Tag: thesis

Taking a Leap and Enduring

Taking a Leap and Enduring

14 May 2017


Happy Mother’s Day to any mothers reading this.  Happy Mother’s-to be Day!  My sister is a MTB, and they are equally important because they are still caring for a child.

I was at graduation on Saturday.  It was a day to me, for me, and all about me.  Prior to leaving for the ceremony, I was unwrapping my stole, cords, and charms to add to my cap and gown ensemble.  I was thinking about these next four weeks.  What I told myself was that I am finishing as a Hellinger.  This lead to taking another leap on Saturday.  It was time.  I took my last ring off.  A rush of liberation overwhelmed me.  I felt a little bit of freedom; a little because I’m not completely free yet, but it’s coming.  This was a giant leap because it meant that I am ready.  Ready for: new things, changes (big and small); and a new life.  However, I still feel a little disjointed.  There are scattered thoughts.   I am not my normal self.  In fact, normal doesn’t exist.  Eventually, there will be a new normal, but I’m not there yet.  These were thoughts running amok yesterday as I sat in my seat feeling the ridges on my left ring finger.  I hid my hand under my program to avoid thinking about things that were not the focus of me and my day.

I was sitting on the arena floor with peers in the MA Liberal Arts program at SNHU.  There were some dynamic speakers.  The keynote speaker for our school (COCE and CFA) spoke about where she’s been, how she got there and what she went through during her time as a student, a single mother, and working full-time.  The University President said he loved speaking to this particular school because students are from all over the world (one student was from Tuscany, Italy).  We are the ones who are studying late hours, after work, after families; we are the students sacrificing “small and big moments” to better ourselves.  Importantly, we arrived at this point because we have family and friends to support us.  I’ve been saying this all along.  My family and friends have supported me in various aspects of my life and my education.  I have sacrificed evening gatherings, and more to stay at home and get my assignments turned in.  I have sacrificed weekends on the golf course.  I have sacrificed dinners, lunches, and more because I needed to read a novel in 24 hours, write 5,000 words within a week; or had to do some research that kept me in the virtual library hours after work.  This sacrifice is priceless.  Family, friends, activities, events, and the golf course will still be there once I am done.

The speaker understands what it means for all of us to endure; she spoke about this.  We are functioning beyond.  I have no choice but to endure this chaos while finishing my education.  I can smile and laugh through the deep pain, tremendous hurt and invisible scars (already forming), and many would not even know how out of control (literally and figuratively) my life is currently.

Natalie has to endure trial and error to realize why she can’t wake up from her coma.  How does she do it?  You’ll have to read the book.   I have to finish the last 5,000 words week 7!  That’s it!  The last 5,000 words.  Then it will be time to edit once again, and prepare for my thesis completion.

Thinking ahead, I am determined to endure numerous rejections when I begin to submit my manuscript to agents/editors/publishers.  Empowerment and enduring are just two themes in my thesis.  I have endured some of the worst storms and darkest of days and nights.  I have grown more resilient through this mess.  I will be okay once I move beyond a few more obstacles.  I know I am not done taking small and giant leaps.  This is the power of positive thinking.

Both the University President and the speaker told us, as graduates, to take time to “soak it all in.”  I have been, and even reminded myself today to soak it all in.  Those smiles, laughs and memories I spoke about in my post the other day?  They happened because I let them. I embraced the moments.  I can’t seem to get enough, but it’s good enough for now.  Leaping, soaking, enduring, and embracing.


it's not about you anymore

Aunt Jude puts rose wreath on me18519065_1657516264276853_718103114_o

The Journey-Not Over Yet

The Journey-Not Over Yet

11 May 2017


Back to traveling again.  Seems like my May and June calendar has filled up, without being fully aware it happened.  I’m embracing it.  I have to.  It’s the freedom to move around, not being chained to anything or anyone; but I still have Duke-puppy in my care, so he’s my only other priority.  If the end is near, it’s so far away.  Plus, I still have to continue moving forward.  I am, literally, one month away from finishing this third degree.  I am on a plane, headed east for graduation.  My third degree and I have decorated my cap…there’s a first time for everything.

