My Life in the Shadows

By Punxsutawney Phil

Well, they let me out this morning for my annual debut. Otherwise it’s solitary confinement for the rest of the year! Although over the year I’ve tunneled an excursion route for more trips out on the town. Shhhhh - Don’t tell the mayor!

It was a nice crowd as usual – lots of media. For a moment, which is about all I get, I actually thought I spotted Bill Murray! You know it wasn’t a bad little movie except for a couple of tiny, little details – like it wasn’t ME and they didn’t even filmed it HERE! The studios decided on a little town in northern Illinois – Woodstock. No, not that Woodstock; the other one. Still, this Groundhog Day thing - all in all, it’s a pretty nice gig one day a year. I especially like all the guys wearing top hats and overcoats; makes it kind of classy – especially if you’re a Groundhog. Let’s be honest we’re not exactly on the top-ten list for College mascots. But, it is MY Day! The meaning and history of Groundhog Day is pretty interesting, if you get into that kind of stuff. Might be something cool you could do with kids – just Google me!

Okay, let’s start here - that whole shadow thing – really? I mean why worry about six more weeks of Winter? Do you really think this is topic of lunch conversation in Miami, Denver, or LA – I don’t think so! But I’ll take it. Again, it’s my day, and those of us in the rodent family, regardless of size can always use some positive coverage from the media. Well, let’s get down to the cold hard facts – did you catch that, “cold hard facts.” Pretty funny for a groundhog – LOL!

Truth is, how much or little winter we get after February 2 has nothing do with my shadow or me. My shadow is only a result of sun and clouds – and time of day. Hey, here’s something you may not know about me; well, more like a second cousin of mine.

The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted.
In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees.
The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the
rock badgers. He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.
Psalm 104:17-19

Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the
rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank;
the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings' palaces.
Proverbs 30:24-28

I really need to give credit where credit is due – My Creator. That’s right, they call me Mr. Sixth Day! Actually, no one calls me that – but that’s my birthday, so to speak. You know, most everyone here in the animal kingdom gets it – winter, summer, any of the seasons arrive or leave according to the will of our Sovereign King. Look, it’s right there in Psalm 104 – and a lot of other places, too. I just thought it would be fun to find some verses that included me. By the way, I really liked what Lewis did with Narnia – even if he decided to use a Beaver. And speaking of Sovereign Kings – how about Aslan!

So, yes, I did see my shadow today; that much is certain. And because I did see my shadow you may want to hold off on that Spring sale at Kohl’s – at least according to good ole Pennsylvania folklore. Don’t worry there’ll be plenty of time for shorts and sandals.

Until then, remember, the Creator holds the seasons in His hands and displays in power in all that He has made – even on the Day when Groundhogs give Him Glory!

See ya next year!
Phil (what a name, who chose that?!)


“Restoration in the Crosshairs” Text: 2 Corinthians 13:1-140
Pastor Bob Clark

SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR ALL AGES (Pre-K through Adult): Youth Classes for the following ages: Pre-K/K; 1st – 3rd Grade; 4th-6th Grade; Jr/Sr High & Adult Sunday School.

CHOIR REAHRSALS – The choir will rehearse on Wednesdays February 7th & 21st at 7pm at the church. INSPIRE – Thursday, February 8th at the church from 6:45pm - 8:45pm.
MEN’S PRAYER BREAKFAST – will meet Saturday, February 10th at 8:00am at the church

SIERRA LEONE MISSION TRIP – Items for Sierra Leone are being collected. There are two suitcases in the foyer to receive supplies for Kid’s Camp, School supplies and Office supplies for Makeni World Hope office. List of needed supplies are on table as well.

BABY SHOWER – You are invited to a Baby Shower celebrating Morgan Harrington (Ben Harrington's wife) and baby girl: Saturday, February 10th, 10:30-12noon at the church. Brunch will be served. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Emily Fredrick emilharr12@gmail.com or call/text (765) 977-5363 no later than Monday, February 5th. Morgan is registered on Amazon and at Target. Morgan's favorite colors for baby girl are gray, mint blue, purple & coral. Since they will be flying home, if you are interested in contributing to a group gift please indicate so with your RSVP and we will work out the details.

