Showing posts from 2012

Oh what a night

Yesterday, my dear sister-in-law got married. The Brack wedding machine was in full swing. There were pretty dresses, good food, lovely centerpieces. There was laughing and crying. There was the post-wedding hang-out.

After an exhausting but joyful day, my husband and I and our 2 guests, Clare and Liz, headed back to our home. Robert stopped on the way, so we arrived first. I was putting sheets on a bed for a 3rd guest on their way when I hear these immortal words... "Chrissy! I need you... and the first aid kit."

I hurried downstairs to find my husband, still only about a week post-op from having gallbladder removed, hobbling around our foyer. To make a long story short, he slipped on the ice and cut himself.

Luckily, friends, I am CPR certified and used to be first aid certified. They aim this training to be something that "kicks-in" as a first response to a crisis.

I did the very first thing they tell you to do -- assess the situation. Well, we need a chair as t…

It's not over yet

As Christmas quickly approaches, I think both of what the next 2 weeks bring us. It's our own 12 days of Christmas around here, and trust me, I'd take geese a layin'. 

As you probably know, I had PRK done to my eyes back in October. I am pleased to announce that I have fully recovered and see wonderfully. I once was blind, but now I see... very literally in this case. Every night, I get ready for bed and I am struck by the miracle that is my new eye-sight. It's wonderful! All of the complications -- dryness, soreness, blurry vision, distance trouble, and night vision trouble -- are gone. Good thing, too, because it's my turn to be the healthy one.

As you may know, we are not finished with major medical procedures here in the Brack house. I may be up and running, but my sweet husband will have his gallbladder taken out on Thursday... Merry Christmas, right? I'm a little nervous about the rest of this week. 

I am worried about preparation, recovery, and a Christmas …

Blueberry Bars

Have you been baking, friends? 'Tis the season!

This creation comes from a place of being a health coach. And you can't bring fatty dishes to health coach parties, friends. Especially not for breakfast. 

These are hearty and fulfilling, and we love blueberries around here, so I keep them in our freezer year round. 

1/16 of the recipe is less than 200 calories (I'm guessing around 150). I use Land O Lakes light butter, because that's the only light butter in the grocery store around here. 

As a note, served warm as a dessert, they would benefit from just a little teeny-tiny bit of ice cream. And this health coach won't tell on you...


Blueberry Breakfast Bars

CRUST AND TOPPING:1 cup whole wheat white flour1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed1/2 cup Splenda 1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 cup unsalted light butter, cold and cut into small cubes2 1/2 cups quick-cook oats2 tablespoons apple or orange juiceFILLING:1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed2 tablespoons whole wheat…

Maybe this Christmas

Christmas is my very favorite holiday. I love Christmas. I love Christmas for the right reason -- the hope we have found is so very, very precious. The other things I do with Christmas all remind me of the importance of this season. AND I GET INTO IT. Come to my house -- it's a Christmas explosion. Anyway,  I love this season, okay?

The past month or two, we haven't exactly been receiving a lot of good news. Don't get me wrong; we are so blessed and I am not complaining. It's a simple fact. And it isn't slowing up in time for Christmas.

This morning, when I came downstairs in my house, I saw my "ever-green" (and very artificial) Christmas tree. I thought, Oh Lord, your love is ever lasting.

I saw our St. Nick's Day filled stockings on the mantle. All I hath needed, thy hand hath provided.

The boughs on my windowsills outlined our sun room, and I am surrounded and carried by grace.

My pom-pom garland entry announces joy. Joy that in our darkness, Chris…

Today we have Thomas

Thomas is known for doubting. This morning, I feel for Thomas. No one is recording these actions in the Bible, no one will discuss (for centuries) my actions and their implications.

When presented with the news that Jesus would be leaving them, Thomas asked, "Lord, if you go, how will we know the way?"

Thomas' issue was Jesus leaving them. Obviously, that's not my issue today, but I have a different circumstance that I am looking at and saying, "Lord, how are we going to do this?"

Lord, how do I have faith in this situation?

I have already cried, prayed, slept and read the Bible.

James MacDonald says Faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it no matter how I feel because God promises a good result.

Today, I believe this with all my heart. And today, when I don't, I will go to Jesus, like Thomas did, and I will say, "Lord, how will I know I the way?"

Even as my heart is breaking and my eyes are filing with tears, I will refuse to bel…

Final thoughts on PRK

I had my surgery on a Friday afternoon at 3PM. When I woke up the next Monday morning, I felt like a different person. My eyes no longer felt like "something" was irritating them. They were dry buy manageable. They were tired but I could see. Light wasn't painful.

The worst thing that Monday morning? THOSE BANDAGE CONTACTS. So gross and dry. The steroid drops you use with PRK are cloudy and gross and make the contacts equally cloudy and gross. You are not allowed to remove or touch the contacts, so... lots of artificial tears.

On Monday, I was able to go shopping with my mom, function around the house, and start making goodies for a family from church thad just had a baby.

