Donnovan is currently at 186 pairs of socks!!! He has several more pledged 🙂 We will be shipping them out the week of November 5th, so there is still time if you want to help him with his sock drive. He said, “I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who donated socks for my sock drive. With your help we are going to be able to make an impact on peoples lives in areas where poverty is prevalent, again, thank you.”
I want to share a story about one of my children. He is 13 years old and homeschooled. When he was young we noticed he was different then his older siblings. We could not put our finger on it and did not know much about Autism Spectrum. We knew he was very smart, and very athletic. We could not understand how loud noisy places could cause him so much distress. For example, if we walked into the food court at the shopping mall he would cover his ears and just scream loudly. He was meticulous when it came to his matchbox cars. Each car had to be lined up in a specific order by color. If we moved one car out of place or switched a light red car with a dark red car it would also cause him distress.
When he was 5 years old we moved to Saint Petersburg from Nashville. I decided to place him in public school. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to teach him and meet his specific needs. I wasn’t even sure if I knew what those needs were or would be.
In Kindergarten we were told they believed he had Auditory Processing Disorder, and that he was on the spectrum. They began pulling him out of class and placing him at different times of the day with special needs children in a separate classroom. I was told my son would NEVER read at grade level.
The other students ostracized him. My sweet and loving little 5 year old boy came home with black eyes more times then I can recall that year.
I pulled him out of the school system and decided to also homeschool him. I knew it would be a challenge, and trust me it is a challenge every single day.
By the end of first grade he tested at a 1.7 reading level. Just shy of reading at grade point level.
He is now in the 8th grade. He completed his CAT test last week, and scored at or above level in every single subject. In reading comprehension he placed at 11th grade 7th month.
The school system was going to throw away my child because he was different. They saw it as a disability. I refused to.
I told him he had a super power and what others called a disability was actually an ability he had that not many people have. I taught him how to deal with it and to work with it and to use it to his advantage instead of his disadvantage.
I am very proud of the young man he is becoming. He is handsome, athletic, smart, and compassionate.
I have always asked and required my children to give of themselves and their time for others. I believe charity is important. My family is not financially well off but we have always donated our time to give back to our communities. Alexis volunteered with a local food pantry in Nashville and organized their shelves, Victoria did the same. Andrew volunteered two days a week at the same pantry, delivered food to senior citizens that could not get to the pantry to pick it up for themselves and even held a clothing drive for Clothes to Kids here in Saint Petersburg when he saw there was an immediate need. My children helped shop for and ship clothing out to One Spirit in South Dakota to make sure the organization had enough Christmas gifts for teenage and older children two years ago.
Am I bragging? I hope not. I am just proud of them all. I believe as parents we have a responsibility to teach our children how to be good, productive, compassionate, loving members of society.
This year, with Donnovan in the 8th grade he has started his project. He is collecting new pairs of socks. He originally wanted to donate it to a men’s program in Canada, but they turned him down. They suggested he send his socks to Puerto Rico or help local Hurricane Irma victims. Which was a nice thought, but completely out of touch with the needs in Puerto Rico and Saint Petersburg. Winter socks probably would not be much help in either place. He wanted to provide homeless men up north where it is cold with socks.
Donnovan had a goal of collecting 100 pairs of new socks by the end of October. He is almost already at that goal.
I reached out to a very good friend of mine who is Dakota and HoChunk. I told him I had no idea how I was going to tell my son the place he planned on sending all these socks to was turning the donation away. We had never experienced that before. My friend does a lot of outreach work within the Dakota and Winnebago communities as well as throughout Indian Country. He said, he will distribute the socks for Donnovan and then challenged my son to double his goal to 200 pairs of new socks. 200 pairs??? Donnovan said, “Game on.”
Soooooo we are now shooting for 200 pairs of new men’s socks in the next two weeks. If you would like to donate to his sock drive, inbox me. I will tell you how.
He is ALSO going to be building hydroponic gardens for different shelters, food pantries, and programs here in the area. There has been many times when he has stood with me in a food pantry line in the past when times were harder. He noticed that it was always canned goods being distributed. He wants to make fresh fruit and vegetables available to those that need them most. They will look like these in this photo.
I am proud of all my kids, but I am especially proud of Donnovan. He continues to fight and beat all odds and stereotypes daily.
They say a persons eyes are the windows to their soul. What do you see when you look into my eyes?
Do you see happiness? Sadness? Pain? Confidence? It is all in there.
