Tag Archives: life

Wintry Wonderland of Weston

Hi y’all!

Checkin’ in with my family, friends, & fans! I’m vacationing in Weston, CO with my husband and a couple of friends. More pictures to come!    🙂

What do you have going on this week?

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She’s 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, share secrets, laugh and cry
I would not be here now thinking: 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, 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 remain in that state of mind!

You see, I am a work in progress.

 

 

In memory of my sister who prematurely passed away 50 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! I had to say goodbye to her 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 one day we will embrace one another once again. She will not return to me, but I will go to her one day. And we will NEVER have to be apart. 

 

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Mary’s Reflection

When she looks back on her life, she sees a faded memory of a girl unsure about herself, frighten, lost, and insecure. She can’t help but to see sheer pain, disappointments, mistakes and heartaches.

She thinks about the roads she’s traveled: Roads filled with quick sand like the dry Sahara desert and potholes the size of Texas that tried to swallow her whole!

She thinks about the battles she’s fought for her marriage, her sanity, and her four small children:

She thinks about the struggles she’s endured from abandonment as a child and then again as an adult, along with the failures, and the low self-esteem:

She thinks about the sacrifices she’s made in walking away from an education, the letting go of a special-needs child for the child’s best interest, and in putting her dreams on hold,

She thinks about the love she’s lost in saying goodbye to her baby sister, her beloved grandparents, and her 15 years of marriage:

She thinks about the tears she’s shed in her loneliness, with emptied promises, shame and pain:

But as she looks back on her life, she also sees the lessons that she’s learned:

She sees a girl …

Not one who scratched and clawed her way to the top. But a girl who had just enough grit to float to prevent from sinking when life tried to weigh her down. Who walked on pebbles and used them as her stepping-stones to get to higher ground. Who’s childlike faith in the God above would blossom into something much greater than herself. While she may have had a father figure missing in action, she’d come to know her Heavenly Father who never left her side.

When she looks in the mirror and what does she see?

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A girl once dejected and rejected. She no longer is that sad, little girl. So don’t you feel sorry for her. Applaud her, because it was during the dry seasons that she discovered an oasis. Rejoice with her, because in the darkness is where she found a beacon of light. Admire her for rising above her crisis in spite of her circumstances.

She may have started out in the valley, pecking along like a chicken digging for worms. But then the Ancient of Days taught her to spread her wings like an eagle, and soar into the heavens over the mountaintop.

Don’t cry for her, feel sad for her, or grieve for her.

If you’re looking for a lost and lonely child, she is not here. Misunderstood, she may be; a wonder to many she may be. If you’re looking for perfection, she is not that girl; she still has flaws. If you expect to see sophistication or to hear profound eloquence, you may be disappointed.

Her past may even want to dictate her future, the voices in her head play a broken song, her name may even mean “bitter” — but she refuses to be that girl anymore.

What kind of girl is she?

A simple girl.

A grateful girl.

A blessed girl.

She believes in second chances & new beginnings.

She is stronger today for everything she endured. Her scars serve to remind her that she is a survivor. She appreciates the beauty of living life one day at a time. She surrounds herself by those who encourage and genuinely care for her. She clothes herself with a garment of praise, amazed by the wonders of God’s grace.

When she looks in the mirror, what does she see?

She sees a girl turned woman.

If wrinkles must be written upon her brows, she refuses to let them be written upon the heart.

She is more than a conqueror.

She sees strength, learned lessons, and pride in herself.

Sad? No. Alone? No. Afraid? No.

Not that girl anymore.

© M.A. Pérez 2018, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Memoir, reflection, reminiscence

I Always Did Love You …

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“I always did love you, just had too many problems.”
Ten words on ink and paper.
Handwritten by her.
Pierces my heart.
Quiet pain.

Does she know I exist? Or care? Or want me?
I love her, look up to her; want to be her.
Unspoken. Forsaken.
Isn’t love also a verb?
Hidden shame.

