Audra Krell

On Purpose

Archive for the category “Creatives”

Feelings Don’t Define You

Photo Courtesy @iStockphoto

Whatever you feel today doesn’t mean you are.

If you feel sad, it doesn’t mean you are a sad person.
If you feel mad, you aren’t an angry person.
If you feel frazzled and out of control, you aren’t crazy.
If you feel discouraged, you aren’t a negative person.
If you feel empty, you aren’t alone.
If you feel unloved, you aren’t unloveable.
But…
If you feel loved (or even when you don’t), you are.

Everyday. Feelings and all.

Creator God loves you no matter what. Forever.

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Breakfast Club on Jazz

We attended closing night of the Phoenix Film Festival and saw Blue Like Jazz. The film opens nationwide on April 13.

Let me first say that I loved the book. God used it to change my life. Donald Miller gets abandonment. It was one of the first times I felt understood in my struggle with parental abandonment. Miller helped me to see that even though I didn’t feel worthy of people sticking around, I have a Father who has never left me.

In my ongoing heartbreak with subsequent familial abandonment, I return time and again to the truths I finally understood through Miller’s writing. God’s love lasts much longer than the stabs of current rejection. His love is the only thing that is eternal.

Now on to the movie. It’s not advertised for, nor is it appropriate for children or young teens. We took our 13 and 16 year old sons. I was embarrassed, and as mom to three teen boys, it takes some doing to make me blush. I also was uncomfortable with the mocking of Christianity. I get that for free every day out in the world, through all social media and especially on TV. My son lives it everyday at the University he attends, the other boys at their middle and high schools.

Some reviewers say the movie is a great conversation starter for Christian families and helps them transition their young adults to the next stage of life. I wonder where they think we live? Do they really believe all Christians live out in the country where the most violent act we witness is a calf being born? Where our biggest problem is what dress to wear to church on Sunday? No, Christians face the exact things the world does, on the same moment- by -moment basis. When I attend a film, I want to be taken away from the world, not forced to relive my college days in all their lewd glory.

Reviewers said the movie was going to have a hard time and comments like the one below tend to polarize viewers:

A challenging book to turn into a film due to its stream of consciousness narration, director Steve Taylor and crew have for the most part succeeded in turning out a generally entertaining film, but one that will probably be too centered on Christianity for those averse to religion and too “edgy” for those of the Christian faith who like their films Kirk Cameronesque. -Linc Leifeste, Smells Like Screen Spirit 

I agree, it was too difficult to turn Blue Like Jazz into a film. As a person of faith, an avid movie goer and someone who respects Kirk Cameron, I don’t prefer my films to be Kirk Cameronesque. I further don’t consider mocking Christianity for 95% of the film to be edgy in any way. It’s an effort to reach the masses with an attempt to entertain. Mocking anything is usually good for a sure laugh.

The central message of Blue Like Jazz the movie, is that every flawed creature is worthy of respect, which we know is the gospel truth. The film had the chance to go deep with that and ended up a glorified, modern day version of the Breakfast Club with a jazz soundtrack. Basically an “accept all sin now, just be certain to ask forgiveness later.”

I highly recommend the book, it’s a completely different experience.

Blue Like Jazz the Book

Practice Matters

Last week I was reading Seth Godin’s blog on Sight Reading and it got me thinking about practicing. He said he never practiced his clarinet, like ever, and the teacher would scold him for only practicing 3 or 4 hours that week. I was the same way, a good sight reader, and so it appeared I could play better than I could.

But I’ve come to realize, practice matters. A little known fact, is I went to CU-Boulder on a bass clarinet scholarship. That’s right folks, I used to play the biggun. In the Spring of ’89 I closed the case on Big Clara Net, never to be opened again. You see, I was failing music theory. Actually to be more than fair to myself, I didn’t have an F, but a grade of C or higher was required to move on to Music Theory 2. I got a tutor, studied super hard and used my whole brain to understand the concepts. But music theory is a lot like math… and now I have a degree in English Lit.

