Being a Light to Others

Do you ever feel like you are in a time of plenty, but simultaneously in a time of drought? We are in the midst of the Easter season, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, the school year is coming to a close, and yet we are dragging…

My family has been struggling through yet another period of illness. Fevers, incessant coughs, ear infections, pink eye, snotty noses, you name it. We just keep passing germs from one to the other to the other. I just started a new job and have already had to go to the doctor four times. We have missed out on receiving our Lord three weeks in a row because we are hacking up a lung (slight exaggeration).

Yet we are Easter people, and Alleluia is our song. We rejoice through the trials because there is always something positive to rejoice over. There are always milestones to celebrate. The baby is getting her first teeth and standing up. The boys are doing well in soccer and scoring goals. My husband is gaining recognition in his video show. 

But above all I am rejoicing because the people and the mission of my new workplace are bringing me closer to God. We pray together each morning, lift up our individual intentions and praise God for His blessings. Then we each go about our day trying to bring Christ to each person we encounter. It is truly beautiful. 

Each day we can imitate the first disciples, like Paul and Barnabas in today’s First Reading who spoke out boldly: “ For so the Lord has commanded us, I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” What a great reminder to us of what we are called to do each and every day! To be Christ’s hands and feet on this earth until He comes again in His glory.

Just as Jesus states: “The Father and I are one” in today’s Gospel, may we also be one with God so as to live with true Easter joy and then share that love and joy with others. 

I leave you with today’s Psalm, that you may rejoice evermore in Him: “Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song. Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends. The LORD is good: his kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations.”

Alleluia!

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at for Christian Healthcare Centers, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Tom Podmore, https://unsplash.com/photos/cp-GfZhCXI8

God is Good, All the Time!

I’m sure your mother told you many times as you were growing up: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I have even found myself reminding my own children the very same thing. Yet as an adult I find myself struggling over and over again with keeping my mouth shut. 

I admit it, I am such a groaner! I wish my kids would behave such and such a way, I wish so and so would stop this or that, why does that person have to do that? etc. etc. 

I remember one year I gave up complaining for Lent and let me tell you, I spent a lot of time in silence! 

And although I consider myself a generally happy person, I can always find something wrong with something. 

One thing that I have found that really helps combat this bad habit is an attitude of gratitude. I find that if I am appreciative of people, their thoughts, words and actions, and of things as gifts from God, I have much less to complain about.

In today’s Gospel we hear about the Jews who had seen what Jesus had done and began to believe in Him. We are told that a few of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. They saw his wondrous deeds and heard his insightful teachings and yet they went to complain about him! How sad…

Because of this one act of gossip, Jesus could no longer go about in public and he realized his time was drawing nigh. Surely a great sadness overtook him. 

 What a call to us all to be appreciative of our Lord and all his works in our life, no matter how great or small. His works show us that he is God and show us how much he loves us. 

Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to spend a whole lot more time in silence when I have nothing nice to say, and a whole lot more time talking about how good you are. 

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: marthaartess, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/2524-conozco-mis-ovejas

True and Lasting Peace

As you read, my family and I are on a much needed vacation. After dealing with illness, childbirth, and stress at work over the past year we were so ready to get out of dodge. 

It’s amazing what a change of atmosphere can do for the soul. All the normal worries of the daily grind seem to disappear. You can breathe easy for a while, enjoy the scenery, eat some tasty treats and simply BE. No dishes or clothes to wash, no floors to sweep, no toys to trip over. 

Yet no matter how much we may look forward to these fun days of R & R, they never seem to last, do they? We always have to go back home, back to work and back to our routine. The vacation in itself can grant us only a momentary, temporary peace of mind. Why?

Because true peace comes only from God and the gifts that the Holy Spirit grants us. If we are not living in him, but rather for the next passing pleasure, our peace will always be fleeting. 

