It happens, sometimes.  Okay, it happens often.

I bite off a project that is far more than I can chew, and slowly, gradually, the train of motivation sputters and chokes until it runs out of steam and comes screeching to a halt in the middle of the tracks.

Project unfinished.

It happens, sometimes, like a month ago when my two boys went to a birthday party, and my eight-year-old daughter pleaded for “special girl time.”  I caved, and watched her coffee eyes widen in wonder as we entered the fabric store and took in all of its glory.  We cradled bolts of material in our arms like newborn babies, carefully deliberating which ones we would take home to nurture and enjoy.

At home the excitement levels soared, and we were ready to sew.  Never mind the fact that I had never used a pattern before … her doll wanted a new dress.  Or maybe it was that she wanted a new dress for her doll.

Either way, we set to work, and that’s when reality set in.

All that effort, all the labor that had to be put forth before the actual sewing could begin, and how on earth do these patterns work, anyway?

The ironing, the cutting, the measuring, the reading of instructions, the watching of countless You Tube clips to try to figure it all out.

And I just plain ran out of steam before the sewing machine even had a chance to stitch a single thread.

“I’m sorry, my girl.  I just can’t figure it out.”

And her shoulders slumped in disappointment, but, “It’s okay.”

So I took to painting the dining room instead, and for two weeks the fabric lay abandoned, until, “Mom, it’s my doll’s birthday tomorrow, and don’t you think we could try to finish the dress?”

Fresh wind.Doll dress

So I called in back-up, and watched more You Tube, and well, it’s not perfect, but we did it.

We finished.

And as I admired our work, I couldn’t help but think of the Lord and His persistent grace, that He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.





As many of you know, for over a year I’ve taken part in (and absolutely loved) Five Minute Friday over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s place.  She started it as a way for women to encourage one another in free writing, and to gather and connect online.

Each week on Thursday nights for the past four years (!!), Lisa-Jo has given a one word prompt, and participants write for five minutes on their own blogs, then link up over at her site to share their words with the world.

After four years of faithful commitment and amazing encouragement, Lisa-Jo has decided it’s time to pass on the baton.

In a gamble of grace (to borrow a phrase coined by Meredith Bernard), Lisa-Jo has invited me to take over Five Minute Friday on this blog.

To say that I’m humbled and honored is a huge understatement, and I take this opportunity with the trembling hands of a new mother wanting the very best for this swaddled, adopted gift.

Next week (July 31st) will be Lisa-Jo’s last week hosting Five Minute Friday at her blog, and the following week (August 7th), I’ll be cradling and rocking the gift over here as we all adjust to our new surroundings.

BridgeFor those who have been involved and committed to Five Minute Friday over the years, this transition will likely be a melancholy one.  A bittersweet finale to a much-loved chapter.

My hope and prayer is that even in this new space, Five Minute Friday and its amazing community will grow from strength to strength, to the glory of God.

A huge thank you to Lisa-Jo for entrusting this community to me, and thank you in advance to those willing to extend grace as we hold hands and walk over this bridge together.

May He who began a good work be faithful to complete it.


Me too 300

Subscribe to receive the latest posts in your inbox, plus receive a free copy of the e-book, "Me Too," which includes a chapter written by Kate Motaung.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

100 thoughts on “finish (and five minute friday news)

  1. So cool to meet you, Kate. I’m a long time FMF girl … left for awhile and then came back again when I found the kickoff started at 10pm instead of midnight. I love how really good people pass a legacy on. It’s not about them or their creations. It’s about seeing something of value and wanting to share it … I love that Lisa-Jo has done that.

    Blessings to you as the mantle is passed!

    I’ll be one of your biggest fans …

    • Thank you for introducing yourself, Linda! I was over at your blog last week and appreciated your “bloom” post. 🙂 Love the way you have picked up on Lisa-Jo’s selflessness and the amazing way she is showing all of us how to finish with grace. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement in this space.

  2. Wildly grateful for you Kate. And for how you love on this community. I know 100% that you will lead them well – with love and friendship, a sense of humor and the slightest hint of my South African accent 🙂

  3. Congratulations!! It’s lovely to meet you, Kate. It is so assuring when someone not only says you can do something but gives you everything you need to do the thing. That vote of confidence is priceless. I am happy for you and pray for a smooth, positively surprising transition.

  4. Thank you Kate for willingly taking the responsibility for this beautiful community. I’ve been participating for a year and the prompts have helped me become a better, more confident writer. And I genuinely love all these ladies. Good luck!! And I love the doll outfit. Way to finish, mama!

    • I share your sentiments, Sarah! So grateful for this clan and its crazy beautiful encouragement. And thanks for the compliment on the doll outfit .. it was a labor of love, that’s for sure! 😉

  5. I can totally relate to not finishing. I’m so good at starting full force, and then discouragement gets in the way and I peter out. I need to work on the finishing strong.

