I Still Believe

So my family and I watched this raw and poignant documentary (see movie trailer above) about gospel singer and song writer, Russ Taff. Such a moving and candid story about a six GRAMMY® awards and nine Gospel Music Association Dove awards talented singer, hailed by Billboard Magazine as “the single most electrifying voice in Christian music.” YET, when one would consider him at the top of the world, he struggled deep with depression, emotional pain and despair in many ways.

NEWS FLASH: No one is perfect except the Lord God Almighty! I have NOT arrived, and neither have you! As a Christian, we ALL have a cross to bear, working out our salvation with fear and trembling, fighting the good fight of faith. You may be at the top of your game, but I bet you have a struggle, a needling if you will, in your decaying flesh you wish you could overcome – yesterday! Well don’t stop praying and believing. We work out our salvation by going to the very source of our salvation—the Word of God—wherein we renew our hearts and minds … daily.

In viewing this movie, I appreciated Russ Taff’s honesty and he never tried to gloss it over. He spoke about his religious, strict upbringing (talk about legalism), his own personal shame and debilitation guilt in struggling with an addiction he tried to bury and hide. He loathed himself. So, if we struggle with our earthly parents, will it not be difficult to see our Heavenly Father as loving and forgiving of our own flaws? And if we loath ourselves, then how can we comprehend and accept God’s perfect love for us?

When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? Some of us are gonna have to open our eyes by faith here!

At the end of this movie, I took away a lot of golden nuggets.

But one interesting term (I had just never heard before): Covert Incest – it is also known as emotional incest, a type of abuse in which a parent looks to their child for the emotional support that would be normally provided by another adult. Wow! I know now what I wished I had known regarding my own childhood so long ago. Such a revelation  for me!

I highly recommend this inspirational film – do not miss it!

 

 

Thank you, Russ, for your candid testimony about your life as a Christian. And thank you for coming to Texas and visiting our church, The Freedom Center, in 2012. I also thank you and your precious wife, Tori, for not giving up on God and on each other. I love you guys!

The best comment was from Tori herself, “Russ is a grateful recovering alcoholic, saved by grace!”

My all-time favorite song by Russ Taff:

 

 

© M.A. Pérez, 2018, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under #istillbelieve, Russ Taff

Vacationing in Weston, Colorado

Hi y’all! Hola Amigos!

The mountains were calling and we went!

We recently returned from a glorious two-week getaway in God’s Country in good ole’ Colorado, with a couple of wonderful friends of ours!

And as promised, here are a few photos taken from my !phone (sorry…! Haha!)

Found this perfect quote to a perfect scenery:

“Heaven is a little bit closer in the mountains.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing our traveling buddies, Ed & Sandy Brockhausen.

Now having the pleasure to hang around with this couple is anything but a trip in itself!

They are delightful, animated and know how to have fun, fun, fun!

 

Hubby and I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is the Brockhausen’s little hideaway up in the mountains; took a while to drive up there.

 

Yes, these are wild turkeys! Some neighbors feed them; not sure if they’re pets or fatten up for consumption.

But no hunting allowed in these parts.

See the beautiful Spanish Peaks in the background?

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Wouldn’t you know it? It started snowing the day after we arrived and my hubby was the first one out exploring!

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And then he got me to join him cuz he needed some warmth!

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Frolicking in the snow 🙂

 

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

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Meet Bailey & Dakota. They love going out in the snow – they’re in their element and they’ve worked up an appetite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another breath taking view from the deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So peaceful.

 

 

 

 

 

Haaaaaaay!

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Let me take you on a little tour inside …
Upstairs loft/TV room

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A view from the loft looking down on this gorgeous kitchen.

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Notice the beautiful hand crafted cabinetry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking down at the Southwestern décor, colorful den.

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Check out the antler lighting.

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So cozy, comfy and inviting.

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Enjoying some warmth near the fireplace.

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Yes, the perfect kitchen!

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Look at all the details. Their builder was truly a craftsman.

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Home away from home.

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The master suite.

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The guest room where we slept – not bad, eh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, it had stopped snowing, so we hopped in the buggy and cruised.

A wee bit chilly riding in the wind!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mountain man – such a natural in the outdoors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of days later, the four of us took a road trip into town.

We saw lots of wild life and deer are everywhere!

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I’ve known this precious friend–who is like a sister to me–for a loooong time! She be way crazier than me, y’all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking this majestic view all in.

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A little disconcerting with some of the wiggly road signs!

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Oh, Lord! This reminded me of a scene in the movie, “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”… LOL

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A quick view of Stonewall.

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Girls just wanna shop until we drop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red River, NM – elevation 10,350’. Between my tender back and needing to breathe in all this altitude, I needed to rest!

