Happy 50th Birthday Randy! Get on Your Bike and Ride!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Happy 50th Birthday to my husband Randy! Today he turns the big 50. September 29 is also Randy’s mother’s birthday. Marylin would’ve turned 70 today. She’s been in heaven for 15 years now. How many women have babies on their birthdays? Pretty cool, huh! I’m curious of the odds.

The lines

You say it’s your birthday,
It’s my birthday too, yeah;
They say it’s your birthday,
We’re gonna have a good time;
I’m glad it’s your birthday,
Happy birthday to you.

Yes, we’re goin’ to a party, party.
Yes, we’re goin’ to a party, party,
Yes, we’re goin’ to a party, party.

from the Beatles Birthday Song from the White Album ring true here!

B Boy

 50 years ago the stork delivered boy Botkin to Marylin & Jim

Randy’s mother, Marylin was one great lady. We love and miss her dearly (and her husband Jim too…also “up there and with us all”.) When Randy was a teenager growing up in Saylorville Township, his mom worked 8pm-4am as a data processor for Banker’s Trust downtown Des Moines.

When Marylin arrived back home from her shift (yes, 4am),  she’d wake Randy up so he could get going on his paper route (Des Moines Register & Tribune). Randy and my dad have their exciting paper route stories….!

Randy tells me he delivered (and yes, we have to relive the days by traveling his route, he being the tour guide, from time to time in his old hood), the daily paper to ~56 homes each morning before school. He had to finish delivering and arrive back home so he could get on the bus on time to get to school. To this day, Randy is an early riser, and brags he doesn’t use an alarm clock. Tis true.

Paper boy

 Read All About It!

Randy walked his delivery route and recalls how most of his customers requested the newspaper be placed inside the door (as opposed to the typical throw it and hope it ends near the door method.) He remembers getting tips. And he remembers when it was really cold. Really, really cold. Read early mornings in Iowa…..brrrrr, makes me shiver just thinking about it. I would not have made it long as a paper boy.

50 bdayCelebrate today Randy. You get raspberry crisp for your b-day treat!

Trivia: The scales of justice is the symbol for Libra (Randy’s one), and is the only zodiac sign that is not represented by animal or human.

Although you are no longer a paper boy Mr. Botkin, I know those days were valuable to develop your work ethic. In early 2013 I wrote several blogs about Randy and his work ethic! Okay, now get on your bike and ride. Hey, why didn’t you use pedal power for your paper route?

Biking BoyRandy does use pedal power, each day to ride to school. Tis true.

Just an aside: Yesterday, my kids Jake and Arin and their close friends Bridget and Bonsie drove to Chicago to see the Black Keys and Cage the Elephant concert at the United Center. They left at 10am Sunday and got home a little before 5am today. Think we weren’t a tad bit worried? Not a lot of sleep. But they had a good time and I’m waiting for Arin’s stories as she had to get to work at the library by 9am! And Jake is asleep….

Hope your week is great!


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

Counseling is an Art and Loving to Read is Too!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This is a repeated blog entry from 5-14-12 and it fits right in with my writings on Art & Science. Plus I’ve included a video published 7/9/14 titled the Art of Counseling developed by CRCC (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.)

CRCC (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification)


A couple blogs or two back, I wrote about reading (and working!), and the type of books I commonly read. I held a questions and answer session with my daughter Arin, who is a connoisseur of books.

One Cute Bookworm

Arin is currently reading Heir to the Empire: Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1, by Timothy Zahn, independently, and Their Eyes Are Watching God, a 1937 novel by Zora Neale Hurston, for her English class.

Stack o Books

Grandpa Jimmie Botkin was definitely a bookworm as he would read up to four books at a time (I couldn’t do that!) My brother Mike Prochnow is another bookworm! I remember growing up he would be reading a book in the living room and we (his nice brothers and sisters) would “act up a storm” and try to startle him out of reading…never worked. We even contemplated bringing in the Iowa Falls High School marching band into the living room to see if he would look up from whatever book he was reading at the time. Pretty sure we’d be wasting the band’s valuable time!

My Grandma read a lot too! And my son Nick. He has a love of reading as well!

Nick reading a Harry Potter Book while lounging in Ann & Dick’s motor home.

And Randy.  Geez Leweez! He’s actually in a book club!

Check out this 30 second video I created titled Randy Reads!  It took Randy awhile to get the fact that I needed a little attention.  The point here ties back to empathy and counseling. The counseling profession is based upon a helping relationship. The counselor takes on the role of a helper. He or she tries to help one or more people, by providing counseling with respect to some kind of a problem, issue or concern.


Loving to Read is an Art!  Put Your Readers On!

