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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Five Minute Free Writes buttonHi everyone!

Today is Day 3 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes — a challenge to post five minutes of writing every day in the month of October.

To celebrate this month of flash writing, I’m thrilled to announce that there will be a giveaway EVERY FRIDAY in the month of October!

How exciting is that?!

And I picked Fridays because I love me some ..

 

The theme of the giveaway month is:

 

 

… inspired by the brand new line of Words Matter Letterpress Blocks, brought to you by …

 

 

Don’t you just love ’em?

 

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There’s also this really cool Letterpress Blocks Interface where you can play around with all the letter options and create a sample of your very own word, like I did for this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt:

 


Before we get to the giveaway and the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up, here are my five minutes on the word NEW ..

(Also Day 3 of my series, “31 Days of Life in South Africa“)

Ready … GO.

 

I only knew one family when I landed in Cape Town, and they were a Godsend.  I’d studied with the twin boys at Bible College in the States, and it was into their gracious home that I was welcomed upon my arrival.  They greeted me at the airport with a bag full of South African goodies, complete with a beaded doll with black dreadlocks woven of yarn.

I was so excited by the newness of it all that it felt as though my senses were heightened.  The colors looked brighter, the tastes richer, the smells sweeter.

The dear mother of the family prepared the most amazing meal, complete with ostrich, chutney, sweet butternut, avocado, malva pudding — all things that seemed far more exotic to me than the typical West Michigan fare.

One of the boys, a year younger than me, made it his mission to make me fall in love with his stomping grounds.

It didn’t take much.

He was, as they say, Proudly South African.

 

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An avid surfer, he drove me to all of the beaches that could possibly be found.  At Glen Beach, we climbed the boulders that jutted into the sea, me praying that I wouldn’t slip and fall with my precarious flip-flops.  We perched ourselves atop a rock warmed by the setting sun, and let our feet dangle toward the soothing crash of the waves.  Lion’s Head guarded our backs while the majestic Twelve Apostles looked on from the coast.

And if not for the Atlantic salt on my lips, it would’ve tasted just like a dream.

 

STOP.

 

Now for the fun part!  Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win $75 of Words Matter Letterpress Blocks by (in)courage!

(Please note: This giveaway is only open to those with a U.S. shipping address.)

 

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And don’t forget to stop by this cool interface where you can design your own word and share it on social media!

After that, link-up your five minutes of unedited goodness on the word NEW .. Why?  Because #wordsmatter.
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You may have read a version of this story before, but what can I say … It was one of those defining moments in my life.

It was the time I stumbled and fell over an innocent, four-worded question.

To her credit, she waited until I had stowed my carry-on in the overhead compartment and settled into my seat before she launched into the obligatory small-talk.

We were, after all, about to spend twelve hours with our elbows touching, and I’d never even met the fifty-something woman who had scored the aisle seat next to me.

“Are you heading home?” she asked.

And that’s where I tripped over my tongue.

My mind.

My heart.

I hesitated.  A little too long.

Then finally, “Um … yeah.  Well, no.  Uh … I’m not sure.”

I wouldn’t have blamed her if she’d flagged down the flight attendant right then and there.  I can picture the hypothetical conversation now: “Um, excuse me, miss, but this girl doesn’t know where she’s going.”

How embarrassing.

“My mom died this morning,” I blurted out, the aircraft still grounded on the Cape Town runway.

The kind woman gushed condolences and well-intentioned words of sympathy before I could attempt to redeem my earlier fumble.

“I’ve been living in Africa for the past eight years and my mom just died in my hometown in MIchigan.  So, I guess I’m heading home.  But not really.  I mean, my husband and kids are still here in Cape Town, so …”

My voice drifted, and I realized the answer to her original question hadn’t become any clearer for either of us.

Was I heading home?  Or not?

The conflicting voices of my heart kickstarted a long-lasting soul search.

Where was my home?

 

 

That conversation happened three years ago.

In the meantime, I’ve thought and even written a lot about the concept of home.

And what I’ve come to learn is this:

This is not it.

This life, this living in between, this sojourn … it’s all temporary.

And there is an eternal.

Ever since my mom died and I’ve started thinking a whole lot more about heaven, I’ve made a more conscious effort in my thinking, my praying, my writing, my parenting — to remember that every day is one step closer to eternity.

 

 

And hopefully the next time I step onto a plane and get asked the same question, “Are you heading home?” … I’ll be able to answer with confidence, “Yes.  Yes, I am.”

Not because of my earthly destination, but because of my hope in eternity.

 

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Today I’m thrilled to announce a brand new product line brought to you by (in)courage … It’s called the Words Matter Letterpress Blocks.

Aren’t they so great?!

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incourage-LetterpressBlocks-main1And the coolest part is that you can click over to this interactive interface and build whatever word you want, then share it on social media.

What word would you choose?

ALSO (!!!) … This weekend (October 2nd-7th) I’ll be hosting a giveaway right here on this blog for one winner to receive a voucher for these beautiful Letterpress Blocks.

So come back to visit and enter for a chance to win!!  (In fact, enter your e-mail address in the sidebar above and the giveaway announcement will come straight to your inbox! What more could you ask for?)  😉

See you all this weekend, and until then, remember: Words Matter.