Showing posts from 2013

christmas card

I was really going to do a Christmas card this year. Then I remembered that I'm sick and pregnant and don't do anything. If we had a card, this is what it would have been like. 2013 was our year of new things. People came and went in our lives. We cried tears of good-bye, we rejoiced in the new friendships and lives that were given to us. This is a photo of what we used to be like - relaxed, happy. Apparently, I didn't look like death all the time, I was actually kinda skinny, AND I washed my hair. Those were the days ;) Here we are on a vacation, our last time before we become parents. I'm about 21 weeks pregnant here. If I look tired, it's from vomiting. This is a photo of my mom, sister, and me from my friends & family baby shower. Here, in addition to giving up on washing my hair, I have also apparently given up on wearing shoes. {I did wear sandals to the shower, I hadn't put them on yet} I am 28 weeks pregnant here. For all our changes in 2013 and t…


I haven't done the thankful-for thing on Facebook this November, because it's not really my style. Though I love reading other peoples' posts and think it's a wonderful display of gratitude.

But I will tell you this - today I am thankful for 2 very specific things.

I am thankful for my sister, Mandy. She has taught me very important lessons about friendship. She has taught me the sheer joy that comes with having someone synced with your brain and heart because you are alike and relieved to know you are not "the only one". She has also taught me the complete opposite - how to be friends with someone so fundamentally different from me that I would never have naturally been drawn to them. I credit her exposure in my life to the reason I have any friends who are introverts, including my husband. She has shown me how to connect with people who are not out-going by nature, how to better-love someone who isn't of the extroverted persuasion, and the value and joy…


I don't think I'm the most patient person. I never have been one for waiting around. People keep telling me not to wish pregnancy to go by fast, because I'll be wishing I could have him in for a little longer once he's here.

That's probably not true of anyone who has had some form of hypermesis, but that's not the point. And for the record, of every {very sick} pregnant person I've polled, 100% would take labor, delivery, and/or a c-section and the newborn stage over any point of pregnancy. But again, not the point.

The point is, or rather, the question is - am I using this time well? I will admit I have spent more than my fair share of pregnancy in self-misery, watching Super Size vs Super Skinny on youtube, popping pills like candy.

But lately, I think I've been moving out of it. I've been challenged to make my world very small, but to do my best to love very well in that world. It's a very humbling and very thrilling experience. Though I'…

husbands of sick & pregnant wives are definitely saints

I have two nursing students shadowing me once a week for six weeks to learn some wellness coaching.

They are hilarious, and they come on my hardest morning of the week - Thursday - and they definitely lighten the load. They are two men in their 20s - we will call them Mike & Ike, since that is very close to their actual names. They follow me around like two body guards, helping, doing my job, and making me laugh.

Ike's wife was apparently just like me when she was pregnant with their now two and half year old son - sick, tired, cranky. Luckily, Mike has a good sense of humor and strong stomach, though he has not had to first-hand deal with a pregnant woman who is this sick. Ike told me today that he thinks they could handle another child, no problem. He called having a two and a half year old "the easy part" compared to dealing with his wife's pregnancy. He then stated, in a polite way, that he is terrified of making it through another pregnancy with her.


there is no moment

The question I get asked most often right now is, "Are you feeling any better?"

I smile. I put on a brave face. I usually lie.

But the answer is simple - no.

It's true that the overwhelming nausea has passed. But I threw up so hard last week that I burst some blood vessels in my face. I frequently feel like I'm going to pass out. My stomach always feels like I'm suffering from some type of stomach bug. I don't really qualify that as "better". It's just... different.

I realize this isn't everyone's experience, and trust me - I wish every pregnant-woman-to-be out there a less-sick feeling pregnancy than this.

I struggle with how to make it through work. I struggle with how to do anything besides lie on the couch. This doesn't usually lead to good places - it's pretty bleak when your own husband looks bravely at you and says, "No, we can't go out with friends anymore. It's too much for you. You just have to rest.&quo…

I am really nervous about this whole baby thing.

