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News & Events

Graces from Above

Lakeview Village residents took time during this holiday season to share stories of the miracles they have witnessed in their lives.

My Guardian Angel

Victoria Hopkins

I was 11 years old when I went to the Lake of the Ozarks with my dad and brother for a family reunion. We were at a lake and I ended up going swimming but went out too far, and I couldn’t swim very well. No one had noticed that I was out there alone. I began to struggle and started going under and felt like I was drowning. Then this beautiful woman put her arm around me and carried me to shore. Her eyes were so blue, her skin glowed, her smile radiated and her voice was so soft and sweet. She said to me as she laid me down, “You’re okay now” and then she backed away and was gone.

My family swarmed around me to check on me and I asked where the beautiful woman was that rescued me, because I wanted to thank her, but no one else had seen her face. My family checked in all the cabins around us, but there was no such person staying there.

I’m 66 now and it’s been over 55 years since that happened, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I will never forget those beautiful blue eyes of my Guardian Angel. To this day, I still pray to God, that I will meet my Guardian Angel in Heaven someday.

My Miracle Every Day: God’s Grace

Elaine Lorenzen

Some things are too personal to put into writing, but this I can say: It took a miracle for God to get my attention so many years ago. It was October of 1971, just before my 40th birthday.
I had a pulmonary embolism (the kind that is usually fatal), with the blood clot passing through my heart and lodging in my left lung. The clot was so big that it was visible on an X-ray that evening in the emergency room. My diagnosis was either lung cancer or a blood clot. Neither of which were very good.

We were an hour from home visiting friends, so they gave me shots for the pain so that I could manage the trip to a local hospital in a suburb of Chicago. Upon arrival, I was met by my doctor and was immediately sent to I.C.U., where a code blue was necessary on me and the scurrying of nurses!! HORRORS!!! I think I am dying!! The pain was excruciating, worse than birthing labor! My prayer was “Please Lord, HELP! I surrender all of me to YOU. Thank you for being my Lord and Savior! My family is in Your hands, so please take good care of them”. Then I received a Peace beyond all understanding. I said my goodbyes and “I love yous” to my husband and three teenagers, and still that peace was there.

A tumultuous evening followed. I coded five times, with the repeated experience of my body floating down while my spirit ascended toward a HUGE bright light with a long tunnel behind it,that was up in the corner of my room. I had the experience of my life passing before me (like a video!) and it was so wonderful and so comforting. The most memorable experience on that journey toward Heaven was the most beautiful music EVER!! I never did reach the end of that tunnel, and was saddened to return to all the pain and nurses scurrying around.

My husband returned, took my hand and said, “I couldn’t sleep, so I came back”. I could not talk, but could hear him and remember thinking, “I know I am dying but I just want to hear you say I love you”. My parents also arrived making excuses of why they had driven four hours just to “visit” me, and I remember wondering why everyone was so afraid to show concern or even tell me they loved me. I wanted to be able to tell them about the JOY I felt going to Heaven and that I would see them again and to say “please know I love you” as we squeezed hands.

Obviously, I didn’t die then but it was a long road to recovery, with setbacks of a bleeding kidney. Eventually I got off of the blood thinners and even survived a move with our teenagers plus a dog and a cat to St. Louis, MO. I will spare you all of those details but there were more miracles!! The outpouring of love and helping hands was humbling and overwhelming! I can never pay it forward enough and I am thankful every day for His Amazing Grace!!

P.S. Soon I will experience another of His many miracles……great grandchild number 3!

Miracle on a Cottonwood Cul-de-Sac

Robert H. Mabes

It is a tradition on Christmas to stuff the turkey with a giblets dressing,a recipe passed down from my mother to my wife Mary. The aroma and taste cannot be forgotten and is requested from year to year. An extra packet of hearts, gizzards and any other edible internal parts was purchased with the fresh bird.

When Mary needed to grind them, she asked me to bring the grinder up from the basement. Not being able to find it, I become exasperated and disgusted and started slamming the cabinet doors, because I know I had brought it down last year and now I couldn’t remember where I put it. I thought for sure I had put it into our tall metal cabinets, but it was not there. Having stored several decorative metal tins on top of the cabinets, my vigorous reaction caused a small tin to fall, hitting me on my head, then it crashed to the floor. When I picked it up and put it back on top of the cabinet, there right next to it was the grinder. Thank goodness the grinder didn’t fall on my head, because the cast iron grinder was very heavy!

When I took a second look at the tin, it seemed to say “You dummy, why you didn’t look up here in the first place is beyond me. Do you always need a miracle to get things done?”


