Elliott Johnson, 69, spreads the Word of God through the Old West.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer


Elliott Johnson has lived with it for 69 years now.
A marriage of nearly half a century, a coaching career of some 40 years and now the mission to spread the gospel through tales of the Old West have continued to fan Johnson’s flames.
“I loved baseball all my life,” he says, unfolding just one of the avenues his life has taken him down. “I didn’t ask to love baseball.”
Growing up on a farming-ranching operation in Nebraska, Johnson watched his dad play for the local town baseball club – normal for many communities in the 1950s.
He tagged along, served as a batboy and soaked up what would become his passion for some 40 years.
“I never really got enough,” Johnson explained from his two-and-a-half acre ranch in Piedmont. “I would have liked to have played in the big leagues – who wouldn’t – but I never had that chance.”
Johnson eventually would realize that was a blessing.
“I got to coach for 40 years,” he said. “Nobody gets to play for 40 years.”
After 40 years of coaching (30 as a collegiate head baseball coach), Johnson left coaching in 2011. His overall collegiate record was 921-499, which ranked 8th among active coaches on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics career victory list (17th all-time) and 8th in career winning percentage (13th all-time).
Coach Johnson’s Trevecca teams won three conference and two NAIA District titles during his 11 years at the Nashville school (1980-1990). His Olivet Nazarene University teams won four conference, two NAIA Regional, and one NCCAA National championship from 2000-2007.
Two of those teams appeared in the NAIA World Series (2002-2003). For many years, his teams were among the NAIA’s best, peaking at No. 5 in 2003 and 2004.
Along the way, Johnson collected eight Coach of the Year distinctions.
He has been blessed to recruit and coach numerous NAIA All-Americans and professional players, including Ben Zobrist who now plays for the Chicago Cubs.
In 1993, he completed a Doctor of Arts degree at Middle Tennessee State University. His video combining youth baseball fundamentals with positive values has been required viewing for NYSCA certification of youth baseball coaches across the country ever since.
He has authored 30 athletic-related devotional books and six baseball videos, and he has patented the Stride Guide, a hitting instructional device.
For more than 30 years, Johnson has directed a charitable foundation, the Winning Run Foundation.
Bear Bryant, arguably the best college football coach whoever lived, died of a massive heart attack just 28 days after retiring in 1983.
Johnson vowed to never make the same mistake even as he stepped away from the diamond.
“A lot of people who retire die,” Johnson said. “There’s nothing to live for. I said ‘Lord, give me a passion like I had in coaching.’”
Two days was all it took for Johnson to hear that small, unmistakable whisper that told Johnson how to spread the Word next.
His Winning Run Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization established for the purpose of publishing athletic and western-related devotional books, tracts, videos, and magazines.
The goal is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in an effective way and to build believers in the faith.
Johnson believes placing sound, written material in the hands of people is of great value in guiding readers through the Word of God, encouraging believers to share the gospel, strengthening families, and building relationships with other followers of Christ.
Johnson writes Trail Ride Magazine, a cowboy’s study of various books of scripture using stories of the old west.
The issues are packed with history of the old west, and just like the parables of Jesus, weave scriptural teachings throughout.
His talks feature object lessons to keep attention of the young. He has a one-hour presentation of Jesus’ claims from John, a cowboy’s study of Job, and presentations on Godly leadership, pride vs. humility, and other topics. CD production, including cowboy music, is in progress.
He speaks to cowboy gatherings nationwide using stories of the old west to illustrate scripture. Talks are encouraging, motivating, and Biblical.
Johnson began publication of Trail Ride Magazine in 2012. He speaks at cowboy churches and other venues around the country while distributing the magazine. At home, he cares for his horses, provides horsemanship lessons to young riders, and serves as a personal athletic trainer to young athletes.
Through 48 years of marriage, his wife Judy has remained his biggest fan. Both sons, Todd and Benjamin, played together on his LeTourneau University teams and work with Fellowship of Christian Athletes groups.
To learn more about Johnson’s foundation, ministry or to invite him to speak you can go through his website www.winrun.org.

