Welcome to a brand new edition of Five Minute Friday!

This week happens to be a momentous week — not only are we LIVE from the Five Minute Friday Retreat in Nashville, but also …

It’s my one-year anniversary serving as host of Five Minute Friday!

I actually got a little choked up re-reading my post from last year at this time … mostly because I’m still a little sad that Lisa-Jo passed the torch!

The reflections I tapped out in five minutes a year ago still remain true today.

Here’s a repeat of my first week hosting Five Minute Friday, in honor of a year’s worth of FMF posts:

 

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She left her shoes behind.

I tried them on, and I felt small.

Something didn’t feel quite right.  I was afraid someone might see me wearing them and say, “Hey, those aren’t yours!” and ask, “Why are you wearing her shoes?”

And besides, she left the imprint of her soul on the insoles, so I slip them off, and decide rather to set them reverently next to the door.

The door she left open on purpose so I could follow.  So you could follow.

And it feels right to stand barefoot, for this is holy ground.

And I know she’s running barefoot and carefree now, sand under her feet, daring the waves to crash hard enough to lick her toes, and she laughs and rests easy.  She’s glancing behind to see if we’re going to follow, but her heart already knows that we will.

Maybe not wearing her shoes, but we look at them as we pass through the threshold of the open door, and we remember how she taught us to walk.  How she taught us to run with abandon, to cast off the chains bound around our swollen ankles, to skip through the orchards of cherry blossoms and spin on this hallowed patch of earth.

So we step through and see the gap ahead, the crevice between here and there, and we kneel. Together.  And plank by plank, word by word, we build the bridge.

 

***

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all who have stuck around this past year.

You’ve built the bridge.

And I’m so privileged to be standing on it with you, carving my initials right next to yours.

 ***

This week we’re writing on:

 

here.

A Post on Anniversaries, Anxiety and an Anchor

Four years ago this weekend, I stood trembling in my mom’s Hospice room, fingertips fiddling with the comforter on her twin bed, tears and snot dripping shamelessly down my face, unwiped.

It was the final goodbye.

I left her there, in the Hospice House.

I walked down the sterile corridor, pushed my way into a bathroom stall and vomited my grief into the toilet.

Then I flew to South Africa. She died six weeks later.

***

One year ago this weekend, I sat eating homemade ice cream cake from my sister, fiddling with the comforter on my queen-sized bed, praying like crazy that my first week hosting Five Minute Friday wouldn’t fall flat on its face.

I wrote about how she left her shoes behind. The ones that couldn’t be filled. I knew I couldn’t take her place, and I didn’t dare try.

***

This weekend, I sit in an unfamiliar house in Nashville, anxiously awaiting the arrival of 21 women from all over the country (and let’s not forget the one from Canada). We gather for the first time in real life, and I can hardly wait.

***

I never thought I’d be here.

Four years ago, I didn’t see this coming.

I barely had a blog.

But God.

He had a plan.

And He carried me through the valley of the shadow of death, beside the quiet waters, into green pastures.

He restored my soul.

 

***

While we’re celebrating anniversaries, Studio JRU is celebrating a new beginning, and she’s inviting us to join the fun! Check out her brand new shop, and make use of this discount code for 20% off your purchase!

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In other exciting news, FMF Retreat Sponsor Fistbump Media has some crazy deep discounts on offer right over here — like, the best deals they’ve ever had. Seriously, you’re gonna want to check this out and get in on these deals while they last!

Fistbump Campaign

 

And finally, a sneak peek at a little secret I’ve been planning for a while … I’d love to invite you to join a six-week online discussion group on the book, On Being a Writer, by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig!

We’ll be chatting about “12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts.”

Link-up topics will be available every Monday and Wednesday from August 17th-September 23rd.

More details and registration coming soon, but here’s a glimpse at what we’ll be covering:

 

On Being a Writer Online Discussion Group

 

Go ahead and snag a copy of the book so you can read ahead.

(Even if you don’t own the book, I hope you’ll join us!)

I’m looking forward to some great conversation around these thought-provoking topics found in the book!

 

Now it’s your turn! Share your own five minutes of free writing on the prompt, HERE, below — and don’t forget to visit and comment on your link-up neighbor’s post!

 

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