Tag Archives: gifts

My First True Christmas

The Story of My First True Christmas

I recall the time that I met Jesus, the day of His birth on my first true Christmas.

my first true Christmas
Christmas Card 2020 by Janis Cox

When did the Christmas Story take hold of me?

One Christmas Eve, we visited a different church in our small town. It was dark when we arrived at the little church.

Haliburton United Church — personal photo

Stained glass windows adorned the walls. We walked in through the narthex at the back of the church.

my first true Christmas

At the front of Haliburton United church. Personal photo.

A buzz of voices greeted us as we entered. A lovely small woman met us at the door and welcomed us to the Christmas Eve service. We found a seat.

A few people said hello but I will never forget the smile on that lovely woman’s face when she said, “Hello, my name is Eleanor.”

We sang Christmas carols and then it was time for the message. The minister rose and walked to the podium.

Then something happened.

My ears were opened that night. I don’t know what he said exactly but he explained the Incarnation in a way that I had never heard. I was a believer at the time. I had been baptized.

But I didn’t understand that:

God came down to earth. He lived here. He walked among us. He was God incarnate.

That hit me deeply. God loved me so much that He left heaven and the heavenly connection He was used to, to come to His people. To rescue them and me.

From that night on, Christmas Eve has never been the same.

I have taken the place of each character that night.

Mary as she birthed her baby (I felt that one).
Joseph as he admired his new child. (I’ve seen that in my husband’s eyes.)
The Shepherds who were astounded, filled with fear but told not to be afraid (how many times have I felt that?)
The Angel — proclaiming the Good News. (When I sing Christmas songs about the Angels, I am carried to the heavens.)
I have even put myself in the spot of Jesus (I was a baby once).

So much happened that night.

From the star in the sky to the shepherds’ arrival, the Incarnation is the most wonderful story of all. And my true first Christmas began.

May I pray for you and me?

Father, thank You for sending Jesus to live on earth, to teach us, to comfort and heal us, to take our sins upon Himself and reconnect us to the Father. We are grateful and happy for knowing Jesus. In His name, we pray. Amen.

If you have read this far, I have a special gift for you this Christmas.

Please visit this page: A Free Gift of a Colouring page 


my first true Christmas

Another place for free gifts until December 31:

End-of-year  SpecialMy first true Christmas

Living in Time Today

Living in Time Today – a Poem


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Living in Time Today

Want, desire
The need for more and more.


Trying to keep up and
Hurts the soul.

What is time?

This moment is
The time to live.

Look around you
Count the gifts
Record them.

God says to
Seek Him first.

Then look at the world and

Seek caring
Be strengthened
In your faith.

Then you can
Go forth
And speak the
Good News to
All the world
In love,
Forgiveness and

Today is the
Day to reflect
Pray and
Be transformed.

©Janis Cox 2020

Reading Romans 12:1–8

  1. Offer yourself to God.
  2. Be a non-conformist.
  3. Let God transform your mind.
  4. Find God’s will for your life.
  5. Do not think more highly of yourself.
  6. We are many in Christ, each member belongs to all the others.
  7. Use your gifts wisely.
  8. Use your time wisely.

We can change the world if we join together.

Reading from the stories of Joseph and Moses

To be worthy we need to use the gifts given to us and be content where God puts us.

Remember Joseph — he did not fret while in jail. He used his time wisely. Eventually, he saved the Israelites from starvation.

Moses could have died shortly after birth, but he was saved by his mother and sister. He grew up in the palace. God was preparing him to lead His people.

God is gathering the world together, through the Internet. Let’s not rant and rave.

Let’s write to show others Who God is.

Reading Psalm 124

Praising God for His Help and getting us out of trouble.

Praise the Lord,
who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
The trap is broken, and we are free!
Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:6–8, NLT)


May I pray for you and me?

Lord, help us to use the time You give us — wisely. Help us to look to You for direction as our help is truly from the Lord. Guide us, prepare us, transform us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Join us while we read the Bible together. A private Facebook Group. Growing through God’s Word.

Why We Have the Highest Privilege to be in God’s Kingdom

It’s A Great Privilege to Be In God’s Kingdom

It’s time for Five Minute Friday. Hubby’s out for a few minutes. Facebook turned off. Ready set go. The word this week is “privilege”.


