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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Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you!

I hope you’ve had a special, restful time with loved ones, reflecting on all that you have to be grateful for.

If you’re new to Five Minute Friday, welcome! Find all the info you’ll need right over here.

Some of you might be braving the shops this weekend in search of some good deals. If you’re one to prefer staying at home in your warm house, check out some of these fabulous online offers:

Firstly, the Kindle Fire is only $34.99 on Amazon today! Grab one here.

Krafty Kash is a company I love — and they’ve just released a brand new winter collection!

Better yet, they’re running a special Thanksgiving weekend sale:

Now through Monday, November 30th, get 40% off at kraftykash.net!

Photo credit: Krafty Kash
Photo credit: Krafty Kash

Use code BELIEVE40 to get your discount!

(Discount excludes gift certificates and new winter collection.)

This Write necklace is made just for the Five Minute Friday crew, don’t you think?


I’m loving my new snowflake necklace! Order one for yourself or a friend by clicking here!



There’s also a matching bracelet:


… and this beautiful Believe Necklace:


.. Plus much more! You can even personalize your own Vintage Atlas Map Necklace!

KraftyKash Cape Town necklaces

Click here to see all their products!

Use code BELIEVE40 at checkout to get 40% off through November 30th!

(Excludes gift certificates and winter collection.)


Okay, enough gushing. Time to write.

This week’s prompt, in honor of the American Thanksgiving weekend, is:





I have a confession to make.

I was really excited about Thanksgiving this year. Maybe it’s because we’re actually in the States for a change, and have access to all the ingredients for the traditional recipes.

Yes, I get excited about food.

Plus, it’s another excuse to spend quality time with family, which I love.

But this year I’ve also been thinking a lot about the past several months, about the devastation happening around the world, and the millions of people who are hurting in one form or another.

And as I ponder my own excitement level for a single feast one day in the year, my anticipation grows even greater for that much awaited wedding feast of the Lamb — that glorious day when “… people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and take their place at the table in the kingdom of God.” ~ Luke 13:29

So as we enjoy our leftovers and revel in time off and family traditions, let it be a foretaste of what is to come, for those who believe. A great day is coming soon, when we’ll gather around the table with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings — and it will be a feast like no other.


Every Little Thing cover



I had such fun recording this video with Deidra Riggs, author of Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are.


You want this book — and now you have an opportunity to win a copy, plus this necklace from Dayspring!


Click here to enter the giveaway!


Also, please join us on Wednesday, December 2nd for a special Letters to Grief link-up!

Letters to Grief - Final cover

We’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of the release of Letters to Grief.

If you don’t have a copy yet, you can download one here — or maybe you know someone who has experienced grief? If so, this is a great resource to gift to a friend.

It’s only $0.99, and it’s a super quick read! I pray that it will be an encouragement.

For this special edition link-up, you’re invited to write your own letter to grief, then come and link up your post starting on December 2nd.

See some sample letters here.

Hope you come back to join us next week!

Have a blessed weekend, and please remember to visit the blog of the person who linked up before you, and leave a comment! The mutual encouragement is one of the best parts of Five Minute Friday! 🙂

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This past weekend, twenty of us had the pleasure of gathering together at the first ever Five Minute Friday Retreat.

We’ve been talking about it for months, and it finally happened.

It was such a gift.

You can read all about it in this special edition link-up right over here, where some of the retreat attendees have shared their reflections on the weekend.


Photo credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com


We talked until we ran out of words.


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com

We laughed till it hurt, and might have wiped a few tears, too.


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com


And since Five Minute Friday is the thread that ties us together, we paused the talking and laughing, took five minutes, and wrote.


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com


Then we read the words that God laid on our hearts. And we applauded the gifts He has given.

A highlight for me was meeting Trillia Newbell, author of Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves.


Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor, leeanngtaylor.com
Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor, leeanngtaylor.com


She is such a bright light, and a wonderful encouragement.


Photo Credit: Janel Andrews, viepourcettetemp.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: Janel Andrews, viepourcettetemp.wordpress.com


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com


We heard powerful stories from Amy Breitmann about the amazing work and ministry of ViBella Jewelry.


