Tag Archives: give thanks

Try a New Habit.

Give Thanks in All Circumstances?

In the Bible St. Paul says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.” (1Thessalonians 5:18 )  “Give thanks in all circumstances?” Impossible! Wrong! I can’t give thanks when I lose my job, my loved one dies. How then do we follow St. Paul’s words?

Check the prepositions. St. Paul says, “Give thanks IN all circumstances,” not “FOR all circumstances.” Search for the goodness of God, IN the midst of grief, fear, disappointment. There will be goodness.

When my daughter was badly injured, I wasn’t grateful for the accident. At first, I could only be grateful she wasn’t paralysed, and for the ER doctor who consulted the specialist in Kingston as soon as he saw the X-rays. As the days passed, I gave thanks for the young Mom who brought her two-week-old twins to my daughter’s hospital bedside. As Mom laid her baby on my daughter’s chest, I saw her first real smile, and knew healing would come. My gratitude list from that accident is long. When I opened my heart to the blessings, they were there.

In tough times, the search for blessings is easier if we have already developed a “gratitude habit” – a habit of seeking out and giving thanks for the blessings in our lives every single day. Internet research reveals the following two principles concerning developing a habit.

  1. New habits require over two months of repetitions and still they are fragile, easily discarded. Therefore, forget about the time required and do the repetitions.
  2. Make the commitment. Then failures won’t matter because you will just resume doing it. Neither your financial resources, your health, nor your age, nothing can steal your ability to give thanks once you’ve made the commitment.

Seeking out and recognizing our blessings is worth the effort and practice. This Thanksgiving, I suggest you develop a gratitude habit. It may not mean more money, or things, or success, but it will mean more joy in your life. The gratitude habit will shift your focus from not enough to counting your blessings.

Good News!!!!!

This past weekend while I was participating in the celebration of Women in Ministry Conference in Toronto, I learned that HyeRan Kim-Cragg, the professor of pastoral studies at St. Andrews College, University of Saskatchewan, has placed my latest book, Dipping Your Toes  in Small Group Worship Planning, on the resource list for her course on Worship. Wow!  I am so pleased.

Every time I go to a church gathering I hear wonderful positive reviews of Dipping Your Toes.  It is fabulous to have created something that people want to buy and enjoy using.  Tomorrow I place an order for a third printing.  Every day, I thank God for this fabulous blessing, and for all the Spirit’s inspiration that went into writing Dipping Your Toes. 

 

Saying Goodbye!

Goodbyes are never easy.
Goodbyes are never easy.

Saying good-bye is not easy. Practice does not make it easier. Two weeks ago, I woke up at four a.m. to help with the last minute stuff and say goodbye to our Bonnie, two- year- old Alex and three-month-old Lise. We’d been blessed with a two-week visit, half at home, half in Cuba. We’d laughed heaps, taken a host of pictures, played, talked and walked the floor with baby Lise. We’d enjoyed a wonderful time together. Their flight home left Toronto at eight a.m. Alex gave me a wonderful hug and said, “See ya.” In his short life, Alex has already said good-bye many times.

 

As I sat down to do my morning journaling, after they left, both the toys and I were already lonely. Tears lurked in my eyes. These three are not our only family members living far away. Several of our grandchildren have grown up and gone away to college. One lives in Vancouver permanently. Teenaged Jenna and her parents live in Johannesburg, South Africa. Saying goodbye is common today as families disperse around the world.

 

I’m grateful for modern technology. In a couple of weeks, through Skype on my computer, I will take Alex to the garden to see the tiny sprouts growing from the seeds we planted while he was here. When I lose patience with computer glitches and ever-present cell phones, I give thanks that they bring our far-off children and grandchildren into our living room regularly. We are truly blessed.

 

Yes, good-byes are difficult, but visits from our loved ones are well worth the pain.

 

“God, whom I so love to worship… knows that every time I think of you in my prayers, which is practically all the time, I ask God to clear the way for me to come and see you.”  (Romans 1: 9-10)

Thought for the Day

fireworks-1102899_1920

May the Joy of 2015

be the spark you need for

Joy in Your 2016

It seems to be human nature to focus on the tough times and let the good times slip away unnoticed. I refuse to let that happen to me. I know it’s my choice. So, today, today as I think about the end of 2015, I’m focusing on the good times. Tom and I have celebrated a grade 12 grad in which grandson Zachary was valedictorian. We’ve had a wonderful journey to the west coast in which we enjoyed family and friends. I launched a new book, “Dipping Your Toes in Planning Small Group Devotionals” that has sold wonderfully well. And there is so much more. My list of joys in 2015 is long.  Yes, there’s also been bumps in the journey, dark times, some of which are not yet resolved, but for today, I’m giving joy my priority.

On this eve of a New Year, I recommend you take some time to let your mind drift back over 2015. Pick out the good moments no matter how small. Relive them in your mind. If you wish, write them down.

