Hey there!

It’s time for another round of Five Minute Friday!

If you’re new, welcome! We’re passing the chocolate … 😉

We’re the crew who set a timer for five minutes and type furiously every week — and we’d *love* to have you join us!

Learn more about Five Minute Friday here.

By the way, we’re getting SUPER CLOSE to having news to share about the next Five Minute Friday RETREAT!

Who’s excited?!

 

retreat

 

Hopefully by next week I’ll be able to spill the beans with a date and a venue announcement.

Can’t wait!

 

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

 

safe

 

Ready? Setting my timer for five minutes, and … GO.

 

As I thought about the word, SAFE, this week, a certain quote kept coming to mind.

Do you know this one, from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?

“Aslan is a lion — the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh,” said Susan. “I thought he was a man. Is he — quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

I think about current affairs and the tense political climate and the hoards of people around the globe living in fear day in and day out. I look around my house and realize it’s been a while since I have felt unsafe. In fact, I wonder how many middle class Americans in suburbia have ever felt unsafe.

And have I ever really considered God to be unsafe? Am I too comfortable in His presence? Not reverent enough?

What does it mean to fear Him and hide in Him at the same time?

 

STOP.

 

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18:2

 

 

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
 I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me. ~ Psalm 57:1-2

 

Now it’s your turn! Share your own five minutes of free writing below, then leave a comment on the blog linked up before yours. And don’t forget to have fun!

 

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It’s the beginning of February, and if you live in the northern hemisphere and you’re anything like me, you’ve just slipped into the doldrums of a dreary winter where patience runs thin and tempers run high.

You’ve been sanitizing kitchen counters and toilet seats after weeks of circulating germs, and right about now you’d give anything for a breath of fresh air. Or maybe a mocha Frappuccino.

 

breathe

 

Well, I’ve brought you a breath of fresh air for this week’s Five Minute Friday post.

It’s my great privilege to welcome Five Minute Friday founder, Lisa-Jo Baker, to the blog this week!

She has an exciting announcement to share with all of us, and I’m so glad she’s here!

In honor of our special guest, this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

 

breathe

 

Here’s Lisa-Jo:

 

My stomach hurts. My rib cage feels like it’s crushing my lungs. I’m sitting here at the old farmhouse table with the crumbs trapped in the cracks reminding myself over and over and over again that life isn’t actually an emergency. It’s a gift.

 

So why are my hands clenched so tight?

 

I’m like a kid with a cracker, a treat, a delight that she’s about to crush to death because she won’t open her hands. I’m holding on way to tight to this dream of freedom. You can’t be free if you won’t let go.

 

And I want so many moms to be free from anger from temper from the guilt that they’re doing it all wrong. I want us to let go and exhale and take such big gulps of free air together.

 

I want to breathe deep these promises that God makes all things new. Including weary moms. Including moms who feel like they’re doing it all wrong. When really all that worry means they’re doing all right. It means they’re ready for change. For life, for fresh air and a chance to write new stories in their homes.

 

Altogether now, open your hands. Breathe in. Breathe out. Tomorrow is coming as only tomorrow can. On the promise of grace and a sunrise painted by a God who holds tomorrow in his hand. A God who will complete this good work in each of us and carry us if necessary across the finish line.

 

There are crumbs in the cracks and to many to-dos but right now, in this moment, I can unclench my hands.

 

and just take the next breath.

 

***

A Note from Lisa-Jo Baker

If you’ve been following my blog for any time at all then you know that I’ve spent the past DECADE trying to tame the temper I didn’t know I had before I became a mom.

 

breathe

 

Because it didn’t make sense that I could simultaneously love my tiny humans like nothing else on earth while also feeling like nothing else could make my head want to explode in quite the same way. It stunned me to one day find myself nose-to-nose with a six year old screaming my lungs out.

 

What kind of mother feels like that? A bad one, I told myself. I was sure I must be a bad mom because I was capable of a kind of rage that scared me.

What I’ve learned is that we are NOT bad moms!

 

breathe

 

We are good moms, we are normal human beings dealing with abnormal circumstances (sleep deprivation, zero privacy or personal space or alone time) and what we don’t need is more guilt! What we need are the tools to help get us through.

