Author Archives: Karen

About Karen

I am an RN, Author, Reiki Master Teacher, and Speaker. I write novels about relationships to help people find insight into their own. I guide people to create comfort, clarity, and connection. By combining metaphysical tools with close to twenty-five years of nursing experience, I infuse the 'art of nursing' into my practice by providing partnership and resources help people compassionately honor their health.

The BRAVE Interview #14 September 2017: Sylvia Wesley

Here is this month’s BRAVE Interview with Sylvia Wesley! Enjoy!

  1. WHO are you? I’m a 61-year-old white woman—wife, mother, nurse, and pseudo-bon vivant!
  2. WHAT is your One Brave Thing? Sometimes I feel like just living every day is a Brave Thing and it is difficult to choose a single event!  As a nurse, it seems like so many of my ‘brave things’ encompass caring for people—my dad and my brother, who both died of cancer; my mom with multiple surgeries; friends with HIV/AIDS.  As a mom I gave birth to twins who were 10 weeks premature and their first 6 months of life was pretty hectic, to put it mildly.  As a wife, still being married after 38 years could be considered brave—but probably the bravest aspect there is that I married a black man in 1979, only 12 years after the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage was not illegal, and our early years involved some struggles in a very white New England. So, after all that, I decided to choose a joyous adventure as my One Brave Thing—I went to Burning Man!
  3. WHEN did you do it? 8/28-9/1, 2006
  4. WHERE did it occur? Black Rock Desert, NV
  5. HOW did you make it happen? Mostly my daughter made the initial experience happen.  She had been going to Burning Man for a few years and always marveled at how awesome it was and she was sure I would love it.  So for my 50th birthday, I was given a ticket to TTITD (aka ‘that thing in the desert’).  Which meant I would be sharing camping space with 38,000+ other adventuring nomads for a week in rather hostile environmental conditions, and only knowing one other person.  A little scary having to be self-reliant in an unknown situation, camping with my daughter’s friends who only had her assurances that I was ‘fun, non-judgmental, fully capable of taking care of myself, and would not act like everybody’s mother.’  So I packed my bags and flew to LA.  We readied all our camping equipment, some party outfits, food and water for a week, and did a 12 hour ride/drive-share to the event with a heretofore unknown person.  After 12+ hours, in a very small mini-van, we were all fast friends.  Getting to and from is just as much of an adventure as being there!
  6. WHY did you do it? For the adventure!  It was one of the best experiences of my life—the bigger-than-life art, the music, the people, the sense of oneness—all magnificent.  I came away with a whole new sense of self.  And as my daughter predicted, I would want to go every year after that, and did so for the next 7 years.  ‘Life’ has since interrupted my annual trek, and I have not been for the past 3 years, but look forward to resuming visits to my personal Mecca in the near future.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sylvia!

If anybody wants to learn more about the culture that is Burning Man, go to https://burningman.org/

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com!

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A Nurse Assaulted

Maybe you’ve seen this video by now. The one where Alex Wubbles, a nurse at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, is assaulted and arrested by a police officer while she is at work, doing her job, protecting her patient. Thank God that there is a video account of this so that everyone is free to see exactly what happened without the filters of backpedaling and rhetoric and false recounting of the events by anyone. You can also read more about the event in the The Washington Post article by clicking here.

This is an example of bullying, plain and simple.

Someone wanted to force the nurse to act in a way that was in violation of her ethics, morals, and values. The nurse, Alex, calmly reasoned with the individual who was making the demands and presented evidence to support her conclusion that what she was being asked to do was in violation of all of the above, as well as the rules of the facility in which she worked. Her decision was to decline the demanded blood draw for her unconscious patient.

The officer tried to bully Alex into doing what he wanted, and she held her ground with grace. And then the office lost his temper, and this is when it all falls apart, and Alex is assaulted by the bully.

Judge for yourself (be forewarned that this is upsetting):

One observation I have is that the gentleman in the white shirt not only stood by her, but tried to intervene to help her; he was an active bystander. The situation might have turned out even worse if he wasn’t actively trying to defuse the situation and help his coworker.

I leave you with this quote from Renee Thompson‘s blog (Nurses Unite Against the View but What About Each Other? Posted by Renee ThompsonSept 22, 2015):

Be like Alex; be BRAVE.

Coming full circle (and announcing a free class!)

When I was in elementary school, I was in a new school every year.

Every. Single. Year.

No, my parents weren’t in the military. My father was disabled, and when money got tight, we got moving.

