Lauryn Vines is doing something she’s wanted to do for a long time. She’s an ICU nurse at Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome. She describes her job as fulfilling and satisfying, yet stressful and challenging. The most challenging part is working the long night shifts.

“I always wanted to go into the medical field, but I really didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do,” she said.

A college friend talked her into taking some classes. It wasn’t until then that Lauryn realized there are many things to do in the nursing field.

“I didn’t realize you could really expand your career by going into nursing,” she said. “It’s a career that gives you a variety of choices and opportunities. I just thought that as a nurse you’d be working at a hospital or in a doctor’s office.”

Now that she knows the various jobs afforded one with a nursing degree, she’s planning on returning to Jacksonville State University to pursue her doctorate and become a nurse practitioner. It will take her three years to finish her degree. She knows she’ll have to continue working, at least part time, and take care of her children, Chacen, 5, and Julia, 2 ½, but she said she knows she’s up to the challenge.

“I’m not sure where I’ll end up working after I graduate,” she said. “What I’m looking forward to is getting more sleep and spending more time with my family. We never see each other.”

Lauryn is the daughter of Dwayne and Pam (Pollard) Goss. Her brother, Caelan will graduate from JSU with a degree in mathematics in the near future.

Lauryn can remember when cooking was fun. When she and Dex were dating, they often cooked together.

“Lately though, we’ve been slacking,” she said. “That’s why I’m ready to have a job where I can work during the day and not have to be gone such long hours. Your body never really does get adjusted to not getting enough sleep.”

One good thing about her current job is that she can schedule several off days at a time for herself. She also enjoys the company of her coworkers and the great teamwork they offer during the long 12-hour shifts.

She credits her parents and her grandmothers, Marie Goss and Cathy Baker, for teaching her to cook.

(Contact Margaret at pollya922@gmail.com)

RECIPES

GUACAMOLE

(Based on Pioneer Woman’s recipe)

4 avocados

Pico degallo

Salt

Half the avocados lengthwise and de-pit. Scoop out the inside and place in bowl. Mash avocados until desired consistency reached. (I like mine fairly chunky.) Spoon in your desired amount of pico degallo. Add salt to taste.

PICO DE GALLO

(Based on Pioneer Woman’s recipe)

4 slightly under-ripe medium tomatoes

1 yellow or red onion (I use yellow)

1 bunch of cilantro

3 jalapeños (fresh)

1-2 limes

Salt

Dice up your onion and tomatoes. (I like mine fairly chunky.) Finely chop up your desired amount of cilantro. Slice up your jalapenos and de-seed. Chop finely. Mix chopped ingredients together in a large bowl. Slice lime in half and squeeze the juice into bowl of ingredients. (I usually only use 1 lime.) Sprinkle with salt until desired taste achieved.

PERFECT PARTY WEENIES

2 pks. (8 pk.) Oscar Mayer bun length hot dogs

2 pks. regular sliced bacon

2 boxes light brown sugar

Toothpicks

Cut hotdogs into 3 equal pieces. Cut bacon strips in half. Take ½ piece of bacon and wrap around small hotdog. Secure with toothpick through bacon and hotdog. Layer bacon wrapped hotdogs in crockpot. Sprinkle boxes of brown sugar on top. Cook on high for 4-6 hours, depending on cooking speed of crockpot. Turn 2-3 times during cooking. Makes about 48 weenies.

THE BEST MAC-N-CHEESE EVER

1 – 12 oz. large macaroni noodles

1 – 12 oz. carton small curd cottage cheese

1 – 8 oz. carton sour cream

2 eggs slightly beaten

¾ t. salt

4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni per package. Drain well. Mix all other ingredients together and add cooked macaroni. Pour into lightly greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.