Equally Charitable to All

This past weekend we were blessed to have a house guest. A close friend from down south came to visit. While he was here we drove around quite a bit, ate some good food, and visited my parents. My brother and his family were also there and my niece and I got to talking about how differently we treat different people. She had felt the need to apologize for speaking somewhat harshly to me the week before because she thought I was one of her siblings. So I asked her somewhat sarcastically “Ah, so you’re saying that’s the way you talk to your siblings?”

And then it was like the wind came right back my way to slap me in the face as I thought about how we were entertaining our house guest. Why is it that I talk nicer to those who are visitors, and not necessarily those I share the same roof with? Why is it that I have more patience with my kids and speak more gently to them when someone else is around? Am I using the guise of hospitality? Am I trying to keep up appearances out of pride? Why DO I raise my voice with my kids so often anyway?

Once again the Psalm calls me to invoke my God:
Hearken to my words, O LORD,
attend to my sighing.
Heed my call for help,
my king and my God!
At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you;
the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
You hate all evildoers.
You destroy all who speak falsehood. (Psalm 5)

By speaking differently to different people, am I really speaking falsehood? Am I being arrogant in your sight? If I desire to show hospitality to one person, why should I not want to show it to all, especially my own flesh and blood, those who I have conceived and birthed? I have got to stop the hypocrisy. But more earnestly, I have got to start treating those I love with more love.

May the Lord bless us and keep us this day. May He show us the way. May He steer our hearts, minds, words, and actions. May He continue to send us little reminders, like the conversation with my niece, to make us think and redirect our path to conform more to His. Amen.

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

Peace Amid the Storm

Have you ever passed through times in your life where there was so much going on that your head just seemed to spin? Endless thoughts, headaches, trouble sleeping… Patience with the kiddos flies right out the window and you can see yourself getting more frazzled as the days go by.

I am right in the whirlwind as we speak, my friends. We are in the midst of trying to super-speed our remodeling projects so we can rent out our current residence while simultaneously working from home and trying to finish out the school year. Throw house hunting into the mix and WA-LA complete madness!

It is hard to stop the constant thoughts that bombard me and be still. So often throughout the day I just have to stop and take a deep breath. I have to remember to hug and kiss my little ones instead of letting harsh words fly due to my own state of mind. I have to start a tickle war instead of arguing senselessly with a three-year-old.

The one thing that has helped me through it all is my nightly rosary. After the kids go to bed and my husband jumps in the shower, I sit down in my comfy chair and gaze at one of my favorite images of my mommy, Our Lady of Guadalupe. The rhythm of the beads almost puts me to sleep most nights, but I find my soul is calm once again.

I find it interesting that we celebrate the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church today, June 1st when we have just spent a whole month dedicated to her. We just can’t get enough of Our Lady! She is the great transformer of hearts, the one who turns us back to her Son over and over again.

And as May turns into June and spring into summer, I hope my heart turns toward the Sacred Heart as well. I hope to emulate the Apostles in today’s alternate First Reading who “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer”.

So let’s start right now. I leave you with the traditional Irish blessing. May is still your souls when whirlwinds come and allow you to rest in Him.

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And rains fall softly upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

Build Up Strength Within Me

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples that He will soon be leaving this world. He tells them something that must have been so hard for their hearts to hear: “It is better for you that I go.” I can only imagine each of them shaking their heads in disbelief and grief. “Why? Why? Why?! There’s no way it could be better for us to be left alone…” and then they would hear the rest of His words about sending an Advocate, and their hope would be somewhat restored.

I think this could be similar to losing a loved one. People are trying to tell you that they are in a better place, that they are no longer suffering, but all you want to do is shake your head and say, “No! No! No! I can’t live without this person! What am I going to do!?” Perhaps as time passes and your head clears, you can admit to yourself how amazing it is to have an intercessor in heaven praying for you, someone you can now talk to anytime you want, but you still miss that person terribly.

