This past weekend, twenty of us had the pleasure of gathering together at the first ever Five Minute Friday Retreat.

We’ve been talking about it for months, and it finally happened.

It was such a gift.

You can read all about it in this special edition link-up right over here, where some of the retreat attendees have shared their reflections on the weekend.


Photo credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis,


We talked until we ran out of words.


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,

We laughed till it hurt, and might have wiped a few tears, too.


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,


And since Five Minute Friday is the thread that ties us together, we paused the talking and laughing, took five minutes, and wrote.


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,


Then we read the words that God laid on our hearts. And we applauded the gifts He has given.

A highlight for me was meeting Trillia Newbell, author of Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves.


Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis,
Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis,
Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor,
Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor,


She is such a bright light, and a wonderful encouragement.


Photo Credit: Janel Andrews,
Photo Credit: Janel Andrews,


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,


We heard powerful stories from Amy Breitmann about the amazing work and ministry of ViBella Jewelry.


Photo Credit: Amy Breittman,
Photo Credit: Amy Breittman,
Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor,
Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor,

We were inspired by authors Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig to cultivate healthy habits that will lead to a writing life that lasts.

We fistbumped Dan King from Fistbump Media and learned ways to improve our web presence.




We might have even played rollercoaster.


Photo Credit: Melinda Hollis,

All I can say is, it was a gift.

The Lord went before us, and He was with us all weekend.

And I’m so grateful for His goodness in making this retreat the blessing that it was for all of us.

Thank you to all who prayed! God answered those prayers in amazing ways. We’re thankful.




In case you missed it, we’re kicking off our FREE online discussion group THIS MONDAY, August 17th, on the book, On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig.


On Being a Writer Online Discussion Group

More information can be found here, and you can get a copy of the book here.

Would love to have you join us!


This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:




Set a timer for five minutes, stretch your typing fingers, and let’s GO:


We learned a lot this past weekend.

We learned things that can’t always be learned through a screen.

Those real-life, in-person learnings that are caught by the senses, not always conveyed by a keyboard.

We learned which of us are extroverts, which are introverts, and which teeter in between.

Photo from Melinda Gardner Hollis,
Photo from Melinda Gardner Hollis,
Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman,


We learned how each other’s laughs sound, and what brings them out.

We learned which of us are the early risers, and which of us aren’t that excited about being drawn for breakfast duty.


Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis,
Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis,


We learned about listening.


Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis,
Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis,


We learned about doing.

We learned that it’s possible to change the world with a scissors and a pair of jeans.


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty,


We learned that sometimes brave means getting out of the boat.

And sometimes it means staying right where we are.

We learned that my brave might not look like yours.

My “big” might be your “normal.”


Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman,
Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman,

We learned that’s okay.

We learned that God shows up in mysterious and unexpected ways, and His presence is always a blessing.

We learned that sometimes it’s good to jump, and sometimes it’s good to wait.


Photo from Mary Geisen,
Photo from Mary Geisen,


Fear is not our master. God is.

He knits hearts and souls and words.

And He is good.





 Loading InLinkz ...

It happened.

After months of planning, hundreds of e-mails sent and even more decisions made, the first-ever Five Minute Friday Retreat took place this past weekend.


Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor,
Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor,

Twenty women from all over the place gathered together in a quiet neighborhood near Nashville.


Photo Credit: Mary Geisen,
Photo Credit: Mary Geisen,
Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman,
Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman,

And it was a gift.

On so many levels.

I’ll admit, I didn’t really know what to expect.

Turns out that’s the best way to go, since it leaves the door wide open for God to blow you away.


Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman,
Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman,


We made fast friends. We found heart sisters.


Photo from Mollie Hardman,
Photo from Mollie Hardman,


I could go on and on about what a gift this past weekend was, but I’d rather let you read about it from the others who were there.

Click the links below and find out what the Five Minute Friday Retreat meant to them.

But be careful: It might just blow you away.


 Loading InLinkz ...

Oh my goodness, there are so many exciting things packed into this post, I can hardly contain myself.

