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Category Archives: Five-minute Fridays

Five Minutes on Paint

I always wanted to be a painter. So today when I saw Lisa-Jo’s writing prompt for 5-minute-Friday as I sat in the art room at my kids’ school, I was excited and inspired and a little nostalgic for the day when I believed I could actually use paint to make beautiful art.

The word is paint.

GO

They come individually throughout the morning. five and six-year-old kindergarten wannabe’s. Some of them don’t really wanna’ be, though.

I sit at a table awaiting their arrivals. One by one, they show up in the art room for the vision screening I will help with today. I think it’s because I’m a parent of a sixth-grader, but I’m not really sure.

It’s the art room that plays my office this morning. The art room at the bottom of the stairs in that little school I call the private school I don’t have to pay tuition for. Just one class per grade, all the teachers carefully chosen for my children, I feel. So thankful am I for this sacred place they call theirs.

And the art hangs on walls all around me. It colors the bulletin boards and inspires my children.

Think Art

The teacher who calls this place her room is coming and going today. So I can share her space as I help introduce these tiny people to the world that will be theirs in a few short months.

I have lots of down time in between customers, so I pick up my phone and click a few pics.

And paint and colors surround me and I love the inspired and the fresh that I feel when I walk through these halls where my children learn to live and make art with their living and their friendships and their conversations and their heartbreaks.

The smell of poster paint and construction paper and glue takes me back to a time when I believed I could do anything. Before Mr. Bukoszky chided my work in high school and led the rest of my painting class in a laugh-fest over the colors I had chosen.

That’s when I found a different way to paint my world. I found words and photos and learned to mold those things I felt confident with into things I knew nothing about.

STOP

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker today for Five-Minute-Fridays, where a whole bunch of brave writers throw caution to the wind and write unedited for five minutes straight before sharing it with the world.

Five Minute Friday

Friday Thoughts and Maybe Small Is The New Big

It’s Friday. And I want to write. So I’m joining my longtime friend, Lisa-Jo and a whole bunch of amazing people who bravely write unedited for five minutes every Friday. Check it out here and consider joining in? (Because I know you have a story, and we really want to hear it.)

Today, the word prompt is small.

Start:

We lived in a tiny apartment in the middle of Bayreuth, Germany last year. About 500 square feet, I think. Two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, dining room and a kitchen the size of my dining room table.

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When we got home, it took us a while to get used to the bigness of our home in Ohio. The spread-out acreage of our yard and its trees. Even the seven-seated minivan felt huge.

And we missed the closeness of the small even though it had sometimes been so hard to live in those nine months.

I think of that living, that adjustment back home, and I wonder at the small of my life in this place. Where I think I want big but know maybe I don’t.

A big house. Big bed. Big blog. Big deal.

I think of it and wonder. Maybe small is the new big.

Because isn’t small where faith grows? The tiny mustard seed that brings big branches and a tree trunk.

Isn’t small where God shines biggest? In the small of my spirit that needs His huge? The small of my unknowing that can’t survive without His always I-Am-The-Rock?

Yes, I wonder, and I think I start to see that small is the new big. And I realize I love small.

How Even Five Minutes of Worshiping God Can Make Him Smile

Today is Friday, and I’m offering up an unedited Friday five minutes straight from my heart to my hands to the words on this screen. That’s a Five Minute Friday. And it’s what I’m doing today. Join us?

Worship

I want my life, everything I do, to point to Jesus. When I writing. Or drive. Or grocery shop.

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offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)

It used to seem so pious. So holier-than-thou. A life of worship. Worship time. Let’s enter into a time of worship. All the words to get us there that pastors and worship leaders use to get the rest of us to join the singing. The praising God. The seeking His face on a Sunday morning.

But I believe God wants our worship to make up our lives. I think He wants us all-in, for the moments and the hours and the days between Sundays. A life of worship that points to Him. That knows him so well it can’t help but adore Him. Living that flows from the depths of amazed and straight into doing stuff that makes Him stop in His tracks, nudge an angel in the ribs and just enjoy the view of His precious child loving Him.

Worship.

 

The Call to Stay Small

I hadn’t planned it to be this way. But it seems I have for the most part taken the summer off from this cyber place. As it turned out, adjusting to life here in the land of excessive ease and beautiful muffins required more than I’d planned for. So I left the writing in this place take a sort of backseat while I loved on my kids and helped them re-acquaint themselves with friends and grandparents and the new kittens that live next door.

All the while, I’ve been praying about this space right here. The one I call home when I turn on my computer. Seeking God’s advice about where He might want it to go. How He might want to use it to help make Himself famous.

And I’ve been trying to figure out how to return. When to do it. What to write to re-introduce my writing, God’s prompting in my heart, the dreams I have for this small place I call home here in cyberland.

I mean, I haven’t written here in more than a month. It’s time to return.

