Of Dog Days and Simple Gifts

With the heat and humidity that we've been experiencing here in Indiana in August, I'm reminded of what we used to call the "Dog Days" of summer. According to the Farmers Almanac, some people think of it as those hot humid days of summer "not fit for a dog" or days that make dogs go mad. But actually it turns out that the term Dog Days was coined by the ancient Romans and the phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius (sometimes called the Dog Star), the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. As a kid growing up in a house without air conditioning,

First Point

On a recent morning I woke up earlier than usual and took my cup of coffee out onto the back deck. It was quiet other than the morning bird calls. As the sun rose, the colors of the sky brightened and became a rich mix of blue scattered with white, gray pink and purple. A gray-blue heron flapped its great wings and settled next to the pond to watch for its breakfast. The greens and blues and multicolored flowers felt like a gift spread out for anyone who noticed. Philosopher Marilynne Robinson said, "This little garden, earth, implies an act of creation which was radically, for us incomprehensibly, free." Gifts such as this lovely morning create a momentary surge in us, an impulse of aware

Overcoming Fear

A note: As you may know, I've been posting a four-week series on overcoming fear, on the church Facebook page. Below is the text for the third reflection. Since it was due on the same day as this blog entry, I decided to share this slightly shortened version with you here. When I was a kid, I was scared of grasshoppers. I hated their creepy mouths and their scratchy legs. If it's August in southern Indiana, they're everywhere. My sisters and I played in the fields behind our house. Any time a big grasshopper would leap from a weed and land on me, I had to work really hard not to get hysterical while I frantically knocked it off. I didn't want my sisters to notice and make fun of me. Grasshop

And the Beat Goes On. . .

Trigger Warning... some nostalgia ahead. In 1967, Sonny & Cher had a tune entitled "The Beat Goes On" with these opening lyrics... "And the beat goes on, the beat goes on, drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain, La de da de de, la de da de da." I am not exactly sure how it happened but that song title popped into my head today as I was again reading the NWI Times and COVID-19 Update that appears each and every day in the paper. It is a daily ritual for me to look at that update each day, every day... it is a beat that goes on. The statistics for Indiana, for NW Indiana and for Porter County are updated daily as to number of new cases, number of total cases and, of course, the number of

Decisions, Decisions

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." Romans 12:1-2, The Message "Decisions. Decisions. Deci

© 2016 by First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso

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