My Passion for Job Placement! Here is My Story – Part 2

Reading Time: 6 minutes

To understand my passion for job placement, let me tell you a little about some of the jobs and experiences I’ve had growing up.  I mentioned in an earlier post the fact that childhood interests can help you find the right career.  This is so true!

To Thine Own Self Be True

My first job at age 13 was babysitting (okay, child care provider). Besides gaining transferable skills, Click here for transferable skills of a Childcare Provider, clearly “babysitting” sets the stage for good parental skills (I have 3 children).

Before this time in my life, I “held a job” as a swimmer.

Starting at age 6 through about age 17, I was a member of the Iowa Falls Scenic City Swim Club.  The coach, Bruce, was one hard arss.  Swim club is where I learned the art of practice, perseverance, perfecting a stroke, team work, and how to really hold your breath!

I recall the feeling of free style swimming the full length of the olympic-sized swimming pool (164 feet) without turning my head even once to take a breath.  I pretended I was a fish!My favorite trophy! (Body shape certainly not mine at that tine!)

With babysitting, mowing neighbors’ lawns and swimming, along with cleaning my dad’s office space and the shop’s bathroom (ugg) at Culligan Soft Water, summers were busy.

When I got a little older, I started walking beans (definitely not good at this job…not enough physical strength) and detasseling corn (I was horrible at this job, clearly a height challenge (my “accommodations” included a walker who was just a lot better than my horrible hoeing and cutting with a knife; and a cute tall guy a row over who graciously pulled the stalks way down to my level.) Because these were not reasonable accommodations and I knew that back then, I voluntarily left….or I wasn’t called back to work a field, a mixture of both probably.

Randy, my beloved hubbie, on the other hand was retained by a farmer who “fired” the other boys because they ditched the hot fields in lieu of a cool dip in the nearby pond. Yes, he has a history of walking entire bean fields by himself……ahhh…..could you do that?

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Iowa Corn Stalks are Way Tall!

My first official job – with a real bonafide paycheck – was at Rocky’s Pizza as a food server (waitress is what we called it in the 70s, duh!) Rocco “Rocky” LaValle, (our guest speaker at our 30th class reunion dinner in July 2011) hired many young people in town to work for at the joint…much history!  The skills to work as a food server are aplenty.  Click here for more information.

Rocky!

Often, the incredible images I find online (my disclaimer) are perfect for expressing my memory.  Not sure of which year, but Rocky’s moved to a beautiful new location on Washington where you could really see the pizza making action in the front window!

I worked at the original location in about  1978 at ~ $1.85 hour,  plus tips of course! There’s a Facebook page about The History of Iowa Falls that gives great historical information about Rocky’s . What’s cool is how many past workers, including myself, post our memories!

Original Rocky’s Pizza

Along with the pizza joint, I also worked as a food server at an “upscale” fine dining restaurant – The Chateau.  Actually, it was a brick mansion on Rockyslvania “converted” into a restaurant. This food server work required a tweak on approaching customers and serving food, and I enjoyed it greatly.  I wore a black and white uniform and got to serve beer and wine!  At this restaurant, I learned the art of salad making, and eating left-over crab legs (I know, I know, right off a used plate – ugg again!).  

There’s a picture somewhere of me in my uniform, ready to go to work. Mary Dunlay, remember working together as food server extraordinaires?! The upstairs was for special dinner parties, which wasn’t too convenient…let alone accessible!

On the flip side of “fine dining” establishment and fast food (I worked at Hardees too for a time), with food serving experience working at a small truck stop in the country called The Junction north of Iowa Falls on the way to Hampton.  I remember some of my favorite customers, Chris, the cute and old farmer who always wore overalls. He always tipped! Along with serving, food preparation,  clean up, replenishment of food products and dining items, my favorite job responsibility was operating the industrial dishwasher!

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One rockin’ dishwasher! 

Alice the Cook was Queen! She taught me a lot! Her bench, dedicated to her as she was quite a fisher person, is along the Iowa River in Foster Park, Iowa Falls, Iowa).

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Umm, making the incredibly yummy malts, the leftovers!

I loved working at The Junction truck stop!  So cool my brother worked next door at the stop’s fuel filling facility.  My brother Steven – I love you…RIP.  One hard worker…!

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Stop! Now Follow Me!

I also have work experience working as a  heavy road construction flagger, the person who moves the stop sign to control traffic.  I remember some interesting motorists who long ago passed through….! And I also drove the follow-me truck, But that got un-nerving to me as each time I made a back and forth pass through the zone, the [male] construction workers would stop and stare at me…how silly of them. ? Would’ve that been sexual harassment on the job? Nahh, these were just the big old road crew boys…! I just thought it was annoying, and just wanted to do my driving job!

