Face to Face

Happy New Year!

f4694e59b0e6749e2d892b2a6899e728Some of you have been wondering if I am still around. Oh yes, very much so. But due to personal reasons, after life threw us a curve-ball back in November, I had indeed taken a little sabbatical from blogging. I am happy to report that bit by bit I am getting back on tract with writing, etc. I’ve also joined a Toastmasters’ group and will give my Ice Breaker speech to them this week. I will share the outcome with you at a later date.

Meanwhile, let’s all do a little self-examining and reflection. Let’s get to know one another. Please add your thoughts and complete this sentence:

When I look in the mirror I tend to focus on my ______________.

 

© M.A. Pérez, 2017, All Rights Reserved

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I Am The New Year

Life, I am the new year.
I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
I am your next chance at the art of living.

I am your opportunity to practice
what you have learned about life
during the last twelve months.

All that you sought
and didn’t find is hidden in me,
waiting for you to search it out
with more determination.

All the good that you tried for
and didn’t achieve
is mine to grant
when you have fewer conflicting desires.

All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do,
all that you hoped but did not will,
all the faith that you claimed but did not have –
these slumber lightly,
waiting to be awakened
by the touch of a strong purpose.

I am your opportunity
to renew your allegiance to Him who said,
‘Behold, I make all things new.’

I Am the New Year.

~ By Author Unknown

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The Tale of Three Trees

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December 22, 2016 · 10:44 PM

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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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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Thanksgiving ’76

Forty Years Ago:

I stared at the TV, hearing the drone but not paying attention to the program. Earlier I had eaten to my heart’s content, wishing I hadn’t stuffed myself the way we did our turkey.

Before too long, I felt a strong urge. Alone and frightened, my heart raced.

I pressed the button.

And pressed again.…

I shouted.

No one came.

In desperation I banged on the wall, yelling, “Hello, anyone out there? I have to push! I have to push!” Doesn’t anyone hear me? I . . . have . . . to . . . push! 

I pounded on the walls, about to put a hole through it. At last, a nurse ran in. Much to her surprise—and my anguish—she found me fully dilated and ready to pop.

A lot of activity happened at once. Oddly enough at the same instant, I felt like an ice cube. The nurse noticed me trembling and threw three blankets over me. She fetched Mr. Wonderful in the lounge, already stretched out half-asleep. After waking him, they gave him a hospital gown, a cap, and a mask. After he followed them to the delivery room, they instructed him where to stand.

With my knees bent and feet in stirrups, an assistant leaned me forward.

“Now push,” my doctor instructed. “Push, hard.”

I took a deep breath and held it, managing a couple of pushes, one or two deep grunts and a long groan, feeling the blood rush to my brain. “I . . . can’t!” I gasped. “No more. I’m tired.”

“Come on. Keep pushing. Bear down. A little more.”

“Arrrrgh!”

“Shush. It’s okay, honey,” Mr. Macho-turned-coach drilled. “Stay calm.”

YOU stay calm! IT HURTS!

“Humph,” Donny snorted.

“All right, now give me one big, long push.”

“It . . . b-burns!” God, I feel like I’m tearing! 

“Okay, now stop. Stop pushing a moment.”

PushBreatheBear downDon’t pushBreathe! My mind zoomed from ninety to zero. Oh, what am I supposed to do? Why hadn’t Donny and I completed those Lamaze classes? Finally, the answer came to me: In order to refrain from pushing, I had to do a series of shallow breathing. Pant. Like a dog.

Pant. Pant. Pant. Pant. 

Donny watched the whole process bug-eyed and ashen-faced.

Some macho-man he turned out to be.

2:56 a.m.

Gorgeous. Chestnut hair. Almond-shaped eyes. Rosy cheeks. Ten fingers and ten toes. I was in my teens and just delivered a beautiful, healthy 7 lb. 6 oz. baby girl. My baby girl! Thank you, God. With the ideal name for her—in memory of my beloved grandma and my deceased sister—I named her Anna, with Marie being her middle name.

Once home, I savored the miracle before me: An innocent life at peace in her crib. A life I had only known as bittersweet; a life filled with much adversity from being alone, cold, hungry, and frightened. My mind twirled with unanswered questions. Could I protect this child and keep her safe? As her mommy, I wondered if I’d always be there for her, and not fail or disappoint her. Would we have a close relationship? Would she always feel my love?

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

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

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# # # #

We celebrate my firstborn’s birthday on the 26th. About every four years, her birthday lands on Thanksgiving Day. From day one, she is a reminder of all I am thankful for. She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. I thought I knew something about parenting and Motherhood, but when she came into my life, she taught me.

As I watched her grow, she taught me the rhythm of a mother’s heart beat for her child.

