Today’s FACE of Memphis, Carrie Brady, brings joy in the form of action to the people around her — her family, friends, coworkers and chance acquaintances. From her home to her neighborhood to the University of Memphis football field to an outreach ministry in Honduras called Point of Impact, Carrie brings purpose and passion to every activity. Welcome, Carrie!
When did Memphis become your home?
I was born and raised in Memphis and have pretty much lived here all of my life, with the exception of when Braxton and I lived in Ripley, TN, for a little over three years after we first got married.
Describe your family and how your job as a mom has coordinated with your career and outreach involvement.
Our family is hilarious, loving, fun and outgoing. I have been a wife for 16 ½ years and a mom for 15 ½ years, and I cannot imagine life without any of my amazing and supportive husband or children; they bring me great joy and laughter. We have three children and one that we like to call our own from Honduras. We go visit him on our trip to Honduras each summer and have had the great joy of having him here in our home the past two Christmases.
I have been able to work from home for Fellowship Memphis as an administrative assistant for John Bryson for the past six years, and that has been such a huge blessing. It has allowed me to be involved in my kids’ schools, as well as do outreach in our city and around the world. (A few of our favorite local ministries/volunteer outlets are: Service Over Self, Lester School, Cornerstone Preparatory School, Jacob’s Well and Point of Impact.) I am a member of Harvest Church where my husband is the associate pastor for Family Ministries. Braxton and I want our kids to serve right alongside us, and sometimes they even give us ideas and opportunities to serve. Our family motto is “Taking initiative for the benefit of others,” and so I believe that parenting, serving and outreach all go hand in hand.
Please describe the Point of Impact ministry and how it has had an impact on you?
I came to learn about Point of Impact (POI) when my husband and oldest son, Preston, went on a father-son mission trip in 2011. It was a life-changing trip for them, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go with them the following year. After serving that summer with POI in Honduras, we knew it would continue to be a huge part of our lives for years to come. This is how the 901 HATS came into the picture. We wanted a way to show our love for our city and also be able to support a ministry that has captured our hearts as well. POI is truly helping change the lives of people in Honduras by providing education, food, jobs and hope.
You moved to the Binghampton neighborhood to express support for a struggling neighborhood in Memphis. Please describe this path in your life.
This December marked eight years of us living in the Binghampton neighborhood. It is a winding journey of learning and re-learning, learning how to love our neighbors as ourselves and re-learning how to break down walls of racism and hatred within our city. We have met some wonderful people in our city and listened to stories of culture and history, which, if we had not moved into this neighborhood, we may never have known. It has been a privilege to live here and be a part of a community that is so steeped in history. We moved in through the Binghampton Development Corporation and have great respect and admiration for what they are doing in this part of the city. There are some amazing people that have built homes, gardens, and tutored, painted, etc. to help with the re-growth of this neighborhood. It is exciting to see and we trust that it will continue to flourish!
What are three favorite places you and your family enjoy in Memphis?
Everywhere we like to go has something to do with a sporting event. The Liberty Bowl Stadium (the site of today’s photo shoot), the FedEx Forum or in our own front yard throwing a football! Braxton has had the privilege and opportunity of being the University of Memphis football team chaplain for two seasons. This past fall I think I spent more time on a football field than anywhere else. With two boys who play for their schools, and then the U of M, I feel like football mom of the year! We have grown to love and really build relationships with the Memphis football players, coaches and their families. A couple of the guys on the team call me “Momma Brady,” and I love it. We have dinner for them once a week, and Braxton leads a Bible study. It has been so good for my two boys to get to know these guys and see the ones who truly are following the Lord and being leaders in college athletics.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?
“While I Was Doing the Laundry,” because some days I feel like that is all I do or at least need to be doing. But more often than not I look back at the end of a week or a day and realize how much has truly been done — and I don’t mean the carpool lines, homework pages, lunches being made, or laundry, but the way God has taught me while doing those things. Things like patience, love, kindness, gentleness, self-control and peace in the midst of what can feel like chaos. I think He is constantly teaching all of us those things if we can learn to be still and listen.
What inspires you to keep going when the challenges of balancing work, family and more set in?
My mom is a big inspiration to me. She was a single mom who raised three kids, worked two jobs and put herself through school all at the same time. We learned as kids what it looked to like to work hard and never give up. So the days that it feels like a balancing act I gain inspiration from how well my mom did it.
What’s your favorite quote?
“The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness.” (John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life.)
Do you have a mentor or role model?
Ruth Hamilton is a definite mentor and role model in my life. She and her husband, David, started POI ministries. She is wise, humble, loving and one of the most giving people I have ever met. She has influenced me as a wife, mom and friend. I am constantly bouncing questions off of her; I just watch her and learn. She is an empty-nester who has not used her free time to just benefit herself. She is constantly volunteering, cooking meals for the homeless, involved in a ministry serving, tutoring or teaching classes at MAM (Memphis Athletic Ministries). I pray that I learn to serve and follow Jesus like she does.
Favorite vacation or travel destination?
We are typical Memphians and head to the beautiful white beaches of Florida just about every summer, but four years ago we traveled west (by car, with three kids and my mother, I might add) to Aspen, CO, and it was absolutely wonderful. We spent almost two weeks traveling, horseback riding, white-water rafting and hiking and were not ready to come home from those gorgeous mountains!
What is your must-have fashion item for Winter 2014?
The infinity scarf is my favorite fashion item right now. I love how you can add it to a plain shirt and dress it up to make it look fabulous! So simple yet so fun and cute.
What books have you most enjoyed lately? Do you prefer an e-reader or old-fashioned paper?
Reading is truly my escape and I can get so caught up in a book that when I am not reading it I will wonder what the characters are doing! Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton were two I read this summer and I loved them both! I am currently finishing up Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. It is nonfiction and talks about a lot of issues that I feel like I struggle with in my own life. I read on my Kindle quite a bit but enjoy underlining and writing notes in the margin so I enjoy having a good old-fashioned paperback in my hands.
What beauty product could you not imagine living without?
My Clinique Chubby Lipstick. Love it! It is like a ChapStick with a burst of color! Richer Raisin is my favorite!
What three lighthearted things could you not live without?
1. My calendar, and I don’t mean on my iPhone; I like the old paper kind that I can stick sticky notes in or write on. I love to sit down right before the new year and add in everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries and, of course, my kids’ activities!
2. Diet Coke. Diet Coke is my “coffee” drink in the morning or at night when I need some added energy.
3. My sister’s fashion advice. She truly is the coolest person I know, especially when it comes to fashion. Anytime someone says that I look cute or they love my jewelry, it is usually because my sister has dressed me!
Thank you, Carrie!
And thank you to Keith Montgomery for the wonderful pictures of Carrie, taken at one of her favorite places in Memphis, the Liberty Bowl Stadium (where she cheers for her U of M Tigers football team alongside her husband, team Chaplain Braxton Brady). keithmontmedia.com