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Machine Operator and Forklift Operator! I loved it!

Additionally over the course of my early work history, I worked light industrial at the Alden Corn Processing plant in both the corn processing facility…standing at a de-shucking machine and shoving ears of corn through; and in the packing facility….working at the labeling conveyor as well as shrink wrapping pallets, and watching out for the fast moving forklifts. I was trained and did drive a forklift!

I held other good jobs at the Red Rooster Grill as a waitress, at Kmart as a cashier and at Hardees as a fast food service worker. All links provide further information on transferable skills!

In the summer of 1981 I took a nurse aide training course.  Following the training and upon receiving the certificate to be a Certified Nurse Aide, I was hired at Ellsworth Community Hospital.    I gained experience working on each shift over the course of my employment.  Each shift has its unique characteristics.  Talk about gaining incredibly valuable nursing skills.

On to nursing school……..stayed tuned….as I explore my past…..and realize it turned into a passion for job placement.

Stayed tuned for Part 3

Original publication date: November 28, 2011

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

How did I Get Into Rehab Counseling? Here’s a Little Story

Reading Time: 5 minutes

To understand my passion for rehabilitation counseling (my beloved career), let me first tell you a little about myself.

HERE IS MY STORY – Part 1:

As a September baby  – I’m a Virgo!

I was born in 1963 in Libertyville, Illinois, into a hard working family.  My parents are from Chicagoland.  During my infancy and toddlerhood, my family lived in a small house in Mundelein, Illinois.  My father Richard “Dick” Prochnow worked for Sears Roebuck and Co earlier, and then later hired on with Culligan Soft Water.  He would end up working for the company for many, many years.

My mother Ann Dodge Prochnow cared for their five children (we are each 13-15 months apart!) and I am the “baby” of the family. Siblings are Julia born January 1959, Michael March 1960, Janice April 1961, Steven July 1962 and me Amy in September 1963. Ann & Dick’s first child, Richard, died in infancy in 1956, the year after my parents were married.

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Mom from Northbrook and dad from Buffalo Grove

Culligan promoted Dick to management and moved him (along with the crew later on) to Davenport, Iowa in 1966 and later we relocated to Battle Creek, Michigan when I was preschool age, before moving to Iowa Falls, Iowa in 1968 and settling in. I started kindergarten at age 4. 

The Scenic City

I’ll expand on my family and their work in another post.  Read all about it!  But on to me (well, I am the one posting this on my website!)

In a nutshell:   I was in a serious car/train accident in June 1979, the summer before my 11th grade.  I was 15 years old. I was a passenger in a car, sitting in the back seat. The car slammed into the train, and me, well, my body went through the bucket seats and the nonexistent windshield with my head being smashed into a bolt on a box car. But the creepier thing is the train actually started to move, as the conductor was moving it into the yard. Of course, I had no idea what was going on at all. Thank God.

The car was totaled.  There were 3 other people in the car, all who sustained serious injuries, but we all lived. I used to have a disdain for the make and model of that green car, however in a sense it did save my life.

The train stopped moving, having only traveled a few years, stopping inches from a culvert. A passing car with a young couple came upon us. And for me, what I know now, is that a woman named Teri saved my life. Thank you Teri.

I was first transported by ambulance to Ellsworth Municipal Hospital to the ER. I was then trasnported again by ambulance to Mason City where I was hospitalized  for a week with a broken right arm (ulna and radius), numerous lacerations, and a severe head wound requiring extensive plastic surgery.   We’re talking a lot of stitches, and bruises. My left pinky finger was nearly severed as well. I don’t remember any of this time in the hospital until I came out and was clearly doing better…

The accident kinda screwed up my life at that time (sure wish I had a rehabilitation counselor to work with me!)  I dropped out of high school ½ way through 11th grade (there’s a story to that, but anyway….)  At the time, my mother  was working at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls in the placement office.  She “forced” me to enroll at the college, which I did reluctantly.  I was 17.  I first had to take the GED and pass!

State of Iowa High School Equivalency Diploma ~ Amy Elizabeth Prochnow November 10, 1981

After this positive life event, I moved on and audited courses at ECC ~ Ellsworth Community College (with much older classmates).  I then enrolled officially and took secretarial coursework….and in 1981 also graduated with a certificate in secretarial science.

To clarify these dates, 1981 was the year I should have graduated with my original high school classmates.  But instead, I went to college with “older” people, and my sister Janice Prochnow, two years older than me. I think we had one class together.

In the ECC Class of 1981 program below I’m listed under the first section, One Year Secretarial, the fifth student.  Janice, her name is the second to last column under the last section of the program titled Associate Degree Diploma, has 3 asterisks *** because she received honors and was a mid-term graduate.

