Tag Archives: reflection

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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Filed under America, Reflections From the Heart

She Hurts No More …

A horrific day for our country. In shock, I watched the Space
Shuttle Challenger break apart and burn just seconds into its
flight. Five men and two women tragically lost their lives for
the good of all humanity. They lived their dream by serving
others. I may not have known them personally, but they died
as heroes.

Three months later, on April 3, 1986, sickness reduced an
eighty-six-year-old unsung Puerto Rican woman to skin
and bones as she lost her bout with cancer. She wasn’t affluent.
Refined. Or famous. But she was loved. Adored. And my
heroine.

When Mama called me and told me about Grandma’s final
moments, sobs stuck in my throat. She expressed how she
had sat at my grandma’s bedside, terrified, while listening to
her breathing in short, laborious rasps.

“Your grandma’s parting words were, ‘God is calling me
now,’ and then she gazed up at the ceiling.” Mama spoke dolefully.
“So, I asked her, ‘How do you know?’ But she didn’t
speak anymore. She closed her eyes and I held her close.”

Mama’s trembling voice was broken by sobs. “I . . . told her
that I loved her. And I said to her, ‘you carried me for
nine months.’”

I pictured that heart-rending image of Grandma’s gentle
countenance and Mama struggling to convey her love to her.
And I thought, Oh Mama, she carried you longer than nine
months. My insides ached, knowing that in her heart and
prayers, Grandma carried us all.

My grief came in waves. Looking back, I know God spared
me from becoming hopelessly morbid and consumed with
anguish. Grandma wouldn’t have wanted that. Knowing she
no longer suffered, I believed her final heartbeat didn’t mean
the end but the beginning!

I wanted to celebrate her life when I journeyed back to
help with her memorial.

Once a plump woman, Grandma had lost so much weight
in her final days. She had always loved a simple white Easter
dress that belonged to me and requested that when the time
came we’d bury her in it. My dress fitted her perfectly then. I
also asked that everyone wear white instead of the customary
black garments at her funeral.

White carnations—Grandma’s favorite—covered her
opened casket. I stood, my eyes caressing her still face, now
so thin. Vivid images of her life jumped in my thoughts. I
saw her on her knees pleading to God to be merciful to her
loved ones. I recalled her many prayers of gratitude for another
day. I pictured her lips mouthing words as she read her
Bible, with her index finger pointing to the sentences across
the worn pages. I could still hear the sound of her soft voice
calling my name. I remembered the merriment of her laughter
after listening to one of my silly jokes.

Hot tears blinded me and I couldn’t blink them away.
In my mind’s eye, Grandma came to me. I could hear her.
Feel her. Touch her. Her love, her hugs, her kisses embraced me.

We honored her memory and her passing from this life
into the next.

A gentle breeze blew the heat of day; the sun hid behind
the clouds. The scent of rain permeated the air.
As it started to drizzle, my heart comforted. Grandma always
considered it a good omen if it rained on the day someone
laid to rest.

Before long, her coffin lay in a crypt next to her cherished
husband, my grandpa.

At last, Grandma’s labors had ended. Thank God, she
hurt no more.

(Excerpt from Chap. 37 “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” by Mary A. Pérez)

Footnote: Dear Readers, on this Mother’s Day coming up, gone from us for more than three decades, I remember my precious grandma who I mentioned in my book. Matter of fact, both Mama and I miss her terribly. Grandma was the undisputed, caring matriarch of our familia; a ray of sunshine in our entire existence. She rarely complained or thought about herself. She was a selfless soul, showering love and kindness to others. Impeccable in my eyes, she truly was our unsung hero. We cherish her memories.

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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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Filed under dreams, Hope For the Hopeless

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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Filed under birthday celebration, perspective

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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Filed under Memoir, reflection, reminiscence

Face to Face

Happy New Year!

f4694e59b0e6749e2d892b2a6899e728Some of you have been wondering if I am still around. Oh yes, very much so. But due to personal reasons, after life threw us a curve-ball back in November, I had indeed taken a little sabbatical from blogging. I am happy to report that bit by bit I am getting back on tract with writing, etc. I’ve also joined a Toastmasters’ group and will give my Ice Breaker speech to them this week. I will share the outcome with you at a later date.

Meanwhile, let’s all do a little self-examining and reflection. Let’s get to know one another. Please add your thoughts and complete this sentence:

When I look in the mirror I tend to focus on my ______________.

 

© M.A. Pérez, 2017, All Rights Reserved

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Thy Will Be Done

I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord …

 

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you’re good
But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It’s hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not
So

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store

So, thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord

Isaiah 65:24 “And it shall come to pass, that before they call,
I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”

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September 15, 2016 · 9:05 PM

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!

You ever been excited about something and somebody who you love and admire shoot it down? Let me tell you, it stings. Bites. Deflates you, doesn’t it? Yeah, but don’t allow anyone to steal your dream!

They may have meant well, but they just couldn’t see what you envisioned. They didn’t grasp your concept or idea. Then what? Your resolve wavers, your hard work and steadfastness quakes.

So what do you do? Do you throw in the towel and just give up? No, for crying out loud! Perseverance is a virtue. Where’s your stick-to-it-iveness? You have it. Haven’t you burned the midnight oil long enough to come this far? Okay, so maybe they didn’t get it. Time to regroup; dig a little deeper. Re-examine your goal and ask yourself what is it that you feel? What is the message that you’re trying to convey?

I guess with me, I tend to say a prayer, asking God to continue to guide me to express the message closest to my heart to share with others. Listen, I’ve come too far to give up! And so have you! Sure, it may be a little scary, but so what? Acronym of FEAR: Face Everything and  Run, or Face Everything and Rise. I chose the latter.

I know this is not always the case. At times, it does good to cry and let out emotions. Yes, I too, have meltdowns on occasion. But if you can stick to your goal, doing all you know to do with a determination second to none, when oppositions come (and they usually will), you won’t easily break. Time to reflect, is all. Plant where you’re rooted. Bend like a palm tree, change directions if you must. If you feel you are to do a thing, whether people get you or not, stay the course. Don’t let others defeat you by their words or the looks on their faces! What am I saying? Face your giant! (But don’t forget your slingshot.)

BE encouraged.

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

How determined are you?

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

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

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A Moment Today

I had a moment today,
A revelation that came my way.
Right from the start,
I felt a prompting in my heart.

I had a moment today.
I soaked it all in so it wouldn’t stray.
It gave me a new perspective and insight,
To see you in a different light.

I had a moment today,
Of a new found truth after I prayed.
I no longer see or call you dysfunctional,
Although back then the times were in turmoil.

But you see, I had a moment today,
And I realized come what may:
In your weakness is God’s strength.
Your flaws, an opportunity for success.

Yes, I had a moment today,
And I’m no longer afraid.
I can smile and stand in awe.
Because I know you were and still are a gift from God! 

© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: jessmegale via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jessmegale via Compfight cc

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