Friday, October 31, 2014

happy halloween!

5 years ago today, robert asked me to marry him.
we already had a wedding date (nice, right?)

but in that moment, we forever sealed our lives together.

i may have said "no" because i was getting off a flight and really hungry and feeling lightheaded, but i still married him, and i think that's what counts.

5 years later, we are still saying yes. or no. either way, we are embracing life together. the pain, the challenges, the joy, the heart bursting moments.

there's no one else i would rather say no to for the rest of my life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

the exile {part ii}

"The history of Israel revolves around the double foci of exodus and exile. At the exodus, Israel began the process toward becoming a nation. The exile, however, signaled the loss of Israel's status as an independent nation, and even after the exile Israel was merely a political backwater in the Persian province of Yehud." - M. Throntveit

I value my independence. It's not a secret around here that I think I am in charge. I have my house clean. I dress the way I want to, and before I had a baby, I was the size I wanted to be. I have lists of things to do, the order to do them, and when they are done, I want them to impress you.

It's gone.
All of it.
I was never more lost then I was those first few months after Joe was born. Overwhelmed, confused, with no answers or sleep... I needed things. I needed meals at my house. I needed help watching him, feeding him, so I could rest. I just needed help.

I have a closet full of beautiful, perfect clothes... and it doesn't look like I am wearing them again. Possible ever. That's a hard pill for a fitness person, health coach, weight loss professional to swallow.

My house? Don't even get me started on how it looks in here. Oh, and we are selling it... so this pretty granite on which my laptop sits is going the way of a memory soon.

What about something a little less shallow? Like my marriage? My control is gone there. My husband has to work when he has to work - whether that is 1am or Sunday afternoon. He has to leave when he as to leave... leaving me to myself.

What about my family? My sister? Let's just say life handed her a big plate of crazy and it's not like I can throw mine on top of it. Robert's family? As of a year and a half ago, scattered and moved away. Today? Recovering from the blow of death (we are re-building). 

I feel a bit like Israel - I am reduced to a small, backwater person I don't recognize lately. 

In exile, Israel remembered God was God. In their loss of independence, they remembered their dependence on God. Without a king, they were ruled over by the King, who brought peace and joy into their hearts.

I feel a bit like Israel in that way, too. I have seen God's provision, I have felt his sustaining hand, and I have been reminded of how everything I value is so, so temporary. It's all been replaced by joy and peace.

What does God say after that Jeremiah 29 bit about being sent to exile, destruction, and chaos?

The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the LORD appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31: 2-3

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

the exile. {part i}

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Whew. Doesn't that feel great to read? Welfare? Hope? A future? Sign me up! Good old Jeremiah 29:11! I have heard this verse quoted so many times. I have seen it on cross stitches and graduation cards. It's so great, let's just keep reading!

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lordand I will restore your fortunes"

Yes! God will hear our prayers? He can be found by us? Did you say fortune? Sounds so good! Let's keep reading!

"...and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."

If you didn't have some mental breaks screeching there, you may want to re-read that last segment: I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

I've never seen that plastered on a cross stitch or graduation card. You probably haven't, either.

We don't really like the thought of being sent into exile, and it's very, very tempting to go back and just cling to Jeremiah 29:11. Context is kind of mean some times, isn't it?

But friends, it isn't those in the promised land that need Jeremiah 29:11. It's those in exile. That barren, wandering desert isn't exactly Palm Springs.

The message of Jeremiah 29:11 is for those of us in the desert. We aren't here by mistake. We weren't delivered from slavery only to be shoved uselessly into the desert. When you look around what feels like a wasteland of a life, situation, or problem... it isn't hopeless. It's part of The Plan. Even when it feels useless. 

There is a reason behind all this time in sand. 
Like streams in the desert, His mercy will flow.
Like water from the rock, He will impossibly quench our dry hearts.
With mud and saliva, He will open our eyes.

It's not pretty. It's not cross stitch worthy. He doesn't promise either, but he does promise us one thing: and that's redemption. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

stories for joe

Baby boy. We will have so many stories to tell you about your first year of life.

I will tell you about how it was just you and me. Family had a boatload of life dumped on them. Daddy had so much crazy work to do. And it was you and me. We went everywhere together. Everyone loved you when I brought you into Daddy's work, or dragged you to the grocery store, or unloaded you at church.

Baby boy, you were held through so many tears. You had a "funeral outfit". You went to 2 funerals while you were only months old in my womb - I wore the same thing to both, because you don't have a lot of funeral outfits while pregnant. You went to 2 funerals within your first 8 months of life -you also wore the same outfit.