I looked up privilege. Dictionary definition:

a right or liberty granted as a favour or benefit especially to some and not others

Therefore it’s a right that not all people have.

Somehow I don’t think that’s right. And in this world it isn’t.

But the way the world is set up – there are people in authority, rich people, poor people, sick people, well people. And so on.

We are all here in this land with different privileges – education, background, colour, race, religion, and so on.

But the one thing is sure, when we put our trust and faith in Jesus, we all become Kings and Queens of God.

Everyone is open to that privilege. Everyone can be a part of God’s Kingdom.

Yes it’s our placing our lives in Jesus’ hands that gives us the privilege of being in God’s Kingdom.

We are told we are of a royal priesthood.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).”

We are set apart.
We are privileged.
God’s special possession.
That’s a privilege.


I am so glad I am part of God’s community.

There is something else though. With the acceptance of Jesus comes work. We can’t just say, “Thanks Lord” and go on our merry way. We need to work out our lives so we are better able to meet God when the time comes. We do this with “fear and trembling”.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12, NIV).”

With privilege comes work.

And I think that goes for any other privilege we have. If we are educated we need to use what we have learned. If we have money we need to use it wisely and for God’s Kingdom. If we have a gift of writing, we need to write. Are you starting to understand what I am saying?

Don’t sit on the sidelines. Learn to listen to God and find out exactly what purpose He has for your life.

I love that God gave me the privilege to be part of His Kingdom. I love that He is showing me the path He wants me to follow. What about you?


Are you struggling to find time to get to know God?

Are you anxious but don’t know how to deal with it?

Do you want to know what path God has for you?

Do you need more time reading your Bible?

I have a solution for you.

Join me on my FB Page called Growing Through Gods’ Word. We learn together how to pray and how to study His Word.

This month I am offering 3 – free spots  – to 3 people for a “coffee Skype or FB Messenger video” to talk over what you feel you need to accomplish these goals. The first 3 to email me get a spot. Email me at Janis Cox.

Check out:

Restore your life – Are deceivers blinding You to God’s purpose for your life?

Big Canadian Contest

Big Canadian Contest

I am thrilled to be a contributing author to the “7 Days of Great Canadian Giveaways,” running February 6 to 12, 2017. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to win an amazing prize package by outstanding Canadian Christian authors and recording artists. It’s a big Canadian Contest.

Canadian Contest


Please note that Canadian citizens living in Canada ONLY qualify for this particular promotion.

In order to win you have an opportunity to enter each and every day during the contest duration.  Two prize packages will be posted at http://sallymeadows.com/blog each day. For each day you comment on the blog AND click on the link to go to the author’s FB page, you will be entered into both prize packages for that day. You can enter any time during the contest period for any or all of the days.

So join in and have fun. Prizes galore. Great Canadian Contest. (tweet this)

This contest runs from 7:00 am EST February 6, 2017 to 9:00 pm February 12, 2017. Entries submitted prior or after that time period are ineligible for the giveaways.

For complete contest rules, please go to the event page at  https://www.facebook.com/events/614924578714278/.

My prize package, in which both Tadeo Turtle and The Kingdom of Thrim are prizes as well as gifts from Sally Meadows,  will be featured on Thursday, February 9th.

While it is not a requirement to enter the contest, please consider signing up for my newsletter at Janis Cox. I give away 2 free books for anyone that signs up for my newsletter. 

Thank you for your interest in this contest and for supporting Canadian Christian authors!

Watchful Wednesdays

Watchful Wednesdays


Even Snowball sees what is going on around her. Are you watching?

I am on blogging holiday this week. Please read the wonderful posts and link your own as we watch what God is doing in our lives.


Please feel free to link your posts if you are talking about the gifts of God. This linky will be open for one month. Check back each week and add your posts.

Can I Joy Dare You? Week 30

Can I Joy Dare You? Week 30


Butterfly Batik Watercolour by Janis Cox

Don’t forget to follow me by Janis Cox RSS Feed; Janis Cox on Twitter; Janis Cox on Facebook; or Janis Cox on Pinterest or email.

Please see the right sidebar for more information.

