Category Archives: Personal

In the Stillness …

How many times have you encountered a situation head on, full force and with vengeance? It either caught you by surprised or you anticipated and dreaded the inevitable. Either way, bound and determined, knowing you had no choice but to tackle that thing, you plodded through.

But then the busyness of life got in the way. You’re tired, wearied up to your eyeballs – just one more thing will send you over the top! Ever been there? Yeah, me too. More than I care to admit. What gets you to the next day? The next project? The next idea?

Is it gumption? Aspirations? A positive outlook? Prayer? Encouragement from friends and family?

And  have you ever felt like you have nothing left to give to anyone else, let alone tackle one more thing? It boils down to you’re running on empty. You need a re-fill, a power surge, fuel, zing? When you’ve given yourself to others and you feel spent, it’s time to step back and be refreshed. Take a sabbatical.

There are times when I need time for me. I may need to soak in a warm tub, get a Swedish massage, sit by the ocean, or relax in one of those infrared-saunas. Yeah, buddy.

You know, as a Christian, being still and quiet before the Lord isn’t always easy for me. My thoughts run in circles with daily tasks that need to be done. But I find that when I go before Him and stay awhile, I come out feeling refreshed, refueled, and re-fired.

What are some of your ways to re-group and face another day or challenge?

 

 

 

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Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Resiliency

Metamorphosis

My family was poor.  As a child, by not owning four-legged friends, I grew an interest in the behaviors of tiny critters, such as insects. Curious at what lay beneath the ant piles, I liked to dig apart their colonies to watch the different activities of the workers, the soldiers, and the queen ant that I read about in books. I never developed a fear of grasshoppers, even if they spat “tobacco” on my fingers, or of handling caterpillars that pricked when they crawled on my hand, or of sneaking up on lizards that left their wiggling tails behind — I was too caught up wondering what the funny red thing on their throats going in and out was all about. My fascination for those critters was a favorite pastime.

Not all school projects were memorable, but I recall one that stuck with me for years. When the teacher assigned a report on any subject, I decided to pick caterpillars. On a large poster board, I drew the four stages of the butterfly: (1) egg, (2) larva, (3) pupa, and (4) adult. I described metamorphosis. Though it wasn’t a Picasso, my work earned a ranking on my school’s hallway wall, posted for all to see, with the highest mark in class: A+.

One sunny day at school during recess, I found a black, woolly caterpillar crawling in the shrubs and unafraid, gently placed it in my palm. A classmate asked to see what I held. When I opened my hand to show him, he whacked it so hard that the caterpillar flew out and disappeared onto a bush. And that’s when I morphed! Without hesitation, I slapped him on the face, hard. The boy stood stunned, mouth opened.

As an adult, I often thought about the word metamorphose. It means to change completely in nature or form.

I think back about how alcohol deceived my loved ones, giving them a false sense of power. After drinking, like the caterpillar many years ago in my book report, they metamorphosed into social butterflies fresh out of its cocoon. They felt invincible, glamorous or intelligent. Gone were the restraints that crippled them emotionally. They carried a false sense of bravado. It was then that they laughed wildly, conversed freely, and flirted openly.

The more attention and compliments they received from others, the less they knew the difference between genuine praise and mere flattery.

(A small excerpt taken from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace. )

 

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

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

8 Comments

Filed under Behavior, Personal

A Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes

Well, the day had finally arrived. A special day filled with prepping for my first professional headshot. I am very mindful of my followers and supporters and that I am not alone on this wonderful journey. So here I share with you some behind the scenes of my day (and not all are glamorous). Lol.

After some researching and making the appointments weeks in advance, I started the day off early for the first appointment at Hair International Day Spa. My youngest daughter, Angela, wouldn’t miss it for the world. Everything I needed to do today was right up her alley, so she met me at the hair salon.

I decided to step it up a notch and do something different with my hair. Hopefully, it pans out.

Hmmmm how short should I go?

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 A rare photo for all the world to see – and may be the last one I ever post! ((meh))

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I have chosen Chelsea to be my hairstylist and makeup artist. I trust her knowing I am in capable hands.

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 Okay. I think we’re on a roll.

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Getting in the groove.

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 “Mom …,” my daughter whispered, “there’s a lot of your hair on the floor.” Yep, 7-inches – gone!

