Category Archives: Vacation

Part II ~ On a Wing and a Prayer

fullsizerender-3-copyIn counting my blessings this Thanksgiving holiday, I can’t help but to think about all of the challenges (See Part Onewe’ve experienced these past few months. It’s been refreshing for me to enjoy some quality time with my long-distance familia, especially being with Daddy again. Those of you who’ve read my memoir, you know how grateful I am that my maternal grandmother kept in contact with my dad after he and my mother divorced. I was only three when my parents separated and five when their divorce finalized. I am happy to report that in my adult years, I’ve come to know the love of my heavenly Father, and I am equally happy to report that I’ve come to know the love of my earthly father as well. I know many don’t have this luxury. Even though miles separate us, I am thankful that Daddy is still around and so full of life. I wouldn’t change anything about him; I love him just the way he is – young at heart!

fullsizerender-6-copyWithin a couple of days, we had the pleasure of visiting two of Daddy’s cariñosas sisters whom genuinely exude warm, big and loving hearts. Titi Blanca and Titi Viviana were gracious during our visits. Not to be out done by the other, both can sure cook up a storm. Their specialties were arroz con pollo, a delicious one-pot mealfullsizerender-9-copygl closely related to paella, and ropa vieja, which is shreds of meat, peppers, and onions resembling a mess of colorful rags. We helped ourselves to seconds … or thirds, and chased it down with a warm cup of cafe con leche. Unfortunately, we missed seeing another aunt on this trip, but promised Titi Edie that on our next visit to Florida, she would be the first stop.

My hubby’s busted ribs from his 20′ fall are still healing. He is such a trooper. Although needing to do a lot of sitting, even taking naps when allowed, he still wanted to take part in all the festivities of our mini-vacation. We spent half a day lounging under the sunny Florida skies at Bayside, the shopping, dining, and entertainment center of Downtown imagesMiami. We enjoyed the live music and watching couples dancing to the merengue. We skipped the booze and ordered shots of espresso Cuban coffee (but I like mine with plenty of warm milk,) and we ate pastelitos de guayaba, mmmmm.

Our oldest, Anna Marie, joined us on this trip, flying in before we did. The last time she visited la familia was on her 18th birthday — 22 years ago! We got to celebrate her birthday again in Miami, which was pretty special.collage-2016-12-15

On our last evening, the hardest part is always saying goodbye. You cannot keep the tears at bay as they start to fall. I still hate goodbyes, especially with long-distance loved ones. After Mark’s accident and in the preparation of this getaway, a lot of prayers had gone forth. There were numerous of times when I wasn’t sure we were going to make this trip for the holidays. But I am so thankful to the Lord that together we made it, and together we are stronger than before. When you’re in the midst of a crisis, things come into focus and the pettiness of the yesterdays take a back seat. We dare not take one another for granted. Look around you. Life is worth living when you begin to count your blessings.

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But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

 

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

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Filed under Florida, Vacation

On a Wing and a Prayer

Challenges, unexpected events, frustrations escalating … ever have them? It’s called life. I’ve titled this vacation “On a wing and a prayer.” And plenty of prayers had gone forth.

Reservations were made three months early. But after my husband sustained a 20-foot fall, which resulted in 13 fractured ribs, punctured lungs and a long hospital stay weeks prior to our scheduled flight, we weren’t certain we would even make this trip. And wouldn’t you know it, the day before we were to head out; I had a fender-bender right after leaving the office. I had just crossed over to the opposite lane, when BAM, there she was! After talking to the police and exchanging pertinent information, I proceeded home with the wind knocked out of my sails, not to mention, I threw out my back and barely slept that night.

My encouraging husband–although still in a lot of pain and discomfort from his fall–was determined to make the flight out to join my relatives in sunny Florida for the Thanksgiving holidays. 15416112_10211984949486915_1434960611_n

Southwest Airlines treated us like royalty. They were very accommodating in providing the necessary assistance for the entire trip. Funny thing though, one of the stewards for our flight out was running late. All passengers standing in line did not board the aircraft until he arrived. My husband and I had another plane to catch and we worried we would miss that flight. Finally, in the distance, we noticed someone running toward us. It was none other than our tardy steward. Not long after he ran inside the plane, did the rest of us begin boarding. An attendant helped Mark from his wheelchair on board the plane to our seats.

Once we landed in New Orleans, an airport assistant waited at the doorway with my husband’s chariot. He hurriedly wheeled him down the corridor with me in tow to our next flight. All passengers on that aircraft were already seated and ready for take-off. Two front row seats were reserved just for us. Talk about feeling like instant celebrities!

We sat by Patricia, a missionary from Thailand. 348sOnce we landed, it was she who became our guardian angel. While I went to retrieve our luggage, she stayed behind and waited patiently with Mark. When I returned, she volunteered to accompany me in fetching our rental car, even praying a blessing over the remainder of our vacation. She walked with me back to where Mark was waiting, and then helped me load everything in to the car, and politely waved us goodbye. I truly felt she was an angel sent by God.

At last, in the wee hours of the morning, our tired and aching bodies arrived at the hotel room. It was good to finally sleep in.

After breakfast, we drove straight to my daddy’s house. 15424520_10211984949766922_105603279_nIn no time; we were flooded with hugs, tears and joy with full bellies of my stepmother’s delicious Fricase de Pollo. Due to all the medication my husband was on, he hadn’t had much of an appetite, but I was certain it would return with all the anticipated Puerto Rican cuisine.

15424494_10211984950326936_2039532884_nThe next day after a warm breakfast, we drove into Ft. Lauderdale to visit Big Brother, his wife, and their three strapping sons. While the 15356116_10211984949966927_1995059090_nbig boys played a game of chess, we gals went grocery shopping. By the time we returned, Mark was ready to call it a day. The pain from his ribs was causing him misery.

