nursing school

My oldest daughter, Corrie Petersen is one of the hardest working people I know. She works full time as a CNA at Wyoming Medical Center, while going to nursing school. The hours are long, in both of her ventures. She works nights on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday on the surgical floor of the hospital. The life of a CNA is always a busy one. Anyone who has been in the hospital can tell you that they run to call lights, help patients with all their personal needs, help patients with their mobility exercises, help in taking vitals, and so much more. It all adds up to twelve hours on your feet, with a small window of time to sit while charting and such. When she isn’t working or catching a few winks of sleep, Corrie’s time is spent studying, at least during the school year. She studies or goes to class or clinicals many hours a week. It’s really like having two full-time jobs.

Of course, Corrie is all about her family too. She is a wife to Kevin, mom to sons, Chris (and his fiancée) and Josh, and grandma to her little granddaughter. She is also a fur mommy to dogs, Dottie, Izzy, Bella, and to their cat, Zoe. Now the dogs love Corrie but she doesn’t have much time to play, so they really hang with Kevin more. Zoe, on the other hand, wants Corrie’s attention whenever she sits down. Zoe doesn’t understand studying, and whenever Corrie isn’t spending enough time to suit Zoe, she just decides to sit in the middle of Corrie’s book or computer, as if to say, “It’s my turn!! Pay attention to me!!” Corrie tells me that Zoe is her study partner, but I don’t think they were getting much studying done.

Corrie’s life is so busy, and sometimes I don’t know how she manages. She truly gets up in the morning, and runs all day and into the late night, then falls into bed and tries to unwind and sleep. It’s hard to unwind for Corrie, sometimes, because her mind is busy planning out the next day. Still, once in a while, Corrie finds a little bit of time to rest. She told me that she always takes her breaks at work, because she knows she needs that little bit of downtime to properly care for her patients, and I totally agree. A healthcare worker has to take care of themselves too, because if they get sick or exhausted, they are no help to their patients either. Corrie’s work life is all about the people she takes care of. When she went into this field, we talked about the fact that a CNA is often the person the patient sees the most, and so is the one who can effectively change the course of their patients day. A smile, a kind word, and a gentle touch can take a day filed with pain and upset, and change it to a day that is filled with sunshine. That is the ultimate goal for Corrie…bringing the sunshine. Today is Corrie’s birthday. Happy birthday Corrie…you passed your sister again!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

After being honorably discharged from the Navy, my niece, Gaby Beach, who married my nephew Allen Beach on September 24, 2014, started working while Allen when to college to get his degree. Once he was finished, the plan was for Allen to work while Gaby went to school to get her degree. It was a good plan, because it allowed each of them to study hard, without having to work. They could devote themselves to their studies. While Allen now works as the department manager over referral, communications, ambulances, Gaby is getting ready to begin her second year of nursing school. Having worked as a corpsman in the Navy, nursing is a perfect next step for Gaby, who was a very good corpsman.

These days, when she’s not studying, Gaby has become very interested in house plants. She has a green thumb, and loves plants. She has decided to complete the “Let’s Grow Together In 2020” initiative. I looked over the program, and it would be really a cool thing to do…if I didn’t have a decidedly brown thumb. Unlike me, Gaby has a real knack for plants, and for arranging them. I know that her plants will beautify their home, and make it a healthier place too. Plants a good to have in the home…as long as you can keep them alive, that is. Gaby can do just that, and her plants are thriving. Her day 8 plant…the fastest grower was the Epipremnum Pinnatum or “Cebu Blue,” names I wouldn’t have known, had Gaby not posted them. I may not know much about plants, but I have enjoyed seeing Gaby’s posts about her adventures with them, and I look forward to the future posts as well.