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To my beautiful daughter:

Anna Marie, as you have already read in my book about some of the joys and sorrows of life that transpired before and after you came into the world, I pray you will always know that you are no accident. You were a blessing to my heart’s content then and continue to be so now. Thank you for all that you do for me and Pops, both abroad and beyond, as well as behind the scenes. We love and appreciate you.

Happy Birthday, Anna!

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When Trouble Comes …

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Dear Readers:

What do you do when trouble comes? When dread clutches its icy fingers around your heart, or unimaginable images boggle the mind, what do you do?

I’ve been away a few days, but by the grace of God, I am back. Yes, an unforeseen event — beyond my control — brought me to my knees. It began when I received an unexpected phone call twelve days ago . . .

“Mom, come to the job-site; Pops fell off the ladder–”

“What? No!”

“He’s not responding now, Mom. I need to call 911.”

By the time I arrive at the scene, paramedics surround my husband. They have him in a neck brace and on a gurney, asking him questions. He is in and out of conscientiousness, unable to say where he is or what has happened. At that moment, many things become a blur to me. I try to follow the ambulance to the Emergency Hospital, lest I become lost due to complete disarray and panic.

So there I sit in the midst of the storm, waiting and interceding:  I can’t leave this hospital without him, Lord! 

I soon receive word that my husband suffers from severe injuries from falling off the 20′ ladder. Even though he missed the concrete, he sustains thirteen fractured ribs and partially collapsed lungs. A surgeon is assign to Mark and once in the ER, they insert a chest tube to inflate his lungs.

I call on family and friends to please pray for my husband . . .

When the accident occurred, my daughter and husband were working together. She joins me in the waiting room. “Mom,” she said, “when I got to Pops, he was praying, ‘please help me, Jesus … heal me, Lord.'”

That piece of news soothes my soul — it encourages me — it encourages us all! You see, after his fall, my husband is unable to communicate; yet his spirit-man cries out to God for help!

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:6.

15045729_10207832063581448_925697627_nI stay in ICU as long as I can before they send me home. Three days later, they transfer Mark to a private room with a common germ on the skin called MRSA (a type of Staph). I remain with hubby in his room for the duration of his stay. He is in a lot of pain and discomfort. The morphine pump doesn’t seem to be enough. Every day, several times a day, two or three blood samples from different veins are taken for blood culture. Only problem is that Mark’s veins are small rolling veins, which eventually cause his arm to become tender and swell up.

We’re so blessed having our dear pastors from church come by, as well as a few other visitors, dressed in gloves and gown to pray over Mark. On the fourth day, the doctor removes my husband’s chest tube, but he is not out of the woods yet . . .

Day Five: Mark experiences excruciating pain in his leg, so much so that his blood pressure elevates with 103-degree fever. Still unable to sit up, they wheel him out on his bed for additional x-rays of his hip, femur and leg. When they return, he is knocked out. In the wee hours of the morning, he’s awakened drenched in sweat, tugging and pulling off his gown, tangled with the wires he’s connected to. I buzz for the nurse and try holding him down until help comes. They cool his body and when they use a wet cloth on his brow and neck, he says it feels good.

Day Six: The doctor leaves after checking in on Mark. That same hour, Mark says he feels a chill. I figure maybe his fever has worn off and I cover him with another blanket. But he complains of still feeling cold and begins to shiver. Ten minutes into it, he takes a turn for the worse. I call for the nurse. She comes with a couple of extra blankets, telling Mark he’ll soon be warm and leaves. Mark’s shivers become more vigorous and uncontrollable, he even starts wheezing. After a few more minutes of shivering, he becomes unresponsive. I run out to fetch help.

The nurse comes in and rushes back out and calls for a Code Blue. Within minutes, a rapid response team of ten to fifteen people arrives at Mark’s bedside bringing along some emergency equipment; even the chaplain walks in. While the team is surrounding Mark, the chaplain is trying to speak with me. He asks if I am the wife. He says he can see how much love I have for my husband. But I don’t want to chat with him. I want to talk with Mark. The doctor comes and asks me what has happened. “You tell me,” I answered.

I quickly phone my son, telling him of Mark’s condition and to pray. I remain near Mark’s bedside and caress his face while talking to him. And I look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. I don’t know how many minutes pass before the doctor and the entire team, work on getting Mark to respond. Thank God, my husband finally comes to!

More test. They find that Mark has a bout of pneumonia, as well as an unknown infection in his blood. He is off of morphine and Norco is given for pain. Now they have him on a broad spectrum of antibiotics for infections. Three days later, the infection he has is called Acinetobacter, commonly isolated from the hospital environment and hospitalized patients. In other words, this type of bacteria is frequently associated with healthcare associated infections.

Day Nine: Mark is able to sit up in a chair for a short period of time. That evening, he is using a walker as we walk around the corridor. The hospital staff is amaze and delighted. It is obvious that they adore my hubby.

