Tag Archives: children

A Tip for Celebrating Father’s Day.

Pray for Fathers and their children.
Pray for Fathers and their children.

At least once every week, Tom’s daughter Bonnie calls with “Dad, have you time to Skype with me and the children?” Bonnie obviously loves her Dad and wants her children to develop a strong relationship with us. Three weeks ago, Tom received his father’s day card from Bonnie. Tom is truly cherished.

Fathers are important in their children’s lives. Most often, Fathers are like Tom, aware, appreciative and thrilled with that relationship. Today, with so many blended families similar to ours, that father-child relationship has become very fragile. When the children are small, fathers have to work hard to maintain the connection. When your children live with their mother and you see them every other weekend, it takes tremendous intentionality for father’s to keep up with all the sports and school events and all the other important things in their children’s lives. As the children mature, they can (like Bonnie) take some responsibility for maintaining the relationship.

God created us to live in relationship. Through Jesus, God taught us how to love one another.  And God is wise. God does not force us to nurture our family relationships. We have the freedom to choose. When we choose to work at those relationships, we open ourselves to the wonder and joy that is given and received.

This year as we celebrate Father’s day, and every day, I suggest we open our eyes to see and appreciate the beautiful father–child relationships around us. Give God thanks for creating these wonderful opportunities for joy. Hold each Dad and each child in your prayers. Prayer is powerful. All fathers need God’s strength to live their relationships well.

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6

Why Do I Celebrate Thanksgiving? #Thanksgiving #children #memories

Thank you for children
Thank you for children

For me, Thanksgiving carries the indescribable joy and gratitude that comes with the miracle of new life. Monday, October 11, 1965, my son David was born. God’s second fabulous gift of love for our family.

The Thanksgiving David turned six, his grandparents came from Lion’s Head, ON to our home in Timmins to celebrate with us. While I was preparing dinner, Davy & his big brother Brad were outside playing in the yard with their Dad and Grandpa. Brad burst through the door yelling, “Davy fell out of the tree into the hedge. His face is covered with blood.” My heart pounds still today when I remember my fear, my prayers, followed by my gratitude when he needed only few stitches above one eye and in his cheek.

The Thanksgiving David turned 18, he and his brother returned home after their first few weeks of university. I remember celebrating these two wonderful young men who had stepped out into the world to begin independent lives. I gave God thanks for the blessing of their lives, both the joys and the worries. This year, we celebrate 50 years of David’s life. Even though he and his family live in Johannesburg, South Africa, I carry his Spirit and love with me to our family gathering.

Children, our own and those of relatives, friends, and strangers each bring a unique light into our lives. Whether that light is tied to worry and grief, or to cuddles and pride, it can bring love and gratitude. This Thanksgiving I encourage you to take a few moments to light a candle to represent all the children that have touched your life over the years. As you watch that candle flame, strong enough to bring light in a darkened room and fragile enough to be snuffed out in a summer breeze, let your mind rest on the memories, both difficult and good. Give God thanks for each child individually. Let your gratitude flow into God’s world.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

 

 

God’s Call to Relationship

I have no pictures to share tonight. For some reason I cannot get the SD card to relinquish any of the pictures taken on September 18. Today, I took only family pictures on my phone. They are not for distribution.

September 18 Day 20

We’ve had a lovely quiet day. I think we managed to pack all our belongings this morning without forgetting anything, leaving any droppings behind as my sister Sharon says. After saying goodbye to Ross and Carol we set off for Vancouver about an hour late. For the next four hours we enjoyed mile after mile of mountains and valleys with lakes and switch backs to add spice. We arrived in Coquitlam about 3:30 just as the afternoon rush was beginning. I set up google maps on my phone to lead us to the owners of the condo we were renting in Vancouver so we could pick up the key. Neither Tom nor I have used a GPS before. We learned that it is difficult to trust a voice from our phone to lead us through strange city streets and 4 o’clock traffic. We did arrive at the right place and the owner was waiting with the key. Of course we still had to let the phantom voice lead us back to the highway and then to grandson Christopher. We discovered that this GPS does work. It will get us where we need to go although it is a stressful exercise.

We were an hour late arriving at Christopher’s house. All the traffic and stress disappeared when I saw him. He’s been here in Vancouver since last March and we’ve missed him. In fact our whole family has missed Chris. We unloaded his stuff and climbed back into the car. With Chris being our GPS we headed for daughter Bonnie’s apartment in North west Vancouver. We’ve missed Bonnie and Alex and Boris over the last year. With them we have skyped regularly which has helped. We’ve watched Alex as he learned to walk and all the other developmental steps he has taken. After about an hour and a half visit, it was time for the three of them to go to bed. The three of us walked up the street for a very late supper. Now we’re settled in our beautiful condo. We’ve unpacked everything. I’m sure the car must be taking the same deep breath I am tonight. I’m happy to be in one place for a while.