Ed Mathews

Many people don’t believe in miracles, but they occur whether you believe in them or not. I know, because they happened to me.

The first major miracle was when I was 10 years old. I was in a sledding accident, where I was impaled on a dirty stick, which ran through my body, puncturing all my intestines and lodging next my spine. Through a mistake, I was taken to a doctor’s office, rather than to a hospital. As I lay on an examining table in the corner of the office, I appeared to be unconscious, but I could hear the doctor tell my father, “There is nothing we can do to save his life. Infection will have already spread throughout his organs from his punctured intestines, his condition is hopeless, but we should take him to the hospital and try anyhow”.

Hearing that, I could feel my life flowing out of me. When they operated on me later that night, they found they were faced with a hopeless situation. In those days, miracle drugs such as Penicillin had not yet been developed, but there were miracles. God’s miracles! They were made available to me through my mother’s prayers and through the prayers of the Elders of my church, who came to me that evening, poured oil on my head, laid their hands on my head and asked God to heal me. This is as the Bible tells us to do in James 5:14. Instead of dying that night, God touched me and healed me. The next day I was very weak, but ready to sit up and be on with my life. But at 10 years of age, I didn’t yet understand what God had done, or that with God all things are possible. If you were betting against my survival, you would have bet on 100% against my recovery. However, God can operate against the odds and He did in my case. He obviously had other plans for my life. Included in his plan are four remarkable sons, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Where medicine could not succeed, God could. And he chose to save me for his own purposes – the most obvious purposes would unfold through my sons and grandchildren in future years. The world will be a better place, because God let me live so those sons and their children could be born to help make it a better world.

For the second major miracle, in1958, I was miraculously healed again. I had been stricken with crippling rheumatoid arthritis in my back, hip and foot. I was in great pain, could not walk without a cane and always wore a heavy back brace to keep my back from bending, because of the pain. While I did not yet understand that God was ready and eager to help me, God had blessed me with a wonderful wife who did understand and who prayed for me unceasingly. After three years of agony, when the arthritis would not respond to medical treatment, it left me suddenly, permanently, and inexplicably over the Christmas week in 1958.

After that, I finally realized where the solutions and the power lay.

A third major miracle occurred in 1993. I was with a group of short-term missionaries in Russia shortly after the Soviet Union fell apart.
On a morning in April, at eight in the morning, in a high school auditorium overflowing with smiling teenagers dressed in bright colored jackets, we were to address about our faith.
I had accompanied two others of our group who were accustomed to speaking about and publicly sharing their faith. They had prepared speeches. I was only prepared to participate in the question and answer session after their presentations. At this point in my life, I had never shared my faith publicly, except to small groups. Contrary to our experience on previous days, after our two speakers were finished, there were no questions; only silence – total eerie silence. We weren’t prepared for that awkward situation. We hadn’t talked about such a possibility and I didn’t know what we should do. However, as I sat studying the faces of the hundreds of Belarusian high school students in front of me, I bowed my head and asked God to give me words to reach the minds behind those bright, eager faces waiting for us to say something more meaningful to them. Tears came to my eyes as I asked God if he wanted to speak through me. I said, “If You have a message for them, I will be glad to try to deliver it for you. If you wish, use my voice to make a difference in at least one mind and heart in this huge assemblage of students. I have no idea what you would want to say to them, but you do.”

This was our first chance to share our faith with such a large group of people and at that point we were failing. Suddenly, I felt myself actually lifted and walking toward the podium, I had no idea what I was going to say, but I was surprisingly calm and at peace about it. After all, it was God’s problem – not mine. I was the last chance to achieve a response for Him that morning, and I was totally unprepared. I didn’t have a speech to give, I didn’t know what to say, but God wrote a message and instantly installed it in my mind. I know now that God choose to use the Holy Spirit to speak through me, by simply using my mouth, but His words. He placed me mentally in the seats of those high school students, so I could understand what they needed to hear. He gave me the words to use, and they touched their minds and their spirits. I don’t know what I said, but He does. Within moments after I finished His message, the mass of students were smiling, laughing, and jumping to their feet to ask questions about my Christian faith, about living in America, about my family, and playfully asking whether I would adopt some of them and take them back with me. At the end, I jumped down to the floor to give and receive hugs as they filed by me to leave the auditorium. The two principle speakers just sat and watched in amazement. It was a truly unbelievable, life changing experience for anyone’s lifetime. One I never expected to experience and one few people may ever have the pleasure of feeling, but one for me to grow from even further in the future. My two fellow speakers were astounded and wanted to know how I did it. I told them, “I didn’t do anything. God did. I am as surprised as you. He just spoke through my mouth. I don’t even know what I said.