Recently I had a conversation with my 7-year-old, who frequently begs me over and over to buy this or that toy or stuffed animal or video game. He seems to always want something, and if I get it for him, he soon wants something else. I had to have a serious talk with him about consumerism and the fact that Jesus is the only source of true peace and happiness. 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Pharisees: “I am going away and you will look for me…” If only we truly sought out Jesus, who is about to suffer and die for us, more than things! If only we were truly saddened by the thought of Jesus “going away” even for a split second of our lives! 

Lord, help me to understand the incredible significance of your presence in my life. Help me to miss you when my thoughts are not with you. Help me to yearn only for you, not for pleasures that do not satisfy the soul. Help me to seek lasting peace in your most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Colton Duke, https://unsplash.com/photos/QRU0i5AqEJA

Belonging to God

I have really been struggling with one person in particular lately. Some of the struggles have come about due to emails. Why does so and so have to be so direct, sarcastic, rude, etc.?

When speaking to a friend recently I found myself apologizing for an email that could have come across the very same way! She gave me a piece of advice that I found very helpful. She said that whenever she opens up an email to read it, she tries to think happy. So often the way we read a message depends on our mood at that moment, so if we try to read others’ messages with an upbeat spirit, it may help us to avoid many misunderstandings.

Ultimately, if I assume someone is writing a certain way without proof, I am judging them. Was I there when they were typing? No. Did I hear them speak the words out loud? No. Do I know what frame of mind they were in when they wrote the message? No. Since that is the case, I should always give them the benefit of the doubt and not assume the worst.

In today’s First Reading, Moses encourages the people to observe the statutes and decrees of God with all of our heart and soul. “And today the LORD is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you; and provided you keep all his commandments, he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory above all other nations he has made, and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God.”

What an incredible promise! To be God’s special people, to belong to Him as His own, to be raised up high as a people sacred to the Lord… But what is the caveat? That we follow His commands. If I judge people’s intentions, I am not following His commands. Boy, do I want to partake in that promise, so from now on I pledge to think happy thoughts!

Jesus takes it one step further in the Gospel saying: “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.” Now the person I am referring to is far from my enemy, but I have to be careful. If I pile one offense upon another, they could easily become like one in my heart.

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us continue to examine our hearts and purify our minds so that we too may rejoice in the words of the Psalmist: “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!”

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Jackson David, https://unsplash.com/photos/cIcBInoyb7U

When Life Gives You Lemons

We have all heard the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But what if life just keeps throwing you lemon after lemon after lemon, so that everything seems to turn sour? After getting through my young son’s illness, giving birth to our 5th child and recovering from the C-section, it seemed like life was finally getting “back to normal”, when we got hit with the dreaded virus. 

I fell ill right after saying goodbye to my grandmother and I couldn’t even go to her funeral. One by one, the kids all got sick and then finally my husband. While the kids and I all recovered within a few days, he did not fare so well. We ended up in the ER and he was diagnosed with pneumonia. 

So here I sit, taking care of five littles and a sick husband, while simultaneously homeschooling, breastfeeding and working from home. As a stay at home dad, he normally takes care of all the cooking, cleaning, dishes and laundry so we’ll just throw that in too as the icing on the cake. 

Yes, I feel a bit overwhelmed and stretched thin, yet as I did before when my son was sick, I call on my Lord and Savior to BE my strength. Not to give me strength, but to BE my strength. And I am not overcome. The kids pitch in to help out a little more, the baby sits in her high chair a little longer and somehow, life just keeps moving on. 

Now that we have entered into this beautiful season of Lent, I don’t even have to look around for sacrifices and penance. Jesus lovingly gives it to me of His own accord! All I have to do is accept it, embrace it and offer it up for others. 

Today’s First Reading reminds me to “Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up [my] voice like a trumpet blast…seek [God] day after day and desire to know [His] ways.” It reminds me to abandon my cares to Him, forget myself and my woes and think rather of others. The oppressed, the hungry, the homeless, the naked, all those who have it much worse than I do.

I recall talking to a fellow parishioner. She has four boys, lives in a broken down trailer and her husband was deported. Yet she does not complain, but rather gives thanks to God that she has a roof over her head, (barely) enough to pay her bills and she and her children are healthy. She even goes so far as to say that others are worse off than she is. She embodies today’s Psalm “A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn”. 