As I continue to count the gifts I feel like I have been on a scavenger hunt seeking new things. Thanks so much to Ann Voskamp for leading this journey.

Last week I attended a full week art course at Haliburton School of the Arts. It was called Experimental Watercolour by Kal Honey.

Kal pushed us; he pulled us; he told us to stop thinking and just paint; he told us to forget about the product and just work with the process.

My head is full. I want to paint but my computer calls. On Monday I did take time to play, and explore my paints. Fun.

Here is my list from this week:

July 24 ~ 3 gifts sand

      • I recall a cute statement from my granddaughter while walking around our roads in early summer. “These roads look like the beach, grandma.” Our roads were still covered with winter sand.
      • sandpainting: Something that I must try for Creative Saturdays
      • I love building castles, moats, digging holes and just the feel of wet sand through my fingers and toes

July 25 ~ 3 gifts endings

      • on this day I am at the 1/2 way point of my art class – hard work, but I don’t like endings

Week 30 Janis'-paintings - Haliburton School of the ARts - Kal Honey

      • when is a piece of art work finished – we talked about “endings” in our art class


      • Jesus knew when His time was ending on earth. And He knew it was accomplished when He said, “It is finished”.

July 26 ~ 3 gifts fresh

      • today is a new start – a promise of diversity in my art, in my life – less computer time and more living
      • fresh look at myself – I needed this week taking my art course to know that somehow I could take 40 hours from my regular week and still get my posts up, cook dinners, and even go for a boat ride
      • Jesus renews me every morning so I can start each day fresh

July 27 ~ a gift on vacation, at home, in relaxation

      • vacation: I am looking forward to our trip to Poland in the fall
Week-30-Poland Trip 2010 - Janis Cox

Poland Trip 2010 with International Messengers

      • at home: I am putting my art supplies into a meaningful order
      • relaxation: taking a few days to reflect after a very full intensive week

July 28 ~ 3 gifts beginnings

      • a new painting outlook – fun!
Journal - Janis Cox - Series on Bird

Journal – Janis Cox – series on BIRD


Journalling – series on Birds – Janis Cox


Journalling a series of BIRD

      • reorganizing my writing plan
      • on a steering committee for a new outreach for Haliburton

July 29 ~ 3 gifts together

      • we have great fun together at my daughter’s and son-in-law’s trailer
      • I love how our family works and plays together
      • my hubby and I have been together for 42 years (married) but have known each other for 45 years

July 30 ~ 3 gifts heard


Butterfly Watercolour Batik by Janis Cox

Watercolour Batik Butterfly card by Janis Cox





Can I Joy Dare You? Week 25

Can I Joy Dare You? Week 25


Butterfly Batik Watercolour by Janis Cox

Don’t forget to follow me by my RSS FeedTwitterFacebook; or Pinterest or email.

Please see the right sidebar for more information.

As I continue to count the gifts I feel like I have been on a scavenger hunt seeking new things. Thanks so much to Ann Voskamp for leading this journey.

After a conference it seems it takes me a few days to sort myself out. I have a head full of ideas, changes and passion. But where to get the time? Then the Lord reminded me:

It is all in His time.

So counting the gifts again this week – seeking to know that He is always with me.

June 17 ~ 3 gifts in your Dad

Dad and Janis

      • peace, calmness – my Dad did not get really angry (at least not often) – slow to anger, always thinking before he acted
      • my Dad always had time to listen to me and helped me to know myself
      • my Dad adored my Mother

June 18 ~ 3 gifts from your Heavenly Father

        • grace: God accepts me just as I am
        • beauty: creation, every detail, the colour and the perfection
        • joy: how the Holy Spirit can fill me with joy at the strangest times

June 19 ~ 3 gifts you became in serving

        • worked at the Pregnancy Care Centre figuring out labels – I was determined to figure it out
        • as I serve I become more prayerful and patient
        • in my Bible Study I have learned to listen

June 20 ~ a gift bent, beautiful and loved

        • bent: my new perennials are still bent – I hope they will survive and bloom beautifully for many years

