Category: Five-Minute Friday

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

For the last 25 years where we live hasn’t been our decision. Our denomination transfers its clergy. They decide when and where. The moving usually takes place in June but which June? This year or next? How long we stay is never a guarantee, never known.

We gave this over to faith that even though the decisions of man are imperfect, God will use it for His good.

We are in our last appointment. Our next move is into retirement. The location has been decided by us, our retirement home purchased and occupied by renters.

I am living in the in-between stages of what is and what is to come. We’re looking at boxes of stuff we’ve moved too many times. We’re remembering people and places, happy and sad. I am trying to choose wisely where I will live mentally and emotionally from now until then.

One place I’ve chosen not to live is in regret. I have plenty. If asked if I’d change anything in my life I’d say yes. There are decisions I’ve made I would readily change if I could. I could use a few “do-overs”. What I can do is decide not to allow space for regret in my life.

Regret is a thief. It steals joy and peace. It hangs heavy like steel gray clouds rumbling full of thunder. When I see storm warnings, I can shift my thoughts to the assurances of God’s grace and forgiveness. I choose to walk in hope.

Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Psalm 131:3


Writing on the word prompt: regret with Five-Minute Friday.


faith Five-Minute Friday hope Salvation Army

Photo by on Unsplash

I’m not sure when this happened.

One minute the image in the mirror staring back at me bore all the marks of youth. Makeup was minimum and moisturizer wasn’t yet needed for a complexion that leaned toward oily for years.

We tanned without the fear of sun damage. SPF was just an odd jumble of letters.

Today I put a lotion on the mysterious red splotches that randomly appear on my face. The dermatologist gave them a name but all I wanted was the remedy.

That’s followed by moisturizer because in the most unexpected turn of events my skin is dry. And there are lines! On my face! And some unattractive, weird squiggles on the inside of my upper arms.

My hair is blonder than it’s ever been but that’s only because the new strands are white. I’m not sure why this surprises me but it does. I’m old. And doing my best not to look it.

Okay. I’m not really doing my best. I don’t exercise like I should and my diet could use a few changes. The reality is I’m trying to camouflage my age. Isn’t that what we do? Hide what’s real for the version we want others to see.

The beauty regimen I’m leaning toward today is one of wholeness and acceptance. Accepting the lines and squiggles as marks of a life well lived. Living in wholeness as I allow God to continue to reshape who I am.

This is a more challenging beauty routine than finding the perfect shade of lipstick. This one requires honesty, not hiding behind a shade called ripe raspberry.

I’m not laying down my mascara wand. I’m not going to stop using the color that looks oh so natural on my head. But I am not going to allow numbers to determine my beauty.

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.            Proverbs 31:31 the Message

Five-Minute Friday

We know why.

We live in a broken world, a fallen world.

Our gun laws are too lenient, not enforced enough.

Mental health care is lacking.

Money going to gun lobbyist and not mental health care.

We put individual rights over rights of our children.

Tell me anything you want as to the why but what remains is once AGAIN we are mourning the loss of children.

This time it is playing out in our backyard, in a community considered the safest in our county, in an A-rated school. Collectively, all of these schools are in our community, our country.

I watched the local coverage of breaking news with a numbness of disbelief. The tears came a day later and now my anger is at the surface. Does the why even matter anymore when it takes more than two hands to count the numbers of our children being shot down in their schools?

It’s the what that we argue and fight about. It’s in doing something more than ‘thoughts and prayers’ that will make a difference but we’d rather have a debate. We’d rather wave our amendment while our children are waiving their lives.

Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I don’t understand our fascination with guns. What I really don’t understand is that, again, we seem to be choosing guns over children and teachers, over sons and daughters and fathers and coaches and friends.

Alyssa Alhadeff

Martin Anguiano

Scott Beige

Nicholas Dworet

Aaron Feis

Jamie Guttenberg

Chris Hixon

Luke Hoyer

Cara Loughran

Gina Montalto

Joaquin Oliver

Alaina Petty

Meadow Pollack

Helena Ramsay

Alex Schachter

Carmen Schentrup

Peter Wang

We know the why. What are we willing to change? What are we going to do?

family Five-Minute Friday hope


an indoor bathroom

not one but two

hot water at the turn of the tap



grocery shelves lined with 6 kinds of bread

3 kinds of pears

5 kinds of apples

bagged to fill our pantry

our bellies



to choose







Privilege to fail

to disagree

to vote

to win and to lose


Privilege to forgive and be forgiven

Privilege to be loved unconditionally

by a Savior who gave up his


on a cross

for us

All of us

Privileged to be part of his Kingdom.


faith Five-Minute Friday

Like attracts like and birds of a feather flock together. We can agree on the truths in those statements. I doubt you’ll find many who don’t care to read in a book club. Why would someone who only eats what they grow care about the latest restaurant opening?

