Wiped Out by Sheila Pope

wiped out

I have been quiet for a couple of months. I finished my draft of chapters 3-5 of my dissertation. They almost finished me too! I started July with tons of energy and hope. I stopped any activities that would distract me from completing my goal of submitting my chapters by August 15, 2014. I stopped posting on my blog too!

The Plan

FOCUS-ON-PLANI planned to submit my first draft on August 15. Well, I had to quickly adjust that date. I started typing chapter 4 and began to question everything I thought I wanted to write. Then, I committed to finishing by August 18. I went to my office at my job and worked until 11:00pm week nights; I  worked all day on Saturday and Sundays. My oldest son held down the fort at home. I went without fun and money. More important, I went without support. I met with my academic advisor from Capella on August 18. After our meeting,  I knew I had to finish on time. He motivated me to keep my eyes on the prize. I was exhausted and frightened. I did not know if I had organized the information correctly. I questioned if I wrote too much. I questioned how to end chapter 5 with a bang. More important, I feared I would not honor my participants’ experiences. 

Ending a Relationship

I submitted my chapters on August 19. I knew my mentor was going out-of-town. breakupWe communicated via the phone and some in the courseroom. I knew I needed to make major adjustments to the Chapters 4 & 5, but I need his feedback. I was lost; I needed his guidance. I did not receive what I needed in a timely manner. In the end, there was a break in our communication. I felt devastated because I knew ending my relationship with my mentor was necessary to move ahead. I realized something as a professor from a student’s perspective. Online education requires feedback from all parties. Online education cost too much to flounder in the dark. Students have to ask for help and professors have to provide quality feedback in a timely manner. I waited until the end of the quarter before I made my final decision. Changing a mentor is a serious and scary task. I waited until I was thinking clearly before I made my request. I feel changing a mentor should be the last resort, but I believe sometimes it is necessary for survival. My dissertation advisor quickly responded to my request for a new mentor. I still like and respect my former mentor; however, I need someone who sees the finish line and can help get me there. 

Stressed 

I did not stressedexpect to feel so mentally exhausted after submitting my chapters. I literally needed two weeks to get my energy level back. I taught five classes in person, and I coached two online. I am guilty of teaching with too much passion. Often, I do not realize how busy I really am until my body stops.  I took on too much. I was in the middle of designing an online education course. I stopped when I tackled chapters 4 & 5.  I have four children and a dog. Everyone ate hot dogs and cheap fast food during July and August.  I  had the nerve to enroll in the Adobe Train the Trainer (8 weeks) program. I finished the chapters, completed my Adobe Training, and I taught my classes.

Money

I fought with two of my employers this summer over money. There was a change in the way I expected to be paid this summer. No one bothered to tell the employees that thefight over moneyy would be paid in three payments for summer. I paid my tuition and got a new car based on money that did not come when I expected it. Child support was MIA too. I spent most of my time praying to have ENOUGH to pay my bills and feed my children. I was mentally tired from trying to collect a check from my consulting work and my other employer. There is nothing worse than dealing with financial issues and writing your dissertation. By August 1st, I was so drained from begging people to cut a check that I wanted to give up. Luckily, I have good friends that prayed and encouraged me. God stretched my faith this summer.

The Release

By the end of September, I had enough.  I quite trying to get feedback from my mentor. I accepted my employer did not see the value of communicating with their employees when a major change was going to occur with their pay. I knew I could not continue to work as a consultant for that company that never sent my check until two faxes and multiple phone calls. I do not beg for money. That defeats the purpose of working. I realized I would not finish my PhD before December 2014. I also realized that I hated hot dogs! I am still digging myself out of the financial destruction caused by the miscommunication with my employer.

The Turn Around

Happy puppyI realized I was blessed during all of the craziness. I submitted my chapters as a draft. I became an Adobe Education Trainer. I have a safe vehicle that works for a mom that drops off and picks up her children. My wonderful boss did not give me a raise, but she gave me a great schedule that allowed me to pick-up my children everyday and cut down my daycare by $1000.00 a month. She provided an office with a window. I love it. She gave me a promotion and a wonderful TA to assist with the eight classes this fall. It is an honor to help him grow as a professional.  Yes, I am still hurt over the way we were paid this summer, but I love my boss and the team I work with. My students are so supportive; therefore, I will continue to teach with passion. Teaching is my lifeline! After this summer, I have more stories to share with my students. I have new reasons to empathize with them.  

My Writing Process Blog Tour by Sheila Pope

My Writing Process Blog Tour1975002_10203179337583343_1691525101_n I’ve been invited to join the #mywritingprocess blog tour by Dr. Allana Todman-Da Graca, the author of Tomorrow Can’t Wait and Temple: Self Discovery Through Truth. I met Dr. Todman-Da Graca as a PhD candidate at Capella University. Today, Dr. Todman-Da Graca is an artist and a professor. My instructions are to answer three questions for you: 1.