I think about dates.  My dad’s birthday is tomorrow.  We both were born on the 12th.  He would have been 66, and I can’t help but think what he, and my mom, would think of this ridiculous mess I’m in.  Would they have asked me to go home?  Questions.  So many questions, and I have to stop asking them because they won’t do me any good.

This fucking mess.  I’ve been in hell since January?  No.  December?  No.  November.  That sounds about right.  This fucked up mess has sapped my energy, motivation, appetite, and ability to sleep.  My clothing continues to fall off my frame, getting leaner with each passing week.  I recently saw photos of myself; someone had hijacked my phone at a committee dinner and I stared at the image on the screen.  That’s me?  Wow.  Catching up with friends after and I know everyone notices.  It’s hard not to.

So…I’m smack-dab in the middle of week 6.  I’m waiting for a chardonnay on this bird.  I’m letting the Wasband buy me a drink or two…or three… Running on another standard 3 hours 20 minutes of sleep and the adrenaline keeps pushing me.  I dread the day it stops pumping through my veins and mind; it’s going to be a hard crash, or I can head it off by doing something epic.

Graduation.  Usually signifies the end, but I am able to walk even though I’m a month away from being done.  I’ll take it.  Family is arriving from NY and IN to help me celebrate.  I fear what my Aunt Fabulous is doing at the ceremony.  Last year, for my niece and nephew’s high school graduation, she had their faces blown up and put on large sticks.  Think Big Head meets a popsicle stick.  From photographs, it looks like the heads are floating!  Whatever happens is sure to bring a smile to my face and a large, guttural laugh.  If you hear about a family that makes New Hampshire news, or even the news at Southern New Hampshire University, chances are it’s mine.  Haha

Natalie’s journey has begun.  She’s floating out in some familiar, yet unfamiliar place.  It’s all about the journey, and I am a firm believer in this. Heck, I look at where I am in this moment, this time, and in my life.  Never in a million years did I ever think I would have three degrees; would be married and now in the middle of a divorce.  Whore.  Adulterer.  Let me reign my anger back in.  I’ve lost the one outlet I could really shout at.  Bastard.  Bitch.

I will not let any of this define me.  It can mold, shape, soften me into self-discovery, but I am not the victim.  It took several months to bring myself to say this, and not because I am broken, but because I was torn down slowly.  It took space, a vast amount of space, distance and boundaries to shift my feet through the numbing waters to begin to see more clearly.  I began to see true colors.  I began to sort of find me, randomly wandering.  What I found was an old me, who wasn’t afraid to be her true self.  She busted out of that shell, and I’m still not convinced the world is ready for the phoenix emerging.

This journey is far from over.  Four weeks still remain.  A small period of taking a break is to follow (once I’m done) where I will enjoy my own company and get lost in a world I can’t wait to escape into.  Then I will begin to think about the shift in this blog.  Post-education.  Post-divorce.  Into the depths of healing.

In the meantime, I am going to accept all of the hugs, smiles, laughter and memories that will be created this weekend.  #SNHU2017.  It’s here!




9 May 2017


Since this whole mess started, I have been disrespected.  I was disrespected during a phone call to Japan, by someone who loved me…or so I thought.  Immediately upon his return to the United States, he continued to disrespect me and our marriage.  It hasn’t stopped.

After being stripped down and thrown into a numbing coma, I remained still during a temporary order.  It angered, and hurt me, knowing the opposing party (OP) was off spending time and our money on a fantasy that is bound to crash and burn at some point.  Don’t worry-this is not the post where an expected bout of Tourette’s (Whore. Adulterer.) appears.

I trudged through the broken pieces of something we constructed together, crumbled and scattered all over the ground.  The only thing I wanted to do was to escape.  Escape.  Get away for three days.  That’s all I wanted.  Take off to Disneyland, get away from this mess, and have the freedom to be myself and enjoy my company.  Escape for three days.  It didn’t seem like it was that hard to fulfill.  On the contrary, it was extremely complicated and didn’t happen.

