07 Sep 2012

Five Minute Friday: Graceful

Got writer’s block? We’ve got the cure! #FiveMinuteFriday! <–Click to Tweet this

Where a beautiful crowd spends five minutes all writing on the same topic and then sharing ’em over here.

How to Join:

Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here.

Featured Five Minute Friday:

And every week I’ll pick a post that caught my eye and share it down there in my side bar – see where it says “Featured Five Minute Friday”? Yea -that could be you! Hop on over and visit some folk who make fireworks in just five minutes. They inspire me.

What They’re Saying:

I also have some Five Minute Friday stories from participants I love to share each week – I can never get over the community that has grown up over a five minute writing exercise.

This one’s from one of my Internet besties – Emily – who inspired the topic this week. {Here’s me introducing Zoe to Emily last year. Thank you Ann for taking this photo!}

Emily’s new book for teenage girls just released this week. I love the title: Graceful (For Young Women): Letting Go of Your Try-Hard LifeIt’s a love letter to the awkward, self conscious teenage years that have us striving to live up to something we can’t even put into words yet. Seriously, read this one with your daughters. I plan to!

I love what my written-two-books-and-raised-three-kids friend, Emily from the blog Chatting at the Sky has to say about the power of a free writing exercise:

I can now say with a fair amount of confidence that writing is my job. My career. My thing. But also? Writing is that thing I love to do. Sometimes when the thing you love to do is also the thing you are paid to do, things get muddy. Deadline and Expectation go out on a date, get married, have triplets and name them Fear, Worry, and Writer’s Block.

To this day, the exercise that helps me break free from those needy three is to set my clock for a certain amount of time and force myself to write until it dings. That is why I adore Lisa-Jo’s Five-Minute-Fridays. The clock gives me permission to silence the voice of the inner critic and get back to the heart of what I love.”

Sigh. Inspiring, yes? And I’m giving away a signed! copy! of Emily’s new book to one of you today! Got a FMF story you want to share with us? Email me.

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..

Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks!

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::



I never was. I was the too tall, too gangly, too thin, too scraggly haired, too sad with the dying mother teenager. I wanted to be Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow graceful when I was growing up. I wanted to be the knows-what-to-wear woman and instead I was the try-to-wear-a-dress-as-a-shirt girl.

There was a benefit concert one night for my mom. My dad was waiting, waiting on me. And I was waiting, waiting on inspiration from my closet. That green velvet dress was all cute and tight and just right except that I wasn’t brave enough to wear it as a short, short dress. Instead I ended up tucking it all into my jeans to try and wear it as a shirt. The rest of the night I wondered if I looked as ridiculous as I felt. Self consciousness warring with defiant courage.

Not graceful.

Not beautiful.

Mostly lost.

But holding tight to the hand of the woman I wanted to grow up into. Never giving up. Never backing down. Always quietly watching how the other girls made it look so easy. Wondering if I could sidle up into their skin. So much loveliness at 18. If only we could bottle it and save it up for when we turn 38. So we could pour a bit of the confidence into the young skin and make an amazing blended mixture.

Today I smile when I watch those life guards in all their youth. Graceful. Fleeting. I smooth my hands down my tummy. Again. And remember the three tiny humans I grew. With all the fight and courage of a mother. I climb up onto the diving board and leap far and high because my four-year-old asks me to.

Not an ounce of grace. All humor and determination and more love than I thought possible.

All the way.

All because His grace is enough. More than enough, for even me.


OK, show us what you got! {Subscribers, you can just click here to come over and play along}


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    I’m still trying to grow up into that confident in my own skin woman.

  2. 2

    I love your leap and all you leap for… Your courage makes me stronger. You are an amazing gift of grace to us, Lisa Jo, with a most beautiful speaking and writing voice. Have an amazing time on your trip to the beach <3

    With love,


  3. 3

    Oh, I remember those uncomfortable days. At least, I was uncomfortable. I’ve grown (thank goodness!) since that time in my life, more comfortable in my own skin. It took a long time, though. I hope I can help my girls get there sooner than I did.

