Sunday, March 30, 2008

Braun Memories Blog

Mom asked me some time ago to write down some of the memories I have from childhood, after Jodi and Tami and I were reminiscing and she couldn't remember the situation we were talking about. I've been working on that for a few years now, I was hoping to put them into a scrapbook, but just haven't had the time yet. I came up with the brain wave of putting them into a blog, so then I can enter random memory entries as I like and then label them with location, and year, and if I add more authors, who entered the memory. Anyway, since a lot of family reads this blog I figured I'd post an open invitation here for anyone who wants to have access to this blog of our Braun family memories because I'm going to be making the blog private. Just leave me a comment with your email address or send me an email if you want me to email you an invitation to access the blog. I think it's going to be a real great keep sake of memories once it gets going!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Fill-In

1. Some relationships are meant to end badly.
2. Big & Rich is the last concert I saw; it was radtastic!
3. Spring should be here NOW.
4. Oh no! I forgot to thaw meat for supper!
5. I've recently started disliking the taste of sweets!?!?
6. Sean never fails to make me smile.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to bowling, tomorrow my plans include avoiding snow and Sunday, I want to feel ready to face another week!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Things you want your kids to know" Thursday

I've been faced with the question, 'why do I want kids at all' since getting pregnant has become an issue and most people assume I want to experience the baby years, the funny-word-toddler years, and the cuddly-I'm-still-dependent years, which I do really look forward to, but mostly when I think of being a parent I think of all I've learned in life and that I feel the need to pass it on. I hope to help my children avoid the mistakes I made and that I've seen other people make. I saw a meme on this topic, "Things you want your kids to know" and I decided I'd like to use it, even though the fate of my children is still unknown to me. Which leads perfectly into my first entry for this meme.

The thing I first and foremost want my children to know is that God has a plan for them. "For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil. Plans to give you a future and hope." Jeremiah 29:11. His timing is perfect, He knows when you are ready to handle the ups and downs of what life inevitably brings. Don't try to rush or control His plans, accept that He knows a billion times more than we know and He is doing what's best for you and the people in your life. Wait patiently for Him to show you when the timing is right, and trust His plans are perfect for you and the purpose He has for you in this life.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Invasion of the body snatchers

Ok, something has invaded my brain, telling me I LIKE to exercise! Telling me I need to find MORE excuses to exercise! It's telling me I NEED to get sweaty, and when I do I LIKE it! I'm counting down the days till the wet, muddiness is gone and I can go for long walks. I am taking advantages of little pockets of free time to slip in some yoga moves, lifting a few weights, or dancing around the house. This is totally foreign to me! It's like I'm not myself, but I don't mind this 'body snatching', even if the snatching is only happening a few pounds and inches here and there. Lol.
I am more than a little surprised at the change in my will power, but pleasantly surprised of course. My little motivation tricks have partly done the trick, paying money for missed workouts (haven't had to pay once), earning money for exercising more (I've made almost $20), punishing extra snacks with more workout times, and refusing to weigh myself. This is about being healthy and creating a lifestyle, not just attaining a certain weight, because as soon as I hit that weight, I'll be done, so I'm going to wait until my first full month on my plan before I even step on the scale.
Anyway, just wanted to be my own cheerleader for a few seconds : )

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oops, she did it again!

Guess who's at it again. Oprah, that's who. I'm not going to rant as much as last time, I have found some other articles and blogs that do that for me, but to sum it up in a nut shell, she's endorsed a spiritual self-help book, not only making it book of the month but holding special webinars so that people can participate in the 'learning experience'. The book is purposefully generic so that a person of any religion feels it's applicable to them, and then it feeds them the same old new age mantras....such as self-actualization, becoming one, etc. It also says our true form is consciousness, which is 'Being', 'Being' = god, and we are thus all god. Puh-lease!

