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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 »

Why are You a Methodist, Anyways?

If you’re like me, you might scratch your head when you consider just how many Christian denominations exist. Sure, we might anticipate religious diversity throughout the world, but who could have anticipated such diversity within Christianity itself? Think about how many churches you pass on your way to work, or better yet, how many churches you pass on your way to wherever you worship on any given week. How can we explain such a wide array of expressions of a supposedly unified faith? In my life, different circumstances have led ... Read More »

A Glimpse of Eternal Life

“ I think that we humans don’t have the capacity to imagine eternity, Mom” said my ninth-grade daughter Joanne. “If we can think of it a little bit, we may live differently.” This short conversation recently grabbed my attention. My daughter’s English class had been reading and discussing the book “Dante’s Inferno.” She was assigned a small group project that explored the different levels of hell as described in the book. When she spoke about her class, she mentioned how she was scared about the conditions of hell portrayed 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 »

Set Free

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” – Galatians 5:1 Several years ago, in the midst of a carpool drop-off, a friend said to me in passing, “Someday I want you to tell me why you always seem so content.” If I recall correctly, I laughed and said that my kids and husband might disagree with her characterization but that I would love to have coffee and chat more about it. And ... Read More »

Creativity Crisis

I’m still relatively new to Northern Virginia, but in my year of living here, one thing stands out far more than the horrific traffic, the well-educated population and even some of the social and political crises we face on a regular basis. Our busyness requires so much attention for the things we have to do that we have squelched our creative capacities for thinking about the people and communities we could become. Of course, bright lights of imagination and innovation pop up around us all the time. But I think ... 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 »

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