What am I working on? Writing: I am currently completing my dissertation. I have published an e-book, Writing Essentials: Strategies to Master Freshmen English and Writing Placement Exams. I plan to submit an article for a journal submission this month. Well, I blog frequently too. However, for the next two months my dissertation is my primary focus. Therefore, I will post my thoughts about the process.

Recordings: I am creating videos for my On-demand Lecture Series too. This is a complicated process. I love the challenge of creating and using technology. My writing process encompasses using technology and my experiences to create little snippets for my audience to “see” into my world.

2. How does my work differ from others in that genre? My e-textbook is different from other books because it has been written for English language learners, veterans and an urban audience. The book provides strategies for learners with special needs such as dyslexia and post stress disorders. Most books with an emphasis on placement exams do not address learners with special needs.

3. Why do I write what I do? My Publication The first reason I wrote my e-book was to incorporate my love of technology and the English language. I also needed a textbook for my non-course based WRIT 101 course that would incorporate all of my teaching needs. I wanted to show students how to conduct research, how to develop strong sentences, and I wanted my students to be able to access their material from any electronic device. Moreover, I understood students needed to know where to focus their time when preparing for placement exams. More important, I understood how important it was for students of different races to see themselves in a textbook. Finally, this book was created to address learners with different learning needs.This content of this book addresses various learners and their learning styles.

My Blog My blog focuses on various topics.  I talk about everwebsite photoything from gardening to politics.  My struggle to complete my PhD will take center stage for the next couple of months. I think my blog is different from other blogs because I share my experiences from a female middle class point of view. Although I am an instructor, I am a student too. My views on education varies depending on which set of lens I use. In my posts, I share my honest personal opinions. I use my blog as a place to express my views, my fears, and my faults. Moreover, the blog questions other people’s position on sex, socioeconomic standings, education, and politics.

Capella Sisters Finishing Their Journey by Sheila Pope

A Coca-Cola, Smartphone, Burrito, Pen, Note Pad and other Published Dissertations
coca-cola, smart phone, and dissertations

I met Deirdre through Capella University. We met in Dallas, Tx during a colloquia. We bonded instantly. Dee is attractive, ambitious, a leader, smart, funny, and determined to obtain her PhD. We share the same characteristics and determination. We met almost six years ago.

Along the way, I became seriously ill, divorced, and ran out of student loan money. Dee was promoted on two jobs, dated, and traveled around the US. However, we managed to speak to each other regularly. Our friendship grew because we needed each other.

We found the journey to complete our doctorates from Capella University required support and understanding from true friends/supporters. We learned we needed to surround ourselves with people who understood our plight. We have heard horror stories along the way. Some of our Capella Sisters graduated and some quit their programs to complete other goals.  As a matter of fact, Dee quit for one year. I had to stop for a year due to health issues and financial setbacks. Yet we came back to Capella and decided we would complete what we started.

I went to Dallas as a delegate for the Democratic State Convention. However, I wanted to see my family and my Capella Sisters. I met with Deborah W., Wanda M., and Deirdre Hill. The four of us share a special bond: we are single African-American females completing a PhD online. All of us enrolled in Capella University with the goal of earning a PhD in psychology.

Deirdre was about to complete her dissertation before me this summer. However, she realized she needed to make some serious changes before she submitted her dissertation to her committee. So, we met on a Sunday morning on June 29, 2014 to edit her draft.

Luckily, I was able to obtain some participants for my study. Therefore, I could write-up my cases and finish this summer too. I knew how I wanted the format of my dissertation to look. Dee gave me vital information to help me write my dissertation. I gave her my two cents on edits. I had not planned to stay another day in Fort Worth, but my friendship with Dee is a true sisterhood. I knew we could help each other finish what we started six years ago.

Capella Sisters Finishing What We Started

Looking at our photo tells the story. I did not comb my hair; Deirdre was doing the natural look. We were a hot mess! We were in Starbucks inside of Tom Thumb Grocery completing the journey. It has taken me almost 10 years to complete my doctorate. Dee has been my friend for six of those years. We have searched the literature, shared our frustrations about collecting data. We have shared our ah moments. We see ourselves in the literature. We call each other Dr. Hill and Dr. Pope.

We are currently writing chapter four and five of our dissertations. We will complete our journey by the end of this quarter. We are both single, determined and grateful for our journey through Capella University. She will walk across the stage ahead of me at our graduation (Hill before Pope). Yet we will both stand by each other after graduation and throughout our lives. #Capellaproud

Working Hard in the Yard on July 4th by Sheila Pope

IMG_0402
Ms. V, my 70-year-old neighbor.