Other people in the program are a couple friends who Janice graduated high school with in 1979, Patti Rieber, Janet Roozen and Melinda Rutzen. I remember being in class with some of the ECC male (read tall to me) basketball players!

panther

Here’s a picture of me and my older sister Julie Prochnow who is five years older than me, on the day we both graduated in October 1981.  (No picture of me and Janice for some reason, at least that I have!) I graduated from ECC with my secretarial science certification and Julie did from Iowa State University in recreational studies.

Notice Julie’s honor cords –  valedictorian!

After this robe wearing event, time to move on again!

Stayed tuned for Part 2

 

Nov 21, 2011 original publish date

 

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Prochnow Family Halloween Fun 1969!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Here I am with my brothers and sisters posing for a great pre-trick or treating photo shoot that highlights our personalities! 

Prochnow Halloween Fun!

Prochnow Halloween Fun 1969!

From right to left, Julie (not wanting to have too much fun); Michael (the only unique patterned cat, without paws); Janice (the middle cat, before bubbly got braces); Steven (the expert trick or treater who didn’t want to call it quits); and Amy…me (I’m thrilled to be along for the ride!) Let’s hit Cottrell Avenue and beyond…!

1603 Cottrell Ave, Iowa Falls, IA 50126 - Estimate and Home ...

This is a a recent photo. My mom sold the house in 2017 before moving to Florida.

I was a little over six years old, missing a front tooth or two, which makes eating candy a bit of a challenge. My mom said she had nothing to do at home but create these cat costumes…right!! In 1969, my parents were raising 5 kids ages 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10! 

The cat costumes had semi-removable feet sewn in and nice, thick,  long tails, you can see Janice’s hanging between her legs! I wore my costume out over the years because I enjoyed it so much (even slept in it)! Actually, I need to amend what I just wrote as I’m pretty sure I wore each costume out over the years as I grew into each one! 

The cat picture above was taken in our living room.  My mom still has the piano in her Florida home.  The house was always well cared for. It underwent a lot of renovation and upgrades to make it more functional and beautiful…and houses many memories. Trust me, there was a lot of activity!

Thank you mom for the costumes! Your sewing machine was sure kept busy during our growing up years!

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My mother was very talented with her sewing machine. It lived in her bedroom!

Do you remember trick or treating when you were young? Over thirty years later, our society has different ways of “trick-or-treating.” I sure know my mom and dad didn’t come with us!  

Using our pillowcase to go trick-or-treating on Halloween ...

The best part of “trick-or-treating” for me was visiting older people in my hood and making them laugh with a silly joke! I remember coming home, emptying the pillow case on the living room carpet, and carefully organizing the candy into designated piles. Then we’d trade with each other! 

What are the top 5 Halloween candies of 2018? | Arlington Toyota

A Kit-Kat bar was a valuable asset of my loot and it was a difficult decision to trade!

Briefly back to my brothers and sisters. Each one of us has a unique talent that I truly appreciate. It seems our personalities are still exactly how the picture above represented us so many years ago. Siblings really don’t change, we just grow bigger!

I can see how gathering all sorts of goodies, sorting through what is valuable and what is not, and then looking for pieces that fit in to add wholeness is pretty much what I do in my forensics work.

If I can help you with helping a client with their story about life and work, please let me know. I consult with clients to help on litigated cases involving work and disability. I’m here to help you, my attorney reader, help your client.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it.  Give me a call at 515-778-0634 or email amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  to discuss your case.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

I Retired from Writing for Women’s Edition…Skills Gain!

Reading Time: 4 minutes[Repost 10/22/2015] I retired from my stint as a freelance magazine story writer for Women’s Edition after enjoying monthly job assignments from January 2012 through September 2013. Shortly afterwards, the magazine’s owner and founder left our Des Moines, market. They continue to publish from Omaha, Lincoln, Denver and Colorado Springs.

I gained many skills, read on after reviewing this brief summary of the business owners and associates of companies throughout Des Moines, Iowa I interviewed about their business and wrote creative stories:

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Summary of My Writing Stories for Women’s Edition

By Amy E. Botkin

  • LuGene Isleman & Heidi Wilson “Your Center for Wellness, Rejuvenation and Body Balancing”, for a Healthy Living Story
  • PrimeSource Mortgage “Meet the Ladies that Walk You Home” a Business Style Story
  • Attorney Diane Dornberg “Passionate About Helping Families”, for an Out & About Story
  • Burgin Drapery Workroom “We Do It All!”, a Business Style Story
  • Things On Douglas An eccletic blend of new and consigned furniture and home décor”, for an Out & About Story
  • Douglas Dental, “A Dental Clinic With Experienced Staff At Your Service”, for a Healthy Living Story
  • Dr. BJ Foust, Foust Family Dental Care, for an Out & About Story
  • Noelle Carroll at Simply Organized, “Organizing Clutter and Chaos”, for a Business Style story
  • Dale Carnegie, “Turning Potential Into Performance”, for a Business Style Story
  • The Funky Zebras an Out and About story
  • Anderson Animal Hospital, We Care for ALL Critters” a Business Style Story
  • Barb Diment Law Office for A Business Style story
  • Dan Bishop owner of A-1 Concrete Leveling for a Business Style Story
  • Ann Hartz, CPA for a View From The Top story
  • Applebee’s, a Healthy Living Story

