Good Bye

The poet Mary Oliver died last week, at the age of 83. She was winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, with 20 published volumes of poetry and prose. Her work has touched thousands with its simply stated, utterly profound observations on life, the natural world, and the spirit. Bear with me here... I know that for some, the mere utterance of the word poetry conjures up tortured hours spent in high school English classes, trying to decode some famous dead writer's poems.As someone who spent 30 years teaching literature to adults, many of whom would rather have had a root canal than even come near a poem, I understand your pain. This poet is different. Oliver believed that po

So.... The Winter We Have Worried About has Finally Arrived

Worry. Worry. Worry. Worry is something we all tend to do... perhaps too much of the time. We know that worrying is useless. We only worry about things that we have zero control over... because that is all we can do about those situations. If we could do something about a situation to affect it... we would... and then there would be no need to worry. Yet, worrying becomes a familiar way to pass the time and to interact with others by sharing our worry items. Weather is a great example of something we worry about. How much snow will we get? Will the roads be OK? When will it stop? Will I be able to drive in it? etc. etc. We can't do anything about it but deal with what comes. Worry is a

Enjoy the Now

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, As Bill Rogers reminded us in last week's blog, it is that time of year that many of us reflect on the events of the prior year and contemplate ambitious resolutions for the year to come. 2018 was full of joys, celebrations, transitions, challenges and loss, and in the midst of it all God was at work in our lives and in our community. Reflected in the many resolutions being made, 2019 holds the hopes of what the future could be and in these hopes God continues to be at work. The days immediately following New Year's Eve, then, seem to be a time of heightened awareness. We find ourselves more acutely aware of what has been and what could be. An intersectio

New Year's Resolutions

As we were ringing in the New Year a few days ago, I couldn't help but think of some of the joyful events that occurred during 2018. Of course, for each person and family the tone of last year varied. Some families were blessed with the birth of children and grandchildren, others celebrated weddings and high school and college graduations, while others entered into a new job opportunity. Admittedly though, the highs enjoyed by some were met with sorrowful lows by others. One of the benefits of attending seminary, providing pulpit supply, and working in retail (not to mention communicating through social media), is that people networks grow abundantly. Through ordinary conversations, I hear t


"No." This word becomes quite familiar during one's lifetime. We hear it as soon as we are able to become mobile and continue to hear it throughout our lifetimes. I still remember hearing my parents saying no to me numerous times throughout my childhood. "No, you may not stay up late. No, you may not have that toy. No, you cannot stay out with your friends. No, you cannot have the car tonight." Since becoming a father of two boys, I feel that I have said no more times than I heard the phrase in my youth. "No, stop hitting your brother. No, do not wear that dirty shirt. No, you may not go to the bathroom again (this by the way is usually a third request during the pastor's sermon)." No,

© 2016 by First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso

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