Tag Archives: personal

He Completes Me

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”

He is the one for me. He is the man who has stuck by my side since day one as my loving confidant, helpmate and best friend. He is the man who loves me, cherishes me, and tells me that I am beautiful. He loves me on my best days and he loves me on my worse days. He knows my past and has never belittled me nor made me feel inadequate. He is faithful, a man true to his word. I can count on his constant love and remain secure in his arms. He praises me in my accomplishments and encourages me in my failures. When I’m happy, his warm laughter melts my heart. When I’m sad or fearful, his gentle touch wipes away my tears.

I love you my husband. And I am proud to be your wife. I am truly grateful to the Lord for joining us together to share the remainder of our days. As we celebrate our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary, may our constant love nourish and sustain each other until the end of time.

You can read about him in Chapter 42 of my book: “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace

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Thanksgiving – 2021

Retrospecting can be a good thing. Last year, Thanksgiving Day, I remember feeling sad and a bit irritated. The reason: we were not having our regular holiday family gathering due to the Covid Pandemic restrictions. My emotions floundered all over the place. I did my best to focus on the positive. I even wrote this message to my family and friends:

If I am to be honest, I’ve been bummed out for a couple of days, knowing I would be missing our traditional, family Thanksgiving Day celebration in our home, which has always filled my heart with so much joy. Instead, I must choose to focus on what I have and count my blessings, giving God the thanks and the glory for all in my life!

Even on my worst days, He loves me! I have known Him in the valley, I have known Him on the mountaintops. While I love being on the mountaintops, it was trudging in the valleys where I grew closest to my Lord, and where I learned that the God on the mountain is still God in the valleys.

I am thankful He has given me health, provision, shelter, a loving husband, beautiful family, and wonderful friends – He has made many dreams come to fruition.

I am a work in progress. Thank you, Lord, for not having given up on me, and I know You’re not finished with any of us yet.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:18

Jump over to the present:

I am happy to report that on this Thanksgiving Day, the day turned out to be special in so many ways. Yes, I am truly grateful for my loved ones. You see, while we celebrated the holiday with prayer, food, and fellowship, I glanced around the table, caressing my eyes over each face representing my family. And I realized, Mary, you’re not alone anymore. You see, as a kid growing up, I once felt alone and rejected. Matter of fact, I felt insignificant, always on the outside looking in. I had many insecurities and felt much like second-class. It wouldn’t be until many years later in my adulthood, that I experienced inner-healing and received a breakthrough in my personal life. So much so, I put my story to pen and paper and published my book, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace.”

We did something different this year, thanks to my youngest daughter’s prompting. We each held a strip of paper of questions we took turns reading out loud and then answering. This was epic because the questions caused most of us to dig deep and open up with heartfelt answers.

As I listened to the different ones share, I felt my heart would burst with gratitude in hearing my children speak over me. I wasn’t prepared for this raw reaction, nor was I prepared for what I would say when my turn came. I found that I was able to share my heart with thankfulness and humility. I blessed each of my children and grandchildren and expressed to them what I appreciated about them. I blessed my husband for being the man that he was and, again, for accepting somebody else’s children by stepping up to the plate another man left on the table. And finally, I turned to my mom and expressed my undying love for her, no matter that our relationship is a complex one. I also asked her forgiveness for getting short with her, and I assured her that I will always be her little girl.

We are all flawed. But we can rise above stinking-thinking and look beyond ourselves. Take a look at others, really see them, and love on them. I thank the Lord for making all things new – His mercies are new every morning!

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The Birthday Gal

Celebrating the woman who gave birth to me. A mother and daughter’s relationship can be a complicated one. It’s true, we’ve been through some rough and challenging seasons throughout the years! But I loved her as a little girl then, and I love her as a woman now. If you want to know more, read the book, https://www.amazon.com/Running-Heels-Memoir-Grit-Grace/dp/1944952039.

To Mama: Always and forever I’ll be your little girl, and nothing will ever change that. Happy Birthday Mama! xoxoxoxo

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I Remember

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By 2001, I had worked two years for a reputable high-end carpet cleaning company. I started out as a receptionist, and then promoted to inside sales. I sported around in a Jeep Grand Cherokee and I’d been married for seven wonderful years. Mark had become a devoted Christian, and we attended church as a close-knit family. In April, we purchased our home southwest of Houston in Fort Bend County. Five months later, while driving to work, my tranquil life was interrupted by distress and unexpected terror.

