12 Jul 2013

Five Minute Friday: Present

“Writing is like wrapping yourself in words and giving yourself away.” ~@lisajobaker {click to tweet}

This is where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes 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 #FiveMinuteFriday”? Yea -that could be you! Hop on over and visit some folk who make fireworks in just five minutes. They inspire me.

Meet the #FMFParty Writers:

And did you know there’s a whole community of writers that connect online before the prompt goes live on Friday nights? They use the Twitter hashtag #FMFParty and are about the most encouraging group around.

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..

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


 photo DSC_0108.jpg

It can be easy to think that great and important things are location dependent. Like, if I were still living in South Africa then I could sow my life into the orphan community my parents are pouring their lives into. It can be easy to be caught, sponge in hand, after a long day and just stare at the counter top you’re wiping down. Stare and wonder why it all matters.

As you’re emptying the recycling and trying to find the source of a beginning gathering of gnats you can tell yourself that big changes are made with grand gestures and probably plane tickets and a series of vaccinations. It can be easy to think that what those women are doing oversees carries more weight than what you’re doing right here in your kitchen between the hour when you get done work and the hour you collapse into bed, having served spaghetti and meatballs. Again.

But faithfulness and service and glory all begin at home. Sometimes over helpings of noodles and garlic bread. And all those things that feel unimportant – loading the dishwasher, soothing the bad dreams, hauling out the nebulizer – these deep bending knees are like prayer. The prayer of the warrior faithful who knows how to live in service and show up at a neighbor’s house with open arms when she needs to cry. This being present right where we are is the brave stuff of every day because people don’t write books about it. Or movies. Ordinary Tuesdays can be swept up like so much lint by Thursday if you aren’t paying attention.

But where you are is on purpose. Not by accident. Where you are, with sponge and bread crumbs in hand is today’s calling that may pave the way for tomorrow’s unexpected sense of deep purpose. We live in these moments one by one and when we count them and see how the light catches the back of his blonde hair, all slicked back by the pool, that we catch a reflection of God here in this moment with us. Utterly transfixed by the wonder of His own creation. How he loves to enter into the very things we consider the most boringly ordinary. How He watches and welcomes those moments and holds them up like a parent with a hand drawn card.

We are living on a mission here at home. Just right here with the yellow scrubber and the pots that won’t shed the burned remains of yesterday’s breakfast.


Don’t have a blog? No worries, feel free to leave your five minutes in the comments. If you’re reading in an email just click here to come and join us.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    “Where you are, with sponge and bread crumbs in hand is today’s calling that may pave the way for tomorrow’s unexpected sense of deep purpose. ” Yes…Amen, Lisa-Jo….faithful where God has called us to today…Thank you :)

  2. 2

    I love this: “Ordinary Tuesdays can be swept up like so much lint by Thursday if you aren’t paying attention.” I have so longed to go on mission trips for a while, and am here in the land of plenty instead, cleaning up my family’s abundance of “plenty.” Your post made me tear up and remember to be present, to be thankful again, for here and now. Thank you!

  3. 3

    “But where you are is on purpose. Not by accident.” It’s always good to pause — amidst the mundane and ordinary — and remember that where we are is part of His plan. At home, year after year, wiping tears and counters and bottoms, serving unseen, and learning to give it all to Him, with gratitude and joy.

    Lisa Jo, your words today on “present” reach that one small part in a mother’s heart that sometimes wonders, sometimes questions what it’s all for. And then we remember. Thank you.

  4. 4

    Every moment is an opportunity for transformation.

  5. 5

    Beautiful, thank you

  6. 6

    You got me at nebulizer,*sniff*, lovely post and thank you!!

  7. 7

    Great post and interesting word. It was a difficult one for me to focus on because there are so many meanings to the word.

  8. 8

    What a great post with such important reminders! Thank you for what you wrote AND for the linky. Have a blessed day!

  9. 9

    How often it is too easy to live in the what if’s and why’s of life. Being present in each moment where God has planted us now can be such a joy.

