Thursday, February 28, 2013

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, and I'm 99% finished. I really like it!

A Year of Biblical Womanhood - Rachel Held Evans
I knew I was going to like this book when I saw that the author went by Rachel Held Evans, and when a friend of mine blogged about how much she liked it. This book was very challenging and very comforting all at the same time. Parts of Rachel's experiment and convictions really made me want to be better, to seek God more in areas of my life. Parts of Rachel's experiment had me wanting to shout for joy, to remember that I'm not the only one who thinks/believes/is led in certain ways. When you are a childless young woman living in the suburbs of the Midwest, some times you really question the things you learned back in college, living in San Francisco, or being a missionary in Mexico. What seemed so obvious and real in those scenarios (not to mention Biblical and Spirit-filled) often can appear extreme, crazy, and unaccepted by the majority here. This book gave me some hope, and Rachel blogs, so I can continue to be challenged and comforted!

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World - Joanna Weaver
As part of another women's group at church, I am reading this book. I don't have anything negative to say about it, and I hear and see the author's heart on every page. I'm just having a really hard time connecting with it. I like her point -- that we need to find intimacy with God and worship and service from there... but there are times when I feel like it's so touchy-feely, as well as so responive to a problem I believe the church-created. If the problem is part my heart and part communal, it does me a lot of good to fix my heart, but then what? If my heart is right with God and now I look around me to see a system I cannot engage in because it emphasizes the problem.. what do we do?
That's it for now. What are you reading?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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-term (the elliptical was in the living room, it had 1.5 baths, the bedrooms were tiny!), it was perfect for a temporary house for a young couple and a sweet dog (Otis loved his 2 acres with forest). We'd walk down the small, windy country road, drenched in sweat in April in TN, planning trips home to Indy and talking about what was next.

God provided the best renters ever (my parents!) after a couple months of dual house-paying. When they moved out, the house was in perfect and better condition than when we left. A few months after they moved out, we moved back to Indy. When my parents left, we put the house on the market. We moved in, unpacked as little as possible, kept the house on the market, and walked through probably 100 houses (I'm not exaggerating! We had a spreadsheet). After 3 months, we got a rent-to-buy offer, but she had to have the house in 4 weeks.

If you've walked through 100 houses and not found one you'd buy and learn you have 4 weeks to find & close on a house, you will think "no way".

My brother-in-law called us and said, "I have a house - you need to see it". We walked into the house on Camelot House Way and put in an offer a few days later. Since we were buying from a builder, they were motivated to close quickly and pushed us through. Since I was just working part-time since coming back from Nashville, we had to qualify for our home loan while having our other mortgage all on Robert's income. We got approved. Don't ask me how. We moved a lot of money around to a lot of places and prayed like crazy, and we closed. Don't ask me how we saved enough for a down payment while paying a rent and mortgage and moving (Dave Ramsey?). We just fought and we just did it.

Just over a year ago, we moved into our home and our renter moved in the old house. For about 6 months, things were fine. Then things were not fine, but we made it. We saw God's provision in so many areas. We never regretted moving into our current home, as it was clear it was where we were supposed to be. We put the house back on the market this fall, got a cash offer, and closed yesterday!

So, for the first time a in a long time, the Bracks have just one house to think about. When I look back at each of those moments, I see God working. I have a friend whose family has had some crazy medical issues. Every time she starts panicking about one, she hears God say, "Really? How many times have I provided for you in the worst medical situation possible? You are still going to worry?". That's how I feel about our housing situation. I saw time and time again that we had direction, provision, and no reason to panic.

And now, it's over. And now, we face what's next, whatever it may be.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

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 remember that, at the end of the day, Jesus isn't checking my voting record but my heart and my faith.

In our house, we do talk about politics, and our various views on them. We don't always see eye-to-eye. We don't mind talking to our friends about this, hearing their views, disagreeing or agreeing with them. Discussion, learing, cognitive development all are welcome! I'm a bit of a news and political junkie, so I am frequently updating Robert and asking other people what they thought about this or that. Robert would like you to know that we do discuss the issues, and we do take them seriously.

But we laugh a lot, too. And we only take ourselves so seriously. And we always, always try to find love in our thoughts, words, responses, and views (try, not succeed). Happy Valentine's Day!

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
 Colassians 3:14

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

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 what I've accomplished, and it's given me a whole new perspective on what being truly committed health-wise means. I'm not saying that I'm going to do this forever, but I will say this -- I listen to people all day long tell me they are committed and want this and... they don't do it. I saw it. I wanted it. I became committed, in a fairly radical way {for me}. I watch people every day choose to eat and sloth themselves into the hospital, one step closer to their death bed, and it's changing me. 

You can change, too. That's what I say back to people all day long. It's never too late, you are never too far gone, and you have a thousand choices every day. You can change, too.