My Guardian Angel

Torrential rain unnerved me as I drove along the highway. The downpour hammering on the roof of the car echoed in my eardrums. I turned up the radio. My car’s wipers were stuck on slow speed, hindering my vision and distracting me. Driving in the far right lane, I leaned forward, both hands clutching the steering wheel and wondered how late I—

Suddenly, the taillights in front glowed red. The driver slammed on his brakes. Automatically, I hit mine, but they locked up. The back-end of the car in front loomed closer.

I cannot hit them! So, doing what any sensible driver would have done (or not), I aimed for the concrete divider, swinging sharply to the right.

My car plowed into that barrier. The tires screeched and drowned out the screams in my head. I skidded out of control at 180-degrees before stalling in the middle lane—facing on-coming traffic.

My world slammed to a stop.

The wipers still swished lethargically back and forth across the freshly cracked windshield. Music blared over the radio. My mind in a daze, I glanced in the rear-view mirror.

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I was thankful that Anna Marie appeared unscathed, apart from the fear in her moist eyes.

“It’s okay, Anna, don’t cry. Mommy’s gonna get us out of here.”

I made a quick assessment of the wreckage: the hood had flown open; the front end was caved in, the right headlights busted.

I rolled down the window to stick my head out, and became drenched by pelting rain and the splash from a truck hurtling past.

Headlights from cars beamed as they swerved to miss us, terrifying me even more. Soaked and trembling with my nerves on edge, I thought, Lord, how am I going to get the car off the road without causing a bigger accident?

I wasn’t even sure my car would budge.

Vehicles roared by, but one slowed and stopped. With headlights practically blinding me, the driver left his emergency lights blinking; he exited his car and made his way toward me, hunkering down from the rainfall. He scanned the inside my car, his eyes alarmed, yet warm.

“Miss, are you all right? Is your little girl okay?”

“Yes . . . yes, I think so,” I scarcely heard my own voice say.

“Put your emergency lights on. Need to get you out of this traffic.”

I nodded and watched my angel head back to his car and pull over onto the shoulder. When the coast cleared, he ran across the freeway and opened my door. I scooted over. He climbed in behind the wheel and proceeded to veer my Plymouth across three lanes, out of on-coming traffic and onto the shoulder. Finally, in reverse, he maneuvered my car to the off-ramp.

After prying the hood back down to shut it, I thanked my rescuer and climbed behind the wheel. I plodded down the road, praying a cop wouldn’t pull me over.

Years later I still recall: When I needed help the most, a total stranger—or perhaps a guardian angel—came to my rescue and showed me compassion.

 

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Filed under Guardian Angel, In Times Like This, Memoir, Running in Heels

Hurricane Harvey – 8/26/17

Once again, childhood memories of sharing my birthday with yet another devastating hurricane resurfaced.

The rains came and the floodwaters rose, while we were out of town on vacation for my birthday week. Daughter and Mom remained at the house with a generator. We received continued updates, videos, texts and photos regarding the storm’s status, which left us unnerved and on edge. Thank God, for the report from home that offered few moments of levity:

“OK Mom, we lost power.”

“Grandma is stuck in the Power-Lift chair.”

“One fridge is out.”

“Pool in back and in front yard.”

“Water is about a foot within the house.”

“We are good so far.”

“Grandma is like, ‘You said we were gonna have ice cream at midnight …'”

“No internet.”

“Water level is down.”

“Some water seepage, possible foundation issues due to flooding.”

“Was able to go for a quick gas run.”

“The Mayor of Houston has imposed a curfew … Grandma and I were gonna go out!”

“Electricity! Yay!”

Soon we’ll be headed back for home, taking the routes with the less flooding for travel. My heart and mind are filled with conflicting emotions. I am thankful to the Lord for watching over my loved ones, knowing that many lives were tragically impacted by this hurricane due to the flood waters. I also realize as hard as it is, losing stuff pales in comparison to losing loved ones. May we count our blessings – still having those safe and sound that mean the most, well, everything else just seems petty.

My prayer: May our roots be grounded in faith strong enough not to be overwhelmed, even during the storms of life.

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From the end of the earth will I cry to you, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2)

 

 

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Bump in the Night

In our tiny efficiency, as I lay in pitch darkness, my eyes remained opened, growing accustomed to the dark. The yellow moon peeked through the window shade. Eerie shadows traveled across the walls and bounced off a tattered chair whenever headlights from cars passed by.

Mama and I shared a narrow bed then. Because my stepdad, Warren had “accidents” in bed at nights, he slept on the opposite one from us. Like the sound of a freight train, his incessant snoring rattled my eardrums. Asleep in her underwear, Mama’s gentle snoring came in spurts. Those sounds became my lullaby in the evenings, lulling me to sleep.

But not tonight.

I was never afraid during the night, but with a sense of foreboding I couldn’t shake off, I got up and propped a chair under the doorknob. Time passed. Thump! The chair toppled over and my heart hammered against my chest. Then I heard the knob turn and the door creaked. The hair on my scalp pricked me.