We can probably all relate to the 1st Reading as well, although in a more figurative way. Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten with rods, inflicted with many blows, and thrown into prison. I have read many social media posts where people feel stripped down to their very core; they are worn down and beaten. They may even feel like they have spent so much time in their own home that it now feels like a prison. We are tired, defeated, and desolate.

Yet just as God sent an earthquake to free these two apostles from their chains, He also wants to shake up our souls. In times of crisis, we turn our hearts more fully to Him. Have we done that yet? Does God see a marked change in us? Or have we continued on as always and just changed a few external routines?

Perhaps God is giving us an opportunity to continue learning and growing, and at the appropriate time, he will fling those prison doors wide open. Just as the jailer saw the power of God and converted, so can we. We, too can be recipients of His promise: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

As I write, we are in the midst of a Global Day of Prayer and Action for Humanity. We are once again joining together as fellow earthlings to pray for God’s mercy and to show His mercy to others to the best of our ability. Last week we had Giving Tuesday to support organizations that are helping others. Maybe it sounds cliche by now, but we are truly all in this together, much in the same way that each and every one of us are a beloved child of God.

Some suggest praying as if what you ask for has already been granted, so that is what I choose to do today. Join me in praying this Psalm:

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth [].
Because of your kindness and your truth,
you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

A Powerful Transformation

Before we dive into the scriptures this morning, I wanted to let everyone know that we have made some exciting changes to the blog. We have added some brand new writers along with those you have come to know and love. We will also be posting the blog every day at 5 AM Eastern Time. Thank you all for reading and may God bless you!


Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and the first day of the month dedicated to Our Lady. I have always loved the month of May. We are still in the Easter season, the weather is finally feeling like spring consistently here in Michigan, and our short summer is only a few weeks away. It is also special to me because it is the month I got married; this year, we celebrate eight years.

In case you can’t tell, I am constantly looking for reasons to celebrate, or perhaps it ‘s my way of coping. Another way I cope is by doing home improvement projects. I look for ways to transform my house into what is most practical for our family and also what would increase its value should we ever choose to sell. As I write, we are painting, having electrical work done, creating closets in two bedrooms, and just beginning to think about how to split a large bathroom into two smaller ones with the least amount of plumbing work possible.

I would hope that some of the energy I am putting into transforming my home leaks over into my spiritual life as well, but alas, hoping is not enough. Today’ s First Reading talks about one of the biggest changes in Scripture, that of Saul ‘s personal transformation into Paul, the great apostle. He literally went from “breathing murderous threat” to” proclaim[ing] Jesus in the synagogue” all in one passage. He was struck blind in order to see the greatest truth known to man, that Jesus is the Son of God.

Now, I ‘m right there with you in feeling like this quarantine is the song that never ends, but I heard something on a live-streamed Mass this past Sunday that really helped put things in perspective. “As Christians, we should never say, ‘something has to change for me to have peace, joy, and happiness’ but rather, ‘something has to change IN ME in order to have peace joy and happiness'” (Fr. Mike Schmitz, paraphrase)Who ‘s to say that we can’t have a transformation just as powerful as St.Paul’s? Who’ ss to say that God does n’t want to open our eyes in much the same way? Does He love us any less? Does He desire any less for us? Does SOMETHING need to change? Or do WE need to change?

If I am constantly breathing venomous complaints, maybe it ‘s time I will be struck dumb of my own accord. If my mind is full of worry and fear, perhaps now is the perfect time to make an act of complete surrender. If my children are driving me crazy because they feel just as cooped up as I do, maybe it ‘s time to have a one on one with each of them to discern what their needs are, and then all go outside together to play.
I leave you with this uplifting part of today’ s Psalm: “For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever.” (Psalm 117:2)

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

Filled with Joy and Wonder

Have you ever wondered what life would have been like for the Apostles in the days after the Resurrection? They were so filled with joy, wonder, and a deep interior drive to share Christ’s message that they truly cared not about what others thought about them.

