that we all DO have scars. Problems and life battles arise all the time, causing scars. These scars are really nothing to be ashamed of, although many people are ashamed of their scars. I know that personally I found freedom from much of my hurt when I found the courage to admit the trauma which led to my scars. Talking to others helped me to understand that I am not alone, and I was pleasantly surprised that most people still loved me anyway, in spite of my scars.

It’s important, though, to realize that some emotional scars run so deep that a person cannot deal with them on their own. That’s where a counselor and/or a support group can often help. I know that I benefitted from Al-Anon years ago when I was dealing with a codependency relationship. Over the years I have sought out and received good advice from trusted priests and counselors as well, who helped me to deal with and minimize many of my scars.

I still struggle with some of my emotional issues. And I don’t know if a few of them will ever fade away completely. But I have decided I will not hide my scars. I am a scarred person, but my scars made me who I am. And because of these scars I have also been able to help others who have gone through similar emotional trauma, a blessing I did not realize until just recently.

Are you trying to deal with some scars in your life? If so, I encourage you to talk to someone about them. Get professional help if you need to. And don’t be ashamed of your scars – for all your life experiences which created the scars also made you into who you are, a beautiful child of God. Search a little, and you will find blessings in your scars.

Have a blessed Monday!


© 2019


Posted on April 29, 2019 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

How humble are you?

There’s an old song by Mac Davis that says in part “Oh Lord it's hard to be humble, when you're perfect in every way…” I laugh when I hear this song, but when I think more about it, it’s true. How many of us have trouble with humility!

Most of us want to be recognized. It’s in our human nature. We want people to applaud our hard work and efforts, we desire compliments on our hair or clothing, and in general we just want to be noticed.

I am no different. I appreciate it when I am thanked for my efforts. My ego soars when something I have said or done is recognized as having value. But the problem comes when I let those compliments go to my head. If I believe that it was only through my efforts, and my efforts alone, that I accomplished what I did, I may become proud and egotistical.

In fact, though, very little I do is solely the result of ME. When I was born, God instilled in me some innate talents and gifts. Yes, I worked to develop them, but I had many teachers who helped me polish those skills and become able to use them effectively. And God’s grace throughout that process allowed me to improve. In fact, I must admit that much of my writing is not my own work!

Don’t get me wrong: I have not plagiarized others’ writing! It’s just that most of my writings are inspired by the Holy Spirit. He plants thoughts in my brain, and often when I write the words and rhymes come unbidden. There is no way I can take credit for this. So when I am complimented on these works, I do say thank you, but then I must offer a prayer of thanks to God for working through me. I must acknowledge that it is God who gave me my talents and skills.

Everyone is created in different ways, and God grants different gifts to each person. I must remember there will always be people who have more talent in certain areas than I do, and there will also be people who have less talent in those areas. This is not a result of my doing, but God’s. I therefore should not envy the one or lord it over the other. I need to just be grateful for what God gave me.

C.S. Lewis once said “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” I think that’s true. Yes, being humble can be hard, but not impossible. If embodying humility is an area you struggle with like me, maybe praying about it will help. A friend gave me this poem, and regularly reading it is helping me work on humility in my life. Perhaps these words can bless your life as well.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...

From the desire of being extolled ...

From the desire of being honored ...

From the desire of being praised ...

From the desire of being preferred to others...

From the desire of being consulted ...

From the desire of being approved ...

From the fear of being humiliated ...

From the fear of being despised...

From the fear of suffering rebukes ...

From the fear of being calumniated ...

From the fear of being forgotten ...

From the fear of being ridiculed ...

From the fear of being wronged ...

From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...

That, in the opinion of the world,

others may increase and I may decrease ...

That others may be chosen and I set aside ...

That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...

That others may be preferred to me in everything...

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),

Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

Have a blessed Monday!


© 2019

Easter Blassings

Posted on April 22, 2019 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I wish you a blessed Easter!

I’d hard for me to believe that Easter Sunday has come and gone once again. The season of Lent passed by way too quickly, and I can’t say that I did as much preparation as I had hoped. As usual, “life” got in the way and it was far too easy to put aside my holy intentions and spend time on other things.

Oh yes, some of those things were very good – like the closeness shared with my husband on vacation, and spending Triduum weekend with one of my sons and his family. These family times are important to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company.