Gaby ability to raise plants isn’t surprising, because she has a real knack for all living things. I am reminded of her work with therapy dogs during her Navy years. I’m ok with dogs, but I can’t say I’m “comfortable” with dogs. Cats yes, dogs…not so much. Gaby, on the other hand, is a natural. Dogs just instinctively love Gaby, as much as she loves them. And I think everyone in our family can understand that, because we have all come to love Gaby too. She brightens our world every time we see her. Today is Gaby’s birthday. Happy birthday Gaby!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

With each passing year, I find myself more and more impressed with how my daughter, Corrie Petersen and her husband, Kevin handle the changes of life as they come along. Corrie and Kevin have been married 26 years today, and they have seen many things in life change. Some changes were good, some were not, but all were handled together. We never know what problems life will throw our way, or what disappointments might come our way. The reality is that it isn’t really about what problems occur, but rather what you do with the aftermath that matters. No, their marriage hasn’t been fraught with problems, and in fact most of it was wonderful, but whenever something comes up, they handle it together.

For Corrie, a disappointing job situation led her to consider making a big change that would require college in her 40’s, but Kevin has been really supportive and so, she is in nursing school, going for her degree. Kevin has Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, that has caused him so much pain that he can’t work, but he has managed to hold down the home front while Corrie works and studies. He has been able to cook the meals for them, and since it’s just the two of them now, the house stays clean with little work. Kevin is Corrie’s biggest cheerleader, encouraging her and keeping her spirit up. It’s probably not what many would call conventional, but they have made it work. Once Corrie’s schooling is done, things will get even easier. Right now, holding down the home front means spending a lot of alone time with their Scottie dog, Dottie and their cat, Zoe.

The challenges the kids have handled have in no way kept them from the wonderful blessing they have been given. Their marriage has been blessed with two sons, a soon to be daughter-in-law, and a sweet little granddaughter. Life couldn’t possibly get better for them. They are enjoying every minute of being parents and grandparents. They have always loved kids, so this has been the next logical step for them. Life for Corrie and Kevin hasn’t always been perfect, but as a whole, it’s been pretty close to it. Today is their 26th anniversary. With each passing year, they become more and more lifetime members of the lifetime married club. It’s a great club to be members of, and I’m proud of them. These days lots of marriages don’t last, but theirs has endured. Happy 26th Anniversary Corrie and Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Gaby Beach spent much of her post high school years in the Navy. She worked very hard to get there, and continues to be an exercise enthusiast, and an inspiration to many people who would love to have such determination to stick to a program. She needed to get in shape to get into the Navy, and she wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way, especially something like a lack of determination. Now, she works out just about every day, because she doesn’t ever want to go back to a time when she was not physically fit.

While in the Navy, Gaby had the opportunity to be involved in a program that brought dogs into hospitals for the purpose of healing through comfort. Gaby loved that program, and since my mother-in-law was in a nursing home the last 5 years of her life, I can attest to the value of these dogs. So many of the residents loved the dogs that belonged to employees of the facility, and who wandered around the facility, “making their rounds” as it were. They were almost like little canine doctors. The experience was precious. The work Gaby did there was a benefit to many people.

Gaby has been a student for much of her life too, because she wants to prepare for her chosen career in nursing. Beginning January 20th, she will begin the journey through nursing school, and we are all very excited for her. During her time in the Navy, Gaby worked as a corpsman, so nursing is right up her alley. She was stationed in Japan, when she met my nephew, Allen Beach, and they have been married for four years now.

While Allen was going to school, Gaby worked, and then once Allen was hired by Wyoming Medical Center, it was Gaby’s turn. They moved to Casper, and she began the pre-requisites for the nursing program. Once those were done, she applied and was accepted into the program, and now she is waiting excitedly for the semester to begin. Gaby knows a lot about the nursing field, having come from a corpsman background, so there should be no surprises for her in the program. It is an exciting journey, and I am excited for her. Nursing school is a lot of hard work, but I know that she will do just fine, and very soon, she will be Nurse Gaby. Today is Gaby’s birthday. Happy birthday Gaby!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Since becoming disabled, my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen has struggled to redefine himself. He can’t be on his feet for very long, and he can’t sit very long either. During the years since he was disabled, my daughter, Corrie Petersen, Kevin’s wife, has been pretty much single-handedly been taking care of him. Soon,it became apparent that Corrie needed a new carer. One that would be more fulfilling and one that would pay better. After much prayer, it was decided that Corrie would go back to school to become a nurse. They knew this was going to be a difficult road, that would become much harder when nursing school began. After 2 years of taking her prerequisites, Corrie started nursing school two weeks ago.

