I posted this on Facebook and then remembered the only way I knew how to post it on my other social media places was to post it on my website. Therefore, my Facebook friends received it twice. My apologies.
Celebrity for a Day
Last Monday was a special day for me. Emmanuel College, University of Toronto, Alumni Association presented me with a service award for my writing and speaking ministry. I was humbled and delighted. As all of you know, I have been writing and publishing my books for the last fourteen years. I love the writing and publishing. Speaking engagements are great fun as I fly on the Spirit. The messages both in my books and my talks are peace, love, and acceptance of self and others.
Selling the books is not quite as much fun. One of the blessings of this award, is that the general public tends to buy books written by an award-winning author. So, I remind all of you who have enjoyed my books and my speaking over the years, to tell your friends about my books and my availability as a guest speaker. Of course, don’t forget that my books make good gifts for your friends and family. They will entertain and could begin a journey of faith.
I’ve posted a few pictures from my day. Years ago, there was a TV show called “Queen for a Day”. Well the name was something like that. I have titled this blog, “Celebrity for a Day”. I did feel like a celebrity. Everyone was wonderful. Best of all, my daughter and grandson, and three of my friends came to celebrate with me. It was truly a day to remember.
All of us. It was a great day. I am truly grateful.
In my morning prayer time, I’m working through the United Church’s Lenten Bible study. This is the question for March 12: “Is your faith in God strong enough to put your life in God’s hands without hesitation?” My first response is, “I don’t know. God hasn’t asked me to do that yet.” As soon as that thought rippled through my mind, I pictured the boxes of books lining one side of my furnace room, and I chuckled. Over the last 14 years, I written, published and bought 9000 plus copies of my books. Today there are about 1000 books remaining on those shelves. Every time I write another book, pay for professional editing, design and layout, and then order a thousand books, I take a leap of faith. Will they sell, or pile up in my furnace room until I can’t get inside?
Yes, I do place my heart in God’s hands with each new book. Writing and selling takes courage. There is always the risk of rejection. I rent a table and lay out my books. Some people walk by without even stopping to look. These books represent a part of me, and rejection sends an arrow deep into my soul. Yet, I’ve learned that when discouragement sets in, someone stops me at a meeting to tell me how much they love my books, or I receive an email like the one I received today:
“… I don’t read as much as I’d like to. However, I finished Fireweeda few weeks ago, and it’s taken me awhile to write and tell you how much I loved it. You certainly have a way of making your characters seem real and I felt as though I knew and cared for Renee and Steve. I found I’d smile with them and once got teary-eyed as well. It is a good reminder for all to pray and think kindly of all others, no matter what. And so I just wanted to affirm you. From a reader’s point of view, your ministry is alive and well, and in such a gentle, loving way. I have started To Begin Again and am delighted to revisit the same little family, and looking forward to what you have to share about our grandmother. Your books bring a little joy and goodness into this crazy world. Just as God has planned, I’m sure. Love Francie
Emails like this lift the darkness. I think, God obviously wants me to keep writing, to spread Jesus’ message of unconditional love through my books. Gratitude fills my soul. Thank you,God, for giving me the courage to trust you enough that I risk using my God-given talents. I am truly blessed.
Over this Lenten season, I encourage all of you to think about the gifts God has given you for spreading God’s message of love and peace to the world. When you feel discouraged, remember Jesus also enjoyed success with some, and disappointment with others. When the road was rough, he spent time in prayer seeking affirmation, solace, and strength. WE CAN DO THE SAME. You may feel hesitation, for sure, but you can put your life, your efforts in God’s hands. You can do it. Thanks be to God.
For the month of July, my very first book titled A Child Speaks is available as an ebook absolutely free om the Smashwords summer sale. Just click on or copy and paste https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=A+Child+Speaks . This link will take you directly to the book. A Child Speaks is a collection of short stories that offer my unique perspective on familiar bible stories. If you’ve never read the Bible these stories will give you an excellent introduction to it’s mysterious content. Take this opportunity to discover the relevance of Bible stories to today’s issues. A Child Speaks as a print book completely sold out.