In the dark, I turned ever so slowly, peering through half-closed lids.

The silhouette of Warren’s weird friend crawled, cat-like, on all fours. He inched his way closer. And closer. Warren snorted and rolled over. El Creepo froze. Then he continued his way toward Mama. His hand reached her leg and started feeling upward . . .

With sheer determination, I hopped up, screaming at the top of my lungs. Like a wild animal caught in blinding light, El Creepo jumped and made a bee line toward the door. He crashed into a chair, tripped over the box fan, and then collided with the dresser before hightailing out. Crying and shaken out of my wits, I turned the light switch and called out to my parents in zombie-land, to no avail. It took a long time before I shut my eyes.

The next morning, I gave a full report. With stupefied faces and mouths agape, they attempted to process my words.

“What?” Mama shrieked. “I didn’t hear anything!”

“Mama, he touched you!”

“How did he . . . ?” Warren stammered.

Mama gave him a dirty look. “The door doesn’t have a lock, you dope, remember?”

“Well, you just wait ‘till I see that jerk again,” Warren hinted, getting up to check the knob.

One may think that this frightening episode caused a rude awakening in my party-animal parents. It changed nothing. Sometimes, I think Mama didn’t know what to do with me. Some days she wanted me close. Other days she didn’t.

Excerpt from Chapter 5 in “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace
© M.A. Pérez 2017, All Rights Reserved

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Gone a Year, but Not Forgotten

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In Memory of our dear, Queen Elizabeth – Forever in our hearts

January 6, 1911 – August 12, 2016

 

Though her smile is gone forever

And her hand we cannot touch

Still we had so many memories,

Of the one we loved so much.

Her memory is our keepsake,

With which we’ll never part;

God has her in His keeping,

We have her in our heart.

 

https://maryaperez.com/2015/10/22/oh-those-golden-centenarian-years

 

 

 

 

 

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Stay the Course

Help!

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

I don’t understand …

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”

I don’t think I can anymore …

“All things are possible to them that believe.”

What’s the point?

“I will make a way when there seems to be no way.”

I can’t!

“You can do all things through Christ.”

I’m tired!

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I feel so alone!

“I will never leave you or forsake you.”

I am weak!

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might”

I am so scared!

“Fear not, for I am with you.”

I feel so inadequate …

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Useless!

“Those who know their God shall be strong and do great exploits.”

Too much pain!

“I heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.”

Darkness!

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness.”

My situation is hopeless!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

I can’t see my way out!

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Why?

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

It’s too hard!

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.”

No one cares …

“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Or listens …

“It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

I am invisible.

“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.”

It hurts too much!

“I will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.”

I feel like I’m dying!

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I. Can’t. Go. On.

“My grace is all you need, for My power is greatest when you are weak.”

What is the meaning to life?

“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Doesn’t anyone care?

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

My plans, hopes, desires, and dreams have failed!

“My ways are higher than your ways.”

I don’t know …

“Come unto Me and I will show you things you know not of.”

I want to finish well …

“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

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The Birthday Boy

Hello my fellow blog followers and fans!

Sometimes life throws you a curveball – sometimes you duck, sometimes it hits you right upside your head. How you react will determine what kind of player you are.

So what do you do when fear knocks on your door? Do you face your giant, or do you stick your head in the sand? Remember there are two sides of F.E.A.R.: Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise. Takes grit, doesn’t it? More importantly, it takes God’s grace, too.

Eight months prior, was such a trying time for us with all the emotional roller-coaster from one minute to the next. We weren’t sure what the next second would bring, let alone the next day. The days and nights were difficult ones. But I’m here to tell you that the support, prayers, and genuine love from family and friends made all the difference in the world! And I am happy to report that my husband is a walking miracle; (read about it here), and I am so thankful for the goodness and mercy of God.

I recently threw a surprised party for the Birthday Boy, also called the Miracle Man, with many of our close and precious friends. It was an incredible turn out and my hubby was indeed taken by surprised. He couldn’t believe how many people were able to keep the secret from him! Whew!

On July 21st, we celebrated Mark’s life. And I would like to share some of those moments with you through this slide.

 

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In the Stillness …

How many times have you encountered a situation head on, full force and with vengeance? It either caught you by surprised or you anticipated and dreaded the inevitable. Either way, bound and determined, knowing you had no choice but to tackle that thing, you plodded through.

But then the busyness of life got in the way. You’re tired, wearied up to your eyeballs – just one more thing will send you over the top! Ever been there? Yeah, me too. More than I care to admit. What gets you to the next day? The next project? The next idea?

Is it gumption? Aspirations? A positive outlook? Prayer? Encouragement from friends and family?

And  have you ever felt like you have nothing left to give to anyone else, let alone tackle one more thing? It boils down to you’re running on empty. You need a re-fill, a power surge, fuel, zing? When you’ve given yourself to others and you feel spent, it’s time to step back and be refreshed. Take a sabbatical.