We gather in these clubs and groups to enjoy our common love of that thing – gardening, quilting, music, politics, etc. We know we will find agreement here. We even choose a church based on our common likes.

Finding a place of comfort and agreement is good but not often the place where we’ll have the most growth.

I want the preacher to say something I question. I want him or her to preach on subjects I’m uncomfortable with. Not every week but a lot. I want my thinking and beliefs to be challenged. It’s where growth happens.

Jesus said some uncomfortable things. When he said ‘Let the dead bury the dead’, he sounded uncaring. The Beatitudes still confuse me. Why couldn’t He have been more clear with his stories and words?

Times of uncertainty and disagreement are opportunities to dig deeper and grow more in knowledge. They aren’t meant for us to fold our arms and plant our feet like a stubborn toddler not wanting to be challenged. Although, this is sometimes the pose I strike.

When I was reading the book about a woman choosing to live a year without the internet I kept asking why? In the beginning, I got it. But when that extended to not using a cell phone and complicating life for others around here I disagreed. Yet, I respect her decision. It made me think more about something I wouldn’t have.

I’m opinionated. I’ll often give mine without being asked. But if we don’t agree I won’t be hurt or insulted. Give me a good argument and we’ll both be the better for it. And if you’re right, I’ll get over it 😉

I join with a few weekly link-up’s listed in the sidebar.

faith Five-Minute Friday

We are moving toward one of the biggest changes in our lives: retirement. Mental and tangible lists are being made of more and more to-dos. Seventeen months seems a long time but we know the closer it gets the faster it will seem to fly.

Because we’ve lived in a furnished parsonage for 25 years there isn’t a lot of big stuff to consider. But it’s always the little things, isn’t it?

There’s the box of Granny’s dishes that have been in a few garages over the years. Next to those are boxes of our son’s trophies and childhood things. How long do I hold on to things in a box? Things we open with every move and close again knowing we can decide later.

Later is now.

There will be things to let go but I’m starting to see some I’ll have to surrender.

We will not have employees who look to us for leadership. We won’t have men looking to us for hope. There won’t be the endless hugs and hands offering to help before I can ask.

There will be a kind of status and even power that will be given up. The word surrender seems fitting as we’re giving up with an ache in our hearts.

It’s a word that conjures up pictures of a white flag. It’s what you do when you’re defeated when your brother gets you in an arm lock not letting go until you say “I give”. Typically, surrender implies your whole heart isn’t in the letting go. It signals defeat.

Even as we head toward a time we look forward to, there is that piece that clings. Sadly, we often do the same with things we must let go. We cling to the old habits that are killing us: smoking, gossip, pride….. When Jesus is calling us to lay them down. Wave the white flag, open your heart and surrender them all to Him.

This is the only surrender where we win.

A friend penned these words in a short song that is what we are pressing toward. May this song bring comfort and blessing to you.

Liking up with Five-Minute Friday.

faith Five-Minute Friday

I need directions, a list, a pattern a plan. I need to know where I’m going and how to get there. I don’t like starting a day aimlessly. Some days my intention is simple: show up. Even with that comes preparation.

I don’t start an art project without a plan. I can’t sew without a pattern and it’s taken me years of making the same dish to finally stop looking at the recipe.

There is comfort in having a map not only for travel directions but for life.

It’s taken me years, but I’m getting to a point where I am finding a freedom to wonder. Not far and not without intention but allowing myself to give free form to more of life.

A free form design

Being flexible is becoming more purposeful and more comfortable. There is a new inner peace in trusting myself to ‘color outside the lines‘. For me, this is only possible because of a solid foundation of faith.

The closer I get to trusting God’s love for me (meaning to actually believe it through my actions) the more my fears of creativity are released. It’s a slow growth for me. I want things to look right – whatever that is. I want plans to work – the first time.

