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The First Believer
Lakeview Village resident Deanna Hensley poses for a picture with Christopher McQuarrie in Paris.

Christopher McQuarrie, director of Mission Impossible 6 and a former student of Lakeview Village resident Deanna Hensley, poses with Deanna and his brother Doug McQuarrie, a former Navy SEAL who consults for the film.

Deanna Hensley remembers Christopher McQuarrie, not as a famous Hollywood director, screenwriter and producer, but as an intrepid sixth-grade student she taught at Dutch Neck Elementary in West Windsor Township, New Jersey.

A Bright Light

“He had an incredible memory,” Deanna said. “He would watch the latest episode of Mork & Mindy, then come in the next morning before school and act out the entire show.”

Chris was an underachiever, a bright student who wouldn’t always turn in homework.

“I knew he would be successful once he found his passion,” She said. “And I told him that.”

In fact, Christopher wasn’t at school the day the class picture was taken. The next day, Deanna joked that he was going to be famous one day, and she’d tell people he was in her class, but they wouldn’t believe her because he wasn’t in the class photo.

The pair kept in touch. After Chris moved on to high school (which started in seventh grade), he would come back and visit her after school. Then he moved to Australia after high school, and the two exchanged letters.

Success in Hollywood

After returning to New Jersey, Chris worked at a detective agency for several years before reconnecting with Bryan Singer, who was making a name for himself in film as a director, writer and producer. In 1996, Chris was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his film The Usual Suspects, directed by Bryan.

“He told me if he won, he was going to thank me in his speech,” Deanna recalled. “Then they called his name and I thought, ‘oh, he’s probably so excited he’ll forget.’”

In fact, in his 35-second acceptance speech, Chris thanked, “Deanna Hensley, the first believer.”

“That was quite an honor!” Deanna said.

Deanna and Chris continued to exchange emails and keep in touch.

“He doesn’t forget a thing,” Deanna said. “I was on the phone with him once and he told me one of the girls from his class had come to California, and they went to dinner. I asked what she was doing now, and he said she was an archaeologist. I commented that I wondered if our Ancient Civilizations unit inspired her. He said, ‘Oh, yeah, The Egypt Game,” Deanna said. “I didn’t know what he was talking about, and then I remembered it was a book I had read to the class for the unit.”

Chris’ talent for remembering small details pops up in several of his films, according to Deanna.

“The idea for the bulletin board in The Usual Suspects came from a bulletin board in the break room of the detective agency,” she said. “Some of his characters are named for friends from school. I was watching The Edge of Tomorrow recently and two characters were talking about where they were from, and one said, ‘Cranberry, New Jersey,’ which is a town near where Chris grew up.”

An Open Invitation

Chris has invited Deanna to come to a movie set for years. He would mention in an email that he would be shooting in Venice, and tell her that she should stop by when she was in the area. Currently filming Mission Impossible 6, Chris again mentioned to Deanna that she should stop by the set if she happened to be in London or Paris during filming. Deanna demurred, saying she had already been to those cities and didn’t have any immediate travel plans. Chris’ reply this time was different.

“Heather and I would like to host you, and we’ll take care of everything, courtesy of Mission Impossible,” Chris wrote.

On May 13, Deanna Hensley set off for Paris on first-class flights to the City of Lights. She spent May 15-16 on location, and returned home on May 17.

“A driver picked me up at the airport and drove me to the hotel,” Deanna said. “Every morning, he would pick me up and take me to set, and drive me home in the evening.”

The hotel was upscale, and her room had a crystal chandelier. David Beckham walked through during dinner one evening, and, because her trip coincided with the premier of Pirates of the Caribbean in Paris, she met Orlando Bloom.

“He came over and introduced himself,” Deanna said. “He’s a real charmer – very handsome.” When they got up to leave, he got up from his seat at dinner to tell them goodbye, she recalled.

Deanna’s other brushes with celebrity included meeting Matt Charman, the screenwriter for Bridge of Spies, and Dr. Heather Ann Thompson, a history professor at the University of Michigan, who recently won the Pulitzer Prize in History for her book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.

On the Set

On her first day on set, the crew was filming an action sequence on the Seine. There were three boats on the river, she said. In the first boat, where Deanna rode, there were support people, including hair and makeup and Chris’ assistant, Peter. The second boat contained extra equipment like cameras and wiring. Chris was in a third boat, closest to the action, with the camera and a large screen.

“The actors were in what everyone called the ‘Hero Boat.’ Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames were in this boat that would come roaring into a tunnel, then turn around and reset for the next take.

While in the boat, Deanna struck up a conversation with Tom Cruise’s on-set dresser. Deanna, an avid University of Kansas fan, was delighted to discover the dresser was also a KU graduate.

“Once we finished shooting, I got to meet Tom Cruise,” Deanna said. “He’s very nice. There was a South African rugby team there holding a big trophy, and he shook everyone’s hand.” (The team beat Scotland 15-5 in the final of the Paris Sevens tournament, bringing their season total to five tournament wins.)

The second day of filming, Deanna watched a dialogue scene between Tom Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, and Rebecca Ferguson who plays Ilsa Faust.

“Rebecca is a lovely, lovely woman,” Deanna said. “She’s so sweet and kind.”

Deanna watched the action on a video screen, and wore headphones so she could hear the dialogue. She sat near the script supervisor/continuity supervisor, whose job it is to ensure continuity from take to take. For instance, if Rebecca was holding her sunglasses in her left hand in one take, she couldn’t hold them in her right in the next take. The shoot was outdoors, so the biggest challenge was making sure the lighting was consistent.

“They would move these big, white screens around to make sure the lighting stayed the same,” Deanna said.

“The crew is amazing. There is a lot of sitting around during filming, but when something needed to be done, it was like kicking an ant hill, the entire crew sprang into action, doing what they needed to do,” Deanna recalled.