So as we navigate through this first week of Lent, let us recognize our own lemons, i.e. crosses, offer them up to the Lord, and seek to alleviate the crosses of others. “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” 

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: ERnest Porzi, https://unsplash.com/photos/Z-Y6I45f9kQ

God’s Perfect Gifts

I once heard a talk relating motherhood to the Eucharist. Just as Christ gives himself totally to us in the form of bread, a mother gives herself totally to her child(ren). As I layed there naked and cut open on the operating table during my C-sections, and my arms were spread open so that I was literally in the form of a cross, I was able to say “This is my body, given up for you.”  

As the months progressed, my 8-inch scar and the 2-3 month recovery were a reminder of the sacrifice I had made for each of them to be born, “This is my body, given up for you.” 

As I nursed my children and endured nights with little sleep, “This is my body, given up for you.” 

As I realized that being clean was a luxury after being soiled with various bodily fluids, “This is my body, given up for you.” 

As my showers, my bathroom breaks, and my meals were constantly interrupted by little persons’ needs, “This is my body, given up for you.” 

I remember my husband telling me during a low moment that being a parent wasn’t babysitting, but rather constant care 24/7 as long as you lived. It doesn’t sink in until you’re in the thick of it.

Today’s First Reading reminded me of that moment of desperation: “each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire.” My desire for sleep, quiet and just a moment to myself was getting the best of me. But the reading goes on to describe the beauty that shines forth, despite the cross. “All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, [] with home there is no alteration or shadow caused by change [becoming a parent] He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures [my children].” 

I admit there seem to be more moments of trial than moments of beauty at this stage in life raising littles, but knowing that “all good giving and every perfect gift is from above” helps me to have a more positive attitude. My children are my greatest gift. Thank you Father, for your great gifts. 

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Ben Wicks, https://unsplash.com/photos/iDCtsz-INHI

What Does Your Boat Look Like?

This past weekend we celebrated my 7 year old son’s birthday. It was an emotional one for me because I realized that we very well could have been mourning on this day instead of rejoicing. I am so grateful to my merciful Lord and the Doctor who had the courage to perform a risky surgery so that my son could still be with us. 

I ask myself why we are so “lucky” (ie. blessed) and so many other families are suffering. I could name a handful of local young Catholic families with several children who have lost a mom or a dad in the past six months. Whether it be from an accident, a freak illness or some other unexpected cause, these kids are now growing up without a mom or a dad.

Sometimes these thoughts make me weary and together with my daily tasks and taking care of an infant, exhaustion sets in. At these times I feel like I can relate to Jesus in today’s Gospel.

 “Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. [ ] He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.” Can you imagine how exhausted He must have been? If we have little ones, or work or daily tasks “pressing upon us” all day we just want to be left alone. We want some time to be quiet, to relax and to process. Yet, the crowds in this passage seem merciless. They were encroaching on His personal space. They were demanding. Yet, Jesus in his compassion, saw their need and did not deny them. He cured many and cast out evil spirits. 

So whenever we feel like our daily life is crowding us, pressing upon us or closing in on us, let us remember what Jesus did. He asked his disciples to ready a boat and he withdrew toward the sea. 

What does your boat look like? Where can you withdraw for some quiet time with our Lord? Perhaps you live on a lake and can gaze out on the water as Jesus did. Perhaps you have a prayer corner in your home or an office with religious images on the walls. Perhaps you have to lock yourself inside your room. Whatever it takes, don’t be afraid to get into your “boat” and withdraw with your Lord and God. 

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Saffu, https://unsplash.com/photos/DKXqf-NE-2Q

Jesus’ Simple Calling

Have you ever sat and thought long and hard about time? Sometimes I think to myself, “that second that just passed a second ago is now in the past and will never be lived again.” Sometimes I think back to 9-11 and consider how that was already over 20 years ago. The times I have been pregnant in my third trimester, I thought to myself “can time go any slower?!” and then as soon as the baby was out, time continued on at its rapid pace (My baby is 5 months old already!!).

