Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eagle Awareness Expeditions

A great expedition for this time of year is going to a state park near you to participate in their Eagle Awareness Weekend. The bird photo above was taken at last year's event at Bull Shoals-White River State Park, located between Harrison and Mountain Home, Arkansas. This lovely souvenir of my day there was available to anyone attending, who would stand still behind the "Kodak moment" cut-out for a snapshot, then wait a few minutes for on-site processing. Isn't technology wonderful?! Although I have attended several of the Eagle Awareness Weekends at BS-WR State Park in the past, I think the one last year was the best, because of its headquarters location in the BEAUTIFUL Gaston Visitor's Center, that was recently built on a high cliff overlooking Bull Shoals Lake, Bull Shoals Dam, and the White River. The Visitor's Center, alone, is worth a special trip; however, with all the activities going on there during the Eagle Awareness Weekend, it is a great way to take advantage of your tax dollars at work, because everything, except the boat tours, are free of charge! Of course, if you are determined to spend some money, there is a well-stocked gift shop inside. Since I love being out on the water, I have braved the cold temperatures several times to take one of the lake cruises, in hopes of spotting some eagles (which we always do). There are so many good things I could say about this event, but the best way for you to find out all there is to offer, is to visit their official website, via going to www.arkansasstateparks.com and clicking on "Eagle Awareness Weekends", or whichever state park you want to inquire about. The dates for the BS-WR events are January 9-10, 2009. And don't forget the words of that famous prophet who said "...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. THEY WILL SOAR ON WINGS LIKE EAGLES, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31) Miles of smiles! Tricia
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Castle Lake, California

One of the places I explored when I was in California earlier this month was a location that my son had recommended I visit because of its scenic beauty and easy accessibility from his home in Mt. Shasta City. It was called "Castle Lake" and is shown in the photos I took above. It wasn't until I got back to Arkansas, and started reading about Castle Lake on Wikipedia, that I learned how significant this place is in the field of study that I majored in my freshman year of college---marine biology. If I had not changed my major after my freshman year, I might have been one of the scientists at the Castle Lake Limnological Research Station that is in operation there, under the auspices of the University of California/Davis. But I changed majors because I wanted to stay in Arkansas, and I thought to be a marine biologist, I would need to live next to the ocean. (For you geographically-challenged folks out there, Arkansas is surrounded on all sides by other states---no ocean coastline for us!). But here is the irony---if I had known there was such a thing as "limnology", I could have continued on in marine biology AND still lived in Arkansas! It was not until writing this photo explanation, and finding out about the research station, that I looked up the meaning of the word "limnology". It is the biological and other phenomena of fresh water, especially ponds and lakes! Who knew!? Arkansas has LOTS of ponds and lakes! In fact, I have a pond near my house. I think I will go out and do some limnological research as soon as I finish this. Miles of splashes! Tricia
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

McCloud Falls Expedition

To help burn off a few calories from all those Christmas goodies you ate, how about a hike in God's great outdoors??!! You will get to spend time with friends and family, see some beautiful scenery, and do something good for your body! The location of your hike will vary depending on where you find yourself after the holiday, but the important thing is "Just do it!" regardless of your location! In the photos above, our group (Jan, Tricia, Stephen, Isaac, and Maria Lynn) was hiking in northern California, off Highway 89, at a place called McCloud River Falls. near Fowler Campground. Although guide books list the falls as just a short walk from the parking lot, that is not accurate if the roads throughout the park are snow covered and impassable for automobiles. That was the case when my group was there, so we had quite the trek through the snow to reach our destination. However, it was a beautiful, sunny day, and we all survived our adventure. Since Mt. Shasta is visible in so much of this area of northern California, not surprisingly, it was visible during this hike (upper right photo) . The area is famous for its abundant wildlife, and Stephen is shown in lower right photo pointing to some creature high up in the tree he wanted his son to see. The great thing about winter hiking is that the trails are less crowded, and if you live in an area troubled by ticks and chiggers, these pests are not so much a concern at this time of the year. So get those walking shoes on, and let's see some miles of smiles! Tricia
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Grover and Noel