I guess I be more of a city gal. LOL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning all! Are you hungry? Best biscuit and gravy I’ve ever eaten made by Sandy’s hands!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man talk!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horsing around in Trinidad, CO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We met and made new friends, Mike & Debra Messemer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debra’s creation: One-Pot Cheesy Italian Pasta & Chicken was delish!

She’s also a great baker and makes a variety of homemade preserves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last night in Colorado.

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Well, I hope you enjoy the journey of my vacation to a little piece of heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

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Counting my Blessings

Just two years ago today, I received a phone call from my daughter that made my heart drop. She said “Pops” had fallen off a 20′ ladder that left him with 13 busted ribs, 4 cracked vertebrae, and both lungs partially collapsed. I sped to the job site just as the ambulance arrived to rush him to the hospital. Once there, they immediately inserted a tube in his lungs to inflate them so he could breathe. He remained several days in ICU, battling for his life after getting an infection, along with a bout of pneumonia. But God! After a couple of weeks (that felt like the longest two weeks ever) he came home to finish mending!

If you have a moment, you can read about this story here

People, let go of the petty stuff and love your spouse!

Everyday is a gift (from God), that’s why they call it the present.

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My Mountain Man!

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Filed under reminiscence, Survivor

Wintry Wonderland of Weston

Hi y’all!

Checkin’ in with my family, friends, & fans! I’m vacationing in Weston, CO with my husband and a couple of friends. More pictures to come!    🙂

What do you have going on this week?

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She’s Always On My Mind

I remember first holding you, so tiny in my arms.
Next thing I knew, you turned two, angelic, and quite a charm.
Your silhouette dancing in my dreams before my eyes –
Remembering your joy with my simple lullabies.

I imagine your eyes, your voice, your laughter,
Spending time together, nothing else mattered.
Thinking about you often before crawling in bed at night,
I loved you so much, never wanting you out of my sight.

I wish you could tell me what’s on your mind today?
What are the things you’re longing to say?
Would you have married a wonderful husband?
Live in a castle and have many children?

Oh, if only, if only, I could see you now,
I would run to you, hold you tight and twirl you around!

Oh, sister, there will always be a hole in my heart,
But I guess I knew that from the start.
If I still had you now to talk, share secrets, laugh and cry
I would not be here now thinking: Why did you have to die?

 

Dear Readers:

As we approach the anniversary of my baby sister’s life and death, what I have shared is very dear and personal to my heart. As my eyes mist with tears, I still feel my heart burn heavy from missing her! But please understand that I do NOT “blame” God for my sister’s death! Our God is Sovereign and I believe that He allows certain things to happen to us for His greater plan and purpose. (Isa. 57: 1). After all, His ways are higher than our ways.

Now, I’m not by any means a theologian, a preacher, or a Bible teacher. I’m just a layman, a simple woman of faith, with a finite mind trying to serve an Infinite God. I know that it rains on the just and unjust (Matt. 5:45); bad things do happen to good people.

If I am to be honest, I don’t always understand the mind of God. Howbeit, I purpose in my heart to trust Him! And if I am to be truthful, yes, my heart does have a few unanswered questions. On occasions, in my journey of life I have meltdowns, wallow in self-pity, and find myself clouded by doubts and fears. However, because of His steadfast love and His unfathomable mercy for me, I thank God that I don’t remain in that state of mind!

You see, I am a work in progress.

 

 

In memory of my sister who prematurely passed away 50 years ago by a hit-and-run driver. (To learn more of her story, click here.) She would have been ten years older than my first-born! I had to say goodbye to her when I was nine, just a month after she turned two years old. I remember so much pain and suffering as a child back then. In retrospect, I believe God may have spared her from something worse. I look forward to the Blessed Hope that one day we will embrace one another once again. She will not return to me, but I will go to her one day. And we will NEVER have to be apart. 

 

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Filed under Bereavement, Personal

I Will Never Forget


Sometimes an event occurs and time stands still.

I know I shall never forget …

September 2001:

I had worked two years for a reputable high-end floor and textile cleaning company. I started out as a receptionist, and then promoted to inside sales. I sported around in a Jeep Grand Cherokee and I’d been married for seven wonderful years. Mark had become a devoted Christian, and we attended church as a close-knit family. In April, we purchased our home southwest of Houston in Fort Bend County. Five months later, while driving to work, my tranquil life was interrupted by distress and unexpected terror.

On September 11th, around 7:50 in the morning, I heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. As soon as I arrived at the office, I flicked on the TV to see the live broadcast of a massive hole in one tower caused by the plane’s impact. Co-workers gathered around and we couldn’t peel our eyes away from the screen. Black smoke billowed out the building, soon engulfed by flames.

