Tag Archives: Family

The Birthday Gal

Celebrating the woman who gave birth to me. A mother and daughter’s relationship can be a complicated one. It’s true, we’ve been through some rough and challenging seasons throughout the years! But I loved her as a little girl then, and I love her as a woman now. If you want to know more, read the book, https://www.amazon.com/Running-Heels-Memoir-Grit-Grace/dp/1944952039.

To Mama: Always and forever I’ll be your little girl, and nothing will ever change that. Happy Birthday Mama! xoxoxoxo

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Always On My Mind

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 tight 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 with, share secrets, laugh and cry
I would not be here now thinking: Why? Why did you have to die?

Dear Readers:

As we approach the anniversary of my baby sister’s life and death, what I have shared is very dear and personal to my heart. As my eyes mist with tears, I still feel my heart burn heavy from missing her! But please understand that I do NOT “blame” God for my sister’s death! Our God is Sovereign and I believe that He allows certain things to happen to us for His greater plan and purpose. (Isa. 57: 1). After all, His ways are higher than our ways.

Now, I’m not by any means a theologian, a preacher, or a Bible teacher. I’m just a layman, a simple woman of faith, with a finite mind trying to serve an Infinite God. I know that it rains on the just and unjust (Matt. 5:45); bad things do happen to good people.

If I am to be honest, I don’t always understand the mind of God. Howbeit, I purpose in my heart to trust Him! And if I am to be truthful, yes, till this day my heart does have a few unanswered questions. On occasions, in my journey of life I have meltdowns, wallow in self-pity, and find myself clouded by doubts and fears. However, because of His steadfast love and His unfathomable mercy for me, I thank God that I don’t have to remain in that state of mind!

You see, I am a work in progress.

In memory of my sister who prematurely passed away 53 years ago by a hit-and-run driver. (To learn more of her story, click here.) She would have been ten years older than my first-born daughter! I had to say goodbye to my little sister when I was nine, just a month after she turned two years old. I remember so much pain and suffering as a child back then. In retrospect, I believe God may have spared her from something worse. I look forward to the Blessed Hope that some day we will embrace one another once again. She will not return to me, but I will go to her one day. (II Sam 12:23). And we will NEVER have to be apart. 

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Words Softly Spoken

Fail!

Let’s face it. I fail!

Not just sometimes, but a lot more than I care to admit.

I am not a soft-spoken person. I don’t know how to be, nor have I ever been. Matter of fact, I specifically recall several years ago when I went up for prayer due to my terrible marriage because of my terrible husband, who constantly caused me grief and undue stress, that this little prayer warrior woman looked up at me square in the eyes and said, “Learn to keep your mouth shut. It would hold you in good stead.”

As I think back, there had only been one soft-spoken and genteel person in our family, and that was my maternal grandma. Mama sure wasn’t … and still isn’t. My daughters, too, all have loud voices. We have a tendency to spout out. When my grandson was small, listening to us three talking up a storm, like we normally do, he made an observation and commented how “extra” we were. Haha. I wish I can say it’s a Nuyorican thing (Puerto Rican born in New York), but I’m not so sure I can get away with that.

So amidst the clatter and the sounding of clucking hens–especially when we women folk get together (you should hear my aunts in the same room); in my alone and quiet time, I want to be still and hear God’s voice.

Amid the chaos, I need His peace that surpasses all my understanding. I need His strength when I am weak. I desire His guidance and wisdom to flood my soul and take over. You know how it is: Jesus, take the wheel! Help me to be the woman you have called me to be. Give me understanding beyond my comprehension. I want grace seasoned over my words and soft answers poured over others, even within my own family. In times of frustration, confusion, and ruckus – we need to remember that God is not the Author of confusion but of peace.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been bombarded with challenges and distractions of late. And you know what? Today is my birthday! So I received a birthday card from Mama and the words on the envelope addressed to me, leaped out and touched me to the core of my being. I just stared at the words … and wept. You have to know that Mama isn’t big on giving compliments or speaking platitudes. But these words spoke volume. Our mother-daughter relationship is a complicated one. Yet here she was telling me in the best way she knew, that she loved me. Yes, people, we need to count our blessings.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
(Proverbs 25:11).

Ok, never too old to learn, I’m still working on this!

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¡El Chupacabra!

“I can draw just as good as our uncle can, or you,” Big Brother Ruben said matter-of-factly.

“No, you can’t,” I corrected.

“Can too.”

“Cannot.”

“Can—”

“¡Niños! Callense ya!” Grandma cut in. “Dis is why you two can’t be together.”

Ruben and I looked at each other, puzzled by what she meant. But this statement became the reason Ruben and I usually had to trade places during Daddy’s visitation. Because we siblings horsed around and played too “wildly” together, when our daddy would come for me to go to his house for the weekend, he’d drop Ruben off to stay with our grandparents or with Mama. This was the normal arrangement. On rare occasions, we visited together.