I still need a plan. I still need the travel apps on my smart phone. I have to start with a pattern. But what’s a plan without the follow-through?…..(A wish)

Linking up with Five-Minute Friday


faith Five-Minute Friday

Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash

Three remote controls rest on our coffee table. One controls the basic operations, another controls enhanced sound and yet another will engage streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix.

I’ve tried throwing them but that doesn’t seem to help my confusion.

At the grocery store, the bread aisle that once offered whole wheat or white is now filled with so many choices you can spend 5 minutes in an internal debate over which to buy.

I remember a time that seemed simpler. When there was one remote control and streaming was something that might be coming from your child’s diaper.

You can’t even find simple instructions for cold medications without wading through the extensive list of side-effects and ingredients. Just tell me how much to take, how often!

I do like simple.

We live in a country of abundance. It’s a blessing, mostly. Right?

Sometimes it’s not much better in church. So many messages, so many views, more and more Bible translations and paraphrases that it’s hard to hear the clear and simple call of Jesus.

When it’s all too much and I want to silence the noise I remind myself of all that really matters. Two simple commands Jesus reminds us of: love God and love others.

That’s it. That’s what all the voices and words and stories and parables boil down to. In the simplest form, we are to above all, love God and then love others. Not some god but the God. Not some others but all others.

We complicate. God makes it simply clear.

Linking up for Five-Minute Friday, a free-writing word prompt hosted by Kate Motaung


faith Five-Minute Friday

Photo by on Unsplash

I burrowed deeper into the warm covers unstirred by the word prompt: motivate. It didn’t; motivate me that is.

Motivation and inspiration have been elusive. I’ve wanted to fell their push and pull but it’s not there.

Get up a little earlier to show my body proper care by exercising? See warm covers as mentioned above.

Discipline to journal daily, step away from the sweets and be more attentive to others have been waning as I wait for some external motivation. Basically, I want to feel like it.

There is the faint whisper of words from a friend: You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.

It’s not so much about liking it as it is feeling the magical inspiration. That thing I want to bubble up from within that has me eagerly doing lunges and crunches. The endless creativity to stage still life photographs or tapping out brilliant essays on my laptop.

Isn’t that the way it works for everyone else?

Of course, it isn’t. But if we convince ourselves of that we’ll never start. Because the truth is inspiration isn’t something that magically appears but something we create.

If I sit at my keyboard and tap out word after word whether I feel like it or not, inspiration will come. That inspiration will spur me to continue this practice.

It reminds me of a quote by Thomas Edison who said:

Opportunity is missed because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.

The same can be said of motivation and inspiration. They aren’t mystical but rather made from discipline, and looks like work. Ugh!

Or, as Nike says, “Just do it!” It promises much satisfaction.

Five-Minute Friday


I went through grade school in the 60’s. We all seemed to dress alike. Girls wore dresses that were the same length, ankle socks and similar styles of shoes. Like other moms of that time, mama made some of my clothes. I fit in and to fit in has always meant acceptance.

It was in 5th grade when one particularly obnoxious boy made mean remarks about my dress, a dress mama made. I still remember it’s empire waist and medium-sized vertical stripes in autumn colors. A ribbon went around the high waist to complete the fashionable style. It was the last time I wore that dress.

To be different in any way meant to stand out and all I wanted was to fit in.

That would become increasingly hard in our church, a church whose members wear uniforms. When I told my dad I didn’t want to wear a uniform he told me everyone has uniforms. He pointed out my generation had chosen jeans as our uniform. I didn’t like it when he was right like that.

Maybe it’s ironic that one of my favorite scripture portions tells us not to be conformed to the world. The Message puts it this way:

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” Romans 12:2

Noted theologian, R.C. Sproul, said: “The Christian life is a life of non-conformity.”

This isn’t easy for someone who is more comfortable with blending in. Oh, I want to stand out but just a little. You know, a memorable laugh or smile.

Yes, our church members and clergy still wear uniforms. And I alternate between a certain pride and exhaustion of explaining it all.

But I understand the dangers of conformity have nothing to do with outward appearance. It’s about the heart. If we call ourselves followers of Jesus we need a different heart, a purpose not shared by all. We need to stand out in ways that others want what we have. Our joy and peace need to shine like a city on a hill.

It’s not an easy call. We will often go against the flow of popular culture. But it’s a worthy call.

“Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.” Romans 12:2 the VOICE

Linking up with Kate Motaung for Five-Minute Friday


faith Five-Minute Friday Salvation Army