Since August 20th, Kevin has reversed the roles. Now, while here are times Kevin need’s Corrie to be his caregiver, these days he is taking care of her. While Kevin must take frequent rest periods, he is cleaning the house, washing the laundry, and cooking the meals while Corrie is in school, at work, or studying. Each week of this stage of Corrie’s studies requires more work for her, and it isn’t going to get any easier until she graduates. Kevin wants to do his part. In many ways nursing school might have actually been harder for Corrie is Kevin was working, although I suppose he would be stronger too, if he wasn’t disabled. Needless to say, this process hasn’t been easy for Kevin either, and I am very proud of how he has stepped up to make this journey easier on Corrie.

When Kevin has some free time, he has been working on the Cyclone car his dad, Dean Petersen gave him a while back. He has also decided to try his hand at painting and drawing with different kinds of paint. Kevin has been dealing with tremors in his hands these days, so I’m sure painting and drawing is quite a challenge. During the times when Kevin has to lay down for a while, he has a companion who is very excited about those naps…their dog, Dottie. Dottie is a Scottish Terrier, and she totally loves Kevin. When Kevin needs to lay down, he tells Dottie they are going to take a nap. Dottie gets very excited. She is like a kid, except that she likes naps. She runs to the bedroom door and waits for Kevin to come. Then, Dottie settles herself on Corrie’s pillow. It has become Dottie’s place when Corrie isn’t there. She loves napping with Kevin. When Dottie is outside, and Kevin has his shoes on, she won’t come in the house, because she thinks it’s time to go somewhere, and she doesn’t want to be left at home. She loves Kevin so much and she wants to be with him all the time. She is content to do what Kevin can do, and rest when he needs to, so it’s good for both of them. She is a great companion. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The last year has been a whirlwind of change for my daughter, Corrie Petersen. Eight months ago, she left a job that should have had room for advancement, but simply didn’t for her position…it was a dead-end job for Corrie. Never one to give up, Corrie took future in her own hands, with much prayer and guidance from God, she went back to school to obtain the future career that she knew was the calling of her heart…nursing. She began her big job move by going through the CNA training at Shepherd of the Valley nursing home, and once she was a CNA, she began her search for a job change. Upon being hired at Elkhorn Rehabilitation Hospital, she left her dead-end job. Coming from 13 years of taking part in the caregiving process for both sets of her grandparents, Corrie went into the decision to become a nurse, with her eyes wide open. I think that lots of people try going into nursing, only to find that it isn’t for them. Nurses, CNAs, and aides do a lot of personal care tasks that are less than pleasant sometimes. If you don’t have a heart for nursing, it will be a very difficult…but Corrie has a heart for it, and has become a dedicated CNA, who is well on her way to being a nurse. The fall will bring nursing school for Corrie, and she can hardly wait. I am so excited for her.

When we think of job promotions, we don’t generally expect them to happen within the first three months, but that is exactly what happened with Corrie. Since she is a very experienced CNA, even thought she has only been working as a CNA for eight months, Corrie’s supervisors quickly saw the value she brought to their facility, and she has been promoted to lead CNA for her shift, as well as Trainer fit new hires. Both are big honors for a girl who has been on the job less than a year. She is also “laddering up,” which puts her at a higher level of training, making her much more valuable to Elkhorn Rehab Hospital. It is my understanding that they have never had a CNA ladder up, which Corrie was very surprised to find out. So I guess you could say she is making history at work.

