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Thank You Cards

I received a thank you recently from a friend. It was an email, probably no more than four to five sentences. I was struck that something so brief could have such an impact. This person shared something I had done that I had forgotten. When I read the note, I realized that not only did my action matter to my friend, but I did as well. Few people demand to have their existence validated, but the smile that came to my face reminded me how nice it is when someone ... Read More »

Finding a True Identity in Christ

I was recently inspired by one of Rev. Tom Berlin’s sermons about gratitude. In the sermon, Tom mentioned that gratitude reflects our spiritual maturity. It’s hard to admit that I need to grow in my spiritual life. Still, I felt challenged to practice gratitude not only during Floris UMC’s sermon series but also throughout my life. I often find that lack of gratitude occurs when I hold a lost or confused identity about who I am and who other people are. Last summer, I had a few months during which ... Read More »

FOG: Fear of Giving

Coffee with the Pastors is a recurring event where the pastors lay out, in very simple terms, what it means to be a part of Floris UMC. As a staff member, I have worked this program several times. In fact, I feel confident in my ability to recite the entire presentation. The message is constant. In order to be a true servant of Christ, you must commit to doing five things: worship, grow, serve, share and give. These pillars of Christian life are not new to me at all. And ... Read More »

150 Reasons Why We Are Free Today: Gratitude Flash Mob

Have you ever noticed how contagious gratitude can be? I recently had the opportunity, thanks to the William & Mary D.C. Area Alumni Chapter, to welcome an Honor Flight coming into Reagan National Airport. On it were men and women who had served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam who were flown into Washington, D.C. so they could tour the monuments and memorials erected in their honor. All I had to do was show up with a smile; posters and flags were optional. William & Mary colors were encouraged. Turns out there ... Read More »

Gratitude Over Grumpiness

The morning was dark. I realize it’s not surprising that it was dark at 6:30 a.m., but somehow it seemed extra dark that Sunday. Maybe it was the fog that seemed to roll down over my car and encircle me so that I could just barely see through it. My headlights created short pools of light on the road in front of me. Other cars would just sort of appear in a white glow and then disappear as they passed by. I must confess, I grumbled. I wish I hadn’t. ... Read More »

Open Mic Night

Open Mic Night—what does that mean? For some, you might envision karaoke night at which a gaggle of girls climb on stage to sing Shania Twain. Others might picture a local comedy club or a coffee shop evening filled with aspiring songwriters. However, for some of you, the thought of an open mic night might be terrifying. Perhaps you associate the term with more painful memories as you recall a time when you stood up to share a new piano piece at your school talent show, only to be mocked ... Read More »

Your Life, The Gospels and Ricky Bobby

I’ve been a student for my entire life. That experience continued as I began studying at Wesley Theological Seminary over the summer. This fall I am taking a class on the Gospels, one of several introductory classes on my schedule. Biblical studies as an academic discipline approaches scripture very differently than the more devotional practices with which some of us are more familiar. Though practical application is indeed a desired outcome, biblical scholars tend to approach the text with more questions about the historical context, the literary structures and other elements ... Read More »

Name Them One by One

It was a brisk spring day on my college campus as I trudged alongside two of my best friends to the dining hall. With our empty stomachs and full backpacks, we all started to think about the countless hours of homework and studying that awaited us after we enjoyed dinner together. Soon, we verbalized our thoughts, turning our casual walk into a showcase in one-upmanship. We tallied up the assignments, readings and other time commitments, eager to prove how our own evening should evoke more dread than the others. We ... Read More »

Ready for the Fire

One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 43:2. It reads, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” I found this verse when I was in high school and my best friend was going through a hard time. She was struggling with an eating disorder and a desire to end her life. I was terrified for ... Read More »

The Writing is on the Wall

Does anyone here read cursive? Apparently they’re not teaching it to most elementary school students these days. This has created quite a stir and not a small amount of dissension among ‘old-timers’ who don’t want this stalwart to go and ‘new-timers’ who say its time has passed. Recently, scientists have suggested that script handwriting, with its flow of connecting the letters, may tap into our learning and creativity in ways that printing and typing cannot. Old world meets new. Call me old-fashioned, but I do write in cursive when I pen notes and ... Read More »

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