My brother loved to tease me to get a reaction out of me. One weekend together at Daddy’s was no exception.

“Com’on, will ya?” Ruben impatiently waved his arm as if it would fall off, standing with the bathroom door open.

Curiosity got the best of me. “Hold your horses,” I said, trying to sound like Mama.

Big Brother looked like the cat that swallowed a pigeon, a canary, or something.

“You better not be foolin’ me,” I warned.

“Don’t be so sentimental,” he said, practicing the use of big words.

“Am not.”

“Are too. And you’re never gonna guess what’s in here.”

“Can too.”

“Can not.”

“Gimme a hint.”

Ruben shook his head. “Negative.”

“Cuz, it’s gonna be nuthin’.” I stomped my foot and crossed my arms, dying to know what was inside. “You just tryin’ to trick me.”

He stood in front of the closed shower curtain and held onto it. “Ready?” Ruben asked, with eyes wide.

“Go on . . . it ain’t nuthin’.”

“It’s too . . . it’s—” With one swoop, Ruben yanked the curtain and cried, “¡El Chupacabra!”

I let out a long scream at the huge form floating in the tub.

Daddy came running out of breath. “¿Qué fue?” he demanded. “What’s wrong? What happen here? ¡Caramba! I hear you all da way outside.”

“Daddy, Ruben told me it’s ‘El Abra Ca Dabra, the goat sucker,’” I whined, mispronouncing the word. 

“¿Qué? ¡Oye! What s’matter wit you?” Daddy demanded in his accent. “Why can’t you play nice? You dun do dat to your sister.” He popped Ruben on the head with his hand.

My brother flinched but kept grinning at me, mouthing the words, “boba,” before he disappeared.

Mija, you know what dis is?” Daddy asked, holding me by my shoulder.

“It’s a pink, dead pig!” I screeched. “Why is he in the tub of water?”

“Gloria is goin’ to make pernil. We gonna eat him.

“Roasted pig? No, Daddy, that’s yucky.”

“Whachu talkin’ ‘bout? I betchu never had it before,” he said, closing the shower curtain. “You’ll see,” he winked, taking my hand. “It’s gonna be so good.”

If my daddy said something, he was usually right.

It was yummy.

Excerpt from “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace“, Chapter 7 – Big Brother

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In Everything Give Thanks

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!! I'm thankful for all of you, and I just  wanted to let … | Happy thanksgiving images, Happy thanksgiving pictures,  Thanksgiving images

If I’m to be honest, I was bummed out for a couple of days, knowing I would be missing our traditional, family Thanksgiving Day celebration in our home, which has always filled my heart with so much joy. But now instead, I choose to focus on what I do have and count my blessings which are many, giving God thanks and the glory for all in my life!

Even in my worst days, He loves me! I have known Him in the valley, I have known Him on the mountaintops. While I love being on the mountaintops, it was in the valleys where I grew closest to my Lord and learned that the God on the mountain is still God in the valleys.

I am thankful He has giving me health, provision, shelter, a loving husband, beautiful family, and wonderful friends – He has made many dreams come to fruition.

I am a work in progress. Thank you Lord, for not having given up on me, and I know you’re not finish with any of us yet.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in
Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:18

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New Year’s Birthday Bash

A late post–better late than never–worth sharing, especially with all the negative happenings in our world of late.

So what does one do when a New Year’s Baby turns 40?

She throws a Masquerade Party!

My baby girl, who many call my mini-me, lit up the room when she entered. She threw one of the best parties ever. It was so much fun to dress up and see the different outfits and masks others wore. With great decor, music, dancing, food and just plain fun, what more could you ask for?

Here is a video and a few photos. Hope you enjoy!

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A Tale of Three Mothers

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”


As I contemplated writing this piece, I was reminded of the famous opening line in the classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

Please bear with me as I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and attempt to express the stirrings of my heart. While difficult to write, write I must!

On my last post, I wrote about me and my husband’s recent returned from a wonderful, much-needed vacation on a cruise with a couple of friends. Because neither one of us cared about adding the extra fee for internet usage, we opted out and enjoyed our getaway. As we neared the Port of Galveston upon our return, we were inundated with unexpected text messages and several missed calls.

Shockingly, I learned that my 79-year-old stepmother–who had always been like a mother to me–was hospitalized and in ICU. My sister stayed with her rarely leaving her side, her “labor of love,” as she so well put it. After suffering from a bout of excruciating pain, my stepmother had to have emergency surgery due to a small bowel obstruction.

A series of complications and alarming close calls left my family in panic, bombarding heaven with their prayers. Three weeks later, thankfully, my stepmother was released from the hospital. She continues recuperating at home, working on gaining her strength and some weight back.

