I am grateful…

President Nelson (from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) shared a wonderful message about gratitude on Friday:

One quote from his message was:

“Counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems. No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a unique, fast-acting, and long-lasting spiritual prescription.” —President Russell M. Nelson

I think it is well-established here, that I have found gratitude very healing in my own life.  If u follow me on Facebook or Instagram, for the next 7 days (starting today), I will be posting things I am grateful for, & I wanted to invite u to join me!

Happy Halloween!

I have this document where I paste “clips” from other things I have typed, for ideas of future posts on my blog/website.  It saves me tons of time, so I’m not slowly re-typing something I told to someone already, & I don’t have to decide what to talk about–a BIG deal for me (I never liked having to choose what to eat or wear, so I always made Mark cook, & now he chooses what I wear, too!  Haha)

Anyway, while I haven’t posted in FOREVER, I have been keeping these “clips,” & now I’m so overwhelmed by them, I never post!  I will try to remedy that now…

The last time I posted, I shared a link that has scrapbook pages I’ve done (which I still add to, btw, so check it out—I add about 4 or more pages a month).  Since  I post my scrapbook pages, I’ve had several people ask why I scrapbook.  Often I answer that I scrapbook because I find it therapeutic by reframing my thoughts, but I have other reasons as well:

—it is a way to express myself artistically

—it is a way to “hold on” to my past self

—it is a way to re-live former experiences

—it is a way to share my life w/posterity, & show that life can still be enjoyed admits trial

—it can be empowering to see my accomplishments

—it helps me find & feel gratitude (which I need daily!)

—it can help me to see God’s hand in my life

So to update everyone, this COVID-lifestyle has been good to me (of course I can find negatives, but u know I don’t like to think about those, so here are the positives):

–I always can potty now

-people have more free time to help me

-restaurants now have tables spaced so I can get around—& stores have more room too

–while masks are annoying, they can also keep me warm (when I’m cold in bed, I essentially do the same thing, by pulling the sheets over my nose, so my own breath keeps me warm)

–being a “homebody” is what I like to do anyway

–I can get food delivered from ANYWHERE now…

I am now an empty nester (& under 50 years old!)  It had a rough start for me—since poor Mark only has me now, I got all depressed thinking about how his life was so different with only me here, & I had to reface issues from 16 years ago, as this was not how I’d envisioned life after my kids grew up!  I always planned to go back to elementary school once all my kids left.

So, I started thinking about how I wished I was different…for me, for Mark…But in talking to a friend, I realized that I had to change my focus–I realized that I know better than to dwell on what we can’t do–I get so depressed when I think that way about myself, so why would this be different???

So, I started thinking different.  & while I didn’t miss disciplining whiny, moody kids, I did miss the fun (as any mom does–each child– even my new daughter-in-law, who spent the summer here–brings something unique…in fact, the 1st time I heard a recording of Sophie singing, I bawled!)  So with all of the kids gone, the house became eerily quiet

But now I LOVE being an empty nester, & I LOVE all the time I have with Mark again!  It is so nice to see Mark more the way I saw him 26 years ago, & for me to t feel as anxious all the time (part of that is oddly a thanks to COVID)!  Plus, I think I was someone’s mom for long enough to forget who I am—or maybe I never took the time after my stroke to figure out who the “new me” was.

I had a plan all laid out, & while I thought 23 years ago that I’d be a teacher now, God had another plan…& because He has a sense of humor, he brought school to me: for a while, my helpers’ kids came here w/them, so one day there was a kindergarten class in my craft room, & the next day there was a 2nd grade class in my craft room… haha

With all my new “free time”, I signed up for a nutrition/weight-loss class that focused more on my mind & changing my habits & thoughts.  It’s a 10-week course that focuses on these 6 “pillars.” In “Target 100,” I like how she does more with re-wiring the brain, & has a focus on emotional eating (which I do).  Since I’m learning how to change some thoughts & habits, I’m hoping that some of the stuff I learn will seep into my OCD-personality, as my recent focus has been on managing that & my anxiety better (it wouldn’t hurt if I lost weight, too)!

