Felix…One Cool Cat!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I miss my Felix. He had to be euthanized late afternoon on Friday, September 11, 2015. He was not eating and had lost way too much weight. It was so sad and I felt so bad that I couldn’t help him other than loving him and petting him. Dr. Michael Forret, our outstanding vet since 1994, diagnosed Felix with a stomach tumor. Felix didn’t have a temperature and his vitals were okay, indicating thank goodness that he wasn’t in too much pain.

Feef

 A lasting memory of Felix & Me

Felix showed up in our neighbor’s garden in June 2002. Jacob heard meowing and checked it out, bringing a completely black fluff ball back with him. I remember the first night….just holding this black kitten out in the garage. Most of his life he pretty much was a garage/outdoor cat, but certainly loved coming inside and hanging out in the mondo, sleeping on the futon, or just chillin’ wherever suited his liking!

2013-12-31 13.18.23Fluff Man. At his glory he weighed over 15 pounds, all claws and one incredible meow!

I heard once that good cats get petted as much as they want in heaven. They get whatever they loved here on earth at their pawtips! Felix had a great life and yes, he had his share of injuries (eg: broken paw, chipped ear, gouges from jumping a fence) and vet procedures (eg: front incisor had to be removed). He always smelled like he was wearing leather and had recently been at a (smoke-free) bar.

He had a beautiful wart under his left eye. He was downright cool.

God I miss him. Pets are so important to people’s lives. I keep on thinking I see him out in the backyard, or under the house where he had a special spot to sleep.

I will never forget the sound of his meow. Or how he would bump your arm just enough so more cat food would land in his bowl (he taught that to our white cat Alaska). Oh, and he taught our dog Bella how to jump the backyard chain link gate (booh).

Felix was also known by me as cafe’ kitty, as he would lay non-chalantly on the curb of our driveway with one paw either crossed or draped over the edge. And when one of us would make the drive up our driveway, we’d have to go very slow because Felix was leading us up (like a sheep dog) and at times he would just plop down in front of the car. You simply had to stop. Silly cat.

I also remember one time many, many moons ago…when Felix was missing for 10 days. I thought he was gone for good…and prayed he wasn’t. But returning from church one early, crispy cold winter morning (back over 10-11 years ago when we celebrated Mass at St. Ambrose), there he was down the street. I yelled to Randy, stop the car! Then opened the door and ran through the snow to him, picked him up and hugged him sooo long, then carried him home.

For the next 10 days solid following the “rescue” he slept with me at night, snuggling right up. We figured he was stuck in someone’s garage as he had gotten really thin. Then Fluff Man returned to his normal acting feline nature and back to his hunting escapades (oh the critters he brought and left right outside the back door…)!

Image result for black cat with green eyes cartoon in heaven

I love you Felix, AKA Fluff Man and am heart broken.

One way to say I love you to a cat is to gaze into their eyes and slowly close your own! I love you!

Our neighbors liked Felix all and all, and people would comment how huge he was! I know Felix’s feline sisters Samantha Josephine (who also came into my life in March 2002 as an Aqualand store bought from the kitty window) and Alaska (who also showed up…followed Jacob down the street) back in 2012 misses you too. Cats that are “a find” are the best!

Jacob got a tattoo of Felix based on his drawing. Maybe I should get a tattoo, too, someday? (More likely a henna one!)

Image result for black cat with green eyes cartoon in heaven

“Righty-O” Felix the Cat, the Wonderful, Wonderful  Cat….Whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks!

Take time to love your pets, unconditional love is all they know! Prrrrrrr. Here’s a link to a post titled People and Their Pets…Got Cat? where I write about vocational assessment and psycho-social factors, such as pet ownership. Thank you for reading and stop and pet your pet!

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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.

Vocational Evaluators: 3 Roles in 1. Germs, Competitors, and a Shredder Help!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In my Iowa State Days and into the Fall of 1994, one course I recall quite well was Microbiology. Here I am, a new mother, messing around in a laboratory with germs. Okay, microbiology is better defined as “The branch of biology that deals with microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms.” Luckily I had a smart lab partner who knew what needed to be done with the microscopes, dyes, stains, aseptic procedures, identification, etc.. My partner helped me to learn and helped me to keep myself and my new baby at home safe from bad germs!

My Grade for the Microbiology Course ~ B+

I believe my grade proves I took the course seriously and I tried my hardest! This leads me to discuss the topic of the serious nature of my role and function as a vocational evaluator.