Chris’ wife, Heather, squired Deanna around set. She would precede any introductions with, “She is the reason we have all of this,” while gesturing to encompass the entire set.

“I felt like a queen,” Deanna said. “It was an honor just to be asked to come. I would wish for every teacher to have some honor like this from a former student.”

Falling Into Place

The Lakeview Village Foundation continues to fulfill it’s vision, celebrates 20 years

Many of us have committed April 15 to memory, but it has special significance for the Lakeview Village Foundation. On April 15, 1997 the Foundation was established as a 501(c)3a non-profit, making 2017 the organization’s 20th anniversary.

While the Internal Revenue Service made the Foundation official in 1997, the genesis of the Foundation stretches back to 1991.

At that time, residents and their families wanted a way to give memorial gifts to Lakeview Village, in order to enrich the lives of residents. To answer this need, Lakeview Village formed the Gifts and Memorials Committee. Three residents served on the committee alongside two members of the management team and one member from the Board of Directors.

This committee received donations and funded small projects around campus, including gifts to the library, purchasing an organ for Heritage Activity Center and, with a lead gift from the What Not Shop, installing a stationary fishing dock at Fountain Lake. One year later, total contributions to the committee tallied $2,544.50. (Contributions to the Foundation in 2014 totaled $1,113,308.)

The committee operated under the umbrella of Lakeview Village, Inc. There was some concern among the committee that this structure was not as transparent as it could be if a separate Lakeview Village Foundation was established to receive all donations.

Richard Catlett, Chief Executive Officer of Lakeview Village at this time, served on the Gifts & Memorial Committee.

“As the committee grew, it became obvious we wanted to do something different,” Richard said. “We wanted to separate the memorial donations from the corporation. Additionally, establishing a Foundation would give residents the ability to sit on the Board and be active in how funds are spent.”

In 1997, less than 6 years after the Gifts & Memorial Committee held its first meeting, the Internal Revenue Service officially recognized the Lakeview Village Foundation as a 501(c)3a. This same year, the Good Samaritan Endowment Fund was started thanks to an initial donation of $5,000 from Bill and Betty Baker. (Today, the Good Samaritan Endowment Fund has a balance of over $1 million.)

Leland King joined the Gifts & Memorial Committee in 1996 and served as the first chairman of the Lakeview Village Foundation Board from 1997-2003.

“The entire committee worked on getting 501(c)3a status,” Leland said.

Harley Haskin, a retired attorney living at Lakeview Village, looked over a draft of the bylaws and made suggestions to better meet the requirements of 501(c)3a organizations.

“I think it’s marvelous that they’ve done what we set out to do and now have a [Good Samaritan Endowment] fund of over $1 million,” Leland said. “It’s been interesting to see it grow!”
Quentin Jones served on the Gifts & Memorial committee in 1996 as the representative from the Lakeview Village Board of Directors.

“There was some feeling that the committee was not as focused as it could have been if we established a Foundation,” Quentin said.
Quentin remembers the committee discussing at length a desire to use the Foundation to strengthen the quality of life for residents at Lakeview Village. They wanted the Foundation to be able to use donations 100% as the donor intended.

According to Quentin, that’s the reason the annual Foundation benefit is so important. Funds raised from the benefit go toward the general operating fund of the Foundation, and help cover expenses. This allows the Foundation, in turn, to direct 100% of designated donations to the appropriate fund.

“Instead of a percentage of every donation going toward operating costs, they try to raise money for unrestricted funds separately,” Quentin said. “Fundraisers have a reputation of always having a hand out, or grubbing for a buck, but the Foundation here is more of a ministry. If you see someone from the Foundation, they are coming as a friend and colleague more than anything else.”

Foundation Executive Director Nelson Rumore has been pleased with the progress that has been made in the last 20 years, the last 12 years with Nelson at the helm. Meeting the $1 million goal for the Good Samaritan Endowment Fund last year was a huge milestone, he said.

“It was a major milestone, but we still have miles to go to get to the place where the fund will provide for the total benevolent care need for now and in the future,” Nelson said.

According to Nelson, the Foundation has three main areas of focus for 2017. The first is the renovation of the Heritage Activity Center, the second is celebrating the Foundation’s 20th Birthday, and the third is growing Legacy Society Membership.

Credit Cards — The New “Flat Earth”
By Emerson Hartzler

Aristotle provided evidence for the spherical shape of the Earth on empirical grounds by around 330 BC. Prior to that time, most people accepted as truth that the Earth was flat. I contend future generations will look back at our financial system today and label credit cards as “the new flat Earth.” “I can’t live without my credit card,” is now accepted as truth. I contend life after credit cards is not only possible, but an essential part of financial success for most of us.

It is easy to forget how long civilization existed before credit cards. The first general credit card that could be used at multiple types of retail stores was the Diners Club card, introduced in 1950. In 1958, American Express developed the first worldwide credit card network. Since then, growth has been astronomical! How did life exist before 1958?

In 2014, American Express alone reported an interest income of $5.8 billion. In May 2016, the Federal Reserve reported outstanding credit card debt in the U.S. at $953.3 billion. Average household credit card debt now averages around $15,000, with an average interest rate north of 16%.

Interestingly, none of my friends and relatives will admit to being “average.” They pay off their credit card balances faithfully each month, have never paid any interest and earn valuable “points” on all of their purchases. Right!

Enough of boring statistics and facts. I have developed a sure way of reasoning whether a financial deal is good or bad for you, and anyone can use it. Just study television advertising. It costs a lot of money to advertise on TV! No business can afford to do so over the long haul unless it is to their advantage. You need to ask the question, “If it is good for them, is it also good for me?” Call me a cynic, but I think not!