Kindergarten: The Hancock in Medford. First grade and half of second: The Emerson in Malden. Last half of second grade and third: The Parker in Billerica. Fourth: The Hajjar in Billerica. Fifth: The Davenport in Medford.

Maybe you noticed that Billerica is up there twice in a row. We actually didn’t move that year, but as luck would have it, the town built a new elementary school to accommodate its growing population and (you guess it) I was zoned to move to the new school.

Oh, happy day.

Moving can be hard for anyone at any age, and I was no exception. Every time I made a friend, we moved, and I had to begin all over again. As I got older, it seemed as if everyone was already paired up with a best friend, and had been forever. I always felt like the odd girl out. Like I didn’t belong.

And then something wonderful happened. I discovered my BFF’s in books!

Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking were among the first and are still my friends today.

Of course, Judy Blume’s books were part of my life back then, and the one that immediately comes to my mind when I think of that time is this one: Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how reading books can help us find meaning and insight into our lives. Even in fiction–maybe especially in fiction–it’s the story we connect with, and how it resonates for us in our real lives, and through which we can find comfort and clarity.

The phrase, “Go back to go forward” popped into my head not too long ago, and it kept popping in, over and over, so I thought, hey, I have to do something with this.

About the same time, Margaret was also intruding on my thoughts

Pretty much everyone I know that is past puberty has read the Margaret book. Maybe because I have been re-reading other books lately that impacted me, it occurred to me that it might be very interesting to re-read this particular book now. Maybe that’s why it was so persistently intruding in my thoughts. It wanted me to read it again!

And then I had another thought: maybe other women would also enjoy this.
And my free mini-course idea was born!

You can join the Facebook group now to get notified when the free course is available. As of now, I expect it to be ready on the Tuesday before Labor Day (August 29, 2017). Once it’s live, this link should work to sign up for my free mini-course, GO BACK TO GO FORWARD! 

Feel free to share this with anyone else who has read this book and might enjoy coming with me on my learning curve to take this free course!

What goes around

When I graduated from high school, one of the things that I was given was a Lane cedar mini-keepsake box. I know this because, unlike other things I might have been given that day, I still have my Lane cedar mini-keepsake box. One of the reasons that I was so excited to receive it was because my mother had one. It had been on her bureau for as long as I could remember, and she kept who-knew-what in it. I didn’t know, because she kept it locked.

Darn!

Anyway, I keep important keepsakes in mine, like childhood memorabilia (my pet rock!), photos, a scrap of paper with my grandmother’s writing on it. That’s mine on the left. My daughter’s is on the right.

Fast forward to 2017, and my own daughter has graduated from high school. Lane stopped this practice of bestowing the boxes in the 1980’s, I believe, but I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I got her one? I have seen a few here and there over the years, but they were in abysmal shape. Two days ago, I spotted one at a Flea Market on my way to Boothbay. When they saw my interest, the very nice couple behind the table started to tell me about the history of it. Hey, these were people who loved the story as much as the object! My kind of people!

Alas, the key was missing. In the past, this was a deal breaker for me. This time though, I decided to trust my gut and buy it anyway.

We presented it to my daughter today. My husband told her he would get a key for hers, making it truly a gift from both of her parents that I hope she will tell her own daughter about someday, as she presents her with one of her own.

What if Tiffany Stayed with Ezekiel?

I was listening to the news today, which I generally go out of my way to avoid, when I heard about an NFL player being suspended for alleged violence against his now-former girlfriend.

Good, I thought. Stop enabling domestic violence perpetrators to perpetuate violence against women by hitting them where it hurts: in their wallets.

It’s a start.

Part of the problem with keeping women safe is this: it so often deteriorates into a ‘he said, she said’ situation that casts the events in a gray area for the purposes of pressing charges.

I read the New York’s Post account of what she had to say, as well as what he had to say. Read it here: Ezekiel Elliott justified choking ex as ‘tough love’: accuser

You can also read about the NFL’s decision for suspension here: The NFL Has Suspended Ezekiel Elliott For Six Games On Domestic Violence Charges

Bottom line: I’m so glad that Tiffany didn’t stay with Ezekiel.

The outcome might have been so much worse.

I write about partner violence in my new book.

Find it here: What if Bebe Stays with Steven? 

 

The BRAVE Interview #13 August 2017: Jennifer Davies

Please enjoy this month’s interview with Jennifer Davies!

INTRODUCTION

Hello everyone, I’m thrilled to be here as a featured guest in the Brave series. Thank you Karen for inviting me! A few facts about me; my name is Jennifer Davies, and I’m a fifty something mom with four boys, two cats, a dog, and a husband in tow. I have been married for twenty-one years this August to my best friend and strongest supporter. I’m originally from Wales in the UK which is why I have a funny accent, but I now reside on the East Coast of America in New England.

