Friday, November 27, 2009

Reflections Expedition

The occasion behind the "Reflections Expedition" was the annual luncheon of the North Arkansas College Foundation for scholarship donors and recipients, held in Harrison, Arkansas, at the college's downtown location, called "The Durand Center". I was attending to represent scholarships in the name of my late father, Joe F. Keeling, and my late husband, Dr. Fred C. Turner. As attendees gather in the banquet room, a large wall screen in the room is telling a brief synopsis of the life of the donor who is be remembered. "Remembering" is one definition of the word "reflection", and that is just what all of us did, as we looked back on the lives of those being honored. However, as I was taking some photographs of the Durand Center to put with this posting, I recalled, with a smile. another definition of the word "reflection". The lower part of the photo above, is the half-block section of the Durand Center that is directly adjacent to its location on Main Street (or "The Four Lane" as us local old-timers refer to it). Whenever my husband and I would ride our motorcycle through Harrison, I noticed we always went through downtown, instead of taking the bypass. Fred very logically explained to me the reason why---the downtown route took us by that long stretch of reflective windows, where he could look with pride at how well he had polished all the chrome on the Harley, as well as the profile of the couple on the motorcycle. After he told me that, we got to where we waved at the window when we went by, so we could practice the "secret sign" one motorcycle rider gives to another that they pass on the highway. Bikers "in the know" always wave with a hand below the waist, and NEVER above the waist! (This is just a little tidbit I will share with you, that the bike salesman won't tell you.)

In addition to getting to meet the recipient of the Dr. Fred C. Turner Scholarship, Mrs. Jamie Cheek, (pictured in lower left photo), I was delighted to be seated at the same table with long-time friends, Dr. Robert Langston, and his charming wife, Frankie (They are pictured in the lower right photo with the Langston Scholarship recipient, Ms. Kayla Frederick). Since I had not visited with them in years, we "reflected" on lots of things from the past. I recalled a time I introduced Dr. Langston to someone as the doctor who delivered my son. He very humbly responded that all he did was "catch" the 8 lb. 8 oz. bundle of joy, as the infant made his entrance into the world. As I reflected upon how I originally met Frankie Langston, it gave me the opportunity to thank her for making a personal visit to my home in the first weeks after Grover was born, to encourage our family to not delay in returning to regular church service attendance. She assured me that as a Registered Nurse, with years of experience in taking care of infants in the First Baptist Church nursery, our treasured little baby would be in good hands. And she was right! In fact, he was in much more capable hands under her care, than under mine!
Yet another "reflection" I had as I was taking photographs for the blog, was remembering some significant events that took place at the Seville Hotel, located directly across the street from the Durand Center. Not only did I attend numerous social events there in high school, but it was the location of my "debut" speaking in front of a group, outside of a classroom. A local civic organization asked me to come speak at their luncheon meeting in the hotel, to tell them about a trip to Italy, that my father and I took whenever I was a sophomore in high school. I had a slide projector with slides from our trip, and told with excitement about all the incredible sights we saw on our trip. (I credit that trip to Italy with my father as the source of my "Expedition Fever" that has been an ongoing "infection" throughout my life!) Finally, an extremely joyous occasion took place at the Seville Hotel, in August, 1992, when we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of my mother and dad, there---surrounded by friends and family who had come to wish them well. As I was taking the photographs, I noticed a young family posing for photographs in front of the historic building, just as others before them have done for generations. I am very thankful for the recent renovation of the Hotel Seville property, and would definitely recommend that you visit it soon, and often!
The last photo collage shows several different views of the Durand Center, whose architecture I have admired, since its original construction as The Security Bank. I am thankful that is has been "re purposed" for use by North Arkansas College. Because of my history with the college, it pleases me to see it do well. I was living in Harrison when the college first started, and was even a Nutrition Instructor there at one time. But my sister is the one with the most history at Northark. In fact, the 2003 College Graduation Program included her photograph, and a tribute that started with these words: "For the first time in the history of North Arkansas College, an employee will receive the Board of Trustees Award. Frankie Bellora, who is retiring this year as administrative assistant to the president, is being honored for her 29 years of service to Northark." I am very honored to be known as "Frankie's sister" at the college! All this flood of memories that the Foundation Luncheon brought up, reminded me of the verse that helped me deal with the sudden death of my husband. It is the verse that changed my attitude of sorrow and self-pity, to an attitude of gratitude. Philippians 1:3 says "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." This is the time of year for giving thanks, so I hope you will reflect on whose memory you will thank God for. Wishing you "Miles of REFLECTIVE Smiles"!! Tricia Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Today was the Sixth Annual Mountain Home Marathon for Kenya ( ). This great community in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas continues to draw runners from all over the country, as they run (or walk) for the very worthwhile cause of helping the children of Katito and Kiserian in Kenya, Africa. The amount of money raised over the past six years is almost $100,000!!! The license plates of vehicles I saw in the parking lot this morning included California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Iowa, Georgia, and Ohio!