Probably the biggest news of the year…and her lifetime, was the addition of their new baby granddaughter on May 30th of this year. Next to motherhood, grandmotherhood is about the greatest experience that comes from getting older. Not that Corrie is old at all, especially when you consider that we, her parents are now great grandparents. This baby is such a sweet, good natured little girl. Corrie and her husband, Kevin enjoy every single minute they get to spend with her. I know they would like to spend lots more time, but her family is a big one, so we all have to share. Corrie is feeling so very blessed these days. Having a grandchild is the greatest thing ever, and for Corrie and Kevin, a granddaughter is amazing, because they never got to have a daughter, and they wanted a girl too. And, to top it off, they get to share a birthday of sorts, because hr granddaughter is one month old today. And in addition, having a job you really love..well, as the saying goes, “find a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Now, I don’t think that Corrie would say that her job isn’t work, but it is work she loves, and that makes all the difference. Today is Corrie’s birthday. Happy birthday Corrie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Gabby Beach finished her service in the Navy, and now it is her time to finish her education. Gabby was a corpsman in the Navy, and so have decided to go for a nursing degree. She and her husband, Allen decided to make Casper, Wyoming their home for the college years, because Casper College has a great nursing program, and it places them close to family…something they haven’t had since they joined the Navy. This semester will find Gabby taking the prerequisites, for the nursing program, which is no small class load. In addition, she will be taking a PE class, which, for Gabby, is a walk in the park. She is a fitness fanatic. She looks great, and she could take on any physical challenge issued. In fact, she is also taking the certification to become a personal trainer. I think it would be very easy for Gabby to have three careers. Nursing, Personal Trainer, and Dog Training for service dogs. She is quite good at all three.

Another nice thing about moving to Wyoming for school, is the fact that there are lots of places to go hiking, and that is something that Gabby and Allen like to do. They have traveled the world, and I’m sure they have hiked lots of places too. I’m sure that Wyoming is pretty unique when compared to the places they have lived. While Wyoming has its own kind of beauty, I’m sure it is much more rustic than any other place they have lived. They have settled in an apartment on my sister, Caryl Reed, and her husband Mike’s retirement home outside of Casper, and they are really enjoying the quietness of country living. I don’t think that any of the places Gabby has lived before go much snow, and she was out shoveling and seemingly having a good time doing it. Most of us, who have lived in Wyoming for any length of time, know that shoveling snow is pretty low on the list of things most fun to do. But, once again, Gabby has proven that she is not most people. She tends to embrace to unknown or unusual.If she were like most people, I have a feeling that she would not have loved to exercise either. I have a feeling that it was Gabby’s uniqueness that first attracted Allen to her…other that her beauty. And Gabby is beautiful. Today is Gabby’s birthday. Happy birthday Gabby!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Sometimes, changes occur when we least expect them. That is was happened with my daughter, Corrie Petersen, who found herself in a job that really held no future for her, even after she gave them almost 24 years of her life. Everyone wants to know that they are going to have a chance be promoted and move up in the company, but that was not to be the case, so after listening to the wisdom of God, Corrie made a bold move and went back to school. Corrie has been a caregiver, along with the rest of our family since 2005 when her grandpa, my dad, Allen Spencer got sick. Over the following ten years she was very active in the caregiving process, first with my dad, then my mom, and then her Schulenberg grandparents, and now she cares for her husband, Kevin. I don’t know how we could have managed with out Corrie and others in the family who, just like her, stepped up to pitch in, when we found out that caregiving takes a village.

When it came to Corrie that if she wanted to move up in a job, she needed a change, she naturally chose nursing, and began a journey that would bring about many changes and take her to levels of confidence she didn’t know she possessed. She went back to school, after 23 years, and conquered not only the classes, but her own uneasiness about taking them. I am happy to report that she is having great success in her studies. Corrie also took the CNA class at Shepherd of the Valley Care Center, knowing that when she started nursing school, she would no longer be able to keep the job she had, because the nursing program is held during the day. She passed the CNA program with flying colors and applied for a job at Elkhorn Valley Rehabilitation Hospital. She was hired right away, and today begins her new career as a CNA, or according to them, Patient Care Technician…temporarily anyway, because Corrie’s journey doesn’t end there. She has other plans in mind.

