Be Honest, Save A Purse!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Recently, I freaked out…..the adrenalin spiked quickly the moment I fully realized it was gone. This was a wild mind body stressful experience!  You know what I mean (I hope, if not, and you don’t carry a purse, well, read no further..!) Ever lost your wallet? Anything realllly important?

You look everywhere, and then your brain remembers. I made a call. Yes! Gateway Market Café found a black purse. Four hours earlier, we had been out and about….in the bitter cold….and stopped to get some soup, sat down to wait, but then decided to change the food order to go. Guess who left something important behind?

Good Thing It's Not a Coach!
Good Thing It’s Not a Coach!

Good Thing It’s Not a Coach!

Bottom line for this blog besides keeping track of your things is that I truly believe people want to be honest. A pleasant employee of Gateway Market (I love the place!) answered the phone after only a couple rings, and after confirming and racing back, the nice guy with the long pony was quick to return it to me. Silly me [bonk self on side of head, harder….] But Whewwwwwww.

I did the same thing a few days earlier at the Botanical Gardens…left my purse at the top of the steps overlooking the beauty of the conservatory. There’s a better reason for my forgetfulness that time and it has to do with the excitement during this picture.

2014-12-27 14
2014-12-27 14

Part of My Fam! Randy, me, ArinJune, Nick, Taylor, and Derek! 

I ran right back up the steps to retrieve it…..and it was gone! OMG.  I ran back down the stairs (thank goodness I do step aerobics!) and searched for my family, who had gone on to view more beautiful plants.

There she was, the woman with the two little girls who had taken the pictures from my phone. Ahh, there’s the fam too, and one of my lovely children had my phone. Phone and purse saved! Geez, don’t mess with a 51 year old!

Saving what you found and returning it to its rightful owners is right. Be Honest. It’s also a good idea to play more Lumosity brain training games!?!

During a vocational evaluation to help with the placement process, I assess the individual on his or her take of honesty at work. Stay tuned for a sharing success story about job placement!


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


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

Congratulations to my Beautiful Daughter….She Starts a New Job Today!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As I mentioned in last week’s post, Arin was in interviewing mode. She found success! Today she starts her training at the Des Moines Public Library. My daughter, a librarian aide! I love it. She is so excited! It’s a part-time position, which the library does for all aides, that pays pretty good! She will continue at Walgreen’s as well, so will be working plenty of hours. Do you remember what job(s) you had at age 18? Click here for my earlier work history.

AJ the L

Arin the Aide To the Rescue!

I have blogged about Arin in the past and my grandma’s love for reading. Reading helps in lots of ways; one being that your vocabulary will become larger and more sophisticated. I remember one of my professors at Drake University (Dr. Bob Stensrud!) said something along the lines that a strong vocabulary is a sign of high intelligence. I’m sure there’s plenty of variances on that statement from people much smarter than me, but I agree that intelligence drives the need to acquire the vocabulary in the first place.

On Saturday, Randy and I took a road trip. When we realized from listening on the radio that the Cyclones just might win, we decided we needed to watch the second half! We found a nice place in Oxford, Iowa and stopped on in. There were some buddies hanging out at the bar and one was kinda making me sick. He was a “chain swearer”. You’ve heard one. F this and F that in almost every sentence. And when watching college football on a big screen tv, you can imagine what I heard. Yuck!  I will admit I heard myself say “Poopy” over and over towards the end of the ISU game….

I thought hummmm is my theory that people who swear excessively have low vocabulary levels and corresponding low intelligence? I don’t know, but there are studies out there I’m sure. I do pay attention when interviewing evaluees about their use of profanity and will report on it (while also offering counseling “advice”) as it certainly affects one’s view of professionalism in the workplace.

Profanity BoyPeople Swear, and Unfortunately I Am One of Em

But I don’t want to and I do notice it when I swear and chastise myself! And I try to stop hubby too. And Arin. And Jake. And Nick….and on and on! When my mom swears (not often) I sure take note! Woah!

