Tag Archives: encouragement

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!

You ever been excited about something and somebody who you love and admire shoot it down? Let me tell you, it stings. Bites. Deflates you, doesn’t it? Yeah, but don’t allow anyone to steal your dream!

They may have meant well, but they just couldn’t see what you envisioned. They didn’t grasp your concept or idea. Then what? Your resolve wavers, your hard work and steadfastness quakes.

So what do you do? Do you throw in the towel and just give up? No, for crying out loud! Perseverance is a virtue. Where’s your stick-to-it-iveness? You have it. Haven’t you burned the midnight oil long enough to come this far? Okay, so maybe they didn’t get it. Time to regroup; dig a little deeper. Re-examine your goal and ask yourself what is it that you feel? What is the message that you’re trying to convey?

I guess with me, I tend to say a prayer, asking God to continue to guide me to express the message closest to my heart to share with others. Listen, I’ve come too far to give up! And so have you! Sure, it may be a little scary, but so what? Acronym of FEAR: Face Everything and  Run, or Face Everything and Rise. I chose the latter.

I know this is not always the case. At times, it does good to cry and let out emotions. Yes, I too, have meltdowns on occasion. But if you can stick to your goal, doing all you know to do with a determination second to none, when oppositions come (and they usually will), you won’t easily break. Time to reflect, is all. Plant where you’re rooted. Bend like a palm tree, change directions if you must. If you feel you are to do a thing, whether people get you or not, stay the course. Don’t let others defeat you by their words or the looks on their faces! What am I saying? Face your giant! (But don’t forget your slingshot.)

BE encouraged.

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

How determined are you?

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

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

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Glamorous? Not so Much: My Life as an Author

12932601_1167941376590318_6157266493608052874_n2.jpgI published my memoirs just last year. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some really fine people along the way, people who’ve become fans of my work. I am thrilled when they ask for my autograph and want their pictures taken with me. I love feedback. I am touched when a reader shares how my story has inspired them. I feel honored and validated. Sure it feeds my ego; it blows me away. And when I’m asked to attend a speaking engagement, a book club, or ladies’ conference, it’s such a humbling experience and never ceases to amaze me. But if I’m honest, stress also comes with the territory. I may tend to be a nervous wreck at times, and even lose my train of thought. I confess I don’t know what you see in me; I certainly haven’t forgotten from whence I’ve come from. I still notice my flaws. Don’t laugh, but I don’t even like watching myself on video, let alone listening to myself by audio.

This is all still a learning curve for me. You see: there’s a huge difference between writing and public speaking. In writing, I can structure sentences and reword phrases and paragraphs without interruptions to my heart’s content with pen and paper, or on the keyboard. I would venture to say that I am not the only wordsmith who feels this way. There are many other writers and authors out there just like me. We are not all best-selling authors. The truth is an author’s life is not all glamorous. Neither will there be warm and fuzzy feelings in reading a not-so-good book review about your work, (ask any author about that). We are mostly normal individuals–some more successful and polished than others–but none of us are perfect. We all go home and try to maintain a decent life in every way possible.

My life isn’t always about sitting pretty on top of the world riding high horses. My husband is a general contractor whose hands are rough because he prefers doing the majority of the projects himself. This line of work is abased and abound. Although his knees and back suffer the consequences and take on a beating, he takes pride in his craft. He is meticulous and thoroughly enjoys the work. Our eldest daughter is his faithful assistant. When she is not out on the field with him, she assists me with my writing projects in promoting my book. She is quite savvy in the social media department, as well as being my traveling companion to monthly book signings. I appreciate her. She is the lady behind the camera who makes me look good.

I myself hold a full-time, 45 hour a week sales job answering calls all day. My mind sometimes wanders wishing I was writing or vacationing, but alas, reality hits me in the rear and I have work to do! Believe it or not, my family and I also provide 24-hour care to a precious 105-year-old saint of God. In caring for her, we definitely don’t want to cause her any additional discomfort or needless pain. But as we tend to her personal needs such as in lifting, bathing and changing an adult, much more fragile than before, it’s neither easy nor always pleasant. Some years ago we made a pact. We promised Elizabeth we’d care for her to the best of our abilities until the end. Not everyone can do this. I believe God gives us the grace to do so. I’ve written about Elizabeth before. She teaches me about life. She is God’s gift to us, but she swears it’s the other way around.

So what am I saying? An author’s life is not necessarily all glamorous. What is it then, you ask? I will tell you since becoming a published author; I have found it quite rewarding and so fulfilling.

While sharing my story, time after time I’ve noticed that many are brought to tears. And then as I listen to their heart, my own tears flow. Is it planned? No. It just happens. Tears bring a sweet release and cleanse the soul. Oh, it’s easy to laugh with others (and I do love to laugh). But when was the last time you wept with someone? When was the last time you’ve impacted someone and knew you’ve made a difference in his or her life? I have also shed tears of joy. Then my makeup runs, which leads me having to freshen up before my daughter happily snaps away with her camera.

