Exactly what is FMF?

FMF stands for “Five Minute Friday.”  It’s a writing prompt.  A one word prompt for folks to write about for five minutes.  The word of the week is revealed by Kate Motaung, the host of FMF, on Thursday nights.  Then on Friday, we write for five minutes about that word.  These posts do not have to have fancy graphics.  They don’t have to be super long.  They are from the heart.  For me, the “word”….the prompt is often relevant to something the Lord has had on my heart recently.  It’s a fun way to keep writing without the pressure of a fancy post.

I first heard of Five Minute Friday almost a year ago. I’m not an every day blogger but the thought of writing about one word was intriguing and I just love the community of bloggers that are a part of this link up every week.   We encourage one another as we share our thoughts on that one word.  Often, the many posts that are linked up share common traits about the word prompt.  Especially when scripture is quoted in the posts.  I think that’s just really cool!

So why am I explaining this today?  Becuase I’m excited about a book that is being released today.  A Five Minute Friday book.  As mentioned last Friday, a collection of FMF posts have been published into a book.  I am honored to be included in the book.  This is exciting for me and all the others that have contributed.

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The best part about the book is not that I have a post in there.  The best part is the sale of the book goes to benefit two different ministries in South Africa.  All profits will be divided equally between The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe.  If you’ve not heard of these ministries, please check them out.

If you are interested in purchasing the book, click HERE to purchase through Amazon.

Thanks for allowing me to share this fun news.

Joy to You!


 

 

 

Five: A Five Minute Friday Post

It’s Friday! And that means that I get to sit down and join with many other precious ladies, and a few men, that blog about one word, for five minutes.  It’s called Five Minute Friday and is hosted by Kate Motaung.   If you’d like to know more about it, click here.

Today’s word seemed a bit challenging when I learned of this week’s prompt.  I had to give it some thought.  I mean how do you write about the word FIVEBut now, I know.  FIVE has always been a part of my life.  It’s tied to a few significant, and random things. So here goes:

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I’m a May baby.  That is the 5th month.  That means that every form I have filled out, my entire life – that asked for my birthday, I’ve had to write the number 5.

My daughter was born on the 5th.  Of January.  Again with the forms for her.  I have to write 5 every time her birthday is requested. And I actually found out I was pregnant in May with both kids.  Just another cool thing about May, the 5th month.  {smile}

Every so often, I read through the book of Psalms in a month.  When I do this, I read FIVE Psalms a day.  So if I wanted to read 5 Psalms today, I’d read Psalm 23, 53, 83, 113, and 143.

This time FIVE years ago, we were settling into a new town.  A new home.  A new church.  With new friends, who are more like family now.  We began homeschooling which was also new.  I never expected, FIVE years later, to be once again settling into a new town, home, church, meeting new people.  But God moved us so we’re experiencing new things again.  I’ve learned some lessons from this move and will be blogging about those in October as part of a 31 Write Challenge.

One of my favorite things that involves the number FIVE is this Five-Minute-Friday community.  I began linking up to this community in November last year.  And, as a matter of fact, this post on FIVE will be my 5th Five-Minute-Friday post.  So even though I haven’t linked up that often, it’s still kind of a cool little coincidence!

STOP!

its-a-five-minute-fridaybook1-1Before I go, I wanted to share something pretty exciting – at least it is to me.  This coming Monday, September 26th, a collection of Five-Minute-Friday stories is being released in book form.  Susan Shipe from Hope Heart Home compiled 150 posts into this book.  The really exciting, one I am thrilled to share, is that I have a post published in the book.  If you’re interested in purchasing, please come back Monday for a link.

I hope your weekend is full of blessings!

Joy to You!


Peaceful Rest

In my last few posts, I have alluded to the fact that our family has been through a major change. It’s been life-altering for all of us.  To be honest, it has been just.plain.hard!

We found ourselves in a situation where my husband would be seeking a new ministry position.  Sometimes you choose to change jobs and sometimes, especially in ministry, God moves you.  That was the case for us.  There are many details that are just too much to go into.  Lots of lessons learned.  Lots of asking “why?” and “what’s next?”

During this time, the Lord was very gracious in many ways.  He gave many provisions that we never asked for or expected.

He’s just good that way!!

One such provision was time spent at a little cabin…on a pond…in the country.

My hubby’s new job began before our homeschool co-op ended.  The kids and I needed a place to stay for a few weeks and our precious friends offered for us to stay at this cabin that belongs to their family.  It’s such a neat place that I jumped at the offer.  Others offered to have us at their house but this gave us a place of our own.

Confession: I’m a wimp so being separated from my husband for weeks was hard.  I just don’t like being in my own.  I find strength in walking alongside of him.  Not that I can’t do it on my own, I just really value the way we do life, and parent, together – as a team.  Plus, it’s just harder to make decisions that effect the whole family when you’re not together…in the same room.  Or in our case, the same state!

About 3 weeks into staying at the cabin, I was just having a bad day.  Honestly, I felt like I was going a little crazy.  We homeschool so I’m used to being with our kids 24/7.   I love being with my kids all day, I really do.  But, as lovely as this cabin was, there was some added stress due to being in a small space…realizing daily that I forgot to pack this or that for the weeks we would be there…being apart from my hubby…you get the idea.  By the way, I should mention that those missing items from my packing weren’t accessible since the moving truck had already taken our furniture and everything else 509 miles away.   The kids missed their dad. I missed their dad.  Daily phone calls just weren’t the same.

I remember telling a friend whose husband travels a lot that I just don’t know how she does it.  This experience gave me a new appreciation for single parents.  But, I digress….

One night both kids were out with friends and I found myself alone.  I decided that I would go out to the porch and just enjoy the quiet of nature around the cabin. This was my view, as the sun set, (through the porch screen):

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

I sat on the porch with my Bible.  At the time, I was in the process of looking up verses that included the words JOY, HOPE, & PEACE.  I was concentrating on PEACE that day and found myself in Isaiah.  I read several verses and then I found the one that I am sure the Lord wanted me to see that night.

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That was exactly what I needed to hear.  He was providing EXACTLY what I needed ~ “peaceful habitation.”  I made a note in my Bible and then texted a photo of the verse to my friend.  I had to let her know that our staying in their cabin was a gift to us.  Yes, a gift from her family but ultimately it was a gift from the Lord.  He put us there so that we could rest.  He put us in a “secure dwelling” where the very loud sounds of nature created a “quiet resting place.”

Now that our family is together in one state, under one roof, there are days that I long for time on that porch.  I long for the sound of the bullfrog under my bedroom window, the crickets, the geese as they flew in and out of the pond.  I long for the sound of “quiet.”

I’m looking for my “quiet resting place” in our new place.  I’ve not exactly found it yet, but that’s okay.  I know that I will.  Like all things in a new place, it takes time.  I have wonderful memories, and photos, of the place that He provided.  The property around the cabin was just gorgeous.

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The scenery over the pond was a sight to behold daily!

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But the sunsets!  Well, they were the epitome of Psalm 19:1 ~ “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

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The song “Near to The Heart of God” has been on my mind a lot lately.  If you’re not familiar with it,  it was written in 1903 by Cleland B. McAfee.  It’s a beautiful song, however, I like the third and fourth verses the best:

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.
*****
There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

These verses remind me that wherever my quiet place is, it’s a place that I can fully release my burdens and my joys to the Lord.  It’s a place I can find peace.  It’s my prayer that you also have a place like that.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.  

Joy to You!


 

 

By the way:  Beginning October 1st, I’m joining with many other writers as we blog our way through the 31 days of October.  I’ve participated in this challenge the past few years and really enjoyed it.  This year, I am sharing some of the lessons I learned in our time of transition.  I’d be honored if you joined me. 

Listen: A Five Minute Friday Post

It’s been a long time since I have completed a post.  I’ve wanted to write, but the truth is that life has just been crazy busy.   There is a wonderful link up called “Five-Minute-Friday”.  The goal is to write about one word for five minutes.  It’s hosted by Kate Motaung.  I’ve participated a few times in the past and it’s always fun.  Today’s word is perfect for me so I decided that a five minute post is a good way to get back at it.  So….for the next 5 minutes, I will be writing on the Five-Minute-Friday word of the week:

(Go)

What does it mean to really listen?

For me, it means I have to be really still.  God’s Word tells us to “be still and know that He is God..”  I try, I really do.  But often I get caught up in the “noise” of the world.  The photo above reminded me of myself.  There is a lot going on in the photo.  Leaves, grass, dirt, limbs, shadows, light, darkness…oh, and tress!

There are also probably birds in the tress. Frogs, crickets………… you get the idea.  I remember walking through this grove of trees and just listening to the sounds of nature.

My life is busy.  Our family is in a new city.  That means a new church, new neighbors, new friends, new…well, everything.  It’s overwhelming.  Just last night I woke up feeling unsettled.  I know that God is in control, but I get caught up in it all and often forget to just LISTEN to Him.

Through a series of events today, I realized that I don’t always LISTEN so well.  Not to my kids, not to my husband.  Or my friends and extended family.  But I especially don’t always LISTEN so well to my Heavenly Father.

He desires to speak to us through His word.  Through the wisdom of others.  And even through the peace that He gives us deep in our hearts.  He wants us to know and understand that He speaks through the peace He gives but can also be speaking to us through a lack of peace.  In order to know that difference we have to LISTEN.

In our prayer times, we aren’t supposed to do all the talking.  Is that a surprise to you?  It was to me the first time someone said it to me!  Now, years later, I understand.  Yes, we are to talk to Him.  But we are also supposed to LISTEN to Him when we pray.

This is hard but it’s worth it!

(stop)

This “Five-Minute-Friday” word prompt could not have come at a better time in my life.  I needed the reminder that I need to sit and just LISTEN to Him.

Please hop over to katemotaung.com to see what others have to say about our word for the week: LISTEN

Happy Friday & Joy To You!


 

 

 

 

More Than We Ask Or Imagine

Life has been full of ups and downs for our family over the past 5 months.  My husband is in full time ministry.  And ministry comes with challenges.  One of my dearest friends often says that,

Ministry is never easy or convenient!!

She is right.  The hardest part about full time ministry is that sometimes the Lord’s plans take you to a new ministry.  That is where we are right now.  We have been where we are for 5 years.  We have loved and been loved by a congregation of precious people.  We have had the honor and privilege of being in a strong homeschool community.  We’ve done ministry in our small town and grown to love the people here.

Within the next few weeks, we will move on.  I’ll write more about the details of our new place soon but today, I am overwhelmed at what God has done in our family in the past few months.  We have seen answers to big prayers and small prayers.  I wasn’t surprised by answered prayer.  Just reminded that He hears us and that He does answer.

I’ve been doing a Bible study on prayer and a few weeks back the focus verses were Ephesians 3:20-21.

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I was immediately humbled.  For months I had been asking God for the obvious.  These verses reminded me that He will do more than just the obvious.  He will answer the things I pray for, in His will, and even the things I didn’t know to pray for.  He will answer my needs and sometimes, He may just give me the desire of my heart.  I know all of this…I just really needed the reminder on that particular day.

The last part of these verses stuck out to me.  Three words almost jumped off the page:

“…throughout all generations,…”

This is about my kids.  And my grandchildren.  And my great-grandchildren.  And many more after that.

God wants to show up and show out in our lives so that what He does impacts the lives for generations to come.  That is an incredible thought to me.

Today is Good Friday.  I have no idea what the cry of your heart has been to the Lord.  What I do know is that He desires to give you more than you can imagine.  Think about the disciples.  Even though Jesus had been telling them exactly what was going to happen to Him, I’m not sure they really understood.  And then, they met Him after His resurrection.  Can you imagine what they felt?

I am praying the lives are changed this Easter season. That hearts are turned to the Lord and that those touched will experience more than they ever “asked or imagined” through their life in Christ.  I expect Him to continue to show my family His plan and purpose for us.

What about you?  What do you ask or imagine from the Lord?

Look to the cross and know that He went there for you.  For me.

Joy to You!

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Refreshment?

 

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Beginning in 1929 and continuing on through at least 2013, Coca – Cola has used the theme of “refreshment” in their slogan.  I’ve shown a few above. Personally, I am a Coke girl.  I can actually tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke.  You can’t fool me.  And I will admit that when it’s ice cold and really fizzy, I am refreshed.

So what does “refreshment” mean?  Webster’s 1828 dictionary says:

Act of refreshing; or new strength or vigor received after fatigue; relief after suffering; applied to the body.

Obviously drinking Coke, or any other drink, would fall into the “act of refreshing.”  So, why am I writing about this?

Our family has been facing some challenges over the past few months that, honestly, have worn me down.  I’ve tried to be brave and strong.  I have prayed and cried.  And I have cried and prayed.  I have talked to my closest friends and my dear extended family members.  (And those conversations are “refreshing” to my soul).  Through it all, I have said over and over again,

I trust the Lord!

Or on the days that trusting was hard, I said,

I HAVE to trust Him!

Recently as I was writing my thoughts and prayers in my journal, I was prompted to go to a familiar passage in Proverbs.  I can paraphrase it but I felt like I was supposed to really read it.   It goes like this:

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I have read chapter 3 of Proverbs many times.  I have listened to sermons focusing on verses 5 -6, which are probably the best known verses in the chapter.  But I read further and discovered verse 8.

God’s Word is so cool.  It tells us what to do and then, without fail…when we keep reading, it tells us the result.  The result of trusting in the Lord is healing and refreshment.  Not cold drink refreshing but down in your bones refreshing.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Just think, the Lord wants to refresh us.  Our trusting in Him and not in ourselves, will bring healing to our broken and hurting hearts.  You see:

We may not know what tomorrow holds

We may be saying a final good-bye to a loved one that we aren’t ready to let go

We may not understand decisions that our kids or our spouse make

We may feel like our families are falling apart

We may be caring for aging parents

We may have lost a close connection with friends that we once had

…but we can still TRUST in Him.

How do we trust Him?  We have to get to know Him first.  It only makes sense.  We would, most likely, not immediately trust someone that we’ve just met.  We want to get to know them first.  Our trust in the Lord is an outward expression of our faith and yet, we need to know Him to trust Him.

I discovered a beautiful scripture the other day when looking up reference verses for a Bible study that I am working through.  I was so excited about the verse that I just had to add it to my journaling Bible:

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Hosea shares a promise for refreshment.  When we “press on” to KNOW the Lord, the result is Him “coming to us as the showers of a Spring rain that waters the earth.”  If that’s not refreshment, I don’t know what is!!

That is what I want.  It’s what I need.  Refreshment like rain from the Lord.

And so, I continue on the journey that God has me, and my family, on.  We are pressing on to know Him and we are looking forward to the refreshment (down to our bones) that His Word promises.

I hope that you also have that kind of refreshment every time you meet with Him.  His Word is a great place to find it.  That’s my prayer for you.  And for me!

Until next time…Joy to You!

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Discussion of the Heart

Today I am very excited to be guest posting over at Barbieswihart.com.

My post is about “Making My Heart Expand”.  I felt this a fitting topic as February draws to a close.  I’d be very honored you if clicked on over to Barbie’s site and read my post.  You can find it here.

I first encountered Barbie back in October when we were both writing a 31 Day Series.  She has a beautiful heart for the Lord.  Please take a moment and explore her blog when you get a chance.  You will be blessed.

Until next time….Joy to You!

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