But I was having a hard time managing my new phase of life, & I realized that a lot of my thoughts get in my way, so I got a “time coach” (a life coach, who specializes in time management).  Seemed a bit crazy to start this (of all things!) when I was already busy, but our course doesn’t even start until my other class has 1 week left, & I sorta’ get “bonus help” in the meantime.  Already he’s challenged some thoughts & helped me to take ownership or something with things I already knew from Mark. 

I have more things I could talk about, but this post is long enough…Oh!  No costume this year.  So sad!  I love to dress up, (it’s a whole new ballgame now, in a wheelchair!) but we celebrate our Halloween by going to our ward’s trunk or treat (which was different this year), but since I had no kids wanting to go, I stayed warm at home!

Scrapbooking

Prior to my stroke, my kids had “quiet time” every day for about 2 hours. This coincided with the baby’s afternoon nap, & the older children could read, listen to music, nap, rest…whatever…their feet just could not touch the floor. This was my time, & I usually choose to scrapbook…3 kids under 6 years kept me pretty busy, plus a few more things (haha–I was also a room mom, math tutor, scrapbook teacher, president of a club for a genetic disease, primary & nursery chorister at church, & a newly called girls camp director at church), but since I fit scrapbooking into my schedule, when I had my stroke 16+ years ago, I was only a little behind on my children’s scrapbooks! & everything I wanted to do was very organized–every page was in a page protector with the pictures I wanted to scrapbook, & some even had the journaling, page ideas, &/or the scrapbook elements already picked out & with the pictures in the page protector!

However, when my stroke hit, my scrapbooking halted. (Not being able to speak or move was a bit of an issue! Ha! Ha!) A year later, I was introduced to digital scrapbooking, & through the years, I have done some of that, but I was never sure how I’d complete any of the pages I had organized prior to 2004…

I have been blessed in several ways since then to slowly chip away at this, but I was still fighting all the time I lost. But ever since the COVD-19 quarantine began, I have done a lot of scrapbooking. I’m still behind, but I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Here’s what I’ve completed (2000-some 2002), after finishing my daughter’s missionary scrapbook (which was a BIG project to tackle!). I will add more completed pages to this link all month:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/z2xmspyNgnd4ESG58

Update

From March 15-May 21, I hadn’t been out of my house, but I got to do horse therapy again this last week (June 1-4, I was fortunate to have a ride each evening)! Yea! I was super impressed w/all the precautions taken…they’ve really thought things out! & My body really needed it—I slept so hard all week, & often didn’t want to get up! & my tummy muscles have been sore! (I love that feeling now – it is so satisfying to know my body was working hard!). Plus, I don’t get very many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, so between the fresh air & the opportunity to enjoy the company of others, it was almost like an emotional therapy as well!

All 3 kids are headed to college in the fall (yes, my baby, Sophie, graduated this year—she wanted the “senior experience,” & got a very memorable one!). COVD-19 has been a blessing in disguise in some ways since it has worked out to have all my adult children here for a while (& it’s not like a regular visit where they basically just sleep here! Haha). It has also allowed family & friends to find unique ways to show others their love & support, as everyone has chipped in to give Sophie a memorable senior year! I have wished I could do more for her, but it has made my heart so full to witness how the Lord has provided what I could not!

One more thought: As I was getting my haircut yesterday, I was feeling so very grateful that for the past year being a kind of “preparation” of what was going to occur, because there I was wearing a mask & covering my mouth, but still able to talk to my hairdresser (who primarily speaks Spanish)!

Join the fight for inclusion

I LOVE this video (https://youtu.be/HXPbbmRG45A) & echo all they say…they even touch upon some of the struggles I’ve never mentioned, & just “deal with.” I am a really big advocate for disability awareness–that’s the whole reason for my website, jenannlynn.org. I just want people aware that I’m a person too, & to see some of my struggles & joys. Please join the fight for inclusion!:

www.BraunAbility.com/TheDrivingForce