I wrote and scheduled the following post before hearing about the horrific church shooting in Charleston. My chest hurts just thinking about it. 

The prompt I chose several days ago seems timely and applicable. If we’re honest, we fear for the future of our nation. We fear for our churches, our families, our friends.

Yet, if we learn one thing from this tragedy, let us learn this:

“… there are no safe sanctuaries in a fallen world. We are only safe in Christ.” 

~ Peter Beck, The Gospel Coalition

May we tuck ourselves in Him as the only true refuge, and may our fears of this world transform into a reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord.

With that, back to our regularly scheduled programming:


The Five Minute Friday Retreat keeps getting better and better!

I’m thrilled to announce that Trillia Newbell will be joining us for the Saturday morning devotional session at the retreat!!


trillia-home2-620x360Trillia is the author of Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (2015) and United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (2014). Her writings on issues of faith, family, and diversity have been published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Desiring God, Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, The Gospel Coalition, and more. She is currently Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention. Along with writing, she is pursuing her M.A. in biblical counseling from Southern Theological Seminary. For fun, she enjoys group fitness (she used to be a fitness instructor!), cycling, and listening to a variety of music. Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern, they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. You can find her at trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell.

Also, I’m so excited to be able to offer a giveaway copy of Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves to one winner, compliments of Moody Publishers!

Click here to watch a video interview with Trillia, read a review of her book, and enter the giveaway!



If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to attend the retreat, let this news persuade you!

For more information including a schedule of events and ticket information, click here.



In this week’s FMF Video Intro, Asheritah from OneThingAlone.com interviews Melinda Hollis — one of the fabulous ladies registered for the FMF Retreat!

I love the focus of Melinda’s blog: Grateful Everyday. Isn’t that a great goal?

Check out these words of encouragement from Melinda, then stop by her blog and follow her on Twitter @mghollis38!



This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:





This one goes out to the worriers. The anxious ones. To all who battle fears big and small, day after day. To the ones who feel their hearts pound hard inside, beating against their rib cages. The ones who toss and turn at night, unable to quiet the voices inside their heads.

This one is for the bloggers who take a deep breath before clicking publish, and check stats five times a day. It’s for the ones who edit and delete and talk themselves into erasing the whole thing altogether because it’s just not worth it.


The sweet cure for our fear of failure


It’s for the parents who clasp their kids’ hands when they cross the street and gasp more often than not when cars reverse in the parking lot. It’s for the ones who wait late into the night for the thermometer to beep, then wipe foreheads until the fevers break.

For all of you, I have these words. Cling to them. Let them raise you up like a life jacket. Rest in the hold of their promises.

“Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” ~ Psalm 55:22


Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He





Don’t forget to enter the giveaway by clicking here

Share your own five minutes of free writing on FEAR by adding your link below:

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Welcome to a brand new week of Five Minute Friday!

I’m so happy you’re here. Really. YOU are the reason this link-up community is so amazing! Thank you for stopping by, reading, linking up, and leaving comments. I’m so grateful for you!

For more about what Five Minute Friday is all about, click here.

This week’s prompt is:





The winds of change, they are a’blowin’. Not in this space, thankfully, but out there — the branches sway. The leaves barely grew back and they’re flying off again, flailing in protest as they fall to the ground. They want to stay on the tree. A little like me.

But there’s something I’ve noticed.

Whether the winds are blowing or not, whether or not there are leaves on the trees, whether or not there’s snow on the ground — the sun still rises.

Every morning.

When I’m being tossed about, hair whipping across my face from the force of newness and movement, He remains the same.


Jesus Christ is the sameyesterdayand


So I make like the sun and rise up each day, depending on Him to make me shine. Because even when it’s windy, the sun can still warm the earth with her presence, her steady character. She casts away shifting shadows of doubt with her resilience and her strength.

She takes her orders from the One who made her, and lets Him work His purposes in her. Even in spite of the wind.




You’re gonna love this video with Asheritah from OneThingAlone.com interviewing Tammy Belau. Such helpful and encouraging words! I especially loved what Tammy has to say about the prompt words each week. 🙂 You can find Tammy on Twitter @tammysincerity, and on her blog by clicking here.



And what a great quote from Tammy in the video:



Don’t forget to sign up for the FMF Retreat, happening in Nashville from August 7-9!

All who register will get a FREE 20-minute website consultation from retreat sponsor Fistbump Media!





ViBellalogoAlso, you’ll get to meet Amy Breitmann, representative from retreat sponsor ViBella Jewelry, who will be with us for the whole weekend!

We have a lot more in store for the retreat as well! Click here for more details.




Now go ahead and link up your own five minutes of free writing on the prompt, RISE, by clicking the blue button below. Then visit the blog of the person who linked up before you to leave an encouraging comment!

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Hey everyone! Welcome to Five Minute Friday, and the end of another week! Can you believe April is OVER?! How did that happen??

I for one, spent my April thoroughly enjoying Crystal Stine‘s online Creative Basics course. Did you participate? If so, what did you love about it?

The good news is that even if you missed out, you can get the e-book! Creative Basics: 30 Days to Awesome Social Media Art is filled with amazing content and resources to help you create fabulous social media graphics!

AND .. for ONE WEEK ONLY, the book is on sale for just $2.99! Hurry over to Amazon and snag a copy for yourself .. you won’t regret it!


Also, TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE for the Five Minute Friday Retreat! Click here for more details!!

TOP TENREASONSIf you missed last week’s FMF post, you missed the Top Ten Reasons You Should Come to the FMF Retreat. Click over to check ’em out!

One of my favorites from the list is the breaking news that Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig will be joining us via Skype for a live web chat during the retreat!


