Monthly Archives: February 2014

Reflecting and Pondering

I just finished watching a music video. It was a link shared on Facebook and was an unexpected gift of grace today. I have been away from the “office” this week, pondering, praying, reading and preparing a Lenten sermon series on forgiveness, called “The Forgiveness Factor.” Even as an extrovert, I need quiet reflective time, something that has been lacking in my life recently. Life is sometimes like that.

I have watched numerous videos on forgiveness, read seven or eight books, pondered scripture and prayed almost “without ceasing.” I have also, exercised, watched some Wichita State basketball, and cooked several nights as those are others ways I center and reflect.

Back to today’s video. This is a brand new song written by Carrie Newcomer. If are not familiar with her music, she writes amazing story/songs in a folk style. She hails from Indiana and this song she wrote for Parker J. Palmer’s 75th birthday. Two people I appreciate enormously are combined in this music video. Parker Palmer’s writings have changed my life in many ways. His book, The Active Life, came at a time I needed to understand my own spirituality. His explanation of the temptations of Jesus are still my favorite. So, I share this video, because while it may be about Parker Palmer, the last verse speaks true to my life this week and almost always.

“So here’s to living what we learn with years and here’s to love so tender and all it took to bring us here. And here’s to dancing in the kitchen here’s to hearing into speech, here’s to every single day so fine so full and oh so brief….”

Thank you Carrie Newcomer, today I am looking with my shy soul and experiencing life and love. I truly am graced to serve.

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Summer food in winter

Summer food in winter.

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Taking the longer route

I live in the middle of Wichita, literally.  My historic home is in Midtown in a historic neighborhood.  It is not the original part of Wichita, but houses were built in this addition fairly early.  Many of the trees are large, the Little Arkansas is just a couple of blocks away and some of the original parks including Riverside and Oak Park are within blocks.

I work on the “west side.”  Wichitans are used to the “east side/west side” rivalry.  Frankly, it’s pretty silly, Wichita is not that large.  My husband and I chose to live in the urban core for many reasons, not the least of which had to do with loving old homes and being in a neighborhood that neighbors.  I am about equi-distance between the east side and the west side which allows easy access all over town.

Most of the hospitals are the east side.  Often, when I am at church it is simple to “hop” on Kellogg and flyover downtown or to use the 96 bypass.  It is quick, easy and no stop lights to speak of when I have several people to visit in different settings.

What I have noticed, recently, is how often I do not use Kellogg or the Interstates or the by-pass.  When I am done visiting and on my way back to church I often take Central or Murdock and end up by the Rivers and in the Park.  Murdock ends in a roundabout which takes me through Riverside Park,  


by the river, by the play equipment, with the geese, the ducks and the people.  The second roundabout puts me out to the where two rivers meet and there is the Keeper of the Plains.  


Central, again, brings me right to the Keeper and I have to drive by the rivers and the dam.  And finally, curving around the river I end up going west and on my way to work.

It would probably be faster if I didn’t go “through” the center of town, but not nearly as lovely.  Every time I take the long way, I slow down a bit, smile, occasionally wait for the gaggle of geese to get across the road and find myself breathing a little deeper.

When we were taking my mom to and from the doctor and appointments, she never wanted to travel the high way, she always wanted to go through the park and by the river.  I was taking the longer way before she was ill and enjoying it, but now, I find myself paying more attention to the change in the seasons, the way people come out when the days get longer and warmer and how I often wish I had time to just stop and get out of the car and enjoy.

Taking the longer route helps me center and remember the beauty around me.  Driving through park reminds me how blessed I am with family, with friends, with a ministry and with eyes to see and ears to hear.  Today, on a day when the temperature will hit almost 70 I am leaving work early.  I am going home and getting my bicycle and riding by the river and saying a prayer of thanks for grace given, love shared and in the words of the old hymn, “for the beauty of the earth.

Graced to Serve



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Bonus Blog (BB): God Shot

This is an amazing piece. The Holy and the Sacred are everywhere and in everything.

The Kansas Expatriate


I was in our best local store for, well almost anything you could want, when, as is so often the case, the universe quietly sent me a message.  The Anderson’s (, besides being a great garden and home store, is also known for flowers, cheese, wine, the bakery, the deli, candy, and the meat market.  In other words, a great place on Valentine’s Day.  I was there for soy sauce.

I was in the 12 item or less aisle not so patiently waiting for the guy at the checkout trying to use an expired coupon.  The guy immediately in front of me had two plastic tulips.  They were the kind that you stuck in the ground and if the sun was shinning the nifty little solar panel not so subtly disguised as a leaf would light the tulip after dark.  As I said, I had soy sauce.

When his…

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Winter Olympics

On Friday evening, February 7, the XXII Winter Olympics began in Sochi, Russia,  Now I am old enough to remember when the Summer and Winter Olympics were in the same year.  I really enjoy the fact that they are now separated and we get to have Olympics every TWO years instead of having to wait four years for both of them.

I come by my love of the Olympics honestly.  Growing up, when the Olympics games were on, nothing else was watched.  When a protest or two might be made that there were other things to watch on TV ( and this was before cable) the answer was always: “This is important!  These athletes have worked hard their whole life to compete on an Olympic level.  They aren’t paid for it, yet they give it all for their love of their sport and their country.”
Times have changed of course, the understanding of “professional” athlete is more flexible than it used be due to certain international practices that paid for talented athletes to be trained.  Nonetheless, there is something moving and amazing about athletes from 88 countries gathering to compete in 15 sports.  
Call me sappy, or a silly optimist, but the Olympics are always a sign of hope for me.  If we can get 88 countries together to compete on an international level, there is a hope and prayer that we can come together on a deeper level: to work for peace, to work for justice, to work that all have enough to eat, proper medical care, a safe place to live and an education.  In the world of the church, this is the call of the reign of God, and the call of Christ to make a difference in the world.  Followers of Jesus live all over the world, My hope and prayer in the midst of the Olympic games is that we might start working together to see glimpses of the kingdom Christ promised.
Graced to Serve

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