Photo Credit: Amy Breittman, belovedinbluejeans.com
Photo Credit: Amy Breittman, belovedinbluejeans.com
Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor, leeanngtaylor.com
Photo Credit: LeeAnn G Taylor, leeanngtaylor.com

We were inspired by authors Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig to cultivate healthy habits that will lead to a writing life that lasts.

We fistbumped Dan King from Fistbump Media and learned ways to improve our web presence.




We might have even played rollercoaster.


Photo Credit: Melinda Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com

All I can say is, it was a gift.

The Lord went before us, and He was with us all weekend.

And I’m so grateful for His goodness in making this retreat the blessing that it was for all of us.

Thank you to all who prayed! God answered those prayers in amazing ways. We’re thankful.




In case you missed it, we’re kicking off our FREE online discussion group THIS MONDAY, August 17th, on the book, On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig.


On Being a Writer Online Discussion Group

More information can be found here, and you can get a copy of the book here.

Would love to have you join us!


This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:




Set a timer for five minutes, stretch your typing fingers, and let’s GO:


We learned a lot this past weekend.

We learned things that can’t always be learned through a screen.

Those real-life, in-person learnings that are caught by the senses, not always conveyed by a keyboard.

We learned which of us are extroverts, which are introverts, and which teeter in between.

Photo from Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com
Photo from Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman, faithinplainsight.com


We learned how each other’s laughs sound, and what brings them out.

We learned which of us are the early risers, and which of us aren’t that excited about being drawn for breakfast duty.


Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com


We learned about listening.


Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: Melinda Gardner Hollis, mghollis.wordpress.com


We learned about doing.

We learned that it’s possible to change the world with a scissors and a pair of jeans.


Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com
Photo Credit: Jen Daugherty, faithmustardseed.com


We learned that sometimes brave means getting out of the boat.

And sometimes it means staying right where we are.

We learned that my brave might not look like yours.

My “big” might be your “normal.”


Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman, faithinplainsight.com
Photo Credit: Mollie Hardman, faithinplainsight.com

We learned that’s okay.

We learned that God shows up in mysterious and unexpected ways, and His presence is always a blessing.

We learned that sometimes it’s good to jump, and sometimes it’s good to wait.


Photo from Mary Geisen, passagethroughgrace.com
Photo from Mary Geisen, passagethroughgrace.com


Fear is not our master. God is.

He knits hearts and souls and words.

And He is good.





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Welcome to another round of Five Minute Friday — the online community that will leave you smiling and encouraged no matter where you click!

We write fast and unedited, five minutes at a time — link up your own blog post, click over to read the others, and leave comments!

Find out more by clicking here.


Time is running out to register for the Five Minute Friday Retreat!


retreat schedule

Click here for more info and to secure your spot!


Have I mentioned how much I *love* this community?! A highlight for me this week was meeting Asheritah from OneThingAlone.com!


(We totally planned the whole coordinated striped shirts and denim skirts thing …)

Most of you know Asheritah from the fabulous FMF Intro Videos she hosts! She is such a sweetheart — online and in real life! What a treat to spend some time together in person.

Keep scrolling for a brand new video from Asheritah!

This week’s FMF Video Intro is with Janel Andrews. Janel is an active and encouraging member of the #fmfparty Twitter parties every Thursday evening .. if you haven’t followed her yet, you can find her at @mytoesareblue.

Wondering what’s behind her Twitter handle? Find out in the video below!




This week’s FMF prompt is:





It’s been a season of sadness. Death upon death. Both premature.

Two Sundays in a row, I woke up to bad news. Horrible news.

An 18-year-old high school graduate in our community. Car crash. Killed instantly.

A six-year-old boy from our church. Brain tumor. Taken home.

The ache permeates the air. Grief is thick. Suffocating.

Heaviness rests upon chests and we heave collectively with shared tears and sighs.

They both died on Sunday mornings.

Sunday. A day of hope. A day of resurrection.

Because they had Christ, we are not overcome.

We weep and mourn — but not as the world grieves. We cling to the cross, the author of hope and the salvation of our souls.

We rest in His hold. We surrender in His grip.

We shed our sorrow and look to the man of sorrow — the God of all comfort, familiar with suffering.

And we have hope. Hope in the One who is coming soon.

Come, Lord Jesus.



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