    Thank you for hosting Five Minute Friday. I love visiting other blogs and it is such a good exercise each week to write for only five minutes.

    Blessings and love,

  10. 10

    This was one of your most touching posts ever, in my humble opinion. I just want to read it again and again. Thanks for sharing your heart here, and, in the process, sharing a little of all of our hearts. May you be blessed magnificently this weekend!
    Tina @ Mommynificent

  11. 11

    “Just right here with the yellow scrubber and the pots that won’t shed the burned remains of yesterday’s breakfast.”

    Love this! I get so overwhelmed worrying about the “burned remains of yesterday” that I don’t move forward. I need to forgive myself for the many parenting mistakes and rejoice in the chance to have “do-overs” every day. You gave me something to think about today – my family is my mission. Thank you.

  12. 12

    Loved this, Lisa-Jo.

  13. 13

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I love the idea of 5 minutes Friday. I don’t have a blog, but since you said I could leave my 5 minutes in the comments, I hope it’s okay if I do just that. I’m not sure if anything I’ve written is coherent enough for you to understand, but I did give it my best try.

    Here I am, having decided to try this out, and already I’m a bit lost.


    I’m not sure which meaning it refers to. English is not my mother-tongue and this word has so many meanings. Present as in here and now? A gift? Being present? What is it I want to do with this word?

    Present. Here and now? My here and now is chaotic, hectic, full of hurry, missed opportunities, and seemingly never-ending days. A mommy of two small children, working full time, on the road all day – I’m sometimes feeling I’m coming up short in all counts. The little ones clinging to me the moment I step through the door. E-mails waiting and reports needing to be written. I want to be here, be present and still my head is stuck in either the schedule of two days ahead or working through what went wrong during the day. Why is it so hard to be present, to be in the present, here and now, when all I want to do is wrap my kids up in my arms and snuggle up somewhere, keeping out the rest of the world?

    Sometimes I feel ungrateful and ashamed, when I want to go back to my childhood days, just for an hour. To not be here and now where every other word is “mommy” and everything is so complicated – parenting is so scary sometimes.

    But then I remember why my life, despite all the things I feel are shortcomings on my side, is so blessed. Because seriously, it’s not about me or about the fact that even after 5 years or so, I still feel like a newbie to motherhood. It’s about those two precious little people who are my gifts, my presents, and I need to be aware in the here and now, to appreciate them and to do the best I can to be the mom they deserve.


    Alright, I feel very, vey self-conscious right now, so … please be gentle with me? It’s my first time ;)

  14. 14

    Funny….I was thinking just this same thing this morning. Needed that! :)

  15. 15

    I love this, Lisa-Jo. This is so where my own mind and heart went with “present.” Thank you for continually reminding us of the purpose and the meaning of these sacred and mundane days of motherhood.

  16. 16

    Funny how my writing was on the opposite today as I use these prompts to write fiction. Thank you for the reminder of how extraordinary where I am today is. I sure need it as I sit here with my boxes and rubber gloves. Have a great weekend! Thank you for taking time out of your days to encourage us all!

  17. 17

    I’ve been straining my neck to see beyond these four walls and the piles of laundry and the five kids with plenty; pulling muscles to look over there where women are pouring it out for orphans and the impoverished and the hurting. Oh, I hear you, Lisa, and I appreciate your reminder to turn my head back to the crumbs at my table and the dirty feet that race across my floor. Because God doesn’t play favorites- doesn’t prefer mission work in Uganda to mission work around a kitchen table with plenty of food and plenty of kids to shape and nurture.And sometimes His “no” is really more of a “not now.” Who knows how these years of ministry in the trenches of motherhood will prepare us for something He’s planned down the road? New to your community today and grateful to have “found you.”

  18. 18

    Oh I loved this. Excellent words, here! Especially this::

    But where you are is on purpose. Not by accident.

    Amen, sister. Great reminder!

