Fitness, Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Lighthearted Humor, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters, Uncategorized, Writing

CLOSING IN ON GRIEF

I’ve gained on-the-job training through the tedious process of grief. I’m rocked with a gravel pit of emotions when I lose people, animals, health and jobs. As a nature lover, I’ve sometimes felt sadness after trees have been cut down. I cringe when I see land, especially farmland, buried alive under concrete that promises “building development.”

However, I’m lily pad green when it comes to dealing with the closure of our small-town library. It’s been temporarily “quarantined for 19 reasons” since March (I avoid speaking overused buzz words to describe this worldwide 2019-2020 experience).

Image result for free pictures of library

Our library joins other libraries in their quest to house abundant resources. It provides a home for tutoring, workshops, author book signings, and hosts community events. There’s a small transient community that relies on this library as a shelter from inclement weather.

The staff greets everyone with a smile, often by first name. They are richly generous to the poor people who need computer help and research advice. (Word out on the street is that Christina M. Eder offers these caring library workers ample job security for their technological expertise)!

Since March, I’ve realized I anticipated the days when a volunteer took his dog to the children’s room to read “Tall Tales” for story hour. Since the library is across the street from our middle and high school, students could participate in their after-school programs with snacks included.

See the source image

I’m discovering that through a closure, there’s an opening of appreciation. I realize how much I miss our library community, events, staff and resources. Patrons can go online to attend virtual workshops and check out materials, but it’s not that valuable face-to-face interaction I embrace. In its absence, I’ve become more present with thankfulness. I’m eager for its doors to re-open.

For now, I pen this temporary eulogy and trust that the library hasn’t permanently checked out. While we’re on hold and unsure of its due date, I’m believing in its resurrection. Until then, I shelve my gratitude for all libraries and staff.

Closing today’s chapter of the FROG Blog,

Christina

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Lighthearted Humor, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters, Uncategorized, Writing

THE SAMPLE CHAPTER PODCAST READING

Yesterday I got to talk with Jason, the vibrant host of The Sample Chapter Podcast (https://samplechapterpodcast.com/). We shared an animated conversation and he’ll post our interview on his show in late November.

This is one of the pieces I read from The FROG Blog: Learning on a Lily Pad book. The other reading that will air is a chapter from my first book, “Life’s Too Short for Dull Razors, Cheap Pens and Worn-Out Underwear.”

These two books and my latest release, “Unthawed: Lessons from a Frozen Lily Pad” can be found on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Kindle.

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SADDLING UP SLOWLY

“Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk much” -John Wayne

With a rise in organic food production and utilizing natural resources, I’m intrigued that our communication processes don’t match this growing trend. I use a flip phone (yes, I’m writing and living this statement in 2018), check email and voice mail twice a day, and text only if it’s one of the pre-programmed “insert quick text” messages in my phone.

I’ve watched so many people allow themselves to be controlled by their phones and computers. These devices are incredibly valuable and link us to opportunities that John Wayne didn’t encounter when he saddled up for his day. I’m concerned that these networks have become technological umbilical cords, possibly cutting off life that needs to be naturally birthed.

We have a family mantra, “If nobody is hurt or killed, then the rest of life is simply inconvenient.” Outside of emergencies, I’ve discovered that my slower response time often produces organic solutions. When I’m less wrinkled, options (nearly) seamlessly unfold.  The original intensity of a situation may not require permanent press as the steam naturally releases the creases of life.

Some people in my circle question if I’m concerned about missing what may be coming down the pipeline. Creation wasn’t designed to live in the future and I’ve become more intentional about trusting God to carry me one breath at a time. I can’t postdate a breath or breathe ahead of time so like John Wayne’s pointed style, I hoof it one step at a time.   Others choose to gallop their race horses through life.  I’ve come to prefer an ambling gait. Faster than a walk, but slower than a gallop.

With wholesome food for thought (ful) paces,

Christina

Fitness, Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Lighthearted Humor, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters, Uncategorized, Writing

KNEE DEEP IN THE HOOPLA

Newly Released! 50% of sales before September 30th from Unthawed: Lessons from a Frozen Lily Pad, will be donated to a non-profit organization.

