Audra Krell

On Purpose

Archive for the category “Current Affairs”

David and Goliath New Book Review

David and Goliath New Book Review

Absolutely loved Malcolm Gladwell’s new book David and Goliath. It opens with the original Underdog vs. Giant battle from 3000 years ago in Palestine. Quickly, the stories explode and bridge to present battles we all face on a daily basis. Whether it be sibling rivalry, surviving culture and/or running a business, David and Goliath brings an offering, a gift which gives the ability to see life in a different way.
One of the best quotes is from a man with Dyslexia. “Dyslexia…forces you to develop skills that otherwise might have lain dormant. It also forces you to do things you might otherwise never have considered…”
I ask you this Christmas, what is your Dyslexia? What (or who) is it in your life that you consider to be a great hinderance? A God-given something that may never change? But most importantly, how can you consider your greatest thorn in a new light?
Read David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell to find out.
*Thank you to The B & B Media Group for providing this book to review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a favorable review.*

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How To Know if You’re A Bully

Photo Courtesy @iStockphoto

Photo Courtesy @iStockphoto

Bullying is a pervasive problem which I believe stems from abandonment issues. It’s defined in multiple ways and some countries have no legal definition of bullying while the US has state laws against it. Bullying is a form of abuse which covers a gamut of emotional, verbal and physical scenarios. It is abuse, harassment, mobbing,threats and assault. Bullying by any other name, stinks just as bad.

While the definition and recognition of what exactly bullying is, is growing rapidly, our culture houses bullies of all ages and stages, who do not not know that they are abusive. Even people who are viewed as good and upright are bullying their peers and family members. Instead of jumping to judge others, we would do well to look inward and make sure that we are not contributing to the bully culture.

The following may be extremely difficult to consider.

Eight ways you might be a bully:

1. When you don’t get your way, you intentionally make others feel uncomfortable.

2. You put people’s dreams on a leash and then parade them about and mock them in front of others.

3. You hold people’s past against them and threaten to expose your knowledge.

4. You threaten harm verbally and in your actions, even though you believe you will never act on your threats.

5. You subtly and constantly try to coerce others to do anything and everything you want.

6. You try to isolate others from social circles at church, work, school or any gathering place.

7. You indirectly bully your loved ones and others by refusing to speak to them.

8. You verbally abuse people in front of others even though you  follow with “I’m kidding,” or “I’m just sayin”.

Bullying includes name calling, verbal or written abuse (Cyber bullying), exclusion, physical abuse and coercion to name a few. We all fall down. But if after reading this you realize that you have a pattern of harming people by repeatedly doing one, some, or all of these, I encourage you to seek help. Learning about your behavior can lead to positive change and a healed soul who isn’t looking to others to fill a God-shaped hole.

Banana Love

I spent my last day in clinicals climbing in and out of isolation gowns. MRSA, C. diFF and HIV patients required that I wear a clean, full gown, gloves and a mask in each patient room. If we forgot an item, we had to take everything off, go get the item and then start the process all over again.

The MRSA and C. diff patients cannot have visitors. MRSA is a very serious antibiotic resistant staph germ and C. diff is a bacteria that causes severe intestinal problems, both of which are highly contagious.

So we were it for them today. It’s easy to get depressed when your only contact is with a masked woman who looks like a walking banana. I tried to be ever- so- kind with my eyes.

Then I came home and read Rev. Billy Graham’s daughter’s timely prayer request for her husband. He has MRSA and is in the fight of his life. He cannot have visitors and his only contact is with the medical staff.

It gave me pause and made me realize we’d all do well to remember that every patient is someone’s son-in-law, someone’s mother, daughter, someone’s little boy, baby girl, mother-in-law, father, aunt, uncle, cousin or grandparent.

We just might be the only love they see.

Here is Anne Graham Lotz prayer request:

Please Pray for Danny LotzBilly Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, has been a good friend to the Christian Writers Guild, having spoken twice at our annual conference and being a real encouragement to me personally.