Do I believe in miracles? I surely do! I am a slow learner, but not that slow.”

My Miracle

Margaret Dalke

My miracle is Dutch Dalke.

I was going through a long, drawn-out, devastating divorce, and I felt like my life was ended. I would be alone and looking for a job and a place to live. My ex-husband and I had established a successful printing business, and we lived in an apartment above the business.

A lady who worked in our print shop suggested I go to Tuesday night Singles meetings at Village Presbyterian Church. I went, reluctantly at first, because I considered Kansas to be like a foreign country. I had always lived and worked in Missouri. But there I met Dutch, and we gradually got to know each other on Tuesday evenings. Dutch came from the southwest in Olathe, while I came from the opposite direction in a bad section of Kansas City, Missouri. I truly believe this was a miracle that God provided for us, for we would never have had a reason to meet otherwise.

We were married about 10 months later and bought a house in Overland Park where we lived for 26 years, joined Village Presbyterian Church and traveled extensively.

Then we moved to Lakeview in 2006, and Dutch passed away in 2014 in the Care Center here at Lakeview. I really miss Dutch, but I have many wonderful memories and a nice place to live at Lakeview in the great state of Kansas. Thank you, God!

My Life’s Miracles

Norma Redick

It was the fall of 1962 and I was crossing over a ditch on the way to our car, while carrying our 10 month old son, when he suddenly lunged forward when he saw his daddy. So as not to drop my son, I fell backward so I wouldn’t fall on top of him and landed quite hard on my back. Right after that fall, I started having trouble walking. The doctor felt it was the fall that injured my back, but the pain increased and I had trouble walking forward usually going sideways and often even backwards.

I was admitted to a small hospital in Red Cloud, Nebraska where they put me in traction. I was beginning to have a feeling of pins and needles in my legs and by morning that same feeling was in my fingers and arms. The feeling was progressing and I was struggling to move. Friends came to call that morning and found me with no makeup and my hair wasn’t combed, which was unusual for me. The breakfast tray was untouched and I could not move my arms or legs and I could barely speak. The nurses told my friends that I was just being stubborn, but my friends knew better. They got ahold of Jim, my husband, who called the doctor. Jim convinced them that something was really wrong and so they did a spinal tap and found a virus in my spinal fluid called Guillain-Barré Syndrome. I was put in an ambulance and taken to Lincoln, Nebraska. Jim called his folks in Mulvane, Kansas and they came and got our son Mark. My mom got on a bus from Wichita right away to join me in the hospital.

The doctors were very concerned as the paralysis continued. They told my mom and Jim that I probably wouldn’t make it thru the week. (I didn’t know this until later.) During all of this my prayers to God were for help and to be in His will. I never felt afraid, which I knew were from my prayers. I knew God was giving me the peace, but I knew Mom and Jim were very concerned. The week passed and everything but my heart and lungs lost function. My speech was slurred as my tongue wouldn’t move. My parents had me transferred by ambulance to Wesley Hospital in Wichita to be closer to Mulvane so that Jim wouldn’t have to decide each weekend which direction to go. The doctors told us this was the most severe case Nebraska and Kansas had ever had that lived.
Wesley started physical therapy immediately and over time, by the Grace of God, in the next 24 hours I was weaned off of morphine. It was an intense challenge back to health, especially when I was supposed to die. But I am sure that my healing was one of our miracles granted by God.

Miracles Part 2 – Our son Ron is a series of miracles. Our first miracle was when he was 22 months old he had gotten the flu. He was sleeping but then woke up and went into the big room and laid his head on the bed and our son Dale thought he had fallen back to sleep, so he called to Jim who saw he was turning blue. At the time, I had two students who were in the music room taking piano lessons from me. Jim had started compressions and I immediately called 911. The father of my students was outside in the driveway and he came running in and asked if I would like his wife to come (she was a leading pediatrician in Johnson County). Ron took his first breath as she and the ambulance arrived. She offered to ride in the ambulance to Shawnee Mission Hospital. Who knew that we would have a pediatrician at our side in an emergency? Our Doctor joined her in the Emergency Room and they conferred that since it was his heart that was the issue, they sent him to KUMC where he was admitted into the new Pediatric ICU. We were told that one of us had to be in the waiting room at all times. Jim went to find us some food and while he was waiting at the elevator, the doors opened and a former student of Jim’s was coming out of the elevator. Lonnie was now a pediatric resident and was assigned to Peds ICU for the night. What a gift it was to have a friendly familiar face to help our son and give us updates all night long.

