Monthly Archives: October 2015

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I looked….
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.

Poem by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan

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Oh, Those Golden, Centenarian Years!

I told this story before and it bears repeating.

The lessons in life with its many twists and turns has been an amazing journey. I often think: What legacy will I leave behind when I’m finished with this race? What I do today, will it count for something tomorrow? When I’m long gone, will I merely be a faded memory, or burn in someone’s heart? Will my deeds be forgotten? Lost? Or buried?

I’ve read about some incredible women. These women did not allow age, status, limitations, or even imprisonment to keep them from their destiny. As fleeting as it is, they knew their self-worth and value in this life. Women like Mother Teresa who gave 50 years of service to the poor, the sick, the orphans, and the dying in Calcutta India. Women like Corrie ten Boom who spent 10 months in a concentration camp, who at the age of 53 began a worldwide ministry that took her into more than 60 countries in the next 33 years of her life. I didn’t know them personally, but they were admirable, inspirational women.

They made a difference.

Many endearing women have come into my life, not only as friends, but as mothers, sisters, and grandmothers. While each embodies unique gifting, each holds a special place in my heart.

One such individual is Elizabeth. She loves people. She is full of life, charm and wit. She believes in having a 90% attitude and 10% circumstance. She loves to laugh, crack a joke, watch the Kentucky Derby, share about her travels around the world, read anything that takes her miles away, watch The Lawrence Welk Show, and go right on dancing if only she could.

I’ve known her for over thirty years, but within the past couple of years, she’s been unable to use her walker. She cannot walk anymore, nor can she read as once before. Yes, she sometimes forgets, yet her mind is still intact; her wits still sharp, as well as her tongue. My husband, daughter and I take care of her. We have a care provider that also comes in. While we attend to Elizabeth’s daily needs, she is teaching us all about life.

And did I mention a horse and buggy rushed her to the hospital and that she was one-years-old during the Titanic? That’s right, Elizabeth was born in 1911. You do the math.

To know Elizabeth is to have your life enriched.

As I age, may I emulate her love and passion for living.

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Bind us together, Lord …

© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Aging, Golden Years

Author Interview: Mary A. Pérez

I wish to thank Eleanor Parker Sapia for graciously interviewing me and helping me share my message of survival against all odds!

The Writing Life Blog

The Writing Life is pleased to welcome Mary A. Pérez, author of ‘Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace’, her debut memoir of the turbulent and uncertain childhood she survived.

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Born in the Bronx, raised in Miami, relocated to Houston – Mary is of Puerto Rican descent, a mother to four grown children, “Mimi” to a couple of gorgeous grandchildren, and happily married (the second time around) to a phenomenal man for twenty-one years.

Mary was born to a Puerto Rican immigrant family in the Bronx of New York and moved to Miami, Florida in 1962. Her childhood story played out against the backdrop of constant social change which defined the 1960s and forever altered the landscape for future generations. With political tensions of the time raging during the Vietnam War, there was a personal war within Mary’s own family dominating her life. Her future held little hope…

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Texas Book Festival

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October 17th-18th

This is the 20th anniversary of the Texas Book Festival, and as such, they’ve scheduled to be the biggest and best Texas Book Fest ever! There will be over 300 authors in attendance (including Margaret Atwood, Marie Lu, Chuck Palahniuk, Tavi Gevinson, Sandra Cisneros, Jonathan Lethem, yours truly, Mary A. Pérez, and so many more), author panels and signings, The Chuck Palahniuk Show (a variety show hosted by Chuck Palahniuk), a Lit Crawl, Yoga With Authors… the list goes on! Go to the official Texas Book Festival website to get the full schedule.

And the best part is, it’s FREE and open to the public!

Texas Book Festival at the State Capitol

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Not that Girl Anymore

She is not the girl who scratched and clawed her way to the top. She is the girl who learned how 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 learned that childlike faith in the God above would blossom into something much greater than herself. She may have had father figures who were missing in action, but she became comforted with a Heavenly Father who never left her side.

Once dejected and rejected, today she no longer is that sad, little girl. Don’t 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 air 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. If you expect to see sophistication or to hear profound eloquence, you may be disappointed. Her past may 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 is stronger today for everything she endured. 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.

Sad . . . alone . . . afraid.

Not that girl anymore.

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© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

 “The past does not have to be your prison. You have a voice in your destiny. You have a say in your life. You have a choice in the path you take.” Max Lucado

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When it Hurts to No End

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“I haven’t thought about suicide in a long time. I’m thinking about it now. I feel very dumb. I feel like a midget in a world full of giants. Giant successful CEOs, athletes that think quick on their feet, good looking men and woman who have the gift of conversation and looking good while doing it. I am a midget, I can barely make a sentence sound intelligent. I am short with no special talents that will make me any money. When I am in complete despair with not a single positive springing care I chose to end it. I don’t think it is selfish. Depression is a pain unlike any other. It’s like a black hole in the middle of your body, slowly sucking in your body parts from the inside out. Eventually your chest and your abdomen hurt like there’s nothing in there.  I imagine an open casket viewing …”

“Not much make up but I want blush so I look alive. I haven’t looked ‘alive’ for some time. My blonde curls pinned up with little white flowers sprinkled about them. My three favorite rings. Minimal jewelry as I have always been. I have a bouquet of flowers in my closed hands. Big beautiful callalillies, white mums and miniature white roses. I love green plants more than flowers so there is eucalyptus and ferns within the flowers and there are multiple trailing vines flowing out of the bouquet. I am in a sweet little girls white dress with eyelet embellishments. The dress has cap sleeves and a boat neck. The skirt ends just above my ankles showing my tattoos. I am barefoot with no toe nail polish. I love to be bare foot and feel I should go that way. Hardly any make up, very little jewelry and no shoes. That is me and that is the way I want to go. Where I can finally rest and the hurt ends.”

(The above message was printed with permission by family member)

Note: I am sadden to say, the above message was sent a week before a beautiful soul fatally chose to end her life. She leaves behind family members: a loving and grieving mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, cousins, and a devoted boyfriend who had found her on that tragic day. All are left with unanswered questions, blame, guilt, and of course, deep sorrow. As I pray for this entire family, I am heartbroken. As a mother myself, this sadness knows no bounds.

September was National Suicide Prevention Month. Not all disabilities are visible. Why do most of us suffer in silence? Having suicidal thoughts does not mean someone is weak or flawed. We all have meltdown periods. I’m sure we’ve all have felt hopeless before, and we all know what it feels like to walk under a dark cloud – it can happened to anyone regardless of age, gender, race or status.

Please be mindful of those around you. Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Won’t you reach out to those you hold dear? Will you let them know that they are loved and you appreciate they’re in your lives? Hold on to the moment. Some don’t have that privilege anymore.

© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Suicide Awareness, Suicide Prevention