Thankful Thursdays

No one is ever quite ready. I thought I was because we certainly planned for it. But I wasn’t. I thought I was choosing motherhood but, in reality, it was choosing me. And here I am, on the eve of another Mother’s Day, twenty-nine years since that first life-changing eye-opener. Since that day when this roller coaster enthusiast hopped on the ultimate ride of highs and lows, love and hate, laughter and tears, molasses and warp speed.

This beautiful chaos has tested me before each lesson, and continues to do so. But I wouldn’t trade my best day before motherhood for my worst day with my kids. “What do you want for Mother’s Day?” they ask. Nothing,” I always say. Because the best gift that I will ever have is being a mother. And for that, Lord, today and always, I am thankful.

I dedicate today’s post to Lauren and Danny. For the blessing they are. And to my hubby. For making it happen. 😉

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women who, biological or otherwise, nurture another soul.

What is motherhood to you? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”
-Donna Ball

“No one is ever quite ready; everyone is always caught off guard. Parenthood chooses you. And you open your eyes, look at what you’ve got, say “Oh, my gosh,” and recognize that of all the balls there ever were, this is the one you should not drop. It’s not a question of choice.”
-M. De los Santos

“When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”
-E. Bombeck

Thankful Thursdays

If I had a dollar for every time I have faced uncertainty, I’d be rich and sitting in retirement on a beach in Fiji. Yes, that many times.

Uncertainty surrounds us whether we are tuned in to it or not. No matter how in control of our lives we think we are, much of what lies ahead in life remains uncertain. That’s just the way it is. And if you’re like me, the “what-ifs” can drive you nuts.

Of course, uncertainty would be a moot issue if we had a crystal ball. For instance, I would’ve chosen different hiking boots to go on that 15-mile hike in Canyonlands National Park. The lack of a crystal ball that day almost cost me dearly (even for a semi-veteran hiker like myself 😎). Thankfully, in time, I recovered. But yeah, a glimpse of the pain would’ve been nice. But no, the only crystal ball I’ve encountered is in the Haunted Mansion, and Madame Leota never foretold my bad choice of boots. Yet, that 15-mile hike in those boots turned out to be a memorable experience fueled by endurance, determination and absolute faith, which I will always appreciate.

My point is that, in general, in life the best we can do about uncertainty is follow our heart, gut, and then place our complete trust in God. If the choices we make go smoothly, great, if they don’t, it serves us best to believe God will see us through it, however the journey and whatever the outcome.

For every time God helps me to place my trust in Him, I am thankful.

Go ahead, finish the sentence: If I had a dollar for every _________________________________.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.”
-Paulo Coelho

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. “Delicious Ambiguity.”
-Gilda Radner

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
-Isaiah 41:10

“There is no 100%. The most we can plan for is 97%.”

Thankful Thursdays

If you could have a conversation with yourself from 20 years ago, what would you tell yourself? Me? That there’s only so many times one can get away with putting 38 on a birthday cake. [Wink, wink…inside joke to family and friends].

Seriously, though, I would tell myself not to sweat the small stuff. As a control freak and overly concerned person, sometimes I go on alert mode waaaayyy prematurely, not waiting to see if the small stuff even turns into big stuff. It’s quite the conundrum given that I’m also an extremely patient person — I think I want to worry but I’m willing to wait. The suspense is real. 😅

It’s weird that I don’t get rattled by the big stuff, it’s the trivial things that seem to consume my thoughts. Maybe because when the going gets really tough, I grab for my faith, and there’s no match for that. It’s sweating the feeble, micro-stuff I have to work on. It’s a waste of good brain cells and time. And time is valuable, my friends, as I’m sure you know. Just ask yourself from 20 years ago. Kids, word of advice: don’t sweat the small stuff, save your brain cells.

For every instance I am able to wipe my forehead and keep the small stuff in check, I am thankful.

If you could have a conversation with yourself from 20 years ago, what would you tell yourself? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
-Matthew 6:34

“Indeed, the important question in terms of becoming more peaceful isn’t whether or not you’re going to have negative thoughts – you are – it’s what you choose to do with the ones that you have.”
-Richard Carlson

Thankful Thursdays

I’m pretty sure in nine plus years of consecutive Thankful Thursdays posts, I must have expressed gratitude for this, but here it is again – – I am so very grateful for working plumbing.

