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No Signature Necessary

“I hope the sights and sounds of Haiti will long linger in my heart and mind:  early morning roosters crowing, late-night drums beating, dogs barking, men, women and children chattering, motorcycles revving, cars, trucks and Tap-Taps beeping, marketeers calling, goats bleating, children laughing, singing, jumping, running, men embracing, joking, back-slapping, melodic greetings of ‘Bonjour,’ ‘Bonswa,’  ‘Kijan ou rele?’  These are beautiful memories of a beautiful place and people to not be forgotten. The return home demands attention to different sights and sounds so that over time, the fresh memories made ... Read More »

Why I Go Pink

As I write this, I am sitting in a salon chair with pink dye drizzling down my neck. Once a year, my typically blonde hair is transformed to a new hue of bubble gum, and it tends to lead to raised eyebrows. Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to explain myself. It started six years ago. A meeting ended and a fellow teacher turned to me and said, “By the way, I have cancer.” Some might balk at the bluntness of this delivery, particularly considering the fact ... Read More »

Find Your Beauty

I was in second grade when the Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast” debuted in theaters. It was also shortly after this time when a girl in gymnastics class told me I was ugly. A more self-esteemed girl might have coughed up a nasty comeback, but I found myself paralyzed with this new truth. Up until then, I was fairly oblivious, but it was at this time that I realized that there was an appropriate way to look, and I was not it. A slew of Disney films in ... Read More »

Worth the While: Jeremiah Project

Editor’s Note: Last week 16 middle school students and five leaders traveled to Romney, West Virginia to participate in the Jeremiah Project. The following is a blog post from one of the students on the trip, Charlie Miller. It was my first year on a mission trip as well as my first year at Jeremiah Project (JP), and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But as soon as I got there I was glad because the minute I entered everyone was so friendly and cheerful, including the staff. Oh, and JP has ... Read More »

At the Worksite

Editor’s Note: This week 16 middle school students and five leaders traveled to Romney, West Virginia to participate in the Jeremiah Project. The following are updates from two of the students on the trip. I went to the Jeremiah Project this year. I want to share what it was like on the worksite. You have to wear jeans at the site, and it is very hot. You have to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. On the first day you get put on a work team. Your team creates a ... Read More »

How Long Does it Take to Grow Up?

“Mommy, when you are a hundred, will you be as tall as the clouds?” This, my little daughter asks me from her seat on the swing in our backyard. Her sweet up-turned face looks past me to the billowing clouds overhead. To her, growing up means growing taller so she can reach the monkey bars unassisted and ride all the rides at the theme park. Surely 100 years should be enough to reach those clouds, she concludes. While our growing taller comes to an end during our teens and early twenties, ... Read More »

The Microclimate of Community

It was such a joy to share the sermon at Floris UMC this Sunday that I wanted to share an additional story that didn’t quite make the cut. For those of you who weren’t with us (or need help remembering), the main point came from John 13:31-35, in which Jesus told his disciples about a new commandment to love one another as a distinctive marker of Christian community. The disciples had a role to play in developing the climate in which they would continue to exist, grow and thrive in ... Read More »

How are You Called to Serve?

When I was growing up, the calendar in our kitchen was always full of Mom’s notes about her volunteer activities. She was active in the PTA for a while as well as multiple nonprofits and regional committees related to causes she was passionate about. My dad’s way of supporting her passion usually involved helping to set up or put away chairs at an event or making endless pots of his signature chili beans and cornbread for potlucks and fundraising events. Given their examples of service, it’s no surprise that I ... Read More »

Why Bother?

On my morning walk I decided to take a different path to spice things up so I turned into Middleton Farm. As I walked deeper into the neighborhood I saw a monument sitting on top of a small hill. I felt a nudge to walk up and take a look. The monument read “At Rest… Bradley” and there at the base of the monument lay a yellow carnation. Just as I had done the day before in Maryland, someone had stopped by this grave and remembered the lives of those ... Read More »

Dear Graduates,

Dear Graduates, It is so refreshing to see your newly decorated caps and gowns, photos on the quad and smiling announcements on social media. Whether from high school, college or graduate school, graduation often symbolizes new beginnings and bright futures. However, I also remember a fair share of anxiety around these milestone moments. As we prepare to honor our graduating seniors at Floris United Methodist Church Sunday, June 4, I want to take a minute to address some of the stress and anxiety that so many experience. Our culture tends ... Read More »

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