Face-Off with Andy Braner!!

Today, I am excited to be facing off with Andy!! I am currently reading his new release, No Fear in Love, and I am REALLY enjoying it! If you haven’t heard of him, you need to check out the things he’s been doing. As a mom of two boys, I am super interested in this ministry!!!

Andy runs a camp for teenagers to go and grow in their faith, learn to live it and learn to love it! It is called Camp Kivu and it’s in the mountains of Colorado. He also has this really cool program for teenagers called The Kivu Gap Year. This is for them to take a year between high school and college to travel the world, earn up to 18 credit hours and 900 hours worth of internship work. It’s such a neat idea!!! Please take a minute to head on over there and check out this program!!

Alright…. Review to come, but right now, we play!


The rules are simple: I ask Andy some random questions. He replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Have you ever done any extreme sports? (Skydiving, Snowboarding, Skating, etc…)

Andy – Funny you should ask. One of the stories in my book NO FEAR is actually one of the most fear filled times in my life – Sky Diving. The Braner family is one that lives on the edge. We love doing things that push the envelope. All my kids snowboard. We white water raft. We do high end mountain biking. We’re no strangers to extreme sports. I love the adrenaline shot it gives to do something that makes you feel ALIVE.

Charity – 😮 Uh, I watch them on tv! ha ha. I have always wanted to go skydiving, actually. Been my life dream. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome though. boo hoo! Poor me! So, anyway, it would wreck my body!!!

— Totally Andy!!

Charity 0 / Andy 1

2. Favorite country you have visited? Why?

Andy – Lebanon. The tension in Lebanon politically, economically, and religiously, gives an air of complexity. Not the least of which to mention is: The Lebanon Geography has it all. A beautiful cornish along the Mediterranean Sea, High Mountains, and INCREDIBLE FOOD. I know it’s not a popular destination for Americans, but Lebanon has a unique vibe that combines all the areas of life I’m interested in.

Charity – So cool! Probably the last place I would have guessed you would say! I have to say that Israel stole my heart when I went there. Again, it’s on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, has insane political, economical and religious complexity… ha ha. Such a gorgeous place. I can totally see why it was the Promised Land.

— Tie

Charity 0 / Andy 1

3. Funniest thing you can remember doing with your spouse?

Andy – We decided once to take teenagers on week long backpack trips. We’d set up camp, and we made sure to set out tent far away from the kids. We called it “Married Housing” HA!!

Charity – Oh man! So cool. I absolutely love teenagers. My favorite!!! They are incredible. On that bring of innocence and becoming a man/woman. Just beautiful. I would adopt every teenager in the state of Virginia if I could!!

As far as funny…My hubby and I are crazy. We are always up to something. We’ll play hide and seek in the dark with the kids. Totally scary. No lights allowed. We even like to scare them. When my oldest son was a tween, he had a friend over. Hubby and I turned on the shower, so it looked like he (hubby) was in it and I started watching tv. Hubby then went outside and started to “Break In The Window” of my son’s room. They were screaming like little girls. When they came out, they saw that we were both in the house (me watching tv and hubby in the shower) they were totally freaked. HAHAHAHA Nothing mean, EVER, just fun 🙂

— Tie

Charity 0 / Andy 1

4. Do you use your own cloth bags at stores, or is that annoying?

Andy – Annoying. I don’t feel like I have much to offer in terms of bags at the grocery stores. But I do live in a community that is arguing the plastic bag availability at large stores. That’s an awesome place to interact with people who have strong feelins about this issue. I love getting in the mix.

Charity – HA! Trouble!! hahaha.

If you were to open my trunk, it’s like a spring is in there. A plethora of bags will explode out of it onto you. I kid you not. It’s not that I am passionate about not using plastic, it’s just that I have so dang many of them!!!! Gifts…who knows?! They grow! They are the anti-sock. Instead of losing one every time you wash them, they duplicate.

— I guess it’s another tie?

Charity 0 / Andy 1

5. What is the worst binge eating episode you’ve ever had?

Andy – HA!! This is awesome. I think the last time I felt under a particular stressful situation, I got a gallon of Chocolate Ice Cream, and ate the whole thing. I felt TERRIBLE afterwards.