Because there is a need for vocational evaluation services to persons with or without disabilities, I continually expand my professional capacities in these areas:

1)   Vocational/Career Expert     2)   Disability Specialist     3)   Educator

A Vocational Evaluator has 3 roles in 1!

I work with a wide variety of people and provide a mix of services to improve and expand my 3 in 1 role as a vocational evaluator.

I’ve come across several “competitors” vocational evaluation reports and found they served the best role shredded in the bottom of a recycling bin. Of course, I learn from reading them and can apply data from them, only if it makes sense to me!

In fact I’ve read two reports on two separate people by one vocational evaluator. Boy they read similarly! These reports were canned, used computer generated data, laced with irrelevant statistics, tossed with strange jargon, citing outdated sources, sprinkled with wording that all sounded the same.  Both reports concluded the same thing: this person is totally and permanently disabled from all work. Wow! Was I missing something? Were there germs lurking?

The “competitor” reports I’m referring to did not contain important information (that I include in my individualized reports) such as:

  • detailed information about the workers’ vocational background
  • an analysis of the person’s transferable skills
  • what type of work the person is interested in
  • a look into current employment opportunities that match those interests and skills
  • a review of reasonable accommodations and/or other ways to perform work efficiently
  • real life job placement perspectives and actual comments from local employers
  • recommendations for skill enhancement or ways to learn a new skill
  • offering of job placement or referral to community sources for help!

The information I include is based on the context surrounding the individual and the goal of the evaluation.

Poorly written reports get shredded!

I’ve performed hundreds of vocational evaluations (and have shredded many, too)! When I combine my educational abilities and career counseling expertise while providing disability specific resources when needed, my goal as a good rehabilitation counselor is fulfilled!

I’ve posted several times on the subject of vocational evaluations ~ which happens to be one of my favorites! ~ Please take a look around my blog and let me know how I can help you.

Contact me at 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

___________________

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

 

 

Being Nosey, Opinions and I Make My Point Clear! Job Placement is Hard Work!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

One summer while I was walking around Gray’s Lake, I eaves dropped over a conversation two young women were having about tap water throughout the city. I was right behind them, ready to make a fast pass around…and interested in their subject!

I’m not like Gladys Kravitz all the time!

One thought Urbandale water was good and the other didn’t. They agreed West Des Moines water tastes ucky.  One loved Chicago water (and I thought ewwww ucky, and the strange smell to boot).  Then their conversation turned to a cute guy jogging their way…and I made my pass.

BTW, I remember where I was,  nearly 1/2 way round where I started, not including the everstop at my brother’s plaque on the bridge!

Clearly, people’s opinions vary widely around one subject!

I don’t think I will ever find a person who is adversarial to water – and specifically why water is important to a person. 

However, in my role as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, I routinely find a person (an attorney or two) who is adversarial to my opinion regarding whether or not a person can return to work (over their stance that the same person is permanently and totally disabled.)

I’ve evaluated hundreds of people and I hold firm in my opinion that work is incredibly important to a person. Rarely have I not been able to identify work for a person. In that type of return to work situation, the person’s serious mental health condition (such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder) comes into play more than the person’s physical capacity.

One point I’d like to make clear! And this isn’t an opinion, it’s just the truth! It is easier to state that a person cannot work than to identify what a person can do for work.

“No, can’t work.” That’s it.  “No” “Can’t Do” “No Work is Available”  What a negative attitude.  Is it really just too much work to find work for a person?  VS  “Yes, you can work” “Here’s why, how and what the person can do!” “Yes” “Can do” “I will help you!” This is a positive attitude! Yes, and truly the fact is that it’s a lot of work to find work for a person! That’s what I’m trained to do! And I love it!

A vocational rehabilitation counselor cannot give a person a job – the professional works to define, enhance and channel the placement client’s skills, abilities, and aptitudes into the working world. 

The client is empowered with resources and strategies to perform specific and goal-oriented job seeking activities.  I’ve found the outcome of return-to-work in a workers’ compensation case impacts the placement process just as much during litigation as it does following case settlement.  Keep that in mind when forming any opinion. 

It’s a tragedy when an attorney sabotages any job seeking efforts, whether implied or not. I do not appreciate when any one tries to negatively influence any one else, especially when it comes to work.

I keep my opinion clear, based on fact and grounded in rehabilitation. No one can steal my opinion away!

Image result for grounded

Please see a paper I wrote in August 2013 titled (it’s posted on my LinkedIn page) or ask for a copy titled:

WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCE RETURN-TO-WORK DURING A LITIGATED WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM?

