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, 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, New Starts, Troubled Waters

WINNIE THE POOH AND BILLY GRAHAM

I’m reading the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. A friend loaned it to me with a suggestion to pay attention to people showing up for life through the characters of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, or Rabbit. As an animal lover, I was eager to learn more from our furry companions. The book confirmed a simple but firm observation from a mentor, “Christina, you’re trying too hard. You’re complicating life. Just let it happen.”

The excerpt from Tao of Pooh that stood out: “When we learn to work with our own Inner Nature and with the natural laws operating around us, we reach the level of Wu Wei. Then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort. Since the natural world follows that principle, it does not make mistakes. Mistakes are made–or imagined–by man, the creature with the overloaded Brain who separates himself from the supporting network of natural laws by interfering and trying too hard.”

In a dialogue with Pooh, the author teaches how Tao doesn’t force or interfere with flow. Instead, Tao allows life to work in its own way, organically producing results. I read Tao of Pooh during a work break and after work, I paged through a Decision magazine. “The Time is Short” article featured an interview with Billy Graham who said, …”There are billions and billions and billions of planets and stars. And as far as we know, this is the only planet in rebellion against God.”

Ouch! Rebellion? Ouch! Going outside of what my Creator crafted in His blueprint for my life? I never expected a connecting message between Winnie the Pooh and Billy Graham. A mentor’s insight, the Tao of Pooh, and Billy Graham’s interview in one day invited me to consider what I am filling and flushing out of the purity of life. I am discovering that any unrest and chaos is generated from living my will, (not Thy will) be done!

Seeking ponds to soak and flow without artificial coloring or (self) preservatives, Christina

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

JOB SECURITY

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things” (Mt. 6:34).

Tomorrow will worry about its own things. Ah, tongue in cheek reassurance. Matthew’s gospel teaches that each day assures job security on the worry line. Today’s storms are not to steal tomorrow’s thunder. I understand how I’m not to borrow tomorrow’s troubles. What about when thoughts bypass borrowing upcoming quandaries and I head straight toward stealing future concerns?

My study bible notes that worry represents division and distraction. Worry and faith cannot simultaneously exist. I’ve been practicing more single-hearted thinking so I can increase whole-hearted living by starting my morning walks whispering, “Think slow.” In the hushed darkness, I repeat those two words slowly until eventually that whispered repetition calms me.

As I walk, when my thoughts accelerate and tangent, I choose one piece of inner dialogue and whisper it. For example, if marriage, work, or parenting concerns overpower a peaceful state, I whisper, “Work project. Think Slow.” I find it cathartic to quietly expose the wayward thought so I can declutter my mind.

With consistent effort, I’ve gradually learned to convert my thinking into praying. If I’m talking, I might as well be talking to God rather than allow my thoughts to bounce around in my head. God can take my chatter and train me to change slippery worry into grounded action. I’m learning that if a thought is big enough to worry about, it’s big enough to pray about. Just as I monitor my walking pace to avoid injury, I’m adjusting my thinking pace to decrease inner jarring.

Matthew 6:34 teaches that tomorrow will have its own concerns. God will have new assignments every day and instructs me to “be anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6). Nothing means nothing. I have the freedom to choose worthy over worry. That decision depends on how strongly I seek peace. I am invited to live care free, full of His care.

Jesus, thank You for speaking to me in whispers. Guide me toward single-hearted thinking today so I can concentrate on whole-hearted living tomorrow. Align my needs with Your wants. You provide peace and clarity when I think slow (er). Help my thoughts follow Your worry-free instructions.

Whispering praises of new understanding from a thoughtful lily pad, 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