In light of our 5th anniversary this year, we’d like to share with you a bit more about the people behind The Lily-Jo Project!
Next up is our children and family blog writer, Brandy Browne.
Brandy has been working with us at The Lily-Jo Project since the beginning of 2021, and she covers blog articles related to children’s mental health, parenting, and family life.
Here’s a bit more about Brandy’s background, perspective on mental health, and her ongoing work outside of The Lily-Jo Project.
About Brandy Browne
Brandy Browne is a care coordinator for a local mental health agency in the United States, as well as a family coach and blogger for UnStuck (www.unstucks.com) – her family coaching service aimed at helping families develop positive habits and breaking the cycle of generational trauma and poverty.
Her education is in early and elementary education, and she also has a masters degree in parenting and child/adolescent development. Brandy is a wife to her high school sweetheart of fifteen years, and together they share three children, aged ten, seven, and five. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, writing, and distance running.
An Interview with Brandy Browne
What is one piece of advice that you would give to your teenage self?
Spend less time worrying about what everyone else thinks.
My teen years were so hard because I didn’t feel like I fit with anyone. I’ve always had these dreams of changing the world and this old soul that didn’t fit the typical high school agenda. I wanted so desperately to be “beautiful” and “popular.” But for what?
I’m so proud to be known for my kind spirit and my good works as an adult. Those things that made me “odd” as a teenager have propelled me to success for all the right reasons as an adult. Each of us have been blessed with talents and things that make us unique.
Lean into that, rather than shying away for fear of looking weird. Those that change the world are rarely described as “normal.”
Thinking about your work with The Lily-Jo Project, what article or project are you the most proud of?
I pride myself on keeping it real with my readers. I make it my mission to tackle those hard topics in the way you might have a conversation on a park bench with your best friend.
Additionally, I have been through some experiences that, while difficult to talk about, might light the way for others, and, in that case, any pain that I have suffered through has a purpose.
I have struggled with infertility, depression, feeling suicidal, and having a daughter with a mental health issue that is really challenging on a day-to-day basis. By being open about those things, it helps others to know that, no matter how rough things seem, they are not alone in this world.
In your view, what do you consider to be the most pressing and important mental health topic of this moment in time?
As a woman who struggled with infertility and depression prior to having children, I found myself totally consumed in the raising of them. I was almost addicted to being the “perfect” parent after all the time I spent wishing so desperately to be a mom.
Somehow, along the way, I lost myself for a bit. My self-care was really lacking, and my own mental health deteriorated to almost the point of no return.
What I’ve learned, and what I preach to others, is that you really have to take care of yourself in order to be able to continually serve the people and causes you love most. You truly cannot pour from an empty cup. It isn’t selfish. I can be the best version of myself for those that I love and give back in even bigger ways when I am well rested and my soul is in a good place.
What blog, book, film, podcast, etc. has been inspiring you lately?
I have read so many good books lately. What I am really passionate about learning more about right now is the way that brain development affects how we respond to trauma. Anything by Dan Siegel (author of The Whole Brain Child, The Power of Showing Up, etc.) is so good. He explains how the brain works in such a way that it resonates with anyone who works with youth, no advanced medical knowledge necessary.
Another good one is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk is also so good…it really dives into how trauma can literally rewire our brains and changes the way our personality develops across the lifespan.
Can you share a bit more about your creative work outside of The Lily-Jo Project?
After working in early childhood education for over a decade, I recently leaped into an entirely different career – and I absolutely love it! Since June of 2021, I am now a care coordinator for a local mental health agency.
As a teacher, I truly loved the social-emotional development side of education…watching tiny people come into their own personalities and developing those characteristics that would set them up for success throughout life. By altering the focus in my career just a little bit, I now get to focus on this full-time.
I am also finishing obtaining my marriage and family therapy license. I can’t wait to get to help families become their best for the rest of my life.
I also enjoy writing my own blog (www.unstucks.com), writing for various nonprofits, and taking part in numerous community efforts in my hometown. This past week, my agency has been working with the local school system to build a “bank” of sneakers for families that need help with shoes. I remember being that parent who just prayed my child’s shoes would last until payday…I really want to give back and alleviate that stress for other families now.
I think my experiences have made my heart for service even bigger. Gordon Hinckley once said, “The happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.” That really resonates with me. I am at my happiest when I am making a difference in the lives of others
More from Brandy
Looking for more from Brandy? Check out some of her recent blog articles for The Lily-Jo Project below.
- 5 Back to School Anxiety Busters for Small Children
- How Spending the Day at a Waterpark Helped Teach My Tween about Body Positivity
- Even Olympians Need to Step Back: What Simone Biles Can Teach our Children about Self-Care and Prioritizing Mental Health
- Finding the Good: Five Affirmations to Build Self Esteem in Our Children
- Handling Tough Conversations with Your Children: 5 Top Tips to Strengthen Your Relationship