Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Category: Five Minute Friday (page 3 of 3)

Writing for five minutes flat on a subject chosen by Lisa-Jo Baker

Friend (and Housework)

Five Minute Friday

Every Friday, bloggers all over the world join Lisa-Jo Baker in writing for five minutes on a particular subject, without pausing to edit or self-critique our work. The topic this week is: Friend.


Housework is something I don’t enjoy at all. I love it once it’s done, I really love that clean feeling you get in yourself when the carpets are free of crumbs and dust, and surfaces are gleaming. But I don’t enjoy the process. Consequently, I am prone to look at a room and see everything that needs doing in it, sigh and think: ‘I’ll do that tomorrow.’ I give up before I’ve even started. Unless a friend is due to visit, in which case I fly around like a demented creature vacuuming and polishing, and shutting the doors on rooms my guest isn’t likely to venture in to.

But my friend Jackie, who visited this morning, has inspired me with a new, fun way of doing housework. Over freshly-brewed coffee and homemade cheese scones, Jackie enthused about her method of staying on top of the chores (we didn’t spend the whole visit discussing housework – that would have been sad). She has a ‘lucky dip’ box in which are slips of paper with ‘small but manageable’ tasks written on them. So one task might be cleaning the bedroom window or washing the kitchen floor.Housework Box

So, I’ve decided to try out my friend’s idea for myself. Hence my very own ‘lucky dip’ box!



Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday is where bloggers from around the world write for five minutes flat on a topic chosen by Lisa-Jo Baker without stopping to edit or self-critique our work. The topic for this week is: Mighty.



You’re mighty in love:
You chose me and adopted me as Your daughter,
You’ve made me a princess in Your kingdom.
You pour Your compassion into my life,
And the more I get to know You, the more Your compassion spills over.
Who would have thought that I could ever begin to love without judging?
Thank You for changing me to be more like You.

 You’re mighty in power:
You saved me from sin and self,
Although I rebelled against You, You forgave me.
You don’t reject me or toss me aside,
Instead You paid for all my wrong doing at the cross.
You’ve set me free – and You are setting me free,
You give me victory over sin and self.
Who would have thought that I could be free?
Yet You have done it, and You are doing it.
Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed –
And I say Amen to that!

 You’re mighty in faithfulness:
Your faithfulness is my shield,
I am not afraid of the terrors of the night,
Because You deliver me from fear and perfect me in love.
You are my healer and You make me whole,
And You give me Your peace.
Peace is under-rated Lord, yet the best thing ever when I experience it.

 You Are Mighty, God, and I love You!




Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday is where bloggers from around the world write for five minutes flat on a topic chosen by Lisa-Jo Baker without stopping to edit or self-critique our work. The topic for this week is: Joy.


I love to be around joyful people. They have a positive outlook on life, no matter what they happen to be going through, and they make you feel better just by being around them. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of a couple of our good friends, Chris and Helena. They glow with the love of Jesus and visiting with them is like stepping into Heaven for a brief time. Whenever Adi and I spend time with them, all our conversation is about Jesus – usually trying to outdo one another (in a good way) with how God is blessing us and how wonderful He is!

Joyful people are attractive – there is an inner beauty that shines through despite physical looks or lack of them – and good to be around. Jesus was attractive in this way. People flocked to be around Him especially those on the fringes of society (prostitutes and ‘sinners’). The Bible tells us that Jesus is full of joy and gladness. And, after His disciples returned to Him excited after an encouraging time of sharing the Good News with people, we are told that Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.

Over the last few months, my eyes have been opened to who I am in Christ – that His Dad has adopted me and I am a child of God, and that I am a co-heir with Jesus and can enjoy all the things that He enjoys:  peace, joy, love, etc. Joy is not an emotion that we manufacture and isn’t reliant on circumstances, but is a precious gift from God. Consequently, I am beginning to enjoy joy! And I know that the more I understand with my heart what Jesus has done for me, and as I continue to follow Him and know Him better, my faith will grow stronger and I will overflow with joy and thankfulness.




Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday is where bloggers from around the world write for five minutes flat on a topic chosen by Lisa-Jo Baker without stopping to edit or self-critique our work. The topic for this week is: Garden.


My Grandma had a small but lovely garden. Even though I didn’t catch the green fingers of the Gascoine side of my family, I appreciated seeing all the blues and whites and pinks when I opened the front gate and walked up her garden path. Remembering those beautifully set out flower beds, names like lobelia and alyssum and nasturtiums come to mind. Each plant responded to water and sunshine, opening their leaves and petals so that everyone could enjoy them.

Grandmas Garden

Thinking about my Grandma’s garden has reminded me that my life changed a few months ago when I understood that I don’t have to strive to please God and bear spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. By loving and enjoying Him – responding to the watering of reading the Bible and the sunshine of His Holy Spirit working in me – spiritual fruit will happen. Jesus said that if I abide in Him (stick to Him like glue) and let His Word abide in me, I will bear spiritual fruit. It’s a promise. And Jesus never breaks His promises.



Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday is where bloggers from around the world write for five minutes flat on a topic chosen by Lisa-Jo Baker without stopping to edit or self-critique our work. The topic for this week is: Write.


Ever since reading Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Wood series to my teddies, I dreamed of being a writer.

When God opened the door for me to work part-time from home as a private medical secretary, I rejoiced because this would give me the time and opportunity to write. The plan was for me to write and/or research every day.

The reality looks like this:

I wake up and consider my day ahead. I decide I will write my book as soon as sit at my desk, not stopping before I’ve written 2,000 words. Then – and only then – will I do my secretarial work.

I eat breakfast and take my second cup of coffee to my desk. I turn on my laptop. I glance at the folder containing the first draft of my book…. I decide to quickly check Facebook. I wouldn’t want to miss anyone’s birthday or important announcements.

Facebook checked, I log in to Twitter. After all, I need to keep up with my fellow Tweeters or how else will I build a platform for marketing my book?

Better take a quick look at email. There might be something urgent.

Several emails later, I head for the kettle and make a cup of tea.

Back at my desk, I stare uninspired at the screen for a few minutes before remembering I really need to put some washing in. Downstairs I go with the wash basket.

The work mobile rings. It’s a patient making enquiries about something or other. After the call ends, I decide I may as well do my medical work now and do some writing later.

All the time I’m working, there’s a niggle at the back of my mind that says: WRITE!

At 5 pm, there’s only an hour left of the work day. I make a huge effort to put my work away and pull out my first draft. I open the document on my laptop…. and write. (Sometimes, anyway.)



Five Minute Friday is where bloggers from around the world write for five minutes flat on a topic chosen by Lisa-Jo Baker without stopping to edit or self-critique our work. The topic for this week is: Tree.

Five Minute Friday


I was very ill for the whole of 2010 with cerebellar ataxia caused by severe migraines and ME/chronic fatigue syndrome. I saw several specialists including two neurologists who arranged tests and tried different treatments, but nothing seemed to work. I may as well have been popping Smarties in my mouth for all the good the tablets did me. One Sunday evening that autumn, my pastor prayed for me along with the church elders and some good friends. Breakthrough! The excessive weakness, paralysis and constant vertigo lifted and never returned. But there was still a way to go and over the coming weeks, I had to keep pressing in for complete healing.

One thing that encouraged me to keep going in prayer was a promise God gave me one morning in November of that year. I had just received a letter from my employer confirming that they were letting me go because of the illness. It wasn’t unexpected, but seeing it in black and white hit me hard.

‘Come upstairs,’ I sensed the quiet voice of God speaking to me. ‘I’ve got something to show you.’

I needed to go upstairs anyway, because I had a basket full of washing that needed drying. As I got to the top of the stairs, I sensed that small voice again. ‘Come into the study.’ I walked into the study, still holding my basket of washing.

‘Look out of the window.’ I stepped closer to the window, gazing out over the garden. It was winter, nothing much to see. Then that quiet, reassuring voice again.

