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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