Yes, my life may not be as glamorous as you would think, but my life has been enriched.

This is my joy. This is my passion.

I remain grateful for all who have been part of my journey.

© M.A. Pérez 2016, All Rights Reserved

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

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Filed under Author, Book Running in Heels, Memoir, Thankfulness, writing, Writing Journey

My Story

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One of my cousins from across the miles posed a couple of great questions, giving me food for thought. He asked:

Why do you write? And why do you write about the family?

My answer to him:

First of all, I write because I know I have a story to tell. As a kid, eventually I discovered we were dirt poor. In my teens looking back, I realized that I was neglected and forced to grow up too fast. I was ashamed of my childhood and bitter for being my mama’s mother. As I “matured,” settled down, married and had children of my own, along the way I found I was a stronger person because of some of the things that I endured as a child. Once I embraced the God of my grandparents, I became a much better person, too. NOT that I had it all together; I still had a few things to learn. But I learned that it was much better to let go of the bitterness and to forgive, than to hold onto the junk. I also learned that I didn’t have to be a product of my environment! I could rise above the ashes like a phoenix and become so much better. That was my freedom — still is — and God has called us to liberty, not to be in prison. Sure I made some mistakes along the way, but I learned from them as well. It starts with a made-up mind! While I’ve managed to confront my past, I believe my past hasn’t spoiled me, but has prepared me for the future. I may not be perfect but whenever I stumble, I can wipe the crud off and walk on. I share my story that I might help one person – and if I have done that then I have done a good thing and God gets the glory.

I mention family because the little girl growing up — although she may have felt like she was all alone most times — was not an orphan and did not live on an island unto herself. There were others around who helped to nurture her in one fashion or another, even, the antagonists in her story. And yes, some were heroes. She cannot tell her story without mentioning those she looked up to. For it to be truthful, she had to address some real and raw emotions and mentioned the flaws — the good, the bad and the ugly.

The story is not fiction. It is written how she remembers the events that took shape in her life as a child, a teenager and into her adulthood. All the memories do not take her to a happy place. She has had to dig deep to find them. To some, those “happy” places may be simple and insignificant, but to her, they were her life-line.

His response:

I am keeping this to remind me what it takes to be selfless.

 Thanks 

CD

I did not expect THAT answer 🙂

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

 

 

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

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Filed under Inspirational, Memoir, Running in Heels

So Long for Now …

“Fred, Eric, Sarah, and Michael – to all of Susan’s extended family and beloved friends: My family and I extend our sincere condolences.”

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Susan’s family

 

“My heart is heavy today. Susie was my friend. She reached out to me when I was going through some personal pain in my life. She welcomed me and my family into her heart and into her home some 30 + years ago. Our daughters the same age, became close friends, her youngest son and my son, a year apart, became diaper-buddies. Our husbands (during my first marriage) even grew close!”

“I’d watch Susie. She had such an up-beat personality and her words were always so encouraging. Even when I didn’t feel so ‘upbeat’ and ‘positive’, I couldn’t remain feeling down for too long around her. She had a way of hugging you while she patted you on the back … hard! Being around Susie, I learned how to communicate with my small children. I learned how to laugh with them. Susie just had a way with children – she genuinely liked them! I don’t think she ever met a stranger; conversation simply flowed out of her mouth and she truly cared for that one she was speaking to.”

“Susie had child-like faith, always believing that her Heavenly Father was ready to grant her simple requests. Whether it was the petition for the salvation of loved ones, or to save our nation, whether she sought a miracle for a deformed child or for the healing of herself – she knew that there was nothing too hard for God to handle, and never wavered in standing on His promises. She was a true worshiper. She loved to danced before the Lord and become lost in His presence. I don’t doubt she is up there now, dancing with our Savior!”

“Susie believed in hope. Hope against hope. Hope for a better day. Hope that God had something better. Hope that tomorrow would come. She trusted, loved, prayed, believed, laughed, encouraged, interceded, danced, worshiped, sang, rejoiced, wept, and praised! She convinced me that I could make it, that everything would be okay, that I was destined for greatness, and that with God ALL things were possible to them that believed.”

“I enjoyed being around her, but towards the end I am ashamed to admit that I grew uncomfortable. We sometimes cower in the things we do not understand. We cringe from anything that may appear bleak before our eyes and before we know it our resolve weakens, our faith wavers, our hope diminishes. Yet, our God is constant. Aren’t you glad His love’s unwavering, His tender mercies unfailing, His grace enduring? He doesn’t give up on any of us! He says in His Word His grace is sufficient for us – His strength is made perfect in weaknesses.”