The Christmas cards I purchased this year had the word "N O E L" spelled out in big, pretty letters across the front of the card. Then, when going through my Christmas card lists from previous years, I came across the drawing above, done by my son (who is now 34 years old) when he was in the sixth grade of elementary school. It also had the word "N O E L", which he had drawn on a banner in the sky above the angel. He drew a cross on each side of the word "N O E L". The drawing had been saved (although it was yellowed with age) by my mom, who had cut it out of the newspaper. Back in the last century, the local newspaper would publish reprints of elementary school children's original art work that they had done to acknowledge this important holiday of the Christian faith. This was, perhaps, one of my son's first original works of art to be seen beyond his immediate circle of school friends and family. In reflecting on the familiar Nativity scene that he had drawn, as well as what my purchased cards said, it occurred to me that although I associate the word "N O E L" with Christmas, I was not 100% sure of what the word meant. I did not find the word in the copy of the Bible concordance that I normally use, so I looked it up in my gigantic Webster's dictionary. It's definition was so short, just referring to the French origin of the word, that I decided to check it out on a favorite sight on the Internet that my son had told me about several years ago---Wikipedia. They said the word can refer to either the Christmas celebration or a Christmas carol. Also, they said it was from the French word Noel, meaning "Christmas" which derives from the Old French word "niel"---a variant of "naeil". The Latin origin of that word is natilis ("birth"). FINALLY, I could see the connection! So the banner above, drawn by an eleven-year-old boy, really sums up the earthly life of Jesus Christ----his birth, then his death on the cross. And that is the gift God has given us that we celebrate at Christmas---the gift of his Son to die on the cross, as the sacrifice for our sins. Good work Son (with a capitol "S"), and good work son (with a small "s")! Merry Christmas! Tricia
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Expedition for Health!

Although I have mentioned First Place 4 Health in some of my posts, and I have a link to it on the homepage of my blog, I have never really explained what it is. For that reason, I decided to reprint this news release sent out to area media in Mountain Home, Arkansas: #### Every year, Americans spend billions of dollars on weight-loss programs and products. Many are on a search for a quick fix, unwilling to consider permanent changes in their lifestyle as the answer. However, the participants in the FBC First Place 4 Health classes have discovered that the Bible holds the answer to the obesity epidemic. By following the First Place 4 Health program, a faith-based weight loss plan supported and endorsed by registered dietitians and physicians, members of FBC First Place 4 Health classes have lost hundreds of pounds. Meeting in weekly support groups, the members of FBC First Place 4 Health classes follow a 12-week curriculum that is centered around achieving balance in four essential areas of their lives: emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical. First Place 4 Health helps members learn how to be victorious over past eating patterns and how to commit their minds and, ultimately, their bodies to God. FBC First Place 4 Health Leader, Tricia Turner, who is a Registered Dietitian that has worked in the field of weight management and wellness for over thirty years, states that she is a proponent of the program because it addresses the core issues that affect lifestyle choices. She explains that it is not just another "weight loss scheme" to con people out of their valuable time and money. The First Place 4 Health program has delivered faith-based, weight management instruction and support to small groups meeting in communities around the U.S., since 1981. First Place 4 Health has been active in more than 12,000 locations with over a half million members! The program points members to God's strength and creates a compassionate support group that helps members stay accountable in a positive environment. A free, informational meeting will be held at FBC (400 Club Blvd.) in Mountain Home on Wednesday, January 7, at 6:00 PM, to provide an overview of the program. There is no charge to attend the weekly meetings, but each participant must procure their own copy of the necessary literature. The First Place 4 Health Member's Kit, and First Place 4 Health 2009 Bible study entitled "Begin with Christ" can be ordered from major booksellers everywhere. For more details on First Place 4 Health, visit their website at www.FirstPlace4Health.com or www.myfbcmh.com . "First Place 4 Health is about more than weight loss---it's about lifestyle change that encourages every participant to find balance in his or her own life," states Carole Lewis, National Director of First Place 4 Health.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trinity Hiking

Although I know by faith that I am always hiking with "The Trinity", my recent visit to my son (pictured in first and third photos above) who lives out west, found me hiking in a physical location that actually bears the name "Trinity"! My son took me to an area in the Shasta-TRINITY National Forest that was high up in the mountains and listed in the publication "100 Classic Hikes in Northern California" as #52--Mount Eddy and the Deadfall Lakes. We started rather late in the day, after he had been working several hours, so we never actually made it all the way to Deadfall Lake; however, we covered enough territory to get in our RDA (Recommended Daily Activity) of 10,000 steps and I was able to satisfy my RDP (Recommended Daily Photography) requirement to the point of completely annoying my companion. If you would like to try this hike, you can get more complete directions at the Mt. Shasta Ranger District Office in Mt. Shasta, California. Miles of smiles and 10,000 Steps! Tricia Turner
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mountain Majesty

