Tag Archives: personal

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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Touched by an Angel

I ADORED MY little sister growing so fast. To see her beaming face at the window highlighted my day after school. She always reached up to carry my books, no matter how heavy. After we shared a snack, then time for homework. Anna took naps or played alone, while I finished my studies. Then we’d go out for a walk.

She loved the outdoors. Our outings became adventures—it made me feel good to see her hopping and skipping alongside me. If something piqued her curiosity, we stopped, whether it was to find a fallen bird’s nest or to watch a worm squirm under a rock to hide. We’d listen to the mockingbirds while we gathered sprigs of white wildflowers, and the red hibiscus and puffy yellow marigolds in bloom, smelling their fragrance before taking some home for Mama.

Anna cheerfully greeted everyone we passed. “What a beautiful angel she is,” they’d say. Her enchanting smile and deep blue, watchful eyes mesmerized. The warmth of her merry laughter penetrated hearts, including mine. “She’s my sister,” I’d proudly boast. Anna’s countenance radiated joy. I cherished her carefree spirit and relished her innocence.

Since Mama stayed in bed until the afternoons, Anna and I usually ate a bowl of corn flakes for breakfast. We’d watch Sesame Street on the black-and-white tube. Whenever Big Bird appeared, my sister squealed and clapped. Then when Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood came on, we sang along with him.

We ate our meals sitting on cushions on the floor. We didn’t have a scheduled time to eat. Chow time consisted of simple bologna sandwiches, a heated can of SpaghettiOs, or sometimes a can of tomato soup. On special occasions, we ate Swanson chicken TV dinners.

Mama expected me to care for my sister. In the evenings, when she and Jimmy went out, Anna and I stayed home by ourselves. We’d lay on the floor to color or played inside our blanket tent, having tea parties with our plastic cups. I sometimes read aloud, making up the words I didn’t know. We stayed up until we grew sleepy.

Whatever we did, doing it together was more fun than being alone.

One particular evening, as I gazed into my sister’s baby-blues, a sudden feeling of sorrow swept over me. Tears clouded my eyes. Something burned within my chest. I cried out, “Please God, don’t let nothing bad happen to her!”

Anna gazed at me with her gentle, trusting eyes.

“I’ll protect you,” I whispered to her. “For always.”

Before bedtime, we repeated a child’s prayer Grandma taught me, one that hung on the wall:

“. . . I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep . . .”

That night I clung to my sister and kept the strange premonition to myself.

Excerpt of Chapter 4: The Little Green Dress in Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace

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In memory of my angel, my sister born Sept. 23, 1966.
Taken too soon from us on Oct. 22, 1968.
I’ll love you forever, for true and for always.

“I shall go to her, but she shall not return to me.”
2 Sam. 12:23

 

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The Breakup Song

 

This song relates to me! Please listen to the words and may it resonant in you, whoever you are!

Yes, in the scheme of things, I am still fighting a battle. But I am reminded that the battle is not mine but the Lord’s!

Know who your enemy is! The worse emotion that we feel from time to time is fear, which can cripple you if you let it. But don’t allow it to.

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Weekend Getaway – Family Reunion

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Missing my loved ones in Florida, and thankful for the beautiful memories.

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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-fifth 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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Counting my Blessings

Just two years ago today, I received a phone call from my daughter that made my heart drop. She said “Pops” had fallen off a 20′ ladder that left him with 13 busted ribs, 4 cracked vertebrae, and both lungs partially collapsed. I sped to the job site just as the ambulance arrived to rush him to the hospital. Once there, they immediately inserted a tube in his lungs to inflate them so he could breathe. He remained several days in ICU, battling for his life after getting an infection, along with a bout of pneumonia. But God! After a couple of weeks (that felt like the longest two weeks ever) he came home to finish mending!

If you have a moment, you can read about this story here

People, let go of the petty stuff and love your spouse!

Everyday is a gift (from God), that’s why they call it the present.

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My Mountain Man!

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I Will Never Forget


Sometimes an event occurs and time stands still.

I know I shall never forget …

September 2001:

I had worked two years for a reputable high-end floor and textile 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.

I thought about the word “freedom.” For the first time, within my own life I truly felt free.

Free from my own past … Free from the clutches of loneliness. Free from wondering where the next meal was coming from. Free from being a prisoner in my own mind, a failing marriage, a broken home.

But I also knew that in a split second, a life could be gone. I experienced that harsh truth the day I lost my baby sister by a hit-and-run driver. I lived through that stark reality from nearly drowning twice as a youngster. I re-lived that nightmare every time my former husband abused me, and again, on the day he shot at me.

An excerpt of “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” –  Chapter 43

Your turn:

We ALL have a story. We each have our own memories.