Today is the day we find out our baby's gender... if baby cooperates. I'm early for this ultrasound, so I am pretty nervous they won't be able to tell. Not nervous for me, nervous for how crazy I'll go on the staff if they can't tell.

In some ways, I think today will change so much. After today, I will say, "My son" or "My daughter". I will tell my dad what color paint I want the nursery. Today, this baby will get real for me in a very big way. Today, I get a huge reminder that this baby isn't a pregnancy, an experience, but an actual human being.

I was never chomping at the bit to have children. It's a hard story to share, because so many people seem so confident that they want children, that children will enrich their lives. It's hard to say when I know so many people who have had struggled to have their own children. But I know other people need to hear they aren't alone if they feel like I do. And that it's okay if they d…

this is faith

When I heard the news that my grandmother (and final grandparent) had passed away, the first thing that came to my mind was a song. This is fitting, if you knew my grandmother or know my family - we have a song for everything.

One beautiful thing about hymns is that they express, in poetic terms, deep, rich theology. The hymn that has echoed in my heart this week is "Crown Him with Many Crowns". The line that I have been meditating on? 

Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but it's own. 

If there is one thing I can say about my grandmother, it is that she heard that heavenly anthem, and for her, it drowned out all other noise. Her whole life reflected that, from her love, to her devotion, to her strong faith. I can only hope that I can find the discipline to turn my own ear to heaven in the way that she did.

Then, I received news that a friend of mine lost her baby shortly after his birth. And in my heart, God put the same music. Because when we face pain beyond co…

The baby

I hope you all understand that I simply could not blog the past 14 weeks.

Being pregnant has completely taken over my life. There is no life apart from Zofran, daily prayers to make it, and being sick as a dog. Therefore, there was not much to blog about until we shared our happy news with the internet world.

But this is what you need to know about my pregnancy -

-For all my Wisconsin friends, I'm sorry, but this baby will be a Colts fan. You can be angry or sad, but know blue & white are way cuter colors than green & gold. Also, we live in Indianapolis, and well, when in Rome... also, I don't stand a chance against Robert on that one.

-But do not worry - this baby is definitely part Wisco! When I'm so sick that I cannot keep anything down, the 2 things I can always eat are Culver's French fries and grilled cheese sandwiches. 

-For my coastal friends who may think it's really lame that we are raising a good old Midwest family, take heart. I'm a Midwe…

When dead isn't good enough

I haven’t known what to say about the George Zimmerman case. It’s hard, like looking into a fish tank that isn’t clean and trying to figure out what’s there. A lot of murk and dirt. I haven’t known what to say about Trayvon Martin, and about the resounding in my ears of the implications of this for young black men.
There are a few things that are clear – we don’t get the luxury of passing judgement, or of ignoring some greater lessons that can be learned.
I’ve had a few times in my life where I have made myself the minority. I have never felt relief like I did in coming home after being abroad for 6 months in places where pale skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes made you stand out. I remember the relief that I was no longer gawked at, no longer approached for no reason, that I could slip into anonymity.I remember applying for jobs over and over again with my current employer, being told I was an excellent candidate, and all but being told I was going to be passed over because I was a whit…

a bitter glory

Some times, I do not think I pray very big things. Some times, I do not think I ask for all that much from God.

Some times, I get the impression God does not really care what I am asking for, but he does care about my best interest, and his plan. That is hard to swallow.

I have recently had a small dream, a small prayer, a hope, taken away from me. It wasn't even something I had outright asked God for, it was something I always assumed would be there. Those roads were closed off to me, as the song says, while my back was turned.

When it was taken, I was crushed, and a part of me felt a little betrayed and more than abandoned by God. Thankfully, some wonderful sisters in Christ from my church held my heart close to theirs and said - "Cry out. He can handle it. Ask the questions. Let your heart break. He will not leave you."