  19. 19

    “But where you are is on purpose. Not by accident.” For such a time as this. And for such a time as then.

  20. 20

    I have always wanted to try this, so there is no time like the present to do so. I thought of this in two ways, the first as being present in the moment, and the second as this moment being a present, a gift from God. I can see how the two are linked and I am aware that I need to be focus more on being present in the moment so I appreciate the present moment.
    Right now I sit in a semi tractor waiting with my hubby for a reload that will allow us to go home and spend the weekend with grandchildren. It is easy to not focus on the here and now moment, but instead to worry or fuss about things over which I have no control.
    I am thankful for the 5 minute writng word and how it has challenged me to be present today, where I am so I appreciate the sun, the green grass, the love of my hubby and the opportunity to be here and now present with him.
    Thanks for suggesting I put this in a comment, since I don’t have a blog.

    • 21

      Mary, I love this insight, that every moment is a present from God and that the way we can say thank you is to appreciate it fully. Even other blessings can be a distraction from that awareness! Thanks for sharing this – it’s helped me to focus not just on the abundance of my life writ large, but the quieter gifts that make each moment, even the hard ones, perfect. You are a lucky and wise woman!

  21. 22

    I believe if we peek behind those that are doing great things for the Lord, we will catch a glimpse of a woman holding a sponge in her hand and smiling through her tears.
    I haven’t left you words in a while Lisa-Jo but I see and marvel at the way your words speak into the every day lives of young women. You are making a huge difference dear one, the affects of which may never be known by you right now but will one day be made clear.

  22. 23

    Lisajo, I love this. Great post.

  23. 24
    Danielle says:

    Thank you. I needed to hear this.

  24. 25

    I don’t have a blog (yet) and I’m not exactly sure how this works, or even if I want to let my words escape beyond my grasp, but here goes.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about becoming present lately, as things swirl around in my head about ego and stepping out from behind it and letting others be and being flawed and what it means to shine. And I think I am finally getting it, that it has never been about being perfect, about having the answers, about even being better than anyone else. It’s about showing up. It’s about saying this is who I am, and I’ve earned it, and that’s who you are over there, and you’ve earned that too. And is there a way for us to connect? Is there anything we can give to each other as real human beings? And it’s about, once I figure out how to show up, how to let it be ok when that doesn’t change the world simply by virtue of my attendance. That maybe it makes a difference but usually it doesn’t. Or at least one that I can see. And what’s this brand of hubris that I am specially ordained to make a Difference, capital D, as opposed to just making a life, and letting it shine for what it is? That maybe the glory and the perfection of humanity is in our imperfection and our trying anyway? That it’s the trying itself that matters? I tell my son these things, but maybe I need to listen to them more myself? Present…

    • 26
      Sara Wiele says:

      This is our time to shine, and to let others shine. Those people around us do not have to be anywhere that will make a “Difference”. They can be right where you are, and that difference (with a lowercase letter “d”, because we are vessels with a lowercase “v”) will be right where you are.

      I like what you said about connecting. I am all about connecting with others, also. Let’s connect. Let’s network! Let’s trade my goods for your goods! When I was a kid, I told my mom that the world should get rid of money, and just barter the goods we already have! I also like what you said about stepping up. However, what do you mean when you say that you have earned it?

      • 27

        Hi, Sara, and thanks! “Earned” was not exactly the right word, but the clock was ticking. In a fuller sense, I meant that being present means come-as-you-are, with the benefit and the burden of your lessons, losses, loves, etc. up to that very moment. We’ve all seen struggle and success and have some scars to show for what we’ve lived through, and those deserve to be honored.

  25. 28

    As I read the last line of this post, a picture of a chain came to mind. I am not a missionary overseas. I do want to be one, though. I want to work in an orphanage, or on the streets of Calcutta, but I can’t. If there is no other reason, there is the fact that my body could not handle the physical exhaustion long enough to do the work I want to do in Calcutta, or wherever.