Lilac Tree

‘Look at the lilac tree. Do you see how it has no leaves on its branches? It looks dead, as though nothing would ever blossom there again. But come spring, buds will appear and then leaves and flowers will blossom and birds will be able to build their nests in it again. That’s like you. It’s winter for you now, but spring is on its way.’

That word from God kept me going through some difficult weeks, until the next big breakthrough in February 2011 when He healed me from ME/chronic fatigue.


(Picture of the tree added in after the time limit!)



It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Five Minute Friday. This is where bloggers from all over the world write for five minutes, without stopping to edit, on a subject chosen by Lisa-Jo Baker. The topic this week is Ordinary.

Five Minute Friday


Most of us consider ourselves ordinary. We want to fit in, be accepted, and not stand out for the wrong reasons. Can our lives be significant?

Let’s think of an ordinary, everyday object:  a pen. Costs as little as a few pence (especially the blue Bic biro which is what I favour), but it can be used to do extraordinary things. A mere pen can be used to write an encouraging note, send a card letting someone know you’ve remembered them, or write a masterpiece. The way an ordinary tool is used can make it significant.


God doesn’t see us as ordinary. He loves us so much – and that includes you – that He sent His Son to die for us. We were cut off from a relationship with Him, which is a terrible position to be in. But the Father wanted that relationship restored and so He paid the only price that could buy us freedom and put us in the extraordinary position of being adopted by the Father: Jesus’s death was that price. The worth of an object is determined by its cost. Your worth is that someone who loves you more than you can ever imagine died for you.

When an ordinary person has been adopted by God, they become extraordinary. Life has significance and meaning. You can know genuine peace and security.

Don’t settle for ordinary – get to know God and be extraordinary.




Every week I join with other writers around the world for #FiveMinuteFriday. This is where we write non-stop for five minutes on a topic chosen by Lisa-Jo Baker. We ignore our inner editor and don’t pause to think too much, we just write. It’s strangely liberating and lots of fun. So here goes on today’s topic: Present.

Five Minute Friday


What do I have right now in the present? Most importantly, I have peace. This is something I suspect I’ve lived without for most of my life. Peace – real peace – is a beautiful thing. For me, it means not having to strive to get God’s attention or try to manipulate Him into doing what I think He should do, but to sit back and trust Him to be in control because He is God and He knows what He’s doing without unnecessary input from me. Peace for me also means not getting stressed by the neighbourhood dogs barking. After my thoughtful hubby prayed for me to be ‘normal’ recently, barking has mercifully been relegated into background ‘white noise’.

What else do I have in the present? I’m enjoying sunshine and summer warmth, while sitting at my laptop writing this. An hour ago, my ‘present’ was lunch with an online-but-new-in-the-real-world friend. We enjoyed macaroni cheese and garlic bread (yum) followed by cake (chocolate and banana for me, carrot for her) and a latte each. We talked non-stop before wandering around arty craft and gift shops, pausing to examine scarves while debating whether or not to treat ourselves (we didn’t). But that’s now in the past of course. My recent past, but my past.

My present now is the alarm on my iPhone erupting; guess my five minutes is up. And my immediate future which will shortly become my present is to save this piece of hurried writing and post it to my blog.



Five Minute Friday

Singing is powerful.  I never realised how powerful it is until I was ill three years ago.  The only way to battle the darkness that sometimes threatened to engulf me was to sing.  And not just any old song:  hymns, choruses, spiritual songs and Psalms were what I sang. There is a well-known Christian chorus:

All hail the Lamb, enthroned on high, His praise shall be our battle cry….

which I had never taken it seriously before, just thought it was an emotional, not very substantial song.  But it’s real.  A follower of Jesus really can do battle through praise.  I battled the last part of my illness for four months by praising God, yep just by singing.  And at the end of that four months He healed me from the illness.

Even now, if I’m having a bad day or if life feels overwhelming, I know that by listening to worship songs (or better yet, singing), hope and joy begin to rise again in me.  Some of my favourite verses are from Psalm 40 because they describe so well how God rescued me out of the darkness of sin and illness, giving me a new song to sing:

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as  I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

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