Her husband has suffered from Type 1 diabetes for years. Today she says:

We’re in the fight of our lives.

Dan has a MRSA staph–the very worst and most contagious kind. They just did an ultrasound of his arm, and his stent is leaking. They will have to repeat surgery they did last Thursday. None of this is good. And our entire family–especially me–is now at risk.

He is on isolation, so no visitors to perk him up. The head of nutrition for the hospital just came in, put on her gown and gloves, then held his hand and prayed a very powerful prayer for his healing! The little nursing assistant who bathed him and pricked his finger for his blood sugar came in, put on her gown and gloves, then held his hand while I read this morning’s Daily Light–which, as usual, is exactly God’s Word to us. So God is here. But we need urgent prayer.

Please pray:
that he can overcome the infection. And if not, that God will take him quickly and painlessly.
that God will comfort his heart and give him peace. He is afraid.
that God’s presence will fill this room for all who enter.
that no one, including me, will get this infection.
This poem was one Mother (Ruth Bell Graham) wrote in the flyleaf of my Bible when I was a girl. Amazing how the words have come back to my mind:

Trusting Him when dark doubts assail us
Trusting Him when our strength is small
Trusting Him when to simply trust Him
is the hardest thing of all.

Trust Him then through tears or sunshine
All our cares upon Him cast.
Till the storms of life are over
And the trusting days are past.

No Masks

As a child I wanted to be something awesome for Halloween. I knew if I had the right costume, people would like me. I thought I wanted to be Sleeping Beauty, but a girl at school was. She finally got her kiss and so much more nine months later. So I dressed up as Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley. The precise opposite of a princess, which didn’t win any popularity contests, as dressing up like a boy is never a good look for me. I quit costumes the next time October 31 rolled around. It probably didn’t help that I got the Mumps that year; there was no trick-or-treating for me anyway.

That didn’t stop me however from constructing a mask, which I wore 24/7. I didn’t want the world to know that underneath my cool exterior, I was an abandoned daughter looking for daddy in every man I knew, and even in some I didn’t.

Many moons and Halloweens later, I hit rock bottom face first and shattered my mask. I floundered for awhile trying to figure out who I was and battling the desire to stay hidden.

God won the war and I gave up masks and costumes for good.

I don’t begrudge anyone, good, clean October 31 fun. And I love seeing the brilliant use of imagination in every costume.

But when you come to my door, you’ll get the real deal; scary or not.

On Choosing Well

Photo Courtesy @iStockphoto

One thing I’m very passionate about is men. When I started walking with God about 13 years ago, I wanted to be a minister to men. They aren’t catty, they don’t talk a lot and often just want a buddy to work or play alongside them. They don’t want to analyze everything and certainly have little use for the drama we women employ.

I see the inappropriate, ridiculousness of that desire; and now know that men become men in the presence of other men. They are designed to be ministered to, mentored and raised by men. As women, we have two choices. We either emasculate our men or can affirm them as great.

I’ve been married to an amazing man for 19.8 years and we have three teenage sons. I know a lot about men. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always understand them, but I know a lot about them. As an abandoned, fatherless daughter, I survived brutal years of trying to let every man know that they were useless and women were better at everything. It was a horrible way to live and I lost good people whom I loved.

And then God, in His grace, ended my anti-men campaign. Today I strive to affirm our men; all of them. So, I’m starting a written series on the topic of men and how we can stop marginalizing them. How us women, “ain’t what we used to be”. I’ll talk about how not all of us mind, if men want to hold the door open or pay when you take us out. How we aren’t weak and don’t desire to walk behind our men, but long to walk alongside, as a co-creator, the way God intended.

I don’t take a public stand on politics. I do however, take a public stand on what I know to be true.

See, we’ve got a defining problem in our culture. We’re a fatherless nation. We are told to look to and follow our leader, yet the government encourages a female dominated society and wonders why we don’t view our fathers in Washington with respect. We experience legislation that allows men to turn away from their children and wonder why they don’t turn toward their fathers. We are a culture brought up by women and everything they believe their rights to be and then blame our men for not knowing how to be fathers.

