Traveling Across the Pacific

Traveling Across the Pacific

In January 1983 Lyn Mathews, the wife of the Dean of the Institute of Cultural Affairs asks me to go to the Kingdom of Tonga in the Pacific to participate in the Pacific Training School. I pause for a minute, ask her a couple of questions and then say, “Yes.” I want to die. Seasickness incapacitates me. 150 miles of open ocean exists between me and the island of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga. As the ferryboat Olavaha tosses and pitches, I concentrate on keeping my stomach calm for the next eighteen-hours My destination is the Pacific Training School, a community leadership school at Siu’lkutapa College on Vava’u. I am one of the non-Tongan staff who will work with the local staff to share methods of community development. We will teach the participants how...

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Happy New Year – 2018

Happy New Year – 2018

Wishing a Merry Christmas and a great New Year has set my mind to spinning. Sixty-four years since my first date request from Rodney Wilson. That was to go out for a hamburger after operetta rehearsal on Wednesday night. He didn’t know that mid-week nights were off limits. I was a junior in high school and he was in junior college…a returned navy veteran…much older than me. Now it has been six and a half years that Rodney has been gone and it seems that has been forever. My brain keeps going back to the question – What made the difference for us? What we trusted shaped the way we lived. I often find myself wondering – what was it all about? One difference had to have been how much we talked about everything. When I think about the amount of time we spent apart…he...

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Where We Live

Where We Live

It occurred to me recently that we all live on one small blue marble traveling through the space of the universe. Some days I forget that fact and think I’m just located in Prairie Village Kansas. Not! Who was the writer a few years ago who explained our impact on the globe by saying, “When we sneeze it reverberates in China”? Or something like that…I’m sure that is not an exact quote, but you understand what I am saying. My fourth book, published last December paints a picture of a man who discovered ways to be of service to the whole globe…and all people. Zero Meridian, Five Degrees North is full of stories of our connections to those in far away places, and those close to home. The greatest news is that he carefully chose...

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Eighty-five Years of Adventure

Eighty-five Years of Adventure

As an author, I experience that one of the hardest moments of working on a book is deciding the title. Maybe that comes easily for some folks, but I always struggle with that task. Several years before his death, Rodney Wilson began work on his life story. Many bits of paper were filed away in the bottom right-hand drawer of his monster-size desk in his office. His grandson-Jeffrey interviewed him about his Navy service in 2006. We had this taped conversation transcribed and filed away. Then in 2008, a gentleman from the Veterans History Project came to our house and talked with him about his Navy experiences. Several months later we received the typed transcription. What a prize. I found articles about his work, speeches he made here and there, letters from...

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Celebration of Faithful Women

Celebration of Faithful Women

Every year Presbyterian Women of Village Presbyterian Church honor three women as “Women of Faith.” A celebration Saturday honored Kim Higgins, Arlene Raudenbush and me at a lovely luncheon attended by a room full of wonderful women…and a few men. My guests were my sister, Pam Hanson, my daughter Mary VanRyzin, and grandson Warren. Also friends Kent Wilson, Diana Ormsby, Judy Ogden, and longtime friend and colleague Mary Warren Moffett from Chicago.

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Surprise in Oslo

Surprise in Oslo

One day in 2008 my friend, Kaze and I flip through a Bible looking for stories that once influenced us. We choose the passage of Jesus walking on water. Peter pleads to join him and Jesus beckons him out of the boat. Peter suddenly is scared and starts to sink. Jesus asks, “What made you lose your courage like that?” Suddenly Kaze and I start sharing stories about times in which the ground beneath us shifted or an upheaval confronted and confounded us. Out of that story-telling flowed the book of short stories from our lives, Everyday Wonder, from Kansas to Kenya from Ecuador to Ethiopia, published in 2014. Fast forward to July 2015. The Village Choir Tour is preparing for our concert Monday afternoon, July 20 in Oslo’s Old Aker Church (Gamle Aker kirke). The...

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