After participating in an overnight murder mystery back in 2001, I had an incredible story to tell. But I didn’t do it! I swear. I was too busy. Not me! I did not do it. I’m the maid here, how could I find time? Maybe I’ll post it someday if I can find it!

[Another update as of 10/22/2015, I just found pictures from that evening  (going through pictures & stuff)! As sneaky killer suspects, we (each guest) were particularly odd looking.  I may scan 1 or 2 pictures in someday for this post.]

Have you ever participated in a murder mystery package? It was fun to travel to Bellevue, Iowa for this work assignment, spend the night in a beautiful mansion, be involved in a murder, write, and get paid! I remember meeting a white cat with secrets near the river….

I love to read and I love to write!

I hope to write for publications in the future. At this time, with my business rocking (tons of reading, research and report writing); bloggin’; the need to study, research and write out responses to discussion questions, prepare term papers and projects for my current rehabilitation counseling forensic coursework through GWU….it would be way too beastly wild for me to do it all. [Update from original post Oct 7, 2013…Yep! Completed that goal!…no not becoming a wild beast, but receiving a post graduate degree!]

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Wild Beast Amy

Seriously however, I benefited in numerous ways during this time of writing for publication. My interview, research, creativity and writing skills improved! I met many professionals in my community and made great business connections. Interviewing business owners provided me indepth insight into self employment and small business ownership. I knew quite a bit about this subject, being in this same boat since 1999!)

I personally give thumbs up recommendations for several of the  businesses from other than my angle of writing their story because I became a customer of their establishment/business (if you need your driveway raised, Dan Bishop owner of A-1 Concrete Leveling does an excellent job); became a business connection of their services…and yes even gathered new friendships! (Ann Hartz, CPA, she and I were in boot camp together!)

Thumbs Up:  Attorney Diane Dornberg, The Funky Zebras, Anderson Animal Hospital, Dan Bishop, Ann Hartz, CPA, Dale Carnegie and of course Applebee’s!

Making a smart move after the decision was made to retire, I requested a recommendation letter, which Kelcie Warren the publisher of the magazine kindly wrote. Thank you Kelcie! Of note, Women’s Edition left the Des Moines market, however, the magazine still has operations in Omaha, Lincoln and Colorado Springs. You can find the reference letter on my website over yonder under documents for download.

If I can help you tell your client’s story, do not hesitate to contact me. I love to write about others! 

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

 

Happy Labor Day to All of Iowa’s Workers!

Reading Time: 4 minutes(Original Post Date 9/7/2015) Iowa has a great reputation for strong work ethic! We know it! And from what I’ve heard, ask most any Floridian employer and if you’re from Iowa, you applied and you got the skills….you’re hired!! Click here for a free online Occupational Work Ethic Inventory (OWEI).

Personally, I am incredibly proud of my children (and my husband’s) work ethic. For example, just recently, my son Jake covered for a co-worker who called in sick; resulting in him working 11 hours in one shift for Jimmy John’s. The next day, his boss offered him a raise! Which was taken!

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Jake is a fan of Zombies!

Arin, although at this time she still works her two jobs at the Des Moines Public Library (Library Aid at the Franklin branch) and Zombie Burger as a host; is dropping down to only one day a week at the library through September. She’ll then be working only one job as she needs time to be a 19 year old! Working 60 hours a week takes its’ toil on a person. Plus Arin’s considering going to college! (She has strong interest and entry level skills in sign language.) Psssst:  Arin, check this out about DMACC’s program in ASL.

Workers Monument, by Artist Michael Stutz, State Capitol Grounds, Corner of East 9th Street and East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa

As you know, I’ve written many times about my husband’s work ethic….he’s yea, quite ethical!

And now, I’d like to write a bit about Randy’s father, James C. (Botkin. Jim worked for over 30 years for AT&T. He was a union member. James Botkin Union Card

 

I’m pretty convinced we learn work ethic from our parents.

Here’s his union card and  plaques/awards (that help decorate my office wall) G’pa Jimmy received for his dedication to his work…they read:

AT&T Jim Botkin 30 Years

TELEGRAPH SERVICE 1887 – 1991 JIM BOTKIN In Recognition of Your Invaluable Contribution. (I’m thinking 1887 is when American Telephone and Telegraph Company was a start-up!)