A salute to Jack Bryant, Veteran of the U.S. Navy for serving his country in WWII. Bryant is a resident of Heritage Assisted Living in N.W. Oklahoma City, OK and is 100 years strong.

by Vickie Jenkins, staff writer

One of the residents at Heritage Assisted Living has been getting a little extra attention lately. Not only is he an all-around-good-guy but he has reached a milestone in his life. He is 100 years young! His name is Jack Bryant, a Navy Veteran who served his country in WWII.
Born in Oklahoma City, OK, Bryant likes to share his stories about his life. When Bryant was six years old, his mother had some medical issues and at the time, it was best for Bryant to move in with his grandmother. “I loved my grandmother very much and she took care of me. Her house was 3 blocks from the grade school and 4 blocks from junior high so I was within walking distance so it worked out great for me.”
“When I was six, I didn’t mind the walking to school, even though the 3 blocks seemed much longer back then,” Bryant said. “They didn’t have anything like a bus,” he added. “It didn’t matter what the weather was like. Even if it snowed, all of the kids in the neighborhood walked to school.”
“I was around 8 years old when I became a working boy! I delivered The Daily Oklahoman newspaper!” he said in a stern voice. “Now, back then, the only form of news was the newspaper. The paper ruled everything! If someone wanted to buy a house or buy a car, they would look at the newspaper. That’s just the way it was.”
“I enjoyed living with my grandmother. She was set in her ways but she allowed me to ‘be myself.’ She showed me how to treat others, teaching me respect. She allowed me to make my own decisions, teaching me responsibility. She taught me that my opinion mattered, teaching me how to stand up for myself. I’ll have to say, living with my grandmother was the best thing that could have happened to me. She taught me about life.”
At age 14, Bryant moved back in with his parents. His folks moved several times over the years and he graduated from Classen high school in Oklahoma City, OK.
The next thing I knew, Bryant started talking about cars. “My first car was a Ford Model A. I’ll never forget that ole thing. I was driving all over the place at the age of 15! Age didn’t matter back then,” Bryant paused for a moment, setting up tall and straight with pride in his voice and said, “You know, I drove for 85 years and never got a ticket.”
Going down memory lane, Bryant began talking about how he met his wife, Ella. “I was in the Navy, stationed at Daytona Beach, Florida. The USO was in town and they were having a dance that night. A friend and I were coming back to our barracks when we heard music in the distance; coming from the big building across the street. My friend mentioned that he was going to go check it out and he wanted me to come along. I didn’t really want to and we argued a few minutes and then, I figured I would. So, here we go, off to the dance! As we got closer to the building, the music was louder and louder…and then, I stood in the doorway. When I entered the room, there were men on one side of the room and women on the other. We were to choose who we wanted to dance with. I saw a pretty, young woman glancin’ my way and I walked over and asked her to dance. That’s how it all started,…she was the girl of my dreams and it wasn’t long after, we got married. I can remember the details of that dance like it was yesterday,” he said. “The rest is history. We were married for 71 wonderful years.”
Bryant was in the Navy for 3 years. After getting out of the military, Bryant worked for B.C. Clark Jewelers here in Oklahoma City. “Ella and I lived in the Village area, raising 3 boys there. Those were some of the best times of my life,” Bryant said.
Bryant is a kind, individual, storyteller that lived a good life and continues on. Serving his country in the U.S, Navy, Veteran of WWII, married to Ella for 71 years and enjoys spending time with his sons and their families as often as he can.
Bryant has made many friends along the way and will continue to do so.
A heartfelt thank you to Jack Bryant and all of the Veterans that served their country! You made a difference in our lives. Thank you!

Carolyn Spears, Life Enrichment Coordinator for Willowood at Mustang started a program at this facility called Wish of a Lifetime program through the Jerry Bloom foundation.

Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer

Are you looking for an assisted living facility for your loved one? Well, look no farther. Willowood at Mustang offers gracious living in a home-like setting with dedicated and knowledgeable staff available 24 hours a day to meet the personal needs of each resident.
In addition to the assisted living services, Willowood provides a completely self-contained, secure memory care unit for those with Alzheimer’s and memory-related dementias.
There is someone special at Willowood that is sure to make you feel welcome as you walk into the spacious entrance with beautiful decor. That person is Carolyn Spears, Life Enrichment Coordinator. This is Carolyn’s first year at Willowood and she has already made a difference in resident’s lives.
Carolyn started a program at this facility called Wish of a Lifetime program through the Jerry Bloom foundation. “This is a program where the resident requests a wish; something they have always wanted to do but never could. The members of the Wish of a Lifetime committee, in Colorado decide which resident gets their wish granted. All wishes are considered and much thought goes to each decision. Not all wishes are granted.”
“I think every senior deserves a chance to make their wish come true,” Carolyn said. “This year, 7 wishes have been submitted and several have been granted. It is amazing to see the look on the recipient’s face when they realize they have been chosen. It makes it all worth it. Of course, it takes quite a bit of planning from others that go into the Wish of a Lifetime and I am thankful for the people that reach out, allowing the senior’s wishes to come true.”
Giving a few examples of the granted wishes, Carolyn told how one resident wanted to travel to be reunited with his cousin. Another one wanted to go to see a Thunder game, live. They had a staff member go along and a family member and they were able to watch the game. He was thrilled! The wishes can be simple or a little excessive but Willowood tries to make their wish come true.
Being Life Enrichment Coordinator is a rewarding job for Carolyn, getting to know the residents, but it can also be a lot of hard work. As activity director, Carolyn is in charge of a full range of activities; cookouts, outdoor leisure time, trips for shopping, concerts and tours. She also plans all of resident’s daily activities, gets the residents involved in arts and crafts, and gives art lessons.
“It is very important that the residents get involved with activities, stay busy and socialize. When they are involved, it makes for less falls, less stress and less agitation. Of course, the residents enjoy themselves here and that is what we want. We want them to feel comfortable. It’s their home,” Carolyn said.
On a personal note, Carolyn grew up in Arkansas and Oklahoma. “It was kind of like 50/50,” she said. “What a lot of people don’t know is that I started from the ground up. I started out as a CNA, then I became a CMA, ACMA then a state certified Activity Director and I have to say, “When I found this job, it sounded perfect. I love it!” Carolyn said. “I love helping the residents, enjoy planning their activities, working with arts and crafts, going shopping, playing games, enjoy visiting with each person…what more could I ask for?” she added.
Asking Carolyn how she became interested in activity director, she replied, “I have always enjoyed being around people. For as long as I can remember, I have been involved in arts and crafts. I am also a private contract artist. Some of my paintings have been sold all over the country. Most of my work has been sold to private individuals.” Some of Carolyn’s art work is displayed throughout Willowood.
When Carolyn is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her twin daughters, 17 and daughter 13. She is also an advocate for Fibromyalgia and MS and leads an Alzheimer’s Association support group once a month.
Asking Carolyn what her favorite part of her job would be, she simply answered, “To be involved and learn wisdom from the ones that are around me.”
If you would like to learn more about Willowood at Mustang, Meridian Senior Living, they are located at 1017 W. Highway 152. For more information, call 405-376-1200 where someone will be glad to answer your questions.

Rosemary Helderle, LPN has been a nurse for 44 years. Much of her time was spent teaching and mentoring multiple nurses.

