Depression: A Serious Disease

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Resources to consider:

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

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

Celebrating Family

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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.
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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.
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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

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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!” ☺

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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

Sports—Camaraderie, Character Building and, oh yeah, Exercise

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If you’re a sports fan, subscribe to your local paper or regularly watch a morning news show like “Today” or “Mike & Mike”, there’s very little chance you haven’t heard that World Cup Soccer is in full swing. I fall into all three of those categories—especially the first one.

In my family, watching or playing sports is as natural as breathing. Yeah, it’s a way to get some exercise, but it’s also great for family bonding and teaching important life lessons.

My daughters have learned about pride in doing your best; humility when winning; perseverance when losing; leadership and teamwork for the whole rather than the individual.

Some of our best family memories have taken place on a court, a field, or in the stands together. Some of our most disappointing and some of our funniest moments have been the same.

Sure, participating in a sport is great for your body—strength, conditioning, and flexibility. But it’s also vital for character building. And it’s definitely a fabulous way to bring my family together.

Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood with our dog,

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training for a half marathon with my sister

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or two of my daughters

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participating in a Ladies Football Clinic with my mom

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or organizing a 3-mile family fun run and tennis tournament during a Christmas family reunion in Florida

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sports has always played an important unifying role in our lives.

Right now we’re in the throes of World Cup Fever, cheering for the USA!

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If you’re a soccer fan you probably already know this, if you’re not don’t be surprised when I tell you that thus far in the Cup as a USA fan we’ve experienced pride in our boys and our country, humility in finally beating Ghana, perseverance in losing the lead and ending our game with Portugal in a tie, and leadership and teamwork as we gear up to take on the powerful German team on Thursday.

These are all vital character traits we can all stand to improve. In my family, we simply like to dress up a little crazy now and then while we work our character together! ☺

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GO USA!

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Be Awesome!

Kid President Be Awesome

So it’s the second Tuesday of the month– a date I personally chose so I’d remember when I’m blogging and any followers would know when to find me here.

Enter LIFE– yes, at this moment it deserves all caps. I’ve been working on several huge projects for my day job, struggling through revisions for my agent, juggling RWA chapter president duties, enjoying a little part-time gig I love despite the added time crunch, dealing with family obligations and personal ups & downs…. boy, just re-reading my list made me have to stop and take a breath.

{{{{deep breath}}}}

Okay, so maybe I have an excuse for forgetting about my blog day. But I don’t have a good reason!

Yes, there’s a difference. I’ve said something like that to my girls in the past, so I should look in the mirror and say the same thing to myself.

I could beat myself up for forgetting. Let that old Catholic guilt I’m so good at flare up and leaving me feeling bad.

Or, I realized I could hop on the PBOK blog, wave hello to everyone and post one of my favorite YouTube videos to watch when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Have you seen the Kid President? Have you heard his “words of wisdom and advice” on how to live a good life? On how to be AWESOME? Let this little guy inspire you!!

I hope you’re having an AWESOME Tuesday!

If life is bogging you down, push the pause button on your day, spend a few minutes with the Kid President and the PBOK moms and know we’re rooting for you!!

2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist
#LatinxRom author

Represented by Rebecca Strauss DeFiore & Company

rebecca@defliterary.com

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