Tag Archives: Remembrance Day

Failure is not an option.

For the last five years at least, I have wanted to change my ways as a writer. Self-publishing has been good for me. Even with paying a professional editor, graphic book designer, illustrator, and printer, and keeping my prices constant over the last fifteen years, my little writing business has made money. I’ve been fortunate to sell close to 10,000 books in total. With each new book, I made enough to cover expenses, keep an up-to-date computer, attend conferences and even have a few trips with Tom. Of course, I couldn’t live on the proceeds, but I don’t have to. Financially, it was enough.

The problem is that I started writing books because I believe God wants me to spread God’s message. It’s a simple message, and all eight of my books carry it. As human beings, we are called to love and accept one another. Each person in this world has value. That’s it – Love, Acceptance, Inclusivity. I have reached a lot more people with my books than I did preaching every Sunday. Is being satisfied with self-publishing enough? Can I do more to get God’s message out? I’ve known the answer for a long time. Find a publisher.

Last summer, God decided to give me a nudge. A local primary teacher asked me to write a Remembrance Day story to use as a resource for children ages 5-8. God knew I love a challenge. After careful thought, research, prayer, I wrote the first draft. Actually, it flowed out of my fingertips. I’m sure God was helping. I edited and rewrote many times. Finally, I sent the story to five primary teachers. They affirmed that it was a good story and fit Ontario’s primary curriculum guidelines for Special Occasions. When fall came two of those teachers asked when they could get a copy of my new book. I groaned. “It will be a while,” I said. “It requires professional editing, design, illustrating; maybe this time next year.”

In my heart, I knew that this book required a traditional publisher. It’s a resource for schools. Self-publishing meant I would have to talk to each teacher, each principal, each school board across the province. I needed a publisher to carry my special book into the school system. The last three months, I’ve been making excuses. It wasn’t hard. Finding a publisher is hard, discouraging work, and takes time.

Last Thursday, I started the journey in earnest. In the past five days, I’ve put in twenty-four hours, preparing a basic cover letter, getting the manuscript in the proper form and researching publishers and literary agents. Each one has submission guidelines. Each set of guidelines is slightly different. Each publisher requires that I check out their books to ensure that mine fits their vision. Each one says, “If you don’t hear from us in three to six months, you will know your book doesn’t fit our needs.” At this point, I’ve sent my manuscript to eleven publishers and five agents. I’m ready to quit, but “Failure isn’t an option.” Besides, “With God, all things are possible.”

After Lucy Maud Montgomery’s handwritten Anne of Green Gables manuscript was rejected by every publisher she sent it to, she stored it in a hat box. Two years later, she reread it and sent it out again. This time it was accepted by the Page Company of Boston and became an immediate success. I don’t compare my little children’s story to her great novel, but she is an inspiration. Today, I need inspiration.

Over the next months, as I continue my search for places to send “Leaders for Peace”, I ask for your prayers for wisdom in my choices, determination and patience. Please ask God to keep me focused on my goal.

I trust that God will be with me on this journey.  I will keep you posted on my progress. I know that with God all things are possible. Failure is not an option.

We Must Remember!

Today’s blog is a little longer than usual. That’s just the way it came from my fingers. I encourage you to read it anyway. We need to remember. Thank you and Blessings, Janet

We Must Remember!

by Janet Stobie

Lest We Forget!
Lest We Forget! 

Our book club just read Farley Mowat’s war memoir. His story opened my heart to the sickening brutality of a war fought by “children”, ages eighteen to twenty-four. Today, news reports hammer us with pictures of slaughter, poison gas, terrified  people. As I read, Mowatt’s book, the protective wall of numbness I had developed disintegrated. This horror, this chaos, this “hell” really did happen and it continues to happen right now, everyday.

On Remembrance Day, we’ll hear the words – “We will remember.” In my heart I will be saying, “We must remember.” We cannot let the numbness creep in around us. We must be spurred to action. We must stop this relentless march of destruction.

What can we do? Psychologists have told us poverty and hunger make the most fertile ground for the forces of greed and hate. Yet we continue to hold tight to our riches and ignore those in need, even in our own country. Years ago, I watched a documentary on the teaching of hate. My stomach roiled as I listened to mothers and fathers purposely telling and retelling their stories of injustice and hatred to wide-eyed children, soaking up the fear and thirst for revenge.

Today, we too are teaching hate and fear and greed. We complain about those foreigners of whatever race.

“Their religious customs are strange.”

“They take our jobs.”

“They’re bringing violence into our peaceful country.”

“They don’t want to be like us.“

We tell ourselves we deserve the abundance we experience. We’ve worked hard for it.” “Our homegrown poor, homeless, unemployed, aboriginals don’t want to work. They expect handouts.” Even if we would never say these things out loud ourselves, we remain silent when others do.

Yes, we cannot singlehandedly stop war around the world. We can follow in Jesus’ footsteps. We can bring healing and love to people we encounter. We can share from our wealth (and we have plenty) with one local project and one overseas project. We can ask God to open our minds to hear our thoughts, words and actions that teach greed, hate and bigotry. We can ask for God’s help so that we won’t help build that relentless war machine growing in our world. We can refuse to send another innocent child into the horror of war. We can pray for change in ourselves and others.

 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to Jesus and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat.”  (Luke 9:12-13)

Remember To Remember

Look closely.

As we age, our memory dims, particularly our short term memory. Do you remember your fifth birthday, or when the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series, or the tragic car accident that brought death to a stranger? We remember events that have wrought changes in the world, and/or in our lives.

“We will remember” are foundational words for Remembrance Day. We remember that Canadian men and women gave and are still giving their lives in an attempt to ensure that others here and in far off places might live with dignity, free from oppression and violence. Why must we remember?

Remembering will push us to live well in the present. Remembering will enable us to value individuals – strangers and family- as God’s precious creations. Remembering will help us to let go of prejudice. Remembering will encourage us to teach love, not hate. Our precious freedom is fragile. Every day on the news, we see the devastation and pain that comes with war. We are not isolated. We do not live on an island, secure from the evils of this world. Lessons of love and acceptance are essential.

Remembering will give birth to giving thanks, giving thanks for the incredible blessing of life here in Canada. Remembering will ensure that we work for a future of freedom, not just for ourselves, but for our world.

When standing at the entrance to the promised land, Moses instructed the Hebrew people to remember God and all that God had done for them in the past, so that they would keep God’s commands and ”that it may go well with you and your children after you, and you may live long in the land the Lord God gives you for all time.” (Deuteronomy 4:40)

Remember to remember on Nov. 11th and every day.