In today’s First Reading, the Sadducees were jealous of all the attention the Apostles were getting. They threw them in jail, God got them out, and the Apostles just kept on preaching, as if nothing had happened. Eventually, the leaders of the time caught on and realized that this was something out of their power, and the Apostles marched onward, to spread the Good News to all the nations.

I wonder what today’s world would be like if we truly cared about nothing other than spreading the message of Christ. Would we be filled with that same joy, peace, and drive that nothing would stop us, not even “the virus”?

It has got me thinking about mindset and priorities. How is my attitude these days? Am I so busy lamenting my boredom and restlessness that I have forgotten to be a beacon of joy during this Easter Season? Have I allowed myself to become so overwhelmed with worry and fear that I have forgotten what truly matters? What is really important to me? Health, family, financial stability…yes, but even if all these crumble to pieces, I still have my God!

The Gospel reminds us of perhaps the most well-known passage in the whole Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

There are some that think we are in the end times, that this world is coming to pass. I am in no position to say one way or the other, but it has got me thinking about eternity for sure. If it’s my time to go, so be it. I would love to be the beneficiary of God’s loving promise.

Let us not be a people who prefer the darkness to the light, but rather a people who live the truth and come to the light. May our lamenting turn to praise as we join in the words of the Psalmist:

“I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.”

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

Faith and Gift

I love the miracle in today’s First Reading. I can just imagine the crippled man that Jesus healed through Peter jumping around whooping and hollering with a big old grin on his face.

He leaped up, stood and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. (Acts 3:8)

He had never used his legs before. He was crippled from birth. And just as a newborn colt learns to walk in its first few hours of life, this man was hopping around just moments after being healed.

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Peter’s declaration didn’t work? What if he said “in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk” and the man wasn’t healed? Would John have looked at him and said, “oh well, better luck next time!”? Or would John have tried to perform the miracle himself?

What do we do when God doesn’t answer our prayers? It all comes down to faith and gift. Recall that Jesus healed when the person had great faith. We have to believe in Him. Really and truly BELIEVE. And understand that healing is a GIFT from Jesus, something He freely gives away because He chooses to. Just because He chooses not to heal us in the precise moment we ask Him to, doesn’t mean He is any less God.

On the flip side, what do we do when He does answer us? Do we jump around and praise God in a child-like fashion, even interiorly? Or do we just mumble a quick thanks and take it for granted. “Well after all, He’s God, He’s supposed to give me every good thing.” Are we filled with amazement and astonishment just like those who witnessed this miracle?

I can tell you from my own life, that I had a negative attitude after returning from missionary work in Mexico. I thought I was ready to get married and just assumed that God would immediately send me the perfect husband riding in on a noble steed. It took 11 years for God to answer my prayer. Perhaps my faith was shallow. Perhaps I had some growing up to do. But most of all, I lacked the understanding of gift. I expected God to give it to me out of a false sense of entitlement. Only after a broken heart and some huge lessons did God send me my heart’s desire.

Just as He did to the disciples on the road to Emmaus in today’s Gospel, I can almost hear Jesus chiding me: “How foolish you are [and] how slow of heart to believe!” It took so long for my eyes to be opened to my desperation and recognize that Jesus was there with me all along.

On this glorious day within the Easter Octave, let us allow our hearts to burn with in us because of our great faith in God. Let us recognize what a great gift the Resurrection truly is and proclaim together with all our brothers and sisters, “The Lord has truly been raised!”

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

In The Waiting

During my Lenten devotions, I have stumbled across several ideas that I have been mulling over.

I was watching Fr. Mike Schmitz’s live-streamed Sunday Mass and was taken aback by his observations. People are living perhaps the hardest times they have ever lived, and death is all around us. He said that death is one of the most difficult things to get through, to watch a loved one die, to grieve the death of a family member, or even face our own impending death. It is heartbreaking and heart wrenching. But there is something even worse than death, and that is to lose heart.

Our hearts can break from sadness and sorrow, they can be ripped from our very chest, but much worse than that is to be discouraged. To despair is worse than death because we have lost our hope in God.

