Sunday, May 29, 2016

Getting to know Joanne Kocourek

Hi, Joanne! Thanks so much for doing the interview. We all love getting to know the people we hang out with. You are a true inspiration.  God bless.

-Where do you live now? 

Worth, IL (a small village Southwest of Chicago)

-Pets? Kids? Hobby? 

Our lives are blessed with three children who completed our family through adoption. They are all young adults: Joshua, Annalies and Kristen. Josh lives in Southern Illinois. Annalies and Kristen are young adult children who are vibrant and thriving despite being medically fragile and technology dependent (requiring round the clock care). We, also, have a sweet, vibrant 6-year-old granddaughter, Gianna. Gianna fills our lives with love and laughter. Four Golden Retriever service dogs faithfully provide amazing assistance in everyday living and love us unconditionally. They bring love, companionship and joy continually. Their skills and antics are amazing. My boy, Skittles, is nicknamed Houdini as there isn’t anything he can’t open or escape! My hobbies are reading, crocheting and crafting with our Granddaughter. I read hours every day based on limiting physical challenges.
-Day Job? 

Prior to long term disability, I worked as the RN Manager of Clinical Research for a major academic medical center. Now, I’m home as “Nurse Mom” caring for our daughters.
-Upcoming plans? 

Lord willing, I hope to have surgery to completely reconstruct both of my knees in the hope of regaining the ability to stand. The decision is hanging in limbo by several surgical teams as the success rate is 50/50. If not, I will continue to adjust to living my life with extremely limited mobility/abilities and supportive Palliative Care providing a bridge to Hospice at some point in the future. As a previously very active adult, I never envisioned being diagnose with a progressive, degenerative life limiting/life threatening disease. While maintaining hope for the future, I’m looking forward to going to visit our son, spend quality time with our daughters and granddaughter, and providing support to other individuals who are walking similar journeys with their children or personally.
-What do you do for fun?

 Honestly, at present, there is very little I can physically do “for fun”. I’m finding enjoyment visiting with friends who call or visit in person and living vicariously through the books I read. My favorite authors are skilled at portraying settings I can visualize and characters who become friends and a part of my life through imagination.
-Do you travel? Got a fav place? 

When I could travel for other than medical care, I loved family trips to Disney World and/or Disney Cruises with my family. When traveling for medical care, we always try to take some time to explore an attraction in the region (a plantation in Savanah, GA, Falls or Amish country in Ohio or New York). My all-time favorite trip was to Italy. Our daughters and I represented the U.S. at a medical conference. Florence was absolutely wonderful. We explored the museums and art.
-How did you come to reading mysteries? 

My introduction to mysteries was as a child. We visited the library often and my favorite books were Cherry Ames, Trixie Belden, and Nancy Drew.
-Do you have a fav mystery show? Movie? 

Castle and Murder She Wrote are favorite shows. I like many of the Hallmark Mystery movies. I’m glad they are rerunning Mystery Woman and hope they rerun Jane Doe and Father Dowling.
-Do you have a fav book that you reread from time to time?

 Other than The Bible, I reread The Giving Tree and A Wrinkle in Time.
-Do you remember the first mystery you read? The Secret Mansion (Trixie Belden).
-Is there a character in a book or movie that you’d like to pal around with? From a book: Zoe Donovan. From a movie: Samantha Kinzie
-Tell us anything else about yourself. 

We all love meeting new friends. I truly appreciate the cozy mystery authors who generously share their talents, books and time with me.  Life has been a struggle, ups and downs, nothing is in our control, not one little thing, it is a tough battle, one that has caused us to be tired and worn. At times our hearts are heavy and we struggle to breath in and out, other times we are good and at peace. Just being and being before God is really our only strength, we, as a family, covet the prayers of everyone. I try to not get mired down in the “woe is me” or “woe is us” dumps.  This is the reality of the life I live – knowing that as hard as life is many days, as many things as I WANT to whine and complain about – I know at the end of the day, that the fact that we are all still HERE and still alive is the biggest blessing of all. This is not a lesson I take lightly. So we will get through this day, and the sun will rise again in the morning and things will look different. Maybe still hard, maybe a little better. But each day is new and always full of the opportunity for good things. Most of all I thank you, Lori, and the authors who so generously give of their time and talent to fill my days with hours of reading enjoyment and for hanging in there with me through this stage of the journey. The sun will come out tomorrow, right? 

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