Monday, February 24, 2014


First Baptist Church of Mountain Home, Arkansas,  has a very successful winter sports program called Soul Sneakers, that had its final competitions for the season on Saturday, February 22, 2014.  The activies were held in the gymnasium section of the church's Christian Life Center (CLC). 

The program spanned a time period from November through February, and was designed for boys and girls ages 4 - 12 .

and grandparents are able to watch their children's games from bleachers located at both ends of the basketball courts.

Volunteers experienced at working with youth athletics direct the program.

Kitchen volunteers in this photo, are scrubbing potatoes to make a delicious and nutritious snack  available for purchase at the Concession Stand.

These volunteers show there are also sweet treats available for purchase, as well as pizza from a local restaurant.  Money earned from the concessions goes toward providing scholarships for youth to participate in the program, who would not be able to do so otherwise.

These greeters/volunteers at the reception desk were busy filling balloons with helium, giving the CLC a very festive atmosphere!

A professional photographer worked with the program to provide quality prints of the athletes in their uniforms.

are plenty of activities for children to participate in at the recreation area of the CLC, as they wait for their game time to come.

The recreation area is also a good place for siblings of the players to meet their friends and "hang out" during the games.

The front part of the CLC has vending machines, tables, and chairs where the grown-ups like to congregate.

Several  local businesses provided items that were used for door prize drawings for those attending. 

In addition, the local Chili's Restaurant gave a percentage of their sales on February 23 to patrons who presented this Soul Sneakers coupon.

FBC Pastor Tad Rogers, shown in the tan jacket, gave devotionals at half time to the athletes and guests in attendance.  Also, the athletes have a memory verse from the Bible that they study all week long.

Professional radio man, Dale Hoffman, did a great job with the announcements, game commentary, and music selection, for each Saturday that the events took place.

This handsome young man is showing the Soul Sneakers Medal he received on the final Saturday, as well as an example of what the basketball jerseys looked like.

Participants could also register for this white and pink bicycle that was given away at the end of the series.

Likewise, this black bicycle was presented to a lucky youth participant at the end of the Soul Sneakers series.

This folder was given to each child who participated in the 2014 Awards Celebration.

This photo shows a close-up of the Soul Sneakers award medal.  The white center section pivots to show the name of the athlete, their team, and date, on the other side.  I am using this as the visual aid for one of the memory verses for a different (grown-up) program I am in at FBC, called First Place 4 Health ( ) .  It says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  (James 4:7).  Activities offered at First Baptist Church in Mountain Home will help adults and children do both of those things!  Next month, NFL Flag Football will start on the football fields at First Baptist Church, for ages 4-15.  It emphasizes Christian values, sportsmanship, player/coach development for all skill sets---every player receives an award.   For information on this and all the many exciting things going on at First Baptist Church, you can phone the church office at 870-425-6961.  This is a place that will give you "Miles of Smiles"!!  Tricia

Monday, February 17, 2014


A small group of dedicated hikers met on the morning of February 14, at Minnie Harris park in Harrison, Arkansas, for the purpose of carpooling to Jasper, Arkansas, to hike to the summit of Round Top Mountain.  I had hiked the Round Top Trail in the past, but it was several years ago, when the leaves were still on all the deciduous trees, so views of the landscape were somewhat limited.  I was looking forward to seeing the landscape outlined in white, from the "remnants" of a recent thick blanket of snow, that covered the Ozarks. 

There were major improvements at the trail head since the last time I had visited there.  Thanks to the Newton County Resource Council, government grants, and local donations, two permanent structures have been built: one houses the rest rooms (simple pit toilets) and the other houses a Visitor Center that is open seasonally.  There were trail map brochures on the outside of the Visitor Center, that told about Round Top Mountain history, archaeology, and geology. The parking lot has also been improved to provide better access, as well as providing for an increase in the number of cars that can park at one time.  There is also a large wooden sign, with  a trail map carved into it.  In addition, a stone memorial bench is placed in front of the wooden trail map, to allow one to sit down and review the directions, before proceeding up the mountain.

The trail starts through the woods, just above the Visitor Center.  This photo shows one of the 30 wooden benches that are strategically placed along the trail for rest or contemplation.