So I did. I sat on the floor and cried. I cried praying at night with my husband. I ran hard and harder, looking for some peace. I shut my Bible. I opened…

Twinkle, twinkle cupcakes

I get asked to make desserts a lot for events. I make some pretty delicious stuff, I'm not going to lie. I do my best to make it a little pretty, but I'm not Duff from Ace of Cakes.

So when I was asked to bring a nursery-rhymed themed dessert to a baby shower, I sort of panicked. If you say, "Hey, it's a red/black/white theme", I can work with that. Black & white polka dot cupcake wrappers, red sprinkles - no problem. But this one really left me stumped.

To complicate it, this shower is for one my dearest friends in the whole world, and probably my oldest friend. We've known each other for, well, over 20 years. Not going all out was not an option. However, I am not artistic. I make tasty treats... but I cannot draw a stick figure.

After considering my options, I went with Twinkle, Twinkly cupcakes, because I thought they'd be easiest to translate into reality. The cake I used is a "homemade" white cake with a sprinkles, since I know how muc…

Why I run - Mile 3

I could tell you I run for health benefits, but that would be a lie.  I run because, in running, I am able to process, clean out my head and heart, and exhaust myself like I cannot do with anything else.

Mile 1 is just a warm-up. Music jams, I find my pace.
Mile 2 is a pace-setter, and discipline.

But mile 3 is gold. Somewhere as mile 2 morphs into mile 3, everything becomes crystal clear for me. If something is bothering me, I find my peace. If I am overwhelmed, I find strength. Somehow as I hit mile 3 everything I doubted becomes resolute faith. In mile 3, my soul remembers that God is faithful when I am not. In mile 3, nothing seems as big as it did when I was in mile 1.

I want to hear God in big, loud ways. I look for God in the the strong wind to knock me down, in the earthquake to shake me up, in the fire to light my soul. I want God on my terms. I want my life on my terms. But it is never that way, and it is never good that way.

I find Him still and small and in a quiet voice along…

All about my mom

I have a very distinct memory of my mother, my sister, and me the first Christmas I viewed my mom as also a friend and as well my mother. We were in California, in our family's condo, for Christmas. I mumbled something to my sister about some boy asking me out, someone they all knew (the horror of dating someone they approved of). I told my sister how I had uncertain feelings and on that, I had turned him down.

Across the room my mom overheard just a snippet and called out to us, "Who asked you out?"  "No one. I don't want to talk about." 18 year old Chrissy said.  "You'll never guess!" My sister taunted. "It was X!" "You said no?! Why? X is great!" My mom chimed in.
They continued to tease me and prod me about this for quite some time. I remember how casual it all was - my parents were no longer panicking at the thought of me dating. I was a grown-up, past those "dangerous teenage years", and my mom wasn't s…

Promote what is kind

Earlier this week, I walked into the clinic break room, ready to heat up my lunch. As always, the TV was tuned to the news, where they were discussing what to do with the Boston Marathon bomber's bodies. A conservative, Christian co-worker loudly remarked we shouldn't care. She said they deserved nothing, she spewed out hateful words towards them, their families, and the dealings with their now corpses.

Then, something amazing happened. Another co-worker looked right at her and said, "Honey, God may not have been in what they were doing, but he is not in what you are saying right now." My co-worker tried to argue her point, about how evil they were, about how they deserved to be treated like dogs, etc. etc. and my other colleague would not budge. "Coming back with hate is not accomplishing anything", she concluded.

I'm not debating calling that which is evil by it's name. I'm not debating the tragedy of what happened. But I will not debate that in…

and then Justin Timberlake wrote that song

{written on the 20th anniversary of the passing of my paternal grandfather} Did you ever feel grateful our generation's Justin was Timberlake and not Bieber? Who would have ever thought JT was actually kind of ok, all things considered?

