Happy New Year!

I’ve missed you!

We took two weeks off from our regular Five Minute Friday gatherings, and it’s SO GOOD to be back!

Thank you for all who prayed and commented on my final FMF post from last year, when I shared that I had been sick. I was quite severely ill for 20 days, then upon my recovery, I promptly slipped on Michigan ice, split my head on a brick step and got to ride in an ambulance to get internal stitches and five staples in the back of my head.

Staples are still in, but I’m back in action, celebrating God’s gracious protection in the past month, and SO EXCITED to kick off another year of Five Minute Friday with all of you!

Thank you to all who filled out the survey at the end of last year, as well! I got some great feedback and suggestions. Much appreciated!

I’ll share some of the ideas in coming weeks, but in a nutshell, here’s what I learned:

  • You love the Twitter party on Thursday nights (psst .. if you don’t already join us, stop by #fmfparty on Thursdays from about 8:30-10pm EST!)
  • You want a Facebook group! I think this is a great idea, and am thinking and praying through how to make it work.
  • Some of you who link up in the second half or near the end sometimes feel left out or unnoticed. I think this is totally fixable! Maybe we could all commit to coming back on Sunday or Monday to click around one or two blogs we haven’t seen yet, to read and leave some encouragement?
  • Some of you wish you could get the prompts via e-mail. Good news! You can! Just enter your e-mail address in the box on the sidebar (or at the end of this post) where it says, “Join the Mailing List!” and voila! Prompts directly in your inbox every Friday at 7am EST.

If you missed the survey, feel free to drop me an e-mail or leave a comment here with any input on how we can make Five Minute Friday even better!

To celebrate the new year, I’ve got a few special deals just for you, plus a super fun giveaway!

Let’s get started!

First off, if you’re looking to rock your blog in 2016, I highly recommend the brand new Fistbump Media University!

 

Fistbump Media University Ad

 

They’ve opened a fantastic resource just for bloggers like us, and are offering an inaugural special! Plus, if you sign up to receive e-mail updates from the Fistbump website, you can get 50% off your first month!

Click here for more info!

 

Fistbump Media University coupon

 

Have you chosen One Word for 2016?

The fabulous Krafty Kash is giving a 20% discount to anyone who wants to order one of four products using their One Word for the year! So fun!

Customize one of the following with the word or verse of your choice!

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One Word Necklace

One Verse Necklace

One Word Bracelet

One Word Mini Pendant Necklace

Use code ONEWORD16 at checkout for 20% off; valid through January 18th!

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Finally, I’m so excited to be able to give away a SIGNED COPY of Susan Meissner’s newest historical novel, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard!

Read my review here, then enter to win in the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready to write? Personally, I’m feeling rather rusty after two weeks off, but let’s give it a go. If it turns out awful, I’ll just blame the staples in my head. 😉

This week’s prompt is:

FMF :: First

 

Setting my timer for five minutes and … GO.

 

It’s the first Five Minute Friday gathering of 2016. The first month of the year. The first chapter of twelve that will be penned into this book called 2016.

It’s the first time anyone in the history of always has experienced this particular year.

Many of us wait with bated breath to see what God will unfold. What gifts await. What joys.

And sometimes we’re so focused on then that we breeze right past the now.

We can forget that every morning is a brand new page. A brand new opportunity to express our gratitude to God, to love others, to bring Him glory.

First is full of hope. 

Every time God wakes you up, you get a fresh chance to serve. To honor. To obey.

Mornings aren’t always my friend. Beginnings aren’t always smooth. Sometimes the starts are bumpy and my neck jerks back at the jolt of it all.

But if I’m buckled into the right seat and holding on to the right wheel, God will steer me exactly where He wants me to be. The road may be narrow, and I might not see what’s beyond the horizon or even that next bend, but I know my God, and I know He drives well.

 

STOP.

 

Don’t forget to enter to win a signed copy of Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner! Giveaway open to residents living in the U.S. or Canada only.

And if you think of it, stop by on Sunday or Monday to click around and comment on some of the later posts linked up!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I know this will throw many of you for a loop.

If it does, I apologize.

For the final Five Minute Friday of 2015, I’m letting everyone choose their own, one word prompt!

Keep it to one word, keep it to five minutes, and keep reading each other’s work!

 

 

It’s a swing from routine, I know, but maybe we could all see it like a “choose your own adventure” — an open opportunity to let your creativity run free.

The real reason behind my lack of leadership this week is because I’ve been sick. As in, two days in the hospital sick. But I’m home now and able to sit up long enough to create a link-up for you — couldn’t leave you hanging on our last FMF of 2015!