 

The blog posts I’ve written about my struggle with my temper have been my most highly read and shared posts. And the ones I get the most email about and the most speaking invitations to teach on. I hear you sisters — the struggle with mom temper is real!

So I’ve finally done something I’ve wanted to do for YEARS!

I’ve packaged up everything I’ve learned about my mom temper (the hard way) over the last decade of parenting and everything I teach at my workshops so that you can put it into practice in your own homes.

 

And I’m calling it The Temper Toolkit.

 

stop losing your temper

The Temper Toolkit is a labor of love from me to you — a collection of practical strategies, honest stories, and Biblical resources from one mom to another to help you take control of your temper BEFORE you lose it.

 

All for the cost of one exhausted drive-through dinner with the kids after a day of meltdowns.

 

Just click here to get access to The Temper Toolkit!

 

In this together!

Lisa-Jo

NOTE: The Temper Toolkit is only available through Monday, February 6th, so act fast!

 

 

Side note: I couldn’t let a prompt like “Breathe” pass by without a shameless plug for the Breathe Christian Writers Conference, happening October 6-7, 2017! Click here to learn more!

 

breathe

 

This year, Leslie Leyland Fields will be the keynote speaker!

 

Lord willing, it will be my third consecutive year attending the Breathe Conference. I’d *love* to see you there!

 

Disclosure: Affiliate links used in this post.

 

Now it’s your turn! Give us your best five minutes of free writing on the prompt, BREATHE!

 

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Welcome to another round of Five Minute Friday!

My challenge for you this week is to click around the link-up until you find someone who is joining FMF for the first time. Last week I found at least three newcomers, and it makes me smile every time!

If you’re brand new to the Five Minute Friday scene, you can learn more about us by clicking here!

This week, it’s my privilege to welcome Shannon Popkin as a guest blogger. Shannon is the author of Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, which releases Friday, January 27th!

 

control

 

Here’s Shannon Popkin with this week’s Five Minute Friday post on the prompt:

 

control

 

 

Control. The desire for it wells up from somewhere very deep inside of me. I crave it. I feel compelled to lunge for it; to do whatever it takes to have it. I feel an urgency to take control, wondering what might happen if I don’t!

And so I go for it. I leap for it. I run for it. I grasp it as tightly as I can and clutch it with all my might.

Then without comment, control slips through my fingers like a mirage. It flutters like a leaf, blown upward into heaven.

I see now that it was all a tease. I never did have a grasp on that blasted control.

This makes me angry and frustrated. I shout at it to get right back here, and jab my finger at the ground in front of me. Then I whimper like a child because I need it so badly. But control is not mine to be had. It doesn’t belong in my hands. It belongs in God’s.

I look up to search His face, wondering why He has taken the control I so deeply long for. Is He taunting me? Is He Indifferent and aloof? Does he even see me all the way down here, beneath his throne?

I wave my hands frantically, to let him know that I need Him to send it back down. I’m ready to hold on more tightly, now. I won’t let go this time.

There’s movement. He sees me! He’s stooping low. For a moment, I’m terrified, and then I see kindness in His eyes. He whispers something into my soul and I lean forward to hear it. You were not designed to carry the burden of control. Won’t you let me carry it for you?

And then He shows me His hands. His massive, wise, holy hands. They are good, God hands.

And at first glance I didn’t notice, but now I do! He’s holding something, there. Are they threads? They’re translucent yet as strong as steel.

I look closer and see a trillion plotlines being woven together in such complexity and beauty, such that I’ve never laid eyes on. His strong fingers are twisting and tying and looping the details together—details of people who are known and loved by Him—in intricate patterns so that each thread moves the story along toward a conclusion that fills my heart with such joy I can hardly breathe.

I can’t see the ending; I can’t see the full pattern. But I just know that it is good.

“It is very good,” I hear Him say.

But when I turn my eyes back to His face, He is gone. Hidden from sight. Just like that.

It was only a glimpse, but it was enough.

I am settled now, at peace with what I can’t see and what I don’t know. I no longer feel the angst in my soul, pressing me to take and keep and have control.

He’s in control, so I don’t have to be.

 

 

control

Author and speaker Shannon Popkin loves to blend her gifts for storytelling and humor with her passion for God’s Word. Shannon is the author of Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, and is a contributing blogger at TrueWoman.com.

