The holidays can be occasions for great joy, but also deep sorrow when loved ones are no longer with us. My Papa and then Mama passed over five years ago. There’s still a huge hole in my heart that throbs a bit more at this time of the year. My parents loved the holidays and always made Christmas special for us. Precious memories fill the treasure chest in my heart.

I know many of you, dear readers, are missing loved ones especially during this year of so much loss. I’m not sure how thick (or thin) the veil that separates us, but I know our precious ones are not far, for their love resides in our hearts as joy that will not diminish.

As Virginia’s last blog for this year’s Advent post-a-day gig, here’s something I wrote the year after papa died. May it encourage our hearts today…


Freddie is soft, big, and green – a cuddly buddy. The kind of friend Virginia likes to have about, but he was actually my Papa’s.

This gigantic frog belonged to my 83 year old bed-fast quadriplegic Papa? There is a good reason.

Three weeks before Papa died I saw Freddie in the pharmacy whilst picking up Papa’s medications. After leaving the store I went back in to get him thinking about how he would make my worn out Papa smile. Freddie did. Many times.

Freddie has these eyes that cut over to you (kind of like Papa’s did.) I put him in Papa’s line of sight next to his hospital bed in the living room. Peeking around the corner to check on Papa, I would see him cut his eyes to Freddie and then smile.

Big smiles, with a hint of chuckle. No small feat when Papa had been incessantly sick for weeks and weeks.

Here’s the thing. We have a history with frogs. Every week when Papa and Mama called me in Tanzania, they could hear frogs croaking loudly through several thousand miles of phone waves. Papa said when they got on my nerves late at night trying to sleep to remember “F.R.O.G.:  Full Reliance OGod.”

Methinks Freddie helped him during his final illness, not just with his funky eyes, but as a reminder of what my Papa was all about: doing and being the impossible for God. Papa lived over 25 years with a debilitating disease as a quadriplegic but didn’t stop believing and relying on God each and every day.

To me Papa’s 4 Spiritual Secrets sum up what it means to have F.R.O.G. faith, based on the teaching of Jesus in John 15 about the Vine and branches:

I’m not, but He is.
And I am in Him, and He is in me.

I can’t, but He can.

And I am in Him, and He is in me.

I don’t want to, but He wants to.

And I am in Him, and He is in me.

I didn’t, but He did.
Because I was in Him and He was in me

How we miss Papa, especially at this time of year he so enjoyed. His vibrant spirit centered our celebrations and his presence made our presents to each other more meaningful. There’s a big hole in our hearts, but it’s overflowing with the love Papa instilled in us and shared in so many ways.

The love of Jesus Christ Who comforts, trusts, believes, heals and lifts our spirits with joy that doesn’t always make sense, but is and does grace and joy.

The other morning as Mama and I listened to Andrea Bocelli sing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” she spoke out the words of the refrain, “just like the ones I used to know.”

We teared up.

Maybe this holiday season will not be like ones we used to know, but we have precious memories and powerful legacies of love in our hearts. When we can’t deal with our grief and loneliness, we can think of Freddie the Frog… and Fully Rely On God to ease our sorrows.

grace, peace & F.R.O.G Faith

Virginia : )

“We cannot wait til the world is sane to raise our songs with joyful voice, for to share our grief, to touch our pain, He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!”  Madeleine L’Engle

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  1. Shruba says:

    This is such a touching story. Indeed, things have deeper meanings in association with moments they were a part of before. Happy holidays! 💕

  2. Laura Denise says:

    This touched me deeply. ❤ Thank you for sharing.

  3. arlene says:

    Touching indeed Virginia. My dad died one December evening thirteen years ago. I still miss him especially during the Christmas season.

  4. Pingback: MISSING LOVED ONES @ THE HOLIDAYS – Génération CFF

  5. Paula Britt Miller says:

    Dear SHERE,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. Christmas has always been very special to our family too. I love Christmas songs, but I can’t sing them because the frog in my throat paralyzes my mouth muscles and tears stream down my face. It’s like my heart overflows with love for Jesus and the gigantic meaning of Christmas. Your family has always been a special light for so many. Thank you and God bless!

  6. My Carmel says:

    Very touching post dear Virginia. Wishing you a very blessed Christmastide and a New Year 2021 filled with love, good health, peace and many blessings! Big hug! ❤

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you, Patty. 🎉🌹🎉Wishing you a New Year blessed with extra doses of God’s grace, peace, joy and LOTS of Love!! Big hugs back at ‘cha! ✨🤗✨💜✨

  7. rahjomuelvin says:

    I teared up too readin this. It has touched me so much. To learn of such faith in the Lord. And I rememvber of my father too who passed away 3 years ago and my mother, 4 years ago. I missed them at this time of the year. My father had been the model of faith in the Lord for me too.
    It was a wonderful time reading your blog.
    God bless you and have a blessed new year!

    • Virginia says:

      So sorry for the loss of your precious parents, too! We can both be grateful for the legacies of our parents’ faith and love – but it’s still hard to be without them in the here and now. May God bless you with extra doses of grace, peace, joy & love throughout the new year. Blogging hugs! ✨💜✨🤗✨🙏✨

  8. ponzoblogs says:

    Sadly because Covid I can’t Travel anymore for my blog that I just started. Feels really sad that I have to wait before planning a new travel journey 😦

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