As his heart kept getting weaker, they placed a temporary pacemaker in his body. The pacemaker kept him alive for the next few days. He was tested each morning about 7:30 a.m. when they turned off the pacemaker to see if his body would take over. I wouldn’t. During this time, there were lots of prayers being said from all faiths from all over the world for Ron’s heart to beat again. Sunday came and the staff didn’t get to test Ron’s heart until 11:00 and Praise God, it started beating slowly on its’ own. Now they knew that a permanent pacemaker needed to be placed in his body. In 1970 pacemakers were the size of a hockey puck, so it was placed just above his waist. We almost lost Ron a couple of times from wires breaking, rejection infection, etc. We spent 90 days during the first year in and out of the hospital. He is now a very active 49 year old husband, father and a charge nurse at SMMC with several new updated pacemakers to his credit. (He was the third child to get a pacemaker at KU and the one before him was girl that lived six blocks from us.)

Ronnie’s second miracle happened when he was 16 and jumped on the back of a car like silly teenage boys do when celebrating the first place win of the band, and his friend pulled out quickly throwing Ron off the car and hitting his head. He was in a coma for three days with a concussion and lost his hearing in one ear. Again, God answered our prayers and kept Ron safe as he coded blue three times in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

The latest miracle happened last February when Ron lost hearing in his good ear. There was no known cause and the doctor gave him a 0 to less than 25% chance of hearing again. They tried injecting medicine into the ear but it wasn’t working. It seemed to be destined that Ron was never to hear again, when one day he was watching a basketball game with his brother-in-law Wayne when his brother shouted out to the refs for a bad call and Ron could suddenly hear for the first time. When they went to see the doctor, he was so shocked that he declared “It’s a miracle!”.
Through all these trials and tragedies we continued to pray fervently along with our family and friends. I believe that God has answered our prayers by blessing us with these miracles.

Tragedy to Joy

Jo Ann Brown

In 1984 my husband, Jim, had surgery on his cervical spine to put a drain in a fluid filled cyst surrounding his spinal cord. We and all our family and friends were praying hard for a good outcome. Because the surgery was at the University of Chicago Medical Center and the head surgeon was a teaching professor of neurosurgery, we felt confident that the surgery would have a good outcome.

After the surgery I went into the ICU and saw that Jim had apparently made it through the risky surgery in good shape. He was waking up and could talk and respond to directions. The doctor asked him to move his hands and wiggle his toes. He responded well and I breathed a prayer of thanks. Then Jim said “Am I moving my toes and my legs? I can’t feel them.” The doctor and nurse just looked at each other and I had one of the worst moments of my life. I knew something was terribly wrong.

The staff rushed me out to the Doctor’s conference room and I think they gave Jim some medicine to keep him calm. I was alone in the room and the tears came. I prayed like I never had before. I knew both our lives had changed forever and I was fearful we wouldn’t be able to handle the challenges to come. I prayed that the problem was only temporary, as the doctor had said it might be, but somehow I knew it was going to be permanent. Suddenly I had the clearest impression of a voice in my head saying “It’s ok. You’re going to make it and you’re going to make it together.” I knew this was the answer to my prayer, but it wasn’t the one I wanted.

Jim learned to walk again with two footed canes, but he was never as good physically as before the surgery and it did not slow the progression of his disorder. I remembered God’s answer, but our faith was still deeply challenged that year as we both learned to deal with all the changes in our lives.

One Sunday our pastor preached on II Cor. 12:7b-9 in which Paul writes “There was given me a thorn in my flesh,. . . to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Jim accepted this as the Spirits’ answer to him and he spent the rest of his life doing everything he could to glorify God through his physical weakness. We were told that the fact he hardly ever missed church was an inspiration to others. He challenged three of the churches we were members of to improve their finances and complete building programs. As a Deacon he counseled many people.

Don’t misunderstand; we still had our down times, too. Sometimes we were angry and sad, but there were also many happy, fulfilling times. We didn’t get the miracle of healing that we prayed for, but we did get the miracle we were promised. God helped us through all the rough spots and we did make it together for the next twenty-five years, with the Holy Spirit guiding and comforting us. That miracle turned a tragedy into many occasions of great joy.