In my opinion, Counseling is an Art and a Science. See, I have a Master’s Degree in Science and I’m a Counselor.  And Randy has a Master’s Degree in Art and he’s a Teacher.  There. Point Made, Right!?!?

Any comments? Send me a message at vocresources@gmail.com to let me know what you’re reading…and why! Thank you for reading my blog post! 


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

Preparing to Graduate…Again!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Just an update to let my readers know I am nearly done with my most recent learning adventure through George Washington University….that lasted well over a year! I certainly learned a lot about forensics rehabilitation consulting, and really appreciate my cohort comprised of really smart rehabilitation counselors across the country!

There are students from the great states of Iowa (me!), Texas, Ohio, Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, the District of Columbia, and who am I missing? Kansas?!


BeautifulOur Beautiful Country is so Colorful!

I’ve been in all our states but Washington, Hawaii and Alaska. This was traveling done mostly as a youngster, in the back of a station wagon with the entire family (oh, the memories!).

Back to the current times Amy….! During the forensic rehabilitation coursework, I placed heavy emphasis on the study of ethics. Because I feel comfortable with my own ethics, in turn I feel comfortable with forming my own opinions (and expert ones at that!)

One ethics paper I prepared in October, 2013 for the course Foundations of Forensics Rehabilitation Counseling II (COUN 6396) emphasized Ethics, Values and Character Surrounding My Career in Private Practice.

In another ethics paper I submitted in Spring 2014 for the course Law and the Rehabilitation Counseling II (COUN 6396), I analyzed Ethics and Vocational Reports. Specifically, I critiqued a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and his USE OF TESTING INSTRUMENTS in VOCATIONAL EVALUATIONS.

Along with submitting my paper to GWU, I also submitted it to a professor from the great State of Washington who teaches ASSESSMENTS to master’s level rehabilitation counseling students. I received powerful feedback from her.


I am happy to share what I’ve learned and how it can be best applied to meet your litigation needs. My papers are available, just ask and I’ll see if you really want to read all about it! Call me at 515-282-7753 or email vocresources@gmail.com.   Or easier yet, connect with me on LinkedIn. I’ve posted them there!


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

Ergonomic Chairs and Hummingbirds….Beautiful Designs!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I get excited about natural, smart and beautifully designed things in life. Here’s one:

My new Liberty Chair by Humanscale!

I absolutely love this ergonomically designed chair. It fits my body, is simple and sleek, and provides great lumbar support. Ergonomics is highly valued in every environment. (Especially my office!)

“Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of the interactions among human and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.“
(International Ergonomics Association Executive Council, August 2000)

And here’s something else I am just amazed by:

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds!

Oh, I get so excited when I see one of these brilliant, tiny, precision-flying creatures show up at their feeder in my front yard!!  Their bodies glitter like jewels in the full sun, then vanish with a zip towards the next nectar source. The beautiful bird is designed to fly not only forward but fly backwards (the only known bird with this capability), and to hover in front of flowers as it feeds on nectar, or in mid-air to catch tiny insects.

Hummingbirds can fly long distances…beating their little wings 55 times per second. When they migrate they cover a 500 mile non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. Incredible!

My point is to take time to find what helps you work and enjoy life. Make a connection between the amazing, the natural, and the world you live in. Love it, care for it and treat it, yourself and everyone you meet with kindness and respect.

Hope you have a great week!


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


My Purpose to Serve Others Continues to Ring True!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

(Original post date 9/10/13 and updated 11/5/2019) As I mentioned last week, I’m moving into round 2 of my studies at GWU. I came across the statement of purpose I wrote in April 2013 and wanted to post it here as it continues to ring true for me!

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE written by Amy E. Botkin

My purpose in undertaking graduate study at The George Washington University is to learn about the intricacies and efficiencies of serving as an expert witness in my area of expertise. As a rehabilitation counselor, life care planner and placement specialist, my focus is often on facilitating healthy return to work outcomes.

Prior to my current career, I worked as a marketing representative for a staffing agency that placed people into clerical and light industrial jobs. This work experience offered me a base on how to match people with the world of work. I understand the concept of incorporating the needs of employers with the needs of job seekers.

My background as the leader of a diverse group of placement specialists afforded me additional insight into challenges affecting job seekers. In my practice, as well as with the experiences within our group, I visit employers and find that personalities and fitting in, as well as proof of skills, may be the strongest indicator of a successful placement.

However, in perspective the job seeker may not believe he or she has the capacity to meet the employer’s expectations. Therefore, the job seeker is not successful in the initial stages of a job search, leading to feelings that may further disintegrate their role and performance as a qualified job seeker. Therefore, my career goal is to continue with my consulting practice and incorporate specific work-life identity skills training.