My sister continues to care for her and our dad in Florida, and she is doing an extraordinary job, indeed a labor of love!

Ironically enough, while we were on our cruise, our friend’s own dear 90-year old mother was admitted into hospice. She had suffered a stroke, which soon led to another. The day we returned, our friend flew back to her hometown in Kentucky to be near her mother’s bedside. Needless to say, our hearts were heavy.

With permission, I share the words written by my friend’s sister, regarding their mother:

Mom isn’t doing too good she has had another stroke.
Hospice said it could be anytime she would be joining Dad.
She can’t talk, eat, or drink or move.
She is trapped in that old broken down body which seems such a horrible place to be!
I still love her so much.
I can’t stand to see her in such a way.
Part of me wants her to pass so she can escape that horrible prison;
But to escape she has to leave me physically.
Mom has been gone for over 2 yrs mentally,
But her body has remained.
But when I think of her passing …
I shudder to think about I! 
So much mixed emotions are going through me at this time:
I feel guilty in wanting her to go, But selfish for wanting her to stay.
I know it is in Lords hands. I do not make that decision; the Lord will make it.
I imagine my Dad has been begging and pleading with the Lord since he got into heaven to bring her home!
I know Dad is getting everything ready for her arrival … 
Our family can use some prayers!

Less than a week later, their precious mother passed away …

Many times, situations seem so out of control, and we are left feeling helpless. Even if one clings to their faith in God, and tries to prepare for the inevitable regarding elderly parents, the heartache and sadness of that loss loved one still crushes you and leaves a hole in your heart. But don’t despair! We are reminded in Psalms 34:18: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”

And wouldn’t you know the very day our friend’s mother passed, we celebrated my own mama’s 85th birthday!

The pendulum swings in the momentum of life.

Although Mama is not the best of health, I am grateful to God that we are able to celebrate her life and bring her joy.

She’s had a hard life, which I shared about in my memoir. We both have. But God has turned our mess into a message.

I feel blessed knowing that I can bring Mama some joy surrounded by family.

My husband, children and their spouses, helped to make her day special, as we showered her with gifts at one of her favorite restaurants.

While I have made no bones about our complicated mother-daughter relationship, those obstacles have never diminished my love for her.


The bottom line is: We. Love. Our. Mothers. And we desire to honor them.

I pray the Lord grant us the strength to relinquish them into His hands when that time comes for us all. May this blog post bring perfect peace and be a tribute to all our mothers.

We love you Gloria Esther Perez.

We love you Edna Tinsley Canter.

We love you Ruth Ann Mendez.

Mother’s love is something that no one can explain, it is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain, it is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may. For nothing can destroy it or take that love away.”
~ Hellen Steiner Rice

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

 

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Spunky & Sassy at Sixty?

Image result for birthday wisdom quotes

 

Spunky, Sassy, even Sexy at Sixty?

Yes! And why not?

A long time ago, someone close to me tried to crush my spirit and conform me in his own image. My ex-husband ruled with an iron fist and belittled me. I was downtrodden for so many years. Thank God I didn’t remain that way!

I thank God for all that He has brought me out of and through! He never promised a bed of roses. Even after being pricked by thorns, there is healing.

You see, God made me to be ME! God has made you to be YOU! Yes, it’s true that He loves us just the way we are. But, I believe He loves us too much to leave us that way. He longs to perfect us to become our better selves.

For those of you who have read my story, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” (on Amazon),  you know that 25 years ago, God brought me a wonderful and loving help mate; one who embraces my uniqueness and even my sometimes crazy self. I can be ME – the good, the bad and the ugly! Don’t get it twisted, I do strive to being more of the “good.”

Once upon a time, I felt so lonely and neglected, but not anymore. I have a loving close-knit family – my children are all adults and each carry their own strengths and uniqueness. I am surrounded by positive, caring and fun-loving friends who genuinely refreshes my soul!

I don’t care who you are, no man is an island unto himself. We. Need. One. Another.

As I mature in age, may I learn to take things slowly and not count the moments, but make the moments count. Life is a gift and we are planted here on this earth for a purpose. Let’s learn to bloom where we are planted.

Some worthy quotes to remember:

  • Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age.
  • Age is a case of mind over matter.
  • We age not by years, but by stories.
  • In youth we learn; in age, we understand.
  • Don’t let anyone that doesn’t know your value, determine your worth.
  • One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and be understood.
  • Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
  • Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

 

Birthday celebration with family and a few friends.

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Father’s Day Tribute to the Men in my Family

 

Picture2Dad: A son’s first hero. A daughter’s first love.

The fathers in my family are called Dad, Daddy, and Papi. Newsflash: None are perfect! But each one represents love, courage, provision, and strength. Their eyes glow with purpose. Their smiles melt hearts. Their chest swells with pride. Their callous hands protect. They stand tall with dignity. And their embraces offer comfort and assurance. Yes, they are the pillars in our households.

