Tag Archives: personal

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

bottled tears

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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

Dance with Me

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Well, here we are! It’s hard to fathom that we’ve reached our 23rd year. It’s been an amazing ride!

From the beginning, I knew I could rely on him. For the first time, I didn’t have to face my struggles alone. When he vowed in becoming my soul-mate, he stood up to the plate in becoming a loving daddy to my four children. Although the roads have been bumpy, the ride has been exhilarating.

The route may not always be smooth, but the pathway is attainable because of his steadfastness. With every twist and turn, I find strength while learning to lean on his shoulders. In his arms, there is shelter in the midst of the rainstorms and warmth from the frigid winds.

He may not be perfect, but he’s the perfect one for me

Babe, thank you for choosing me. You believed in me before I believed in myself.  I want to thank you, for all the years by my side. Your laughter is music to my ears. When I look at you, I see the love in your eyes still twinkling … for me.

You are my safe place. I am not afraid to be me when I am with you.

Thank you for your sincere compliments, and for making me laugh (yes, I still laugh at his jokes). Thank you for putting a spring in my step, even when I throw my back out on occasion. Thank you for caring deeply whenever I’m sad, discouraged, or unsure.

I still want to curl up with you, with your hairy legs wrapped around my legs. I enjoy your gentle hugs, warm embraces and sweet kisses — even the ones on my head.

I thank God for making us one, knowing that together we will weather the storms.

I pray that God will grant us many more years in making more memories. I appreciate you, admire you, and love you more today than I did yesterday.

May I have this dance for the rest of our lives?

 

 

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

“No, not again! Not now!” I cried out in the bathroom. I’ll call Marisa. She’s always been strong. She has it together.

I reached for the phone and dialed her number. When she answered, I blurted, “The test is positive! I’m pregnant.” She’ll lift my spirits.

“Mary . . .” she began. “How in the world will you care for another baby?”

Then again, maybe not.

“What are you going to do?” Marisa squealed.

I thought, If I knew that, I wouldn’t have called you. Wasn’t I the one supposed to get some reassurances, some guidance, some support here?

“I . . . I don’t know, I thought–”

“Mary, what were you thinking?” she shot back. “You can’t possibly have another baby! You’re only twenty-one; you already have three children, and now number four on its way? Your husband drinks too much, he works only when he wants to, you have a child with special needs, you guys don’t have enough money . . . !”

My mind swirled. I hung by a flimsy strand, all hope slipping. Okay! Tell me something I don’t know. Marisa’s right, whom am I kidding? I. Can’t. Go. On.

Then, she added, “Listen, I’ll help you. If you will get an abortion . . . I will help you pay for one.”

So, that’s it? The quick-fix solution to the problem . . . to end an innocent life?

“I . . . I’ll have to think about this,” I muttered. “Let me sleep on it and get back with you.”

Did that answer come out of me?

I placed the receiver down, heavy with conflicting emotions. My world came to a halt. My heart felt heavy. I cradled my belly, thinking: I can’t have another baby. But can I truly consider this the way out?

The girls slept in their room. Their father was—Lord only knows where. I sat alone in the dark, crossed-legged on the bed. My head ached. My stomach tied in knots. Overcome with waves of hopelessness, memories churned to the one security blanket I had ever known: the home of my grandparents. And I realized I was sinking. Fast.

What happened to my anchor of faith? My hope? Isn’t God big enough to handle the mess in my life? I have to admit, I’ve been too busy for Him. Now that I need Him, does He still care? Then it occurred to me: If I can’t trust God now, then what’s the point of going on?

That instant I prayed like never before, and pored over my Bible. The Book of Psalms always comforted me, and that night before sleep overtook me, my “Ah hah” moment came after reading Psalm 139:13: For You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I wasn’t about to take the life of my unborn child, believing that God gave that life in me.

Come morning. A new day. A fresh start. Resolute in my decision, faith sparked. God had always taken care of me before. I determined to trust Him to carry me now. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Give me the grace to endure…

I reached for the phone and dialed Marisa’s number.

