community

I started linking up with Five Minute Friday in May, 2013. Ironically, the prompt that week was View.

At first I thought it was about the writing. It seemed like a way to stretch my ability to organize thoughts in a short period of time. It challenged me to go to the point without all the extra words that I am oh, so fond of. And it is all of that. And so much more.

On the night I wrote that first post on View, I don’t think I ever would have imagined how the view of Five Minute Friday would change in the last two years.  And I’m certain I never would have imagined working with Kate Motaung to plan a time for us to get away, to be still, and to deepen the community that has been growing on Thursday nights and Friday mornings since long before I ever joined in.

Yet, this past weekend, that’s exactly where we were. A beautiful cabin on the edge of an even more beautiful lake was the setting. Kate and I, along with Jen Daugherty and Mary Geisen, had spent months praying, planning, voxing, texting, and emailing about every conceivable detail. We taxed our technological prowess by putting together a video about our hopes and dreams for the retreat. We talked about it every week at the Twitter party and in our FMF posts. Finally it was time to head to Nashville!

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And you guys showed up

You took time out of your schedules and away from your families. You got on planes, braved highways, and even changed tires to get there. You brought snacks to share and denim to cut up. More importantly, you came with open minds, open hearts, and open arms to soak up every single thing God had planned for us.

We are so grateful  for our sponsors, ViBella Jewelry and Fistbump Media. We were blessed by some amazing speakers, Trillia Newbell, Ann Kroeker, Charity Singleton Craig, Amy Breitman, and Dan KingYou will never know how much we appreciate you all!

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James wrote in his small book,

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. James 3:17-18 MSG

More than anything this past weekend, we enjoyed the online community coming to real life as we gathered together. It is our own robust community grown over years of reading one another’s words and sharing the encouragement it takes to be brave in this world of words.

As the weekend progressed, we shared stories and tears. We passed the snacks and the tissues. It was a beautiful sight to behold. There is so much more I could say…things I could document about every session, both planned and spontaneous…but I’d never do it justice. There are also the several lessons I learned and a specific word I received, which I’ll write more about later. Sometimes you just have to process a little longer! For now, I’m just gonna leave a few pictures right here (thanks to Jen for sharing her photos too!).

Every community needs time to just be together. I’ll never forget the time we shared. 

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#FMFRetreat Free Write: TELL

On Friday night, we opened our computers or notebooks and did our own five minute free write, followed by an open mic. The bravest of the brave shared their words. Here are mine…

In my father’s family it is often said you can tell-aphone, tell-agraph, or tell-a-Solomon. News travels fast and there are no secrets in our family.

Except the things that are secret. The things that would bring understanding and comfort and healing…if we talked about them.

It’s a frustrating place to live sometimes. You go along thinking that all of that is behind you until it pops up again just because of an anniversary or a random comment or a memory. And you want to tell but again are afraid of what might be said…or known…if you do.

But I’ve always been determined to break that cycle with my own children. It’s been just the three of us for so long, a cord of three strands that will not be broken. And telling is part of that strength.

Telling the hard and the crazy and the embarrassing, and the funny and the warm and the good.

Telling it all because it is all part of who and what we are, where we came from, and where we may choose to go in the future.

There’s power in the tell.

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