You guys!!

It’s here! It’s really here!

I’m blinking back such happy, happy tears as I type this:

THE FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE!

Grab your copy here!

 

Five Minute Friday book

(Yes, I’m using ALL CAPS because it’s just SO EXCITING!!)

Can you even believe it?

Help us spread the word!

 

This collection is so much more than just a book.

In a word, it’s a testimony.

It’s a testimony of community.

It’s the story and fruit of more than a hundred writers gathering together, one word at a time.

It’s about throwing caution to the wind and writing your heart out.

It’s about being brave.

Page after page gives testimony to the power of the written word–raw and unedited, hopeful and true.

Some of my (many) favorite quotes from the book:

“You are not writing alone. You are gathered in a crowd of witnesses beholding ink-stained truth.” ~@AliaJoyH, #FMFbook

“We wrote beauty like fireworks across the dark sky of the Internet. We wrote a love story.” ~@lisajobaker, #FMFbook”

“I will dare to bring beauty to a world of gray.” ~@MelanieGillgris, #FMFbook

“We threw caution to the wind and we wrote our guts out.” ~@lisajobaker, #FMFbook

 

Huge props to the dear and wonderful Susan Shipe, who labored for countless hours to compile and format this book.

Without Susan, this book would not have happened! She carried this project from its idea stage all the way to publication. Thank you, Susan! You are a gift!

All profits from the book will be divided equally between two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe!

 

To help us celebrate the release of the FMF book:

Five Minute Friday t-shirts, hoodies, and mugs are NOW AVAILABLE!

For a limited time only (through Wednesday, October 5th), grab your FMF goodies!

teespring-com_five-minute-friday

 

HUGE THANKS to all who contributed, all who are part of the Five Minute Friday community, and all who decide to support the causes behind this book through making a purchase!

Can’t wait to hear what you think of it once you hold it in your hands!

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon and share your favorite quotes using the hashtag #FMFbook.

Happy Launch Day, friends!

 

 

Disclaimer: Affiliate links used in this post.

 

Some weeks are just characterized by the broadest spectrum of emotions, hey?

So it is for me with this particular round of Five Minute Friday.

If you’re new here, a huge welcome to you! Please excuse my mood swings — I’m not always like this. 🙂

Before I share the reasons behind the prompt and my extreme emotions, let me take a minute to make sure you didn’t miss these fun happenings over at Christina Hubbard’s place:

First, the What’s Your Groove? Writing Playlist link-up is live! You can still join the fun through September 30th!

Looking for some writing inspiration? Look no further! We’ve got a great variety of playlists already linked up, and would love to see yours!

 

writingplaylist

 

 

Secondly, the countdown is on for the Third Annual 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes!

Woo hoo! Who’s in?

Sound like a fun challenge? Learn more here.

 

5mfw2016

 

And now, for the reasons behind this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt:

 

 

5

 

First, the most exciting reason of all:

 

It's a Five Minute FridayBOOK!(1)

 

That’s MONDAY, you guys!! Can you believe it?!

This book is a labor of love, carried on the shoulders of our dear Susan Shipe! Susan has put countless hours into this project, and I’m so grateful for her vision and patience!

I can’t wait for you all to see this beautiful tribute to the heart behind Five Minute Friday. This book is a wonderful representation of what we’re all about: A safe place for writers to gather around one word and write free and unedited. Just let your fingers fly.

Come back Monday for the link to order your copy!

 

I’ll share the second, more somber motivation behind this week’s prompt in my own five minutes of free writing:

GO.

Five years ago today, I got the call that I’d been dreading.

The call I’d been dreading for nine years since my mom’s first diagnosis.

The call I’d been dreading all my life, really.

Five years ago today, I rocked like a baby in the fetal position on the floor, letting my sobs seep into the wheat-colored carpet.

Five years ago today, I packed my newly purchased funeral dress into a suitcase, hugged my husband and kids goodbye, and boarded a plane in Cape Town to bury my mom.

A friend of mine was rudely lurched into the same chapter of this story less than two months ago.

I so badly want to be able to tell her that it gets easier with time.

And maybe it does. And maybe it will.

But the truth is, the tears still taste just as bitter 60 months later.

The pang is just as raw, the stab just as acute.

My grief still catches in my throat at the most unexpected times–driving down the road, standing in the pasta aisle at the grocery store.

You see, grief does not get stale.

Parts of me wish it did.

Grief does not grow stale, it doesn’t rot, doesn’t dissolve.

It’s more like the moon — waxing and waning, but ever present.

I have other friends who entered this story long before me.

Most importantly, I have One who went before and knows my sorrows more intimately than I know myself.

And He has gone ahead to prepare a place where He promises no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain.

Because He paid it all.

 

STOP.

Related post: My Love/Hate Relationship with Remembering

 

So grateful for each and every one of you! Your presence here means the world to me.

Happy writing, and have a blessed weekend, friends!

Link up your own words here:

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I wrote this post more than six weeks ago, submitted it to The Mudroom, and forgot all about it.

The irony is not lost on me–it’s a post about my love/hate relationship with remembering.

Then I got an email a couple weeks ago from The Mudroom editor, telling me they’d approved my post and scheduled it for today, September 22nd — which happens to be the fifth anniversary of my mom’s death.

Again, the irony is not lost — the following post was largely written around the remembering of my mom and her absence.

But God has His ways, so I’m trusting that there’s a reason these words are showing up here, in this place, on this red-letter day — for such a time as this.