In case you missed it, here’s the schedule for the next few weeks. Please come back on December 28th and 30th for our special edition link-ups!

 

christmas!

 

For the first time since I started hosting in August 2014, I’m not going to write my own five minute free write this week. That’s how yucky I’m feeling.

But I’m so glad to be able to open this space for you, and look forward to reading your words.

Also, thank you to all who completed this year-end survey last week. If you haven’t responded to the three questions yet, I’d love to hear your feedback! Click here to leave your anonymous input. We’ve received some really helpful suggestions, and look forward to a great year of Five Minute Friday in 2016!

As we prepare to celebrate how the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, I thank God for the way He has blessed me through all of you and YOUR words this past year.

May you have a truly blessed Christmas!

All my love,

Kate

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As we wind up another year that will soon go down into the books, I thought it would be good to spend a bit of time reflecting on the past year as a Five Minute Friday community.

Before we kick of our reflective free write, two quick announcements.

Below is schedule for the rest of this month and the beginning of next year:

 

christmas!

 

As you can see, next week will be our final Five Minute Friday link-up of 2015 (sniff). We’ll take a two-week break over Christmas and New Year’s, and we’ll be back — refreshed, energized, and bursting to write — on January 8th, 2016.

However, since I know some of you may experience withdrawal symptoms without FMF for two weeks in a row (okay, who am I kidding — I know *I* will be experiencing withdrawal from missing all of you), I’ve scheduled two special edition link-ups during the holiday period.

Most Memorable Posts of 2015

Join us on Monday, December 28th, with a list of the most memorable blog posts you read this past year. The posts that stuck with you long after your eyes left the screen, the ones you still think about from time to time. Your list can be as long as you like — top ten most memorable posts, twenty, five … whatever. Type them out into a post on your own blog, including links to the posts you’ve named, then come link up your list! Can’t wait to see which words impacted you most this past year!

Books I Read in 2015

On Wednesday, December 30th I’ll be posting a list of books I read this past year. I’d love to see your list! Tap the titles into a blog post, and share the list with us on the 30th!

 

Secondly, I’d love to get your feedback in this anonymous, three-question survey. Click here to share your input on how we can make Five Minute Friday even better! Thanks in advance for your time!

 

Okay! Announcements over. It’s time to write! Set your timer for five minutes and get ready to: 

 

reflect

 

 

Ready? GO.

We’ve had quite the year here in the Five Minute Friday community, haven’t we?

We’ve written on numbers and colors. We’ve planned, gathered, welcomed, sent, waited, feared, hoped, followed, and celebrated. We’ve risen, hidden, dreamed and doubted.

We’ve been weary and full of joy.

We’ve rejoiced with friends celebrating pregnancies and new babies, and we’ve prayed and mourned for those who are ill.

We made history with our first ever Five Minute Friday retreat. Friendships were forged, hearts were soldered together.

 

Photo from Mary Geisen, passagethroughgrace.com

Photo from Mary Geisen, passagethroughgrace.com

Photo courtesy of Melinda Hollis

Photo courtesy of Melinda Hollis

 

We partnered with the fabulous work and people behind ViBella Jewelry and Fistbump Media.

We got to know each other through FMF Video Introductions, hosted by our dear Asheritah at OneThingAlone.com.

We’ve had giveaways and top ten lists.

We partied on Twitter like there was no tomorrow.

We survived our second annual month of crazy, in which we wrote not just once a week, but every single day for 31 days straight.

We may have fallen off the edge at the end, when we wrote about bacon. Oh yes, we did. We wrote about bacon

We processed news events together, and huddled around promises to hold us up, a sturdy raft in unpredictable waters.

We made welcome, gather, break, keep, and learn the five most-viewed FMF posts of 2015. 

Perhaps most notable of all is that all of the reflections above start with “We.”

By the grace of God, the “we” became stronger, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Five Minute Friday would be nothing without the “we.” We’re in this together, and I thank God for every single one of you who make up the “we.”

 

STOP.

 

Share your own five minute reflection below — then click the blog linked up before yours, and leave some comment love! 

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Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you!

I hope you’ve had a special, restful time with loved ones, reflecting on all that you have to be grateful for.

If you’re new to Five Minute Friday, welcome! Find all the info you’ll need right over here.

Some of you might be braving the shops this weekend in search of some good deals. If you’re one to prefer staying at home in your warm house, check out some of these fabulous online offers:

Firstly, the Kindle Fire is only $34.99 on Amazon today! Grab one here.

Krafty Kash is a company I love — and they’ve just released a brand new winter collection!

Better yet, they’re running a special Thanksgiving weekend sale:

Now through Monday, November 30th, get 40% off at kraftykash.net!

