Sunday, April 5, 2015


Empty.  I've been thinking about that word a lot today.  It is typically such a negative term that carries such a deep and heavy meaning.  When someone feels empty inside it is said or thought with such deep and hurting emotion.  When your mailbox is empty and you checked it with such great anticipation.  When a fisherman goes out and comes back empty.  There are zillions of ways that empty is used and I'm feel like most of them are negative.  Empty means containing nothing and if you are expecting it to contain something, then that nothing is dark and hopeless.

However, today, Easter, empty is a word that brings such humbling joy.  When I just sit back and think of what my Savior did for me, it literally takes my breath away!  On Friday, He went to the cross and bore MY sin knowing full well that I wouldn't be always grateful or always aware and knowing full well that I wouldn't fully turn from my sins at all times.  That is humbling.  Then on Saturday, while His body was in the tomb, those who knew Him and loved Him, mourned the loss they had endured--they seemed to almost mourn faithlessly.  Then today, on Sunday, the tomb was EMPTY.

At first, that empty was also a negative thing.  The questions and the concern and the sadness that only deepened.  But ultimately, that empty was a prophesy fulfilled.  It was a sign revealed.  It was the hope of what is to come.  My Savior died.  Everyone dies.  But He rose again and not only that, but He is coming back to take me home!

Empty isn't a negative word today.  That tomb is empty and I am so unexplainably grateful that it is.  HE IS RISEN!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Two Years Ago

So, two years ago yesterday I had decided that I'd had enough.  I was so tired of being shocked every time I saw a picture of myself and wondering if I was really that fat.  I was overweight and I felt awful both physically and emotionally.  I also felt hopeless because I had tried so many "diets" that worked wonders and then the minute I stopped "dieting" I would gain all of that weight back and then some.

So, two years ago I happened upon the Facebook page of a person I knew in college and I saw her before and after pictures--I'd never seen the before and after pictures of someone I actually knew.  It was amazing.  So, I asked her to call me and the rest is history!

I just wanted to loose weight.  I didn't realize all of the other things I had to gain--a good night's sleep (every night), a week (now two years) without a migraine, a month without an overran cyst rupturing, a day without my tummy hurting, an afternoon (especially between 3 and 5) without my kids driving me batty, a week where I felt awesome doing everything I have to do (laundry, dishes, work, school, mommy-ing and everything), and the one thing I never ever expected, a month where cash wasn't so tight.  I lost 40 pounds and gained so much more than I could have ever imagined!

After loosing the initial weight, my husband and kids started on the products.  We have been so healthy ever since.  Andy's mood is so much better (like mine, too), the kids are healthy and happy, we are finding tools to use for Tiki instead of expensive prescriptions.  And my kids are seeing me work hard for a business that is both helping others and giving us great paychecks and fun trips.  My kids are ALL IN.  They check on my progress all of the time and the root me on as I set new goals and reach them.  It has been so fun to make this company a true part of our lives from our multivitamin routine each morning to our play money (and living money often) each month!

Two years ago I made a decision for very selfish reasons and now, two years later, that one selfish decision is one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself, for my marriage, for my kids--for my family!  I'm so thankful I said YES when I was given the opportunity!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Date With My Oldest

Last night Hays asked me to meet him for dinner.  Since I can see the money he has on his debit card, I realize that I was asked to dinner along WITH my wallet, but I'll take what I can get!  I met him at Schlotzsky's during his "lunch" break.  It was a great time.  They ended up letting him off early because it was slow and he just sat there with me for over an hour.  We talked and laughed and ate.  It was really fun.  With his job and everything I've really been missing him lately and I'm so thankful for the hour I got with my boy--I love him oh so much!

Belated Snow Day

Like I said in my last post, we got 31 inches last weekend and on Monday we had our third snow day since we moved here (six years).  So, Andy and Hays and I headed to the mountain to enjoy the powder--and powder it was!  It was so much fun--either the powder or the morning with just Hays and Andy or both!  We laughed so hard and I fell so many times because the powder was so deep.  I loved it!  I could do that weekly!
Attempted photo op turned hysterical disaster!!!
A result of the above picture.