Happy Retirement G'a Jimmy!

 

HAPPY RETIREMENT JAMES C. BOTKIN  ~   30 Years Service With AT&T   1961 – 1991

AJ and Grandpa Jimmy, Christmas Eve, 2004

2002-12-30 AJ with Gpa Jim

A fond memory I have of my very loving, caring and silly father-in-law is how he always answered his home phone so professionally and succinctly: “Botkin Residence”.  

My dad on the other hand would say before he picked up the receiver, “it’s your nickel.” And Dick raised it to  .10 Cents…and up…as time progressed. (Need to do that with the minimum wage here in Iowa…….$7.25 is one of the lowest states.)

To all workers out there, THANK YOU  for each and every day you work. All workers deserve dignity and fair wage.

And to all those workers who are no longer able to work, be sure to take some time to be grateful for how our workforce operates.

Statistics for You: As of July 21, 2015, Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent in June from 3.8 percent in May. The state’s jobless rate was 4.4 percent one year ago.  The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.3 percent in June.  Source:  https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/

Please let me know how I can help you help your client return to work. And if the client cannot return to work, I can help with that too! A life care plan that incorporates vocational rehabilitation or a loss of earnings evaluation become valuable tools to help resolve complex matters of employment.

I Hope You Enjoy a Safe & Memory Filled Labor Day!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

We Celebrated Our Silver Wedding Anniversary!

Reading Time: 4 minutesOriginal post 8/31/2015.  Whew…what a month!  On the 1st and 2nd of August, I helped to deliver a women’s retreat at my parish and then over the following couple of weeks, I finished up the CRHP formation process.

On August 4th, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I am annoyed at myself that we didn’t take any pictures! Silly me. But here’s a couple shots of our day on August 4, 1990 (it was a beautiful day). Randy had these pictures blown up and put into incredible silver frames:

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And later we  on our anniversary we finally watched a (25 year old) video of our wedding that we had never seen. We didn’t own the AV equipment to play the original so recently Randy had taken the original video to Put it on Video and they copied it onto a DVD! What we watched was funny and pretty incredible….and seems like it was just yesterday because I remember it all in detail. Nick was calling out dadda dadda when Randy was saying his vows!

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.
The truth….and I found this at Salvation Army for like .39 cents!

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I found five of these nice Silver Anniversary glasses >>> back in 2005, when Randy and I were cleaning out his parent’s house in Creston (after his dad died), preparing it for sale. I saved the glasses because I knew 10 more years of marriage wouldn’t take long and we’d use them!

After eating at DJango on our anniversary (I had a delicious mushroom thingy and a cherry salad, and can’t remember what Randy had to eat), we went to Zombie Burger (Arin our daughter was hosting)  for a specially ordered “chocolate” wedding shake (YUMMMMMYY), while Randy had a root beer float!

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The wedding shakes are really yummmmmy…but I don’t like the plastic  straws (update as of 9/1/2019 Zombie Burger uses compostable straws! Thank you!)

On the 8th & 9th days of August Randy, my great first and only husband participated in a men’s retreat at our parish (and subsequently started his 6+ month long formation process). The 13th – 17th  Taylor our niece was here visiting from where she lives in DC (she carved time out to visit the state fair and Adventureland)! On August 19th, Jacob celebrated his 21st birthday (cheese pizza with added pineapples and homemade chocolate cake with strawberries on top). And then on August 22, Randy and I went on a marriage retreat! Through August, I got some pretty good bike riding in (RIP Wade Franck) and baseball watching!

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Tomorrow is the beginning of my favorite month of the year! 

And now, a new goal is to revise this website (Update, started revision right after this post!) as a small business advisor said it was “all over the board…like an artist’s work.” She’s right, and that is why I sought help to accomplish this. I also am revising my business plan to embrace the demand for vocational expertise in family law matters.

I look forward to sharing more resources with you, my attorney reader, and help to facilitate your understanding of what I can do to help you help your clients. Stay tuned!

 The moral of this little story of snippets of August 2015 is that although I have always felt time flies too fast, it really doesn’t. We all have time, that’s all we really have for sure. Time, simply is duration. And whenever there’s change of any kind, time has simply passed. As we go through life, we age. And we gain wisdom.

Image result for tick tock clock imageTick, tock, tick, tock. We live. We love. We forgive. And yes, we forget! God has no time and no space, let’s revel in that! Please remember me when you need help on a case involving work and disability. Thank you for reading!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

The Peacock: Poem, Feathers and Symbolism in My Life

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Peacock

Peacock at Blank Park Zoo 05/21/2006
Peacock at Blank Park Zoo 05/21/2006

written by Amy E. Botkin 1/24/15 CRHP Retreat

Look past the strutting and into the beauty. As the morning begins, we praise. The sun shines through the multicolored stained glass. We reflect on our journey through life. Our hearts flutter at joy in such holy surroundings. The mixing of colors, teal, green, yellow, blue….they glow, spread, encompass….our hearts, our faith.

