Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Day the Earth Stood Still

“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, you have a child with special needs, you guys don’t have enough money . . . !”

My mind swirled. I hung by a flimsy strand, all hope slipping. Okay! Tell me something I don’t know. Marisa’s right, whom am I kidding? I. Can’t. Go. On.

Then, she added, “Listen, I’ll help you. If you will get an abortion . . . I will help you pay for one.”

So, that’s it? The quick-fix solution to the problem . . . to end an innocent life?

“I . . . I’ll have to think about this,” I muttered. “Let me sleep on it and get back with you.”

Did that answer come out of me?

I placed the receiver down, heavy with conflicting emotions. My world came to a halt. My heart felt heavy. I cradled my belly, thinking: I can’t have another baby. But can I truly consider this the way out?

The girls slept in their room. Their father was—Lord only knows where. I sat alone in the dark, crossed-legged on the bed. My head ached. My stomach tied in knots. Overcome with waves of hopelessness, memories churned to the one security blanket I had ever known: the home of my grandparents. And I realized I was sinking. Fast.

What happened to my anchor of faith? My hope? Isn’t God big enough to handle the mess in my life? I have to admit, I’ve been too busy for Him. Now that I need Him, does He still care? Then it occurred to me: If I can’t trust God now, then what’s the point of going on?

That instant I prayed like never before, and pored over my Bible. The Book of Psalms always comforted me, and that night before sleep overtook me, my “Ah hah” moment came after reading Psalm 139:13: For You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I wasn’t about to take the life of my unborn child, believing that God gave that life in me.

Come morning. A new day. A fresh start. Resolute in my decision, faith sparked. God had always taken care of me before. I determined to trust Him to carry me now. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Give me the grace to endure…

I reached for the phone and dialed Marisa’s number.

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

“Mary, think about what—”

“No!” I shouted. “I’m going to walk on and trust God. You knew my convictions. I thought they were yours too.”

“Mary, I was only trying. . .”

“How?” I interrupted, pacing the floor. “By offering me an abortion? I came to you down and out for encouragement and prayer. I needed to hear ‘hope’ beyond my pain, but you didn’t—you wouldn’t—give me that!”

“Look Mary, you’re still so young. I’ve been around longer than you. . .”

“You never had children,” I protested.

“I married a jerk once too. They don’t change.” Marisa went on to give one reason after another how she was looking out for my best interest.

After long seconds of dead silence and nothing else to say, we hung up.

I thought of a lesson in Sunday school about Job who called his friends miserable comforters, even his wife told him to “curse God and die.” They were supposed to be his friends; yet, those comforters increased his trouble by condemning him.

Marisa and I parted ways. Our friendship ended that day.

Days, weeks and months overlapped one another; my past troubles behind me. With my heart overflowing and my eyes drowning in tears, I reached down to kiss my newborn. “Hello, Daniel Michael,” I whispered. “I’m your Mommy.”

**********

Before long, my little curly-lock hair boy is running around with deep brown eyes touching my heart each time he looks up at me.

Next thing I knew I blinked, and the little boy is now a strapping young man and I am gazing up at him.

(An excerpt from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace)

Daniel28916_1453827833528_7338531_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Please understand I share this story not to condemn, criticize, judge or belittle anyone who for whatever reason may have made a different decision than I did. Everyone has their own story to tell; this is mine. I may have made a lot of mistakes in my life. This was one example when I was strong enough to make the right decision for me. I believe that strength came as I prayed to my Heavenly Father. While it’s true that I may have my share of regrets in life, not giving birth to my one and only son thirty-five years ago is not one of them.

Happy Birthday, son! I love you with all my heart!

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

8 Comments

Filed under Memoir, Pro-Life, Uncategorized

No Strings Attached

It was just a harmless prank, that’s all it was.

And it wasn’t as if Old Lady Hayes didn’t deserve it. The way she used to scream at us for “borrowing” a few of her precious raspberries each summer, like we were stealing gold out of Fort Knox … well, she had it coming.

At least, that’s the way we saw it as George finished tying the string to the red, heart-shaped box. We giggled as Ron added the final touch: two plastic red roses, glued to the lid. “I wonder what will surprise her most,” I asked as George practiced jerking the box out of reach by yanking on the string. “Seeing a box of candy on her step, or watching it fly away when she tries to pick it up?”

We laughed as we watched George make Albert chase the box around the garage. For a chubby 10-year-old, Albert did a good imitation of Mrs. Hayes’s hunched hobble and her seemingly permanent scowl. And we howled when he picked up a broom and pretended to ride it through the midwinter air while shouting, “I’m Old Lady Hayes, the driedest-up old prune in the West!”

Ron was first to notice my dad in the doorway. Within seconds, Ron’s anxiety was shared by all but Albert, who continued to swoop around the garage until he came face-to-belt-buckle with our silent observer. For a moment the only movement in the room came from the little puffs of steam escaping our mouths. Dad broke the stillness by walking slowly to the empty candy box lying on the floor. He picked it up and dangled it by the string, watching it swing back and forth. Then he looked into the eyes of the frightened boys. And, as was his custom, he looked into their hearts as well.

