Audra Krell

On Purpose

Archive for the category “Men”

Johnny Castle On Writing

This past Wednesday, marked  two years since Patrick Swayze passed away. I thought of him and back to my 17th summer, the year Dirty Dancing came out. I saw it with my boyfriend’s family and was embarrassed by the sensuality, so I loudly announced I didn’t like it afterwards. Those very people are now my in-laws and we laugh because Dirty Dancing is one of my favorite movies of all time.

If you don’t know, shame on you  Patrick Swayze plays a character named Johnny Castle. He is a dance instructor at an affluent resort in the Catskills in the 60’s. Dirty Dancing is a coming of age movie where a teen girl played by Jennifer Grey, rebels by falling in love with Johnny, a working class entertainer. DD was the first film to sell over one million copies on VHS.

Everything you need to know, can be learned from Dirty Dancing and not from Kindergarten. But that’s for another series.

Today I give you 3 things from Johnny Castle which writers will do well to remember.

  1. Nobody puts baby in a corner.  You can write in obscurity and wait for an agent or publisher to invite you on stage and ask you to dance. Or you can stand up, pursue the writing life and never look back.
  2. You’ll hurt me if you don’t trust me,all right? Once  you find an agent, trust them and let them lead. Agreeably make the changes they request. Drop scenes, characters and 4000 words like the bad habits they are.
  3. It’s not on the one, it’s not the mambo. It’s a feeling, a heartbeat. Be original. Dance your own dance. Look deep inside and feel it, breath it. Let writing beat your heart.

And it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t say:

Have the time of your life.

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Bed, Bath & Beyond Breakdown

Photo Courtesy @Andrew Bender

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 yesterday? Is that really something to get choked up about?

Because she was so gracious about the coupon though, I wanted to ask her, what exactly is the “beyond” your sign so eloquently speaks of?

What will happen to me next week as all the bed and bath supplies are purchased and hanging in his new home? How will I feel when one less place is set at dinner? Or the first time he calls and says “Mom, I’m sick.”  Or the Saturday morning I wake up and just want to have breakfast with him? Or at midnight when I wake up frantic because he hasn’t told me he’s home yet? Or the countless hugs and merciless teasing which will be absent from every day?

They should just call it Bed and Bath. Adding Beyond makes it sound exciting and I for one think it’s cruel. It implies there is something in that store to fill the hole in our home.

I searched the whole place yesterday, there isn’t a thing.

The Pitcher Whisperer

Baby keeg baseball
Today is Keegan's golden birthday. He said he doesn't feel any different, but I do! It's like a rite of passage or something….I. have. an. 18. year. old. I cannot get it through my head. If he's 18, how old does that make the rest of us? You can do the math, perhaps you'll be as shocked as I am.

This picture was taken when he was a few days old. Born 10 weeks premature, he weighs 3 lbs. 9 ou if you include the weight of the ball. 

One day while visiting the NICU, I distinctly heard him ask for a baseball. I called my husband and he brought his from when he was a child. Keegan's breathing slowed and became even. He was at peace.

Thanks to my ability to hear and interpret the chatter of a week old baseball player, Keeg grew up to be a 6'1 pitcher. We kicked that preemie stuff to the curb and never looked back.

He's also a darn fine person. We are blessed beyond reason by the man he has become.

Happy Birthday Googs! You'll always be our baby.

"Pitchers Like Poets Are Born Not Made" – Cy Young

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.

When Good Parents Are Bad Sports

IStock_000014694151XSmall Is it Scottsdale or does it happen everywhere? Great fathers. Doting, kind mothers, turn into lunatics when their sons and daughters take the floor at a sporting event.

Parents reliving what they wish their lives had been is becoming an epidemic.

Children take heart, I'm here with several tips for managing your unruly parent:

  • Acknowledge your parent's feelings. Let them know that while you don't approve of their bad behavior, you understand how frustrating it is that their childhood dreams didn't turn out like they wanted.
  • Keep a bag of healthy snacks with you at all times. A hungry parent is often an angry parent. Plus, peeling pistachios or dipping carrots in ranch dressing might just keep their mind off every move you, the umpire or the coaches make.
  • Remind your parent that they will probably become frustrated again during games. Visualize together,ways they could behave differently the next time. 
  • Offer your parent several choices. Parents like choices. It makes them feel like they're in control. Example: Either they only scream at the 12- year- old volunteer referee 5 times or they can choose to sit in the time- out chair. 
  • Perplexed about how long a time-out should be? A good rule of thumb is one minute per year of age. Most parents are at least old enough to get you through half time at an average sporting event.