Peacock at Full Glory!
Peacock at Full Glory!

Today We Renew!

 

 

 

 

 

The symbolic meaning of the peacock From Wiki Answers.com: Peacock feathers have been used for healing for tens of thousands of years in every culture throughout time. They are said to carry Spiritual healing energy that can be used to assist people seeking balance and harmony in their lives. In Hinduism the peacock is associated with Lakshmi, who is a deity representing benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion and good luck.

I read a writer’s analogy of why she is so drawn to the peacock: ‘It’s because of its dichotomy. On one hand, the peacock is this beautiful bird, with connections to the divine. On the other, the peacock can be a terribly obnoxious bird – they emit horrible screeches and can be awfully aggressive. She believes in a theory that the peacock is a perfect symbol of humanity itself…’

Another PeacockThe peacock naturally replaces his feathers annually and is therefore a symbol of renewal.

I have peacock feathers in my office. They were found at my in law’s house in Creston when we were preparing it to sell back in 2005. The “multitude of eyes” upon the peacock’s stunningly beautiful fan tail feathers watch over me while I work! I strive for being true to my own colors and simply being myself.

Learn from the peacock, spread your feathers embrace your spiritual nature, walk tall, and display your talents with confidence and grace. Be beautiful and an open minded person ~ the one that looks at the world with eyes wide open, the one that is not afraid of challenges!

To Thine Own Self Be True“To Thine Own Self Be true” ~ William Shakespeare

The Peacock is a reminder to all of us to show our true colors. The peacock can help us shed the old feathers of the past and to take back the true beauty of our individuality. This increases self-respect and confidence. Here you’ll come to a True Colors Personality Quiz. Please take it and enjoy! I found out my strongest is orange, then green, blue and gold!

In performing more research I found that Peacock energy can help you on your spiritual path and breathe new life into your walk of faith. And that’s another reason I am so blessed that the women at our table during my CRHP ~ Christ Renews His Parish ~ retreat in January 2015 chose to be called the Peacocks. Our choice was based on the inspiration from a picture we saw in our parish’s (All Saints Parish) gathering space of Father Bob Harris saying mass on his recent trip (helped to sponsor the trip for many people in our community) to the Holy Land (Boy that would’ve been awesome!). The Peacock is often found in Catholic Churches, and above his head (Father Bob’s in the picture) there was one!

The Peacock has a boisterous cry that holds a touch of laughter, as if to imply that nothing, including beauty, should be taken too seriously. When I am centered and grateful for all I have, I feel a more light-hearted approach to all things that come my way. Laughter is really the best medicine and helps to keep us healthy!

Peacock FeathersLook Upon the Peacock With New Eyes and Reflect on What Its Eyes Say to You!

Looking around my office, I have all sorts of eyes watching me! Not only the eyes on the peacock feathers, but my daughter, my son’s, nieces and nephews, husband, mom and dad, grandparents, in laws, cats and dog and rabbit, etc., …..and some old guy with a long white beard I have no idea who he is, but I think he has wisdom to share!

Eyes are the entry into the soul! And they are protecting me, encouraging me and telling me to continuously strive to make my work and my life pure of heart. A symbol of peacock in many cultures is of eternal life; the link between heaven and earth. And to have faith that we never truly die.

Peacocks mate for life, just like the two of us, Randy, making this a perfect theme for our vow renewal (25 years quickly approaching old man!).  Peacocks are pure of heart.  They pair with a mate and are loyal and faithful to their partners. My peacock feathers are now more meaningful. Thank you!

In closing, I share this tapestry and detail about it ~

Tree of Life

Tree of Life Peacock

Source: https://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/paintings/tree-of-life-PB77/

BEGIN: Kalamkari began as the temple art of Andhra Pradesh and slowly occupied an important place in the arts and crafts of India. The artisan uses a pen-like brush called ‘kalam’, giving the technique its name.

The tree is one of the most potent of symbols. Its roots delve into the underworld; its trunk links the earth to the heavens – it transcends all three spheres. It symbolizes birth, maturity, death and rebirth embodied in leaf, bud and fruit. The tree of life is one of the most common motifs used by the artisans. Versions of the tree of life are manifold.

Here, the tree of life is transposed as a vase containing flowers and a variety of leaves. The flowers are those associated with fertility. Generally, a tree of life is flanked by worshippers, birds or animals, which could vary locally. Here the tree is flanked by a couple of peacocks. It is relevant to note that in Indian mythology, peacocks occupy a prominent place. They symbolize immortality, love, courtship, fertility, regal pomp and protection. When the auspicious tree of life and the important motif of a peacock come together, this painting’s worth is doubly elevated.

