The countdown is on for your chance to snag a spot at the first ever Five Minute Friday Retreat!

Registration opens at 9pm EST on Thursday, April 16th.

There are only 30 slots available, so make sure you save the date! More information can be found here.

And this week, we’re so excited to introduce our …

FMF Retreat Sponsor

ViBella Jewelry

ViBellalogo

 

God has graciously connected us with ViBella Jewelry, a wonderful company who has agreed to partner with our retreat by providing sponsorship!

Let’s all show our appreciation in a thunderous round of applause by tweeting this thank you note, eh?

 

ViBella is a jewelry company “committed to providing employment, education, and opportunity to artisans in Haiti, Mexico, and right here in the United States. When you purchase Vi Bella jewelry, host a gathering, become an ambassador, or hold a fundraiser, you join the beautiful story which is bringing hope and healing to our artisans, their families, and their communities.”

Check out more of their story by clicking here — and while you’re at it, go ahead and follow ViBella on Twitter, @ViBellaJewelry.

Here’s a short video that gives faces to ViBella’s work and ministry:


If you can’t see the video, click here.

 

ViBellalogo

Stay tuned for more information about ViBella in the coming weeks — and to those of you who plan to attend the retreat, you’ll get an extra special ViBella treat in Nashville in August! Thank you again, ViBella, for the sponsorship!

 

 

This week I also get to introduce you to another FMF community member, Tara Ulrich. Isn’t it fun to learn more about each other through these videos?

You can find Tara’s blog right over here, and be sure to connect with her on Twitter @diakonia78! Thanks again to Asheritah from OneThingAlone.com for another great interview! Enjoy!

 

 

The prompt this week is brought to you courtesy of Jen Underwood. Thanks to all who gave ideas on Twitter when I asked!

So let’s set our timers and get ready to write on …

 

relief

 

Ready? GO.

I’m still thinking about her.

The one who not only wrote The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard, but lived it.

The one whose light blazed hot and bright, a wildfire over mountains of culture and community — bringing good and hope, not harm.

I still think about her, though she’s been gone for weeks, and I wonder what it’s like for her now.

I still think about that initial washing of emotion that came over me when I heard the news:

Relief.

Not relief that she is gone, oh goodness, no. Relief that nothing more can happen to her now. She’s safe. She’s free.

She’s home.

 

There is a sweet relief in knowing(1)

 

And there is this sweet relief in knowing Jesus, the sweet relief that only He can bring when all else seems lost. When hope is buried in pits of despair and even the smallest seed seems squashed by darkness and the heaviest load of dirt.

Even then, there is Jesus.

He is our anchor, our stronghold, our refuge.

I don’t know who needs to hear these words this week. Maybe it’s you. Maybe your vision has gone dim from the cares of this world.

Do one thing, will you?

Make like Kara and cling to Jesus. Grab hold of Him for dear life, and

find your relief.

 

STOP. 

Related post: The Sweet Relief of Jesus

 

Link up your five minutes of free writing on RELIEF below:

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Hello!!

Welcome to another edition of Five Minute Friday! I’m so thrilled that you’re here.

If you’re new in these parts, feel free to click over here for a better picture of what we’re all about! In a nutshell:

 

One fun new feature we’ve added in 2015 is Five Minute Friday Introductions — a series of interviews conducted by the loveable Asheritah of OneThingAlone.com with various members of the FMF community!

Before you read any further, go ahead and subscribe to Asheritah’s YouTube channel by clicking here, so you don’t miss any future video segments!

 

FMF Intro logo

 

This week I’m thrilled to share with you an interview with Katie Reid, who blogs at The Tightly Wound Woman.

Katie has a special place in my heart for many reasons. For one, she and I got to meet in person just a couple of weeks ago! She’s the first FMF community member that I’ve met in real life! (Sorry for the blurry photo — that’s what you get when you give a mediocre phone camera to a nine-year-old .. ) 😉

 

Katie Reid

 

Katie is a tenderhearted, generous woman with multiple gifts. Not only is she a writer, but she also sings — and she even has her own CD! How cool is that?! Check it out by clicking here.

Besides writing and singing, Katie also has some fabulous graphic design skills.

She graciously offered to design several images (using photographs she took herself!) to help launch my first e-book, Letters to Grief  — which is FREE all day Friday, February 27th! Get your copy today, by clicking here!

