Category Archives: Blog

Come Join the Advent Adventure

Come, Join the Adventure!

Flying standby can be an adventure. It’s Friday. You’re flying standby into a busy airport. You find yourself watching plane after plane take off without you. That’s when your mind needs to shift to adventure mode. What new and exciting things are happening around you? After all, you will eventually get on a flight, today or tomorrow.

December’s here. Many of us are “flying standby,” hoping to catch the “right plane” to be ready for Christmas. As we scramble around, shopping, cooking, cleaning and more, it’s easy to lose touch with the amazing adventure that is the Christmas journey to Bethlehem. 

Our traditional Christmas story celebrates the birth of the baby Jesus, who came as God to walk beside us, to live within us, to teach us how to love this world. I know that’s a miracle.

As I prepare for Christmas, I’m asking that mysterious Christmas Spirit to lead me to hope for your life and mine. I know the gifts I give can bring joy and love into the darkness of this world. With each Christmas light I see, I can remember that kindness and generosity do exist. I can remember my experiences of them. Kindness and generosity don’t often make the headlines of newspapers, but these acts can remain headlines in my heart.

This Christmas, I invite you to join with me on an adventure to Bethlehem. I offer you this prayer of hope and love to guide your journey. Print it out and tape it to your fridge or mirror. Pray it every day.

Loving God, open my heart to pour love into this world. May every decoration I set out, every gift I give, every party I attend, every cookie I bake, bring love’s light. May our home be filled with the joy of love and laughter to all who enter. Focus my mind and heart on the adventure of loving this year. Thank you for this season of light. Amen

Even if we’re “flying standby,” we can live an adventure to Bethlehem. There is hope for a new tomorrow.

“God’s light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

 (John 1: 5)

Christmas is coming.

And many more.

November 30, from 1-4 p.m. I will be joining a group of local authors at the new Peterborough Library. The library has opened its doors to showcase our books, invite people to come and meet us and discuss them, and allow us to sell them. Books are a gift of literacy, not just for children but for people of all ages. There will be lots of variety. Please come join us. An autographed book makes a wonderful gift at Christmas and anytime throughout the year.

On Saturday December 14th from 9-3, I will be joining with a group of other vendors at Keene United Church. It is the annual Christmas in Keene event. Come to the parade and then over to the church to get warm, and to do your Christmas shopping. I will have all eight of my books there. In honour of Spectacular Stella, one of my favorite children’s books, you can sample a gluten free shortbread star cookie. Come, taste and see how could gluten free can be, while you shop for my books. An autographed book makes a great Christmas gift. Besides, I’ll enjoy visiting with you. Blessings to you all. Janet Stobie

Give a Gift of Faith

Marketing is not my strong point but it’s Christmas and time to sell my books. Friday evening I was at Maple Ridge Senior’s Centre here in Peterborough and Saturday I drove to Fergus, ON to attend the inaugural meeting of the Western Ontario Waterways Region. Between the two, fifty books flew off my shelf. Can I Hold Him? was my best seller at 16. The two children’s books Elizabeth Gets Her Wings and Spectacular Stella came in second. Grandma’s, parents, some of whom were church people, wanted my Christmas books, either as gifts for family or for use at Christmas events. It’s wonderful to know that my books, and my message of love and acceptance and faith would be in fifty new homes.

I forgot to take a picture at either place, which of course is what a good marketer would do. So I’m suggesting that even without the picture you consider giving a gift of faith this Christmas to family, friends and even a stranger. Tuck one of my books into the church baskets that go out to families in needs or as part of the church gifts for shut-ins. All you need do is email me. If you live in the Peterborough area I could deliver at no charge. Further afield, you can do an etransfer and I’ll mail them. My email address is If you’d like to sample my books just check them out here on my website Christmas shopping couldn’t be easier. Besides I sign them at no extra charge. Blessings Janet

It Was Good.

Last Sunday, I brought a new friend to church. Back home, she attended a different church. My mind focused on “What will she think of us?  Will our kind of church touch her heart?” Seeing our church family through what I thought might possibly be her eyes gave me some new insights.

We sing a lot during our worship service. In today’s world singing together is almost foreign to us. We might sing in the shower or along with the car radio. But singing together? Not so much. Therefore, many of us are very tentative about our singing. We go through the motions. We stand up. We hold the heavy hymn book. We sing, carefully, making sure our voices cannot be heard, hardly moving our lips with the words.

Why do we sing at worship? There are denominations who don’t. I am sure there is lots of science about singing but here is what singing does for me.

