Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters

Frogs and Tadpoles

Readers, I’m testing a future book in the FROG Blog series on you.

The original FROG Blog, Learning on a Lily Pad was published in May and I’m currently working on the second book in that series. As 12 authors and I wrap up that adventurous project, I’m considering a third FROG book.

I’ve been using a 500-word or less style to write light into a sometimes dark world. I want to create a children’s version of  the FROG Blog and invite young people to share their stories.

Some of my ideas include using 300 words or less to encourage ageless wisdom through childlike examples. One of the children I talked to about this book suggested we call it FROG Blog from the Tadpoles.

This is a sample of where I’m at in the process. If you have comments or suggestions, please send me an email through this website or gueststarcoach@gmail.com.

LOOK UP!

Children, because of their shorter stature, looked up to Jesus while He taught when He was on earth. Unlike the people who were trying to silence the children, Jesus didn’t look down on those wee ones. Thankfully, He doesn’t look down on me as an adult child in training.

In Matthew 19:14, Jesus used an unexpected solution to a growing problem among the crowd. Instead of leaving the children in the background, He told the adults to bring those curious babes to the front of His class. He wanted to teach all children, regardless of age or education level.

People perceived children as distractive. Jesus viewed them as attractive. He delivered adult lessons through children blessin’s. Jesus holds more value in how we’ve increased our spiritual frame than how our physical stature has evolved.

In any area of my life, regardless of how low I sink, Jesus invites me to look up to Him. Whatever worldly heights I seek, Jesus invites me to look up to Him. As a daughter of God, Jesus wants me to always look up to Him.

Small in physical stature, yet growing in FROG leaps and bounds on this lily pad of life,
Christina

but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters

A SHOT IN THE DARK

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters (Gen. 1:1-2).

As an author, I identify with God’s creation story. In the beginning of each writing project, I sometimes see blank paper as a formless wasteland. The sun may be shining outside, but inside I’m waiting for inspiration to fill the abyss between start and finish. I anticipate Holy Spirit wind to sweep over the FROG blog to stir 500 uplifting words for a lily pad lesson.

My latest creation, “Life’s Too Short for Dull Razors, Cheap Pens, and Worn-Out Underwear” was written to satisfy a double-dare to write a book about what I thought during distance runs. That literary birthing process took eleven years to meet an undetermined finish line. Every strand of my DNA was created to write so that book’s deadline became a resurrection to fulfill a mission. I had allowed years of excuses to waylay God’s purpose for me to write publicly.

If God completed projects with the timing and reasoning as I sometimes do, heavens and earth may still be a formless wasteland. Instead, God took His “someday” thoughts and crafted them into “this day’s” action.

This is the day the Lord has made (Ps. 118:24). God knew He had eternity (and still does) to create, yet He moved when the notion to make heavens and earth stirred Him. If God responded to His Creator role with elapsed time, scripture may read, “There may come a day that the Lord might make. Let’s imagine rejoicing and practice being glad.”

Unlike God, my time on earth is limited. When He created in the beginning, He drew me into His plans. I want to use every day to draw nearer to Him. I do that through writing about His creative process working in my life.

Jesus, thank You for teaching me how to create light openings for dark coverings. Where I am unfocused, shape me into the form You desire. When I allow fear to excuse me from accomplishing Your assignments, nudge me toward completion according to Your time table. Thank You for writing my life into Your creative plans.

Inviting surrender and trust to sweep me across the waters of the lily pad,
Christina

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Love, New Starts, Prayers, Troubled Waters

MY NEXT BOOK JUST RELEASED!

The FROG Blog: Learning on a Lily Pad was released this week on Amazon and Kindle. This short collection includes me joining twenty-three authors who uniquely but briefly describe our delicate slice-of-life experiences.

Thank you to all those who have supported me in fulfilling a dare to write what I think about when I run. Until my book, “Life’s Too Short for Dull Razors, Cheap Pens, and Worn Out Underwear,” I never understood the value of writing reviews and Amazon stars until now!

With appreciation from the lily pad of life,

Christina

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Love, Prayers, Troubled Waters

EASTER SEASON FRIENDS

Good Friday! I sent a few Easter cards this week and just finished one to a forty (plus) year friend. Allisa and I met in grade school and have swum life’s lazy river lily pads and whitewater rafting currents. During Easter fasting, praying, and preparation, I realize she is a three-day Easter friend.

