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

Joyfully overweight

girl eating cupcake while sitting beside woman in blue denim distressed jeans
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

A lady came for her weekly appointment at a nutritional center where I once worked. After I took her blood pressure and weight, she leaned into me, almost conspiratorially, and whispered, “I know why I gained weight. I’ll tell you when we get back to your office.”

The lady talked about how her family unexpectedly called to ask if they could stay with her for a few days between their travels. She said, “I’m not your stereotypical mom or grandma. I love my family, but I dislike hosting overnight guests.”

Thinking this lady was using her backstory to divert from discussing her weight gain, I guided the conversation by saying, “Betty (name changed), I can imagine with all of your culinary skill, your guests appreciated your home cooking!”

She offered a knowing smile and said, “Of course, but after they left, I understood something bigger. Initially when they called to ask if they could extend their visit, my patience and compassion levels were stretched. With two adults and children in my home for three days, I know I’ve built stamina muscle and you taught me that muscle weighs more than fat.”

She continued, “Through hospitality, I realized that even though my creature comforts and wants were temporarily compromised, the love in my heart grew. I figure that between gaining muscle through repetitions of patience and compromising, plus my heart increasing in love, this 2 ½ pound weight gain is worth my joy!”

To my reader, I invite you to personalize your own FROG lesson from the lily pad of your life!

Joyful holidays from a chilly pond,
Christina

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

Voice Texts

When communication methods shifted to an electronic wave, I found myself saddened by a loss of personalized connection. This sadness surprised me because as an introvert I require abundant quietness. I thrive with large margins of isolation, but I’m not  accustomed to loneliness.

I socialize through snail mail cards, one-on-one walks, or phone calls. People who used to exchange phone calls started answering voice mails with texts. Sometimes within a minute of my voice mail, I’d receive a text, “Thanks for your voice mail. It was nice to hear your voice.” Based on their quick response, I figured the person was available to talk so I immediately called them back, only to be greeted by their recorded voice mail message.

marketing office working business
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Our son travels for his job and often there is a three-hour time zone difference between us. He and my husband exchange texts. I send cards and emails, but because of these time zone variances, we’ve missed “live” communication.

Last time we talked on the phone, our one-hour visit was flooded with updates and we hung up with still more to say. Neither of us are fans of lengthy phone calls so sometimes it’s weeks between verbal conversations. Our son understands why I’m unable to text and we joke that as soon as he handwrites a letter to me, I’ll text him back to let him know I received it.

Instead of continuing our communication gap, we began “voice texting.” We agreed to call each other Monday through Friday and leave a one-to-two-minute voice message. These messages may include a question to ponder, a funny story, an inspirational quote, quick family news, or a song that reminds us of something.

He knows I take lunch between 11:30-12:30 Eastern Time so when he sees my number come up during that time, he knows I’m leaving a “verbal text.” After work, I turn off my phone and when he gets home late in the evening, he leaves a return “voice text.” These daily two-minute investments have yielded stronger return than our bi-monthly marathon phone calls did.

I’m grateful for this unscreened connection that has built our mother-son relationship. H

Happy Thanksgiving week from the lily pad of life,

Christina

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

ATTENDANCE DOESN’T EQUATE ATTENTION

From my book, “FROG Blog, Learning on a Lily Pad.” Available on Amazon and Kindle.

ATTENDANCE DOESN’T ALWAYS EQUAL ATTENTION

A lady who shares my favorite walking route paused this morning to ask what I do as my profession. She promised herself that the next time she saw me walking, she’d gather the courage to stop wondering and ask me how I used my days. She explained that she was fascinated to hear my answer because she frequently sees me wearing comfortable but stylish dresses walking with a contemplative expression blended with peaceful thoughtfulness.

I thanked her for her detailed observation and caring enough to ask. When I told her I am an author, life coach, and editor, she exclaimed, “I wish I had interesting jobs like that before I retired from 45 years as a machinist.” It was my turn to be intrigued by how she interpreted her career and perceived mine. She said when she was in school, math was her least favorite subject, so she was surprised when she spent her life working in a precision-driven math-related field. She loves to read but all research jobs she wanted required post-high school education and she didn’t want to pursue continuing education.

I anticipated her reasons for not pursuing future certifications could be age or finance related. She explained that she had twelve years of perfect attendance but collectively probably less than a full year of perfect attentiveness. Schools physically housed this lady but mentally she created a homeless shelter for her attention status. She didn’t make excuses or hold regret for her lack of attention in formal classrooms. She simply appreciated how she was able to faithfully work as a machinist while being able to turn her detailed attention toward hands-on learning.

Attendance and attention. How often do I show up for morning quiet time physically attentive but spiritually and mentally absent? My Teacher is present, but His student daughter is lost in thought about what happened yesterday and what may happen today. He is my Lead Machinist and I’m tooling around talking shop in my own mind!