  4. 4

    I don’t often feel graceful. My shoulders are square (like a line backer) and while I took ballet as a child I’ve never glided across the room (I pretty much stomp) and this is nothing new; I was awkward for most of my teenage years. But reading your post just now, visualizing you holding your mom’s hand while I was reading your words…well, I suddenly felt graceful!
    Thank you LisaJo! And thank you for allowing us to connect with you and with eachother each week. You are a blessing:)

  5. 5

    Oh perfect. Beautiful. Prose in memory.

  6. 6

    Others do make it look so easy don’t they? But His grace truly is enough.

  7. 7

    I always wanted to be a dancer growing up, or perhaps not. But I admired dancers, moving with such grace, effortless, or so it appeared. I am still striving to be comfortable with the often awkward self that is me. And I am 46! Yikes! But I will get there. On this side of Heaven I pray!

  8. 8

    I really loved this! I was the skinny, bony, awkward child. I still have a strong aversion to video cameras. But it is also my privilege to be full of grace. I loved this.

  9. 9

    Wonderfully written.
    It was greatly needed.
    My prayer is grace for the moment as I begin a new day with all of the noise still right outside my door. I know that in a few short minutes I will walk out into the midst of it and I want nothing more than to be prepared.
    Thank you for this today.

  10. 10

    that’s a beautiful post, joining in on FMF is helping me to find me way to a better Christian life and giving me inspiration. Thank you.

  11. 11

    Been lurking for a while now and finally took the plunge. :)

    His grace is enough. Hopefully my heart will catch up with my head to fully understand that soon. Happy Friday!

  12. 12

    you can make cry in 5 minutes, lisa jo. i relate so well

  13. 13

    I love your idea of mixing our 18 and 38-year old selves into a blend of confidence. So often we feel like it must be better to be one age or another, but aren’t there great things about each of our stages in life? I personally would go for a fruit-cocktail-esque combination of all the best parts!

  14. 14

    I am smiling when I come to the end of your post and read …’your grace is enough’. That is enough for you and it is enough for me. Why couldn’t we realize that years ago?

    I love what you shared about Emily and how she gave you this word today. I just finished reading the eBook her father wrote. It was wonderful; what a story of God’s grace. And to think that was the environment she grew up in and yet she is so …graceful and lovely. Our God is a God of miracles and love and …grace.

    Blessings and love,

  15. 15

    I so agree…”you grace is enough. ” Loved the word for today….even if I am not graceful.

  16. 16

    Lisa-Jo, I still struggle with feeling comfortable with me — with all of me! It is His tender, beautiful gift to feel confident in all the ways He has made us to be. I pray He continues to grow that in me, and that I hold on to His truth with everything I am. Thank you.

  17. 17

    It’s funny how when we think we get it we realize we don’t. Being “comfortable” in ones skin is a goal that I can attest to in fleeting moments. However, I’m learning daily to let my comfort be based on the “real me”. I’m a work in progress.

    But like the diving board…we all have to smooth down our insecurities and jump. Way to go! And I bet you were the best thing since ice cream and Cool Whip to you baby girl. :) Again, way to go!

  18. 18

    Is it possible we were all that 18 year old girl? You wrote this one for me Lisa-Jo, and (as always) for so many of us.

  19. 19

    Oh, I was so awkward at 18 as well. I’m so glad His grace is enough, too!

  20. 20

    It’s funny. I see you and think, “now there’s a chick whose got it figured out.” Not perfection, but so full of grace that it ebbs off the page (or monitor). Him in you is such a beautiful picture!

    (And tall, gangly, scraggly haired? That was SO me!)

  21. 21

    A lovely heart felt post. I can relate to feeling lost and inadequate just not comfortable in my own skin as a child/teenager. Thank you for sharing.

  22. 22

    I just finished telling my 2 older daughters that not everyone can see what you feeling or thinking. My girls had it in their mind that at certain times of the month everyone can tell what is going on with them. I remember feeling that way. I told them people can only know what you tell them and cant read your mind or know what is going on unless you make it known.

  23. 23

    Yes His grace is sufficient!

  24. 24

    Love you both! And so happy for Emily. xo


  1. […] Movement Today I am joining Lisa-Jo and others for the 5 Minute Friday where we are given a word prompt and write for just 5 minutes simply for the joy of writing. No […]

  2. […] my heart at Inspired to Action and 5 minutes….will you join in and share […]

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