I can completely agree with this quote by former U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt: "I consider the evening twilight on Mt. Shasta one of the grandest sights I have ever witnessed." I took this photo last week while walking through the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden at the base of Mount Shasta. The origin of the name, "Shasta," is not known for sure, but one hypothesis says that it may be from a Russian word meaning "pure". That word "pure" is also how I would describe the drinking water flowing into people's homes in Mt. Shasta----it was the best I had ever tasted! In the photo above, the tallest peak is Mount Shasta, and the prominent satellite cone to the right is called Shastina (the Russian diminutive form of Shasta). I wonder if the numerous cans of diet Shasta-brand soda I drank when I was pregnant with my son, is the reason he now resides in the town of the same name ? Food for thought??--no, beverage for thought! Miles of smiles! Tricia
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Living Memorial Sculpture Garden

One of the hikes my son and I took last week was through the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden, located at the northwestern base of Mt. Shasta, in Siskiyou County, California. It was a perfect time for photography in such a place, because the sun was just beginning to disappear on the western horizon, casting long shadows and soft light over the beautiful landscape. The Living Memorial Sculpture Garden is situated on land provided by the USDA Forest Service. The Garden honors honorably discharged veterans of all conflicts and peace time. There are more than a dozen sculpture groups, each with a different title and significance. The one pictured above is entitled "The Flute Player". It is a tall and elegant female figure that plays a simple flute. When the breeze is right, sound comes forth. The sculptor, Dennis Smith (who is himself a Marine Corps veteran) said that for him the flute player symbolized peace and tranquility. In addition to the metal sculptures, thousands of evergreen trees have been planted throughout the sculpture garden, each one a living memorial to those who have served in the U.S. Military. This is a stop along U.S. Highway 97 that I would definitely recommend, and you can learn more about it at their website http://LivingMemorialSculptureGarden.org Miles of smiles! Tricia Turner
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Friday, December 5, 2008

North Arkansas College Expedition

A new event sponsored by the North Arkansas College Foundation was the impetus for a recent trip I made to Harrison, Arkansas, to attend a special luncheon for the donors and recipients of scholarships to North Arkansas College. The location of the gathering was the Durand Center---part of the new "center campus" for North Arkansas College in downtown Harrison. The Durand Center is the completely remodeled result of the conversion of an architecturally-distinctive building, originally constructed to house the Security Bank. The renovations have turned the new facility into a state of the art conference and educational center. The AHEC (Arkansas Health Education Center) office is also located there, on the first floor. I was fortunate enough to get a personal tour of the entire facility given by North Arkansas College Foundation Board Member (and former HHS Goblin classmate of mine!) Cathy Brandt. I was delighted to see that the conversion of the building provided for a very well-equipped institutional kitchen, suitable for servicing banquets or other food service-related activities. Although the recipient of the Dr. Frederick C. Turner Scholarship was not able to attend, I was able to enjoy a delightful dining experience with the recipient of the Joe F. Keeling Scholarship---Laura Smothers. Laura is the lovely lady on the left in above photo, which was taken of the two of us at the luncheon. The North Arkansas College Durand Center is an asset that Harrison and the surrounding area can be thankful for. Miles of smiles! Tricia Turner
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Thursday, December 4, 2008


One of the many enjoyable aspects of my recent visit to my son in the Pacific Northwest, was the opportunity to attend worship services in new locations. It was especially meaningful to visit the Evangelical Free Church of Mt. Shasta, California, because of their choice of one of the hymns. How appropriate it was that we sang the familiar Christmas hymn, "Go, Tell It on the Mountain!" as we marveled at the beauty of the snow-covered Mt. Shasta that reaches to over 14,000 feet just beyond the church doors (see upper left photo above). Since it was the first Sunday of Advent, the service included lighting the first candle of the traditional Advent wreath. If you didn't grow up in a faith that teaches about the Advent season, here's how Wikipedia describes it: Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming"), is a season in the Christian church, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus; in other words, the period immediately before Christmas. In the nearby small town of McCloud, California, which also is at the base of Mt. Shasta, the locals were busy getting their churches "spruced up" (literally!) for Christmas. The lower-left photo of the 100+ year-old Presbyterian church in McCloud, shows the spruce-like Christmas tree on its way to adorn a historic sanctuary, while the equally distinctive, brown, log-clad Catholic church across the street (background photo) was undergoing grooming on the outside to prepare for the season. At a nearby retail store, folks were outdoors making wreaths from spruce-like evergreens. I also observed many private vehicles with a spruce-like tree strapped to the top, awaiting the opportunity to become some one's lavishly-adorned Christmas tree. All these activities, made me wonder if this tiny hamlet, nestled among evergreen forests, had been the originator of the term "spruced-up for the holidays"!? Now that I am back home, I feel inspired to get my own house (and more importantly, my life and attitude) "spruced up for the holidays! I pray each of you will take the opportunity to receive God's great gift to us---the birth of his son, Jesus Christ---this Christmas! Blessings! Tricia Turner
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mountain Home Marathon for Kenya