In the past couple of months, I've felt like our youth is sort of slipping. Not like Robert and I are getting old (though I will not comment on how I fall asleep at 9:30pm regularly), but how I can feel our 20s ending. Robert had his gallbladder out. We are making big life/career decisions. We aren't buying time like we used to. There are realities to this stage of life, good and hard ones. One of the hardest ones, for me, was the cancer diagnosis of my only living grandparent.

My days with her are ending.

I am no stranger to death, or even death before it's time. So even I am surprised by how hard this reality is for me, though my grandmother is in her 80s. This has all been swirling around in my head, emotions I couldn't quite pin do…

The Holy Grail

I wrote previously about our quest to find a low carb pizza crust. {}  I had not been able to make any real progress here. In a moment of complete determination  I read through several recipes, blog posts, reader comments, etc. to find the "key" to making a really good low carb pizza crust.

Friends, I have found our Holy Grail of pizza crusts. My main qualifications were...
-low carb
-soy free
-not more complicated to make then what I was currently doing
-not full of hard-to-find, expensive ingredients
-not require equipment I don't have


It's a tiny bit complicated to make, but if you follow this girl's blog post (read it all the way through first), it isn't too bad at all. She does a great job of explaining it. Per reader's comments and my own preferences, here is the recipe I used...

1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower - should yield 2 to…

Let's shove it

My sweet friend wrote about body image today. It really made me stop and listen. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I'm a health coach - I talk to people all day about weight loss. I go home - my husband is knocking it out of the park with his own goals, with me researching and cooking every step of the way to help him.

I currently have 3 work out DVDs I am rotating, along with the AFAA's posture exercises, along with my running/ellpitcal. I just finished reading "Wheat Belly" and "Why We Get Fat".

I had a moment last night when I was hungry, and between the workouts and the books and the everything, I felt paralyzed about trying to think of what to eat.

Yes. Paralyzed. Not so much in "this is going to make me fat" as it was, "everything is going to kill me - there is nothing I can eat right now." I think ate some chocolate.

It's easy to get worked up. It is good to be reminded that God designed us, and that what matters t…

I love being an aunt more than anything - no really.

This weekend we will celebrate our nephew's fifth birthday. {Don't ask me how it's possible. Just don't}

Five years ago, I became an aunt for the very first time.

Honestly, I love being an aunt more than anything. I love my job. I love being a health coach. I have awesome friends, and I love being with them. I love our church, I love being part of the body of Christ. My sister, my best friend, I could spend days with her on end and love it. I love cooking for people. I love making people laugh.

But I love being an aunt. The only thing I may love more is being married to my husband. But as I told him when we met, I was an aunt first, and it's hard to let go of your first love. {This is a joke - how my nephew had my heart and Robert had to be second. Anyone who knows us knows that my husband is always my first priority, I'm the luckiest to have him, and I love him more than anything}

Everything about my nephew and niece just... just... fills my heart. Even when the…

Pizza dough

Pizza night is a ritual in our house, and every Friday I make homemade pizza. If you are a guest in our home, I make you pizza, too! Homemade pizza is my favorite thing to eat, so when we got married, we decided to make it a weekly occurrence.

Now that we are eating low-carb and grain free, it's been challenging. In order to support my husband's commitment I have faithfully made him a low-carb pizza every week starting in February. The easiest way I found was a soy-flour crust. Since soy and I do NOT get along, I've also been making a normal crust for me and calling it my "one big cheat" a week. However, it's a lot of work to make 2 whole crusts. This week, I tried making an almond flour crust. I really should have taken a photo!

My sister let me buy some her almond flour so pizza crust was the first thing I was excited to try! It was pretty good. It doesn't quite taste the same as that yeasty-goodness of normal pizza crust, but it didn't taste "…

Battle of the cosmetics

For my birthday, my wonderful sister gave me a gift that every girl loves - cheap cosmetics. Who doesn't want to try a new blush? So, I excitedly started wearing Elf blush in tickled pink.