This lady was sensitive to pay attention to her walking route surroundings. Her alertness created accessibility between us that wasn’t originally detected. A familiar faced “stranger” left as a new acquaintance named Janice (and her dog Zoe) because we both paid attention to our surroundings. I was awakened by her inspirational lesson to pay attention to my Professor who is in continual attendance. I need His ongoing education no matter what profession I hold.

Teacher, please unite my attendance to my attention. Align my responsiveness with Your presence. Like Janice’s alertness, give me the courage to act upon my observations.

With heightened awareness, Christina

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

Update from A Frozen FROG

Last month, I got to meet with part of the team who join me on our next adventure in the FROG Blog series. FROG Blog: Living on a Frozen Lily Pad is preparing to leap into publication early 2020.

The FROG Blog: Learning on a Lily Pad (book #1) is available in print or download through Amazon and Kindle.

If you want a frugal way of reading the first FROG Blog book, please check with your local library. Libraries have been generously willing to order copies if they don’t have it yet.

 

 

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

FOUR WORD TRUTH

I sat by a retired Air Force pilot on a return flight from my grandma’s funeral. (I wasn’t his co-pilot. We were both passengers on someone else’s plane). After our initial small talk to determine interaction and space boundaries, the former pilot asked the purpose of my trip. When I said it was related to a funeral, he opened a discussion about faith amid death.

He candidly stated that since he’s never died, he doesn’t have a clue about the after-earth life. He shared that he doesn’t claim a formal religious belief, but he practices a four-word faith: Thank you. I’m sorry. We used those four words to elevate to a higher altitude of conversation as we flew toward our earthly destination.

After our lofty interchange, I got my head out of the clouds to question if my faith leads more when I’m thankful or I’m sorry. I think there is a regular shift between leader and follower. Sometimes I’ve made harsh judgments or poor decisions and my Creator awakens me to see the error. In that case, thank you follows I’m sorry. It’s humbling to apologize first but later, that leads to gratefulness for clarity to prevent, or at least decrease, future missteps.

Other times I quickly recognize my stumbling block (s) and sigh with relief, “Thank you Lord for keeping me from downward spiraling. I’m sorry for missing the mark.” In those cases, my thank you precedes my apology.

Whether I lead with I’m sorry or I’m thankful, that pilot’s four-word faith reminded me of another simple but powerful excerpt: A sin is a mistake, but a mistake isn’t necessarily a sin. These short reminders offer long-term inner growth.

Eph. 3:12 teaches that we can approach God with freedom and confidence so, with gratitude or sorrow, I lead with Him as my Pilot Light. Creator of faith and action, remind me to perpetually look for ways to thank You. Make me quick and eager to say I’m sorry when I have made a wrong turn. Keep my eyes lifted to You with appreciation and plant my feet firmly in Your peace.

Elevating my thoughts and grounding my actions in my Creator’s truth, Christina

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

LUMP OR LAMP?

This is an excerpt from the first book in the FROG Blog series (available on Kindle and Amazon). I am working with a team of 12 authors for the second book in the series, “The FROG Blog from a Frozen Lily Pad.” 

I learned about inspecting feelings when they need “tempering” (aka attitude adjustment). The speaker who taught about evaluating emotions said that when there is a weight of depression, a person has reverted to thinking about the prior experience. When there is restless anxiety, a person is attempting to live in the future. This gauge offers me a quick way to reel me into the present moment. A side note, just how long is a moment?

I write this reflection from a phase of life where much moving and much holding is simultaneously taking place. I don’t feel ready for the movements yet feel irritated by a holding pattern, according to my timetable. To keep myself from warring between frustration and panic, I frequently use my journals as reference books. I peruse 2-3 months of journal entries and see, in writing, that circumstantial changes have occurred.

Sometimes I simply forgot about key movements. I can either concentrate on the lump (setback) or choose to concentrate on the lamp of a lesson in front of me.

I picture the scene from The Lion King when Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his revelation stick. Simba knows he needs to return his Pride Rock home to complete his leadership mission yet is stuck in the chasm between hesitation and restless yearning.

Rafiki notices that the winds are changing and while Simba ponders the air shifts, Rafiki hits Simba in the head. When Simba questions why, Rafiki said the thump doesn’t matter, it’s in the past. He teaches Simba that sometimes one must go back to face the past but no matter what happened in the past, you can either run from it or learn from it. Rafiki swings at Simba again, but this time Simba takes the lamp (lesson) to his heart instead of another lump to his head.

What benefits do I receive by carrying the lumps of life instead of the lamps of lessons? Rubbing past lumps only distract me from the lamps lighting my future path. A genie will probably not appear when I rub the lamp, but the Lamp Lighter can fill me with hope and an invitation to look harder for His lesson. Rub the lump or rub the lamp?

Lord, help me use any lumps of my life only when they will teach me to move toward a future lamp lesson. Increase my desire to glance at the past as a land marker, but not a land mine. Guide me to be more aware of encouraging lamps and less focused on discouraging lumps.

Using my glasses for foresight and not hindsight, Christina