Five Minute Friday: Roots

I had the gorgeous pleasure of writing live and sharing my post at open mic during Allume. My all time favorite group of gals was there writing along with me and I was honored to share the same space and writing wonder with them all. You guys, these women pour their hearts out in 5 minutes, without over thinking, without the pressure of editing, or backtracking, or rules. We just do what we love. We put words to page and commune in the family that happens over at Lisa Jo’s place. Wanna join. Write. 5 minutes. Link. Share. Encourage. You’ll never be the same. 

This weeks word: Roots

These are my roots. Both humble and brilliant. A worn down pencil and a tender groove where the words have imprinted on my very flesh. The pressure of pages pushing callouses  into my fingers. The Bic that bled dry as my story soaked the page. The keys that feel like home as I click away, the noise and tapping a beat that makes my heart step.

And the journals. Piled high and packed away in office boxes. Years of life, and memories, and story.

There is the journal of my 9-year-old self, locked with a 3 digit combination and purple butterflies gracing the front cover. In loopy bubbled handwriting I wrote the saga of my fourth grade year, the sugar daddy’s left in my cubby holed desk, the roller skating rink and glow sticks  tied to white laced skates. Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leopard playing during the couple skate and my longing for real love. My naiveté and dreamy fantasies. My first kiss both awkward and blissful.

There is the journal of my 16-year-old self. Angry slashed script streaking the page and spots where tears fell unrestrained and so much pain. The words an anthem of loss as I struggled to see a God in the world that made no sense and struck so hard.

There is the journal of my 21-year-old self. The baby that wouldn’t nurse right. The bone tired numbness that I had no name for. The doubt that I could do this at all, let alone well. The words drawn and long, lulling across the page and sometimes stopping abruptly, thoughts unfinished and fragmented. A nursing, a need somewhere, a schedule calling me away. So many things unfinished and lost, myself included.

There is this blog. The story of my roots. The story of my reach.

Because if I don’t go back, dig deep and bend low to the earth with hands scooping down, pulling the richness and warmth away to the place where the soil grows cold and light has not touched, I can never break the surface.  And it’s in that cold place were things are planted. Not on the surface where the sun shines brilliant but in the depths, and God places the seeds.

A chance at hope. A chance to reach and break the surface and grow out and spread branches to the sun and bear fruit. It starts here, where my roots begin.


  1. says

    “And it’s in that cold place were things are planted. Not on the surface where the sun shines brilliant but in the depths, and God places the seeds.” Beautiful. And so true.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks Janice. It’s good to know there’s a use for those cold dark places isn’t it? Are you all settled in yet? I saw you’re doing NaNoWriMo I was so tempted to try my hand at it but I’m going to wait till next year. I just can’t take on one more thing.

  2. says

    Oh mylanta. I’m so thankful I was placed right next to you tonight so I would read your words last before I hit the pillow.
    Friend, this…
    I’m out of words. Just know I love to come visit and dwell in the shade your branches bring…

    Love and hugs to you, friend!

    • Alia Joy says

      Love you Nikki. Love your encouragement and grace and company in this writing Jesus women world. You are a face that always brightens my path.

  3. says


    You need to teach me…seriously!
    I love having MET you this week at Allume! Your words feel RICHER to me!

    DANG…I am just loving your post today!

      • Alia Joy says

        NO! There are no pros here. We all just blurt and if you look through my archives, you will see that there are some great ones and some ummmm not so great ones. I think I wrote about someone smelling like a hot dog and that I didn’t really have anything to say one week. That was pure brilliance let me tell you. We would love to have you join in. The point is to be free, it’s a beautiful place to fail or fly. Either way, we catch each other. And we can ALWAYS use another voice. Especially yours.

