Five Minute Friday - 4


Welcome to this week’s edition of Five Minute Friday! If you’re new here, all of the details are right over here.

And in case you missed last week’s post, there’s still a bit of time to sign up for Round Four of Five Minute Friday Snail Mail, coordinated by the lovely Kaitlyn Bouchillon! Who doesn’t want to get fun cards from fellow Five Minute Friday writers in their mailbox each week?! More info can be found here.

Click here to register now! Deadline for this round is November 23rd.


This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:


FMF - Notice


This one is for you. For when you wonder if it’s worth it. When you’re fresh out of words and just plain tired of typing. When you’re discouraged by low stats or zero pageviews. It’s for when nobody comments after you’ve bled onto the screen and you regret clicking publish.


FMF image 1


You pour out your heart in liquid words. A drink offering. Tonic for the soul.

You hold out the cup with humble hands and wait for a thirsty pilgrim to wander up the dusty road.

But no one comes.

You pour more, richer this time, and people pass by, but don’t stop.

They don’t even look you in the eye.

Finally someone reaches out to accept your gift, swallows it down and walks away without a word. Not even a thank you.

You wonder if it’s worth it. This continual pouring and serving until you’re just about run dry. Why bother? Why give of yourself every day, standing on the roadside with arms lifted palms up?

Then you look up in wonder and the clouds break. In a ray of light He smiles down a well done, good and faithful servant.

And you know that Someone noticed.


Link up your own five minutes of writing below! And don’t forget to stop and take a drink from the person holding out the cup before you. And say thank you.

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So my original plan for today was to see how much South African vocab I could introduce in five minutes of writing, but then my seven-year-old boy who happens to steal my heart all over again every single day jumped into the challenge with great enthusiasm and has written for five minutes on the past three prompts: GO, KNOW and today’s word, SAY.

He even asked if I would post his writing on my blog.  🙂  Coming from a kid who refused my invitations to join in with Five Minute Friday during the past school year and the kid who is very self conscious about his writing, I simply couldn’t resist his nascent confidence.

I’ll translate below, in case some of you lack creativity in your spelling (or the ability to decipher a seven-year-old’s script).

Here’s what he wrote:


Caleb's Five Minutes of Writing - 2


I like to go to restaurants.  I like to play at the playground.  I think that the playground slides go so fast.  I also like to go on a plane.  Planes go crazy fast.


I like to know what food’s ingredients are.  I know a lot of math.  I know that tomato sauce is made with tomatoes.  I know what my favorite fruit is.  It is watermelon. I also know that I like plums and oranges and peaches.


I speak a lot.  I like to say a memory verse.  I like to say math problems.  I like to say my spelling words.  I like to say my favorite animal.  It is a lion.  I like to see birds flying in the sky.  I like to see animals.  I like supper and breakfast and lunch and I like my mom’s food.


Now tell me that’s not the most adorable thing you’ve seen on this blog.  🙂

But just so I’m not accused of cheating in my own challenge, I’ll throw in my own five minutes on “say,” for what it’s worth — even though we all know I can’t top what’s already been said.  🙂


Here we go …


SA flag


Learning the differences between American and South African vocab were some of my favorite parts of cross-cultural living.

I still remember one flight on a South African Airways, where my sandwich was delivered to me in a cardboard box that had South African lingo explained on each side.  My box had the word “tekkies,” which are tennis shoes or sneakers.

There is a huge overlap with British vocab, such as bonnet and boot instead of a hood or trunk of a car.  Strollers are prams, diapers are nappies, pacifiers are dummies.  Grocery carts are trolleys, and ketchup is tomato sauce.

The most confusing for me is that jelly is jam there, and Jell-O is jelly.  Eggplants are brinjals and zucchini is baby marrow.

Pick-up trucks are bakkies and VW minibuses are kombis.

And those are all things that my brain had an American equivalent for … nevermind the biltong, vetkoek, koeksisters, and boerewors.

Oh, and the word “shame” is used so perfectly but inexplicably unless you’re there .. almost like, “agh, sorry, man,” or “that’s too bad,” … but my explanation doesn’t suffice.

My all-time favorite?  To honk the horn of your car is to toot the hooter.


This is Day 8 of 31 Days of Life in South Africa.  Each post has been written in just five minutes. 

Follow along by entering your e-mail address in the sidebar on the right, and posts will be delivered straight to your inbox!  Also, don’t miss each Friday in October, as there will be a different giveaway every week!