Time is such a mystery and if we think on it too hard, it might be enough to befuddle us bonkers. It is such a consolation that in heaven there is no sense of time and all we have to “worry” about is rejoicing in God’s holy presence.

God works within space and time, yet His words are also timeless. In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls Matthew saying “Follow me.” Later he states, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” 

God also calls us to follow Him each and every day. He recognizes that not one of us is righteous, we are all sinners, yet He calls us anyway. His call is simple, “Follow me.”

Over Christmastime, I watched a movie with my children called “The Star”. It is an animated film that came out a few years ago with a depiction of the Christmas movie from the point of view of the animals, particularly Mary and Joseph’s donkey. His dream had always been to march in the “Royal Caravan” with the pristine horses. After meeting Mary and experiencing her kindness he realizes that protecting her on her trip to Bethlehem is much more important to him. In the end, he realizes that he actually did participate in a royal caravan, because he carried the King of Kings on his back. 

Following Jesus might entail something different for each person. For the donkey it was carrying the King of Kings on his back, for us, it is carrying the King of Kings in our heart. 

However God might be calling you, within this mystery of time that we call life on Earth, may your answer always imitate that of the Virgin Mary, who simply said “yes.”

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Pierre Bamin, https://unsplash.com/photos/LLFg2HUAC7Y

In the Waiting

Just last night, my husband and I were talking about good friends. I mentioned how in one city I had so many acquaintances but very few close friends and how in another city I had great affection for many of my friends, even though I haven’t lived there in almost a decade. 

We were also reminiscing about how long we were single and how neither one of us ever thought we would get married. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would just have to be the best single aunt I could be, but would never have children of my own, and he just thought he would live with his family for the rest of his life. And here we are, about to celebrate our 10th anniversary in a few months, with 5 beautiful children!

Life really does have a way of throwing you for a loop sometimes, but then it throws you plenty of surprises too, and I’m talking about the good kind. I am reminded of the Heinz ketchup commercial “The best things come, to those who wait.” I always thought that was tongue in cheek, but with a few more years under my belt, I can see that it actually applies to many situations. 

For example, I ask myself how long the leper in today’s Gospel had to wait to be healed by Jesus. The passage doesn’t mention his age, but somehow I imagine he had dealt with the disease for some time. And just like that, with seven words from Jesus, “The leprosy left him immediately.” 

Perhaps there is something that you have been praying for for years, even decades. Perhaps you are hoping for physical healing or waiting for a loved one to come back to the Church. Perhaps you are experiencing spiritual dryness and are asking for more consolation in your prayer life. The list could go on and on just as our waiting can go on and on. 

Our faith tells us that with just one word from Jesus, each one of these situations can be resolved, if He wills it. Maybe today is not the day, nor tomorrow, but one day, either this side of eternity or the other, we will be made clean just like the leper. 

Let us use our time of waiting, no matter how long it may be, to draw ever closer to our Lord in prayer. Amen.  

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Umit Bulut, https://unsplash.com/photos/qbTC7ZwJB64

God’s Light is Our Guide

It has been so fun doing “girly things” with the new baby. Family and friends love to give her cute outfits, bows for her hair and pink toys. One of her newest additions is a soft little dolly that she likes to hold and chew on. My coworker gave it to her and said, “Hmm, what should we call her? How about Lucy!” I thought that was a perfect name.

When I saw that today was the Feast of St. Lucy, it made me smile. Not only is the little dolly a light and a joy to my infant daughter, but St. Lucy is a light to us by her example as a Christian martyr. 

In today’s Psalm, we ask the Lord to be our light and our guide: “Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your kindness are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD. Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. 

A week or so ago we lost power at our house. It was already evening and quite dark. So we got out the flashlights and the boys had a blast playing flashlight tag in the basement. The next day they said they wished the power would go out again! All the while, I was worried about them freezing in their beds and the two weeks worth of groceries I had just bought going bad. 