Have trouble reading because you’re eyesight is deteriorating? Try the audiobook version of A Child Speak. Let me tell you the stories. The two CD set sells for $10.00 and is available at www.janetstobie.com or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org More than one thousand people have already enjoyed A Child Speaks.
While you’re on my website check out my other books, especially my Catalpa Creek Series. Two novels based in the mysthical town of Catalpa Creek. Follow Renee and her dad Steve as they live their lives and deal with many of today’s issues. Fireweed and To Begin Again are available on Amazon.com and .ca as well as from my website www.janetstobie.com. At $20.00 each, these two novels will give you hours of summer reading pleasure.
Just a note to tell everyone that I’ve started taking pre-orders for my new novel, “To Begin Again”. The plan is to have the books in my hands by April 23. That’s my birthday and it will be a scary present to receive the shipment of 1000 copies of To Begin Again. It will be a fabulous present to have at least 100 of those books sold before they arrive. Preorders will give my courage a boost. That’s for sure.
Writing and publishinga novel is a humungus leap of faith and a huge investment of time and money. Today, I was at a UCW gathering with my books. When I asked the group to raise their hands if they owned a copy of my novel Fireweed and my worship resource Dipping Your Toes, nearly every one in the room raised their hands. There were 70 wonderful women present.
I took pre-orders of To Begin Again. Ten people invested in my book, even though I didn’t even have a picture of the cover to show them. The affirmations that I received for my writing from so many people was great. I know I’ve been called by God to spread the message of God’s love through my books, but sometimes human confirmation of that call helps. This was one of those times.
I am grateful for the support of the United Church Women of Shining Waters Presbytery. If any of you are wanting to preorder To Begin Again I will give you a 20% discount. That means the book sells for $16 rather than $20 it will cost on April 23rd. Just send me an email email@example.com and we will organize the transfer of money and the shipping of the book. Blessings to you all. Janet
My new novel is ready for reviews and “Beta Readers”. In the writing world a Beta reader is someone, often another writer, always an avid reader, who agrees to read your book looking for any big problems in the story line and the characters. A reviewer reads the book and writes a short paragraph hopefully in praise of the book but not necessarily. I am just delighted to have finally reached this stage.
I need your opinion on my choice of name for this book. Would you stop to look at a book titled:
Today, I wrote a “pitch” for Seeking Safety. A “pitch” is the kind of thing we find on the back cover or books. It’s supposed to catch our interest and make us want to buy it. Writing a “pitch” requires a totally different skill than writing the book. This is my first attempt for “Seeking Safety”. I would truly appreciate it, if all of my readers would leave a comment about this pitch. Does it make my book sound interesting? Would it entice you to read the book? Don’t worry, about hurting my feelings. On this one I have a very tough skin. Thank you in advance.
Seeking Safety by Janet Stobie
For teenager Renee Grenville safety and security are fragile. In seconds her Mom’s life ended. For more two years, Renee and her dad have been struggling to rebuild their lives. Now, that fragile new security is threatened. Surrounded by uncertainty, Renee buries herself in her school project only to discover that life intervenes anyway. Seeking Safety is a novel about relationships, between individuals, the community, and the past.
Yesterday, I had an incredible day. Almost two years ago, I was asked to be theme speaker for the Wednesday, United Church Women’s Day of Bay of Quinte Conference. What a fabulous honor. The theme for the day was, “Light One Candle”. I spent a great deal of time in prayer trying to decide the best way to deal with this theme. I believe God led me to speak about how Jesus ensured that his followers (disciples both men and women), felt energized and refreshed so that they could continue carrying God’s message of love and forgiveness to all the people they met.