When I held you over a grave site yet again, I held you tighter. I don't want to think about how many times you've heard me sing the alto lines to "Amazing Grace". You've heard me sing it next to Grandma Karen, next to your Uncle Rob, next to "Uncle" Steve. I hope you don't have to hear it again for a long time.

Baby boy, when we were in a hotel, your dad and I put you on the huge king size bed and you went nuts, happy to be out of your carseat. You were so joyful and fun. We created our own, small, safe world there, just the 3 of us.

Baby boy, you flirt with every blonde woman who smiles at you. Guess Momma is going to have to darken her hair color.

Baby boy, you loved your Ferarri walker like you were born to drive. I ate the words I had told your father - that it wasn't a "necessary" item. Like all Brack men, you seemed pretty convinced you were destined for Ferraris.


Baby boy, you brought me to tears when we set you in your great grandfather's lap. You just sat with him. I've never, ever seen you so still. Not in the womb, not asleep. Were you getting a little glimpse of your lost grandfather? It's like you knew this was your only chance to get a distant piece of him. And I missed your grandfather so, so much more in that moment. More than I ever had.

Baby boy, you have changed the way I see the world.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

transparency

A friend and I recently were talking about how everyone's parenting looks so perfect from the outside. This can make you feel pretty inadequate as a mom pretty fast. The truth is, having a small child or children is really all about survival.

I recently posted a picture on Facebook of my homemade baby food. Yes, I make 90% of Joe's food.
Hopefully this covers for
those cheesy puffs


This could lead you to believe that Joe eats a perfectly healthy and organic diet. Some times that's true. And some times, I let him self feed baby cheetos because it's the only food he will self feed. Speaking of which, how are babies born knowing how to eat baby cheetos? A mystery for sure.

Additionally, I often let Joe watch music videos when I feed him. While I feel guilty about the screen time, it makes the job about 100x easier. Joe is on the move and super squirmy. I've had veteran daycare workers ask me how I change his diaper. So being confined in a highchair often results in him acting like he is being tortured/stuck in prison forever/possessed by demons. We have watched Taylor Swift's "Shake if Off" and Megan Trainor's "All About that Bass" more times than I can count. And in the process, he has gotten all the healthy, organic, homemade baby food I have made him. We'll call it a win.
Joe is thrilled with his outfit

Joe has adorable clothes. I make him adorable outfits. I have been exercising regularly. What you aren't seeing there? Joe looks nice. I'm wearing PJs. I make him clothes... but I never put away his laundry. I have been exercising... but some times don't shower. And some times Joe gets a hold of my dirty exercise shoes or socks and eats them.

But you know what? We are happy. We are healthy. I love being a mom and count myself blessed every second of every day.

Building immunity, yes?
So be free, friend. Whether it's the dessert in your lunch, the songs you listen to in the car to and from work, the reality TV show you are hooked on, or anything else, go for it. Life is short and hard. Give yourself freedom to have fun and not be perfect.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What Worked: September

Happy October, everyone!

What worked in September?

-Church community: our small group re-launched for it's fall session. We never really took a break, but there's something nice about a fall kick off
This study is great!

-Women's Bible study: this fall, I joined our women's Bible study at church. I've participated 2 other
times and it's always a blessing. Plus, it's a great break for me mid-week, and gives Robert a designated night home with Joe... if he can make it home (I have a back-up sitter if he can't!)

-Giving up on the house hunt: No really, this was huge. We decided to build, which I had (or have?) mixed feelings about. But I do NOT have mixed feelings about giving up the house hunt. It was a lot of extra stress to search for houses and to find times that worked for everyone. Between Robert's work schedule, Joe being a baby, and our {kind} realtors' schedule, this was no small task. I am happy to put it all behind us.

This is not Joe, but I bet he looks even cuter in his
-Sleepers on sleepers: Joe has gotten his parents' cold-ness. Robert and I are always cold and Joe seems to be the same way. After a few night wakings, I've done my best to bundle that baby up. We've gotten some sturdy sleepers that we put under fleece sleep sacks or under Joe's ridiculous blanket sleep sack. And while Robert makes fun of me for buying this, it works, and it's only going to get colder. 


-Old habits: I dusted the cobwebs off the elliptical and popped in some Jillian Michael's DVDs! While I miss my abilities to work out like I could before pregnancy crippled ruined kicked my butt changed me, it feels good to be back at it

-2 naps a day: Oh friends. The joy of Joe napping once in the morning and once in the afternoon is so profound. We have some consistency and so much more time to do things since we don't have to break up the day around 3 naps. And he tends to sleep longer for his 2 naps than he ever did for any naps, ever. PRAISE JESUS.