I began the process back in January because it was my proclamation to say, “You can’t do this to me.  This is not okay, and I told you this was not okay.”  I have too much respect for myself to be dragged around, even though the OP’s behavior imitates this, I control it by setting up boundaries and walls. I am the primary concern, and I have more self-respect because I was strong to take a stand.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to spend time near a beach.  It was exhilarating!  I called it my self-care weekend. I didn’t realize how badly I needed it.  I only had to make decisions for myself.  I didn’t need to consult anyone’s caIendar.  It was me, time, the world, the sun, and the sand.  I wasn’t scoffed at for having too many glasses of wine.  I wasn’t ridiculed for enjoying mimosas with friends at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.  Having the freedom to answer only to myself was exactly what the doctor ordered.  It was liberating.  I had spent five days surrounded by more friends─people who genuinely care for me and respect me─and it was the perfect ending before I headed back home.

I officially ended the five weeks of my education with a deeper tan, and a little more blonde.  I arrived home to be greeted by my lovable, four-legged furry dog, “my little rock.”  A friend had picked him up earlier in the day, and I was so thankful she did this for me. It was great to return home, my first real trip away since this mess began, being greeted at the front door with his tail wagging furiously.  He has been my shadow ever since.

This is another big thesis writing week.   I began writing this next segment in some of the best environments I’ve been accustomed to for years: writing in airports and hotels; writing in the sun; writing outside.  This is the big chapter, and you all know Natalie goes into a coma.  I am not going to give any spoilers at this point because it ruins the fun of reading the entire story.  This is where the story is going to grab the reader, make them hang on the edge of their seat, as the story plunges to the denouement.

This is also graduation week.  Because I finish in June, I can walk for graduation!  I have my cap and gown, my stole, charm and cords from the National Society for Leadership and Success; my cord from Sigma Tau Delta (International English Honor Society); I was given honorary cords from the NMT Society of Petroleum Engineers Student Chapter that I will also proudly wear.  For the first time, I am going to decorate my cap!  I have ideas, just need to buy the supplies now.

Another week is planned for self-care, respecting myself, and doing things for myself.  I am also thrilled that I will be spending this weekend with my family.  The anchor keeping me grounded as I floated.  My self-care program requires that I make time for myself, do the things I love (and missed) doing.  Family and friends are huge components.  Without them, some of my days and nights would have been a lot darker.  The best part-we are kind human beings and respect each other; how it’s intended to be.

Time to return to my thesis.  Natalie needs to become a stronger character, so I need to spend some time with her.  The world is waiting for this one, and the next novel to follow, post-degree.



Broken Promises

Broken Promises

Broken Promises

2 May 2017

Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_chr1′>chr1 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

I am staring at the messes surrounding me.  Fences tipped over.  Boards fallen off the fence.  A sprinkler system on one setting.  Windows with no coverings.  A china cabinet with a broken door.  Holes in the walls.  A satellite radio cord that came loose.  An old sink rotting on the side of the house.  Tools left everywhere.  An old grill.  Tires.  Cupboards taking up space in a garage, that I’m attempting to clean (the clutter, at least).  A garden full of weeds.  An unfinished patio.  Weeds everywhere.  Boxes left behind.  Everything left behind.  All of this, and more, are broken promises that linger, hovering like a ghost sweeping through the walls of each room.  In my family, we call it unfinished projects.  In this instance, I am surrounded by promises with no intention to fulfill them.

I am left to clean everything up; something very common in a past relationship.  “Just leave it.  Karen will take care of it.  Karen will clean up.  Karen will…”

Karen won’t.

I will not take care of “things” any longer.  I will leave it in a pile for someone else to deal with.  I will not go through boxes, bags and totes, sifting to set the important things aside.  I am sick of it.  I am tired of it. I no longer have to put up with this mentality.  Yet, I recognize that I also fed into this mentality, this behavior, and now need to set up boundaries to begin breaking this behavior.

