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Domestic Violence Has No Place in Our Society

stop domestic violence 1
I’m not a lawyer, a judge, a trained victim’s advocate, or in any way a professional in the field of law enforcement, so I have to admit that my statements here are my unprofessional opinion.

Yes, I am a woman, so my thoughts on the topic —if you look at the statistics—may seem skewed to side with my gender.

But setting aside my profession and gender, more importantly, I am a PERSON! My sense of humanity and compassion for others precludes me from violence against another.

So, when I say that I am appalled, disgusted and saddened by the issue of domestic violence, please understand that is an abysmally gross understatement.
enough is enough
If you’re not a sports fan, until yesterday you may not have heard about the latest headline-generating incident about an NFL player’s domestic violence charge.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/ray-jones-ray-rice-domestic-violence-case-person-blame-article-1.1933003

But with new, more condemning video being released, it’s safe to say that the NFL, the player’s team, the local prosecutor and the police completely botched this case from the very beginning.

Today, the case dominates the airwaves—from our morning talk shows to ESPN, from newspapers to the web, and everywhere in between.

The silver lining here—and I cringe to even type those words—is that now more people are talking about the evils of domestic violence. Hearing a sports commentator state, “The question shouldn’t be why the victim goes back to the perpetrator, but rather, why does the perpetrator continue to be violent” is important. This backward attack—blame the victim, not the perpetrator—needs to stop.
shattered domestic violence

Domestic violence—physical, mental, emotional—does NOT begin by the victim. The person does NOT ask for it. And “just get up and leave” isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Domestic violence MUST stop.

Victims need assistance, not condemnation!

All of us deserve to live in a home, a town, and a world where we feel safe and secure. Healthy love and a healthy relationship doesn’t hurt!
stop domestic violence

If you or anyone you know needs help, please reach out. There is support available, even when it seems like a situation may be helpless.

So please, put these websites and phone numbers below in your contact list. You never know when you, someone you love, or someone you meet might need them.

http://www.thehotline.org

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm

Summer Fun

postcard KW
By now many, if not most, school districts and universities/colleges are back in session. Summer is over and it’s time to get back in a groove of school, homework, longer commutes and busier schedules.

The dog days of summer are behind us—though in the Southeast, we’re still feeling the heat and humidity. And typically will for months to come.

With our kids and teachers starting back to school, I thought I’d call upon a beloved class assignment from my past: the age old, “What did you do this summer?” essay.

I have to say, I had a blessed summer of 2014. My girls are older, so they’re not home all that often now and when they are, I treasure every moment.

I started off with a three-week visit from with my youngest before she headed back to college for the summer session. Yes, I tried to pack as much fun as I could in her short time with me.
zac brown band with belle

Then, my youngest niece and nephew arrived to spend two months with my parents and me. Talk about reliving my past. It’s been a while since I’ve had elementary and middle school kids running around the house. From World Cup soccer parties to 90 minutes of trampoline time at a local Skyzone…they certainly kept me hopping—in a fun way!

world cup gator dockside 1
Between two writers’ conferences, a rousing family reunion celebration in Texas
cousin love
and the passing of a beloved uncle, my June and July flew by.

To cap off my summer, my middle daughter arrived home for two weeks and we headed off for a long weekend in Key West, my old stomping grounds during junior high and high school.

We biked all around the island,
P & G biking KW
hit Duval for a little dancing and nightlife, watched a glorious sunset on Mallory Square, caught sunrise before hitting the tennis courts, spent a relaxing day on a boat with old friends, passed by my childhood home and enjoyed playing tourist. It was a jam-packed weekend of catching up with good friends and sharing my hometown with my daughter.

Some folks have commented on all the traveling I managed to do over the past few months. Yes, I’ve been blessed in that respect.

For me though, what I really count as a blessing is the time I’ve been able to spend with family. The memories we created together. The hours spent in each other’s company. The opportunity to say, “I love you” in person to loved ones I don’t get to see often enough.

I’d say the highlight of my summer was the blessing of family time. With the traveling being the icing on the cake. ☺

So, as the Key West sun sets, the homeschool teacher in me wants to know: What did you do this summer?
KW sunset

Depression: A Serious Disease

depression 3
I had a different idea for today’s blog, but my heart is heavy after learning about the loss of two people to depression and suicide in less than 24 hours.

One is a Hollywood legend that touched the lives of millions around the world with his laughter, insight into character and engaging personality (Robin Williams). The other was a young man, barely in his twenties. A beloved son with his entire life ahead of him.

But depression doesn’t discriminate. It knows no bounds. Age, sex, race, status… It doesn’t matter.
child depression
And depression isn’t something a person can merely “get over.” Or “set aside.” Or even worse, “just suck it up.”

For the person struggling with the disease, life can seem worthless. They feel lost, alone. The lows can be abysmal, with no light to reach for evident.
depression 2
For family members, it can be difficult as they struggle to understand the depths of the disease and how it affects their loved one.