“Susie, thank you for the memories. You will be sorely missed. I rejoice knowing that your pain and suffering has ended. When you took you last breath here on earth, your next breath became your first one in heaven.  You get to experience Christmas everyday now, while we plod along doing all we know to do just to make it through another day.”

“And we who are left behind, may we not grow weary as we continue on this journey. May those of us who know Christ, remember that this is not our permanent home. Through every tragedy, every trial and every triumph, remind us Lord, that You, oh God, have something greater in store for us. Although there are times we may not understand Your ways, God, may we remember that we can trust Your heart – for You know what’s best for Your children.”

“They say that I was a great friend to Susie, but it was she who was a great friend to me.”

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Doing what she enjoyed doing best.

 

I’ll always remember my friend, Susie Bubeck, and forever treasure our friendship of the many years we shared together! One day we will all reunite, but today we sadly said goodbye to her.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” II Tim. 4:7

© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

 

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

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December 23, 2015 · 7:48 PM

Garment of Praise

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Photo Source: unknown

What exactly is “praise”?

There are many definitions of praise – I will focus on one.

Definition of Praise: The offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship: a hymn of praise to God.

When I was new in my walk with the Lord, I commonly heard the term “sacrificial praise.” I was like: Who feels like giving praise when you’re going through hardships and struggles?

But I have learned in doing just this very thing, it can unlock a lot of the weight and heaviness of one’s heart. This was a huge breakthrough for me, and I imagine can be for you as well.

We don’t praise God for the trials, we praise Him because He is faithful to get us through. How? That’s His business! Our business is to trust and rely on Him.

You’ll begin to focus better, see clearer, and think sharper.

So praise God during your struggles.

Praise Him with your tears.

Praise Him in the night seasons.

Praise Him through your fears.

Praise Him in the midst of confusion.

Praise Him with your mess.

Praise Him in all your questions.

Praise Him on your quest.

If on a mountain peak,

Or down in the dump;

Even if things look bleak,

or stuck in a slump.

Your load will soon feel lighter.

Your heart slightly fuller.

Your mind a little sharper.

 Your steps a tad bit quicker.

Then you’ll praise Him that the fog has lifted,

Praise Him the pain has eased,

Praise Him for the circumstances shifted,

 Praise Him that the gloom has ceased.

Lift your hands in surrender to Him.

For the spirit of heaviness, put on that Garment of Praise!

If you don’t know my pain, you’ll never understand my praise.

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“All of Business is About Relationships.”

As I journey along the way, I have come to realize that I need you. I learn, grow and I am encouraged by you.

You see, there was a period of time when I was hurting so much I didn’t have time for you. I was too wrapped up in my own little sad state of affairs to consider you. And why not? I was led to believe that I was insignificant, damaged goods, a toss away. In my bleeding heart, what could I have contributed to you anyway? Why would anyone listen to anything I had to offer? Inside I was frail, weak and torn. I felt lonely. I was a mess!

But that was then. This is now: I thrive in hearing you say that I’ve helped you. I am comforted knowing I have made a difference by a deed, a spoken word, a smile, a written word, a touch.

Thank you for allowing me to be me. Thank you for going on this incredible journey with me. You walked with me in my brokenness and pain. You rooted for me during my shame, and cheered for me because I came out sane!

I have an endless hope, not a hopeless end!

My messes became my message. My life of peril turned into a life of promise. Through it all, I have gained an astonishing insight: I know that I’m somebody – with a bright future –  who has purpose – is needed – loved.

God hasn’t given up on you, so don’t you dare give up on Him. God loves you, and I do too.

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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 is 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 breath, 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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A Bigger Picture

Worth repeating!

A message I heard in church a few years ago was about three kinds of enemies. I’d like to share this insight with you, trusting that it’ll help you the way it did me.

  • HOLDERS – Those that want to hold you back.
  • PULLERS – Those that will pull you away.
  • CLINGERS – Those that keep you behind with them.

We probably all know someone in either category. We may have an idea, a vision, a dream, a desire, or feel passion about something that we may share with somebody, but then that person does not share in our enthusiasm but merely seeks to crush our spirit. Before we know it, we are pulled back, stifled, crushed and beaten down. I’m not saying there won’t be times when we are to make ourselves available in helping others. I am saying there will be times when we need to be around those who care enough to pour something back in us.

I need to be refilled. You need to be refilled.

MEDIOCRITY HATES VISION.

See the bigger picture of something greater and something better.

If we don’t grow, we die. This was me about four years ago. I wanted to grow, move forward and better myself, but only felt squashed and discouraged by those around me. Yet, they were moving forward. So in my prayer time, I sought for guidance and courage. And when I heard my pastor’s message a few days later, it hit me.

Image source: thinkstock by Getty Images

I took a leap of faith and moved on. Why? Because I knew God had something better for me.

