Tag Archives: Friendship

Still looking for help.

Seeking Safety

By Janet Stobie

I’m still working on the “Pitch” for my new novel,  Seeking Safety.  For those of you who don’t know, “Pitch” is writer’s language for the words that go on the back cover of my book. These words need to catch the reader’s interest without giving away too much about the book. This pitch is a little long. I’ve incorporated the suggestions you have made from my last effort. Please consider making a comment. I need your help.  My questions for you my readers, and supporters are:

1. Does this pitch tweek your interest?

2. If you picked the book up in a bookstore, maybe because you liked the front cover, would reading this on the back cover push you toward buying the book?

Pitch for Seeking Safety by Janet Stobie  (sequel to Fireweed and also a stand alone novel).

Seventeen year-old Renée Grenville and her dad Steve are slowly rebuilding lives. Serena (Renée’s mom) was killed in a car crash two years ago. Now, Steve’s readiness for a new relationship threatens to topple Renée’s fragile security. While researching her mom’s past for a school project, Renée discovers a tiny book with faded writing. Serena’s great grandmother, a Barnardo child had kept a diary.

Renée and Steve’s lives are further complicated by the arrival of a refugee family in Catalpa Creek bringing joy and terror. Close friendships offer joy, sorrow and guilt to both Renée and her dad.

Seeking Safety is a coming of age novel, not just for Renée, but her Dad and the Catalpa Creek community.

 

Friendship Can Be a Taste of God’s Love

Life shared is a blessing.
Life shared is a blessing.

Lately, I have been particularly conscious of the preciousness of friendship. Over the past seven years, I have retired and moved to Peterborough. Letting go of the past and starting new relationships requires courage, patience and intention. For over forty years, my friend, Nancy, has been my anchor through this kind of upheaval. Although she lives far away, we have grown our friendship through letters, emails, phone calls and visits.

Because we have lived separated by great distance over the years, Nancy and I have both been intentional about maintaining and growing our friendship through all these different methods. We share our joy and reach out when troubles come. There is no greater gift than the peace and confidence that comes when we know we are loved just as we are, warts and all. With Nancy my mistakes, problems, grief, fun and celebrations are all accepted without judgment.

The writer of the Bible’s Psalm 139 claims God as his life-long friend. He tells us that God has loved us from our very beginning. There is nowhere we can go without God’s presence with us, God’s love surrounding us. My relationship with Nancy has taught me the reality of this Psalm. Within our friendship, I receive a taste of God’s eternal love.

Today I suggest that you give thanks for your friends. Tell them they are precious to you. Tell them of the goodness they bring to your life. In the same way, give thanks to God, who will never abandon you or throw you away. Rest in confidence as you walk your journey supported by your ever-loving God.

Jesus said, “If you, then…know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”(Matthew 7:11 NIV)

What Can a Small Group Do For You?

This group a little younger than some of us, but we're just as lovely.
This group a little younger than some of us, but we’re just as lovely.

Every month, I gather with friends for our book club meeting. Although we saw each other often at church, we formed this group because we wanted a stronger, deeper relationship than a few minutes over coffee on Sunday mornings could give us. Besides, I was retiring and would be leaving the church family.

Our monthly meetings are cherished by each one of us. Yes, we dutifully choose a book each time. Most of us read it. Sometimes we discuss it for five minutes, sometimes half an hour. The book discussion isn’t really our reason for gathering.

We come together in friendship seeking love, laughter and support for our tears. Family problems, aging parents, celebrations are all on the menu each month. We have built a precious community, as we share food and life.

In today’s world we have to be intentional about developing community. The extended family that once gathered round is usually separated by distance. City living can bring anonymity. Even country dwellers tend to be isolated from their neighbours.

We have Facebook friends, but for me a few words printed on my computer or phone screen is not enough. I need to voice my concerns and joys. I need to see my feelings mirrored in another’s eyes as I speak. I need to feel the human touch of comfort and joy as we give each other hugs. Our precious book club brings God’s new life for me.

I suggest you try setting up your own group. We started small – just three. Now, six years later, we’re seven, a perfect size. You don’t have to be all the same. In our group, some are mothers, some grandmothers, some single, some married, some working, some retired. Faith, and love of reading, good food and laughter are our common ground. Build an intentional community for yourself. As you trust and share, your life will be touched by God’s love.

Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

 

 

Thought for Today

 

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Friendship Is a Special Gift.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a lunch with two of my long-time friends. We talked. We ate. We exchanged gifts. We shared what was happening in our lives. For two hours we ignored the world around us and found comfort and laughter together. Today, Tom and I are having another good friend for dinner. Sometimes, particularly at this time of the year, we begin to think that the special Christmas lunches, dinners, and parties are unnecessary. Why do we do this? After all we’re busy enough without squeezing in one more gathering.