by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer

Rosemary Helderle is a Licensed Practical Nurse at AllianceHealth Deaconess Hospital. With a bright smile and personality to match, I knew the Rehabilitation Unit was the perfect place to find Rosemary working; caring for others. It takes a special kind of person to work with the patients and Rosemary shows a real concern as she assists a patient back to their room.
The purpose of Rehabilitation is to restore some or all of the patient’s physical, sensory and mental capabilities that were lost due to injury, illness or disease.
Rosemary spent some of her earlier years in Pennsylvania, where she spent a lot of her time teaching and mentoring to multiple nurses. “I love to teach others,” she said. “I still teach and mentor some of the nurses. I think I will always have a little bit of that ‘teacher’ in me,” she says with a smile. Rosemary has spent 44 of those years doing what she loves to do; taking care of others as a nurse. “It’s the job I love to do,” she says. “I can’t see doing anything else.”
I asked Rosemary why she became a nurse and if anyone had any influence on her decision. “Oh, ever since I can remember, I wanted to help people. I must have been 18 or 19 years old when I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I set my goal and made it. I decided to become a nurse on my own and knew I would carry through with it,” she commented.
“What advice would you give to someone if they wanted to go into the medical field?” I asked Rosemary. With a definite, positive answer, she replied, “I would tell them to set their goal high and go for it. A nurse has to be caring, understanding, patient, be a listening ear, and be helpful to anyone that needs help. It’s the little things that count and they all add up to being a nurse,” she replied. I have a feeling that she had just described herself because the qualities that she listed for a good nurse were shining through.
“What is the favorite thing about your job here at AllianceHealth Deaconess?” I ask Rosemary. “I have to say I like, no, I love taking care of the patients. Here in Rehab, we take care of all different ages, young and old alike. The staff that I work with is great. We all work together as a team and that makes a big difference. I have to give a shout out to our manager, Lori Stewart, RN, BSN. She is wonderful. We all want the best for our patients. We will all go the extra mile for someone and we always get the job done. We work together and we do our best.”
Asking Rosemary what her greatest reward about her job was, she replied, “I would have to say when our patients comes back after they have recovered, and tell the nurses, ‘thank you’ for helping them get better. That is a true blessing. It’s not like we have to hear it or anything but it makes us all feel so good if we get praised for doing what we love to do. It gives the nurse and patient a special bonding and it is really nice when we can communicate and understand each other.”
A typical day at the hospital varies day-to-day for Rosemary. “Sometimes, our days are so hectic; we can’t seem to catch our breath. Other days, we seem to be moving in slow motion,” she says with a laugh. “That is when we don’t have that many patients,” she adds. “Also, I am one of the few nurses here, maybe the only one that continues to wear my nurse hat. You know, the little white hat?” she asks me. “Oh, I don’t have it on today so you won’t get a picture of me wearing my hat,” she adds with a laugh.
When Rosemary is not working, she likes spending time with her husband.
Her hobbies include arts and crafts, working out at the Y and gardening. “They are all very relaxing to me,” she says. “I don’t like to miss out on any of them.”
A big thank-you to nurses everywhere for giving your time and tender loving care to patients. What would we ever do without you? THANK-YOU!

Jeannie Hileman, manager of the Carnegie Gin, is being recognized as a Significant Woman in Oklahoma Agriculture. She has seen tough times and great times in the cotton industry.

