Inspiration

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GO

Inspiration is one part of respiration: breathing in and breathing out again.

Breathing in is inspiration.

28,000 breaths a day and I’m not even counting. I’m not even thinking about it. All of that beautiful life goes on without my thanks, never giving up, never discouraged. Breathing out and breathing in again.

They say the name of God YHWH, sounds like our breath. 

Yod – Hay – Waw – Hay.

God breathes and it’s the sound of His own hushed name, the sound of I AM spoken like life itself. And I’m pulling that life in, grasping hold of it, clutching hard at it, pulling in one deep breath at a time. I never knew how much this mattered; just to breathe.

On Saturday, the sun had left the day warm and we lay on the grass in our sleeping bags as the sun set.  Andy, me and Lucy alone with the small breeze moving the leaves in the trees and two bats alight in the slow dim dusk. There is nothing else to do here but attend to the sound of our own rhythmic breath, inhaling, exhaling, inspiration, expiration.

Counting our breath ’til the stars appear in the sky.

STOP

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Lisa Jo baker was off line this week enjoying a well earned rest and there was no Five Minute Friday for us to link up to so Steph suggested the prompt word INSPIRATION. Below are some of the lovely contributions that followed.

Why not consider joining in our FMF writing venture? The next prompt will be posted on Lisa Jo Baker’s website on friday morning. Get in touch if you would like some help.

What is Five Minute Friday?

We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that Lisa Jo Baker posts at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday at lisajobaker.com. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5minutefriday

Sarah

Inspiration…

Breathing in

What do I breathe

Hope or despair

Love or hate

Revenge or mercy

The atmosphere that inspires me

Gives me life, shapes who I am

The truest inspiration

Comes and goes with my breath

As I breathe in God’s mercy

Inspired by His love

Each breath is a gift

A real inspiration

A touch of creation

To focus my thinking

Until I expire

 

Heidi

I recently heard someone describe inspiration as   ‘ ideas having sex’. It’s an unusual analogy, which conjured up some funny mental images for me. But I kinda like it. I mean, I got what they meant. Inspiration will always involve a relationship, a deep connection that is creative and meaningful. It also involves more than a little effort and lots of fun.

We usually speak of inspiration in warm, fuzzy terms. It’s generally recognised as a brief moment in time. Our language supports this – a flash of inspiration, a light bulb moment, a ‘eureka’ moment, all speak of something great but inherently fleeting. We usually fail to acknowledge the relationship and effort that produced it.

Today, when I felt a distinct lack of inspiration, I had to first and foremost look at my connection with God. In prayer, worship and Word, how much have I connected with Him lately ? Then, what else have I been reading, studying, listening to ? Relationally, has there been a connecting of my own heart to another’s ? Even more challenging – am I looking only to be inspired or am I also seeking to be an inspiration?

When I don’t have anything to do, write or say…. well, never mind…I usually keep waiting for an inspirational moment to just happen. And that is where I need to change. My perception of inspiration is too small. I have shrunk it to something I passively receive, usually from God and then from those I regard as greater than me. I realise I have made it a passive rather than active part of my life. I shun the effort required on my own part because I do not want the responsibility, nor run the risk of failure. In other words, a cop out. Consequently, poetry and prose remain unwritten within. Worse still, hearts ( my own and others ) go untouched and life is a little less fun.

So, time to change. Here’s to pursuing inspiration – to creativity, effort and fun. May we all have it and be it. And, most importantly, may we connect deeply with God and with one another. After all, isn’t that what life is all about ?

Carolyn

When I have been asked what my inspiration is, I nearly always have to ask for clarification. Inspiration for artwork, writing, living, specific actions or just existing? There are so many different things that inspire me in different areas of my life. There is overlap of course. I often use text in my artwork because I love words and books, but text also serves to inspire me to write. Scripture inspires the way I live (or I hope it does), but it also inspires artwork. Specific artists may inspire me to look into certain styles and techniques and certain writers may inspire me to read or to write in a different way or try a new form. If I read of news events such as the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, or the woman condemned to death in Sudan for apostasy then I may be inspired to pray and to act.

Read more HERE …

Steph

In anatomy terms, to inspire is to inhale. it is to take in the air around us and fill our lungs. to take something, and create something new from it.

Inspiration in general terms is to take something you see or something someone does and use it to generate ideas and motivation in yourself. to take something, and create something new from it.

There are a list of things I could sit here and tell you about that inspire me; a walk in the woods, the idea of future prospects, my best friends little sister… its endless, but unless I then do something with this inspiration, with the ideas and feelings they spur inside me, the what is the point?