Your book purchase will support this charitable organization that serves families who work multiple minimally paying jobs to support their families.

Electronic and printed versions of Unthawed are available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

From my Martha & Mary Writing Studio, I’m in the process of typing my handwritten letters to God from October 20-July 16th. These letters will become the next book in the FROG Blog series, “Knee Deep.”

This is my most courageous literary adventure. Below is an unedited sample from my Creator Chats notebook. Please consider it with gentle kindness.

Knee deep from the depths of my heart,

Christina

Photo by Lukas Hartmann on Pexels.com

Lord,

Thank you for reminding me to claim and live by the peace you offer. Belief leads to relief. Knowledge is head, wisdom is action. When I’m unwise or restless, guide me to go to you quickly to ask for whatever I need. Thank you in advance for answering my questions and developing wisdom.  In peace, Christina

Fitness, Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Lighthearted Humor, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters, Uncategorized, Writing

SEEKING READER INPUT

I’m creating book #3 in the FROG Blog Series (Knee Deep in the Lily Pad of Life). As of today, I have drafted 33 pages.

While I work on Knee Deep, I’ve connected with a social media guru who’s teaching me about investing resources wisely.

Image result for Question Mark

As we gather reader data, I ask you to respond:

How often do you prefer to read blogs? (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly)

What day do you typically read blogs?

Thank you for your input!

Calculating from the FROG Blog,

Christina

Frog Blog

THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone who has bought my newly released book in the FROG Blog series! This is the first book in which I’ve donated sales to charity.

From now until September 30th, I will donate 50% of sales from Unthawed: Lessons from a Frozen Lily Pad to a non-profit organization which supports disadvantaged employed families.

Please continue to buy this book, or my previously published books, at Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Amazon. Direct links can be found on my website http://www.gueststarcoaching.com under the “Books” tab.

I appreciate (and need!) your online reviews. Your comments develop strength in my writing.

Leaping from the lily pad of life,

Christina

Fitness, Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Lighthearted Humor, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters, Uncategorized, Writing

CONFESSION

I’m Knee Deep in my next book of the FROG series. Today, I take a breath to share a section from the book that started my published author career. To honor my 500 word or less FROG Blog limit, this chapter cuts off at 500 words.

From Life’s Too Short for Dull Razors, Cheap Pens and Worn-Out Underwear (available on Amazon and Kindle).

cover

CONFESSION

When I originally started writing this book, my purpose was to create a collection of transparent thoughts harvested from seeds of three decades of running. I wanted to portray that a sense of humor and optimism is key to running perseverance.

The written potpourri was intended to be lighthearted and comical, sometimes filled with random silliness. A few trusted people read my first drafts and graciously guided me away from my undertone of jaded flippancy. These mercifully honest people told me the book read more demeaning and preachy. They expected my natural default to sprinkle upbeat wit into everyday situations to show up on the pages. Instead, they were met with disappointment that I wrote something that was dramatically different than who I really am when they’re around. Ouch. My heart took a sucker punch because a lot of these people have known me for much of my life.

My knee-jerk reaction instantly licked my wounds. If I was going to write a book, I wanted it to have power, to stand out with a message deeper than something they’d read on the back of a furniture polish bottle. My mission in writing a book wasn’t to portray myself as a cynical broom rider with frequent flier miles on her sweeper.  My next line of defense, saturated in defensiveness, was some people reading my manuscript had obviously gotten stuffy over the years since we’ve known each other. Maybe they no longer “got” my random sense of humor.

I felt too exposed, too volatile, too embarrassed to fight back. Those first drafts required significant sweat equity. I thought I had thicker skin and more willing to accept constructive input. Had I intersected the fine lines between quick wit, sarcasm, and cynicism?  In a wearied state, I let the book sit for over two years. Fast forwarding through a litany of internal dialogue, lengthy journal entries, and a few hundred days of living the earthly experience, I received a “wider lens” perspective. After two years of manuscript dormancy, I pulled the most recent version of my book from a stack of papers. I read comments and editor remarks through a lighter filter. I read through a filter that didn’t promote fire and brimstone pulpits. I studied through a filter that didn’t accept lack of compassion. Yikes.

