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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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:

 

dance

 

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?

STOP.

 

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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You guys!  We’ve made it through more than half of October!  High five!  Who else is doing #write31days?  How’s it going so far?  How have you been challenged, stretched, encouraged, frustrated?  Overwhelmed?  Strengthened?  Inspired?

Which series have you been following?

I’d love to hear in the comments!

Today I’m super excited to share a brand new giveaway with you to spur you on in your October writing, whether you’re doing Write 31 Days this year or not.

Why?  Because Words Matter.

Krafty Kash is one talented lady who would agree that words do, in fact, matter.  She thinks they matter so much that she makes gorgeous necklaces out of vintage dictionaries, like this:

 

Krafty Kash 2 - Words

 

Aren’t they so cool?

 

Krafty Kash 3 - Words

 

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Krafty Kash 4 - Words

The possibilities are just about endless ..

 

Krafty Kash 6 - Word

Krafty Kash - Grace

Krafty Kash 7 - Dream

Which word would *you* choose?

While you think about it, check out this website to see all the gorgeous products that Krafty Kash has to offer — and some of them are on sale this weekend only, just for us!!  Early Christmas shopping from the comfort of your own home, yes?

Just visit http://www.kraftykash.net/ to see the full range of items available.

 

 

She even has these amazing Vintage map necklaces, which I absolutely adore ..

 

Krafty Kash 1 - Map

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When you’re done drooling over the beautiful Krafty Kash designs, let’s write!

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

 

FMF - Long

If you don’t know what Five Minute Friday is, you can find all of the info right over here — and we’d love to have you join us!

Five Minute Friday - 4In a nutshell, we’re a group of bloggers who write for five minutes flat on a given prompt — no overthinking, editing, backtracking .. Just set the timer and write!  Then you post your writing to your blog and link up below!  The only rule is that you visit the blog of the person who linked up before you and leave them some comment love!

 

Ready?  Let’s write!

GO. 

 

There were moments living overseas that were harder than others.  Moments seared into my memory as snapshots that burned in my chest and made me want to give up.
My daughter’s first birthday was one of those days.  

How I longed for nothing more than for my American family to be able to celebrate with us.  Looking back, I have no idea why it was such a big deal to me.  But at the time, it was.

It was huge.

I have a clear picture in my mind of that morning — I was walking across the parking lot of our block of flats, and was stopped in my tracks by an overwhelming weight of sadness.  I doubled over into a near fetal position and wept for all that I would never know.

I wept for missed birthdays and first words and smiles and first steps.  I wept for lost hugs and empty arms and stories that would never be read on Grandma’s lap.

And the cost felt too great.  I wanted to call my friend, the one who was in a cross-cultural relationship, and tell her it wasn’t worth it.  It hurt too much.

But then I realized the gifts.  The grace.  I saw my own selfishness and worldly desires in the face of His sacrifice … and it all paled into worthless insignificance.

Of course it was worth it.

Yes, there were days that still ached with unfulfilled longing.  But in the bigger picture, with the right perspective — my sacrifice was nothing compared to His.

 

STOP.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

 

Enter the Krafty Kash giveaway for a chance to win one of TWO personalized word necklaces, then link-up your five minutes of writing below!

Please note: Giveaway only open to those with a U.S. postal address.

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