    And can I tell you how excited I am for you?! Just reading your words today and hearing your beautiful voice sing through them, I know this is a good thing. Sad and bittersweet, yes, but so good.

  6. Wow how amazing. I love fmf and I know it’s going to be safe in your hands. You are an amazing lady and one I have been so blessed to get to know these last few weeks. Lisa Jo made a perfect choice xxx

  7. Thank you for your brave “yes” – for jumping in to carry the baton further. When you aren’t sure if you can do this, you can. When you aren’t sure if anyone will link up – we will. When life gets a little bit crazy and you aren’t sure you remember why you said “yes,” we’ll stay beside you, cheering, running with you, encouraging you and always grateful to have a home for our jumble of words that our hearts can’t contain. {{hug}}

      • Here affirming Crystal’s words and testifying to how loyal she is. The whole wild story is beautiful, so to add the knowledge that sisters like Crystal will have your back, Kate, how the morning bird will sing peace and confidence to you. The Lord bless you both!

  8. Kate! Thank you for being willing to take the baton and run with it. It’s a finish of sorts but it’s also a new beginning and I’m looking forward to seeing where we all journey – together.

  9. Kate, I’m so very excited that you’re going to be the new host of Five Minute Fridays! This is where I found my tribe, and I look forward to the new chapter God will write in this story for all of us.

    • Asheritah, I’m so glad to see you hear. I’ve appreciated your comments and input into this place so far, and look forward to linking arms with you as we walk on into the new chapter together.

  10. So excited for you and the #FMF community. I have found a home here and the fact that you are willing to open your home to keep it going is wonderful. Our stories need to be told and I know you will provide a welcoming place for stories to keep unfolding and for encouragement to continue. Many blessings, my friend!

  11. This just makes my heart smile in so many ways. I wish I could reach over the ocean and hug you right now. I’m SO glad God brought me to Lisa-Jo and FMF and now you. And you seem to have just really showed up on my radar THIS week…and graced me with a link-up on my small corner of the pool and now here you with this new baby in your arms. I can’t wait to watch you soar…and soar with you. How about that? All of us soaring together. One big family of word sisters. Soul sisters. Jesus sisters. Mamas and sisters and writers. I”m just really excited, which can probably be told through my rambling. {hugs from afar} xoxo, Meredith

  12. It is so lovely to meet you, Kate!!! The Gypsy Mama was the first blog I ever read and I started writing FMF posts in February of 2011- when I started my blog!! Hard to believe it has been 4 years. I am so grateful for Lisa-Jo’s faithfulness and have no doubt that I will be blessed by you as well. Because while some thing change, our God remains the same. And He has begun a beautiful thing here!
    I have prayed for Lisa-Jo and will now pray for you as you take this on. Looking forward to getting to know you in the weeks ahead!!!

  13. Looking forward to checking in here! Thank you for picking up the baton! (and good on you for finishing the dress, I keep taking my sewing projects over to my mom’s house so she can re-teach me how the sewing machine works!)

    • Rachel, that sounds like a good plan! When we were still living in South Africa and I didn’t have a machine yet, I definitely took all the “repair” work over to my mother-in-law! Glad you have your mom as a teacher and mentor!

  14. Kate, I’m so excited for this new journey for you. I can’t wait to get to know you better, and hear more about your South African story. This community, and this whole interconnected FMF community…ah, we are blessed to have you here as our new hostess. Keeping you in my prayers. Ga gona molato, nee? 🙂 (forgive my slightly rusty Setswana…it’s been a year!)

  15. He who BEGAN a good work in you, is faithful to COMPLETE it…oh yes, how I needed this reminder. So excited to see what God has in store for you friend as you step into the leading of this linkup and community. The Lord bless and keep you, and may his face shine lovingly upon you!!

  16. Oh Friend, I am so happy that you said YES! Kate, I will be linking up and joining you in this season of brave – and in this season of good. You know I already adore you and I look forward to this journey that we are all taking together! XOXO

  17. Kate. Lisa-Jo. Your hearts and ministry bless with the hush of the Spirit’s wings soothing while still ringing hark the herald of Good News and devoted wives and mothers. To countries and callings, loss and learnings, fmf and faith-story fibers shared, my heart celebrates further down the road than my words can journey. Batons and blessings, dear friends, how I cheer for you both!

    Kate–you introduced me to this community and it changed my life. You showed me passion and you have consistently poured into lives here. I am proud of you and find story after story of how your diligent faithfulness now brings you harvest and responsibility. Charge forward, Kate. Love to you.