From the Oprah propaganda it was hard to tell what the true message of this spiritual book was, so I searched the internet for the opinions of Christians who read it. I happened upon this site and I can't help but be offfended by people who believe that they are god and then look down at me for my "ridiculous" beliefs, such as "those of the Christian faith...especially those who take the Bible as absolute truth...the ones who don't believe in reincarnation, or don't believe that animals have souls and of course those who believe that only those who follow "their" beliefs will go to heaven." This condemnation from someone who doesn't even know how to use quotation marks. That blog was good for a laugh, just to see what "words" were in "quoation" marks.

Anyway, I digress. Here are a few interesting articles from Christians who have read the book:

And here are some interesting comments from people who have read it, most who are not opposed to its message. Unfortunately the other 90% of comments were from Oprah-sheep who loved it. It's interesting how people who are fans of new age recognize that this is a new age book, but Oprah baulks at the insinuation she's new age. No, no....she's not new age.....she's god!

"Normally I don't really go for Oprah selections but I heard so many great things about it plus I am totally into new agey type things, I thought it would be right up my alley. My problem with this book was twofold. First, a lot of the ideas weren't new to me. So I was reading the book going yeah, yeah, yeah I get it (and I felt like he repeated himself a thousand times). My second problem is... what's so bad about sometimes attaching yourself to people or things or concepts? Of course it's bad to get yourself totally wrapped in being "x and y's mom" or "z employee of this company" but why is bad to feel pride in that? It makes it harder to lose something if you've attached it to your ego, but I am okay with that. My parents are MY parents and assuming they precede my in death, it will be so hard but I am fine with experiencing a whole range of emotions in this life -- being excessively happy and excessively sad. My kids are MY kids and even though that will likely make it harder for me when they are off to college and doing their own thing, I'm fine with that!"

"opened this book, hoping to find something inspiring, eye-opening, and life-changing. Instead, it appears to be filled with the same old New Age babble about self-actualization and "each being the part of the one." It's not that I disagree -- it's just that I don't think there's anything particularly new or different. The same old, same old about non-judgment, embracing all things, blah blah blah. Call me crazy, but I think I've read this about 100 times before."

"Somewhat wordy and redundant. Arguments are circular, premises subjective, logic closed. Nice primer on Buddhism though and certainly one man's quintessential search for the meaning of life that maybe be helpful to others. In summary: Ego is the bad guy, very bad. But, I'd argue, essential to human nature. Yes, terrible atrocities have been committed due to ego but great achievements have as well. His interpretation of ego is my primary argument with this book. The subtitle is: Awakening to YOUR Life's Purpose. This statement alone calls to our egos, but if our egos are so very flawed why would egos be searching for a life purpose?"

"I admit it, I was lured in by the big Oprah sticker. I don't know why I fall for it; almost every book she ever recommends is complete garbage. I am happy to say that A New Earth is no exception. I want to love self-help books but they seem like they're just common sense mixed with a little spiritual garbage."

"So far this book has been helpful and interesting. From a psychotherapy type of perspective, I like what Tolle has to say. The quoting scripture is interesting, and a little out of context-very new age ideas, but it has challenged my thinking and caused me to examine and appreciate my own beliefs about humanity, grace and having a savior- lucky for me I don't have to master this spirituality stuff to reap the rewards."

"This was just okay for me. I liked it better when he used anecdotes to explain his points, but those seemed to be few and far between. Otherwise, the explanations seemed to go in circles to me, and I had annoying flashbacks of Psych 101 at UCSB. This book reminded me a little bit about why I didn't enjoy that class. "

"I am about half way through this book and overall I think it is a waste of time. The author babbles on about Egoic behavior - thinking is bad - feeling is good, blah blah blah! I presently think it should be rated very low for its readability factor - beyond tedious! Every once in a while there is a worthwhile thought expressed, but for the most part not worth reading. At the risk of saying something dissident, I have yet to read a book from Oprah's selections that isn't based on dysfunction to the max!"

""If you find this book incomprehensible or meaningless, it (the first awakening) has not yet happened to you." This sums up my problem with this book - he posits all sorts of "truths" with no proofs and not even much anecdotal evidence. But, of course, if you mention this, all you're doing is revealing your inadequacies, not flaws in his arguments. So call me unawakened."

