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Isn’t He Beautiful?

Build me a son, O Lord,
who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,
and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid;
one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat,
and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishbone will not be
where his backbone should be;
a son who will know Thee—and that
to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort,
but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge.
Here, let him learn to stand up in the storm;
here, let him learn compassion for those who fall.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high;
a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men;
one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep;
one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his,
add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor,
so that he may always be serious,
yet never take himself too seriously.

Give him humility, so that he may always remember
the simplicity of true greatness,
the open mind of true wisdom,
the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father [and mother], will dare to whisper,
“I have not lived in vain.”

~ General Douglas MacArthur

 

So, we just celebrated my son’s 34th birthday. After asking him what would he like to do or where would he like to go to celebrate, he shared that he simply wanted to be with family and wanted to celebrate at home. Such a humble request and oh, what a joy in fulfilling that request. Because you see, Mama needed some respite too. We get so caught up in the blowing and going that we can minimize and forget the small stuff. Let’s face it, we are busy people. We can become too focused on counting the days instead of making the days count.

I prepared his favorite meal of lasagna and Cherry Food Cake for dessert. We visited, laughed, acted like goof-balls while entertaining one another (see the video), and took some cool photos. We made more memories to cherish a lifetime. I treasure each and every heartbeat represented in my family – close and very dear to my own heart.

Thank you for allowing me to continually share my journeys with you.

 

 

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

© M.A. Pérez 2016, All Rights Reserved

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

 

5 Comments

February 25, 2016 · 7:16 PM

When You’re Down – Look Up

“Touch the Sky” by Hillsong

What fortune lies beyond the stars
Those dazzling heights too vast to climb
I got so high to fall so far
But I found heaven as love swept low

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

What treasure waits within Your scars
This gift of freedom gold can’t buy
I bought the world and sold my heart
You traded heaven to have me again

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out, I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever

Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out, I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever

For many, this has been a difficult and challenging year. As we come to the end of 2015 and soon enter a new year, my prayer is that with every new dawn and in every new challenge, may we find inner strength and peace from the One above who promises to never leave us or forsake us.

Nobody said life would be easy, but nothing worth having ever is.

Hold onto the memories. 

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

4 Comments

December 27, 2015 · 1:23 PM

Are You Damaged Goods?

Definition of damaged goods: inadequate or impaired. Products that are broken, cracked, scratched, etc.: a person who is considered to be no longer desirable or valuable because of something that has happened: a person whose reputation is damaged.

Is that you?

Regardless of your past or present, you don’t have to remain that way.

Was that ever me?

You betcha!

Read on …

Hollow. Pure loneliness. Dark, like a bottomless pit. Ripping in my chest. Piercing my heart. Again, he stays out all night. Overcome by torment. Abandonment accompanies me. Consumed with depression, isolation wraps itself around me. My mind races with wild imaginations of where he has gone, what he is doing, and with whom.

Instead of going to bed to sleep, I am wearing a hole in the couch. At the sound of every car approaching, like a jack-in-the-box I spring to peek out the window hoping he has returned. With every disappointment, my stomach turns into knots. My own sobs mock me until I cry myself to semi-consciousness. Hideous lies will follow after he returns and add to my anguish and emotional decline. 

This was me back then dealing with my former (cheating) husband. His words like rubbing alcohol pouring over fresh wounds, stung! No band-aid could heal my emotional pain. No quick-fixes. Deeper and deeper I sunk into a dark abyss, crushed beyond repair. For several years, that was my pathetic frame of mind. I know now it didn’t have to be. So, what was the deal?

I had an overload of abuse: physically, verbally, emotionally. I had low self-esteem and zero self-worth. I believed and accepted a lie about me and my situation. I figured since this was my lot in life, better make do. I witnessed my mom go through a cycle of abuse, but I was obviously blind to my own. I made him mad againMaybe I deserved it … Talk about co-dependency!

How do you perceive yourself? Have you been lied to, beaten down and trodden upon? Feel like you’ll never come up for air? Are you tired of stumbling around in blindness, things so bleak you can’t even see your own self-worth? Drowning in sorrow and self-pity? Or maybe you feel you’re at the point of no return in trying to please another. You compromise your values, your mental state, your resources, your health!

Stop allowing someone’s negativity or ill-treatment to rob you of your joy and develop a callous heart. Realize you are worthy. You are valued and matter. There’s nothing wrong with being fragile … but let it be like fine china. Just know that you are not damaged goods; a throw away or a faded memory. Don’t be someone’s victim because you listened to their lies and empty promises.

Get up! Rediscover yourself. Feel your wrist. What is that? A pulse? Then you have purpose! Allow the Master’s hand to reach down and set you on high places. He’ll wipe the tears and dust the soot from off your heart. If God could get me out of the pit, He can get you out, too. It takes a made-up mind. A determination that today is the best day of the rest of your life.

What’s in your hands? What’s in your heart? A dream? A gift? A precious child? You have something worth fighting for. Choose your battles.

 If you don’t know my pain, you’ll never understand my praise.

 

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9 Comments

August 20, 2015 · 7:00 AM

Beauty For Ashes

Beauty For Ashes

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3
(Photo Credit: forashes.org)

My devotions today is found in Isaiah 61:3. Although this passage of scripture brings me comfort, I wondered …

How can there be a smidgen of beauty amongst rubble? Or ashes?

How is this even possible?

How do we see beauty in the midst of suffering, hopelessness, or despair?

When I saw my baby sister lying in her small white coffin, I sure didn’t see any beauty in that.