Tonight I am grateful once again for good roads, amazing scenery and a safe journey. We are grateful for that GPS voice even though at times we wanted to scream at her. Most of all, I’m grateful that our loved ones who live here in Vancouver are healthy and happy. Tonight we are blessed.

September 19 Day 21

I’m aware that for the next week, we will mostly be doing family things. Today was no exception. I had a special time with Chris and Tom his individual time with Bonnie and Alex. Boris cooked roast chicken for dinner, and Bonnie made Carrot lentil soup for supper. Both were delicious. It rained all day which is normal for Vancouver except this year. They’ve had very little rain so this was welcomed. We both had time with Chris and with Bonnie, Boris and Alex – a wonderful family day.

We’re enjoying the condo rental. Not only is it considerably less expensive (which is an important factor in Vancouver), it is wonderful to have a fully equipped kitchen and lovely livingroom. Being on the sixth floor, we look out over English Bay from the bedroom and out over the city from the livingroom. Tonight the city lights are beautiful.

Where was God today? Right here with us. At the YM/YWCA I was surrounded by beautiful children and loving parents, enjoying the brightly coloured play room on a rainy day. For me it was a tiny glimpse of heaven, as children and adults enjoyed the facility and each other. The blessing of God’s call to us to live in loving supportive relationships descended upon me all day, as I enjoyed our grandsons – 23 year old Chris and 18 month old Alex. I’m sure God smiled upon us as we talked and played. Tonight the quiet of this lovely apartment and the blessed opportunity to write this blog, tells me that God takes care of our needs even before we know we have them. We are truly blessed.

Welcome Home

hugs

This year as Mothers’ Day approaches, Robert Munsch’s poem keeps running in my mind, “I’ll love you forever. I’ll love you for always. As long as I’m living, your mother I’ll be.” Our role as Mom continues as it changes over the years.

A month ago, my oldest grandson moved to Vancouver to begin a new life as an adult. My daughter shared, “I love receiving one line texts from Chris. I understand now what it’s like to have your child grow up and move away.” I nodded and thought about son, Dave and his family in Ethiopia. Even when being Mom of adult children brings challenges, I treasure the privilege.

joy-284528_1920

I remember being filled with wonder as my children returned home as young adults at the end of their first year at university. Lively conversation entertained us at our dinner table. I was proud and happy. By Mother’s Day two or three weeks later, the edges of that joy had frayed a little. This new adult, who had experienced eight months of total freedom from mother’s concerns, questions, advice introduced a new challenge to motherhood. Divorce, job loss, sickness, grief, and more drive adult children home to live, not just for the summer, but sometimes for years.

The challenges of motherhood keep changing. The continuous process of letting go requires the love described in 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient. Love is kind… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” This Mothers’ Day, I offer the following prayer for families at every stage in a child’s development.

“Loving God, you created us to live in relationship because you know we need one another. Turn our minds and hearts to seek out and savour the moments of joy in every phase of our lives together. When tough times come, help us soak in your wisdom, patience and strength. Enable us to let go when necessary and to gather in and comfort when needed. Help us to let go of the guilt from past mistakes and begin each day anew. We want to love well. We want our relationships to be healthy. Help us to remember that with you there is hope. You are always with us, wanting and planning a future filled with joy and laughter. Amen”

 

 

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

By Janet Stobie

At birth, I was named “Sharon Margaret Grigg.” Adopted, I became Janet Lynn Kilbride. With my first marriage I became Janet Lynn White. In my second, I exchanged White for Stobie, confusing many people. Those who knew me as Jan White don’t always connect me with the Rev. Janet Stobie who writes books. Consequently, I have to identify myself as Janet White-Stobie. Names are important. They help us keep people straight.

In our Christmas story, before Jesus was born, God’s angel tells Joseph to name his child “Jesus,” which in Hebrew means salvation. While the baptismal waters were still streaming down Jesus’ face as an adult, the heavens opened, God’s Spirit descended like a dove, and God said, “You are my beloved son. I am pleased with you.”

At his baptism, Jesus was identified as a beloved child of God. Note that Jesus didn’t become loved when he was baptized. Rather God proclaimed that Jesus already was God’s beloved child. In the church, we make the same proclamation at a child’s baptism. We claim God’s love for that child. Added to all their names given by their parents come the names, “beloved” and “child of God”.

I sign my book, Spectacular Stella with the words, “Always remember you are God’s beloved child.” I want every child that reads Stella to know that God has loved them from their beginning.

What difference does it make in your life, to know you are God’s beloved child.

This name gives us value even when we make poor choices or fail. This name tells us that God will always give us another chance. Like the father in Jesus’ story of “the Lost Son”, God is always waiting, arms open wide. Regardless of how far we go astray, we only have to turn around and step into God’s warm embrace. God’s unconditional love is with us always.

Prayer Projects for This School Year.