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

“Mary, think about what—”

“No!” I shouted. “I’m going to walk on and trust God. You knew my convictions. I thought they were yours too.”

“Mary, I was only trying. . .”

“How?” I interrupted, pacing the floor. “By offering me an abortion? I came to you down and out for encouragement and prayer. I needed to hear ‘hope’ beyond my pain, but you didn’t—you wouldn’t—give me that!”

“Look Mary, you’re still so young. I’ve been around longer than you. . .”

“You never had children,” I protested.

“I married a jerk once too. They don’t change.” Marisa went on to give one reason after another how she was looking out for my best interest.

After long seconds of dead silence and nothing else to say, we hung up.

I thought of a lesson in Sunday school about Job who called his friends miserable comforters, even his wife told him to “curse God and die.” They were supposed to be his friends; yet, those comforters increased his trouble by condemning him.

Marisa and I parted ways. Our friendship ended that day.

Days, weeks and months overlapped one another; my past troubles behind me. With my heart overflowing and my eyes drowning in tears, I reached down to kiss my newborn. “Hello, Daniel Michael,” I whispered. “I’m your Mommy.”

**********

Before long, my little curly-lock hair boy is running around with deep brown eyes touching my heart each time he looks up at me.

Next thing I knew I blinked, and the little boy is now a strapping young man and I am gazing up at him.

(An excerpt from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace)

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Note: Please understand I share this story not to condemn, criticize, judge or belittle anyone who for whatever reason may have made a different decision than I did. Everyone has their own story to tell; this is mine. I may have made a lot of mistakes in my life. This was one example when I was strong enough to make the right decision for me. I believe that strength came as I prayed to my Heavenly Father. While it’s true that I may have my share of regrets in life, not giving birth to my one and only son thirty-five years ago is not one of them.

Happy Birthday, son! I love you with all my heart!

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Memoir, Pro-Life, Uncategorized

Does Size Matter?

Hey y’all!

Here’s a continuation of my Toastmasters journey.

My first speech, The Ice Breaker was given  a few weeks ago. The following is Speech #2 of the Toastmasters speech series. Objectives: Supporting material, transitions, strong opening and closing statements withing 4-6 minutes. I’d like to share with you my speech which I titled, “Does Size Matter?” Once again, yes, I was nervous, although my husband in the audience said I hid it well. Yes, I even said a phrase backwards, but hey, you just press on through it.

My fellow Toastmasters:

How many of you have dreams? Visions? Goals? Most of you, right?

Some things don’t sit right with me & here is a Pet Peeve:

I have heard time & time again how one has to dream BIG in

Order to achieve something … or be something …

0r change something …

You’ve heard the saying:

IF YOUR DREAMS DON’T SCARE YOU THEY AREN’T BIG ENOUGH!

This is what I’d like to say about that:

I’ve got plenty of dreams, okay?

Your dream may not be mine and I can guarantee

that mine aren’t yours. But a dream is a dream is a dream.

I just don’t buy the line, hook & sinker that dictates:

Your dream doesn’t count; or isn’t as important if it isn’t

“BIG” enough!

No, sir!  No, ma’am!

Think what you will – but you can’t look down on my dreams

and say that yours is more important than mine.

My dreams mean everything to me! Who are you to downplay them?

Have you walked in my shoes?

When I wrote “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace,”

I not only mentioned some of the heartaches that I endured

both as a child & a young adult, but I had also mentioned

the good, happy and contented times. And you know what?

Some people actually frowned upon some of those events I wrote about,

because it seemed insignificant to them.

You see, apparently, my life wasn’t glamorous enough, or special enough.

For example:

1st puppy

1st home cooked meal that I made  as a child– chewy pasta/soupy spaghetti sauce

1st taste of French Toast

1st bubble bath

1st Barbie Doll

Going to park/playing on swing set with my real Dad

Living with my grandparents/eating 3-meals a day

Now I ask you: For them to suggest that was it fair?

I’d like to say to them: Hey! I’m tickled pink you had such a much happier life than mine!

