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, Prayers, Troubled Waters

JUST THE FACTS MA’AM

“Then she ran…and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him” (John 20:2).

In this gospel from John, Mary Magdalene was visiting Jesus’ grave early one morning when she saw the stone covering His tomb had been rolled away. It was still dark, and the text doesn’t indicate that anyone else was with her, so she hurried to find Simon Peter and John to investigate this alleged crime scene. Mary used the proverbial “they” to assume that thieves had stolen Jesus’ body. She ran with her first thought to tell Simon Peter and John.

Simon Peter and John acted upon Mary’s recount and expected to find grave clothes and Jesus’ body gone when they arrived at the tomb. Instead, they found neatly gathered clothes and wraps that covered Jesus’ face. (I surmise that Jesus spoke Mary’s love language of service when He folded his laundry before leaving the tomb).

I relate to Mary Magdalene’s presumption because of my abundant experience with misconceptions. For example, I watch someone speeding and weaving between cars on the road and become agitated that their selfish moves endanger others. Pause. (Christina, look in your own rearview mirror). What did drivers assume about me while I raced down the highway to the vet emergency room when our dog had a whole tennis ball lodged in his mouth?

Another example of my first glance misunderstandings was when I saw a heap of bags and piles of clothing lying near a Goodwill donation center. Thinking some charitable but lazy person couldn’t brave the cold long enough to leave their car to walk their contribution to the bin, I resolved to clean up what proverbial “they” messed up. As I reached the container, I found a woman huddled under that heap of plastic bags. She had a pillowcase filled with clothing that wouldn’t protect her from the 20-degree temperatures. I identify with Mary Magdalene’s assumed conclusion before collecting more facts. I’ve seen (and spoke) my reaction before wisely sifting it through a filter of compassion.

Based on one rolled away stone, Mary Magdalene shared her misguided truth with others. Before factoring her grief, startled observation, and a dark morning when she was alone, she accused “them” of stealing. She exclaimed, “They have taken away the Lord.” I would love to hear how Mary, Simon Peter, and John compared stories when daybreak revealed the Truth.

Jesus, thank You for your light of Truth, especially when my thoughts and actions are dark. In this world of technology, filter my automatic assumptions through Your gate of grace. I’m grateful for Your empty tomb that reminds me that only You know my full story and faithfully love me.

Trading in my grave clothes for white robes to leap into the lily pad, Christina

Frog Blog, Grace, Hope, Prayers

PRODUCTION LINE

I appreciate the value of organized details and applaud wisely crafted designs. I caution against over planning without production, intentions without action. Reading and researching have significance, but when does too much strategizing bleed into procrastination? What amount of stringent forecasting translates to missed opportunities? Someone said when anticipation to strategize outweighs action it’s time to change strategies.

I understand that not every brilliant idea needs to be implemented, but how many assignments are lost because over thinking leads to delay? Some concepts require waiting but do we (we, including the person at this keyboard) drag our feet under the rationalization that circumstances don’t align with our expectations (our, again, including the person typing the FROG blog). The wisdom lies in determining when we are supposed to wait, and when we are expected to plow forward.

Consider the profession of agriculture. There is much to learn about farming before someone puts his or her hand to the plow. The potential farmer has decisions about tending crops, orchards, animals, or a combination of producing. He or she assesses crop selection, land preparation, product market value, climate, and soil tests.

What happens if that aspiring agrarian buys land, equipment, animals, feed, and seed but leaves all purchases in barns and grain bins? When asked why the animals haven’t been fed or seed hasn’t been planted, the dream farmer responds that he or she will start an agriculture profession when it’s warmer, cooler, sunnier, or after vacation. The farm land then remains fallow and the animals are laid to rest, all buried under a harvest of drawing board sketches. The plot (of land) thickened but never took root beyond a field of dreams. Build it and they will come (‘but we’re not in Iowa anymore’ serves a load of corn as its logical ration). The land line became a land mine, a bumper crop dream dying in a nightmare of planning without production.

Haggai 2:19 (NKJV), “Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit.” The last sentence of that verse offers redemption after actions and words intersect: “But from this day I will bless you.”

Lord, help me use wisdom when tending your field plans. Guard me from planting thoughts and saturating the dirt with watered down intentions. Teach me when to let land lie fallow, prepare me to plant crops according to your growing season. Show me when to till the soil, weed, and irrigate so I can share a bumper crop harvest with others.

Implementing without withering away, 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