When all else fails children, take heart. This too shall pass. 

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? 

 

Sweat, Blood & Tears

This book is a coming-of-age story about how God raises a man. John Eldredge, author of Wild at Heart says every man who still feels young inside should read Sweat, Blood and Tears. After reading this and enjoying it tremendously, I believe every woman who loves her men should also read it.

As the mother of three young men and wife to an amazing man, it's important to me that I learn what they need for their journey toward becoming men and being a man. I know that men become men in the presence of other men only, I'm clear that I don't and can't make anyone a man. It is easy though, for me to get in the way of what God is doing and to impress my opinions onto the family as a whole. Xan Hood's book showed me what men and boys are thinking about their mothers, what they need from the women in their life.

They need our approval, but not for the lives we think they should be leading. They need us to understand their needs for adventure, rugged living and community with other men. They also need us to honor and welcome their need to ask questions of the men in their life. There is no shame in not knowing how to do something, no shame in asking for help.

I consider it a privilidge to respect all the men in my life. This is a book that reminds and teaches me how to do that. As one reviewer said, "You will feel respected by this book." I agree. This is a must read.

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:

Sweat, Blood, and Tears: What God Uses to Make a Man

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Xan Hood is an author and speaker ministering to young men between the ages of 18 and 25. He is the co-founder and co-director of Training Ground in Colorado Springs where he disciples young men through their program in work, wilderness, and worship (www.trainingground.com). He has also written for New Man magazine and Discipleship Journal. Xan began working with young men in Tennessee and in youth groups in Nashville and Knoxville. He and his wife live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with their first child.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434766810
ISBN-13: 978-1434766816

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

GEAR

You would be amused to see me, broad sombrero hat, fringe and beaded buckskin shirt, horse hide chaparajos or riding trousers, and cowhide boots, with braided bridle and silver spurs.

Theodore Roosevelt

I had always heard that Theodore Roosevelt was a tough, hardy “man’s man” sort of guy: a hunter, outdoorsman, activist, soldier, explorer, naturalist, and “rough rider.” But it wasn’t always so. Much like me, he was raised a refined, tame city boy, a member of a wealthy, powerful family with political influence. He was a sickly, asthmatic youngster who at the age of twenty-three still appeared boyish and underdeveloped. Both the press and his fellow New York state

assemblymen made light of his high-pitched voice and “dandified” clothing, calling him names like “Jane-Dandy” and “Punkin-Lily.”2 He was what we now refer to as a “pretty boy.”

It seems Theodore knew he needed to escape the confines of the city, to be tested and initiated beyond his Jane-Dandy world. There was only one direction to go: west.

“At age twenty-five, on his "first trip to the Dakota badlands in 1883, Roosevelt purchased a ranch, bought a herd of cattle, hired ranch hands, and, spending considerable time there, began to develop his Western image.”4 It is said he took rides “of seventy miles or more in a day, hunting hikes of fourteen to sixteen hours, stretches in the saddle in roundups of as long as forty hours,” pushing himself physically and mentally.5

Within two weeks of moving to Colorado, I drove up alone to the Orvis store in Denver to purchase a complete set of official Orvis gear: waders, boots, vest, and a fly rod. I had come to the West to bond with earth, wind, and rivers that I could fly-fish—and to find God. The fishing needed to be done in official Orvis gear—only the best.

You see, coming from a town of status and wealth, the type of gear you chose was very important. It needed to function, but it also needed to make you look good so you could feel good while looking good.

In my eyes Orvis was the status symbol of real and serious fly fishermen, the hallmark of class. I stocked up on floatant, little boxes, nippers, and line—all Orvis products and logos, of course. I paid with a new credit card and walked out.

While Theodore would become a great, brave man, his first attempts out West were about as comical as my own. It is written that he “began to construct a new physical image around appropriately virile Western decorations and settings.” These photographs show him posing “in a fringed buckskin outfit, complete with hunting cap, moccasins, cartridge belt, silver dagger, and rifle.”6 In a letter to his sister back East, he bragged, “I now look like a regular cowboy dandy, with all my equipments finished in the most expensive style.”