I leave home. Searching for Mr. Right.
Run to him at sixteen. Happily ever after.
Young. Naïve. Taken for granted.
Thinks to mold me into his image.
His way or the highway.
Internal screams.

Motherhood. Baby having babies.
Crawl before walk. Stumble. Fall.
Clinging unto a strand, unraveling.
Faded dreams.

Years overlap. Encumbering.
Emotions are numb.
Hubby seeks greener pastures.
Two-timer. Tosses me to the wolves.
Abandon.

Grown children look back.
Open arms. Nostalgic.
Rebuild the fences.
Dying to live.
Forgive.

 

Original poem by Mary A. Pérez

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Filed under Love, Valentine's Day

The Birthday Boy

Hello my fellow blog followers and fans!

Sometimes life throws you a curveball – sometimes you duck, sometimes it hits you right upside your head. How you react will determine what kind of player you are.

So what do you do when fear knocks on your door? Do you face your giant, or do you stick your head in the sand? Remember there are two sides of F.E.A.R.: Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise. Takes grit, doesn’t it? More importantly, it takes God’s grace, too.

Eight months prior, was such a trying time for us with all the emotional roller-coaster from one minute to the next. We weren’t sure what the next second would bring, let alone the next day. The days and nights were difficult ones. But I’m here to tell you that the support, prayers, and genuine love from family and friends made all the difference in the world! And I am happy to report that my husband is a walking miracle; (read about it here), and I am so thankful for the goodness and mercy of God.

I recently threw a surprised party for the Birthday Boy, also called the Miracle Man, with many of our close and precious friends. It was an incredible turn out and my hubby was indeed taken by surprised. He couldn’t believe how many people were able to keep the secret from him! Whew!

On July 21st, we celebrated Mark’s life. And I would like to share some of those moments with you through this slide.

 

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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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Pathway to Tears

I consider myself a tough cookie. After all, aren’t I a survivor? I’ve survived a few hard knocks along life’s path: 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 …

BUT God!

Howbeit, there is a softer side to me as well. This thing called “tears”. A family member has even called me sentimental. I have been known to cry after losing a beloved pet, even an insect (hey, they make pets too, at least they did for me when I was a child). I recently cried when my husband surprised me with flowers after having a taxing day. I cried – or blubbered rather – after shooting my first deer. I may cry during weddings, engrossed in a book, listening to a song, or when watching a movie. I especially cry when I hear a newborn’s first cry, whether in real life or on TV, I can’t help it, the tears flow. I sometimes cry while laughing at something funny, in opening up presents, when saying goodbye, while praying, or worshiping and singing in church. Seeing majestic mountains, colorful rainbows, the stillness of the ocean, a fluffy kitten, or a hummingbird nestling near by can make me cry. I even cried when I heard my grandchild call me “Mimi” for the first time. And yes, at times I cry when I’m hurt, scared, tired, or angry.

But I don’t want you to know that. Because I am tough. Not weak. Remember?

Now I’m not much of a horse person, but I know enough to know that a horse is full of grace and strength with every muscle, tendons and ligaments working in unison to support a rider at galloping speed. Yet, that same powerful, majestic horse is controlled by a bit in its mouth and will move in the direction the rider wants to go.

When I read about Moses, he was the meekest man who walked the earth. When I read about Jesus, He was all-powerful, yet kept that power in check. His meekness was not weakness.

So, I say: It’s okay. It’s okay to let your guard down at times and reveal your softer, sensitive self. It doesn’t mean you’re a softy, or a weakling, or a pushover. Power under control means self-control, and that is a virtue. After all, we are human with God-given emotions. Besides, God. Bottles. Our. Tears.

And because God loves us so much, I would venture to say:

Sometimes God cries.

Thank you Lord, for loving me for me.

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

bottled tears

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Valiant Blogger Award

Although I have a full 45 hour-week work schedule, along with juggling in being a wife, mother and a grandmother who does monthly weekend road trips, marketing and promoting my published memoir, I do my best to continue blogging and working on other writing projects in between. I have enjoyed the process and taking you all along with me.

