My name’s Trina Browning. My passions are singing, reading, blogging at Tidbits From Trina, teaching CPR and First Aid, secret service and hanging out with my family. I am who I am because of the examples, experiences, blessings and challenges I’ve had throughout my life. Not all of them good, not all of them bad. I wouldn’t change any of them. I’ve learned and been strengthened and shaped by each and felt blessed by the many great experiences the Lord has given me.
I grew up in a home with many challenges. We endured financial struggles and my mom had major health problems including difficulties carrying children due to double female organs, a stroke and cancer. I watched my mom bury more children than most could comprehend. Being the oldest I felt the need to be responsible and a good example to my three younger siblings as well as easy on my parents. The fabulous thing about growing up in our home was I rarely felt the burdens of our challenging situations. My parents were strong. They taught us to love each other and love the Lord. They taught us not to complain. They taught us to find humor and goodness. They taught us to develop our talents. They taught us to look for our blessings. It wasn’t hard – there were many!
The summer between my junior and senior years in high school I was in the Miss Teen America pageant in Hollywood. Although I didn’t place in the top 10 an agent heard me sing during the talent competition. He contacted my parents and offered to put me on tour opening for a successful artist. I was ecstatic. I’d been singing since I was just little. I LOVE to perform. This was truly a dream come true. It was such a huge decision that would affect the rest of my life that I needed to pray about it. After I started to pray I got scared. I’d have to leave my home and tour with a chaperone, being homeschooled on the road by people I didn’t know. Then I had a strong realization that this life wouldn’t be good for my future children. I knew my answer and gave up my dream so I could be the kind of mom I wanted to be. Raising my kids the way Heavenly Father wants me to is worth everything I gave up. No regrets.
At the end of my freshman year in college at BYU Idaho (then called Ricks College) my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was given three months to live. I remember when a hospice nurse showed up at our doorstep. My mom was lying on the couch and told the lady that no one at our home was dying; she must have the wrong house. She lived for 15 more years, long enough to see all of my children on this earth. Her faith was incredible.
In my second year of college at BYU Idaho (then called Ricks College) Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, a general authority in our church offered to give my mom a blessing. She asked if I’d like to come. I wanted to but I already had a date with a really cute guy named Kevin- so I brought him along. After the most remarkable blessing I’ve ever heard, Elder Kikuchi bluntly asked Kevin and I when we were getting married. Embarrassed we let him know we’d only been dating for 2 weeks. He then told us he married his wife only 2 weeks after meeting her. Although I don’t think he was telling us we were meant to be together forever, it definitely put some thoughts in our heads. I became Kevin’s wife just a few months later in the Portland, Oregon temple.
Interestingly enough, Elder Kikuchi was scheduled to seal us but his flight was delayed. He called the temple president from the plane and asked if he’d be willing to step in for him as long as it was okay with us. He came and talked to Kevin and I about it. We had the option of rescheduling or having the temple president seal us. We just wanted to get married so we were sealed by the temple president instead. I’ve never regretted that. I love being married to Kevin and realized then that it didn’t matter who married us as long as it was sealed by the Lord so we could be together forever.
We (intentionally) had 5 kids in 7 years. My husband’s theory was ‘the sooner you get them out, the sooner you get them out’. We thought it’d be fun to have a few years to travel or go on missions after the kids were grown and while we’re still somewhat healthy. A few years ago we added a developmentally disabled teenage boy to the mix through a system similar to foster care. Although he has a family who loves him dearly and is involved in his life we love being his second family and the people he lives with. When he became an adult we realized we were attached to him. So we made the necessary arrangements for him to continue to stay with us. Including him we have 6 kids between the ages of 20 and 13. Being a mom is the most important and rewarding blessing I’ve received. I thank Heavenly Father each day for my children and the opportunity I have of being their earthly mom. I believe these children are mine, on loan from Heavenly Father and I need to do everything I can to guide them back to Him. I constantly strive to be as good a mom as I had. My kids deserve it.
A few years ago, on a very hot summer day, Kevin was coming back from a hiking trip in his truck. His brother was right behind him in a different car. The truck started to over-heat but he was unable to pull over for many miles due to construction on the freeway. Finally, he made it to an exit and parked the truck. He got in with his brother thinking he’d come back late that night when it had cooled down and drive it home then. When they went back to get the truck they found it in more than one piece, burned, along with a lot of land. We learned that just minutes after Kevin parked it, it literally blew up, catching many acres of land on fire. It took three fire agencies including a fire helicopter to put it out. We were shocked to find we would probably be sued for around 2 million dollars. We were numb. I remember sitting in my newly decorated master bathroom wondering if we’d lose our home and everything else. The possessions I’d loved just days before meant very little to me any longer. I realized that we could lose it all but as long as we had each other we’d be okay. It was a relief to know no one could take away the things that mattered most to us, our children and the gospel. We fasted and prayed. We exercised faith that the Lord’s will, would come about. We sure hoped the Lord’s will was our will but were grateful that things were in His hands and would work for our best, whatever that was. After many stressful months we received word from our attorney that the agencies had decided not to pursue a lawsuit any further. That was a life changing experience.
The Lord has given me opportunities to learn and grow, to shape myself into a daughter that he’d be pleased with. I’m a work in progress but I’m improving. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ I’m empowered to do those things He wants me to. I’m grateful for Heavenly Father’s plan and that he puts such importance on families. I look forward to the day that my family and I meet Him again.
I really enjoyed this story. What a lovely testimony. I felt uplifted by reading your thoughts today. Thanks and hugs to you!
You have lived such an amazing life, Trina! You are truely an inspiration!