I am happily human with real feelings and emotions. I cry, perhaps more than most people. I laugh daily. and my laugh is quite contagious. If I am laughing, I guarantee you are as well.
I am happy to be alive. Life isn’t easy. I don’t assume it ever will be, but I am alive and I am blessed. There is one thing I know for sure I am a pretty strong, resilient, talented, confident woman. I am not perfect, but I am proud of who I am and what I have been through to become the woman I am.
On this night in 1987 I overdosed on every medication I could find in my home. I tried to cut my wrists and my father walked in and found me. He picked up the large knife and swore at me. He yelled that I could never do anything right, and then shouted that I should have cut up and down and not across. He then called me a moron, a waste, an embarrassment and many other things. He took the knife to my wrists for me, threw me down a spiral staircase, dragged me by hair through the house and too his car.
I wanted to die. I wanted to give up. I asked if there was a God, why would he subject me to this kind of torture and pain daily. No child should go through what I did over the years. Why was I still alive? If God existed wouldn’t he love me enough to take me away from this? I was begging to die.
Exactly one year later, on this night in 1988, I was rushed to the hospital with a Pulmonary Embolism. Doctors were at both of my wrists, my ankles, my groin area, and my neck. They were all trying to get blood from my arteries to check oxygen levels. I almost died that night as well. I stayed in the hospital until almost Christmas that year. I was begging to live.
September 29th has not always been one of the best days for me.
I was diagnosed with Cancer in 1992. Can you guess which day? Yup.
I seem to develop a bit of anxiety when September roles around every year. Wouldn’t you?
Needless to say it is now 10:40 pm September 29th, 2017 and nothing bad has happened today 🙂 Maybe I should knock on wood? A meteor might full out of the sky! hahaha
I am good now. At least for another year.
Thank you for being here for me and for reading my blogs and books. Thank your for being here to be my emotional support when I have needed it, to be my strength, to be my friend, to be my teacher, and to just be you. I am blessed to have you in my life.
We all go through ups and downs and scary situations. I hope that my past blogs or my books have touched and helped you in some way too.
What makes a person beautiful?
I don’t think there is a person male or female that hasn’t questioned their ability to be desirable. I know when I was younger I wanted to be thinner. I was never thin enough. In my late teens and twenties, I was hospitalized multiple times for anorexia and bulimia. Some of my close friends from that time know how hard it was for me. I wanted to be an actress and I studied theater in college. I would go on auditions in NYC and be told I was beautiful, talented, I had such a pretty face, but I needed to lose weight. Maybe that is why I ended up in radio.
The smallest size I was ever able to wear was a size 10. I couldn’t understand that my body could not get any smaller than that. I was 5’7, average height, right? Why couldn’t I be a size 1 or 2? I wasn’t eating and if I did eat I was taking ipecac. No matter what I did, it wasn’t possible. I believed I was so incredibly ugly and worthless.
As the years went on I gained and gained weight to the point that I could not even zip a pair of women’s size 28 jeans. Do you know how big that is? That is about 50 inches around. Let that sink in for a minute.
I am now a size 16 but so desperately want to be a 10 again. I am going back to the gym and I am going to start lifting weights, but I am doing it not to be beautiful but to feel stronger and be healthier.
I am 49 years old. I have wrinkles, and dimples, and imperfections everywhere. I have skin from gaining and dropping weight. I do not have a perfect body, but you know what? There are so many ways a person can be beautiful.
I have an amazing, compassionate heart. I put others needs before mine all the time. I am loyal and loving. I am an incredible mother. All those things are beautiful, so even if I do not see my outward beauty or I focus on the extra weight, the fine lines, my age, I need to remind myself that there is beauty within.
I need to embrace my curves and love me for who I am.
I need to love and forgive the woman I once was and I need to prepare and embrace the woman I am about to become.
I have been single for a few years now. I have been dating again. I joined dating sites. I haven’t found “It” yet.
Maybe I never will and that is okay.
My standards are high. You see to me beauty doesn’t have a perfect shape with washboard abs. Beauty doesn’t have a perfect hairline. I see beauty in other ways. I find a man that gives of himself and volunteers within his community utterly sexy. I am attracted to creative people, artists, writers, actors, musicians… people who know how to feel and express it creatively. I am attracted to Alpha men that make me feel safe, but are gentle when it comes to me. I do not know that I will ever get married again, but in my heart, I pray that someday I will find a partner in life, and one that excepts me for who I am, curves and all.