It’s said that every man is trying to either live up to his father’s expectations or make up for his father’s mistakes. I don’t know if that’s true. I only know that each man represented in my family strive to being the very best possible. Each hold a mantle and carry a torch for the next generation. Each dad represented in my family lays a solid foundation, even those who have crossed over to the other side. I can’t help but to think about my own grandfathers. They were strong, respected dedicated men with a constant presence. They left behind a legacy. When the tough got going, they didn’t cave under pressure. They persevere with Puerto Rican pride in every fiber of their being.

To the men in my family who are dads (and have yet to be): I love and admire each and every one of you. And to my dear husband who married me with four children, I share this quote: “It takes a strong man to accept somebody else’s children and step up to the plate another man left on the table.” I salute you.

I salute you all.

Remember: Any man can be a father. But it takes a special person to be a dad.

© M.A. Pérez, 2018, All Rights Reserved

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

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Mother’s Day is Everyday

Last year, my oldest daughter and I were asked to be a part of a workshop at our church, speaking about adult daughters and their mother’s relationships. We had made a list and examined our strengths as well as our, ahem, weaknesses. I knew from experience that mother-daughter relationships can be both complex and diverse.

There are many ups and downs, no matter how positive, or complicated and trying the relationship. Psychologists say daughter’s primary complaints are that mothers try to baby them being overly critical and demanding. From mom’s perspective, daughters don’t listen to them, make poor choices and have zero time for them.

I did not find this teaching comfortable or an easy topic. There are many challenges in parenting and this thing called “motherhood” hit me between the eyes at an early age. My mom raised me pretty much as a single mom, as she never married after she and my dad split. She had common law relationships–I can think of three–and I was pretty much left on my own. So yeah, I was neglected and raised myself. Matter of fact, our roles were reversed and so, I’ve always felt that my childhood was taken from me!

I left home early and married very young. I had my first child at the age of 17, and by the time I was 22, I had my 4th. Ironically enough, I did a lot of the same mistakes in parenting as my own mother. I wrote about my personal journey as a daughter, wife and mother. You can say I was a real hot mess back then. In retrospect, I thank God that He rescued me from myself! Now that my children are adults – I can think of a lot of things that I did wrong and regret in my own role. But nothing worthwhile comes easy; at least it never did for me!

In every challenge there are defeats and triumphs – and all of us have some scars along the way.

Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

I am familiar with the power struggles, the pet peeves, and the miscommunications.

What I see in my daughter(s), the good, the bad, and the ugly – I sometimes see a reflection of myself. Oh! Those flaws! Clearly, I may not always liked what I see … or hear. But you know what? We’re on the same team – we love each other, and we are there for one another.

Jer 31:16: Thus says the LORD, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD, “And they will return from the land of the enemy.”

I can’t stress how I prayed, interceded and wept for my wayward child (children). But as a mother – that’s what we do! We don’t give up and we don’t let up until we have God’s peace. Know that it’ll be in His time frame, not necessarily in ours. And when God does it, it’ll be a sure work. He’ll leave nothing undone.


HOW CAN WE BE STRONGER TOGETHER?

Here are a few golden nuggets from my own firstborn’s perspective:

Everybody knows that TWO heads are better than ONE. In Girl scouts and in the 4H Club, you learn that three strands of string make a strong rope. To play harmony on a piano, you play with two or more notes. And as you know, you won’t find a giant redwood tree standing alone!

  • Teaching by example, learning by experience, in values and in skills – all help us become stronger together.
  • Spending quality time with one another binds us stronger together as a family; i.e., meal times and outings.
  • Appreciating each other – showing love and affection.
  • Sharing a laugh builds us up – laughter is good medicine.
  • Sharing in responsibilities, accomplishing tasks together.
  • Stand by each other in times of trouble, uniting and pulling together when things get tough… when we encourage each other, we are stronger together.

Most importantly … when we learn to forgive each other, being opened and honest, yet KIND, we become stronger. Remember: attack the problem, not each other.

We encourage each other, consult with each other, spend time with each other, learn and grow from each other. No matter what the circumstances, despite feelings, perspectives, weaknesses and “bumps” along the way, when we face life together, find God together, pray together … all of these acts and then some, we can get through it and be stronger together!

My daughter(s) and I have come a long way.

Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.


Here are my own acronyms for MOTHER & DAUGHTER:

M ake the first move

O mit malice

T hink before responding

H ave realistic expectations

E xtend grace

R epair damage quickly

 

D are to forgive offenses

A gree to disagree

U nity is better than division

G ather your words with prayer

H old unto hope

T alk about ways to communicate

E mbrace change for the better

R espect each other

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

MotherAndSon        MotherAndDaughters

And by the way, I also have an adorable son close to my hip! God is good!

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