Tag Archives: life

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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Filed under birthday celebration, Survivor

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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Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Resiliency

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

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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

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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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Filed under Valiant Blogger Award

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.

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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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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

Metamorphosis

My family was poor.  As a child, by not owning four-legged friends, I grew an interest in the behaviors of tiny critters, such as insects. Curious at what lay beneath the ant piles, I liked to dig apart their colonies to watch the different activities of the workers, the soldiers, and the queen ant that I read about in books. I never developed a fear of grasshoppers, even if they spat “tobacco” on my fingers, or of handling caterpillars that pricked when they crawled on my hand, or of sneaking up on lizards that left their wiggling tails behind — I was too caught up wondering what the funny red thing on their throats going in and out was all about. My fascination for those critters was a favorite pastime.

Not all school projects were memorable, but I recall one that stuck with me for years. When the teacher assigned a report on any subject, I decided to pick caterpillars. On a large poster board, I drew the four stages of the butterfly: (1) egg, (2) larva, (3) pupa, and (4) adult. I described metamorphosis. Though it wasn’t a Picasso, my work earned a ranking on my school’s hallway wall, posted for all to see, with the highest mark in class: A+.

One sunny day at school during recess, I found a black, woolly caterpillar crawling in the shrubs and unafraid, gently placed it in my palm. A classmate asked to see what I held. When I opened my hand to show him, he whacked it so hard that the caterpillar flew out and disappeared onto a bush. And that’s when I morphed! Without hesitation, I slapped him on the face, hard. The boy stood stunned, mouth opened.

As an adult, I often thought about the word metamorphose. It means to change completely in nature or form.

I think back about how alcohol deceived my loved ones, giving them a false sense of power. After drinking, like the caterpillar many years ago in my book report, they metamorphosed into social butterflies fresh out of its cocoon. They felt invincible, glamorous or intelligent. Gone were the restraints that crippled them emotionally. They carried a false sense of bravado. It was then that they laughed wildly, conversed freely, and flirted openly.

The more attention and compliments they received from others, the less they knew the difference between genuine praise and mere flattery.

(A small excerpt taken from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace. )

 

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

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

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Filed under Behavior, Personal

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

Our Queen Elizabeth

Remember Elizabeth? We still care for her. My husband and daughter are in the construction business together. Whenever all three of us have to work, Amy then steps in and cares for her while we’re gone.

Elizabeth loves people. She’s always been full of life, charm and plenty of spirit. Although more frail than before, she still believes in 90% attitude and 10% circumstance. Her favorite song: No matter what the circumstances, what I feel or see – the Word of God is working mightily in me.

Elizabeth loves to laugh, crack a joke, watch the Kentucky Derby and cackle at America’s Funniest Videos. She loves The Lawrence Welk Show, and would go right on dancing if only she could.

I’ve known her for over thirty-five years. She may not be able to walk anymore, she may have limitations, forget what day it is, or if it’s morning or night. But her heart continues to beat. Her wit is still sharp, as well as her tongue.

They say the Lord sometimes works in mysterious ways. A few years back due to circumstances beyond our control, we needed a place to call home. Elizabeth needed someone reliable and dependable to care for her. She pointed out the obvious and insisted upon the arrangement. Bonds were sealed. Hearts were mended.

While we attend to Elizabeth’s daily necessities, she is grateful and cannot express enough how much she appreciates us. But believe me when I say: It is she who has enriched our lives and we are grateful for her.

Once upon a time a horse and buggy rushed a mother to the hospital to give birth to a little girl. The year was 1911. It is a fact that Elizabeth was a one-year-old during the Titanic. Yes, she will be 105-years-young on January 6th.

As the Lord continues to give us the grace needed daily in performing this important task, He reminds us how much sweet Elizabeth is teaching us about life.

To know our Queen Elizabeth is to love her!

As I age, may I emulate her God-giving longevity and passion for living life to its fullest.

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Elizabeth, 40 yrs.

 

“Lord, teach me to number my days so that I may apply my heart unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

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

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Filed under Centenarian, Elderly Care

Circle of Life

Once upon a time there lived a lonely girl. Intimately acquainted with an empty stomach, she carried hunger in her heart, starving for love.

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In spite of her destitute and inner turmoil, she grew up and broke away, searching for love. Eventually she’d marry and have a family of her own, never dreaming how they’d fill the void in her heart.

 

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In the circle of life, her little ones grew to have little ones of their own.

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She felt young at heart again, and couldn’t imagine life without them.

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And the not-so-little-girl wasn’t lonely anymore.

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The end.

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