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Eric Petersen

 


An Easter story of faith re-found... at dinner!!!

With Easter upon us, I thought I'd share a story of faith… re-found.

I'm not going to lie… I was always partially unplugged from our church. My parents were devout in their faith and weekly attendance to our chosen house of worship, but me, I was what you could easily describe as lack luster at best. I felt like it might be uncool to be as faithful as my parents were… and that's where my latest life lesson was set into motion.

As a kid I started out strong in my weekly show of faith, mainly because my parents gave me no choice in the matter, but began to fade as the years went on, and eventually got to where I could count the dates that I'd been warming a pew in single digits… and that was based on a multi-year span of time.

Our church, like many scores of others, had a significantly older population and was typical for turning over a pastor every 4-5 years, it was discouraging. It also, being and old school Baptist church, was pretty strict on dress code (or maybe that was just my mom who made me put on my Sunday best) but a tie was suggested and so was a sport coat. Uncool.
Time passed, workloads got bigger and later into the night, and my interest in being religious went flatly numb. I found myself talking to God less and less, and for me attending church was a thing of the distant past.

Strangely I didn't even notice the changes that were taking place in me since taking the cool guy exit ramp. I was not the same person anymore; I felt no shame for being an absentee to faith and prayer. I went from asking for strength and being thankful for simple blessings to wondering why I felt so lost and frequently alone… it should've been obvious to me that I had left the high road a long time prior, but it simply wasn't… until a random Thursday evening family dinner.

Erika, Piper and I seldom eat as a family (something my parents did nightly) so when she suggested that we "dine at the table like normal families do", I jumped at the chance. I cooked, she set the table and Piper helped me serve. We sat down, draped the napkins across our laps and prepared to dine… but as I reached for my fork my wife intercepted my hand, held it tight, then reached for Piper's and bowed her head and began praying.

I sat there speechless, listening as she spoke the words of thankfulness for our little family, and warm home, and the food that was on the plates. As she spoke I could feel the vibrations of her voice resonate in my hand; it was humbling. I peeked over to see a smiling 5 year old; unaware of exactly what was happening, but somehow knowing that she was feeling the peace of the moment and the powerful calm of grace.

I could feel my face flush in that moment of self judgement; I hadn't prayed in months. Right then I knew that I had drifted away from being a person of faith to being an unstable fool. I felt embarrassed that it had taken a simple act of being thankful to our creator for a weeknight meal that showed me how far I had fallen from my own spirituality.

I'm no saint, nor will I ever be, but I see now that I have some work to do. I may never be a consistent church goer, but I am sure that I do have to begin my journey back to a graceful life. Being cool included.
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When did you first "Rock Out"?!!

While driving Piper to dance class the other day she looked at me with a sheepish smile and said “Can we rock out on the way home?” I was happily shocked, and I had to ask where she’d learned the fine of rocking out, the story was perfect.

 Apparently during her recent stay at her grandparent's house, while Erika and I were in vacation in the Virgin Islands, she was in grandpa Dave’s car when the old Guns & Roses song Paradise City came on and he seized the chance to show her the greatness of loud music and the delirium of sensory overload that it can produce!

She was inspired!

Remember, if you can, the very first time that someone did you the honor of teaching you to rock out… or basically lose yourself in a song (or 5). Take a moment to honor those people who introduced you to the warm feel of confusion brought on by rocking out, for they have given you the gift of musical appreciation that many others don’t, and may never will have.

Piper has learned it at 5!

I turned on the radio and the first sound we heard was the Eric Church’s Drink In My Hand.

As a broad & devilish smile spread across her face she looked at me in the rearview mirror and said the coolest (and most fitting) thing that she could've, as if she were reading from An Introduction to Being a Young Rocker’s script:

“Could you turn this up… real loud?”

My reply: “Of course I can sweetheart… Let’s ROCK!”
 
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A page from The Cabin Fever Cookbook...


I don’t know about you but I’m going a little stir crazy in the blinding cold snap we’ve been suffering through these last several weeks. With temps well below freezing, in fact well below 20 degrees, the idea of being outside is not only unsavory but downright unappetizing! So I have found myself doing indoor activities to keep my mind straight… and lots of them involve cooking, I fact all of them do.

I looked in the fridge this morning and was truly astonished to see that it was stuffed FULL of meals that I have been cooking to relieve my “cabin fever”. My tastes have never been for colder weather, so I apparently have taken on the challenge to flavor this winter with my own menu of options that I am creating myself.