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lamentations 3:22

Day Ten: Homeward bound!

I am happy to report that hubby is resting and quite content being back home. I appreciate every one that extended their love, prayers, and encouragement on our behalf. I may feel a bit worn out, but then again, I am one grateful woman. We have much to be thankful for.


I once read, “It is hard to wrap your heart around trouble when it pierces your soul.” So when trouble comes knocking at your door, don’t walk it alone. Give it to God and reach out to others for encouragement and support.

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:2

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

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This Language on Love

So, in reading “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, he describes in great detail how the word love can be very confusing. We love activities, objects, animals, nature and people. We even fall in love with love. He points out that we use love to explain behavior. “‘I did it because I love her’ says a man who is involved in an adulterous relationship. God calls it sin, but he calls it love. The wife of an alcoholic picks up the pieces after her husband’s latest episode. The psychologist calls it co-dependency, but she calls it love. The parent indulges all the child’s wishes. The family therapist calls it irresponsible parenthood, but the parent calls it love.”

Now I’m not by any means of the imagination a psychologist, a professor, a clergywomen, or a counselor. I am just an ordinary woman. I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a girlfriend. But like many, I think all too often we speak the wrong love language. I definitely have.

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In my youth, I did some stupid things out of “love” for a guy. And because I loved him I thought, surely he will come to my way of thinking. He would love me in return, enough to change his behavior and better himself. After all, hadn’t I bent over backwards for him? Worshiped the ground he walked on? Became his doormat? In order to gain his undivided attention, I forgot who I was.

In my teens, I covered my husband’s transgressions. I hid his secret, sin and shame. My way of thinking was: This is why I exist, right? That’s my job, isn’t it? His wish was my command. Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen – if only I knew how to cook then. My smile hid the pain in my heart, as well as makeup did the bruises on my face. I hid the grocery money, emptied the liquor bottles, refilling half with water hoping he’d never noticed. I’d called his boss to say he was sick in bed after another blackout episode. I told myself: I protect my interest. I do it all in the name of “love.”

I was tired. But because I loved my children, I eventually allowed my kids the freedom of choice. They started listening to the “hip” music their friends were listening to, and watched certain movies because I knew they were old enough and smart enough not to repeat negative behaviors. Yes, I was inconsistent, worn-out, and haggard. I practiced tough-love, church activities, rules and schedules, but then lost the victory in my own personal life that I toss responsibility to the wind. I got lazy. It became every person for themselves. I started doing my own thing. I felt defeated. Cold-hearted. Bitter. Since I had lost the battle as a wife, for a moment, I had also forgotten that there was still a war to fight for called Motherhood.

That was many moons ago. And I’m happy to say, although far from perfect, I continue to strive to communicate this language in a healthy way.

Just some rambling thoughts today, as I reflect over Gary Chapman’s point of view about the language of love.

What are your thoughts?

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

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Meet and Greet Weekend

Always love meeting new bloggers! What a great way to do that! Have a great Meet and Greet weekend everyone!

The Light Breaks Through

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It’s the Meet and Greet weekend at The Light Breaks Through!!
Ok so here are the rules:

Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
Reblog this post. It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
Edit your reblog post and add tags.
Leave your link!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want. It is up to you!

Share this post on social media. Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.
Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet n Greet your heart off!

See ya on Monday!!

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Morning Will Come

Brokenhearted . . .
How can I bear the pain?
So many plans . . . permanently interrupted.
So many dreams . . . shattered.
Hopes . . . dashed.
All gone.
Why?
Why this?
Why us? Why me?
Helplessness . . . hopelessness . . .
Life will never be the same again.
Is it even worth living?
Where are you, God?

I’m right here beside you, my child.
Even though you may not feel my presence,
I’m holding you close under the shadow of my wings.
I will walk with you through this dark night.

Do not shrink from weeping.
I gave you tears for emotional release.
Don’t try to hide your grief.
Let it become for you a source of healing,
A process of restoration,
For I have planned it so.
Those who mourn shall be blessed.
I’ll be holding on to you,
Even when you feel you can’t hold on to me.

Seek my face, child of mine.
Receive my promise, impossible as it may seem now,
That joy will come in the morning.
It may take much time,
But I will heal your broken heart.
I know the night seems endless,
but MORNING WILL COME.
I have promised.

–From the Haven of Rest Newsletter

 

Note:          I came across this poem and wanted to share it with my readers. So many times we can’t see the light because of so much darkness, despair, grief and pain. We wonder how long? How much more? When will it end? God, are you really there? Friends, please know that as long as you have a pulse, there is a purpose. As long as you have breathe, there is hope. And as long as you’re in your right mind, there are possibilities. Under the shadow of His wings, stay the course. Full speed ahead!

Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

 

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