I’ll give you some classic examples. How may TV ads do you see for new cars? How many for used cars? Are you better off financially buying a new car or a used one? When it seems every other ad is telling you it is time to buy gold, is it? Are you really going to tell you doctor what drugs he or she should be prescribing for you? But I think in the TV ad race, credit cards take the prize. Do you still think they were designed primarily for your benefit?

I have been “credit card free” for over a decade, and yet, here I am, alive and (relatively – I’m 75 at this writing) well. I am able to do everything with cash, checks and a debit card you can do with a credit card except on very important thing: I cannot spend money I do not have. The first rule of financial management is to spend less than you make. The real trouble with credit cards is not so much the staggering amount of interest and other fees paid to credit card companies, but the fact that credit cards let people spend more than they make. This is a formula for financial disaster.

As a financial advisor, if I could only influence a client to make one change in his or her behavior, my choice would be easy: Move the client from a credit to a cash system. At least then they would be limited to spending all they make, not more. That first step would be huge, and hopefully they would sooner or later figure out how to spend less, save for the future, and learn the other basic disciplines of financial management.

At this point, you may be feeling sorry for those “other people” who don’t use credit cards responsibly like you do. To you I have another question: Do you spend more using credit cards than you would if you had to hand over cold cash? As you would expect, retailers are very interested in the answer and have studied the situation carefully. They now know people spend from 12% to 18% more if credit is available, than if they have to pay cash. Even my aforementioned friends and relatives admit they occasionally make purchases with credit cards when their bank accounts are not up to the challenge.

And what about those lucrative rewards programs? The math is easy. I am spending 12% to 18% more to get a 1% or 2% cash back reward. Such a deal. For the retailer and the bank!

Yes, I believe future generations will look back and say, “Can you believe they thought they couldn’t live without credit cards? No wonder so many struggled to remain solvent!”

Lakeview’s Treasure

Eysail Hammer, at 103, is the eldest resident at Lakeview Village

 

Eysail was born in 1913 in Edwardsville, Kansas – population 350. She was the middle of 7 children. Her father was a potato farmer. To help with the family expenses, Eysail delivered the Kansas City Star while growing up. At that time it came out twice a day. It was an era where her mom was able to pay the doctor with milk from their cow in exchange for his service.

Eysail’s father died, and so she was only able to finish one year of high school so that she could work and help at home. Money was tight and her mom wasn’t able to make ends meet, so they had to send her two youngest sisters to an Odd Fellows home in Manhattan for a few years. Then her mom remarried and was able to bring the girls back home to be with her.

Eysail married at the age of 18 a 22-year-old man named Carter. Carter was a secretary at Morris feed lots, where he worked seven days a week, 10 hours a day and made $25 per week. It was a lot of hours, but they were so thankful to have a job with the way the economy was during the depression. Carter had an enlarged heart, and found it hard to find work after the feed lot job, so he went to California to work in the shipyards. Eysail heard about a sheet metal school that the government had started for war work, so she learned how to be a “riveter,” and moved to California to join Carter. Carter was currently living in a house with other workers, and the only reason they allowed Eysail to live there was that they had to work opposite shifts, due to space in the house. After awhile, Eysail quit her job so that she could actually spend some time with her husband. So she went to the employment office where they sent her to Pan American where she read blueprints and laid out the repair plan for ships. In fact, the first injured clipper ship from the war was sent to her shipyard for repair. She was then sent to the shipyards so she could work on ships. They also made Liberty Ships. These were ships that took supplies to the fighter ships. It was a male dominated workforce for sure, and the men let her know that, but for the most part, they left Eysail alone because her husband worked there, too.

In 1948, Carter died at the age of 38, so Eysail moved back home and lived with her mom and went to Donnelly College for accounting, which allowed her to find a job as a bookkeeper. She then married a man named Fay Duncan who had 3 children. She calls them her “gift children.” She is still in touch with them to this day.

Eysail said she worked harder after she got married to Fay because they fixed up houses. She said she learned a lot about construction and fixing and such, and that it was hard physical labor!

Fay died years later and so Eysail moved to Kansas City where she was a member of Covenant Church. She put her fellowship in the church and was elected to be a deaconess. Eysail became friends with a nice couple, Roy and Addy Hammar through church. They were friends for years. Time went on and Eysail decided to retire and move to Lakeview Village. Roy happened to move to Lakeview as well, after his wife Addy died, and he and Eysail continued their friendship, until they married. Eysail said, “Why not?” They were married for 19 years before Roy passed away.

At the age of 103, Eysail is currently Lakeview’s oldest resident and has lived here for 31 years. It’s amazing how much change she has seen in the world. She enjoys reading and visiting with her “gift” children and grandchildren. Whenever you see Eysail, there’s always a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. She is a delightfully sweet and genuine woman. You should stop by and get to know her. It’ll make your day.

retired clergy living at lakeview village retirement community
Retired clergy call Lakeview Village home, continue lifelong explorations of faith

retired clergy living at lakeview village retirement community

People of all different stripes call Lakeview Village home. Among our residents there are doctors, attorneys, teachers, artists, businessmen, writers and engineers, to name a few. Mixed into this cornucopia is a small community of retired clergy. With their paths to ministry uniquely their own, what better time to share the stories of these former pastors than the Easter season?