She will have other new beginnings as she continues her journey toward her degree as a Registered Nurse, so this is temporary, but it is nevertheless, very exciting. This is what she has dreamed about since this journey started. She knows the work will be hard, but it is also very rewarding as she also knows, since she has basically been doing this work for twelve years already. I am so excited for my daughter, as she starts this new adventure, and so proud of her for taking the necessary steps to achieve her goals. The future is going to be a bright one for her, and I can’t wait to watch the changes as she decides her future plans in her nursing career. Congratulations Corrie. Have a wonderful first night at work. We are so proud of you!!

Twins...NotEvery year, in the tradition my grandparents started, the Byer family gathers to celebrate the Christmas season together, and to keep my grandparents’ dream alive. It was their desire that their children wouldn’t drift apart after they were gone. The family has done their very best to honor their wish, and the Byer Family Christmas Party is a big part of honoring that wish. Over the years, we have all worked together or split the hosting into families, but the party has always been held. Santa Clause has shown up to talk to the kids, bags of treats for the little ones were always given out, and the food…the best in the world. But, the most important part of these wonderful gatherings is the family. Re-connecting with all of them and hearing all about what is going on in their lives…that’s what it’s all about…that’s the dream that our grandparents had for us. The connection to family.

This year I had a chance to hear about how well Autumn Beadle is doing in school, and her plans to graduate at semester in her senior year, and then it’s on to Nursing School for her. I got to see how much she cares for her grandma, my Aunt Virginia. I got to touch base with Aunt Dixie, Uncle Jim, and their family. We used to see them at the mall a lot, but in recent years that hasn’t worked out so well. I ran into Michael and Deena McDaniels on Black Friday, and we laughed about our shopping trials tonight. I had seen Missy and Mindy Grosvenor at Partiersthe movies on Thursday, and we had a chance tonight to discuss how much we liked “A Christmas Candle” tonight, as well as how much they like taking care of their niece, Piper and sometimes her brother and sister, Parker and Payton. Cousins, Clyde and Susie Young spend much of their winter months in Arizona these days, but they were able to get home for the holidays and the party.

Anthony McDaniels showed up in a suit, adding a special touch of class to our party, while Shai Royce and Christina Masterson dressed up as twins, even though they are not. Aunt Bonnie’s little grandson, Noah spent the latter part of the evening trying to give her a bunny tail. Aunt Sandy has been a mainstay for information for some of the great stories I have been able to relay about the Byer Family, and has also spent several afternoons with my mom this year at the Senior Center, which my mom has cherished and fully enjoyed. The party has brought Elmer Johnson back into our lives after a time of not being able to be there, and since he and I have connected on Facebook too, we have grown to be even better friends than we were as kids. Aunt Jeanette is doing well, and always brings a smile to my face with her awesome laugh. Corrie and Kevin Petersen and their boys Christopher and Josh have been busily planning for Chris to start college in Sheridan next year and Josh to get his driver’s license. Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Cottonball FightGeorge were not able to join us this year, but their granddaughter, Rachelle French took lots of pictures for them so they would not feel left out.

This year’s highlight, however, had to be the idea someone had to open up bags of cotton balls for the little kids to play with. It turned into a cotton ball/snow ball fight, and everyone had a wonderful time. Xander, Zack, Isaac, and Aleesia Spethman; Kya and Noah Hamilton; Logan and Lea Orr; Mateo Steiner and Dera Elvidge; Noah Williams; Parker, Payton, and Piper Dobson; Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna Masterson all had a wonderful time picking up, loading up on, and throwing those cotton balls. I don’t know who thought of it, but it was a great idea.

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