In the same vein, I have been reflecting on the difference between concern and worry. Obviously, we are all concerned about the outbreak, how it has yanked us out of our routines, and made a horrible illness way too close for comfort. Many of us are also worried. Worried about our finances, our health, our children… Will normalcy ever return?

The difference is that concern moves us to action. We put on our rubber gloves, avoid going out of the house, and wash our hands. On the other hand, worry drives us to anxiety, and eventually, despair.

In today’s First Reading, God poured out blessings upon Abram. He made him the father of a host of nations, made him exceedingly fertile, promised to maintain His covenant with him, and gave him the whole land of Canaan. This new reality was so great that God even gave him a new name.

But let us recall that God did not give him these gifts instantaneously. He waited. Abram endured many hardships and suffered seemingly endless infertility before this great moment. God waited and chose His moment to act.

We are in this time of waiting right now. We are concerned, yes. But let us not fall into worry because Jesus is right here. He is right beside us, ready to raise us up, but He is choosing to wait.

And here’s the clincher. After God showered Abraham with abundance, He said: “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

Could it be that God is waiting for us to turn our hearts back to Him and keep His covenant once again? I recently saw on social media this phrase: “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” Hmmmm…

Fr. Schmitz encourages that even if God does not deliver us, may our hearts be like His. No conditions. If He saves us, we are His, and even if He doesn’t, we are still His. “Our hearts can be broken without being lost.” We want the miracle. We see others who were miraculously cured, but whether we are cured or not, we are still his. Daniel was spared the lion’s den, but Stephen was not spared stoning. Jesus begged that this cup would pass, yet was not spared crucifixion. May we say as Jesus did, may our hearts be like His and proclaim “not my will, but yours be done.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGv9j9PCyvo&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3256MRynFSBBYKThdIhcgZ07tHhalOLWOq2T4usc_bdoelUnk4MenV1m0

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

New Priorities

As I write, the governor is on live shutting down our state. Many have already succumbed to the quarantine, and surely the rest of the country will follow soon. People keep saying we are living in unprecedented times, and surely that is true, but my mind keeps wandering to other unprecedented times.

What about the people of Israel that wandered in the desert for 40 years? What about those who survived the flood? What about those who lived through the plagues? What about those who went through the potato famine or droughts or pestilence?

My husband and I were reading up on the Great Depression over the weekend. I remember my grandmother, born in early 1929, saying that a piece of fresh fruit was such a treat that she would even eat the peel of an orange. I could never imagine such a time… until now. 

While we didn’t buy into the hysteria, we did get two weeks’ worth of groceries, and it is yet to be seen whether we have enough TP. We’ll get through it, just as so many people got through other major trials and tribulations throughout history. 

We will gather strength from each other, we will help each other, we will lift each other up when we are down, and we will grasp desperately to our God and depend fully on Him. 

Many people have their theories about what we are living through. Some think it may be the end of the world. Some think it’s a wake-up call. Some think it’s all a hoax. Some think it is a gross exaggeration. Others are scared to death. 

I tend to look at it as an opportunity to turn our hearts back to God. We have gotten so off track, so self-centered, so technology-centered. And while up until now most of us still have access to the internet and our devices, I would like to extend an invitation. Turn them off. Stop checking for the latest news every 5 minutes. Stop driving yourself crazy worrying, wondering, and complaining. Be present in the moment. Spend time in silence. Still your heart. Commune with your God. We are being allowed this time to get our priorities straight, namely, God and family. 

“When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
He watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.”
(from Psalm 34) 

Let today’s Psalm assure you: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

What Hasn’t Changed?

Everyone is on edge, nervous, even frantic. Everyone is concerned about what is going to happen next. Everyone is wondering what will be canceled next or what place will close next. There are no sporting events to watch and no restaurants to go to. As a coworker put it, “What’s there to talk about?”

Please, please don’t talk about THAT. I am so tired of hearing about it, reading about it and watching it. It’s enough to worry about whether or not my family of six will have food to eat for the next month.