Read more HERE …

Su

Good friends? Good food? Inspiring teaching? The satisfaction of a tidy house? Worship? Fun with children? Errands run? Uniform washed and neatly hung on the maiden?

Read more HERE

Sunday morning

psalm95

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

Ecclesiastes 12.12

Despite all the books on the shelves and in the piles by my bedside, the sermons I have heard and the note books I have filled, the podcasts to be listened to and hours spent trailing the internet, quizzing close friends, conferences here and speakers there; I am more convinced than ever that, I can learn more in a minute in the presence of my God than could ever be learnt from a great author or in the lovely and terrible experiences of the school of life.

Bring back our girls

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All week I kept wondering, moaning quietly on and off, mainly to myself, why no one, no major news channel or online paper was covering this story in the way I thought they should.

And though it is not my regular blogging style and I do not feel adequately informed to do the subject justice, I thought that I should at least write what I could about an appalling injustice that does not seem to have received the urgent response it demands.

On the night of April the 14th, 230 Nigerian girls were taken form their boarding school in the northern state of Borno by the militant Islamic group Boko Haram. Boko Haram believe education to be a western influence that is harmful to the young people of Nigeria, especially its girls.  In a news story that did make the BBC today, a Boko Haram leader has said, the girls should not be in school, they should be married, “God instructed me to sell them, they are His property and I will carry out his instructions”. This is the terrifying place where religious fundamentalism meets radical misogyny: words from an organisation who understand ,only too well, that real freedom for the poor of our world and especially for women, comes powerfully through the education of young people.

So why has the story remained in the shadows and why is so little done to find and release the girls?

We have always known that the missing person stories that make headlines are the ones where the children are pretty and blonde and come from middle class homes. We know that a professional person who has a break-down and leaves suddenly for no reason without a note will be more worthy of a newspaper article than an unemployed man form an anonymous council estate in just another city somewhere around the UK. And though his wife and children will lose sleep and make calls and wonder what they can possibly do, to do enough, most of us will never hear their story.

Selective news reporting reminding us that all people are valuable but some people, in our modern enlightened world, are more valuable than others. Some people make the news and some people miss the news. Some people miss the news when terrible things happen because they were born into the wrong place, didn’t study at the right universities, didn’t secure the esteemed corporate jobs in the high rise buildings that make up the skylines of the richest nations on earth. Some people miss the news because they were born on the wrong side of the gender divide , the wrong side of the poverty line, the unfortunate side of a north-south divide, citizens of a poverty stricken global south that covers most of our world.

We would not tolerate this if the story was 230 British school children.

Tonight I wonder where the girls are, who is with them and what comfort have they found. Are they waiting in the hope that someone is coming for them soon?

Tonight I would like to join my contributions of words, to the voices of others, who call for our governments and international bodies to help find these girls.

Please find these girls and secure their release so they can go home to their families. 

If you are a praying person, please remember these girls before God.

If you are reading person, please find out more.

Yes, these Nigerian school girls really could be sold into slavery …

In which we pray: bring back our girls …

Bring back our girls …

Why girls in Nigeria should matter to you …

If you are a tweeting person, please share these stories using the #bringbackourgirls

Shalom

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Mess

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That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.
Ann Voskamp

GO

We are walking to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and she is already apologising for the mess. There are pots in the sink from a meal enjoyed and the paper work of a fully loved life, in piles to colour up every surface, in this holy place home. And I don’t care about the mess on the surface because I want to tell her about the mess of my day. I want to tell her which circumstances conspired against me like a gang of playground bullies. I want to tell her how every last best piece of my well-meaning self was broad daylight robbed of all good intentions, that my best laid plans lay crumpled and torn as the scraps of paper I scribbled them down on.

There is peace on a sagging sofa with a rug to cover up the holes, underneath a large bay window, with afternoon light pouring in to illuminate the dust motes that float in the air. We sit amongst the abandoned sweaters and school books, to pray. 

And God shows up in the everyday detritus of our dishevelled lives, beauty from ashes. Because if he isn’t there, to be found in the mess, he won’t be found at all.

STOP

5minutefriday

Other writing friend contributions to FMF

A few friends and I share a little FMF writing over the weekend, comment on each others blogs and generally chew the cud through Facebook chats and random conversations whenever we get the chance. You are very welcome to join us . Contact me for more information or send me a link to your piece so I can include it here.

