He Completes Me

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”

He is the one for me. He is the man who has stuck by my side since day one as my loving confidant, helpmate and best friend. He is the man who loves me, cherishes me, and tells me that I am beautiful. He loves me on my best days and he loves me on my worse days. He knows my past and has never belittled me nor made me feel inadequate. He is faithful, a man true to his word. I can count on his constant love and remain secure in his arms. He praises me in my accomplishments and encourages me in my failures. When I’m happy, his warm laughter melts my heart. When I’m sad or fearful, his gentle touch wipes away my tears.

I love you my husband. And I am proud to be your wife. I am truly grateful to the Lord for joining us together to share the remainder of our days. As we celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, may our constant love nourish and sustain each other until the end of time.

You can read about him in Chapter 42 of my book: “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace

 

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¡El Chupacabra!

“I can draw just as good as our uncle can, or you,” Big Brother Ruben said matter-of-factly.

“No, you can’t,” I corrected.

“Can too.”

“Cannot.”

“Can—”

“¡Niños! Callense ya!” Grandma cut in. “Dis is why you two can’t be together.”

Ruben and I looked at each other, puzzled by what she meant. But this statement became the reason Ruben and I usually had to trade places during Daddy’s visitation. Because we siblings horsed around and played too “wildly” together, when our daddy would come for me to go to his house for the weekend, he’d drop Ruben off to stay with our grandparents or with Mama. This was the normal arrangement. On rare occasions, we visited together.

My brother loved to tease me to get a reaction out of me. One weekend together at Daddy’s was no exception.

“Com’on, will ya?” Ruben impatiently waved his arm as if it would fall off, standing with the bathroom door open.

Curiosity got the best of me. “Hold your horses,” I said, trying to sound like Mama.

Big Brother looked like the cat that swallowed a pigeon, a canary, or something.

“You better not be foolin’ me,” I warned.

“Don’t be so sentimental,” he said, practicing the use of big words.

“Am not.”

“Are too. And you’re never gonna guess what’s in here.”

“Can too.”

“Can not.”

“Gimme a hint.”

Ruben shook his head. “Negative.”

“Cuz, it’s gonna be nuthin’.” I stomped my foot and crossed my arms, dying to know what was inside. “You just tryin’ to trick me.”

He stood in front of the closed shower curtain and held onto it. “Ready?” Ruben asked, with eyes wide.

“Go on . . . it ain’t nuthin’.”

“It’s too . . . it’s—” With one swoop, Ruben yanked the curtain and cried, “¡El Chupacabra!”

I let out a long scream at the huge form floating in the tub.

Daddy came running out of breath. “¿Qué fue?” he demanded. “What’s wrong? What happen here? ¡Caramba! I hear you all da way outside.”

“Daddy, Ruben told me it’s ‘El Abra Ca Dabra, the goat sucker,’” I whined, mispronouncing the word. 

“¿Qué? ¡Oye! What s’matter wit you?” Daddy demanded in his accent. “Why can’t you play nice? You dun do dat to your sister.” He popped Ruben on the head with his hand.

My brother flinched but kept grinning at me, mouthing the words, “boba,” before he disappeared.

Mija, you know what dis is?” Daddy asked, holding me by my shoulder.

“It’s a pink, dead pig!” I screeched. “Why is he in the tub of water?”

“Gloria is goin’ to make pernil. We gonna eat him.

“Roasted pig? No, Daddy, that’s yucky.”

“Whachu talkin’ ‘bout? I betchu never had it before,” he said, closing the shower curtain. “You’ll see,” he winked, taking my hand. “It’s gonna be so good.”

If my daddy said something, he was usually right.

It was yummy.

Excerpt from “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace“, Chapter 7 – Big Brother

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My Son

Not long ago, my curly-locked hair little boy ran around with deep brown eyes and touched my heart each time he looked up at me.

And then I blinked, and before I knew it, this little boy turned into a strapping young man with a heart as pure as gold, and my core still flutters every time I gaze up at him.

Happy Birthday, son. I love you.

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We Love You, Paul!

There are some folk that come into your life and make such an impact, they remain forever imprinted in your heart. Paul was one of them. As I reflect on a memory of nearly a year ago, I wanted to share with my readers how one man made a difference to those who knew him. He was a godly man – a wonderful husband, father, grandpa, and friend. Although my husband and I had only known Paul a short while, he was one of the most endearing and God-loving individuals we had come to know, love and admire. His charm and wit was a breath of fresh air.

