Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whats your title? Pastoral Intern...or Pastern...

Exactly one month ago was the date I “officially” started for Brookside Church. As you may or may not know I am not on “part time” staff as a Pastoral Intern. I put part time in quotes because I am there every day and work nearly 35-40 hours a week. Why work full time for part time money you ask? Because for the first time in my life I look forward to work! I love my job! On Sunday night when most of you are contemplating whether or not you really need the income or coming up with inventive ways to quit, I am thinking about all of the things I get to do the next day. Important word there is get. Notice its not “have” to do tomorrow. I get to work with great Brookside volunteers as well as some awesome staff members as we journey along together. Even better yet is on a daily basis I get to study the scriptures and I am literally experiencing the Bible in a new light. Now you may, or may not, believe in the Bible but certainly you can imagine my joy, as someone who believes the Bible is the expressed word and revealed will of God and its literally coming alive for me. Because my time in His word has been so deep recently my prayer life has been the best it has been in years. It is tough to not want to spend time with a God whom you spend most of your days marveling at! This month has literally made me a better person (by his grace alone) even though at times its been an opportunity fraught with challenges! Becca has noticed a significant change in my attitude lately and as I am more filled by the Lord I feel I am more ready to pour into her. Obviously a glass can only spill what it contains and in short, Perry Lake was a very dry time for me! I would imagine there are some of you reading this that are thinking I am some religious nut or maybe you even attend church every now and then and you just think I am one of those people who yell AMEN to everything [I am not…Yet]. But seriously ask your self when is the last time you ever felt the emotions I am describing about, well, anything. I recognize that I am extremely lucky to be able to what I do but the beautiful thing is we all have an opportunity to encounter the Lord in this way. Again you may think I am nuts but I bet when you are alone you will wish you were half as passionate about something as I am right now [and hopefully forever] for the Lord.

I hope to start blogging a bit more as I do have a lot of great and weighty things swirling around in my mind. I have been fairly busy lately but maybe I will make this more of a priority. Only time will tell…

If you find your self with an abundance of free time you should do yourself a favor and check out this BLOG. It about a young woman’s battle with cancer and all the things that come with having a debilitating disease while being a mommy and wife. Read it from that beginning, it’s well worth it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Baking With The Flacks

Growing up my grandma’s apple pie was a staple at nearly every family event. They were the most amazing things and having lost her over a year and a half ago now I think the memory her apple pies memories have only grown in my families mind. They only pie I have ever had that even rivals my grandmas is Becca’s moms. She makes an array of different pies all of them are amazing! Becca and I decided to bake an apple pie for us today using her mom’s recipe and we decided to document it all along the way! Enjoy!

It may be cheating but sure beats peeling by hand!

She trusted me with the big boy knife!

Becca working with the crust

Apples ready to go

Waiting for the top crust

One of the more difficult parts was getting the top crust on with out it falling all apart!

We were real pumped!

Final Product...Little runny, great taste, and overall for the first attempt we were both very happy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thanks for calling Perry Lake this is Craig

