Archive for March, 2019


3.31.19 … “Each tree and leaf and star show how The universe is part of this one cry, That every life is noted and is cherished, And nothing loved is ever lost or perished.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (26/40), Sardis Baptist Church – Charlotte NC:

I ventured out to my local library today. It’s Sunday, and it was packed. I wanted some library time. And I read some of my current book, “Queen Anne: the Politics of Passion,” by Anne Somerset, and did some research on the Stuarts. I checked this book out after seeing “The Favorite.” I was on the fence about reading it, but after I researched the era of the Stuarts, I think I will continue on.

Earlier today I was thinking about my Lenten Lists. And today’s list is of things or ideas that have interested me or intrigued me for at least 10 years. Here is the list:

Things or Ideas that have sustained my interest for at least 10 years …

1. “A Wrinkle in Time”

2. Jane Austen

3. Travel

4. The Beach

5. The Mountains

6. British History

7. Economic Theory

8. Urban economic history and development

9. The US Supreme Court and Constitutional Law

10. Child development and education

11. Family history

12. Davidson College, liberal arts education, small colleges, mid major basketball …

13. Faith issues

1. Spiritual but not religious

2. Judaism and its relationship to Christianity

3. Christian denominational history and distinctions

4. My personal faith journey

5. Faith traditions

14. Labyrinths

15. Thin Places and the relationship between thin places, family history, travel, the beach, the mountains, faith and labyrinths

And in relationship to this list, I give you this Jane Austen quote…

“Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands” – Jane Austen (Persuasion, 1818)

And as follow up, I give you several quotes from “Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters” by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy:

“Her first memory was of being woken up and taken out to look at the stars there, and she would later call that memory her first glimpse of the vastness of the universe—the expanse of the ocean and the star-filled sky.”

“She always said that her stories knew more than she did, that she wrote to find out what she thought about things, that truth and fact were not the same. She also said she recognized that her books had lives of their own, far apart from her. She was deeply moved when another artist adapted her work, setting a poem to music, drawing a picture of a character, or taking one of her stories to stage or screen. She knew what a rarity and honor it is to have a book spark such a response in readers, and she felt it to be both a privilege and a responsibility.”

“May all of us accept, embrace, and remember. And in Vicky Austin’s words:

Each tree and leaf and star show how

The universe is part of this one cry,

That every life is noted and is cherished,

And nothing loved is ever lost or perished.”

And as for my labyrinth walk, it was beautifully sunny today; the weather seemed perfect. The birds were singing and the traffic was at a lull. The first thing I noticed was the abundance and array of daffodils. I have noted before that spring is late here in Charlotte this year. But the daffodils her give me a great deal of pleasure.

My walk seemed especially fast today. Yesterday I commented that the shorter classical labyrinths are too short in my opinion. This is an abbreviated Chartres Labyrinth, only five circuits. It seemed especially short today. I would assume I need a little more time thinking and pondering…


A few extras for today ..

NCAA Basketball Tournament: Every year I say the same thing … I HAVE THE WORST BRACKET EVER … I don’t know much about sports, but I love being part of the community. So I try. I look at rankings, personal affiliations, kith/kin affiliations, mascots, team colors, uniforms, academic reputation, general reputation, scandals and lack thereof … obviously I never learn and my system is never validated. I missed on Texas Tech and UVA, and tonight I’m pulling for the Blue Cats and the Blue Devils. If no wins tonight, I’m out … but there is always next year.

5 pm update …

So now I have one, yes one, potential Final Four team. Wtf, Big Blue …

Urban economic history and development: Not to bore you, but this is one of my favorite topics to research and ponder.

The purpose of cities is to bring people together. In the 20th century, we blew them apart. One day last year, Peter Calthorpe took me on a drive through some of the wreckage. He wanted to show me how he proposes to make cities whole again.

Calthorpe is an architect who in the late 1970s helped design one of the first energy-efficient state office buildings, which still stands in Sacramento, California. But he soon widened his focus. “If you really want to affect environmental outcomes and social outcomes, it’s not shaping a single building that matters,” he says. “It’s shaping a community.”

Source: To build the cities of the future, we must get out of our cars,

And on a happier note … Tiptoe through the tulips! Thank you, ET, for the gift. My world was brighter today.


3.30.19 … “Any idea that concern for others, though a noble quality, is a matter for our private lives only, is simply short sighted. Compassion belongs to every sphere of activity, including, of course, the workplace.” – Dalai Lama

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (25/40), Barium Springs Orphanage-Troutman NC:

Ruth Ann and I enjoyed a delightful walk on the Barium Springs labyrinth. We realized that there are two things different about this labyrinth: 1. all the angles make it seem disjointed, and 2. it has a path in and a path out which is very unusual for labyrinth.

