Red Bag Campaign!

Dsquared Homes For The Homeless unintentionally ignited a campaign for the homeless community. It all started with one bag ordered as a thank you for our secretary who lives in Texas. I initially ordered the keychain light for my first few supporters which unfortunately was considered a “package” by the post office and costs a ridiculous $3.74 to mail!!! That fact required a Plan B because I’d ordered 50! It’s redonkulous that I saved more money by ordering and shipping a specialty item, but it paid off in the end by creating quality relationships.  After posting a photo of the bag online, another board member thought it would be a great idea to request donations for the bags and deliver to the homeless. Given she didn’t have a car, my mind immediately translated that as more work for me and I initially said no. I had proudly decluttered my entire home and wasn’t about to backslide! Thankfully a strength is my ability to say no without guilt. I’ve learned YOUR idea shouldn’t be detrimental to MY peace.

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However, God worked on my heart as time went by, and supplied the answer while I was over in left field minding my business. IF the bags are no cost for us, possible now that we are tax exempt,  and we only request donations when we have bags, there’s less risk of reaching hoarder status. I split the cost with a friend, thinking not only is a worthy cause but it might also provide much-needed exposure as a new nonprofit. Unexpectedly, ALL twenty bags were gone within the first week! Supporters picked up bags to fill and return, others met me all over the planet with their donations. Marlene, the first to respond, filled her bag the same night and returned it the next day with an order of an additional eight for friends that saw her Facebook post. She also volunteered to run what I’ve dubbed the Bag Detail so that the program could continue. Apparently, it was meant to be!

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The last three days have been overwhelming with gifts and today was my third donation by a teenager!! I wasn’t expecting mini-me’s to be interested in making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, based on today’s trend in society. All ages appear to be obsessed with either self or social media and relationships have diminished to text messages. Quality time now seems old school, even in families, and this trend is killing future generations. What we don’t discuss, like mental health issues (depression has become an epidemic and a silent killer) and even what healthy relationships look like, sends the uninformed online for answers. Social media a cesspool for the REAL fake news, and sadly, a comparison trip!

 

 

It’s an unexpected honor to spark change in an unexpected way. Not only in the lives of the mental health/homeless community but the younger generation who are desperately in need of role models! A thirteen-year-old donated today, and a fifteen-year-old created and manages our D-squared Pinterest account. Based on mom feedback, I’m creating a summer volunteer program for students! It’s a beautiful thing!

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DSquared Mission Statement!

With God, there are possibilities! My team is growing and our goal is not to change the system, but make a difference in the lives we can! If enough individuals combine their talents, a positive impact WILL transform the mental health community!

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Dsquared4homeless.org Go Live Day!

I’m extremely excited to see my vision come to life in two short months! Dsquared Homes for the Homeless was inspired by my son’s current situation, homeless with mental health challenges. I’ve heard comments that I can’t change the system, but those people are missing my intent. My mission is not to change a system as challenged as the clients they serve, it’s to make a difference in the lives that I can.  My idea is to assist the SMI individual in their goal to remain self-sufficient who, like my son, are already contributing to society. I’ve started over a few times as a result of a job loss, and divorce but was able to regain independence with support. Bypassing homelessness completely is better for the economy, and a state of mind.

A criticism received is that I won’t receive the funding required to make this happen. It might be true, if I were petitioning the government. A Veteran myself, it would be redonkulous to expect help from that arena when those who’ve fought for our country aren’t prioritized. My support will come from families impacted by mental health, who are as frustrated with the lack of resources as I am. 1 in 4 adults are emotionally fractured, and emotional challenges are more of a drain on the economy than major health challenges like cancer or diabetes. More families are involved in the dysfunctional relationship I’ve been in for 11 years when my son was first diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia. Those families are my people. Evidence they exist is from the support received so far. My nonprofit was made possible via my Gofundme page in two months. I had the vision, but not the finances. Being an FPU graduate (and Coordinator), I will never go into debt for anything again. Dave Ramsey cured my tendency to make decisions based on emotions.

My team is strong with Grant Writers and other family members willing to share their skills to provoke change in the lives of forgotten voices. Yesterday a Real Estate Agency and Loan Officer also joined my team. It might take a minute, but we are heading in the right direction and there’s HOPE! Please support our cause and share our mission. Dsquared4homeless.org 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

This Mother’s Day meme spoke to me because it represents the relationship I have with my two son’s. Motherhood auto-corrected my path, which is weird because I decided early on that children weren’t my cup of tea. I even requested permanent prevention, Kaiser insurance denied my request based on age (under twenty-five) and the fact that I had no children. Apparently, they felt either of those in place assured I was a better decision maker (insert mic drop!)

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Despite reality, and all the pain associated with motherhood, I’ve known for a long time that my sons brought a value to my life that didn’t exist before. My favorite line in the meme is the one that speaks to a Mother’s love crushing down remorselessly all that stands in its path. I rose to life’s challenges because of my children, and have no regrets!

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My children inspired me to change who I was at my core AND my family tree. As devastating as it is for the afflicted and their families, even schizophrenia molded me into who I am today. I was forced to stop marinating in my comfort zone because there is no cure. Although it was the only option, or the easiest, I chose to start adulting and place myself in a better financial position to help my son.

Because of Donte’ and Stephen, I have fought the odds and accomplished the following

1. Achieved debt-free status over the course of seven years (working 2 and 3 jobs consecutively) and reached debt-free status in 2015

2. Start a coaching business to empower and set an example for other women in need of fine-tuning. Sometimes we believe where we came from determines our future and I’m proof it doesn’t

3. Graduated a son from Arizona State University with a degree in Engineering and NO STUDENT LOAN DEBT

4. Authored my first book. Renewal of the Mind: The Upside To Schizophrenia is still in the process of editing and I will complete it this year. Life keeps happening!