So today when I saw Lisa-Jo’s 5-minute-Friday prompt word, it seemed like a perfect place to jump back in. I’ll write more next week, but today, I ask you to bear with me as I contemplate SMALL, in (a little more than) five small minutes.

Go:

I thought I wanted to be big. So I started this blog. Started writing and thinking and dreaming all big.

I chased dreams for the sake of their bigness, thinking huge and fame and glory.

But God wanted me small. So He could prove Himself big. He wanted to use me in small ways.

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I called it trying to make Him famous. And really that’s what I wanted. His glory. His Kingdom. Only by way of me.

I wanted to be a big part of His glory. He just wanted me to take the next small step.

He wanted to keep me small so I’d keep looking to Him.

I wanted to be like the famous bloggers who’ve made it big. The ones with the big platform and all the friends and the thousands of commenters every week.

Then it occurred to me I’d not really asked God. What was it He saw as big for me? What kinds of big things could I do.

So I started asking Him daily. On my face praying.

And I found out what He wanted. What He wants. For me. For my blog. For my every ounce of everything I do in the name of His fame and His glory.

Whether through a post on my blog or a conversation with the Walmart cashier.

He wants me small so I can show off His big.

He wants nothing more from me than to remember that He’s the One worth all the fame. He wants me to take the next step, however small it might be. And He wants me to do it really, really well.

Small blog? Do it well.

Tiny platform? Use it for Him.

Two commenters? Love them like He does.

He wants me to show Him to anyone. Everyone. By way of whoever He might put in my path.

To let my smallness point to Him in whatever ways He chooses.

STOP

 

*Over the next few weeks, you might notice some changes around here. Some will be big. Others will be small. But each one will be intentional. The main difference will be the focus of my writing. I want to do it well. I want to love you well. I want to encourage you and cheer you towards Jesus and the real life He gives. Might I ask you to pray? For this new focus. That God will use my small words for His huge fame. To encourage and love and help everyone who visits to live more fully.

Thank you so much!

See you next week.

Bria

 

For When Here Feels Less Than Awesome

Fridays are awesome. Especially when you hang out at Lisa-Jo’s. Because a whole bunch of people write for 5 minutes about one specific topic and then share it with the world and magic happens.

Today’s word = HERE.

I like it. So I wrote for (sorry — it was a little more than) 5 minutes. And here’s the magic that ensued…

**Before you read, you should know I am currently nearing the end of a one-year expatriate adventure in the beautiful land of Bavaria, Germany. A detail that will help as you read about my here.

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Here.

I see today’s prompt and my mind starts flying. So much about here I could linger about.

I think of Jon Acuff’s great post a few weeks ago and his statement that “Now is awesome.” I remember the feeling those three words inflicted that day when I read them. The guilty I used for beating myself up.

Because I’m counting down days and can’t wait to get home where it’s summertime and English-speaking and I can sleep in my big huge bed and fill up my big huge refrigerator and drive down the street in my white minivan to go visit my friends I have not hugged in so many months.

“But don’t miss here for the longing of there.”

I know it. I’ve heard. I have tried to live inside this truth. The here and now will never be again.

But still. Sometimes I just want to be through the here and now and move on to the next one.

Don’t get me wrong. I love that I’m here. Would not change it for the world. I will miss so much about it, too. Especially my two foreverlong friends.

And the time around the table at dinner when the phone doesn’t ring and none of us has a distraction pulling us away from our togetherness.

I will actually miss the walking. And the bus rides probably too.

But I can’t stop feeling like I did when my kids were little and I so badly wanted to soak it all up for everything it was worth. Because, you know, they would only be toddlers for such a short time. And I didn’t want to miss it.

Then the truth would hit that my daughter had pooped in her pants or thrown up all over the bed. Or one of them would scream on the way out of Target because I didn’t let her put her own coat on. (Yes. I used to be a terrible mom.)

And, well, the here and now during those moments of rage or disgust or downright icky were less than awesome.

The real truth about here? It’s awesome, yes. But sometimes it’s hard and the hope of what’s next is better than the amazing of right here.

So I’ve decided to give myself a break and be okay with being ready to go home in less than 8 weeks.

And you know what? It’s helping me find the awesome of here before it’s gone forever.

Remember in Five Minutes

It’s Friday, and I have five-minutes. So I’m joining Lisa-Jo’s party. You should come, too.

Today’s Prompt: Remember

I just walked into my bedroom and smelled Europe outside.

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The scent of a foreign city and its impending excitement that hides behind every hundred-year-old building. Lurks inside each cigarette-smoke-filled waft of the air outside the Woolworth and the Oskar restaurant. The aroma of unknown that waits to be found out as I walk through the streets and pass the people with their dogs, just living in Europe.

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I forgot.