    I was in surgery today, in a nice hospital that was clean and well staffed. I was well taken care of by a friend (Sarah) who will help me get better along the way. When I am better, I will continue to work at Leland House, where I will help families continue to stay housed and make good choices. I hope that this little chain will somehow trickle along to the streets of Calcutta one day!

  26. 29

    Oh goodness … this is the third time in a month I will be writing about living in the present. Love love love this … I’m wrapped in the chaos of three babes five and under, living with lots of ordinary Tuesdays, albeit with purpose in every one. It is H.A.R.D. to see sometimes but a gift when we do.

  27. 30

    Lisa-Jo, I have been praying since Sunday night that God would give you a word that I could use this week. He (and you) nailed it with present.
    My 16YO niece went home to Glory unexpectedly on Sunday and my blogging (and writing) was non-existent this week. Thanks for helping me get my pen moving again today, even if just for five minutes!

  28. 31

    Beautiful thoughts Lisa Jo! After twenty years of living a missionary life, it was hard to see that my ordinary life, after missions, was just as important. So true; it isn’t about location. Our Lord has important things for us to do daily, no matter where we are. Even if it’s “no more” than sitting at His feet as Mary did.

    Now I must confess! I feel so silly. I joined the 5-minute Friday, but missed the fact there is a theme. After reading several of the wonderful blog posts, all talking about Present, it began to dawn on me. Perhaps, next week I can get it right. :)

  29. 32

    I look at all the pictures on Ann V’s blog and now these and I think why am I writing with these beautiful young mothers and women. I am 73 years old. I see Ann saying that she can’t believe she is beautiful and I gasp. How can she not. I have spent most of my life wishing I was thin and lovely like she is all of you are. But now with white hair and too many pounds. I am finally learning that it is OK to be here and now what I am what God made me. And I am happy, so happy with my life as a mother of two wonderful grown men and remembrances of years of being a single mom and seeing God provide it all in amazing ways. The white hair is shining with joy as I look back on a life where God has loved me and mine and kept us and provided for us and made “NOW” the retirement years so full of joy and rich friendship and things to do and more and more recognition that when I am dissatisfied then I am not displaying his life in mine and that I am OK when I accept the here and now and the me and now and just be joyous when the garbage man this morning responded to my Good Morning as I was watering my ferns with a smile and picking up my can and putting the top on it and setting it upright on my driveway. Who knew!!
    Theresa Younce

  30. 34

    Wow, that was so great. Such an encouragement. Thank you

    Here is mine.

  31. 35

    The person who has your back, no matter what. Good or bad, right or wrong, she’s there for you. Be it 4:00 in the morning after your car got stolen and you need a ride, and insensitively called them not thinking it was an ungodly hour to be waking someone up but they came to get you with a smile on their face and no complaints. I’m sorry , it’s 30 years too late, but I’m sorry -I shouldn’t have called you. TAXI!!!

    Or when they were on vacation with their family in Disney and you had your baby while they were away, so didn’t tell her something was wrong because you didn’t want to ruin her vacation. But she found out and showed up at your hospital room to surprise you, without complaint from her, her husband, or kids.

    Or when after 27 years you knew you had to get out of a marriage that was bad for you, because now was the time you had to take care of yourself -she was the one who supported you, no questions asked, because she said she knew who you were, she knew you wouldn’t do anything rash, and that if you thought it was right- it was right, unlike most everyone else who questioned your motives and wanted you to stick with it.

    I think my five minutes were up two minutes ago but unconditional love and support describes my friend , and best of all, my big sister, too.

    Mary, Thank you & I love you!

  32. 36

    Trie, but don’t know how. I think it says the link is closed. Any help??? Also, does it show your name and email?