Ken Hennix is a retired minister living at Lakeview VillageFrom Athletic Fields to the Altar
Ken Hennix
Ken Hennix grew up in rural America, an athlete’s athlete who aspired to be a coach, and, accordingly was studying physical education in college. One day a girl caught his eye.
“This Russian kid knew a girl I wanted to meet, so I asked him to introduce me. He refused. He said I wasn’t good enough for her,” Ken said.
Instead the Russian offered a trade; Ken would attend church service, and the Russian would introduce him to the girl. It was Ken’s junior year of college.
“I went to church and understood I was a sinner, and I needed forgiveness,” Ken said.
Thus began the process of a gradual change in Ken. The girl dropped out of the picture, but perhaps her purpose in Ken’s story had been served. Ken enrolled in seminary in Chicago.
“It wasn’t a big emotional experience,” Ken said. “It just forced me to think about who I was and what I was doing.”
Ken married, “the finest girl there ever was” and was a pastor for 15 years in Illinois, Michigan and Oklahoma. He then took a teaching and coaching position at Bacone College in Oklahoma, where he served as a missionary to the Native Americans. He was then posted to a fundraising position at Central Seminary for several years.
Once his stint at Central Seminary came to a close, Ken was in his late fifties and assumed most churches were looking for younger pastors. He lived with his wife Jean in Kansas City at the time, and she unexpectedly lost her job.
“I told her, we can just retire, you can try to find another job, or you can go into business with me,” Ken said.
Thus, Ken and Jean put his fundraising acumen to the test and started Hennix Philanthropic Services to help churches raise money. Ken traveled a lot and his wife stayed home and answered every phone call and kept things organized.
“She was a great organizer,” he said. “We were a great team.”
“It was exciting. Most of the people I dealt with over the years made the biggest gifts they ever had,” Ken said. “Giving more than you think you can makes you happy. People would call me Reverend Hennix, but after they made a large gift, I became Ken.”

A tale of two Als
Al Pope and Al Hager
Al Pope and Al Hager go way back. Both Methodist ministers, Al Pope met Al Hager during seminary while in Kansas doing summer field work and Al Hager encouraged Al Pope to return to Kansas after seminary.

Al Pope
Al Pope didn’t initially set out for seminary. He earned an undergraduate degree in engineering from Cornell. While at the university, Al was involved in the Wesley Foundation, the Methodist student group. It was as a member of this group that he started to ponder the eternal question, “How does God want me to spend my day?”
As he pondered, we went to work for DuPont as an engineer then served in the Air Force. When he returned from the Air Force, he went to seminary in Boston. After graduation, as Al Hager suggested, Al Pope moved to Kansas and became the full-time associate pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church.
“Engineering never hurt me,” Al said. “I learned a lot as an engineer that translated [to being a minister].”
Counseling was a big part of Al’s ministry, and one aspect that he enjoyed most.
“I had opportunities to be with people in their normal routines and also times of great joy or great stress and hardship,” Al said. “It’s a privilege to be allowed to get close to people in those times.”
Being a minister brought all kinds of satisfaction, enjoyment and challenges Al said. For Al, it is a life-long vocation. He still fills in as the minister at Lake Quivira’s small interdenominational church, and he is a member of the lay chaplains at Lakeview Village.
Al enjoys being active, and occasionally plays the piano during dinner at Northpointe.
“I play songs of the 1940s,” Al said. “I play three songs early, then I wait for the 6 o’clock dinner bus and play three more songs, so everyone has a chance to listen.”

Al Hager
Al Hager grew up in Oklahoma and studied Psychology at Oklahoma City University, while Europe was at war. He volunteered for a military program that allowed him to complete basic training, and then go inactive to attend college. While attending classes, Al was a Sunday school teacher. This was the beginning that led to a more serious career in ministry.
In May 1943, he was called to active duty. Al had misgivings about going to war, and struggled with the idea of shooting men he had never met in combat. He started pilot’s training, but was transferred to paratrooper school in preparation for the invasion. The training involved jumping from just 200 feet, so they would reach the ground faster. Al, like many others, suffered an accident and was sidelined from training. Instead, he came to the aid of the Chaplain he had gotten to know during a bible study. The pair ministered to other injured soldiers.
Al transferred to Seattle, Washington. A few weeks after he arrived, President Truman ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war was over, and Al was relieved. He had also decided to attend seminary.
First, Al returned to Oklahoma to finish his degree. Then, he did post-graduate work while he waited for his future wife Dot to graduate. The next fall, Al started seminary at the University of Edinburgh.
After seminary, the pair returned to the United States, and, after a year as a chaplain in Honolulu, settled in Prairie Village, where they helped grow Asbury United Methodist Church, a new congregation whose church hadn’t been built yet. Al stayed at Asbury until he retired.
Without the ministry, Al would have pursued psychology. “It would not have been the same,” Al said. “No way.”

It takes a Village
Dr. Bob Meneilly
Bob Meneilly’s journey to the ministry started when he was just 12 or 14 and started attending youth conferences and getting involved in his home church. He always planned to attend seminary following his graduation from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois.
After graduating from seminary, Bob moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Kansas to start a new congregation in an up-and-coming J.C. Nichols development, Prairie Village.
“New homes were being built everywhere, the war was just over, so men were home and families were getting re-established,” Bob said. “We were in the heart of all of that.”
Starting a new congregation is very difficult, but Bob recalled a comment from the Board of American Missions when they elected to set him to the task.
“They said to send me – ‘he doesn’t know it can’t be done.’” Bob said.
Being a minister was, “everything I wanted to do, it was fulfilling and gratifying,” Bob said.
Bob especially enjoyed being involved in the larger community, whether it was providing commentary on sexual education in public schools or enabling African Americans to live in Prairie Village or constructing a facility to help the poor find employment and a better way of life.
During his 47-year tenure at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Bob became known as a community activist and drew the attention, negative and positive, that goes along with activism. Still, Bob maintains he was a product of the times more than anything else.
“It was that time in history,” Bob said. “I was in the right place at the right time. People were not as concerned about denomination as they had been. At one time, 20% of the congregation was Roman Catholic. They were there because they liked the community feeling of the church.”
Still, a sermon he gave in 1993 was published in the NY Times in August, drawing national attention–and ire–toward Bob. As a result, the MainStream Coalition was founded to advocate for mainstream, common sense, responsible and compassionate ideals.
When reflecting back on a career, the high points certainly stand out. But Bob’s ministry got off to a somewhat inauspicious start.
“It was my first time serving communion. [My wife] Shirley and I set it all out the night before. Well, it was very warm in the room. The next morning the congregation discovered that the grape juice had fermented some overnight,” Bob said. “They joked it was the best communion they’d ever had.”