This is week five and I begin to write from airports and hotels.  I’ve been pinching every penny, staying put while someone else spends money, flitting from country to country; city to city, and not alone, enjoying a gazillion (unoriginal) vacations.  Things seem extremely unfair while the OP gets away with everything; appears to be untouchable, yet wavers hoping that I will immediately jump on every reply.  The phone calls are long gone. The texts are long gone. It’s just Google hangouts-nothing more, nothing less; the bare existence of a voice.

I am traveling for work.  Friends have reached out, offering brief moments of solitude in different places, and I have gladly accepted their kindness.

Week five also means I am smack-dab in the middle of my last term, and have begun my journey into the heart of my education, thesis, and research paper writing.  I am taking a break from fixing broken promises to fix myself.  To take care of me.

I have moved beyond the inciting incident in my novel.  There is the progressive climb into the rising action.  The climax is not far off now-another 5,000 words.  Chapters 8 and 9 were submitted on Sunday, and they were emotionally-charged.  Nick has, once again, left Natalie to clean up and deal with things.  She has just realized how often this happens.  Does Nick leave a trail of broken promises?  I sense Natalie is going to learn far more than she ever imagined as I begin my descent into the completion of my novel.  At this time in my thesis, the characters are now breathing lives of their own and begun taking over the story.

I am looking forward to the short break away from all that engrosses my current situation, atmosphere, and life.  I am looking forward to letting the ambiance of new places, familiar faces, and exciting scenery soak into my soul.  I have only just begun this next journey of travel.  There is more to come.






9 April 2017


This is the first week of ten, and the last term of my education.  Getting a second Master’s doesn’t negate my first one.  In fact, the first complements the second because it is communication based.  Writer’s need to know how to effectively communicate across a wide palette.  Degrees aren’t erased and cannot be taken away.

Life, on the other hand, continues to remain interesting.  I don’t go looking for information.  It shows up in random places.  Recently I discovered I have been erased.  Not only have I been erased, but a life I once knew was erased.  Gone.  No traces.  No existence.

How can a character so cruel?  This is a question I ask as I move forward in my thesis writing and get back to Natalie and her horrible fiancé, Nick.  Up through chapter five, we’ve seen a shady side of Nick that not many of us like to see.  Nick will begin to grow worse.

These next eight weeks of classes will be just as challenging, if not more, than last term.  There’s a final push to complete my 35,000 word novel, and I am taking a literature course with a 15-20 page research paper due at the end.  My focus still remains on my education, but I’m also looking forward to some of the traveling I have planned; mostly for work, and one trip for SNHU graduation.  Even a few days away will help me immensely.  I’m used to reading, writing and studying from airports, hotels, planes, trains and automobiles.  I am 120% ready for the challenges incorporated into this term and life.  I may still stumble along the way, but will bounce back to my feet with an undetermined amount of strength.  Bring it on!

In the end, I have not faded away, out of existence, or erased.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  As my cousin told me, I’m very much here.  In the face of reality, I haven’t done anything wrong; I have no shame, and I certainly don’t deserve all that has happened in life.  I will take full credit for my accomplishments during times of trials and tribulations.  I have a significant amount of strength buried underneath my exterior, and it’s the determination to see these next ten weeks through that is not only going to be my saving grace, but will also be a true testament of the woman that I am.

As for Natalie and Nick?  Well, the story begins to unravel in nine short weeks.



4 April 2017

Week 9 was a difficult finals week for me, but I made it through.  Week 10 followed and I swear I was being sabotaged.  Every moment I had to work on two assignments and my final projects was thwarted by someone whose only concern was for themselves.  I placed more boundaries up after Mr. Not Relevant returned after another (more than) two week fling this time.  He didn’t like these particular boundaries.  This was the same person who recently told me, “You have to finish school,” as I have been trying to use those damn lemons to make a drink worth savoring.  (I’m still working on it, by the way.)  I think Mr. NR forgot saying this to me the first two months being under the same roof.  My focus was my thesis.  His focus was flaunting and tormenting.