by Bryan Painter

CARNEGIE – If it’s possible for a person and a place to share a path through their lives, that person is Jeannie Hileman and that place is the Carnegie Gin.
The Carnegie Gin, managed by Hileman, has produced and persisted through literally the best of times and the worst. The Carnegie Gin was established in 1925. This most recent crop, 2017, ranked as the 11th best in state history in terms of production. That means the Carnegie Gin, although it has taken on different looks through the years, has been around for eight of the top 11 best cotton crops in Oklahoma dating to records of 1894, and also eight of the 11 worst cotton crops in that time span. Right now, Hileman is experiencing some of the best times in recent cotton history.
Not only was last year the 11th best in state history, this next crop of Oklahoma Upland Cotton will be planted on 16 percent more acres than in 2017, according to a United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service prospective planting forecast.
However Hileman, who started working at the gin in 1990, has seen several of the worst years: seven of the worst 11 to be specific. Consistently optimistic, she notes that during the drought that began in Oklahoma in about October 2010, “We really did not have the problems most did. We had underground irrigation wells to pull us through those bad years. We were the largest gin in the state for three years.”
Regardless of the circumstances, good or bad, Hileman greets each day with the same pleasant, unforced grin.
“During the really lean years, I was the only employee,” Hileman said. “I would have to recruit a new gin crew every year. During the years 1997-2000 we never ginned 1,000 bales in a year. In 1998 we only ginned 204 bales. It was really hard keeping the doors open, trying to make payroll until we would get our first seed check. There was a time when I had six payroll checks that couldn’t be cashed until the revenue started coming in. I enjoyed my work and my farmers and wanted to see it through.”
Strong friendships
Jeannie met Randall Hileman during her junior year in high school, at a local drive-in called Ski Boy, where she worked in Fort Cobb. They were a match from the start she said and were married on Dec. 11, 1971. At the time, he was farming as part of his family’s operation. They continued to expand the farm. The Hilemans raised cattle and at one time had hogs. They also grew wheat, peanuts, cotton and milo. More importantly they also raised a son Aaron and a daughter Sadie.
Fast-forward to 2008.
“We were decorating for Sadie’s junior prom when Randall decided there was something seriously wrong with him,” Jeannie Hileman said. “In June of 2008 we were told he wouldn’t see Sadie graduate unless he got a lung transplant. Talk about heartbreaking, stressful, emotional rollercoaster. Barnes-Jewish Hospital was where he needed to be.”
St. Louis was quite a distance from western Caddo County in Oklahoma. Plus, Randall would have to live within two hours of the hospital. There was a list of qualifications he had to meet before being placed on the transplant list. He checked everything off on his list. His health got better, but his lungs had gotten worse. They were ready to place him on the transplant list.
He would need a caretaker to move to St. Louis with him. Jeannie couldn’t leave her job because Randall’s insurance was through the gin. Aaron had a 4-year old and one on the way. Sadie had graduated, so Sadie and Randall moved to Missouri in July.
While the gin and Hileman have traveled a winding business path together, they’ve also meant more to each other than that.
When Randall became ill, the community had a fundraiser to help with living expenses. Monsanto donated chemical that Jeannie’s producers purchased at an inflated price. Helena Chemical Co. purchased plane tickets for her to visit her husband and daughter.
“Many of my cotton producers helped us so much, financially and emotionally,” Hileman said. “I have helped with many charitable benefits, but this was the hardest. It is much easier to help someone, than to have to accept the help. Most people will be on the transplant list for over a year before a match becomes available. We really did not know what God had planned for us, but we just had to put it in his hands. I had moved them in and helped them get settled, came home to start the wait. I was home less than a week when he got the call, ‘We have lungs for you.’” Aaron, his son Hayden, and Jeannie headed that way, and Randall was already in surgery when they arrived.
“Everything went great, and the rest is history, eight years and two grandsons later,” she said.
Christmas money
In 1990 Hileman was handling the bookkeeping for her husband and his brother when the board of the Carnegie Gin asked if she wanted to hire on to do some seasonal work with farm records. It was an opportunity for “Christmas money.”
She liked it and decided to stay. Others moved on, and Hileman became office manager and by 1995-96 was the gin manager. Consider that 1995 is tied for the third worst cotton year in Oklahoma in production. Things didn’t get a lot prettier: 1996 is the sixth worst, 1998 is the seventh and 1999 ranks eighth.
She was trying to hold on until genetics and more advanced protection against pest and weed threats arrived. “We were going to get rid of boll weevils, bollworms and weeds, but we just didn’t believe we were going to be able to hold onto our cotton gin long enough for all of those things to happen,” Hileman said in an interview with Southwest Farm Press.
They did hold on. How?
“Pride, determination and of course stubbornness,” she said.
Part of that holding on also included Farmers Co-op Gin selling to Farmers Co-op Mill and Elevator in 2002, she said. Hileman continued on as gin manager.
When you travel a path with someone or in this case something, you look out for them. Hileman was determined to take care of the gin.
“Anytime that you lose your infrastructure, you lose a piece of something you can’t get back,” she said. Hileman said the closest gin is roughly a few dozen miles away.
“It would have been hard for my producers to have transitioned to cotton if we didn’t have a gin,” she said. Times got better. The Carnegie Gin has had some record breaking crops in recent years.
Just months ago Carnegie Gin’s new plant opened. However, even the best of times can be challenging.
“This past year has been rough on everyone,” she said. “We started harvest 2016 in the middle of October, and we weren’t finished when the board, general manager and I flew out to North Carolina to look at the gin we purchased for here in Oklahoma. It has been non-stop ever since. We are now running both gins 24/7. I am really excited to have the opportunity to upgrade to such a modern plant.”
At this point, the path Hileman is traveling with the Carnegie Gin appears headed for success.
“I think this new cotton gin is a sign that cotton is here to stay,” she said.

