Can I Taste and See That Life Is Good?

Can I Taste and See That Life Is Good?

by Janet Stobie

birthday cake

January eighteenth, our granddaughter, Ellie, celebrated her twelfth birthday. When she arrived after school, her birthday cake lay naked on the counter, still too hot to decorate. The thought never crossed her mind that a loving grandma would have had a finished masterpiece ready to impress her. Instead, she said, “Oh, good. Can I decorate it?” We both laughed as we stuck it into the freezer to cool. A half hour later, she was slathering that cake with pudding icing she had prepared, stopping occasionally to lick icing from her fingers. She buried brownies into the deep ridge of pudding she had built on the top, and drizzled caramel sauce over it all. Then came the whipped cream roses. After supper, she proudly presented her masterpiece.

Today, I’m aware that God hopes we approach life with the same creativity and joy Ellie did with her cake. God gives us life and provides the resources we need. Just as I hovered close to Ellie, God hovers within us, offering suggestions and help when needed, cheering as we create the masterpiece which is our lives. Of course, there are times when the brownies fall over. Every whipped cream flower isn’t perfect. God is patient and loving, for God knows the delight we experience and the learning we receive through the process.

Even when you are angry with your own or someone else’s mistakes, or overwhelmed with the pain of illness and grief, with God you are creating a masterpiece, your unique and beautiful life. Seek out the joy in the journey. Stop and lick your fingers. Taste a moment of goodness.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 37:8)

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really Okay?

By Janet Stobie

Valentines of Love
Valentines of Love

In “Walk in My Garden,” I read Helen Ripley’s story of returning to teaching after her husband died. When her grade one class was dismissed for recess, Elena remained behind and asked, “Are you okay, Mrs. Ripley?”

“Yes, I’m fine,” Helen replied, smiling at the child.

The child remained and said, “I know what happened. Are you really okay?”
That question from a six-year-old brought tears to Helen’s cheeks. Her heart touched, Helen said, “Thank you so much for stopping and caring. Yes, I’m sad right now, but I will be okay.” (p. 38)

God’s track record of caring for us always amazes me. During my divorce, God sent a parishioner to my study door, her arms outstretched in caring love. She held me while I cried.
When we need God with skin on, God never fails us. People of all ages, sometimes friends or family, sometimes strangers, appear and listen, offer a hug, an encouraging word, or a helping hand. God sends us angels in every size and colour because we are always God’s beloved children. Sometimes God even recruits you and me into his society of angels. Either way we know we are blessed by our loving God.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, a day set apart to honour those we love and who love us. For the last several weeks our commercial society screamed out, “Send Valentines. Buy gifts”. Regardless what happened yesterday, today is a new day. The opportunity to give a gift of love is not gone. I encourage you to search for the opportunity to be God’s Valentine, God’s angel, for someone, today and every day. Before February 15th is over, consider the angels of love God has sent to you when you were in need over this past year or years. Send God a prayer Valentine to say thank you.

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:1-2)

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

By Janet Stobie

At birth, I was named “Sharon Margaret Grigg.” Adopted, I became Janet Lynn Kilbride. With my first marriage I became Janet Lynn White. In my second, I exchanged White for Stobie, confusing many people. Those who knew me as Jan White don’t always connect me with the Rev. Janet Stobie who writes books. Consequently, I have to identify myself as Janet White-Stobie. Names are important. They help us keep people straight.

In our Christmas story, before Jesus was born, God’s angel tells Joseph to name his child “Jesus,” which in Hebrew means salvation. While the baptismal waters were still streaming down Jesus’ face as an adult, the heavens opened, God’s Spirit descended like a dove, and God said, “You are my beloved son. I am pleased with you.”

At his baptism, Jesus was identified as a beloved child of God. Note that Jesus didn’t become loved when he was baptized. Rather God proclaimed that Jesus already was God’s beloved child. In the church, we make the same proclamation at a child’s baptism. We claim God’s love for that child. Added to all their names given by their parents come the names, “beloved” and “child of God”.

I sign my book, Spectacular Stella with the words, “Always remember you are God’s beloved child.” I want every child that reads Stella to know that God has loved them from their beginning.

What difference does it make in your life, to know you are God’s beloved child.

This name gives us value even when we make poor choices or fail. This name tells us that God will always give us another chance. Like the father in Jesus’ story of “the Lost Son”, God is always waiting, arms open wide. Regardless of how far we go astray, we only have to turn around and step into God’s warm embrace. God’s unconditional love is with us always.