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Why is my PhD so Important?

So, someone asked me this morning, why I was pursuing my PhD? as I thought about it and then reread my entry on It’s a God thing….I realized that wasn’t the whole story behind why this is so important to me. However the story that follows in not an easy one to share as it means being vulnerable and anyone who knows me well, knows that I avoid that like I would the plague….and just for the record, I am sharing this story in part for my own healing and the hope that it helps someone realize that they are enough, and are redeemable….oh and don’t pity me….my life is what it is, full of hurts, joys and love…. and I am ok with that.

I was born to a 16 year old woman, who had been horribly abused her whole life and had been raped by a family member…hence my not so great beginnings…..at a time in society where only “bad girls” got pregnant and incest wasn’t discussed. I don’t know why she didn’t follow through with the adoption she had signed me over temporarily but then took me away from loving parents, to raise me herself. I am not going to share the hell my life with her was, I have finally come to a place of forgiveness for her abuse and it is better to not go fishing in those old wounds…that doesn’t mean those wounds are gone, but rather that I am not angry at her anymore…huge difference.

At 15 I would get pregnant because I was just so naive and sex = love in my life. I had my first daughter. At that time, I was told that I had just wasted my whole life and what a pity, since I was so smart……my life went on….had more children, changed husbands, more than once sadly….always picking the wrong men….because I had no idea how to pick a good man…..always being told what a waste my life was because I had so many children, had been married to the wrong men….the list goes on…..and the emotional abuse took its toll on me in more ways than one….I have often contemplated suicide, used cutting to cope with my emotions, and as a form of self punishment…..it is also why my inability to do self care is so prominent….even today….

I cannot say what happened in my life that I would have the courage to start on this path, and not let all those people who even today don’t believe in me and there are so many of them…..which still at times causes me so much heartbreak and grief….I graduated Summa cum Laude, with my BA in Psychology, finished my MA in CMHC, passed the licensure exam and was accepted into a Doctoral program and still I am doubted and told that I am not ‘good enough’…I am frequently maligned and truly do not understand it at all….

Someone once told me that my naysayers would not be enough for me to get through a doctoral program…..and that may be true, I am finding that I now want succeed for myself but I do derive some satisfaction from proving them wrong…..although, I am also extremely aware that all those people who are waiting to see me fail will never acknowledge my successes just because they are who they are. I am learning to be ok with that and finding that I need only my faith in God, and my own satisfaction in who I am becoming and what I am accomplishing in my life to make me happy. Although, I do love it when I have friends that love me for who I am and what i am doing.

I left out a great deal of my story here,  my past is less important right now but it is what drives me to succeed….to want more…to be more…to forgive as much as I am able…to move on…to trust in love even though I have been hurt so many times….to find the good in others….to look past other’s mistakes….to have a job that I love and I’m good at…to have the flexibility of scheduling how I work, even if I work 50+ hours a week as a Counseling Educator….I will have the ability to decide when my days starts and ends….and can do some of my work from home…which is part of my dream job….to learn how to not allow people who hate me just because they are not good people hurt me anymore….

and for the rest of today, I will stay off of my feet, and work from my bed….I have grades to work on….an IRB application to start/finish and a planner to prepare for next year! oh and clothes to fold and put away at some point.

 

 

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December Photo Project 2017

Today is just proof that I ate food! As a single mom who homeschools her two youngest children while in a doctoral program I can say that food is not important…. so I’m often gently reminded by my cohort to eat!

“It’s a God Thing”

      My dream of a PhD started many years ago……I think it was in the fall of 2007….I didn’t know any of the details of what PhD degree I wanted to pursue but I knew I wanted to. Fast forward to Fall semester of 2014 when I attended a Doctoral Panel during the start of my second year of my MA degree. There were three programs represented that evening. I sat and listened to each person talk, of course they were all good and interesting programs but the one that caught my attention was the University of Toledo’s Counseling Education and Supervision program. I was impressed with both the program and the professor and walked away with the feeling that I was being called to go there. I went home and talked to my family about the program and they listened, half-heartedly.

I thought about the program off and on for the next year. In the fall of 2015, once again I attended a meeting where a professor from UT came in and talked about the program. I was fortunate enough to spend about 20-30 minutes before hand with the professor chatting. I was still extremely impressed with the program, and I knew it was definitely on my short list of programs to seriously look at. Afterwards, a friend and I ran into the professor and spent more time talking, my friend left and the professor and I continued talking. Finally after another hour or so, he encouraged me to come to UT to visit informally. It would take me 6 weeks to find the time……

    November of 2015 found me driving to Toledo for the day. I spent about 3 hours talking to the professor, meeting other professors and graduate assistants that day. Took a tour of the campus, came home with a t-shirt that says “Nothing gets between me and my degree”, which I love as it is a constant reminder not to give up just because something is difficult. It was a wonderful day, the campus is beautiful and reminds me of John Carroll’s campus, which is a plus for me. The professor and I had a conversation about whether or not I would consider coming to UT? I told him that I really liked the program and would love to come if I could have a graduate assistantship and could wait a year, as fall 2016 was not a possibility due to having to move my family. He was amenable to that, took my name of his GA list for Fall of 2016 and put it on the list for Fall 2017. 