“It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was pulling Valentine’s Day pranks,” he said as he laid the box on a workbench. “One year my cousins and I decided to pull one on our Grandma Walker even though we loved her — she was the sweetest grandma a boy could have. We were just feeling devilish and decided to have some fun at her expense.

“Early in the evening we snuck up to her doorstep with a can of red paint. Grandma was hard of hearing, so we didn’t have to worry about being very quiet. Which was a good thing, because every time we thought about how funny it was going to be to see Grandma try to pick up a valentine that was just painted on her doorstep, we couldn’t keep from laughing.

“It didn’t take long, and it wasn’t very artistic. But for an old woman with bad eyes, it would do. We kicked the door and hid behind bushes. When Grandma finally appeared she stood in the doorway, her gray hair pulled back tightly into her usual bun, wiping her hands on her usual apron. She must have heard the commotion in the bushes because she looked in our direction and spoke loudly enough for us to hear: ‘Who could be knocking at my door?’ Then she looked down. Even from 15 feet away we could see the joy in her eyes when she spotted a splash of red at her feet.

“‘A valentine for Grandma!’ she exclaimed. ‘And I thought I’d be forgotten again this year!’

“She tried to retrieve her prize. This was the moment we had been waiting for, but somehow it wasn’t as much fun as we expected. Grandma groped at the fresh paint for a moment. Slowly, she figured out our prank. She tried to smile. Then, with as much dignity as she could muster, she turned and walked back into her house, absently wiping red paint on her clean, white apron.”

Dad paused, and for the first time I noticed that his eyes were moist. He took a deep breath. “Grandma died later that year,” he said. “I never had another chance to give her a real valentine.”

He took the box from the bench and handed it to me. Then he turned and left the garage.

Later that night a red, heart-shaped box with two plastic roses on it was placed on Mrs. Hayes’s front doorstep by six giggling boys. We hid behind snow-covered bushes to see how she would react to receiving a full pound of candy and nuts.

With no strings attached.

Story by Joseph Walker

2a590b867e92e50d80d23d985b1f5344

3 Comments

Filed under Valentine's Day

Does Size Matter?

Hey y’all!

Here’s a continuation of my Toastmasters journey.

My first speech, The Ice Breaker was given  a few weeks ago. The following is Speech #2 of the Toastmasters speech series. Objectives: Supporting material, transitions, strong opening and closing statements withing 4-6 minutes. I’d like to share with you my speech which I titled, “Does Size Matter?” Once again, yes, I was nervous, although my husband in the audience said I hid it well. Yes, I even said a phrase backwards, but hey, you just press on through it.

My fellow Toastmasters:

How many of you have dreams? Visions? Goals? Most of you, right?

Some things don’t sit right with me & here is a Pet Peeve:

I have heard time & time again how one has to dream BIG in

Order to achieve something … or be something …

0r change something …

You’ve heard the saying:

IF YOUR DREAMS DON’T SCARE YOU THEY AREN’T BIG ENOUGH!

This is what I’d like to say about that:

I’ve got plenty of dreams, okay?

Your dream may not be mine and I can guarantee

that mine aren’t yours. But a dream is a dream is a dream.

I just don’t buy the line, hook & sinker that dictates:

Your dream doesn’t count; or isn’t as important if it isn’t

“BIG” enough!

No, sir!  No, ma’am!

Think what you will – but you can’t look down on my dreams

and say that yours is more important than mine.

My dreams mean everything to me! Who are you to downplay them?

Have you walked in my shoes?

When I wrote “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace,”

I not only mentioned some of the heartaches that I endured

both as a child & a young adult, but I had also mentioned

the good, happy and contented times. And you know what?

Some people actually frowned upon some of those events I wrote about,

because it seemed insignificant to them.

You see, apparently, my life wasn’t glamorous enough, or special enough.

For example:

1st puppy

1st home cooked meal that I made  as a child– chewy pasta/soupy spaghetti sauce

1st taste of French Toast

1st bubble bath

1st Barbie Doll

Going to park/playing on swing set with my real Dad

Living with my grandparents/eating 3-meals a day

Now I ask you: For them to suggest that was it fair?

I’d like to say to them: Hey! I’m tickled pink you had such a much happier life than mine!

Nonetheless, those were my special & cherished moments and they meant everything to this gal!

You understand – I held on to HOPE. Do you know that a little hope goes a long way?

I embraced faith {show photo} like this picture, having a “mustard seed” type of faith,

Just enough faith to believe that anything is possible!!!

Someone said: Little girls with dreams become women with vision.

And you know what? I AM A DREAM COME TRUE.

We ALL have goals – we ALL dream dreams.

Just don’t try to be like anyone else.

Be true to yourself and follow your heart.

Pursue your passion; pursue your dreams and

Don’t ever quit or stop trying.

Now timing is everything and sometimes it takes baby steps.

But don’t allow anyone to downplay or rob you of your

Dreams … Talents … or Strengths!

Ever.fullsizerender

No matter the size.

So I ask you:

Does Size Matter?

Whoever said the small things don’t matter

has never seen a match start a wildfire.

Thank you!

How did I do? There was a tied – me and the best speaker in this group. How awesome is that?

Remember: You’ll never know the outcome if you don’t put yourself out of your comfort zone and just try.
© M.A. Pérez, 2017, All Rights Reserved

About

9 Comments

Filed under reflection, Toastmasters