First of all, WELCOME! Have I told you lately that I love you? (Did you just hear Rod Stewart singing that to you?)

Seriously. I do. Some of you were not impressed by my choice of prompt last week, but you bit the bullet, took on the challenge, and you wrote.

And I was so impressed.

(I knew you could do it, by the way. Even if you didn’t think you could. I never doubted. You guys are amazing.)

If you’re new here, then an extra special welcome to you!

Five Minute Friday - 4Click here for more info on what Five Minute Friday is all about — but be careful — most fall in love at first sight. We hope this is the first of many visits to this fabulous community.

While you’re at it, go ahead and follow along on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest — and don’t miss the Twitter party every Thursday evening at #fmfparty!

And you’re DEFINITELY not going to want to miss #fmfparty next Thursday, because …

live video chat


The FMF Retreat Planning committee will be coming at you LIVE from the retreat venue!

Follow Holly Barrett, Mary Geisen, Jen Daugherty and me if you want to catch us live on August 6th from 8:45-9:30pm EST!

Speaking of the retreat, did you catch the guest posts from our retreat sponsors this week?

I loved reading the heartfelt words from Dan King at Fistbump Media and Amy Breitmann from ViBella Jewelry.

fistbump-media-header2Dan shared the heart behind Fistbump Media, and how his passion is helping people like you and me get our voices out there, to be a blessing to others.

ViBellalogoAmy shared about her recent trip to Haiti with ViBella Jewelry, and how she loves telling beautiful stories.

AND (!!!) ViBella is hosting a GIVEAWAY!! Click here to enter to win the beautiful ViBella necklace below!


ReagenNecklaceThumb (2)

And psst … one more thing — as your friend, I feel it’s my duty to tell you that Dayspring is having a crazy good SECRET SALE!

Sshhh .. don’t tell anyone — just click over and snag all the goodies before they’re gone!


Dayspring Secret Sale 2


Okay … I don’t know if I can write after all that excitement, but I’ll give it a shot.

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:


Setting my timer for five minutes, and …



My kids had their second belt test in karate this week.

In this particular karate school, in order to advance to the next belt, students have to break a board.

One of the visiting instructors took a moment to explain to the parents why they include this element in the test:

“It’s a confidence builder,” he said.

“You’re going to face many obstacles in life that need to be overcome.

Nobody thinks they can break a board the first try.

And you know what? That’s fine. It doesn’t have to break on the first try.

But you have to keep trying.

You’re in a fight with a board, and you can’t let it defeat you. It doesn’t matter how many attempts you make — you just have to keep going.”

I don’t know about the kids, but I was motivated by his speech.

How true his words were for all of life. 

It’s like the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of trying.

Tired of trying to check all the things off my To Do List. Tired of trying to defeat the same sin in my life. Tired of breaking up the same arguments between siblings.

Like I’m pounding the same fist on the same board and the wood just won’t break.

The difference for us, as Christians, is that we have a secret weapon.

We aren’t laboring in our own strength.

If Christ is in us, we have His strength, His energy at work in us.




He is the reason we can do what we do.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14).

He is the reason we overcome.




Don’t forget to enter the ViBella Jewelry giveaway before you link up your own blog post below!

 Loading InLinkz ...

Hey everyone!

How are you this week? So glad to have you back for another round of Five Minute Friday — the flash mob of writers who huddle together each week for some good old fashioned free writing and encouragement.

This week’s prompt is: 




Ready? GO.


Your eyes were blue when you were born.

I thought it was genetically impossible, since mine are hazel and your dad is black.






But they stayed blue for several months before gradually melting into a gentle hazel, melting me along the way.

Today you’re eight years old.

My youngest. My baby.

You breezed into our family and taught me what the phrase “all boy” looks like. If you have a stick and a patch of dirt, you’re content.



Your first word was “ball.” You slept with a tennis ball in one hand and a cricket bat tucked under the other, for months on end.



You make me laugh every day. Ouma nicknamed you Brains when you were about one, and you’ve lived up to the title.

