Audra Krell

On Purpose

Archive for the category “Men”

The Closer Mariano Rivera

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You don’t have to enjoy baseball to love Wayne Coffey’s “The Closer”. You don’t even have to have a son named Keegan who asked if we could go to court to legally change his name to “Keegan Jeter Krell.” Heck you don’t even have to like the Yankees.

What you should like is the story of a man from humble beginnings, full of life and humility, who knows exactly WHO puts the heat on his fastball. Rivera thanks the Lord consistently for all he’s been given. He also professes his awareness that he’s known for a long time that “He is using me for His own purposes,” referring to the Lord.

And in other news, the Yankees drafted his son, Mariano Rivera III, a couple of days ago. I think that’s really neat. And if mama thinks it’s cool…..well you know the rest.

I do heartily recommend The Closer for the informative, but especially inspiring true story, Coffey tells so well.

About the Author

Mariano Rivera was a New York Yankee for nineteen seasons. He is Major League Baseball’s all-time saves and ERA leader, a thirteen-time All-Star, and a five-time World Champion. He and his wife, Clara, have three sons and live in New York.
Wayne Coffey is one of the country’s most acclaimed sports journalists. A writer for the New York Daily News, he co`wrote R. A. Dickey’s bestselling Wherever I Wind Up and is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Boys of Winter, among other books. He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife and children.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review.

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Author Susan Cottrell On Men

Today I have Susan Cottrell weighing in with an excerpt from her upcoming book. I’ve written before about how men need to have their heart question answered and Susan agrees. I’m grateful she has taken the time to share her thoughts and I highly recommend her new book.

Susan Cottrell is a writer, speaker and teacher. Married 25 years, she and Rob have five (nearly) grown children. Susan homeschooled for some twenty years… until she ran out of energy! She is set to release her newly expanded book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too. Her second book, The Marriage Renovation, is soon to be published. She loves to lead retreats and seminars, teaching women, couples and teens about the freedom for which Christ has set them free (Galatians 5:1). She loves to travel, watch old movies and eat chocolate. Contact her directly at FreedHearts.org.

The following excerpt is from Susan’s upcoming book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too.

Men and Boys

Men are more vulnerable than we realize, and I believe that inside every man is a little boy who needs to know he’s enough. Boys need to hear, regularly and authentically, that they have what it takes to be a man. Whether your son is an athlete, a pianist, a writer or anything else, he needs constant affirmation that God has equipped him fully as a man, and God will faithfully complete the good work He began in him (Philippians 1:6). Dads especially need to engage with their sons – affirming, including and accepting them as the person God designed them to be.

Mom’s job is to let their boys grow up, let them separate, encourage them to take risks and trust them to become men. Tell them you know they can do it. Hold the crown above their head and let them grow into it.

I failed at this when my family was at a rock-climbing wall at the fair. Our David, barely four, wanted to climb. I immediately decided $5 was too much to pay for him to climb two feet and then quit. I foolishly told Rob that Dave was too little and could not do it. He said, “I can do it, Mom.” Rob paid the money and David did climb – all the way to the top. And when he got down, he said, “See Mom? I knew I could do it.” Risking my son’s view of his manhood is not worth $5.

Not only do our boys need to believe they have what it takes to be men and to succeed, they also need to understand that their job is to love and protect the women in their lives – mothers, wives, sisters, daughters. They need to esteem girls, encourage them, treat them with dignity, and not use them for their own pleasure. If boys would treat the girls in their lives as they hope their future wives are being treated, what a sweet impact that would make in our culture. Dads can lead their boys this way, by their own example of kindness and respect.

I learned disdain for men growing up, from my father who was constantly disappointed in my brothers for not reaching his impossible standards. God had to break that old paradigm so His love could prevail. I had to surrender to Him, to let Him do His great healing work in me. But He did. It’s what He does best!

Thank you again Susan. These short paragraphs are packed with great thoughts on what every man needs.

Question: What have you done lately to help the men in your life believe they have what it takes?

Even WowWow is A Boy

Candi Card Williams

My sweet friend Candi had a wonderful response to my posts last week and her thoughts are too good to keep to myself. She’s an amazing mother to a beautiful 5-year-old boy and wife to a hard working and godly man, Tim. Hailing from Tampa, Florida, I’m so glad she got out of the humidity and now calls Scottsdale home. I also love how she calls me Ms. and always offers one of her southern hugs. I’m just better whenever I’m around her. 