But the downside is I did not get to attend Lenten and Easter services as usual, and I missed them tremendously. I had known in my mind how important these masses and celebrations are for me and for the Church, but when I could not attend them I really longed for them and missed them. I learned something from this – when I love God and value my faith, I must make the time to participate in every possible worship service, ESPECIALLY on those important events marking Our Lord’s gift of redemption.

However, I will not give up! The remainder of the Easter Season is still before me! I have six weeks leading up to Pentecost when I can still celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ rising from the dead – six more weeks to pray, go to confession, and do good works.

As a matter of fact, Divine Mercy Sunday is coming up on April 28th – a day to remember the mercy of Christ. If you have an opportunity to attend a Divine Mercy Sunday service (most churches have them or collaborate with nearby churches), I highly encourage you to do so. There is opportunity to worship and get your heart and soul back in line with God’s plan! I definitely will be participating in this one!

I pray that you have been blessed by the Good News of Jesus’s rising from the dead. He did it for YOU, for me, and for all humankind. Although we still may experience pain in this world, Jesus’ death has guaranteed us a place in heaven with God. What a blessing!

Have a blessed Monday!


© 2019

Don't Give Up

Posted on April 15, 2019 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you “given up” any Lenten resolutions?

We’ve come up to the final week of Lent… a season of preparation. This Friday marks the remembrance of the Passion of Our Lord, who suffered a terrible death just to free us from our sins. As a way to prepare, many folks including me made resolutions during Lent to either give up something or do something special to prepare for the grand celebration of Jesus’ rising from the dead.

But sadly, it is too easy to be caught up in the world and be drawn away from those resolutions. TV, magazines and billboards pull us toward materialism. Distractions are many, and it is all too easy to slip up on our resolutions or put them off.

And I’m no better than anyone else. Looking back over this Lent, I realize I have clicked more than once on “buy now” on Amazon for some books that I don’t really need. I forgot (again) to bring a bag of items for the monthly food shelf collection. And I failed to make time to attend the Stations Of The Cross service at church that I had vowed to do.

But don’t give up! It is not too late. I still have this week to renew my efforts to do what I intended. Although I won’t easily have access to a church this week since I am travelling, I intend to pray the Stations in my hotel room. I can’t drop off a bag of food, but I can give a few bills to the ragged person on the street corner. And since I want to keep the books I bought, I will donate a whole bag full of books to a charity instead.

How about you? Have you been tempted to give up a Lenten resolution? You still have time to do something. I encourage you this week to think about how you can do something toward that resolution during these final days of Lent. I’m sure you will be blessed in whatever you decide.

Have a blessed Monday!


© 2019


Posted on April 8, 2019 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you been reconciled lately?

I am a human being and I make mistakes, lots of them. It’s hard to admit, but I hurt other people in many ways (knowingly and unknowingly) and I sin against God’s commandments. It’s not that I am trying to be bad, but I slip up. I’m weak. Sometimes (often!) I act before I think.

For me, it is important to acknowledge those times when I screw up and admit that I erred. When I realize I have hurt someone, I feel badly about it, and I am pretty sure the other person feels even worse. Therefore, to salvage our relationship I need to take the time to tell the person I am sorry and correct the problem if I can.

Yet it’s hard to say “I’m sorry” directly to someone else. Have you ever found that to be true? I hesitate because I don’t know for sure how they will react. Will they accept my apology? Will they forgive me? And what if I am unable to correct the situation? Most of the time people want to get an apology, and they will forgive me for my faults. But not always. And knowing there is possibility of rejection is the thing that often keeps me from asking for forgiveness.

When I sin against God, God is hurt. Now I know that He wants me to apologize and strive to do better, but it’s still hard to do that. Sometimes I fear rejection, and sometimes I am afraid that God will scoff at this, the umpteenth time I have asked for forgiveness for the very same thing.

But the fact remains that my sins hurt God. So in order to repair my relationship with Him, I must ask for forgiveness. Sure, I can sigh and just say I’m sorry. But I have learned that the act of saying I’m sorry to God wherever I am is not enough for me. I believe I need to GO to Him to ask forgiveness.