Ann and Charity are co-authors of the book, On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts (Masters in Fine Living Series), and will be sharing loads of wisdom and encouragement for us relating to our writing lives.

Here’s a bit more about each of them to whet your appetites:

Ann Kroeker

Ann Kroeker grew up near Plainfield, Indiana, and graduated from Indiana University as an English Major with a creative writing emphasis. She launched her freelance writing career as a young adult and has been working for over two decades as a writer, editor, and most recently as a writing coach. Author of two books and editor for Tweetspeak Poetry and The High Calling, Ann is a sought after resource for editorial guidance. She continues to explore new writing opportunities, speak in a range of venues, maintain connections in the publishing world, and work with writers to help them take the next step in their writing careers.


Charity Singleton CraigCharity Singleton Craig grew up near Greencastle, Ind., and graduated from Taylor University as a Mass Communications Major with an emphasis in print media. After a brief stint in newspaper journalism, Charity worked in several other industries throughout the years, all while attempting to live the writing life. Recently, she became a full-time freelance writer and editor, serving as a content and copy editor for The High Calling, a contributing writer for Tweetspeak Poetry, and a
staff writer for Curator Magazine. She also serves several clients with their corporate communication needs.

Click below to reserve your spot at the retreat!

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:




For a reminder on the rules of Five Minute Friday, click here.

Otherwise, set your timer and let’s write!

With Every Act of Love - Jason Gray

In recent weeks, I’ve heard this song on Christian radio. It’s called With Every Act Of Love by Jason Gray, and there’s one line that gets me every time. He sings, “God put a million million doors in the world for His love to walk through. One of those doors is you.”

Am I acting like it? Am I allowing Him to use me as a vessel, an open door for His love to walk through?


I recently went for coffee with a friend (okay, it was actually a bagel and tea), and we were talking about direction and opportunities for the future. We chatted about how God so obviously and providentially closes some doors and opens others — and how sometimes it’s not so obvious. Sometimes there are many doors to choose from, and it’s hard to know which one to pick. At other times, none of the options seem to be open at all.

Then my friend said this: “I heard a pastor speak once, and he mentioned something about how God doesn’t always open doors like we think He does. Sometimes He leaves them closed, but they’re unlocked. We just need to take the initiative to try the handle to see if it will turn.”

So there we have it. Words of wisdom, those.

Add subtitle text


I don’t know what’s going on in your life this week. Maybe you’re faced with many open doors. Maybe they all seem closed. Or maybe you are the door, and God is asking you to allow His love to walk through you.



Add your own five minutes of free writing on the prompt DOOR by clicking the blue linky button below, then visit the person who linked up before you and leave some encouragement in the comments!


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Welcome to a brand new round of Five Minute Friday!

If you’re new in these parts, click here to read all about the crazy fun we have each week together.

And in case you’ve been MIA for a while, you may not know that




FMF Retreat 2015 logo

Here are the Top Ten Reasons You Should Come to the Retreat (including BRAND NEW DETAILS YOU HAVEN’T HEARD BEFORE, in no particular order):




10. You’re female (sorry to the men!), you love Five Minute Friday, and you need a weekend away!! (Okay, maybe that’s three reasons packed into one … oops.)

9. You’re looking for some face-to-face encouragement from women who’ve likely gone through similar joys and challenges you’ve experienced as a blogger. Can’t you just picture sitting together late into the night in the cozy retreat venue pictured below, sharing tips, advice and motivation, sharing meals and stories? (Have I persuaded you yet?) 😉


FMF Retreat 1


8. You know how amazing this community is online — like, really amazing. Imagine how amazing it will be to gather together IN PERSON!!

7. Check out this view from the retreat venue! Can you say relaxation??


FMF Retreat 4



5. We have an AMAZING planning committee, including Holly Barrett, Mary Geisen and Jen Daugherty — and they’re all going to be there, too!! (And they promise reason #6 above.)




4. We’ve got a representative from our Retreat Sponsor, ViBella Jewelry, who will be joining us all weekend long, and she says, We will have some special goodies just for attendees, plus a sneak peek into our new fall jewelry line that empowers artisans and their communities.” Who’s excited??!


3. There will be prizes, treats and special goodies for all who attend! Like, really fun stuff!


2. And, in breaking news, 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)! So cool, hey?! You seriously don’t want to miss this!



1. Can you honestly think of a better way to spend a weekend than hanging out with like-minded women, bonding, chatting, laughing, possibly crying a little, learning and growing together? I can’t! I really, really hope you join us!


Get more information here, and click below to buy your ticket today!



This week I’m also so excited to share a brand new FMF Intro Video with you, thanks to Asheritah from OneThingAlone.com!

In this week’s edition, Asheritah interviews Laura Mitchell from www.hopeanchors.net.

Check out their conversation below, and be sure to connect with Laura at her blog or on Twitter!



Without further ado, this week’s FMF prompt is:




Let the timers begin:


Hide me in the cleft of your rock.

Shelter me from the raging wind. Let me plead with you to show me your glory. Pass before me and make me cover my eyes in your presence.

Bury seeds of your Word in the soil of my mind. Water it, and make it grow — green and thriving.


DSC_0081 (640x426)


Tuck me deep in your heart, hidden from evil. Protected.

Graft your will into my soul. Mold it. Make it your own.

Slip them silently into my sleep, so that I wake with renewed passion for your name.

Hide my many weaknesses, that I may be found pleasing in your sight. Wash me clean, and toss the dirt far into the depths of the sea.

Hide me with your love.



Don’t forget to visit your link-up neighbors and leave them a friendly, neighborly comment!

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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



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.



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 …




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:


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.



Related post: The Sweet Relief of Jesus


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

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