In 500 words or less, the FROG Blog invites readers (and the author) to approach life with curiosity and discovery.
Thank you to Andrea Piacquadio who provided this photo.
As a student in life’s perpetual classroom, I received a well-rounded education in science, psychology, theology, and English today.
My “class schedule” resembled this:
Science: I learned how researchers define a life-giving quarter-second as “response time between a brain’s intake and a body’s output.” My quarter-second choices to think, speak or act can determine fate. Riveting.
Psychology: I recalled how one conversation, one sentence, one memory, one decision can induce multiple reminders. Quarter-second decisions can have timeless meaning.
Theology: I read Ephesians 4:30-31 in the New King James and The Message bibles. (Cited at the bottom of this FROG Blog). Same book, same verse, different words. In both readings, the word all (“all malice,” “all backbiting”) grabbed my attention.
English: I was curious to find definitions for malice and clamor since those words aren’t part of my typical vocabulary. I went to my dictionary and thesaurus (the hard cover Scrabble version that has more than 50 years of Scrabble game experience).
Science Lab: I dissected the following words and report my analysis. Diagnosis: Ouch.
Bitterness: Piercing; caustic; cruel; harsh Rage: Excessive and uncontrollable anger; violence fatal prevail; violently agitated Anger: To provoke resentment; enrage; excite to wrath; ravage Brawling: To quarrel noisily; outrageous uproar Slander: False or malicious report; verbal defamation Malice: Evil intention to injure others; deliberate mischief; spite; prompted by hatred.
Guidance Counseling with Dr. G. Higher Power: I have learned about quarter-second response times. I recognize I don’t want to mirror any of the connotations associated with anger. Dr. Power advises me to be aware that a series of lifetime quarter-seconds decisions may affect long-term, widespread development.
Homework (ongoing): release all bitterness, all resentment, all uncontrollable anger, all…
All means all.
My day began as a science experiment which led to a meaningful word search. That word search turned into a man hunt (or woman hunt in my case). The search was ordered from within.
There is a sequel to this FROG Blog because I also read, ‘”when you retaliate in anger, you give the enemy a foothold in your life. You offer a beachhead from which the enemy can attack you in other areas.” Ouch. One word. One lesson. One day. One quarter-second at a time.
I vote for reinstituting snack breaks, recess and nap times for all students in University Life!
Leaping with buoyancy, (Buoyant: having the quality of floating in a fluid. Not easily depressed; unsinkable characteristics).
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:30-31 NKJV).
“Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:30-31 The Message).
This week, I began inviting young authors (ages 7-16) to share their learning-to-trust through life’s experiences. Their adventure stories will be part of book #4 in the 5 book FROG Blog series.
Tadpoles, a smaller version of the FROG Blogs, will follow a 300 words or less pattern. Currently the FROG Blog books are written in less than 500 word stand-alone chapters. Unthawed: Lessons from a Frozen Lily Pad, is in the final stages of publishing and nearly set to print!
I’d appreciate input as this Tadpole evolves into a FROG book. As a sample, I wrote this story that will be one of the Tadpole chapters.
Thank you to Inga Seliverstova for contributing this photo.
I saw a compact car with two moderately sized dents, possibly from getting sideswiped on the driver’s side. Even though the car had seen better days, it was drivable and parked in the entrance row of the parking lot.
Like that damaged car, I thought about how we, as earth walkers and drivers, have been injured. We’ve hurt and been hurt by someone or something that has caused bruising.
Some scars show up on our body. Many wounds are stored in our hearts.
I don’t know the story behind that damaged car in the parking lot, but I have a new viewpoint.
People, like compact vehicles, travel through life’s obstacle course. Some may resemble shiny heavy-duty trucks, but a look at their worn tires indicate they’ve treaded rocky paths.
Today, I see my fellow drivers and passengers through a light of universally dented vehicles. We’re navigating life’s potholes (sometimes sink holes!) during our commute back Home where highways are paved in gold.
Treading with more compassionate strokes around the lily pad of life,
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
This comes from Knee Deep, a future book in my FROG Blog book series. I wrote the following letter to God, Creator, Higher Power, Jesus (and all other names we use to define, attribute and respect our Universe’s Maker).
As part of my Zowie project (explained in March 3rd, 13th, 20th posts on the FROG Blog) I courageously publish this chat with my Creator from last night’s walk to a nearby pond)
Creator, Thank you for a spring filled with chipmunks! I don’t recall a year when I’ve seen so many of your curious stripers. They remind me of mini sea otters as I watch their frivolous exploration. I sit by the pond tonight and watch one little guy hop, almost with a mischievous grin. It looked like he was sneaking up on a turtle or goose on the bank.
I see rabbits, birds of several species, butterflies, squirrels and of course chipmunks living in fairly close proximity. Respecting, observing, interacting, and playing with each other. Simply doing what they were created to be: a chipmunk, a turtle. A catfish, a crane. No agenda, no competition beyond the circle of life, no bickering. No verbal communication beyond what they consider necessary to survive or create.
Thank you for their example of free-spirited character. You’ve created these animals to learn from and enjoy. Thank you for the gift of vision so I can learn through visual observation.
Today, my husband Tig and I celebrate nearly 30 years of marriage. I dedicate today’s FROG Blog to him.
The following photo is not our official wedding photo, but from the cover of my book, “Life’s Too Short for Dull Razors, Cheap Pens and Worn-Out Underwear.” I dedicate this book excerpt to Tig in honor of the memories we’ve made and lessons we’ve learned.