WE FINISHED!!!----the 5K portion, that is, of the annual Mountain Home Marathon for Kenya. Today's event was a real test of dedication for the volunteers and participants who braved the blustery winds and cold temperatures along the route. I owe a special thanks to my pastor, David Johnson and his wife Roxanne, for enduring a bit of freezing sleet, while waiting at the finish line for me, so that we could have our annual "Kodak moment" for the occasion. The photo grid above represents four of the past years; we were even present for the first one although we don't have a photograph for it. How blessed we are to be physically able to walk the 3.2 miles, through a lovely community, for a cause that will benefit the kids of Katito, Kenya. This excerpt from a Lifeway publication is worth mentioning here: "Scripture uses the analogy of running and the Christian life several times. Both involve a starting line, a finish line, the need for endurance, and the necessity of competing according to rules. In the Christian life Jesus is BOTH our starting line and finish line (He is the author and completer of our faith). Furthermore, we have need for endurance as the Book of Hebrews reminds us often. And as believers, we must run our race with God's 'rulebook' (Scripture) always in view." I usually sign off my blog posts with "miles of smiles", but in honor of today's event, I will simply say "five kilometers of smiles"!!! Tricia Turner
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From Belle Meade to Santa Anita

At the time I made my visit to the historic Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee, this fall, I did so because I had seen the Interstate Exit signs to it several times in the past, and I was curious to know more about it. I prepared for the visit by reading up on its history on the Internet, but the thing that I learned that was most interesting to me, was not revealed until I was inside the mansion and taking the guided tour. The docent pointed out paintings and documents showing that a well-known thoroughbred that I had become intrigued with ---Sea Biscuit---has a bloodline that can be traced back to Belle Meade Plantation. On a visit my sister and I made with one of our California cousins, we posed for photos with a life size statue of Sea Biscuit at Santa Anita Horse Racing Park in California. Horse breeding was an important aspect of the Belle Meade farm's past, and one of their prominent horses was named Iroquois, who became famous in 1886, because it was the first American winner of the English Derby. Although Kentucky is more commonly thought of as the center of horse breeding, back in the 1800's, the area around Belle Meade (which means "beautiful meadow") was also a force to be reckoned with, in terms of breeding stock. Besides the livestock raised on the farm, there were crops to be cultivated, and as was common in those days, the field labor was done by slaves. One can tour the former slave quarters, the dairy barn, the smokehouse, the large groomed lawn,and the carriage house, as well as the interior of the mansion. Of course, there is a gift shop, and even a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal while contemplating the rich history of the place where you are dining. This was a very enjoyable afternoon for me, and I would recommend it if you are ever in the Nashville area. Go to www.bellemeadeplantation.com for more information. Miles of smiles! Tricia
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The Olvey Expedition

As my sister and I were going through our parents belongings after their death, we came across the letter jacket with a big chenille "O" sewed on the front that had been our father's "uniform" when he was the superintendent and basketball coach for the town of Olvey in eastern Boone County, Arkansas. Our mother was also a teacher there. The upper left hand photo was taken from the 1940 school album (called The Shadow) and shows our father wearing the letter jacket as he stands amidst the boys basketball team wearing their "O" sleeveless jerseys. Since the black, shiny Olvey letter jacket was in fairly good condition (our parents seldom threw away anything) we looked into donating it to the Boone County Historical Museum. The officials there had a pow-wow (aka Board Meeting) and determined that they could accept the jacket as a possible historical artifact for a future exhibit. The jacket held special meaning to us because our parents were not only dedicated employees of the Olvey school district in those months preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor, but they also lived on the school grounds in a small, mobile trailer that our father built himself. The Olvey school building (as shown in current-day photo above) was first occupied in 1930. Its first high school class to graduate was in 1933; the last one in 1945. However, Olvey continued as a grammar school until 1959. Many years later, the building was turned into a church, and our father helped build the rooftop steeple to signify its conversion. So when you are driving along Highway 62/412 between Harrison and Yellville, and you see the Olvey Bible Church sign, let your mind imagine the scene there when it was a bustling community (it even had its own tomato-canning factory!), school buses would be coming and going, students playing outside the school during recess, and our parents were practicing teaching skills that would later come in handy as they raised the two daughters, also shown above. Neither one of us turned out to be basketball players, but our parents DID instill in us a deep appreciation for the value of a good education. So "keep on learning"! Tricia
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Covered Wagon Expedition

