Tag Archives: Musing

Confession of a Daughter

I still get jealous.

I confess.

After all this time, it pains me to admit this, but it’s true. Whenever I hear other’s express their close bond that they have with their mothers, I marvel how grand that must be!

And it stings.

Mama used to say: “You can have ten fathers but only one mother.”

I heard that line growing up and believed it. After my parents divorced, I had three different step-dads. In my young state of mind, I didn’t want to share my mama — she wasn’t married to any of them. I wanted us to be by ourselves. But Mama was too busy for me. I’m sure she did the best she could, but nurturing wasn’t in her DNA. Left on my own a great deal, I was a neglected child.

Loneliness was my middle name.

At age nine, once we moved to Florida, my grandma was more like a mother to me. I knew then what a mother’s love felt like and it just wasn’t the same as Mama’s. Not long after my daddy remarried, during visitations, my stepmother loved and welcomed me with opened arms. I felt special in her eyes. With Mama, sometimes I felt she didn’t even see me because she was so preoccupied. As I became older, bitterness festered and I wasn’t necessarily a role model teenager either. I just couldn’t wait to leave home and do better than Mama, in search of love. I fell flat on my face. But I learned some things.

I learned Mama was a prisoner in her own mind, but she did the best she knew to do. She felt I was always matured for my age, never realizing how much I needed her. I haven’t stopped loving Mama. I loved her then and I certainly love her now. But because I had no choice but to grow up too fast, our roles have always felt reversed.  Most of the time, I’ve felt like I was the mother.

The miles separate, the years have passed, Mama and I have since aged. I can look back and forgive my past; it has made me who I am today. I’ve had to learn to forgive Mama a hundred times over, whose harshness and demeanor become more passive and feeble with time. I must show her kindness and love. No she’s not perfect, but neither am I.

Today, I am someone’s mother and grandmother. I pray that my own loved ones will always feel my love, even when we don’t agree.

No matter what.

It takes work. Patience. Prayer.

And much forgiveness.

As for Mama and I: Our communication skills remain much to be desired. I’ll keep working at it.

Mother’s Day is around the corner. It has always been so complicated for me in choosing the right Mother’s Day card. Once again, I find myself putting the cards back on the shelf in search for the one that describes Mama perfectly.

I think I’ll continue to write one for her myself:14572937_10211331684595701_5234886440039336664_n

To my one and only Mama.

I loved you then.

I love you now.

No matter what.

Love always, still your little girl.

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Mother's Day, Mother/Daughter

Mediocrity

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I recently read about the curse of mediocrity … this so resonated with me! Truth be told, sometimes I just don’t feel right within myself, I can’t put my finger on it other than I know there really is no one else to blame. Ever have that “meh” feeling? Just want to veg out and chill and do nothing? Your mojo is gone! You say like Scarlett, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

I came across this poignant read in my devotions from Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard in “The One Year Daily Insights.”

“Do you ever feel as if you’re going through the motions? Some of us, for any number of reasons, have lost our passion for work, God, our families, and everything else in our lives. We drag ourselves in after a long day and collapse on the sofa only to tune out in front of the television. We no longer want to change the world. The most we can muster is changing the channel.”

“Even if the stress levels in our lives are only slightly above optimum, our minds, hearts, and bodies eventually wear down, and all forms of energy in our lives dissipate. We used to be excited about this goal or that purpose, but no longer. We used to care deeply about this person or that cause, but not anymore. All we want is to be left alone or to find somebody or something that will give us a few moments’ pleasure. The curse of mediocrity ruins us and everyone we touch.”

“If your heart is lukewarm, step back, take stock of your stress level, notice any negative habits you’ve allowed to develop—and make changes. Don’t settle for mediocrity any longer, but don’t just add more activity to your life. To become fully alive again, you may have to eliminate even more than add.”

Zig Ziglar goes on to say:

“…the most miserable creature on earth is the fence-straddler trying to please God and man. He fails to do either and ends up not even pleasing himself, mush less his fellow man or his God.”

Wow! Maybe at times, we are so busy being too busy that we lose focus and sight of our purpose. We don’t take time for ourselves to regroup or to refuel. We become empty, burned out and have nothing left other than leftovers to give to our loved ones let alone any one else! I’m talking about in doing the right things; we can still lose sight and forget the “whys” behind the drive. And who likes feeling as though they themselves are mediocre? Don’t even get me started! Anyone who has read my memoir knows I fought the feeling of being “less-than” for the majority of my life, and on occasion still fight this battle from within. But I refuse to remain on Mediocre Lane.

Listen, God don’t make junk. When He created you, He didn’t make anyone else like you. You are unique and a prize possession, the apple in His eye. Never give up on yourself. Sure, you will have some down days and you will reach a melting period, just don’t stay there! Let’s think about that TODAY.

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Mindset, motivation

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

Glamorous? Not so Much: My Life as an Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is my joy. This is my passion.

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

© M.A. Pérez 2016, All Rights Reserved

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

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

If I Had Known …

If I had known then what I know now,

I would have stopped the clock and savor every precious moment.