I’m so grateful for everything my mom has done to raise my brother, sister and I. But the truth is, I know what it’s like to grow up without a father and everything in my pre-teen body knew it wasn’t right. I’ve experienced the devastating effects of a single parent, fatherless home. The tragedy continues to play out even today, over 25 years later.

It’s never too early to be smart about voting in November. Children are our future. Vote for the candidate who values human life and agrees that all men and women are created equal. A leader who isn’t trying to find new ways to elevate women above our good men. I’m voting for leaders who know the value of children being raised by a mother and father.

November 4 isn’t about standing around shaking your head with a pitying look on your face.

That day is your chance to choose.

Shifty Grades of Prey

 This is perfect for one of the covers of the 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy. So symbolic of the masks we manipulate to project our false selves.

My 16-year-old son and I sat in a small California airport last Friday night, waiting to catch a plane. He told me to look across from us, to my right and then behind me. Three women were reading 50 Shades of Grey. When we boarded, another woman was engrossed in her copy. That’s four women out of 60, plus those reading it on their e-reader. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen; that kind of math never happened with Potter, Hunger or Twilight.

As a writer and avid life-long learner, I read a lot of different things. This book was highly recommended by someone dear to me, I had no idea what it was, so I read it. The writing is repetitive, amateurish and won’t be up for literary awards. The content is mature, often erotic and mindless. In this case, none of those words are synonyms for entertaining.

Notice I did not put “shocking” on my descriptive list. Not because I’m experienced in the BDSM lifestyle, but because there is nothing new under the sun. A lifetime ago, while studying English Literature, I took a course called Principles of Obscenity. We read all the big ones, Story of O, Story of the Eye and shorter works by D.H. Lawrence. They were shocking to my 21 -year -old mind and unguarded heart. I learned, that really there are no principles to obscenity. Rather it’s the absence of principle that makes these fictional accounts a literary genre.

I find Fifty Shades simply the latest culture crusher to stand firm against. Next week a new magazine, book, essay, speech, movie, song, album, picture or other entertainment medium will prey on us and take it’s place in the number one spot.

Tomorrow we will still have to stand tall against the message that our marriage isn’t enough, your spouse isn’t everything you deserve, you’re not thin enough, we’re not pretty enough, you don’t think right, do things right, believe right, you’re too far right and you’re weak. All in all, the sun will probably rise tomorrow and with it the message that you aren’t enough and never will be.

The most troubling issue regarding 50 Shades, is the term “Mommy Porn.” Why is this okay? If one in six of our men were sitting in the airport reading a little “Daddy Porn” women would go crazy. It’s believed that pornography damages the image of women in the name of a cheap thrill.

50 Shades portrays the female character being degraded and emotionally damaged. Our culture embraces it by giving it a name and touting it on a national talk show. Why aren’t our men asking if they can have their porn featured on a talk show? It would never happen and the uprising would be like none other if  it did.

Even some feminists have praised the book. What? Women dedicate their lives to fighting for equal rights and then embrace a series of books that are in direct opposition to what they stand for.

People however, don’t need our judgement for reading this book or even for liking it. We need to see it for what it is, a gale wind in the storm of life. It’s an opportunity to stand right next to God’s people, shore them up and pray against cultural norm.

It’s not the first time the wind has howled and it won’t be the last.

Take the high road, ride your high horse if you must, but I won’t stop praying for you.

I hope you’ll do the same.

What has been your personal reaction to 50 Shades of Grey ideology and hype? Do the themes and content seem new?

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.

Money Secrets of the Amish

Money Secrets of the Amish

I thoroughly enjoyed Lorilee Craker’s Money Secrets of the Amish. The subtitle aptly describes the content: Finding true abundance in simplicity, sharing and saving.
The older I get, the more interested I become in downsizing, simplifying and giving. Or maybe it’s the older my sons get, as the oldest went to college this year.
The money saving tips in this book are presented clearly and are simple and practical. The book shows how to recycle and gave new ideas for repurposing.