I actually didn’t realize that I was doing this until Thursday evening, when I received a text from Erika asking what I wanted her to make for dinner (since I had stopped by her work, picked up Piper from school, dressed her for dance, and was taking her to class that evening) she wanted to do it as a thank you gesture for my extra work. My reply to her was “no need to cook, I made you chicken strips with mushrooms and leeks in a light wine sauce”.

It’s not that I don’t like cooking, believe me I do, but I am doing it out of complete and udder winter insanity! I find it kinda odd that I didn’t see this manic cooking obsession occurring until the fridge was literally full of cooked (in some cases gormet) food from light bulb to crisper!

Should I be concerned, maybe, but if there is a family dinner, or snack, or anything food related happening I have made it this month… and until it warms up, I don’t see it stopping.

Food anyone?... apparently I’ll cook it!
 
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Parental lesson #692... (and counting).

Raising a child is hard work. If you choose to disagree, then you’re a better person that almost every parent that I have ever encountered. I once heard a father say that “it takes a village” (to raise a child), paraphrasing an old Oprah line, and I think he’s right.

I have no kids of my own, but I refer to my step-daughter Piper as my daughter, and helping her navigate this earth has been as much of an amazing learning experience for me as it’s been for her.

I pick her up from school each and every afternoon, and we roll home discussing her day and its highs and lows. Usually the conversation is bright and bubbly with the occasional exhaustion induced meltdown (followed by a nap), but overall our afternoons are pretty predictable.

This week however, Piper has been suffering with the same seasonal virus that most of us Northeasterners have been battling as of late: the cough, the sneezing, the slight temperature, and in her case a genuine lack of sleep… it’s been torture for her, and for us.

She came bounding out of the school, happy to see me, and no doubt happy to be done with classes for the day, hugged my neck, jumped in her seat in the rear of my truck and barely made it to the parking lots exit before her head bobbed forward, sound asleep. She was out cold in a matter of time that could’ve been measured in seconds.

The trip home and most of the rest of the afternoon found her in a listless state of consciousness, and when she appeared at the kitchen door (semi-awake) about two hours later, she had sought me out for a hug that turned out to be a change of napping location… my shoulder.

I have found that one of the toughest things about raising a child is caring about them as much as you understandably do. You want to heal their hurt and sooth their illness, but usually can’t, and thus take on the almost guilty feeling of helplessness of being unable to do exactly that task. That nagging feeling of parental vulnerability is one only the deep love of a child can provoke, and it’s a tough pill to swallow.

I know in a few days, with proper rest and care that the bug will run its course, and she’ll be back to the happy little kindergartener she usually is, but for now Erika and I have the displeasure of having a front row seat to the Piper Is As Sick As Hell Show… and it’s awfully hard to watch!
 
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Can I Please Be Done Now?....

I don’t know about you, but this time of year KILLS me. If there is a dog days of winter we are firmly in the middle of them!
Yeah, the days are getting longer, and yes we are in the range of half way done with winter, but MAN does this time of year drag! With the temps being consistently below freezing and the nights being longer than the daylight hours are, my frame of mind is in a very fragile way!

Now, I admit that I am not a winter sports person nor am I a fan of cold weather at all, I never have been, so I enter this conversation being biased to warm sunshine and beach climates, and thus it makes it harder for me to find even a sliver of attractiveness in the frigid months of Dec-Mar.

I’ve tried snowmobiling and skiing, tubing and ice fishing, all to no avail… each time I came away with a great set of memories and a few new skills, but at the same time deeply in need of an electric blanket and a hot toddy!

So I’ll take a second to say a quick I’m sorry to the few of us that relish the days of blinding snow and heavy coated attire, but I’m officially over it, and that’s the bad news, because I have to endure this agonizing frozen, ice covered torture for the better part of three more months.

If you need me I’ll be the one under the heat lamp! :/
 
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The "good" advice you should really stop giving...

We’re getting married… it’s amazing the varied range of responses that you get when you tell people these three little words. Some folks shake their heads, others ask if you’ve gone crazy, and some smile and laugh or squeal with delight, but happily, all of the responses are usually followed up with a handshake, or a hug and a solemn wish of congratulations.

