Category Archives: Encouragement

Give your words

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Some of the encouraging mail that’s arrived in recent weeks.

Like a lot of creative people, I’m comfy with my own company. As a writer, in particular, my introvertuosity is an asset. Just me and my muse, that’s it. (That is, IF Edna isn’t too busy getting her bunions buffed or some such fiddle faddle.)

It’s one thing to choose solitude. It’s quite another to live in pandemic-necessitated government-mandated isolation. Oh, yes. Quite. a. nother. You know that for yourselves, don’t you my little mini muffins.

Despite our natural desire to go solo in our shells (crisis or no crisis), empathy compels us to seek ways to reach out. I want to suggest one such way we writers can make a difference and you can do it all on your own–you can give your words.

I got a squirrelly postcard!
Original artwork by Rebecca Van Slyke

Over the last three weeks, more “no special occasion” cards and little surprises have arrived in my mailbox than I might receive in six months. In addition to encouraging notes, a friend who is an illustrator created a custom made activity book, and a writer friend made me a hand painted postcard–featuring a springy squirrel! On top of those came gifts of note cards designed by the sender and pretty note paper (Mmmm. I do love paper.) Even my cat, Finny, received a kind card with a birdy on it and catnip tucked inside. As you can imagine, being the recipient of all that sweetness pumped helium into my heavy heart. How did I get so lucky?

I’ve been sending personalized doodles, notes and silly surprises too. Taking a moment to center my thoughts on someone else while I write a message and imagine the smile (I hope!) it will bring, is a welcome antidote to these dreary, disorienting days. I want you to experience that too.

You might enjoy sending an unsuspecting someone a silly card, a sweet postcard or actual letter. No fancy stationery? No worries. You say you have the handwriting of a 4th year med student? No sweat. Type a message and print it out. (Have fun with the fonts!) When it comes to sending NSOIJTOY (that’s No Special Occasion I’m Just Thinking of You) mail, anything goes–so long as you give your words. That’s the best part, my little apricot tarts.

If you’re not up to writing, even a letter, you’re not alone. And listen, there is zero judgement here. The brilliant Emma Dryden shared this article on social media that explains why it’s okay to resist the pressure to use these unexpected extra hours to be productive (aka, write, do a major revision, create new art, etc.). It really is okay. Please don’t feel pushed.

And if reading this post all the way to here —-> is all you can manage today, my little warm buttered toast, that is 110% okay. Honestly. And I’m not just saying that because you chose to expend your energy and ebbing ability to concentrate to read my blog post. I’m saying you’re 123% okay. (I’m terrible with numbers, but that sure seems like a lot of okay to me.)

If you feel like writing a teensy bit (like .5%), you can leave a comment below. And then, if some flabberjabber has the nerve to ask you what you’ve written lately, you send them on over to Frog on a Dime, and say “Looky there!”

In the event you should feel an energy shift and get a hankering for something writing-related as a distraction, here’s a whole list of options. Please enjoy, and again, no pressure. Your pace is up to you.

Whatever you choose to do, in whatever way you do it–and whenever you’re ready to do it–please, give your words.

There is no small act of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world. ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

One 7th Celebration Winner!

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Mr. Popover (left), Tarzan Malarkey (center) and associates

On behalf of on the accounting firm of Popover, Frenchpress & Malarkey and their associates, Frog on a Dimes wishes to congratulate Kim Patrie— winner of our birthday grand prize giveaway! Be watching your mail box!

Mister Moses Frenchpress of
Popover, Frenchpress & Malarkey

Many thanks to everyone who entered the drawing by submitting your favorite 7-letter words. Check out this sampling of 7 dazzling examples:

  • Pizzazz
  • Awesome
  • Sparkle
  • Welcome
  • Writing
  • Willowy
  • Kumquat

My warm-as-a- marshmallow-lounging- in-a-cup-of-cocoa gratitude goes out to everyone who visited Frog on a Dime this year. Your encouragement and support mean so much–for 7 years and counting!

Wishing you a blissful New Year, my Little Cream Puffs!

Hope

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,

Whispering ‘it will be happier’..”

~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

Celebrating 7 Frogs on a Dime!

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December birthdays can be bummers for some, I suppose. But Frog on a Dime is fine with a sidebar birthday. It’s still fun to celebrate! And the best part, my darling dangling participles? The best part is the birthday giveaway! This year’s prize package is filled with all manner of goodies sure to solicit “Oh, wow!”s from the lucky recipient.