As a First Place 4 Health leader, I was delighted to see so many First Place 4 Health members and alums, either participating in the walk/run themselves, or serving as a volunteer in some capacity to make the event run smoothly. In fact, Race Director Laurie Kasinger is herself a First Place 4 Health alum. During one of the First Place classes, she shared with the group that one of the reasons she envisioned this event several years ago, was because she loved running, and she wanted to put her love for running into serving God somehow. Since the Bible tells us that when we are serving others, we are, in fact, serving God---then this event is definitely fulfilling the purpose for which she intended it. Hundreds of children in Africa have benefited from the resources generated through the Mountain Home Marathon for Kenya. The World Vision humanitarian service organization is the arm of outreach that turns money raised in Mountain Home, Arkansas, to tangible benefits in the distant land of Kenya.
You have probably heard stories about athletes who have certain rituals that they feel they must do in conjunction with their particular competition, and I am no exception. The ritual (perhaps "cherished tradition" would be a better term) is having my photo made with my pastor, Dr. David Johnson, and his lovely wife Roxanne. The photo collage shows our mug shots over the last several years (note also the various colors of our official event T-shirts). The 2009 photo is the one in the upper right hand corner of the collage below:

It takes LOTS of volunteers to put on an event of this magnitude, and some of them are shown in this collage: Registration workers, medical personnel, sound/music guys, volunteer food preparers/food servers, volunteer massage therapists, finish line time keepers, and, of course, the Race Director, Laurie Kasinger. She is shown in center photograph, along with Master of Ceremonies, Dr. David Johnson. There were also dozens of volunteers out along the many miles of Baxter County traversed by the full marathon participants, although they are not pictured here. Then there are the faithful sponsors who provide so much financial support: Regional Family Medical Center, Cardiovascular Group, North Arkansas Medical Associates, Mountain Home Real Estate, Baxter County Regional Hospital, First Baptist Church /MH, and Arkansas State University/MH. A big THANK YOU to all! All these people are illustrations of Hebrews 12:1 that says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Marathon Miles of Smiles! Tricia
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

The "Rake or Ride" Expedition

After my plans fell through to go kayaking on the Buffalo River today due to logistical problems, I knew that since I had promised myself I would get outside and absorb some of that much needed Vitamin D-supplying sunshine, the only other alternative seemed to be raking the leaves screaming for attention throughout my yard. I got out the rakes, but found it to be more fun riding them around the yard like a stick horse, than actually raking up the leaves! AHA! I remembered! The website for the kayak outfitter also had a section on horseback riding. That was it----I could "ride" instead of "rake"!

After phoning them to make a reservation, and using Mapquest to tell me how long my drive to get there would be, I kissed the rakes good bye, saluted the piles of leaves in my yard, and headed for Wild Bill's Outfitters (, just a few miles south of Yellville, at the intersection of Highway 14 South and Highway 268 East. The place is a modern-day version of the old-fashioned general store, with everything from gas to groceries, a cafe, clean restrooms, Ozark-made souvenirs, and you can even take the deer you just killed there, to not only show it off to your buddies, but Wild Bill's is an official wildlife check station. Upon arrival, the courteous gentleman behind the counter ("Bo"), handed me the mandatory liability release form, which reminds you that you might never return from this adventure, and then asks for the name of your next of kin. And of course, those horseback riding release forms always ask how much experience you have had at riding horses. I pondered: "Should I put down that I got my Girl Scout badge in horsemanship when I was in elementary school?" No, I decided, that was not as impressive as my real crowning achievement in horsemanship---surviving the two day trail ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and then back up again! Now THAT was notable. But then I remembered when I told my Grand Canyon tale to the wrangler of a horseback ride I took along the beaches of Honduras, the guy said"Yeah, dozens of my customers say they have ridden in the Grand Canyon." So much for bragging about that! But then there was that trail ride in Yosemite National Park---that was the only ride I have been on that required helmets---and rightly so! After it was over, I described it as rock climbing on the back of a horse, rather than a trail ride. It was incredibly challenging for me as a rider---not to mention what it must have been like for the horse! I have learned it is best to understate your experience, rather than overstate it, so I ended up not mentioning any of my previous escapades on the back of a horse. When I got outside to the corral, the trail boss for the day (her name was Kathy, or "Kat" as her friends call her) already had the horses saddled up and ready to go. She has several years of experience leading trail rides at Wild Bill's, and had the congenial, easy-going personality such a job requires. She introduced me to my horse for the afternoon, a lovely trooper named "Major".
The top photo above shows the typical terrain we rode through---dense hardwood forests on seldom traveled back roads. The great thing about riding in the Ozarks this time of year is that the leaves are off the trees, so you can better see the actual lay of the land. Also, since we had had a couple of hard freezes, the activity of pesky ticks and chiggers is down. The lower left photo shows Kat, and the other rider of our trio--a young lady named Julia. The lower right photo shows Kat and Julia on their horses at the edge of a tall bluff overlooking a deep canyon with a tributary of the Buffalo at the bottom. Notice the horse ears in the foreground of the photo. That is my horse and we stayed back several yards from the edge of the bluff. The reason being, I had seen the drop-off of the bluff as we approached it, and all I could think of was my First Place 4 Health memory verse that says: "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God" (Psalm 20:7) Since I had only met my horse named Major thirty minutes ago, I definitely did not trust him to stay away from the edge of the bluff! So, I opted out of that photo opportunity. We will just have to imagine how beautiful it was!
Besides, before starting my trail ride, I had made the short drive from Wild Bill's to Buffalo Point, and taken the photo of the gorgeous Buffalo River, that you can see above in the top of the collage. Kat took the photo of me that is shown below, when we reached the very scenic spot called Water Creek, that was at the midpoint of our ride. Seeing these pretty flowing bodies of water, makes me not feel so resentful toward the all those gloomy days of rain we had last month. The sunshine of today, and the opportunity to get out and enjoy God's great outdoors, has more than made up for it. HAPPY TRAILS! Tricia Posted by Picasa