Mercy Me! I've got work to do.

Mercy Me — I've got work to do! making the world a better place – starting with me.

About me … and Mercy me!

It’s hard to write an About me page. It’s kind of like writing your own obituary except you feel way too full of life to look back at your past and sum up your experiences, however ordinary, in a tidy paragraph listing accomplishments that are supposed to matter.

So before we get to what matters, let me get the obituary version of myself out of the way:

MY OBITUARY (No, I am not really dead):

Lara Patangan, 42, had a half-full life.   The full parts included marrying a boy from high school.   Although they did not date in high school, they did kiss once in an elevator at the end of their senior year. (It’s probably inappropriate to write about kissing in an obituary, but since I am theoretically-dead I am going to write what I want.) He was very, very good to her – the blessing of a lifetime.PatanganFamily2014_013

She had wonderful friends who encouraged her, made her laugh and knew that she hated to be hugged when she cried. She loved Jesus and always wanted to meet Him. In a lot of ways, she wanted to be Him. But there was that whole human thing and she was much better at being flawed and fallible than Christ-like.

She graduated with a degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida, but wished she had majored in English because all she ever wanted to do was write. She had a career in development for various non-profits: a domestic violence center, an AIDS service organization and a children’s hospital. Besides writing, she loved cats.


She had two sons, who because of their father’s dominant genes look nothing like her. Having children was the hardest thing she ever did and by far the best thing. The very best thing.



After staying home with them for 10 years she finally started doing what she believes she was meant to do – write. She started a blog on her 40th birthday because she figured the other alternatives to a mid-life crisis would be too complicated, costly and regrettable.

She spent her 40th year doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy (and explaining to others what that meant, i.e. feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison etc.)

060All it really meant was that she volunteered and wrote about her experiences, sharing them in a way that felt very public, vulnerable and uncomfortable. Still, she felt like what she did mattered and like most everybody, always wanted to matter.

In addition, she was a freelance journalist for two newspapers and loved the opportunity to tell someone’s story. However, she also had her own story to tell and that is where the obituary ends and life begins…


Welcome to Mercy Me! I’ve got work to do… I am happy you are here. After writing my own obituary, I am glad I am here too. After all, no one’s obituary should ever read that they lived a half-full life.

But I suspect a lot of people do. A lot of people simply go through the motions — chase success, their kids, the material, the accolades, the supposed-to’s and the image.

To me that’s a half-life. Life is short enough already without reducing it to a fraction of what it is meant to be.

I want to live the fullest life possible. I bet you do too.

For me, having a full-life doesn’t come from the material. It comes from the desire to make the world a better place, to know peace and to share kindness.  That is what Mercy Me! I’ve got work to do… is about – ways to live a full life.

I know making the world a better place starts with me, with the choices I make, the injuries I forgive and the work that I do within my community, my relationships and myself.

I hope you decide that it starts with you too. And I really, really hope that we can make the world a better place together and that the power of our combined goodness and mercy will increase exponentially, even beyond what we will ever see.

That kind of goodness may not ever be quantified in our obituaries, but it leaves a legacy that survives long after we draw the last breath.

For now, death can wait. We have work to do to make the world a better place – starting with me. Starting with you. 

Please sign up for posts to be delivered straight to your email and join me as we share the work that matters most – being better people. In hopes that when the decades cease to pass, the world will still whisper of the graces left in our wake.


21 thoughts on “About me … and Mercy me!

  1. You are inspiring the world! Happy Birthday-it will be a great year.


  2. Love it!! This will be a great journey and take you places that you would have never expected! How can we do it with you?!


  3. Live to inspire and do God’s will! Love your blog and best of luck in your spiritual journey.


  4. Can us thirty something’s join in your mission! Love the idea and look forward to all this year brings to you!! Happy belated birthday, Lara!


  5. Hi mom it is your son Patrick and I like your blog. It teaches more about the spiritual and corporal works of mercy than my school teaches me!😃 Your son, Patrick


  6. Prayerful best wishes for success in the vineyard.


  7. Pingback: Awarded the ‘LIEBSTER’! | 1catholicsalmon

  8. As a sign of appreciation, I have nominated you for a ‘Liebster award’ details here:


  9. I became interested in prison ministry, because I know in my heart that I could have been behind walls many times in my life. I worked with juveniles in detention centers – both for the state & gateway. And many of these young people were there for stuff that I did as a kid – either because I wasn’t caught or because in “ancient times” when I was growing up, people didn’t call the law on us. Even when stealing cars or as we called it “borrowing cars”. They’d always find the car about a block away. They were probably more annoyed that the gas tank was empty but they realized we didn’t have any $. More than once , a youngster from these detentions ends up at FSP. They recognize my voice & when I hear someone shouting “Mr Bill”, I know it’s one of my kids.

    I visit FSP (the only prison in Fl) The other “prisons” are “correctional insstitutes”. Again I know I could have been here many times in my life. I guess I’ve been going for about 10 yrs, but wasn’t going when my health got bad. But these guys are there for the long haul and so when I returned to visiting, all I heard was “heh where have you been?” I get so much more than the guys by visiting . They teach me so much. I’m also involved in Kairos (Cursillo for inmates.) and I'[ve seen so many miracles – lives being completely turned around because of the week-end. The first Kairos was in Fl. I love the fact that the teams are inter-denominational. Bishop Cerveny


  10. Pingback: Why you should consider a life makeover | Mercy Me! I've got work to do.

  11. looking forward to reading more of your posts on this new site. I keep thinking about helping others but now I need to do it. This site is inspiring me to do more acts of love. I am going to sign up for the Salvation Army again this holiday season after I leave this site. Hey, its a start. keep me on the right path on what’s really important.


    • It’s a great start Alexa! But too you have to realize you have already started within your family – with the way you raise your children and the values you teach them. It will be great though to share some time with the Salvation Army. I have never volunteered for them so please let me know how it goes!


  12. I love what you are up to and am so glad you are continuing the blog! You are truly inspiring. I enjoy your blog and often laugh and cry while reading it. I am blessed to be able to watch your journey and have you as a friend!


    • You are sweet Cheryl and you inspire me too. I know I did an article for the paper on Hearts of a Feather but I do need to do it for the blog as well. It is such a wonderful and fun way to give to others.


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