So instead of buying into the hysteria and the panic, I am on a mission to share positivity. What can our current situation teach us? What opportunities can it allow us? What things can we do that we normally wouldn’t be able to? What do we now have time for that we otherwise wouldn’t? What HASN’T changed?

First and foremost, our great God has not changed. Our First Reading today reminds us: “For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?” Our God is ALWAYS with us, and we can ALWAYS call upon Him. He can grant us peace of mind when no one and nothing else can.

That is what we can learn from this. We can learn that when it comes down to it, the ONLY thing that matters is our relationship with God because we are never assured of a tomorrow.

But in the midst of this, while we still have breath within us, we have been given a great gift: the opportunity to spend more quality time with our families. Let’s bust out those board games, dust off those books we’ve wanted to read for years now, pump up those bicycle tires, and get some good old vitamin D.

Let’s have deep and heartfelt conversations with loved ones. Let’s laugh like we never have before. Let’s do our spring cleaning together this year. Let’s watched the televised Mass and pray the rosary as a family. Let’s not forget that what will carry us through this is prayer.

At my house this past weekend, we pulled out a large pad of MadLibs. (Remember those?) My 7-year-old and I were laughing out loud (for real), enjoying the silliness of sentences that made no sense. We imagined what a giraffe’s long “armpit” looked like (instead of neck), and what it would be like to come home to a “smelly” house (instead of a cozy one). We played soccer outside and built castles with magnet toys inside. We made homemade lemonade and chocolate cake. We finally had time to work on potty-training my 3-year-old and saved numerous diapers.

There is always a positive side to the coin if only we look for it. No matter how our situation may change or how much our world appears to turn upside down, may we never cease to exclaim like the Psalmist: “Praise the Lord, Jerusalem” (insert here USA).

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

Blessed Are They

Today is a very special day for our family. It is the first time we will be able to celebrate a birthday with a new family member we have just met. So many years that seemed lost are now being caught up in just a few months. Some of us wonder how we ever got along without her. We are amazed at her joy, her generosity and her drive. She has given us the impetus to better ourselves, to break through barriers and to achieve what we once thought impossible. Truly a ray of sunshine in our otherwise dull lives. Now we can rejoice on this day instead of wonder, celebrate instead of suffer.

In just a few days, we also celebrate my oldest son’s birthday, the one who made me a mommy. I cannot even begin to tell you how long I waited for that day. After being a missionary in my late teens and early 20’s, I just assumed that God would bring me a husband right away, since I had given these tender years to Him. Boy, was I wrong! I had to endure 11 long years of ups and downs, difficult lessons as a result of wrong decisions, mixed with plenty of travel, work experience and life-long friendships. Finally, God led me to the love of my life and less than a year later we were holding our first son in our arms. What an amazing and undeserved gift.

Realizing all I have received in these two people definitely make the words of the First Reading come alive: “you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you…you will be a people sacred to the Lord, your God, as he promised.” (from DT 26) God has chosen to make me His own. He has chosen to love me in a peculiar, specific, singular way. He does not love me in the same way He loves anyone else. He does not shower the same blessings on me as He does anyone else. He loves me in the way my heart needs to be loved.

He loves me so much that I am sacred to Him. He holds me in a tender, delicate and holy way. And all of this is fulfilling His promise, His promise to never let me falter, lack or want. He did not promise there would be no suffering, but with that suffering there is always a lesson learned, or a good fruit that sprouts forth. He promises to love me and be with me always.

Lord, grant me the strength and conviction to always observe your statues, commandments and decrees. May I hearken to your voice so that I might walk in your ways and thus proclaim with the Psalmist: “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!”

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

I Shall Not Want

Today’s Responsorial is one of the most poetic and well-known Psalms. I remember reciting it as part of an English assignment in high school. “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” And it goes on and on to describe verdant pastures, restful waters, abundant tables, anointed heads, and overflowing cups.