Thanks to Ms. V, my 70-year-old neighbor, I got my front yard back into shape quickly on Independence Day (July 4th). Yes, I spent my holiday cutting the yard. I love the idea of cutting my own grass and maintaining my yard. Ms. V loves to take care of her yard too. There are three single women on my street; however, only one of us pays to have our yard maintained. Maintaining the lawn and flowerbeds is fun and relaxing.

When I work on my yard, I can really “see” what the bugs are doing around the house. Ants are resilient little monsters that invade my house and build empires around my trees and fences. I can also detect if water is leaking from the A.C. I can spot the weeds taking over my flower beds. I can feel how thick and healthy my grass has grown. I also keep an eye on my neighbors’ yard too. I am competitive; I enjoy watching the men on the street watch me cutting the grass. Sometimes, they make a few comments when they see me outside. Immediately when I finish my yard, one of my male neighbors will start on their yards too.

I really felt honored to have the ability to take care of my yard on the 4th of July. I am an independent woman, and I love my freedom; I am a home owner with a beautiful yard, and it takes a great deal of time to maintain the lawn.

I was happy to receive help from Ms. V. Ms. V is in great shape and she loves to care for her yard. I told her she could start a lawn service on the block. I hate to admit it, but Ms. V looks younger than me! She still wears short shorts. I hope I am as active and sexy as she is at 70!

She brought her wisdom and cutting skills over to trim the hedges. I would have been a fool to not accept her help. After all, she has the best yard on the block. I told her if they started a “Yard of the Month Contest” I would have to work extremely hard to beat her efforts. I was glad to share gardening ideas and lawn care tips with one of the coolest 70 year olds in the neighborhood on my July 4th.

Small Beginnings by Sheila Pope

Tiny Beginnings
Tiny Beginnings

Today, my five-year old daughter pointed out that our grapes were growing. I immediately rushed to see the growth. I was shocked at how much the grapes had grown.  Last year,  I planted the grape plant in a different location. I could tell my plant was not flourishing; so, I moved it to its own corner of the yard. My son found a YouTube video on how to grow grapes. After watching the video, we attached the vines to the fence and waited to see growth. It took an entire year, but I actually have grapes growing in my back yard.

I also have a lemon tree that was transplanted last year. The tree had one lemon on it when I purchased it. Yet, the lemon never grew. It stayed hard and turned a dark green color. Eventually, I moved the lemon tree too; there are two lemons on the tree this year. I am so proud of my small beginnings in learning how to grow produce. Actually, my son is the one with the green thumb. I have a gift of making money, but my 15-year-old son has the talent to grow produce. I love the fact that we can share in the process of watching fruit and vegetables grow in the yard.

It is good to teach my son that he can eat the fruits of his labor. More important, I have the opportunity to share stories of how everything starts out small and grows. I am growing everyday as a mother, business woman, and writer. I am learning to enjoy the small things in life-like watching plants grow. My ambition takes a back seat when I am out in the yard. My focus is only on family when I am digging holes and planning my flower beds for next year. When I touch the plants, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I watch my children faces glow with excitement. I listen to their discussion on how to stop the birds from eating all of our peaches. My children are problem solving. My son talks about his produce business. My children thinking about their finances. I see science at its best when I inspect the plants. I feel God’s touch when my entire family is laughing, sharing and exploring the plants in our small part of the world.

 lemons

Using Adobe Voice to Advertise for Study Participants by Sheila Pope

I decided to enroll in a professional development workshop in Adobe Education Exchange on Friday. I quickly discovered Adobe Voice. It is an app for iPads users. The app allows users to tell a story in a few minutes. It was so easy to learn and use. I found several ways to use the app to help increase my productivity.  I decided to incorporate it in my emails to possible study participants. The could get a general overview of my study in minutes. information. The videos are easy to design because there are several themes, layouts and options for sharing your videos. Here is my story using Adobe Voice. The request is real. If you happen to read this post and know of someone who fits the profile, please contact me. I want to complete my dissertation by the end of this summer.

The New Man in My Life by Sheila Pope

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Danny Pope

Danny

I have a new man in my life; his name is Danny. I adopted Danny a couple of months ago. Since February, Danny has turned my world upside down. He has helped me discover that I have room in my heart to love someone else. My children have embraced him and fallen madly in love with him too. He fits perfectly into our family.

Loving Danny Cost

Now, to be honest, Danny has caused me some discomfort too. I have spent over eight hours waiting on him at the Houston Humane Society. He has cost me over $300.00 dollars so far on medical bills. He has made me mop the floors on several occasions. More important, he made me realize that I am allergic to pet dander. While waiting for three hours at the Houston Humane Society, my eyes watered, my throat closed, my skin itched, my skin had red blotches, and my lips were swollen.  I looked like the Nutty Professor! I was surrounded by several different breeds of dogs and cats. They were all at the vets because they were sick. I had to go outside to avoid sudden death. The vet tech said, I was having a reaction to pet dander.  Danny is a Pomeranian and considered to be a hypoallergenic dog. Luckily, on that day, I had a Benadryl tablet in my purse. Loving Danny has cost me money, time, and varied levels of frustration.

