Tag Archives: Prayer

Amazing Grace – my granddaughter

December 2006:

I kissed her sweet, velvety cheeks. When her tiny hand wrapped around my finger, she instantly wrapped around my heart. Having just witnessed the birth of my first granddaughter, I was simply ecstatic. Grace Elizabeth, a little thing with a mop of chestnut hair and raven eyes, reminded me of the sister I lost so long ago.

Not long after, our joy was short-lived. Apprehension and a staggering wave of fear suddenly replaced excitement and joy.

Her doctor ordered x-rays, ultrasounds, RSV, EKG, blood work and an echocardiogram. “She has three holes in her heart,” he announced. His foreign words invaded my head: “congenital heart defect . . . coarctation of the aorta . . . a ventricular septal defect . . . an arterial septal defect . . . a bicuspid aortic valve . . .”

But three words snatched my breath away: “Open-heart surgery.”

Surrounded by family, we waited. Watched. And prayed.

That night, my daughter Angela and I shared a couch that opened to a bed in Grace’s room. Dreams and visions overlapped, as I drifted in and out of a fitful slumber. Nurses routinely coming in to check on Grace’s vital signs, administered meds and prepared her feeding tube around the clock, interrupted sleep.

But tonight was different.

3 a.m., a nurse instructed all residents to remain in their rooms behind closed doors. We couldn’t help but peek out of the window blinds. And we watched in horror as the mother of the infant in Room 1704 ran inside, hand over her mouth. Soon her wails carried across the hallway from inside. Other relatives arrived and held tightly unto one another weeping, lamenting, and grieving.

Hot tears flowed down our faces. I gazed upon Angela—my baby girl who always wanted a baby girl—and grieved along with her. Though she carried unspoken heaviness, she always remained strong for her household. But this was too much for any mother.

My eyes traveled and fixated upon our sick Grace. The doctors had said that Grace needed to gain weight, but she only grew weaker and tired more easily. Instead of eating, she slept during her feedings. I now watched her shallow, rapid breathing and listened to the heart monitor. Beep. A precious life. Beep. Hopelessness loomed. Beep. Fear gripped my heart. I said another prayer.

Beep, Beep, Beep. The rhythm of Grace’s heart monitor echoed louder in my head.

Come morning, more alarming reports:

“Murmur is louder.”

“Heart’s beating fast; enlarged, working too hard.”

“Surgery tomorrow.”

We waited for the day; we waited for the hour, but when the time finally came for her procedure, tomorrow seemed much too soon!

In the morning, we huddled around Grace behind a curtained room. Her daddy’s strong arms around her mommy. Her papa’s firm grip holding me up. Words failed to express our love for this precious twenty-nine day old child. We covered her with our tears, our kisses, and our prayers.

“Please Lord, bring her back to me,” my daughter whispered and cried out.

In a moment’s time, they whisked her away to prep her and lay her on the operating table, surrounded by nine surgeons. We felt helpless but believed God while we prayed that He would return Grace to us alive . . . whole . . . and healthy.

After four hours in surgery, the cardiologist reported, “Grace’s heart is very sick,” and added, “We didn’t know how sick until actually seeing it.”

The pendulum swung. We sat and paced. Paced and sat.

A flood of questions crammed my mind: How do you silence the sobs that overtake you? How can you calm the waters and keep the dam from bursting from within the depths of your being? How do you say good-bye when someone has captured your very heart and soul?

Nine hours later we were told, “Her heart failed when taken off bypass.”

My gut tightened. “Please, Lord.”

We gathered in a quiet room to pray. I studied the faces of each family member. The women prayed openly as they cried out to God. The men, unable to trust their voices, did not open their mouths for fear of losing control.

After three hours, the doctor’s assistant entered and announced, “She’s made it, but she’s not out of the woods yet.”

We hugged one another. Tears of relief flow freely.

“The next forty-eight hours will be critical,” she cautioned. “You can briefly see her soon.”