Prayer Projects for This School Year

by Janet Stobie

Don't Forget to Pray
Don’t Forget to Pray

I received an email from my friends. Attached to it were pictures of proud great grand-parents holding baby Rina, healthy and strong. Three days later, our family surrounded grandson, Ben, with love as we said goodbye. His dad drove him to Thunder Bay to begin university, a huge step in growing up.

This week children across our nation have returned to school. Most are sent with love and hugs. Some go to new friends and strange schools; some return to old friends and a familiar place. All of them need support. Sometimes, support entails saying, “No.” Sometimes, support means applause.  Our goal is to love them well. That’s not always easy.

Parents have a huge job today. Torn by competing loyalties to work and family, they strive to do all that is required for their school age child. Homework, projects, free time, meals, clean clothes, guidance, and taxi service all require a parent’s time, energy and commitment. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, relative, or neighbor, you have a role to play.

This fall, I suggest you choose several families, some who are relatives and some who are strangers. Make these families your prayer projects. Each day, name them. Hold them in your love. Give God thanks for them. Open your hearts and minds to anything these families might need. Be God’s Good News for them.

St. Paul says: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment… “ (Philippians 1:9)

 

 

Are Fathers Necessary in Teaching the Faith?

I love you both.

 

When the elephant herd at South Africa’s Kruger National Park grew too large for the park to sustain it, park managers transported some mothers and babies to a game park nearby. A dozen years later, several of the young elephants, now teenagers had become dangerous. They were attacking the game park’s herd of white rhinos.

The park managers brought in some mature male elephants, hoping the bigger stronger males would bring the youngsters under control. It worked. The young bulls actually started following the Big Daddies around and learned proper elephant conduct from them. The assaults on the white rhinos ended abruptly.

Today, Mothers are doing an amazing job of teaching the faith. Like the bull elephants, Father’s also have an important role. Many Moms have heard, “If Dad doesn’t want to go to church, I don’t either.” Dad’s influence extends beyond their presence.  Children watch, listen and learn from Dads as well as Moms. 

As a teenager on the family farm, I remember the stress caused by inclement weather. The first sunny Sunday after several days of rain tempted my father to spend the day in the fields. As he loaded us into the car for church he would say, “If I skip church this morning, it’ll rain tomorrow or the tractor will quit. 

My dad said, “I want to start my week with God.”

On Fathers’ Day, let’s celebrate the men among us who have accepted their unique privilege and responsibility of planting seeds of faith in the next generation. They have answered God’s call and I am grateful. .

I Love My Dad

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  Exodus 20: 8-10

 

God’s Sacred Task

Creating a home is a sacred task given by God. 

For the child, that home begins inside the mother’s womb. Doctors tell us that what Mom eats and does affects her child, long before he or she is born. For example: When Mom doesn’t take in enough calcium in her diet, the calcium in her bones and teeth is taken for her unborn child. Today research has also shown that the fetus can hear.  Many mothers play music, sing, and read to their unborn child.

When I see pregnant women regularly at worship, I give thanks that once again a child is beginning with the love of a church family. Hearing the hymns, prayers, words that speak of loving one another, and living in peace and harmony, can make a difference in that child’s life.

God entrusts mothers with the special role of being the “goodness and mercy” of God, that is claimed in Psalm 23.  Of course, mothers, fail at times. They’re human.

God’s intention is that mother, in her unique place in the family, will be a source of God’s love.

Like all humans, mother doesn’t fulfill her role in a vacuum.

Mom’s need affirmation and support. Mother’s day reminds all of us that it is our privilege to be that affirmation and support. On Mother’s Day and every day, really look at the mother in your life, your own or someone else’s. Let her imperfections slide by and focus on the wonder of her efforts to love and support her child. Give her a hug. Speak words of appreciation.

Mother’s Day tell the Moms in your life that she is God’s blessing for her child. 

 

 

How To Cope With a New School?

It’s a long lonely road.

In Canada, school has begun once again. For me, this fall is different. My son has returned with his family from China. Although they spent every summer and most Christmas vacations with us for the last twelve years, this will be the first experience of our Canadian schools for my granddaughter Jenna.

When my children were young, we moved often. I remember the anxiety I felt accompanying them to yet another new school. Will they be accepted? Will they make new friends? I did my best to make our lifestyle an adventure, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy for them. High school was even more stressful. I consoled myself with the belief that somehow, the frequent moves might help them greet new experiences all their lives. Now, Jenna has a new beginning, and my prayers are with her.

This week and for the next months, I encourage you to pray for all young people starting into a different school – college, university, high school, elementary school, nursery school. Pray that they will find adults and children who care about them and their individual needs. Ask God to find some way of telling them that they “are truly fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), that they are loved and valued as God’s special creations. I believe when we know that we have value in ourselves, and have the security of being loved by at least one other person, we can step into a new world with confidence.

Psalm 139 is one of my favourite scripture passages because it talks of the uniqueness and love that each one of us enjoys as God’s child. Pray that each child this year will know that he or she is not alone. As Jesus said, “I will be with you always, even unto the ends of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)  God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.