5. Founded a non-profit to support the Serious Mentally Ill (SMI) living independently with housing resources so that they remain self-sufficient and bypass the homelessness trap. I haven’t yet blogged about it, but have received Tax Exempt status and my website, DSquared4homeless is up! I’m still recovering from that fight and it will be my Monday blog!

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I can say with absolute certainty that learning to build a website would definitely not have happened if my mental health challenged son wasn’t currently homeless, and I hope I never have to do it again! I’m a tech mess and what would probably take a person a few hours took a month, but I did it! It was seriously harder than giving birth, GOOD GRIEF. Out of time, off to enjoy my morning worship at Faith Christian Center.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

 

 

 

Ruby Wax-What’s So Funny about Mental Illness!

The most important lesson learned since 2010, is not allowing my son’s walk with mental illness to control my life. I was definitely consumed the first four years of his diagnosis because I needed a crash course in mental health. I knew nothing about Schizophrenia, or that it ran in my family. He’s currently fighting his first relapse, but applying the lessons learned has made a difference for me in this chapter of his story. I’m fighting for him, but still living life in the process. Today’s share is a little bit of laughter for those in need!

My Morning Therapy: Thoughts on Dating and Mental Health

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Post-divorce I went on a heart strike, committing to singleness for the rest of eternity. It wasn’t because I believed good men didn’t exist, though I sang that song in my 20’s after a few situationships ended in emotional traumas. As I survived my choices, I matured into the knowledge that the only common denominator from the scar tissue was me. My picker was dysfunctional. I didn’t know how to fine tune it, so it was easier to just retire it. Which I did with a mallet just to ensure it wasn’t operational in the future.

Five years later, I came out of early retirement at age 50. It certainly wasn’t my idea, but sometimes the universe has other plans and I’was outvoted. I shared my dating experience through my blog, and it was interesting to see how popular online dating had become. At the same time, it was sad to see what it had diminished too. Relationships were now text messages and getting to know each other through conversations was old school. Something I never discussed in my dating experience is mental health and the dangers of dating. I watched it come full circle in a child support hearing yesterday. My son met a woman on Plenty Of Fish (though it could happen anywhere), and she manipulated her way into his heart, and his home. She came as a package deal, a three-year-old immediately accepted by my son. Although I knew something was off about her from the start, it eventually became evident as she shared her manic episodes on Facebook. She played my son like a harp and was a professional. However, she wasn’t the only one with secrets. He was a meal ticket and she isolated him from family. Note to men. When a woman keeps you away from your mother, she’s up to no good. A woman with good intentions will desire a relationship with his family.

My son was labeled Paranoid Schizophrenic in 2009. By the time they met, he had completed a 3-month stay in a mental institution and battled his way back from a psychotic break. He was working full-time and maintaining an apartment by the time they met. He never mentioned his diagnosis and she never mentioned hers, but no woman will ask her man if he thinks she is bi-polar. Our normal line is usually along the lines of whether our butt appears to be spreading. I suggested my son reveal his diagnosis while they were dating and warned that when women develop trust issues, it has a negative impact on the relationship. What I didn’t say, is that the emotionally unstable woman will seek revenge. Ruining his life becomes her mission statement. Not only has he lost everything he had, including his job and his dignity, but she was also an overachiever that decided to have a baby intentionally so she could also receive child support. Working wasn’t really her thing.

As I watched the sad scenario unfold in their court hearing yesterday, I couldn’t help thinking this is a great dating testimony of what happens when people don’t take time to get to know each other. Three years into living together, she finds out about his diagnosis by reading a school paper for his Psychology class. Already challenged with manic episodes, she went ballistic and today my son’s life is the result of his dating decisions. My next book will probably be titled Bipolar Meets Schizophrenia! Her vendetta dug four graves, including hers. My son lost his job, which meant he has no money for child support. Her anger flared in court when the judge granted child support but ordered two years of backpay to start immediately, at $10.00 per month. My mom used to say, “you can’t get blood out of a turnip!” A pathetic part of this story is that my son’s intention was always to support and be a part of his child’s life. Now he can’t even afford the $10!

Five lives are tarnished by her revenge, including two innocent lives caught in the middle. A child created for revenge forced her to compensate in a single parent household. Raising a healthy child alone comes with many challenges. Especially and the guilt of spending more time at work than with the child simply to support them. However, raising a child with serious medical issues is single parenting on steroids. My life was impacted because she blamed me for not keeping his secret and stalked me on social media and via text. I’ve had to change my number several times based on her threats and are always concerned she’ll bring her rampage to my front door. So many lives are impacted by a decision to date without taking the time to get to know each other. On my end, I’ve had to watch my son fall apart at the seams, and I have a two-year-old grandchild I’ve never seen, and not sure I ever will.

Who we date is one of the most important decisions of our lives and should not be taken lightly. A lot of women get caught up in the nice guy. Nice doesn’t equal ready, and dating potential is a disaster!

 

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If you know you are a complete package and have battled your demons (whatever they might be), don’t assume it’s you and don’t give up. We are simply up against a society that has so many options thanks to online dating that people literally get stuck on stupid and assume the person on the next page has more to offer so we don’t take time to get to know the person in front of us. I will date a person at least 5-6 times to ensure I’m not being overly picky but I know that person needs to be my mental, spiritual and emotional equal for this to work. Quality over quantity.