It's little. It's green. And it's inspiring people everywhere.
by Arline Bee — Posted on Sep 2, 2009
They call me the frog lady.
An expert on amphibians I’m not. But it’s a nickname I’m proud of. Let me tell you why.
Four years ago I was living in Florida when Hurricane Wilma tore through. The damage the storm caused to my church was so severe that we had to hold service and Sunday school classes in the fellowship hall.
One muggy afternoon 80 of us crowded into the small hot room for class, and sat side by side on folding chairs. It wasn’t very comfortable…or inspiring.
“How many of you know what the letters F.R.O.G. stand for?” the Sunday school teacher asked.
People shouted out lots of different answers. Where on earth is she going with this? I wondered.
Then our teacher pointed heavenward. Perched atop her index finger was a bright green rubber frog with big googly eyes and spindly legs. It was about the cutest thing I’d ever seen!
“F.R.O.G. stands for Fully Rely on God, and that’s what we need to do, especially now,” she said. Everyone clapped. The message was just what we needed.
All at once, it hit me. Maybe other folks would be inspired by these frogs too.
With some help from the teacher, I ordered several dozen frogs. I wrote, “F.R.O.G., Fully Rely on God,” on small slips of paper, attached each one to a frog then tucked some into my purse. I figured I would hand them out to people who might need a lift.
But what if they thought I was crazy? What if they thought I was some kind of frog lady?
I tested the idea out first on my son, Joseph, a dentist, by mailing him a frog. He was concerned about relocating his business.
He loved the frog! “I wear it in my lab-coat pocket every day,” he told me. “That silly little face and knowing what it stands for always encourages me.”
That gave me encouragement too. Pulling into the gas station one afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice the woman standing at the pump next to mine. She just seemed so sad about something.
I reached into my bag. “I have something for you,” I said, handing over a frog. “I know it doesn’t say much, but I think it says it all. It will bring you a blessing today.”
She didn’t say a word, just stared at the little green frog.
Uh-oh, she thinks I’m crazy, I thought. I turned to walk away.
The woman touched my arm. “You just made my day,” she said. She hopped into her car and drove off with a smile. Right then I knew I had to pass frogs on to more people.
So when I moved from Florida to Virginia, one of the first places I visited was the Veterans’ Care Center. I handed out more than 200 frogs there, thanking those brave men and women for faithfully serving our country.
A little while later I was packing up to leave when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Lester, a veteran I had chatted with earlier.
“I just wanted to tell you again how much I needed this,” he told me. “It’s hard for me to get out to church anymore, and this little green frog makes me feel closer to God.”
The folks in my retirement community get a kick out of the frogs too. And if you should find yourself at one of Roanoke’s drugstores, you might just spy one sitting atop the pharmacist’s pen.
I’ve handed out more than 4,000 frogs, to everyone from teachers to bus drivers to grocers, even the governor of Virginia and President Obama and his family.
Yes, they call me the frog lady, and I don’t mind a bit. But I’m not the one who deserves credit for the big impact these little frogs have. That goes to the One the F.R.O.G. message is all about. The One I fully rely on.
You can order a frog from Oriental Trading:
Vinyl Frog Finger Puppet, Item 39/121
Call: 1-800-228-2269 or visit their website.