I left UT that day with a purpose. I would keep in touch with the professor through email  periodically updating him on my progress and renewing my intent of coming to UT in the Fall of 2017.  In May of 2016 I would pass the first licensing exam easily, graduate with my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and get my first job as a counselor. 

Somewhere in the discussion about pursuing my doctorate, between the husband and myself, he said some very ugly things to me, which were hurtful, I waited a week until I was calm and we were alone to address them. I rationally disputed everything he had said out of anger and tried my very best to explain to him that this was God’s plan for my life and I had to follow it. I told him that I would not make this decision for him but that rather he needed to make it: come with me and our children or stay in Cleveland. He said he would let me know.

Fast forward to the end of August-beginning of September when I spent two weeks praying and petitioning the Lord about what to do…..I wondered if I should just settle and not pursue my PhD because I knew it would mean getting a divorce and uprooting my three youngest children. After that time, The Lord graciously intervened and I received an email from the Professor, wanting to know if we were still on target for me to start Fall 2017 and that my name was on his list for a GA. i had not communicated with him since May…….so I knew I had to follow through.

I don’t know why, but by the beginning of November I was again doubting the Lord’s plan….just call me Thomas……so this time the Lord used the Ohio Counseling Association Conference to remind me. I met up with an acquaintance from JCU and she mentioned that she had visited UT and met with Dr. R who then asked her if she knew me, and of course she said she did, which led him to say something to the the sort of : “Rose is coming in the Fall of 2017 and you both would be great for the department”. My reply to that was to say “I guess i had better fill out that application then”.  I would fill it out and submit it December 26, 19 days before the deadline. I sent an email to Dr. R informing him and was relieved to hear back that he was so excited that I had applied and yes, I was still on his list for a graduate assistantship.

I was scheduled for my official interview on February 13, 2017…..I took the day off work, and drove to UT for a second time and it was starting to feel like home and I was so excited to be on campus again. I had dressed up, and on my walk into the building, a young African-American man said “you look nice”, which gave me just a bit of confidence which I so desperately needed right then. 

I wish I could say I aced the interview but there were times I struggled for the perfect answer and wasn’t sure that my answers were great but every once in a while, I was able to give a great answer to a question and felt more confident. I did that a few times which helped but typical me fashion, I felt like I had bombed it. I spent 45 minutes with the GA’s getting to know them and having a really good time with them. I was told that I would know within a couple of weeks…. exactly what is a couple of weeks anyway? Two? Three? 

It was exactly one week and I would get the email stating that I was admitted into the program. Somewhere along the line my pursuit of a doctorate and Toledo became tagged with “its a God Thing”. I was/am still so excited…….I spent the first 5 weeks at the peak of the Happiness mountain. Within two days I had welcoming emails and have been treated so well already and I have yet to start. 

I have orientation for Graduate Assistants on August 18 in the morning, they are feeding us lunch and then orientation to the Doc program in the afternoon. I have the class that I am teaching: Fundamentals of Human Mental Health…….I had my first experience with ordering an instructor’s copy and it is supposed to be here by Wednesday. I’m currently working on the syllabus. 

I am truly excited for this next chapter of my life, possibly more so since I know it is “A God Thing”.

 

Hello Blogging World…….

It has been over a year since I last wrote here and the past year has been filled with so many emotions and challenges. So it may take quite a few posts to process the last 13 months but it is so necessary for me. Writing is one of my best coping skills and I have definitely felt the lack in my life.

I stayed at the Crisis Unit for 5 months until the Program Director made a poor judgment which resulted in endangering both clients and staff there. I drew the line at that and proceeded to look for another job. I ended up applying for and getting a job as an Outpatient Mental Health Therapist for Solutions where I had interned in 2015. 

Solutions has been difficult at best….poor boundaries, little direction and poor management of the agency. I’m grateful for the growth as a counselor that I have received but had hoped for a better experience.

Kendra made me a grandmother again in April, I went out to Seattle to visit her for 5 days….it was an amazing visit. I miss her, her boyfriend and the two beautiful grandchildren. It is so hard to be away from my kids and grand babies at times.

As for my four youngest children: The Ark aka Noah is 19 now and a wonderful young man. He works 35 hours a week and is taking classes at the local community college, just 1-2 per semester but it is ok for now. He just went on a mission trip to Toronto and got back at about 2am this morning. Ace is a junior this fall, working part time as well and maturing nicely. He was the Boy’s MVP on Swim Team this past school year. The Princess was confirmed in May and was able to get up and speak in front of almost 100 people, after crying and falling apart…..but she did it and is now feeling more confident about her ability to do it again. The Peanut aka Caedmon is doing well, just learning about random things, the young man knows many amazing facts, so if you need trivia he is the go to person. All three of the youngest have had their school evaluations and did well this year.

