What are you craving?

I mean, besides Lindt chocolate or a hot fudge sundae, what are you really craving, deep in your soul?

To be known? To be loved? To not be alone?

I think deep down, behind the scenes, in our heart of hearts, we all have a longing for connection, am I right?

That’s one reason I’m SO excited about the upcoming release of this book, Craving Connection.

 

Craving Connection

I’ve known about this gem since April and have been DYING to tell you about it!

Listen, if you’re a woman — I don’t care how young or old — you want this book. And if you’re a man reading this — well, do yourself a favor and jump on this opportunity to bless a special lady in your life … your mom, your sister, your wife.

It’s that good.

 

Craving Connection

I had the amazing privilege to contribute a chapter in this book, alongside some of the women writers I admire most.

cravingconnectionwriters1cravingconnectionwriters2

I cannot overemphasize how much you are going to love this collection! It’s chock full of gorgeous writing, heartfelt challenges, and practical ways to connect more deeply with God, your friends, and your community.

And the best news? Pre-order between now and December 15 and get a free Friendship Gift Pack from (in)courage!

 

Craving Connection

So in honor of the soon-to-be released Craving Connection and because I just can’t contain my excitement, this week’s Five Minute Friday word is:

crave

 

 

If you’re new here, welcome! Learn all about the fabulous Five Minute Friday community here.

And yes, I totally changed things up this week and did it all backwards and wrote my five minutes right in the beginning before I even formally announced the prompt. So there you go.

Affiliate links used in this post.

Can’t wait to see what you share in five minutes on the word, CRAVE!

Link up here:

 Loading InLinkz ...

You’re in for a real treat with this week’s Five Minute Friday post!

It’s chock full with moving words from a special guest, loads of amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and our grand finale giveaway for Giveaway Month!

 

Giveaway

 

 

bravefaithcover

This week, I invited the dear Mary Geisen to guest post for us. Mary was on the planning committee for the Five Minute Friday retreat, and she recently released her very first book, called Brave Faith: A 31 Day Devotional Journey.

Mary spoke on the theme of brave faith at the Five Minute Friday retreat in August 2015 — what a joy to see this fruit of her labor now available to bless others!

Read more about Mary’s story and the heart behind her book book by clicking here.

Mary has also generously donated a copy of her new book for this week’s giveaway! Thank you, Mary!

 

In honor of Mary’s book, this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

 

surrender

 

 

Enjoy these moving words on surrender, from Mary Geisen:

 

One of my favorite memories is when my sons first began to walk. Unsteady feet led to a balancing act, which eventually ended with both of my sons on their bottoms.  My sons’ determination and courage to get up and try again eventually ended in success. When we learn something new, we take baby steps, make mistakes and learn to pick ourselves up when we are not successful.

 

Brave faith is like learning how to walk. It is surrendering one “yes” to God, which leads to a second “yes”, a third and eventually more. When we surrender ourselves to God and His perfect plan, stepping outside of our comfort zones follows suit. We are on our way to brave faith.

 

 

For the past year and a half, I have been walking a path that looked more like standing still than moving forward. I discovered my path, which is always God’s path, turned out to be one of His choosing and not the one of my dreams. Frustration filled my heart and uncertainty guided my future. But with any unsteady steps, when we surrender our doubt to God, He leads us forward. When the horizon looks fuzzy and doubt overwhelms, we learn to move out of the way and let God do what he does best.

 

Until I surrendered myself to God, my path remained uncertain. When I sat in the waiting, God sat with me. He taught me that saying “yes” even when I could not see the other side allowed Him to work inside me.

 

I learned that sitting with God so He can work from the inside out is a gift. What looks like nothing is happening is when everything is happening. He takes each broken piece and makes us whole one piece at a time. Sitting in the tension with God was my life this past year. Surrendering my brokenness created a space for God to do a good work in me. All of God’s preparation, pruning and tender care blossomed into fruit. Producing His fruit was His beautiful gift to me.

 

When letting go and surrendering is the last thing you want to do, God patiently renews and restores you from the inside out. He intimately knows your heart and transforms you into more than you could ever imagine.

 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2

 

 

marygeisen

Mary Geisen is a lover of coffee and deep, soul-filled conversations. She is the mom of two married sons, a retired teacher, writer, author and seeker of grace in the ordinary. Several years ago, God called her to bravely step out by sharing her journey in written form. The power of God’s words has inspired her journey of healing and drawing closer to God through the power of grace. She continues to walk toward brave faith in her everyday life and encourages others to do the same.

 

 

 

Thank you, Mary, for sharing these words of your heart, and also for donating a copy of your book for our giveaway!

Speaking of the giveaway, Susan Shipe has graciously offered two more books to include in our grand finale giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of Susan’s Advent devotional, 31 Days of Christmas: The People, Places, and Events of The Greatest Story Ever Told, or a copy of the Five Minute Friday book, compiled by Susan!