***

unsplash-for-mudroom

 

“This is the worst day ever!” my nine-year-old son claimed.

Since nothing of consequence had actually happened that day, I countered, “Oh, there have been far worse days.”

“Like what?” he asked.

“Like the day Grandma died.”

“I don’t really remember that day. I was only four years old,” he replied.

I would’ve been okay if he’d left it at that. Maybe even viewed it as a mercy that he didn’t remember the awful day my mom died in Michigan while we were living in South Africa.

But he didn’t stop there.

“I don’t really remember Grandma, either.”

I instinctively clutched my stomach, as if I could hold in the pain.

The tears came fast, stinging as I sped to the bathroom and closed the door. I turned the shower on cold and stepped into the tub, wishing the shower curtain could separate me from the bite of his honesty. I wiped a cold cloth over hot tears and let the water wash my sobs down the drain.

My fears were coming true. We were forgetting her.

 

Read the rest of the story over at The Mudroom.

 

Okay, so I have a confession to make.

I can’t listen to music while I’m writing.

I just can’t do it. I get too wrapped up in the lyrics of the song, and my fingers start typing those words instead of the words that are supposed to appear on the screen.

But I do love music, and several songs have deeply affected my writing in various ways.

So I’ve built a little list of my fave songs to share with you and I’ll even offer some categories and commentary below.

I’ll be linking up with the What’s Your Groove? writing playlist link-up over at Christina Hubbard’s place. We’d love to have you join us!

 

writingplaylist

(By the way, even if nobody reads this post or checks out the playlist I put together, I had a blast creating it. The solo dance party that went down in my kitchen while I was waiting for the brownies to cool was totally worth the effort.)

Okay, so here we go.

 

Here are some categories that songs naturally fall into for me as a Christian writer:

 

Songs that provide lyrical inspiration:

My Love, by Sara Bareilles: Gorgeous, gorgeous lyrics

Morning Light, by Josh Garrels

Bubble Toes, by Jack Johnson: I almost forgot how much I love this song (and Jack)

You Can Call Me Al, by Paul Simon: Because, of course

Travelin’ Soldier, by Dixie Chicks

Just to See You Smile, by Tim McGraw

Every Breaking Wave, by U2

 

Songs that energize me:

Brother, by NeedtoBreathe

Waka Waka, by Shakira: (Yes, I included Shakira in my list. What can I say? I lived in Cape Town when this was the theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I can’t help myself.)

I Will Wait, by Mumford & Sons

Greater, by MercyMe

Drift Away, by Dobie Gray

 

Songs that motivate me to persevere in the writing life (specifically as a Christian writer who writes about heaven as our home):

Storyteller, by Morgan Harper Nichols: “This is the story I’ll tell …”

Messengers, by LeCrae: “Calling all the messengers …”

Where I Belong, by Building 429: “All I know is I’m not home yet, this is not where I belong; Take this world and give me Jesus, this is not where I belong …”

The House that Built Me, by Miranda Lambert

Worn, by Tenth Avenue North

No Man is an Island, by Tenth Avenue North

Take My Life, by Third Day

I Can Only Imagine, by MercyMe

Blessed be Your Name, by Tree63: (I have a strong emotional attachment to this song from a number of different seasons in my life, but for now I’ll just ask: Did you know that Tree63 is a South African band?)

He Will Hold Me Fast, by Keith & Kristyn Getty

 

I included some others just because. 🙂 

 

Find my full writing playlist over on Spotify!

 

What about you? Do you listen to music while you write? What songs have impacted your writing life?

I don’t know about you, but every once in a while, life can get so busy that pretty soon everything just feels like a drag.

Maybe you can relate?

Things that used to bring joy, when added to the mix of an overwhelmingly heavy workload, can suddenly become burdensome.

Is it just me? Or do you know what I’m talking about?

I’ve found that during times like these, it helps me to take a step back and take stock of everything I have to be grateful for. A bit of a gratitude inventory, if you will.

Undoubtedly, in a short period, my perspective shifts and my burdens don’t seem quite as heavy. The clouds lift a little, and the sun peeks through.

This happened to me as I went through Tyndale’s new Gratitude Journal.

 

gratitude

 

Without being intentional, by working through this journal, my previously burdened condition saw a new light.

My perspective shifted.

Instead of focusing on all that I hadn’t accomplished and all that still needed to be done, I could take a deep breath for a few moments and reflect on God’s goodness to me.

 

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Taking time to consider God’s character and blessings caused my gratitude toward Him to grow.

 

91rkgiwnzgl

 

gratitude

 

If you’re in a position or phase of life in which everything feels like a drag, or you’re struggling to see God’s blessings, I encourage you to take advantage of a resource like this journal.

Take some time out of your busy schedule to recalibrate and center your thoughts around truth.

 

gratitude

 

What helps you when you need a perspective shift? What helps you increase your gratitude toward the Lord? 

 

***

Check out more resources like this one in Tyndale’s Living Expressions Collection.

A description from the Tyndale website: “Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal invites you to bring creative journaling and the calming act of coloring into your quiet time with God. This beautifully designed interactive prayer book from Tyndale’s Living Expressions collection helps guide your thoughts as you pray about concerns such as health, overcoming stress, personal relationships, and more. Gratitudegives you a way to celebrate and give thanks to God for the many blessings he provides. Filled with over 100 designs to color, plenty of space for journaling and sketching, and 40 needs-based prayers, Gratitude helps you express your devotion to God with your whole heart!”

 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this product from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review. Affiliate links have been used in this post.