I have turned my life into an all-about-Karen because I resolved to focus on me and my education.  I wasn’t going to let this ‘someone’ take the last remaining hours of 17TW3 away from me.  I was too close to finishing.

Week Ten.  Here we go.  Two reflective essays (2nd final project) had to be written, carefully following the rubric, and turned in before 11:59pm Sunday.  I focused on the essay for my English/thesis class.  Finished, proofread, revised, re-read, revised, polished, saved and submitted.  I stared at my computer screen.  Submission complete.  Whoa.  I reminded myself I had one more essay to write and the clock was still ticking. Following the rubric for my Seminar in Writing Instruction, I drafted a three-page essay.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Save.  Upload.  Submission complete.

10:30 pm, I became very still in my chair.  Then cried.  Hard.  I did it.  I got through ten weeks of the most challenging days, weeks, and months of my life.  How the hell did I do this?  How did I survive all of this?

I still had to wait for my final grades.  The day arrived.  I ordered my transcript and read the letters inked into the paper.  ENG 549 Thesis Writing-A.  ENG 670 Seminar in Writing Instruction-A.  Proof of determination and survival.  That sticky note, “YOU CAN DO IT,” remained on my monitor through this nightmare, and still remains.

I thank my family, friends: my entire support system, and professors for being there, especially during the dark days when I couldn’t focus; I couldn’t put my head into my assignments, or even my thesis; the days when the crazy mind took over and wouldn’t let anything else in; the moments when the emotions hit me like a brick wall and the tears just fell; the days when I reacted to someone’s behavior, or words infiltrated my mind, putting me on an emotional roller coaster once again.  Everyone played a part in me getting to this point.  No part was too small.  This was so critical and I needed every moment, every word of encouragement, every hug, every smile, every heart-beat that also felt the stabs I endured-everything.

Thank You!!!

My journey isn’t quite over yet…



16 February 2017

Fifteen years is a long time to invest in a relationship.  It’s also a long time to accumulate memories and clutter.  I have another sticky note on my desk, where I spend a significant amount of time working on homework and writing my thesis, that says, “DUMP THE CLUTTER.”  That’s it.  All caps.  It doesn’t need to say anything else.

There is clutter in my house and then there is clutter.  At least once a week I pick a box or a tote and empty it out.  Lately, I have been tossing out two to three garbage bags of clutter that has mysteriously accumulated.  In life, it’s easy to get sidetracked and not pay attention to some of the things we once used to do.  Like, for instance, tossing out junk mail right away.  While I have gotten better at this, I can honestly say I was the one left dealing with so many things.  This, basically in a nutshell, became another type of clutter.  This clutter would come back to try to bite me in the ass, but I have a superpower deflector shield that wouldn’t let narcissistic tendencies take control of anything.  The blame game is only good if the argument is valid.  I have heard zero valid arguments.

This is my halfway point in this term!  I am excited, but also stressing a little because I have so much more to do before the seventh week arrives and before the last (10th) week gets here.  I do not perceive this as clutter.

I am working on the next few chapters of my thesis and Natalie hasn’t learned that her life is also full of clutter.  She suspects there’s something not right, but can only begin to guess.

It’s hard to see the large piles of clutter if you’re not in the moment and off somewhere else.  Clutter doesn’t exist in Fantasy Land…at least, not that we know of.  I haven’t been there, but know of someone who is visiting right now.  With that said, I am guessing even if there was clutter in the fantasy world, it’s not going to be seen by the people who don’t have any respect for life…despite what they say and think.  This does bring me back to Natalie, because she will need to recognize this simple fact in her life, and figure out how to dump the clutter.   Always easier said than done.

Space(s) free of clutter brings mental clarity.  A clutter-free environment is also about being at peace.

As I continue to sift through clutter around my house, through the clutter of words in my thesis, and through the clutter resting uneasily in my mind, I have begun to laugh at some of the silliness because I have decided that I am not going to let any clutter hurt me any longer, rob me of a new life I will be pursuing, and I’m certainly not going to regret tossing out anything that doesn’t have a purpose.  This clutter is not for me.