Here are a few of the graphics she designed for me, using quotes from Letters to Grief:

 

Consistent as Seasons - Katie Reid
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie
DSC_0020at
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie

 

Letters to Grief - Final cover

Just because I love you guys so much, Letters to Grief is FREE all day Friday, February 27th.

Spread the word, will you? Maybe you know someone who needs this right now? Someone who is plodding through knee deep grief and struggling to see the sunrise behind the thick layer of clouds?

(And psst .. you don’t need a Kindle to be able to read it! You can get a free Kindle reading app to use on any device, by clicking here.)

Here’s Katie, sharing some wise words and a challenge for all of us:

 

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

This week’s prompt is inspired by Katie’s closing words of encouragement in her video, as well as the sweet reminder of our brief time chatting together in person.

So without further ado, I present to you this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt:

 

FMF - Visit

 

Ready? GO.

 

One thing I miss most about living in Africa is the visits.

The spontaneous drop-ins. The don’t-have-to-call-before-you-stop-by’s.

The unexpected knock on the door when the potatoes are at a full boil, and you switch off the stove and turn on the kettle instead and sit and drink tea until you’ve forgotten all about dinner.

I miss the strolling down the street on a sunny evening with a warm breeze and the random popping in at a friend’s house just because, without warning. I miss the standing around, watching as friends flit about, barefoot on cool kitchen tiles, whipping up a red latte just for you, at a moment’s notice. With fancy spray whipped cream, from a can, even.

I miss the sunset chats by the braai with empty two-litres of coke and ashes smoldering and the smell of boerewors lingering in the fragrant coastal air.

I miss the laughing till it hurts, and the laughing some more.

 

STOP. 

Now it’s your turn! Share your five minutes of free writing on the word VISIT .. (and psst .. don’t forget to VISIT some other blogs to leave words of encouragement!)

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Here’s the deal. For over four years, bunches of bloggers have gathered every week to huddle around a prompt word and just write. It’s called Five Minute Friday, and we don’t think about the ins and outs of grammar or spelling or punctuation. We just write.

And it’s glorious.

 

Five Minute Friday - 4

 

And when you keep seeing the same lovely faces and hearing the same beautiful voices week after week after week, the seed of community starts to sprout and grow leaves and eventually blossoms into a stunning flower. The roots spread deep and wide and a fresh aroma wafts across the internet. It blooms well beyond expectations.

 

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So far beyond expectations that we’re even dreaming up a weekend retreat (!!!) to gather faces and voices and chocolate together in real life. Can you even imagine?!

If you missed the survey last week, won’t you take a moment to give us your thoughts as we brainstorm for a potential FMF Retreat? Click here to share your input!

We’d love for you to join us!

Visit this page for more info on the weekly Five Minute Friday link-ups, and be sure to follow along on Facebook, stop by the Twitter party on Thursday nights at #fmfparty, and check out our Pinterest board.

This week’s prompt is: 

 

FMF - Wait

 

Set your timer, and let’s GO …

 

It turns out that waiting can be a very spiritual exercise. A spiritual discipline, even.

A holy hush over respected moments that fill the gap.

Writing has taught me that. Or the lack of writing, I should say. It’s as if the words themselves ask to be waited for. They will come on their clock, not mine. That has been made clear. And when they’re darn well ready, they shall present themselves to be used freely.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

So we practice and learn to relish the quiet and take delight even in those hallowed in-betweens, letting the sun do its work before it slips below the horizon we so earnestly seek. And we wait on the One who catches the sun even as it drops out of sight, and holds it in His left palm while we’re cradled in His right, and we rest knowing that all is held.

The now and the then, and the soon-to-be and maybe never will.

It is held, and it is His.

 

STOP.

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So .. remember those occasional fly-by comments on Twitter and even in this video with Asheritah, like, “Oh hey, wouldn’t it be fun to have a Five Minute Friday retreat in real life sometime?!” And everyone is like, “YES! We should DO IT!”

Well … let’s just say we’re trying to grow wings on that dream.

The lovely and long-time FMF participant Holly Barrett graciously offered to help plan this dreamy retreat, and we’re in the very early brainstorming phases at the moment.

But before we go any further with our planning, we’d love to get some input from YOU! Because, of course, you are the whole reason we would plan such a weekend away.

So, if you’re interested in attending the first-ever FMF Retreat, won’t you please either scroll down and answer a few questions for us in the form below, or click HERE to fill out the same brief survey.