Tig, when we wonder if our “for better or worse” vows said, “Best or Worst,” I’m grateful our faithful practice in this marriage game adventure has sustained us for nearly three decades!
(p. 14-15) I share a memorizing mishap when I drove to watch Tig race one weekend. We traveled repeatedly to this track and knew its final turnoff was at a specific large blue pole shed and house. We knew it as “the left turn at the large blue house.” The left turn at the blue house, as if there were no other left turns and no other blue houses in that long stretch of country road.
Typically, we ride to races as a family, but for whatever reason I drove separately from the truck, trailer, and race car crew. I allotted extra time in case I got to the track early to run a couple of miles before subjecting myself to several hours of bleacher bottom in the track stands. The drive seemed to take longer and the dashboard clock confirmed that I should have been at the track 20 minutes prior. I kept my focus toward the left turn at the blue house.
Speed read past a potentially long story of asking directions more than once, adding an hour of travel time, and sixty miles on the car, I recognized the blue house (which was now a right-hand turned for reasons you can speculate). The blue house had been painted cream with white shutters since we were at the racetrack. The story remains a family joke whenever we use landmarks as directional cues. Someone responds with an adaptation of: “Hopefully the owners haven’t gotten bold enough to paint their buildings since we drove there last time.”
Meanwhile, back from the now yellow house, formerly known as the left turn at the blue house…
I eat hardboiled egg whites and broccoli for breakfast. This morning while waiting for the egg water to boil, I found myself quickly constructing my schedule. (Mentally exercising on an empty stomach leads me to stress fractures)!
Before the kettle had even warmed, I mentally completed today’s writing project, sent it to the editor and bypassed other vital processes such as writing the headline, first draft, editing, and rewriting. The egg water hadn’t even boiled before I realized that, in my mind, I had barged through today as I expect it to evolve. What if I disregarded all time, space, and interactions this way?
As children, we used to play Backwards Day. We’d wear our pajamas inside-out, eat breakfast for dinner, use our less dominant hand to draw or throw a ball. These temporary silly days showed me how increased effort and awareness were required when I adjusted my usual routine.
Each day is different with God. He respects the shape in which He designed His universe. What would our world look like if carnations grew underground? What if elephants had babies as often as rabbits?
Jesus understood that our human behavior wants to get a sneak peek at the future. He instructed us to stay on task when He said, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” I am to trust that He will provide patience, time, people, or whatever else I need for that day.
As I prepare for breakfast on the lily pad, I respect the steps leading to the meal. Brew coffee, put eggs and broccoli on plate, thank God for farmers and food, eat, enjoy each breath of every minute crafted into this day.
Routinely practicing mindfulness “on earth as it is in heaven,”
This week’s FROG Blog is dedicated to my sister Cathy. She and I have shared abundant dime stories that bridge the gap between the geographical miles that separate us.
Thank you to Dmitry Demidov who provided this photo.
My Grandpa Wes carried dimes in his pockets and whenever he’d take his grandchildren outside for a walk, he’d subtly toss a dime in the path of the lagging child. When we’d discover these dimes, he’d tell us that these were signs of heaven reaching down. He’d explain that when we pay attention to details, we find life’s subtle treasures.
I continue Grandpa Wes’s dime tossing tradition when I walk. Each time I drop a coin, I ask God to bring peace and hope to whoever finds it. Like Jesus, who said He left His peace on earth, I want my dropped change to invite a change for whoever finds the coin.
Often, I write about ways I practice keeping my chin up and my eyes fixed on things above. God surrounds us on all levels. Sometimes by looking down, I can find peace if I readily bend to pick up these treasures.
Other times, I can find hope simply by looking up to capture a full moon, a soaring bird or a cloud forming an unusual shape. When I am willing to turn on a dime to make a change, I can accept God’s abundant peace and hope.
Signing off with peace and hope from the lily pad of life. With bended knee and a coined phrase, “help me pay it forward,”
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns that gold” (Proverbs 3:13-14).
This excerpt comes from Tadpoles, a future book in the FROG Blog book series. Tadpoles will include 300 word or less essays and I have enlisted middle school and high school students to share their life lesson stories.
Thank you to Disha Sheta for providing this colorful photo that reminds me to look up!
Each morning, I walk to the mailbox between 7:30-8:00 because that’s when many neighbors start their work and school days. As they drive past me, I make a point of sending them off with a quick smile, wave, or say “Happy Tuesday” (or whatever day it is).
This morning as I went out our front door for my mailbox walk, a torrential downpour began. I was tempted to wait until the rain let up, but instead felt nudged to move forward. I figured people may appreciate a smile even more to start a rainy day.
I choose brightly colored clothes to wear on cloudy days, especially Mondays, which often get a harsh rap. Today, dressed in a vibrant pink blouse, I grabbed my umbrella and headed to the mailbox.
On my route, I greeted one of my neighbors who was wearing a canary yellow blouse. Before she got into her car, she said, “Between your pink blouse and my yellow one, it looks like we have the same idea to use color to show positive thinking on this rainy day!”
As I walked back home, I realized that if I had stayed inside until the storm had passed, I would have missed our neighborly ray of sunshine.
Puddle jumping into the day under an umbrella of encouragement,
Now go out and encourage your men (2 Samuel 19:7).