I have lived in North Andover for the past 14 years, and it’s a perfect distance from the city of Boston, the coast, and the mountains which I love. Living in New England has been a huge source of inspiration for me, but I find inspiration from many avenues, my family, my life, traveling and my persistence to keep writing. As a result, I always have ideas for future books.

I’m a former registered nurse/midwife. I am always battling my weight, but as I’m addicted to chocolate, it’s not a fight I will win anytime soon. I adore Grey’s Anatomy. I love yard sales and get excited at the purchase of old furniture that I can recycle. My goal is to be a NY Times best seller—one day!

MY BRAVE STORY

Well, it’s actually hard to choose which piece of my life to reveal that would showcase something BRAVE that I have done! I believe to be BRAVE you have to face something that is painful, fearful or difficult, and my life has contained many instances that would fit that definition.

Most recently, the one I still process is the loss of my mother. Even now, six months later I miss her. My mom, lived with Alzheimer’s, and had for the past almost five years. Living overseas made it difficult to provide the care I wished to, but in the early stages I could help by having mum visit through the summer and stay for several weeks at a time. As the disease progressed, even that wasn’t an option. Feeling frustrated and needing to do something, I started a support page on-line called ALZHEIMER’S SUPPORT, which still provides help to those going through the painful and heartbreaking experience.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/291824310860629/
In December 2016, my mother entered full-time nursing care and shortly after her renal disease deteriorated to the point that we knew we were entering the final stages of her life. At Christmas, my wish and prayer was to be able to care for mum in her final days. God answered in a strange way that enabled me to spend four weeks with my mum in the UK until her passing on the 29th January. Even now, I have tears as I write this because knowing your loved one is dying is devastating no matter the age or the situation. Being a former nurse, I knew what to expect to a degree, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional trauma and loss as I watched my mum slip away.
The memories of her final four weeks are ingrained on my brain, good and bad. I remember the days that she slept, and we weren’t sure if she would make it through the next twenty-four hours, to standing next to her in the make-shift church singing hymns in shock at her complete turnaround, to holding her hand as she took her last breath. Those final hours were heartbreaking, and I have no regrets. In life, mum had always been there for me, and this was the least I could do no matter how hard or painful it was to ensure she wasn’t alone as she made her final journey onward to my dad.

All through the night there was a panic that I wouldn’t be able to face the end that I wouldn’t be able to find the words of comfort as her condition changed. In the early hours when the built up fluids became noisy, “death rattle” I lost it. Tears poured, and an overwhelming sense of panic and futility washed over me. I wanted to leave, but as I watched mum, I couldn’t let her down. I needed to be strong and to be there for her right until the end. I hated the thought of her being alone, and now, it gives me comfort to know she was surrounded by love, and her death was peaceful. My mum enjoyed a long and happy life, she was a brave woman loved by all her daughters and grandchildren. She is missed every day.

MY LIFE

My mum was always a strong supporter of my dreams to become a romance author, and her encouragement kept me going. I’m now a multi-genre author, and I’ve been writing full-time for the last eight years.  Every good and bad moment of my life has helped shape me as a writer. Throughout my life, I have always been an avid reader, and from that stemmed the desire to create my own stories.

My Latest Release THE WITCH’S HEART is the second book in the Rise of Orion series.

I love to hear from readers and these are the ways you can contact me…

FB Author page https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Owen-Davies-YA-J-M-Davies-Adult-1421409368089313/

Website            http://www.jenniferowendavies.com/
Email                 Jendaviesuk@gmail.com
Twitter              https://twitter.com/jendaviesuk
Instagram        Jengal124
Blog                  https://welshjensblog.blogspot.com

Thank you, Jennifer!!

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com!

There’s nothing for lunch!

Okay, I am home and supposed to be writing, but I need to eat. I want something that I have here already so here’s what I’ve got:

Egg salad (Here’s my recipe)

  • 2 eggs, hardboiled  (I like to cut my eggs up with a slicer. It looks purty that way)
  • Mayonnaise (I am currently using Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise *subject to change without notice*)–just enough to  hold it together (unless I am making it for my husband, then it’s “Hey, have a little egg with your mayonnaise!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • SECRET INGREDIENT: Celery salt.

Mix it all up.

Eat it with some chips (I am currently eating Cape Cod Salt and Pepper Kettle Chips *subject to change without notice*).

Back to writing.