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The finishing touch – hairspray!

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My new Bob cut.

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Chelsea did an amazing job! I just love her!

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Next appointment … to the photographer. (No time for lunch!)

I located this place searching the internet and after reading the reviews, I decided to call them. After speaking with Mary, she answered all my questions to my satisfaction. I was able to coordinate a time with her, not long after my hair and makeup session.

The studio, located in the Museum district, is in a historical home in Houston. Husband and wife team, Tom and Mary were friendly and accommodating. The atmosphere, charmingly odd, had an old-fashioned feel, and I immediately felt at ease. After changing outfits in complete privacy: show time!

Angela stood near the photographer and as the instructions began on how to turn my head and lean forward or back, look to the right or left, I saw my daughter’s thumbs up in my peripheral vision. I knew things were going okay with every click of the camera.

And so ladies and gentlemen, faithful followers and fellow bloggers, click here to see my untouched photos. I posted these on my FaceBook page and the votes were cast. I have three favorites and we will be working on them to use professionally.

Thank you for accompanying me in this journey; many more to come. After so many years, I am beginning to look and feel like a published author.

© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

22 Comments

October 28, 2014 · 9:02 PM

My Sister, If Only …

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 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?

Photo Credit: LuLu Taylor via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: LuLu Taylor via Compfight cc

 

© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

In memory of my sister whose birthday is around the corner. She would have been ten years older than my first born! I had to say goodbye to her when I was nine, a month after she turned two years old. I remember so much pain and suffering back then, looking back, I believe God spared her from something worse. I look forward to the Blessed Hope that one day we will embrace one another again. She will not come to me but I will go to her. And we will NEVER have to be apart.

To read more about my sister from last year’s post, click here . . .

11 Comments

Filed under Loss, Personal, poetry

A Moment Today

I had a moment today,
A revelation that came my way.
Right from the start,
I felt a prompting in my heart.

I had a moment today.
I soaked it all in so it wouldn’t stray.
It gave me a new perspective and insight,
To see you in a different light.

I had a moment today,
Of a new found truth after I prayed.
I no longer see or call you dysfunctional,
Although back then the times were in turmoil.

But you see, I had a moment today,
And I realized come what may:
In your weakness is God’s strength.
Your flaws, an opportunity for success.

Yes, I had a moment today,
And I’m no longer afraid.
I can smile and stand in awe.
Because I know you were and still are a gift from God! 

© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: jessmegale via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jessmegale via Compfight cc

6 Comments

Filed under Personal, poetry

He had a rugged, but kind, short-bearded face

He had a rugged, but kind, short-bearded face with laughing brown eyes and charm that wouldn’t quit. We came from similar marital backgrounds. We each knew what it was like to be in an abusive relationship, encumbered with alcoholic spouses, broken promises, and betrayal. We both shared the same desires, with honesty and trust at the top.

He waltzed away all traces of reservations in my heart. I felt he could be trusted. He treated me with respect. He took my breath away, loving me for me: tenderly, passionately, completely. He even—as they say in the movies—“made my toes curl.” Moreover, as much as he loved me, he loved my four children. And they loved him in return. That was the icing on any cake! There may not have been a lot of money floating around, but in our eyes, he proved himself worthy. We never had to compete for his attention. When his buddies told him that other fish were in the ocean (that didn’t include small guppies), he simple said, “Not like this one.”

When he asked me one day what my goals in life were, I couldn’t answer, turning my face as the tears fell. Burdened over daily matters as a single mom, clouded my vision for the tomorrows. After several dates, for the first time in a long time, I thought about a future and possibly having one with him.

From day one, I loved his adventurous spirit for the outdoors and watching him with my little gang. Whether those outings included dove hunting, camp-outs in tents, air shows, the circus, Disney World, or barbecues at the parks, he made it fun and special for the children. I was grateful for that.

After my ex deserted us, I had to find a job to earn income. But my being away had left the children’s safety net to unravel. One by one, serious issues ensued that needed my undivided attention. I could only do so much. I felt guilt ridden, like a complete failure.

Being a single mom took its toll; it wasn’t fun. I felt tired of pretending I had it together. My faith had always been the glue in my life but I had let God down too. I’ve been too busy, feeling haggard with the hustle and bustle of life, trying to keep our heads above water from the bills that flooded in every month.