After walking the labyrinth, we walked the historic campus of the Barium Springs Orphanage. It was very interesting to look back through time and see the services offered at a church affiliated orphanage and gain an understanding of how such services evolved to the social services offered today.

It was wonderful to spend a few hours with a lifelong friend! Happy 60, Rufus!

Quote for today:

Any idea that concern for others, though a noble quality, is a matter for our private lives only, is simply short sighted. Compassion belongs to every sphere of activity, including, of course, the workplace.

-Dalai Lama


And here is today’s list: Words that describe labyrinths

1. Path

2. Unicursal

3. Meandering

4. Walk

5. Spiritual

6. Tool

7. Chartres

8. Classical

9. Cretan

10. Modern

11. Indoor/outdoor

12. Stone

13. Canvas

14. Paver

15. Grass

16. Public/private

17. Permanent /temporary

18. Beach

19. Meditative

20. Sacred


3.29.19 … “All joy emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, and awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.” – C S Lewis

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, MorningStar Lutheran Chapel – Mint Hill NC, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (24/40):

My day began with a Red Boot Way meeting: Elaine summarized it well, “A wonderful Red Boot Way meeting on Step 5: I am open. Sharing about the struggles to assume positive intent, the privilege of assuming positive intent, and the ground to be covered in between.”

And these thoughts followed me throughout my day.

What a treat! The big fountain was running today. And there was much more color in the garden today. The cherry trees were in bloom as were the gold forsythias …

In addition to the sound of rushing water, the chimes were making a very pleasant sound, a gentle ring. I do not usually hear sirens at this labyrinth, but today, I heard them in the distance. And since I last visited, quite a few people have brought flowers to decorate the graves.

At my last walk, I commented on how much I enjoy the old stone wall here. But as I was thinking during the last week, many such walls were built by slaves. And that changes my perspective on the beauty of the wall. I had never thought about who built such walls or any other structures until I visited Block Island, RI, and it was there that I was told the the many miles of stone walls were built by slaves. It actually shocked me. I looked up the history of this chapel and indeed the wall was probably built in the early 1800s, so possibly by slave labor.

“The church was first located nearly a mile east of the present church behind Dairs McCray’s, near Hoods Crossroad, in what is known as the Walter Abernathy pasture. The site is marked by the old cemetery. Names and dates from old slabs there: 1829-

M.E. Harkey and Polly Phifer – May 9, 1804. This graveyard still has part of the original rock wall, and it is quite large.”


I found this article very interesting: Survey of African American Buildings and Sites in Mecklenburg County: The African American Presence in the Mecklenburg County Built Environment, 1850-1950,

And here are a few additional thoughts for today. Several were found after researching C.S. Lewis after seeing the play about his “reluctant” conversion last weekend.

“Walking and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine them. Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world; and talking leads almost inevitably to smoking, and then farewell to nature as far as one of our senses is concerned. The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared.”

― C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

Joy is a hallmark of the Christian faith. You are made for joy. You are made to find joy in Christ. Rejoicing should be as automatic and natural as breathing. Here are three thoughts from C.S. Lewis about joy:

“The whole of man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy.” (The Weight of Glory)

“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” (Letters to Malcolm)

“All joy emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, and awakens desire. Our best havings are wantinegs.” (Letters)

The Psalms resound with joy. Psalm 100 is five short verses, with each phrase full of praise.

Psalm 103 is 22 verses of exuberant joy, and the reasons for that joy. Even if you are using our daily sermon resources that take you deep into the scripture, you may want to take 5 minutes and read Psalm 103. As you read that Psalm, be sure to notice the REASONS that David has for his joy and praise. As you see the reasons David provides, think about your own experience. Psalm 103 explains why you can flourish, rejoice, and be glad.

Here is one final word from Augustine on joy. It is a short prayer and confession of faith:

“I serve You and worship You, that I may be happy in You, to whom I owe that I am a being capable of happiness.”

If you are paying attention to previous words from Augustine, I hope you are understanding why he is the preeminent theologian of happiness.

Source: Psalms of Joy • Living Word Community Church,

“Your ways O Lord , make known to me, teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me” -Psalm 25 4-5

Joyfully and happily …



3.28.19 … “We’ve been wondering and marveling at her timelessness ever since.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (23/40), St. John’s Episcopal Church – Charlotte NC, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (23/40):

I had decided I would do a finger labyrinth walk at home when I realized that today was Thursday and that my friend Toni had orchestrated the use of a Santa Rosa canvas labyrinth at her church every Thursday during Lent. So I marched myself over to St. John’s and I walked.

