Tag Archives: Musing

Precious Moments

This simple video here will mean a lifetime of precious memories …

You see, Daddy is in the beginning stages of forgetfulness (I don’t like the word dementia). While his short term memory may be failing, he still can recall things that took place several years ago. Those memories are forever embedded within the recesses of his memory bank. Daddy has always been a story teller, just visit here https://maryaperez.com/2013/06/07/i-no-spic-inglish/  

On my last visit, it dawned on me that I should record him recanting one of his many stories regarding his first job, and also touch on the quirkiness about that particular story. His mind was fully intact, and if he ventured off, I easily steered him back on track. After we were done, I replayed the recording back to him. As he watched it, he became animated with emotions as if the entire event became alive and he was actually reliving the story. He pointed with eyebrows raised, agreed with what was being said, laughed and even had tears in his eyes! He looked up at me and said, “When your daddy is gone, you’ll always have this to remember, eh?”

Back home in Texas, every time I play this video, it brings back tears to my eyes. I realize the possibility that in the days to come Daddy may struggle with his memory more and more. I think often about my mama and other elderly members in the family. I wonder if we would record them interacting and then play back those recordings to them, that maybe it can help our loved ones remember. Just like hearing a song we haven’t heard in a while and the way it will bring us back to a certain place in time. One thing that does not work, is to belittle them because they forgot or behaved in a way than they normally would. I watched how when one of us tried to correct Daddy when he said something he shouldn’t have said, how it would escalate into such a ruckus. I noticed if the behavior was ignored or directed into something else positive, the drama pretty much ended. Sort of like in dealing with children …

His eyes still twinkle with glee, the mirth in his thick Puerto Rican accent, combined with animated personality is my daddy – I will love and cherish him forever!

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December 6, 2017 · 7:50 PM

Celebrating Mama

Someone said, crying is a way your eyes speak when your mouth can’t explain how broken your heart is.

We recently celebrated Mama’s birthday. While the company and the food were great, I saw Mama in a different light. It pained me to see her that way. Although she had a smile on her face, her eyes reflected pain and discomfort.

Mama is aging and more feeble with time. She’s more of a shut in these days and she can barely move. Many thoughts go through my head, along with memories of my difficult childhood past. But that was then and this is now. Mama is Mama – and she’s my Mama. I’ll take her anyway I can get her – flaws and all. Hell, I even have flaws! But what troubles me is not what she and I have gone through together; what troubles me is the present. She is fearful of saying what ails her. She doesn’t like the idea of going to a hospital, nor the thought of possibly living in a nursing home one day. She’d rather suffer alone than communicate about her ailments in a doctor’s ear. I don’t know what to do. She’s never been an easy patient and she is stubborn.

I. Feel. Hopeless.

I’m praying that the Lord shows us what to do and for Mama to be at peace. I just want her to know that she’s loved and that we want only the best for her. I need her to feel safe and secure and to know beyond a shadow of doubt; she does not have to fear.  Fear has torment. It will consume the mind and crush any hope one might dare to have. Fear troubles the heart and makes one weary.

I believe God is bigger than our fears. I believe He wants us to cast all of our troubles to Him and not grow weary. We are not immune to the sufferings of this life, but because of the Lord there is always hope. All He ask is that we put our trust in Him and lay our burdens down at His feet. He says to trust Him and lean not to our own understanding. Not always an easy feat, I admit.

Words may escape me at times. I may grow impatient and miscommunicate my true intentions; my grit and courage may fall short. But while I have breath in my being I will never give up on the goodness of God! We are a work in progress. I know He will make a way. Look how far He has brought us – He’s not finished with any of us yet!

I. Feel. Hopeful.

I choose to allow forgiveness to remain in my heart. While Mama is still here, I will let her know that she is valued and loved. While it’s true our roles may have been reversed, she is still my Mama. And you know what?

I. Still. Need. My. Mama.

So Mama, I celebrate you. Hand in hand, we will find a way to make everything all right.

I. Love. You.

 

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*** Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace ***

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“The moment I started it, I had echoes of ‘The Glass Castle’. This is recommended for anyone who loved Walls’ memoirs, as they have some strong parallels.” – Kath Cross (blogger).

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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

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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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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

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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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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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7 Sistas Bookclub

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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

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