We heard what we didn’t want to hear and continued to see unbelievable images that will forever be etched in our minds. My heart plummeted as I saw a second plane hit the other tower. Buildings collapsed minutes later and we all gasped in horror knowing that hundreds—thousands—lost their lives.

That night, President Bush spoke powerful words: “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.”

Freedom isn’t free, I thought, and freedom is worth any cost.

I thought about the word “freedom.” For the first time, within my own life I truly felt free.

Free from my own past … Free from the clutches of loneliness. Free from wondering where the next meal was coming from. Free from being a prisoner in my own mind, a failing marriage, a broken home.

But I also knew that in a split second, a life could be gone. I experienced that harsh truth the day I lost my baby sister by a hit-and-run driver. I lived through that stark reality from nearly drowning twice as a youngster. I re-lived that nightmare every time my former husband abused me, and again, on the day he shot at me.

An excerpt of “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” –  Chapter 43

Your turn:

We ALL have a story. We each have our own memories.

What is your memory on that fateful day?

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Another Glorious Birthday

 

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Hello faithful followers and fellow bloggers!

I just celebrated another birthday. As I mature, although not always pain-free, I am thankful to God for my health and for surrounding me with great friends and loved ones. My family continues to grow as my son recently married and I embrace my new daughter-in-love. I know in God’s perfect timing, a new little addition will be added…ah yeah!

Mostly, I am thankful to the Lord for restoring unto me the years the locust had eaten. For those of you who don’t know my story, I was once a neglected and lonely little girl. Life didn’t become easier for me as a teenager and when I thought I had met my Prince Charming, I imagined he would whisk me away into a happily ever after. He hadn’t sown all his wild oats. He was an abusive man twice my age. Before I knew it, I felt trapped and was a 22-year old with 4 children, the oldest then only 5 years old!

So yeah, I endured some hardships but I learned a lot of lessons along the way. I am stronger today because of them. No matter what life has dealt, I have always strived to become better instead of bitter. I believe we can turn stumbling blocks of defeat and difficulties, into stepping-stones of  purpose and peace. I came across a quote that said: “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.” Let that sink in. Some of us remain miserable all our lives. I don’t want to be that person, do you?

Take one day at a time. No grit, no grace. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose! Hold onto faith and keep on smiling. Have a grateful heart. Be thankful for the little things. Believe the best is yet to come. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

 

 

 

 

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Happily Ever After

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At last my love has come along
My lonely days are over and life is like a song
At last the skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up clover the night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I could call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill I’ve never known
And here we are
For you are mine at last

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This was a joyous occasion to witness two hearts becoming one under God in matrimony.  A dream coming into fruition.

I am reminded of Proverbs. 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”

To my strapping son, Daniel: I love you with all of my being; since the first day I laid eyes on you and held you against my breast never wanting to let go. You have found your good thing! May she always feel your love, your warmth and protection.

Sandy, our beautiful little ladybug:  I thank God for you. You are a breath of fresh air, a ray of sunshine in our family! I am proud to call you my daughter-in-love. Always stand by your man. May he always feel your love, respect and encouragement.

Pray for one another, support each other, be quick to forgive and NEVER take the other for granted.

“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love. Never. Fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Hold on tight – the best is yet to come!

Photo Credit: Leo Laredo Photography  https://www.facebook.com/leolaredophotography/

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It’s a Family Affair

God is faithful and has brought another precious daughter into our lives!

I would like to introduce to you my soon to be daughter-in-love, Sandy.

She may be small in stature but this butterfly has a big, loving heart and is a breath of fresh air to our family.

Sandy and Daniel compliment each other – both love the Lord and are strong, passionate and heart-driven!

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!”

When I met her dad and step-mom, I instantly fell in love with them. And wouldn’t you know it, Sandy’s father is a pastor, a fixer of souls, and has a beautiful voice as well!

Both Emilio and his beloved wife, Katie, are active members in their community, preaching, ministering and touching lives wherever they go, sharing the Word and love of God.

We love our Daniel with all our hearts!

My heart is filled with joy!

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

Getting our pretty on with the bride to be!

One of our many outings together as a family!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Heavenly Father.”

These two shall become one!

Two Hearts ~ Two Souls ~ One Love

 

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July 14, 2018 · 2:44 PM

The Land of The Free

America’s founding fathers envisioned a new nation that would become the land of the free and the home of the brave. On July 4th (Independence Day), we celebrate that freedom with fireworks, picnics, and baseball games. But, this video reminds us that true freedom comes from God, and that all of America’s blessings come from God. Let’s celebrate America, on July 4th, because “God shed His grace on thee”.

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July 3, 2018 · 7:10 PM