Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, April 01, 2011

I Blame Jeff

by Kerry Blair

I thought I’d retired from blogging. You thought I’d finally run out of metaphorical Karo syrup . . . or died . . . or . . . whatever it is you thought. (This would be the three of you who noticed my recent, um, sabbatical.) But here I am again, celebrating the Frog Blog’s anniversary, albeit sheepishly. (How did sheep get in here? Let’s just say I feel like a toad and leave it at that.

I blame Jeff for getting me to come back. (Which is not to say it is his fault; merely that I blame him.)

Although the blog began in March of 2006 it was April (May?) when I received the e-mail inviting me to take over Fridays from the amazing Candace Salima. (I never did replace that woman, but nobody could.) I was befuddled. Truth be told, I had never seen the word “blog” before it popped up in that e-mail. It wasn’t in my dictionary.* A little research revealed that “blog” is a contraction of “web log.” Ah, ha! I knew what a captain’s log was from Star Trek and, bright girl that I am, extrapolated from there. And what a great little word to get to know! Blog can be a noun, a verb—sometimes even an adjective—all in the same sentence! What’s not to love about four letters that can do all that?

If I have a claim to fame (folly?) here on the Frog Blog, perhaps it is in, um, plasticizing The Frog. One of his earliest photo shoots was in Arizona in January of 2007 where he was snapped smoozing with Mean Aunt and her lovely daughter. A few months later he popped (hopped?) up again at another signing, this time in Cincinnati with two of Sariah’s sisters. He is most famous, of course, for posing with a rather befuddled-looking Stephenie Myer. Besides his much-acclaimed public appearances over the years, The Frog has written a couple of blogs, starred in a murder mystery, and gotten himself kidnapped by the mega-talented (if nefarious) Janette Rallison.

As much as I’ve loved that Frog, my favorite part the whole blogging experience has to be the incredible, fascinating people we meet along the way. I hesitate to attempt a list our guest bloggers for fear of missing somebody somewhere sometime, but no retrospective would be complete without acknowledging that sometimes we only got by with a little help from our friends. (At least I did.) In gratitude, I spent five hours sloshing around the Frog Blog Bog archives—mostly by flashlight in the wee hours of this morning—so I’ll be astounded if I didn’t miss a name or three. (Please forgive me!) Here is my best effort at hats off to our guest stars who are, in no particular order: Janette Rallison, Michele Ashman Bell, Christy Gruber, Marnie Pehrson, Janet Jensen, Linda Weaver Clark, Jennifer Savage, Hilary Blair, Betsy Brannon Green, Jennifer Leigh, Tristi Pinkston, Annette Lyon, Marsha Ward, Matthew Buckley, Evil HR Lady, Delsa Anderson, Rachel Nunes, Joan Sowards/LizAnne Bayh, Tammy Daybell, Pat Taylor, Traci Hunter Abramson, Crystal Liechty, Debra Erfert, Julie Wright, Deirdra Eden Coppel, Jewel Adams, Anna Jones Buttimore, Bandit Blair, Marlene Austin, Cheri Crane, Meredith C. Dias, Michele Holmes, Jennie Hansen, Jon Spell, John Governale, Sheralyn Pratt, Stephanie Humphreys, Doug Johnston, Amy Black, Candace Salima, W. Dave Free, Jeri Gilchrist, Daron Fraley, Spencer McKay, Michael Cleverly, Karlene Browning, Scott Blair, Lynn Gardner, Bron Bahlmann, Gale Sears, Susan Corpany, Valerie Holladay, Nancy Campbell Allen, Deanne Blackhurst, Laura Bingham, and Julia Polakoff.

Clearly, we have had impressive guests. More importantly, we continue to be visited by amazing readers/writers. I could never count the number of times I’ve perused the comments one of you left after a blog and thought, “I wish I’d said that!” or “If only I could express myself that well.” You are some of the most thoughtful, articulate, and creative people on the planet and I will forever be grateful that cyberspace (and Sariah!) brought us together.

One more observation, really quick. (I’m approximately 350,000 words behind everybody else at this point, so you can’t blame me for trying to gain back a little ground.) When I joined the blog, family and friends began giving me frogs. (Although I suspect Moses “gifted” Pharaoh with a few more than I’ve received, I definitely have my share.) My veritable army of amphibians is stationed all around the yard and almost always draws comment from passersby. By far the most surprising—and meaningful—comment was from a new neighbor in Chino Valley who looked over my collection of little green men and said, "I just knew you were Christian!"


As it turns out, in some circles of modern Christianity, FROG is a popular acronym for Forever Remember Our God or Forever Rely On God. Her revelation startled me. Not just the oddity of the God/frog (?!) thing, but the serendipity of it all. As Jeff and Rob and Stephanie and Julie and Sariah reminisced about the last five years of their personal and professional lives, I was struck again by the aptness of our mascot. These people are some of the most gifted and brilliant writers in their genres, but what I have long loved and admired most about them is that in each of their hearts the “writer” label will forever come after “LDS.” It is becoming increasingly rare to find so much truth and so much testimony in "mere" books and blogs and tweets. These people are beyond inspiring. I look back today with gratitude, seeing how much I’ve grown—just as a result of trying to fit in.

Thanks, guys! (Yes, even Jeff. Maybe especially Jeff.)

*It is now. I update dictionaries about as often as most top models update their wardrobes.


At 4/01/2011 12:18 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Kerry, nice to have you back and for your little trip down memory lane. Your contributions to the frog blog have inspired me many times and I've always marveled at your ability to say what is in my heart. I know that the past five years have been rough years for you, but through it all you've given a lot of hope and encouragement to others. I hope we'll hear from you often over the next five years.

At 4/01/2011 12:59 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Hooray!!! So good to hear from you, Kerry! I need to send Jeff a thank you note! :)

At 4/01/2011 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite all time author, my biggest supporter of my writing ability, or non writing ability. You believed in my writing when I didn't. You are an amazing friend, editor, author and for me, my hero.
God Bless You and thanks for making my life better in so many ways!

Doug Johnston

At 4/01/2011 1:22 PM, Blogger Anna Buttimore said...

Kerry, it's wonderful to hear from you and to read anything you write. Seriously, I remain in awe of your talent. I thought FROG was "Fully Reliant On God" but whatever, it comes down the the same thing - a very apt mascot.

At 4/01/2011 1:35 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Kerry, The Frog Blog wouldn't be the same without you--and hasn't been the same during your hiatus.

So glad to see you here again!

At 4/01/2011 2:16 PM, Blogger Janice said...

Kerry, you're the reason I started reading the frog blog. My mom showed me some of your posts and, after wiping the tears of laughter from my face, I went home and bookmarked it. It's so good to see another post from you!

At 4/01/2011 5:12 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

Great post. Good to have you back :)

At 4/01/2011 5:51 PM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

I'm with Janice. You are the reason I'm hooked on the Frog Bog, crossword puzzles, and writing. And I'll be forever grateful.

At 4/04/2011 11:07 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Deb, Janice, Doug, Jennie, Annette and Anna: YOU, and other readers, are who make this blog a community. It's so very, very good to hear from you. Thank you!

Heather: Did I miss you when I was compiling my list of stellar guest bloggers? If I did, sorry! If I didn''s next Friday for you? :)

At 4/10/2011 2:04 PM, Blogger Pat said...

Kerry, I just poked my head out from under my rock and found that you have returned (!!!!!)
...Thanks for the kind mention, although my name on the list reminds me of a Sesame Street segment (one of these things just doesn't belong here.)
Love every word that springs forth from your brain!


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