Colors like blue, yellow and green are more commonly used. Red is liberally used in the border giving a bright frame to a sober, meaningful painting promising prosperity and good luck. – END

In closing of this blog, I offer more from YouTube: Enjoy again!

Get ahold of me so I can help with matters of work and disability. Thank you for reading!

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Happy Adoption Anniversary Nick and Randy!

Reading Time: 4 minutesToday (original posting date June 9, 2016) is the 22nd anniversary of Nickolas Andrews’ adoption day by Randy! I remember it well, June 9, 1993. One funny memory is when the judge asked the barely 4-year-old Nick if his “new” dad played with him. Nick paused quite awhile, thought, and then said no. Yes he did!

Ever since Randy cut the cord of our 9 pound 4 ounce boy they have been great friends. Nick you are one lucky man to have Randy as your father. Happy Adoption Anniversary Day!

Nick Google PictureHere’s Nick today! (BTW, I found this picture on Google Images)

I am so proud of Nick, in many ways. He has progressed in his career at Wells Fargo and is currently a Collections Supervisor. Recently (in April), Nick won a trip to Miami through work.  It was all expenses paid! And he took his man Derek (pictured to the right of Taylor below). Talk about fun and inexpensive! I wanted to go….but I wasn’t invited. I do enjoy the Florida sunshine!

Right now my parents are in Ft. Lauderdale….I wanted to go again…but couldn’t! Mom and dad visit Florida once a year to see Janice and her younger children Jordan and Rustin. My maternal grandparents had a condo in Fort Walton Beach that was well loved, and I did get to visit and remember the fun times!

But Janice was here this year for a short Iowa trip…and I really have to let you know who I ran into at the Boat Club in Iowa Falls…  And if you’ve read my earlier blogs, my brother Steven was living in Kissimmee and working at Disney World when he died.

2014-12-27 14
12-27 14 Botanical Gardens

Nick’s really getting squished!

Just thinking about how it all came about (well, that is the adoption), I’ll tell you a bit more. Randy and I were at a Hal Ketchum concert at the Civic Center on New Year’s Eve bringing in the year 1993 and we met a very nice couple seated at our table. We partied with them and within our discussions and champagne and music they recommended an attorney for adoption. His name was Mike Manno. I wrote the name down.

When I returned to work at CorVel that Monday, I walked by the same attorney’s office I had for several months as I was working temporary in an office building in West Des Moines. I realized why the name Mike Manno was familiar, and sure enough it was the attorney whose office was right next door to CorVel’s. I stopped in and said hello. Mr. Manno helped right away and within 5 months, Nickolas Andrew Prochnow became Nickolas Andrew Botkin! ~ Thank you Mr. Manno!

I just realized who Mr. Manno is through recent research. I have heard Faith on Trial on Iowa Catholic Radio and likely seen you (or been with you without knowing, at Mass at St. Augustin…update: yes, on 6/12/16 I handed you an envelope with a contribution for a special collection) many times since those early 1993 winter months. In actuality, it was an easy adoption, me being the biological mother and all and the biological father not in the picture who signed off his rights without hesitation (we found out he died on a motorcycle last Labor Day); and Randy being there with me from ~ week 6 in baby’s fetal development!

Week 6

Baby has tripled in size and now has a regular heartbeat–and it’s about twice as fast as the average adult heart rate! His brainwaves can also be recorded at six weeks. 

What’s also interesting (to me at least!) is the fact that I bought Mr. Manno’s big wooden desk for my home office and I used it for about 20 years, until it was smashed apart in order to remove it from the basement during a renovation!Image result for wooden deskOne well used desk!

The purpose of sharing this story with you is I truly believe God works in mysterious, exciting and incredibly fun and funny ways!!  

Another tidbit, one of Nick’s close friends Jeska Reese Dean (owner of my beloved Fat Amy the Bulldog!), knows Randy is an excellent father. She also believes he should teach a course on “how to be the best husband.” Kinda silly, I know, but true. Randy is the best at being my husband and Nick’s father. Jake’s and Arin’s too. We love you. And one more thing:

Champagne GlassesCongratulations AGAIN Mr. Botkin!

Randy interviewed last Monday for the  2015-2016 school leadership team at Scavo Alternative High School and received a call on Friday that he was chosen to be on it! I helped him with his interviewing skills (STAR Method), and low and behold it worked.

Have a grateful week! If I could help you or your clients with a family law case, or any other legal case involving work and life, please let me know!

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

1st Bug Bite, 1st Sunburn & 1st Boat Ride!

Reading Time: 3 minutesLiving through my 1st Bug Bite, 1st Sunburn & 1st Boat Ride means summer 2015 is near!

