Friday, May 6, 2016

Waterfalls Expedition!

The twin falls of Falling Water Creek were recently visited by 18 members of the Women Hiking the Ozarks group.
The falls are located just a few miles beyond the popular hiking spot called Pedestal Rocks and King's Bluff.  Our group stopped there , because it was the last place we would be able to use a "seated toilet" for several hours!
Blackberry bushes were blooming on this fourth day of May in 2016.

We also came across large Lady Slipper wildflowers blooming along our hiking trail.
This view of the Falling Water Creek falls was taken from the road where we parked.  It is not often you can just pull off a road to see such a pretty waterfall.
This photo was taken from the level area below the falls, which is easily reached by climbing down the big boulders adjacent to the road.  Notice some of the ladies standing on the ledge beside the waterfalls on the right.
Past the level areas of Twin Falls, the water continues its downward route.  One of our hikers is shown in this photo, contemplating on whether or not she should hop across the swiftly flowing water.
One can "boulder" over the rocks adjacent to the steam to get photos of the water tumbling over the stones.  My friend, Peggy, can be seen at the top of the photo, capturing a shot of the "bubbling brook".
We continued to follow the road beside Falling Water Creek, to the low water bridge.  We stopped here to park our cars, and put on our gear for a hike in the woods.
This sign was at the entrance of the trail we would be on the next several hours.
The trail started out looking like a "two wheeler" trail, but quickly narrowed  down to a single lane.
There are several smaller creeks that travel down the mountains to drain into Falling Water Creek.
This large outcropping of flat stone is an excellent gathering place along the trail!
We enjoyed seeing how the rock formations cascades along the banks of the stream, like stacks of pancakes.
With some additional climbing, we finally made it to another waterfall we were seeking.
This very tall drop is called "Horsetail Falls".
Some of the ladies climbed a steep hillside to find "Upper Horsetail Falls".  I stayed behind because the poison ivy was completely covering the area one had to traverse.
A group of adventuresome women continued on past the big slab, and inched their way around the layers of rock to see what lay beyond the bend in the creek.
I enjoyed having lunch on the sunny waterside location. 

One of our group started making her way over to the waterfall, so she could "stand up under it".  I am using that image to help me remember one of my First Place 4 Health ( ) memory verses that says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can STAND UP UNDER IT."  1 Corinthians 10:13 .
At the end of the Box Canyon Trail, we found another one of the waterfalls we were seeking.
I sat my camera on Manual, with a slow shutter speed, to make the falls appear "fuzzy", as the name of this waterfall is "Fuzzy Bu_ _". 
This photo shows why the end of the trail is called "Box Canyon", as its entrance is within these canyon walls, and there is no other exit (except to climb out the top)!
The last waterfall I visited on this day is called Six Finger Falls.  It is also very close to the road.

Giant boulders can be climbed to get a different perspective on the various sections of the waterfalls.

This stack of rocks make you understand where the word "Table Rock" comes from, as it looks like a giant table on a pedestal!
My iPhone camera will take a panoramic photo, so I gave it a try on this view of the Six Finger Falls, and the creek beyond the falls.  All of this beauty in the Ozarks is a wonderful reminder of glory of God's creation, and gives me "MILES OF SMILES"!!

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