Tag Archives: gift

The Party Is Nearly Over.

Wow, what a fabulous final day on our cruise. This morning, we were given a guided tour as our ship cruised into Budapest. Hunor Nagy, our Hungarian tour director, spoke with pride as he pointed out the attractions that can be seen from the Danube and gave us the history behind them. Our ship docked across from the stately and stunning parliament buildings. He deserves a lot of credit for securing that docking space ahead of everyone else.

We spent the afternoon at the spa, enjoying the hot springs. My knees and back were grateful. Back on board ship, we experienced an hour of Hungarian traditional music and dance. Four young dancers and three musicians filled with exuberance entertained us with their artistry and agility.

Tonight, the captain sailed from our docking place down the river and back so that we could experience Hunor’s daylight tour of magical Budapest after dark. High above the city, their statue of liberty holding the olive branch of peace looks down with love. She is free. After World War II, the Russian Communists had put a red star upon her. In 1990 when the Russian soldiers left Hungary, the star was removed. Once again, she is a Hungarian symbol of integrity, peace, and strength.

The short evening cruise brought a perfect ending to a dream holiday. Now, I am sitting on our little veranda. I am looking across at the parliament building. Totally illuminated against the dark sky, this bastion of new democracy outshines any prince’s palace. My heart is filled with joy and gratitude.

Tonight, we gave a copy of my book, Spectacular Stella, to one of the young women who served us all day and evening for the last two weeks. She has a four-year-old son at her home in Croatia. Our small gift obviously brought her joy. She fetched her phone from her cabin to show us a picture of her beautiful son with the sparkling blue eyes and long eyelashes. Her love and pride in her little boy touched my heart. This day has overflowed with joy.

What is poetry

I’ve seldom tried writing poetry. It’s not my gift. This morning, I was having my daily conversation with God. First thing after waking I like to “feed my soul” with the writing of others. I picked up James Taylor’s Everyday Psalms and checked out the Psalm 85. (set out in the lectionary for this week). I was inspired to write the following. It might be a poem. I don’t know. It doesn’t rhyme so it could be blank verse. It came from my pen in short lines. MY QUESTION IS, WHAT COULD I DO TO TURN THIS INTO POETRY? MAYBE NOTHING. This morning I feel called to share it. Please comment.


That present looks spectacular.
A gift of beauty sent from God.
And on My shelf.
Chefs know presentation is everything.

I see that gift every day.
Sometimes I turn it to catch the sunlight,
Appreciate it from a new angle.
I lift it. Check it’s weight. Even shake it.
Still the gift remains unopened.

I don’t need it.
I’ve done nothing that requires this.
Opened now, there’ll be nothing for the future.
It’s meant for someone else.
The one who believes.

But I long to open it.
If I were starving and this a gift of food,
I would surely open it.

It doesn’t disappear, or fade.
It’s always there.
Can I? Will I?

It’s my choice, always my choice.

Thought for Today



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.




Let God’s Joy Fill Your Heart.

During the third week of Advent we light the candle of Joy. How do we experience Joy in the midst of our tears, in the midst of the chaos of this world?

Joy is God’s gift offered daily,  Like any gift, it is not received when we leave it wrapped in its sparkly paper and satin bow sitting on a shelf. God’s gift of Joy requires opening, gazing at the contents, feeling it’s texture, smelling its fragrance, even tasting it’s goodness.

God’s gift of Joy is more than feeling happy. Joy includes satisfaction in the midst of need, peace in the midst of chaos, love in the midst of grief. To experience Joy we let go of self and whatever is filling our minds and hearts at the moment, and let God in. These are high and lofty words. Practical examples bring clarity.  Each day this week I will offer you different ways that I receive God’s gift of Joy as catalysts to help you unwrap yours.

Today, I speak of joy in terms of the people I love.

Joy fills my soul, when I stop for a moment and truly look at our beloved teenage granddaughter, asleep on the couch, exhausted from her busy day. At that moment tears of love fill my eyes. Nothing else in the world matters at this moment. For that moment the wonder, the miracle, the blessing that she is for the us, for the world overwhelms me. She is precious. I give thanks to God that she is part of our lives. This is peace. This is hope. This is love. This is JOY unwrapped and received.

Joy fills my soul when I cuddle up to my husband Tom seeking the warmth and safety of his body. I listen to him sleep and let go of all expectations, worries, frustrations. I let myself relax and rest in the miracle of our love for each other. For just a few moments nothing else matters. This is peace. This is hope. This is love. This is JOY unwrapped and received.

