Audra Krell

On Purpose

Archive for the category “Christianity”

Homespun Normality

I’ve been devouring Henri J.M. Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus. It’s a tiny book, but busting with intelligent thought, encouragement and honest spirituality.

Recently while reading, I came upon the term “homespun normality.” It’s a glorious phrase, meant for those that understand down home living, authentic relationship and outrageous love. Homespun normality, or HN, as I’ve come to call it, can make most situations better.

If you’re the one who can bring a little HN to the crowd, you probably don’t even know the power you possess.

  • HN takes a serious situation and lightens the load. While it doesn’t make the problem go away, the load just isn’t as heavy.
  • HN creates warmth.
  • HN invites others into the intimacies of daily living.

I’m going to spend this year, trying to keep homespun normality at the center of my life. For our family, Jesus is homespun normality, friends and family linger in the intimacies of daily life, and comforts of home are intentionally packed to go with us wherever we may roam.

HN is a favorite warm blanket in a hospital room, a worn Bible on a bedside table, the sharing of problems and celebrating victory over a Starbucks, the worst version of the Happy Birthday song sung by the best people and red velvet cake with white frosting on a blue plate. It’s stars and stripes blowing high in the wind and the same flag waving at half mast. It’s the celebration of life ended too soon and the pain of birth. It is the simplest thread and deepest intricacies that keep us bound together in a majestic mosiac.

How do you bring homespun normality to your life and better yet, how will you bring it to others?

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On Good Villagers

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I’ve had to call on my village quite a bit already this year. In thinking about them today and celebrating how grateful I am, I thought about what exactly it is that I’m thankful for. I also thought about what it takes to be a good villager.

Good villages don’t happen by accident. Over the weekend, one of my new villagers granted me a huge favor. Totally undeserved and unmerited, but he did it any way. And he did it with joy. That trips my “pay it forward switch” and inspires me to find meaningful ways to bless others. Favors are a way of intentionally building a village.

I can actively bless my village by being a good villager.

Here are a few things you can count on from me.

I will work intently to always think the best about you. I believe Waylon Jennings got it right, and you are good- hearted men and women, doing the very best you can. Some of us haven’t met in person yet, but be assured, I already know your heart is good.

Every village has a couple of crazies. I promise you there will be times I’ll be one of them. I’ll make mistakes, I’ll hurt your feelings, misunderstand and sometimes my hair can be big and wild. But I also guarantee this, if you speak the truth in love, I’ll listen, mean it when I say “I’m sorry” and I’ll try to do better. You should know though, that 80’s hair is one of my favorite things in the world and non- negotiable.

When you’re feeling crazy, I’ll stand by you, I’ll speak the truth in love and every day will be a new day. If we have trouble in the night, I’ll fully expect joy in the morning. If you need me during the crazy period, I’ll bring my comb and some Aqua Net. We’ll get you fixed up in a jiffy.

When we are together, I will look you in the eye, I’ll listen, trust you and enjoy your presence. At the same time, I’ll respect your space, privacy and personal rights. If I have a question, I’ll come to you first and won’t ask others about your life.

I’ve got a fightin’ side that I try to use for good. It’s one of those superpowers we all have that can go either way. If I see an injustice against the elderly, minorities or children I won’t quit until it’s right, period. I will organize large groups for the greater good of the village and we’ll have some good music and great food while we work together to make today’s corner of the world a better place.

I will use that fight to storm Heaven for you, and will pray for anything you need, anytime.

Finally, you should know, your past is just that, your past. It’s not who you are, it’s simply things you’ve done, good and bad.

Remember, I already know who you are and I like you.

Actually I love you and I thank God every day for you.

What about you? How’s your village working out for you? Are there things you could do to make it a better place for all?

Christmas Love by Dolores Ayotte

Christmas Love

 Before I share my little story with you, I would like to thank Audra for inviting me to be a guest blogger. I am very honored to have this opportunity.

The Christmas Season is upon us once again. It is only two short weeks until Christmas Eve. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is all around us as we hurry and scurry about to finish our shopping and plan for all the usual celebrations. I want to draw from some precious memories to stress the importance of keeping the true meaning of Christmas alive as we come to the end of 2011.  In order to do so, I am going to travel back into my own childhood and the memories that I cherish from so long ago.

When I was a young girl, Christmas was seldom about giving gifts. If I received one…it was usually an unwrapped and much needed article.  I considered myself blessed to receive any present at all. The excitement mounted in our home regardless of the lack of presents.  Christmas Eve was the start of the family celebratory season with a midnight church service followed by the special treats of homemade “tortiere”/ meat pie and other Christmas delights.

My siblings and I would tie our stockings to our wrought iron bed and wait for morning with eager anticipation. Sometime during the night, my dad would creep into our bedroom and quietly put one Christmas orange, a few peanuts in the shells, and some hard unwrapped candy at the bottom of our long stockings…stockings that we actually wore and only used in this manner once a year for this special occasion.  Even when we were very young, we never talked about Santa Claus. We seemed to always know that it was my dad putting those few items in our stockings that we were so grateful to receive.

To me, Christmas Love is really about family but even more importantly, it is about celebrating the birth of Christ. In doing so, we are sharing in the joy of the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and that special birth of Our Savior that took place over 2000 years ago.

At times, it is apparent to me that society has taken the Christ out of Xmas and replaced it with many un-Christ-like substitutes…a multitude of X’s. There is much Xtravagance, many unrealistic Xpectations, too much Xtra spending, Xaggerated gift giving, Xcessive eating, Xhaustion, and too many other Xmas activities to mention. In order to truly experience the meaning of Christmas Love, it is necessary to get back to basics and keep Christ in our Christmas festivities by removing as many X’s as possible.