I liked the blush so much that I decided to do a little experiment with my daily staples - my foundation primer, and my foundation. My face can shine through anything, and I have an odd undertone that is tough to match. I have tried so many combos of primer and foundation - pricey brands like MAC, Mary Kay, Clinique; cheap brands like Cover Girl and Physicians Formula. I really only have one that kinda works. That's Estee Lauder Idealist primer with Estee Lauder Double Wear Liquid foundation. I'm pretty happy with it on a daily basis, but I still get some shine through, and it's so expensive.  Primer -  $60 Foundation - $25 Total - $85
So I bought the Rimmel #2 Face Primer/Mattifyer and the Elf Flawless Finish Liquid foundation. Primer - $6 Foundation - $6 Total - $12
The result? It's alm…

Jesus, friend of sinners

It's Holy Week, so I'm not fighting about anything on facebook. I am not going to blog about gay marriage. I am going to blog about my conversation with my husband last night.
"Does gay marriage affect me?" I ask Robert, as I'm brushing my teeth. "What are you talking about?" He asks. Then I remember that I'm the news correspondent in our family and quickly update him about what's going on in the world and on facebook.
{We didn't get a good answer to that question, by the way. We talked it over and went through a lot.} 
Robert is reading through the Bible right now with a group of men at church, led by our pastor. He is right in the worst of the Old Testament right now - judges, sin, punishment, demolishing of nations.

I'm reading a Bible study about revival in your heart with our women's Bible study. I'm in the middle of studying God's holiness and my heart. I'm in the middle of reviewing the message on the cross. 


I've been out of college for over 6 years? no way.

If you don't know this, I didn't have exactly a stellar time at my alma mater, Wheaton College. It's too long to write about, so I won't. I will summarize by saying this - it was a dark, difficult time for me. The one bright spot in my college career was when I chose to leave for a semester to do an urban studies program via Westmont in San Francisco. A big thanks to Matt for getting me to do that, btw. The friends I talk about "from college" are 90% from that one semester. {I don't tell people that because it's kind of embarrassing, but I digress}

Regardless of the pain, discomfort and depression of my college years, I am thankful every single day for the education I received. With each passing year, I realize what a true, precious gift it is. As much as going through the Survey of Old Testament for 3 hour blocks in a night class made me truly understand the suffering of Job, at least I surveyed the Old Testament. As much as New Testament felt a littl…

How did it go..?

Not too long ago, I wrote about my sick grandmother, about how inspiring she is {} She and my mom came to visit last week, and I've had quite a few people ask me how it all went. I know they just aren't asking what we did, I know they are feeling out for how we are handling the fact that she has cancer and she only has a limited time left on the earth. A good friend asked me this "How did it go...?" question, and this is what I wrote her back. It was wonderful to have them - I felt like I was begging them to come back, which made me feel like such an adult. Like I realize how precious this time is with them, how fast it's slipping away. On Friday night, I sat with an asleep Abram in my lap at the restaurant (some things never change ;) ) across from my grandma and I wanted to stop time. She's dying, it's real. Abram is growing up, one day he won't fall asleep in my lap. I w…

Let's read some books

I love to read. Robert has needed more "study" time due to some things he is doing at church and some tutorials on investing he's been doing, so it's been giving me more reading time {that, and remember how I said I was going to freak out less about cleaning the house? more reading! less cleaning!}.

What have I been reading?
Lord, Change My Attitude - Bible study by James MacDonald
We did this study last fall in women's Bible study. I was very nervous about joining the women's Bible study at church {if you don't know why, just talk to me for about 10 minutes some time and you'll understand why I may not exactly be a cookie-cutter women's Bible study participant}. I am so, so glad I sucked it up and joined! This study pushed me, convicted me, and brought us together as a group in amazing ways. It actually changed the way I thought and acted in my life. That's a good study.

