Couldn’t our world use a little more unity these days? I believe it could…
And that’s why I’m so excited and honored to be a part of the Global Prayer Challenge for Mothers. There is power in a mother’s prayers, and power when we come together as mothers to pray for all of the children of this world.
Would you like to join us?
I’ll be speaking tonight at 9:20pm EST about “Trust, Mercy, and The Power of Prayer.”
In the conference archives within the Facebook group, you’ll hear replays of past talks, along with lots of beautiful printable prayers that have been shared by the speakers. These women have some AMAZING stories to share with you! The conference includes:
stories of real life, modern day miracles
tips for your prayer life
fresh ideas for how to pray for your children and families
20 speakers from around the world – including Austria, Australia, Uganda, US, Philippines, and the UK
Other speakers from the U.S. include Kate Wicker, Emily Jaminet, Elizabeth Ficocelli, Mary Lenaburg, and Heidi Hess-Saxton.
You can register at http://www.globalprayerchallenge.com, and then join the Facebook group “Global Prayer Challenge for Mothers” to watch live sessions or replays! Hope you’re able to listen in!
We were baking like the clay around us in the heat of the day, as my husband worked on the basement of our house-in-progress. My daughter sat in the dirt, grabbing fistfuls of dust and making a little pile. Thirst overwhelmed my older children, and it was time to trek up the hill to our water.
But our sweet little 2 year old wouldn’t budge. I tried to pick her up, and she just let her body weight fall, so that she felt like a ton of bricks in my arms. I tried to remind her of the cool water at the top of the hill. She just kept making her little pile of dust. I tried to remind her of her toys under the canopy. She just kept making her little pile of dust.
I started to get frustrated, and as I bent down to gain extra momentum so I could pick her up (P.S. I’m 8 months pregnant), I realized that I was picking up my daughter along with two tiny fistfuls of dirt. She looked at me with a wrinkled up nose, totally frustrated that I’d just ended her special building project of her own.
And then, as I held her on my hip, with one swift gesture, she threw dirt down my shirt. A lot of dirt.
At first I was startled. But then I burst out laughing at her stubbornness. What else could I do? And why wasn’t her stubbornness cute and funny to me seconds prior?
Far too often, we see the humor of things only in retrospect.
Life doesn’t come with a “do over” button. But if it did, I’d revisit a whole lot of moments when I was upset and I’d look for the humor.
I recently came across this quote: “Humor is your best friend, temper is your worst enemy.” And in my life, I’ve found this to be 100% true.
Laughing is just about the last thing I’m inclined to do when my mind is spinning and when I’m feeling anxious.
But there is humor in every situation if we look hard enough. It’s like a treasure hunt – hunt for the humor in every situation.
And if we can manage to find it, it’s a whole lot easier to diffuse our temper and to live in peace at last.
Would you believe me if I told you that there is a simple, quick way to face anxiety head-on and snap back into control of your emotions when things become difficult?
When practiced regularly (ahem… I need to do this more!), this process can have a big impact on your wellbeing and overall outlook on life.
Some of the things we fear in life are totally valid. Others, not so much. So, we can break up our fears into two categories: fear of things that are unknown, and fear of things that are known.
Our health in the future is always unknown, for example. I have no idea whether or not I will be in good health next week or year. We are definitely not guaranteed good health or physical safety in this life.
Now, if I have an upcoming surgery or medical procedure, or if I’m 9.5 months pregnant and I’m about to go into labor at any minute (hopefully), those are known things for which we may hold a reasonable, and often understandable, amount of fear.
In general, our fear of unknown things is often fabricated from “what-if” type scenarios, that may or may not ever play out as we imagine in real life.
Meanwhile, our fear of known things is often founded on a solid base of past experiences, an understanding of truth, and the fact that we simply cannot avoid inevitable things.
With all fear, we still don’t know how each moment in the future will play out, and we can trust that God gives us the grace for each moment in that moment.
Not before, not after, but during each moment as it is needed.
The good news is that with both unknown and known fears, we help fear lose its grip on us when we simply call it by name. In the Gospel, Jesus rebukes Peter’s lack of understanding saying, “Get behind me, satan.” In this story, Jesus was able to both identify satan subtly at work and to call him out by name.
