Father’s Day Tribute

 

Picture2Dad: A son’s first hero. A daughter’s first love.

The fathers in my family are called Dad, Daddy, and Papi. Newsflash: None are perfect! But each one represents love, courage, provision, and strength. Their eyes glow with purpose. Their smiles melt hearts. Their chest swells with pride. Their callous hands protect. They stand tall with dignity. And their embraces offer comfort and assurance. Yes, they are the pillars in our households.

It’s said that every man is trying to either live up to his father’s expectations or make up for his father’s mistakes. I don’t know if that’s true. I only know that each man represented in my family strive to being the very best possible. Each hold a mantle and carry a torch for the next generation. Each dad represented in my family lays a solid foundation, even those who have crossed over to the other side. I can’t help but to think about my own grandfathers. They were strong, respected dedicated men with a constant presence. They left behind a legacy. When the tough got going, they didn’t cave under pressure. They persevere with Puerto Rican pride in every fiber of their being.

To the men in my family who are dads (and have yet to be): I love and admire each and every one of you. And to my dear husband who married me with four children, I share this quote: “It takes a strong man to accept somebody else’s children and step up to the plate another man left on the table.” I salute you.

I salute you all.

Remember: Any man can be a father. But it takes a special person to be a dad.

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

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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Memorial Day Tribute

 

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who DIED in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.

 

All gave some – Some gave all.

 

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May 27, 2018 · 9:17 AM

Mother’s Day is Everyday

My oldest daughter and I were asked to be a part of a workshop at our church speaking on adult daughters and their mother’s relationships. We made a list and examined our strengths as well as our weaknesses. I know from experience that mother-daughter relationships can be both complex and diverse.

There are many ups and downs, no matter how positive, or complicated and trying the relationship. Psychologists say daughter’s primary complaints are that mothers try to baby them being overly critical and demanding. From mom’s perspective, daughters don’t listen to them, make poor choices and have zero time for them.

I do not find this teaching comfortable or an easy topic for me. There are many challenges in parenting and this thing called “motherhood” hit me between the eyes at an early age. My mom raised me pretty much as a single mom, as she never married after her and my dad split. She had common law relationships–I can think of three–and I was pretty much left on my own. So yeah, I was neglected and raised myself. Matter of fact, our roles were reversed and so I’ve always felt that my childhood was taken from me!

I left home early and married very young. Had my first child at the age of 17, and by the time I was 22, I had my 4th. Ironically enough, I did a lot of the same mistakes in parenting as my own mother. I wrote about my personal journey as a daughter, wife and mother. You can say I was a real hot mess back then. In retrospect, I thank God that He rescued me from myself! Now that my children are adults – I can think of a lot of things that I did wrong and regret in my own role. But nothing worthwhile comes easy; at least it never did for me!

In every challenge there are defeats and triumphs – and all of us have some scars along the way.

Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

I am familiar with the power struggles, the pet peeves, and the miscommunications.

What I see in my daughter(s), the good, the bad, and the ugly – I sometimes see a reflection of myself. Oh, those flaws! Clearly, I may not always like what I see … or hear. But you know what? We’re on the same team – we love each other, and we are there for one another.

Jer 31:16: Thus says the LORD, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD, “And they will return from the land of the enemy.”

I can’t stress how I prayed, interceded and wept for my wayward child (children). But as a mother – that’s what we do! We don’t give up and we don’t let up until we have God’s peace. Know that it’ll be in His time frame, not necessarily ours. And when God does it, it’ll be a sure work. He leaves nothing undone.

HOW CAN WE BE STRONGER TOGETHER?

These are a few golden nuggets from my own firstborn’s perspective:

Everybody knows that TWO heads are better than ONE. In Girl scouts and in the 4H Club, you’d learn that three strands of string make a strong rope. To play harmony on a piano, you’d play with two or more notes. And you know, you won’t find a giant redwood tree standing alone!

  • Teaching by example, learning by experience, in values and in skills – all help us become stronger together.
  • Spending quality time with one another binds us stronger together as a family; i.e., meal times and outings.
  • Appreciating each other – showing love and affection.
  • Sharing a laugh builds us up – laughter is good medicine.
  • Sharing in responsibilities, accomplishing tasks together.
  • Stand by each other in times of trouble, uniting and pulling together when things get tough… when we encourage each other, we are stronger together.

Most important … when we learn to forgive each other, being open and honest, yet kind, we become stronger. Remember: attack the problem, not each other.