We’ll be choosing THREE winners on Monday, November 28th — one for each book!

 

book-giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway closes Sunday, November 27th at 11:59pm EST. Winners must have a U.S. mailing address.

 

And now, for some AMAZING Black Friday specials!

You all know how much I love Fistbump Media, right?

 

fistbump-media-header2

Well, they’re running and INCREDIBLE 4-day sale over Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Check out this page for all of your website hosting, blogging course, self-publishing, blog makeover needs! They even offer a 20% discount on gift cards to use on whatever service you want, whenever you want! Such a deal!

Remember that 31 Days to #BlogAwesomeness course I told you about? And the one on self-publishing? They’re both 50% off through Monday! 

fistbumpmedia1fistbumpmedia2

KrafyKash Designs is offering 50% off their ENTIRE STORE! Shop here and wipe out your Christmas list!

kraftykashchristmas

kraftykashblackfriday

Writer Krafty Kash

Krafty Kash map

Happy shopping and happy writing, friends!

 

Affiliate links were used in this post.

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

It has been a frequent topic of conversation lately, during the drive home after school.

“But Mom, why can’t we do that? All my friends at school get to do it! It’s all they ever talk about, and it’s in my face all the time! I just don’t understand!”

I look at my daughter in the rearview mirror, and I see myself. I pause, knowing that a lecture is not what she needs in this moment of genuine frustration.

 

Thanksgiving

 

It’s one of those times when I need to take the log out of my own eye before trying to remove the speck out of hers. I tell her I understand. That I know how she feels. That I feel that way too, sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time.

As we wait for the traffic light to turn green, we talk about that vicious cycle that leads to ingratitude. Through continual experience, I’ve come to learn that thanksgiving’s greatest enemy is not simply ingratitude.

It starts much sooner than that.

It begins with negative comparison.

As soon as I start looking at what other people have that I don’t possess, I’m instantly discontent. And as soon as I’m discontent, I’m no longer grateful for what I do have. The seed is planted in the fertile soil of comparison, gets watered by discontentment and quickly sprouts into a spreading weed of ungratefulness.

It happens fast. And far too often.

Satan has been using the same trick since the beginning: “Look at what you don’t have. Doesn’t it look good?”

He said it to Eve, and he says it to me. I’d venture to guess he has said the same to you, as well. Eve looked down at her palms and saw empty hands.

Don’t we do the very same today? We look around at what others have, then we glance down at what we don’t have, and we want more. We forget that what we have in our hearts through the Lord Jesus is far more valuable than any earthly treasure.

Read the rest of this article over at iBelieve.com by clicking here.

 

It can happen to all of us.

Despite our best intentions, we can get sucked into the commercial rush of the holiday season, and before we know it, December’s gone. We blink, and we miss it.

This year, let’s determine a different way.

Let’s pause before the month even begins, and take intentional steps to slow down.

Let’s get ourselves ready to notice and enjoy the true reason for the season.

As I compiled this post, I realized there are so many amazing books available!

In this post, I’ll share about the following:

 

advent

 

 

Firstly, my dear friend, Asheritah Ciuciu has a beautiful, helpful devotional called Unwrapping the Names of Jesus

Unwrapping-3d-Cover-2

This book promises to help you “rediscover the beauty of the greatest gift of all by unwrapping His Names one at a time.”

 

unwrappingJesus7

 unwrapping names of jesus

And then there’s Ann Voskamp’s gorgeous family Advent devotional, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.

 

Unwrapping Greatest Gift cover

Read my review here, then order a copy for your own family by clicking here. You won’t regret it!

These gorgeous ornament sets complement Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. Each ornament corresponds to a daily reading.

They come in an embossed, die-cut paper version, as well as a sculpted ceramic version. I was blessed to receive a set of the sculpted ornaments last year, and they are stunning.

STARTING TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22ND, USE CODE FRIDAY16 TO GET 30% OFF YOUR DAYSPRING ORDER FOR BLACK FRIDAY!

 

No2-Creation-Verse-500

No4-Noah-Verse-500

No5-Abraham-Verse-500

I also love Ann’s book, The Greatest Gift. It follows a very similar format to the family version shown above, but is geared more toward an adult audience.

 

My friend Trillia Newbell has a new book coming out soon, called Enjoy.

Right now, when you pre-order Enjoy, you will receive a free Advent devotional written by Trillia. To learn more about Enjoy and this giveaway, visit Trillia’s website.

enjoyadventtrillianewbell

 

The dear Kris Camealy recently released a book called Come, Lord Jesus:

 

comelordjesuscover

AND … Christina Hubbard from Creative and Free is hosting an Advent Book Club based on this book, beginning November 27th! So order now and join the club!

 

come-lord-jesus-book-club-e1476975486240

Finally, the delightful Anna Rendell is offering 25 devotions for time-strapped Moms in her book, A Moment of Christmas.