I also feel it is necessary to refocus and redefine what Christmas is all about and what we can personally do to recapture some of the love, joy, and peace of this wondrous season.

Therefore, on that note, I would like to wish each of you a Christmas Season filled…less with the Xploits of consumerism and…more with the Love of Christ.   This is what Christmas Love is all about and why I think it is so precious. Wouldn’t you agree?

Thank you Dolores, I more than agree. Christmas is only about the love of Christ and how we can give it to others. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and blessings with us. To enjoy more writing by Dolores, connect with her at DoloresAyotte.com and also HERE.

Blessings Only Parking

 

This is a parking spot at my gym.

Oh to be worthy to park there daily.

It’s empty. A lot.

Parking there is kind of a commitment, don’t you think?

Wrestling Faith

By now you've probably heard about Joel, who refused to wrestle a girl and thus had to forfeit the match.

He walked away because of his faith. He believes in respecting women and didn't feel he could do that by wrestling.

Rick Reilly, a noted ESPN columnist wrote a demeaning story (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=6136707)  about why Joel should have wrestled her. He says the young woman "relishes the violence" and "loathes being protected."

So, she's asking for it Rick? I didn't realize that if we decide a woman is asking to be disrespected that it's okay to do whatever we want to her, because she "deserves it" since she asked for it.

I thought we'd been trying to fight against those messages for a long time.

The world needs a whole lot more real men like Joel. He is a man who stands up for what he believes in, based on who he is, not on who other people may or may not be. Whether the young woman wanted to be respected and defended or not, Joel chose the right way based on his convictions and beliefs.

Integrity and respect mean more to Joel than a wrestling title. My mom taught me that you'll never regret being nice to people. Joel's conviction and kindness will take him a lot further than any wrestling title ever could.

Know Groundwire

What I wouldn't have done to have a group like this when I was a teenager. Groundwire uses technology to connect young people with the gospel of Jesus. 

I'm passionate about our millennials and young people. Sadly, they are considered the lost generation. I love promoting the work the good folks of Groundwire do, because it lines up with my personal mission. I write so that no one feels abandoned. 

Groundwire exists to bring our young people home. If you are struggling with cutting, eating disorders, depression or other problems, log onto Groundwire for Spiritual coaching and a safe place where you won't be judged or shunned.

Day or night, someone is waiting to talk, pray, encourage and listen. www.Groundwire.net

Leading Millennials

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Thom S. Rainer has a great article here on what millenials want in a leader. Through his article you can learn who our Millenials are and more details about what they are looking for in a leader.

I have a huge heart for Millennials, as Steve and I are raising 3 later born Millennial boys. I love to study articles like Rainers, because it's important to learn about what their generation is seeking.

For me, learning turns into leading. Millenials are looking for gentle spirited mentors, as well as authentic and down-to-earth pastors, politicians and the like. My favorite quality in Millennials is their zero tolerance policy on lying and inauthentic people. If you consistently lack integrity and are manipulative and deceitful, they will leave you. Forever.

Honesty wins every time. It's a good policy to implement for every generation.

In what ways are you leading the Millennial generation? 

 

How to Not Be A Grinch

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Tips for loving Christmas:

  1. Say no. Say no to family, friends, commitments, obligations and traditions if they aren't healthy, fun and doable.
  2. Don't take "no" from others personally. Exercise respect by realizing they are doing what's best for them.
  3. Plan to join in the fun, not be the center of it. We set our expectations too high when we attempt to make ourselves or our kids the very center of the celebration. The only person at the center is Jesus.
  4. Know when it's time to go. Have fun, share glad tidings of joy and move on. Enough said.
  5. Be aware of what matters to others. Honor their traditions, think of meaningful ways to show what they mean to you. Speak their love language.
  6. Remember those serving over seas, and those here who are missing their loved ones. Go out of your way for these people.
  7. Give more than you get and your Christmas cup will overflow.

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Out Live Your Life

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While in his 25th year of publishing and having written over 50 books, Max Lucado's latest book is wonderful. Out Live Your Life inspires the reader to do exactly that. We were all put on earth for a reason, each one with a unique purpose. Like a favorite roots album from the 70's, reading Lucado is like listening to your favorite songs over and over again. One never tires of the power, authenticity, simplicity and "every man voice" that Lucado writes in.

Out Live Your Life is more than a book. It's a call to action; a call for real living.

"None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them, we serve Jesus," he writes. 

I certainly cannot help everyone, but I can most definitely help someone.

With deepest thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a review copy.

 

Did They Hear What I Hear?

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Sunday morning was another one of "those" morning for me, the kind where I sit in Church and weep. Our 17- year old, Keegan, played guitar in big church. His gorgeous sound filled the main speakers and with every finger pluck, every strum, I could barely keep it together.

And it's not just because he's ours. His playing enables my relationship with my Creator. I have a greater ability to worship and thank God as his guitar ushers me to throne room. I hear significance, power and love from our father in Heaven.

But get this, at exactly the same moment, yet precisely 2407 miles from Scottsdale, 14- year- old Mason led worship at Beach Community Church in Costa Rica. He stood in front of his brothers and sisters and poured out his heart with his guitar. 

Some of these wonderful people had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. 

Others began to figure out who they were, they found their identity in Christ.

And it's my prayer, that they heard what I heard and that they too,

felt the mountains tremble.

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