DEACONS’ FUND OFFERING – We will be collecting the Deacons’ Fund Offering for the Mercy Ministries of the Church next week.

LADIES MONDAY NIGHT HEBREWS STUDY – On Monday, February 17th, we sill being a new study, “Better, Study of Hebrews”. Join us on Monday’s from 6:30-8pm in the home of Lori Fowler (3800 Delwood Lane) Please contact Lori Fowler to order your book if you would like to join in.


Tuesday Morning Ladies’ Bible Study, Old Testament overview, led by Pastor Bob Clark, meets 8:30-10:00 a.m. in the church fireplace area.

Ladies Exodus Bible Studies – There are two opportunities to study this book of the Bible with the ladies of the church. The first study of Exodus meets at Lori Fowler’s home (3800 Delwood Lane) from 6:30-8pm on Mondays. Please RSVP to Lori Fowler if you would like to join this study. Mindy Deckard is also facilitating the study on Wednesday afternoons. This study meets from 12noon-1:30pm at Kari Harrington’s home (12 Parkway Lane) Bring a lunch. Please RSVP to Kari Harrington if you would like to attend.

Inspire – The Next INSPIRE meeting will be held February 8th from 6:45pm -8:45pm in the CPC foyer (350 Henley Rd. Richmond, IN) Dessert & 2 speakers: 1 sharing a Practical focus & 1 sharing part of "Her Story" a testimony of God's faithfulness in her life. Fellowship, Connect, Discuss & Pray. All ladies of the church in high school or older are invited to attend the INSPIRE events.

Ladies Monday Night Hebrews Study On Monday, February 17th, we sill being a new study, “Better, Study of Hebrews”. Join us on Monday’s from 6:30-8pm in the home of Lori Fowler (3800 Delwood Lane) Please contact Lori Fowler to order your book if you would like to join in.


A while back, as I was sitting on our front porch in Honduras, having a cherished morning of slow coffee drinking, rocking chair sitting, staring out at the palms and hibiscus peaking over our porch railings, I picked up my pen and journal and started writing. Coming off of a busy week of hosting a medical brigade, I felt a mixed jumble of emotions and thoughts.

As I started my rambling, this is what came to mind: a bubble.

Not the idea of a protective, sterile bubble as in “bubble-boy” nor the idea of “living in a bubble.” This bubble imagery was about the existence of those delicate yet oddly strong spheres and the way they move. Bubbles float along, just out of reach, bouncing along for a few minutes, then stopping to rest for a brief moment before the next slight wave of wind whisks them upward as they resume their slight hovering and swaying. This is what our lives as missionaries often feels like.

Not-so-gentle reminders of change Our time back in the States last summer was wonderful and difficult, sometimes both fighting for the same moment. It was painfully brutal at times. Yes, traveling and logistics with a baby is always hard. But it wasn’t that. It was three weeks of reminders, and not-always-so-gentle reminders.

There were the reminders that we were missing out on a lot of life lived with family. There were reminders that our beloved city of Atlanta was no longer home. There were reminders that some of the treasured experiences and items we once enjoyed no longer held their merit. There were reminders that we had changed. Four years living in a foreign country, particularly in the developing world, will give you a perspective that is sometimes hard to articulate, a feeling of uncomfortableness Stateside.

Sometimes comical, sometimes overwhelming Parts of the now foreign experience which is the United States were quite comical. There were moments of forgetting about things like crosswalk lights telling you when you can walk across a busy intersection in downtown Atlanta, so instead you just weave through traffic to cross the street, because that is simply what you do back home in Honduras. Or the funny times that you forget American phrases, or are telling a story and only the Spanish words come to mind.