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn t4z@aol.com

How does one in 700 words or less describe all the variety of attractions that Westchester County New York holds? Well, one doesn’t, or better yet can’t. But in a quick visit I did enjoy all my stops along the very convenient ribbon of parkways that can speed you from one historic landmark to another or to another delightful dining experience.
My oasis for this visit was the expansive and convenient Doubletree in Tarrytown. With an extensive breakfast buffet with hot egg option included, you can be off and touring quickly on your own schedule. A good night’s rest is mandatory to supply you with the energy you will need each day. This Doubletree in Tarrytown delivers.
The 19th century was a period of political and technological change in America. Romanticism dominated the arts, and as the movement emphasized the appreciation of nature, imagination and emotion, the Hudson River Valley became the center of painting and architecture. Wealthy patrons commissioned the construction of mansions in a variety of styles along the bluffs of the river from New York City to Albany. Lyndhurst is one of these. Overlooking the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York, Lyndhurst is one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions. Former New York City mayor William Paulding, merchant George Merritt and railroad tycoon Jay Gould were all its inhabitants.
Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate is a must tour. This expansive mansion and grounds tour is a popular attraction and you must make reservation for your visit at the Phillipsburg Manor Visitor Center, and a courtesy bus will take you from the ticket outlet and gift shop up the hill and around the circular drive. Personal cars are not permitted. The proprietors of this property are quite proud of their charge to preserve while sharing this American palace so be prepared for enforcement of strict rules while touring. The art gallery, if on your tour, gives one pause as to the real meaning of what is art and what is not?
The cottage of Washington Irving’s, Sunnyside, is a delight to tour or if you come too late for a formal tour, just grazing the grounds and setting, next to the Hudson and railroad track, is a fun meandering. Further investigation in to the life and contributions of Irving, is enlightening to see his influence of the times in which he lived. Not only giving us the tales of Sleep Hollow and the Headless Horseman, but coining such words we take for granted today, such as Gotham- referring to New York City. The Sleepy Hollow cemetery is a wealth of frozen history with such notables residing there as, Elizabeth Arden, Andrew Carnegie and William Rockefeller. Roaming its hill expanse, one can meander to the Old Church and cemetery, and down to the reconstructed Headless Horseman Bridge.
If you feel over loaded (and you shouldn’t) with historic places, modern entertainment at the Westchester Broadway Theater should be on your itinerary. They produce professionally presented musicals in a dinner theatre style. While just exploring the parkways and byways of Westchester and without planning one may happen upon a delightful restful moment. We came upon the Red Hat On The River bar and restaurant cozied up to the massive Hudson River. It’s curiosity quenching moments like this spontaneous beverage stop that the well-traveled embrace and relish as special memories.
But for a top of the sky, upscale dining option few can compare to the 42nd, atop the Ritz Carlton in White Plains. The cocktail lounge with spectacular views of the Hudson valley, setting sun and downtown, and the accompanying several restaurants, are the “in” place to dine in the center of Westchester County
Just when I thought we had experienced the best of Westchester dining, an evening setting sun cocktail and appetizers of Portabella mushroom and a Risotto at the historic Castle on the Hudson, offered us its plethora of charmed atmosphere as we sat on the outside patio of this mansion. While we were relaxing and recounting our few days of adventure, a pair of young dear wandered on the lawn beneath our table, as if on cue, having their dusk appetizer of young sprouts. Westchester County has its magic and is a grand entry into the Historic Hudson Valley, with many more locales, mansions, and dining experiences awaiting the discriminating traveler. www.westchestertourism.com

Mr. Terry Zinn – Travel Editor
Past President: International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association

Darlene Franklin is both a resident of a nursing home in Moore, and a full-time writer.

