Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2010

Date Day

Andy and I had the best day together!  We dropped the kids off at school and headed North.  We stopped and took a great hike.  The trees were beautiful and the views were breathtaking.  We got time to sit and enjoy one another and talk without any interruptions.  We headed to Silverton for lunch and then came back to Durango in time for school to be out.  This day could not have been better!  Thanks, Andy!!!  I love you!



Okay, so I realize that it isn't October yet, but it is the week on the calendar when October starts and I am just so excited about this month to be that I have to blog about it. . .so much for living in the now, I know.  Yes, there are MANY days with green arrows going through them which means that Andy is out of town, but there are so many orange days and even EIGHT pink days, so I am pretty excited!  Okay, I am extremely excited!  (By the way, pink days are days in October when I will be gone!)

We've got a road trip to Flagstaff coming up on Friday!  The kids and I (with Lesley, thank goodness) will drive down to Flagstaff for the weekend where we will see Pops and GoGo and get to go to one of my cousin's wedding.  Andy will meet us there from Phoenix and then head back to Phoenix in order to fly to Enid.

Then I am taking the kids to the Grand Canyon on Sunday.  I cannot wait for them to see it.  I realize that only Hays and Maggie will probably think it is cool and th…

Growing Up

Today was a big "mile stone" day in two of my boys' lives. . .mile stones they weren't even aware of.

Hays got his first school ID. He doesn't really think it is a big deal, but for his mom, it really is. I cannot believe my first baby has a middle school ID. Crazy how quickly time flies.

Dax lost his MeMo (blanket for those of you new to Braner Party of 7) today. And when I say lost, I don't mean that it is unaccounted for, but that he lost his MeMo. I asked him to do something very important and the consequence was that his MeMo would be forever gone if he disobeyed. To be perfectly honest, it was just a threat because I thought for sure with a threat like that, he would obey with perfection. Nope. So, I had to follow through. . .my broken heart, Dax's broken heart and all. The red MeMo (cape that Pops had made for him--his favorite) is now in a memory box (in the trash as far as Dax knows). Sad day.

Life. Not always fun and it goes by too quick…

Baker's Bridge

Vacation With A Purpose

It is time to sign up for the Kivu Spring Break trip to the Philippines! This is the most amazing trip! You can sign up as a family and experience the trip of a lifetime in the beautiful Palawan region of the Philippine islands or you can send your 16-18 year old to join us on their own.

This honestly is the very best week of our family's life each year! We love it! Go to and register today or email me with any questions!

Don't wait! We are renting out the entire El Nido resort this year! Go to to see pictures of the five star eco resort! Come vacation with us!!!

March 5-13, 2011


Today is a busy day. We may be buying a camper, I am headed to the doctor, Gabby has school pictures and I am doing a little more house shopping with our realitor.

The camper. . .Andy and I have been doing tons of research on campers for the past month (who would have EVER thought?) and we have found a couple we are really excited about! We both fell in love with car camping and we are so excited to do much more of it in the future!!! October actually has two car camping weekends already in the works! We'll see what ends up happening today. . .Andy could decide to be practical, but I'm thinking that the look in his eyes when he left the house this morning was a NO on the practical (which I am SO fine with).

The doctor. . .no big deal. Just getting in the "groove" of living in Durango and that means doctors appointments and such. They will be running a couple of tests today that you can be praying for, but I think all will be fine.

School pictures. . .Gabby has her…

Got Mags???

I know, it sounds like I am looking for Maggie. . .I'm not. This is the Miller Middle School fund raising campaign and I am so excited about it! (Hays is a sixth grader at Miller this year.) It is so simple and there is no collecting money and then handing out items by me (and the other moms). And it is for things that I actually buy. . .magazines!!!

Here is how you can help:

Go to (click and it will take you there).
On the right side type in the school ID number 2274WPJ
Then "go shopping"!