The Scare

On Friday, June 6, 2014, I thought we had lost him forever. Around 8:30am, while cleaning my daughters’ room, I discovered I did not see Danny. We called for him; we looked everywhere. I panicked! All of my children went into a panic mode. Before I knew it, my entire family was running around the neighborhood trying to find him. I posted his picture and my information my subdivision’s Nextdoor app. I put my children in the car, and I drove around and asked anyone working outside if they had seen Danny. We did not find him! I received two replies from the Nextdoor app. My neighbors would be on the look out. The children were asking me too many questions all at once. I could not answer them!

At 9:00 am, I went to work and called my oldest son to reprimand him for causing this mess. I thought my oldest son had let Danny out to “handle his business”. When I asked my son if he let him back in the house, he developed amnesia. He could not remember letting him back inside the house. He was unsure when he let Danny out that morning. Danny had escaped from the back yard once before.

The Discovery

At 11:00am,  I was on my way home to look for Danny again. I was feeling all kinds of emotions on the drive home. During the drive, my son called and said he found Danny! He told me Danny was in the guest bathroom. Danny always sounds the alarm when someone approaches the front door. Friday was no exception. When my son came home from school, Danny sounded the alarm. I never felt so much relief. I realized Danny was worth every dollar I had spent; he was worth all the time spent at the Houston Humane Society talking to other pet owners and waiting on him to receive medical care. At that moment, I realized I loved Danny so much. After all, he was my dog! He is supposed to be here because wanted my children to be happy. However, to be honest, I wanted Danny. I needed Danny to realize I am ready to open my heart again. I apologized to my son because I realized that I was the one that had closed the door on the guest bathroom without realizing Danny was inside.

Loving Danny
After I “Found” Danny!

Publication Spotlight by Sheila Pope

Great River Technologies Blog
Greatriverblog.com
Great River Tech Twitter Account
@GreatRiverTech

I am honored to have my first publication, Writing Essentials: Strategies to Master Freshmen English and Placement Exams, spotlighted by Great River Technologies. The interview and was posted on the publisher’s website and Twitter feed (click here to read the interview). Digital publishing in the future. I am glad that I am actively playing a role in the future of education and publishing.

If any of you want to publish a digital textbook, I suggest you contact Michelle N. Smith, Senior Acquisitions Manager, at Great River Technology@ msmith@greatrivertech.net or by phone @1-512-663.2834.

Working in My New Studio: The Garage by Sheila Pope

New Studio
May 5, 2014 Moved into New Studio
Focused!
May 6, 2014 I am Focused!
Finished the Ad for Writing Essentials 101 On-Demand Lectures
May 7, 2014: Finished the Ad for Writing Essentials 101 On-Demand Lectures

I love the commercial that asks: If Bill Gates, Micheal Dell, and Steve Jobs created products that changed the world in their garage, why can’t you? I responded: I can and will!

I have a home office, but my children are too noisy to make videos. It is difficult to wait for them to go to sleep, to stop tattling, and to wait for them to sit down and be quite. Once I start on a project, I often work until midnight or later, but I get distracted by other “time consumers”. I have to grade papers too!

I am launching my On-Demand Lecture Series this month. I must make several professional quality videos. I needed a recording studio. So, on April 5, 2014, I decided to use the garage as my recording studio.

Using my new studio, I have worked until midnight on April 5, 6, and 7, conducting research, watching videos on YouTube, and practicing what I learned from the videos. Tuesday was not pleasant because I had two bags of stinky trash in the garage. Yet I created my first advertisement called “Advertisement for Writing Essentials 101 5.7.14” (see previous posts) using Keynotes, Premier Pro, and iMovie.

The first video was good, but the one I posted tonight was much better. Watching a 4:36 second video by AllAboutMac27 was life changing. I learned how to eliminate Premier Pro and incorporate iMovie. It sounds complicated, but thanks to Royalty Free Music.com, AllAboutMac27 and Northern Tech, I was able to quickly create a professional quality 51 second video.

It is amazing what you can learn from two 4-9 minute videos. I am pumped about producing my own on-demand lecture videos. 

Writing Essentials 101: On-Demand Lectures Promo by Sheila Pope

This video provides a quick glimpse into Professor Pope’s On-Demand Lecture Series. Lectures will go live May 10, 2014. If you are interested in subscribing to Writing Essentials 101, please go to EverydayIntellect.com or contact Professor Pope @ s.pope@everydayintellect.com.