I cringe when I hear a person swear in professional environments (and on the playing field…and  especially in front of children). I certainly hope Arin doesn’t let a big “F-bomb” out when she is at work at the DMPL (frown upon for sure!) She won’t! [I’m making her read this post…]

Back to the point of this blog and successful interviewing. The keys to a successful interview are preparation and practice. Let me know how I could help and download this tip sheet titled on Interviewing.

P.S. Don’t swear during an interview! Use the best communication skills you have!

P.S.S. My grandma Jean’s favorite “bad” word was “Horrors!”


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

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   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

Whistle While You Work…or Grunt and Groan!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It really does help to make noise while you’re working. I often work in complete silence. But when I whistle or listen to music, it does seem as though the work goes more smoothly. I have no idea why. I guess the Dwarfs did.

Maybe the sound helps distract the mind from trying too hard and prevents mental overload.

As I’ve written about in the past, mom and dad raised 5 kids. Us children are all only 13-15 months apart. Think about how much hard work Ann & Dick had in order to get us all out of the nest!

Here’s a great little YouTube Video of what it may have been like from the 5 babies viewpoint! The momma bird is hard at work and the song Whistle While Your Work is playing to help her!

Thanks for feeding us! 

 I completed my second week of boot camp (six more weeks to go …) and will say Linda Ross, our trainer is an excellent coach and instructor. She encourages us to do our best and to MAKE A LOT of NOISE when we exercise.

 It helps when you grunt and groan while you work out!

As I continue my journey in life, I find how important it is to work hard at whatever is at hand. Life isn’t easy. Whether it is mentally or physically, there is always more to learn and to improve upon. So, make noise! Be alive! Whistle, grunt and groan at work!

Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”
― Jim Rohn


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

The Husker, Wag’s, Perkins, Garcia’s and More….on Work Ethic

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Okay, in the 1980s Randy worked at a restaurant called The Husker; and later Wag’s when it was located in Merle Hay Mall. Anybody remember these places? He pretty much did whatever needed to be done to help operate the restaurants.

Wag's Restaurants Business CardHere’s a business card I found!

Okay, time went by and because Randy refuses to be my guest blogger, I have to skip his life up to the point I met him! When I met my man in the summer of 1988, he was managing the Perkins Restaurant in Newton, Iowa. He tells me that on the day (night) we met, he was coming off a 24-hour shift because one of the other managers called in sick. 


Randy decided to drive to downtown Des Moines to participate in the bar scene. Low and behold that’s where I was……having started out at SeniOmSed in Nollen Plaza on this beautiful Friday summer afternoon. Now you have to remember those days I hope!

Randy and I met as we were crossing the street…about midnight. We walked together to where our cars were parked next to each other in the downtown library parking lot. I drove a red Plymouth Turismo and Randy a red T Bird!

The building now is home to the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates and is even more beautiful!  The rest is history …. When we married in 1990 Randy was working at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant as a food server.

I miss Garcia’s!

Randy was also finishing up his bachelor’s degree training in teaching at Grand View College. Four months after our wedding, he graduated. And about 16 months prior to that he helped me deliver our first son.

I recall, and who could ever forget, being up all night delivering Nick. He was born at 7:04 AM (weighing in at 9 pounds 4 ounces) on April 12, 1989. Randy and I were absolutely beat (okay me rightly probably a bit more.) But, Randy was doing his practicum student teaching. So off he went to fulfill that obligation.

Come up to today….Randy has been employed by the Des Moines Public Schools as a teacher since that time.  (I will be writing more about that.) You can ask anyone who knows him what his work ethic is like.  He is held in high regard by others. And I will tell you my thoughts:

I admire Randy’s work ethic.  

Randy is willing to go the extra mile, stay the course, be persistent to achieve quality, finding resources when stuck, own problems that arise, and work hard…at whatever task or situation at hand. He is genuine and a gentleman (ohh, gush!!)

REBRandy 1983!

Randy cares about his work and has a good attitude about going to work and helping his co-workers. He has built a solid reputation that carries him far professionally. That said, to me, having a good attitude goes hand in hand with having a good work ethic.