    • Alia Joy says

      Ha! As if you need a teacher. Your posts are beautiful and rich week after week. The trick if there is one is to be an INFJ/INFP who overthinks and overfeels everything all the time so that there are a billion cluttered thoughts and emotions floating around at random and intersecting with each other at any given moment so at the word prompt my crazy brain releases a torrent of words. Sometimes coherent, sometimes cliche, sometimes crappy. You just never know but it’s fun to try. Also, I do go back and spellcheck because I am typing so fast that I make an astounding number of typos. Hurray spellcheck for making some sense of the muddle. Sometimes when I go back the word isn’t even recognized it’s spelled so badly and I have to try to remember what I was trying to spell.

      • says

        Some of my favorite writers and thinkers and PEOPLE are INFJ/INFP….you all have genius locked inside just waiting to burst forth!! And I love a little glimpse into your writing foray. Thanks for that and for your sweet love back to me!

  4. says

    Wow! So great! I agree, it’s awesome how much comes out in 5 minutes!
    “If I don’t go back…” love that last part.
    Nice “meeting” you this week.

    • Alia Joy says

      Nice meeting you too Libby. Looking forward to getting to know you more each Friday. Thanks for coming over and commenting here. Nice to have the company. :)

    • Alia Joy says

      Yes!!! You must have been writing this just around the same time I was visiting your blog because I thought the same thing. We should be friends. Your blog is so pretty and I loved all the pictures. I found you on Facebook and Twitter and am now stalking you. No, not really, just wanna get to know you more. :)

  5. says

    so… i read the comments… infj, eh? that’s me. i used to be an intj and then i had kids and must have been that the hormones turned my brain off and took over. always been a writer/thinker, though!!! what a treasure to have all those journals. I always thought… I sometimes wrote… but I was too afraid to put down in ink most of those musings. it left me too exposed and vulnerable – and not even locking them up in a box on a shelf in the back corner of the closet felt safe. guess the fact that i’ll write and share over the internet is a bit of concrete evidence of things God has been doing!

    and, i just want to say how much i appreciate your encouraging spirit. i see your name and thoughtful comments on so many of the posts i visit – week after week. thank you – and i’m sure others are thankful for you, too.

    • Alia Joy says

      Yay! Another INFJ. “INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.-” We’re the rarest of all the personality types so it’s fun to meet a kindred spirit. I actually have met quiet a few INFJ’s since starting to write publicly. I guess we all have something to say. I do think I may need a backup plan in case I die suddenly. Someone to come and burn all my journals. They’re all very real and raw.

      Yeah, I never thought I would write so publicly but then there’s that God thing. The one where He changes everything and you end up doing things you never thought possible or likely.

      And thank you for your encouragement as well. It’s my absolute favorite part of Fridays. Stopping by and seeing where God is taking everyone with their writing. Some weeks (like this one where I am sick in bed) I have lots of time to peruse and some weeks I can barely get to the person linked up ahead of me but I do love that when I can, I grow a bit closer to each of you.

  6. says

    Sweet Alia Joy, having heard you read at Allume, I read this today but in my head I *hear* you read it, I hear your voice and your cadence and I feel the gift of your exposed heart, and see the grace of Christ shine in you–beautiful my friend. Just beautiful pieces of you here. XO

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks Kris. I felt the same way meeting you. As if I already knew you and we weren’t strangers at all. Love what you bring to this community week after week.

  7. says

    This is something else. I am in awe. You have a gift. Just thanks :0) I was delighted to hear your words IRL last week, and now to keep seeing your heart here.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks Lauren. It was so much fun (after I stopped shaking) to read and write with all of you. I have no problem with public speaking but reading my own words for everyone felt crazy scary but in a roller coaster arms high in the air, stomach in the pit of your core kind of way. What a beautiful community we have here. I am so very blessed by all of you.

  8. says

    A chance at hope. I love this phrase. I love that your roots are all you! The stuff that we have been through before become our roots for now. Beautiful post.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks Nataline. It’s a lot to work through, my past, but I’m realizing all the things God planted that seemed hidden but are now bearing fruit. So glad to visit you this week and get a glimpse into what He’s doing in your life as well.