Nonetheless, those were my special & cherished moments and they meant everything to this gal!

You understand – I held on to HOPE. Do you know that a little hope goes a long way?

I embraced faith {show photo} like this picture, having a “mustard seed” type of faith,

Just enough faith to believe that anything is possible!!!

Someone said: Little girls with dreams become women with vision.

And you know what? I AM A DREAM COME TRUE.

We ALL have goals – we ALL dream dreams.

Just don’t try to be like anyone else.

Be true to yourself and follow your heart.

Pursue your passion; pursue your dreams and

Don’t ever quit or stop trying.

Now timing is everything and sometimes it takes baby steps.

But don’t allow anyone to downplay or rob you of your

Dreams … Talents … or Strengths!

Ever.fullsizerender

No matter the size.

So I ask you:

Does Size Matter?

Whoever said the small things don’t matter

has never seen a match start a wildfire.

Thank you!

How did I do? There was a tied – me and the best speaker in this group. How awesome is that?

Remember: You’ll never know the outcome if you don’t put yourself out of your comfort zone and just try.
© M.A. Pérez, 2017, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under reflection, Toastmasters

The Battle Within

Some of you know that I recently joined Toastmasters. Last Thursday, I was asked to introduce myself by giving my first speech called The Ice Breaker. The objectives are to begin speaking before an audience, and to discover speaking skills you already have and skills that need some attention. You only have four to six minutes to present it.

I’d like to share with you my Ice Breaker speech which I titled, “The Battle Within.” Was I nervous? You betcha! Did I stumble? Ah, yeah … but you move on and finish. By the way, I won best speech of the night. Go figure. You never know the outcome if you don’t put yourself out of your comfort zone and try.

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Thank you Mr. Toastmaster.

Hi, I’m Mary Ann.  I’m a published author, currently working as an Inside Sales rep for a customer service company in Sugar Land, Texas. I am happily married to my best friend for 22 years, and I have four amazing children and two adorable grandchildren.

I was born in New York and raised in Miami after my parents separated when I was 3, and divorced by the time I was 5.

I lived with my single mother and we were dirt poor. There was no money, no food and no love.  Now, when there’s no money, you don’t have any shoes, and you get a lot of eviction notices. When there’s no food, well, you’re hungry all the time. And when there’s no love, you feel isolate, insecure and invisible. Forced to grow up too fast, wearing shoes too big for my feet, and being my mother’s mother, crippled me emotionally.

At an early age, a battle was raging within me and that was the feeling of being “less than.”

Ashamed of my upbringing, heritage, and status, I felt only the ritzy kids went to summer camps, swimming lessons & Girl Scout gatherings, but not me; I was always on the outside looking in.

In my teens, I grew bitter and thinking that I could do better than my mother, I eventually ran into the arms of a ruthless man, twice my age. He was an alcoholic, a womanizer, a brow-beater, and he ruled with an iron fist. All the while, I struggled with that battle from within called insecurities. I wore a mask to try to cover feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth, which clouded my vision.

He and I did married. By the time I was 22, I had my 4th child. I was only a “baby-machine” to him, and he constantly fed my insecurities and never let me forget I was under his feet.  I felt I couldn’t do better, so I stayed in that relationship. I felt trapped but I made the best of my situation for my children’s sake. Long story short, that marriage lasted 15 years. I guess I grew up.

In retrospect, it wasn’t until I returned to the God of my grandparents that my mind, past and emotions were healed. I know now that what I endured yesterday as a child and as a young adult made me the stronger woman that I am today.

A few years ago, I decided to write my memoirs for my kids so that they can know some of the history, struggles and hardships their mother faced. I wanted them to know that no matter what, our past does not have to dictate our future. And it’s been my present husband who encouraged and supported me all along, telling me, “You know you need to write for other women so that they can be inspired.” He was right.

Although no longer ashamed of my pain, you know I still fight a battle from within? I struggle with low self-esteem. I DO! But I know that I have God on my side now. He not only had given me the grit to come this far, but He also gives me His grace to carry me through every obstacle that I ever faced! I learned that the battles are not mine but are His.