Thanksgiving Day: We never had a late Thanksgiving dinner before, but I guess when you have a lot of Puerto Ricans around to cook for, this is the norm. Soon we were surrounded with love and laughter and picture-taking. 15424682_10211984951606968_1021959210_nThe anticipated meal did not disappoint. 15355900_10211984952206983_1020059264_nAlthough quite tasty, the star entree wasn’t the pavo, but it was the pernil,
which is the traditional Puerto Rican pork shoulder. Not to be outdone, there were a couple of large pans of my stepmother’s delicious arroz con gandules. This was a Thanksgiving feast at its best! I believe we ate until we couldn’t eat another bite; hardly any room for dessert.

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To be continued …

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

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Rise to the Occasion

Bucket list. I imagined I would. Some day. Always wanted to. But never really thought I’d actually go through with it.

My posse and me

I’ve been away on a mini-vacation, a road trip to San Marcus and to San Antonio. Not only did I go, but I went on this excursion with some great gal friends of mine. Overall, it was an exhilarating ride!

I learned a few things on this trip.

I learned that if you put your mind to a thing, you can fulfill a task (if you plan ahead). I learned that schedules don’t always go according to your plans. You may come across a few bumps and potholes along the way, and the winding roads of life may take a bit longer to get to your destination. And I learned that I don’t always do well during these obstacles. (Ahem.)

You see, my expectations may be to do thus and so, and once my mind is made up, I am in a wee bit hurry in getting there. But I also learned that it’s best to stop and smell the roses and make every second count. Because if you don’t, then you’ll regret that you didn’t do better when you easily could have. I learned (and I sometimes forget) to choose my battles and not all hiccups mean the end of the world! I learned that making each moment count are what makes every memory cherished. I learned that as much as I have strengths, I still have weaknesses that need work. Egads! I learned that growing older doesn’t necessarily mean you stop learning. I learned that no matter what, there is always something to be grateful for. And I learn (sort of already knew) that I have the bestest of friends! We love and accept one another–flaws and all–and if feeling down, we lift the other up!

So what did we do, you ask? You mean besides the driving, shopping, dining, visiting my in-laws, and shopping some more?

We went Up, Up and Away in My Beautiful Balloon! 

Now those who know me know that I have acrophobia (not to be confused with arachnophobia, which I also happen to be but that’s another topic). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have a fear of heights. Or is it a fear of falling? Either way, I tend to get the heebie-jeebies. I discovered I wasn’t the only one among us who was set on facing this fear. And so face it we did; we rose to the occasion. Matter of fact, I was so busy taking photos on my phone, I didn’t have much time to allow that nervousness to take over!

Before take off, once the pilot said to hop in, we (about fifteen total in all) scrambled up inside that basket (with a little assistance from the crew), howbeit somewhat clumsily with one of our legs unable to lower from the ledge of the basket down in our tight space. So much for dignity.

To Deborah, Judy and my new friend, LeAnn: Thanks for the memories. What’s next?

For your enjoyment, here are a few photos of our adventure.

Deborah & Judy

Deborah & Judy

LeAnn and myself

LeAnn and myself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just about ready for take off.

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All for one and one for all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up, up, and away!

Up, up, and away!

3100 feet up

The Adventure-etts: 3100 feet up!

Beautiful Sunset

Beautiful Sunset

 

© M.A. Pérez 2016, All Rights Reserved

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

Your life is like a balloon…if you never let yourself go, you will never know how far you can rise.

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January 16, 2016 · 8:10 PM

Through My Lens

Picture1As I reflect upon my vacation this year, I center on the glitter to the glue of my family. The stuff that makes them glow through difficult circumstances, yet, not fall apart. It is the Strength in their sails,
the Laughter through the tears, and the Lightanchornew in the darkness. The waves may beat on the boat called Life, but their faith in God is the anchor that
keeps them from drifting afar.

Through my lens, I observed how one remains playful and young at heart, can laugh at themselves silly and enjoy the simple things in life.
14923_10204703715180608_5675463751065842269_n 10600375_10204703715860625_6913583592732597383_nThrough my lens, I saw how one so small can love so big; remain warm and engaging, loveable without reservations.10556236_10204728125950862_5977327558787419493_n

Through my lens, I noticed that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going! They refuse to sit down, roll over or give up on life. They know tomorrow is on the horizon, another day for new beginnings.10374430_10204728701285245_6597456912167368273_n

10559740_10204703690339987_8489302758064957017_nThrough my lens, I observed that age is just a number; it doesn’t mean that one ceases to exist, to learn, or to do.10606108_10204704812728046_6739570265579190164_n

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Through my lens, I got to witness such amazing selfless love. The sacrifices and serving of others: putting themselves last, while thinking of others first.

10436271_10204678200342753_1091761609782845600_nI heard the cry of their heartbeat. Thump. Thump. Compassion. Thump. Thump. Forgiveness. Thump. Thump. Passion. Thump. Thump. Sincerity. Thump. Thump. Tenacity. Thump. Thump. Love. Thump. Thump. Puerto Rican heritage.

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What did I learn in my ten days of vacation? If I can be just one example of what it means to love and to be loved, I’ll overcome what life may throw at me. I’ll face each trial with a certainty that God is still God of the ages and He continues to work on our behalf. No matter what.

Plans don’t always work the way we think. Situations may take a different turn than what we planned. We aren’t always prepared for the what-ifs. We aren’t perfect. But we are family. And the greatest gift of all is family.

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© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under familia, family, Vacation

Fun In the Sun!

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August 11, 2014 · 1:28 PM