The Catholic Church has a sacrament called Reconciliation, also called Confession. This sacrament is designed for people just like me. The priest sits in the place of God. When I tell the priest my sins, it is like I am saying it face to face with God. Oh yes, it can be very hard – just like telling my friend face to face that I am sorry. But what a joy there is after I’ve said it! My mind is no longer burdened by my failure. And I audibly hear those words I long to hear – that I am forgiven! Completing any penance assigned by the priest (and actual correction of anything that I can rectify) helps me to be completely freed from that sin, and once again reconciled to God. I can’t tell you often I have practically floated out of the confessional after this special, personal encounter with God.

I know that I will sin again, even though I strive to live a good life. It’s part of being human. But knowing that I have the means to reconcile myself to God, whenever I need it, is immensely freeing to me.

Is there an area of your life which isn’t quite the way it should be? Have you hurt someone by your words or actions? Could a relationship in your life use a bit of reconciliation? Have you sinned against God? I encourage you to think about this today, and when you discover that something, consider taking the steps to make a reconciliation. Whether you need to reconcile with God or to another human being, I hope you will do that now. What a great thing to do as we enter the last few weeks of Lent – free yourself from that guilt by saying “I’m sorry.” May your reconciliations be blessings to you!

Have a blessed Monday!


© 2019

Do Unto Others

Posted on April 1, 2019 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

How well do you “do unto others?”

I suspect all of us are familiar with the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This phrase is found in in my Bible in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31, and Paul repeats this in his letter to the Galatians. (Gal 5:14) “Do unto others…” is another way of putting the second greatest commandment, to love your neighbor.

Mark 12:28-31 explains this second commandment. The Apostle Mark tells the story of the scribe who asked Jesus which is the first of all the commandments. Jesus tells him it is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. But then Jesus adds that the second commandment is like it – you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Wow. I don’t know about you, but sometimes (okay, most of the time) it is not so easy for me to love my neighbor. Sure, it’s fine when we get along and everyone helps each other. But when someone says something that aggravates me or does something that I don’t like or that might even be wrong, it is so easy for me to think ill of them, put that person down or even shun them. Apparently I am not alone in this tendency – we see it all the time in the news.

I sat down the other day to think about how well I treat my neighbors, and it was sobering to realize I don’t always treat people nicely. When I did this examination, I didn’t think in generalities. I thought of several individual people and how I treat them. I thought about my husband and how I sometimes snap at him or roll my eyes when he leaves pots on the stove instead of putting them in the drawer. I mused about that recent gathering of friends over coffee when I spoke hurtful words about another. I considered that time last week when I passed a man carrying a “homeless” sign and thought that he was probably one of those people who is out to scam the public.

Would I want my husband to roll his eyes at me when I forget to do something? I think not. Would I like it if others said hurtful words about me? No, ma’am. And I certainly wouldn’t want people to think I was trying to con them when I ask for help.

Why is it so hard to treat others as we would want to be treated? It is not my intent to act poorly others, yet I do, on a regular basis. Since Lent is an excellent time to work on personal improvements, I decided that my neighbor-loving skills will be one of the things I will work on improving. I have chosen one person who is important in my life, and for the remainder of Lent I will do my best to only think and say positive things about that person. I plan to treat him kindly, as best as I can. I know this is going to be a challenge! When I catch myself judging him, I will ask for forgiveness and think of something positive. And at the end of each day I will try to assess how well I did on this goal, and vow to improve my behavior tomorrow.

How about you? How well do you treat others? Is there one person whom it is hard to love well? Would you be willing to try to act better toward that person? Whether you choose to work on this for one day, a week or the remainder of Lent, I pray that you will be able to at least try to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Who knows – your positive efforts may result in a stronger relationship with that person! May you be blessed in improving the way you treat others!

Have a blessed Monday!


© 2019


Posted on March 25, 2019 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

How well do you pray?

Prayer is the third practice many people do during Lent in addition to fasting and almsgiving. But praying is a tough subject for me to talk about, let alone DO. I don’t feel I am very good at it. I do have several prayers that I have committed to memory, and I enjoy praying the rosary. But when it comes to spontaneous prayer and meditating, that’s a different story.

When I go to our Emmaus Chapel and spend my hour in Adoration, I often begin with the rosary, since that comes easily. Then I bring petitions to God, praying for my family and friends and listing specific intentions which people have asked for. Some days my prayer time goes well, but other days I leave the chapel wondering what happened during that hour.

The biggest difficulty seems to be when I try to sit still and just listen to God. My mind wanders, even in the chapel where there are no personal things nearby to attract my attention. Random thoughts zip unbidden into my brain, and it seems I am constantly pulling myself away from these alternate conceptions and back into the present.