 

 

In the spirit and hope of one day sharing more than just blog posts and comments and tweets with one another, but actually sharing a weekend away in real life, this week’s prompt is:

 

FMF - Share

 

Here we go ..

***

Sharing can be hard no matter which way you try to cut it.

I get that.

I shared a room for most of my life. My sister and I spent many an evening bickering, “I want the door closed,” “You had it closed last night,” and, “I want the radio on,” “Too bad, I want it off.”

Now I’m a mom of three and I’ve seen my fair share of huffing and puffing and little pouting faces that aren’t too keen on giving up even a portion of whatever it is they possess.

Most times, I know exactly how they feel.

 

me & the kids

 

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to see that there’s a certain blessedness about sharing.

A sanctifying aspect to it, even.

It shifts the focus off of oneself and on to the needs of another.

Take sharing the hurts of another, for example. Is there not a slice of humbled glory in bearing one another’s burdens?

Scary, yes — both in the giving of the burden and in the receiving of it. But it’s through sharing in the sufferings of Christ that we also share in His glory.

We have the privilege of linking arms and heaving weight onto shoulders joined by more than just the touching of flesh. We have hearts entwined and tangled and knit together to present to the world that His body is united. In Him, we are one.

 

STOP.

***

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

 

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

~ Romans 8:17

 

Go ahead and SHARE your words with us by linking up below, or by including your five minutes of writing in the comments.

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You guys! This is the final Five Minute Friday link-up of 2014! The grand finale! Can you believe it?

We’ll be taking a two week break during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, but we’ll be back and ready to write the week of January 8th.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you again for so graciously and warmly welcoming me as your new Five Minute Friday host in August this year. Believe me, I was just as disappointed as you were when I heard that Lisa-Jo was passing the baton … yet I’m so grateful that the transition went as smoothly as possible, and that we still have a place to link up, read each other’s words and encourage one another in this crazy flash writing fun!

I really do adore this community and the way you all care for each other so well! You’re my favorite part of the internet, and I so look forward to Thursday nights and Fridays. Thank YOU for making it so great!

If you’re newish here, you’ll definitely want to check out our Facebook page, and also the Twitter party, which happens on Thursday evenings around 8:30pm EST, at the hashtag #fmfparty. And for those of you on Pinterest, you can follow along here.

I’d also love to invite you to a special edition link up right here on this blog starting Monday, December 22nd. It’s a Letters to Grief Link Up, in conjunction with the recent release of my e-book, Letters to Grief.

The topic is:

If you were to write a letter to grief, what would you say?

What you have to do:

Write a letter to grief on your own blog by December 22nd, then come and link-up your post. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your letter to grief in the comments section on December 22nd.

Letters to Grief - Final coverLetters can be as long or as short as you’d like. Most of the letters I included in my e-book are between 250-450 words long.

One entrant will be featured on my blog on Monday, January 5th.

Please spread the word! If you know someone who is struggling with grief, especially around the holidays, writing a letter to grief can be a very therapeutic exercise, even if they choose not to share what they write.

 

***

For the final Five Minute Friday prompt of 2014, the word is:

 

FMF - Adore

 

Ready? GO.

 

Sometimes we come to You as if You’re a jolly old grandpa in the sky, with a long, white beard and rosy cheeks, and a twinkle in Your eye. We come to You as if you have a round belly that jiggles like a bowl full of jelly, and we get on our knees and rattle off all the items on our wish lists, fully expecting that You’ll drop our requests down the chimney the next time You pass by.

We kneel there with our eyes closed, waiting, and reciting as politely as possible, “Please give me this, and this, and this.”

And if You don’t grant our every desire, we think maybe we were too naughty this year, or just not nice enough. Or maybe You’re not as kind as the pictures of You in Your sleigh make You out to be …

But we keep up the same routine anyway, and try a little harder next time, and act a little nicer, hoping to rack up enough bonus points to get Your attention and get in Your good books.

And we don’t realize, or maybe we just forget, that You’re not looking for our deeds or our lists.

Then in Your mercy, You open our eyes and help us to say, “Come, let us adore Him.”

 

STOP.

In light of the prompt, this is what’s playing at my house this Christmas:

 

Thank you all for joining Five Minute Friday this year! Praying that each and every one of you has a blessed Christmas as we seek to adore the one, true King.

See you back here in 2015, Lord willing!

 

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