Tag Archives: Musing

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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Filed under Benevolence

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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Are You Damaged Goods?

Definition of damaged goods: inadequate or impaired. Products that are broken, cracked, scratched, etc.: a person who is considered to be no longer desirable or valuable because of something that has happened: a person whose reputation is damaged.

Is that you?

Regardless of your past or present, you don’t have to remain that way.

Was that ever me?

You betcha!

Read on …

Hollow. Pure loneliness. Dark, like a bottomless pit. Ripping in my chest. Piercing my heart. Again, he stays out all night. Overcome by torment. Abandonment accompanies me. Consumed with depression, isolation wraps itself around me. My mind races with wild imaginations of where he has gone, what he is doing, and with whom.

Instead of going to bed to sleep, I am wearing a hole in the couch. At the sound of every car approaching, like a jack-in-the-box I spring to peek out the window hoping he has returned. With every disappointment, my stomach turns into knots. My own sobs mock me until I cry myself to semi-consciousness. Hideous lies will follow after he returns and add to my anguish and emotional decline. 

This was me back then dealing with my former (cheating) husband. His words like rubbing alcohol pouring over fresh wounds, stung! No band-aid could heal my emotional pain. No quick-fixes. Deeper and deeper I sunk into a dark abyss, crushed beyond repair. For several years, that was my pathetic frame of mind. I know now it didn’t have to be. So, what was the deal?

I had an overload of abuse: physically, verbally, emotionally. I had low self-esteem and zero self-worth. I believed and accepted a lie about me and my situation. I figured since this was my lot in life, better make do. I witnessed my mom go through a cycle of abuse, but I was obviously blind to my own. I made him mad againMaybe I deserved it … Talk about co-dependency!

How do you perceive yourself? Have you been lied to, beaten down and trodden upon? Feel like you’ll never come up for air? Are you tired of stumbling around in blindness, things so bleak you can’t even see your own self-worth? Drowning in sorrow and self-pity? Or maybe you feel you’re at the point of no return in trying to please another. You compromise your values, your mental state, your resources, your health!

Stop allowing someone’s negativity or ill-treatment to rob you of your joy and develop a callous heart. Realize you are worthy. You are valued and matter. There’s nothing wrong with being fragile … but let it be like fine china. Just know that you are not damaged goods; a throw away or a faded memory. Don’t be someone’s victim because you listened to their lies and empty promises.

Get up! Rediscover yourself. Feel your wrist. What is that? A pulse? Then you have purpose! Allow the Master’s hand to reach down and set you on high places. He’ll wipe the tears and dust the soot from off your heart. If God could get me out of the pit, He can get you out, too. It takes a made-up mind. A determination that today is the best day of the rest of your life.

What’s in your hands? What’s in your heart? A dream? A gift? A precious child? You have something worth fighting for. Choose your battles.

 If you don’t know my pain, you’ll never understand my praise.

 

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August 20, 2015 · 7:00 AM

Garment of Praise

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Photo Source: unknown

What exactly is “praise”?

There are many definitions of praise – I will focus on one.

Definition of Praise: The offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship: a hymn of praise to God.

When I was new in my walk with the Lord, I commonly heard the term “sacrificial praise.” I was like: Who feels like giving praise when you’re going through hardships and struggles?

But I have learned in doing just this very thing, it can unlock a lot of the weight and heaviness of one’s heart. This was a huge breakthrough for me, and I imagine can be for you as well.

We don’t praise God for the trials, we praise Him because He is faithful to get us through. How? That’s His business! Our business is to trust and rely on Him.

You’ll begin to focus better, see clearer, and think sharper.

So praise God during your struggles.

Praise Him with your tears.

Praise Him in the night seasons.

Praise Him through your fears.

Praise Him in the midst of confusion.

Praise Him with your mess.

Praise Him in all your questions.

Praise Him on your quest.

If on a mountain peak,

Or down in the dump;

Even if things look bleak,

or stuck in a slump.

Your load will soon feel lighter.

Your heart slightly fuller.

Your mind a little sharper.

 Your steps a tad bit quicker.

Then you’ll praise Him that the fog has lifted,

Praise Him the pain has eased,

Praise Him for the circumstances shifted,

 Praise Him that the gloom has ceased.

Lift your hands in surrender to Him.

For the spirit of heaviness, put on that Garment of Praise!

If you don’t know my pain, you’ll never understand my praise.

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Filed under Devotion, encouragement

Oil of Joy

What exactly is joy?

I’ve heard it said, “The world didn’t give it to you and the world can’t take it away.”

Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. At least that’s what I read online. Sounds good to me, but I know from experience pleasure and happiness don’t last. Let’s face it, most of us look to others to please us. We look to others to make us happy, just as we look to things to make us happy and bring us pleasure. But if we’re honest, that in itself is fleeting, isn’t it? Before you know it, we’re needing another fix!