Last year, the ‘Andrew Sisters’ got to perform again for our church’s Sweetheart Banquet. Because of illness, Paul and his precious wife, Joyce, were unable to attend. So the Andrew Sisters went to them and performed “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” in their home. It not only brought a smile to Paul’s face but it lightened up our day as well, while we hammed it up and sang (or rather lip-synced) our hearts out!

Paul Daugherty, we honor you. You will forever be missed on this green earth. We looked forward to the Blessed Hope, of that great reunion one day in the heavenlies.

Click here to read about last year's performance The Andrew Sisters – Near You 1947

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Road Less Traveled…my truth

This has been a challenging year for all. Never in a million years did I think I ‘d be alive, witnessing some of the things that are occurring these days! Many are left shocked, confused, angry and some have lost their ever-loving minds over worry, paralyzed in fear!

Is it not true everyday we have to make choices? Is it not a daily decision we make on what we are going to do, and how we are going to react? I for one believe in the power of prayer. Prayer brings results. But I don’t doubt there are days when our prayers cry out, “God, are you there? Are you listening?”

He is. And He does.

I do not pretend to have all the answers. I am flawed. I am an imperfect being trying to serve a perfect God. His ways are higher than my ways. As a Christian, I am not immune to the happenings of this world. Family and dear friends have experienced illnesses, some due to Covid; set-backs due to circumstances beyond their control, and hurtful disappointments because, well, we’re humans.

In Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Less Taken, towards the end he mentions about the road less traveled. I want to be on that road. What does that mean exactly? I’m sure different things to different people.

For me, the road less traveled is to be on the road of steadfastness, not faltering or leaning on my own understanding. I want to be on the road less traveled, collected and in my right frame of mind when much confusion lies before me that I feel overwhelmed. Although at times I may stumble and not know what to do, still I desire to be on the road less traveled in my prayer closet instead of bickering and complaining.

Someone please show me the road less traveled, trusting in God, instead of doubting Him. Lead me to the road less traveled, believing it is well with my soul and the best yet to come. Point me to the road less traveled, where I am not encumbered with the weight of the world with its troubles upon my shoulders.

I want to walk in faith and not in fear. Sing and not scream. Be tender and not hardened. Pliable and not crushed. Teachable and not a know it all.

These are my truths, what I hope to attain some day. I don’t want to follow the crowd of ‘woe is me!’ Rather that I listen in humbled silence to the still small voice that beckons me to be still and know that He is God.

 Whenever I approach two roads of life, I want to be the one who looked heavenward and took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.

landscape photography of forest

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In Everything Give Thanks

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!! I'm thankful for all of you, and I just  wanted to let … | Happy thanksgiving images, Happy thanksgiving pictures,  Thanksgiving images

If I’m to be honest, I was bummed out for a couple of days, knowing I would be missing our traditional, family Thanksgiving Day celebration in our home, which has always filled my heart with so much joy. But now instead, I choose to focus on what I do have and count my blessings which are many, giving God thanks and the glory for all in my life!

Even in my worst days, He loves me! I have known Him in the valley, I have known Him on the mountaintops. While I love being on the mountaintops, it was in the valleys where I grew closest to my Lord and learned that the God on the mountain is still God in the valleys.

I am thankful He has giving me health, provision, shelter, a loving husband, beautiful family, and wonderful friends – He has made many dreams come to fruition.

I am a work in progress. Thank you Lord, for not having given up on me, and I know you’re not finish with any of us yet.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in
Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:18

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Forever, For Always in my Heart

Soft, velvety cheeks. A round rosy nose. Dark hair like mine, but curly. Eyes, blue that sparkled like the ocean I’d seen in storybooks. I kissed her sweet-smelling face. Her soft, pudgy hand with tiny fingers, curled inside mine.

My sister, Anna, melted my heart. I won’t be alone anymore. I caressed her cheeks and whispered, “I’ll stay by your side for always.”

Soon left with the responsibility of caring for Anna, I became her substitute mother. I loved her and took care of her as best as a seven-year-old could.

Before I knew it, my baby sister turned two. Whatever we did, doing it together was more fun than being alone.

One particular evening, as I gazed into my sister’s baby-blues, a sudden feeling of sorrow swept over me. Tears clouded my eyes. Something burned within my chest. I cried out, “Please God, don’t let nothing bad happen to her!”

Anna gazed at me with her gentle, trusting eyes.

“I’ll protect you,” I whispered to her. “For always.”

Before bedtime, we repeated a child’s prayer Grandma taught me, one that hung on the wall:

“. . . I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep . . .”

That night I clung to my sister and kept the strange premonition to myself.