We encourage each other, consult with each other, spend time with each other, learn and grow from each other. No matter what the circumstances, despite feelings, perspectives, weaknesses and “bumps” along the way, when we face life together, find God together, pray together … all of these acts and then some, we can get through it and be stronger together!

My daughter(s) and I have come a long way.

Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

Here are my acronyms for MOTHER & DAUGHTER:

M ake the first move

O mit malice

T hink before responding

H ave realistic expectations

E xtend grace

R epair damage quickly

 

D are to forgive offenses

A gree to disagree

U nity is better than division

G ather your words with prayer

H old unto hope

T alk about ways to communicate

E mbrace change for the better

R espect each other

 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

 

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Mother’s Day Tribute to the Women in my Family

All the Mothers in my Family

Becoming a Mom is watching your heart walk outside your body.

As I reflect on Mother’s Day, I am thinking about the mothers in my own family. Some of us had nurturing in our DNA; some of us never got the memo. Some of us got it down pat; some of us continue to learn by trial and error. None of us are perfect or have it all together. But no matter what, our bloodline flows strong, our hearts beat true. Children are a blessing. I believe as we look upon our children, young and old, the beating of our hearts never ceases to flutter. Some of us ease into our rolls, some of us, not so much. No one ever gave me a manual on Motherhood, and even if they did, the writer most likely didn’t have children of their own. Why? Because we learn by experience, and we learn by trial and error.

As I gaze upon the eyes of each Mother represented here, I see sadness of some unanswered prayers, worries about tomorrow, regrets of yesteryear, and the fear of failure. But I also see love, joy, perseverance, and tenderness, belonging, pride, and hope for the future — a better tomorrow.

One thing my mother always said and it is worth repeating: You can have ten fathers but only one mother.

Mothers, stand in the gap for your children. No matter what, never give up on them. And in our twilight years, may our children never give up on us.

© M.A. Pérez 2018, All Rights Reserved

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Mary’s Reflection

When she looks back on her life, she sees a faded memory of a girl unsure about herself, frighten, lost, and insecure. She can’t help but to see sheer pain, disappointments, mistakes and heartaches.

She thinks about the roads she’s traveled: Roads filled with quick sand like the dry Sahara desert and potholes the size of Texas that tried to swallow her whole!

She thinks about the battles she’s fought for her marriage, her sanity, and her four small children:

She thinks about the struggles she’s endured from abandonment as a child and then again as an adult, along with the failures, and the low self-esteem:

She thinks about the sacrifices she’s made in walking away from an education, the letting go of a special-needs child for the child’s best interest, and in putting her dreams on hold,

She thinks about the love she’s lost in saying goodbye to her baby sister, her beloved grandparents, and her 15 years of marriage:

She thinks about the tears she’s shed in her loneliness, with emptied promises, shame and pain:

But as she looks back on her life, she also sees the lessons that she’s learned:

She sees a girl …

Not one who scratched and clawed her way to the top. But a girl who had just enough grit to float to prevent from sinking when life tried to weigh her down. Who walked on pebbles and used them as her stepping-stones to get to higher ground. Who’s childlike faith in the God above would blossom into something much greater than herself. While she may have had a father figure missing in action, she’d come to know her Heavenly Father who never left her side.

When she looks in the mirror and what does she see?

Image result for girl looking at self in mirror free image

A girl once dejected and rejected. She no longer is that sad, little girl. So don’t you feel sorry for her. Applaud her, because it was during the dry seasons that she discovered an oasis. Rejoice with her, because in the darkness is where she found a beacon of light. Admire her for rising above her crisis in spite of her circumstances.

She may have started out in the valley, pecking along like a chicken digging for worms. But then the Ancient of Days taught her to spread her wings like an eagle, and soar into the heavens over the mountaintop.

Don’t cry for her, feel sad for her, or grieve for her.

If you’re looking for a lost and lonely child, she is not here. Misunderstood, she may be; a wonder to many she may be. If you’re looking for perfection, she is not that girl; she still has flaws. If you expect to see sophistication or to hear profound eloquence, you may be disappointed.

Her past may even want to dictate her future, the voices in her head play a broken song, her name may even mean “bitter” — but she refuses to be that girl anymore.

What kind of girl is she?

A simple girl.

A grateful girl.

A blessed girl.

She believes in second chances & new beginnings.

She is stronger today for everything she endured. Her scars serve to remind her that she is a survivor. She appreciates the beauty of living life one day at a time. She surrounds herself by those who encourage and genuinely care for her. She clothes herself with a garment of praise, amazed by the wonders of God’s grace.