In my book, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace,” I share the coming-of-age journey about a girl’s refusal to be defined by her environment while seeking inner-healing thru her brokenness. No matter your past, you can still be a person of worth! And it starts with a made-up mind!

I have joined Toastmasters to help my battle from within that I may gain confidence during book signings, attending book clubs & author’s events in helping me by overcoming the fear, the insecurities & the nerves when it’s time to open my mouth. You see, it’s one thing to write a book, it’s quite another to be able to speak to others. I know I have something to say and I am here to learn how to say it well.

Thank you.

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Part II ~ On a Wing and a Prayer

fullsizerender-3-copyIn counting my blessings this Thanksgiving holiday, I can’t help but to think about all of the challenges (See Part Onewe’ve experienced these past few months. It’s been refreshing for me to enjoy some quality time with my long-distance familia, especially being with Daddy again. Those of you who’ve read my memoir, you know how grateful I am that my maternal grandmother kept in contact with my dad after he and my mother divorced. I was only three when my parents separated and five when their divorce finalized. I am happy to report that in my adult years, I’ve come to know the love of my heavenly Father, and I am equally happy to report that I’ve come to know the love of my earthly father as well. I know many don’t have this luxury. Even though miles separate us, I am thankful that Daddy is still around and so full of life. I wouldn’t change anything about him; I love him just the way he is – young at heart!

fullsizerender-6-copyWithin a couple of days, we had the pleasure of visiting two of Daddy’s cariñosas sisters whom genuinely exude warm, big and loving hearts. Titi Blanca and Titi Viviana were gracious during our visits. Not to be out done by the other, both can sure cook up a storm. Their specialties were arroz con pollo, a delicious one-pot mealfullsizerender-9-copygl closely related to paella, and ropa vieja, which is shreds of meat, peppers, and onions resembling a mess of colorful rags. We helped ourselves to seconds … or thirds, and chased it down with a warm cup of cafe con leche. Unfortunately, we missed seeing another aunt on this trip, but promised Titi Edie that on our next visit to Florida, she would be the first stop.

My hubby’s busted ribs from his 20′ fall are still healing. He is such a trooper. Although needing to do a lot of sitting, even taking naps when allowed, he still wanted to take part in all the festivities of our mini-vacation. We spent half a day lounging under the sunny Florida skies at Bayside, the shopping, dining, and entertainment center of Downtown imagesMiami. We enjoyed the live music and watching couples dancing to the merengue. We skipped the booze and ordered shots of espresso Cuban coffee (but I like mine with plenty of warm milk,) and we ate pastelitos de guayaba, mmmmm.

Our oldest, Anna Marie, joined us on this trip, flying in before we did. The last time she visited la familia was on her 18th birthday — 22 years ago! We got to celebrate her birthday again in Miami, which was pretty special.collage-2016-12-15

On our last evening, the hardest part is always saying goodbye. You cannot keep the tears at bay as they start to fall. I still hate goodbyes, especially with long-distance loved ones. After Mark’s accident and in the preparation of this getaway, a lot of prayers had gone forth. There were numerous of times when I wasn’t sure we were going to make this trip for the holidays. But I am so thankful to the Lord that together we made it, and together we are stronger than before. When you’re in the midst of a crisis, things come into focus and the pettiness of the yesterdays take a back seat. We dare not take one another for granted. Look around you. Life is worth living when you begin to count your blessings.

mm

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

 

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

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Filed under Florida, Vacation

On a Wing and a Prayer

Challenges, unexpected events, frustrations escalating … ever have them? It’s called life. I’ve titled this vacation “On a wing and a prayer.” And plenty of prayers had gone forth.

Reservations were made three months early. But after my husband sustained a 20-foot fall, which resulted in 13 fractured ribs, punctured lungs and a long hospital stay weeks prior to our scheduled flight, we weren’t certain we would even make this trip. And wouldn’t you know it, the day before we were to head out; I had a fender-bender right after leaving the office. I had just crossed over to the opposite lane, when BAM, there she was! After talking to the police and exchanging pertinent information, I proceeded home with the wind knocked out of my sails, not to mention, I threw out my back and barely slept that night.