You think deeply, love deeply, feel deeply.




You’re compassionate and hilarious. Quick-witted and eloquent. Stubborn and determined. Thoughtful and thought-provoking.

You challenge me to notice.

You ask deeper questions than I’ve ever considered.

Your strong will works in your favor more often than not. You’re not a people pleaser. You don’t follow the crowd. You have a mind of your own — and once it’s made up, I’m hard pressed to persuade you otherwise.





May you use these strengths and qualities for good. May God continue to show you how to use the gifts He’s given you for His glory.

And I’ll always be grateful for the gift He’s given me in you.




This week I have a special treat for you … I managed to round up the entire FMF Retreat Planning Committee for a video chat!

Don’t miss this message from Holly Barrett, Mary Geisen and Jen Daugherty:







Special thanks once again to our sponsors, ViBella Jewelry and Fistbump Media!



Also thrilled to Skype with Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig, authors of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts (Masters in Fine Living Series).





Here’s what the schedule looks like for the retreat weekend:


retreat schedule


Limited spaces are available so book now!



Join us with your own five minutes of free writing by linking up your blog posts below — and don’t forget to visit your link-up neighbor with a friendly comment!


 Loading InLinkz ...

Happy weekend, everyone! So thrilled to have you here with us. If you’re new in these parts, feel free to click over here to read what Five Minute Friday is all about. We’d love to have you play along!

We also have a Twitter party every Thursday evening at #fmfparty from about 8:30pm EST until the prompt goes live at 10pm EST. If you haven’t popped in before, please come along and join us next week! It’s such a warm and wonderful community that gathers there.

If you haven’t heard, there are only 17 spots left for the upcoming Five Minute Friday Retreat


We’ve been gradually sharing exciting news and details. Here’s a recap of some of the highlights: 



Amy Breitmann from ViBella Jewelry will be with us all weekend and will share a special presentation on Saturday about ViBella’s work and ministry.

We’ll get a sneak peak at a new line of ViBella goods, and Amy has promised a special treat for all who attend!

Thank you, ViBella, for sponsoring the FMF Retreat!



We’re also so excited to partner with retreat sponsor Fistbump Media. The team at Fistbump can meet all your web needs, including website design, blog hosting, blog migration (for example, moving from Blogger to WordPress), e-book design, e-book publication, e-mail subscriber management — you name it! Click here and here to learn more about their services.

Also, Fistbump Media is extending an amazing offer to all retreat attendees! Check it out below!


In addition, authors Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig have agreed to do a live video chat with us during the retreat, discussing topics from their book, On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts (Masters in Fine Living Series)


Click here for more information about the retreat.




This week I’m delighted to share this FMF Video with Asheritah introducing you to Anita Ojeda.

Anita has been a great encouragement to me online for many months, and her footprints are all over the FMF community comment boxes. Take a moment to listen to her story below, then go check out her blog, Blessed but Stressed, and follow her on Twitter @blestbutstrest if you don’t already!



This week’s FMF prompt is:


Ready? GO.


We follow people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We get a little giddy on the inside when people follow us back and our numbers grow.

We follow trends, consciously and subconsciously keeping up with the so-called latest and greatest.

We follow news headlines, waiting to see the outcome of the story.

We follow celebrities, pretending we don’t care what the magazine covers say about their glamorous and often broken lives.

We follow and we follow and we follow, and sometimes we forget. Sometimes what matters most gets lost in the web of activity, and truth gets blurred by pop culture.

We sometimes forget about the One who said, “Come, follow me.”


Lord, make me follow hard after You ...


In the midst of busyness and distraction and worldly pursuits, may the Lord clear my mind and help me zero in on what really matters. May He truly make this my desire:

That I would be captivated by the love of Christ, constrained by His mercy, awestruck by His grace.

And most of all, most of all, that

I would follow hard after Him, all of my days — until He leads me home.



Join us with your own five minutes of free writing on the word FOLLOW by clicking the blue button below .. and don’t forget to leave a comment for the person linked up before you!

 Loading InLinkz ...