Today, as I contemplate the miracle of friends, I am grieving the death of Howard yesterday. As my heart aches for Shirley, I remember their Grace as they floated around the dance floor. I see Howard’s joy as he step danced competitively, and experience again the wonder of his ability. I feel his hug of friendship at and know that he cared.  This is peace. This is hope. This is love. This is JOY unwrapped and received.

I look at a picture received on the internet I think taken at the airport showing a crowd of people, black, brown, white, young, old, turbans, hijabs, baseball caps. In their midst is our prime minister and our Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. There must have been security people among them but what protection could they truly offer. The caption on the picture was “This is my Canada”. Yes, joy filled my heart to know the beauty of the Canadian mosaic and the safety of our country – a true miracle in today’s chaotic world. This is peace. This is hope. This is love. This is JOY unwrapped and received.

As you live this week, open your precious gifts of Joy that God offers you in the people that surround you. Write them down to be revisited and cherished.

Let God’s Joy fill your heart.





A Thought For Today

Today is God’s precious gift. Savor it.

Open the gift of today. Receive its Joy.
Open the gift of today. Receive its Joy.

Our awareness of the sadness, the busyness,  the struggles that this day might bring can so fill our minds that we wish this new day was already over, or didn’t have to begin. Worries about what is happening or could happen in our own life or in the world as a whole can make this day as grey as the sky is here in Peterborough this morning.

Today, my faith calls me back to the beauty of life. This grey day can mean the possibility of rain – the water of new life. I am alive and therefore I can make a difference in the world today. My tears of and my laughter will bring love and compassion to someone somewhere in the world today.

Whether we walk, trudge, run or fly through the next 24 hours, our lives have purpose whether or not we can see that purpose. This is my hope. This is my faith.

I believe today is God’s precious gift given to me and to you.           Let’s savor it. 

Don’t Forget About “Fireweed” & “Spectacular Stella”

Christmas is just a few days away. Some of you may be like me. My busy life keeps me hurrying and scurrying around with little time for shopping. If you are down to this last weekend and wondering what to buy, I remind you about my books. What better present can you give than a gift of a book of faith. If you live in the Peterborough or Lindsay area just email me    info@janetstobie.com   and I will deliver before Christmas.  You can order from my website but at this point I can’t guarantee delivery before Christmas.



FIREWEED is a mystery story with a twist. For readers who enjoy an intriguing mystery, the story of faith will keep them turning the pages. For readers seeking learning as well, FIREWEED offers practical strategies for dealing with grief. It’s a great book for teens and adults. $20.00 plus shipping

Spectacular StellaSPECTACULAR STELLA  is a children’s book intended for ages three to nine. Stella carries the message that we are valuable just as God made us. God seeks us out when we think we’re lost and brings us home to our purpose in life. It’s a great book to read to your child at bedtime. Enjoy Marion Hills beautiful watercolour illustrations.  $10.00 plus shipping

God’s Amazing Grace

The picture is at the end. It seems to be the best I can do tonight.

I have a friend who greets the question, “How are you today?” with this response. “Well, I woke up this morning on the right side of the grass. I’m grateful.” I usually chuckle with him because he reminds me that being alive is a gift.

I believe that each day, God gives us twenty-four hours in which to be the best we can be. And God doesn’t abandon us to struggle with that gift. God fills those twenty-four hours with moments of “Amazing Grace”. This time of year, God’s daily package often includes blessed sunshine dancing from flower to flower, or refreshing rain washing the world clean.  Regardless of what is happening in my life, I can look out my living room window, and give thanks for God’s beautiful world. Some days, I wake up excited about a party planned for a friend, a new job, a grandchild coming to visit. On those days, it’s easy to be aware of God’s Amazing Grace.

The problem is that every day is not filled with joy. April and May for my family and me were filled with tough days. As my sisters and I walked with our precious mother on her cancer journey to death, there were days when I didn’t want to open God’s daily gift of life. Exhaustion made the simplest task difficult. My heart ached for my Mom, who endured excruciating pain. Looking back, I know those days were also filled with “God’s Amazing Grace”. Those weeks were a “Holy Time”. God filled them with the privilege of physically caring for my Mom, with laughter in the midst of misery, with conversations about life and death, with strength to continue.

A parcel, no matter how beautifully wrapped, is not truly a gift until it is received and opened. Some days we want to refuse God’s gift of life because it’s difficult. Those feelings are natural and normal. On those days, we need to remember that always, God is with us. Trust that even when life is messy God has given us a day filled with “Amazing Grace”. Make a point of opening your eyes and heart to the Grace God has in store for you on even the greyest of days.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  (Philippians 4:4)