When she looks in the mirror, what does she see?

She sees a girl turned woman.

If wrinkles must be written upon her brows, she refuses to let them be written upon the heart.

She is more than a conqueror.

She sees strength, learned lessons, and pride in herself.

Sad? No. Alone? No. Afraid? No.

Not that girl anymore.

© M.A. Pérez 2018, All Rights Reserved

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I Did, and I’d Do It Again

His laughter lit up my shadows. His eyes were trusting, his voice soothing. He took my hand and led the way. We danced on through the night.

On April 6, 1994—three years after meeting my soul mate and best friend—we joined hands and hearts, locked eyes and repeated our vows before God, family and friends, and announced, “I do.”

To my beloved husband:

If I never said that I was grateful to you, I say it now. Thank you for being my quiet strength, the voice of reason.

If I didn’t tell you that I loved you, I say it now. I love you with all my heart and can’t imagine my life without you.

Here’s to the rest of our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming

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March 30, 2018 · 5:13 AM

A Word Fitly Spoken …

Re-reading this quote spoken to me so many years ago still brings up a sea of memories of a difficult place in time.

As you can imagine, I was going through hell. All along thinking I was alone, I never realized that God not only heard my cries, but He knew of my pain too! Just like the song goes: He was there all the time–and in my case–God used someone with skin to not only pray but to reach out to me in my darkest hour.

It seemed like forever that I was blinded and so discouraged; I really didn’t see a way out of my situation. But a neighbor, who quickly became a true friend, made me her business. She wasn’t condemning or pushy; she spoke life over me! She was caring and loving and wise beyond her years. She prayed much and gently wooed me back into the arms of my Heavenly Father. Eventually, I received the support I needed and slowly began to heal. Sanity and wisdom kicked in, and I did what I needed to do for myself and for the welfare of my small children.

What am I saying?

Image result for broken crayons image

I wrote Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace so that others might find hope beyond their hopelessness and despair. We’re all walking through something. We all have a story. Some are strong enough to stand on their own, while others need a little encouragement and help in finding their way. They may have been lied to, beaten down, some even to the point of isolation. Ever been ashamed of your pain? I was.

No matter what, you can rise above your circumstances. It takes a made-up mind and a determination to change. Allow your experiences to make you a better person not a bitter one. Many times what we’ve gone through can help someone else to overcome his or her own struggle.

There are people around you hurting. Make them your business. A warm smile, a kind word, a gentle touch. Show them love. Give them hope. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Bloom where you’re planted.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

https://bible.org/illustration/build-me-son-o-lord

Thoughts …

What is your Father’s or Mother’s Prayer for your children? You’ll probably never achieve the level of accomplishment of General Douglas MacArthur, but when all is said and done, what will make you whisper “I have not lived in vain”?

Reflections From the Heart

“No, not again! Not now!” I cried out in the bathroom. I’ll call Marisa. She’s always been strong. She has it together.

I reached for the phone and dialed her number. When she answered, I blurted, “The test is positive! I’m pregnant.” She’ll lift my spirits.

“Mary . . .” she began. “How in the world will you care for another baby?”

Then again, maybe not.

“What are you going to do?” Marisa squealed.

I thought, If I knew that, I wouldn’t have called you. Wasn’t I the one supposed to get some reassurances, some guidance, some support here?

“I . . . I don’t know, I thought–”

“Mary, what were you thinking?” she shot back. “You can’t possibly have another baby! You’re only twenty-one; you already have three children, and now number four on its way? Your husband drinks too much, he works only when he wants to…

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I Always Did Love You …

FaithHopeLove

“I always did love you, just had too many problems.”
Ten words on ink and paper.
Handwritten by her.
Pierces my heart.
Quiet pain.

Does she know I exist? Or care? Or want me?
I love her, look up to her; want to be her.
Unspoken. Forsaken.
Isn’t love also a verb?
Hidden shame.

I leave home. Searching for Mr. Right.
Run to him at sixteen. Happily ever after.
Young. Naïve. Taken for granted.
Thinks to mold me into his image.
His way or the highway.
Internal screams.

Motherhood. Baby having babies.
Crawl before walk. Stumble. Fall.
Clinging unto a strand, unraveling.
Faded dreams.

Years overlap. Encumbering.
Emotions are numb.
Hubby seeks greener pastures.
Two-timer. Tosses me to the wolves.
Abandon.

Grown children look back.
Open arms. Nostalgic.
Rebuild the fences.
Dying to live.
Forgive.

 

Original poem by Mary A. Pérez

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