Monday, July 31, 2017

Reflections and Rest: Five Minute Friday Retreat

I have been savoring so many memories from our retreat last weekend.
Jumping back into real life has been a completely different pace than the still and quiet moments we shared in the Heartland Center in Missouri.
I chose to fly a couple days early to spend time in Omaha, Nebraska with my brother and his wife and their daughter who is not quite a year old.

A dear college friend and pageant sister that I hadn't seen in 13 years had time to lunch with me on the way to Kansas City! Megan also brought her darling daughter, Phoebe.

When I was flying out to the FMF Retreat, I was asked often where I was going and why.
To be honest, I wasn't completely sure of the "why". To meet my friends in real life, of course, but beyond that? What did God have for me and why was my heart so stirred to break bread with these women?  One gem was the three hour layover in Seattle. I met a young Christian woman and we had time to reveal our hearts to each other and I was privileged to pray with her (but almost missed my flight because of it!) The bonus was I got to move to the emergency row with extra leg room.
A new friend from Australia that I got to know and pray with during a 3 hour layover in Seattle. Natasha is amazing!

His biggest gift to me was to be a messenger. Over a month before the retreat, I had the idea to make something for each of the women that would bear their name. I practiced my brush lettering, found a cute printable stationery set, and waited to hear which verses to print on that set for them. (The same passage was used for everybody)
Psalm 139 and Ephesians 2:10 were both brought to my mind repeatedly. That we were intentionally made with a purpose. We are God's masterpiece. We are delightfully complex.
Practice Penning

The drying step

The final product that each woman received (with their own name)

Kate led the speaking our first night. What a treasure she is! She blessed us with our own copies of the Craving Connection book from (in)Courage.
Christina Hubbard spoke from her heart and read from Psalm 139 the first night. My heart was leaping inside my chest at the confirmation!
Not only did he speak to our hearts, He also spoke to our wardrobes. #accidental #twinning #daytwo
Christina is somebody you like right away when you meet her. She is caring and kind and so relatable! She is also not afraid to speak from where she's at. Her genuine "this is what I'm learning" makes her very approachable!
Her blog is:
Kate graciously gave me the floor for a couple minutes while I handed out the cards after reading the passage printed on them. We also sang "He Knows My Name" (I have a maker).
Oh it was so rich!
Seriously, she's better in person than I could ever have imagined! Kate is all about others. What a true gift she is. :)
The entire retreat, she was giving to us and providing a space for us to connect. I hope she received as much as the rest of us!
Her blog is:
I unintentionally coordinated with my roommate, Alice William. And, my mind-reading friend Jeanne also matched me Friday night. This was just a piece of the pie.You see, Five Minute Friday is also Five Minute Family. These sisters? They understand me. Somehow, in all my quirkiness and social awkwardness, I found them, and they've embraced all my muddy ramblings and found the gold nuggets buried within.

I found the people who speak my language, though we all speak differently.
Oregon and Rhode Island...we're coastal and cute!
Alice has a treasure trove of faith and wisdom. Her blog is a weekly memory verse challenge, and her depth of love for God is rich. I am very touched to be called her friend and delighted to have been paired as her roommate!
Her blog is:

Jeanne and Tammy Jean...both with Colorado roots :)
Jeanne is raw and real and always listening for what God has to say. She continues to try to improve what is already a beautiful, faithful walk. You want to be her friend. Forever!
Her blog is:
Anita Ojeda, Jeanne Takenaka, Alice William and I got up before the sun on Saturday to take a morning walk, which ended up being a shared love of God's creation and snapping photographs. There were a couple of hills to make it count as exercise, but it was such a leisurely pace and a safe place to just breathe in the beauty of the morning.

All of Saturday was filled with becoming a better writer and a more connected person. We had such joy and laughter together!
Meghan has SO much to share! I am delighted to be connected to her. She really trusts God with everything. This is a Faith Warrior right here!

Jen is someone I would definitely have been friends with in school! She gets me on so many levels. She even gave me a vanilla lip balm made from beeswax because she and I both burn with Burt's Bees. And we are dedicated to our coffee! :) But seriously? Jen is someone who gives without expecting anything in return. She listens well, she loves to be behind the scenes and help others.

Carolina's real name is spelled AGAPE. :) God is so strong in her life and she is sparklingly beautiful inside and out. And she really DOES give the best hugs. You must meet her for yourself!
Her blog is:

Cyndi is an encourager. She lifts you up even when she needs lifting herself. She won't ask for anything, but I'm so grateful she shared from her heart on Sunday. Her obedience and faithfulness to God are going to lead to many hearts being changed for His glory!

Christina, myself and Alice at dinner at Spin Pizza

Mary Geisen. This woman is BRAVE. She agreed to lay on the floor with me for better lighting. Anita put that photo on Instagram. Then, just below, the real antics began.
Her blog is:

That beautiful red head behind you is recoiling from my finger being poked between the two of us to prevent a photobombing...poor Holly! I didn't know I'd made contact, I just reached between us when I knew she was trying to put a goofy face.