Focused on Love
Jim Kenney
Jim Kenney decided in his early 20’s that he was not going to do anything for longer than he enjoyed it. He stayed true to this personal axiom throughout his life. He was a physicist, then an accountant and the co-owner of a music store.
“Ginger [my wife] said she would never have married a minister,” Jim laughed.
Jim’s circuitous route to the pulpit really started in Independence, Kansas, when he was running the music store. He was also volunteering with the youth group of the local church, and enjoying every minute of it.
“The people in Independence were stuck in the 1920s, and when the children left that environment, they didn’t do well out in the world,” Jim said.
To try and help expose the youth to the wider world, the Kenney’s took them on a trip to Kansas City.
“We went to the Golden Ox, and we had to tell them to save 10% for a tip. They were shocked; they didn’t know about tipping,” Jim said.
After the trip, Jim and Ginger, and their family, decided to give the seminary a go. Off they went to Princeton Seminary, where Jim’s faith was further formed in an unexpected way.
“Our last semester our professor told us, ‘I don’t want you to be too parochial, go to some other churches and check them out,’” Jim said.
So Jim and Ginger visited a Quaker meeting and were enchanted.
“The Quakers don’t have pastors out East, they have unprogrammed meetings,” Jim said.
So, Jim was ordained and spent the next 20 years as a Presbyterian minister, but visited Quaker meetings whenever he could.
Perhaps it was the Quaker belief that religion is about the Holy Spirit tempered by the wisdom of the community that appealed to Jim most.
“We have become intellectually focused rather than faith-focused. Love is supposed to be the center of faith, but neither the Nicene Creed nor the Apostle’s Creed contains the word ‘love’,” Jim said. “[Love] is what I’m championing at the moment.”
It’s difficult to teach love, Jim concedes. “When my eldest son was 12, he said, ‘Dad, what is it like to fall in love?’”
“I was stumped. It’s not easy to articulate. So I said, ‘Just wait, you’ll know.”

An Inheritance
Dick Weaver
The grandson of a minister, who idolized his grandfather, Dick Weaver saw the ministry as his birthright.
“I adored him,” Dick said. “From my earliest memories, I wanted to be a minister. It was just what I was going to be.”
In his youth, Dick had perfect attendance at Sunday School and received his first bible at 10.
“It was rather natural,” Dick said. “I was very involved in the church and the church Boy Scout troop, though truth be told, I probably preferred scout camp.”
When the time came for college, Dick went to Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, “where preacher boys went to prepare for ministry,” he said.
The college drew students from across the country, and it was, Dick recalled, almost like church camp with praise and worship, rallies and fellowship. Dick was majoring in bible with a minor in English. But it was in that academic community that his Sunday School faith collapsed.
“It was like grains of sand slipping through my fingers,” Dick said. “And it was gone.”
It turns out, most students at Phillips University don’t go on to seminary, but Dick persisted.
“It was because of my grandfather, and because I felt strongly there had to be something to ‘this,’ Dick said. “I was on a mission to discover what that was.”
Once Dick started preaching in seminary, his passion for theology started to come back. He drove 50 miles into the hills of Kentucky, and found preaching positive and uplifting.
Dick began trying to answer the question, “What is the Christian message that will really be mine that I can own?”
He discovered the theologian Rudolf Bultmann and found his message relevant to the modern world.
“Jesus made it possible for us to approach our lives as a gracious gift, and that became my message,” Dick said.
He took his message out into the world thinking that his success in ministry would be based on his success preaching.
“There is a lot of administrative responsibility to ministry,” Dick said. I started a new congregation once. After four years, I had worked myself to death. I made 100 calls a week and ignored my family.”
He thought about quitting. In fact, he did quit, for a year.
“When I returned as a pastor, I paced myself more,” Dick said.
He was the pastor at established churches that already had infrastructure in place to handle church operations. That helped.
His strong connection to his grandfather likely helped as well. The man in whose footsteps he followed was able to watch him preach. Dick sent him his typed sermons, and his grandfather wrote notes in the margins and sent them back.
“We remained close the rest of his life,” Dick said.
Ministry and Dick Weaver were deeply entwined. Dick said he spent seven years outside of his education formulating his faith.
“It’s impossible to comprehend [my life] had I not gone to seminary,” Dick said. “My entire life was ministry.”

Inconvenient Truths
John Young
John Young was raised in a conservative family in a rural, conservative town where conservative theology dominated.
“God was watching, and he would punish or reward. It was very frightening,” John said.
He was terrified of hell.
“I went to church camps and conferences, and when I was there it was easy to believe that God liked me. But in my daily life, I didn’t feel I measured up,” John said.
He would do things he wasn’t supposed to, and lived in fear of God’s wrath for his indiscretions. He did his best. He played the piano at church and revivals.
One day, his minister told John that he should become a minister.
“No one else had said that,” John said. “College wasn’t on the table. My older brothers never considered it.”
John went to four years of college and then seminary. In his second year of seminary he was failing Consistent Theology. He went to talk to his professor.
“He said I wasn’t thinking for myself; that I was just writing papers based on what I had read and not on what I thought,” John said.
He gave John an assignment. The professor wanted him to write three pages worth of questions that he had about faith and theology. John didn’t have any questions. He sat at his typewriter. Timidly, he typed, “Is there a God?” He thought he would be struck down by a bolt of lightning.
The exercise opened up his mind. He felt that after four years of college and two years of seminary, he had just started learning. He started asking himself what he wanted to do in life. But he was already trained to be a minister.
“My theology continued to evolve,” John said. “But I believed and do believe in Christian principles of love and kindness.”
His evolving theological views were the source of internal conflict for John, because he felt like he wasn’t being 100% honest.
“I regret that I wasn’t totally open with people,” John said. “But who is completely vulnerable? You’d get cut up.”
Despite his internal struggles, John ministered to his congregation. He provided counseling to people who were in crisis. He helped people save their marriages.
“There are people who still tell me that our counseling saved their marriages,” he said. “And they are grateful.”
Today, John happily attends the Unitarian Church, where his personal views of theology are shared with the community. He feels free.
“I wouldn’t want to change anything,” John said. “I love where I am today. I’m an accumulation of all of my experiences, so if I changed my experiences…”