Bent Flowers

        • beautiful: my hubby and I had a beautiful day boating on Lake of Bays

Lake of Bays

        • loved: I know I am loved by my hubby

June 21 ~ 3 gifts found in light

        • reflections on the lake
        • the bluest sky

Blue sky

        • being able to read, sew, and do crafts I need a good light

June 22 ~ 3 gifts that are difficult

        • with my allergies sometime it is difficult to not eat something but my allergies have taught me great discipline
        • I need glasses – but I have learned to accept that fact and most times never think about it
        • I need to stretch every morning – another way to learn discipline

June 23 ~ 3 gifts found around a table

        • pictures of my children and grandchildren are found on my tables and desk
        • after dinner each night my hubby and I have a game of cribbage. I actually won last night – a very close game
        • we saw new art work displayed on tables produced by a new group called “Mentors and Makers”


Once again I have added a place for you to put your links. It will remain open for a month. Let’s continue to build this JOY DARE community.


Multitudes on Mondays


GraceLaced Mondays


Beauty in His Grip Button





Can I Joy Dare You? Week 18



Don’t forget to follow me by my RSS FeedTwitterFacebook; or Pinterest.

As I continue to count the gifts I feel like I have been on a scavenger hunt seeking new things. A wonderful week searching and looking. Thanks so much to Ann Voskamp for leading this journey.

April 29 ~ 3 gifts dirt

  • wiping dirt from Snowball’s feet (muddy outside)
  • the water drying up the mud (dirt) on our flooded lands in the county
  • our roads being cleaned of the winter’s dirt by the rains

April 30 ~ a gift given, a gift made, a gift sacrificed

  • a gift given: I bought a lovely little violet to give my daughter
  • a gift made: I made a blog post called Wednesday’s Word – ROCK
  • a gift sacrificed: my time to get things in order for the community association where I live (I am the secretary)

May 1 ~ 3 gifts tasted

  • my daughter had to fast for over 1 day so I asked her what she wanted to taste first – and she said a sub; then she changed her mind and we bought sushi
  • watching my grandson eat his breakfast and taste every food – bananas, cereal, peanut butter
  • having a pretend picnic on the front lawn and my grandson and I tasted each plastic food; then I picked a little flowering weed and he wanted to taste that too

May 2 ~ 3 gifts flat

  • my daughter and I played a great game called Carcassonne – They have expanded their game so they can play with many people but it also works with 2.


  • the ride back to the Highlands through very flat lands; I could see the changes in the flora as I drove across – the trees became taller, the ground started to have outcroppings of rocks; but these are pictures of the flat lands




May 3 ~ 3 gifts found in difficult people

I found this one difficult because I don’t meet too many difficult people

  • our air conditioning is broken on my new/used automobile (first time using the air); the used car dealership don’t think they will cover the repair; but they are going to try and see how bad it is and see if they can fix it
  • I remember always to look into the eyes of every one I meet and then I see Jesus
  • if I do have trouble with someone I have to ask, – is it them or me?

May 4 ~ 3 gifts before 9 am

  • a glorious cloudless day
  • my quiet time to sit, pray, think and listen
  • my body is still and I sense all the parts working – thank You, Lord

May 5 ~ a gift in a sign, a gift in a smile, a gifts in a snack

  • a gift in a sign: at a children’s art turtle show I saw a sign that said “save the turtles”. I think I will become involved in helping this group
  • a gift in a smile: my newest grandson’s first smile at me
  • a gift in a snack: munching carrots with my grandchildren



Can I Joy Dare You? – Week 9


As I continue to count the gifts I feel like I have been on a scavenger hunt seeking new things. A wonderful week searching and looking. Thanks so much to Ann Voskamp for leading this journey.

I will be adding a LINK today for those of you who would like to put in your lists of gifts. No matter whether you are doing the specific Joy Dare or listing your gifts – please join me this week. And let’s praise God for all the wonders He is showing us.

February 25 ~ 3 gifts worn out, new and made-do

  • old socks that Snowball loves to use as toys; but she also loves any socks so we have to make sure we put all socks away from her keen sense of “sockiness”

Worn Out

  • daffodils in the desert; such a beautiful sight. I had to go and check if they were real or plastic


  • I couldn’t find the journals I like but found one that would work okay

February 26 ~ 3 gifts seen as reflections

I couldn’t stop seeing reflections after reading this clue

Reflection in a painting


Reflections in a painting 2

Grand Canyon Reflection

February 27 ~ 3 ugly-beautiful gifts

This one had me stumped. I had to pray for wisdom and vision.

