My Thoughts on the Turner Case

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Brock Turner case, but it’s got a lot of us thinking about the issue of rape. 

Buzzfeed News published an article that was powerful. The rape victim (I don’t know the young woman’s name or I would use it) issued a statement following Turner’s sentencing.

This is not for the faint of heart, okay? Don’t read this if you get queasy or anything. The whole situation is just a mess…

Should the woman have been drinking? Does that even matter?

How can Turner get such a light sentence?

In my mind, there’s no way what happened was consensual. Not with the statements of the 2 men on bicycles who chased Turner. 

And I frankly don’t care anything about Turner’s college prospects or how fast he swims. That shouldn’t even matter in a trial about sexual assault.

Some are pointing fingers at the disparities between the classes and the justice system. I can see how that conclusion was reached. If this was just about anyone else, the judge would not have given such a light sentence. 

Bright future or not, Turner made a bad choice. The consequences of that choice are supposed to be steep. He’s not a little boy, so his punishment should reflect that.

I am sad because justice was not served. Two lives were shattered (as well as their families’ lives). The victim was treated like the perpetrator and the perpetrator was treated like a victim. 

My college experience was VERY different because of where I went to school, but there were still a lot of young ladies who made poor choices.

For all of my college aged friends, please be careful. I’m especially thinking of all my friends at Judson. 

Be smart. Stay safe.

The Blame Game

If a project is your responsibility, wouldn’t the logical conclusion be that if something goes wrong you’re responsible? 

I am a big believer that if the buck stops with you then it’s important to assume complete responsibility for any failures within the project.

Maybe it wasn’t directly your fault, but being a leader requires taking a hit every once in a while. 

This project failed at this point.

I am the leader of this project.

Therefore, I have to step up and say, “This is directly or indirectly my fault.” 

Just say it!

Don’t say, “Well, anything can happen and I did my best and I tried….” 

Be quiet. 

Assume responsibility.

“I assume responsibility for this failure and here is how my team is dealing with it.” 

Playing hot potato with the blame will not move the team forward.

To me, being able to say, “This is my fault” is a good indication that someone is ready to be a leader. 

Leaders don’t only take the credit when things are successful. I call those kind of leaders Glory Hogs.

As a leader, your team is looking at how you handle failure.

If you cannot assume responsibility for mistakes, don’t be surprised when your team hesitates to assume responsibility for their mistakes.




When comfort doesn’t come

I struggle with being assertive.

Being nice? Having fun? Keeping things light and fluffy?

Welcome to my comfort zone or my discomfort zone, depending on the day.

Lysa TerKeurst says it best:

Having a comfort zone doesn’t mean you’re always comfortable.

I’m being stretched in this area at work. Accountability in the work place, especially for those of us in management positions, means holding meetings to discuss progress.

Guess who’s the bearer of bad news?

Yeah. Fun-loving Audra.

And most of the time it’s not terrible news. Managers are just trained to notice things that are not going well–and then come up with strategies for improvement.

I’ll be really honest with you. I have to pray a lot when receiving instruction and correction. When my thoughts are allowed to go off alone, I take it personally–and even my controlled thoughts find me vulnerable.

Receiving instruction with grace is always a choice I have to make.

This is one struggle that can send my emotions and relationships into a tailspin. One of my goals for next year is to deconstruct this area and come up with a battle plan.

IMG_1566For now, though, I’m sitting in a hard place. Things have gone wrong and all I can do is clean up the mess.

Can I give you some advice?

Don’t ignore warning signs.

Don’t put off conversations.

Pretending everything is okay, will be okay, can be okay is not helping.

Which brings me back to being assertive in the workplace…..

If management teaches you anything it’s how to conquer fear, especially when your fear pops up as a subject in a meeting about your personal performance.

Here’s what I’m learning as I face up to my insecurities about giving/receiving instruction and correction:

Dealing with a problem is always uncomfortable. Stop waiting for comfort to come along. It won’t.

The real problem is hopelessness

I saw racism at work today and it was an ugly monster.

Racism will never go away until unchanged, hateful hearts hear the Truth.

There are not adequate words to describe what I’m feeling right now. It’s a weird mixture of anger, sadness, empathy, and……..resolve. I know resolve isn’t a feeling, but it found its place inside my heart in the midst of the emotions.

The young man came into my office and told me what happened. He had the saddest look on his face. The man was hurt, yes, yet he forgave the woman immediately.

Do you know what still had him sad?

His sense of overall hopelessness.

I can’t get his words out of my head:

I guess what hurts me the most is that this kind of thing happens and no one has my back. No one’s going to do anything.