Let me know what I can do to help you with your legal work regarding your client’s return to work!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@gmail.com

___________________

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

Nice Talking to You Randy! Never Stop Using Your Soft Skills!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I just got off the phone after a gentleman named Randy called my business inquiring on my needs regarding this website. I responded after listening to the purpose for his call… I’m it as far as who’s in charge of this site! He had good verbal communication skills, so our discussion continued. It was unusual I answered this call, as I was right in the middle of something, but I liked Randy’s soft skills!

After explaining the meaning of lcpresourcesplus.com being mainly a creative writing blog about work and life; written solely by me as a relationship builder, he asked what I do.

My response “As a life care planner and a vocational rehabilitation counselor I help people with acquired disabilities move on with their lives”, Randy thought that was a good concept. And he thanked me for my work!

Our phone conversation continued,  and I explained I write for the people I mentioned and also for the attorneys who help the people.

Image result for attorney love cartoonRandy said, yes attorneys need the love too.

Randy told me he has a couple of attorney buddies who are not happy with their legal  careers. He told me they’re frustrated, stressed out, and quite depressed.

I realize many attorneys are disenchanted with their work and are in remarkably poor mental health, having serious problems with depression. If I can help you through vocational counseling, please, please let me know.

Randy, please have your buddies fill this questionnaire out!  It’s titled Why Do You Do Your Work? The results of this assessment may help decipher what is missing from their current work.

Please take a serious look at your work, gather all you can about why you do it. Understand your personality, build up your choices and make an informed decision. Do you want to be happy and productive where you’re at in your legal career or do you need to make a move?

Image result for attorney love cartoon

Happiness is….being a lawyer and loving it!

Then stick with your decision, get help and support in every way you can, and most importantly enjoy life while you’re here on Earth and prepare your way to what lies ahead.

I hope reading my blogs will help you unwind a tad and you also find useful information that can help you to help your clients.

Let me know what I can do to help you on a case or even with your practice. It may help to take some time out and assess your career. Any recommendations you agree with and changes that’ll transpire will only serve you better, as long as you trust your instincts and never give up on yourself!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  VocResources@msn.com

___________________

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

Don’t Be a Dumb Bunny, Use Your Soft Skills to Your Advantage

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I pay close attention to transferable skills when assessing employability, especially those skills we have come to call “soft”. Soft skills refer to interpersonal abilities that enhance an individual’s interactions with others, career prospects and performance on the job.

Soft skills are comprised of personality attributes or habits (no not rabbits >-=], social graces, communication, language style, interpersonal skills, managing others, leadership ability, self-motivation, time management etc., and the rules change depending on the culture of where you work and the people you work with. It’s because soft skills characterize personal relationships with other people.

Image result for rules

Rules Change, Which is a Good Thing!

In contrast, “hard” skills (the ability to perform specific tasks or functions with technical components, like using math or software programs, typing, operating specific machines and tools, driving truck, compiling research, data entry, measuring, calculating and recording; editing and writing, etc.) that tap into left brain functioning where the rules for performance stay the same regardless of where you work

To me, what is most valuable about a soft skill is that it brings value to any job/career. Although soft skills maybe can be “mastered” new situations or people will also test them (and push you to learn more about yourself.)

Mollie
Mollie

Mollie is not a “dumb bunny”. Her intelligence surprises me. And her personality makes her so lovable (rabbits are good office mates, and she lets me know when she is in need of something……she’ll bump into my ankles under my desk….treat please!)

Soft Skills Puzzle

Scrambled Words Answer Pattern Clues
nilinbaegt ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ not made of physical substance
hetics ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ rules of behavior
lcpanutu ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ on time
jaequnsesoi ___ ___      ___ ___      ___ ___ ___ ___      ___ ___ ___ “I know not what.”
hdadlveeele ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ cool under pressure
aobitnim ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ a desire to be successful
vmietiepcot ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ able to compete
lixbeefl ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ adaptable

Did you solve them all? 

Soft skills are not as easily measurable as hard skills because they are less tangible. Perhaps the best way for me to measure or assess soft skills is to ask two or three people who have a good understanding of the evaluee’s work performance and personality to subjectively assess the person; then have the person do a self-assessment on the same set of skills; then evaluate how the information from the assessments coincide / match.

You can use Mind tool http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/get-started.htm  to help.