  • Michael Bull Roberts – a gangster turned Christ follower – I don’t even see him as ugly now because of his beautiful heart, soul and spirit. God is using him mightily for the Kingdom.

Here is a website about Michael. The writer states: “A man covered in tattoos from head to toe, 300 pounds and one of the scariest looking guys I’ve ever seen turned to be the most caring person I’ve ever met.”

His Facebook page: Michael Bull Roberts

  • art – looking at different pieces of art – beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. What I see as an ugly painting or not my best – others rave about. I can’t figure it out. Here is a kingfisher – the whole batik process didn’t go the way it was supposed to  – I had running ink from a non-permanent pen, it got messy but lots of people love this painting. Go figure.

KIngfisher by Janis Cox

  • an ugly little caterpillar – this is my favourite – how an ugly little caterpillar which crawls on the ground, feels creepy when I hold it – can become a beautiful butterfly who can soar high up in the skies



February 28 ~ 3 gifts of the past that help you trust the future

  • the healing of my back, jaw, neck, knees and my soul – thanks be to God
  • my hubby standing steadfastly beside me through the years – through highs and lows
  • the people that I have met who have a strong faith and whom  God brings into my life all the time

March 1 ~ 3 gifts at 3 pm

  • a lovely walk around our lake

Walk at 3pm

  • there was a school of fish that congregated at the bridge. We couldn’t figure out how they didn’t slip over the bridge. As we watched a number of them came close to doing that. And why were they all there? But I forgot my camera – you will have to visualize them there – and I will take another shot another day.

Fish at the Bridge?


  • it is getting warmer here in Arizona and the sun’s warmth is beautiful

March 2 ~ 3 gifts green

Everywhere I go here in Arizona I see green. And what has been brown is turning green.


Green Trees

Green Gifts - Joy Dare

Daffodils - Green in the Desert

March 3 ~ 3 gifts wore

I thought about this one for a long time.

The garments made by man – wear out.
But the garments that God gives us don’t wear out. Tweet this.

  • a belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14)
  • a garment of praise (Psalm 61:3)
  • a garment of salvation (Isaiah 61:10)

Would love to hear your comments. And please feel free to either put your gifts in the comments or add your link.



I link to other sites – please check the sidebar to find more Linky Parties.


Can I Joy Dare You? – Week 5


As I continue to count the gifts I feel like I have been on a scavenger hunt seeking new things. A wonderful week searching and looking. Thanks so much to Ann Voskamp for leading this journey.

January 28 ~ 3 Graces found in friends

  • met an artist online and we hope to meet face to face in the spring or summer
  • met a couple with a dog from Red Deer, Alberta while we walked around our lake – they will be going to Mardi Gras party so we might meet them there
  • emails from friends and new acquaintances

January 29 ~ A song heard, a soft word, a light seen

  • birds at 5pm make a cacophony of music
  • telling Snowball “no” without raising my voice
  • seeing light in photos so I can paint the light

January 30 ~ 3 old things seen new

  • our old socks with holes are new toys for Snowball

  • we use recycled water here in the desert for our lakes and watering our lawns
  • as we give our life to Christ we are renewed – a new person in Jesus

January 31 ~ a gift on paper, in person, in a picture

  • love my journals, notebooks, sketch books
  • I love all my Bible Babes – such wonderful women of faith and funny too
  • a smilebox from my daughter – grandson playing “I’ll get your nose”.

February 1 ~ 3 gifts red


  • red berries on a bush

  • we call it a “bottle bush” but not sure what it is

  • humming bird feeder

February 2 ~ 3 gifts on paper

Baby Bryce – Batik

  • love my new batik rice paper and then the paint goes on – fun
  • books, books and more books
  • journals for writing my thoughts, prayers, and ideas

February 3 ~ 3 gifts found in writing

  • fiction – love a good fiction book before bed
  • non-fiction – always have 2 or 3 on the go – right now, Wonderstruck, Everything and Refresh

God Loves Us - We can pray for others.

  • my Bible – God’s Word – always refreshing, nourishing, and powerful