The next post is one that has been spinning around in my head for two weeks but I have not taken the time to write as it will be the first of many difficult posts. 

 

 

Survived my first 2 weeks

So I started my job on June 06, and it is now June 18 and I have survived the first two weeks. I love my co-workers and my clients for the most part. the paperwork and learning how to do it so we get paid is daunting at times but I feel that I am getting the hang of it. It will be easier now that I know that everything has to have some sort of evidenced based wording. I completed my CPR/First Aid training, my  NonViolent Crisis Intervention training, giving me certification in both of them. The only thing left is the orientation on Monday morning. 

We did see the teacher last week to have the kids evaluated, The Ark had to work that day, but since he is graduating we just talked about what he accomplished this year and she signed his paperwork. The Peanut was sick and so miserable. Ace was amazing during his time with the teacher! He looked her in the eye and talked to her about his year. Such an incredible growth of his maturity in the last year. the Princess did fine as usual. This year’s evaluation was bittersweet as this is the last year we will have such a fantastic teacher to evaluate the kids. She has been our life support through the years giving us support and guidance when needed! We pray that her life is new and exciting in the future. 

Swim team has started for the younger children, the boys are not swimming rec league this year. I will  miss most of the meets except for those held on Saturday’s but it is the cost of having a job that I will pay. I’m grateful that they can continue swimming this summer. 

I fell yesterday and badly hurt my upper shin/knee so I’m on bedrest for a couple of days until it heals a bit. Which is horrible as I had plans to take the kids to the pool but walking is out of the question currently. I did get xrays taken no broken bones but the readiologist will review next week just as a precaution. lots of tissue damage and it is painful and it will be very hot this weekend and not the best time to be bedridden.

Off to watch a marathon of Law and Order…….

 

 

What We’ve been doing since January

So here you have Swim Team awards ceremony photo, Easter 2016, Counseling Advocacy Day in the State Capital, photos of The Ark, who is graduating HighSchool this year and my graduation photos from my MA in Counseling.This year has flown by and I do not know how I feel about that right now. The Ark had an awesome senior year with swim team and it has been hard to let that go. We had him tested for his learning disorders and he has learning issues with both reading and writing which is going to make college challenging. We have decided to send him to the community college for one year starting this fall to give him the extra support he needs to succeed in college, then nextx year transfer him to Malone University, his top pick. He got a part time job and that is good for him.  He will go on his last mission trip this summer with Ace to Chicago. We are making Ace get more involved in the church by having him take The Ark’s spot on the Youth Board. Now to make sure he goes to the monthly meetings when I am working. We see the teacher for our evals this Tuesday and that is a bit soon for me but better to get them done early this year. My gaduation from JCU was bittersweet, I have grown and changed so much in my time there. I have been challenged to be my best and do things that have taken me out of my comfort zone. Which is always difficult for me since I am such an Introvert. I spent weeks studying for the licensing exam and thought for sure I would fail it, but then got my score and passed it easily. I am waiting for my license to come! I had an interview with a crisis stabilization unit the week before graduation and thought I had bombed it as she asked me questions that I had no idea to expect and felt totally unrepared. So I dealt with that disappointment and used it as a learning experience. I put in more applications and lined up two more phone interviews for this week, but last last Friday I got a call from the crisis unit offering me the job!!!! I asked ot think about it over the long weekend and then called Tuesday morning to accept the position. Yesterday found me signing my life away in paperwork to start my new position. Today I got the call asking me when I wanted to start? I am starting Monday June 06, and have a ton of trainings to go to: CPR/First Aid, Non-violent interventions and orientation, plus something called the “birthday bash” (I have no idea what that is but have to go). I will be working from 4-12:30am M-F. which means I get to continue to homeschool the two teens and the adolescent. The pay is decent and the benefits are great so I am calling this a win. Especially, since one of my supervisors is so excited to have me coming on board. My job will consist of intake referrals, admissions, diagnostic assessmens and discharge planning ot individuals. I know I will also runa group and do individual counseling as well. The documentation might kill me as I think there is going to be quite a bit of it. But to have a job so close to graduation and only having done a total of two interviews? Priceless! Life has been busy, challenging and exciting! I can’t wait to see what the Lord brings us this next year. I am so excited to be taking a year off of academia before starting my doctorate next August. I need a year of just working and homeschooling to feel like I have a handle on life. Plus that next step means packing up my family and moving to Toledo…….more on that later.

Senior Night for The Ark

By the way~ Can I just say that I hate the fact that I look so heavy in these photos when I’ve been losing weight and going to the gym to firm up? I”m done to a loose size 12 but the camera adds so much weight! UGH! Well, I guess it will be motivation for me to loose the last 14# that I want……. One another note, the boys have the best coaches! We love them dearly and  my sons grow in personality and in skills under their guidance and that is so special to me.