  1. First of all, the standing up to sing is good. If I was getting dozy, I wake up a little.
  2. Singing requires breathing more deeply. The more enthusiastic I am about singing, the deeper my breaths. I know deeper breathing is good for me. Increased oxygen in my bloodstream will help me think more clearly, have more energy all day.
  3. I have to pay attention. Singing requires that I look at the words. My mind cannot wander to my worries, what’s happening at home or with my friends, and still sing the words.
  4. The better I know the tune, the more attention and energy I can give to the words and the singing.
  5. The energy we give to singing warms up the room. A lively tune often brings smiles.
  6. Singing is something we do together. In the past, families traditionally gathered around the piano, or the family musician and sang. Those moments brought laughter and tears. We opened our hearts to one another
  7. Singing requires an action on our part. We’re not just sitting, trying to listen. We are participating.  
  8. When we sing God’s Spirit is released to grow in our being and fill the room.                               

No wonder we sing. I’ve learned that when we sing together, we open our hearts and invite God in. Maybe that’s why we’re often so tentative.

Even more important than our singing, I learned last Sunday, that I love these people. I may not know many of them very well, but I love them. I was proud of their generosity of spirit and their welcoming hearts. For me, church has always been a warm welcoming place. And last Sunday, IT WAS GOOD!

Today I want to tell the world. Being part of a church family is GOOD! Ignore the criticism you have heard. Choose a church. Make it your own.  You will be blessed.                                                  

Leaders for Peace

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. Whether or not we go to a local cenotaph and participate in a Remembrance Day ritual, all of us can take two minutes to Remember. Two minutes to remember and give thanks for the soldiers – many of European descent, some First Nations, some Asian, some African… who fought in wars in other countries on behalf of Canada. Two minutes to remember and give thanks for our peace keepers, who have risked their lives in so many countries. Two minutes to remember that we are blessed to live in this country called Canada.

Tomorrow and every day thereafter, I encourage you to think about your role. We may not be soldiers, but we can still contribute. For some weeks, I have been working on a children’s picture book. My working title is “Leaders for Peace.” Today, I am so aware that God is calling us all to be leaders for peace, in our communities and beyond.

Today, I listened to the radio and heard one of our government leaders shouting his demands for his province. Is that being a leader for peace, or is it sowing discord, inciting violence? In Canada, we have freedom to be who we are, to live our lives without fear of bombs. We have freedom to be different, to think differently, to worship differently, to look different. As long as we don’t bring harm to others, we are free. That is an amazing blessing. We give thanks for our freedom in that two minutes of silence. Tomorrow, take that opportunity to ask God for help in being a leader for peace.

A Gracious Woman

Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor, Elizabeth Dowdeswell drops by to chat at the Cobourg Festival of the Arts in St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Oct.25,2019.

 Today I met our Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell. As you can see I was selling my books at the Spirit of the Hills Festival of the Arts in Cobourg, Ontario. Her Excellency came to speak with the artists and writers. She stopped at each table and talked with us, asking excellent questions, treating us with great respect. My Tom snapped this picture as she picked up one of my children’s books, Elizabeth Gets Her Wings. Elizabeth Dowdeswell is a most gracious woman.

Although I won’t be at the festival tomorrow, my books will be available on the Spirit of the Hill’s Authors’ tables. I invite you to drop by and enjoy the art, the books, and participate in one of the workshops. You will have an interesting day.

Hope for Us All

Save our climate. I was there with the kids. They are serious.

Today’s conventional wisdom is that there is no hope. That myth is spouted by news media and by our friends. Many of us lament that darkness – climate change, war, hunger, oppression, abuse – is engulfing the world. At times, we almost celebrate the hopelessness we feel. We’ve forgotten that how we think about the future sculpts how we live today. Is there any hope?

Yes! Today we know. Our TV’s, computers, phones hold the darkness up to us. Bad news sells, so we can’t pretend ignorance. We can’t hide from the horror. And so we respond. Fundraisers, protest marches, recycling, hybrid cars – little by little, one person at a time our kindness, our caring is beginning to make a difference.

 Yes! Goodness, kindness, caring are not slowly disappearing. What we have lost is the ability to recognize God’s light that is growing in the darkness. There is hope. As people of faith, it’s our job to open our eyes and intentionally seek God’s light, recognize and name it.

