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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

New book is birthed!

A grateful shout out from the FROG blog!

Thank you to Chris Woods at Salvaged Soul Publishing for birthing my new book, “Life’s Too Short for Dull Razors, Cheap Pens, and Worn-Out Underwear.”

I’m an author, not a natural marketer, so any media, recommendations, Amazon and Google reviews you offer mean the world to me!

As a literary birth mom, I’m joyfully exhausted in the lily pad this week, 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, 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