Allisa and I have faced Good Fridays: situational crosses, carrying heart burdens up steep hills, being ‘Veronica’ to wipe each other’s tears, pulling thorns from our crown of dreams. We’ve spent Holy Saturdays waiting for understanding, reconciliation, and bitter stings from Good Fridays to be healed. We’ve graciously celebrated Easter Sunday’s mountaintop vistas, brighter light, resurrected openings after dark dank boulders have moved.

Out of the Easter Triduum, I’ve learned a few lessons about Holy Saturday. Ironically, a Saturday season is when I’ve learned the most. There’s no way I can wrap my FROG legs around the intensity of Good Friday. In my Good Friday-like moments, I identify with the fight or flight experience. I comprehend pain. It’s tangible. It’s in my face.

I can’t fully fathom Easter morning until I get to heaven to see it from God’s perspective. I’ve been blessed with times of extreme hope, wisdom, joy, supernatural peace. Those resurrection moments propel me. I bask in the intense light of spiritual soaring. Like Good Friday, Easter moments are tangible. They’re in my face.

However, smack dab in the middle of crucifixion and resurrection is Saturday. How do I paddle in that seemingly lukewarm body of water? There’s nothing to see per se beyond a memory of past and hope for the future. What about pain in the night but joy comes in the morning? (Ps. 30:5). What happens when morning after morning I wake with no sign whatsoever of joy? How do I remain hopeful as I strain my bruised neck from Friday to anticipate Sunday? What about a waiting period that expands from doorstep to doorstop?

Whether I feel like it or not, I rely on the promise from Hab. 2:3 during Holy Saturdays: “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Allisa and I are like Easter perennials in a trifecta of soil. We’ve been repeatedly tilled, habitually planted, and gratefully harvested. I pray you have or will find an all-season porch friend in your spiritual Easter basket today!

Lessons and blessin’s from a three-leaf lily pad, Christina

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Love, New Starts, Troubled Waters

TREAT MEANT

I often use Socrates’ questioning method of teaching to encourage new answers to surface. As I mindfully floated on the lily pad today, I asked what the word treatment means to me? Dividing treatment into two parts, what examples do I associate with the word “treat?” What treats have I received that remain memorable? What treats have I given that generated unforgettable responses?

The dictionary defines treatment as “the act or manner or an instance of treating someone or something. The method in which it is handled.” This definition allows ample room for several prospective treatment options. I return to Socrates’ questioning style to dig deeper for ideas. What are the parameters I use to measure when I’m treating others how I want to be treated? Using examples of my treat desires (dark chocolate, candles, spiritually engaging conversations), do I gift others with their favorites? Does the energy I release toward others indicate a treat I’d like to receive?

I recently watched Marie Forleo interview Tim Ferriss who invited the audience to think about “treating others the way you want to be treated.” Ferriss suggested an alternative consideration. He asked if you treat yourself the way you treat others? Do you speak to others the way you speak to yourself? Do you respect margins and display grace for yourself with the same frequency as you allow for others? Self-care often overflows to more easily support other people and activities.

Ferriss isn’t promoting selfish love or self-serving treatment. He recommended viewers to practice compassion on themselves to experience what treating others kind-heartedly looks and feels like. He questioned how someone could understand what treating others thoughtfully looks like if they don’t treat themselves with courtesy. I’ve experienced Ferriss’s observations in my life. When I’m impatient or severe with myself, I struggle against irritability or harshness toward people and projects. When I speak slower and build larger margins between thoughts or schedules, I’m gentler with others.

To respect my 500-word FROG blog limit, I leave my lily pad to review more answers from my treatment plan. I hope you will invest time to discover what treat means to you. What is your treat-meant? To treat yourself, to treat others? I believe your answers will translate to upgraded treats!

Leaping with care, Christina

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Love, New Starts

CHEVRONS

My Mom taught me to crochet when I was in elementary school. We began with single crochet chaining, double crochet stitches, and eventually created more elaborate patterns. In her crafting projects, Mom gravitated toward chevron patterns. Her blanket colors and sizes were different, but Mom’s handiwork often displayed her signature “V” stitch.