I read through the handout and I thought to myself: “Set an intention” Hmmmm … what is my intention today? I am looking for a space, both physical and temporal, to process several ideas … That will be my intention … use the labyrinth as that space and use my walk to find that space.

Other thoughts for today:

I mentioned “A Wrinkle in Time” recently. I loved this from the first pages of the biography of Madeleine L’Engle, written by her granddaughters …

““I tried to understand them. I wrote stories, trying to imagine what it was like for them. I learned to inhabit other selves, other ages. It helped put things into perspective. And now that I am older, I still do that. I’ve never had to lose my younger selves—so that’s why I am every age I have ever been.”

We’ve been wondering and marveling at her timelessness ever since.”

Source: “Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters” by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy

I thought this insightful for every parent …

Prayer for a parent when a prodigal departs

(Somehow, I thought I knew all the turns and twists of this parable, but God always has one more perspective to teach me Luke 15)

God, help me love

this one who is walking away —

without imagining the worse,

anticipating a sweet, “I told you so,”

or curling up tight

around my own hurt feelings.

Let me to paint encouragement

across my worried face,

wave even when no one looks back,

send letters and emails

that don’t ask pointed questions,

keep tears out of my texts,

and whine out of my heart.

Let me set aside the robe, ring, shoes

and celebration dinner menu

to be prepared

whether the return is in triumph,

or disillusion and shame.

Welcoming is not something

that happens at the last moment.

Getting my love ready

for that road dust kicked up in the distance

may be the most important

work in my life.

I may never know what is going on

between here and a pig farm.

It’s not really my business,

and if it helps for the story to be told,

it will help more

if I never repeat it.

God, help me love these children

out the door,

love them while they are missing,

love them maybe home again,

because I know what it is

to be loved.

Source: March 28, 2019 — Prayer for a parent when a prodigal departs | Gifts in Open Hands

I recently gave away the book “Bowling Alone;” I held it for a few minutes because the book had a great deal of impact on me when it came out, but ultimately put it in the “give away” pile. I wish I had put the book in the “save to re-read later” pile.


And this just made me smile. I’m generally an excellent napper, a quality I get from my mom!

Feelings of guilt about napping or being preoccupied with other activities can keep you awake when you are trying to take a nap. If you need help, surround yourself with soft pillows and blankets or soothing music. Try to take a nap at the same time each day and use an alarm clock to ensure that you don’t fall into too deep a sleep. Learning to nap and enjoying its benefits can help you reclaim your natural right to nap. You nourish your being every time you take a nap.

Source: DailyOM – Restorative Slumber,

About labyrinths …

I’ve always thought the classical was too short.

Some people tell me they prefer the Chartres labyrinth because the Classical path is not long enough. What they don’t realize is the Classical can be made as an 11 or 15 Circuit pattern such as this one built over 100 years ago by a lighthouse keeper on the island of Gotland in Sweden! Clearly he had a lot of time on his hands and enjoyed this very long labyrinth journey…


I want someone to wonder and marvel at my timelessness! That might be the ultimate compliment to me.



3.27.19 … “ Even if our stories are different, broken, bruised and skinned hearts recognize each other, and when they come together they have the power to heal and create change.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (22/40), Myers Park Baptist Church-Charlotte NC:

I am agitated today and I really don’t know why. It could be the news… The continuous banter about the Mueller Report or the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago or the suicides of two Pakland FL teen survivors and of a Sandy Hook parent …

I thought of the Mary Oliver poem that Parker Palmer posted on social media today:

The Poet Dreams of the Mountain

Sometimes I grow weary of the days, with all their fits and starts.

I want to climb some old gray mountains, slowly, taking

The rest of my lifetime to do it, resting often, sleeping

Under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks.

I want to see how many stars are still in the sky

That we have smothered for years now, a century at least.

I want to look back at everything, forgiving it all,

And peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know.

All that urgency! Not what the earth is about!

How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only.

I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts.

In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.

-Mary Oliver

And of this from Brene Brown:

Last month, I made my second trip to Newtown to do some work with the Sandy Hook community. Jeremy and Jen started the Avielle Foundation to honor their daughter, Avielle, who was one of the 20 children and six adults murdered in the 2012 school shooting. The Avielle Foundation invited me to be a part of their speaker series on brain health and violence prevention.

Jeremy died of an apparent suicide yesterday. I feel heartbroken and gutted.

But I won’t look away. And, I ask that you continue to look pain in the eye.

We absolutely need to lean into the joy, laughter, beauty, love, and connection in our lives. As much and as often as we can.

And, when called, we need to stand with those in pain. We need to make sure that when we see a heart breaking, we bare our own broken heart and stand together so we know that, even in the midst of struggle, we’re not alone.