When my wife and I got engaged several people were surprised that a person “at my age” would be getting married to someone, anyone… as if to say that “You’ve made it this far so why do that to yourself”. Do what exactly? Improve my life? Marry my best friend? Spend my days knowing that I had chosen happiness and dedication to the person who brings it into my life, over random searching and well hidden loneliness?

Was I missing something?

Strange as it may seem, there is no shortage of well-intended people who do truly feel that they need to provide you with some pearl of sage advice, brought forth from their own years (sometimes days) of interpersonal experience! Most were joking, I hope, and that served to make their verbiage both better and worse.

Now, not every one of the people that I told our happy news to spoke of doom and a life served in eternal regret, most were honestly happy for us, but ironically the crazy “words of warning” that came from a truly select few made me do some introspective thinking, and they brought me to a series of conclusions that I feel inclined to share with you:

-People will give you advice whether you want it or not.
-They’re trying to be funny (sort of).
-Those same people usually don’t know you well enough to give you that advice.
-As a rule, it’s best to not listen to them.
 
Here’s my own words of advice to the people who say things like: “Why ruin your life by getting married?":
When a person (like me) is happy, don’t try to change that… find another lonely, angry, scared person just like yourself, and chat with them about how big of a fool I am being for marrying my best friend. In the meantime my wife and I will be living happily ever after… will you?
 
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Things I am thankful for... a brief list.

I'm thankful for The Philadelphia Eagles, cold beer, my 55" flat screen, a good steak, the DVR, macadamia nuts, Hawaii Five-O and anything that drives Selena crazy...
I'm thankful for the NFL Sunday Ticket and the Red Zone Channel as well as the Multi View NCAAF channel and the way that DCTC’s Amy Jo keeps Piper in awe for hours...
I am thankful for Barrett's chicken wings and bar pie pizza (with mushrooms) a semi-dry Chianti and a Love Boat of sushi...
I am thankful for the heated seats in my car and really good blue cheese...
Buffalo chicken flavored Doritos and horseradish cheddar by the block...
I am thankful for Bacon, in all forms, on all things, Oink...
I am thankful for a beautiful, and crazy, blonde goddess named Erika and her nearly perfect five year old daughter Piper and the unspeakable happiness that have brought to me since becoming a part of my world...
 
And I am thankful for you, yes you, who listens every day, and laughs, and tells (or forces) your friends to listen. I do this job, and keep this position on a day to day basis because of you and I thank God for this job and your dedication to our show more than you will ever know.
 
Happy Thanksgiving

 
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A few words about choices...

I feel the need to talk with you a bit about choices.

From the outside a choice is the simple and common act of deciding on something seems pretty mundane… you choose an option every second of everyday almost. Choices are usually tiny and require little thought or time to consider, they are done and over in a second and we barely know we’ve made a choice.

Choices like: should I eat in or take out or glance at that person, walk a bit faster or sit on this chair; simple, fast and usually uneventful… but the choices I am speaking of are the ones that seem small but are anything but.
I think it’s important to first say that the choices you make for yourself today will dictate the very life you’ll be living tomorrow. Remember that!

What you choose to do today will alter the best laid plan you may have for yourself in the future, maybe even your immediate future.

Example:
-You promised yourself you’d lose weight (and you plan on it) but eating the super-sized meal today is what you chose to do.
-You knew that if you were late to work one more time you’d get fired but you stayed out till 3am last night and couldn’t get up anyhow.
-Your spouse will be very mad if you don’t help with the laundry but going to the mall today was what you ended up doing! Etc.

This week marked the passing of a friend that had made so many bad choices in his existence that he felt certain that his future was doomed, and he ultimately took his own life. His choice to do so has sent a ripple effect through the family he left behind, a precious 4 year old daughter, the woman who truly loved him, his circle of stunned friends, and the community that he lived in. In truth he was a kind hearted man, yet he felt that the telling truth, and the act of doing the right thing, was just too boring and instead chose to inflate himself and his image through grandiose lies, as well as dodge his creditors and all his responsibilities. His denial of making the correct choices in life led to his inability to see things clearly at all… his tangled up life, that was easily fixable, was of no value to him -and he ultimately chose to end it.
Sad… but the life choices we make can and will do irreparable damage.

So now I ask you: What choice will you make today that will move you closer to your dreams? Will you admit that you need to make changes to get there, or will you lie and disguise the depth that you fallen to again? Will you walk confidently in the direction of your dreams or will you cower to the fear of the unknown?