Here’s some questions for us to consider:

What if a mentality of hopelessness is behind all of the tension–racial and otherwise–around the world?

What if our own hopeless utterances of “things just are the way they are” is keeping us from doing the right thing?

This is not me negating the importance of personal responsibility or excusing bad behavior. This is me wrestling with my own negligence while a hurting world is simply running around in the dark looking for hope.

I was convicted today because I saw a young man who was told his skin color made him less than–and he really believed it.

He was just as hopeless as the perpetrator of the offense.

Pray for him.

Pray for the perpetrator.

Pray for me.

I’m going to share the gospel with my new friend. The only thing that drives out hate and hopelessness is a Love beyond words.

Grace changes vision

When I was an enemy of God, He decided to make me a friend. His forgiveness is readily available to everyone. It’s not available once your life looks pretty. It’s available right now.

Romans 5:7-8 says:

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

My heart was a mess before Christ. I tried really hard to be good. Some people even bought into my costume too.

But I knew and God knew that what I really needed was grace–God’s DNA–to make a change. Once I accepted God’s grace, everything changed. I gave up my acting career and became an honest woman.

Grace is a change in vision.

God's loveI now see people as God sees them: forgiven, free, loved, and full of potential. This is the future for those who will accept the freedom purchased by the blood of Christ.

Verse 8 says that God loves people when they are still sinners.

As Christians, we are called to love as God loves. This means that I am to love people when they are still sinners.

The exclusivity of the church from the world makes me angry.

Living in Christian Bubble Land is not included in the Great Commission.

I will not pray for anyone to be delivered from a non-Christian environment. What I will pray is that he or she will  grow up in the faith and stop being a Sissy Christian.

Sissy Christians are scared of non-Christians and don’t understand grace.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s truth.

Jesus is no sissy and I follow Him.

He defeated sin, death, and hell to give us grace, love, and mercy.

This is the Good News, the gospel we need to spread.

I think some of us forget that we were once a mess. No one asked us to clean it all up before coming to Jesus.

Perfectionism is a choice

IMG_1566If perfection is unattainable, why do we keep striving for it?

Nothing will ever be perfect. The sooner you and I realize this simple truth, the sooner you and I can enjoy our beautiful, yet messy, lives.

Social media is filled with “inspirational” quotes and pictures about how no one is perfect. Thank you, Captain Obvious, this is not news.

Or is it?

Our obsession with warning others about the trap of perfectionism is an indication that many of our friends and family really believe it’s an obtainable goal.

And this is coming from a girl who knows its a trap and frequently makes the insane choice to walk right in it….

Notice, though, what I said: I know it’s a trap and I choose to step in it.

It’s time to get honest.

We all know that perfection is unobtainable, but continue to chase after it.

Maybe what we need is for our friends and family to say, “Stop it!” instead of hearing another inspirational message about embracing the messiness of life.

So, my sweet friends, I think it’s time for us to make a few changes. In order to do that, though, we’ll need to acknowledge the facts:

  1. You will never be perfect.
  2. Life can be hard and unfair.

Now, let’s look at those facts from the gospel’s perspective:

  1. Perfection was never an option. If we could be perfect, we wouldn’t need a Savior. Jesus lived the perfect life and then gave us all the wonderful benefits that go along with it.
  2. Even though life is not fair, we have God’s promises on our side. Everything–both fair and unfair–must work together for our good. Those are some great odds when faced with a challenge.

If you struggle with perfectionism, know that I understand your struggle because it’s my own.

My only request is that you be proactive in your efforts to avoid the trap. In the end, it’s your responsibility to make the necessary changes.



Today I watched someone fix my computer remotely.

Talk about a weird experience….

The technical support team logged onto my Teamviewer and started buzzing around my computer. Three people were logged on at the same time!

I know this isn’t mind blowing to most of you, but technology never ceases to amaze me. The first time I used dial up internet (yes, I remember dial up)  I thought I was launching a rocket ship.

Within 30 minutes, my problem was fixed–a problem that stopped me from sending out invoices for work.

Don’t you wish everything in life was like that?

Help, help!

I have a problem budgeting!

I have an anger problem!

I have trust issues!

No worries! Give me 30 minutes and everything will be better.

Life doesn’t work this way.

Easy fixes rarely solve the real problem.

99% of the time, I am the biggest problem in my life.

It’s no one’s fault but my own.

I understand there are outside factors, but responsibility–or the lack thereof–is the number one culprit of life’s problems.

Passing the blame is much easier than accepting responsibility.

Even this computer problem was my fault.

I should’ve called the technicians at the end of last week. They could’ve found the problem then.

I chose to put it off, shoving it to the bottom of my to-do list.