  18. You are going to do this well, friend. I am overjoyed for you and for this new chapter in your writing life. Thank you for your brave yes and your willingness to open your space and your heart wide to this community. I know you’ll love it well. AND I will vox you tomorrow because I want to hear the faint South African accent too. 😉

    • I would Vox you now, but my voice is all snot-filled from all the happy sad tears tonight. 😉 Can’t tell you how grateful I am for your encouragement, support, and the ongoing inspiration of your words. I have Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” in my head right now, so pretend I just voxed you that .. 😉

    • Thank you, Diana! You are welcome to follow this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box at the top of the page, in the margin on the right. Otherwise check back here every Thursday night at 10pm EST (starting in two weeks, on August 7th) for the writing prompt of the week! Excited to have you join us!

  19. Kate- I can’t think of a better person to carry on the grace-filled, community-building, fun Five Minute Friday culture. And I’m so glad I get to stop by here every week! Thanks for taking this on.

  20. I will pray for you as you step up and take this baton. I am so grateful that you were willing to do so because I don’t know what I would have done without my five minute Fridays. 🙂

  21. Kate, I loved this post. Sometimes that “finish” comes in stints, doesn’t it? But to finish . . . there’s that feeling of accomplishing that is so satisfying. And for your little girl, it’s a beautiful lesson in finishing what we start, even when it’s hard.

    I’m thrilled you’re taking over FMF. I loved getting to know you a little bit during our grace writers group time. Looking forward to getting to know you better over here.

    • Jeanne, so nice to see you here! Thank you for taking the time to comment and bless. The Grace Writers group was mutually encouraging .. I am missing it! Glad I’ll get to be with you here for FMF.

  22. I find that sometimes projects started (like buying the material) have to steep inside for a while until something strong enough has grown to push us to the finish – I’m like that! I am so glad you finished the dress – and are taking up the challenge of 5 minute Friday! Remember – it’s o.k. to steep for awhile!

  23. Oh Kate, I am so happy that you said YES! Kate, I will be linking up and joining you in this season of brave – and in this season of good. You know I already adore you and I look forward to this journey that we are all taking together! XOXO

  24. Hi, Kate! It’s good to meet you! Thanks for being willing to host FMF. I’ve only been participating for a few months, but I’ve come to look forward to it every week.

    The doll’s dress looks beautiful, and even more so because you made it with so much love. I wouldn’t know where to begin, other than shopping for fabric.

  25. Thank you, Kate, for picking up the ball and running with it! You can do it! And we will be right here with you. Looking forward to what God has in store in this new chapter. Much love!

  26. I started a quilt for our daughter’s bed that lay unfinished for 20 years. I get it!
    Congrats on being the new host for FMF. I know there’s probably a bit of shaking and anxiety but I’m confident the wobbly knees will be steadied but the One you place your steadfast hope.

  27. Sometimes we just need to put something down, take a breather & come back to it with a renewed and clearer focus. So like God to provide that for us just when we need it! I bet your daughter was thrilled with the outcome!

    I am grateful that you will be taking on FMF. I’m in! This community has so been a blessing. You can do it, Kate! He has already equipped you with everything you will need to lead. And if I can share what came to mind as I read your news….”God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.” (1 Thess. 5:24, NLT).

  28. Nice to {blog} meet you Kate:
    I am sure you are nervously hoping that this responsibility and joy does not unravel into one of those ” I just ran out of steam” projects, right? That happens to all of us. But just like sewing a dolly dress for your girl was much, much bigger, and holier than- sewing a dolly dress- so is this thing called five minute friday. It has ministered to be, encouraged me, and been saturated with The Holy Spirit more times than I call recall in the last year that I have participated. Everywhere I turn it seems change is in the air. Uncomfortable, nervous change. I am convinced that is just where our Lord wants us though.
    So Cheers!

    • Leah, as I typed that story, I definitely did think, “Ooh, I hope people don’t think I’m gonna peter out and give up on Five Minute Friday!” 😉 Maybe not such a good story to tell as I take on a new project. But as you say, it’s so much bigger than just us, and yes, it’s the Lord’s doing. So special to hear about how this community has blessed you, and I pray that it will continue for a long time to come.

  29. I just love seeing God’s people ready to pass the baton! Yes! Faithfulness and change inspired by the movement of the Holy Spirit. So often I have started something and God has led me for the time frame he wanted. Then – it changes. It is such a blessing to walk in faith in a way that seeks His leading, even if it is new direction. Thank you Lisa Jo & Kate for honoring the Lord in this transition. I look forward to seeing how HE works through this going forward.

  30. Nice to meet you, Kate. Thank you for your brave yes to be the next host of FMF.
    Participating has helped to strength my faith through Lisa-Jo’s prompts/writings, and all the wonderfully strong women who “do” FMF.
    I look forward to your prompt on August 8.

