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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 »

Student Mission Trip Q&A

Editor’s Note: This week 24 high school students and five leaders traveled to Reading, Pennsylvania to repair and transform homes and to strengthen and transform their own faith. The following is a blog post from one of the students, Grace Brady. Who are we serving this week? We are serving veterans who live in Reading, Pennsylvania. These people helped us by serving in the military, and now we get to help them. Can you describe your resident? My resident is a veteran who volunteered for the military at only 18 ... Read More »

Self-Worth, Self-Gratification and Boundaries

Sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex. This is one of the first things our fabulous pastor, Ashley Allen, told us to say to the person sitting next to us. To put it in one word, this was the topic of discussion throughout the 2016 High School Spring Retreat. To put it in three pillars, as another leader, Dan Willerth, called them, we discussed self-worth, self-gratification and boundaries. All of these three pillars were under the roof of God. God plays a huge role in all three of these, ... Read More »

Let’s Talk About Sex

At the ripe old age of twenty-two, I found myself pulled out of my shiny new classroom for a day of Family Life Education (FLE) training with dozens of other new hires in Fairfax County. I have to admit that when I chose a career in elementary education it never occurred to me that along with stem-and-leaf plots, I’d also be tasked with guiding tomorrow’s youth through the treacherous week known as FLE. This training included reciting body parts out loud until we stopped giggling, fielding obscene and downright confusing ... Read More »

Thank You, Bennett, For The Way You Played The Game

There’s nothing quite like playing a game with a kid. Pull out the equipment; explain the rules and you’re off! When they’re small, you may need to correct them, re-route them, or help them a bit. As they grow, you may show them a few tricks and, every now and then, have to caution them when they get too rough or bend the rules in their favor. But somewhere along the way, if you’ve played your cards right, they start teaching you new ways to play the game. That’s when ... Read More »

Listen for the Whispers

It’s that time of year again; the kids are off to school. This year we sent our youngest, Anna, off to college. I wasn’t nearly as worried this time as I had been when Emily, my first born, left for school. I learned a lot with Emily’s transition to college. I learned that they will look for ways to connect with people just like they did here: through school, church and sports. I learned that they are perfectly capable of making good decisions and bearing the consequences of poor decisions. ... Read More »

The Blessing of Today

Today is Day 4 of our JP mission trip to Winchester and it is our free day. We left the camp this morning and headed to Cacapon State Park in Berkley Springs, WV. Another youth group from Harmony United Methodist Church joined us for the day. The theme for today was a luau and all the kids received leis before we left camp. When we got to the park the kids went swimming in the lake and then we had a cookout out of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, watermelon and ... Read More »

I’m the Lucky One

This week is high school graduation week. As a volunteer leader for a small group of 12th grade girls, this is a big week for the students with whom I have formed friendships over the past six years. I’ve attended countless graduation parties and end of the year celebrations. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect. I wanted to share my reflections with you. I first met them when they were 11 years old. They were in seventh grade and not really sure how to interact with adults. Most of ... Read More »

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