My encouraging husband–although still in a lot of pain and discomfort from his fall–was determined to make the flight out to join my relatives in sunny Florida for the Thanksgiving holidays. 15416112_10211984949486915_1434960611_n

Southwest Airlines treated us like royalty. They were very accommodating in providing the necessary assistance for the entire trip. Funny thing though, one of the stewards for our flight out was running late. All passengers standing in line did not board the aircraft until he arrived. My husband and I had another plane to catch and we worried we would miss that flight. Finally, in the distance, we noticed someone running toward us. It was none other than our tardy steward. Not long after he ran inside the plane, did the rest of us begin boarding. An attendant helped Mark from his wheelchair on board the plane to our seats.

Once we landed in New Orleans, an airport assistant waited at the doorway with my husband’s chariot. He hurriedly wheeled him down the corridor with me in tow to our next flight. All passengers on that aircraft were already seated and ready for take-off. Two front row seats were reserved just for us. Talk about feeling like instant celebrities!

We sat by Patricia, a missionary from Thailand. 348sOnce we landed, it was she who became our guardian angel. While I went to retrieve our luggage, she stayed behind and waited patiently with Mark. When I returned, she volunteered to accompany me in fetching our rental car, even praying a blessing over the remainder of our vacation. She walked with me back to where Mark was waiting, and then helped me load everything in to the car, and politely waved us goodbye. I truly felt she was an angel sent by God.

At last, in the wee hours of the morning, our tired and aching bodies arrived at the hotel room. It was good to finally sleep in.

After breakfast, we drove straight to my daddy’s house. 15424520_10211984949766922_105603279_nIn no time; we were flooded with hugs, tears and joy with full bellies of my stepmother’s delicious Fricase de Pollo. Due to all the medication my husband was on, he hadn’t had much of an appetite, but I was certain it would return with all the anticipated Puerto Rican cuisine.

15424494_10211984950326936_2039532884_nThe next day after a warm breakfast, we drove into Ft. Lauderdale to visit Big Brother, his wife, and their three strapping sons. While the 15356116_10211984949966927_1995059090_nbig boys played a game of chess, we gals went grocery shopping. By the time we returned, Mark was ready to call it a day. The pain from his ribs was causing him misery.

Thanksgiving Day: We never had a late Thanksgiving dinner before, but I guess when you have a lot of Puerto Ricans around to cook for, this is the norm. Soon we were surrounded with love and laughter and picture-taking. 15424682_10211984951606968_1021959210_nThe anticipated meal did not disappoint. 15355900_10211984952206983_1020059264_nAlthough quite tasty, the star entree wasn’t the pavo, but it was the pernil,
which is the traditional Puerto Rican pork shoulder. Not to be outdone, there were a couple of large pans of my stepmother’s delicious arroz con gandules. This was a Thanksgiving feast at its best! I believe we ate until we couldn’t eat another bite; hardly any room for dessert.

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To be continued …

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

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When Trouble Comes …

trouble

Dear Readers:

What do you do when trouble comes? When dread clutches its icy fingers around your heart, or unimaginable images boggle the mind, what do you do?

I’ve been away a few days, but by the grace of God, I am back. Yes, an unforeseen event — beyond my control — brought me to my knees. It began when I received an unexpected phone call twelve days ago . . .

“Mom, come to the job-site; Pops fell off the ladder–”

“What? No!”

“He’s not responding now, Mom. I need to call 911.”

By the time I arrive at the scene, paramedics surround my husband. They have him in a neck brace and on a gurney, asking him questions. He is in and out of conscientiousness, unable to say where he is or what has happened. At that moment, many things become a blur to me. I try to follow the ambulance to the Emergency Hospital, lest I become lost due to complete disarray and panic.

So there I sit in the midst of the storm, waiting and interceding:  I can’t leave this hospital without him, Lord! 