What is your memory on that fateful day?

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Another Glorious Birthday

 

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Hello faithful followers and fellow bloggers!

I just celebrated another birthday. As I mature, although not always pain-free, I am thankful to God for my health and for surrounding me with great friends and loved ones. My family continues to grow as my son recently married and I embrace my new daughter-in-love. I know in God’s perfect timing, a new little addition will be added…ah yeah!

Mostly, I am thankful to the Lord for restoring unto me the years the locust had eaten. For those of you who don’t know my story, I was once a neglected and lonely little girl. Life didn’t become easier for me as a teenager and when I thought I had met my Prince Charming, I imagined he would whisk me away into a happily ever after. He hadn’t sown all his wild oats. He was an abusive man twice my age. Before I knew it, I felt trapped and was a 22-year old with 4 children, the oldest then only 5 years old!

So yeah, I endured some hardships but I learned a lot of lessons along the way. I am stronger today because of them. No matter what life has dealt, I have always strived to become better instead of bitter. I believe we can turn stumbling blocks of defeat and difficulties, into stepping-stones of  purpose and peace. I came across a quote that said: “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.” Let that sink in. Some of us remain miserable all our lives. I don’t want to be that person, do you?

Take one day at a time. No grit, no grace. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose! Hold onto faith and keep on smiling. Have a grateful heart. Be thankful for the little things. Believe the best is yet to come. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

 

 

 

 

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Mary’s Reflection

When she looks back on her life, she sees a faded memory of a girl unsure about herself, frighten, lost, and insecure. She can’t help but to see sheer pain, disappointments, mistakes and heartaches.

She thinks about the roads she’s traveled: Roads filled with quick sand like the dry Sahara desert and potholes the size of Texas that tried to swallow her whole!

She thinks about the battles she’s fought for her marriage, her sanity, and her four small children:

She thinks about the struggles she’s endured from abandonment as a child and then again as an adult, along with the failures, and the low self-esteem:

She thinks about the sacrifices she’s made in walking away from an education, the letting go of a special-needs child for the child’s best interest, and in putting her dreams on hold,

She thinks about the love she’s lost in saying goodbye to her baby sister, her beloved grandparents, and her 15 years of marriage:

She thinks about the tears she’s shed in her loneliness, with emptied promises, shame and pain:

But as she looks back on her life, she also sees the lessons that she’s learned:

She sees a girl …

Not one who scratched and clawed her way to the top. But a girl who had just enough grit to float to prevent from sinking when life tried to weigh her down. Who walked on pebbles and used them as her stepping-stones to get to higher ground. Who’s childlike faith in the God above would blossom into something much greater than herself. While she may have had a father figure missing in action, she’d come to know her Heavenly Father who never left her side.

When she looks in the mirror and what does she see?

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A girl once dejected and rejected. She no longer is that sad, little girl. So don’t you feel sorry for her. Applaud her, because it was during the dry seasons that she discovered an oasis. Rejoice with her, because in the darkness is where she found a beacon of light. Admire her for rising above her crisis in spite of her circumstances.

She may have started out in the valley, pecking along like a chicken digging for worms. But then the Ancient of Days taught her to spread her wings like an eagle, and soar into the heavens over the mountaintop.

Don’t cry for her, feel sad for her, or grieve for her.

If you’re looking for a lost and lonely child, she is not here. Misunderstood, she may be; a wonder to many she may be. If you’re looking for perfection, she is not that girl; she still has flaws. If you expect to see sophistication or to hear profound eloquence, you may be disappointed.

Her past may even want to dictate her future, the voices in her head play a broken song, her name may even mean “bitter” — but she refuses to be that girl anymore.

What kind of girl is she?

A simple girl.

A grateful girl.

A blessed girl.

She believes in second chances & new beginnings.

She is stronger today for everything she endured. Her scars serve to remind her that she is a survivor. She appreciates the beauty of living life one day at a time. She surrounds herself by those who encourage and genuinely care for her. She clothes herself with a garment of praise, amazed by the wonders of God’s grace.

When she looks in the mirror, what does she see?

She sees a girl turned woman.

If wrinkles must be written upon her brows, she refuses to let them be written upon the heart.

She is more than a conqueror.

She sees strength, learned lessons, and pride in herself.

Sad? No. Alone? No. Afraid? No.

Not that girl anymore.

© M.A. Pérez 2018, All Rights Reserved

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

https://bible.org/illustration/build-me-son-o-lord

Thoughts …

What is your Father’s or Mother’s Prayer for your children? You’ll probably never achieve the level of accomplishment of General Douglas MacArthur, but when all is said and done, what will make you whisper “I have not lived in vain”?

Reflections From the Heart

“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…

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