Though he looks like a young man in a Halloween costume, something much deeper than child’s play was occurring. A rich city boy was exploring another side of himself. The costumes, however foolish they appeared at the time, were a part of this becoming and would, in time, become him.

I was also searching for a new image, one more closely connected with nature. In his book Iron John, Robert Bly writes, “Some say that the man’s task in the first half of his life is to become bonded to matter: to learn a craft, become friends with wood, earth, wind, or fire.”8 I had yet to experience that. Ralph Lauren Polo shirts and a posh lifestyle were simply not enough. And while it’s likely that neither of us could have verbalized it at the time, Theodore and I were learning that a man had to find something away from all of it. I think his fringed buckskin and my Orvis gear were safe compromises between the worlds we were straddling.

A week after I bought my Orvis gear, I drove about an hour away to the South Platte River. An Internet search revealed that I could quickly access it from the road. On my way I stopped at a little fly shop in Woodland Park, Colorado. A retired-looking man had blessed my obvious naïveté but left the teaching to a sheet of paper, diagrammed for a nymph-dropper rig. He made a few fly suggestions and sent me on my way with the paper and a pat on the back. It was time to become Brad Pitt: Orvis-endorsed, perched on a rock, waiting for a fish.

I arrived on the water’s edge at about 2 p.m. Like a warrior dressing for battle, I donned my Orvis gear and set to work on the nymph-dropper rig. About an hour later, after clamping on weights, indicator, and tying two flies onto the razor-thin line, it looked like I’d tied my grandmother’s collection of jewelry to a string. I stood in the middle of the river, flung the line out, and whipped it back and forth, feeling good and enjoying the four count rhythm.

Though I filled the hours with flipping and whipping, I could not seem to hook a fish. Were they in the rapids? The calm water? Should I cast upstream or downstream? The paper didn’t say. It didn’t help that every few minutes I would get caught on a branch, or grass or algae would get on the flies, tangling them with knots. It was getting dark, and I was getting lonely and frustrated at Orvis, God, and myself.

But there came a last minute hope: I remembered Dan Allender telling a story at a leadership conference about going fly-fishing with his son. As an unsuccessful day of fishing came to a close, he told his son they needed to call it a day. But his son kept fishing, and then, on the fifth and final cast, as all hope was fading like the sun—BAM!—a massive trout on his fly rod. It was a miracle. Dan concluded his speech with this lesson: “God is the God of the fifth cast … He comes through in the end.”

And so I began my count. Okay, Lord, I prayed. This is for You. Help me fish. Catch me a trout. One cast … nothing. Second cast … nothing. Third cast … nothing. Cast again … nothing. God of the fifth cast … not for me. Eleventh? Nope. I kept going. God of the seventeenth cast … God of the twenty-second cast …

Before long, darkness covered me, and I could no longer see my orange indicator. It was over. There would be no fish that day.

I stood all alone in the middle of the river, holding my empty net. There wasn’t a soul in sight—not a fish, not even God. It was haunting. I demanded an explanation. Where are the fish? Where are You? Just one, God. All I wanted was one. One simple fish would have made this day worth it.

Would God not give a man dressed in Orvis a fish if he asked?

Cecil Murphey Interview

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 I'm thrilled to have interviewed Cecil Murphey about his latest book When A Man You Love Was Abused

You discuss how one in every six males has experienced
unwanted or abusive sexual experiences before the age of sixteen. With those kinds
of numbers, even if a woman doesn't intimately know someone who has been
abused, we are encountering survivors on a daily basis. What advice do you have
for us when we interact with survivors such as grocery clerks, authority
figures, friends, and co-workers?

Cecil: This answer probably sounds
negative but it's important. 

  1. Don't
    take the initiative even if you know the man was abused.
  2. Let
    him open up and speak about his abuse. If he opens up to you, it's like a
    big risk for him. Don't let him regret it.
  3. Encourage
    him, but don't give him answers—even if you're convinced you know exactly what he needs to hear.
  4. Please don't use phrases such as, "You're
    special," or "I love you." We heard those words from the
    adults who stole our childhood.
  5. Don't touch him unless you're certain it's all right.
    Some men freeze when touched. Honor that confiding trust and don't tell his
    story to anyone—anyone—without his permission.

You reference the masks that men
who've been abused wear, as well as the masks we all wear in public. In the
past few years, "masks" have been associated with presenting our
"false selves" to the world. I like what you believe though, that all
the masks are glimpses of the "real" person. Please tell us more
about this. 