I soon receive word that my husband suffers from severe injuries from falling off the 20′ ladder. Even though he missed the concrete, he sustains thirteen fractured ribs and partially collapsed lungs. A surgeon is assign to Mark and once in the ER, they insert a chest tube to inflate his lungs.

I call on family and friends to please pray for my husband . . .

When the accident occurred, my daughter and husband were working together. She joins me in the waiting room. “Mom,” she said, “when I got to Pops, he was praying, ‘Please help me, Jesus … heal me, Lord.'”

That piece of news soothes my soul — it comforts my heart, it encourages me — it encourages us all! You see, after his fall, my husband is unable to communicate; yet his spirit-man cries out to God for help!

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:6.

15045729_10207832063581448_925697627_nI stay in ICU as long as I can before they send me home. Three days later, they transfer Mark to a private room with a common germ on the skin called MRSA (a type of Staph). I remain with hubby in his room for the duration of his stay. He is in a lot of pain and discomfort. The morphine pump doesn’t seem to be enough. Every day, several times a day, two or three blood samples from different veins are taken for blood culture. Only problem is that Mark’s veins are small rolling veins, which eventually cause his arm to become tender and swell up.

We’re so blessed having our dear pastors from church come by, as well as a few other visitors, dressed in gloves and gown to pray over Mark. On the fourth day, the doctor removes my husband’s chest tube, but he is not out of the woods yet . . .

Day Five: Mark experiences excruciating pain in his leg, so much so that his blood pressure elevates with 103-degree fever. Still unable to sit up, they wheel him out on his bed for additional x-rays of his hip, femur and leg. When they return, he is knocked out. In the wee hours of the morning, he’s awakened drenched in sweat, tugging and pulling off his gown, tangled with the wires he’s connected to. I buzz for the nurse and try holding him down until help comes. They cool his body and when they use a wet cloth on his brow and neck, he says it feels good.

Day Six: The doctor leaves after checking in on Mark. That same hour, Mark says he feels a chill. I figure maybe his fever has worn off and I cover him with another blanket. But he complains of still feeling cold and begins to shiver. Ten minutes into it, he takes a turn for the worse. I call for the nurse. She comes with a couple of extra blankets, telling Mark he’ll soon be warm and leaves. Mark’s shivers become more vigorous and uncontrollable, he even starts wheezing. After a few more minutes of shivering, he becomes unresponsive. I run out to fetch help.

The nurse comes in and rushes back out and calls for a Code Blue. Within minutes, a rapid response team of ten to fifteen people arrives at Mark’s bedside bringing along some emergency equipment; even the chaplain walks in. While the team is surrounding Mark, the chaplain is trying to speak with me. He asks if I am the wife. He says he can see how much love I have for my husband. But I don’t want to chat with him. I want to talk with Mark. The doctor comes and asks me what has happened. “You tell me,” I answered.

I quickly phone my son, telling him of Mark’s condition and to pray. I remain near Mark’s bedside and caress his face while talking to him. And I look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. I don’t know how many minutes pass before the doctor and the entire team, work on getting Mark to respond. Thank God, my husband finally comes to!

More test. They find that Mark has a bout of pneumonia, as well as an unknown infection in his blood. He is off of morphine and Norco is given for pain. Now they have him on a broad spectrum of antibiotics for infections. Three days later, the infection he has is called Acinetobacter, commonly isolated from the hospital environment and hospitalized patients. In other words, this type of bacteria is frequently associated with healthcare associated infections.

Day Nine: Mark is able to sit up in a chair for a short period of time. That evening, he is using a walker as we walk around the corridor. The hospital staff is amaze and delighted. It is obvious that they adore my hubby.

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lamentations 3:22

Day Ten: Homeward bound!

I am happy to report that hubby is resting and quite content being back home. I appreciate every one that extended their love, prayers, and encouragement on our behalf. I may feel a bit worn out, but then again, I am one grateful woman. We have much to be thankful for.


I once read, “It is hard to wrap your heart around trouble when it pierces your soul.” So when trouble comes knocking at your door, don’t walk it alone. Give it to God and reach out to others for encouragement and support.

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:2

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

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