A short distance up the trail, a memorial plaque has been placed to mark the location of the crash of a military airplane in the same month as when we were visiting---February---but before I was born.

Wreckage from the crash surrounds the plaque, as it lists the names of the five souls on board that perished that cold, foggy, icy night.  Reports say that the fuel leaking from the wreckage went down into the crevices between the rocks, and continued to cause explosions several hours after the plane went down.  I have a much more vivid memory of a different disaster that occurred in this area, because I was working at the hospital where the casualties were taken.  This disaster is listed at as #5 of the ten worst bus disasters in United States history.  It is also mentioned on the list of U.S. disasters by death toll.  I remember it, because after bedtime, on the evening of June 5, 1980, my boss phoned me to tell me to report to the Boone County Hospital immediately, because our Disaster Plan was in effect.  Since we had biannual Disaster Drills, he was quick to tell me this WAS NOT a drill.  I worked at the hospital as a Registered Dietitian, and head of the Dietary Department.  When I arrived at my department, I saw that the hospital dining room had been designated as a secondary triage site.  Furthermore, since I was in charge of the Dietary Department, I was in charge of this secondary triage area.  I was told to assist with treating the minor injuries.  Can I just say that if you ever have a dietitian treating cuts and scrapes, it can only mean that every other resource must be unavailable---and that was exactly the case.  Twenty two people died in that tragic accident.  The time period was when CNN television news was in its infancy as a 24-hour news television station.  Since this awful accident was about the only thing that happened that night, it was a HUGE news story, and was quickly picked up by all the major networks.

As our group continued along the trail, we started to get pelted by a gentle drizzle.  Fortunately, the temperatures were above freezing, so it did not cause additional icing of the trail.  It is a good reminder that rain gear is a handy thing to carry with you when hiking!

As one continues out of the woods, and up to the next layer of limestone ridges, there are some stone steps that have been placed, to make it easier to know where the best access point is located.

The trail runs alongside the limestone walls of the mountain ridge, for quite some distance.

The trail also goes UNDER some of the bluffs.  Bluff shelters such as these were said to be inhabited by the Ozark Bluff Dwellers.  This shelter was probably not inhabited year round, because it is small and there is no constant water source nearby. 

The crevices between the bluffs had not received much sun, and hence there was not much melting of the snow.  One had to be very careful navigating the icy steps at this point!

Once you make it to the summit of Round Top, you find yourself on an open plateau, with scattered pine trees and deciduous trees.  Most of the snow at the top had melted.

When we made it to the top, the hike organizer---Leslie---brought out her heart-shaped box of chocolate/peanut butter treats to reward the brave hikers who endured!  This was a very thoughtful gesture, especially considering it was Valentine's Day!

I made this collage in honor of Valentine's Day, and the red part is a colorized "neon" image of one of the pools of water I noticed at the summit of Round Top.  Can you see the shape of a heart?  ("heart" is laying sideways).  The married couple pictured out on the rock escarpment in the insert, told me that they have decided they are going to start a tradition of always going on a hike together on Valentine's Day, because they had such an enjoyable time!

This photo shows the husband trekking out to find the end of the summit escarpment, followed cautiously by his wife.  The recent snow had made the moss on top of the limestone such a bright green, one almost needed sunglasses!

A split rail fence, and wooden benches mark the scenic overlook at the summit, and make it a prime location for taking photos, resting, and having a snack!

At various locations along the trail, the forest opens up to expansive views of the Ozark Mountains. 

The river shown in this photo is the Little Buffalo River, and runs through the town of Jasper, Arkansas, at the base of the mountain. 

The low spots between the mountains that one can see in the distance, are called "Gaps" by us locals (as well as some map makers!).

