"We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us." -Pope Francis

Category: Humility

a letter to my mom (who says she’s falling apart)

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Dear Mom,

As I take my kids to doctor’s appointments, wipe runny noses, and make lots of tomato soup this week, I find myself realizing why you say you are falling apart. 

If your memory is going, it’s probably from years of remembering when to take temperatures, when to administer medicines, and when to pick us up and drop us off from practices.

If your shoulders are sore, it’s probably from the thousands of times you picked us up out of the crib. 

If your lower back is aching, it’s probably from the awkward position you must assume to get a kid into a carseat and from the strain of bending down each night to pick up big pots and pans to put on the stove. 

If your hips are hurting, it’s probably because you carried us to the potty chair and to bed against our will countless times, sometimes enduring strong kicks and flailing arms.

If you have arthritis in your hands, it’s probably from stirring stews in pots and browning meat for our meals, and mending our clothes, and sewing us beautiful things, and helping us learn to play piano.

If your voice is changing and tired, it’s probably from singing us to sleep and filling our hearts with beautiful songs to give us hope, and something to remember when things are hard. 

If your hearing is going, it’s probably because you spent years hearing baby screams and cries and laughs, and overhearing sibling fights, and maybe eavesdropping on conversations to make sure older kids weren’t getting into trouble. 

If your knees are shot, it’s probably from years of kneeling down in prayer for us, and from countless diaper changes.

If you have stretch marks, it’s because you were open to God’s will, carried children within you, and helped us come into the world and experience light. 

If your face is full of wrinkles, it’s probably from hours and hours spent smiling at our happy baby faces, pouring out lots of love, filling us up with happiness to carry us through a lifetime.

And so it is my sincere hope and prayer, that when I arrive at your beautiful age, I can look at myself in the mirror, and be falling apart every bit as much as you are today.  Because then I can know with confidence, that I gave everything to my children and family, in the way that you gave everything to me. 

“This is my body, given up for you.”  These are the words of Christ. They are also the words of my mother.  How beautiful it is to imitate Christ.  With all of my heart, thank you.

God bless you, I love you forever,

Kaitlyn Clare (a.k.a. Your Angel Bunny)

need to charge more to power on

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As I plugged my phone into the wall, the screen lit up, and a picture of an empty battery flashed at me in the darkness.  “Need to charge more to power on,” it said. 

You know what?  I can relate. 

I need to charge more to power on lately.  Why don’t I take the time to charge?  Is it laziness?  Is it pride? 

For me it comes down to trust.  I need to trust more in Christ.  Trust is what keeps me running through my days.  Without it, I fail miserably.  My compass is off kilter.  My direction is cloudy.  My best efforts are squelched.  It’s really that bad.  

When I pray the rosary, I trust that I am doing what I can to connect myself to the life and sufferings of Christ and our mother Mary.  The rosary allows me to trust in God’s goodness, to revel in the mysteries of His life, and to trust that my life is also intricately planned and ordained. 

Your life is also intricately planned and ordained.  Do we trust that our lives truly have purpose beyond what is seen? 

When I quiet my mind, ask my soul to be still, and listen for the sound of God’s voice in the stillness, I trust that I am doing what I can to make myself available to God’s living word in my life.  A listening prayer exercises my trust in a living God who wants to guide my heart and set order in my days. 

God wants to guide your heart and to set order in your days.  Do we trust Him and let Him lead? 

Through the rosary and through ongoing effort at contemplative prayer, I charge my battery as a wife, as a mother of three children ages three and under, as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister, as a neighbor, as a human – as me. 

I’ve had trouble finishing my rosaries lately.  I start and stop, but God knows my heart.  He searches my soul.  He searches within all of us and knows us intimately. 

Graces await if we only begin. 

I’ve had trouble finishing the dishes lately.  I’ve had trouble finishing the laundry lately.  I’ve had trouble finishing a cup of tea lately.  I start and stop, but it’s no matter.  God does not always intend for us to complete all of the work that we begin – certainly not always in the order we think is best, and certainly not when other pressing things clamor for our attention.  Yet God knows my heart.  He searches my soul.  He searches within all of us and knows us intimately. 

What matters is that we are joyful as we go about our work.  What matters is that we give praise always and everywhere to God. 

Graces await if we only begin.

So I would do well to wait until I am at least charged to power on.  I would do well to wait until I am connected with Christ before I even search through my thoughts, before I even open my mouth for the day.  I would do well to trust in Christ more fervently and intentionally. 

As we open our hearts and turn our thoughts toward the coming of Christ in this Advent season, let us begin anew with great fervor and zeal. 

Graces await if we only begin.

Another Chime Travelers Adventure: The Mystery at Midnight!

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I love the Chime Travelers books, and hope to eventually collect them all!  Did I mention they’re written for kids?  I want to collect them all, and I’m a grown up!  But my 3 year old daughter has loved listening to these stories as well. 

These books are full of adventure and surprise.  Katie and Patrick are siblings who find themselves traveling back in time on occasion when they hear church bells chime.