And yes, Randy came back to the hospital room in the afternoon. Before having to take off to go to work at Garcia’s Restaurant for the evening shift. Then back to the hospital again. The staff had kept our congratulatory meal and bottle of wine in the fridge. Baby Nick was whisked off to hang with the nurses while we ate. About 10:30 PM Randy left and Nick and I crashed…!

So again, thank you Randy’s parents for instilling it….and to Randy for having such a strong work ethic! Having a good work ethic can take you a long way in your career….More to come on Randy’s career.


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


Randy’s Jobs, Work Ethic, and How About a Nap?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Last week I started writing about work ethic and, about my husband too. There’s a reason or two for my post. But first, a little story about Randy.  As a teenager, one of Randy’s first jobs was as a newspaper boy, okay, newspaper carrier. He tells me his mother Marylin ousted him out of bed at 4:00 AM when she got home from her data processing job at a downtown Des Moines bank.

hit the hayMarylin Would Then Hit The Hay

Randy donned his bag, left home, and waited patiently at the corner for the newspapers to arrive. He then walked all round Saylorville (the little town not the lake!) to deliver the news for the Des Moines Register.

Big News


Here Comes Big News!

When Randy’s paper route was done and he got back home he would return the favor and try to get his father Jim up out of bed. Jim worked at AT&T in downtown Des Moines for 40 years. Then Randy got ready for school. He had a route for 3 years.  I don’t know how many times we’ve had to revisit his route by auto!

Maybe that’s why he still likes to read the hard copy of the paper, or at least the sports section? Could it also be another reason he and my dad have this special bond? Click here for a blog about my dad’s work, including his Sunday morning Des Moines Register newspaper motor route delivery days.

Bottom line here, I believe that you develop your work ethic through the example set by your parents. Ahh, observation of the parental units! I sure miss Marylin and Jim. Both were very hard workers. And very caring people!

Botkin FamilyThe Botkin Family ~ Randy, Kyl, Marylin & Jim

 I have plans to blog about my oldest sister, Julie. She has a very strong work ethic. And Kyl, Randy’s brother does as well. Employers rank a strong work ethic as one of the top qualities they seek in the employees they hire or move up in the organizations. Okay, what is work ethic? noun

  1. the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading. Now how about a lil nappie poo? especially after the Super Bowl last night?!


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

Randy’s Jobs….and Quitting Okoboji for Good!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

December 30, 2012. Perhaps a meaningful day in Randy’s work history. The day he “officially retired” from Okoboji Grill as a food server. In a previous blog, I wrote about working in a restaurant. Okay, he quit again, making this the 3rd or 4th time over a course of 20 years working at the restaurant that he “retired.”

Happy RetirementWanna place a bet whether he’ll return?

I know, I know, he’s king tv remote guy, and he has a lot of “regulars” who like him to serve em up at Boji. And I also know he likes to put the bartender hat on every now and then. But any bet placed will be won only by me. I think.

I couldn’t tell you (cuz I never kept track) how many evenings and weekends Randy has worked at a restaurant (first it was Garcia’s, in the early days of our marriage, then Okoboji). He reminds me he didn’t work any second job for like 4 years…but I don’t recall. I was probably working a second job at that time…as a transcriptionist.

The Honey Do ListTime to work for me!

Well, yes, I understand you are a public school teacher, and sure that takes some of your time during the work week. But, please let’s get some stuff off the honey do list! Or I’ll threaten to hire a handyman.

toolboxThat always makes Randy grab the tool box!

I’m continuing on in future blogs with writing about my husband and his jobs, with a focus on his work ethic. He has a good one!

People often refer to someone as having a good work ethic when they work hard however I think there is a lot more to having a good work ethic than just this.

When I perform vocational evaluations, I include an assessment of the individual’s work ethic. To begin that process, the individual does a self-rating and is asked to provide specific examples of their personality traits when they are at work.

Take a moment to think about your ethical and dependable work behaviors. Are your proud of yourself? Your significant other? I am.


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