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

GIFT GIVING IDEAS FOR A MINIMALIST

I approach life with a “less is more and even less is even more” practice. I prefer gifting someone with generosity, kindness, gentleness, time, listening-to-understand…

Christmas and birthdays can become difficult for my circle who love gifting with material tokens of love. People ask, “If you don’t like extra material possessions, what am I supposed to get you?” My answer? Consumables and outings!

A friend challenged me to publicly post an idea list to help her understand my appreciation for minimal inventory. I rise to the challenge!

My favorite things

*Donations to inner-city schools and youth centers

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

*Donations to animal rescues and humane societies

*Gift certificates to retreat centers

*Tickets to live theatre

*Cabin/Bed & Breakfast stays

*A dream chasing/travel partner. I have at least 200 places and experiences I want to explore. So far, I’ve gotten 67 of those dreams realized.

*Workshops, classes, seminars to satisfy my insatiable curiosity to learn

*One-on-one walks and phone dates with an occasional coffee or lunch date.

There ARE some material gifts I do enjoy:

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*Candles with citrus or bakery scents (no rose, lavender or patchouli!)

*Any flavor of Dunkin Donut coffee

*Wal-Mart and JC Penney gift cards (the only two places I shop for clothes and essentials)

*Grocery gift cards (I love to cook and bake)

*Turtlenecks in every color (the kind that go all the way up the neck)

*Thick white or black socks

*Double-sized bed flannel sheets (I can never be too warm!)

*Fun print postage stamps (the FROG ones from last year are still my favorite)

*Dark chocolate (bonus if it includes mint or nuts…so the chocolate doesn’t get lonely)

*Note and thank you cards that are blank inside

*FROG stickers and stationery (FROGS have animated fun expressions)

*Orchid, turquoise and lime green are my happy colors

Readers, your turn! What gifts do you give to a “non-materially driven minimalist”? What “less material” gifts do you love to receive?

Leaping into the holiday lily pad of life from the FROG Blog,

Christina

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SELECTIVE TENDERING

Cain and Abel. Can and able.

I see my nature in Adam and Eve’s sons, Cain and Abel. Cain worked the land. Abel tended the flocks. When offering time came to present their God-given harvest, Cain brought a seedy portion of his produce. Abel stocked a butcher block full of his animals’ first born.

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Scripture isn’t detailed, but I visualize Cain wheeling in his overripe fruit and shriveled veggies. The offering plate comes to Cain and his “fresh picked daily” looks like it was yesterday’s fresh pick. Meanwhile, Abel steps up to the plate and presents this morning’s meaty cuts from prime stock (hopefully not from Adam’s rib selection that was used to make Eve).  

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I don’t know the natural abilities of Cain and Abel but in this text, they display their heart. One son can. One son does. The fruit of their spirit is marketed by their action.

Sometimes I resemble Cain. I’ve been given what is necessary to complete my mission yet hold back from giving my best. In a soul search, I’d glean fear, stemming from concern for lack. What if I don’t have enough energy? What if I don’t have money, time, knowledge, exposure, experience,…?

I’m unable to do many things. My creator designed me that way so I could learn to rely on him. Sometimes in my self-reliance, I think I can, but choose to be unwilling.

Frighteningly, the flip side of lack is also fear. Fear of success. What happens if I achieve a goal? Then what? What if I complete an assignment? Will I be able to keep up? Can I meet the next challenge? How will I maintain what I create…?

I’m a blend Cain’s action with an Abel heart. By offering his firstborn, Abel shows how he trusts that God can and will make a way. When he is loyal, Abel sacrifices his fear for faith. God could and did. He still can and does!

Because God can, I will.

Offering my spirit so I can willingly plant good hearted seeds,  

Christina

“…The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast (Gn. 4:4-5).

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PODCAST WENT LIVE!

This is the link to my 25 minute interview with Jason Meuschke, host of The Sample Chapter Podcast.

Episode 151 went live Tuesday November 10th. It featured my first two books, “Life’s Too Short for Dull Razors, Cheap Pens and Worn-Out Underwear and FROG Blog: Learning on a Lily Pad.”

https://samplechapterpodcast.com/christina-m-eder-lifes-too-short-for-dull-razors-cheap-pens-and-worn-out-underwear

Healthy Thanksgiving month! Sharing the lily pad with turkeys and green beans,

Christina

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UNIVERSAL TEACHER’S PETS

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A Dominican sister friend told me, “We’re all God’s favorites. He isn’t a respecter of people.” Her comment came after I said she is one of my favorite people on earth. She knew I meant this as a compliment yet gently reminded me that God doesn’t have “teacher’s pets.”

Some people are easier to love. Some circumstances are lighter to bear. God calls me to love everyone. Everyone? (Yes, everyone Christina).

Bear one another’s burdens? Yes. Not all burdens. Not all burdens at once and not everyone’s burdens.

When he places someone in my path, He invites me to share in what he shoulders. He instructs me to lift someone up. He doesn’t expect or instruct me to carry a person, but I am to meet them with love.  

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My God doesn’t create favorites. I am told he loves and provides for all his children. He offers guidance but ultimately, he’s the director of this earthly journey. When I follow his guidance and act upon his direction, it’s simpler to love and bear with one another. Not necessarily easier, but simpler.

In Isaiah 24:2, this context refers to God’s plunder of the entire earth. During judgment time, he will show no favoritism. In the same way that he shows universal conviction, he’s universally objective with his grace and mercy.

Practicing love on everyone. Lifting others to join me on this lily pad of life,

Christina

“It will be the same

for the priest as for people,

for the master as for his servant,

for the mistress as for her servant,

for seller as for buyer,

for borrower as for lender,

for debtor as for creditor (Is 24:2).

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SPRING FORWARD. FALL BACK.

Daylight savings’ time. In spring, I “lose” one clock hour. In fall, I “regain” that hour. It’s not the same hour, but in a year, 60 minutes becomes timeless. It all comes out in the watch.  

Round Silver-colored Wall Clock

Mindfully, I sometimes live in a state of daylight savings’ time. My pendulum thoughts swing between past and present. Recalling previous hours. Anticipating future hours.

With one stopwatch statement and question, James 4:13-14 challenges, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life?”

Be mindful. Enjoy the moment. Live in the present. Yeah, yeah, yeah. To me, these cliches have become noisy gongs instead of once-welcomed chimes. I’ve heard these mindful messages so often that they ring as buzz words in my heart. They offer truth and I benefit from living their full value.

During this weekend of daylight savings, I pledge to consider these timeless questions:

Fall back:

*If I could fall back to one hour of my life, what would I relive?

*What would I change from that hour?

Spring forward:

*If I could jump ahead one hour, what would I want to (or feel the need to) know?

*How would knowing in advance change the way I live this hour?

I’m unable to relive the past. I cannot outlive the future. I can stop time in its tracks when I am mindful and live in the moment.

I contemplate James’ message, “What is my life?” What am I doing to present myself in real time?

Now ticking from the lily pad of life on the FROG Blog,

Christina

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even now what will happen tomorrow…” (James 4:13-14).

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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).

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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).

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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