What I didn’t know, is if I had practiced my instrument more, I would have passed music theory.

The arts aren’t about talking about doing art. They aren’t about formulas, logic and math. The whole thing hinges upon actually doing the art. Music isn’t just about theory, you have to practice, play and create. Writing isn’t about a laptop, pens, tablets or books, but about sitting down every day to write and create something larger than yourself.

Further, to all the education systems cutting their art programs, art isn’t about viewing it on a video game or computer screen. It must be experienced, taken in and put back into the world as a new creation. Our children need the schools to provide opportunities to practice their music, visual and dramatic arts. Students need to practice to find out who they are, to discover their purpose.

Today, because of the public education art programs I was involved in, I’m a vocalist and percussionist. Clanging cymbals and banging the gong doesn’t require quite as much practice as clarinets and vocals, but does require a lot of rhythm and counting.

Counting? I probably should practice math more. Nah.

Nothing Closer

Pen Quill and Parchment

“It seems that some creatives will only

know glory at a distance; yet they experience nothing closer

than the very presence of God.”

-Audra Krell

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?

Not Bulletproof…Yet

So I’m querying agents and publishers like crazy with my new novel, Abandoned Ship. How exciting, you might think. And it is.

Every house or agent wants something different. One wants the first 3 chapters pasted in the email and will delete if you attach. Other agencies say that pasting “ruins the formatting and there couldn’t be a worse first impression”. Others want a biography, some want a long synopsis and still others want a one page query which covers your life story. Some don’t accept snail mail, others won’t accept email.

Where’s the exciting part you ask? It’s in the work. It takes hours of due diligence to query just 2 or 3 agents. The satisfaction of hitting send or packaging up a proposal and dropping it in the mail is glorious. But with all the nets thrown, come the rejections.

And they sting.

Because you want to know, I’ll tell you. I’m on my 25th rejection between my first and second book. So it’s really an anniversary of sorts. Woo Hoo! That’s me celebrating with a mini fist pump.

After 25, it might get a little easier. I thought. Truth is, I didn’t think there’d be a number 25. Somebody was going to beg me for my exclusive work. Maybe even two somebody’s. Alas, they became number 24 and 25 respectively and within 15 minutes of each other.

So while my thick skin is growing, it certainly is far from bulletproof. And while we’re talking about being far from things, I’m far from giving up.

If you have a range of 0-100, 100 being I’ve done everything I can to make my baby fly, I’m at about an 8.

Loving the journey and the grace afforded me along the way. There are some very nice agents and publishers out there, even in the midst of delivering news I don’t want to hear.

I’m just grateful for the chance.

Question:

What about you? On a scale of 0-100, where do fall with your dream? What can you do to put yourself closer to 100?

I’m Over There

Today I’m over at a fantastic blog where my guest post Bed, Bath and Beyond Breakdown is featured. I know most of you have seen it, but making the quick trip over to my friend Floyd’s blog is well worth it. He is an excellent writer with a gift for relevant story telling. Poke around a little bit and then show him some comment love!  I also would recommend subscribing to his blog “But for the Grace of God Go I…..Finding Floyd.” Post after post, he has some great reminders and just what I need. Click now!  http://theregoi.com/finding-floyd

Truth on Writing

A truth you need to know today:

It is absolutely okay and even required for writers and other creatives to be introverts.

  • Let go of the guilt you feel for not being outgoing and craving daily meetings with friends.
  • Use the gift of introversion to get to know yourself.
  • Your best writing/artistry comes from the depths of who you truly are, if you don’t know who that person is in the depth of his soul, you can’t write well.
  • You don’t have to affirm yourself as a wildly successful artist; instead simply say yes today, to the truth of who you are.

So often we think of ourselves in terms of who we should be. That causes internal divisiveness, which is a distraction at best.

What truth could you say “yes” to today, in celebration of who you really are?

New: Why I Write

Photo Courtesy @iStockphoto

I write so people feel loved, understood and encouraged.

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