Ringing True!

As a freelance writer on a part-time basis, I develop stories about locally owned businesses, mostly from a personality perspective by interviewing business owners to learn about their background and what brought them to this particular business. I gain much insight and detail into what brings a person to their career.

My ability to draw out a person’s background information is also useful to guide a person who has lost their job due to illness, injury or disability into a new or similar job that continues to use their assets, albeit in a new form.

My research interests are in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, specifically how personalities, lifestyles and cultures form a person’s work identity. When taking into consideration a serious injury or accident that leads to disability or functional limitations, I would like to identify and assess unique methods to adjust the factors related to essential functions of a job that may be beyond a person’s capacities (either physically, emotionally or intellectually).

I would like to learn how to (Shadow) Box!

Using the skills gained from this program, I’d expand my research methodology for my client, evaluee or customer. Presenting novel material in front of a jury will allow me to separate from the common counselor and be viewed as a credible source of unique material that is specific to the needs of the case. With this new knowledge and skill, I would feel even more confident expressing my opinions. I look forward to my studies.

Thank you for reading my blog post. Contact me ~ Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP, FRC ~ Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Life Care Planner, Forensic Rehabilitation Consultant to discuss your how I can help you help your client.


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

An Umbrella After 20 Years!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Randy celebrates 20 years of teaching for Des Moines Public Schools this year. 20 years! of teaching!

Randy Botkin DMPS Service Award

The GiftRandy appreciating the gift of appreciation he received

The umbrella did come in handy as all you DesMoines-ians (and the Midwest actually) know with this rainy weather we’ve been having. Good job Randy. I love you and am so thankful for your longevity (ooohh). Could I have your umbrella please?!

This week I am going to start blogging about a subject I’ve been wanting to blog about for awhile. Volunteering! Volunteering (I will quit being redundant hopefully) is such a good thing.

This weekend, Randy and I volunteered for North High School Band Boosters: we helped to run the concession stand at John Grubb Stadium for a youth track meet. It was fun! And the youth and adults who were our customers were very appreciative and polite.

Hats off to all you wonderful people!

Okay, so yea, volunteering. Performing a service voluntarily. Think about what you’ve done in this regard……and how it benefited others! Good huh!

Anyway, when you have children and are an active member of any community, you will be called to volunteer. My first memory of volunteering was for Meals on Wheels. More to come on that!

Have a great week! School is out for the summer on Wednesday. Be safe and love your children and neighbors. Volunteer to help!

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

* Vocational Resources Plus, LLC  *   lcpresourcesplus.com *


Hermey’s Career from the Production Line to Dentistry…Follow Your Heart

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Are you being productive at work because you enjoy what you do? If so congratulations! You experience coherence between your work and your personality.

I wrote awhile back about my son starting a job at Wells Fargo as a collector. He is doing very well there, and recently moved up into a team leadership role. Good work Nick. I am very proud of you! Nick is able to become successful because of coherence.

Hermey and Rudolph

Hermey and Rudolph (did you know the movie originally aired in 1964?)

Perhaps you have a bit of the character Hermey (or my son, or even me!?) in you? Are you happy at work and therefore productive because your work and your personality just click? Or is it the opposite?

People are happiest when they are put in jobs that match their personality. Rewarding work improves your success rate. Personality can be a big factor in determining the success in any particular field. Equally important, when you work in an environment that supports you, you act and even feel more effective!

One day at work in the toy factory, Hermey was going to get written up by the head elf because he hadn’t finishing painting the toys. ‘What’s eating you, boy?’ the Head Elf asked. Hermey simply wasn’t happy with his work and didn’t like to make toys.


Hermey is Very Good with His Hands!

When asked what he wanted to do, Hermey replied, ‘Well, sir, someday, I’d like to be a… a dentist.’ He continued to explain how there was a need for a dentist and he had been studying….’It’s fascinating; you’ve no idea. Molars and bicuspids and incisors…’ It helps to be fascinated by your work. Skills and natural talent make your career a perfect fit!

Hermey had keen insight into what made himself click, and most likely, unless the Island of Misfits or The North Pole had Internet access, he knew this without taking an online personality inventory. If you click to the left you’ll go to a previous post from me [and on me!] on personality.

Upon gaining experience, with fixing dolls’ teeth and later extracting the abdominal snowman’s teeth, his career really took off!

Ab snowmanHe really wasn’t mean at all!

The abdominal snowman was in pain and needed help. Thank you Hermey for your talent, ability and confidence to help him.

I have written two articles on dentists over the last couple of months for Women’s Edition – here’s one. This dentist loves his work!