"This book had some interesting ideas and even some ah-ha points for me, however I felt it was a little "new age" for me. I also feel that my understanding of my life's purpose has been and continues to be found through my relationship with my Savior and the gospel, so my "need" for this is naught."

"I'm sorry, Oprah! I just couldn't get into this book and I really wanted to--I hate disappointing Oprah. Maybe I'm just not at the right place in my life to be reading it, or maybe I just plain didn't get it. I mean, it's a lot of the same stuff I've read before. A lot of Buddhist philosophy, just wearing a different dress. Pain bodies--really? "

Monday, March 17, 2008

I used to love rollercoasters

March has already been a bit of wild ride, a bit of rollercoasting up and downs and some Tilt-a-Whirl making me a little sick to my stomach. Maybe I just need some mini donuts or cotton candy to get the full effect, but these ‘rides’ aren’t as amusing as my fond amusement park memories.

March 1st started off GREAT! That’s because it was our 5th year anniversary! Yes already! We celebrated with a weekend at the Inn at the Forks, in their Riverstone suite, complete with a mini-waterfall, plasma t.v., dinner at the Current, sparkling wine and chocolate dipped strawberries, a Jacuzzi (the bathroom was as big as our bedroom!), and just a chance to get away from it all for 24 hours. *sigh* It was magnificent. The Riverstone spa is really nice too, but not enough money for that right now, otherwise I would have added a couple’s massage. So, #51 from my 101 list is now complete, and successfully pulled off.

The rest of the first week was the Gravitron, where centrifugal forces suck you against the wall, except I was stuck to my chair at work by the force of all the reports flying on and off my desk. It was a little stressful, but I was happy to making overtime, which can go to a new paint job for the house. And I was pleasantly surprised I still had energy when I got home, unlike previous times I’ve had a busy/stressful week at work, and I can only attribute it to my new routine of regular exercise.

Then, came a rollercoaster dip, you know the kind that feels like your stomach has jumped into your throat? Richard added me to his Facebook friends. Almost 8 months to the day from when I essentially ended our friendship (although it was technically his choice). I was a little shocked because, besides the fact that he said he would NEVER join, to have the nerve to just add me when I told him we couldn’t have a friendship unless he allowed me to confront him on some things. I don’t like suspecting the worst, but considering our history, it’s hard not to wonder if he's just spying or just trying to remind me he's still around. I added him for a few days just to see if he MIGHT prove me wrong, but then I re-thought that....he knows how to get a hold of me many other ways, if he's going to finally agree to talk it won't be through Facebook, so I told him as much and deleted him. That didn’t elicit a response either. I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, and I got a pit in my stomach that made me a little ill. I felt like my buttons were still getting pushed and sure, I’m not reacting the way I would have a year ago, or a few years ago, but I’m still reacting. And it bugs me. And it was the last thing I needed, just days before F-day…..fertility doctor day! Luckily I have some great people in my life who made me feel better about the situation, and how I handled it, and by my appointment I had almost forgotten all about it.

March 11th was our appointment and the whole morning was like a rollercoaster climbing a peak, just slowly chugging away, building anticipation until my stomach just about couldn’t handle it anymore. But when the appointment was over it was an exhilarating rush, and I couldn’t have been flying higher.

Then, that night, an acquaintance of ours revealed that she was in an abusive relationship and she was acting desperate. I tried to talk to her like I needed someone to talk to me 12 years ago but one thing about someone who’s been manipulated for years is that they tend to manipulate things themselves. They can start treating others like they are treated because that’s how they’ve been trained to relate. She was trying to manipulate people into acting the way she wanted us to act, and she was also an expert at excuses, another trait inherited from a manipulator. I don’t know if I made any headway but by the time we were done talking she knew I wasn’t someone she could control, but she also knew that I might be one person she can rely on. She knows the song and dance of why she should leave but doesn’t believe she’s capable of pulling it off. I was there once, I can relate. I’ll just keep trying to help her believe it.