Thankfully, I was gently convicted enough to admit that instead of what I originally thought was refreshing transparency was raw, unbecoming cynicism. I used a written platform to mask personal unresolved issues that bit with a “get-back-at-the-world” bitter spirit. I’m eternally grateful for those people who exposed this edgy truth with loving honesty.

In my original drafts, I covered this unexplored section of my soul, fearing that readers would think I was too “out there.” Over years of running, I have accumulated fresh insights and discovered an intensely spiritual side I had not expected or sought.  So, with sincere appreciation to my writing life coach who encouraged me to dig beyond “see” level, I write this unplugged…

Christina 

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Lighthearted Humor, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters, Uncategorized, Writing

NOT THE FULL TRUTH

Unthawed: Lessons from a Frozen Lily Pad published in July! I’m working on Knee Deep, the next book in the FROG Blog series. Knee Deep contains material that I never expected to write about so until that book progresses, I post a piece from the original FROG Blog: Learning on a Lily Pad. My three books are available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Kindle.

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NOT THE FULL TRUTH

The word ‘actually’ seems to be used more frequently in many conversations I’ve had lately. I’m not sure if ‘actually’ is a version of “like” (i.e. ‘That play was so like amazing’) or if I’m simply more aware of ‘actually’ being used as a clarifying filler. For example, when somebody explains what they mean, the person may say, “actually, the situation was more eventful than…” or “it was actually most frustrating because it was something you’d see when…”

In all actuality, I ponder another phrase from the lily pad of observations. “To be honest with you.” I hear a version of this nearly every day, “This is what “x’ is saying, but to be honest with you, I think…” Or abbreviated, “Honestly? I really think she should tell him…”

When did we incorporate honesty as a clarifying statement? When speaking, do we need to credit truth with a phrase or word that assures listeners or viewers we’re being truthful? I tested a potential response I’d like to incorporate when someone says honestly. I tried this on a longtime friend who honestly has a great sense of humor and is truthful about feedback.

Speaker: “Honestly?”

Me: (mild interruption) “Yes, versus dishonestly.” (insert a wink when the speaker understands the wit)

Or

Speaker: “She can do whatever she wants, but to be honest with you, I think she needs to…”

Me (after the honest person finishes their sentence): “Just so I know we’re on the same page, you said she can do whatever she wants, but to be honest with you…,’ When you said you were being honest with me, was there a dishonest version of this situation/conversation/opinion that you were going to share also?” (another wink and smile to indicate I’m not pontificating).

This friend cautioned me to only use this banter with discretion (translate: that could turn sideways in a hurry). I appreciate her honesty! I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If there’s truth but it won’t add value or love to someone, I will honestly remain silent.

Seeking truth in love from a lily pad in the FROG Blog,

Christina

 

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Lighthearted Humor, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters, Uncategorized, Writing

A FRACTION YIELDS A WHOLE NUMBER SOLUTION

Reminder that until August 22, I will donate 50% of all sales from newly published Unthawed: Lessons from a Frozen Lily Pad to a non-profit that supports employed underserves families. Books are available in printed and e-book format on Barnes & Noble; Amazon; Kindle.

The following is a chapter in the upcoming Tadpoles book of the FROG Blog series. Your comments help me develop its content as our team works toward publication. Thank you for your generous support in words and purchasing any of my three published books so far!

animal bee bloom blooming
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

According to beepods.com, the average bee will make 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. As a human bee-ing, I’m stung with the thought of leaving the earth with 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey as my lifetime legacy.

Beepods.com also states that there’s only one queen bee in a colony of 40,000-60,000 bees during spring or early summer. In human colonies, this queen bee could be described as a woman of clout.

A honeybee visits 50-100 flowers during a collection journey. In earthly business, I envision 50-100 trade shows or making 50-100 client connections in one trip.

One-third of all food Americans eat is derived from some source of honeybee pollination. Where would I be without these diligent worker bees? Their job performance teaches me that they are being what they are created to do.