Reasons (Excuses) for Not Budgeting
By Emerson Hartzler, Lakeview Village Resident

After nine years of financial advisory practice, working with over 300 clients, I think I have heard every reason people don’t have a household budget. They are all excuses, of course, not reasons, but I keep this opinion to myself, not wanting to totally offend my clients before I get the opportunity to earn their trust.

First, let’s do a quick role playing exercise. You are the President of a small company, and I am the Chief Financial Officer. You ask if we are meeting our budget so far this year. I respond, “Well, we were very busy at the start of the year and did not have time to develop a budget.” “Okay,” you say, “but how are we actually doing? Are we making a profit so far this year?” I answer, “We have been super busy and have not had time to track our income and expenses, so I don’t really know.” At this point, your response should be, “You’re Fired!”

Any reasonable person would agree that a business run that way deserves to fail, yet, of the 300 clients I have served, I can count on one hand the number that already had effective systems of budgeting and reporting against a budget for their personal finances. These same people are likely to earn from $2 million to $4 million in their working lifetimes and have no idea where all that money went!

So why don’t people have a household budget and track against it? The number one reason (excuse) I hear is, “it’s too hard and takes too much time.” The truth is, it is relatively easy and takes less than 5 minutes per week! Really? Yes, really. The secret is twofold: Technology and Simplicity, two words that typically don’t hang out together.

First, let’s address simplicity. What you need to manager your monthly budget is one checking account and one savings account. Period! Most clients I meet for the first time have several checking and savings accounts and a whole wallet/purse of credit cards: A nightmare of complexity! No wonder why they think budgeting is hard – it certainly would be under such a system. No one needs even one credit card. I believe credit cards are nothing less than a curse perpetrated upon us by banks and retailers for their benefit, not ours, but that is the subject for another blog post.

Assuming you can make the transaction from credit to cash (a magical transformation in the world of personal finance) you can then effectively use technology to do most of the “heavy lifting” of budgeting and reporting. There are a number of software products available. The one I use is Mint, which has two major advantages over the competition: it is owned and maintained by the Intuit company, a big player in the accounting software business (TurboTax, Quicken, Quick Books, etc.), and it is free to the user. I especially like the free part!

Mint is an “aggregation software,” which collects into one transaction register each of the transactions from your various bank accounts (yes, it will aggregate transactions from your 10 credit cards, also, but it will end badly – just too complex, even for sophisticated software like Mint). The magic of Mint is, it places each transaction into a budget category, and while Mint’s initial selection many not be what you want, you can “train” Mint to put each vendor into a proper budget category in the future. After a few months of this the tracking of income and expenses against your budget is almost automatic. (Thus, the 5 minutes per week needed to manger your personal finances.)

I am often asked, “How do I get the information into Mint?” The answer is, “You don’t.” Mint uploads each transaction that is already there in your bank records, assigns a budget category and compiles all transactions into category totals for a monthly report, comparing the actual results against your monthly budget. Not quite Harry Potter magic, but close!

At the end of each month and the end of each year my clients know exactly where their money came from and where it went. Typically, they don’t like the answer at first, but that is the payoff from the budgeting effort. Once you know your “reality” you can make decisions that will change it for the better! That’s called managing your money – what a concept! Try it; you’ll like it!

Cowboys ride in the Flint Hills
Fate brought Lakeview Village resident Roger Blessing and The Symphony in the Flint Hills Together
The Symphony in the Flint Hills

© Copyright Kristin Baker

As with so many things in this life, Fate surely played a hand as Roger and Jeanne Blessing arrived at a party one evening in 2006. An invitation from an acquaintance was responsible for Roger and Jeanne’s presence that night. Upon walking into the home, and recognizing several notable, deep-pocketed Kansas Citians mingling about, Roger said to Jeanne, “We don’t belong here.” Still, the availed themselves of drinks and headed onto a balcony, where they encountered a woman rehearsing a presentation.

Roger and Jeanne began to chat with Emily Connell, the Executive Director of The Symphony in the Flint Hills, who was canvasing the state hoping to find enough patrons to get the event off the ground. As she painted her vision for the event to the Blessings, Roger suddenly knew why he was there.

“They had no idea what they were doing,” Roger said. The board was planning an event for 5,000 people, who would arrive in hundreds of automobiles, but had only a vague notion of how it would all come together. Roger, an architect, was a planner. He told Connell that night that he would handle the logistics, and for the next several years Roger and Jeanne mapped out the events, determining where cars would park, where people should sit, and generally making sure the flow in and out of the concert went smoothly.

According to Connell, Roger was completely integral to the ongoing success of the event.

“Roger and Jeanne were there from the very beginning, finding ways to weave the event into our lives, and, for the rest of the team, into our hearts,” Connell said. “Roger was the only person who could really picture what the event would look like and how it must function to take care of thousands of people out in a wild, natural environment.”

Connell declared Roger’s site plans “meticulous” and designed to frame the beauty of the Flint Hills, never trying to compete with the special beauty of the prairie or tame the environment.

“It has turned into a major happening, “Roger said. “When people ask me about going, I tell them, ‘If you are going for the music, go to the symphony downtown. If you want to see cows, hike the Flint Hills, but if you want to go to an event like no other, go to the Symphony in the Flint Hills.”