The report that follows was written by my mother about twenty-five years ago, to go along with the picture above. The occasion was for her grandson (named Grover) to have something for a "Show and Tell" class in elementary school. The story is about my mother's father (also named Grover) and his wife, Effie. She wrote it as if it were the young Grover telling the story to his classmates as he held up the painting shown above: "Grandmother, at the age of 4, traveled in a covered wagon to Oklahoma to a farming country near Fort Sill. The family (consisting of her, her mother, and her father) was all that was on the long trip. They had their belongings and what they would need for camping along the way. A team of horses was used to pull the covered wagon that transported them. It took 17 days to make the trip from Lead Hill, Arkansas. Among their belongings were 16 head of mules. My great grandfather said that at night when they camped, he would tie the team of horses out to graze the green grasses. In the early mornings when they would start to travel again, all the mules would follow the wagon. When they would pass through a town, the mules would all get very close to the wagon for protection. No mules were lost. One night at camp, my grandmother and my great grandmother laid their hats on the coupling pole (or wagon tail) for the night. The next morning, they left camp really early, and forgot about the hats hanging on the back of the covered wagon. Needless to say, the hats were lost. The family came back to Arkansas by another mode of travel within the next two years." I am very thankful my mother wrote out this account, because it gives a little glimpse of what life was like in rural Arkansas in 1919. It is a reminder to me that what we call "hard times" today, dims in comparison to the hardships of life that our ancestors experienced. As far back as I can remember, anytime I was going to be traveling in Oklahoma, mother would tell me to keep a lookout for that hat she lost---Sooooo, if you ever see an old hat blowing like a tumbleweed across the fields, remember this story! Miles of smiles! Tricia
ADDENDUM:  I recently had the opportunity to travel along two historic pioneer trails, and observed two items that reminded me of my mother's story about traveling by covered wagon with her parents.  The first was a mural in the town of Hines, Oregon, in Southern Oregon, that had a mural reflecting its location on the Oregon Trail.  Since it showed a mother and daughter in bonnets, I thought of my mother and grandmother, wearing their bonnets!
The other item I saw was in Lamar, Kansas, along the historic Santa Fe Trail.  It was a statue called "The Madonna of the Trail", of a pioneer mother---facing the unknown with her children.  She was wearing a bonnet, as well!
I am thankful for these reminders of the hardships our ancestors overcame when they were pioneers in this country called the United States of America.  Remembering their perseverance, gives me "Miles of Smiles"!  Tricia

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wimbledon & "The Royal Box"

On a trip I took to England in the late twentieth century, I happened to be there at the same time the famous Wimbledon Tennis Championship Matches were being played. Although I was not a big tennis fan, my traveling companion was, so the two of us took the train from London to the site of the town where the matches were being held. Once we got through the ticket gates to get spectators onto the grounds of the park, we split up. She was going to try to see an actual tennis match, and my only goal was to take photographs of all the color and spectacle that are associated with an event like this in the wide world of sports. As I was wondering around, I saw a small sign on the side of a giant-sized building that said "Press Entry". Back in those days, in my home state, people that did news writing or news photography would apply to the state police headquarters for a Press Pass, that would allow them to pass through barriers, etc., in order to get to the location of a news event. I had one of those press passes because of my work as a state newsletter editor, as well as some freelance photojournalism. Having no idea if it was good in England at something like this, I looked into my wallet, got out my press pass, showed it to the official at the door, and without a word, I was inside! What I was inside of, I had no idea, so I just wandered around trying to figure out where I was, and what was going on. I decided I must be in the media area for the famous "Wimbledon Center Court". Press photographers stood in line for the opportunity of a ten minute interval of getting a seat in center court to photograph and report on whoever might be playing when that photographer's turn came up. It turns out John McEnroe was one of the players out on the court when my turn came, so I got to photograph him making some shots, as well as throwing one of the "hissy fits" he was so well known for. After my brief interlude as a spectator in Center Court was up, I continued to roam the inner hallways of the big green building until I came to an open door to a room with no one in it, but filled with gorgeous, dark green wicker furniture. I loved wicker furniture, and besides, I was tired, so I went into the empty room to sit down and rest a spell. I sat there a while, noticing what a great view this room had of the tennis court it looked out over, although there was not a match going on in that particular tennis court at the time. But, I thought, it would make a good photograph anyway---showing the beautiful, throne-like wicker chairs, their matching fabric cushions, and the tennis court in the background. So I brought my camera to my eye to snap the shot. Just then, a guard seemed to come out of no where, approach me, and say, "I am sorry, madam, but no photography is allowed in "The Royal Box". I quickly put away my camera. However, the guard had not told me to leave, so I sat there a few minutes longer, replaying in my mind what he had just said. What did he mean "royal box"? My only experience with the word "royal box" was in the context of a box of gelatin with the brand-name "Royal". But the time was approaching for me to meet my friend for the train ride back to London, so I exited the room with the pretty green wicker furniture. After I was just outside the room and in the adjacent hallway, I looked above the door to see that there was a sign up there saying "Queen's Box". I had not seen the sign when I first entered the room because I was so captivated by the green wicker furniture. "Oh, my!" I thought, not believing what had just happened! So here is my travel tip for this blog entry: If you are in a country ruled by a monarchy, and you see the sign "Royal Box", it is probably not referring to a gelatin box! (Disclaimer: I am pretty sure that an incident like this could not happen in the post 9/11 era, and the state police quit issuing press passes years ago. So it is safe to say "Long live the Queen!")
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ICE!---The Festival