AuraFollow your Heart!

I am naturally drawn to my work. I love my work and am passionate about my career! I become energized and engaged by what I do for a living!  I hope you do too!

Here’s a great article about Why Loving Your Work Matters. It describes 5 big ways that having energizing work benefits both your life and the world around you:

You have more energy to put into ~

~ your work

~ your relationships

~ making a difference

~enjoying life

~ overcoming challenges

I hope you have a fantastic week! May May Bloom!


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


My Grandma Jean Loved to Read Using 2nd Sight!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Did you know, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, that  women are nearly half  of our Nation’s workforce and more than half of our college graduates? Another interesting stat is the proportion of women with college degrees in the labor force has almost quadrupled since 1970. Guess what? My grandma Jean Dodge was a college graduate,!

I have fond memories of Grandma and she definitely was not boring! Jean lived in a condo, loved to golf, and drove a flashy red Corvair! She enjoyed going on vacations, including cruises too.

The color and model of Jean’s car matched her hair and her fingernails!

Grandma enjoyed spending time vacationing at her and Grandpa’s timeshare condo in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, soaking up the sun and feeding seagulls on the white sand beach. With outstretched arms, she’d hold a few pieces of cooked bacon high in the air and the gulls would swoop down and pluck the bacon from her fingers! At times she’d get a little swarmed and would have to back off the beach! Ahh, she loved Fort Walton Beach (me, too!)

Hey, there she is again, let’s go!

G’ma has a bachelor degree When she met her future husband Jack , they were both attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.  It was  unusual for a young woman in those days (like the 30s) to attend college.

Image result for northwestern university chicago mascot

Willie the Wildcat ca 1960 (Northwestern U’s mascot)

In later life, G’ma Jean became legally blind. But, that did not stop her from reading. She constantly absorbed information and being visually handicapped allowed her to do things differently…and with a flair as usual!

My sister Julie brought over this article published  September 7, 1978 in a local Northbrook, Illnois newspaper. I wish I could see closer at which necklace she’s wearing, as Jean loved her jewelry!

Jean Dodge 2nd sight

Taped books offer 2nd sight

 Here’s excerpts from the news article ~

Like many avid readers, Jean P Dodge reads 3 or 4 books a week. Unlike most other readers, she reads with her ears. Mrs. Dodge awoke last Easter to find her vision gone, destroyed by an un-diagnosed illness. That still mystifies doctors. She is one of the few local person who make use of free special library services for the visually and physically handicapped.

The services include Braille and large type (twice the normal size) books, along with phonograph and cassette tape recordings of dramatic readings of books (Talking Books). All these services are available through the Northbrook Public Library 1201 Cedar Ln as well as most other Northshore libraries.

The Golden Notebook, The Black Path, Saffron Skies (I love titles!)

Mrs. Dodge, a self-described former “avid” reader of paperback fiction, said Talking Books serves as a psychological link to the life the 64-year Northbrooker enjoyed before developing impaired vision.

“I’ve been reading for about 60 years, so it (losing most of her vision) made quite a hole in my life. I read constantly. It was one of the greatest sources of my amusement. Talking Books made all the difference in the world to me. I feel so much more normal. It has made such a tremendous difference in life as far as getting back to where I used to do,” she said.

Mrs. Dodge learned about Talking Books from a daughter in law employed at Deerfield Public Library that also supplies the service admitted that without her new verbal world of reading “I would probably go nuts.”

“I would be a very bored and unhappy person. Radio and television would be my only options to pass the time. I can’t be in my car running around anymore,  so I have a lot of spare times. This fills the breach.” ~ the entire article was written by Richard Sheehan.

And so, Grandma, very nice article. Thank you for continuing to do what you loved while also loving all of us grandkids!  My grandma helped instill my love of reading. She even enrolled me in (and paid for it!) a book of the month club! It was great, books mailed right to me. Thank you for helping to shape my history grandma! 

Visit www.WomensHistoryMonth.gov to learn more about the generations of women who have shaped our history.

If I can help you help a client who’s lifestyle has changed due to disability or functional limitation, it’s important to look into new ways of enjoying hobbies and any other avocational activity.  A person should not have to lose out and be bored and unhappy (as g’ma said). If  a life care plan is in order, hobbies (and how they are viewed) in the person’s future can be included. Contact me to discuss your case.


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


March is Women’s History Month…Thanks Good Boys!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

March is Women’s History Month. The theme this year is women in science, mathematics, technology and engineering.  My husband thinks he is his school historian, so here’s his take….and my additions.