Emotions raw, I lacked the courage to see Grace lying still, motionless, and heavily sedated. “I want to see my granddaughter when her beautiful eyes are open,” I said.

Angela understood. “Mom, go home and rest,” she urged. “I’ll keep you posted.”

* Day One Post-Surgery, my daughter’s report via email:

Baby Grace remains heavily sedated, and has countless tubes and wires attached to her small frame. Mom, the list is endless: a breathing tube, pacemaker, rectal thermometer, catheter, and so much more. Arms and inner thighs are bruised due to multiple attempts to locate the main artery. The sides of her head are shaven. Her face is bloated from fluids. One lung has collapsed. Mom, I’m so scared!

* Day Two Post-Surgery, another email:

No movement, still heavily sedated. I held Baby Grace’s little hand and said, “Mommy’s here.” Grace moved her head for me and I whispered in her ear, “Mommy loves you so much.” When her eyes opened for me, my heart skipped a beat!

* Day Three Post-Surgery:

Mom, Grace is better and responding to my touch! Her swelling has gone down. They re- installed her feeding tube today and are giving 5cc of my breast milk per hour. She is eating now and will gain weight again.

* Day Five:

My first day to see Grace since her surgery. Overflows of emotions bombarded every nerve in my being. Hope crashed into fear. Joy into anxiety.

I must keep it together. My legs turned to putty. My daughter took me by the hand, “It’s okay, Mom,” and led me into Grace’s room . . .

I see her! I reached down, caressed her face and gently placed my hand over her chest. The incision was the length of my index finger.

And then her eyes! Those familiar eyes sparkled and looked at me as if to say, “See Mimi. I’m here. I’ve made it.”

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Twelve Years Later:

This precious flower continues to blossom and bloom wherever she is planted. Grace is our little miracle and she knows it! She has brought much joy to our lives and we are grateful to God for answered prayers!

Just when I thought I was too old to fall in love again ~ this precious one first called me “Mimi” at 8 months old!

 

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pink-rose-poem-karin-bestPainting By Karin Best                   Pink Rose Poem ~ Author Unknown

 

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Filed under Cardiovascular Surgery, granddaughter's birthday

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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Mother’s Day is Everyday

My oldest daughter and I were asked to be a part of a workshop at our church speaking on adult daughters and their mother’s relationships. We made a list and examined our strengths as well as our weaknesses. I know from experience that mother-daughter relationships can be both complex and diverse.

There are many ups and downs, no matter how positive, or complicated and trying the relationship. Psychologists say daughter’s primary complaints are that mothers try to baby them being overly critical and demanding. From mom’s perspective, daughters don’t listen to them, make poor choices and have zero time for them.

I do not find this teaching comfortable or an easy topic for me. There are many challenges in parenting and this thing called “motherhood” hit me between the eyes at an early age. My mom raised me pretty much as a single mom, as she never married after her and my dad split. She had common law relationships–I can think of three–and I was pretty much left on my own. So yeah, I was neglected and raised myself. Matter of fact, our roles were reversed and so I’ve always felt that my childhood was taken from me!

I left home early and married very young. Had my first child at the age of 17, and by the time I was 22, I had my 4th. Ironically enough, I did a lot of the same mistakes in parenting as my own mother. I wrote about my personal journey as a daughter, wife and mother. You can say I was a real hot mess back then. In retrospect, I thank God that He rescued me from myself! Now that my children are adults – I can think of a lot of things that I did wrong and regret in my own role. But nothing worthwhile comes easy; at least it never did for me!

In every challenge there are defeats and triumphs – and all of us have some scars along the way.

Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

I am familiar with the power struggles, the pet peeves, and the miscommunications.

What I see in my daughter(s), the good, the bad, and the ugly – I sometimes see a reflection of myself. Oh, those flaws! Clearly, I may not always like what I see … or hear. But you know what? We’re on the same team – we love each other, and we are there for one another.

