small pieces of joy

pieces of joy in each day

child’s prayer

small thing: a child’s prayer

A few days ago I was video chatting with a friend when I asked George to sing his best friend, Monkey, to sleep. Because I have to show my friend his adorable singing of ‘Edelweiss’.

To my surprise, something else came out.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

I’m speechless as he is reciting this prayer, in toddler speak of course. I’ve never heard him say it before! As I’m wondering about how he learned it, he continues.

Great Grandpa Kennedy, Grandpa Kennedy, Pray for us.

Pray for MeMa and Uncle Leon get better ’cause they are sick.

Amen

I could barely breathe. My sweet, loving, amazing husband has been secretly teaching my son to pray. And I was able to see the beauty of it revealed before my eyes.

Now instead of singing a song before bed, he wants to say his prayers. And he wants to teach that to his best friend, Monkey, too.

I guess I didn’t realize how much my little man would teach me. IMG_1816

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plan

Today’s small thing: making a plan for lent

Hey, it’s Ash Wednesday…boo!

That’s kind of how I felt today as lent creeped up on me and knocked me out of bed.

The problem I have with lent is that it is perceived as a horrible time of self-sacrifice and denial. A time of not eating your beloved steak and instead eating a basket of fish and chips (it’s rough). A time of feeling bad about yourself waiting for the banquet of Easter. A time of guilt and sadness.

Lent is so much more than that. It’s a time of reflection. A time of change. A time, set apart each year, to identify what is going on in your life and actually take steps to move in a positive direction. A time to work on yourself and your relationship with God.

It is too too easy to spend life not knowing what you’re doing, where you’re going, and how others around you are affected. I have the curse of ALWAYS thinking about those things yet never doing anything about them.

That is why I love Lent. Not because I like to remind myself of what I do wrong, but because I can remind myself of what I CAN do RIGHT. And then take active steps to change. To return to the path I want to walk, and to bring God along with me.

So today I spent some time making a list of the things in my life I want to change. Anything I want to change. From keeping my house clean, to daily prayer, to drinking 64oz of water a day kind of things. Then I decided which ONE I wanted to focus on this lent and made a daily plan to work on that.

I’ve decided I want to work on keeping my house clean. I’ve mentioned it before but I’m determined to make the sacrifices I need to make to create a stress-free home, during this time of action. I think I’m going to make myself get up at the same time each morning (talk about a LOFTY goal) and throughout the day focus on my daily cleaning plan. I made a plan similar to this before, but it failed miserably. Here is my new plan.

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My hope is that as I complete one of the tasks I will check it off and feel a sense of accomplishment. Who knows, this could fail just like the last one. But I’m trying, and that is the point, right?

I’m also going to set an alarm on my phone to remind me to pray each day, in addition to my alarm that reminds me to do some kind of workout during nap time. Oh the many alarms I will be answering in the near future…

It may seem silly to focus on this, when lent is a time to bring yourself back to God. But for me, right now, taking care of my home and my sanity are ways I can order my life back to God. I can make room for Him by making this change. Instead of worrying about my messy house all the time, I can maybe sit for a few minutes and talk to Him.

I just wanted to share these things because I love hearing what people are doing to better their lives and relieve stress (read–tell me what you’re doing!). I hope others feel the same. Remember, Lent is not a terrible horrible time. It’s an opportunity for greatness.

What is your plan?

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twilight

a small thing from the weekend: twilight

On Friday evening I went on a walk on campus with my two friends who were visiting from KC. We were wandering around campus until it got dark enough to see fireworks. As we sauntered along we decided to visit the grotto.

You all probably know that the grotto holds a special place in my heart and a strong connection between me and my dad. This visit was a perfect idea since the day had been emotional since last year Dad was in South Bend and I needed some sense of peace.

We arrived at the sacred space and immediately I noticed the soft glow of the lit candles and the slowly darkening sky. It was a beautiful sight.

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After lighting candles the three of us kneeled before the grotto and said our silent prayers. My tears fell and made a pool in the lenses of my glasses.

As I was praying I was moved to connect with Our Lady of Sorrows, which refers to the parts of Mary’s life where she experienced deep sorrow and grief. I felt Dad’s presence in that moment, almost like he was giving me some kind of spiritual nudge.

I stepped back from the kneeler and just gazed at Mary, asking her to help me understand my sadness and how to cope. Then my two friends came to me and hugged me from both sides. We stood there for a moment, all breathing the same air, and just being with each other.

That was a beautiful moment. And so symbolic. Their hug was not only from them, but a hug from Dad and Mama Mary. A physical representation of the spiritual connection that is never severed by death.

I was given a gift in the twilight.

 

 

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relic

A small thing from last Saturday: a saint’s relic

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One thing I love about being Catholic is the communion of saints. I love having so many amazing men and women in Heaven that I can ask to pray for me and my family. It is even more comforting to know that each of those people have an amazing connection with Jesus that can only help in storming Heaven with our needs.

Saint Peregrine has been our main man during this cancer journey. He is the patron saint of cancer patients so we know he understands our need for prayers.

My aunt was fortunate enough to borrow a relic of Saint Peregrine and some oil. A relic is a piece of the body of a saint. I know, it sounds pretty gruesome, but it is pretty amazing how just having something physical from the holy person can make their spiritual presence much more tangible. 

So last Saturday we had most of my dad’s side over for dinner and games. Before we started the party we had a little prayer service where we anointed dad and grandpa with the oil and touched their heads with the relic. We asked for the intercession of Saint Peregrine for healing. 

It was a beautiful moment and full of hope. 

Since the relic has entered our home I feel a lot of things have been coming together. We’ve had an influx of visitors and professionals come to help us take care of Dad. It’s amazing. 

We’re not done fighting.

St. Peregrine, Pray for us!

Who is your ‘go to’ Saint, or who on Earth do you ask to pray for you?

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