As usual, God’s choice was on target. I flew on God’s Spirit as I talked. Afterward’s many of the 130+ women who were there told me that the talk had given them a “mountaintop experience.” Wow. This is my ministry. Today, I am so grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to speak and the words to say. As an added blessing, I sold $530 worth of books which included 18 of my “Can I Hold Him? Christmas Stories for All Ages” that is in it’s second printing. I am truly blessed. Thank you God.
Today, we met Bev and Neil for breakfast in our hotel. Last night, in the course of our conversation in the hot tub, I told Bev about Fireweed. “I’d like to buy one,” she said. “I’ll get it from you at breakfast.” We talked and talked this morning. When 10 a.m. came we moved from the breakfast room to the lobby and talked some more. It was well after eleven when we finally checked out. The hotel didn’t mind and neither did we. We had made new friends.
This morning’s journey took us through Roger’s Pass. These mountains must be a little lower because they were rich with trees right up to the summit. The rocks and snow that had capped the higher mountains yesterday, were replaced with beautiful evergreens, trees, lots of trees, high above us, all around us. “This is God’s wondrous world” kept dancing through my head.
We stopped in Revelstoke at tourist information. Tom called Rev. Ken Jones at Revelstoke UC. He was in and quite happy to talk to us. He’d even heard of me. Wow! That feels like progress. Conversation with Ken was fun. He bought Dipping Your Toes, Fireweed, and Spectacular Stella. He also took my literature to carry to Presbytery since he’s the chair. An excellent and successful contact that Tom had found on the internet last night while I was sorting out pictures for my blog. We are a great team.
Next stop, Salmon Arm B.C. We had an appointment with Jenny Carter at the United Church. I had called ahead this time but neglected to leave her my phone number. Somehow we missed connecting with Rev. Jenny. We’ll check in with her in the morning before we leave for Kelowna.
Tonight at supper, we lined up behind a couple from South Africa. We talked, of course. Our common ground was my son David and family who moved to South Africa this past summer. After a short visit, we gave them my card. They will send us an email so we can send them Dave’s phone number. They wanted to call Dave to tell him they’d been to Canada and our chance meeting at the restaurant. Was this chance meeting a co-incidence? No, a God-incident, for sure.
Tonight we’re at the Comfort Inn and Suites, a wonderful hotel. Mary at the front desk, couldn’t have been more helpful. She even found an electric kettle so I could have my tea tonight as I write this. The room is spacious and comfortable. The swimming pool is amazingly warm. The hot tub of course is great. We will add this one to our list of great places to stay.
That’s it for tonight. We’ve had a productive day. Books sold, good contacts made, and miles and miles of spectacular scenery. We even had an opportunity to talk with Connie and Ellie. The tough part of this holiday is being away from our beloved family for so long. Tonight I remind myself that in just three more days we’ll be in Vancouver and be connecting with Tom’s daughter, Bonnie, her partner Boris, their baby Alex and Connie’s son, Christopher. Families today are often spread all over the world. We can’t be with them all at the same time. Tom and I are truly blessed to be able to make this trip to see these cherished family members.
Tonight we have heaps of blessings to count. We are grateful.
Today started slowly. We were staying in Saskatoon for a second night, so why rush. The extra sleep was good. We spent most of the day visiting United Churches and promoting and selling Fireweed and Dipping Your Toes. Sales were very good. The best part of the day were the wonderful warm welcomes we received at each church. I love our United Church. No matter where you go, if you stop at the United Church during office hours, you can depend upon being received with enthusiasm, and respect. Writing my books is pure joy. Selling them is much harder. Today everyone made it easy. The second thing I learned is that the United Church presence in Saskatoon is vigorous and faithful. The combined outreach to the community is quite amazing. If our congregations here have a lot of grey hair they are certainly not slowing down. There is lots of community outreach and mission and education happening in Saskatoon at least. It’s obvious that the hands and feet of Christ are very active.
