It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy completing three years toward my B.A. in English and my senior year is underway. My current class (Creative Writing) has finally given me the space to take off the tight harness of academic writing rules, and it feels SO GOOD!! After reading my first assignment, Mom and Daddy gave it their thumbs up and suggested I make it a blog post, so here it is. It is my story and their story. It's a little longer than my usual posts, but as with everything I have ever posted here, I pray it encourages you to run "up the sunbeam to the sun" (C. S. Lewis).

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV

I sat above them on the stairs. Looking down through the window-like openings in the partition between the living room and the stairway, I listened to the basketball players, football players, baseball players, wrestlers, track athletes, both the lettermen and the also-…

So Shaunie, What's the Deal with the Frogs?

From the moment God put language in our mouths and made us people of words--created by and in the image of the pre-existent Logos, the Word--He made us people of symbols too.  For what are words but symbols?  Words represent, either audibly when spoken, or visually when written, an object, an idea or a piece of information.

We use other things as symbols too--as for me, I have a little collection of frogs I'd like you to meet!

This note I received from my parents several years ago is tacked up next to my computer monitor where I write:
When I am tempted to get discouraged, my eyes are drawn to these amazingly affirming words, symbols in ink of a love I can only begin to fathom because I am a mother of two whom I also love to encourage!  My parents' words of encouragement accompanied one of the frogs in my collection--one of a number they have sent me over the years.

I'll bet you're wondering, So Shaunie, what's the deal with the f
rogs? And frog spit????

Okay. Almost 20 years ago, when Drummer Boy's drum set was made up of every pot and pan I owned turned upside down on the kitchen floor where he sat banging on them to his heart's content, I began to write. I was very green (haha-frogs, green--sorry, no pun intended), and knew nothing about query letters or proposals, or how to get started.  Fortunately, I happily stumbled upon an internet bulletin board on Prodigy (long before the worldwide web or Google or blogging), and it was called Housewife Writers. It was something of a misnomer because they weren't all housewives, and they weren't even all writers, but I was a Housewife Writer and I wanted to know what they were about.

What I found there was the most loving, eclectic, generous, smart, experienced, nurturing and supportive group of (mostly) writers I could have asked for! They came from all over the country, held all different kinds of beliefs, but they all got along beautifully! After lurking for awhile, I finally un-lurked and timidly told them of my barely conceived dreams of being a writer.  They not only encouraged me, but they educated me and helped me get going. They cheered me on when I sent queries and commiserated and gave me perspective when I got rejections. They nearly came through the screen where their words flickered to celebrate with me when I got my first article published!

I know! I know! I'm getting to the frogs!!

At some point before I found my way to the Housewife Writers, one of their number (so the story goes) had an unusual encounter with a frog on the golf course.  Said frog hopped up to her golf ball, slobbered on it, and hopped away.  When our bemused Housewife Golfer hit that ball, she made the shot of her life, and frog spit has been the stuff of Housewife Writer lore from then on!  We have flung proverbial frog spit far and wide for any and every conceivable need, dream, enterprise, book proposal, doctor visit and Housewife Writer escapade ever since. It was HW-speak for, "I'm with you! I'm praying for you! I want the best for you! I believe in your dreams! I believe in you!"  Thus began my love of frogs and the habit my friends and family have of adding to my collection as their way of flinging frog spit on all my dreams, of the writing kind and otherwise.

The whimsical ceramic one with the purple flowers was a gift from Hero Husband--crazy about that guy!
Also, meet the MAKE THE LEAP twins who are pretty sure they hold the keys to success =)
Oh, and the polished green rock in the foreground--just try and convince me there isn't a magic frog frozen inside by an evil enchanter--the same evil enchanter who locks my ideas up in writer's block!
These guys are as much fun as tiddly winks--a rowdy and colorful bunch!
The one on the left glows in the dark and sticks to smooth surfaces--very handy when I'm fumbling around in the dim recesses of my own mind!
A couple of plush (and huggable) frogs here
with my frog pen who will happily give me the old 1-2 punch, if I start procrastinating.
On the far left is one of my favorites. My mom fixed her up as a pregnant froggie and put the little tag on it saying
"Frog Spit For Pregnant Days"--I received her when I was extremely pregnant with She So Sweet!
Got this one after She So Sweet was born!  If I had to pick an absolute favorite, this is it!

So Shaunie, is this really just about frogs and your frog collection? Great question! No, it really isn't. I'm not writing to promote frogs or the wonders of frog spit.  Outside the world of the Housewife Writers, frogs are ordinary and frog spit is just messy, so there's no use in flinging it out here.  I really wanted to write down my gratitude to God for all the people He has put in my life who have encouraged, and who continue to encourage me along the way.  Many of you are among those encouragers, so THANK YOU!!

Lest you think I'm dancing dangerously close to worshipping my frogs or ascribing power to them, rest assured that is NOT the case!  While God clearly forbade the worship of idols, He was a master of the use of symbols to remind us of truth and to keep His principles and His ways fresh in our minds--

The Ark of the Covenant
the Golden Lamp Stand
the Bronze Serpent in the desert, and of course, 
the Cross of Christ.
These are all images that represent some of the biggest themes in the Bible--
the place where the Presence of God offers mercy
Jesus, the Light of the World
God's provision of a remedy for the plague of sin
the place where Jesus died to make that remedy available.

We have so much to be thankful for . . . so much to be mindful of as we walk through this life and move toward fulfilling the potential God poured into us.  Our good God was so gracious to provide not only His Word, and the truth it communicates, but He gave us the use of symbols to help us remember and to inspire us as we go!
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (emphasis mine) 1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV 

Do you have symbols or tangible reminders that inspire you?
What is your favorite symbol in the Bible?

My deep and heartfelt thanks to the Housewife Writers who graciously gave me the green light (there I go again) to tell you about the reason for my frog collection!  They are dear to me beyond description!

Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

386. An unexpected chance to check something off my list
387. Rain accumulating on my sun roof
388. Peet's Dark Chocolate Mocha Freddo (Decaf, nonfat, extra cocoa, no whip!)
389. Better late than never
390. Reconnecting with friends from HW and FCA!  Them connecting back!!
391. Silly, zany, laughing fun with Drummer Boy
392. She So Sweet, talking to me because she wants to
393. An "I don't have to go anywhere" day!
394. Great time on the phone with Mom & Daddy
395. Clicking the "Submit to Accountant" button on the online tax planner--done--I hope!
396. My frog collection . . . and symbols
397. March 26th, 2011--Our 23rd Wedding Anniversary!
398. A delicious dinner-for-two to celebrate and beautiful cards from Hero Husband, Drummer Boy and She So Sweet (aka "The Wordsmith")
399. Getting to watch She So Sweet playing bass for worship and her enthusiasm!
400. Continuing conversation with a curious-about-my-faith friend

Joining L.L. Barkat for:
On In Around button

Joining Michelle DeRusha for:

A heartfelt thank you to these generous bloggers
who make these communities available!

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