A New Five Minute Friday: Future

I am very excited to announce a huge change in my Five Minute Friday community. Last week, a new site was launched- Five Minute Friday. The weekly link-up is still hosted by Kate Motaung, however, some of the changes to the site help with site navigation and make it easier to access tools and topics.

What is Five Minute Friday?

It is a link-up (which is equivalent to a Meet-and-Greet in the world of blogging.) Each week, the topic changes and participants are encouraged to take five minutes to write according to the prompt. Because you only have five minutes, posts are raw and unedited. Luckily, Five Minute Friday is a positive place and by joining the group you are giving yourself permission to step outside the confines of perfection. It’s a place to write from the heart and to be encouraged.

So here is my unedited post on this week’s topic, Future:

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The first week of June is always a busy one in our home.

On Wednesday, the school year came to a close. On Sunday, we celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. Next week, I also turn another year older.

Many times it’s easy to get caught up in where we’ve been when we celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, but this year I find myself focusing on the forward motions of life. I’m dreaming about what is left to accomplish. I see the goals we’ve set for our family, and what once seemed so distant and far off is close enough to cross my vision. Exciting times are around the bend, and I am thankful for all God is doing to bless us as a family.

My heart beats with excitement when I think about the verse is 1 Corinthians, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—” (2:9)

Those things that stir me most and cause anticipation for the future are just the beginnings of what God planned for me. I’m coming out of a season of pain, but I can now say in confidence that the future is full of bright things. The blessings that await each of us are deeper than what can be seen. How encouraging!

God is good!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Mom’s Group

For the most recent publication of my church magazine I wrote an article highlighting a Mom’s Group. Meeting this group of women encouraged me in my own walk. What started out as a writing assignment has become so much more.

Every other week these ladies meet together to discuss God’s Word and pray for one another. It is so empowering to be surrounded by other mothers who seek God’s direction in the same way that I do. Below is the article that appeared in the publication as well as a photo of the finished product with photo credits to Beth Simmons.

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Group Highlight-Crystal Beres’ Mom’s Group- By Lauren Sisley

Many of the cLife groups at Covenant are open to all types of people and from every point of life’s journey. One thing that makes Crystal Beres’ group different is that it is a cLife group exclusively for women. The group was founded on the principle that women need to band together and encourage one another. Currently, this cLife group is reading through Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson. This text helps to direct conversation about being a woman and living out that purpose with hope.

Christina Galvan is a young mother of two who has been encouraged by attending this group. “It’s easy to feel lonely and like no one shares your struggles as a mother, but when we meet I feel uplifted. The women’s group has impacted my life in a positive way and has connected me with strong and encouraging women I may not have met otherwise.”

Women who attend this group are mothers of babies, toddlers, and young adults. The group is also composed of both singles and married women. It is unique when women of these different distinctions gather because they serve as mentors and resources for each other.

“This women’s group quickly realized we needed to encourage each other in our marriages first before we focused on our kids. We know that sometimes our husbands get seconds when we have small children, but when we focus on our marriages God blesses the whole family.” Host, Tami Iguchi says of an important focus of the group.

Ali Spann has been attending the women’s group for several months and says her favorite part is, “how open and honest everyone is. I feel secure sharing things going on in my home and knowing I will be encouraged and not judged.”

After her first visit to the group, Jessica McMillan said the group was, “close knit, but willing to open up to visitors.”

The women of this group have come to value this time so much that they have  organized nights for their husbands to get together and meet in a similar format. cLife groups are designed to be places where we do life together so if you are a woman in need of a team to encourage you or lift you up in prayer, then check out this women’s group led by Crystal Beres. They meet every other Monday night at the home of Tami Iguchi.

Five Minute Friday: Empty

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Empty. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen!…” Luke 24:1-6a

Imagine you were these women. You were still grieving a man who had suffered brutality at the hands of the law. He was beaten and scorned before the eyes of man. He was mocked and ridiculed. They looked on as He took his final breaths and pled with God to forgive those who had tortured Him.

He was one so many believed in and who gave them hope so days after his crucifixion these women decided to pay their respects.

But the tomb was empty.

The women had traveled expecting to see his defeated body, but instead they were met by angels. Their crushed spirits resurrected as they left to tell the others about this Good News. Jesus was alive!

Jesus overcame the grave. Death did not triumph. He arose undefeated. He had the last word.

As the plastic eggs and vinegar dye fill our homes this weekend take heart and remember that our Lord is victorious. When we are struggling in our own lives and feeling the weight of expectations, failure, fear, depression, and everything else that binds up our hearts and keeps us from joy remember that the One who left that tomb empty is alive in us today. We have His power to overcome.