Once Jesus called satan by his name, satan lost his grip on the situation. It is the same in our own lives. When we are able to identify satan at work, we can call him by name and he loses his grip on our lives.
As soon as we name what is causing our anxiety and discomfort, we can make a decision about how to best proceed. By deciding and acting, we then gain confidence and security in how we are approaching and handling the situation.
And this sends fear running for the hills.
*This article was taken from our recent issue of The Choose to Trust Club magazine. Want to read more? Sign up here!
When I was in high school, I spent many hours in the big theatre room there, preparing for performances. I loved how much live theatre had the ability to make people smile and laugh. I had the blessing and opportunity to be a part of the cast for The Music Man, Grease, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and many other fun shows.
One thing I learned as an actress, was that the flow of the shows was carefully broken down into parts, and then scenes, and then sections, and then individual lines. This helps both the director of the show and the performers, right? Because they can focus in on one line, or one section, or one scene, or they can say something like, “Alright, everybody let’s take it from the top of Act II!”
And then you rehearse, and you rehearse, and you memorize all of your lines, and you memorize your dance steps, and you memorize the lyrics to each song, and then one day, before you know it, you’re able to speak “off book.” Which means you’ve memorized all your lines! You’re getting closer to the performance! You’re almost ready now!
But life? Life is so much different than the theatre…
…or is it? Does it have to be?
I recently started reading a book full of quotations by Dr. Abraham Low, called The Wisdom of Dr. Low: Words to Live By. He founded a really cool program that helps people through anxiety, depression, and anger struggles called Recovery International.
One of the tools of this program, one of their suggestions to people when they are feeling overwhelmed, is to “do things in part acts.” That means, you do one thing at a time, and you focus on doing it well.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, try not to think big picture all the time. Very likely, there are very real things that you are dealing with that could cause you anxiety at any time. But are you directly dealing with those events or situations in your day at this moment? All the time? Or are those concerns best handled in a different scene of your day? A different act or part?
Sometimes, the best place for focusing on your anxieties and troubles mentally is going to be during a little meditation/prayer slot in your morning or mid-day. At other times, you might need to face your anxieties head on as you approach an uncomfortable, inevitable situation, or a conversation that needs to happen right away.
But if we do things in part acts, if we do things one thing at a time, we can better focus on each individual “line” or phrase that comes out of our mouths.
There is no reason to rush through the performance of your day. No reason to rush through the whole show.
One thing at a time. One line at a time. One scene at a time. One act at a time.
And then, you can give each moment your best, and “break a leg.” Just maybe not literally…
The other day, my children and I found ourselves parked outside of a Cracker Barrel. We were traveling and needed a place to rest for awhile, so we pulled into the parking lot.
I noticed a sign that said, “Dining Room Open,” and I was shocked. I hadn’t seen a restaurant dining room open in months.
We needed to be at this exit for about an hour and a half until my parents arrived to meet us, and I couldn’t think of anywhere else to eat in the world that could possibly take up so much of our time. So, we decided to pull out our lovely Cracker Barrel gift cards from Christmas, and we headed inside for a warm meal in real, wooden chairs, next to a real, wood-burning fireplace.
It honestly felt like a little piece of Heaven after months of not sitting anywhere in public.
I helped our three little children into their chairs and buckled our fourth little one into her highchair. There weren’t any peg toys on the table, or crayons to color with, so I whipped out a few pens and we colored on napkins while we waited for our menus.
I was very aware that when my littlest one started crying, people seemed happy with this… it was almost like everyone had been hidden away in their homes for a few months or something.
Everyone seemed so happy to see and hear babies and children loudly expressing themselves again. (This is not always our typical experience in public. Side note – as my Dad has said before, my son would make an excellent auctioneer.)
I ordered a giant lemonade for us to split, and quickly realized that a single pancake on the children’s menu cost $4.00, which is fine – but meanwhile, an $8.00 adult meal provided 3 pancakes, scrambled eggs, and 3 slices of bacon… so that’s a no-brainer, right?
We asked for a couple of extra plates & ordered meals from the big menu to share.
Well, all this time, there was an elderly man sitting a couple tables away from us. The table between us was closed so that everyone could be spaced far apart in the dining room. So his seat directly faced where we sat.