We all see beauty differently. We should never allow our peers; the media or society to define beauty for us. We need to be true to who we are, and if we truly are, we will find happiness.
My new book Xavier Bearheart will go into pre-sale very soon. I have been stressing over the fact that I didn’t believe it was ready. The finished product should have been on my editors desk two months ago. I have sent her chapters, but told her I wasn’t ready to release it yet insistent that something was missing, but what?
She loved the chapters she read. She was excited! “Just send me the book! It’s fantastic, everything you write is fantastic!” Well trust me when I say, she is NOT one of those bobble headed people that tell you only what you want to hear and play the part of a yes man. I wanted to believe her, but I knew in my gut, the book was not ready.
Could characters be 1 dimensional?
Any plot holes?
Questions would keep racing through my head and I kept rewriting scenes within the novel.
“Just let it go! Click send” Friends have told me.
Well this morning I figured out what was missing and why I couldn’t send the book. You see, I had this epiphany, while lying in bed half awake this morning. I immediately grabbed my cell phone and sent a text to my editor, completely forgetting she is on the other coast! (Ooops sorry Jan) I was so excited I told her I figured it out! I knew what was missing! It was BACON!
I was just lazily laying in bed this morning, when the smell of bacon overpowered my room. It was obviously my neighbors breakfast cooking but I laid there having a fat girl moment thinking “mmmm bacon” and it hit me!
BACON….. BACON…… BACON!!! That was it! That was what had been missing.
When my first novel came out, one of the main characters LOVED BACON. It was part of who she was. When my second book, a short story, (Shadows in the Storm) was to be released there was a flirtatious scene between the two main characters and a slice of bacon.
The publishing house made a statement about how some individuals find bacon or pork and beef offensive. They encouraged all of their writers to be conscientious of all audiences.
I almost gave in and removed the sexual tension / bacon scene from the story. It was then that I realized I compromise everything, always… for others feelings, even if it compromises my well being, my feelings or even my art. Stupid I know, but it was truly a growing moment in my life.
If I took the bacon out, would it hurt the story? No….
If I took the bacon out would it hurt me? No….
What would happen if I left the bacon in?
I would be standing my ground and not allowing another person to dictate to me what I can or cannot say, can or cannot do. I would be true to who I was and I love BACON.
SO I decided the bacon stays.
I know this sounds petty but….
If I compromise on bacon, in the future I may be told vegans and vegetarians don’t like meat and you need to consider all of your audience members. What would follow next not everyone approves of interracial couples? Native Americans cannot be heroes (I actually had a critic once tell me that)
But you get the idea….
It was on that day that I decided right then and there BACON would be in every single book I write.
What was missing from Xavier Bearheart?
As soon as I write a good bacon worthy scene I will call the book done 🙂
It is crazy to think the book is set to be released and I have not even hit send yet. Xavier Bearheart will be released in 13 countries the US, Mexico, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Australia, Spain, India and the United Kingdom.
It is my hope that this book does well enough that I can do a series of books based on each of the principal characters.
Stay tuned! 🙂 My 6th novel will be out soon and I promise it will NOT disappoint. It is about a team of 5 mercenaries under the direction of an angry retired General leading the resistance movement against a corrupt, selfish, and greedy President who willingly sheds blood of his own citizens to pad his pockets before he leaves office.
As always be good to each other!
I know it has been a long time since I have posted a blog, but I am very angry tonight, and I need to get this out of my system.
The last few days have been horrific here in the US. Like many people worldwide, I have expressed my personal views. I WILL NOT APPOLOGIZE for how I feel or what I believe.
I will give you fair warning that when I am upset I do drop the F bomb frequently. No it is not lady like. No, it is not professional, but it is who I fucking am. If that offends you, or you are aware that my outspokenness or views already fucking offend you. Don’t fucking read this.
Tonight, I was unfriended by a man on Facebook. He sent me a message which stated. That he was unfriending me because “As a celebrity (which I am not) I have no right to express my unamerican views. He went on to tell me that I had no right to speak out on Charlottesville, mascots, domestic violence, or rape. He said that I needed to JUST SHUT UP. Then the fucking genius went on to tell me that the protestors in Charlottesville were exercising their right to Freedom of Speech.
Their right to Freedom of Speech…..
What about my rights? As a citizen of the United States? As a woman? As a human being?
Why do these protestors have rights, and I must shut up?