My first realization of the value of working plumbing, no, actually, of plumbing, period, was during day 2 of my first missionary trip when I was 18 years old. We arrived at the mountain village where our project that year was going to take place and were settling in, when nature called. I will never forget the moment when I entered the outhouse. Wow. Interesting to say the least and at first amusing. But that rude awakening became ten-fold when I had to use it again in the dark of night. It was at that moment that I swore I would never, ever, take a toilet for granted again.

Since then, many plumbing-related issues have arisen in my life and with every one of them has come a reminder of that eye-opening night. Be that as it may, the comforts afforded by the blessings I enjoy day after day have sometimes clouded my memory. But I think that’s why life nudges us at times, to keep us honest. Like in this instance, our plumbing going haywire yesterday. All in all, not a huge or life-threatening event, obviously, just an inconvenient interruption. Nevertheless, yes, a stark reminder of that night long ago and that little wooden outhouse that scared the _______ out of me (no pun intended). Life finds a way, I tell you.

So, for working plumbing, I am thankful, again. And for my hubby, who so diligently jumped on the ball to get it fixed. 🙂

What comforts are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
-G.K. Chesterton

Thankful Thursdays

Affirmations can be powerful, and none is more powerful to me than one which emboldens my faith. Believing I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (and what He can do through me), during the good, the bad and the ugly, does just that.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And for that, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for day?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“I can do all things
Through Christ, who gives me strength.
But sometimes I wonder what He
Can do through me.

No great success to show,
No glory on my own;
Yet in my weakness He is there
To let me know…

His strength is perfect
When our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us
When we can’t
Carry on.
Raised in His power,
The weak become strong.

His strength is perfect,
His strength is perfect.”

Captiva Island, Florida, August 12, 2016

Thankful Thursdays

Never say never. Online reservation of a seat for Mass? Never. Sit in Mass wearing a face cover? Never. Well, been there, done both. It’s been another interesting Lent season.

This Holy Thursday, I am thankful for what we commemorate and remember today – the institution of the Eucharist and the importance Jesus puts on humility. In the washing of the feet and the giving of His body and His blood we find the true meaning of love and service. For me, today’s is the most poignant Mass of the year, hands down. And as we head into the holiest of weekends, I am reminded that in life’s tragic element is where we often find God’s grace, in the form of, among other things, hope. There, ever so present in our moments of pain and suffering. How else can we survive? I am in love with that hope. The hope only He can instill in me. 

To those of you who share in my faith and observe this holiest of weekends, I wish you a blessed one, full of enlightenment, peace, hope and love. To those of you who don’t, I wish you a blessed one, full of enlightenment, peace, hope and love. 😉✝️

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“…do this in remembrance of Me.”
-1 Corinthians 11:24

“The stone was rolled away from the door,
not to permit Christ to come out, but to
enable the disciples to go in.”
-Peter Marshall

“Blessed are those to whom Easter is not a hunt… but a find; not a greeting… but a proclamation; not an outward fashion… but inward grace; not a day… but an eternity.”

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, April 5, 2010


Thankful Thursdays

I don’t know about you, but I shake my head every time I hear someone say that God laughs when we make plans so why bother. I say, why not make them anyway? Just because He laughs doesn’t mean they won’t happen. Yes, He has a sense of humor but, above all, He’s merciful and gracious. Besides that, planning teaches us to be goal-oriented and to live intentionally. Whether our plans come to fruition or not, that’s secondary.

Many times, I’ve seen my plans disappear like dew in the morning sun in Miami, and okay, that’s been disappointing. But I’ve learned that it’s best not to get hung up on my expectations when these are not met. It’s not easy, trust me, I know what I want and when I want it. However, I’ve come to understand the importance of trusting in God’s will because I’ve been hit over the head with it plenty, and I’ve been like, “Oh yeah, this worked out a whole lot better.”

Other times, though, I’ve seen my plans rearranged like puzzle pieces and end up happening anyway, just with a different look and at a different time than I was expecting. But because I had already drafted those plans, I was ready. See how that works?

We live with a lot of uncertainty, and you can bet that “Stuff” (with a capital S) will indeed happen in our lives. And sometimes our best-laid plans can be upended by God’s actual will for us. However, that shouldn’t be the reason we stop working towards the things we wish for and hope to accomplish. I think the thing is to pray for God’s guidance as we make our plans so that we can better align them with His will for us. If they align, terrific. If they don’t, I’m sure there’s a lesson somewhere in there to learn. Win-win situation.

For every time I make God laugh with my planning skills, I am thankful.