Friendship is a precious gift that requires nourishment. In our chaotic world, with all the demands on our time, it would be easy to let friends slip away. We don’t mean to, but it happens. Christmas reminds us, pushes us, to reconnect. It’s Christmas and we haven’t seen our friends for months. Let’s make sure we get together. And because it’s Christmas we make that special effort. I’m grateful.

My thought for today is rather than complaining about our busyness, let’s use today to connect with one special friend. Make a phone call or send a text to set up a couple of hours together sometime over the next two weeks. Give yourself the gift of friendship for Christmas.

FRIENDSHIP IS A PRECIOUS GIFT.

Sunday, God’s Day of Worship, Rest and Fun #travel #friends #Calgary Zoo #God’s Presence

October 4

Wild Rose United Church Welcomes You

Meditation area
Meditation area
Wild Rose Meditation area from another angle.
Wild Rose Meditation area from another angle.

 

What a fabulous day. We started with the four of us attending worship at Wild Rose United church, another of our United Churches that is flying on God’s Spirit. Filled with friendly people, adults, teens and children who greeted us warmly. The service itself was informal and lively. One member told us her faith story. The teens provided opening music, lit the Christ candle, and music during the offering. The theme was Broken yet Blessed. The service was followed by lunch. A great introduction for the four of us to Wild Rose UC. Outside is a beautiful meditation area (see picture) but this morning it was too chilly at 1 degree Celsius to enjoy using it.

This afternoon, I connected with my friend and colleague Rev. Jennifer Ferguson. We had a delightful time catching up on each other’s lives. Friendship is precious. Although we see each other once every 2 or 3 years, we always just pick up where we left off as if the time between didn’t exist.

Tonight Will and Claudia took us to “Illuminasia”, a Chinese lantern and garden festival at the Calgary Zoo. Tonight the entertainment and displays featured the Japanese culture. The lanterns, some of which took three artists, three days to produce were amazing. They featured wild animals, flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, and more. The Japanese displays and activities were interesting and fun. We had a grand evening.

 

Entrance Lanterns greeted us.
Entrance Lanterns greeted us.
Wire forms covered with rayon type material and lights inside.
Wire forms covered with rayon type material and lights inside.

Every day I look for God’s presence. Although I realize that God is with me every step of the way, the special time today took place at “Illuminasia”. I was enjoying the display of fans and umbrellas, I complimented a young girl (approx.. age 5) on her beautiful kimono and asked to take a picture. Her mother offered to take one of me with her. Another little girl came running over to join the picture. Afterward, I asked if I could post the picture on Face book. The one mother said a tentative no, and then added but of course many people would post it anyway. I shook my head and said, “No, if you don’t want it posted, I won’t post it.” At that point she smiled, took my hand and said, “thank you, so much.” The second mother piped up with, “but you can post my picture.” So you have a picture of me with the two beautiful Mom’s in their Japanese kimonos. I’m not sure why this felt like God’s presence had touched us, but I certainly felt the Spirit there with me, smiling and saying, “Thank you, Janet, thank you so much for caring for my children.”

Two Mom's and a Grandma
Two Mom’s and a Grandma

You Have No Fence?

You Have No Fence?

By Janet Stobie

Fenced In
Fenced In

Summer has arrived. Tom and I have moved outside to enjoy our deck and our yard. Compared to our old place in Dunsford, this yard is a postage stamp. Still I have a tiny garden brimming over with lettuce, peas and garlic. Pots of flowers add splashes of colour here and there. A maple tree, big enough to provide the illusion of shade, stands proudly in the centre, giving rise to dreams of spreading branches filled with the laughter of future great-grandchildren. There’s just enough space for our garden swing on its little patio. Already our yard is a sanctuary, a beautiful island for quiet conversation and contemplation in the middle of the city.

A friend came by and said, “You have no fence”

“True, I can look right into my neighbours’ yards and enjoy their flowers, see them at work in their gardens, hear their laughter, watch their children play. In fact, one day our neighbour’s beautiful 3 year old checked out our family gathering. He stayed less than a minute. Guess our conversation wasn’t interesting enough. Some people say that “Good fences make good neighbours.” There may be some truth to that. I don’t know. Being a permanent city resident is a new experience for me.

Right now, I’m glad there’s no fence. A fence would keep us in and friends out.  Living in the country has taught us the value of knowing our neighbours. Our back yard can provide a wonderful opportunity for us to make friends on our street.

Whether our visitors are children and their parents, or the birds flitting to and fro from the birdhouses to the feeder, or the wee chipmunk and soft white rabbit both stuffing their cheeks with birdseed, I’m glad our yard is open to guests. We are truly blessed and we want to share those blessings.

 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”                           (1 Peter 4:8-10)