Personal freedom is important to me and means those things I choose that others
may not approve of or even applaud. My first taste of it was as a young teen when I
decided to work. My mom was against it though she started working early. Her
reasoning was I was too young. I was young but I also know part was her concern
with what people would say. At thirteen I knew being concerned with that wasn’t
freedom. So, her compromise was my grades better not fail. They did not.
Throughout my life, I exercised independence and freedom in my choices by first
deciding what was best for me but also considering the impact it might have on
others. I recall in 2006 when I decided to publish a book. I didn’t have a clue but I
knew I wanted to and could afford to. For months between being a wife and
mother of grown children, I wrote my first book, I found what was called a vanity
publisher and plunked down four hundred dollars and I had a book. It was unedited
and long but it was mine and I went on the road with it. I joined internet groups
such as Yahoo groups and a ministry was born. I worked on my craft, learned the
business of publishing, and continued to write. There were those who assured me I
had no place because I was too literary, too old, I was fifty, etc. but I ventured on
and found my own place and niche. Seventeen years later I’m over four hundred
books in and I’ve also published thirty others.
The biggest leap by far is choosing to have a giving and mentoring ministry. I had
no clue but knew I wanted to give and mentor in a structured way and ten years
after I started publishing and public speaking #JustLOVEMinistry was born. It
started by gifting journals to incarcerated youth and school kids but morphed into
workshops for girls and women. During the pandemic, it became a way to give
small cash gifts for personal assistance. Mostly it was and is funded by my books
and other endeavors but there have been donors over the years who I’m forever
grateful to and for and in 2022 I was given generous donations through a friend's
book club and others. I also started creating oils and butter to fund the ministry.
Looking back I thank GOD for the ability to exercise the freedom and willingness
to step forth and faith and do small things to make a difference.
Angelia Vernon Menchan