  9. says

    Such incredibly beautiful words…in 5 minutes?!?! You are amazing. I love the line about spreading branches and bearing fruit…

    I love hearing your voice last week as you read your words. How did we not connect in person???


    • Alia Joy says

      I know! Not enough time. There were a few people I missed and I seriously don’t know HOW that happened. I’m glad to connect here but you owe me a real life hug. Next year?

  10. says

    Alia, I wish you knew how much you’ve blessed me. Not just today with this amazing post that gave me goosebumps, but with the way you welcomed me into your group of friends that first day of Allume when I felt ever-so alone and intimidated. You were an answer to a frantic plea to my Father. Now, would you mind sharing some of your writing talent with me? You have more than enough to go around. ;)

    Blessings to you, my friend.

    • Alia Joy says

      Jamie, the feeling is mutual. You were such a joy to meet and share breakfast and story with. I can’t wait to continue this friendship online. I see from you blog we have mutual interests. ;)

  11. says

    Oh, Alia! You bless me over and over again. This: “Because if I don’t go back, dig deep and bend low to the earth with hands scooping down, pulling the richness and warmth away to the place where the soil grows cold and light has not touched, I can never break the surface.” Oh my, you are preaching my heart this morning, girl. Continually amazed by you. And I happened to see a comment at Lisa-Jo’s that made my heart smile so wide. Thank you, friend! So honored. Cannot WAIT to meet you in person at Jumping Tandem. Thanking God for you and your roots that run deep!

    • Alia Joy says

      Ashley, I feel the exact same way every time I visit your blog and sink down in your words. And yes, you are at the tippy top of my list for blogs that continually inspire and enrich my life. Are you going for reals? AAAAAHHHHHH! Can’t wait! It’s going to be amazing, simply by the fact that you’ll be there.

  12. says

    Love how the words come so naturally to you. It is a beautiful thing and one I am so glad I get to see each week in the span of 5 minutes. Thanks for the prayers and the encouragement. You are brave, bold and I’m so thankful to have met you!

    • Alia Joy says

      Oh thanks Jessica. I’m honored to write alongside you. Your post made me choke up. The simple beauty of being cared for and loved on. I find that in you as well.

  13. says

    I heard it this time in your own sweet voice ringing in my ears and it was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing yet another piece of your heart and amazing spirit with me. I’m so blessed to have found you months ago and met you only last week. Honestly, it didn’t feel like the first time. I knew you immediately as you were standing next to the elevator – the first person I saw. So many good words in here..

    • Alia Joy says

      Good thing I read last week and not this one. I am so nasally and stuffed up and I’m losing my voice, wouldn’t you know it. I literally have tissues stuffed up my nose. I look pretty awesome. And I totally agree. You guys felt like old friends from far away. ;)

  14. says

    I loved this post. I felt warm and nostalgic reading it – it felt a lot like I was travelling along with you down my own path. My journal at 16 was angry and tear stained and confused… Then I got to 21 and my jaw dropped open that so soon you were having to deal with the reality of being a mother. I did that 10 years later than you – respect! It sounds like quite a journey – pleased to be travelling some of it with you.

    And I am SO glad you got to show what you’re made of at allume – your writing is really excellent.

    • Alia Joy says

      Yes, I got married at 19, got pregnant at 20, had my first baby at 21. We did things kind of fast. Now he’s 12 and I think how quickly he’ll be reaching those same years. I am glad to have you along with me. It’s a bumpy ride but there’s a nice view. ;)

  15. says

    This… This makes my heart skitter and my breath sigh in hope… “A chance to reach and break the surface and grow out and spread branches to the sun and bear fruit. It starts here, where my roots begin.”

    • Alia Joy says

      Yep, we all start somewhere and believe me, I’ve retraced many a step and lost my way more times than I can count but I know where I come from now and it makes all the difference in where I am headed. Blessed by you again and again.

  16. says

    This is beautiful Alia! “Because if I don’t go back, dig deep and bend low to the earth with hands scooping down, pulling the richness and warmth away to the place where the soil grows cold and light has not touched, I can never break the surface.” Some good, good wisdom in those words!