I WANT to listen to God. I want to truly BE in His presence, feeling His warmth and guidance. I’d love to be caught up in some kind of mystical prayer. Yet I don’t seem to be gifted with this. So many times I can’t seem to hear God’s voice among the noise surrounding me and the noise within.

Listening to God is difficult, and then discerning what God is trying to say is even harder. I know God loves me and wants to talk with me, so I bring my tendency toward distraction to God, especially at the start of my prayer time, asking for assistance to pray well. I also ask Mother Mary and the Holy Spirit for guidance in prayer. I’m sure they already know just how easily I get distracted, but I must continue to ask for the grace to stay focused.

Often I don’t feel like my prayer life is getting any easier. But I know I am not alone. Some of the great mystics and saints also struggled with prayer. For example, Mother Teresa had many difficulties throughout her life. She experienced what some call “dark nights,” – long periods where she felt nothing in her prayers. Yet she persisted.

Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Spanish mystic, contemplative, writer and reformer, is esteemed as a master of prayer. But if you look at her early days, you will see that for the first 20 years of her religious life she found it challenging to pray. It was only her perseverance that helped her as she learned how to pray effectively.

St. Bernard and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque also experienced distractions in prayer. If all these hallowed people had trouble praying, I am encouraged to hang in there and continue to try. I believe that some day I will be able to pray effectively, and in the mean time I will place my prayer in the hands of the Holy Spirit, asking for help.

Do you have trouble when you pray? Don’t be discouraged, because you are not alone! The important thing is to keep trying. Lent is a perfect time to practice praying… if you are not used to praying much, maybe you could start with just five or ten minutes. Say a rosary or attend a Stations of the Cross service. Ask the Holy Spirit for direction about how to pray – reciting prayers, saying petitions for others, or even just spending some quiet time in God’s presence. Let Him guide you. May you be blessed in your prayer time!

Have a blessed Monday!



Posted on March 18, 2019 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you give alms?

Last week I noted that Jesus and the Church tell us there are three things we should do, especially during Lent: fast, give alms, and pray. I have to confess that I am still struggling with my fasting goals, but I am not going to give up.

The practice of giving alms has been a part of my life for many years, and I find it easier to do than fasting. My husband and I participate in the online giving program at our church – a set amount is taken out of our bank account twice per month. At first it was a stretch on our monthly budget to do this – when we were raising our boys it seemed like there were always extra expenses that popped up and it would have been nice to take some of that tithing money to cover our bills, but we refrained. And we survived just fine.

Regular almsgiving actually blessed us. We learned how to be frugal! We had to plan out our monthly expenses to match our income, and by factoring in charitable giving, we could be sure that we were putting God and others first in our lives. Now it is second nature to us to donate every month, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We donate to other charities too. There are so many good organizations out there, and we can’t donate to them all. Thus we give to a few favorite charities, ones whom we know are doing good.

But what about the persons on the street holding a “homeless” sign? Should I donate to them? I’ve heard about people who do this but are actually scamming passers-by out of a few dollars. Or what about people who show up on your doorstep asking for a donation to some cause you may never have heard of before? How can I know if they are legitimate?

Of course, it is not my place to judge others. There is no way that I can know if they are who they say they are, or if the organization does what it purports to do. God knows, though. What I CAN do is research organizations and give to the ones I can be sure are on the up-and-up. And I can still give the people on the street a few dollars if I wish… they will be accountable to God. I often keep a bag of snack foods in my car. If I pass a person holding a sign, I can always give them a snack.

Giving alms should result in a little bit of “stretch.” If I only give out of my excess, it doesn’t hurt at all. But if I give out of my every day needs, I will feel it. It takes me a little effort to buy the snacks and stock them in my car, but then I will ready when I want to give them away. Instead of buying a new pair of pants so I can donate one of my other pairs to a charity, I can just donate the pair of pants. (I don’t need ten pairs of pants anyway, do I?) And I can skip that cappuccino and drop the money I would have spent into the alms box at church. There are so many ways I can give something of myself to others, and the ones that “hurt” a little are probably the best ways to do it!

Will you give some alms this Lent? I encourage you to find something to give, and especially something that might be a little hard to do. I’ll bet you can find something! And who knows, you might be blessed somehow in your giving!

Have a blessed Monday!