After he finished his meal, the man came over and told me, “You sure have your hands full.”
It’s sometimes hard to tell at this point whether someone is happy to see us all together as a family, or annoyed that we’re standing in the way of their shopping cart or something.
I’ve learned to just smile.
So, I smiled, and said my typical response these days… that yes, I do have my hands full, and we also have another baby coming in a few months!
This is where people usually make some odd comment about how we must be Mormon or something (we’re Catholic), or they will make a face, or walk away.
But this man just smiled, and he looked at all of my children seated at the table together surrounding me. And I saw his eyes starting to tear up.
“You guys remind me of my family growing up,” he said. “Of all of us when we used to sit and eat with my Mother… and I just want you to know I’m paying for your meal. And the tip, and everything.”
And as he started to cry just a little bit, he walked away.
“Thank you so much!” I said. “You don’t have to do that, but thank you very much. That’s very kind of you!”
He turned back, and I asked him if he had a lot of brothers and sisters.
“Nine,” he said. And he smiled a very big smile, and his eyes welled up with tears as he left.
I pictured him sitting at the table as a little boy, one of ten children, with a mother serving them meals on ten little plates, pouring drinks, and tending to their needs.
Now time had sped forward, and he was all grown up. And now, here I was, a mother, with little ones surrounding me, and one more growing within.
This man was well-loved as a child. And he knew it.
He was probably in his late 70s, so I would bet that not all of his brothers and sisters are still living – his parents, too.
Do we know how good we have it, guys? Do we realize the blessings all around us? The babies crying, the straws falling on the floor, the spilled drinks, the chaos of raising children – one, or two, or ten?
I was completely in awe of the kindness of this stranger.
And now, it’s our turn, to pass it on…
*Feeling fearful or anxious these days? Sign up here to receive your copy of my 5 Keys to Moving from Fear to Freedom!
Alright, my site just deleted my first version of this post, and then it timed out on me multiple times, which is a decent indication for me as a writer, that what I’m about to share with you is golden.
Because is there anyone out there who absolutely hates when we find peace and calm in the midst of an anxious world who also has some creepy grip on technology? And who might have something to do with my technology acting up most right when I’m advocating strongly for pro-life causes or peace?
Ah yes, it’s satan. (Well good morning satan, get behind me, I’m sharing this prayer with my friends today anyway. 😉 )
I honestly do not know who wrote this prayer, and cannot remember when or where I found it exactly. I only remember that one day I found a slip of paper with a little black and white leaf border around the edges, and this prayer was typed inside.
It is a beautiful little prayer that I keep with an image of the Divine Mercy, as a reminder to humbly and continually turn my anxieties over to God in exchange for the peace that only He can give.
Are you feeling a little anxious or frazzled these days?
Well, that’s understandable.
As I write these words, our world is battling so much fear and anxiety.
So, here is a little invitation to pray. May this prayer calm your heart and replace any anxieties you may be experiencing with confidence, faith, and light.
Come, Holy Spirit, replace the tension within us with a holy relaxation.
Replace the turbulence within us with a sacred calm.
Replace the anxiety within us with a quiet confidence.
Replace the fear within us with a strong faith.
Replace the bitterness within us with the sweetness of grace.
Replace the darkness within us with a gentle light.
Replace the coldness within us with a loving warmth.
Replace the winter within us with your spring.
Straighten our crookedness; Fill our emptiness;
Dull the edge of our pride; Sharpen the edge of our humility; Light the fires of our love; Quench the flames of our lust;
Let us see ourselves as You see us; That we may see You as You have promised; “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”
Hi, friends! Yes, there’s been a little radio silence from this blog, and I know, I know. You’ve just been waiting on pins and needles for what I’ve been about to share, right? “Oh please, Kaitlyn, I need more things to read online, please keep writing!” I get those emails every day. 😉
But life has settled into a new routine over at the Mason house, so here’s to a fresh start writing again!
And… can we just talk about this picture?
One of the themes I’ve been mulling over in the past few weeks and months and years, is this idea of serving the world through your home. Mother Teresa is the one who told us that if you want world peace, go home and love your family.
Here she is in this picture doing exactly that – being at home, loving her family. Her home was the streets of Calcutta. Her family was the whole world.
