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We Are All Neighbors

I was reminded about how connected we all are when I was in the grocery store the other day. From a distance, I recognized a woman who I’ve met twice during the Floris Guest House, our church’s week of hosting homeless guests. I smiled as I remembered meeting her and felt grateful that we’d been able to help her for at least two winters. I smiled at the thought of seeing her in the grocery store just as I would a neighbor. In the next instant, I also felt hopeful ... Read More »

Be the Donkey

“Be the donkey.” To this day, this is still the single greatest advice I have ever received as a vocalist. Early in my participation in Floris UMC’s contemporary worship team, a few of us attended a vocal workshop. At this training, we learned proper techniques and bad habits we should avoid vocally. Then the training sessions dug into the heart of the worshipper. The leaders used a story we generally associate with Palm Sunday to help put our role into appropriate perspective. During this session, she recounted the story of ... Read More »

Reclaim Your Sabbath Day

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.” – Exodus 20:8-10 I’m dating myself here, but does anyone but me remember when most stores were closed on Sundays? When I think about those days as a kid I remember feeling sometimes that Sunday afternoons were boring. No mall to go to, no errands to do with my mom…just books to read, maybe some TV to watch and hours ... Read More »

Sharing the Good News

The results were rather shocking. I mean ever since I was a child I knew my cholesterol was high (familial hyperlipidemia is the official diagnosis), but this was off the charts. My cholesterol was 314. My LDL was 209, and my HDL was 95. (Note: physicians like to see your cholesterol below 240—LDL below 160 and HDL below 60). Something had to be done. When the doctor and I spoke about strategies, she was pretty clear. She said my levels were likely the result of my age and that medication ... Read More »

Sniffles and Small Group Solidarity

Nearly a dozen of my small group members went to see “The Shack” together recently. It is sometimes hard enough to get two calendars to line up, so it is pretty remarkable that we could all make it work. What I loved even more than the coordination and commitment we demonstrated was the fellowship we enjoyed—especially during the funny, as well as the more emotional, scenes in the movie. How many people do you have in your life that you can cry with? I don’t just mean the kind of ... Read More »

Unless the Lord Builds the House, Those Who Build It Labor in Vain

Years ago, I drove past a home construction site where the foundation had been laid but the frame had yet to take shape. A small sign greeted everyone who came to the job site. It read: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” – Psalm 127:1 I marveled at that bold expression of faith! What courage it took for that builder to proclaim his faith, on the job, everyday. What a privilege it must have been to work for someone who gave such thanks and demonstrated such humility. I didn’t have that ... Read More »


I drove to Hampton, Virginia for a meeting the other day. I left early, a little concerned about the high winds, but as I drove the winds calmed down, the sun came out and it became a beautiful day. I felt just great, driving down the road, music playing, sun shining, anticipating a good meeting. I decided I would reward myself with a little treat at Chick-fil-A on the other side of Richmond. After all, I was early, the sun was shining and I was prepared for the meeting. It’s ... Read More »

A New Friend

Editor’s Note: The Floris Guest House is a program at Floris United Methodist Church (Floris UMC) in Herndon, Virginia. During one week in January, Floris UMC hosts about 40 homeless individuals each night 5 p.m.-7 a.m. Guests receive a hot dinner, breakfast, a place to sleep, a shower and the opportunity to participate in various evening activities. The following post was written by one of the Floris Guest House 2017 volunteers, Susanne Keating. I have a new friend. (My kids would exclaim, “You always say you have a new friend!”) ... Read More »

Struggling for the Good Stuff

Last year, I had the opportunity to accompany my husband on a business trip to Napa, California. As you may know, this area is known as wine country: the home of hundreds of miles of gently rolling hills, uniquely beautiful architecture and acres and acres of breathtaking vineyards. In my attempt to be a supportive and loving wife, I soldiered through several days of tasting fine wine, dining on culinary masterpieces and meeting fascinating people who drink good wine and eat good food for a living. Having a husband in ... Read More »

I Chose Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: During Floris UMC’s February 2017 sermon series, “Unburdened,” we asked congregation members to anonymously share their stories of forgiveness. The following is one of those stories. My life changed in July of 2010. I’d quit my job and uprooted my kids from their school and home to move out to Virginia. I took a call halfway across the county from my husband, who had moved a month ahead of us, that left me reeling. He didn’t love me anymore, and my future had suddenly, to me, gone sideways. ... Read More »

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