I think Holly is still tender from my poking, so Jen and Mary made sure to make up for the photobombing snafu!
Her blog is:

By the third day, the humidity had got the better of me, so I embraced Anita as we embraced our wild hairs. She has also mastered the art of self-portraits and has longer arms than I do!
Her blog is:

I'm not sure I can summarize this experience well. I'm way over five minutes, ha!
The biggest thing God spoke to me this trip was REST.
Though I'm not sure what that looks like, I know I need to enter His Rest. I've been working too hard on His behalf, trying to be His sidekick, I think.
At the retreat, I found rest. We didn't have a packed schedule, but just the right amount of scheduled time and free time. We ate together, we laughed together, we prayed together, we found safe space to share pain and doubt and hope and dream, and at the end, we are all looking forward to the greatest family reunion of all.

And, though it was extra time away from my husband and our three girls, I had extra time to meet with friends in Nebraska and spend more time with my niece, my brother, and my sister-in-law.
I was able to sleep deeply and to enjoy taking it slow.
I hope to take these lessons and put less on my schedule in the months to come.
The one and only Deidra Riggs made time for a late lunch in Lincoln, Nebraska with me on Sunday. We both had French Toast and spoke about her retreat I'd attended in Nebraska two years prior, our husbands, writing, and Classic Cars. (My husband has a 67 Plymouth Barracuda)
Her blog is:

Speaking of family, this is Claire. I have only two nieces in the world and she's the younger of the two. This trip was our first in-person encounter. She is delightful!! (My sister-in-law is an amazing Omaha, NE photographer. Book with her!)
Photo credit: Katie Hammond

Monday before flying out we walked in the park. This caterpillar was in the grass. It had a twin later on the sidewalk. It was surprisingly soft! We are much like caterpillars. We have no idea what we really look like, but we are on a journey to transformation.

The sunset at my final airport before I drove home.
I was seated next to a woman and her daughter on the final flight home. She noticed my World Vision logo on my sweatshirt (the planes get cold, folks!) and struck up a conversation that lasted two hours.
God is stirring her to write. She's new to all internet and writing online, etc, and I was armed with a wealth of information for her!
(She took notes! Ha!)
When I get a chance (and her permission), I will share a link to her blog. But know this, Rachel Fisher is someone with a story and the ability to tell it!

I am looking forward to reading the other posts, because mine is more of a journal/timeline and less of a lesson. This retreat and trip were about people and relationships and community, and so my pictures are of the people that I really got the time to know. There were more wonderful people that I didn't get time with, and you simply MUST read what they have shared! I know I will!

I'm so hopeful I will get to meet more of you in the future.
Thank you for allowing me to be sincere and share from my heart.
I really can't process it all yet, so this is a rough draft. But that's what Five Minute Friday is all about.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Story: Five Minute Friday

Story is our prompt.
What's your story?
History can be broken into "His story".
Time was marked BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domini) when I was in school.
As I travel around the sun I am learning and seeing how my story is truly His story.
I made decisions to follow Him and those are parts of my story.
I made decisions to follow my own acclaim and He welcomed me with open arms, still a part of His story.
The story is unpredictable but the ending is wonderful!
A selfless love willing to die for the hope of returned love and devotion that ends in a forever "Happily ever after."
And everyone is offered the same ending.

I am at the Five Minute Friday Retreat. May this short offering bless you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Comfort: Five Minute Friday

It's so good to be back at FMF!!
I am sitting in a park typing on my iPhone and my thumbs are wrecking my five minutes!!
Siri is interfering with the no edit experience, I will be honest.

I was late to the party Thursday and have been meditating on the word prompt for a couple days.

The verse comfort, comfort, my people came to mind but I didn't remember the rest.
My struggle with sugar for comfort when stressed also made an appearance but here in the warm summer breeze, the thought of "Come to my Fort" is where we are going.

You see, Jesus is always inviting us. And his fort is so much stronger and better than mine! Instead of seeing myself in my human standards of relationships and give and take, I need to re-evaluate his lens.

Little kids play in front of you and occasionally check in and then go back into their world. I like to think this is how He views us. Not as a needy God, upset we aren't focused on Him alone, but a much wiser, calmer grownup who isn't bothered by the little things that ruin our entire world. (The sippy cup is the wrong color, anyone?)

So if I take shelter in His fort, I will be saved.
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and they are saved."

Will you take comfort in God's fort???
We can hang out together!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Play: Five Minute Friday

I can't believe my last post was June 3. And yet, I can. The end of the school year was way more "full" than I had imagined.
So, I'm chiming in tonight for the Five Minute Friday linkup. In just two weeks I'll be live with the real Five Minute Friday people in Missouri! Oh wow!


"Mom, may I please play your piano?"
The sparkling brown eyes I've loved to gaze into for almost ten years look up with anticipation.
Those eyes remind me of another pair of brown eyes that also came alive when the small hands reached out for the black and white keys.
The sounds that resulted would either cause pleasure or dismay to the two young ears on either side of those brown eyes.
Hours spent alone and delighted, just making music on the piano.
Listening and correcting, until finally the music that was composed by others was picked out, note by note, and displayed audibly as a triumphant puzzle solved!!

To have my daughter pick up this gift is such a joy for me! I love to hear her play. She is reading music, playing songs I once played, and picking out other songs by ear.
Someday I hope we will play together. For now, I just savor her love for music, which is my love language.


I apologize for not returning comments last time. It was the weekend before school ended and life was crazy!