My New Book

REV. JANET STOBIE AND A PLACE CALLED HOME (residence)Invite You to OUR BOOK LAUNCH AND OPEN HOUSE Introducing our new storybook titled

“A PLACE CALLED HOME”
(Homeless? Who Me?)

Thursday, November 18, 2010 Book Signing and Open House: 5:30-7:00 p.m. Official launch ceremony: 6:00 p.m. Official Launch Ceremony at

A Place Called Home Offices, 64 Lindsay Street South, Lindsay, Ontario

PLEASE COME AND CELEBRATE WITH US.

RSVP 705-328-0905 Ext. 221

All proceeds from the sale of the storybook “A Placed Called Home” will be used in support of the homeless programs at the residence in Lindsay Ontario

The book will be available for purchase at the launch, in Lindsay at Footprints and Kent Bookstores, from the author, Janet Stobie 705-793-3804, at A Place Called Home offices 705-328-0905 ext. 221 and on the internet at www.revjantheauthor.blogspot.com and www.aplacecalledhome.org

Thanksliving

Thanks Living
(309 words)

One of our family thanksgiving traditions involves a walk in the woods or across the fields. The youngest among us collects red, gold, and oaken brown leaves to decorate the dining room table.
As I walk, I consciously collect reasons for giving thanks. I am thankful for:
• sight – God’s world glowing with the colors of autumn. I am surrounded by beauty.
• sound – birds’ songs, squirrel chatter, laughter and words – entangle to create the music of life.
• Family – My youngest granddaughter slips on the muddy path. She holds up her hand, slimy with mud and giggles. Her big brother groans. I smile. Love fills my soul.
• Freedom – to live in this wonderful country where we can speak our minds, go to worship, attend school, get medical care without fear. As Canadians we are blessed.

My son speaks about a friend who has cancer, and my mind shifts to the grief and pain that comes from illness and death. What would I do if one of these who are with me, had cancer? I shiver with the darkness that enshrouds my mind. Because I love them, I feel this pain. Yet nothing could induce me to trade the joy of their presence in my life for the absence of that pain. Yes, I can give thanks even in the midst of sickness and death.
My minister identified these thoughts and feelings as “thanks living” I encourage you to try “thanks living” not just for one weekend but every day all year. Search out the goodness in the midst of the trials and the joys of life and give thanks.
As St. Paul says in his first letter to the Thessalonians , “Be joyful always: pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 .

The Race

When a competitive runner hears the starting gun, his entire body moves in immediate response. He/she knows a fast start is crucial. Today’s life often feels like a hundred metre sprint with the alarm clock replacing the starter’s gun. Even after we retire we are still racing. Every morning, we open our eyes to an endless list of tasks. Our minds are racing even before our feet hit the floor. In the Bible, St. Paul says, “…let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of faith…” (Hebrews 12:2) We have certainly accepted the metaphor of life as a race.
It’s September. School has started again. Ready or not, it’s time. This fall, I have a suggestion for us all. Let’s endeavour to follow all of Paul’s instruction rather than half of it. He says keep your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith. When we read the stories of Jesus’ life, we find that he took time for rest and renewal. Yes, he had a busy life traveling throughout Israel. Yes, but he stopped often to pray, to talk and eat with his friends. He kept his eyes open to the beauty of the world around him. He enjoyed and cared about people.
This fall, as once again we dive into our crazy lives, I ask us to remember three things. First, if we had nothing to do, we would soon become bored and feel useless. Much of our busyness brings us satisfaction. We volunteer because the project is worthwhile and we enjoy helping others. So let’s give thanks for what we do. Second, even ten minutes resting in our favorite chair listening to sacred music or reading the Bible, will give us rest. Third, five minutes spent in prayer, truly focused on God, not multi-tasking prayer as we drive to work, will bring renewal. Three small things that require only a change in attitude will give us the power to “run with perseverance the race that is set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith.”

To Love Or To Destroy

Last week, a man fanned the flames of hatred and fear around the world. Because he claimed to be a Christian, the news media gave credibility to his threats. His message and the world’s reaction screamed at us from our televisions, radios, and newspapers.. . Jesus taught love and acceptance not disrespect, destruction and violence. This man was using Christianity not being a Christian.
If the acts of love and caring done by Christians received the same media attention, maybe we could fan the flames of goodness and acceptance around the world.. So today, I offer you this quote from a conversation during a golf game last week.
A teenager, who was part of our golf foursome was having a particularly bad game. She either topped the ball or sent it flying over into the other fairway. At one point, she and I stopped to talk while we waited for our friends to hit the ball. She told me about a power point she had made for the Sunday’s service. I affirmed her willingness to give of her time and talent to our congregation. She responded, “I just love church. I love the people. I love Jean (one of our oldest members0 and Beth (one of the youngest). I love them all. They always speak to me. They’re interested in me and they’re interesting.” She smiled her dazzling smile, stepped up to her ball and swung. It sailed straight and high and true right down the middle of the fairway. “See,” she said, “I just think about church and I feel better.” My heart lifted with joy.
As Christians we’re not about condemning what others believe and trying to hurt them. As Christians we’re called to love God, our neighbours as ourselves. We gather as a church family to offer the rock of Jesus’ love as a solid foundation for life.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Love

How Do I Love Thee? Can I Count the Ways?

