Since my book, ORANGE BLOSSOM WISHES: Child Molested, Woman Abused – Her Victorious Journey to Freedom was released in 2008, wonder upon wonder, opportunity upon opportunity and blessing upon blessing have taken place. None of these could have transpired without the encouragement, support and work on the part of others to help make the things happen that have made the last three years so fulfilling. So, I am taking this time to thank many of you. I know I will leave more out than I recall to include, so please know if your name does not appear, I still thank God for your part in my life! Do you recognize yourself below?
THANK YOU TO:
Wendell – My biggest support system and encourager, my “manager,” photographer, event coordinator, coach, chauffeur, marketing rep and husband.
Carey – From day one you were the first to jump on board, putting the information out there and encouraging others to take a look at my work. The “background” emails and encouragements have been gems and priceless to my heart.
My Family – I love you all, more than you can possibly know or believe. Mama, I hope you would be proud of me, if you were here to be a spectator.
Donna – From your own personal shiksa to her perky cheerleader, we’ve smuggled Sophie through back doors, shared in the experiences of domestic violence, and laughed our way through some of what could have been the most traumatic of times. You make this world a better place by the work you do. Don’t ever stop being the best nurse in America.
Cuz & Cuz – One of you I helped raise and you spent a lot of time in my home growing up. The other God has managed to establish a close bond with after all these years, and I will always recall Skidrow and the reunions at the ranch. They were great, and so are you. Your support is priceless. Nise, thank you for all your prayers during those abusive years, and for your encouragement and support today.
My former teachers – Miss Catherine Young in third grade who imparted into me a hunger for reading and for hearing and telling stories. The many afternoons of being read chapters from Winnie the Pooh and all those biographies of American historical figures gave me the bug. Miss Davis, for giving me a true appreciation for classical music, which I turn to for peace and serenity today. Miss Bodenheimer, for giving me those times of filling in and actually teaching my own sixth grade class, especially reading and spelling. You helped form me into the wordsmith I am today. Susan Bridgers, my LHS Speech Class teacher, for helping me learn how to stand before a group and convey a message in a presentable and interesting fashion. Miss Kalafsky, for teaching me how to type. It has surely come in handy all these many years. Although you were probably one of the least prominent teachers at LHS, I will always remember those numbers tattooed onto your inner arm, although I never learned which concentration camp was where you received them.
Fellow Dreadnaughts – Yes, you shall remain nameless, but to all my fellow classmates, and especially to my fellow ‘Naughty Girls who have come to me since the release of my book to disclose we had all too much in common, and you, too, endured some manner of exposure to domestic violence and/or sexual abuse, know this – I treasure each of you with my heart. No matter how close or not we were in high school, you are diamonds in my life today and I count it an honor to be a part of such a phenomenal group of women and overcomers! We so rock!
Family Justice Center – Nikki, being given the opportunity to attend the 2010 Annual International FJCA Conference in San Antonio changed my life. So, to you, Shannon, Casey, Reena and Kim Wells, you have planted seeds into my life that have caused much fruit to grow.
The SVTF Speakers Bureau – Marilyn, from the day we met at TCC, we both knew it was divinely orchestrated, and have never once hid that fact. To have been offered the opportunity to speak at the Voices of Strength, and begin meeting my “now sisters” on the Speakers Bureau has touched my heart at a depth only Spirit could reveal. Connie, LePena, Lisa, Wendy, Tiffany…ALL OF YOU, we are connected in a way and at a level only we could comprehend.
The Weintraub Girls – You bring sunshine into my rainy days, and you need to know that. I’m so glad that Spirit connection was put into place.
To CASA, The Haven and The Spring – Thank you for all you do to make Tampa Bay a much better place to live, and the world better for your part of being in it!
Channel 8 Daytime Show – Cyndi Edwards, you conducted my very first television interview, immediately after the book was released, and the very day I became Wendell’s wife. The experience at your station and on your show was remarkable.
Dick & Becky – Oh, my Mom and Papa in Spirit. Where would I be if you had not been called to adopt this waif many years ago, train her up and release her like a young eagle, trusting she would soar to the heights where she was called? I only pray and believe in faith that all those words of “wisdom” have come to pass, and will continue to grow exponentially to be used to His glory and for His Kingdom!
WFTS ABC Action News – I still refer to you as “My ABC family.” You are each one and everyone remarkable. Rich, you honored me by allowing me to speak to the staff about their importance in the fight against domestic violence. Wayne, you took time out of your busy day to sit and listen. To John Thomas, Dennis, Deiah, Linda, Brendan, oh my goodness, to all of you who took a Saturday from your home and family to staff the table at the Kathleen BBQ fundraiser for the fallen officers, how selfless you all are. We are blessed to have such a media team here in our area.
Lissette – Okay, lump in the throat. I don’t need to write it here. We’ve said it all, time and again, and with God’s grace, will continue to convey the same message for the rest of our lives. Yo amo te, mi amiga!
My readers – If you have bought and read Orange Blossom Wishes, shared it with others, or recommended they buy their own copy, you have become a part of the battle against domestic violence. If you read the blog posts, and especially if you subscribe to it, or comment or rate the post, you, too, have made a difference. Continue to “share” the message, and look for the next book. It’s in the works.
So, from the bottom of my heart, “Thank You” to every one of you. Even to those I have never met. Maybe someday I will be given the honor of shaking your hand, or preferably, giving you a great big hug!
And finally, thank you to my abusers. Yes, “thank you,” for I have become the woman I am today as a result of the adversity and trauma you brought into my life. Reaching the point of forgiving you set me free to move on and begin making a difference in the lives of other victims and struggling survivors. Now it’s between you and God…
Footnote – This post is scheduled to be released on what would have been my parents’ 61st anniversary. So, “Thank You,” Mama and Daddy!
- The Signs of Domestic Violence (everydayhealth.com)
- Feeling Hopeless As a Victim of Domestic Violence (cshennecy.wordpress.com)
- No! God is Not Punishing You with Domestic Violence! (cshennecy.wordpress.com)
- Domestic Violence – the Danger of Trying to Leave (cshennecy.wordpress.com)
- Does the Church Condone Domestic Violence? (cshennecy.wordpress.com)
- CAUTION! Domestic Violence: You Have Moved On – But Has He? (cshennecy.wordpress.com)