When I saw the carefully arranged stack of stones along the trail, I was reminded of the story of Joshua in the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:7b) where he said, "These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever  (that the flow of the Jordan River was cut off, before the Ark of the Lord, so that God's people could cross the river)"

I mentioned the geographical term "gap" earlier, and one of the well-known locations is called "LOW GAP".  It has become even more well known since a well-known chef left the big city, and started running the Low Gap Cafe  ( 870-861-5848 ).  Our group went there for lunch, and had a nice time visiting with one another, after our hike.  The place was packed, which is pretty amazing for a cafe, whom some might say was "located in the middle of nowhere!"  If you are interested in enjoying one of these outdoor adventures in the Ozarks, you can email organizer Leslie Jones Cleary at   for more information.  You will find getting outdoors will give you "Miles of Smiles"!  Tricia

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


For several weeks, I have been reviewing photographs I have taken, trying to find a suitable visual aid for one of my First Place 4 Health memory verses.  After praying for ideas several times, the word "Nametags" scrolled across the screen in my mind.  It started me thinking about all the nametags I had worn on my various expeditions the last several years.  The one foremost in my memory, during the Winter Olympics now in progress in Russia,was the nametag I had for my trip to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver four years ago.  There are blogs about those experiences in my archives, for March 1 and March 4, 2010.
The nametag I had for a Travel Trade Show called "Go West Summit" is a reminder of the blogs that I wrote dated February 18, 20, 27, of 2012.

Being a part of the Media for the Star-Spangled Sailabration in Baltimore provided material for blogs published June 22, 24, and 28 of 2012.
One of the most unique nametags I had was for the Teacher Conservation Tour, sponsored by Project Learning Tree, and the Arkansas Forestry Foundation.  It was made from a "tree cookie", which is an actual slice of wood.  That experience provided information for blogs published on June 28, 2013.

Attending the Bienvenue Quebec Travel Trade Show provided material and photos for blogs published November 14 and 15, 2010 ; plus March 22, 2011.

The nametag pouch for the Becoming an Outdoors Woman event I attended was extremely useful, and the experience provided blog information for a September 3, 2011 article.
A tour sponsored by the Lake County, Illinois CVB gave me material to publish articles on my blog on October 12, 2010.

Likewise, when the Grapevine, Texas CVB led a tour to their annual Grapefest, I had material to publish articles and photos on September 24, 25, and 29 of 2009.

My Road Scholar nametags gave me tons of photographs and experiences that I wanted to share.  I wrote about my adventures in Sedona, Arizona, in articles published April 30, May 3,4,7,8 of 2013.  The hiking adventures in Illinois were published on October 13, 26, 27, 27, 28,29 of 2013. 

Traveling with Diamond Tours to two popular tourist destinations was a delightful experience as well.  I wrote about the Nashville show trip on September 21, 2010 and January 5, 2013.  The Smokey Mountain trip provided information for an article published October 7, 2011.

Having the privilege of wearing the nametag of a volunteer with the Arkansas State Parks enabled me to tell about some of the volunteer opportunities at state parks, in a blog published June 20, 2013.

Another great volunteer organization that has been a blessing to be a part of, is the Arkansas Master Naturalist organization.  You can learn more about their projects in my blog dated May 1, 2010.

It was fun wearing the nametag saying I was "Warren Buffet's Partner", and I wrote about my experience attending a Berkshire-Hathaway Stockholders Meeting, published on September 8, 2008.

By far, the nametag that has had the most profound effect on my life, is the one I wear as a participant in a program called "First Place 4 Health" ( ).  The reason for its significance is because it has caused me to study God's word, and to work at committing it to memory---which brings me back to why I started this particular blog post in the beginning!  Here is the verse I am working on memorizing:  "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."  Psalm 9:10 .  I challenge anyone reading this to give some creative thought on what kind of image they would use to illustrate this verse!  (Maybe then, you will have some empathy for the difficulty I had coming up with an illustration!)  Another First Place 4 Health alum, Esther Hunter, has come up with some extremely creative ways to show and tell about the names of God.  You can see photos of them on her blog,

After seeing photos of the various nametags I have worn, maybe you will know my name, and trust that I will keep writing about my expeditions (from the viewpoint of a member of the "baby boomer" generation), and (based on the will of the Lord, my "CyberShepherd") will not forsake those of you who might seek out my blog!  FYI, the "nametag" for First Place 4 Health is based on the word "first" in Matthew 6:33, and  I know that if I keep applying this verse to how I live, it will give me "MILES OF SMILES"!  Tricia