It’s been a beautiful summer, a great time for outdoor weddings. Sunshine, flowers, lakes, and parks have surrounded me, as I stood with young couples anxious to pledge their love for one another. With determination, they repeated the precious words of commitment, confident that their love could survive whatever the future holds. Now that summer is over and children are heading back to school, those vows are ringing in my ears.

Traditional wedding vows include the phrase “in sickness and in health”. What does it mean to promise before God to love your spouse in sickness?  During my life as an ordained minister, I have heard many variations on the following plea:

“I need help. It’s such a struggle. His disease is making it more and more difficult for him to breathe even with the oxygen. He wants me with him 24/7, sitting at that table, the television blaring. He needs my attention so I can’t even read. I love him. I want to care for him but when am I going to do. I need to get groceries. I need some peace. I love him.”

The plight of these couples is a long way from the sunny summer day, years ago, when their wedding vows were spoken. The initial blast of emotion and hormones has long since passed.  “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Was the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning thinking about the love we need when illness becomes all encompassing? Severe illness calls us to a depth of love that lies beyond our understanding, a love that pulls us beyond ourselves to a strength that only God can give.

God’s love for each one of us, whether we believe or not, is just that deep and strong. God’s love holds us in our darkest hours, empowering us to love as we have been loved. Jesus promised, “Lo I will be with you always, even unto the end of the age.” We can live secure in that promise.

(For more reflections by Janet Stobie go to revjantheauthor.blogspot.com)

Stop! Look! and Listen!

When my children were little, I taught them to stop, look and listen before they crossed the street. Stop, look and listen before we act, is a good motto for life. In today’s world many of us lead such overwhelmingly busy lives that we forget to stop, look and listen. For instance: We want our grocery shopping done as quickly and cheaply as possible. We don’t stop to conside what we actually need, or look at the ingredients. We don’t think we have time to listen to what our local farmers are saying.

St. Paul tells us that we need to take our everyday, ordinary life – our sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life, and place it before God as an offering. In essence he is saying, stop, look and listen for God’s will, every moment of your life.

Stop your rushing around. Rest for a moment. Look at the world around you. See God’s beauty in the hummingbirds at your bird feeder, the blazing sunset, the eyes of your neighbour as she asks for a cancer donation. Listen for God’s voice in the sounds of laughter, your teen’s request,and the silence of a cool, clear evening.

Stop your busy mind, that thinks it already knows what is right in every situation. Look at the person in front of you. Regardless of his race, or creed, see him as a human being like yourself with the same wants and needs. Listen to God’s call to love and care for the world.

Stop, look and listen and you will be amazed at the changes that come in you and in your life. You will find God’s peace and power to live.

Romans12

1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.

The Time Between

As my car approaches the flag person standing in the sun, and I see the bulldozers working, my blood pressure begins to climb. A stab of pain runs down my back when I step on the brake and the cars line up behind me. I hate waiting in line.

“Come on, come on,” I mutter, “Time’s a wasting.”

Last week I read an article about lost moments. It stated that in our life time we will spend a total of five years waiting in line. Five years give us a wealth of opportunity for angry words and deep sighs. Five years is a long time to rail at slow cashiers, and complain about the bank clerks that are off having lunch, or blame ourselves for picking the wrong line. In our life time, we have five years to deepen the pathways of frustration and impatience in our brain. Just think we each have five years to add to the world’s pool of hostility. Is that truly what we want to do with our lives?

We hunch our shoulders in disgust and reply, “No, of course not, but what else can we do? We have no control over our time spent in line.”

I offer you this alternative. The next time you are in line take control of your thinking. Give your resentment, your worry about being late, your frustration to God. Then say thank you for this unexpected “time between”. Look at the people and the world around you. What beauty is there to see? Offer a prayer of concern for the bank clerk who is working under the stress of so many people waiting. Pick a person in the line and ask for a special blessing just for them. Still in line? Pray for peace in the world. Keep your thoughts focused on goodness and compassion. It is your choice. You can use this “time between” to add to the love and joy in this world, or the anger and resentment. Remember, the “time between” is important.