In Lisa Hendey’s book “The Mystery at Midnight,” Katie chime travels and meets Clare while visiting the Poor Clares on a school field trip. 

The story winds through a turning point in Clare’s life, as she decides that she wants to serve Jesus and the poor no matter what the cost. 

Clare’s zeal is contagious, and Katie soon finds herself wanting to imitate Clare’s decisions.  Your children may want to imitate Clare, too, after reading this book!

I absolutely love when chapter books have pictures, as they are engaging for small children, and hold the attention of my 3 year old.  The Chime Travelers books are filled with adorable, fun illustrations! 

Jen Bower is the illustrator, and she has a style all her own!  I have enjoyed turning the pages to see what cute little scene is coming up next. 

These books would surely be at home in any Catholic home.  But they could also find a place on the shelf of any Christian home.  And those are perhaps my favorite Catholic books – the ones that are truly universal and that invite everyone to discover the riches of the Christian Faith we hold in our hearts. 

“The Mystery at Midnight” would make a wonderful gift for any child.  It can be read aloud to small children.  It can be read with a parent for those learning to read.  Children can also read it themselves, of course.  And adults will also delight in following along with these well-written gems!

Grab your copy of “The Mystery at Midnight” on Amazon or from Barnes and Noble.  And find lots more adventure at chimetravelerkids.com

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P.S.  God is merciful and He loves you.  Pass it on!

Pope Francis Takes the Bus

This book is written in an honest, charming, and almost whimsical way that makes it a fun and easy read. It would make an excellent gift, but you’ll want to get a copy for yourself, too!

A few years ago, I learned that Father Bergoglio personally canceled his newspaper subscription after becoming pope.  He then returned his newspaper rubber bands to the shop.  He had been collecting them for a while and did not want them to go to waste.  This simple gesture invited me to start looking at the little things I threw away in a whole different light.  Actually, I learned about this event right around the time that I first read the Gospel, and I went through quite a drastic shift in life at this time.  Those of you who knew me personally around that time know what I’m talking about.  Let’s just say a lot of things went to Goodwill… Read the rest of this entry »

A Family Consecration to Divine Mercy

I use the word “try” here because being merciful is not easy. It requires forgiveness, patience, and lots of hope. These are not things of this world, but rather, they are things of Heaven. And so we cannot be merciful unless we are fully dependent on God.

Christ’s suffering redeemed all of creation.  All of it.  His mercy is great enough to redeem every single one of us!  But the problem is, not everyone takes Him up on this offer.

What happens to that rejected mercy?

St. Therese of Lisieux had the courage to ask Jesus for it:  for all of the mercy that others rejected.  In essence, this prayer is what it means to be consecrated to Divine Mercy.  Read the rest of this entry »

5 Tools for Finding Grace in the Moment

Tapping into God's grace in trying moments of Motherhood has changed everything!

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Nothing in my life has made me seek God’s grace more fervently than Motherhood. In just a few short years, I can recall countless times where I felt absolutely desperate for God’s grace.

Motherhood has a way of bringing me to my knees. Scrubbing spit up from the carpet, cleaning up vomit at 3am, wiping up spilled juice before ants invade, holding down a kicking toddler with a dirty diaper who has other plans – this is the messy, humbling reality.

It’s the stuff you don’t hear about in parenting magazines. It’s the stuff no one wants to talk about. But this is the stuff that can make us grow in virtue if we learn to accept it joyfully!

This is the stuff that brings me to my knees.

Mary has a beautiful way of comforting us and leading us to the grace that is constantly available from her Son, Jesus Christ. I know this because I’ve learned the hard way.

I used to try to make it through my day without help from Mary and Jesus. Not intentionally, I just didn’t know any better, really. I didn’t have the tools in place to tap into God’s grace constantly.

I used to cry frequently in trying moments of Motherhood. Then I learned how to tap into God’s grace in these moments and everything changed.

A wise woman once explained to me that God will not give us grace for trials we must endure in the future. But He always gives us grace for the present moment if we ask!

I can identify 5 tools that have helped me to embrace this philosophy and find grace in trying moments:

Read the rest of this entry »

The World’s Most Challenging To Do List

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I stumbled upon this list about a year ago. In trying to live this out in my own life, I have decided that it is the world’s most challenging to do list. Sure, “most challenging” is a subjective label. But I dare you to try it!

You might expect that the world’s most challenging to do list was authored by an Olympic athlete, a mountain climber, or perhaps a Jedi Knight. Instead, it was written by Read the rest of this entry »

My Pity Party Antidote

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Most of my pity parties can be cured with a sprinkling of gratefulness and a heaping spoonful of humility.

I’ve learned to catch them early, and to identify their cause as quickly as possible. This lessens their duration and potency. But usually, the cause can be traced to feeling like I am not Read the rest of this entry »

The Humility of The Polish Madonna

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Art can refresh the soul sometimes when we need it most.

I have no idea who painted this beautiful image of The Polish Madonna. I recently saw it for sale from The Catholic Company on this page. But upon seeing it, Read the rest of this entry »