Saturday, April 16, 2016


College of the Ozarks, located in Hollister, Missouri,  is an educational institution with an association with the Presbyterian denomination.  Since I grew up just 30 minutes south of the school, and attended a Presbyterian church, it seems as though I have heard about this place all my life.  Our church often had visiting preachers who were members of the faculty of the school.  As an adolescent, I remember my father talking to me about it being a good college for me to attend when I finished high school.  My parents were very frugal, and since students at College of the Ozarks worked at various campus jobs, in lieu of paying tuition, the arrangement naturally appealed to my parents.  However, there came a time when their encouragement for me to attend there diminished.  That was probably because my senior year of high school, I was "going steady" with a local boy who went away to attend his freshman year at the College.  Since he also had a sister attending there, I would sometimes go up for special events on the campus, and spend the night in the dormitory with his sister.  Perhaps my parents thought that the young man and I were getting too serious, because talk of me attending college there came to a screeching halt!

This photo shows the beautiful Williams Memorial Chapel.  When I was a teenager, I attended services there with my boyfriend, and his sister.  On my recent visit to the campus, I once again entered the sanctuary, and had a much greater appreciation for the artistry inside, with its magnificent stained glass windows, and carved wooden pews. 
Perhaps there is no prettier time to visit this campus, or the Ozarks in general, than the spring of the year.  That is when you will see the hillsides polka-dotted, with blooms of dogwood trees, as well as the domesticated pink dogwood trees, that can be spotted throughout the College of the Ozarks campus.  The spring is also the time for a very popular event on the campus, called The Leonard B. and Edith Gittinger Community Convocation.  In past years, their convocations have made the news because of the famous leaders they have hosted as speakers to come to our little isolated corner of the world.  Such dignitaries as Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, Colin Powell, and Sara Palin, have been featured in the past. 
When I heard that Tim Tebow was going to be the featured speaker for 2016, I made an all-out effort to get to attend.  Even though the tickets for the events are free, they go very quickly, because of the limited seating of the indoor athletic arena where it is held.  Through answered prayers, I had the blessing of getting a ticket, and being there to tour around before the presentation.  This sign at the entrance of the college that welcomed Tim Tebow, should be a clue that he has a strong association with the Florida Gators Football team!
As I was touring the campus, the colorful blossoms around the greenhouses caught my eye. 
As long as I can remember, there have been swans on this lovely Lake Honor, that is located just inside the campus gates.  Decades ago, I won a local photography contest, with a picture of a black swan, that I photographed, as it glided across the waters of Lake Honor. 
College of the Ozarks is built upon five fundamental goals---academic, vocational, Christian, cultural, and patriotic.  This photo of the Christian cross symbol, the American flag, and the Liberty Bell reproduction, all give visual tribute to those goals. 
There have been hundreds of students who have had their wedding ceremonies in this hallowed place.  As a matter of fact, it is rumored that some young (and optimistic!) gals try to get a date set aside for their wedding in the chapel, even before their prospective groom is aware he is to be married!
This photo shows the exterior of the Ralph Foster Museum, which is dedicated to the history of the Ozarks region.  The museum is home to a famous Thomas Hart Benton painting, as well as the original broken-down "jalopy" vehicle seen in the television series called "The Beverly Hillbillies".  The museum houses thousands of objects representing archaeology, history, firearms, and antiques.  I had a rewarding experience with the museum, when an elderly relative told me his family had donated a piece of "Ozark folklore" to the museum.  Back in the 1800's, if a rounded stone was found inside an animal that had been slaughtered (in this case, it was a deer), the stone was saved as a sort of "talisman", and purported to have healing powers.  My relative's mother had found such a stone, and when they cleared out her belongings at her death, they donated the stone to the museum, along with the folklore tale associated with it.  The museum curator was able to find the stone in question, and put it out in a display case for me, when I visited the museum a while back!
The greenhouses are open to the public and many of the plants are for sale.  This gives the students that work there retail, as well as horticultural, training!
The Clint McDade orchid collection can be seen in the Hoge Greenhouses.  Mr. McDade, one of the School's first students, donated the nucleus of the collection, which today numbers more than 7,000 plants.
I was very thankful for the opportunity to represent the "blogosphere", as a member of the media for the Tim Tebow presentation!
One of the photojournalism students who was sitting in the media area, snapped this photo of me, while we waited on the festivities to start.  How do you think she did??!!
I felt very fortunate to be able to be so close to the stage, where, as you can see from this photo, Tim Tebow, made his inspiring comments.
Can you see in this photo, a black rectangular box on the bottom of this man's shoe?  WHAT IF that little black rectangle had a Biblical Scripture reference written on it???  There would have been dozens of media folks who would have seen it, as we were sitting directly across from the bottom of his uplifted shoe.
Something as seemingly insignificant as a Scripture reference, written in small letters, using "eye black", and situated under the eyes of quarterback Tim Tebow, is what first grabbed my attention about this football player.  That is because I am involved in a healthy living program that emphasizes Scripture memory, and I was intrigued when I saw a football player on television with  "PHIL 4:13" written under his eyes. 
Tim Tebow told the story of how his parents would not allow him and his siblings to play their beloved sports, until they had recited a Bible verse from memory.  Philippians 4:13 is a favorite for Christian athletes, because it says, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  That is one reason he chose that Biblical reference to put under his eye, using the eye-black paint.
For the 2009 BCS Championship game, Tebow changed the verse written under his eyes, in eye black, to John 3:16  .  The telephoto lenses of the media at the game gave several close-up views of the reference written under his eyes.  Although it is AMAZING to me that so much of the world did not know what it stood for, the fact that "John 3:16" was the highest ranked GOOGLE search term over the next 24 hours blows my mind!!!  Later, he switched verses he wrote under his eyes, and there were 3.43 million searches on the Internet of "Tim Tebow and Proverbs 3:5-6". 
When asked about the phenomenon, Tim stated, "It just goes to show the influence and the platform you have as a student athlete quarterback of Florida"!
Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007, and was selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.  His book, "Through My Eyes", was named the Number One Sports Book in 2011, and the best selling religion book of 2011.  He started the Tim Tebow foundation in 2010 ,  ( ) which does considerable philanthropic work in the the Philippines, where his parents served as Christian missionaries. 