My legs trembled as I crept to her room and peered through the glass-pane door on my tiptoes. I saw a blinking monitor. Then I saw her—my baby sister—with soiled feet, still in her little, green denim dress, tattered and torn. She lay motionless on her back, her curly, brown hair matted with blood. Her face bruised and swollen, her baby blues closed tight.

I felt light-headed as I slumped on the floor, pulling my knees to my chest, crying.

At the funeral, I held my breath and willed my feet toward the small white casket.

Grandma squeezed my hand. I took my finger and stroked my sister’s face, which reminded me of a plastic doll’s, stiff and cold to the touch. Heavy makeup could not conceal her bruises. Her little head—now swollen from the blow of the car that hit her—was cradled by a bonnet, much too small. She wore a new green dress, cleaned and pressed, without stains. Nor traces of blood.

I glanced up at Grandma. “Your sister’s in a better place now,” she choked. Then I placed a small cross under Anna’s tiny, rigid hands. My tears blinded me.

“. . . If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.”

Excerpt from “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace

Each year as her birthday approaches, I think about how special my baby sister has always been to me. But those memories turn bittersweet, as it is difficult for me to separate how quickly we had to say goodbye to her, just a month after celebrating her 2nd birthday. Her memory will forever live in my heart, and for that I am grateful.

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Laughter is the Best Medicine

“It was a special night for me in Sugar Land, TX, while visiting with sis, I got to see my Special friend, and my favorite Author, of my favorite book! Mary A. Pérez, the author of my favorite book, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace.” Mary Ann is definitely my hero! I know one day this will be made into a movie.

While reading this book, there was not an emotion I didn’t feel. But the best part of all ~ It has a beautiful and happy ending!” ~ Rhonda Irvin


Note by Author:
Such a joyous moment. What can I add but to say: It does my heart good, knowing that my story – flaws and all – has blessed another. I shared my memoir that others may know that there is help for the helpless, hope for the hopeless, and forgiveness for the inexcusable. Contrary to popular belief, your past does not define your future. With God, ALL things are possible! In Him we live, move and have our being!

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Where Were You?

Sometimes an event occurs and time stands still.

I know I shall never forget …

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Alan Jackson got inspiration to write his song "Where Were You.." as a tribute to all of the people who lost their lives that day.

 

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In the Midst of the Storm

Hurricane Cleo struck Miami with 100-mile-per-hour winds in late August of 1964. Fallen branches and debris flew across the yard. The pelting rain rattled against our old wooden door and the thin, sheet glass-pane windows.

My step-dad, Jimmy placed a dresser against the front door to our efficiency apartment to keep it from flying open. Mama and I hunkered down in the dark bathroom like cornered animals. I sat on the floor with my knees pulled up. I covered my ears with my hands, trying to drown out the deafening gusts of wind and my mama’s panicking cries.

Yet in the same instant that I closed my eyes, the thoughts tumbled through my mind: Gosh, today is my birthday; I am five years old. Mama said I’m a ‘big girl’ now.

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In the year 1969, ten days before my tenth birthday, the second most intense hurricane on record hit the United States. Hurricane Camille, a Category 5, had all south Florida feeling her wrath.

My step-daddy, Mama and I took shelter in the gymnasium of Miami Edison High School. Many people talked in loud voices. Confused and frightened children fussed and cried as they clung to their mama’s skirts and their daddy’s necks to ride out the storm.

On a floor mat I sat, glancing around, clutching my raggedy doll and our meager chow in a sack: a single loaf of Wonder Bread and a jar of Welch’s Grape Jelly. When My step-daddy suggested that I offer some to another girl close by, I recoiled. You see, even in normal times, sharing food wasn’t so easy for me.

Comfort and tranquility were as far away from me as the moon and blew past like shingles from the roofs of so many of the homes that felt Camille’s fury.

_____________________________________________________________

The above are excerpts of my memoir. Even after all these years later, I still get a bit skittish during rainstorms, let alone hurricanes. Me no like, and as you can see, have never liked them.

Currently, the National Hurricane Center forecast are saying–not one but–two storms are brewing in the Gulf of Mexico! What if they collide with each other and spin around each other, becoming one? This Texas Two-Step is known as a Fujiwhara effect. Go figure!

My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by these storms; whatever type of storm they may be: sickness, trials, trouble, distress, turmoil, heartache or pressure. This is not easy for everyone–me included–but may I encourage you to allow God to give you peace in the midst of the storms.

I am reminded what scripture says: Isaiah 26:3-4: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” 

 

 

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