It is a shame that he was too much of a coward to debate me one on one, because I would have fucking annihilated him.
It is amazing how many people scream freedom of speech…. Until the speech that is being exercised freely does not align with their core belief system….
Suddenly it is “Unamerican” “Unpatriotic” …….
Fuck him and fuck anyone that dares to tell me to shut up.
It only makes me louder and I WILL NOT BE SILENCED
I am no longer a slave to fear. I use to fear everything. I was afraid people would not like me.
I was afraid people would not accept me for who I am, what I look like, and what I believe.
I was afraid to protect myself, to stand up for myself, to believe in myself.
I was afraid.
I was afraid to pursue my dreams, my desires, and my freedom.
I was afraid of my past, my nightmares, and my demons.
I was afraid of rejection.
I was afraid.
I believed I was unworthy of love, of respect, and of life.
It has taken time; in all honesty, it has taken years to figure out that when I focus on problems, I only create more problems. When I focus on pain, hurt, suffering, I only create more pain for myself. If I focus on the positive and the possibilities, I have found I create opportunities. I create windows that lead to new beginnings, dreams, and chances.
Every day that we wake up, we have the chance to create something new in our lives. We can define who we are and what we want. We can paint the world we want and deserve to live in. It takes belief in ourselves, but there is one other thing. We must look at those around us.
Are the people around you creating a positive environment for you to grow, be productive and to achieve your dreams?
When I was able to face my fears, I realized that I had surrounded myself with people that were so dark that they dimmed my light and I could no longer shine.
I lost belief in myself early on as a child. I was repeatedly told I wasn’t, nor would I ever be good enough. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. I lost the ability to believe in me, and I found I was only comfortable surrounding myself with people that told me what I believed to be true and treated me in a way that I believed I deserved to be treated.
When I began to face my fears and surround myself with positive people, I started to grow. I grew emotionally and spiritually. My soul began to exude creativity and a desire to succeed. My heart started to love, to truly love… me. I suddenly had a sense of value and a sense of self-worth.
It has taken years, but I think my candle has relit and the fire within me feeds on the darkness and pain from my past and now creates a massive bonfire with flames that will never be dimmed.
NEVER BE DIMMED
I have an unstoppable desire and belief in myself to succeed and to achieve my dreams. I know I will.
What are your fears? If you stop being a slave to those fears, how will your life change? It is never too late to paint a new picture.
I recently received a series of messages by a Facebook friend, “Mercedes why are you so open about your past? I mean weren’t you scared? Why don’t you keep it private? Aren’t you ashamed? Don’t worry, God will forgive you if you just ask.”
I had no idea how to respond to this person I have never met in real life. What do you say to something like that? I had no idea how to answer. Now in my blog I rarely get preachy or religious, so be forewarned today I am about to.
Was I scared to be so open? Yes. I was worried about rejection, about people laughing at me, making fun of me, yes, I was scared to say I lived on the streets. I was scared to say I was abused in every way possible. I was scared to talk about being raped, but I did it.
Am I ashamed? Of what being the victim of rape? Being abused? Being a runaway? No I am not ashamed, and that is why I write and talk about it. I wear my scars proudly. I know I have helped others by being open about my healing process. I am a strong and beautiful woman, but for too long I was broken, timid, meek; I hid behind the secrets in silence. I believed I had no hope, no future, no life, and I never deserved anything.
God will forgive me if I just ask?
Do I need forgiveness? Was I wrong? Was I bad? I spent years feeling horrible for the things that happened to me as a child and as a young woman. I felt guilty for the abuse that happened to me. I felt guilty for the rape. What if I wasn’t there? What if I made a better choice? What if I behaved better? What if I wore something different? What if…… It took years to stop feeling guilty. Does God need to forgive me? He has loved me through all of it. It was his grace and his love that I am standing here breathing today, because trust me; I have come close to death more than once. I believe he loves each of us as if we are each his only child, and I believe he is proud of the road I have walked and the woman I have become. I believe he has guided me through some tumultuous times because he is preparing me for something amazing. He is making me stronger and more confident every day.