Here is an example: Last week Connie, Chris and Ellie were at our house for dinner. We had a lovely evening. At one point Connie played a Utube video for us, that gave us all laughter. At the time, Ellie said, “Grandma, I’ve never seen you laugh so hard”.

Savor each memory on your list and give God thanks.

Now, before you dive back into getting ready for tonight or whatever, let your mind slip ahead to 2016. Give thanks for the possibilities of joy that lay ahead. Ask God for strength, courage, wisdom and laughter in this wonderful New Year. After all we know that life is fragile. We need God’s help in handling it with care.

 Happy New Year!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR – GOD’S BLESSINGS FOR 2015

 

IMG_2451Just a few hours and 2015 begins. I woke this morning to the sun dancing across the skiff of snow that frosted the rooftops and lawns. Wow! My dollar store flower is dancing joyfully powered by that same sun. Tonight we will celebrate with an evening of square dancing – food, friends, exercise and no alcohol. Driving home will be safe and peaceful. Precious family – Dave, Joanne and Jenna who live in Ethiopia – will be here for lunch today. Our home is warm and comfortable and filled with love. My latest book, Dipping Your Toes – in Small Group Worship Planning will be ready for my editor’s deadline. Life is good.

Some of us dream of winning millions in a lottery and of course that would be exciting. Today, I know that I don’t need it. Yes, I’d enjoy giving lots away and taking a trip or two but today my life is already full, overflowing with blessings. Regardless of the pain and disappointment that may lie hidden in the year ahead, my intention is to greet each day with this morning’s appreciation and love for life. And so for you I offer these three recommendations for 2015.

  1. CHOOSE JOY because that is a life choice. I learned years ago, that each of us comes to every life event with a perspective. Too often those events bring challenge, disappoint, sorrow. Even in the midst of our tears, we can hang onto the blessings that bring us the peace of inner joy. Nothing and no one can steal our memories of:
  • the love we have received in the past from friends and family.
  • tiny successes that come with everyday accomplishments like washing a dish, shoveling the walk, or an apology given.
  • Sunshine mornings, amazing sunsets

 In 2015 choose to begin every morning with a prayer for inner joy and peace.

  1. GIVE THANKS because gratitude is the world’s best kept secret for “the good life.” In the midst of the worst that life has to offer, we can still give thanks that our eyelids blink automatically to protect our precious eyesight, the sun rises even when we can’t see it, that somewhere in the world a child is laughing. Sometimes we have to search hard for it, but always there can be gratitude.

In 2015 choose to begin and end every day with your gratitude list.

 

  1. TRUST GOD because you are God’s beloved child. Whether or not you believe that God exists, live as if you do. Know that you are a truly valuable creation.

In 2014, every time you pass a mirror, stop, look at yourself, smile and say, “Well, I may not be perfect but I exist. God loves even me, just as I am.”

Every time you forget to follow any one of these recommendations just smile and say, “Oops, I forgot. Well, I’ll begin again right now. I CHOOSE JOY. I’M GRATEFUL. I TRUST GOD, WHOEVER OR WHATEVER GOD IS. You will be amazed at the inner peace that abounds in your life, as you open your eyes to life’s goodness.

Print the three thoughts – Choose Joy, Give Thanks, Trust God – on piece of coloured paper and post on your fridge.

“HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU EVERYWHERE!”

 

 

What challenge does the Olympics Give Us?

What Challenge Does the Olympics Give Us?

by Janet Stobie

Enjoy the Support
Enjoy the Support

Like many of you, I enjoyed following the Olympics. The athletes came thrilled to participate. A few had very real hopes of winning a medal. All hoped to surpass their personal best.

It may be just my perception, but this year I felt an increased emphasis on the army of people, parents, coaches, friends, neighbours, and even other competitors that accompanied each athlete throughout the Olympic journey. The videos were fantastic. Gold Medalist Bobsledder Heather Moyse introduced us to her home in Summerside, P.E.I., and the people who shaped her. At times I saw an athlete’s whole village gathered to cheer and share in a job well done. We were treated to a moment of kindness when the Canadian coach in the midst of the race, handed the Russian skier a new ski after his had broken. No one gets to the Olympics as competitor, coach or spectator without the help of others.

That’s an important message for all of us. We need always remember that an army of supporters accompany us on our life’s journey. Stop for a moment, right now, to give thanks for the myriad of folk who have made this day possible for you. People around the world have a part in the clothes you wear, the heat for your home and office. Consider a friend who has called with encouragement or just to say hello, a co-worker who has completed his part of your group’s task, the farmers whose hard work and prayers provide food for your meals. Like our Olympians, the list of people involved in any one of our days is phenomenal.

There is great truth in St. Paul’s words, “If one suffers, we all suffer. If one rejoices we all rejoice together.”(1 Corinthians 12:26) Each night as you crawl into bed give thanks to God for all the people who have brought you a blessing that day.