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks Mindy, it was nice meeting you although it wasn’t nearly long enough. I think it was just in passing. We’ll have to remedy that next year.

  17. says

    I love that you write so beautifully and yet can manage to tie in Def Leopard. Love. it.

    I have my journals starting at about age 10 too. Still took me 20 years to realize I liked writing.

    • Alia Joy says

      What is a good blog post without a reference to early 90′s music right? Now whenever I hear that song, my mind automatically goes back to couple skate. It’s kind of a curse. Although luckily, I don’t hear that song often. LOL

      Well, I think sometimes writing your emotions/thoughts/experiences seems so different that the craft of writing. But it all has “roots” in the same forms of expression and communication. I’m glad you realized you like it! Otherwise we’d miss your voice here.

  18. says

    loved reading your roots in this post, and this is beautiful truth: And it’s in that cold place were things are planted. Not on the surface where the sun shines brilliant but in the depths, and God places the seeds.

    Amen! Blessed Friday to you, Alia Joy :)

  19. says

    Yep, you were born to write. Your roots go deep and I am so thankful that God has led you to share your gift with the world. Keep being faithful, Alia! You are truly a JOY! :)

    • Alia Joy says

      Ack, I wrote you a long reply and then my blog ate it! Bad blog! So here goes again.

      I just wanted to tell you how much that means to me and how much this community has helped to squelch that inner critic that always tells me my words aren’t good enough. I am blessed to be a part of this amazing community of women who gather each week and make much of GOD. Also, I don’t think I saw you once at Allume without a giant gorgeous smile. You radiate joy.

  20. says

    That really is the point of it all, isn’t it? Love how you captured this: “Because if I don’t go back, dig deep and bend low to the earth with hands scooping down, pulling the richness and warmth away to the place where the soil grows cold and light has not touched, I can never break the surface.” And how wonderful to meet you through the West Coast Christian Bloggers group!

    • Alia Joy says

      I’m learning to see the beauty and purpose in the cold dark places and periods in my life and how God plants deep. It’s a process but I’m thankful for this forum to share. So good to connect with you as well. Where are you on the West Coast?

      • says

        That “purpose in the cold dark places” is pretty much where I live as a blogger and speaker. It really can be some of the best of God – and the best of us – that we ever experience.

        Praying peace and joy over you today, all the way from San Diego :).

  21. says

    Stunning, stunning, stunning… Your words flow masterfully, sharing your story, allowing your heart and life to unfold before us. Thank you for that! Please, next year, let’s make more time to talk at Allume. I fell like we high-fived as we passed. I want to know Alia better:)

    • Alia Joy says

      I know. I felt that way a lot. The hug and smile and passing by. It all went way too fast. We definitely need to connect more. I’ve been MIA from the moms group but want to jump back in there soon. Right now, I am just adjusting to being a mom again after being away from them and this cold isn’t helping.

  22. says

    You can write it, girl. Just beautiful–love how this is your claiming your roots and letting us be blessed by them here. Yes, He places the seeds, and I love how you see that and trust the growth He does. Gorgeous. thank you.

  23. says

    Man can you write. When i read this I can FEEL the earth in my hands. I can see that cold, rich, dark earth- the place where we begin to take root. I love this. So much.
    Also- I am a journaler. i also have the journal with the padlock, the angry teenage angst and the sporadic ramblings of my early 20′s- mostly where I lied to myself in script about how great my life was. Funny how I can recognize that now…. :)
    Can’t wait to read more of you.

    • says

      Thanks Nicole,
      So you’re a journaler too. It’s crazy looking back huh? I go out and dig them out of boxes every few years and skim the pages and it always strikes me how clearly you can see things in retrospect with the added wisdom of time and experience. It makes me wonder if I’ll look back on these posts in a few years and shake my head or nod knowingly. Thanks for stopping by here and sharing, it’s been fun connecting with you online since Influence.

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