Our young people are rising up by the thousands and demanding politicians take action to stop climate change. Our country like many others is working to resettle the millions of refugees and displaced persons. The Canada Food Grains Bank and Food banks are trying hard to erase hunger. We see God’s light pouring from individuals, from you and me, as we volunteer for school breakfast programs, at food banks and so much more. Our arts community is creating books, paintings, poetry, carvings, all depicting the light, all full of hope. One person at a time we are seeing glimpses of God’s love and acceptance. God is using us to bring hope to this world.

Of course our world isn’t perfect yet, but God’s light is shining in the darkness.  Today we speak out for justice for our First Nations people, our women, our handicapped, our children. We have hope. I am truly grateful.

John’s Gospel tells us, “God’s light shines in the darkness and the darkness CANNOT put it out.”

Book Launch & Concert

I have a book launch coming up on October 26th. This time I’m blessed to be part of a group of Writers. Two of my short stories were accepted for the Spirit of the Hills writers’ group anthology, Your ticket to the evening includes a copy of the anthology of poems and stories titled Hill Spirits IV. Entertainment for the evening includes a fabulous concert with a jazz combo, a classical duo and a blues singer along with readings by some of the anthology contributors. The evening begins at 7:15 p.m. at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, 240 College Street, Cobourg, ON. Please join me. We’ll have a great night. Tickets available from

This Mysterious Blessing!

Our Mysterious Blessing

Thanksgiving for many of us means a table laden with steaming hot, delicious food, encircled by a beaming family, content to be together. We give thanks for needs met, and the abundance of blessings that fill our lives. Even as we celebrate, we are aware that we, the middle class, are the privileged. Giving thanks is easy, particularly in this land of milk and honey that we call Canada.

This year, I want to remind you of another reason to be thankful. This blessing is available to everyone, rich and poor, young and old, regardless of ethnicity, skin color, health and economic status. What is this mysterious blessing.

We can give, and not just money and material wealth. We can try a little kindness. We can give thanks to God for the privilege of volunteering. There is so much need in this world. Lonely people who need a phone call or visit, homeless seeking help and the gift of respect, teens desperate for a kind word, store clerks stretched to the end of their patience who need the blessing of your smile and your thank you. The list is endless. Those of us who are ill, shut-in, in hospital, are also blessed to give. We have the opportunity to offer the gift of compassion, love, a kind word. Even when we feel totally isolated we can still offer the gift of prayer.

This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to let go of the belief that gratitude only comes from what we receive. This Thanksgiving take time to give thanks to God for all the moments of giving you have enjoyed, all the prayers offered, money given, time volunteered over the past year. Loving and caring for others is an honour and a privilege. Jesus taught there is nothing better than to lay down your life for others.

The March

We are never too old to take action!
Over 100,000 marched over this bridge in downtown Vancouver. Millions marched across the world.

“The March!”

Friday, Tom and I marched for Planet Earth in Vancouver, B.C. Never before have I taken part in a protest. This time I had to participate. Our climate is in crisis. Denial means death.

Joining the protest wasn’t easy. A cold wind swirled around us on our uphill walk and half hour wait for the bus. People poured past us as we limped down two flights of steps to the sky train. We let two trains go by. They were beyond full. We wedged ourselves into the third train, with Tom barely clearing the door. Only two stops, and we joined the sea of humanity flowing up the escalators to the exit turnstiles. We plodded along like worker ants towards city hall. There were speeches we couldn’t hear. A protest band played.

We waited, restless, until the crowd began to flow down onto the street towards the bridge. We walked. We chanted. We talked with young, middle aged and seniors. All of them worried, fearful of the future, determined to make a difference.

Our march was typically Canadian – full of passion, but governed by good will and good manners. My eyes filled with tears as I listened to young people crying out for change, demanding that our government take action. I was proud.

Our youth are giving us leadership. We have to keep the pressure on. My message to all of you, my readers is: God has given us an amazing world. It’s our job to care for it. We must do everything we can as individuals. We need to vote for leaders who will co-operate with one another, even step over party lines. OUR VOTE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

People of all faiths need to PRAY. Pray for our planet. Pray that God will keep us motivated. Pray that we will let go of selfishness and support efforts to save the world even though it will cost.

Pray that our leaders, both governmental and business, will have the courage to make policy and pass laws that will stop this climate change.

We need to SPEAK OUT. A sixteen-year-old girl has mobilized the world. Our own Canadian activist seventeen-year-old, Autumn Peltier is teaching the world that everyone has the right to clean safe water. She’s been nominated for the 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize. These two young women have already proven the power of one individual to make a difference. We can follow in their footsteps.