I am glad I didn't choose to go back to work that Monday or Tuesday. my eyes just needed... down time. Non-computer-screen time. I felt fine, but my body wanted rest.

This is going into my 3rd week of recovery. My night vision still isn't quite perfect. I need the light to see details and focu…

Life with Boys

I'll finish telling you about PRK soon, promise.
Today, though, let's talk about my life. My life with boys*. *When I say boys instead of men, I mean no disrespect. It's not a matter of age or maturity. I say girls instead of "women" all the time. It means nothing. As you may know, we have a friend and his 2 year old son living with us. It's cool, it's not a thing, and that's all I'm saying. 
With this, I have become out-numbered 4:1 by the men. Because even my dog is a boy.
A few ways my life has changed.... 
The house is always messy. Not horribly so, but there's always... something odd that needs to be cleaned up. I'm slowly accepting this fact and trying my hardest to realize it's not a big deal.

I am frequently called emotional or catty. This isn't mean -- it's fact. But other girls aren't like, "What is wrong with you today?" or "Chrissy, you are being mean. You are overreacting". We don't do …

PRK: part ii

The truth about PRK… it’s not… that bad.

I have a high pain tolerance and everyone is different, so take it all
with a grain of salt. Your PRK could be mind-crushingly painful.

It hurts.
I’m not going to lie.
It hurts a lot.

When I hit my wall, I knew this is “what they had been talking about”.
This happened at about 20 hours post-op for me, early on Saturday
afternoon. I excused myself and went upstairs to rest. However, no
matter what I did, I found that everywhere was too bright for me to
relax, even with sunglasses on top of other shades.

Since lying in a bathroom that a 2 year uses was not appealing, I went
to the only other place in our beautiful, window-filled home that was
sealed from natural daylight – our walk-in closet in our master

If you house-hunt in the near future, walk into that master closet and
think to yourself, “Hmm… could I sprawl out on the floor in pain if
need be?” You’re welcome.

I made a little nest for myself in our closet, and then I shoved
things against the crack …

PRK - Part 1

So… I did it! I had PRK {laser vision corrective}surgery.

This blog post contains medical descriptions. If you have a weak
stomach, don’t read on. I am a medical over-sharer. I both share and
ask other people to share way too much personal, medical information.
Blame it on my dad.

When my grandmother offered, out of the blue, to pay for LASIK for me,
I was ecstatic. I was recovering from a bad cold when my mom told me
the news, so my voice could barely peep a noise out, but I was
screaming in my mind.

I have wanted laser eye surgery to correct my vision since I could
understand what it was.

For the record, my right eye had a -5.50 and my left a -5.75 with a
slight astigmatism before. If you don’t know what that means, I was
freaking blind, ok?

So, when I went to the vision center for my “free consultation” and
they said, “You are not a candidate for LASIK” I just about had a
mental breakdown… until they said, “You can get PRK!”.

I had not heard about PRK, LASIK’s cousin that no one likes. In LASIK,

Some times I'm a whiner

No, for real.
I’m whiney. A lot.
We are doing the study, “Lord Change My Attitude” for women’s Bible study this fall, and the whiner in me would like to whine about how hard it is not to whine.
This week, my adorable/wonderful/awesome friend, Bridget, Facebook announced her pregnancy. I love her and Ian so much, and I’m so happy for them… and then I felt it: the small twinge of jealousy - jealousy for the excitement, for a defined stage in life, for a little baby, for knowing you should have a baby, for all of it. Granted it was a small twinge, but it was there, and it was wrong.
I woke up this morning, early for a meeting at the clinic (a meeting at which I found out that one of my patients, who was weird but perfectly nice to me, had threatened to bomb our clinic and shoot anyone who survives – you know, normal meeting stuff). I was making coffee when Rick rushed down, running late. He called for a sleepy, not-really-awake 2 year old Emm to follow him. Drinking his sippy cup…


I used to run all the time. Like it was no big deal, I'd go knock out 6, 7, 8 miles. I still "enjoy" running in a very casual, once-every-couple-of-months kind of thing.

Lately, I've become an addict to my elliptical.

So when a friend of mine was like, "Hey, I'm doing the Drumstick Dash, do it with me!" I don't know what possessed me to be all like, "Yes! I'm in!" and fill out a registration form last night. But I did it, and I committed myself to running 4.6 miles in public. I feel a panic attack coming on thinking about people watching me run. But I keep telling myself that if my friend (who has MS!) is doing this, I should be able to put on a brave face and get my butt moving. I’m a health coach, for crying out loud.

To start training, I did exactly what you aren't supposed to do and ran 3.5 miles last night. If you've trained for anything, you know you are supposed to ease in it. Like a complete moron who had never extra-ru…

Robert's Birthday

I don't blog anymore. Sorry if that somehow disappoints you.