Harbin, China is the site of one of the four largest ice festivals in the world----BUT, if you can't make it there this winter, you can still get a sample of the artistry of their famous event right here in the U.S. of A! The location is the Gaylord Hotel properties in Grapevine, Texas or Nashville, Tennessee. I will report on the one in Grapevine, Texas, as that is the resort where I was able to view this "happening" in person. The history of ice carving goes back hundreds of years; legend says the ruler of the northern province of China where Harbin is located was trying to figure out something to keep his people motivated and busy during the extremely cold, harsh winters of that area. The ruler came up with the idea of ice carving competitions. The tradition continued and grew with each passing winter, so that ever since 1985, the Harbin Ice Carving Festival has been a major tourism event in China. So it is not surprising with the expansion of a global economy and improved refrigeration/transportation processes, China is exporting their artistry to the U.S.; it takes about five months for the Chinese sculptors to carve their numerous themed pieces, yet the U.S. showings only last for about fifty days! The craftsmen use three kinds of ice: clear, colored with dyes, and white (resembling packed snow), and it must be placed in an area for the public to view it that is maintained at a very frosty 9 degrees F. Your normal windbreaker is not enough to keep you comfortable in 9 degree temperatures, so the price of the ICE! exhibit ticket includes a lovely parka (I am pictured in the gold parka provided, in above photo) The upper right photo above shows the crystal clear ice used for carving the life-sized nativity scene, as well as some of the colored and white ice visible in the life-size penguins in lower photo. So if the stress of the political elections has left you longing for a place to "chill out", then plan a visit to the ICE! exhibit---you won't regret it. Miles of smiles! Tricia Turner
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nashville's Standard at the Smith House

Remember the good feeling you get when the hometown sports team you're rooting for wins the championship? That's the way I felt recently when I visited friends from my home town that have made the "championship list" in Nashville, Tennessee, for their work in historic preservation of a Nashville landmark. The honor they have received is called the Nashville Metropolitan Historical Commission Architectural Award. The bronze medallion declaring them as recipients is seen beside the Smith House Front Entry (which is also featured in a well-known painting of famous entryways in Nashville), along with the medallion indicating that their property is on the National Register of Historic Places in Tennessee. Jerry and Sharon Hudson Smith are graduates of Harrison High School in Northwest Arkansas. After they attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Jerry went on to seminary and was the pastor of a church near Memphis for many years. But in a move that Jerry described as a "paradigm shift", they left the position of a full-time pastorate and started a project, along with their adult children, of restoring a three-story, brick townhouse in downtown Nashville, into a fine dining restaurant, as well as the living quarters for Jerry and Sharon. The impressive work the family has done was featured in a special on PBS television, and the townhouse can also be seen in several music videos filmed in Nashville by various recording artists. I was able to join Jerry and Sharon for a lovely and delicious lunch in the enclosed courtyard section of their restaurant last month. When they told me about some of the famous people that have dined there, I was impressed! And it wasn't just country music recording artists either--- since The Standard at the Smith House is next door to the Lifeway Publishing Company Headquarters, they have had the opportunity to host many famous authors and religious leaders as well. So if you EVER get a chance, be sure to visit The Standard at the Smith House, located at 167 Rosa Parks Blvd. (8th Avenue) in downtown Nashville. If you are there on a Sunday, you may not be able to get food from their extensive restaurant menu, but you CAN get food of a different kind (that is, "fed spiritually") by attending contemporary worship services held in their ballroom on Sundays. You can get more details and see more photos at their website, which is www.smithhousenashville.com or phone 615-254-1277. Miles of smiles! Tricia Turner
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U of A Foods Laboratory Dedication