Then there were the frustrating and overwhelming times of walking into a pharmacy and wanting to run out because you are so exasperated that there is literally an aisle of eye drops and you have no idea which one to buy for your baby. And finding yourself missing the simplicity of Latin pharmacies where you simply talk to the pharmacist behind the counter about what you are looking for and they bring you four options and you pick the best one. Then there were the times of walking into the supermarket and not realizing you are just standing and staring until your 4-year-old says, “Mommy, why are you just standing there with that weird look on your face?”

Comfortable and at-home looks different Other parts were more a jolting recognition of the reality that life is quite different now. I began to notice some of these differences last time we were in Atlanta. I was sitting at our good friends' little girl's dance recital (think more hip-hop, jazz style, less ballet). Sitting in that recital was one of the most relaxing and most at-home-moments I had Stateside since being back. I wondered why, and when I looked around I realized I was by far a minority and behind me I actually heard ongoing conversations in Spanish as well. Being a minority and hearing languages other than English is comforting rather than different. The simple act of going through the McDonald's drive-through is comforting because the woman taking orders is Latina and has a familiar accent.

Neither place is really home And yet, when you step foot back into Honduras, you are reminded that you aren’t really at home here either. You are greeted by the humidity, warm tropical air, and smoky smell; you breathe it in and it smells like home. Then you step into the resident line at immigration and the Honduran man behind you immediately starts to tell you in broken English that you are in the wrong line; and you politely tell him in Spanish, that, “No, we actually are residents of Honduras.” Or you walk into your favorite cafe and you have this sweet conversation with the waitress, who knows you and your little kids by now, but then you realize the minute you set foot into the restaurant everyone else had stopped talking and is turning and staring at you.

You are foreigners in a familiar land wherever your feet stand.

You feel like you are floating in this perpetual bubble that you can push, you can manipulate, you can stretch but can never truly break through, can never truly escape. You are floating right above two lands. Never fully grounded in one or the other.

You have brief reprieves of resting and touching down before the next gust carries you along, and there you find yourself suspended once again, floating above and always near but always slightly out of reach. You are living in the sometimes constrictive, sometimes beautiful, sometimes suffocating, sometimes liberating and yet restrictive glycerin existence of floating slightly out of reach. Yearning at times to just break through with a foot and dig your toes deep into the soil below, to feel firmly planted and established in one land or the other. And yet bubbles don’t allow for such reality.

Sometimes it is beautiful to view the world through the glycerin rainbow lens in front of you, with all its dancing colors that refract shimmers of light, making an almost magical looking world. Other times you yearn to break the bubble and to view the world a little clearer and a little simpler, a little less hazy and complicated, where there is constancy and stability. Where red is red, a square is a square, and the ground is firm and known beneath you, rather than ever-shifting.

Alas, and yet aren’t we all called to not live too comfortably, to not feel too at home here in this world?

So, while the floating and shifting can be lonely, it is also beautiful. And in the beauty of loneliness comes forth solitude. Solitude is not loneliness. And solitude is needed at times to better live in community, to better love and serve others. I leave you with words from one of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen, as he so elegantly encapsulates all this pushing and pulling, all the striving, reaching, and stretching.

“This difficult road is the road to conversion from loneliness to solitude. Instead of running away from our loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, we have to protect it and turn it into fruitful solitude ... The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward- reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.” — Henri Nouwen

Renee McLaughlin serves with MTW in La Ceiba, Honduras.


We would like to recognize your birthdays and anniversaries.
Please add your family’s special dates to our list by sending them to the church office office@knowingchrist.net or call 765.966.4017



1 Ed Gallo

3  Kris Hubbell

4  Mindy Deckard

4 Tom Deckard

8  Jane Robinson

9  Mike Luker

11  Kim Pratt

12  Jon Pfeil

13  Kayla Owen

14  Bill Kehlenbrink

18 Michael Gifford 

 18 Ruth Williamson

20  Kim Gray

21  Olivia Pfeil

22  Diane Angilella



17 John & Debbie Gentry 

 Christ Presbyterian Church  -  (765).966.4017  -  350 Henley Rd. Richmond, IN 47374  -  Office@KnowingChrist.net