They have almost any magazine you can think of. . .you can renew your current subscription or get a new subscription. . .for one year or more years. The magazines will come to your house just as they should and Miller Middle School makes some money off of the subscription (and Hays can win great prizes).

SIMPLE! So, what are you waiting for?!!?!

Happy Birthday, Hays!

I cannot even believe that my baby is twelve! Oh my goodness! This is the little one that changed my life more than any one single person in the world. This is the little one who proved that love at first sight is absolutely true. This is the little guy who made me a better person. My Hays. My guy who I loved so much that I wanted to burst when he was just seconds old. . .twelve years ago.

And since that time he has grown into such a neat young man. He is determined and (can be) diligent. He is tenacious. He is a leader. He is compassionate and caring. He is loving and thoughtful. He loves to learn things and build things. He is a creator and a dreamer. He is a great friend and a wonderful big brother.

I cannot believe how these twelve years have FLOWN by. . .WOW!

Happy Birthday, Hays. I love you more than you will ever know. You hold a very special place in my heart. . .one that cannot be taken by anyone else. You are my first and you are so very dear to me.

by Hea…

My Husband

Here are a few things I have learned about my husband this week (most of them I already knew, but I was given the opportunity to relearn and re-experience them):

He loves me.
He cares deeply.
When I hurt, he hurts worse.
He is single-minded.
He is loyal.
He believes in me (and in us).
He is so much fun to be around.
He thinks I'm funny.
He thinks I'm sexy.
He is in this for the long haul.
He is humble.
There is nothing I can do (or say) to make him stop loving me.
He respects me.
He cherishes me.
He values my opinions and my wisdom.
He adores me.

We got to spend a couple of days with just us this week and it was much needed and very healthy and helpful for us. We spent two days and one night in a cute little bed and breakfast in Boulder on Wednesday and then we spent last night in a nasty bed and breakfast in Farmington. I've loved my time with him this week and I feel like we are closer as a result.

Life puts so many experiences in your path. . .ones you plan and ones you don't . …

The new look of Camp Kivu has gone live! All of you campers should have gotten your new 2011 brochure in the mail today! And for those of you who haven't yet been to Kivu, check out (click and it will automatically take you there) and check out our new look for 2011! You can register for all of our new options: 14 days, 7 days, spring and summer mission trips, parent/child backpack trips and much more! Kivu has so much to offer this summer and I am really excited to share it with you!

Soccer Saturdays Have Begun

Yesterday was our first Soccer Saturday of 2010. Thankfully only three of the five wanted to play this year. . .since I am a single mom so often in the fall it is tough to be everywhere at once. . .heck, with five it is hard to be everywhere even when Andy and I are both in town!

So, here is the soccer run down:

Hays is goalie again this year and he is good! It is fun to watch him play! He really enjoys it! I would HATE to be goalie. . .oh my, I cannot imagine that pressure (from the other team potentially scoring to the ball hitting me in the face)! They were short a player, so Tiki played on his team for half the game (that was HYSTERICAL)!

Tiki is super. . .let me clarify. . .on the Kindergarten team, Tiki is SUPER! He loved it and he did great! He is just so funny. The other team scored first and he shrugged his shoulders and said, "welp, we lost" and started walking off the field--he thought it was sudden death or something. Then his team started scoring (he started…

Heard This Song For The First Time

Better Than A Hallelujah lyrics
Amy Grant

God loves a lullaby
In a mother's tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

God loves the drunkard's cry
The soldier's plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

The woman holding on for life
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

The tears of shame for what's been done
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Better than a church bell ringing
Better than a choir singing out, singing out

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody

More Lyrics for the Morning

You Never Let Go
Matt Redman

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Lyrics In My Head This Morning

I'm not sure who wrote this song, but in my mind, I am singing Kim Boyce's version this morning.

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek.
For when Your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek.
For when Your eyes are on this child.
Your grace abounds to me.

I want to take Your Word and shine it all around;
First, help me just to live it, Lord.
And when I'm doing well
Help me to never seek a crown;
For my reward is giving glory to You.