It is also to your advantage to understand which skill set your career relies on to be successful. For example, there are jobs / careers that need:

  • Specific technical/hard skills and little soft skills (where you don’t necessarily have to work well with others). Examples include: physicist, chemist, scientist, production machine operator, assembly line worker, cook, carpenter, electrician, computer programmer, etc…
  • Both hard and soft skills (where you need to use the rules of your learned skills and also depend on cooperating, selling or collaborating with others.) Examples include: accountant, lawyer, teacher, counselor, coach, truck driver, dispatcher, cashier, administrative assistant, etc…
  • Mostly soft skills and little hard skills (where your work is more dependent on “reading” others). Examples include: sales ~ the person needs to know more than the average consumer, but really needs to know how to communicate, persuade and close a deal. Other examples include security officer, food server, host, merchandiser, etc…

I’ll add to the etc… listing of workers as I think of them! : )

Rabbits are Soft and Smart

Be a smart rabbit, use your soft skills to your advantage!

(Source: A national survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from February 10 to March 4, 2014 that included a representative sample of 2,138 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.)

In general, soft skills are more important in most business careers than hard skills. Click here for a blog containing a soft skills matrixEmployers like outgoing, friendly, and cooperative employees.  To many employers, this is more important than any other qualification.  In addition, because most employers look for a person who can “break the ice” at the workplace and bring valuable dynamics to their business without causing conflict, soft skills are key to being successful at work.

Image result for smart rabbit

Rabbits have fine-tuned senses that make these small mammals some of nature’s most excellent survivors!

Keep in mind, if you don’t feel you have the soft skills you’d like, they are somewhat teachable. Here’s an idea that will help you to do so https://academy.justjobs.com/improve-your-people-skills-and-emotional-intelligence/

Let me know how I can help. My vocational counseling services are available!

__________________

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

Soft Skills Matrix, Take A Look!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’ve blogged about Soft Skills  in my writing about Don’t Be a Dumb Bunny; and just wanted to add this soft skills matrix to help.

 

Soft Skill Other words that mean the same Examples when soft skill is used
Manners Politeness, consideration, courtesy Saying thank you, holding doors open for others, asking permission to do things etc.
Ownership of tasks Responsibility, duty, dependability Making sure tasks are done properly, turning up on time for meetings, working in partnership with others and doing your role so they can do theirs etc.
Attendance Turning up, coming in,

Appearing

Arriving on time for meetings and for work. Making sure you keep people informed regarding your attendance or availability.
Motivation Incentive, inspiration, drive, impulse Taking on new challenges, working hard to achieve goals, thinking of new ways to do things.
Professionalism Competent, skillful, dedicated Working to a high standard, being consistent in attitude (not allowing emotions or personalities to influence you)
Work Output Activity, productivity, production Meeting deadlines and standards for work. Producing products to target.
 Conduct in Workplace  Behavior, attitude, maturity Respecting others, not playing games when you should be working etc.
 Timekeeping On time, not late Arriving for work or meetings on time, leaving at the right time.
Verbal Communication Talking, consulting, meeting, discussing  Using the right tone of voice and words when speaking with colleagues, etc.
Organization / Planning Preparation, scheduling, arranging Having all required resources to hand, thinking jobs through, arriving on time, meeting deadlines etc.
Team-Work/Respect Esteem, valuing others, helping others, consideration Working well together on a task, making best use of your skills and the skills of others. Acknowledge the status of others and act accordingly.
 Helping Others Supporting, offering, training Giving up some of your time to support those who are struggling or need help to meet a deadline,
Conscientiousness Careful, meticulous, thorough, hard working Paying attention to detail, accurate work, making sure you do what you are paid to do.
Ability to Ask for Help Admitting own limitations, confidence, courage Asking colleagues to show you how to do something or to help you complete a task on time etc.
Adaptability / Flexibility Compliance, accepting change Taking on new challenges, accepting changes to rules and conditions, staying late to finish urgent tasks etc.

Source: Teaching and Assessing Soft Skills K. Kechagias (ed.), MASS Measuring & Assessing Soft Skills 2011, Lifelong Learning Programme  Table 1 page 82-83 Included in MASS Materials  http://www.mass-project.org/attachments/396_MASS%20wp4%20final%20report%20part-1.pdf    Edited in part 12/4/2014

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!

Image result for zombie burgerRelated image

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!

___________________

 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 minutes

Today (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 – Jeff – 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 desk

One 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 minutes

Living 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

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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.

Empty Nest = Freedom! Good Job Parental Units!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Okay, 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!

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