Despite my emotionally draining week, I did manage to keep my physical energy up and even increased my exercise while decreasing my eating! My clothes are a little looser and I’m beginning to feel ‘better’. It’s hard to say what exactly, maybe it’s just the energy, or the pride in my accomplishment. The side effects of my medication have taken a small toll, but is nothing I can’t handle and is well worth their trouble, and I wonder how much of that is due to my mind set that I’m willing to go through it for the desired outcome, or because I’m taking better care of myself physically. Whichever it is, I’m happy I’ve made the decisions I have recently.

Phew. What a ride life is sometimes!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rays of Hope

So, today was the day I've long awaited, the day I hoped to have the right people ask the right questions and start a journey of getting some answers, which all happened, but what made me even happier was that a treatment plan was already put in place today. I will be starting treatments this Thursday already!
The doctor said it sounds like my ovulation happens at a different time every month so he's going to put me on a drug that regulates that, which is what I start taking Thursday. They are in the mean time also doing routine blood tests for hormone levels, some tomorrow and some in 3 weeks, partly to see what kind of hormones levels I have and partly to see if I did in fact ovulate due to this drug. The doctor also said that insulin levels can affect ovulation and so he gave me a drug that regulates that as well. It's actually a drug that treats diabetics, and so he said it may also help me lose weight, which will also increase my chances of ovulating normally. He said the reason weight can affect fertility is because the more you weigh the more estrogen your body produces and so when it comes time to ovulate it thinks it doesn't need to produce the extra estrogen to release the egg because your body has enough, and an egg doesn't get released or it delays the release. He said I should still have an exercise and nutrition program (which I do :) at the same time to work with these drugs. Of course they are doing a few other things just to rule stuff out, like Sean is being tested, and an x-ray of my uterus will be done in about a month, and possibly more depending on my blood tests and whether I ovulate this month. He gave us a flow chart of how the testing process works, showing what results to lead to which courses of action, treatment wise or further testing. It sounds simple enough for the moment, and Sean is willing, and it doesn't feel like we're manipulating nature too much. I haven't got the prescriptions yet since I can't start them until Thursday anyway, so we'll see how much they cost us. I guess that will factor into how long we try this plan of treatment. The doctor said the insulin regulator alone helps a lot of women, so depending on cost we might stick with just that.....I'm crossing my fingers it helps with my weight too, that would be nice : ) So, that's what we know, and it sounds hopeful. Thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Testing Testing

So Pam had a link on her blog to a really neat HumanMetrics personality type thingy and her reading was so accurate (I think so anyway) that I wanted to do my own. Here is the link if you want to do it as well,

Before I give you the results I just wanted to say, when I checked out the first analysis of what my personality strengths are, I thought, wow do they have me pretty pegged, and then I went to the second analysis and it was the exact same one as Pam's! lol. It's too funny, because while we do have so much in common, the two things I really noticed that hit the nail on the head on Pam's was her ability to be an amazing hostess (me not so much) and how she is well suited to be an elementary school teacher (again, me not so much). I just thought that was really interesting and funny.

So here's my strengths and the analysis I thought captured me pretty well. You can go to Pam's blog if you wish to read the other analysis.