My favorite idea from the book is to save pieces of your children’s clothes to have made into a quilt, which you present at graduation or other special milestones in their life.

I will of course, be giving this book to some dear friends, who I know will pass it on to others. This is a great read for everyone, no matter what their bank account shows.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: 40 Days to Better Living

Another great book from the 40 Days to Better Living folks, this time on Hypertension. Such a great series and an active, helpful way to help people manage hypertension.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

 

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

40 Days to Better Living: Hypertension

Barbour Books (September 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

From the time Scott Morris was just a teenager, he knew he would do two things with his future—serve God and work with people. Growing up in Atlanta, he felt drawn to the Church and at the same time drawn to help others, even from a very young age. It was naturally intrinsic, then, that after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia he went on to receive his M.Div. from Yale University and finally his M.D. at Emory University in 1983.

After completing his residency in family practice, Morris arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1986 without knowing a soul, but determined to begin a health care ministry for the working poor. He promptly knocked on the doors of St. John’s Methodist Church and Methodist Hospital in Memphis inviting them to help, and then found an old house to refurbish and renovate. By the next year, the Church Health Center opened with one doctor—Dr. Scott Morris—and one nurse. They saw twelve patients the first day and Morris began living his mission to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and spirits.

From the beginning, Morris saw each and every patient as a whole person, knowing that without giving careful attention to both the body and soul the person would not be truly well. So nine years after opening the Church Health Center, he opened its Hope & Healing Wellness Center. Today the Church Health Center has grown to become the largest faith-based clinic in the country of its type having cared for 60,000 patients of record without relying on government funding. The clinic handles more than 36,000 patient visits a year while the wellness center, which moved to its current 80,000-square-foot location on Union Avenue in 2000, serves more than 120,000 member visits each year. Fees are charged on a sliding scale based on income.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Millions experience high blood pressure—and 40 Days to Better Living: Hypertension provides clear, manageable steps for you to manage it, through life-changing attitudes and actions. If you’re ready to really live better, select one or more elements of the 7-step Model for Healthy Living—Faith, Medical, Movement, Work, Emotional, Family and Friends, and Nutrition—and follow the 40-day plan to improve your life, just a bit, day by day. With plenty of practical advice, biblical encouragement, and stories of real people who’ve taken the same journey, this book—from the Church Health Center in Memphis, the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the U.S.—may be the most important book you read this year!

The 40 Days to Better Living series offers clear, manageable steps to life-changing attitudes and actions in a context of understanding and grace for all people at all points on the journey to optimal health. With plenty of practical advice, spiritual encouragement, and real stories of those who have found a better life, this simple and skillfully crafted book inspires readers to customize their own path to wellness by using the 7-Step Model for Healthy Living as a guide:

    • Nutrition: pursuing smarter food choices and eating habits

 

  • Friends and family: giving and receiving support through relationships

 

 

  • Emotional life: understanding feelings and managing stress to better care for yourself

 

 

  • Work: appreciating your skills, talents, and gifts

 

 

  • Movement: discovering ways to enjoy physical activity

 

 

  • Medical care: partnering with health care providers to optimize medical care

 

 

  • Faith life: building a relationship with God, neighbors, and self

 

Along with tips from the Model for Healthy Living, the easy-to-read format features a Morning Reflection and an Evening Wrap-Up as well as a place for documenting plans, progress, and perspectives. Targeted scriptures and prayers that undergird the focus of each day’s message make this compact book an excellent choice for a daily devotional.

Subsequent titles in the Better Living series will be released bi-monthly and address key health topics including hypertension, diabetes, depression, weight management, stress management, aging, and addiction. All promise substantial support to those who are ready for a newer, better way of living—body and spirit.

Product Details:

List Price: $7.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616262656
ISBN-13: 978-1616262655

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

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