My Brother the Clown and the Dare Devil

Back when I Changed My Mind post, I started to blog about my brother Steven John Patrick Henry Murphy Fred George John Prochnow.  Okay, aka Steve.  My brother Steve loved the 4th of July.

One of Steve’s favorite activities was water skiing

He was in the Iowa Falls Ski Club.  I was too for a time!  Our team practiced and showed off in front of people driving along the river bend, or walking across swinging bridge, or boating, or hanging out at Foster Park.  Along the Iowa River you never know who you’ll meet!

The big ski show is on the 4th during the annual River Bend Rally Celebration.  For the show one year, Steve dressed up as a clown (over swim trunks), hit the ramp, and sailed through a ring of fire!  The crowd roared!

Steven was into extreme sports. A daredevil to the bone.

Iowa Falls is nestled on the borders of the beautiful Iowa River in north central Iowa. The river, the cliffs, and the parks along the river have given Iowa Falls the well-deserved nickname, “The Scenic City.”

I’ll be heading to “The Scenic City” soon.  Last year, this time, old high school friends partied together for our class reunion.  Isn’t it interesting how some people just never change.

Back to Steven.  He would’ve turned 51 this year of 2013 on July 17.  I wonder how he would’ve changed….probably would be a father to several children and pets.  Still at Disney and happily married to Shereen.  But that’s not reality as he died in a motorcycle accident on October 24, 1998 while living in Florida.

July’s birthstone is the ruby, which calls to mind thoughts of love and passion.

I miss him tremendously.  He was working at Disney World, having started his career at Disney outside wearing shorts in Epcot’s World Showcase.  I love this relaxing and scenic area of Disney World, centered around a reflective lagoon. There are eleven countries represented in unique cultural fashion, and the food!

Steven would brag and say “I live in Florida, but I work in Canada.”

He later landed an executive job where he wore a tie to the office every day.   I am so proud of how he progressed at Disney World.  His last position was in career training and development.  He helped employees of Disney progress!

Maybe more on SJP in a future post……Love you bro!


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.







The 4th of July was Steve’s favorite holiday

How My Past Brought Me to the Present! Death as Part of Living ~ Part 19

In the summer of 1994 I took a course called Death as Part of Living. The ISU course was held at the DMACC campus in Ankeny Iowa. Our class often met outside, which was really nice. I also remember taking the class with Chris Fehn, who would go on to join the rock group Slipknot and play drums as #3, Mr. Picklenose.

Chris Fehn at Allstate Arena in 2009

In the class we made genograms. According to good ole Wikipedia: “A genogram is a pictorial display of a person’s family relationships and medical history. It goes beyond a traditional family tree allowing the user to visualize hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate relationships.It can be used to identify repetitive patterns of behavior and to recognize hereditary tendencies.

A genogram is created with simple symbols representing the gender, with various lines to illustrate family relationships.

Some genogram users also put circles around members who live in the same living spaces. Genograms can be prepared by using a complex word processor, or a computer drawing program. There are also computer programs that are custom designed for genograms. In class, we hand drew ours, and I still have mine.

It was really helpful to just think about members of my family, and gather more information from my parents. Ann & Dick’s firstborn son died in infancy.  Jump forward….my parents have been married for over 50 years (married September 3, 1955.). They are ages 74 & 78….  I have 3 brothers and two sisters, all close in age. Here we be:

Richard ~ born in 1955, died 4 days later

Julie ~ born in January 1959

Michael ~ born in March 1960

Janice ~ born in April 1961

Steven ~ born in July 1962

Amy (that’d be me) ~ born in September 1963

You Again!?

~ Ann and Dick Prochnow were busy ~

This closeness in age allowed our family to be involved in a wide variety of activities, some of which we did together and some apart. One example, each summer we took a two week vacation and traveled by station wagon around the United States. I remember South Dakota, Colorado, California, even Mexico and Canada….visiting many incredible places! Thank you mom and dad for these growing up experiences!

Our family togetherness instilled strong bonding, plenty of compromise, and of course, plenty of down and dirty drag out fights. Ahh, the memories. My family of orientation taught me how different personalities can be.  And you can say that again with my brothers and sisters….Totally Different!

Totally Different Peas in Our Family Pea Pod!

I want to share with you my brother Steven died at age 35 in a motorcycle accident. When I took this class, he was alive and living his life to its fullest.  I’ll write more about my bro next week.

Sometimes I worry about my parent’s deaths. Or my husband’s. Or heaven help me, one of my children. But I have to stop and remind myself that death is part of living. My friend Becky Tjaden is on her death bed. Becky served as my “surrogate golf mother.” What I mean is that because my mom had 3 daughters, when it came time to participate in daughter/mother golf tournaments, I was luckily passed on to Becky. She was a great teacher of golf for me. I still have the Daisy putter she gave me.

I Always Think of Becky When I Use It

I see death as a way to have a renewed relationship ~ with yourself, another human, or God. To me, death is change, and if you’re prepared, the best change you’ll ever experience! So those you leave on Earth know you’re where you’ve been heading throughout your lifetime!

I came across a beautiful paper by someone who agrees, that being Olive Jones. Here’s a link to what Olive wrote titled No Death Just Change by Olive Jones

Death is what makes life precious…

Yesterday was Easter. I hope you had a blessed and Happy Easter along with a great time.  We did here.  Mom and dad, Julie, Mike and Myra and Ryanne, all my children (Nick, Jake and Arin) and Jake’s girlfriend. All during Lent we have a special time to think about death as part of living. And now into the Easter Season, we have a special time to really start living.  

Have a great life!


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce