What made you want to become a FCN?
I have worked in the hospital setting for most of my 30 plus years as an RN. Most of that experience has been in geriatric and mental health nursing. So being present with someone who is going through a difficult time and helping families as they watch their loved one going through difficult times has been a lot of who I am. About 3 years ago I thought about going back to school to become a counselor for grief or bereavement. I talked with Peg Weber, whom I worked alongside in mental health nursing before becoming a parish nurse and she pointed out that I was already an RN and that Parish Nursing might be the path I was looking for. Soon after that discussion I registered for the Parish Nurse Preparation course through Marquette University and I began my journey to become a parish nurse. I began volunteering at LakeView that fall and have expanded my ministry gradually over these past 3 years.
How did you get involved with the GrapeVine Project?
Peg Weber was instrumental in urging me to look into the education. But, it is the teaching part that really appealed to me. Health Education and the idea of sharing with my congregation & the greater community really drew me in. LakeView Church is all about reaching outside the church walls. I like that the GrapeVine Project is teaching women and reaching whole families through the women who attend the educational sessions.
What is your favorite part of the GrapeVine Project?
Again, the health education is important to me. I really like presenting the units. It provides me with a means of connecting with people, people who I may not ordinarily connect with. The sessions are a way of getting folks to open up and start a conversation. I also like meeting the people who work at the various sites where I have presented.
What is a little known fact about you?
For quiet time, I like to write, especially poetry. My more active hobby is to ride with my husband on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. We have ridden to Sturgis, South Dakota; Niagara Falls, Canada; and many other local rides. I tell people that sitting behind by husband and going very fast increases my faith and strengthens my marriage. (I always wear my helmet!)
Has there ever been a participant who contacted you after a session and you were able to help someone specifically because of the session?
Yes! After giving the pilot session of the “Healthy Aging Brain”, a close friend whom had attended was faced with moving her aging parents and the resulting hospitalization of her mother. It had been apparent for some time that her parents need to be closer and would require attention more consistently, but the session and resulting conversations we have had have contributed to a smoother transition.
Anything else you would like to share?
My husband, Jim, and I have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. Their ages range from 16-26 years. We live in Oregon, WI. Jim and I met on Jacksonville Beach in Florida and had a long distance relationship for a year prior to our engagement. I lived in Tennessee and he is originally from Wausau, WI and was working for a company in Tennessee at the time. It was a God-thing that we were both on that beach in Florida. We married and moved to Madison, WI and then settled here in Oregon.
I will be embarking on my first mission trip with a team from my church this October. Our team consists of 18 men and women who will be traveling to the Dominican Republic to serve with Kids Alive International in Constanza. We will be painting murals on the walls around the Kids Alive campus, hosting children and adults from the community near the school and orphanage at a worship service, and providing a dental clinic for the kids. You can bet I will bring along my giant tooth brush and set of teeth from the GrapeVine Project’s dental session! (And the information in Spanish!)