Your Type is
Strength of the preferences %
Extraverted - 11
Sensing - 1
Feeling - 62
Judging - 78
The Portait of the Provider (ESFJ)
Provider Guardians take it upon themselves to arrange for the health and welfare of those in their care, but they are also the most sociable of all the Guardians, and thus are the great nurturers of established institutions such as schools, businesses, churches, social clubs, and civic groups. Wherever they go, Providers take up the role of social contributor, happily giving their time and energy to make sure that the needs of others are met, that traditions are supported and developed, and that social functions are a success.
Providers are very likely more than ten percent of the population, and this is very fortunate for the rest of us, because friendly social service is a key to their nature. Highly cooperative themselves, Providers are skilled in maintaining teamwork among their helpers, and are also tireless in their attention to the details of furnishing goods and services. They make excellent chairpersons in charge of social events. They are without peer as masters of ceremonies, able to approach others with ease and confidence, and seemingly aware of what everyone's been doing. And they are outstanding hosts or hostesses, able to remember people's names, usually after one introduction, and always concerned about the needs of their guests, wanting to insure that all are involved and provided for. (I seem to have the makings of a better host than I think I am)
Providers are extremely sensitive to the feelings of others, which makes them perhaps the most sympathetic of all the types, but which also leaves them rather self-conscious, that is, highly sensitive to what others think of them. Because of this Providers can be crushed by personal criticism, and will work most effectively when given ample appreciation both for themselves personally and for the service they give to others. This is not to say that Providers are afraid to express their own emotional reactions. They are quick to like and dislike-and don't mind saying so-tending to put on a pedestal whatever or whoever they admire, and to come down hard on those people and issues they don't care for.
In their choice of careers, Providers may lean toward sales and service occupations. They have such pleasant, outgoing personalities that they are far and away the best sales reps, not only regularly winning sales contests, but earning seniority in any sales group within an organization. Observing Providers at work in a sales transaction reveals clearly how this type personalizes the sale. They are visibly-and honestly-concerned with their customer's welfare, and thus the customer is not simply buying the product, but is buying personally from the Provider. This same characteristic causes them to be good in many people-to-people jobs, as teachers, clergy, coaches, social workers, office receptionists, and so on. Providers seldom become a source of irritation in the workplace; on the contrary, they are unflagging in their devotion to their company, and show such personal loyalty to their immediate superiors that they make invaluable personal secretaries.
Barbara Walters, J C Penney, Sam Walton, Sally Struthers, Mary Tyler Moore, Sally Field, Danny Glover, and Dave Thomas are examples of Provider Guardians.
Primary - Extraverted Feeling
ESFJs have the ability to express warmth, rage, and a range of other emotions. Actions are encouraged or rebuked based on how they affect other people, especially people near and dear to the ESFJ.
Secondary - Introverted Sensing
The strengthening effect of Introverted Sensing on Extraverted Feeling may be responsible for this type's reputation for wearing their "hearts on their sleeves." ESFJs reflect the "black and white" view of reality.
Tertiary - Extraverted iNtuition
As the ESFJ matures, and as situations arise which call for suspension of criticism, Extraverted iNtuition is allowed to play. Under the leadership of the Extraverted Feeling function, iNtuition allows for a loosening of the more rigid Introverted Sensing rights and wrongs; teasing and slapstick humor emerge.
Lastly - Introverted Thinking
ESFJs may take affront at the aloof, detached nature of dominant Introverted Thinking types, or conversely, be drawn to them. Their conclusions do not obey the tenets of impersonal logic; they rather construct scenarios from only those "hard, cold facts" which support the conclusion reached by the dominant Extraverted Feeling function.

Interestingly enough, I'm pretty sure Sean's an introverted thinker! I can't remember how many times we've had the debate of impersonal vs. emotional logic. Turns out in this case, no matter how aggrevated that conversation gets me, I'm drawn to his introverted thinking!

Friday, March 7, 2008


I've been quiet lately, but I'm not MIA, just very busy at work. I put in over 4 hours of overtime this week and Monday looks like it may be another OT day. Good thing I have Tuesday off, although that doesn't mean it is a stress free day....I'm a little nervous about my dr.'s appointment, but the busyness is helping me not to think about that. Anyway, I just wanted to thank people for their encouragement and not making me regret my last post, lol. I feel less alone in this.....for once I actually think I'm going to succeed at this.

Anyway, I have plenty to write about....not so much plenty of time, and my back and arms are rebelling against being at a computer, considering the 11 hr day I just put and the 9.5 hr day I did yesterday. I'll be back. Haha, that makes me think of Arnie (for those of you who aren't on a first name basis with the Governor of California, that's Arnold Schwartzeneggar). And that makes me think of 'It's notta tuma!' Lol, I love that line, I'm such a dork.
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