“Are you sure you’re ready for the whole package?” I had asked him. Incomplete individuals usually search for fulfillment and happiness in others instead of finding their sense of well-being and self-worth from within. I had since learned that my completeness didn’t come from having faith in any man, but in a perfect God who loved me unconditionally, like no other.

With my heart on the line in this new relationship of ours, I wondered what if down the road we were abandoned? Deserted again. Forever?

Yet … I loved the one next to me, wanted him by my side and even believed that God had brought us together and superseded our circumstances. My heart was torn and pounded out of my chest. Would he share my faith?

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My eldest, Anna Marie, with her Pops

His silence now ate away at me.

Then ever so gently, he took his thumb, wiped my tears and whispered, “You are the family I’ve always wanted.”

And the four words I will never forget:

“Let’s find God together.”

Dedicated to Mark, my husband and best friend –
a Stepdad who stepped up to the plate in more ways than one

© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved

6 Comments

June 15, 2013 · 10:40 PM

Confession of a Daughter

I’m jealous.

I confess.

I don’t think I ever grasp this concept until now. It pains me to admit this, but it’s true. Whenever I hear other’s express their close bond that they have with their mothers, I marvel how grand that must be!

And it stings.

Mama used to say: “You can have ten fathers but only one mother.”

I heard that line growing up and believed it. After my parents divorced, I had three different step-dads. I didn’t want to share my mama, she wasn’t married to any of them. I wanted us to be by ourselves. But Mama was too busy for me. I’m sure she did the best she could, but nurturing wasn’t in her DNA. Left on my own a great deal, I was a neglected child.

Loneliness was my middle name.

At age nine, once we moved to Florida, my grandma was more like a mother to me. I knew then what a mother’s love felt like and it just wasn’t the same as Mama’s. Oh, to be sure, I love my mama; she gave birth to me. But because I had no choice but to grow up too fast, our roles had always been reversed.  Most of the time, I felt like I was the mother. I wasn’t a model teenager either, and couldn’t wait to leave home in search of love.

The miles separate, the years have passed, Mama and I have since aged. I look back and forgive my past; it has made me who I am today. I’ve had to learn to forgive my mama a hundred times over, whose harshness and demeanor become more passive and feeble with time. She’s not perfect. And neither am I.

I am a mother now. And I pray that my own children will always feel my love.

No matter what.

It takes work. Prayer.

And much forgiveness.

Our communication skills remain much to be desired. I’ll keep working at it.

Mother’s Day is around the corner. It has always been so complicated for me in choosing the right Mother’s Day card. Maybe this time I won’t have to keep putting the cards back on the shelf in search for the one that describes Mama perfectly.

Maybe, I’ll write one for her myself:

To my one and only Mama.Me and Mom

I loved you then.

I love you now.

No matter what.

Love always, your little girl.
© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved

7 Comments

May 2, 2013 · 9:56 PM

For Keeps

ImageToday is our anniversary.

Nineteen years ago, I said “I do” to the most loving and gentle man I know.

And I’m so glad I did.

He came into my world when I was a desperate, single mother of four: ages nine, eleven, twelve, and fourteen. He not only loved me then, but he loved and embraced my children. And they loved him back.

Today, as I fixate on my husband’s face—his eye’s weathered by deep trenches of experience, his hair and beard more gray than brown—a sense of contentment warms me. His gaze still carries the familiar twinkle. They speak of tenderness, honesty and devotion. His eyes say I am a star in his galaxy, and that he will remain by my side through thick and thin. They confirm that together we are one. Moreover, those eyes proclaim that with God, we can weather any storm.

I hadn’t always known this gentleness and steadfastness in a mate. But this one was my second chance at love and happiness, assuring me that my mate and best friend accepts me unconditionally and without reservation. He loves me on my worst days. He loves me on my best days. I don’t feel alone if he’s away.

Yes, we have faced scores of satisfactions and disappointments, victories and losses, accomplishments and failures, heartaches and joys. Some we understand. Some we don’t. But God gives us the grace and peace that exceeds our comprehension.

And life moves on.

© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”
~ Bob Marley

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Filed under Personal, Wedding Anniversary