I would like to thank one of my faithful follower and fan for nominating me for The Valiant Blogger Award. I am both grateful and humbled by her nomination. Cheri is a gifted writer and a courageous survivor in her own right. You should visit Cheri’s blog at Joyously Hopeful. Her hope in the face of life’s many challenges, her persistence and her faithfulness in the midst of it all exemplifies a lioness heart!


The Valiant Blogger Award is for the blogger who is brave and courageous. It is dedicated to someone who, despite being faced with the most difficult obstacles in life, chooses to fight on and never give up. It is for the lionhearted, one who faces fears and challenges, who has become an inspiration to so many along the way.

RULES:
1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Provide a link to the Hall of Valor.
3. In 200 words or less, share about the greatest challenge in your life and HOW you got through it.
4. Give one piece of advice to people who are struggling with something in their life.
5. Thank the person who nominated you, and nominate a new blogger for the award.


An intro about me:

Even before attempting to blog, I had begun to write about my childhood journeys on into my adulthood. At first I thought it would be for my kids’ eyes only. But after being told that I had a story worth sharing so that others may hear and become inspired, I began to think outside the box. I believe doors open in God’s perfect timing as He puts the right people in your path. Me publishing my memoir two years ago is a dream fulfilled.

I share my story that I might inspire and encourage others to find their own strength and to overcome bitterness through accepting God’s grace. That was the key to my freedom from a cycle of poverty and abuse, and if my story helps someone else understand the power of forgiveness to purchase liberty, then I’ve accomplished my mission.

Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” is more than a memoir. It is a promise of hope and survival to anyone who woke up hungry and went to bed hungrier every day, for anyone who was abandoned as a child or an adult, for every wife who has loved a husband who left bruises on her heart and on her body.


My Greatest Challenge

Image result for low self-esteem image

My greatest challenge in life was finding my self-worth. I struggled with low self-esteem, and still fight it on occasion.  I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I grew up in an impoverished home and was a high school drop out. I fell in love with a ruthless man twice my age, married, and the babies came while I was still so young.

When you’re going through struggles, you sometimes feel like you’re all alone. The pain is real. The hurt feels as though your insides will burst, and in your brokenness you feel hopeless, like there will never be an end. Instead of reaching out, you become a shut-in. Sometimes you medicate yourself with alcohol, drugs, or even food. You feel like all hope is lost and no one cares. Sometimes you keep your struggles to yourself because you are too ashamed of your pain.


One Piece of Advice

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You don’t have to be a product of your environment. You can rise above the ashes and become stronger than any storm that tried to take the wind out of your sail. Your yesterday does not define your today. Never forget that God is a God of second chances and new beginnings, bringing hope to the hopeless and forgiveness to the inexcusable. You don’t have to remain a victim, alone or afraid.

You may be a mess today, but your mess can turn into a message of hope, survival and forgiveness.


I nominate:

Karin Lynn-Hill, FOGwalkerBirdie, a charming and uplifting blogger and author. She is a breath of fresh air who continually presses through, counting it all joy and giving God all the glory! Karin is the author of several devotional books. Here are some to name a few:

Psalm 119 – A Deeper Look: An In-Depth Bible Study & Interactive Journal
Forgiveness: An Act of Obedience
Walking and Living Joyfully: Discovering True Joy

Look for them on  Amazon!   https://www.amazon.com/Karin-Lynn-Hill/e/B01KKHXOQO/

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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

About

 

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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.

heartbeat

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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Secret of Life

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Read this wonderful story today:

On the first day of classes, our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me. She said, “Hi handsome, my name is Rose, and I am eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze. We became instant friends. Everyday for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went.

At the end of the year, we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us.

After the introduction, she stepped up to the podium, cleared her throat and began . . .

“We don’t stop playing because we’re old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!”

“There’s a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything, I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to her. She taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

These words have been passed along in loving memory of Rose:

“Remember growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional. We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

In youth we learn; in age we understand. ~ Source Unknown

 

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July 16, 2016 · 10:48 AM