Am I completing what my heavenly King Bee asks of me? If I knew that my life would produce only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey, would I be satisfied? If I were queen bee, how would I lead a staff of 40,000-60,000? Could I handle 50-100 collection calls and at the end of the trip, return with a puny drop of honey in the bucket?

God has a role for everyone. In 1 Cor. 3, I read about everybody having a role. One waters, one plants, one gathers, but only God grows their offering.  Every job, every person is an essential worker to God. He could run the universe on His own, yet He chooses to invite us to join Him.

I’m humbled that a Being who created everything doesn’t need anything, but He wants my everything. Whether I’m queen bee or honeybee, I want to be His worker bee.

Buzzing around the lily pad on a wing and a prayer,

Christina

“So neither the one who plants not the one who waters anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and he one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:7-9).

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Lighthearted Humor, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters, Uncategorized, Writing

SMALL AUDIENCES, LARGE IMPACT

(4 minute read)

Following the cover page, I have included a chapter from my just released book, “Unthawed: Lessons from a Frozen Lily Pad.” Book is available on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Kindle.

From today until August 22nd, I will donate 50% of Unthawed’s book sales to a nonprofit organization that serves working poor families. Celebrate the birth of this new book and be part of helping underserved employed families by purchasing Unthawed before August 22nd.

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Small Audiences, Large Impact. 

Acknowledgment. Humility. Acknowledged before people. Acknowledged before God. Humbled before people. Humbled before God. I thoughtfully dealt these four cards from my deck of the lily pad.

Matthew 6 and 23 teach about humbly seeking God’s hand for all provision. My Creator knows I need food and shelter. He knows I need love. He also knows I desire attention after achieving a goal. When the gospel of Matthew was written, sounding a trumpet may translate to our modern Instagram, tweets, ribbons, and certificates of accomplishment. I value handwritten cards or trip vouchers over trophies and medals (plaque-like awards lead to dusting, hanging, and storing issues for this minimalist).

Whatever recognition method we prefer, I believe people crave an occasional bugle call for accomplishments. God tells us when we receive earthly acknowledgment for deeds, that is our reward. God’s prizes are perfectly endless. He always is and will be my captive audience.

The flip side of Matthew’s teaching about kudos is that if I humble myself, God will exalt me. What if I was more in tune to welcome God’s corrections before I misstep or misspeak? When I listen to His guidance, I’m often graciously spared public humility. If I need to be humbled, I’d rather do so in front of my Audience of One than in the company of a large crowd.

Life becomes a two-sided win when I’m more one-sided with God. I’m grateful for smaller-scale humility lessons from the One who is exalted. He can elevate me to places people will not and cannot.

Creator, thank You for Your gift of One. Jesus was limited to One of the Trinity but is unlimited in grace, understanding, and love. Teach me to be fulfilled with Your acknowledgment because only You define my worth. Thank You for Your individualized lessons in meekness to spare me from potentially public humiliation.

Jumping off the lily pad with a full house of new revelation,

Christina

Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you… Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward…. that your charitable deed may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Mt. 6:2, 4).

“And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt. 23:12).

 

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Lighthearted Humor, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters, Uncategorized, Writing

DRESSED IN SMILE

When I sort my closet, to keep my possessions to a minimum, I use a buy one, get rid of one item approach. I have a turquoise and brown dress that I bought on clearance at JC Penney over a decade ago.

barefoot basket blooming blossoming
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

This past year, I have considered trading this clearance dress for a newer one. I wear it “one more time” with the intent to wash it and donate it afterwards. Sure enough, the day I wear it, several people will say, “I love your dress!” Comically, that dress has become a discussion starter.

This morning, clothed in my JC Penney “one more time” dress, I walked past a neighborhood gardener. She looked up from her flower bed and exclaimed, “Your dress print makes me happy. I needed to see that today!” I don’t know what kind of day she was having or how the dress’s design made her smile, but I know her kind words hemmed an uplifting pattern into my day.

When I wear that dress “one last time” I’m not sure if it’s still in style. However, that gardener’s response reminded me that no matter what is considered fashionable by the world’s standards, smiles never go out of style.

Stitching threads of kindness into life’s lily pad on the FROG Blog,

Christina