Even if our stories are different, broken, bruised and skinned hearts recognize each other, and when they come together they have the power to heal and create change.

So with these melancholy thoughts swirling in my head, I ventured out this afternoon and drove down Memory Lane, i.e. I drove past our first home on Sharon Road, 2247 Sharon Road. As I drove by that house and into Myers Park, I realized what a beautiful place Charlotte is, and I felt my blood pressure begin to go down. The pink and white blooming cherry trees were magnificent today, and there were even a few dogwood trees beginning to bloom.

I pulled up at the labyrinth tucked behind Myers Park Baptist and realized that I had timed my walk very poorly. There were multiple lawn management crew members blowing, trimming and mowing … c’est la vie!

Of course right when I opened my door, one of the men began blowing the labyrinth free of all debris, just for me. I think he tried to hurry and then go as far away as possible to give me some peace. That may be just positive spin on my part.

It looked as if they tried to power wash this labyrinth and instead it has made the painting difficult to see. I imagine it would not be easy on a rainy day. However, I could clearly see the path in today’s sunshine.

I heard emergency sirens in the background, but barely, since the blowers and trimmers and mowers predominated my walk.

And as I walked I clutched my new key, a small thing that I am grateful for… the ignition on our 22-year-old Mercedes that was a gift from john’s mother after his father died went out recently. It was very expensive to repair, but we just could not give the car up yet. It is a link to the past, a sturdy and generally reliable link to the past. When the dealer returned the car to me yesterday, he gave me two new keys including a remote control key. So now, for the first time since I have been driving the car, I have a remote control key and that makes me very happy because I feel much safer.

Other thoughts for today …

Last spring I saw the 2018 “A Wrinkle in Time” 3 times and I never decided my verdict on the film … but I certainly never saw it in this light …

It strikes me that “A Wrinkle in Time” is a Lenten story. Christians give themselves intentional space during Lent to reflect not only on our sin sickness, but also on the hurt we suffer because of the sin sickness of others. Lent is a time to be honest about our fragility, our imperfections and our wounds. Lent reminds us that God’s light conquered sin’s darkness when Jesus was crucified and then rose again. In Jesus’ wounds, we find healing. In our own wounds, we experience the love of God. May our wounds be the places where God’s light can enter in and heal.

Source: Lent: Reckoning with wounds – The Presbyterian Outlook,


2019 Lenten Lists: Cars I’ve Owned/Loved

1. My mom’s little blue Opel

2. White Sunbird

3. Gray Ford old lady car

4. John’s blue 1964 TR 4A

5. 1986 VW Jetta sedan

6. 1989 Volvo 240 station wagon

7. John’s 1991 Japanese sedan (Honda Accord, maybe?)

8. 1994 Mercury Villager minivan

9. 2000 Volvo V70 wagon*

10. 2004 Volvo V90 SUV*

11. 1997 Mercedes Benz E420*

12. 2000 Volvo V70 wagon – tan interior*

*currently own


3.26.19 … Quick walk … no epiphanies…

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, Sardis Baptist Church – Charlotte NC, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (21/40):

Oh, spring, where are you? It’s 51° and windy and very wet feeling, although it is not currently raining.

As I got out the car, I drew my coat in close. I have commented before that this is just a weird spring. Weather today was more like a Charlotte winter.

So I walked quickly, and I glanced over at the beautiful car that I was driving for a few days while my 22 year old car was being repaired. This one had all the bells and whistles.

Quick walk … no epiphanies…



3.25.19 … tulip magnolia, redbud (or Cercis canadensis), dogwood (Cornus florida), cherry tree (Prunus caroliniana), aka Carolina cherry laurel, pear tree, often called a Bradford pear …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (19/40), MorningStar Lutheran Chapel-Mint Hill NC:

As I drove to the labyrinth, it began to get blustery, and the cemetery was a bit messy as I walked up. The flowering trees just jumped at me. I’m always amazed at the beauty of spring.

Since I met the brick mason at my last walk here, I immediately looked around to see the progress on the new prayer garden.

The birds were singing and the small birdbath/fountain was flowing.

The labyrinth itself was a big of a mess. It has not recovered from the heavy power washing to remove the crumbling boundary material. And the moss is either brown or sprouting.

I have an affinity for the very old rock walk …

I found some binoculars recently. I think I will put them in my car so that I can look for the birds I hear birds when I walk. I know there is an app that will tell me what the birds are. Bird calls are not one of my strong points…


Today’s list: Flowering trees in Charlotte

1. tulip magnolias

2. redbud (or Cercis canadensis)

3. dogwood (Cornus florida)

4. cherry tree (Prunus caroliniana), aka Carolina cherry laurel

5. pear tree, often called a Bradford pear

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March 2019