It took women more than 72 years of arduous struggle to win the vote (called woman suffrage) from the Seneca Falls Convention on women’s rights, held in 1848, to the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920.

Seneca Falls Women!

Victory was never assured until the final moment, when Tennessee became the last state to ratify the amendment ~ by a single vote! In the intervening years, the drive for women’s voting rights encompassed the lives of several generations of women.

A man in Tennessee and women from all over

It appeared that the amendment might fail by one vote in the Tennessee house, but twenty-four-year-old Harry Burns surprised observers by casting the deciding vote for ratification. At the time of his vote, Burns had in his pocket a letter he had received from his mother urging him, “Don’t forget to be a good boy” and “vote for suffrage.”  

Signed, Your Mother

So thank you Harry and Randy for our vote and for this blog. You are both good boys! Randy, I hope your students enjoy learning more. Keep me posted on your subjects for the class you are teaching. Very interesting!

BTW, do you or your mother excel in science, mathematics, technology or engineering? Or your daughter? Does she? Even if they have just an interest in these areas, encourage the women in your life to learn more.

My daughter Arin is taking precalculus

Arin was chosen to participate in the Career Advantage program between her high school and Des Moines Area Community College. She’s taking a precalculus course. What’s even better, she gets 5.00 CEUs of college credit, and she’s “only” a high school junior!

You go Sweetie!

And thank you  Carrie Chapman Catt – one of Iowa State’s most distinguished alumni. I need to remember to thank you each time I cast a ballot. Here’s a link for more information on Mrs. Catt.

Carrie Chapman Catt Center

The  Cat Center at ISU

For a great resource on women in history, visit the Plaza  of Heroines 


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

Seeking Help from Others…Michael from Malaysia and Eeyore from Pooh Corner!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Okay, next up to blog about is the Microeconomics for Non-Biology majors course I took in the Spring of 1995. Although I took micro and macroeconomics during my DMACC days (and recall doing okay), this course at ISU was overwhelming. Therefore I am proud to say, I sought out help!  I visited student services and was given names of potential tutors to contact.

That is how I found Michael from Malaysia! I hired Michael as my tutor and boy did he make me work and study hard. I remember taking notes upon notes upon notes, and meeting with Michael many times between classes. I received a B+ in the course and am very grateful for his help. Bottom line is I trusted him!

I sought help from Michael from Malaysia!

At some time everybody has difficulty accomplishing a goal that is important in life. Seeking help from others is a sign of self-respect.

Along with seeking help through student services, during difficult times I’ve also used the services of a mental health counselor and found group counseling beneficial to learn about myself and how my relationships impact others. I believe in other helpful therapeutic approaches such as Healing Touch and Meditation to help with my body, mind and soul. And I am very fond of Yoga too!

I had a great mentor in my earlier days as a vocational counselor. And I’ve been blessed to have a mentor in these early days of my work as a Life Care Planner.  I embrace the fact that being trained in one field of expertise does not provide immunity from continuing to seek help from others within my field(s) or from other people in other fields. Continue on….for an example using one of my favorite characters!

Three stuffed Eeyores live in my office!

Although Eeyore can be a pessimistic and gloomy old donkey at times, one of his goals is to become the happiest donkey in the Hundred Acre Wood. He lives in Pooh Corner in his stick house, ya know and it can be overwhelming for him at times when he experiences distress.

Eeyore knows that to solve his problems he needs help. He’s not afraid to ask for help, accept help or offer help to help others. Examples include how Eeyore allows his friends to help him out of the river when he falls in, build his house when it tumbles down, put his tail back on when it falls out, and finding it when it gets lost which is really distressful!  

Just as important, Eeyore livens up his friends when they are feeling low. Eeyore is a thinker, a planner, a consider-er. Nothing flits through his brain. Every thought and fact is held up for careful consideration, it’s value weighed and measured, and then precisely cataloged in his orderly brain for future reference. Eeyore is insightful and capable of great compassion.  See why I love him?

“Thanks for noticin’ me” & “Ohhh-kayyy”

What can I do to help your client through difficult times, for example, following an accident or injury? I accept referrals from insurance carriers, claimant and plaintiff attorneys, and employers. I also accept assignments from self-paying individuals, and work with a range of community agencies.

Eeoyre and Amy at Disney World, 1997!

If you’ve experienced a work injury, reach out to your workers’ compensation adjuster to ask for assistance with returning to work or seeking new employment. New opportunities may arise in another field of employment. Remember Michael and Eeyore and their trustworthy personality. I hope I can serve you in that fashion.

I’m happy to help and will carefully consider your situation! 

 Contact me, Amy Botkin, at 515-778-0634 or at my email address amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to start a discussion about your case.


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