On September 11th, around 7:50 in the morning, I heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. As soon as I arrived at the office, I flicked on the TV to see the live broadcast of a massive hole in one tower caused by the plane’s impact. Co-workers gathered around and we couldn’t peel our eyes away from the screen. Black smoke billowed out the building, soon engulfed by flames.

We heard what we didn’t want to hear and continued to see unbelievable images that will forever be etched in our minds. My heart 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.

That night, 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.

Your turn:

What is your memory on that fateful day?

© M.A. Pérez, 2021, All Rights Reserved

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

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Words Softly Spoken

Fail!

Let’s face it. I fail!

Not just sometimes, but a lot more than I care to admit.

I am not a soft-spoken person. I don’t know how to be, nor have I ever been. Matter of fact, I specifically recall several years ago when I went up for prayer due to my terrible marriage because of my terrible husband, who constantly caused me grief and undue stress, that this little prayer warrior woman looked up at me square in the eyes and said, “Learn to keep your mouth shut. It would hold you in good stead.”

As I think back, there had only been one soft-spoken and genteel person in our family, and that was my maternal grandma. Mama sure wasn’t … and still isn’t. My daughters, too, all have loud voices. We have a tendency to spout out. When my grandson was small, listening to us three talking up a storm, like we normally do, he made an observation and commented how “extra” we were. Haha. I wish I can say it’s a Nuyorican thing (Puerto Rican born in New York), but I’m not so sure I can get away with that.

So amidst the clatter and the sounding of clucking hens–especially when we women folk get together (you should hear my aunts in the same room); in my alone and quiet time, I want to be still and hear God’s voice.

Amid the chaos, I need His peace that surpasses all my understanding. I need His strength when I am weak. I desire His guidance and wisdom to flood my soul and take over. You know how it is: Jesus, take the wheel! Help me to be the woman you have called me to be. Give me understanding beyond my comprehension. I want grace seasoned over my words and soft answers poured over others, even within my own family. In times of frustration, confusion, and ruckus – we need to remember that God is not the Author of confusion but of peace.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been bombarded with challenges and distractions of late. And you know what? Today is my birthday! So I received a birthday card from Mama and the words on the envelope addressed to me, leaped out and touched me to the core of my being. I just stared at the words … and wept. You have to know that Mama isn’t big on giving compliments or speaking platitudes. But these words spoke volume. Our mother-daughter relationship is a complicated one. Yet here she was telling me in the best way she knew, that she loved me. Yes, people, we need to count our blessings.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
(Proverbs 25:11).

Ok, never too old to learn, I’m still working on this!

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I Cry

 

Usually tears bring me to write. Something that touches my very core. Something that moves me. Something that triggers passion, emotion – a memory, a thought, an image, or a prayer.

Lately, I’ve been silent. Silent in writing. My drive for writing once ignited with words and expression within the depth of my soul had to be released by putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, now nebulous and dim from what it once was.

I admit this year has brought about shock, uncertainties and even dread. My tears flow. Lord, what has happened? God, what is happening?

America: land of the free and brave! Are you still among us?

I sang as a child:

America! America! God shed his grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

And:

This land is your land. This land is my land
From the California, to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

 

Who can forget singing proudly in school with friends:

 

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father, brothers all are we …

 

Lord, I can’t speak for others. No one can walk in my shoes. I certainly cannot walk in their shoes, nor would I want to. We all have our own crosses to bear. But please lift this burden from off of us and lighten the load, I pray. You are a God who is able. But even if You chose not to make the pathway easier, or the roads brighter, then help us as individuals and help us as a nation to allow You to be God again in our lives, at home and abroad, and within our own family.

I chose You, Lord. Whether I understand things or not, whatever tomorrow may bring, I know that I need You more now than before — and that has not changed. Your Word says there is a season for everything under the sun. Although I am not liking the season we are in right now, I know that You’re not a God of confusion but of peace, for You are merciful and Your love never ending.

Humility, respect, order and compassion is all it takes. Heal us, oh, Lord. We are sick, we need a healer. Please heal our hearts. Please heal our land.

“It is the LORD who goes before you.

He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.

Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

 

 

 

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I Dreamed a Dream

I often think about why is it that when we become older, the dreams we once had begin to fade? As children, we have no hangups or limitations with our imaginations in what we can do or in who we can become! We dream about becoming an astronaut, a firefighter, a singer, a painter, an actor, the best athlete ever, or even president just to name a few. We even dream about falling in love and living a life happily-ever-after.

But then reality kicks in and before long, we become consumed with agendas and dead-lines. We are up to our neck with studies in trying to get ahead, or we’re drowning in work trying to make ends meet, or in raising a family that we have no time for self — these all take precedence and so we put our dreams on hold … or the dreams once dreamt simply fade away.

Or perhaps someone spoke death over us:

Grow up.

You’ll never amount to anything.

You’re not smart enough.

You’re not good enough.

I want a divorce.

I don’t love you anymore.

You’re too old.

It’s too late.

It’s over.

Been there. Done that. I’ve walked on some of these roads. I know the feelings of hopelessness and devastation. What feels like the end isn’t always the end but a new beginning. No matter the outcome, don’t let your dream die as mentioned in the last stanza of Les Misérables: Now life has killed the dream I dreamed …

 

Yes, life happens. Seasons change and our perspective may shift. Today is Day 35 that I am working from home, and it is Day 21 of our state’s Stay-at-Home mandate due to COVID-19. These past few days, I have been doing a little self-reflection. While most days I keep myself occupied, other days, I can become a bit melancholy. These are indeed challenging times and remaining in prayer is what keeps me whole and in positive spirits.  (Devotion: Philippians 4:6-9 )

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Celebrating our 26th Wedding Anniversary

Hi fellow bloggers,

On a daily basis, we find ourselves navigating uncharted waters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My household and family members are taking the necessary precautions to ensure safety all around. We are also caring for my elderly Mama at our home and desire to keep her in the best of health possible.

So, here we are, staying at home and locked-down. I believe it is day number 14. Today is April 6th, our wedding anniversary. Usually, my hubby treats me to a romantic evening of wining and dining. Well, I’m here to tell you, he did not disappoint.

Our meal, under the stars, consisted of a well prepared tossed salad, mouth-watering rib-eyes, sautéed mushrooms and buttery baked potatoes – all done to perfection by my hubby. As the music played softly in the background, after our delicious meal, we even danced to a couple of songs (out on the driveway).

This is definitely one for the books!

I came across a short article to staying positive during COVID-19 pandemic and here are three points from psychologist Joshua Williams. He suggested:

  • Take a break

You don’t have to watch, read or talk about COVID-19 all day. It’s important to stay informed but not consumed.

  • Make time to unwind

Pick up an old hobby. Start a new one. Just do something you enjoy.

  • Take care of yourself

Mind, body and soul. Take a walk. Listen to music. Read something uplifting. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Good stuff. I will add, remain mindful of others. Pray for those who are hurting and if possible, extend a helping hand, even if from a distance.

While it is true that experts are saying we don’t know what the future holds, how about focusing on the todays instead? Focus on all that Almighty God has brought you out of in the past. Take one day at a time. Determination to making the best out of any situation is the key.

Let. Go. Of. Fear.

Be aware and remain updated, but don’t overkill. Believe me when I say how fear can grasp your heart if you dwell on the negatives! Instead, go for a walk, lay out in the sun, ride a bike, read that book (have you read my memoir?), clean out your closet, garage, and the weeds in your garden. Organize those drawers, closet pantries and photo album. Learn a new hobby or try a new recipe.

Or just have dinner out on the driveway.

 

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Then Came the Morning

Brokenhearted . . .
How can I bear the pain?
So many plans . . . permanently interrupted.
So many dreams . . . shattered.
Hopes . . . dashed.
All gone.
Why?
Why this?
Why us? Why me?
Helplessness . . . hopelessness . . .
Life will never be the same again.
Is it even worth living?
Where are you, God?

I’m right here beside you, my child.
Even though you may not feel my presence,
I’m holding you close under the shadow of my wings.
I will walk with you through this dark night.

Do not shrink from weeping.
I gave you tears for emotional release.
Don’t try to hide your grief.
Let it become for you a source of healing,
A process of restoration,
For I have planned it so.
Those who mourn shall be blessed.
I’ll be holding on to you,
Even when you feel you can’t hold on to me.

Seek my face, child of mine.
Receive my promise, impossible as it may seem now,
That joy will come in the morning.
It may take much time,
But I will heal your broken heart.
I know the night seems endless,
but MORNING WILL COME.
I have promised.