When I noticed my mama with bruises on her body, I failed to see the beauty.

My former husband known for his strength, vigor and being sure-footed, morphed into a sloppy drunk after one drink of alcohol being miles away from anything charming.

To see my grandpa become a prisoner in his own body, his barrel-chested physic becoming sunken and scrawny was a far cry from beauty.

For my eyes to caress my grandma’s features, once so robust and plump, turning thin and frail after having lost so much weight due to illness wasn’t lovely to behold.

Watching the back of my former husband after he pulled the rug from under my feet, and left me in the dust while I choked in my sobs and called out his name wasn’t a picturesque scene.

My 29-day old granddaughter swollen from fluids in a medically induced coma after her open-heart surgery wasn’t eye-appealing to me.

Scars are not beautiful. Neither are the hidden bruises on the body or on the heart.

Death is not beautiful; the grieving of loved ones taken from you is never beautiful. Hunger is not beautiful. Loneliness is not beautiful.

Repossession isn’t quaint. Foreclosure is eons away from being delightful.

So how can there be beauty for ashes?

I believe it is found in hope. Hope against hope. Hope that the imperfect will become perfect. Hope that the pain will cease. Hope that there will be a day of reckoning. Hope that the scattered pieces will rebuild. Hope for healing and relief. Hope that the light will dawn and a new day will come. Hope that this too, shall come to pass. Hope in heaven. Hope that the best is yet to come. And most importantly, believing in the Blessed Hope that one day, we shall see our loved ones again who have crossed over.

I can yell it now from the mountain top: Thank you, Lord, for turning my life’s ugliness into a thing of beauty!

Out of sadness and hurt, will come strength and victory.

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11 Comments

July 23, 2015 · 10:39 PM

You Light Up My Life

So many nights I’d sit by my window
Waiting for someone to sing me his song
So many dreams I kept deep inside me
Alone in the dark, but now you’ve come along

And you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song

Rollin’ at sea, adrift on the water
Could it be finally I’m turning for home?
Finally, a chance to say hey, I love you
Never again
To be all alone

‘Cause you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song

‘Cause you, you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song

It can’t be wrong
When it feels so right
‘Cause you, you light up my life

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Happy Twenty-First Wedding Anniversary to the one who continually lights up my life.

Here’s to twenty-one more years together. I love you, babe.

11 Comments

April 6, 2015 · 12:00 AM

A Baby Changes Everything

 

2 Comments

December 22, 2014 · 9:47 PM

Veterans Day Tribute

 

A moving, patriotic tribute to our military, past and present. Thank you for your service! This video was produced by “The Sound Tank”.

 

great-grandpa20-e1400804642274My 19-year-old grandpa, Florentino Mendez – 1916

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4 Comments

November 9, 2014 · 1:43 PM

Labor Day Tribute

 

 

The message to this wonderful video: We work, accumulate, toil, labor… for what? It is easy for our work to feel meaningless. This short video explores the tension and frustration that comes from defining our purpose from work. ‘Meaningless’ is a great short film for messages on Labor Day, rest, identity, and success. (Video by Notes From The Journey.)

2 Comments

August 30, 2014 · 8:29 AM

P.S. I Love You

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It’s hard to fathom that we’ve reached a milestone. Come April 6th, we have been married for twenty amazing years.

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

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

You believed in me before I believed in myself. I am not afraid to be me when I am with you. Your laughter is music to my ears. When I look at you, I see the love in your eyes still twinkling … for me.

I want to thank you, babe, for all the years by my side. I pray that God grants us many more to come. I appreciate you, admire you, and love you more today than I did yesterday. I thank God for making us one, knowing that together we will weather the storms.

Your soothing voice calms my fears; your gentle touch chases away my tears.
Your strength is my abiding force; your soothing words, my guiding source.

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

30 Comments

April 4, 2014 · 5:00 AM

Ode to a Mother’s Heart

There’ve been much written about the making of “Son of God,” and those behind the scenes producing it.  Without getting into all that, I will share what moved me in watching this movie.

I felt the significance when Jesus put His hand out towards Barabbas and stopped him dead in his tracks. I can’t say that I’ve ever been touched by an angel before, but I do believe that I have been touched by the Hand of God in my lifetime. Enough to stop me in my tracks. Make me look heavenward. And to examine myself.

Son Of God movie - pic 19I focused on Mary, and what she must have felt in all she’d gone through. She knew her son had a purpose and a mission to fulfill. Yet, she couldn’t have known the price it would take, and all that she would witness along the way. How does a mother not yearn for her child to be safe? Not weep when they are hurt? Not grieve when they are lost? A mother will always want to protect her child from pain, wipe the tears, bare the blows, and heal the wounds. Even when they’re adults.

I cried when Mary reached out to Jesus, wanting, needing, and yearning to hold Him close. Yet she could not. It was not meant to be. His time had come. And she knew like she’d never known before as she watched Him embracing the cross.Cross

I marveled at how her resolve strengthened, accepting the will of God regarding Jesus all the way to the cross. I imagined how hard that was for a mother to do. My favorite scene in this movie was Mary touching Jesus, the cross in between them, both are upholding it. Not necessarily that Mary had anything to do with His mission, but that she embraced God’s plan for His life. And death.

Letting go is not always easy, but it is necessary.

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In this world we all have our crosses to bear. Jesus said, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27.  Not an easy feat. The cross is heavy, but it never outweighs His grace. I’m so thankful for the cross and for God making all things new.

Mothers, embrace your children today, and don’t ever stop praying for them.

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

10 Comments

March 9, 2014 · 4:23 PM