Charity – Oh. My. Gosh. There is nothing I could say that would beat that…Unless I was so hungry one day that I went and hunted a deer, cut it up and ate the entire thing. Even then, questionable. A. GALLON. OF. ICE. CREAM.

— No contest.

Charity 0 / Andy 2

6. How do you strive to bring God the most glory in your life?

Andy – There are lots of answers to this question, but I think in order.

1. I try to see the world through a paradigm of Jesus. reading the gospels for the last 5 years has given me a “Red Letter” approach to relationships, economy, and government.

2. I see people as creations of God, instead of the easy labels we try to give folks. So I try and love people no matter where they are.

3. I see myself as a creation of God. So I exercise, try and eat right (besides the ice cream) and understand who God has made me to be.

Charity – Nice. Love it. The reason I chose to review your book was because of the title. I have long held the email addy: firstjohnfour@hotmail.com because it’s my favorite chapter in the Bible. I loved that your book was named after a verse in that chapter. There is so much there. “How can you love a God you can’t see if you can’t love a brother you can see”. Powerful words there.

— God. Wins.

Charity 0 / Andy 2

7. What’s the most life changing experience you’ve had while working with the kids you do?

Andy – Seeing kids have mountain top experiences is incredible. But I love watching the light bulb go off when a student understands they are created unique in God’s image. AND they have a chance to engage in the world with the gifts they’ve been given. I love knowing that students are learning to LOVE GOD and LOVE OTHERS, which translates into loving their family and their friends in a new exciting way.

One particular story is: A muslim kid came from Jordan on a cultural exchange program. When he saw that Christians can love unconditionally, he wanted to come back and give his summer away to give back to kids.

Charity – I love it!!!!!! ahhh!! Again, I LOVE TEENAGERS! I also work with teens. I teach a tough questions class and it’s insane. My favorite is when it clicks in their brains that freedom is in Christ. ALL the things that look like rules are freedom. There isn’t a single one that would box you in and make life smaller and harder. Everything Christ asks of us brings us freedom. My testimony can prove that. Wanting the world, I thought partying and doing whatever I wanted was freedom. I ended up raped, pregnant, single and in hiding. Totally boxed in. God gives us freedom. Freedom to be ourselves and freedom to bring Him glory. I love it. ❤

— Again, God always wins!

8. What is the one food you would not ever want to eat?

Andy – Any of those weird things they eat in Southeast Asia. Bird Nest Soup. Testicles of Animals. Bugs. YUCK.

Charity – haha! I am right there with you!!! Nast.

— Tie

Charity 0 / Andy 2

9. Have you ever gotten sick from food overseas?

Andy – Once in a small village in Cambodia, the town elders served us some “mystery” meat. I’m sure we were eating some local stray dogs. I took one bite, and got up from the table heaving throw up. I was so embarrassed.

Charity – ha!!! When my husband was in Chad, Africa, they all got sick and were sick on the plane ride home. Planes don’t have nearly enough bathrooms…

— Didn’t happen to me! You get this one and I am quickly falling behind!!!

Charity 0 / Andy 3

10. Who gets the remote? You or wifey?

Andy – Wifey.

Charity – Good answer. Same in this household.

— I actually get a point! woot!

Charity 1 / Andy 3

11. Does she have you hooked on any girly shows? (ie: Downton Abby)

Andy – She knows I’m not into that stuff. So she quietly records these shows and watches them when I’m traveling. Thank God. HA!

Charity – Good woman there!!! I admit I have come over to the good side and love a bloody movie … probably more than the next guy. Warrior is my favorite, hands down!!!!

— Good wives win! THAT MEANS I GET A POINT!


Charity 2 / Andy 3

41pQGKwBBLL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ again. Shocking.

OH NO! Andy has questions for me!!! That’s always SCARY AS POOP!!

1. What is one life experience where you felt most ALIVE?

Charity – I used to skate. Loved that lifestyle. I used to be really into fun things like that. Now, it’s pretty much going into Target! HAHA! My body is pretty old… Trying to reverse some of the damage from my Ehlers-Danlos so I can SKY DIVE for my 40th birthday (in 2 years). Not sure that will ever happen. I have a great dr that’s trying to help me! My old bod is currently (and this is no joke) about 70 years old. Yowza!