–From the Haven of Rest Newsletter

Note: I came across the above poem sometime ago, and wanted to share it with my readers. So many times we can’t see the light because of so much fear, darkness, despair, grief and pain. We wonder how long? How much more? When will it end? God, are you really there? Friends, please know that as long as you have a pulse, there is a purpose. As long as you have breathe, there is hope. And as long as you’re in your right mind, there are possibilities. Under the shadow of His wings, stay the course. One day at a time. Full speed ahead!

Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

EASTER IS AROUND THE CORNER – THAT HASN’T BEEN CANCELLED.

 

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A Tale of Three Mothers

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”


As I contemplated writing this piece, I was reminded of the famous opening line in the classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

Please bear with me as I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and attempt to express the stirrings of my heart. While difficult to write, write I must!

On my last post, I wrote about me and my husband’s recent returned from a wonderful, much-needed vacation on a cruise with a couple of friends. Because neither one of us cared about adding the extra fee for internet usage, we opted out and enjoyed our getaway. As we neared the Port of Galveston upon our return, we were inundated with unexpected text messages and several missed calls.

Shockingly, I learned that my 79-year-old stepmother–who had always been like a mother to me–was hospitalized and in ICU. My sister stayed with her rarely leaving her side, her “labor of love,” as she so well put it. After suffering from a bout of excruciating pain, my stepmother had to have emergency surgery due to a small bowel obstruction.

A series of complications and alarming close calls left my family in panic, bombarding heaven with their prayers. Three weeks later, thankfully, my stepmother was released from the hospital. She continues recuperating at home, working on gaining her strength and some weight back.

My sister continues to care for her and our dad in Florida, and she is doing an extraordinary job, indeed a labor of love!

Ironically enough, while we were on our cruise, our friend’s own dear 90-year old mother was admitted into hospice. She had suffered a stroke, which soon led to another. The day we returned, our friend flew back to her hometown in Kentucky to be near her mother’s bedside. Needless to say, our hearts were heavy.

With permission, I share the words written by my friend’s sister, regarding their mother:

Mom isn’t doing too good she has had another stroke.
Hospice said it could be anytime she would be joining Dad.
She can’t talk, eat, or drink or move.
She is trapped in that old broken down body which seems such a horrible place to be!
I still love her so much.
I can’t stand to see her in such a way.
Part of me wants her to pass so she can escape that horrible prison;
But to escape she has to leave me physically.
Mom has been gone for over 2 yrs mentally,
But her body has remained.
But when I think of her passing …
I shudder to think about I! 
So much mixed emotions are going through me at this time:
I feel guilty in wanting her to go, But selfish for wanting her to stay.
I know it is in Lords hands. I do not make that decision; the Lord will make it.
I imagine my Dad has been begging and pleading with the Lord since he got into heaven to bring her home!
I know Dad is getting everything ready for her arrival … 
Our family can use some prayers!

Less than a week later, their precious mother passed away …

Many times, situations seem so out of control, and we are left feeling helpless. Even if one clings to their faith in God, and tries to prepare for the inevitable regarding elderly parents, the heartache and sadness of that loss loved one still crushes you and leaves a hole in your heart. But don’t despair! We are reminded in Psalms 34:18: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”

And wouldn’t you know the very day our friend’s mother passed, we celebrated my own mama’s 85th birthday!

The pendulum swings in the momentum of life.

Although Mama is not the best of health, I am grateful to God that we are able to celebrate her life and bring her joy.

She’s had a hard life, which I shared about in my memoir. We both have. But God has turned our mess into a message.

I feel blessed knowing that I can bring Mama some joy surrounded by family.

My husband, children and their spouses, helped to make her day special, as we showered her with gifts at one of her favorite restaurants.

While I have made no bones about our complicated mother-daughter relationship, those obstacles have never diminished my love for her.


The bottom line is: We. Love. Our. Mothers. And we desire to honor them.

I pray the Lord grant us the strength to relinquish them into His hands when that time comes for us all. May this blog post bring perfect peace and be a tribute to all our mothers.

We love you Gloria Esther Perez.

We love you Edna Tinsley Canter.

We love you Ruth Ann Mendez.

Mother’s love is something that no one can explain, it is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain, it is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may. For nothing can destroy it or take that love away.”
~ Hellen Steiner Rice

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

 

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