February 17. 2023 - Vol. 2, Issue 1
About Awards, Accolades, Accomplishments, and Achievements
I stayed hidden as much as I could while growing up. As the sixth of eight kids, it helped to blend in with the rest of the family. Because I was younger, I saw the kind of attention Dad gave my older siblings—unwanted. If anyone made a mistake, it seemed a spectacular offense. In No Tears for Dad, I wrote about the consequences of burned rice and unpolished copper-bottomed pots. During elementary school I received near perfect grades and attendance. I don’t remember if anything was ever said about that. Instead, Dad thumbtacked everyone’s grade reports on the wall and circled with red felt pen any grades less than an A. By high school, I didn’t want any part of that scrutiny and made a decision not to excel. My memoir includes more examples, but by the time I reached adulthood, fear of success had cemented itself into my psyche. Any awards or accomplishments had lost their meaning. I’d learned if I did things perfectly it was not good enough.
The Illumination Awards, whose motto is “Shining a Light on Exemplary Christian Books,” recently awarded my book a Silver Medal. When I scrolled the list of award winners under the category Biography/Memoir—Personal Struggle, it read, "SILVER: No Tears for Dad by Pete Cruz (Redemption Press)." My immediate thoughts were What? Me? followed by a mix of unbelief, confusion, and pride. Even then, I wanted to say my book won, as if it did the winning, not me. Thoughts of this will bring unwanted attention or you don’t deserve this air bubbles floating to the water's surface.

I sat on the news for days and told only my daughter and two other friends. It was as if I were holding on to a big secret.

The following week, I Zoomed with my monthly group of fellow Christian writers. “By the way," I said (an intro sure to downplay good news), "my book received a silver medal." They were thrilled and happy for me. Plainly, I had trouble doing the same for myself. I admitted that I didn’t know what to make of it. One member, Rachael, told me what God had told her pastor. He had shared it in a sermon, saying “Stop taking yourself off the list. I (God) put you there.”

Indeed. God put me on the list. To Him it’s a big deal.

The Lord nudges me all the time. This is who you are, He says, intending for me not to stay hidden.

At my future speaking engagements, when I’m called to the podium, I'm sure to be introduced as, “Award-winning author, Pete Cruz.”

Sounds good to me. Feels good. This is who I am.
Valentine's Day brings to mind love songs that tug at my heart when I hear them. They transport me back to a time when the song meant something to me--either unrequited love or being in love. Following are the song titles, the artists, and the year of release:

  • "Ain't No Woman (Like The One I've Got)"-The Four Tops-1972
  • "You Are The Sunshine of My Life" - Stevie Wonder - 1972
  • "Just The Way You Are" - Billy Joel - 1977
  • "Invisible Touch" - Genesis - 1986
  • "Perfect" - Ed Sheeran - 2017

I hope for Valentine's Day you got your heart's desire.