My boys were not frightened by the darkness simply because they had light and could see the way. We cannot see the way without light. When we cannot see the way, we become frightened. The Lord is our light and He guides us in truth and goodness and love. 

May this halfway point in Advent find us continually searching for the brightness of God’s guidance. May we repeat with the Psalmist, “Teach me your ways, O Lord.”

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Patrick Fore, https://unsplash.com/photos/74TufExdP3Y

Turning to God in Prayer

As my family walked down the aisle to receive Holy Communion, I noticed my three-year-old approach the Eucharistic Minister with hands folded. When he reached her, he looked up at her with pleading eyes, hoping she would give him the sacred host. Instead, she placed her hand on top of his head, giving him a quick blessing. He turned away and began whining, then crying. He wanted to receive so badly! And while I know full well that he has no understanding of the Body of Christ just yet, I was touched by his yearning. 

Going to Mass and receiving Communion is one of the most powerful ways of praying, but what does it mean to “pray always” as Jesus talks about in today’s Gospel? 

Perhaps beginning with a morning offering to give our whole day to Christ.  Perhaps repeating the Jesus prayer over and over. Perhaps attending daily Mass. Perhaps fingering a rosary bracelet throughout the day. Perhaps offering up our daily chores, work, care of children, etc. to God for some intention. There are so many ways to pray!

But I question whether or not Jesus really meant by “pray always” to pray at every single minute of the day. I mean, He knows more than anyone how human we are. He knows we must attend to our tasks and that our hearts are not lifted up to Him 24/7. He knows that we often forget our Creator. 

Perhaps He meant rather, that we should always turn to Him in prayer. Pray when you are happy. Pray when you are sad. Pray in praise. Pray in Thanksgiving. Pray when you are in need. Pray when others are in need. Pray for the salvation of your soul and the souls of others. Whatever the situation may be, turn to God in prayer. 

Our souls thirst for God and he longs for us to come to Him. And whether our prayer be consistent, persistent, or scattered here and there, may we remember to pray always. 

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Ben White, https://unsplash.com/photos/ReEqHw2GyeI

Cuteness & Conversion

And just like that, 8 weeks have gone by and I am back to work. My scheduled C-section went off without a hitch, my baby girl is healthy and I am getting back into the swing of things slowly but surely. It seems like such an overused cliche, but time really does fly. How is it that the hours move forward at a snail’s pace when you are in those last couple weeks of pregnancy, but once the baby is out of the womb it’s like the Indy 500!?

My boys adore their new little sister. They want to kiss her and hold her and run their hands along her silky, soft hair. They want to look at her and be with her and say “cute!” over and over again. Even at her baptism, while my dad (a permanent deacon) was speaking, my two youngest boys were holding her hands and smiling at her and my sister whispered to me sarcastically “They don’t love their sister at all do they?!” It is precious to see how they dote on her.

During maternity leave, I had a little more time to be like Mary in today’s Gospel (I am normally very much a Martha). I had more time to pray and I even read a book! I know I am way behind the 8 ball, but I finally read Abby Johnson’s “Unplanned”. Very appropriate as we are now in Respect Life Month and in the midst of 40 Days for Life. 

Her journey of conversion could be likened to those of the people of Nineveh in today’s First Reading. Just as they put on sack cloth and ashes in repentance, she left Planned Parenthood and went directly to a pro-life agency and began advocating for life. 

Reading her story has reignited my desire to help this cause in any small way that I can. Perhaps I can donate baby items to the local pregnancy center. Perhaps I can commit to an hour of prayer in front of the clinic downtown. Perhaps I can contact my local politicians so they don’t vote to pass a bill that does not protect the lives of the vulnerable…

So my “Mary moments” of stillness and reflection can lead to “Martha moments” of reaching out to others. Reading about others’ conversions can help me consider how I need to change to become more Christ-like. 

And while this mother’s heart has so enjoyed being home these past weeks, I am now called to move forward and onward, to continue ministering to others. Life is full. Life is beautiful. 

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Garrett Jackson, https://unsplash.com/photos/oOnJWBMlb5A