And it almost wrecked one of my busiest days at work!

So, yes, it was not my fault the computer was messed up, but it was my fault that the invoices weren’t emailed until this afternoon.

Here’s the take away:

  • Learning to accept responsibility is a pillar of good character.
  • If you’re not ready to accept responsibility, you’re not ready to receive more responsibility.

There’s no hotline to call to work on your character either.

It’s something that must be developed slowly–and sometimes painfully.

I’m Weird, You’re Weird

A lot of people claim to be OCD.

It’s actually quite comical to hear someone say “I’m so OCD” and then take a walk through their house…yeah, you’re not OCD if there’s mold that just told me that the bathroom’s to the left…

We all have idiosyncrasies. Even the most relaxed, chill-tastic people I know have one or two things that make them…unique…for lack of a better word.

Maybe you like to arrive everywhere super early.

Maybe you like to squirt ketchup on all your food.

Maybe you have to spin around in a circle three times before entering or exiting a room.

 The idiosyncrasy scale ranges from “Wow, you need to get a life!” to “Wow, you make the ranting homeless guy look normal!”

Hopefully—this is what I believe anyway—most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

I’m at this place in life where I recognize that my idiosyncrasies are just that: Mine.

The other day it was pointed out to me that I use the phrase “I have this thing about…” a lot. That one comment made me stop and think.

 My weirdnesses are my responsibility.

It’s not fair for me to use them as a shield to get out of my obligations or as an excuse for poor behavior.

And guess what?

Your weirdnesses are not my responsibility.

I’m all for free expression and “being who you are.” Just do so in a considerate and respectful manner.

The biggest lie told today is that our differences outweigh our similarities. Here’s the truth: Our similarities outweigh our differences.

That being said, I don’t want my weirdness to morph into selfishness. And that’s really easy to do.  

My Latest Endeavor

The big news is that my baby brother, Samuel Courage Holliman, has arrived! He’s a month old and cute as a button.

His arrival has meant a shift in household chores and responsibilities. Normal life was paused in order to give mama and baby time to settle in and rest up. We’re now trying to get everyone back on track with homeschool and work.

The biggest change for me during this time has been my new assignment: Cooking.

That’s right. I’m learning how to cook.

For those of you who know me well this might come as a shock. And I’m sure you can imagine how comical it might be when I, who knows next to nothing about cooking, gets to following a recipe.

 As part of my culinary education, breakfast and dinner during the week are my responsibility.

Not to mention that this new job involves menu planning and inventory (shopping lists for grocery runs).

I want to take this moment to salute all mothers and grandmothers. The task of making and planning meals is a big one! After I sat down and wrote out my first menu and shopping list, I was mentally exhausted. Anyone who says being a mom is a no-brainer job has never written out a shopping list.

In all seriousness, I’m learning the importance of wives and mothers who work hard every day to make their homes a safe, hospitable environment.

 All of that said, my cooking lessons are starting to pay off. Sure, there’s been a few mishaps along the way, but my family is very gracious. My wariness of the kitchen is starting to fade.

Cookbooks are my new best friends and I’m even thinking of getting a Pinterest account for recipe ideas.

Also, this time in the kitchen will improve the chances that my future husband will not starve when we get married.  

Question: What’s your latest endeavor? And how is it challenging your thinking?

The Importance of Strong Character

Last week I spoke on the subject of faulty perceptions. 

The key point was to not allow someone else’s judgments to cloud your own. There’s another element, however, that I didn’t cover: Your reputation—good or bad—tends to precede you. Sure, you might be able to cover up a character flaw, but not for long.

Here’s an example: I am notorious for over committing myself. This is an area that requires my utmost attention. Being overcommitted is not a sign of strong character.

It actually makes me look like someone with no focus or vision.

Nothing is more embarrassing than telling someone you can’t do something because of carelessness. No matter how much grace the other person extends, it still highlights your own irresponsibility.

What does this have to do with faulty perception?

Most flaws are character flaws, not personality flaws. Maybe you’re really struggling with punctuality or honesty or gratefulness. These issues have nothing to do with your personality! They have everything to do with a lack of strong character.

The good news is that strong character is developed like any muscle—with discipline.

I realize that some of us have greater obstacles to overcome than others. If you don’t know what to do, just start somewhere. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to pursue excellence. Write out a list of three to five things you can do to become a person of better character. Be proactive and accept responsibility for your current situation.

Don’t be a victim.

Take back control of your life and stop letting bad character affect your reputation.

And remember: The best way to receive grace is to extend it to others. Help a friend who’s fighting against the current, who’s working hard to make vital changes. Your encouragement might just be what keeps them on the right path.