You guys!  I am SO EXCITED by how many of you have said you’re going to take up the challenge I put forth last week to join The Nester’s 31 Days!  Like, seriously, it totally made my week.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, The Nester started an annual challenge to bloggers six years ago — namely, to write and post on your blog every day in the month of October.

This year I’ve issued a challenge to all of YOU beloved Five Minute Friday fanatics to do the same, but with a twist — to write each of your 31 Days posts in just five minutes each.

It’s like a month-long FMF party!


Just this week, The Nester launched a brand new website that is dedicated solely to 31 Days!  All the info you could possibly need can be found at:  Waste no time!  Go check it out!  Also, if you’re a social media junkie, the hashtag for this year is #write31days AND there is even a Facebook group called 31 Dayers!

I’ve also done my level best to explain the process on this page right over here.

If you’re up for the challenge of writing 31 posts in five minutes each, as so many of you brave souls have already indicated, you have a couple of options:

1) You can use the one-word prompts that I’ve provided for you over here; or

2) You can write on whatever you please.

If you have a specific theme or topic that you’re planning to focus on (whether you use my prompts or not), you can link up on the Write 31 Days website sometime between October 1st-5th.  If you opt to do this, you’ll need a button that advertises your topic (button info can be found here).

Whether you have a specific topic or not, if you’re planning to write all of your posts in five-minute increments, we want to know about it!  Your chance to link up on this blog will start on September 30th, where you’re welcome to link up a “landing page” or an introductory post that will direct the rest of us to your 31 Days series.

Confused yet?  😉  Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

But now .. It’s time for Five Minute Friday!  My favorite part of the week ..

And this week, I’ve found a Featured Five Minute Friday post I think you’ll love .. It’s a birth story, and it reminded me so much of Lisa-Jo Baker’s book, Surprised by Motherhood.  In her post, Lizzy Ainsworth talks about how she was so ready for labor and childbirth.  So ready.  Read what happened next by clicking here.

Now, for the word of the week ..

This week, I present to you the prompt ..


FMF - Hold

Set your timers, and let’s … GO.


Engraved 2


Hold out your palm, flat and in the sun, with no shadows.

Let me trace the story etched in the skin.  Let me feel the faded scars with my fingertips and infuse them into the paper of my soul.  Let me read between the lines, deep into the crevasses and far along the contour of the bends.

Hold out your palm, steady and strong so I can lean into it when the wind threatens to blow, and the clouds roll by.  Hold it dry when the rain falls and warm when my heart grows cold.

Hold it high so I can soar with wings like an eagle’s.  Hold it low to the ground so I can still find it there when I step out from the ashes, dusty and ashamed.

Hold it smooth when my edges are rough, and let it curve to catch me when I stumble and fall.  Hold it still so I know it doesn’t change, and let it carry.

Hold it quiet so I can rest and soft so I can lay my head down in the cushion of your grace.

Hold me safe. 


I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)


It’s your turn … Show us what you’ve got by adding your link below ..


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Welcome to Five Minute Friday!  If you’re new here, you can catch the scoop and all the details over here.


Five Minute Friday - 4

And guess what?  You did it!  You made it to the end of another week.  Whew, and what a week it has been.  Anyone else feeling bogged down by all the yuck in the world?

I, for one, am so grateful for the uplifting stories in the midst of the muck, stories like the amazing one shared by Lisa-Jo on what *you* have done in the midst of the dirty dishes and piles of laundry .. have you heard?  As of this afternoon, there was only $4,472 left to go out of a whopping $50,000 raised for the water point, vegetable garden and the Community Center in South Africa!!  That’s crazy, hey?! Can I hear a “Thank you, Lord,” and an “Amen”?

So whaddya say we give Lisa-Jo a little surprise ..  This coming Tuesday happens to be a momentous occasion in her life.  Momentous, as in, she happens to be turning the big 4-0 .. How about if we make it extra special by closing that gap and rounding off the Maubane project?  Hey?  Do you think we can do it?  All we need is 183 people to give $25 .. That’s sacrificing one Friday night pizza dinner and having sandwiches instead.  Who’s in?  (Click here if you’re with me.)  Let’s pray and give and watch this little widget below close the gap ..

And speaking of great stories, did you catch this week’s Featured Five Minute Friday post in the sidebar?  I was so moved by this account written by Laura Robb .. be sure to check it out!

And now .. It’s time to write.  This week’s prompt is:


Change - FMF

Okay, here we …



I sit in the crowded restaurant, John Mayer lyrics wafting through speakers overhead: “We’re waiting … waiting on the world to change.”

And it becomes a prayer.

Because my eyes have been filled with headlines and my mind consumed by the atrocities reported near and far, and when?

When will it change?