Jer 31:16: Thus says the LORD, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD, “And they will return from the land of the enemy.”

I can’t stress how I prayed, interceded and wept for my wayward child (children). But as a mother – that’s what we do! We don’t give up and we don’t let up until we have God’s peace. Know that it’ll be in His time frame, not necessarily ours. And when God does it, it’ll be a sure work. He leaves nothing undone.

HOW CAN WE BE STRONGER TOGETHER?

These are a few golden nuggets from my own firstborn’s perspective:

Everybody knows that TWO heads are better than ONE. In Girl scouts and in the 4H Club, you’d learn that three strands of string make a strong rope. To play harmony on a piano, you’d play with two or more notes. And you know, you won’t find a giant redwood tree standing alone!

  • Teaching by example, learning by experience, in values and in skills – all help us become stronger together.
  • Spending quality time with one another binds us stronger together as a family; i.e., meal times and outings.
  • Appreciating each other – showing love and affection.
  • Sharing a laugh builds us up – laughter is good medicine.
  • Sharing in responsibilities, accomplishing tasks together.
  • Stand by each other in times of trouble, uniting and pulling together when things get tough… when we encourage each other, we are stronger together.

Most important … when we learn to forgive each other, being open and honest, yet kind, we become stronger. Remember: attack the problem, not each other.

We encourage each other, consult with each other, spend time with each other, learn and grow from each other. No matter what the circumstances, despite feelings, perspectives, weaknesses and “bumps” along the way, when we face life together, find God together, pray together … all of these acts and then some, we can get through it and be stronger together!

My daughter(s) and I have come a long way.

Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

Here are my acronyms for MOTHER & DAUGHTER:

M ake the first move

O mit malice

T hink before responding

H ave realistic expectations

E xtend grace

R epair damage quickly

 

D are to forgive offenses

A gree to disagree

U nity is better than division

G ather your words with prayer

H old unto hope

T alk about ways to communicate

E mbrace change for the better

R espect each other

 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

 

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Filed under Mother/Daughter, Relationships

A Word Fitly Spoken …

Re-reading this quote spoken to me so many years ago still brings up a sea of memories of a difficult place in time.

As you can imagine, I was going through hell. All along thinking I was alone, I never realized that God not only heard my cries, but He knew of my pain too! Just like the song goes: He was there all the time–and in my case–God used someone with skin to not only pray but to reach out to me in my darkest hour.

It seemed like forever that I was blinded and so discouraged; I really didn’t see a way out of my situation. But a neighbor, who quickly became a true friend, made me her business. She wasn’t condemning or pushy; she spoke life over me! She was caring and loving and wise beyond her years. She prayed much and gently wooed me back into the arms of my Heavenly Father. Eventually, I received the support I needed and slowly began to heal. Sanity and wisdom kicked in, and I did what I needed to do for myself and for the welfare of my small children.

What am I saying?

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I wrote Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace so that others might find hope beyond their hopelessness and despair. We’re all walking through something. We all have a story. Some are strong enough to stand on their own, while others need a little encouragement and help in finding their way. They may have been lied to, beaten down, some even to the point of isolation. Ever been ashamed of your pain? I was.

No matter what, you can rise above your circumstances. It takes a made-up mind and a determination to change. Allow your experiences to make you a better person not a bitter one. Many times what we’ve gone through can help someone else to overcome his or her own struggle.

There are people around you hurting. Make them your business. A warm smile, a kind word, a gentle touch. Show them love. Give them hope. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Bloom where you’re planted.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11

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Filed under Christianity, encouragement, Kindness

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

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-six years ago is not one of them.

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

© M.A. Perez 2018, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Memoir, Pro-Life, Uncategorized

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.

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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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Filed under Florida, Vacation

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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Morning Will Come

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 this poem and wanted to share it with my readers. So many times we can’t see the light because of so much 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. Full speed ahead!

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

 

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Filed under Encouraged Comfort, Hope For the Hopeless