Concert goers enjoy music on the prairie at the Symphony in the Flint Hills

© Copyright Kristin Baker

“[Roger’s] contributions were many. The major one was his enormous generosity – giving what is most valuable – the time of his life. And bring with that commitment his talent, experience and warm, appreciative heart, as well as his sometimes prickly, incisive mind and always life-full spirit,” Connell said.

Roger and Jeanne enjoyed the symphony a few times a year, but their real interest in this event were the Flint Hills. The couple, who recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary, were avid hikers throughout their relationship. They were frequent visitors to the Flint Hills where they walked the prairie and looked out over the majesty of the plains.

“I never have a camera. I don’t take pictures. But if I close my eyes, I can see the Flint Hills before me, and my car parked 100 yards over here, “Roger said.

The Flint Hills are made up of 9,936 square miles of tallgrass prairie, undisturbed by early settlers because of the rocky soil. It is so large and diverse, Roger said, so it is difficult to pinpoint one specific spot as a favorite. Cattle ranches dominate the area, and the Blessings got to know some of the ranchers, including the Hoy family, who operate a 7,000 acre ranch in the Cottonwood River Valley in Chase County.

“Once you get over the concern of a cow herd circling around you, you get more comfortable with the hiking,” Roger said. “Then, when a cowboy rides up and gets off his horse to talk to you, you really have a lot of fun. I’ve never met a cowboy who doesn’t love being a cattleman in a pasture like that.”

Cowboys on Horseback in the Flint Hills of Kansas

© Copyright Kristin Baker

Connell told Roger that there would be people who came because they loved the symphony, and people who came because they loved the Flint Hills, but after a while they move on; but the people who loved the Flint Hills and the symphony, would be the core that kept the event going.

According to Roger, Emily was right in that respect. The Symphony in the Flint Hills is known nationally and, Roger says, some internationally.

Roger and Jeanne were a dimension in themselves to the Symphony, according to Connell. “They were intrepid, wry and encouraging,” she said. “How I miss them. I am grateful to have shared a grand adventure with them.”

This is the 12th year for the concert, which will take place June 10 at Deer Horn Ranch in Geary County.

“Singing Home on the Range as the sun is setting, there’s nothing like it,” Roger said. “That’s the finale.”

Family discusses move to a retirement community.
Moving to a Retirement Community: A Family Discussion

A free e-book with tips on how to discuss a retirement community with your children.

If your children are at least 40 years old and you are at least 70, it’s time to start talking to your loved ones about your next move. If you are anxious about broaching the topic, consider that according to the AARP, more than 75% of children with parents reaching retirement age have already considered their parents’ independent living options, even if they’ve never talked about it before. If you find yourself struggling with finding the right way to begin the conversation, download our free e-book. It contains helpful tips for initiating conversations about the big move as well as ways to help children feel comfortable with the decision.

You’ll learn:

  • Tricks for getting the conversation started
  • Phrases you can use in your conversation
  • How family traditions continue after your move to Lakeview VIllage
Complete the form below to download your free e-book.
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Choosing the Right Retirement Community

Finding the perfect fit among available retirement lifestyles isn’t easy. From 55+ homes associations to senior living apartments and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) like Lakeview Village, it is important to make the right choice, for you.

Lakeview Village President and CEO Jamie Frazier offers three tips for active adults trying to narrow down their retirement choices.

  1. Get to know the reputation of the communities.

    Online reviews on Google+, Yelp and other online review sites are helpful in hearing what other people are saying about the community you are investigating. Many communities will also arrange for you to dine with residents in a community dining room. This not only gives you an opportunity to ask residents about their personal experiences, but is a way for you to observe resident and staff interactions, resident interactions with each other, and, of course, sample the food!

  1. Make sure the community is financially secure.

    Ask questions so that you understand the community’s financial position as well as what aspects of the community are priorities. Non-profit communities may be able to reinvest residents’ services fees right back into the community, while communities run by for-profit corporations or venture capitalists may be more beholden to shareholders than the residents they serve. Many for-profit companies in senior living own multiple communities, so more-profitable neighborhoods may see money leaving their community to help support struggling communities or to build new communities.

  1. Ask yourself: “Is the community the right fit for you?”

    There is a big variety among senior living neighborhoods. Most offer some services and amenities, but they will vary in scope considerably. Some communities will offer health care on site, through all levels of care, while others may require residents to move outside of the community if they need skilled nursing or assisted living. Some communities are exclusively for apartment living, while others include cottages or high end villa homes in addition to apartments. It is important to visit communities until you are comfortable that the one you choose will satisfy your needs.

Retirement community living can be very rewarding and fulfilling. Doing your research before you make a final decision will find you in a senior neighborhood where you can thrive for many, many, many years to come.

International Residents add Flair to Lakeview Village

Austrian Brigitte Roschitz experienced a tumultuous journey to the United States

By Shellie Sullivan

Austrian Brigitte Roschitz now lives at Lakeview Village in Lenexa

Lakeview Village resident Brigitte Roschitz at 18 in Austria.

A retirement community in Lenexa, Kansas may not sound like a place with much international flair. Perceptions can be deceiving. Lakeview Village is home to residents from three different continents, including Brigitte Roschitz who was born in Austria.

Austria is a land-locked European country bordering the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Brigitte was 11th out of 12 children in her family. Her father was a master tailor and ran his own business in their home, where her mother helped, as she was a seamstress. Brigitte remembers being happy growing up, that is until 1945.

Post-WWII Austria was a tough place for German Austrians

After WWII, Austria was divided into American, British, French and Soviet zones. Brigitte’s family, the Steins, lived in the Soviet zone. In the Soviet zone, Yugoslavian Partisans gathered up all the German Austrians, and put them in concentration camps. Brigitte was 10 years old in the spring of 1945 when soldiers came to her home in the middle of the night and took her father and oldest brother. The family didn’t know what had happened to them or where they were taken. A week later, more soldiers returned for the rest of the family.