Summer

“Summer” by Walfrido

The bite (thinking bee) sure made my right arm swell up and hurt. At the onset I thought, gee, all my workouts have produced hefty triceps (wouldn’t happen on only one side silly), but NO my arm for about a week looked like a football player’s arms.

The boat ride (thank you so much Ted & Beth Erickson!) Sunday on Lake Panorama was wonderful! Good thing the one (of a select few) plants I can really grow well is readily available at my house. My burn wasn’t bad, but I will prepare for sunnier days to come with my aloe vera plants.

2015-06-02 13.48.07

Here’s a Quick Juicing Recipe: 

Light and Lemony Aloe Vera
1 cucumber 
1 apple
1 lemon
2 tablespoons of aloe vera pulp

And click here for 30 Uses for Aloe Vera.

My love of coconut oil and essential oil is great for sunburn and other skin issues. Prepare for June, July and beyond. August will be really special this  year for more reasons than one! Okay, the big one is that Randy and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. What should we do?! Here’s a shot of us in 2012 celebrating August 4, 1990. You can take your own bottle of wine to DJango (yummy!)

Raspberry Wine for the Meal DJango
Raspberry Wine for the Meal DJango

We both look silly!

This week my sister Janice is flying in from Fort Lauderdale. We’ll be having some fun! And some sadness, as Katy, a friend Janice spent a lot of time with in high school committed suicide and there’s a memorial for her this weekend in Iowa Falls. I had a friend, Sally, who I too spent a lot of time with growing up, who did the same, that is commit suicide last year. It’s horrible. I love life so much, I am so incredibly saddened that mental health and hatred can really ruin the world for some.

Whatever Makes Your Happy You Put In Your World

Whatever Makes You Happy You Put Into Your World

Stay safe this summer, have fun and relax. And be grateful for each day of your life! I personally have to really watch out for bugs, especially spiders, bees and yellow jackets, wasps and hornets; and poison ivy. There’s  a whole story or three on what bugs and poison ivy have known to do to my body…..NOT GOOD.

I need to be sure to keep an epi-pen near, or at least be sure people who I’m with know (if we’re outside) to help me to be cautious about what’s floating around…. And I have to make a new poison ivy kit for thhis summer (read: glass jar with vinegar, and small towel)….just in case.

I’m going to read my homework for tonight’s CRHP session now…..it’s beautiful outside! If you are curious, Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP, pronounced “Chirp”) is a spiritual renewal weekend designed to help individuals grow in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and with others in their faith community. It is an excellent opportunity for Catholics to renew their understanding of the basic beliefs and traditions of their faith. And I’m helping to prepare the next women’s retreat in August for my parish, All Saints Catholic Church. That’s my next big event planned for this August, hosting a CRHP retreat!

Please let me know how I might help with life care planning and/or vocational consulting. I’m here for you!

Note: I changed my byline  as of 5/22/15

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Empty Nest = Freedom! Good Job Parental Units!

Reading Time: 3 minutesOkay, my readers, curious why I didn’t post anything in awhile? Here’s why….the kids moved out last weekend! (So I’ve been busy, busy!)  Jake and Arin moved into a furnished house by Grand View University with their friend Bridget and her mother. Although I already miss them incredibly, the job we set out to do is complete – and we did it well!

Good Job Parental Units!

When kids are on their own they’ll learn to do a lot more for themselves, allowing them to be strong and experience life on their own terms. Plus, they will be better people and believe more in themselves.

Jake took his Hedgehog Sandslash, but the rabbit Mollie and the hamster (update: Aphrodite went to hamster heaven in August 2015) are still here (they will probably be moving out shortly!) And Alaska the white puddy tat stays stays put!

 Image result for marvin k mooney will you please go now

All  are all welcome to visit, but Marvin K. Mooney maybe not yet!

I’ve been going through, organizing and ditching stuff galore, of course! Not done yet, but wowsa! It is odd to have so much room, although my house didn’t grow from it’s 900 square foot of living space!

Found this behind Arin’s dresser: 2015-05-07 12.06.17

And no more of this (waahh) commonly found in the fridge:

JJ Bread
JJ Bread

My goal is to focus more on work with an organized mind! Ahh, I still need to organize my electronic files in a more [fun]ctional way! And my bike, my bike! More time to ride!!!!!! I am so excited about my future!

Empty Nest = Freedom!

The birds have flown and will be just fine, thank you! Please let me know how I can help with a case involving the vocational aspects of a litigated family law, personal injury or workers’ compensation case. I feel “a bit more” credible knowing that I (we, yes Randy!) reached this stage of maturity in life! It is truly a blessing to serve as a parent. I have learned so much from my children….stay safe my loved ones!

You Go Botkin!

___________________

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