The masks abused men wear show a
glimpse of who we are. Another way to say it is that the masks often show you who we'd like to be.

Before I dealt with my abuse,
others referred to me as a happy person. That was true—sometimes. I wanted to
be happy and to enjoy my life.

The masks aren't intentional
deception. In fact, the masks aren't about relating to or impressing others.
Think of them as protection. We
weren't aware of not being our true selves as much as it was our way to retreat
from our pain. 

I'm married to an amazing man and have the privilege of
knowing, loving, and raising three boys. I'm passionate about intentionally
respecting all the men in my life. In your book you discuss survivors becoming
victims a second time by the inner abuse they subject themselves to. How can we
as women make sure we aren't subjecting our men to a third round of
victimization?  

Be sensitive to him and his mood.   

Don't pry.  When we know we're loved for who we are
and not for the good things we do, we can and will open up. We want to open up,
even though it scares some men so badly they can't do it.

I lived in silence about my abuse
for 40 years. My wife didn't suspect, and she did the one thing I needed: She
loved me without any conditions. That's a cliché, but I don't think most men
feel that depth of love. It took me years of marriage before I was convinced
Shirley loved me just for who I was.

We all have roles within the family
structure. As the fifth of seven children, I was the good boy. I did good
things for people and got along well. On an unconscious level, I felt that as
long as I was good people would like me. I needed someone who would love me at
my worst as well as my best. Shirley was that person.

My best friend, David, was as firm
in his irrefutable love as Shirley. Encourage him to open up to other men. Too
many women carry the emotional issues for men, but they need other men. There
are things about our abuse that are easier to discuss with another male than
with a female.

Cecil, Thank you for your time and especially for sharing your thoughts on a very difficult subject. 

For more information visit: Men Shattering the Silence.

Cecil Murphey Appreciation

June has been declared Cecil Murphey appreciation month. He has written or coauthored more than 100 books including the New York Times best- seller 90 Minutes in Heaven

I love his books but appreciate his teaching most of all. I'm in an online Writer's Group where Cec is a moderator. In the interest of keeping my inbox clean, I delete hundreds of emails per month from that loop. But not the ones from Cecil Murphey. I keep those carefully stored and read them at least once a week. 

You see, he took the time on several occasions to respond to my writing personally. I have been most encouraged in my career, by him. He speaks about allowing God to hold his hands and pour into him, and as the Father of Writing, Cec turns around and freely pours himself into hundreds of writers. 

You know that question people love to ask, "If you could meet anyone who would it be?" My dream is to meet and take a class from Cecil Murphey. (Number two is to meet and sing with Phil Vassar, but I digress.)

I'm so honored because in July, Cecil will be writing a guest post here at Krellfish. I will also be reviewing his latest book, When A Man You Love Was Abused.

Thank you for everything Cec, you are deeply appreciated.

CecMurphey_2
 

Have You Met Mason?

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He is our middle boy, just finished 8th grade yesterday and today started playing basketball at the high school. This is him trying on his new suit, which he is wearing on our cruise this week. In his end of year papers, I stumbled on a little booklet that some of his classmates had made about him, and I find it completely hilarious! 

Note these are from 13-14 year olds and I have not corrected them:

Though I don't know him well, Mason is a good student body president.

Mason is very rude, but he is nice to his friends.

Although Mason is witty and smart, he is very funny and has a great smile.

Because Mason is athletic, he is good at sports.

Mason seems nice, and he's funny.

Mason you are one of the most athletic and inteligent people I know.

Mason is cool because he calls Dylan fat with a Ph.

Even though I don't know Mason very well, I hear he is a good athlete.

Even though Mason can be annoying, he has a great sense of humor despite this annoyingness.

I had a great time this year with Mason this year and I will miss his humor.

Mason is a funny boy, he seems really nice.

When Mason plays basketball he wins.

Although I don't have many classes with Mason, I know he is a very smart young mem/boy.

Playing on the same team as him, he is an outstanding athelete.

And my very favorite:

Because Mason has aspirations, I do not dislike him much.

My takeaway: Always be his friend and on Mason's team, if you want to be cool spell fat with a Ph, and if you want to be a successful and liked young MEM, have aspirations. Sounds easy enough.

We're so proud of you Mason, off to high school!

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