When the soldiers started to come into the house, Brigitte said her mother had the children layer their clothing and wear their coats, since they were not able to pack a bag or take anything but what they had on their bodies. Her mother had the children roll money up in their sleeves and hide some small jewelry in their clothes. She told them they would need it along the way. The soldiers checked everyone for money and jewelry, but because of how smart Brigitte’s mother was, they missed their hidden treasures.

Everyone from her town, minus the able bodied males, was moved to town churches or schools. The soldiers then released all the non-German people, of which Brigitte’s family was not included. The people who remained, which Brigitte estimated to be around 8,000 or so, marched to the next town. Once they arrived, they were moved into the town church. A woman, who was a friend of the family, arrived in town looking for the Steins. She brought Brigitte’s family to her house where she cared for them until the Partisans came a week later and took everyone in the house to the train station. They were loaded on the train and rode for two hours. When they arrived at the other end, there were more Partisan soldiers waiting to shuffle them to their new residences.

Their new residences were homes that belonged to other Germans. Brigitte explained that most homes at that time had two sections.  One was larger and designed for a growing family with children, while the other was smaller and typically housed grandparents. When Brigitte’s family arrived, the current owners were moved to the smaller part of the house, and several other families were put in the main house to share. Essentially, they were imprisoned in this house and town. The town was heavily guarded and referred to as “camp.”

Young and old started to die in the camp. Throughout these moves, the Stein family still didn’t know what had happened to their father and brother. As it turned out, they had been working in a lumber prison camp not too far from the rest of the family. The prisoner “grapevine” allowed Brigitte’s father to learn where his family was being held, and he and her brother were able to sneak into the home and stay there with the family.

“Oh that was a happy day!” said Brigitte with smiling, misty eyes.

Sister Engelfriada smuggled Lakeview VIllage resident Brigitte Roschitz out of an Austrian camp.

Brigitte’s sister, Sister Engelfriada, smuggled her out of an Austrian internment camp.

Brigitte’s older sister smuggles Brigitte and her little sister out of the camp

After a few months, Brigitte’s older sister, a nun who had not been living with the family, Sister Engelfriada ( meaning angel of peace), was permitted to visit her family inside the camp. She had heard about all the prisoners in the camp being sick and dying, so she talked her way in with a suitcase full of medicine and food to give her family. Little did she know how perfect her timing was as her family was suffering from Typhus and very, very sick. Brigitte says that within three days of eating and taking the medicine, the entire family recovered.

Sister Engelfriada was able to return again, and this time Brigitte’s father told the older sister that she was to take Brigitte and her youngest sister Agnus with her when she left. He wanted to save them, and he told Engelfriada that they would die if she didn’t get them out, because they were too young to survive at the camp. Sister Engelfriada smuggled Brigitte and her sister out of the camp and onto the train. Once on the train, they sat on a bench and were not allowed to make a sound for fear someone would hear the girls speak German and put them in danger. Her sister took them to the house of someone she knew, where another sibling, Sister Evelina and their brother, who was a priest, met them. Brigitte’s brother took her to Zagreb, Croatia and Sister Evelina took little Agnus to her home. They were separated for a year,  then were reunited in Croatia  and stayed with Engelfriada in her “Mother House” where they lived for four or five years. While in Croatia, Brigitte attended school. Brigitte said it was difficult because they did not know the language. “It was not fun,” she said. “But we had to learn because it was not good to be a German during this time.”

Several years later, the rest of her family finally succeeded in escaping the camp by crawling on their bellies in the snow under fences in the middle of winter. They were able to make it to the border into Austria and to one of the refugee camps where the Red Cross helped them.

Brigitte is reunited with her family and meets her future husband

Eventually Brigitte and her little sister were reunited with the rest of family in the Austrian refugee camp. It was there that she met her husband, although she didn’t know he would be her husband until years later. The Steins lived in the same barracks as his family and were in youth group together. Brigitte continued to go to school, eventually attending seamstress school where she learned sewing and business. She took a bus every day and finished when she was 18.

It was hard to find a job, but a priest friend told her that the children’s surgical hospital needed nurse aids. She was able to get a job there and, even though she had to move away from home, she really liked it!  Brigitte worked for three years, and then heard about a seamstress job for a hospital in her family’s town. She took that job for better pay!

Brigitte and her future husband had stayed in touch over the years, but then his family moved to America. He didn’t want to leave Brigitte, but he went with his family and came to visit her. He missed her so much that on one of his trips in 1964 he asked her to marry him, and he stayed so they could be married.

It took a while to get the approved paperwork for her to leave the country and move to Kansas City. Her husband Ernest was a home builder. They lived with his family in Strawberry Hill until they could afford an apartment on their own. She loved Strawberry Hill, which she described as ethnic and community-oriented. It was so different starting a new life and only knowing German and a little Croatian. She learned English from evening classes, citizenship classes and everyday living. She liked that she had to learn about the United States. Even though it was to pass her test, she thought it was so interesting. Brigitte was happy to come to this country because, “the U.S. had so much opportunity for jobs,” she said. Eventually Ernest and Brigitte were able to buy a house, fix it up and raise two daughters, who still live in the area.

Ernest has been gone for 17 years. Brigitte moved to Lakeview in 2014, and said she loves her apartment and being served, loves that her church is across the street and she can hear the bells, and loves that her grandchildren go to school across the street. Once you meet Brigitte, you will see that she is full of love and joy!  She told me that it comes from the great gift her parents gave her – faith. “I thank the Lord every day for living here at Lakeview,” she said.

Brigitte and Agnus were smuggled out of a camp in Austria

Ernest, Brigitte, Agnus and Agnus’ husband