Shannon is happy to be sharing life with Ken, who makes her laugh every single day. Together, they live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens. For more information and companion resources for Control Girl, including a downloadable discussion guide for leaders, go to ControlGirl.com.  Shannon would love to connect with you at shannonpopkin.com, or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

 

 

 

Now it’s your turn! What comes to mind when you think of the word, CONTROL? Share with us in five minutes or less!

 

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Hi everyone!

How are you doing?

Can you believe we had 100 people link up with us for last week’s Five Minute Friday prompt? I think that’s amazing! Keep up the great work, spreading the word and the encouraging comments to one another!

If you’re new to Five Minute Friday, welcome! You can learn all about us by clicking here.

This week’s FMF prompt is:

 

Refine

 

Starting my timer, and … GO!

 

After six months with my editor, my memoir manuscript is back in my court — for more edits. And while the revision process can be viewed as a drag and a tedious, tiresome task, I can honestly say that I’ve come to appreciate the pain, sweat, and tears that go into such a process.

Why?

Because the end result is always better.

Laboring hard over a table of contents, a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence — all of these efforts and brain cells rubbing together make for a more polished and effective product in the end.

More than once, I’ve thought about how much the editing process can be compared to my ongoing sanctification as a Christian.

God is chipping away at me daily, leading me through fire and trials as appropriate, sanding down the rough edges until one day they’ll become polished and smooth in His presence.

No, the refining process is never pleasant, whether we’re writing a book or walking through life.

But let’s keep our eyes on that end result, and learn to appreciate the fire.

 

STOP.

 

***

Earlier this week I announced that I started a business last year, called Refine Services, LLC.

Refine Services

It’s been my privilege to serve a number of clients already, helping them refine their message and reach their target audience through various writing, editing, and virtual assistance projects.

Visit my website at www.refineservices.com to learn more about the services I offer, including social media management, consulting for self-published authors, book launch support, graphic design, and much more!

If you or someone you know might need help with these fields of work, I’d love to chat!

 

***

And now it’s time to write!

Set a timer for five minutes, tap away like crazy on your keyboard, publish your blog post, and share it in the link-up below! Then visit your link-up neighbor and say something nice. 🙂

Thanks for being part of Five Minute Friday!

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It’s Five Minute Friday time!

Who’s ready to exhale a long breath and sink into the weekend?

Who’s ready to let your fingers fly across the keyboard or journal and just get it all out?

That’s what we’re about here at Five Minute Friday. We write fast and free, for five minutes flat. All are welcome! Feel free to join the fun, and invite your friends! Link-ups go live at 10pm EST on Thursday nights and remain open all week!

To foster community and the spirit of encouragement, please read and comment on the blog linked up before your own. And have fun!

Learn more about Five Minute Friday here.

And guess what?

 

We’re planning another retreat!

 

retreat

 

If you didn’t manage to fill out the FMF Retreat Survey last week, please do so now by clicking here.

 

Now … let’s write!

This week’s FMF prompt is:

middle

 

 

Ready? GO.

 

So here’s the thing. I don’t write about politics. Like, ever.

Sure, I have my opinions and convictions but I guess I just don’t feel the need to air them. So this really isn’t meant to be “a political post” or to stir up any heated debate.

It’s just that, like many of you, I watched Obama’s farewell speech this week.

And yes, I cried.

Right around the time he said the word, “Michelle,” I couldn’t blink back the tears any longer.

Here’s what I took away from that speech:

1. Be the change

 

middle

 

2. Embrace differences

 

And thirdly, not so much from the content of the speech itself but from the aftermath:

3. Sometimes it’s okay to meet in the middle.

I feel like this world can be so polarized at times. So black and white. And yes, we should have principles and convictions and absolutes.

But we don’t need to attack the ones who think differently.

 

middle

It’s okay for me to say that I didn’t agree with many of Obama’s policies or decisions, but that I still think he is a man of incredible integrity. I can say that I don’t support his view on certain issues, and still stand in awe of the fact that he and his family carried themselves with such class and dignity over the past eight years, particularly in such a pressured, public role.

I don’t have to love everything or hate everything.

I can be in the middle.

And sometimes the middle is a fine place to be.

STOP.

 

It’s your turn! Share your own five minutes of free writing below — and don’t forget to leave a comment for your link-up neighbor!

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