A Look Ahead …


The beginning of summer is upon us. Not the official summer by the equinox, but the social season, by the placement of the first of the two main holidays. Summer always begins socially in the USA with Memorial Day, and ends with Labor Day.

This coming Monday being Memorial Day Observed (Official Memorial Day is always May 30th), this weekend is the start of the Summer Season, socially.

Here in Kansas City, that means the opening of the Oceans of Fun section of Worlds of Fun. This year Oceans of Fun opens on Friday morning. Since I have to work, and didn’t take a vacation day for it, I won’t be able to be there at opening — a tradition of mine for many years — but I intend to make it before the end of the day.

Worlds of Fun also has several Military Appreciation days throughout the year, and one of them is Monday, May 29, Memorial Day Observed. Complimentary tickets available for active duty, retired or reserve military with honorable or medical discharge and government issued ID. They can also received discounted tickets for some members of their families on that day.

Which is a natural segue to the comment about Memorial Day.

What also will be happening is the placement of a lot of flowers. Memorials remembering those who died in active military service; also, more generally, and not meant to detract from those who died in service, it is used by many as the placing of flowers on the graves of all loved ones who have gone before. I know my family will be placing flowers on the graves of my family back in New York State. Not living anywhere close to those graves, I haven’t participated in that tradition in many years, but I do think about them.

Finally, there will be a lot of picnics over the weekend.  For while Memorial Day is an observance (one should not wish someone a “Happy Memorial Day”, at least according to some people, based on the somber nature of the observance) it is also a holiday, and people do celebrate and play. So remember to take time to be thankful for the sacrifices given, while you take full exercise of the freedoms those sacrifices make possible.


For those following, below are the current stats on the All Season Dining plan:

Total Price Paid $497.44
Total Number of Meals 125
Total Retail $1,280.70
Average Price Per Meal $3.98
Total Drink Price 29.64
Total number of drinks 99
Total Retail $99.00
Average Price Per Drink $0.30

#195: Look and Live


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


I’ve a message from the Lord, hallelujah!

The message unto you I’ll give;

‘Tis recorded in His Word, hallelujah!

It is only that you “look and live”.


Look and live (look and live),

my brother Live! (my brother , live, look and live!)

Look to Jesus now and live;

‘Tis recorded in His Word, hallelujah!

It is only that you “look and live”.


I’ve a message full of love, hallelujah!

A message, O my friend, for you;

‘Tis a message from above, hallelujah!

Jesus said it and I know ’tis true.



Life is offered unto you, hallelujah!

Eternal life thy soul shall have,

If you’ll only look to Him, hallelujah!

Look to Jesus who alone can save.



I will tell you how I came, hallelujah!

To Jesus when He made me whole:

‘Twas believing on His name, halelujah!

I trusted and He saved my soul.


A bit of poetry


(Note: it has been awhile since I’ve pulled up my old poetry, so here is another one.  This was during my year as editor of the Houghton Star student newspaper at Houghton College, during the last year that the old Compugraphic machines were used instead of the new Macintosh computers that they got the next year. This poem is about a breakdown and repair of the old machines.)



                                                             From Their Editor


Wendell and Loren

came with tool boxes,

removing three screws

hidden in a tight place.

To loose the screws

they used allen wrenches,

needle‑nose pliers, fingers.

The plate held by the screws removed,

the editor fixed the plate

with crazy glue.

Wendell and Loren

put the plate back in

with its three screws.

Using butter to hold screws

to the plate, the three men

fumbled.  The screws were in,

the machine worked.




“Let the staff rejoice,

let the earth be filled with their singing,

for the compugraphic machine is working”

said the editor.

And the staff said

“Amen and Amen.”

Fitness Update: (Modified) Half Marathon


Well, This past week I ran my second half marathon, sort of, but sort of didn’t.

The Kansas City Corporate Challenge half marathon was scheduled for this past Saturday. The route started at the Southcreek Business Park and after a loop around there ran down through the Overland Park Community Park and the Tomahawk Valley Trail.

But rain Saturday night had either washed out, or flooded, parts of the trails at the further end, so they had to modify the course. We ended up with two loops around the business park and a “short” run down the trail and back, for a total length of 9.8 miles.

Now, the Saturday before, I had run a long run of 7.5 miles, but between that long run and the Half Marathon, I didn’t do any running. I swam once, did a lot of biking, but mostly I slept in each morning. The week before the race I was suddenly very tired, and opted to rest over train.

Which turned out to be the right option.

It rained the night before the race, but was dry and overcast the morning  before the race started. The humidity was above 90% and the temperature was about 60 degrees. The 700-some of us lined up into sections based on our expected running paces. And then we were off.

This was the first race this year that I ran without having run some of the course to check the terrain and know what to expect. So the first loop around the business park seemed a little long. It was also a question about setting a pace, and being comfortable with it.