Might that lucky duck be you?

Meet Mister Moses Frenchpress

To enter Frog on a Dime’s 7th Birthday Celebration giveaway, leave a comment with this blog post (or with the Facebook post). Your comment MUST INCLUDE your favorite (or least favorite) 7-letter word.

The day for the drawing giveaway is Lucky Friday, December 13 at 6 p.m. (Eastern Time). Can’t wait!

I grabbed a pile of dust, and holding it up, foolishly asked for as many birthdays as the grains of dust, I forgot to ask that they be years of youth. ~ Ovid

Happy Thankslisting, No. 2

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Photo by Vicky Lorencen
  1. I am thankful for seconds, as in second chances.
  2. I am thankful for librarians and teachers. So long as there are people who devote themselves to the tender loving care of children and of books, I feel like we’ve got a reasonable chance at a smart and civil society.
  3. I am thankful for friends who make me offers I can’t refuse. Who am I to decline a generous offer of thoughtful feedback or to teach me a new writing technique or (better still) tell me where to find a new brand of writer refreshments?
  4. I am thankful for the opportunity to revise. If only life always gave us that option.
  5. I am thankful to be a fool. When you don’t have a clue how hard novel writing will be, it sure makes it a lot easier to dive right in.
  6. I am thankful for long-suffering manuscripts that allow me to fiddle with them until I’m finished. Okay, I mean, really finished. Well, almost. I am a literary glacier. 
  7. I am thankful to present at schools and spend time with curious, uninhibited kids who love to read their stories aloud and show their artwork to anyone with eyes and ears. They inspire me.
  8. MOST MOST MOST of all, I am thankful for YOU. There was a time, just after the Earth’s crust cooled, when I didn’t know a single soul who wanted to write for children. And now, here you are, my little cranberry cupcake! I am always grateful for you.

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. ~ James Allen

How to Trick or Treat Yourself

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Oh, those childhood memories–rabbit, hobo, gypsy and bat costumes, sugary school parties with little plastic witches and candy pumpkins perched on orange frosted cupcakes, and staying up late for It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. But no memory can compare with the annual candy-coated ritual of trick or treating. 

It may not be socially acceptable for a 50-something “kid” to go door-to-door on All Hallows’ Eve, not even one who writes for children, BUT that doesn’t mean trick or treating is entirely out of reach. Check out this list of (entirely treacherous) tricks that can trip up even the most tenacious writer. BUT don’t stop there! A list of tempting treats is ready for all of you, my tiny talented toffee topped wordsmiths and creative caramel apple artists.

Happy Halloween!

BEWARE!

TRICKS

  1. Salty Self Sabotage. I should be further along by now and everybody knows it.
  2. Jealous Beans. Every writer (minus me) mastered Scrivener in 24 hours.
  3. Lazy Lolliplops. Thinking about writing is equivalent to fingers on keyboard writing.
  4. Bitter Gummy Bears. I can hop on Facebook for ten minutes, then hop right off.
  5. Delusional Lemon Drops. If I finally manage to get published, my life will burst into unicorn shaped rainbow bubbles.

OR

TREATS

  1. Goody Gumdrops. Take a 3-day holiday from social media.
  2. Lickity Split Licorice. Set a timer and give yourself 20 minutes to tidy your desk. Admire. Have a sweet treat.
  3. Come Away Caramels. Register for a seminar, workshop or conference.
  4. Candied Dates. Make a date with your most encouraging friend.
  5. Butterscotch Boosters. Open your file of uplifting notes and enjoy rereading a few.

I got a rock. ~ Charlie Brown

Surprise! You’re the Sublime Summertime Prize Winner!

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This year’s summer giveaway has been my favorite. Reading your childhood memories sparked my recollections of so far gone summers.