We breathe in the tension and long for the wind to shift even as the crickets chirp in the stillness of night, and we wait with bated breath.  And sometimes we long for the wings to soar up and out of this mess, and straight into glory.

We feel it coming, this changing of the tide, as the waters recede and the land is thirstyThirsty for hope.  It’s dry, and it needs life.

We can feel the swell of ocean pulling back, the waves being reigned in and we wait.  We wait for the surge of living water to consume us,

and make all things new.

And we’re waiting …  waiting for the world to change.   To be made new.

But first we must be changed.  Changed from the inside out by the same living water.  Changed to become an agent of change, for good.

So come, Thou fount of every blessing, and change my tune.  In the midst of these dark waiting days, tune my heart to sing Thy praise.

And then come, Lord Jesus, come.




It’s your turn!  Go on and change the world for good with your beautiful words.  Click the blue button to add your link, and don’t forget to give the person ahead of you some comment love!



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After last week’s Five Minute Friday announcement, my inbox just about had a coronary from the sudden exertion it endured, and I nearly drowned in a flood of emotion and gratitude.  I never could’ve anticipated such a warm and gracious welcome, and am ever so honored to be part of this priceless FMF community.

Thank you.

As I prepare to carry this torch, I thought maybe I should introduce myself a bit before you find yourself sitting in my virtual living room next week.

Let’s see, where to begin …

Firstly, I’d say it’s safe to assume that Lisa-Jo asked me to take over Five Minute Friday so I’d have something else to write about besides how much I adore Surprised by Motherhood.

(Kidding.  I’m totally kidding.  The real reason she asked me is because I drink copious amounts of tea and know how to make a lekker melktert.)

(So can you, you just don’t know it yet.)

As Lisa-Jo mentioned, I’ve kind of lived her life in reverse.  I spent the first two decades of my life on the shores of Lake Michigan before moving to Cape Town, South Africa.  I thought I was going for six months, but the Lord kept me there for ten and a half years, then sent me back to Michigan with a husband and three kids.




If you were to ask my South African husband how we met, he would tell you I was stalking him.

I would tell you that’s his version of the story.

When I’m in Michigan, my heart pulsates with the comforts of home,

but it quickens when it beats Africa.



If you met my sister, she would probably tell you about the time I biffed while climbing a non-moving escalator in Chicago, bloodied up my shin and sent her into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.  Or maybe she’d tell you about the time I fell off a treadmill while trying to take my pulse and walk at the same time.

(Try not to be envious; my coordination comes naturally.  If it were a skill that could be taught, I might just share the secret.)

Ice cream, chocolate and sushi are my favorite food groups.

My parents divorced when I was seven.  When I was 21, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the Lord took her home a month after my 30th birthday.  She was 59, and I’ll never be the same.

I’ve homeschooled my three kids for the past five years, and they make me laugh every day.  Somehow they drive me crazy and keep me sane all at the same time.  Every night when I cover them up before I go to sleep, I plead silently, “Lord, save them in spite of me.”

And last but not least, I’m thrilled that you’re here and so look forward to getting to know you better as we begin this new chapter together.

Last week the prompt was FINISH

This week is Lisa-Jo’s last week hosting, and the prompt is BEGIN. 

Next week we’ll be linking up here, and I can’t wait to read your brave, beautiful words.

Now, for five minutes of free writing on the word, BEGIN.


I finished a book this week.

It was a good one.

One of those novels that has you thinking about the characters as you drift off to sleep, and waking up wondering what’s going to happen to them next.

Those are the good ones, but also the worst.  They’re the worst because they’re so good.  So good they sting a little when there aren’t any more pages to turn, and the back cover claps shut with stark finality.

You scold it a little, for ending.

But it stays with you, the story.

It lingers, as if you’ve lived it yourself, and can’t quite climb off the page.  Like you’ve clambered to the top of the slide at the playground and can’t bring yourself to slide down, because the rush will be over with a thud in the dirt.

But there’s beauty in the end.  There’s beauty because it’s not the only book on your nightstand.  You’ve been waiting to start that other one, too.



You have a feeling the next one might not be as good as this one.  Or maybe it’ll be decent, but different.  A whole different genre, perhaps.  A new voice to get used to.  New characters to meet and understand.  So you mourn for the book that goes back on the shelf and ticked off your list, but you take a deep breath, open the new cover,

and begin.


To Lisa-Jo, for authoring such a memorable and lasting legacy called

Five Minute Friday.

Your voice lingers here and permeates the air

as we set that book on the shelf and pick up this sequel.

Here’s to a new chapter, friend.