Ok, Ms Audra!!

I am loving your new series!!!!

I have had to wipe back the tears at some points and then at others jump up and say “Preach it Sista!!”

You and I have a lot in common. I was raised by a single mother with 3 older sisters – no boys in my house.

Now, I am the only girl – even my cat WowWow is a boy – well he used to be . . .

I read your last article and thought how gracious God was to give you a great husband and THREE sons!! And how thankful I am for my Tim and Wesley (ok and WowWow).

I think it’s really cool that what the Enemy intended for evil, God will turn out for good. Follow me on this . . .

I can’t speak for you, but for me, the Enemy broke apart my home of origin, yet God in HIS wisdom gave me a son. My prayer is that the generational sin stops with me and Tim, and that we are now ushering in a new generation of blessing with our LITTLE MAN.

I see your family and read your posts – what the Enemy intended for evil, God is turning to good. You and your husband are ending generational sin and ushering in a new generation of THREE YOUNG MEN that love our Heavenly Father.

Praise be to Jesus!!!

Hugs and keep the posts coming!!!

Candi

Doesn’t she just crack you up? I love the line that “WowWow used to be a boy”….hysterical. And Candi, you can speak for me anytime sister. You are right on. I was deeply inspired by your words, and it brings tears to my eyes every time I think about being intentional about ending generational sin. That God would give us a chance to help raise boys who will be a blessing, who will help not harm, who will love not hate.

And just so you know, we’ve got your little girl in mind. We want to raise boys who are tough but tender when need be, real men who know how to love and respect a lady. We’re praying for a generation of blessed young women to rise up. Women who want to be co-creators the way God intended, women who want to walk worthy and walk beside a good man.

So what’s your story? Is God showing you a new way?

Men on a Mission

Photo Courtesy @Experience Missions Facebook Page

There were many men on the medical mission trip to Valladolid this past July. I watched average men be great and great men humble themselves in average ways. It is the joy though, that will never be forgotten. The very exercise of ministering delighted them and the team deeply.

In the United States it’s easy to mistakenly believe life is all about us. Upon arrival in the Yucatan however, we found our purpose through the lives of others, through the love and life of Jesus. We could only find ourselves when we looked through the lens of purpose as we served.

In my ever inquisitive “journalistic” nature, I spoke to several different men over the course of the trip, ages 18-70. Most of them love to read, but went further to say that they were in Mexico to live a remarkable story, not just to read about one.

In order to fully live, they did things that made them uncomfortable. They viewed and performed procedures in medical, built structures they never thought they were capable of and did jobs with materials which weren’t what they wanted or needed or were used to. They wore the same clothes and poured sweat, tears and love into the people of Valladolid. They lived out Matthew 25:36 and had compassion for those in prison.

In short, they lived a great story. They found themselves and it wasn’t a coincidence. They discovered who they are in the hard things that tested them, the moments and experiences that turned them upside down and inside out.

A lot of the men got their question answered. You know the one, the one we all wrestle with, “Am I good enough?” A resounding yes was the moment-by-moment response they encountered in the Yucatan.

And then they went home. For some the story ended. They closed the book on that short story with a silent prayer they’d be able to live it again someday. Some closed it and filed it under science fiction, believing it was a seven day fantasy where they got to be the hero who lives deep in their heart. Others filed their story under the travel section and put it away in their “Been there, got the T-shirt” drawer.

But a few came home and decided to live their new story, right here in the USA. It isn’t easy. The culture continues to tell them who they are and all that they will never be. Old labels haunt their every day and sometimes that pervasive darkness just won’t shake. And then they remember. The sure, strong voice of The Father telling them this is what they were designed for, this is who they are meant to be.

This is where the ladies come in. We can emasculate our men, join with culture in oppressing and marginalizing them. Or we can have compassion. We can affirm the hero they are, their strength and courage.

If we choose the latter, we change the world. There are millions of fatherless kids, desperate to live their true story. The men in your life can continue their mission and come alongside our boys, offering them hope and a different way.

Your love for your men, is the encouragement and acceptance they need to show someone else how to live and love well.

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.

One year later I’m not sure I’m ready for him to go again.

Audra Krell

That’s my “I’ve got 85 more days with my boy and I’m wearing a foam finger” smile. That was May 24.

Today I more resemble the boy behind me, sort of a dumbfounded look saying “what’s going on here?” combined with Keegan’s look of “is this really happening?”

Alas, it really is happening. He’s leaving a week from today.