The Shack - William P. Young
I am way behind the trend on reading this book, …

Home is where the heart is

Friends, did you know that Robert and I have had a crazy 3 years of marriage?

When we got married, we happily resided on Stockard Street, and our plan was to pay off the house and a buy a new one in about 5 years.

A few months after we got married, Robert switched jobs. A couple months after that, SWC asked us if we would consider moving to Nashville as they had a big need, and Robert needed experience to get ahead. Knowing it was temporary and the right move career-wise, we agreed.

We moved.
We still had our house and were in the middle of an awful real estate time.

With one income (Robert's) and lots of prayer, we signed a lease on a rental house in Nashville. God provided a job for me immediately. A job I loved, and a job that provided me with so much experience and direction for my next career step. With what we had, we paid our rent in Nashville and our mortgage in Indy.

Our rental house in TN was small, funky, and the deal of the century. While it was far from ideal long-ter…

Valentine's Day - Letters to the Editor

Robert reads every post I write, though I'm not sure why. Probably because he needs to know how much smack I'm talking about him in a public forum.

He read my last post, and he did not think it was accurate. It's our very first "letter to the editor"! So, I am going to ammend my original comment... And no, he was contesting the actual conversation, because that did happen, but my summary:

"People wonder how two people who do not see eye-to-eye (always) in politics can be so happily married. This your answer. We never actually get around to discussing the issues."

Robert would like you to know that this is a false statement. What I meant and probably should have said was...

Some times, we get so worked up and take ourselves so seriously, it's good just to laugh, find joy, and remember that life and God is bigger than us or our views. It's good to remember that, even though we may disagree, we are all human and have much in common. It's good to …

The political take

Everything you need to know about our family.

The scene - Robert trying to find a show to watch, as well as checking to make sure shows are recording.

R: What? Why are there no shows on?
C: The State of the Union.
R: Oh, okay. Wait, what's this? The Westminster Dog Show? REALLY?!
C: That's your choices, honey -- State of the Union or Westminster Dog Show.
R: That's not fair.
Turns on State of the Union
C: I wonder what the green lapel ribbons are for...
R: He supports Irish breast cancer.
C: I don't think you meant to say that. I think you mean awareness. And they are in honor of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims.

People wonder how two people who do not see eye-to-eye (always) in politics can be so happily married. This your answer. We never actually get around to discussing the issues.

The Bod Pod: It's better than you think

When I went to the Bod Pod, I wasn't happy. That was Monday, January 14.
Today is Saturday, February 2.
I've lost 4.3 lbs (I'm putting the .3 there, it counts). I am happy today.
I cut out so much sugar. I can't even tell you. And I'm not talking candy. I'm talking anything on a nutritional label that says "sugar". By far, the hardest thing is my coffee in the morning. I don't add anything to my coffee besides 1% milk, which has 11g of sugar for 8 oz (I don't use 8 oz). I have tried cutting it with unsweetened almond only to realize... it's awful. I'm still working on that. For the record, I like creamer and half and half even less (I'm a total freak). I've made peace with protein shakes.
I went from trying to catch my breath doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD to being pretty good at Level 2 and able to do Levels 2 and 1 together. My speed is up 20% on the elliptical. 
I feel really pretty good. I'm very proud of…

Lord, unto me

When I wrote earlier this week (it feels like forever ago) about finding God's faithfulness in things I worry about, I didn't leave it there. 
I decided to pray more. No, for real, I'm not just saying that. Inspired by a quote my Aunt Susan shared with me, I decided to make a calendar of all my biggest worries and commit a day to pray for them. 

"Worship and worry cannot exist at the same time in the same heart.  They are mutually exclusive." Ruth Graham.
I said, okay, replace worry with worship.

Yesterday (and in the days before), only days after this, we received quite a bit of good news around the Brack house. Frequently our less-than-dull-moments tend to err on the side of just straight up bad news. 
We found out that my grandmother's medication is working! Though it is clear that there is no cure for her can…