I remember Mom looking peaceful when she crocheted. I’d sit on the couch beside her and pull yarn from the skein at a pace to match her stitching flow. Her hands moved rapidly but she was silent other than quietly repeating patterns in a definitive tempo style. Her chevron “cadence” was, “ten crochet up, top the peak with three doubles, chain one, top the next peak with three doubles, and head back down the V with ten double crochets.”

As I became more skilled in crocheting, Mom used yarn patterns to teach life lessons. Using the chevron shape, she taught about life’s ups and downs. A crocheted mountain requires counting to ten when stitching up and down. Both sides of the mountain are vital because each offer a different view of the tapestry. At the chevron points, there’s a double trinity and to finish the blanket with excellence, you cannot stop at the top or bottom of the “V”.

I watched Mom rip out several rows of a project because she made a significant error in her pattern’s foundation. She told me how one additional or missed stitch creates an off-centered blanket. I learned the importance of counting stitches and fixing a mistake as soon as you find it.

It took me one difficult lesson of not heeding her instruction. I figured with two extra stitches, I could drop one on each side, so the end number remained the same. Instead of correcting my work at that point of miscalculation, I moved forward. My first chevron afghan turned into a V shaped blanket with a small base and large fanned out top. Crocheting, as in life, is seeing how an unfixed mistake can expand and “unravel” over time.

Mom taught that when working with darker colored yarn (i.e. life’s valleys) stitches sometimes needed to be pulled gently apart for visual clarity. She adjusted to lighting limitations by using daytime to crochet dark colors and evening hours to crochet brighter hues. She taught me to relax if I didn’t see a pattern take shape until several rows were completed. She’d gently repeat, “Just keep working through it. Don’t worry about future stitches, you can only crochet one stitch at a time.”

When I start any crochet project, I still “hear” Mom’s reassurance about weaving shape into my life tapestry. Foundations are vital, all colors matter, each stitch counts, all details make a difference to the Creator.

Casting a life hook and line from my crochet and pray lily pad, Christina

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Love, Troubled Waters

WORTHY PERSEVERANCE

I’m adding another story to a zillion “tales” about dog owners loving their K-9. For the record, I lay a wager to win any dog lover contest and am fighting against changing today’s FROG blog to DOG blog: replacing Fully Rely On God with Depend on God. This reflection shines light from a lesson I learned through my favorite dog.

A parent from a school where I used to work brought a black lab puppy to the front office. She requested help in finding homes for a new litter of 10 labs. I saw the dog and knew I’d adopt him and name him James.

The name James means perseverance. James (the human) wrote my favorite book in the Bible. James (the puppy) had to be “divine intervention.” I was distance running at the time and practicing increased stamina. Labs require much exercise and I needed running endurance. A match made in heaven.

There are 1000’s of reasons why I loved James and 100’s of ways my heart broke when he died at seven years old. One habit James had was whenever I entered any door, no matter how long I had been gone, he’d stop what he was doing to search for something to show me. He’d grab any item that was in his path to display his enthusiasm for my entry. He was insistent on bringing tokens of love, including a toy, sock, bone, or occasionally a couch pillow.

One day, James looked panicked while he hunted for a show and tell object. The house was spotless and loose items weren’t readily available to retrieve. He ran up and down stairs, whimpering as he darted from room to room as if to say, “Just wait. I promise I’ll find a gift to bring.” His quest turned from cute to sad, so I said, “James, just bring me yourself and that will be plenty.” He continued living up to his enduring name and persevered until he found a doorstop as that day’s prize.

That observation prompted me to understand how God wants me to live. He doesn’t require or ask me to make a name for Him. He’s done that (and more) without my assistance. Like James, I mistakenly think I must persevere and produce to get God’s attention or approval. Eph. 1:5 teaches that I am adopted as His child.

I wonder if God watches me in the same way I observed James as he painstakingly searched to produce an unnecessary-for-love-sacrifice. I picture my Creator gently but pointedly telling me, “Christina, just bring me yourself and that will be plenty.”

Father, thank you for adopting me into Your eternal family. Remind me (often) how You made me complete in Christ and You love me unconditionally (Ps. 35:5-6). Help me yearn to show others the love You’ve relentlessly shown me.

Searching for You with perseverance, Christina