“Whatever happens conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians:1:27

Close Up Living

My son and his family gave me a neat picture. In large block letters across a white background is printed “GRANDKIDS”. Within each letter is a picture of one or more of our grandchildren. From across the room I can see the colourful word, GRANDKIDS. Up close, I see our grandchildren as individuals, laughing, building a snowman, hugging each other.
That picture reminds me of a phenomenon of life. When we look out of an airplane window, we see miles and miles of orderly fields, tree tops, lakes, rivers, mountains and even cities set out in brilliant colours, a tapestry that seems to roll on forever. When we’re on the ground we see flowers and weeds, refuse and pristine parks. From a distance the world is beautiful. Up close, it retains its beauty, but also exhibits its flaws and its character.
The same thing happens with people. From a distance, those of a different culture or ethnic variety all look the same; they become “those” people. Up close, those same people become my neighbour, my daughter’s friend, my son-in-law, my minister. Up close, we can’t ignore the fact that they are God’s precious children. When the enemy has a collective name like “terrorist,” it is easy to hate them. When he becomes an individual like you and me, who loves his family and struggles to provide for them, understanding and a desire for change begin to creep in.
Jesus dealt with individuals, not the faceless crowd. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, to the man with leprosy, to the little boy who offered his lunch, to the bent over woman. Jesus taught us to love our neighbours just as they are.
When we open our eyes and hearts to see people up close and accept them, we take a small step towards building a world of peace and love.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Luke 10:27
Close Up Living
(322 words)

My son and his family gave me a neat picture. In large block letters across a white background is printed “GRANDKIDS”. Within each letter is a picture of one or more of our grandchildren. From across the room I can see the colourful word, GRANDKIDS. Up close, I see our grandchildren as individuals, laughing, building a snowman, hugging each other.
That picture reminds me of a phenomenon of life. When we look out of an airplane window, we see miles and miles of orderly fields, tree tops, lakes, rivers, mountains and even cities set out in brilliant colours, a tapestry that seems to roll on forever. When we’re on the ground we see flowers and weeds, refuse and pristine parks. From a distance the world is beautiful. Up close, it retains its beauty, but also exhibits its flaws and its character.
The same thing happens with people. From a distance, those of a different culture or ethnic variety all look the same; they become “those” people. Up close, those same people become my neighbour, my daughter’s friend, my son-in-law, my minister. Up close, we can’t ignore the fact that they are God’s precious children. When the enemy has a collective name like “terrorist,” it is easy to hate them. When he becomes an individual like you and me, who loves his family and struggles to provide for them, understanding and a desire for change begin to creep in.
Jesus dealt with individuals, not the faceless crowd. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, to the man with leprosy, to the little boy who offered his lunch, to the bent over woman. Jesus taught us to love our neighbours just as they are.
When we open our eyes and hearts to see people up close and accept them, we take a small step towards building a world of peace and love.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Platters
Diet gurus tell us the best way to diet is to use a smaller plate. When Tom and I went to Beijing, China a few years ago, my son and his wife took us to a local restaurant, where the local Chinese villagers eat. The table was set with four tiny plates, each about four inches in diameter. The food was served in five small bowls. Tom and I frowned. Is this all? The bowls were passed and we took a tiny portion from each bowl. Our plates were full. The food was delicious. The bowls were passed again and again until they were empty. To our surprise, we had feasted and we were satisfied.
In North America many restaurants serve the food on “platters”. We smile with appreciation as the waitress sets before us, the “platter” almost overflowing with food. Our response – “Wow, now that is value for our dollar.” The problem comes when the meal is over, and a third of this delicious food returns to the kitchen garbage pail. Those of us who manage to eat it all complain about feeling stuffed and worry about gaining weight.
Think about the messages the “platter” gives us.
Wasting food is normal.
Greed is the way to get value for our money.
Eat more than you need, after all you’ve paid for it.
Scientists tell us that there is enough food produced in the world today to provide everyone, yes everyone, with at least 2,730 calories each day. The world’s agriculture produces 175 more calories per person today than it did thirty years ago, despite a seventy percent population increase. (International development research Centre). There really is enough food for everyone if it was distributed evenly. Platters for those of us blessed to be born in North America is not distributing the food evenly.
There is a restaurant chain in Montreal that serves only buffet meals. Once again, we are encouraged to eat as much as we want, but here there is a difference. In small print on the bottom of the menu is the message: “Each night the left over food from this buffet is given to soup kitchens across the city.” Now that truly is value for our dollar..
The next time you pull up to the table in a restaurant or at home, think on these things.