Mercy Me, A Memoir

The story of how as a blonde cheerleader from a founding family of Dallas I traveled the world, got sick, started to pray, and eventually found I’d become a Muslim.

“Finney, the lovable, purple-mohawked punker showed up, he actually showed up at my 15th birthday party. I could have peed myself, I was so excited. And then I ditched him for my popular friends. A pattern I repeated — from cheerleading to jock boyfriend to UT sorority life. Searching for purpose in all the wrong places.

Escaping to Spain and a fancy pants job traveling the world, God called out to me through heartfelt or heartbreaking or horrible experiences, but I just didn’t get it. Until finally He yanked me by the forelock, giving me a debilitating mystery illness. With a graceful whack, I was dropped face-first at the feet of a Sufi master — who I swear I recognized — smack in the middle of a bizarre prayer chanting circle. And that was just the beginning.”

I’m a native Texan living in Northern California, and almost 20 years ago I became a Muslim. Since 2001, I have felt inspired to share my poignant and humorous story as an example of an unexpected life path to others.

I had the unique opportunity to learn about Islam directly from my sheikh, Sidi Muhammad Al-Jamal from the Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, for almost fifteen years (he passed away five years ago). My greatest hope is that through my memoir, I can share his universal teachings and message with both Muslims and non-Muslims alike: that God created us differently so we could know each other, and that if everyone knew their religion, there would only be one: the religion of peace, love, mercy, justice and freedom.

To support this endeavor with a grant donation, please select ‘Mercy Me’ in the donation form below. For more information, you can visit Denise’s website here.