Tag Archives: life

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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Filed under Life, musing

Not that Girl Anymore

She is not the girl who scratched and clawed her way to the top. She is the girl who learned how 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 learned that childlike faith in the God above would blossom into something much greater than herself. She may have had father figures who were missing in action, but she became comforted with a Heavenly Father who never left her side.

Once dejected and rejected, today she no longer is that sad, little girl. Don’t 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 air 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. If you expect to see sophistication or to hear profound eloquence, you may be disappointed. Her past may 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 is stronger today for everything she endured. 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.

Sad . . . alone . . . afraid.

Not that girl anymore.

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© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

 “The past does not have to be your prison. You have a voice in your destiny. You have a say in your life. You have a choice in the path you take.” Max Lucado

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Filed under Survivor

The Measure of Days

 

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Meet Elizabeth. My husband, daughter and I care for her. For the past six days, she has been in the hospital. Without going into all the medical jargon, her quality of life is the key to her time left with us. She may be elderly. She may be frail. But she has the heart of a lioness! She is like family. She has not only enriched our lives, but with all to whom she comes into contact with. After a specialist performed a procedure on her, his words to us were, “Well, I didn’t want it to happen, had no intention of letting it happen, but she got to me. She’s in,” he said and added, “She’s in here,” pointing to his heart.

Indeed, to know her is to love her. Today she’s back home with us and we are grateful. I cannot help but think on the measure of her time left with us.

I think about an hourglass; time flowing like sand, slipping away.

Photo Credit: ipsbmtc via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ipsbmtc via Compfight cc

 

I think about the tick tock of a clock, a timepiece of the human heart’s mortality.

Photo Credit: Left Foot via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Left Foot via Compfight cc

 

“LORD, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.” Psalm 39:4

The above scripture reminds me that life is fleeting. Although I cannot truly measure my days, I will strive to make each day count and remember that while I may be weak, my God is strong. When I think about life, I can’t help but think about a 103-year-old woman name Elizabeth with her zest for life, her love for others, and all that she means to me!

I wrote about this remarkable woman before; you can read my post here This Lesson Called Life

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

12 Comments

Filed under elderly

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.pic

In spite of her destitute and inner turmoil, she grew up and broke away in search 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.

10 Comments

December 30, 2013 · 9:29 PM

This Lesson About Life

The lesson about life with its many twists and turns has been an amazing journey. I often think: What legacy will I leave behind when I’m finished with this race? What I do today, will it count for something tomorrow? When I’m long gone, will I merely be a faded memory, or burn in someone’s heart? Will my deeds be forgotten? Lost? Or buried?

I’ve read about some incredible women. These women did not allow age, status, limitations, or even imprisonment to keep them from their destiny. As fleeting as it is, they knew their self-worth and value in this life. Women like Mother Teresa who gave 50 years of service to the poor, the sick, the orphans, and the dying in Calcutta India. Women like Corrie ten Boom who spent 10 months in a concentration camp, who at the age of 53 began a worldwide ministry that took her into more than 60 countries in the next 33 years of her life. I didn’t know them personally, but they were admirable, inspirational women.

They made a difference.

Many endearing women have come into my life, not only as friends, but as mothers, sisters, and grandmothers. While each embodies unique gifting, each holds a special place in my heart.

One such individual is Elizabeth. She loves people. She is full of life, charm and wit. She believes in having a 90% attitude and 10% circumstance. She loves to laugh, crack a joke, watch the Kentucky Derby, share about her travels around the world, read anything that takes her miles away, watch The Lawrence Welk Show, and go right on dancing if only she could.

I’ve known her for over thirty years, but within the past couple of years, she is unable to use her walker. She doesn’t walk anymore. Yet her mind is still intact; her wits still sharp, as well as her tongue. My husband, daughter and I take care of her. While we attend to her daily needs, she is teaching us about life. Oh, and did I mention a horse and buggy rushed her to the hospital and that she was one-years-old during the Titanic?

That’s right, Elizabeth was born in 1911. You do the math.

