Archive for the ‘Nurse Practitioner’ Tag

Get Big Ones   3 comments

I grew up on a small family farm in rural Missouri.  My world was pretty small … a trip to St Joseph, 32 miles away, was a very big deal.

I joined Scouting while in second grade, and loved reading Boy’s Life and dreaming big dreams about what I would do in Scouting.  One of my biggest dreams was to go on the ultimate Scouting adventure:  backpacking at tbe Philmont Scout Reservation, near Cimarron, New Mexico.  Understand, my Troop never went backpacking.  Such a trip was way, way beyond the resources of my family, and of my troop.  It simply wasn’t going to happen.  But the dream … did not die.

1970, after receiving my God & Country award. I was 14 years old, and wouldn’t have lasted on the trails of Philmont, even if I could have gotten there.

It’s important to have goals.  Really, really big goals.  You need to get big ones.

I wrote in a recent post about “The 2012 Plan.”  This plan took 15 years to complete, and the best part was that I didn’t have to do the work!  I graduated from Mizzou in 1978.  Beginning in 1997, it was up to the wife and 3 kids for them to earn their degrees.  15 years and 5 degrees later, we deserve the family celebration that’s just a few days away.

I’m sure that Velda will say that the worst part of the Plan was that the family had to eat my cooking while she was studying for her Masters in Nursing from UCLA.  I never understood what the problem was: not only am I proficient in the kitchen, I prepare dishes that Velda never will.  And the kids didn’t complain (too much) about the 3 dishes they said I prepared … not even the Hamburger Helper!  Good news:  we all survived!

No one will mistake what I do for the artistry that Velda performs in the kitchen.  But the choice to miss her cooking for a few meals in order for her to achieve one of her big goals was not a choice at all.  She’s been happy as a nurse practitioner ever since.

But, back to Philmont. I did not reach that goal until I was 46.  But that’s really not the story.

Climbing the Tooth of Time is a part of the Philmont experience that no backpacker should miss!

The problem for me was that Boy Scouts are serious about backpacking, and, thank goodness, they expect the boys and leaders to be in shape.  You have to make a goal weight based on your height … or you don’t go on the trail.  Once I understood that my boys wanted to go to Philmont, I had to prepare myself.  And lose about 60 pounds.

I’ve never been a gym rat.  Velda had achieved great success with Weight Watchers, but that didn’t seem like my thing, either.  I started doing what I had not done since high school:  I decided to run.

The problem, though, was that I wasn’t able to run any distance at all.  I started walking in my cross trainer Reeboks, wearing sweats … and worked myself up from there.  Eventually, I could run 2 miles without walking.  That was a very big day, let me assure you!  But I was not nearly done.

I fixed my diet (a calorie-counting shake from Costco in the morning, a banana and an apple for snacks, Subway for lunch, and a sensible dinner from Velda.  I kept pushing.  And the weight fell off.  Running became a daily obsession, and I eventually got up to 7-mile runs on the weekends.  I faithfully kept a running log every day, and used a GPS system to track my times for each segment of the runs I did.

By the time I went to Philmont with my boys, I was in the best shape of my life.  I had lost 70 pounds.  Hitting the trail with 50+ pounds on my back for a 10-day, 52-mile trek was still nothing to sneeze at, but I was ready.  I was 46, but keeping up with 17-year old boys was not a problem.  We sat on the Tooth of Time at sunrise, and we proudly proclaimed “Go Big or Go Home” while we reveled in the burro races, the trail food, and a feeling of self reliance that’s very difficult to discover if you’re sitting on your sofa.

It was the most personally fulfilling thing I have done in Scouting.  And I got there because I had a goal.  A big one.

We made it: Michael Mowry, Christopher Mowry, myself, and Lyle “The Destroyer” Wohlfarth with the map he was in charge of for all 52 miles. 2003.

The 2012 Plan   3 comments

My family has completed our 15-year plan this year.  It started in 1997 … and 15 years later, our family of 5 has earned 5 college degrees.

Sonoma State University. The graduation ceremony was on May 12, 2012.

I announced the plan at a family dinner.  Velda had decided to go back to school and get her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in order to become a geriatric Nurse Practitioner.  The kids would have to sacrifice (less of Mom’s cooking is a bad thing in our house).  But Velda’s journey was just the beginning … each of the kids would follow with their own Bachelor’s degree.

It was our plan.  It was our expectation.

It’s also a good idea, by the way … statistics show that college graduates have substantially better incomes than those that stop their education after high school.

I believe the most important reason to get a college education is that it will teach you how to think.  I got my college degree in education; a BS of Education in Speech & Dramatic Art from the University of Missouri.  I only taught professionally for 8 weeks at a private college’s summer camp.  On the other hand, I’ve been in management throughout my career, and I’ve taught many people many things.  Did I use my degree in education?  Absolutely.

I didn’t go to the graduation ceremony, though.  I got married, instead.  That was absolutely the right decision (we had to get married on the 13th of the month, because we’d had far too many “13’s” show up through our courtship to ignore).  I do have some small regrets I didn’t get to enjoy the pomp & circumstance, however.

The lesson?  Everyone follows their own path.  But get on the path!

UCLA College of Engineering graduation, June 12, 2009. The ceremony was in the “old” Pauley Pavillion, and was a long, long event by the time they awarded all of the graduate degrees … and then there were many undergraduates to go!

Velda’s college path was MUCH more circuitous than mine.  She actually attended 7 colleges on her way to her Masters: University of Missouri – Columbia, Valley College, Mission College, LA County USC School of Nursing, College of the Canyons, California State University – Northridge, and UCLA.  She took 25 years to get her degrees, but she got there.

Velda got the two degrees required to be an NP: a BS in Nursing from CSUN, and then an MS in Nursing from UCLA .  Her job satisfaction, and her income, increased substantially after she got her degrees.

Each kid followed their own path to their degree:

Christopher – College of the Canyons, California State University – Los Angeles

Michael – UCLA

Lauren – Sonoma State University

Time will tell how the degrees earned by each of the three kids will serve them, but I am 100% certain that our family is stronger because we set a very big goal, and all 5 of us worked to achieve that goal.  Some goals take some time to accomplish, and this worthy goal took 15 years.

Don’t be afraid of the difficulty of the path.  Be committed to the goal, and you will achieve it.

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