I had to make a choice and yes, it was frightening. It took a few months, but it was the best decision I made for me. Still today I am in a much better place and in a much better job position. I am challenged, fulfilled and continue to grow. I am encouraged for doing my best and appreciated in all that I do. I work for a phenomenal boss and some pretty phenomenal people.

Sometimes you have to give up something good to gain something better.

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© M.A. Perez, 2015, All Rights Reserved

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Guest Blogger: Mary A. Perez (This Thing Called Tears)

I wish to thank Faith Simone for the honor in allowing me to be a guest on her blog, “All Things Written…To Encourage & Inspire“. Her blog is indeed encouraging and inspiring as she unselfishly pays it forward.

Faith Simone

There are a few people walking the earth brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves; not because they’re careless or foolish, but because they’ve been through enough to know that each time they share their stories they celebrate their triumph. They’ve won. Mary Perez, of Reflections from the Heart, is one of those people.


This Thing Called Tears by Mary PerezMAry I consider myself a tough cookie. After all, aren’t I a survivor? I’ve survived some hard times: A broken home by age three, followed by poverty, hunger, homelessness, alcoholism, neglect, loss of a sibling at age nine, two near-drowning incidents, in a car wreck, juvenile detention home, taunting, brawls, racism, alternative schooling, marriage to a ruthless man twice my age, bearing four children by the time I was twenty-two—three  by cesarean—physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, betrayal, hopelessness, despair, rejection, abandonment, being shot at (he missed), divorce, single-parenting …

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“Mrs. C”

We affectionately call her Mrs. C.

In her sixties, with remarkable zeal, she carried a charismatic and a gregarious personality. She was a Bible teacher, an author, a missionary, a powerhouse, a woman of great faith. She exuded genuine friendship in a Godly persona and took me under her wings. She held many prayer meetings in her home, and often prostrated herself on the floor on her face interceding for others. She became my lifesaver, my spiritual-mother. Throughout the years, I often counted on her for spiritual advice and much-needed counseling.

On one dreary afternoon, the sky grew overcast along with my hope and faith. Suffering from battle fatigue, I sat in Mrs. C’s den. I told her I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

“I can’t take it anymore,” I confessed, wringing my hands.

Patiently, unassuming, non-judgmental, Mrs. C handed me a tissue and gave me time to release the dread and pain in my heart.

“I’ve tried everything. Done all I know to do. Yet nothing seems good enough.”

“Has he stopped hitting you?”

I sighed, much relieved that he had. “Oh, yes.”

“Mary Ann, in his own way you know he loves you” she began, “but you have become ‘weary in well-doing.’ In your mind’s eye, you’ve conceded it’s not worth it.”

She honed in on my sentiments. I hung my head in shame.

“You know,” she insisted, “it is worth it all.”

At that moment, I wished I were stronger and smarter, and Mrs. C wasn’t so wise and read me so well. “But shouldn’t this be a two-way street?” I suggested.

“Are you and the kids better off without him?”

I figured she knew the answer before I did. “We . . . we have nowhere else to go.”

“Are you better off without him?” she repeated, and handed me the tissue box.

“Money is tight. I can’t afford to do anything else.”

“Are you better off without him?”

No,” I whispered and wiped my nose.

I felt weak, inadequate as a Christian wife, struggling to maintain a measure of peace and sanity in my household with four children and tending to a man struggling with his demons.

“Then, go home and be the best wife and mother you know how to be,” she said.

Sometimes, it’s easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk.

“But first,” she added, “I want to pray for you.”

That woman knew how to enter the Throne Room of God in her prayers. Electricity surged through my entire body when she touched me as she prayed. Before I left, she handed me her book, Wives, Unequally Yoked. I figured reading couldn’t hurt, plus the title intrigued me. I’d already devoured The Total Woman, by Marabel Morgan. The pages worn and underlined with a yellow marker, much like my Bible.

“PRAY HARDEST WHEN IT’S HARDEST TO PRAY”

I didn’t leave Mrs. C’s company the same way I arrived. Resolved in my heart not to become bitter, I determined to be better and left strengthened, with a made-up mind.

Mrs. C suggested that I study a passage in the Bible that read: “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”

I had to admit this wasn’t easy. I’d used my tongue as a weapon more times than I cared to count and didn’t know if I could keep my mouth shut. But with renewed determination, I worked on dropping the holier-than-thou attitude and to pray for my husband more. This time, I prayed–not that my life might become easier–but that his might become whole: physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Note: Has anyone outside of your family meant the world to you? Made an impact? Enriched your life?

Throughout the years, many have come into my life, which I am eternally grateful for. Mrs. C recently celebrated her 87th birthday. Although not as active as once before, Mrs. C has touched and helped countless lives still going strong today. Because of her, many realized their true potential and reached their purpose.

Michael C. Dudash

Painting by Michael C. Dudash

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

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October 6, 2013 · 12:51 PM