Photo credit: Krafty Kash

Photo credit: Krafty Kash

Use code BELIEVE40 to get your discount!

(Discount excludes gift certificates and new winter collection.)

This Write necklace is made just for the Five Minute Friday crew, don’t you think?

 kraftykash-write1

I’m loving my new snowflake necklace! Order one for yourself or a friend by clicking here!

 

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There’s also a matching bracelet:

Photo-Nov-10-1-32-22-PM

… and this beautiful Believe Necklace:

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.. Plus much more! You can even personalize your own Vintage Atlas Map Necklace!

KraftyKash Cape Town necklaces

Click here to see all their products!

Use code BELIEVE40 at checkout to get 40% off through November 30th!

(Excludes gift certificates and winter collection.)

 

Okay, enough gushing. Time to write.

This week’s prompt, in honor of the American Thanksgiving weekend, is:

 

table

 

 

I have a confession to make.

I was really excited about Thanksgiving this year. Maybe it’s because we’re actually in the States for a change, and have access to all the ingredients for the traditional recipes.

Yes, I get excited about food.

Plus, it’s another excuse to spend quality time with family, which I love.

But this year I’ve also been thinking a lot about the past several months, about the devastation happening around the world, and the millions of people who are hurting in one form or another.

And as I ponder my own excitement level for a single feast one day in the year, my anticipation grows even greater for that much awaited wedding feast of the Lamb — that glorious day when “… people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and take their place at the table in the kingdom of God.” ~ Luke 13:29

So as we enjoy our leftovers and revel in time off and family traditions, let it be a foretaste of what is to come, for those who believe. A great day is coming soon, when we’ll gather around the table with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings — and it will be a feast like no other.

STOP.

Every Little Thing cover

 

 

I had such fun recording this video with Deidra Riggs, author of Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are.

 

You want this book — and now you have an opportunity to win a copy, plus this necklace from Dayspring!

 

Click here to enter the giveaway!

 

Also, please join us on Wednesday, December 2nd for a special Letters to Grief link-up!

Letters to Grief - Final cover

We’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of the release of Letters to Grief.

If you don’t have a copy yet, you can download one here — or maybe you know someone who has experienced grief? If so, this is a great resource to gift to a friend.

It’s only $0.99, and it’s a super quick read! I pray that it will be an encouragement.

For this special edition link-up, you’re invited to write your own letter to grief, then come and link up your post starting on December 2nd.

See some sample letters here.

Hope you come back to join us next week!

Have a blessed weekend, and please remember to visit the blog of the person who linked up before you, and leave a comment! The mutual encouragement is one of the best parts of Five Minute Friday! 🙂

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The holiday season is upon us, and so is the temptation to rush, rush, and be rushed.

Here are some suggestions for how you can practice dwelling in Christ and in His goodness during this busy time of the year. Click here for some beautiful, helpful resources.

 

unwrappingJesus7

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, an Advent devotional by our very own Asheritah Ciuciu is now available! Get your copy here.

Unwrapping-3d-Cover-2

Looking to dwell under a warm blanket with a good book?

Here’s my list of all-time favorite fiction reads, just for you!

 

Fiction Favorites

Registration for the mini Christmas round of #fmfpartysnailmail is open until 11/21!

Click here to sign up! 

 

Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Bouchillon

Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Bouchillon

 

In case you haven’t guessed already, this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is: 

 

dwell

 

New to Five Minute Friday? Find out more here. We’d love to have you join us!

 

Set a timer for five minutes, and get your fingers ready to tap furiously across your keyboard!

Here we go …

 

My heart is on all the turmoil and tragedy happening in the world these days, and if I’m not careful, it’s easy to let my thoughts veer toward fear. I imagine what it must be like to live in Paris right now, or Syria, or anywhere, really — when the threat of terrorism looms large and real.

Then I remember: that’s exactly what it is — a threat. I can live cowering in fear of a threat, or I can cling to a promise.

I think of friends living in Europe, and I wonder if they consider leaving. Where would they go? I think about friends and family in South Africa, with all of her uncertainties and instabilities.

I think of news reports here in America, and I can hardly bear to read any more.

And I “groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling” (2 Corinthians 5:2).

All of the options in this life are lacking. Yet in Christ — no matter where I live, God alone is able to “make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

For this is the glorious mystery: that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).

Let’s not forget the wonder of it all. Though the world is darkened by threats and black clouds of evil, we can cling to the promise that light will always overcome darkness in the end.

 

By the way, we *will* have a regular FMF link-up next week, even though it’s Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Hope you are able to join us!

Also, we’ll be having a special edition link-up on Wednesday, December 2nd to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Letters to Grief. Write your own letter to grief and come link up on December 2nd!

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