Whatever you do, choose wisely today, and every day, and remember that you are going to either be rewarded or punished by what option you chose to make. Tomorrow is waiting… choose carefully.
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Are you walking with a "rock in your shoe"?

In an effort to begin getting in shape I have started walking a 3+ mile route around the neighborhood where we live. On Sunday I set out on what would be a walk that would teach me a life lesson as well as get me closer to cardiovascular health.

I put on comfy (gym style) clothes, an appropriate wind breaker,  laced up my new pair of Nike Shox and began my trip around the berg, but as I stepped off the curb something instantly was wrong. Inside my left sneaker was something that was just big enough to make it uncomfortable to walk. The trouble was that it also was almost bearable enough to just let it stay there. I was torn, because I really didn’t want to stop and remove my shoe in the middle of a country road, plus I had a little bit of momentum built up that I didn’t want to interrupt, so I walked on hoping it would soon become a non-issue… it didn’t.

About a quarter of a mile into my journey I begrudgingly stopped, leaned against a tree, unlaced the Nike and removed the shoe, in an effort to remove whatever it was that was bugging me. I expected it to be the size of a boulder, it had to be right? Any item inside your shoe that keeps you from being able to move in comfort must be massive, I thought.

I slipped the sneaker off and tilted it toward me so that whatever it was would roll into my view… as it did, I peered into the shoe, only to be amazed at how, what I could only describe as, miniscule the pain causing item actually was. It turned out that my “boulder” was in fact a tiny metal ball bearing that must’ve come from a broken toy of Piper’s that had flown into my nearby sneaker. It was SO small that it was barely visible at all! I took it out, tossed it into the leaves, and began again to tread onward.

As I now was walking it was noticeably better and much more pleasant to move forward. I walked faster and it seemed almost like to steps were easier and more positive. My mood seemed to lighten and I began to look around me at the passing scenery as opposed to thinking about what was causing me pain in my every step.

Then it hit me…
What little thing was in my life that was causing me pain?
What was I was just dealing with instead of removing from my life?
What was bugging me that I no longer had to tolerate?
What was slowing me down and keeping me from being happy and enjoying my journey through this world?
What seemed SO huge, that was no doubt minuscule, was distracting me from moving on?
And- How more miles would I have to travel in this world to finally get it out of my life?
 
Serious questions provoked by a tiny annoyance, but a great lesson learned.
So, ask yourself if there’s a proverbial rock in your shoe as you’re living your life. Consider the idea of ridding yourself of the things that cause you pain, and how positive you’ll feel as a result.  The choice is yours to walk on in comfort or not… but, why walk with a rock in your shoe?
 
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What's changed in your life in the last 5 years?

I did a bit on the show this week where I asked people to briefly  tell me about what changes have happened in the last 5 years of their lives… it was astonishing!

For starters it was amazing how many calls I got!  Dozens of people with powerful stories about overcoming obstacles, gaining success and finding great improvement in their lives… but there was also people who told us of great setbacks, hardships and failures they’d incurred in the past half-decade, yet all of them ended their calls with a positive look at the future, and if nothing else, all had a determined will to win over the odds that may have seemed almost insurmountable.

I sat there a bit in awe. I honestly had thought that the topic would be a “risky” considering the fragile state of the average person’s mindset these days. I expected the worst and instead got a pleasant surprise!

I also couldn’t help but drift off to remember the person I had been five years ago and consequently sit in disbelief of how different my world is now as opposed to then.

Five years ago I was taking full care of my mother (who was in ill health), I drove a PT Cruiser, I was in a dysfunctional and toxic relationship, lived in an unfinished house and not only had no pets, but had no desire to have one (not to mention two or four), oh, and I was not even a member of the morning show that I now co-host.

Half a decade later all of that is changed… I am in a totally finished and beautiful home, drive a Chevy Colorado, I have a job that most people (even those in the radio biz) would love to have, I am the proud father of a cat- a dog- and two fish, I adore a five year old that keeps me on my best behavior daily, and in December I’ll stand on a beach in South Carolina and commit my life to her mother, my soul mate, as she becomes my wife.

Wanna make yourself smile?... Take a moment and think now about where you were ONLY five years ago… you may be surprised how far you’ve come, or maybe you'll get a very clear picture of what you need to change to start moving forward, but for better or worse, I hope that the next five will be equally as awesome, for both of us!
 
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