Belated Kathleen Came To Town

Last weekend my friend, Kathleen came to visit from San Diego with her daughter.  She is my upline in this company I work for and she came for business and pleasure.  We got the business out of the way the first night and then we got to enjoy the 31 inches of powder that came down the rest of the weekend.  He daughter is a gem and I loved having her here, too!  Hays taught her to snowboard with the patience of a saint!!!

Belated Hays Got A Job

Hays got a job!  He has been so faithful about job hunting and he finally snagged one.  Schlotzsky's opened in Durango and Hays jumped on board!  He really likes it!

So, the first night Braner Party of 7 (including BradRay) headed to Schlotzsky's to embarrass support Hays at work!

Belated Marriage Get Away

Fourteen months ago Andy and I decided that we need to set aside a week each year for US.  We are both so busy and we have so many plates spinning that we are ships (speed boats) passing in the night so often.  So, we committed to a week away each year and then we waited.  The time came this year and it was inconvenient, we had too much going on, but we were committed.
Oh my goodness.  It was the best week we have had--maybe ever!  I didn't realize how badly we needed to be away without the kids and just with us.  (We had friends with us for part of the time, too, and that was so healthy for laughing and talking and being grown ups.)  But just being together with my man was a dream come true.

I think we both reminded each other of how much fun we both can be.  We laughed and we dreamed and we relaxed.  It was perfect!  His idea of a fun vacation is golf and surfing, my idea is reading a book by the pool.  We got to do both!  He had guy friends to play with and then we came together and just relaxed and laughed.  We put our own needs on the back burner and just enjoyed one another.

I cannot wait until next year!  And, the best part, is that we both came home--I mean those fun and loving people both came home.  It was a great reboot for us and I love that we are still running well.

I love him so much and that trip reminded me of that.  He and I have had so much fun since we've been home.  I think the trip was a good reminder so now we remember how to have fun together.  It has been a rough last five or six years, but I am so full of hope and love now and I highly recommend getting away with your man!

Belated New Puppy

So, as most of you know, Andy isn't a huge fan of my pets.  He just isn't a pet guy.  And I love animals!  (Great combo!)  But he has talked about wanting a French Bulldog for several years.  So, I've been secretly looking for a French Bulldog for Andy.  And I found one!  I was so nervous to get him, but I was so excited, too!

It was great timing in terms of being the perfect Valentine's Day gift.  So, I did it!  The puppy came home with us.  Andy came home two days later and I presented him his Valentine's Day gift and he was so excited.

Why the name?  Well, Andy put out in the twitter-verse and Instragram world that we had a new puppy and overwhelming people suggested the name Brad Ray.  What?  Yep.  Brad Ray is one of our old staff guys and he is a legend.  We love him.  So, we named the dog BradRay (one word--say it quickly together).  The name is hysterical because everyone knows there must be a story behind it.

He's a fun puppy and we all love him very much!
BradyRay's first picture.

His ears finally stood up.

Belated Birthday Tiki

Well, I haven't blogged all month.  Wow.  I've been busy and crazy and having fun!  But I have tons of catching up to do!
February 3 was Tiki's 11th birthday!  Crazy that he is 11 years old!  He is so social and loves being with his friends, so I picked up he and four of his friends (and Gabby) and we headed South to the bowling alley.  It was so much fun!  The boys were chatty and laughing (one boy was knitting).  It was fun to hear about Tiki from their point of view--apparently he's quite the lady's man at school.  I was laughing so hard (to myself).  It was fun!  We bowled and ate pizza and I think it was a fun celebration for him.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Braner Trucking Line

This week I got to go to Illinois for a health and wellness party.  But the best part is that it was in Jacksonville, Illinois where all of Andy's extended family lives.  Sharon (Andy's mom) met me up there and we had a really fun two days!  We had so much fun with aunts and uncles and cousins!  The party was a big hit, too!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hays & Erin

So, we began to notice Hays starting to dress nicer in November.  It was a great new look.  He headed to Denver for a big theater competition and he came home talking about this girl who was wonderful. In December, he and Erin had their first date.  Her dad met him for dinner before and I was immediately sold.  While we were in Cabo he was very anxious to buy the perfect Christmas gift for Erin and even more anxious to get home. . . .