  1. […] Want to join the crowd in writing? Go on over to Lisa-Jo’s and link up with Five Minute Friday. […]

  2. […] was inspired by another blog I chanced upon where the gal does Five Minute Fridays.  She provides a prompt each Friday, and if you choose to partake, you spend just five minutes […]

  3. […] I’ve mentioned the rules before.  If you need a reminder, check Lisa-Jo Baker’s page. […]

  4. […] Five Minute Friday prompt invites me to write for five minutes about the word: present. Present is one of those words which […]

  5. […] {Five-Minute Friday Writing Prompt: “Present“} […]

  6. […] it’s joining up with Lisa Jo Baker for Five-Minute Friday. lisajobaker.com/2013/07/five-minute-friday-present/ The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, over thinking, or backtracking. Just […]

  7. […] is Friday, so hop on over to Lisa Jo Baker’s blog and write for five minutes. Today’s word prompt is: […]

  8. […] 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.. – See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/2013/07/five-minute-friday-present/#sthash.0IbZopve.dpuf […]

  9. […] prompt is present. Just write for five minutes, no editing, no second-guessing. Then join us at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog for more Five Minute […]

  10. […] to write for five minutes on a specific prompt word. The initiative was started by Lisa-Jo Baker (http://lisajobaker.com/2013/07/five-minute-friday-present/) who thought about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And she […]

  11. […] Five Minute Friday post courtesy of the Gypsy Mama and the Friday flash mob. I have written recently at least two […]

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  13. […] up with everyone for Five Minute Friday, where a remarkably encouraging and loving  community gathers to write for five minutes. This […]

  14. […] Today, I’m joining 100s of other writers for Five Minute Friday.  This is my first one! The Topic this Week: Present […]

  15. […] entry for “Five Minute Friday” where a prompt is given by Lisa-Jo Baker.  For five minutes, just be who you are and be enthralled with the joy of writing.  Be immersed […]

  16. […] she designates in just five minutes, with no editing or backtracking. Last week’s word was Present and many people wrote beautiful posts in their blogs about treasuring the moment, being fully […]

  17. […]     Linking up with Lisa Jo, The Gypsy Mama and the girls for 5 Minute Friday.  5 Minutes, no edits or re-writes and love […]

  18. […] Lisa-Jo manages to pick a word that has already been on my heart for a while. And then, I read her post, which is amazing and I wish I could write like that in five hours, never mind five minutes, and […]

  19. […] No worries, feel free to leave your five minutes in the comments. If you’re reading in an email just click here to come and join […]

  20. […] I’m adding today’s post to Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday: […]

  21. […] air! It’s also a chance to connect with some gifted writers by linking up at the FMF party here. That’s the part that I think is so amazing and fun, though I haven’t had the chance to […]

  22. […] It’s Friday (well, almost.  Technically, it’ll be Friday in 40 minutes central time!).  That means Five Minute Fridays, where Lisa-Jo (even on vacation) throws out a writing prompt and challenges us to write for five minutes flat.  Last week,, I went a little over.  OK, so I didn’t even set my timer!  This week, we’re back to the challenge with the writing prompt: Present […]

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  27. Present says:

    […] It’s Five Minute Fridays where I join Lisa-Jo Baker and others to write flat out for five minutes, no editing, no polishing, and then link up together. Come join the fun!PRESENT.Go.  I love presents. Unexpected gifts are particularly delightful! And fun! But I’m also struck by the other meaning of this word – present. As in being in the here and now. There is so much vying for our time and attention these days. We are encouraged to multi-task and to juggle and to cram our calendars full. We just don’t put much emphasis on being. We’re all about the doing. Presence is one of my favorite aspects of the character of Jesus. Matthew 1:23 quotes the prophecy from Isaiah that says, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).” He came here to be present with us.At the very end of Matthew and in Jesus’ last recorded words, he said, “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He remains present with us to this day. Matthew bookends his gospel with the presence of Jesus. He certainly had some things to do while he was here…very important things. But if he had decided not to be present with us, where would we be today? God with us. Now that is a real present.Stop.  Sharing today with:        […]

  28. […] a Five Minute Friday post! Five minutes on the timer, no major editing. This week, the prompt was PRESENT (click to read other great FMF […]

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