Surely David was in a very good mood when he wrote this because my life surely doesn’t look like that! (Unless I’m on a Hawaiian vacation, maybe…but let’s get real.) The part about walking in a dark valley sounds more like it. So many uncertainties, so many unknowns, so much wondering how I will do this or when I will have time to do that.

But maybe it’s not so much about whether my life is full of picturesque scenery and rich foods, but rather the second part of each of these phrases: I shall not want. He gives me repose. He leads me. He refreshes my soul. You are at my side. You give me courage.
It is YOU who are spreading the symbolic table, YOU who are anointing my head, YOU who are the source of the goodness and kindness that follow me.

Now THAT is something I can chew on, because despite the uncertainties, the unknowns and the wondering, I DO know that I will never go without necessities, that he will always give me the opportunity to rest in Him, He will consistently guide me, He will refresh me, stay with me and grant me courage.

The self-inflicted troubles come when I try to do it all on my own. I try to take the reins of my own life. After all, it’s mine to live, right? If I want something, I push, push, push, trying to obtain it, often amid angst and frustration. Why don’t I just ask Him if that’s what He wants? When my kids or my financial situation or my family problems build upon my heart, I want to explode and end up crying like a spoiled child. Why don’t I just place them in His hands and see what wonderful things unfold?

So often, I try to “lord it over” my life, as the First Reading mentions. But in the end, I am just making it harder for myself.

Lord, show me, lead me, guide me. Grant me that assurance, that rest, that courage that I need to follow you in all things, knowing that you will make my cup overflow.

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.

May All Our Temples Be Sanctuaries

In today’s First Reading, Solomon utters a beautiful, awe-filled prayer of blessing over the temple. He humbly realizes that this new structure cannot contain the God of heaven and earth, but does acknowledge that He will be honored there, and thus wishes it to be a holy sanctuary.

Perhaps we might feel similarly when we step foot inside an adoration chapel. We recognize that God is not contained in that room, or even in that monstrance, but we come to honor and adore him in that holy place. Churches and chapels and even designated areas of our homes are truly important because they raise our minds and hearts to God amid the chaos of our everyday lives.

But even more significant, our very bodies are important for that same reason. Jesus chastises the scribes and Pharisees for holding fast to so many unnecessary rules when their hearts were far from him. How often do we ourselves “nullify the word of God” in favor of our not so good habits?

Our overall health is important to our mission of being a light to the world. If I cannot temper my attachment to caffeine, fast food, and sugary treats in order to have more energy to give it all to my kids, am I reaching my full potential? If I cannot overcome my laziness to get some decent exercise a few times a week in order to relieve stress and obtain greater psychological health, is my light reaching as far as it could?

I remember thinking when I was 12 years old that I knew all there was to know about my faith and that I would quite possibly be bored the rest of my life simply living it out. Now, I realize more than ever how far I am from living it out to the fullest.

I have been convicted lately to make some major changes in 2020. I stopped reading compelling, page-turning novels and started reading spiritual and self-improvement books instead. I began drinking six glasses of water a day to keep my body awake and hydrated. I began seeking more concrete ways to provide for my family’s needs. But most of all, I have felt convicted to pour out more of myself, particularly to my kids.

It’s still so often all about me. I’m tired, I’m sick of the noise, I’m not in the mood to play chess, I’m waiting for you to brush your teeth so I can go to bed. My heart needs a dramatic change. I am not giving until it hurts. When it starts to hurt, I raise my voice or send them to their room. I am not listening to their stories. When they want to go on and on about their day, I tell them to hurry up because I’m tired.

Maybe if I were more respectful to my kids, they would be more respectful of others. Maybe if I listened to them better, they would listen to me. Maybe, just maybe, if I gave my all to them, a much more positive atmosphere would ensue.

So here’s to concrete changes in my own “temple” and my own heart. May I confirm instead of nullifying the Word of God so that I might be a light to others, beginning with the littles right under my nose (literally).

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Tami 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 home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, 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 almost 20 years.