I have been working since I was 15 and there has not been more than 1-2 months that I have then been unemployed during that time. I have been a bag boy, sales associate, landscaper, non-profit employee, and a leasing agent. I have done all of those at a number of different companies 7-8 at least (Andersons still is #1 in my opinion!). But since October of 2007 I have been a leasing agent at Copper Beech for two years and here at Perry Lake Village for one year. I really did not want to continue being a leasing agent when I accepted the PLV job and became full time out here however, I was getting married in two months and had to find something for Becca and I. The plan at that point was to go on Young Life staff (the non-profit I worked for) and I was even interviewing in Pennsylvania by October. It seemed all was going to plan, until Becca and I turned down the job in Penn. Then I came to the conclusion that YL was not where God was leading me. This then meant I was stuck at a job I didn’t like but with Becca still searching for a job there was nothing I could do. About March or April Kevin (my new boss/mentor) and I began to seriously discuss the possibility of me coming on staff for Brookside (Becca and I’s church) as a Pastoral Intern. A few months more passed and I had gotten the word that August 1st would be when they wanted me to start. All the mean while I worked this job where I have literally been cussed out more times than I can remember, threatened physically, cleaned up endless piles of dog crap, and apologized for more things that were not my fault more times than I can count. I’ve lost my tempter, been talked down from quitting, and evicted more families and couples whit a heartless mentality that it almost felt like that was normal behavior. All the while I have struggled to remember that PLV is where God has me at this moment and time to be his light. It is never an easy thing to keep in focus especially when you know there is something else out there however; now that I am at the end of my time here I can honestly say I am grateful for it all. I have made some great relationships with co-workers and residents and even this week several have called to thank me for everything I have done for them and wish me luck on my new job. I have had the opportunity to pour my life into this community over the past year and my life will be forever changes because of it. I will certainly not be upset if I never work leasing again in my life however, I also thought I would never work for the Church. I have learned to never say never (and not burn bridges hence my 3 week notice) and be grateful for whatever comes your way. I found a job that supported my new wife and I in the middle of a depression. So while this year has literally been a roller coaster of emotions I rejoice in it.

Thanks for the ride Perry Lake.

Craig Flack Leasing Agent Since 2007 Signing Out!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Freedom From Debt

I have always been a little OCD with it comes to money. I always know how much I have in my checking account at any given moment and have never over drafted my account. I have all my automatic payments memorized so much to the fact that I have to write them all down for Becca so she would know what was going on if something happened to me. I have written posts in the pasts about paying down debt in the form of Becca’s wedding ring. This time it’s her car that we have recently paid off. The thing is paying off debt is one of the most rewarding things we can do. It’s not easy and there will always be choices of where to take the money from but once it’s done it just feels so darn good. As of July 16th, 2010 the only debt Becca and I have is my student loans. No credit cards, car payments, or 90 day interest free purchases. Some of you may know that on August 1st I will start working for Brookside Church here in BG. I have felt a calling to this work for some time and because Becca and I have been diligent with our finances and budgeting I now have the opportunity to leave a good paying job and take a step of faith to work for Brookside (and yes they are paying me to just not as much as my current position). If we had credit cards bills or even a nicer apartment I simply would not be able to follow my calling. The point I am getting at is debt and living above your means are like GIANT HANDCUFFS! People hear the word “budget” and think that they will never be able to do anything fun or have nice things. I hear budget and I think I can golf, buy a video game, take Becca on a date and know that we can afford it and there will be no guilt spending that money. If you are up to your eye balls in debt or simply can’t be trusted with a credit card it may be time to take a serious look at your financial situation. Websites like Mint.com can be great but ultimately it comes down to making some difficult choices and having self control. I hope this post encourages you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and know that the freedom from debt is one of the biggest weights that can be lifted!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yes I'm Siskel, yes I'm Ebert....

It’s fun to try new things right? I think so! There for I am unveiling my first “So This Is Life” movie review. This weekend I saw the new Robin Hood with some friends. I will say I was extremely excited as one of my all time favorites was Gladiator and RH paired Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott together again. Maybe it was unfair to go in and expect that kind of awesomeness again, but I did. I was certainly let down. However, that’s not to say this wasn’t a good movie. I definitely enjoyed it. Good acting, fairly interesting story line, and good actions scenes. These are the makings for any good movie in my opinion. Overall I would give it a B and because the BG mall only charges 4.50 a person I certainly wasn’t angry I spent the money. If you are expecting another academy award winner you certainly won’t be getting that but as I said a solid B movie (On a scale from A-F).