To know Elizabeth is to have your life enriched.

As I age, may I emulate her love and passion for living.

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© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

20 Comments

October 24, 2013 · 10:26 PM

This Thing Called Tears

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 …

BUT God!

Howbeit, there is a softer side to me as well. This thing called tears. Yes, a family member has even called me sentimental. I have been known to cry after losing a pet, even an insect. I cried when I shot my first deer. I may cry when reading a book, in a dance, a song, during weddings, 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 when opening presents, saying goodbye, at being pleasantly surprised, while laughing, praying, or worshipping in church. Seeing mountains, rainbows, the ocean, a kitten, or a hummingbird can make me cry. I cried when I heard my grandchild call me “Mimi” for the first time. And at times, I cry when I’m hurt, scared, tired, or angry.

But I don’t want you to know that. 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 to let our guard down at times and reveal our softer, sensitive self. It doesn’t mean we’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.

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

tears

23 Comments

Filed under musing, virtues

Faded Roses?

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Age. Aging. Ageless.

I rarely think about my age but the body has a way of reminding me whenever I throw my back out or my knee pops. And yes, in the mirror I sometimes notice an extra line here, another wrinkle there, and as I gaze upon certain areas of my physique I find myself wondering, where did “it” go and when did “that” change?

From time to time I muse about my early years in having to grow up so fast, and then in my teens and young adulthood in raising four children. Next thing I knew my twenties were gone, and my marriage was deteriorating. Divorced in my thirties (I felt like a failure but the world did not end), and remarried by my mid-thirties (thank God for new beginnings). I can shout from the rooftop that no marriage is so good that it can’t be made better! (You see, I’ve been married most of my life.) Then when I approached my early forties, the seasons changed again for me, this time, embracing the wonders of grand-parenting.

So, in my fifties, as I reflect on this aging process—knowing I certainly don’t have all the answers—I’ve learned a thing or two about what life has dealt me.

I read in Psalms 90:12: So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”  This passage speaks to me and tells me to make each day count. I must remember to live in the present, not in the yesterdays or in the tomorrows. I must laugh often, love deeply, pray sincerely, and believe that my best days are before me.

As my birthday quickly approaches around the corner, I can’t help but think: have I done all I ever wanted to do? Of course, the answer is a resounding: Not even close. Am I running out of time? That’s God’s business. I believe life is a gift from God and I’ll take each day and cherish the moment. He is the reason for every good thing, every heartbeat, and every second chance.

I love the lyrics to “Every Good Thing” by The Afters:

I tend to be busier than I should be
I tend to think that time is going to wait for me
Sometimes I forget and take for granted
That it’s a beautiful life we live
I don’t want to miss the moments like this
This is a beautiful life You give

You’re the reason for every good thing, every heartbeat
Every day we get to breathe
You’re the reason for anything that lasts, every second chance
Every laugh
Life is so sweet
You’re the reason for every good thing

There will be days that give me more than I can take
But I know that You always make beauty from my heartache
Don’t want to forget or take for granted
That it’s a beautiful life we live
I’m not going to miss the moments like this
This is a beautiful life You give

It’s our family, it’s our friends
It’s the feeling that I get when I see my children smile
You’re the reason for this life, everything we love
It’s You alive in us
You’re alive in us

You are here in every moment, and I know that You’re every good thing
You are here in every moment, and I know that You’re the reason for
You are every good thing

For the love I still see in my children’s eyes, the laughter in my grandchildren’s voices, the warmth of my husband’s embrace, the scent of rain lingering in the air, and the taste of grateful tears streaming down my cheeks, I am thankful for the goodness of God in granting me another year.

Someone said that age is a myth and beauty is a state of mind. I like that.

Faded roses? No. May I grow old gracefully, forever blooming where I am planted, one petal at a time.

A heartfelt thanks to my lovely daughter, Anna, for putting this video together

A heartfelt thanks to my lovely daughter, Anna, for putting this video together

 

© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved

 

22 Comments

August 24, 2013 · 9:04 PM