So, how is “joy” different?

The Bible teaches that the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10b); I love that! But can one experience joy while going through everyday life with its many toils, twists and turns? To be honest, during times of trauma, the thought of joy escapes me. I mean, I am not necessarily thinking about joy during these times.

So when I read my bible and reminded that the joy of the Lord is my strength, this is what it means to me: It’s a joy unspeakable and full of glory!

I may not be able to explain it, put my finger on it, or even see it. But I know it’s there – I know it in my knower. (Bear with me please, I’m fully aware this isn’t “correct” English.) But I just know that I know. It’s not an “in your face” kind of thing. It’s not necessarily a giddiness. It’s not even a denial of difficulties. For me it’s a reassurance that everything is going to be all right. I may not understand some things, even while having a meltdown, feel sad or grieving.

The pain is real. The battle is real. But so is the joy real. This joy is an indescribable knowing that come hell or high water, I am safe and secure in my Heavenly Father’s arms (just like when I was a child in my earthly daddy’s arms). Even in the midst of pain and sorrow, here is where there’s strength and comfort. This joy floods the heart, it brings an inner peace and strength even though everything else around may be chaotic.

I didn’t always know this or believe this way. But through my experiences, I’ve learned some things. Life happens. Happiness is fleeting. Pleasure is temporary. But the joy of the Lord is constant regardless of circumstances and situations.

Joy is the best makeup – Anne Lamott

Excuse me while I put some makeup on.

Have you experienced this joy?

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Filed under Devotional, Isaiah 61:3

“Dun You Forget.”

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Into my pre-teen years—although I tried to hide my true feelings—I became self-conscious that developed into a guarded inferiority complex. While not shy as my mother had been, I felt like an outcast: I came from a broken home, my family was poor, and I was still on the school’s free lunch program. My clothes were hand-me-downs. We didn’t own a car. I didn’t even own a bike, although I always wanted one. We didn’t go on vacations like to Disney World the other kids bragged about, nor could we afford the latest trends or luxuries as others.

As I wrestled with these feelings of mediocrity, I became ashamed of my Puerto Rican heritage. I didn’t play the blame-game, but felt second-rate, forever on the outside looking in. I determined not to let anyone see through my brittle exterior to see a weakling. In school, because I didn’t feel part of the “in” crowd, I enviously watched as the popular kids were voted for class president, vice-president, or secretary. In my mind, I believed the ritzy kids went to summer camps, swimming lessons, and Girl Scout meetings. After all, they paid for their school lunches, not the state. They wore the latest fashions, not hand-me-downs. Their straight pearly whites glistened when they smiled. They even pronounced their words perfectly. They lived in big houses whose parents had “nest eggs.”

“Some are more privileged than others,” Grandma explained to me. “But we are all the same in God’s eyes.”

I wasn’t about to argue with Grandma’s statement. All I knew was that there never seemed to be enough funds to do anything extra. My grandparents were extremely frugal. They didn’t believe in splurging or in keeping up with the Joneses.

In the early seventies, several public schools were still racially unbalanced, so the federal courts stepped in. Miami’s school districts bused students from one neighborhood to another to achieve integration.

Busing made my life plummet from bad to worse. I attended Miami Shores Middle School, a predominantly white school where kids commonly called Hispanics “spics.”

Because I was Puerto Rican descent, I was the target of their taunting. “You spic English?” they scoffed, using their favorite line. They even gave me grief about my naturally full-sized lips (something others now pay money to have done).

To make matters worse for me, my grandma—unpretentious and a bit old-fashioned— insisted I wear dresses to school past my knees, even though other girls wore the trendy mini-skirts and mini-dresses. Almost all my clothes were second-hand, and at eleven years old—going on twelve—that bothered me.

“Grandma, this isn’t what the girls wear nowadays!” I groaned.

“Dis is what you’re wearin’, and you shouldn’t be ashamed. Your clothes are clean and pressed,” she said with finality in her usual accent.

I threw up my hands. “Grandma, you’re gonna make me get into fights!”

“You are a Christian girl,” she retorted, her eyes wide and fierce. “Dun you forget that.”

* * * *

Thanks to you, Grandma, I haven’t forgotten.

I’ll always remember my beloved grandma who passed away in the eighties, whose birthday would have been July 26th . In her simplicity, she impacted my life and instilled in me values and principles I shall never forget. 

© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Grandma, Memoir

Circumstances

How do you choose to look at circumstances?

Do you see the glass half empty, or half full?

 Photo Credit: jenny downing via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jenny downing via Compfight cc

Do you look for the flowers or the weeds?

 Photo Credit: macropoulos via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: macropoulos via Compfight cc

Can you see a rainbow or look for the clouds?

Photo Credit: linh.ngan via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: linh.ngan via Compfight cc

 

It’s really all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

Feel free to add your own insight.

 

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Filed under musing