It should be noted my favorite Robin Hood is still

We're men, we're men in tights, tight tights...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

12 Months Interest Free

It was one year ago this month that I bought Becca’s engagement ring. It certainly was not cheap but in the “worlds eyes” it was probably just a drop in the bucket. This was easily the biggest purchase I had ever made and I needed to finance the ring because I obviously did not have the money to pay for it up front. Now there is something you need to know about me, I HATE debt. I never had a credit card all through college and I operated on the theory that may seem crazy but if I didn’t have the money for something I didn’t buy it. I know shocking! I just hate the idea of owing money that I don’t have. So it would seem odd that I would finance an entire engagement ring. However, in this situation the extremely generous people at Kay Jewelers are just so kind [sarcasm] that they are willing to giving you 12 months interest free! Obviously there is quite a bit of fine print in this deal. The thing most people fail to realize in a situation like this is if I missed a payment, was late on a payment, or failed to pay my minimum payment the friendly folks at Kay would then apply interest to the account at 22% and also apply the interest to principal already paid! Great deal for them because odds are a 22 year old buying a ring in the middle of a recession will slip up once over 12 months. Well luckily I never did and as of today April 15, 2010 I am no longer in debt with Kay Jewelers and because I never messed up I did not pay one cent of interest on a several thousand dollar purchase! Like I said I HATE debt but I LOVE an interest free loan even more! Sorry Kay you couldn’t make 22% off this guy but something tells me you are doing just fine.

*Though I poke fun at the people at Kay they actually have been amazing to work with and the people in their store are really awesome! Sure they work on commission but just learn to say no thanks to what you do not need and you’ll have a great experience.

Here is a picture of both of our rings from our wedding both furnished by Kay. Mine was a bit cheaper!

Photo by Love is Greater Photo

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I only make $1,500 a week...Part 2

I must say that if you have not read part 1 on this story you will be a bit lost.

At that we continue…

When we arrive at the apartment the young women and I enter and began to talk about the different features of the apartment and I began to discuss the application and approval process. She began say that the reason she works where she does is so that she can take care of her two kids during the week. I asked another personal question as to whether she was receiving any child support for either child (as that would factor into the approval process for the apartment). She responded that both of this children had “deadbeat dads” and she was on her own to take care of her children. She then said that because she stripped and only worked the weekends it allowed her act as a stay at home mom and spend tons of time with her two children. This is where I really began to see this young woman in a different light. She was asking all of the same kinds of questions that any other mom would such as school district, safety, and noise at night. She was just another person who is doing her best to take care of her kids. I then realized that she was a mom that happened to be a stripper and not a stripper that had a couple of kids. She was doing her best to give her kids everything they needed and for her dancing for men was how she was managing to do that now. It was at this point where I was able to treat this young woman no different than any other person who walked in my door. It did certainly break my heart that this woman had to dance for a bunch of horney dudes to feed her family and I couldn’t imagine the way that must play on the way she views herself. But she was doing what she had to do. As we left the apartment into the snow storm I had a new respect for my prospective tenant and we entered my car talking about our childhoods and growing up in Toledo. My back window was snow covered but because we were just on property I did not think anything of it and I believed there was no car behind me. I backed out slowly and bumped into the car behind me. As the kids are saying “fail”. The young women concerned asked if what I wanted her to do and I told her to sit tight to check for damage (fortunately a 1MPH crash causes no damage). We made our way up to the office and chatted a bit more as she waited for her ride to come get her. I couldn’t help but want to get her a job doing anything else but I knew that this was the choice she had made and one she was obviously committed to. I told her good luck and have not seen her again.

This whole story has made me really reflect on what we put weight on in our culture. That a woman can make my monthly salary in a weekend for taking off her clothes at a bachelor party. That she was forced to make this choice as it was either feed her children or let them go hungry. And finally I realized that I will never have a snap judgment of a woman like this again as there are so many things that I am not aware of and have no right to ever look down on someone for the way they provide for their family. I do hope this woman can find some other way to do but it is not my place to worry or suggest. I am here to just be a smile and offer answers about the apartment community…

The whole experience brought an old song to mind.

Check it out, I think you know where I am going with this.