2. What did you dream as a kid that you wanted to do in life, and for whatever reason weren’t able to see that dream to reality?

Charity – I wanted to be a Navy SEAL. I think you can figure out why that didn’t work. ha! It’s all I thought about starting when I was like…7 or something.

3. Who is the group in your life that you are most afraid to talk to? Listen to? Interact with?

Charity – Hmmm. I don’t think there are any..Well, I take that back. I have a “gift” (if you will…) of being able to sense who needs something when I am in a room full of people. I can kind of zero in on the person that needs someone to listen or help them with something. So, I don’t have any qualms about that kind of thing. My problem is with people who take the Bible out of context, make up a god that they are comfortable with while claiming it’s the real God and then saying that they love everyone, but really they only love the people that agree with them. ha! Confused?

4. What is the most embarrassing moment you experienced last year?

Charity – Oh man! These are hard! I don’t embarrass too easily. I just want to be old so I can say whatever I want and fart when I walk and everyone will let me get away with it because I’m old. I HONESTLY can’t think of one… I tell all my secrets. ha!!

5. Who is your hero? Why?

Charity – Now this one is EASY. My husband. We both came from really dark, broken places. We got saved as adults and married with a u-haul of baggage from our past. (I’m talking one of those HUGE u-hauls!). That man is amazing. He puts me before himself in everything. He works hard, comes home and watches out for me, loves on me, spoils me and is incredibly in love with God. I could never, EVER find someone else like him. The bar is too high. He better live forever.

6. When you think of God…What do you think about?

Charity – Again, Easy. I just think of Him holding me. All I want to do is get to Heaven and sit in His lap for eternity. I am going to be a total God hog. 100%. Never leave. He has carried me from the darkest imaginable places. Ex 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still”. Love that. He is my everything. EVERYTHING.

7. When you’re in the mix of the day, what is the thing you’re least excited to do?

Charity – Well, I am in pain a lot, so it’s really just every day things. I am completely fulfilled in my life.

8. What’s the most successful adventure you’ve ever accomplished?

Charity – At the risk of sounding pretentious, I will say this. When I set my mind to something, I will be successful. Everything I have ever started I have literally ran to the top. That being said, God has had to really teach me some seriously hard life lessons. Now, it’s not about what I’ve accomplished, but how can I bring Him glory in all things. That even includes the car breaking down, a dr’s diagnosis, or a stubbed toe. How can I show my kids Jesus in all situations? That’s my #1 goal. I want to show God’s amazing glory to the world.

My biggest accomplishment? Falling on my knees and asking God for wisdom on how to raise my kids. They love Jesus with all their hearts. They are completely servants to Him. As stated, I am sick. My 16 year old does all the housework and meals. I never have to ask him. He simply doesn’t want me to waste a good day on something like that. Seeing Jesus in my kids? That’s more than I could have ever dreamed. They are my heroes too.

9. What’s the “go to” when you feel stressed?

Charity – The Word and Hubby. It used to be many other things, but now that’s what I cling to.

10. What attracts you to be-friend someone? How did you and your best friend come to find a relationship of trust?

Charity – Wow. Hmm. I suppose I am attracted to loyal people that really love God. I don’t have energy to be best friends with a clingy person. I love them, but not as a best friend.

My sister is actually my best friend (aside from my hubs and kids). Yes, I do get out of the house……

We went through some years of not speaking much and going different paths. But now, it’s cool because we don’t have all the same convictions and beliefs, but we respect each other because we know that we each love God with all our hearts. I know that I am always wanting to listen to God. If He tells me that I’m wrong, I want to change it right away. I never want to assume I am right about everything I am doing. She is the same way.

It’s a beautiful thing not to be stressed about life. Just loving God with all my heart and listening to His voice directing me down different paths.

— I hope I answered these alright!! ha. Basically, I love God. The end.

Thank you SO MUCH, Andy! This was AWESOME!!!! Balloons-for-Birthday-Party Guess what???? Yep!! You smart readers know…

Andy has agreed to giveaway a copy of his book (releasing on May 19th). You are DEFINITELY going to want a copy of it!!! All you need to do is head on over to No Fear In Love and start entering!!!


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