We threw Robert a birthday party last weekend! On Tuesday, Robert will turn 30. It's a big deal! Well, not really. We are pretending it's a big deal, but he's playing it pretty low key. Rob has all the photos, so bug him if you want pictures.

We were very blessed to have family and friends show up on Saturday night to celebrate the big occasion. Rick made tacos, I made cake, and Robert made the best face ever when he found out his birthday surprise...

New a rhino truck liner!

If you are less than excited about that as a birthday gift, you and I are in the same boat. I don't quite get the "wow" factor of it, but at one point on Sunday Robert gently touched it and said in a soft voice, "It's just so pretty". I can only imagine this is how I would feel if handed a nice pair of heels or a new handbag.

On our way to church on Sunday, I told Rick that I would have thought I'd…

Apparently, I never blog!

So guys, I have a list of posts to write about!

I made curtains! I did my first food crawl! Everyone's getting married!

Alas. I have no time.
However, I was getting questions about these, so this is what I will blog out:  vegan cupcakes.
Worst-sounding combination EVER, right?
I work with a group of really healthy people, one of whom is a vegan. It's her birthday... so... I made her vegan cupcakes. You can love or hate that idea, and I don't care. It's her birthday, not yours. On your birthday, I will make you steak cupcakes with veal frosting, okay?
Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes


* 2 cups flour * 2 TBSP chia seeds (as requested by my coworker instead of flax seed, and she provided them, so I didn't aruge) * 2/3 cup cocoa powder  * 1 tsp baking powder * 1 1/2 tsp baking soda * 1 tsp salt * 2 1/2 cups Libby's canned pumpkin * 1/2 cup safflower oil * 1 1/2 cup white sugar  * 2 tsp vanilla * 2 TBSP water * 1 TBSP vinegar * Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips to garnish (or other vegan-…

The new job

For those of you who want to know, this is what you need to understand about my new job...

I use a very specific and very interesting form of behavior change counseling known as "motivational interviewing". It involves actively listening and helping the patient embrace both their ambivalence towards change and finding their own solutions to their health problems.

It's amazing. It's like cheating.  I sit and listen, they solve their own problems, they embrace change. Granted, it's not that easy, but the technique is astoundingly simple and effective.  It's also very effective on your husband the guy who lives with you, until they figure out what you are doing and tell you that you aren't allowed to MI at home. However, MI is sneaky and effective, so I am secretly still doing it :).

I do one and one counseling, support groups, group exercise, follow-up constantly with each patient, and a bunch of random administrative stuff.  That's what my day to day l…

What we've been up to

So, we've been really busy around here! Not in the we-have-had-so-much-going-on way, but in the changes/little things way.

Our friend who has moved in with us for the time being is the world's best cook. For real. Unfortunately, I am also a good cook... and so some times, we just sit around and cook.  I say unfortunately, because I am going to get very fat.

This weekend, we made double thick lemon bars...

Baked churros....

Strawberry ice cream...

And our normal array of pizza, salads, soups, etc.

The double thick lemon bars, based on my recipe, were a huge success. Friend really loved the bars, but asked if I'd be willing to double up the lemon custard ad see how it worked. I never turn down a baking challenge...

Again, a huge success.

Baked churros were a recipe inspiration, but we sort of messed it up since we didn't pay enough attention to the puff pastry defrosting.  While they were delicious, we are going to have to try again, with better puff pastry to w…

Next week!

Next week I start my new job at Wishard.


I am getting excited. But I am mostly getting nervous. I feel woefully unprepared to start a new chapter, probably because I didn't seek out this particular change. 

This job is a lot of things I've always wanted.  I'll be doing something I love, I'll be using a part of my degree (unheard of, right?), I'll be working in healthcare, I'll be serving the under-served.  It's so many things I have worked so hard to do.  And I don't want to mess it up. I don't want to suck.  I didn't realize that getting what you wanted could be so intimidating. 

Our pastor preached on having faith in God like a child on Sunday. He gave the example of how his children will blindly jump off the stairs into his arms, trusting that each and every time they will be caught. This made me feel a little better.

On Saturday, I took Nephew to the airport to meet his parents, who just came back from a 2 week missions trip to Ch…

A story for Father's Day

I don't tell a lot of stories about my dad. I love my dad a ton, but honestly, it's my mom that I call all the time. This past weekend, we stayed with my mom's only brother & his family. My husband, who always claimed my out-going personality was my father, changed his mind. "Your uncle is just like you! I see it now -- you two are an extroverted version of your mother!"

So some times, I forget to give my dad a lot of credit.

If you don't know this about me, I hate tests. I have major test anxiety. Give me an essay question about anything -- a subject I know nothing about -- and I'll ace it. Make me fill in bubbles, and well... I freeze up.

When I took my ACT for the first time in high school, I got a crap score. I was a straight-A student, and I never did poorly on anything. My teachers loved me. I played 3 musical instruments. Clearly, something went terribly wrong. I was devastated and embarrassed.

My father saw my score, and very compassionately …