  31. Kudos to you, mama, for picking the project back up and seeing it through to its completion. What a blessing for you and your daughter to finish it together. And the dress is lovely and shows no sign of someone who didn’t know what she was doing before she began!

    Also, thankful to you, dear friend, for taking the baton from Lisa-Jo Baker to continue the five-minute Friday tradition. It is definitely something I have come to look forward to each Thursday & Friday.

  32. Just wanted to say a quick hello! I’m new to FMF, only getting a blog up and running days ago to participate so you can imagine the catch in my throat when I read the prompt. But there was a peace as well. What a unique ministry of sorts this is. I’ve been blessed to read along for these last months, thankful for the opportunity to participate just now and excited that Lisa-Jo graciously passed the baton along to you and you were also willing to accept it. Many blessings on your beginnings!

    • Welcome, Laura! So excited to hear of your new beginnings as well, with the start of a new blog! Thrilled to have you join us, and pray that this journey of ours will grow from strength to strength.

  33. your girl’s doll is dressed beautifully and i admire you for sticking it out and sewing it up. (i can’t say that i’ve ever dared that daunting task) so excited for you in your new role and new chapter, Kate. excited to read your words and your heart.

  34. Hello Kate, I’m Rosanne. I’m both a long time fan of Lisa Jo and the FMF community. Looking forward to sharing Fridays with you. Congratulations for taking hold of the baton.

  35. Wow! What an amazing story and what a lovely ending. So glad the dress. As an excellent seamstress, who can even draft patterns from scratch, I have huge problems finishing projects. It’s so awesome the love between you and your daughter spurred you on.

    I’m so happy to meet you and look forward to more of your work and the future of Five Minute Friday.

    God bless you and your family.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Drusilla! I’m impressed by your sewing ability! While I love the idea of it, it definitely does not come naturally to me! 😉 Glad to have you here.

  36. Hi Kate,
    I’m Phyllis from Cleveland OH.
    I’m walking over the bridge with you and looking forward to continuing the journey.
    Thanks for this great reminder … God will finish His work in me.
    Five Minute Friday is sometimes the only inspiration I find to write so it means a lot.

  37. Kate… I am so excited for you to take this ‘project’ on! While I am sad to see Lisa-Jo go, I am thrilled that the Community has a safe place to gather and share… to continue to grow and encourage! I have loved reading your words here and bumping into you from time to time around the interwebs… now we get to gather more on purpose and I look forward to getting to know you more! Praying for you as you transition into taking this on! May it be a smooth and grace-filled, joy-full transition!

  38. Kate, I don’t participate in Five Minute Friday (but I should!) but I’ve been watching it unfold for the past four years. Congratulations on this next step. It’s wonderful to click over here and “meet” you.

  39. Hello Kate, nice to meet you!
    I’ve joined the Five minute Friday writing (on and off) for over a year now! I have never joined the FMF(connect)- Party on Thursdays yet, but I would like to start.

    I love the story about your girl’s dress. I can so relate to the part of not being able to finish what I started with my girl, and the joy when we do finish something. It is also way to easy to say yes to something before we think about how to see it through. It’s motherhood. It’s messy. it’s beautiful. It’s forgiving.

    I am looking forward to continue joining writing Five minute Fridays with you and the rest of the FMF community! It is sad that Lisa Jo has to “finish”, but I am so glad it continues! Looking forward to get to know you more.
    God bless you and this responsibility!
    -Ava Sophie

  40. Oh I hear you sweetie. That has happened to me a lot. I think I love the idea/creation part better! I am glad you were able to find help. I love that we have this tool to find tutorials and ideas and help!
    You wrote a wonderful post.
    Congratulations and thank you for taking the baton! I love FMF. We will all miss Lisa Jo! I didn’t get to go over last night for the prompt so I have written yet. I just read her post and saw her announcement. Wishing you many Blessings with your new endeavor!
    Thanks for caring on.

  41. it will be very sad to have Lisa leave, but I am so happy you are taking over Kate! Can’t wait to write with you!!!
    God has used this FMF thing for me in so many huge ways, because I am NOT a writer…. I love to write, but don’t know how, I don’t know why I do, and I don’t have a huge “path”
    What I do have is the desire to pour out emotions and this FMF thing is PERFECT for that desire
    Thank you so much for carrying on!
    I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you and the FMF!

  42. What a precious gift you gave your daughter! I’m so glad you didn’t let perfection get in the way of love. I need to remember that! I’m excited to meet with you and the FMF community here, Kate!

    • Thanks for that encouragement, Kim! I’ve enjoyed visiting your blog from time to time. Well done for using your gifts as you are! Keep it up. (And we have a mutual friend in Nasreen Fynewever .. 😉 She and I were in Bible college together, many moons ago ..) 😉 So glad you stopped by!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *