Five Minute Friday- Grow

 

On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.

For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just writewithout worrying if it’s just right or not.

Won’t you join us?

Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

Today’s prompt is:  Grow

Ready? GO!

It’s amazing how quickly life grows when it’s watered and fed properly, isn’t it?  How saplings and buds and puppies and children become trees and flowers and dogs and young men and women….in just a heartbeat….with love and care and warmth and nourishment–they all grow so fast, so beautiful.

It’s amazing how quickly death grows when it’s watered and fed, isn’t it?  How irritation and hurt and sadness and disappointment become anger and self-loathing and resentment and discrimination….in just a hearbeat….with fatty, greasy junk–they all grow so fast, so ugly.  

Amazing to me how growth occurs….it’s all about the input isn’t it?  It’s all about the focus.  Today I choose to grow beauty. Today I choose to grow life.

STOP!

Five Minute Friday- Unexpected

 On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.

For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just writewithout worrying if it’s just right or not.

Won’t you join us?

Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

Today’s prompt is:  Unexpected

Ready? GO!

I was going to write about God and His grace and how it so often catches me off guard.  It does, you know….catch me off guard so often…you, too?

But then I realized that what is unexpected today is something so much more, well….mundane (?)….common…everyday-lifeish.

Today, I’m in the mood to clean house….(those of you who know me personally, know how…ahem…unexpected this is!) Not only that, but I have a fairly open free day to do so!

A day to clean showers and do laundry and mop floors without trying to figure out how to get the kids involved, how to explain to the husband that “doing dishes” in Cari’s world actually means “Clean up the kitchen.”  A day to blast worship music, sing at the top of my lungs and dance with the broom (yep, I said dance…and I didn’t keep a pivot foot either!- I’m such a heathen!)

I think the most unexpected part for me was the joy that I am experiencing today.  Just hanging out- me, Jesus and the vacuum cleaner. It’s a beautiful thing! Maybe this post really is about God’s grace catching me off guard (again) afterall!

STOP!

 

Five Minute Friday (on Saturday…Again:)- Relevant

Oh, “Five Minute Friday!” How I’ve missed you! Seems hard to believe, but lately I don’t even feel like I’ve had five minutes to participate….a sad, sad story I tell….and well, just know…I’m working on it…and God is too.

So, flex your fingers, and let’s play Five Minute Friday.

Where we throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write. Without wondering if it’s just right or not.

For five minutes flat. Then link up here www.thegypsymama.com.

Today’s prompt is:  Relevant.

Disclaimer: Ok…I admit it…1) it’s Saturday and 2) this actually took like 12 minutes to write- but there are quotes and links and other fun stuff in there! Forgive me? 🙂

Ready? GO!

I am scared of what God is asking me to do.  For a couple of years now, God has seeded in me the desire to lead a women’s conference in conjunction with a Pastor’s conference my church helps support in Northern India.  For a couple of years the excuse I used was “I am not sure how my ministry will be culturally relevant. What will I speak on?”

My pastor (who teaches at the conference each year) has done his best to allay my fears. The conference coordinator has met my ideas with excitement and enthusiasm.  Still, the question has batted around in my brain…paralyzing my efforts to coordinate such an endeavor.

And then my friend, Geof Kimber came to lead worship at our church for a weekend conference.  We traded books, my Living Life with Strings Attached on godly relationships for his Fruits and Roots on worship.

I was 22 pages in when Geof rocked my world with this statement:

“God’s Word overrides culture. We are certainly to be effective in reaching people of other cultures; nevertheless our calling to that end is not to mold the Word of God to our various cultures, but to mold our cultures to the Word of God.

The notion that we are relevant to our own culture, but irrelevant to others, is still missing the point….Being irrelevant to other cultures is simply evidence that our own cultural views have so shaped our understanding of Scripture, that they are engrained into the way we apply them.”

Bam! OUUUCHHH!

Geof just performed the writer’s equivalent of a 2 x 4 to the head….It stung a little at first (who am I kidding, it stung a lot), but I was heartened by his words. I don’t need to make myself cultural….I just need to teach the Truth. Which is exactly what Geof says the answer is (and he should know, he travels the world leading worship and walking his talk…you should check him out…he’s amazing!)

He says:

“The solution to ministering effectively in a cross cultural setting, is proper exegesis of what the Word of God actually teaches, so that the Scriptures will shape the way we understand our cultures, not the other way around.”

This is exactly what I needed to understand.

I’m still scared. I still  have questions. But I am moving forward anyway.  Plans are in the works for a 2012 Women’s conference.  I will need your help…with prayers, with funding, with encouragement…but I know you will come through!

STOP

If you want information about the 2020 Conference, check out TellAsia’s website here. And if you would like to donate to this year’s pastor’s conference you can do so through the donate button below.  Our hopes are to send 1,000 native pastors to this four day training conference this year.  It cost just $40 to pay for their food, lodging and supplies why they are at the conference….$40 will help train a pastor to lead a church….pure awesomeness! We need your help!

Donate today to help train pastors in India!

Guest Post- The Writer’s Prayer

This morning, as I rise before the sun comes up behind the clouds and rain, I think about the day ahead. I think about writing deadlines and speeches to give and when to move four foot tall feet on stage. I think about the moment of overwhelm my nine year old shared with me last night on our way to play practice when big shiny tear drops slipped down flushed cheeks as he lamented that he could never “finish it all.” And I wonder how will I…how will I finish it all today? What is the most important thing here in this space that God has created for me to do what He created me to do?  And I am reminded here in the stillness of a prayer that my new cyber-friend, Duane Scott, shared…a prayer that I echo today….

Courtesy of Susan Etole

I sit, staring silently at the cursor on my screen. I hear the gentle ticking of the mantle clock and in my mind’s eye, I see the pendulum swaying… Back and forth, time marching forward.

Time is a precious gift, I think. I don’t have any of it to spare staring at a blinking cursor.

Closing my eyes, I pause a moment, bowing my head over trembling fingers resting on the keyboard in front of me. I offer a short prayer and begin to write.

I’m new at this.

The praying part, not the writing.

No, I’ve been writing for almost two years now, fighting demons of self-doubt, slaying spirits of unwillingness, and finding the submission to open my heart to you, my readers. The vulnerability still scares me.

Bowing my head to the Author, the Author who penned the words to my life, terrifies me even more; because I may be asked to write something outside my comfort zone.

I start once, quickly utilizing the backspace button. The blank screen before me, I start again, writing a paragraph or two, then opening a new document, failing to save the last.

And as I write, I pray…

Dear Author,

Today, the words I use, let them be Your words.
Words of Hope, of Love, of Faith.
Allow me, with trembling hands, to be Your voice.
A voice not full of fear, but of reassurance in You.

Let me never forget, the words I write today,
May change the life of one, maybe two.
But as the Psalmist says, I bring You my sheaves,
They may not be many, but they are Yours.

Today, I won’t mind if no-one comments,
Because the words I write are Your words to me,
And the testament of my heart is full,
Because You were here… with me… and my few readers…
In this quiet place.

Let this site be one of stillness,
A harbor, a safe-house for Your children.
A place to find rest when the world is restless
A place not of answers, but where to find answers.
A place where each breath is breathed in praise to You.

Show me, Dear Author, Your will.

I humbly pen this prayer,
Not because I can’t speak,
But because You gave to me,
this small talent of writing,
and it is through this talent,
You have given my heart a voice.

Let my heart always be keen to
the sweet whisperings of Yours…
And may each chapter of my life,
Be written by You, not me.

Duane Scott

Five Minute Friday- Joy

Photo by Melton Microfilms

Today is Friday….Don’t you just love them? As I sit here wondering what to wear to this evening’s Princess Banquet, I decide I will take a break from my ponderings to weave together a few words….will you too? Here’s the rules:

We throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write. Without wondering if it’s just right or not.

For five minutes flat. Then link up here www.thegypsymama.com.

Today’s prompt is:  Joy.

Ready? GO!

I have a picture on my vision board of joy….really I have a few, but one stands out in particular….

It’s a picture cut from a women’s magazine…an airbrushed picture of familial perfection with a ruggedly handsome father and a beautiful perfect-teethed mom with no dark circles or creases or such.  They are snuggled in bed with a matching boy and a girl all laughing. The picture is in black and white, an ad for cotton I think or time management or maybe antidepressants. I’m not really sure, but it captured me when I saw it.

I want that joy. That freedom to laugh and jumble and nestle together on a Saturday morning.  That’s why it’s there…on my board…

As I think about this prompt I think about that vision board and how far I am from the person I was when I created it over a year ago…far from it not because I’ve out grown it, but because I’ve grown into it. I look at that picture and I think about last night…

Snuggled in bed with my dear husband (who is, by the way, ruggedly handsome) and my matching  boy and girl squeezed into the “parent trap” between us.  Bubbly giggling washing over my ears and heart….there it is….joy.

STOP

Five Minute Friday- In Real Life

Photo by Melton Microfilms

Flex your fingers, and let’s play Five Minute Friday.

Where we throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write. Without wondering if it’s just right or not.

For five minutes flat. Then link up here www.thegypsymama.com.

Today’s prompt is:  In Real Life… ready? GO!

 

Photo by Melton Microfilm

In real life I am writing this “friday” post on Saturday because I didn’t quite make it to this item on my ‘to-do’ list.  Buried behind ‘do laundry’ and ‘and mail sales tax paperwork’ was this five minute breath of life that I look forward to, that I love so much.

Number 14 on my list of things to do in the six hours while my children were away at school yesterday.  Number 14 after ‘take Lucy to the vet’ and ‘go to bank.’ And I didn’t get there….not even close….I got to number 6.  Not too bad given the day and the way it played out, but here’s the thing…in real life, I didn’t get to the “LIFE”.

Why do I do that? Why do I set parameters on the life-giving things that I do? Why do they need to be rewards at the bottom of my list only to obtained when I do something really special, something really miraculous…I feel like it’s one of the dog treats we have for our dog, Lucy. Sitting up on the shelf for her to look at and pine after, but only really coming down for very special occasions.

God has blessed me with such beautiful life-giving gifts, and he wants me to have them.  It’s not God who puts ‘Five Minute Friday’ at the bottom of the list, it’s me. No, see God created (through Lisa Jo) a space for a little Sabbath every week.  A little place to create and then sit back and say, “It is good.”

But in real life, for all my trying and striving to get this REST and SABBATh thing nailed down, I still don’t understand it fully. I still don’t embrace it fully.  And Five Minute Friday stays down there on the list…waiting for me to get to a place where I take five minutes to breathe regardless of the rest of the list that awaits.

So I guess in real life, for all my talk about peace and rest and Sabbath, I still struggle to find it consistently.  I still have to fight for it and I still wonder if, in the fighting some of the peace and rest and sabbath is lost.  And in real life, that troubles me.

So today is not Friday…in real life it’s Saturday…and today, I moved the “Life” to the top of the list and the “Stuff to do” to the bottom…maybe I will mix them together and make a kind of rainbow sherbet from them….and finally sit back and say, “It is good.”

Photo by Melton Microfilms

Five Minute Friday- Rest

We write for five minutes flat on Fridays.

We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just ‘write’ or not. Won’t you share yours too?

          1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
          2. Link back

here

        and invite others to join in.

3. Go a little overboard encouraging the writer who                                          linked up before you.

Today’s prompt is:  Rest. Ready? GO!

As I head into this holiday weekend…this weekend designed specifically for rest, I look around the room and list my to-do’s. I count them up in my head until they begin to swim and shift and get all jumbled. I feel the frustration of working in a place (my home office) where I am constantly confronted by the never-ending list of motherhood. Will I ever get to rest?

And then the thought comes to my writer-mind….but rest is a verb, Cari….a word denoting action. What if rest looks like accepting the to-do list as is? What if rest looks like getting up at 5:30 every morning to exercise before the family wakes and  the to-do’s crowd in? What if rest is climbing Mount Washmore and feeling the satisfaction of KNOWING my kids will have clean underwear all week? What if rest is playing in the floor with the dogs and the munchkins? 

With each inhale of this action verb rest I feel my energy build, I feel my spirits raise. I feel energized and alive and….rested.

STOP

Five Minute Friday- Older

Flex your fingers, and let’s play Five Minute Friday.

Where we throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write. Without wondering if it’s just right or not.

For five minutes flat. Then link up here www.thegypsymama.com.

Today’s prompt is:  Older… ready? GO!

So, Older- huh?  Man that’s a tough prompt.  Especially today…As the oldest of three sisters and the oldest of all the grandchildren in the family to be older has always held some special punch…as if to be the oldest I was automatically ushered into a secret club full of special surprises just for me.

Older was always special.

But today, I just feel old. 😦 Fatigue plagues my steps and I feel the constant pull of gravity on my shoulders. I feel tired. And weary. And, maybe, dare I admit it- a little sad.  Don’t know why exactly….just am.

Maybe it’s sadness for the woman down the way that’s leaving her chance at love because her new beau doesn’t like her kids. Maybe it’s sadness for a friend who’s lost her father and whose pain I feel each time I hug mine. Maybe it’s sadness for my mentor who’s been caring for her terminally ill mother while trying to hold her ministry together.

Each of these women is older.  In age, yes, but also in spirit and journey for what they have traveled. Maybe older still is special.

Perhaps there really is a secret club after all.

STOP

Five Minute Friday- New

Flex your fingers, and let’s play Five Minute Friday.

Where we throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write. Without wondering if it’s just right or not.

For five minutes flat. Then link up here www.thegypsymama.com.

Today’s prompt is:  New… ready? GO!

The sunrise walk this morning reminds me that each day is a new creation…just like me.

Reminds me that I am raised to walk in the newness of life with Christ.  Am I living like new? Or do I carry the trappings and worries and mess that I’ve made around with me into the peaking rays of sun that break over the sidewalk?

Do I really live like new? I think of the crisp clean new shirts that I bought for back to school clothes and the clean white paper in unwritten notebooks. Am I new like that? Unwritten? Un-blemished by what has gone before? Un-tarnished by the wear and tear of life in a broken, fallen world?

Do I believe that “new” is even achievable? To wake up each morning and crucify the old, and put on the new?

Yes, it is.  So, here is my NEW “man”…the one who believes not just IN God, but who believes God.

STOP.

Now your turn!

Five Minute Friday- Beauty

Flex your fingers, and let’s play Five Minute Friday.

Where we throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write. Without wondering if it’s just right or not.

For five minutes flat. Then link up here www.thegypsymama.com.

Today’s prompt is:  Beauty.. ready? GO!

Beauty is God’s promise reminded. God’s promise fulfilled.

I find it interesting the prompt today. Just as I was walking out of my house after having executed the “Honey, here are the kids- I’m leaving for a bit-” hand-off, exhausted and feeling tattered, ready for a little quiet time, just as I am running- no escaping to the adult-ness of a nearby coffee shop not just a little annoyed by the question, “Will you be home to put the kids to bed?” Just then,  God stops me in my tracks.

Out my door, still dripping with a refreshing, heat-busting, life-giving rain shower, was a full rainbow.  Bright in all it’s colors, a second fainter rainbow shimmering just above it.  From end to end you could trace it…almost reach out and touch it.

I paused for a minute, thinking I should continue my escape while before my husband had second thoughts…but then, when was the last time I saw a full rainbow? I ran back in the house and gathered all my family on the front porch…awestruck  silence filled the air for a moment, and then my 9 year old turns to me…”It’s beautiful. It’s God’s promise. Thanks, Mom, for reminding me.”

Beauty is God’s promise reminded…remembered…fulfilled.

"A Full Rainbow" by Dan Bush http://www.athousandandone.com

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