Because I am now one of them — those who live in Europe. It’s why we said yes to this year abroad. So we could know the living and the God-trusting and the stripping of everything we didn’t know hindered us from really, truly surrendering to His way and His life. Also, we wanted the fresh excitement of living where we don’t already know.

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But today I remember.

Five Minutes of Rest

Time for 5-Minute-Friday with the awesome people hanging over at Lisa-Jo’s today. Here’s the drill.

Today’s topic: Rest

GO

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength . . .  Isaiah 30:15

Repentance and rest. Salvation. Quietness and trust. Strength.

It started with this verse — my Friday morning. I was looking for a promise that I’d found yesterday. One in Isaiah about how God longs to be gracious to me. I’d made it into a picture and hung it on the wall to remind us that He loves to give us good gifts. Longs to fill us with only amazing.

Then my eyes found this verse. A promise for deliverance from the crap and the pulling and the heavy of this expecting that I’ve come to habitually put on myself. And my family, too, if I am to be brutally honest.

Expecting on anyone but God Himself brings anything but rest. Anything but deliverance.

So I write out the verse in my green leather journal. I bank on the promise that I will find rest if only I will pick up my expecting and move it over to Him. And rest in the gift of right now and real hope.

STOP

Five Minutes of Home

I wasn’t going to do it today. Because, although the blog’s been slow, my mind has been full these last few weeks. And I have a lot of other stuff I’d like to update you on. But, alas, that will have to wait. Because, really, I can’t not take the bait Lisa-Jo dangled in my inbox today in the form of a five-minute Friday topic.

Home

GO:

Ahhh. That four letter word I am longing to see. The one that means comfortable and lovely and mine. The place I will be in three short months.

H-O-M-E

It’s not that this place isn’t home for now. I mean, it’s our landing strip for life here in this foreign land. It’s just not ours. Well, not the place, anyway.

The memories are ours, though. Always to keep.

The things our family does here that makes it our home. Breakfast and dinner around this 3-foot by 2-foot white wooden table with the benches and the chairs and the schnitzel and the potato cheese soup and the laughing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh, the laughing.

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The windows make it home, as well. The tree limbs that dangle in between my line of sight and the old building across the street I stare at while I cook.

But home, real home, the one we own and can change and paint and not have to bring up from memory when we want to think about where we’re going. Those four sweet letters make my heart feel happy with anticipation. And longing for, well, home.

STOP

What do you think of when you think of home?

Five Minutes of Ordinary

It’s Friday! Got five minutes? Join Lisa-Jo’s party and write for 5-minutes unedited. Then check out all the other awesome people doing the same thing. Check it out here.

Today’s word: Ordinary

Sometimes I wonder if the wanting to do something feels better than the actually doing. It’s easier, that’s for sure. Easier to hope in a dream than to take steps to make it real.

And I think I’m learning it’s ordinary, too.

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Ordinary is often easy. Comfortable, at least. And deep down in my innermost me, I do not want to be ordinary.

But am I willing to do what it takes to step out of the ordinary and the comfortable and the super-fun-to-think-about-how-someday-maybe-I-will? To be brutally honest, sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes.

Because ordinary is easy. And I like easy. Always have.

But after a while the easy ordinary turns into difficult drudgery.

It’s difficult to write this deep-down-in-my-heart-what-do-I-really-want kind of stuff. And know that in less that two minutes I will hit publish. A little bit scary. The raw of the ordinary in  me that does not want to be, well, ordinary. (Could I say ordinary a few more times? Perhaps. But I will spare you.)

I type this and the depths of the truth still remain.

I am not ordinary. The God of the universe carried a tree on His back to make sure I knew it.

 

Five Minutes: Again

It’s Friday. And I have 5 minutes. So I’m playing with Lisa-Jo and company today and joining the awesome group that makes up the 5-Minute-Friday community.

Here’s the gig, straight from Lisa Jo’s blog:

Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.

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

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

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

 

And so, without further ado, I give you my five minutes on the word

Again.

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Amazing the people whose faces I get to know after living here only 7 months. Like the bus driver lady who drives 307. The Unkrainian couple from my German class. I see them walk down the street several times a week. Today I saw them. Again. We recognize each other and smile and nod. And, every time, my heart jumps a bit because, well, the fact is I live in a foreign country and I know people who live here.

We’ve become familiar faces on routine routes. The butcher lady who probably cringes inside when she watches me enter that always-open glass door of hers. I wonder if she dreads my pointing and grunting and asking for things I really dont want. Again.

And the lady at the bakery. She’s always on alert, I think, when my face enters the picture. Here’s the hard-to-understand-lady with the nervous laugh and the always smile. Again. Then I order my croissant and my cappuccino, and she’s always so nice.

I like that I’m living here long enough to have agains. It makes me feel like I really live here. Helps me soak up the whole of the adventure I’m living. So when I get home, I will always have these memories.

And 5 minutes is up. But I want to end how I started.

Again.