  • Running through the sprinkler with my sister or wading in our little dark green inflatable pool with a smiling dolphin looking up from the bottom. (I feared sea creatures back then, and would only wade around the inner perimeter of the pool because I didn’t want to step on that dolphin. He looked suspiciously sharky to me and I wanted to keep all ten toes.)
  • Loading up the car on a hot afternoon and heading to a local lake or river and coming home with sand stuck to my “everywheres.”
  • Picking strawberries with my mom.
  • Going to Vacation Bible School.
  • Slurping home-frozen popsicles.
  • Rambling family road trips.
  • Reading outside while swatting away maddening mosquitoes.
  • Watching my sister catch tadpoles and frogs in the creek near our house (again, only watching – you know, the whole “sea life” thing).
  • Donning PJs and going to a drive-in movie.
  • Eating corn on the cob with no front teeth.
  • Being bothered by the sound of chirping crickets when we moved from our city house to the country.
  • Having a lemonade stand (which was a challenge considering we lived on a dead end street).
  • Falling off the jungle gym repeatedly (no wonder I have back issues).
  • Wearing a gob of baking soda paste on a bee sting. And calamine lotion on poison ivy bumps.
  • Riding my brown Huffy around and around our subdivision.
  • Building a fort in the woods with my neighborhood friends.
  • Staying with my aunt and cousin (a boy) and playing GI Joes on a sandy hill.
  • Watching the lights change on the waterfall fountain my grandpa had built into the side of a hill.
  • Going out for A&W root beer.
  • Strolling through the sensory overload that was the county fair.
  • Eating watermelon and trying not to swallow the seeds. (Who wants to have a melon belly with green vines coming out your ears?)
  • Getting to stay up late. Following fireflies. Counting stars.
  • Learning to love the sound of the crickets outside our open bedroom windows.
  • Feeling like summer was an entire year unto itself. 

See what you started?

Looking good, Olympic Mountains of Washington! Photo by Vicky Lorencen

So, thank you very much to everyone who shared a memory, a story or a snippet of their childhood summer memories. I enjoyed reading all of them. The winner of this year’s giveaway package was chosen at random, but after you read her submission, I think you’ll agree, she deserves the prize times two. 

My warmest, summery congratulations to Rachel Anderson! You’ve won a prize package filled with snacks, a craft book, a journal, a slinky and all sorts of fun stuff. Be watching your mail box! 

Rachel shared this summer memory: 

As a kid way back in the day, my ultimate favorite thing to do was to ride horses with my sister. We rode for miles and miles, jumping creeks, racing through hayfields and plodding lazily along rivers. Life was good.

Here is part of a poem I wrote about riding: 

Two little sisters, eight and ten,
Dashed up to the farm and then
Jumped on horses for a ride
Raced the field, side by side.
Galloping without a care
Going here and going there. 

What a lovely memory. Enjoy these last lingering days of summer, my little strawberry shortcakes.

Every summer, like roses, childhood returns. ~ Marty Rubin

Sublime Summertime Frog on a Dime Giveaway

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Summer may be slip-sliding away, but there’s still time for my blog’s seasonal giveaway.

To enter, all you need to do is comment on this or any post on my blog. Tell me your favorite summertime thing to do when you were a kid. That’s it! 


Deadline: Noon on Wednesday, August 14. So hurry!


Your Prize Package will include:

  • Journal to Capture Sparks of Brilliance On-the-Go
  • Energizing Treats
  • Craft Book
  • One of a Kind Doodle with Your Initials in It
  • Inspirational Magnet
  • Manual Thought Generator (aka a Slinky!)

Disclaimer(s): No purchase necessary (or even an option). Shipping & handling included. Safe when used as directed. Do not submerge. Batteries not included. Dryclean only. Frog on a Dime is furnishing this Prize Package “as is.” None of the authors, contributors, agents, editors, miscreants, vandals, ambidextrous nose miners, or anyone else connected with Frog on a Dime, in any way whatsoever, can be held responsible for your (mis)use of the contents of the Prize Package. Remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop. Do not refrigerate after opening. Contents may settle during shipment. Prize Package sold by weight, not by volume. Frog on a Dime does not provide any warranty of the item(s) whatsoever, whether expressed, implied, or statutory (whatever that is), including, but not limited to, any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or any warranty that the contents of the item will be error-free (because). Use at your own risk. Subject to approval. Driver does not carry cash. No substitutions. Do not fold, staple or mutilate. Some restrictions apply (but you can’t make me say what). Void where prohibited. Employees must wash hands. For off-road use only. All terms and conditions shall be rendered null and void on a whim. If state laws apply to you, some or all of the above disclaimers, exclusions, or limitations may not apply to you and you may have additional rights. (Go You!) I know you are but what am I. This tag may not be removed except by the consumer under penalty of law. (Ooo, scary!) See store for details.