I’ve found, that breakdowns can really occur anywhere. I have no shame.

No one is immune. Even the pediatrician, as we are discussing one of my other sons, might be the unsuspecting victim of the ugly cry.

Even in church, as they honored Keegan in front of thousands of people on Sunday, I bawled. A friend thought of calling 911, as I was almost prone in the vicinity of pew 10. Woman down.

What about the customer service rep at Bed, Bath and Beyond when I lost one of my coupons…

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ICU

Our last day in the Centro Medico San Lucas hospital was the most difficult. We had few patients in post- op for hours and then the unit exploded. Suddenly there were several discharges, four new patients and an emergency trauma sitting in the waiting room. I’d heard about him all day. His injuries were extensive and he only spoke Mayan. Not a bit of Spanish.

The boy was 18, one year younger than our oldest son. He’d been in a horrible fight; someone hit him in the face repeatedly with a broken beer bottle. A local alley war changed the young man’s life forever. A split second decision left him with vision in only one eye and deep cuts which will certainly scar. He’s the victim of a drama with eternal consequences for all involved.

When he came to the PACU, his face bore the tracks of a hundred stitches. Some curved in the shape of a bottle, some random and jagged, the way angry glass carelessly claims it’s real estate. Surgical bandages covered his eye, his expression passive.

I expected terror and even rage, but the boy was somewhere deep inside himself, far away. My momma heart broke, for him and for everything that would be different now.

But it was his father who took my breath away. His father’s eyes that made me want to cry out in pain. His father spoke a little Spanish, but there aren’t enough words in the world, in any language, that I could speak to comfort him. As a parent, I grieved with him, worried over his internal heart injuries and wished I could literally infuse him with hope.

All I could do was use my eyes. We took gentle care of the boy and heaped grace and mercy on him in the form of blankets, water and pain meds. I smiled at his father at every turn, praying he could “hear” me.

I still pray he can hear me.

I see you brother. I’m standing with you. There is something much bigger than us here. God is with us and has plans for your son, plans to prosper and never fail him. Amen.

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?

Inbound Marriage

This morning I was invited to the launch of the book Married But Looking. I have no idea what it’s about, but from a marketing and personal standpoint, it’s a message I don’t care about. I’m not intrigued.

Marriages everywhere would do well to think in terms of inbound marketing. We need to stop pushing our messages out and start pulling our spouse in. Many people spend time making themselves marketable to an unnecessary audience. As a committed partner, we shouldn’t even be looking for an audience; we have all we need at home. We spend thousands of dollars making ourselves presentable to the world, when the nurturing of our private life is neglected, choked and tangled.

All any of us want is to be known and loved for who we are. Often the persona we present to the world, isn’t at all who we are. Again, lots of money wasted on a mask that will crack and break. We don these masks and wake up one day lost in the culture, touting messages we never intended and dying, literally dying to be found.

I too, used to be caught in the sticky web of trying to please the world. When I woke up face down in a proverbial gutter, something whispered above the worldly noise. God’s voice reminding me I hadn’t been abandoned and never would be. He further reminded me of my purpose; to love my man. Getting back up wasn’t easy, but the less I looked at the world and the more attention I paid to my marriage, the quicker I healed.

A couple of weeks ago, I played percussion with the orchestra at church. We did one of my favorites, an amazing gospel version of I’ll Fly Away and Soon And Very Soon. I was to lay out during the intro and come in on the verse. I was just having myself a time; counting, swaying and tapping my foot.

Then I saw him.

My handsome husband’s face stood out  in a sea of 2000. It took my breath away and I was lost in him, thinking over and over, “I love him. I love him so much.”

My entrance came and went.

Come on Audra!” I snapped out of my dreamy reverie as the conga player commanded me to do my part. I spazzed on the tambourine and played on 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4. All the while trying not to laugh out loud, because he still gets to me. (My husband, not the conga player.)

After knowing him for 26.5 years and being married for 19, Steve still deeply gets to me.

And so I’m grateful for the gift of God cracking my mask. I see much better now. The world is a cold, dark place which will never be satisfied with my efforts. But at home,in the safety of our marriage, the warmth and acceptance is everything I’ve ever wanted.

To connect intimately with your spouse, quit investing in outbound, pointless messages and take a hard look at what’s right in front of you. Use your powerful energy to build, grow and nurture a healthy, inbound marriage.

You don’t want your spouse to be married, but looking.

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?

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