Instead, I found myself encumbered with the daily task of trying to keep afloat in being a mother.

If I had known then what I know now,
I would have frozen time just to gaze upon your little chest, rising and falling with every heartbeat while you slept peacefully in your crib.

If I had known then what I know now,
I would have sung more lullabies while rocking you on my lap, nestled in my arms, given you more kisses, and chased away all nightmares.

I’d have tickled you harder, squeezed you tighter, laughed with you louder, and played silly games with you longer.

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I would have taken more walks in the park, built many sand castles, eaten more ice cream cones with sprinkles, dug for the best sea shells, rode on all the merry-go-rounds, climbed every rock, smelled every flower, played catch more, run through the rain puddles, taken more photos and captured every single moment with you!

I was needed when you were small; you relied upon me then. If I only could now, I would hold you closer still, wipe your every teardrop, chase your every fear, and never let you down.

But the tide has turned, I could only watch from a distance. The sun has set and hidden beyond the horizon. My silent tears serve as a constant reminder that the times are fleeting.
With every hour. Every minute. Every second.

My heart swells with pride to see that you, my children,
have blossomed and matured.

But if I had known then what I know now … I would have done things so much different. I would have hushed the madness with all the hustle and bustle sooner, and cherished those magic moments when you were small; to cradle you in my arms forever and never let you go.

© M.A. Perez, All Rights Reserved

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

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Filed under Featured, poetry

7 Sistas Bookclub

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

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Filed under Book Club, Reflections From the Heart, Running in Heels

Hungry. Please Help. God Bless.

With a six-month-old baby, and my oldest just two-and-a-half, I was pregnant again! At nineteen years of age, I had gotten used to people’s stares of me the young, skinny girl with a round, swollen belly, a baby straddled on her hip, while holding the hand of another toddler. Excerpt from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace

That young, skinny girl was me back then.

Today, rushing out of the grocery store, preoccupied with my list of things yet to be done once I got home, I hear a lady’s faint voice call out to me. I look and read the card in her hand: HUNGRY. PLEASE HELP. GOD BLESS. I mumbled under my breath and continue my pace, but not without glancing at a toddler asleep, bundled up in a stroller.

This poor woman called out to me! But for the grace of God, there go I.

I reflect back to a sad place in my life when I could have been her with my own child.

Yet, today this woman called out to – a high-school drop out, wearing a beautiful watch purchased from her son, a designer purse from her daughter, an !phone in her hand, wearing a sparkly diamond wedding band, nice clothes, shoes, nails manicured, hair styled, climbing into her shiny SUV.

She called out to me! Lord, you’ve brought me further than I ever thought possible.

I cannot help but think back and see in my mind’s eye a young, insecure teenager who owned only one pair of shoes, hand-me-down clothes, wondering where her wandering-eyed husband was, while she struggled to care for her little ones, listening to the rumbling in her own stomach.

She was me!

Although not necessarily rolling in dough, I now have the comforts of home needed to sustain me, with more than enough food in my fridge, cupboards, and belly.  I am able to enjoy many of the things I couldn’t before, remarried to a wonderful and faithful guy for almost 22-years now.

Giving Hands

I don’t look like I once did.

In my vehicle, I fumble around in my purse and find a $20 bill. I
then, drive to where this woman is, roll down my window and call out to her. Her eyes widen; a smile comes across her face. She gushes “thank yous and God bless yous”.

A car honks behind me.

As I drive off, I am left feeling blessed indeed. I whisper a prayer for that young woman and her baby. I am filled with gratitude as I’m reminded of how far God has brought me, knowing, He’s not finished with me yet.

© M.A. Perez 2016, All Rights Reserved

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

I’ll Never Forget 9/11

I imagine most of us remember where we were or what we were doing on September 11th, 2001.

Around 7:50 a.m. while driving to work, the morning newscast blared over the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. As soon as I arrived at the office, I ran in and flicked on the TV to see the live broadcast of a massive hole in one of the towers caused by the plane’s impact minutes before. As fellow co-workers gathered in the small conference room, we couldn’t peel our eyes away from the screen. Black smoke billowed out the building, soon engulfed by flames.

We heard what our ears didn’t want to hear and continued to see images that will forever be etched in our minds. My insides plummeted as I saw a second plane hit the other tower. Buildings collapsed minutes later and we all gasped in horror knowing that hundreds—thousands—lost their lives.

My heart went out to those who lost loved ones on that fatal day.

That same evening, President Bush spoke powerful words: “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.”

Freedom isn’t free, I thought, and freedom is worth any cost.

(Excerpt from “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace,” chapter 43.)

May our presidents keep us free from terror, both at home and abroad.
May Almighty God keep us safe and secure in our hearts and in our homes.

photo credit: inktheworld.blogspot.com

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

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Filed under Remembering 9/11/2001

Ageless!

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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 ya know, 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 (like tomorrow the 27th), 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? 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.

Age … aging … ageless …?

I’ll take ageless!

I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds my tomorrows.

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