Dr. Herman and Barbara Jones conquered color barriers with intellect, resolve, grace

Dr. Herman Jones, Jr. and his wife Barbara moved to Southridge from Lake Quivira in 2014. The following article was written by Lakeview Village residents Jim and Joan Davies for The Quiviran in 2013.

The Jones’ story begins in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1943, when Herman, having just graduated from high school at the age of 16, enlisted in the US Navy. Fortunately, the Navy had ceased automatically expecting all black recruits to be cooks and/or stewards and had begun a new policy of placing black recruits into any of the mainstream Naval programs. Herman chose to become a member of the Naval Air group. After his basic training, he trained as an Aviation Machinist Mate and served at the Navy Experimental Air Base in Pennsylvania, finishing his three years of service as an Airman 1st class. After his Naval service, he returned to his hometown of Nashville and enrolled at Fisk University. This is where he met his bride to be, Barbara Orange, an only child of a Chicago physician and former KC Monarch baseball player. Herman’s father was a Methodist minister.

One month after they both graduated from Fisk University in 1950, Herman and Barbara were married a month before Herman entered Medical school at Meharry Medical College in Nashville. After finishing medical school in 1954, the “new” Dr. Jones moved to Redding, PA, to complete an internship in surgery at Community General Hospital. He was grinning when he said, “There were only two other interns at the time; one was Italian and the other was Pennsylvanian Dutch. When we three finished our internships, the Pennsylvanian invited me and the Italian doctor to a graduation celebration in his hometown, all the while warning us that the people there had probably never seen a black man or met an Italian!” As it turned out, this was far from the first time or the last time that Herman Jones would be the only black man in a group.

In 1955, knowing that Kansas was a “free state” and that the Supreme Court had successfully ruled on the Brown v. the Board of Education separate but equal act, Dr. Jones believed Kansas City would be the ideal place to complete a residency in surgery at Kansas City General II, leading to his long term goal of becoming a surgeon. Quickly, he discovered this “Kansas City” hospital was in Missouri, which was very different from “free state” Kansas. To his amazement, he realized there were two separate Kansas City General Hospitals; #1 existed for whites and #2 existed for blacks, not only for the patients but for the doctors as well. Even though a tunnel connected the two buildings, the black doctors were not able to cross over to treat patients.

During his “off” hours, Herman and Barbara spent the next year crossing various bridges to get to Kansas City, Kansas, where they were welcomed in restaurants, movie theaters and able to drink out of a community drinking fountain. Having experienced these positive experiences in KCK, they decided to move to Topeka, Kansas, where Herman opened a General Medicine practice above a “white” drug store in downtown Topeka. He was amazed when his first patient was a white person! As his practice thrived during the next three years, Dr. Jones was the only black doctor on the staffs of both major Topeka hospitals, Stormont Vail Hospital and St. Francis Hospital. He was welcomed into the Medical Society of Topeka as the first black member, while Barbara was active in the Women’s Auxiliary group.

As the Joneses settled into Topeka, Herman became the Chairman of the local chapter of NAACP, then celebrating the success of the Brown v. Board of Education in the US Supreme Court. He said, “I thought that the case was very strange because at the time, there was only one high school in Topeka, and all students, regardless of color, attended Topeka High School.”

Continuing, Herman told of another event which altered the course of their lives somewhat. Every year the Medical society in Topeka held an annual Doctors’ Ball, which he and Barbara had never attended. After three years and having met another black doctor and his wife, the two couples decided to attend. When they contacted the group for tickets, they were denied tickets and were told the Topeka Country Club, which had a policy of not admitting or serving blacks, was the venue for that year’s annual Ball. Quite a controversy evolved, yet Herman and Barbara quietly and calmly decided rather than escalate the problem at the late date, the two couples would not attend. Rather, the Jones’ decided perhaps if they had regularly participated in the social events in the past, the Medical Society would have insisted the country club rules be changed or the event would be moved elsewhere. From that date forward, both Herman and Barbara participated both socially and professionally in the medical community. This is just one of many stories of the couple’s rational and calm approach to solving the racist problems they encountered.

Herman still dreamed of becoming a surgeon, so he entered into a Surgical Residency with the VA Hospital in Wadsworth, Kansas (now Leavenworth KS). Kansas University (KU) administered this 4-year program, which included doctors working at St. Luke’s Hospital in KCMO. Dr. Jones was accepted into St. Luke’s staff as the first black doctor to practice there. He said, “Since the hospital didn’t readily admit black patients at that time, my patients were all white people, as were my colleagues from KU. We residents ate and snacked together in the doctors’ cafeteria, but one day I went in alone, asking to be served like always. When the mostly black hospital service staff saw me sitting alone in the dining room, they believed maybe the rules had finally changed!”

