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 )