Right now I am going through a very difficult time in my life, a divorce. I am trying to support three children on a very small amount of money. I was living paycheck to paycheck, but not anymore. My wages were just garnished for a medical bill that took place before 2008. My soon to be ex, stopped making payments on the bill years ago. They decided to garnish my wages. My ex won’t support his children. His words to me the last time I asked was that he eases my financial burden by taking the kids on his days and that he wasn’t the one to decide to have two sets of bills. He ran bills up in my name and never paid them, of course somehow it is my fault. It always is. I don’t know how I will survive this month but I have faith, that God will show me how and carry me through this storm. Is it wrong to be open? Should I be ashamed of this, my divorce, my financial situation? Should I live in silence and secrecy? No, God doesn’t want his children to suffer, and talking, writing and sharing is healing not only for me, but for some of my readers. I will come out of this even stronger than I am today.
I was being a procrastinator this weekend. I was putting off my editing, my writing, my housework, and this blog. I was killing time on Facebook, reading my friends statuses and seeing all the cool things they are up to. I found one common thread on multiple people’s timelines.
The statuses read, “I need a vacation.” or “I need a vacation from a vacation.” Or “I wish I was at the beach… the park… the mountains… the lake…” etc..
It seemed like everyone wanted to be somewhere else.
Why do we create lives that we need a vacation from? Why can we not just create the life we want? Is it because of our desire to be normal, or live a life others deem as normal? Why do we place what other’s think is normal or appropriate before our own happiness? I believe we all have a purpose. We were all put here for a reason, and if you look deep enough into your heart you will see and find your purpose in life. I believe that is where you will find your happiness.
If you dream of being at the beach, create a life for yourself that has you living at the beach. If you dream of being a professional singer, actor, writer, artist, film maker, doctor, lawyer… create that life. You have the power to create and become whatever it is you dream of being. You have the power to be wherever you want to be.
Now I am sure there are those people with the half-filled glass right now saying, “Oh but I don’t have a job there.” Or “I cannot afford to move.” Or “I am too old.” Or “What if I can’t?”
You can’t for one reason and one reason only…. It is because you are saying you can’t. See if you believe in yourself, if you want it… it will happen. Don’t give up, stay focused.
Do what it is you want to do with your life. Live where you want to live. Your life is a gift. Don’t waste it. Create the life you want. You deserve it, and I believe in you.
I went for a walk this morning with my youngest son Bo. We walked through a parking lot of a hotel on 34th Street in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Anyone who knows 34th street knows it is not the best of neighborhoods, but it is our neighborhood and I am trying to teach him to see and find the beauty in everything and everyone. Fresh air and exercise is just a bonus!
While walking through the parking lot we saw a police officer pulling in. An older man ran up to the car shouting, “There is a woman up there. She says the man in her room won’t leave. She is crying, and she says he raped her.”
I looked up and saw a young woman on a cell phone crying on the third floor walkway. It felt as if a knife went into my heart.
Suddenly I was back in time. I was the woman. I was confused. I didn’t know what happened. I only remembered bits and pieces, smells, sounds, a yoohoo can, dirt, cigarette butts, pressure, him on top of me, me crying, I couldn’t breathe, he was heavy, he smelled like cigarettes and sweat, me trying to scream but no actual sound able to escape from my paralyzed throat, the feeling of shame, guilt, anger, sadness, weakness…. Weakness, I was so weak I couldn’t get him off, I couldn’t make a sound. I didn’t know where I was or how I got there. I could hear a train. It was definitely a train in the near distance. It all came back to me as if it was a Tsunami overwhelming my entire being.
Just as quickly as I was triggered and had this horrible flashback…. I was brought back to reality…. I felt a tiny hand squeeze mine and heard his soft voice….
“Mommy, are you okay? You look sad.”
I smiled down at my little boys face. I was fighting back tears. His face was painted with love, compassion, and concern. I could not be weak any longer. I could not let that moment in time take this moment in the present away from me. I thought of something I read on Jason Cross’s page…. Even broken crayons can color….
Yes, I am broken.
Yes, we all are a little broken.
We can choose to live in the past or we can choose to move forward. We can choose to wallow in self-pity and depression or we can choose to live and rise up to our potential. We can still color the most beautiful landscape for our future even with a broken crayon.
Yes, I mourn for the woman I once was before I was raped.
I mourn for that child that was brutality abused.
I mourn for so much, but I love and embrace the woman I have become, and I love that little boy of mine with all of my heart for bringing me back from the edge today with his sweet smile and his tiny hand squeeze.
I am blessed and when I die I want people to see the masterpiece that I painted with my broken crayons….
Have a safe and wonderful weekend
On a side note Amazon has a free download of one of my books Obsession of Dylan Paul through 7/25/16. You can download it to any electronic device. I hope you can check it out.