A couple of weeks ago, he crawled in bed with me and we had a fantastic talk about what it means to be a boyfriend and to have a girlfriend.  I suggested that he call Erin's dad and ask his permission before he asked Erin to be his girlfriend and much to my surprise, he did it.  I was so impressed with him!  What an amazing young man he is turning into.  Well, her dad gave his blessing and Hays now has a girlfriend.

Now it was my turn to meet Erin.  She came over last Friday and I love her!  She is adorable and sweet and easy going.  She's great.  That night we had a triple date with her parents and she and Hays and Andy and me.  It had the potential to be extremely awkward (and I think Hays was sure it would be), but it was such a fun night.  We laughed so hard.  I love her parents!  I'm so excited for the friendships that came out of that dinner date!
Tonight Hays is at dinner and the Winter Formal with her!  (Formal is a VERY loose word in Durango--just had to throw that out there before you saw the pictures.)  I told Hays that I was sad I wouldn't be getting any pictures and he said that Erin's mom was meeting them for pictures.  I was uber jealous and invited myself to the photo shoot.  I'm SO GLAD I did!  Both of her parents were there.  Erin looked beautiful, Hays looked so handsome--they were adorable.  They are both so easy to be around and they tolerate their parents excitement.  They were great photo sports!  (THANK YOU!)
 I can't wait to hear how the dance went!


I'm doing a pretty pathetic job of staying up to date on my blog in 2015.  Maybe when grad school is over I'll be better at it again!  Oops!

This blog is about Braner x-rays this week.

Dax broke his collar bone this week.  He was at snowboarding practice and fell off a box and snapped his collar bone in two.  Of course, I was out of town--I was out of town when Hays crashed in 2011 and out of town this time.
Maggie got braces.  She was so excited to get them (more excited to get them so she could get them off before Senior Pictures).  Once they got on, I think she was much less excited.  The x-ray revealed that the orthodontist has lots of work to do, so we're glad we got started!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Boarding & Volleyball & Brothers! Oh My!

Wow!  What a weekend!  We are in the season of jam packed weekends filled with fun, competitions, tournaments and road trips!  It is crazy and exciting and fun and exhausting and we've only just begun!  We have Grand Junction (4 times), Powderhorn (twice), Crested Butte and Copper Mountain all before Easter!

Dax had a snowboarding competition (at Purg thankfully) Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  He raced in the Slalom and Giant Slalom.  It was his first time to race and he did great!  He raced six times and got first once and second five times!  He also qualified for Nationals at Copper Mountain and improved his GS time by more than a minute over the weekend.  I'm so proud of him!  It was fun to watch and to be a part of!
Maggie had a volleyball tournament in Colorado Springs.  The plan was to not go watch, but I couldn't stand it, so I left early Sunday morning and got to watch four of her seven games.  She played SO WELL.  I'm so proud of her.  (As a team they did awful, but improved--they lost every set, but Maggie was a super star!)  She's on the club team and this was the first of several tournament weekends out of town!
Meanwhile, while Tiki and Gabby and I were in the Springs with Maggie, Hays and Dax had a total "bro weekend" and it made me to happy and proud to see their pics on Instagram.  They went boarding and out to dinner and to a movie.  They're lucky to have each other!

Tiki and Gabby also had Snowburners (their boarding lessons) and they both improved so much this week!  Their coaches were very proud of them.
So, that was our weekend.  We head to Grand Junction next!