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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 »

Reflections

If you haven’t been able to tell by the hyperactivity of your children, the longer and warmer days or the “senioritis” that seems to be hitting people of all ages, the end of another school year is quickly approaching. For many, December is often a time of year for reflection and introspection. But those with children or working in the education field often save this transition time for the close of yet another school year. As we move into the summer and begin making plans for next fall, I often find ... Read More »

Surprising Moments of Grace

Have you ever been surprised by a moment of God’s grace? Maybe you haven’t been bopped over the head by a tidal wave of undeniable grace, but what about a precious moment? Living with our hearts and eyes open helps prepare the soul for an encounter. I had one recently. It happened so fast; I wasn’t prepared. But it was definitely God’s grace. I’ve been volunteering at Hutchison Elementary School with the PALS program since it’s inception nine years ago. (This program matches elementary students with adult mentors once a ... Read More »

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