The pavement on the upside of the loop felt better to me than the downside, but I enjoyed going downhill more than uphill. Except that we did get some breeze, and it ended up being a headwind while going downhill. That is one of the things I like the least while riding a bicycle, and I found I don’t really like running into a headwind either, whether uphill or down.

On the second loop around I heard someone behind me talking to the person next to her about her fitness device, and how it was telling her we were at about a 9 minute mile pace. I asked back, did you say a 9 minute mile? When she assented, I said, “Good, that mean’s I’m not running too fast.”

Because the 9-minute mile was the pace I had wanted to set.

Which bring me to an aside. Many times during the first two loops of the race I was being passed by people, and I could hear them breathing hard as they did so. I was always able to talk to them, say hello, good job, go for it, etc., but many of them didn’t have enough breath to reply. As long as I was running at a pace where I could talk, I knew I wasn’t overpacing myself. Many of those people I subsequently passed later on down the trail.

After the second loop, we took a left turn onto the trail section of the route, and started heading both into headwinds, and a scattering of sprinkles that continued to get more misty and persistent as the rest of the race went on.

Running the 2+ miles down the trail to the turnaround, I kept expecting to get to the turnaround sooner than I did. At first it was only a few people coming back and me, but as the numbers thickened, I kept on feeling like I  had to be close. When a pack of people from my company came back by me, I found myself encouraged, just as I did when my friend Paul Mast ran by and we gave each other a high five slap on the exchange.

Then finally the turn was made and I was on the way back. This was the stretch where my passing of people became a slow but consistent reality (along with a few passing me still).

It was also where the heat from my own brow, and the moisture from the air and rain around me, started fogging up my glasses enough so my visibility actually began to decrease. Occasionally I would look over the glasses to verify what I was seeing. But mostly they kept the rain out of my eyes.

There were a lot of long stretches on the way back. Here’s the last turn back toward the business park — but, oh yes, I forgot about this long run back up to the turn-off. And then when we got back to the loop it was several stretches and turns before they actually brought us back into the final stretch where we could actually see the finish line.

I had been running right behind one guy most of the way back up to the pack and around those turns, but as we got to to the penultimate turn I started stretching out and putting on my last speed. As I passed him, I expected him to put on his own burn of speed, and still stay ahead of me. But he didn’t. Instead I found myself passing about 5 more people in my final sprint to the finish line — always running through the objective before slowing down.

I saw that the clock was somewhere before 1:27. When I checked the stats my time was: 1:26:22.5 with an overall place of 371 and a Gender Place of 287. I probably won’t know until later today how I actually placed within my division of the Corporate Challenge.

Many of the other people from my company talked about how they just weren’t ready to do a half marathon on Saturday, and glad it was shorter. For me, I came in with trepidation, but between the rest, and the weather, I felt like I could have kept my pace up for the full distance — but was just as glad that I didn’t have to.

#194: Ye Must Be Born Again


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


A ruler once came to Jesus by night

To ask Him the way of salvation and light;

The Master made answer in words true and plain,

“Ye must be born again.”


“Ye must be born again, (again,) Ye must be born again; (again;)

I verily, verily say unto thee, “Ye must be born again.” (again.)


Ye children of men, attend to the word

So solemnly uttered by Jesus the Lord,

And let not this message to you be in vain,

“Ye must be born again.”



O ye who would enter that glorious rest

And sing with the ransomed the song of the blest,

The life everlasting if ye would obtain,

“Ye must be born again.”



A dear one in heaven thy heart yearns to see,

At the beautiful gate may be watching for thee;

Then list to the note of this solemn refrain,

“Ye must be born again.”


We see … and do not see …


I recall the talks I have had with my daughter about her powers of observation. She sees a lot of things we do not, yet some of the things we expect her to see she does not.

We attend the same places over and over again. We go to the park, to the same restaurants, to church, etc., with the same service people. But she does not notice or recognize the same people who wait on her day after day, even though many of those people recognize and greet her with familiarity.

I have encouraged my family to be aware of the people around them, and to notice the people who work for them and serve them. Showing these people recognition, the often unrecognized, is an important part of humanizing them and the interactions we have with them.

And while I point out this lack of observation on my daughter’s part, I also will admit to places where I similarly miss observations, or mis-interpret them.

In my runs and bike rides around my neighborhood, I have come across cars with people resting in them. Based on their conditions, and repetitions of sightings, I have wondered, finally, after time, whether some of these people might actually be living in these vehicles..

But if so, what would/should my response be? Or am I mis-interpreting these observations?

There is always a lot going on around us, and what we see, and how we see it, can be very important. We can be like my daughter, who seems to miss the people. Or we can be like me, seeing something, uncertain what it means, or what to do.

Even worse, can be the people who see, who observe, and who decide for themselves what is going on and treat those people that way, without realizing what is really going on with them. Speaking for someone who does not want to be spoken for, in a way they don’t want to be represented, is even worse than missing them entirely.

One can observe and do good, by really seeing the person. One can observe and choose a “good” that isn’t good, by seeing a type, a group, a class, and ignoring the person himself for the good one has already decided is needed.