512mnodbnhl

The description on Amazon says, “This book is for the woman who craves a less crazed-feeling Christmas, who longs for a season that is intentional and full of joy. Including 25 devotions, each of them guilt-free, inspiring, and able to be read in 10 minutes or less! As you prepare your heart for Christmas by reading through these pages, you’ll be inspired to drop the pursuit of perfection and chase holy.” Sounds amazing, hey?

 

Don’t let this December pass you by.

Get your hands on some of these resources, then schedule a bit of time each day to dwell in God’s presence.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this site!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Welcome to another round of Five Minute Friday! If you’re new here, you can learn more about this fun writing challenge and community by clicking here.

This week I’m thrilled and honored to welcome Trillia Newbell as our guest writer!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Trillia back in June 2015 when her second book, Fear and Faith, was released. Sharing again here so you can catch some of her enthusiasm and passion:

 

 

Then God orchestrated a way for her to attend the Five Minute Friday retreat in Nashville two months later to share a morning devotional with us! Her presence was such a gift!

 

Photo Credit: Janel Andrews, viepourcettetemp.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: Janel Andrews, viepourcettetemp.wordpress.com

Trillia Newbell

Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com

 

And now here we are approaching December 2016, and Trillia has a third book that is about to release!

It’s called Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts.

Here’s a synopsis:

Enjoy is based on the premise that God is an awesome and incredibly generous creator. He has given us all we need for life and godliness as well as good things for us to enjoy for our benefit and his glory. From human relationships and spiritual joy to the texture and taste of chocolate cake and the wonder of nature, we have so many reasons to delight in our gift-giving God. Enjoy explores in-depth what it means to live and walk in this fallen world while, at the same time, appreciating the abundant gifts God invites us to be thankful for, to celebrate, and to enjoy.

 

enjoytrillianewbell

Right now, when you pre-order Enjoy, you will receive a free advent devotional. To learn more about Enjoy and this giveaway, please visit trillianewbell.com or http://www.trillianewbell.com/preorder/.

 

enjoyadventtrillianewbell

 

In honor of Trillia’s new book, this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

 

enjoy

 

 

And here’s Trillia’s five minute post!

Five Minute Friday: Enjoy

by Trillia Newbell

 

Right now I’m sitting in my car at my children’s school waiting to partake in my second Thanksgiving-style lunch.

 

It’s sunny, uniquely warm for this time of year, and I’m writing on a pad of paper, and timing myself to write about Enjoy is difficult. How do I sum it up so quickly?

 

I’m grateful. I’m thankful for the chance to sit across lunch tables as my children share about their day and join in laughter with their friends. One of the kids begged me to let him come home with us. Before I left, he asked, “So, are you going to text my mom?”

 

The contents of our special Thanksgiving lunch were good—though not spectacular. But I was glad to be able to thank the principal and security guard as they dished out turkey, stuffing, green beans, and sweet potato casserole. I sat and savored the green beans. They reminded me of Thanksgivings growing up and that soon I would be with my mom and sisters, which is always a blast. Such joy and laughter, even as we mourn the absence of our father and oldest sister. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.

 

My five minutes are almost up. Bummer. I’m enjoying this exercise.

 

Today, I’m thankful for the little things that I get to enjoy. From the sunshine, to the laughter of pre-teen boys, to the anticipation of time with loved ones—these are all gifts from God.

 

For five minutes I’ve been reminded that God is the giver of all good things, even the little things. May I remember his goodness, today and every day.

 

STOP.

 

What about you? What are you stopping to ENJOY today?

 

13680546_1019112048185056_6586412032801310273_nTrillia Newbell is the author of Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good GiftsFear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (2015) and United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (2014). Her writings on issues of faith, family, and diversity have been published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Desiring God, Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, The Gospel Coalition, and more. She is currently Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention. For fun, she enjoys group fitness (she used to be a fitness instructor!), cycling, and listening to a variety of music. Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern, they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. You can find her at trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell.

 

And … before we go — as promised, we’re celebrating GIVEAWAY MONTH at Five Minute Friday as a way to express our gratitude to each of you for your presence here!

 

Giveaway

 

This week I’m thrilled to share that KraftyKash has generously donated a beautiful necklace to offer as a giveaway!

I just adore KraftyKash products, don’t you? (By the way, you can use code katemotaung at checkout to get 10% off your order! Can you say Christmas shopping?) 😉

 

kraftykashchristmas

 

This weekend, KraftyKash is offering this MOTHER necklace to one winner!

KraftyKash

 

(I think the anchor on this one might be my favorite part because it says so much about what a mother is!)

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter giveaway below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends Sunday night, November 20th at 11:59pm EST. Winner must have a U.S. mailing address.

 

Affiliate links were used in this post.

 

Oh, and by the way — we *will* have a link-up next week, even though it’s Thanksgiving weekend! I have some more fun surprises lined up for you, so don’t miss out! Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving, friends!

 

 Loading InLinkz ...