There are times when I need time for me. I may need to soak in a warm tub, get a Swedish massage, sit by the ocean, or relax in one of those infrared-saunas. Yeah, buddy.

You know, as a Christian, being still and quiet before the Lord isn’t always easy for me. My thoughts run in circles with daily tasks that need to be done. But I find that when I go before Him and stay awhile, I come out feeling refreshed, refueled, and re-fired.

What are some of your ways to re-group and face another day or challenge?

 

 

 

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Pathway to Tears

I consider myself a tough cookie. After all, aren’t I a survivor? I’ve survived a few hard knocks along life’s path: A broken home by age three, followed by poverty, hunger, homelessness, alcoholism, neglect, loss of a sibling at age nine, two near-drowning incidents, in a car wreck, juvenile detention home, taunting, brawls, racism, alternative schooling, marriage to a ruthless man twice my age, bearing four children by the time I was twenty-two—three  by cesarean—physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, betrayal, hopelessness, despair, rejection, abandonment, being shot at (he missed), divorce, single-parenting …

BUT God!

Howbeit, there is a softer side to me as well. This thing called “tears”. A family member has even called me sentimental. I have been known to cry after losing a beloved pet, even an insect (hey, they make pets too, at least they did for me when I was a child). I recently cried when my husband surprised me with flowers after having a taxing day. I cried – or blubbered rather – after shooting my first deer. I may cry during weddings, engrossed in a book, listening to a song, or when watching a movie. I especially cry when I hear a newborn’s first cry, whether in real life or on TV, I can’t help it, the tears flow. I sometimes cry while laughing at something funny, in opening up presents, when saying goodbye, while praying, or worshiping and singing in church. Seeing majestic mountains, colorful rainbows, the stillness of the ocean, a fluffy kitten, or a hummingbird nestling near by can make me cry. I even cried when I heard my grandchild call me “Mimi” for the first time. And yes, at times I cry when I’m hurt, scared, tired, or angry.

But I don’t want you to know that. Because I am tough. Not weak. Remember?

Now I’m not much of a horse person, but I know enough to know that a horse is full of grace and strength with every muscle, tendons and ligaments working in unison to support a rider at galloping speed. Yet, that same powerful, majestic horse is controlled by a bit in its mouth and will move in the direction the rider wants to go.

When I read about Moses, he was the meekest man who walked the earth. When I read about Jesus, He was all-powerful, yet kept that power in check. His meekness was not weakness.

So, I say: It’s okay. It’s okay to let your guard down at times and reveal your softer, sensitive self. It doesn’t mean you’re a softy, or a weakling, or a pushover. Power under control means self-control, and that is a virtue. After all, we are human with God-given emotions. Besides, God. Bottles. Our. Tears.

And because God loves us so much, I would venture to say:

Sometimes God cries.

Thank you Lord, for loving me for me.

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

bottled tears

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Take Time for Every Purpose

It-takes-time

“Just think,

you’re not here by chance,

but by God’s choosing.

His hand formed you

and made you

the person you are.

He compares you to no one else-

you are one of a kind.

You lack nothing

that His grace can’t give you.

He has allowed you to be here

at this time in history

to fulfill His special purpose

for this generation.”

quote credit to:  Roy Lessin


To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
ECCLESIASTES 3:1


Take time to plan
Take time to reflect
Take time to be yourself
Take time to make a difference
Take time to prioritize
Take time to imagine
Take time to be creative
Take time to let go
Take time to follow through
Take time to balance your life
Take time to unwind
Take time to be alone
Take time to do nothing
Take time for intuition
Take time for your spirit
Take time for wellness
Take time to play
Take time for laughter
Take time to be free
Take time to explore
Take time to see the good
Take time to marvel
Take time for spontaneity
Take time for the here and now
Take time for art and beauty
Take time to be kind
Take time to dare
Take time to make the world better
Take time to celebrate others
Take time to reconnect
Take time to meet new people
Take time for romance
Take time for love
Take time for friendship
Take time for family
Take time for new possibilities
Take time for gratitude
How we spend our day is, of course, how we spend our lives!

Author Unknown

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Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Dance like nobody is watching,

Because they’re looking down on their cell phones anyway.

Dance like nobody’s watching,

They’re too engrossed in a sport’s show.

Dance like nobody’s watching,

The dog just yawned and rolled over.

Dance like nobody’s watching,

The newspaper is still in front of his face.

Dance like nobody’s watching,

The cat is busy scratching.

Dance like nobody’s watching,

Isn’t that snoring coming across the room from the recliner?

So aren’t you glad nobody’s watching,

As you’re jamming to the music when your knee pops, you roll your ankle and throw out your back?

Yes, dance like nobody is watching,

He’s blinded with tears from laughing anyway!

 

© M.A. Pérez, 2017, All Rights Reserved

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