And those she felt called to embrace? The dying, the destitute, the diseased, the impoverished. Mother Teresa said it herself, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”
“I see Jesus in every human being,” she said. “I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”
So let us not be ashamed now in our time. Let us not be slow to do the humble work set before us.
Go home and love your family. See Christ in every person you encounter there. But remember that your home is not just your 4 walls and a roof. Your family is not just those to whom you are related by blood or by adoption or by the covenant of marriage.
Our home is the whole world. Our family is every person on this earth.
And we are merely pilgrims passing through this life. So let us be bold now and go to serve the Christ Child however we can.
Once during the building of a giant cathedral, an artist high on the scaffolding intricately carved a bird into the stone of the structure.
A man down below looked up at him, and questioned why he was spending so much time there. “They’re about to cover that part up,” he said. “No one’s ever going to see that bird.”
“But God will see,” said the artist.
And so he went on creating.
Why do we spend so much time in the quiet of our homes, intricately preparing little souls to comprehend the great mysteries of creation?
Why do we spend so much time folding the laundry just so, wiping little noses (when our children allow it), drying the dishes, and sending children back into the time out corner until they finally apologize?
Dear mother, dear father, you are an artist. You are creating a masterpiece.
Sometimes it is messy. Often times you will feel unknown. Maybe the work isn’t turning out as you expected. Or you’re waiting for a child, or waiting for instructions about what you’re supposed to do when you feel called to create and when the painting seems to crumble. Perhaps the painting isn’t ready to be unveiled yet.
But in the midst of your work, you are known. You are loved beyond measure.
And God sees.
And every moment that you spend carving out time for your family, crafting memories, whittling away at imperfections, blending together virtues – every moment that you spend creating the masterpiece of your family in the darkness when no one seems to notice…
It will all be worth it. There is no greater work of art than to create a family.
Just look up at the beauty right in front of you. Look at the art God is creating with you, right before your eyes. That’s what really matters tonight.
*One last thing! I’d love to serve you with a tiny email on Fridays, full of tips for sharing love & mercy with the world. Sign up here so I’ll know where to send it.
What is it about this time of year that makes our hearts ache? That makes us yearn for something more?
Is it a loved one you’re missing? An old friend? An old place you used to visit?
Is there a memory on your heart this year, in this season, that you keep revisiting? Why might that particular memory or person or place be on your heart this year?
There are so many people out there who are hurting, who are aching, and who are yearning for something more.
And in this Advent season, in this time of great waiting, when the whole world is in one giant crescendo leading up to that big day when Christ finally enters into the world… we know that there is something more.
In just a few short days, Christmas will come and go.
Will we be left with the same ache and yearning on the days that follow Christmas Day? Or will we find our heart’s desire in the Christmas manger, and be finally satisfied of our hunger?
One thing is guaranteed. It’s easier to hold on to Christ’s presence when we share the present of Christ with another.
Every one of us carries something weighing heavily on our hearts in this season of waiting. The question is – will we carry Christ to every one? Will we be Christ to every one?
Because if we choose to do this, if we choose to live with our homes and hearts wide open in this Advent and in the coming Christmas season, then we can help each other to know and to understand that there is truly something more. And it is Christ.
So how do we do this? How can we open our homes and hearts this season?
Here are three little ways that can have a big impact:
1. Ask & listen.
When you ask people what they’re going to be doing for Christmas and New Years, listen to their reply. Do they have family nearby? Would they appreciate an invitation to your family’s table?
2. Look up.
When we look up from our phones, and look out at the people surrounding us, we can take notice of little things.
Is there an elderly person who’s coming to church alone? Is there a neighbor whose car is rarely leaving the driveway? How can we serve those who are lonely?
Well, first we have to take notice, and then extend an invitation. Invite the person over for tea. (Seriously – or coffee or wine or whatever, but invite them over!) See if your family could come over to read stories together at their home sometime. Look up and see who might be lonely, and find a creative way to bring them into your life.
3. Keep events open.
Encourage your guests to all bring a friend to your home when they visit.
Invite people to join you who might not often be invited to dinners and events. Invite those who are new to town, and those who are poor and may be unable to repay you.
By keeping an attitude of “the more, the merrier,” we can extend Christ’s love to many without ever having to say a word.