The battle is already won!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Slow

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Slow. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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If I had to label the past month of my life using a single adjective I would choose the word slow. Time seems to be moving at a snail’s pace this month and I feel like one of those pinballs in an arcade bouncing from one obstacle to the next.

It started with an illness the first week and from then on I’ve been slowly trying to get back into my regular rhythm. Once I felt like I had truly recovered from being sick I was thrust into a few more hazards in my path.

Helping a friend through a difficult time-

Someone I love facing the possibility of cancer-

Playing host to another friend in need-

The list keeps piling up.

Not only does slow describe the pace of this month, but it’s also something I need to focus on. I’m that spastic pinball right now going every which way at a ridiculous speed. Every few seconds I’m nailing a corner at top speed. The one thing I need in the midst of all these circumstances is rest. In order to find rest I must slow down.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I will only find true rest in God.

All these things I’m carrying on my back and trying to fix for myself are ultimately work for the Lord. It’s hard to let go and give God control of situations. I like to feel like I’m doing something to make things better all the while God is just waiting for me to take a seat and rest.

How is God leading you to slow down this week?

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Five Minute Friday: Connect

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Connect. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. (Exodus 17:11-13)

Connection is a natural craving. It’s something we seek after. To know that we are not alone in this world and that someone else cares for us drives our need to connect. We want to know that someone understands. That in this world filled with billions of people there are some who count us important is our longing.

When we go through rough trials we count on those connections.

We need people who care and who understand.

We need people to rally behind us when our strength is depleted.

Like Moses who stood on the top of the mountain with hands raised during the battle, we need friends like Aaron and Hur who will come beside us and give us the power to keep pursuing victory.

  1. What connections in your life have you formed lately?
  2. Evaluate the health of those connections. Is there someone that you need to make time to speak with or visit?
  3. How have connections with others given you strength in a tough time?

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

My Christmas Recap

This Christmas was such a blessing. I spent several days in celebrations with friends and family whose company I cherish. Watching my daughter as she grasped the true meaning of Christmas this year was priceless. She sang songs about Jesus’ birth and relayed the story of the wise men bringing gifts to Jesus over and over again. Over the past week our family received so many gifts and items that we were so excited about, but above all we were thankful for the gift of Jesus and what that gift has meant for our family.

Later this week we will be heading on a short vacation to Indianapolis where we will be watching the Pacers vs. Bulls NBA game. (A gift from me to my husband.) It’s been a while since we have gone on a trip so even though it isn’t a long one it is much anticipated to get away and make some memories in a new setting.

My daughter received an abundance of gifts. With clothes, multiple pairs of pajamas, Barbies, a bike, art supplies, and quite a few games she is well set for another year.

I am beyond grateful for the gifts I received. My husband purchased some jewelry and a new outfit for me. My big gift from him, however, was two-fold. He sent the first ten pages of my manuscript to author, Mindy McGinnis, who provided critiques and comments. He also heeded her advice and purchased me a year’s membership into SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). This is a national organization which also has a local chapter in Columbus which I will now be able to attend once a month. I’m nervous, but so thankful for the opportunity to network with real authors and illustrators.

I was also blessed with an abundance of other gifts:

It’s easy to focus on the material on Christmas, but this year I really tried to set my eyes on the true meaning of this Holiday. Jesus is the purpose and the reason that we are able to love and appreciate others. With His life he showed us how to treat others and how to accept love. I am so glad to have people to share my love with and to give to them is an expression of Jesus’ love in me.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

Fear Fighting Book Launch

I have the unique opportunity to help another author whose first book is launching this January. Her name is Kelly Balarie and her book is called Fear Fighting. I received my pre-release copy of the book this weekend and I’ve struggled to put this book down.

Fear Fighting is a faith-based book about awakening courage to overcome your fears.

It is a twelve-chapter book full of scripture and practical steps to defeat fear with courage and bravery. Within the very first chapter of the book I found myself wanting to draw closer to God and refocus my spiritual life. It’s so easy to be choked by the stress and pressures of our culture, but

“God is ready to hit us with unfathomable new perspectives-ones that redefine our past, present, and problems if we will only stop, receive, and consider.” (page 21)

This book promises to help you on a journey to:

-cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God’s Word and promptings

-usher in lasting peace through prayer that reduces panic, blood pressure, and stress

-discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God’s greater gifts

-implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed throughout the day

-participate in a twelve-week study guide to foster new courageous habits.

I’m excited to share more with you in the future about this book as I continue to make my way through its pages. As a member of the launch team I did not receive any compensation for this post, although my pre-release copy of the book was free. If you are interested in joining other readers on a journey to fight fear pre-order your copy of Fear Fighting here.

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The Ameri Brit Mom