Since I am always looking for an excuse to visit the University of Arkansas when the maple trees are putting on their dazzling display of color, I was delighted to receive an invitation to the 10th Annual School of Human Environmental Sciences Homecoming Breakfast held this morning on the Fayetteville campus. The highlight of today's event was to be the dedication of the newly renovated Donald and Linda Wray Foods Laboratory. Since I had spent many hours in that food lab during my college years, I was eager to see how it had changed to reflect the world of the 21st century. The basic "footprint" of the space is the same, but it has been updated with ventilation hoods over the cook tops (there was no overhead ventilation when I had classes there), plus the old, slow draining sinks have been replaced with deeper ones with state of the art fixtures. New appliances, including an institutional-size ice maker round out the furnishings. I am pictured behind two counter top mixers in the lower right hand corner, and the U of A staff member that was the "general" in command of the changes is pictured in the upper left hand corner. She is Donna Graham, Associate Dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences. I say "Hats Off!" (or should that be "Chef Hats Off!) to a job well done! Miles of smiles! Tricia Turner
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Frosty Expedition

For the expedition described in this posting, I only had to travel as far as my front yard! A great benefit of getting out of bed early on a cold, frosty morning in the valley where I live, is the possibility of getting to see a somewhat rare phenomenon that few people ever have the opportunity to witness----"frost flowers". They come from the plant the locals call "frostweed" (aka Verbesina virginica). The frost flowers form just above ground level when the first hard freeze forces water out of the stems to form various rounded or curving shapes of ice. Last year, I even "harvested" some of the beautiful, icy formations and sprayed them with sugar-free raspberry syrup to make a hillbilly version of a snowcone! Each icy formation is different, and the intricacy of the frost sculptures remind me of a verse from one of my favorite Psalms of praise to God: "Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14a (One reason I like Psalm 139 so much is because it is a fantastic oracle for the traveler---especially the paraphrased version in The Message.) But if you are not a morning person, don't count on ever getting to see anything but photographs of these frost flowers. They disappear quickly as the sun heats up the ground where they are "blooming". Miles of frosty smiles! Tricia
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Holy Roller at the Clinton Presidential Center

There is a special exhibit in progress at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, called "Art of the Chopper". However, I did not use "Art of the Chopper" as the title of this post, thinking that readers who knew I did culinary tours would assume it was some story about a super-duper food chopper gadget. Rather, the post is titled after the name of one of the motorcycles on display called "The Holy Roller" by artist Mike Brown. A more descriptive spelling might be "hole-ly" roller because of the unusual open space hole in the front tire. (You can see me gazing through the large hole in the wheel in the upper, right hand corner of the photo grid above.) My non-engineering brain could not figure out how in the world the thing could roll, but I was assured by museum staff that all choppers in the exhibit had to actually work. I was particularly interested in the chopper on display by well-known enthusiast Arlen Ness. I was able to see Arlen Ness in person several years ago at the Laughlin, Nevada, motorcycle rally, and hear him tell the history of some of his creations. The brochure for the exhibit states that the "chopper" is a uniquely American icon, a creation that demands remarkable design and engineering while clearly expressing the artistry and personalities of their builders and owners. The exhibit features 30 of the finest, most exceptional custom motorcycles ever displayed. There is no extra fee to see the motorcycle exhibit--just the normal fees of visiting this new landmark on the Arkansas River that contains all kinds of historical artifacts from the Clinton years in the White House. The motorcycles will be on display there until February 8, 2009. For more information, log on to www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org Keep on rollin' !! Tricia
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kayak/Campout Adventure at Lake Ouachita State Park

It's been another great weekend to get out and enjoy God's Great Outdoors in The Natural State---ARKANSAS, that is! Whereas last weekend's post originated from the northern section of Arkansas' Scenic 7 Byway in Newton County, this weekend found me exploring the southern end of that world-famous highway---enjoying a weekend planned by the very competent staff at Lake Ouachita State Park near Hot Springs National Park. It was such a wonderful experience, I want to give you all the details about it, which I will do on a future posting, (along with the photos that I promised the 14 participants from all over the country) so that you can put it on your calendars for 2009! Miles of smiles! Tricia Turner
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Colors at Maplewood

