Publisher’s Notes: Making a Plan and Establishing a Routine

Kristen Kart

It’s been nearly a year since I started my “new normal.” Looking back on this time in my life, it’s amazing to me how far I have come in just a short period of time. Certainly the beginning of the divorce process was challenging, devastating, and stressful, but I’ve found light at the end of the tunnel.

Once I got past the initial shock, I took time to reflect on how I wanted to move forward and began making a plan. In my mind there were two paths to take—I could sit around and feel sorry for myself day after day or I could wake up each morning excited about the endless possibilities in my future.

One of the things that helped me most during this transitional period was establishing a routine early on for me and my two kids. It’s refreshing to set a schedule according to what you want to do and when you want to do it, and not having to answer to anyone else. For the first time in a long time, I felt complete control over my life and the decisions I made. I also felt a true sense of accomplishment once certain goals were achieved. Something as easy as successfully doing the before and after school routine with two kids all by myself made me feel fantastic. At times, it’s all about the baby steps and making lists. You can only do one thing at a time and although occasionally there is an intense feeling of being overwhelmed, once you start to tackle the list, the feeling you have at the end of each day is unlike any other. You know that everything that was accomplished, was completely done by you.

Some people may think that my planning has gotten out of control. But to me, it is the only way that I feel like I can manage my busy life with my children. I have never really been the type of person who just lays around and waits for something to happen, but I think I have taken planning to a whole new level. I tend to make plans way in advance and, although at times I admit to being a little neurotic about it, planning helps give me a sense of control. I feel more prepared to deal with the everyday life, anticipate certain challenges and get excited about what the future may hold.

Kristen Kart is the publisher of Pittsburgh Better Times. For more information, you can contact her directly at

Forward is the Only Direction

Antoinette de Janasz

By Antoinette de Janasz

My divorce left me in debt, without a car, in a dilapidated apartment, and with two children to raise. Things could only get better, or at least that was my mantra to keep me going!

My children were my first and foremost priority. The divorce was very hard on them, made harder by the mud that was slung at me by their father. Keeping up with our traditions and rituals helped my kids keep a sense of family and gave them some much needed security. Any doubts I had about the divorce were erased when my son told me that I never laughed when I was married to their dad. I made it a point to laugh more after that, even when there was nothing to laugh at.

I tried to keep my financial hardship from them but they were old enough to figure it out. Especially when I had to discourage their friends from snacking at our home because they would eat our week’s food supply in one afternoon! Teenagers are like locusts!

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A Blueprint for Life After Divorce: Pittsburgh Author’s Book Inspires and Empowers Others to Find their “New Normal”

Gina Mazza

By Daniel Casciato

Pittsburgh-based journalist, author, editor, and publishing consultant Gina Mazza lives by the philosophy that everything happens for a reason, and as she writes in her book, “Everything Matters, Nothing Matters,” it’s not about what happens to us in life—it’s our response to it and, more importantly, who we are going through it. Her book is the story of her inward journey to fully embracing creativity and higher consciousness. It offers principles for finding balance, embracing the sacredness of every day and living an intention-based life with gratitude.

It’s not lost on her that the book launched just a couple of months after Mazza and her husband of nearly 20 years separated. It was “a supreme opportunity to road test the veracity of my life philosophy,” Mazza says. “Our core beliefs are most profoundly tested when a crisis or moment of truth arrives—that’s where the rubber meets the road. The book’s principles served as a continual blueprint towards my own self-realization through the divorce process. It helped me through it immensely.”

The most challenging part of the whole divorce process for her was dealing with ongoing betrayal and dishonesty; that was an affront to her emotional sensibilities and, being an emotion-based person who feels things deeply, she says that it was no walk in the park.

“In spite of that, my goal was to go through the experience with as much grace, dignity and integrity as possible,” she says. “Ultimately, I reached a point where I wouldn’t accept being bullied anymore—that was my lesson to learn. After I made that decision and took action in that direction, everything shifted.”

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