Oh Lord, please light the fire
that once burned bright and clear
Replace the lamp of my first
love that burns with holy fear

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek.
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me.
Your grace abounds to me.

Praise The Lord!!!

This is from Melissa's (Chase's mom) Caring Bridge blog this afternoon:

What a day!!!

Chase's surgery began at 8:56 a.m. and at 11:00 Professor comes out to the waiting room to tell us he was finished! We thought, he was just taking a break or something (then a nurse conveyed that he NEVER takes a break) so we knew that he was probably done. He informed us that he removed the artery and tumor (both were entangled together) and that he did not have to perform the bypass because Chase had natural flow throughout the other arteries and vessels. What a praise! Thank you Lord!!!

So, I am sitting here watching him sleep soundly and are so grateful and thankful for God's protection over my boy and guiding the doctor's hands today! And not to mention all the prayers going up for Chase and the team of doctors and nurses! What a testimony of God's grace and mercy!!! Thank you all so very, very much for dying to self and praying for Chase so fervently!

The doctor wil…

Pray For Chase!!

Well, I'm writing again to pray for Chase. His tumor is back and growing faster than before. Today he is having surgery and they are trying the full arterial bypass--Chase's tumor is wrapped around the main artery that goes through the brain, over the ear. It is a very risky surgery. Pray for Chase as he gets prepped for surgery and is scared and pray for his family as they wait for news. I cannot even imagine. Surgery is today. . .pray pray pray!!!

Happy Birthday, PaPa!

Today is PaPa's birthday! For those of you who don't know, PaPa is my amazing father-in-law. He is wonderful and I love him so much!

A little bit about PaPa. . . .

He is the most patient person that God ever created. He oozes patience. . .so unlike me! He is diligent and thorough. He is such a dedicated and hard worker. He can fix anything. He is compassionate and loving. I love to watch him with my kids. He loves them so much (especially the girls). He is sweet and loving and thoughtful and faithful and full of grace. I know, it kind of sounds like I'm describing God. I cannot fathom a more perfect father-in-law. I love him so much and I am so blessed to be his daughter (in law)!

Happy Birthday, PaPa! I admire you more than you could ever imagine! I LOVE YOU!

Apple Day

Yesterday was so much fun! After my FAILURE of a garage sale (the sale COST me 8.75 once I deducted my "earnings" from the cost of three sale signs), we had the most fun afternoon in BEAUTIFUL Colorado! Gretchen and her three children and Valerie and her two children and me and my brood loaded up (in two cars) and headed out to camp. We had a picnic on the sundeck and in true child fashion. . .when there is water, jump in. . .the kids played in the river! It was the most beautiful day and the kids had a blast. Then they all went to the orchard at camp and picked buckets and buckets of apples! We went over to check on them and they were all up in the trees like the children on "The Sound of Music." After the apple picking was finished (and we had to DRAG them out of the trees), we came home and made apple treats for some of the kids teachers. Fun day of laughter and amazing day for me to be with my friends. Apple day 2010 was a success!

Best Weekend Ever (maybe?)

We just got back from a camping trip and it was WONDERFUL! Yes, the ENTIRE family. . .Braner Party of 7 went camping. We loved it! I want to make a habit of this! We had so much fun! It was SO cold (hovering around freezing), but what memories!

We met some friends (fairly new friends) at the campground yesterday around lunch and just set up camp and explored and hung out all day. After dinner and s'mores, we headed to bed. Maggie and Gabby had a tent (and ended up in the same sleeping bag because Gabby was freezing). Hays and Tiki and Dax had the boys tent and they did great. . .not too much laughter or goofing off at all. I was very proud of them. Then Andy and I had a tent. . .kind of brought back memories from our first 74 days of marriage that we spent in a tent. . .much better, though!

Today we hiked up to this waterfall. . .a pretty big hike for five littles and Gabby got the "trooper" award! She did super! Dax was not happy the ENTIRE way up (see pictu…