Following the completion of this residency in 1963, Herman began a successful surgical practice in KCK, adding staff as his practice expanded, then erecting a Doctors’ building with nine other doctors in downtown KCK. He was now practicing in all of the major hospitals in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Ironically, he ended up teaching residents in the old Kansas City General Hospital #1 (Truman Hospital at this time) from which he was originally denied entrance.

His list of service positions in the ensuing years is remarkable. He served on the advisory council for several Chancellors of KU, starting with Archie Dykes. He is an honorary Colonel of the Kansas Calvary since 1978 (KU people will know this as a Public Relations group that recruits outstanding high school students into the KU program). He was the medical president of Providence Hospital in 1971 and Bethany Hospital in 1982. He served on the Medical School Admissions Committee for KU from 1978 to 1981. The list includes at least another dozen and a half medical and civic organizations for which he has given so generously of his time and talents.

Upon Dr. Jones’s retirement from the VA Hospital in Kansas City, MO, in 2005 at the age of 80, then KC Mayor Kay Barnes wrote the following proclamation about his service to our area: “ …Whereas, Dr. Jones was the first African-American physician to practice at St. Luke’s Hospital, and he was one of the first to practice at Queen of the World Hospital, Dr. Jones tolerated the problem of segregation in civic, educational and medical institutions and weathered the racism that has been a lasting, if troubling, theme in America. Dr. Jones is well known as a consummate professional and an outstanding teacher. He is deeply respected by colleagues and beloved by the many patients he has served over the years, and he will be missed when he retires from his position at the Veterans Hospital…Now, therefore, I, Kay Barnes, Mayor of Kansas City, MO, do hereby salute Dr. Herman H. Jones and congratulate him on this important milestone.”

Throughout these same years, Barbara and Herman have raised four accomplished children. Oldest son, Herman H. Jones, III, a Stanford University graduate, is an emergency room physician in New Orleans; son, Dwayne E. Jones, MDS from Harvard, Is a pain specialist, managing three pain clinics in the KC area. Dwayne lives with his wife and four children in neighboring Saddle Brook; Daughter Pamela was recruited to attend school at Professional Children’s School in New York before becoming a member of the Dance Theater of Harlem. Pamela was honored to be the first black teenager to ever appear on the cover of Seventeen Magazine, which occurred in January of 1972 when she was 18 years old.

Pamela now works as a nurse in NYC. Their other daughter, Donna, went to New York years ago to visit her sister. She loved New York and began working with Bill Blass and later started her own design company in Milan, Italy. There she met her husband, the love of her life, and is now Donna Jones Badocci. These accomplished children have also produced eight grandchildren for the Jones, four living in Saddle Brook, three in Milan and one in New Orleans. One of the grandchildren, Adriana, from Milan, is now living with Herman and Barbara, attending Shawnee Mission NW so she can attend an American university after graduation this May.

Herman and Barbara have a bit more time since Herman officially retired in 2005. True to his amazing gifts, talents, work ethic, and his desire to make a difference, Herman confided to us that after 2005, he continued to work as a consultant to the Coroner of The Unified Government of Wyandotte County.

What an honor it was to learn from the Jones about the history of their lives together.

Analysts are Bullish on CCRC’s

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) like Lakeview Village have been a hot topic lately as financial analysts and retirement planners weigh in on the stability of these retirement communities for seniors.

In an article for National Real Estate Investor, a leading authority on trends in commercial real estate, Lee Everett, a managing consultant at research firm CoStar™ Portfolio Strategy was bullish about active adult communities, particularly CCRCs.

CCRCs represent a longer-term play in seniors housing, according to Everett. These communities will “become more en vogue as the senior population continues to age over the next 20, 25, 30 years.”

Andew Nesi, executive vice president at HJ Sims, an underwriter of tax-exempt bonds, agrees.

“We think the market is mature. We think that it’s well-received by the investment community. We think as an asset class it has performed better than other real estate asset classes through the recession,” Nesi told National Real Estate Investor’s John Egan.

You can read the full article here.

The Wall Street Journal columnist Glenn Ruffenach recently answered a reader’s question about the right time to move to a CCRC in his “Ask Encore” column. His advice to the reader was fairly succinct: when it comes to CCRCs, many of which require a medical screen to ensure residents can live independently in the near term, the greater danger is waiting too late.

You can read the full article here.

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.”