Hello I’m Iris Pickard. I have been going to College Park since before I was born!
This community is like my second family and the people here are the best! My Sunday school leaders I’ve had throughout the years, Lauren Grubbs, Allison Blay, Walter Pickard, and Nancy Schloss have all influenced me in many ways. They have taught me to be kind and to always know how much God loves me. I wish I could give a shoutout to everyone at this church who has had the biggest influence on me but that would last all day. Ever since the start of 1st grade I have experienced anxiety. Second Grade was certainly a tough time. I would beg to not go to school because I was scared that I would get sick, and my parents wouldn’t be there with me. I felt like I was alone. I now realize I never was alone because I had God with me. This anxiety continued until Quarantine. When we finally went back to school, I thought my anxiety was gone and it was, for about a year.
In late October of 2022 the anxiety returned but a bit differently. Earlier that month I had an awful bug! Stomach, headache, and of course awful congestion. After that I developed a worry about having too much phlegm in my throat and not being able to breath. This worry was off and on for the next month until it all blew up the day I got home from my Universal trip. I had missed a few days of school and it threw off my schedule. That night I had an awful panic attack. It happened the next morning too, and the next day. During this tough time Kari O’Brien Baumann came to my school to eat lunch with me. She brought me my favorite food. Yep, McDonalds Hamburgers. Kari has always made me feel less anxious whether it was discussing the surprise songs Taylor Swift played the night before or having fun at Passport kids. In the last few months, I have learned to manage my anxiety. I have learned to take a deep breath and Shake it Off. Sorry you know me I just had to throw in a Taylor Swift quote. Now, about Passport, I learned a lot while I was there two weeks ago. The theme was Upside Down. Turn the way the world thinks Upside Down and learn to think how God wants us to. I really liked this theme. No matter how hateful people can be God will always see the love in us. At Passport we were told to think about where we have seen God. I see God in my family, my brother who is one of the weirdest people I know, and my parents who are always nice and accepting. I see God in nature, like when all the squirrels in my front yard huddle around the tree, or when my mom and I saw a groundhog hilariously running at full speed near my nanas house. I see God in my wonderful pets, Fern the weirdo dog, Arwen the “huh?” dog, Toby the clumsy puppy, Stella the cat who scared off a hawk, and Chubs the savage guinea pig. Yes, I have five animals. I see God in every one of the kids in the nursery. Their cute smiles and the funny things they do make me very happy. Each of them helps me see God. I also see God in the wonderful people who are around me you help me see God through your happy smiles and generous personalities. Over this last year I’ve really thought about what it means to me to follow Jesus. I know that God’s unconditional love will always keep me safe, and I know that I’m ready to listen to God.