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!

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!






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.




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!




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,


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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.



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


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: 




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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Whew! We made it through October! Who else is doing the happy dance?

I, for one, am excited that it’s November so some of our regular Five Minute Friday people will come back to us after finishing up their respective Write 31 Days series! We’ve missed you!

If you’re new to Five Minute Friday, you can catch the details right over here. So thrilled you’re joining us this week — we hope it’s the first of many visits!

This week, our prompt was chosen by a special member of this community (okay, okay, I know — you’re *all* special!) … Andrew has become an integral part of the Five Minute Friday family as he has shared his story with us faithfully, week after week.

Click here to find out why Andrew chose the prompt:




Before we write, allow me to toss in this brief intermission:

I just adore Krafty Kash products. When I scheduled this prompt, my mind immediately went to these gorgeous Dance necklaces they make:


KraftyKash - Dance

KraftyKash - Dance.2

Don’t you just love them?

There are only 15 left in stock — better snatch one up today!

Click here to order!


Dance krafty kash

You can also get other personalized necklaces, including dictionary words, Bible verses or map locations! Perfect Christmas gifts!

Okay, the intermission is over, it’s time to write!

Setting my timer for five minutes, and … GO.


“All of life is a dance.”

The words above look nice and sound appealing, but are they really true?

I pondered this phrase for a while, and wavered back and forth in indecision.

All of life could be a dance, but is it possible to dance without smiling? I’m not sure.

Then I think back to the ballets my daughter and I were spoiled to watch in Cape Town. The grace and beauty that filled the stage — but not always with smiles.

There were solemn, somber dances with music that lamented tragedy.

So yes, all of life might be a dance.

The scenes that look like dancing around the Christmas tree to Celine Dion’s album while hanging lights and draping ornaments;

the awkward shuffling of high school post-football game dances;

the giddy line dances and chicken dances and discos of wedding reception rejoicing;

the mournful glide, when all we can do is allow ourselves to be held by the sturdy arms of our heavenly Father and let Him carry us across the stage;

all of these are part of the dance — the holy and fearsome dance called life.

So I suppose only one question remains: If all of life is a dance, who are we dancing for?



Be Grateful - Wrapped Canvas PrintBe Grateful – Wrapped Canvas Print from Dayspring.com


Link up your own five minutes of free writing on the prompt, DANCE, below! And don’t forget to click over to Andrew’s place to see why he chose this particular prompt.

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Five Minute Friday - 4Hey everyone!

Welcome to a brand new round of Five Minute Friday! Thanks for being here!

If you’re new, you can catch all the details right over here.

Who else is doing Write 31 Days this month?

Raise your hand if you’re super excited to be over the halfway hump! Hooray! It’s a downhill slope from here … 😉

I’ve got a FANTASTIC giveaway to offer all of you this week, compliments of the fabulous Crystal Stine, host of the Write 31 Days community, and Dayspring.com!

DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions.

Dayspring giveaway

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post!

And don’t forget to order your limited edition Five Minute Friday tote bag! Click here for more details.


Limited offer!


This week’s prompt was one of the top five words chosen by readers’ votes in our 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Readers Choice Awards!

And our prompt is …


FMF - green



Ready? GO.

I never used to like the color green.

My mom often told me how I despised it as a little girl. Apparently I refused to wear anything with a speck of green on it. I wouldn’t even let my bare feet touch the grass.

Now, it’s one of my favorite colors. Maybe it’s grown on me since I see it every day in the mirror when I catch a reflection of my own eyes.

Maybe it’s because it has become a symbol of life.


grass - unsplash


We left Cape Town in the peak of the African summer. Mid-January, to be exact. Our flights carried us to our final destination — a snow-covered West Michigan.

My then five-year-old peered through the airplane window.

“Mom!” he exclaimed. “There’s no green!”

This boy of mine is the one who remembers what the trees look like in people’s yards, and compares and contrasts everywhere he goes.

Now, he looked down and saw no green.

“It will come,” I assured him.

The second winter we spent in Michigan was brutal. Snow upon snow upon snow. Worst I’ve seen, and I grew up here.

Finally .. after months of white, the temperatures rose enough for the snow to start melting.

“GRASS!” my kids yelled in unison when they saw it.

I’ve never seen kids so excited to see grass.

They were ecstatic.

After months of bleakness, a sign of life.





Speaking of green and seasons, have you seen Kristen Strong’s new book, Girl Meets Change?

You can read my review right over here.

And we can’t have a post about GREEN without mentioning Melanie Shankle’s hilarious memoir, Sparkly Green Earrings.

You can’t go wrong with either one of these books!

Happy writing, and happy weekend!


Enter to win a $500 Dayspring shopping spree here!

Dayspring giveaway


Don’t forget to leave some comment love on the blog linked up before yours! That’s half the fun of this community, right? Thanks again for being here … YOU are an encouragement to me.

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