Sarah

I left the house this morning, it was tidy, it was neat

I walk back in this evening and the change is very clear

The hall is carpeted with coats, there are shoes kicked far and near 

And the kitchen sink shows signs of… something… someone made to eat.

There’s never a clear surface though I’m forever making space

There are crumbs around the toaster and some butter on the floor

There is something rather sticky that’s been spilt beside the door

And a general air of chaos seems to hang around the place

From upstairs I hear their voices, laughter echoes through the air

I can follow in their footsteps as I pick up what they’ve dropped

And as I begin to grumble, my thoughts abruptly stopped

What will the house be like in days when they’re no longer there?

One day not too far distant I’ll come home to tidiness

No one to disrupt order, no clothes or crumbs or books

And I suspect that as I give my tidy home a grateful look

That something in my heart will long for just a little mess!

 

Andrea

I used to be mess averse but my recent journey to recovery from depression and anxiety has led me to tolerate it.  Possibly at times to even embrace mess. .. click here to read more

Carolyn

I am currently sat in bed with my iPad mini, a bin full of tissues at my side, a bottle of water, packet of lockets, and a box of unused tissues on my bedside table. This wasn’t the plan … click here to read more

Su

There are 2 kinds of MESS … click here to read more

Steph

My room is a mess. My bag is a mess. My head is a mess … click here to read more

 

 

We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that Lisa Jo Baker posts at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday at lisajobaker.com. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Five Minute Friday: Friends

friends

Photo credit, Pinterest: http://gb.pinterest.com/pin/472596554619968549/

It would be an understatement to say I am behind with my Five Minute Friday.

I don’t have anything more to offer than the picture above however I am happy to tell you that a few of my friends have produced some lovely short pieces on the precious subject of friends and you will find these below.

Heidi

Friend is a word with such positive connotations- companionship, acceptance, loyalty and fun, to name just a few. It’s a word not usually spoken in a derogatory manner. So it is more than a little ironic, then, for Jesus to be actually ridiculed for being a friend – specifically, a friend of sinners. Oh, I wish I could have been there. Despite the speaker’s accusatory tone and laughably holier than Him attitude, I imagine a mere glimpse of a wry smile brushing over Jesus’ face. For the words themselves capture the purest essence of the glorious gospel. As always, Jesus takes what was intended for harm and turns it into good. Ever since that moment, hearts have been overwhelmed repeatedly, countless prayers have been uttered thankfully, and songs both ancient and modern have been sung passionately, all inspired by the wondrous beauty of this revelation. He is indeed a friend of sinners, and He transforms us oh-so-unworthy sinners into holy and righteous saints. I admit I both struggle and delight in this kind of relationship. I struggle because to call Jesus my friend seems a little, well, over familiar, irreverent almost. After all, HE IS GOD. And yet, the same Scriptures that tell of His awesome majesty and splendour are also the Scriptures that tell of His relentless pursuit of me, that I may share an eternity-long friendship with Him. Nothing could stand in the way of that pursuit, not even Calvary. It defies all logic and understanding. But, every day, I delight in the reality of this soul-tingling truth….

Karen

A friend is such a great treasure to have.  Someone who chooses to love you and share life with you out of choice rather than compulsion.  I have some really great friends –some I see often and some I don’t see very much at all because they live in other cities, and continents and our worlds don’t collide very often.. Each friend though is unique they are part of a particular chapter, place or season of my life – school, college, university, work and church.  No two are the same and each one has great qualities and treasures to impart into my life.  Friends make a difference, they care, laugh and cry with us, share our ups and downs and more importantly love us for just being us.  I can live without mobiles, computers, tv and perhaps even books, but I can’t live without my friends.

Su

Go into your nearest town on a crowded Saturday afternoon and look around you.
Everywhere you look there are pairs, groups of people, FRIENDS ….

… read more HERE

Debbie

I have to be honest – when I saw this week’s prompt, I thought ‘Oh No!’ Everyone is going to be writing deep and meaningful things with beauty and eloquence – and I though – nah, I’ll sit this one out…

… read more HERE

 

If you would like to join us by writing a piece for Five Minute Friday the prompt will be available tomorrow and I am happy to host writing for anyone who does not have their own blog. It has been lovely to see so many contributions over the past few weeks and to enjoy a little shared friendship over a common interest through our Facebook group and by commenting on one another’s blogs.

Thanks friends.

5minutefriday

What is Five Minute Friday?

We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that Lisa Jo Baker posts at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday at lisajobaker.com. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.