By four most of the church offices were closed for the day and we were both tired. My chauffeur, although an enthusiastic teammate, found driving all day in a strange city exhausting. We decided to take a friends suggestion and go the Wanuskewan Native Spiritual Centre. We felt the Creator’s peace descend upon us as we drove down the long entrance laneway. It closed at 4:30 so we had only a few minutes to roam the grounds. We used that time to sit and walk in silence and soak in God’s presence. It truly is God’s sacred ground.
We returned to last night’s restaurant, Sardinian, for a second delicious meal. Now, we’ve collapsed in our hotel room. I’m not sure whether we will even go for a swim. I opened my computer and saw an email saying I had purchased an American Airlines flight out of Houston on September 18th for $600. That woke we up in a hurry. I called American Airlines. The agent I talked to was very helpful. That’s a phishing scheme she said. Don’t open it. Just delete it. I checked my credit card accounts to make sure I hadn’t been charged. I haven’t. I am certainly grateful for the airline agents help.
Making this journey with my heart open to God is wonderful. It is certainly keeping me focused on the good things in life. Have a good night’s sleep everyone. Talk to you again tomorrow night.
This morning we were on the road again and we’ve had another good day. Tonight we are settled into our room at Quality Inn and Suites in Sault Ste Marie. This is a lovely hotel and reasonably priced. The pool is beautiful as you can see in the picture. We enjoyed the hot tub too.
Because this was a travelling day we made it a book day as well. We stopped at United Church’s here and there. Once again we started out a little late and so missed many of the morning office hours.
We had two very special stops today. The United Church at Blind River had afternoon office hours but we arrived shortly before noon. We drove by the church just in case Pastor Paul happened to be in his office early. The lights in the church hall were on and there was a van parked outside. Surprised and pleased we parked our loaded down Prius behind it. Once inside we were enveloped with friendly greetings from a group of special adults who were part of a day program run by Christian Horizons. Steph was in the kitchen cooking lunch.
“We’re having corn on the cob,” he said. “There’s a couple left. Would you like some?”
Who would turn down corn on the cob in northern Ontario? “Thank you, yes please,” we said.
Everyone at the table laughed and made room for us. Turned out Pastor Paul wasn’t there. This group led by Serge from Christian Horizons gather every other week at St. Andrews United Church in Blind River for lunch and more. We met everyone. When I gave Serge my card he told the group I was a writer and motivational speaker. Tyrell, who is training to be a motivational speaker, volunteered to speak to all of us. He spoke clearly and well about how important it is to be yourself. Natasha also had lots to say and Sarah too.
“Send me an email,” Serge said. “Maybe we can arrange to have you come and speak to us.” When I shared a gift of my CD A Child Speaks, he said “We’ll take your CD back to our residence so everyone can hear it. Thanks so much.”
What a wonderful enthusiastic group, a fabulous treat for Tom and me. The corn was scrumptious too. Best of all was the generous hospitality. God was surely in this place.
The second stop that was particularly special was at Willow Grove United Church. Once again we received a warm welcome. Their minister Rev. David took the time to listen as I told about my books. He shared about his life and work, as well. He is an accomplished musician who plays a multitude of instruments, a most interesting man. In the end he bought 4 different books and talked about ordering more for his study group.
Tonight I am aware that God is truly leading us as we stop here and there on our western journey. It’s fun meeting all these wonderful people.
Just a note to all my subscribers. This past week I attended three different conference annual meetings of the United Church of Canada. I was granted the opportunity to do a book signing at each meeting. The response to my novel “Fireweed” was wonderful. Moms, Dads, teens, adults in general, clergy looking for resources, came to purchase Fireweed and have it signed. If you belong to a book club, women’s group, men’s group, discussion group, grief group, you’ll enjoy discussing “Fireweed”. If you’re just looking for a good read, “Fireweed” will keep you up half the night. If you’ve already bought and read it, please send me an email telling me about your experience reading it. Here’s my new address. firstname.lastname@example.org