Depression is not something to take lightly. To brush off. To dismiss as a weakness. It’s an evil disease. It takes lives. It leaves families shattered.
depression 1
If you or a loved one, a neighbor or co-worker…if anyone you come in contact with shows signs of depression, don’t let it slide. Instead, find the name and number of a local crisis center. Learn about the resources available and share that information. All it could take is for that person struggling to know that someone cares, that help is available. That they are worth it. That life can be a beautiful gift. That their life is a beautiful gift.

So please, look up that number and jot it down, add it to your phone contacts, share it with others.

And today, remember to hug your children and let them know they mean the world to you. Tell your spouse you love him or her. Call your mom and dad, sister and brother, grandmother and aunt. Email your favorite teacher. Text your best friend. Smile at the person in line at the bank or grocery store. Share a joke with a co-worker.

You never know when you have the chance to be the ray of sunshine in someone’s day.
depression 4

Resources to consider:

http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/help-for-depression#TreatmentFacts1

http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depresssion-support

Celebrating Family

lifelovefamily
This past weekend was bittersweet for me as I arrived in Texas for a family reunion with my dad’s side of the family, but then wound up having to say a final good-bye to my mom’s last living uncle who happened to live in the same town.

It was a blessing to see my uncle one last time. To give him a hug, smooth back his hair as he lay in his hospital bed, look in his gentle eyes and say a prayer with him.

It’s been a blessing catching up with cousins I haven’t seen in years. Talking about our kids and our lives. Sharing laughs about old times and making new memories.
girl cousins framed pic 1
cousin love

This weekend has been a true picture of what family is all about. Helping each other through difficult times. Celebrating good times. Advice and guidance when faced with troubles. Support through good and bad. There have been ups and downs, squabbles and tears. But more importantly, there’s been love. Lots and lots of love.

So today, as I move from my aunt’s house to the RWA National Conference hotel, I leave with the certainty that I’m writing for the perfect genre. Romance novels are about love and healthy relationships conquering conflict and doubt and the ugliness of the world.

Our novels celebrate what we want for our kids: happiness, strength, peace and love. Lots and lots of love.
family love

hearts of  love
Today, I say: Go hug your kids, call your mom or dad or aunt or cousin, send a simple “I Love You” text to someone you haven’t in a while. Celebrate your family. Life is short. Your list of loved ones doesn’t have to be. :-)

RIP My beloved Tio Pablo, te quiero mucho!
Tio Pablo

Young at Heart

trampoline time

Having and raising kids can give you gray hair, make you gain weight, and lose a ton of sleep. On the flip side, having kids has also kept me young at heart—which, in my humble opinion, overshadows or outshines all the aforementioned negatives.

Even though my girls are in college and post-college adult life, I’m blessed with a 10-year old niece and a 12-year old nephew who spend the summer with my parents and me. This means my summer is filled with dolls, video games, Disney Channel, bike rides, kid movies at the theater and—for the first time in my life—a trampoline park.

If you follow me on Instagram or twitter you probably already saw the pics of my niece, nephew, close friend and me at a Skyzone trampoline park this past weekend. I’m a big Groupon and Living Social shopper and when I saw a deal for 90 minutes of trampoline time a couple of weeks ago, my first thought was, “Oh, my kids will love this!” Quickly followed by, “Wait, I’ll love this!” ☺

sky2 copy

Let me tell you, 90 minutes is a looooong time. Especially when you’re using muscles you normally don’t. And even more so when you forget your age ‘cuz you’re feeling like a kid again—bouncing off side walls, leap frogging across 8 trampolines, pushing yourself higher ‘cuz you think you can actually do a flip in the air. Talk about a new way to get some exercise!

We all jumped like silly fools. The kids played trampoline dodgeball. No, I didn’t go for that, I was too busy acting like Spiderman throwing myself against the trampoline wall trying to stick for a second or two before careening back toward the trampoline floor.

Needless to say, we were all hot, sweaty messes by the end of our allotted time. But we were hot, sweaty, giggly, happy messes. Fun was had by all!

For a brief time I forgot my real age and enjoyed being a kid again. All thanks to my desire to help my own kids have fun.

Of course, when I woke up the next morning with sore calves and an achy lower back, my age caught up with me. I moaned for a second, then laughed when I found out my nephew was sore, too. ☺

Another happy memory created together—stretching out our soreness from our time jumping through the air, laughing at our silliness.

So sure, I’ll take the occasional gray hair and sleepless night because I’m a worrier. But I’ll treasure the moments when my kids allow me to act their age rather than my own. ☺

What about you? Have you tried anything new lately that made you feel young again—wild and crazy and like you could take on the world? If not, I suggest you see if there’s a Skyzone or something similar near you!

young at heart

2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist
#LatinxRom author

Represented by Rebecca Strauss DeFiore & Company

rebecca@defliterary.com

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