For many years, area leaf peepers have used Maplewood Cemetery in Harrison, Arkansas, as their gauge for the extent of the transformation of deciduous trees of the Ozarks into flaming torches of color. I usually try to have my camera with me when I visit there in the fall of the year, in hopes of getting just the perfect photograph to capture the essence of autumn. In fact, one of the first photographs I ever sold for real money was taken in Maplewood in the fall. There are several other reasons I like to visit Maplewood Cemetery---the most significant being that the "family burial plot" is there, with memorials to my relatives that have finished their earthly "expedition". It is this concept of the "family burial plot" that I wanted to write about. A few years ago, I met for the first time, a retired lady at a party, and we were making chitchat as we became acquainted. She asked about my background, and I told her I grew up in Harrison. She said that she and her husband had looked into retiring in Harrison when they moved away from the big city, but decided against it. I want to quote the reason she said they did not choose Harrison: "You know, if you don't have a plot in Maplewood Cemetery, you will never be accepted there." WOW! I had never heard that before! That meant that, since I DID have a plot at Maplewood Cemetery, I must be accepted---part of the "IN CROWD"!! I need never feel dejected or left out EVER again, because my family has a burial plot at Maplewood! I really "dig that"! Miles of smiles! Tricia
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Sunday, October 19, 2008


I had the wonderful opportunity to visit a robotic dairy for the first time recently when I toured Hope Acres in Brogue, PA. Our tour guide explained how the cows are trained to "Que up" on their own to start the milking process whenever they felt like it, instead of just twice a day as in the "days of old" before robotic milking. Speaking of those "days of old", one of my childhood memories is being on my grandparents farm where my Uncle Warren G would let me help him with his milking chores, even though I slowed him down from his usual routine. He was a very patient man, as I could only get out a drop or two of milk, despite my intense efforts, whereas he had the bucket full of fresh milk in what seemed like an effortless few minutes. I need to ask him what he used to clean the cows' teats that corresponded to the "automatic carwash"-type brushes I observed for this purpose in the robotic dairy. I have forgotten that part of the process---or you don't suppose we didn't clean them! Another feature of the robotic dairy that my grandparents farm definitely lacked was that each cow had an identifying radio-frequency tag that the robotic milker read, so that each cow could easily be checked on the monitor screen in the dairy barn to see how much milk she had produced at any given moment---pretty remarkable, huh? Oh yeah, another thing the milk cows at my grandparents farm didn't have is water beds and automated back scratchers. The folks at Hope Acres say the water beds protect the cows' bones/joints, enabling them to be milk producers for more years. The caption for the upper left hand corner photo might be one I recall from my travels called "Show your teats". The first time I ever saw that phrase, I was riding behind my husband on the Harley along the Interstate in South Dakota approaching Sturgis. The phrase was hand-scrawled on brown card board and attached to fences of the fields that had been turned into temporary campgrounds for the thousands of bikers that descend upon Sturgis each August. And I just didn't see one sign, it seemed as though about every 1/2 mile, I would see another hand-made sign with the same phrase. I wondered about it silently in my mind, still confused why these signs were up there. Then finally, I tapped my husband on the shoulder and asked loudly (so as to be heard over the roar of the V-twin engine) "What do those signs mean that say 'show your teats'?" As I said the words out loud, it dawned on my naive little head what they were asking, and I was "flabbergasted"! Naughty talk, for sure!! However, in the case of dairy farms, showing their teats is exactly what the cow must do to enable the rotating brushes of the robotic milker to clean her teats thoroughly before the actual milking process begins. Following the cleaning, the four suction cups of the milking machine (show in the upper right hand corner) are laser-guided to attach firmly to the teats and begin the milking process. The milk from the four separate teats goes into four separate collection devices, and each one is tested for the presence of harmful bacteria before the milk is all combined, and credited to this particular cow on the computer monitor. After the milking process is completed, the cow steps out of the stall and returns to her regular duties of eating and resting. Another cow has been waiting in line after her, so the new cow steps into position, and the process starts all over again. There are several robotic dairies around the country, and many of them allow groups to observe this fascinating use of technology. To learn more about the one I visited, you can go to their website www.thebrowncow.net Since the Bible talks about a "land of milk and honey", I would recommend a tour of a dairy farm to the youngsters of this era, so they can learn that REAL milk comes from one of God's creations called a cow. It has not always been in the carton you buy at the grocery store! Miles of smiles!! Tricia
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