A big THANK YOU to College of the Ozarks for bringing Tim Tebow to speak to us!  If you would like to learn more about College of the Ozarks, go to their website, , to start planning your visit!  You can sign up for their free email announcements, that will keep you abreast of all the great things going on at this bastion of Christian education.
I am using the inspirational life of Tim Tebow as the visual aid for my First Place 4 Health ( ) memory verse that says, "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."  Proverbs 16:2    This philosophy of life will give you "MILES OF SMILES"!  Tricia    (Note:  The "halo" above Tim Tebow's head is a reflection on the glossy photo, but the more important "reflection" is that his life reflects his commitment to his faith! To see his speaking schedule, or arrange for him to participate in one of your events, his website is )

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Stone Mountain Park ( )is located just outside Atlanta, Georgia, and has been a popular tourist attraction for decades.  It includes walking paths, picnic areas, museum, and various types of rides.  My friend and I made a stop to this familiar landmark, on our way to attend a Road Scholar ( ) program in Florida.

The centerpiece of the park is the famous rock relief carving on its north face, said to be the largest bas-relief carving in the world. 

The carving covers a surface area of 1.57 acres, and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain.

The carving was started in 1925 by Gutzon Borglum, who went on to become famous for carving the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota.

This photo of a different side of Stone Mountain, without a carving, can help one understand the immensity of the undertaking, and perhaps one of the reasons that Borglum abandoned the project.  The mountain can look less remarkable when viewed some angles, which may explain why I have no memory of it from my attendance at archery events for the 1996 Olympics, headquartered in Atlanta.  The Stone Mountain area was the location of both the archery and track cycling events for the 1996 Olympics. 

However, after many decades, and a long string of subsequent carvers/supervisors, the project was finally declared as "complete", on March 3, 1972. 

The carving depicts three Civil War figures---General Stonewall Jackson, General Robert E. Lee, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.  This photo of the carving from a distance shows why it had to reach 400 feet above the ground, in order to be viewed, as one approached the mountain. 

One of the attractions at the park, which is operated by Hershend Family Entertainment Corporation, is the Skyride, shown in the upper left corner of this photo.  The Skyride has Swiss-built cable cars that take visitors to the top and back, and pass by the carving on the way.  (I am very familiar with the Hershend Family businesses, as they were started in Branson, Missouri, just 30 minutes from where I grew up, when they purchased Marvel Cave, and turned it into a tourist attraction)

For those who want to go to the summit, but do not want to take the cable cars, there is a walk-up trail on the west side of the mountain.  Keep in mind that the summit has an elevation of 1,686 feet above sea level, and rises 825 feet above the surrounding ground.  If you would enjoy hiking in the area, but do not want to make the climb, there are several other choices available, since the mountain has a 5 mile circumference at its base. 

In 2015, there was talk of destroying the carvings, because of their reference to the Civil War.  Fortunately, however, the Georgia State Legislature did not authorize their removal, citing the historical significance, and the fact that the same carver who did Mt. Rushmore U.S. Monument, also started this monument. 

When the sun hits the mountain at certain angles, it may sparkle.  That is because of the quartz monzonite that makes up its dome. 

There are several statues around the base of the monument that bring out various significant events in U.S. history.  Since pastor Martin Luther King mentioned Stone Mountain in his 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., one of the remembrances has been a bell ringing.  In the speech, MLK proclaimed, "Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia."

Since I am from Arkansas, I wanted to take a photo of the monument that tells about my home state during the period of 1861-1865.  When thinking about the many Bible verses that have the word "stone" in them, I saw that my Jeremiah Study Bible listed 24 references.  The one that seemed most appropriate to go along with a story about my visit to Stone Mountain was in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 that says, "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh,, that is, of the heart." It refers to Paul contrasting the Old Testament covenant of God being written on tablets of stone, i.e., The Ten Commandments.   However, with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for  my sins, the New Covenant is written on my heart, and seen in my actions.   This is one reason I participate in a healthy living program, called First Place 4 Health ( )  .  It is a program that constantly reminds me that in order to serve God most effectively, I need as healthy a body as possible!  I want to live in a way that is pleasing to God, because that is the best way to be assured of "MILES OF SMILES"!  Tricia

Cumberland Island National Seashore Expedition!

My short visit to Cumberland Island National Seashore was delightful, and you can learn about making a visit there yourself, by clicking on  .  My experience there gave me "MILES OF SMILES"!  Tricia

We had hoped to do some kayaking in the Cumberland National Seashore area, but alas, the rain ( and running short on time) made us decide against it, in spite of this cheery looking kayaker below,  inviting us to join the fun!