What are your plans? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
-Martin Luther King 

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
-Saint Augustine


Thankful Thursdays

Well, we’re back on Daylight Saving Time and Spring’s around the corner. Yup, change is in the air, again. And speaking of change, I smell an empty nest fast approaching.

Could it be that both our kids will be flying the coup in the same season? Possibly. Good thing these parentals have plans in the works to keep busy and entertained, because it’s soon to get very quiet at the Perez household.

This transition won’t be an easy one for us. Even though Lauren and Danny have been doing their own thing for quite a while, their footsteps, scent, and voices have filled every corner of our home to date, and have been the focus of this very tight-knit pack. That their constant presence at home will be highly missed is an understatement. At the same time, we are very excited for their journeys ahead, and we trust God is leading their way…and ours.

Change is in the air for sure, and we’re welcoming the breeze. For this new phase of our lives, I am grateful.

If any of you empty-nesters want to chime in, please feel free.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.”
-The Dalai Lama

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”
-Ann Landers


Thankful Thursdays

Yikes! When I look in the mirror lately I’m like, “What the…? I could’ve sworn that wrinkle wasn’t there yesterday.” Does your mirror do that, ladies? Mine is showing a number 11 etched between my eyebrows that is looking more and more like a long road to nowhere. I’m thinking I should add 11 to my list of lotto numbers to play. In fact, if I look close enough I’m sure I can find more wrinkle-made numbers I could play.

But, it’s okay; my hubby says I still look hot. He must be blind, poor guy. Then I remember he had LASIK surgery, so I feel really good. Then I also remember he still needs glasses for up close. He’s just sweet, I guess. The hotness here could be from the hot flashes. But okay.

It is annoying the way these lines sneak up on us one by one. I suppose a little bit of Botox could do the trick, but I’m too much of a chicken to venture into that. I’m afraid of coming out looking like the bride of Chucky. Or even worse, Chucky himself. In my case, I think makeup will have to suffice. Makeup and appreciation.

Appreciation for what these lines represent: Good days and bad days, laughter and tears, KIDS, mistakes, experience and wisdom, etc., etc. So while I do not necessarily enjoy their appearance, I do appreciate the stories they record. For that, today and always, I pledge to be thankful.

Meanwhile, next time I look in the mirror, I’m gonna go with “You still look hot” and call it a day. 

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“This volume is dedicated to time.
It gives us memories, fine wine, and wrinkles.
But the only thing worse than getting old is not getting old.
So here’s to time, dear reader, yours and mine.
May you have many more wrinkles, a lot of fine wine,
and memories to last two lifetimes.”
-Iceberg Slim

“I wear my wrinkles like battle scars, having earned every last one slaying life’s dragons. They boast of my victories and some defeats while their beauty is a wealth of wisdom gained.”
-Richelle E. Goodrich

“Take care that old age does not wrinkle your spirit even more than your face.”
-Michel de Montaigne

Thankful Thursdays

facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or
      education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

What a wonderful and liberating thing it is. Back in the day, whenever I asked Mom something she didn’t have a factual answer for she’d say, “Búscalo en la enciclopedia.” If you remember those heavy hardcover books full of facts and colorful pictures, you’re probably as old wise as I am. Information at our fingertips. I loved those books! And a good thing that was ‘cause I was expected to use them. Saber es poder. Knowledge is power.

Nowadays, it seems opinions are power and knowledge is null. In this instant-gratification society we live in, we’re too quick to turn to social media influencers, or “badfluencers” as I call them, as our main bank of knowledge. We’re slacking off, not digging for the facts or educating ourselves, but instead relying on these typically opinion-based sources. And opinions are just that, opinions. We all have them, and they should be respected if respectful, of course, but not deemed facts to go on, or be corrected by.

Sadly, all this opinion-policing contradicts everything we’re trying to achieve as a society. It’s gotten to where if our views don’t concur with someone else’s we quickly get called out, humiliated, and erased from existence with a simple #hashtag. It leaves no room for mistakes (and no one’s perfect), it lacks patience, understanding and communication. We should eradicate bad behavior and make people accountable, but at what cost if the cure is worse than the disease? Makes me want to go back to my encyclopedia days.

I pray we find a way to learn from our past and current mistakes and put an end to this social war we find ourselves in.

But, yes, thank you, Mom, for making me look everything up.

For knowledge, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
-Neil deGrasse Tyson

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly. The world is messy; there are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids, and share certain things with you….That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far.”
-Barack Obama

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
-Dr. Seuss