I ran a red light without realizing it, and oh, what consequences I’ve suffered.
Everyone knows it’s dangerous to look at the sun. I didn’t know the dimness of my room in the nursing home where I live would turn me into a bat, ill equipped to handle bright sunshine. Light, long my friend, has become my enemy.
I fell in love with light as a child, relishing the long summer days where the sun shone late into the night. I lived in Maine, where the sun rises earlier than anywhere else in the United States, and I took advantage of the release from winter’s doldrums.
That changed when I moved into a nursing home, with only my window to mark the passing hours. I rarely go outside, but one day I decided to record a radio interview in the backyard. My aides set me up under a spacious tree at midsummer.
As soon as I rolled into the bright sunshine, I went blind. Unlike when I was younger, the lens of my eyes failed to adapt to the additional light. As long as I was outside, a white haze replaced the words and pictures on my computer screen.
I started having problems when I was indoors as well. The doctor said it was a consequence of growing older. The more I thought about it, I decided it also came from the eyestrain of constantly looking at a computer.
I earned my vision problems with every passing year. How many days have I passed with the white-faced monster as my constant companion? The dark confines of my room have only made it worse. If I heard reports about potential eye strain, I ignored them, a self-made victim of the “it won’t happen to me” syndrome.
I didn’t just ignore those reports, I also misread God’s traffic signs. Instead of paying attention when flashing lights warned me to “slow down,” I continued full speed ahead. When the color turned red, I stopped writing—but remained on the computer to read or chat with friends.
My computer consumption turned into an obsession with unexpected consequences.
A series of disasters kept slowing me down. Computer files disappeared. A false heart attack alarm sent me to the hospital for three days. My computer crashed, and then I struggled with the learning curve on the new machine.
In response, I worked harder. My computer remained on all hours of the day or night, because I saw no alternative between a full stop and work. I knew God didn’t want me to quit writing. Somehow my present weakness would showcase God’s strength.
After much mourning, meditation, and messing around, I realized the simplicity of the solution. Just pay attention to God’s stoplights.
Perhaps because I’d spent a dozen years mostly writing with a red light, I cherish the green lights. And lately, God has blessed me. I’ve committed to paid writing opportunities over the next year, as well as my monthly column.
God showed me that didn’t mean I should write without ceasing. I tend to say “yes” when asked to write something, even for free. Instead I should pause to consider the warning signs and proceed with caution. Sometimes I should refuse altogether.
I’ve also learned to limit time spent on my computer. I set a timer for an hour and focus on writing. When the alarm goes off, I close the computer for fifteen minutes. There’s plenty of writing, pre-writing, planning, and researching I can do without my computer. Sometimes I even write longhand as I did at first, while riding a bus to work.
Red lights are the hardest for me to put into practice. When my brain turns to mush, I no longer fight my need to rest. My goal is to stay off the computer all day Sunday. The Lord’s my work and my rest that day.
The funny thing is, when I pay attention to God’s traffic lights, I get more done than ever.
Green, Yellow, Red

Walk-a-thon for the needy,
God always says go
But He may signal
a change to slow
For protection, He
pulls full stop

Refresh and renew
at God’s rest stop
Pursue His leading
when He says go
Searching, seeking,
switch to slow

What wonders are missed
in the rush past slow
Labor in the fields
until the Boss says stop
Protected and fed,
then alarm sounds go
Go in love, slow to anger,
until the day we stop

If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be and why? Willowood at Mustang

I would be a cat. They let themselves be known, they don’t take too much from anyone and they appear sweet.

Judy Robertson

I would be and eagle so I could fly and soar above and watch everyone.

Dale Jackson

I would be a dog because everyone seems to like them.

Vera Weisbord

I would be a rabbit, pretty and soft.

Janie Ramey

OMRF scientist Rizwan Qaisar has been awarded an Irene Diamond Fund/AFAR Postdoctoral Transition Award in Aging.

OMRF scientist Rizwan Qaisar has been awarded an Irene Diamond Fund/AFAR Postdoctoral Transition Award in Aging.
The award, presented by the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) with support from the Irene Diamond Fund, will provide $120,000 in flexible transitional funding to Qaisar, who is researching age-related muscle loss called sarcopenia at OMRF. Postdocs are individuals conducting research after finishing their doctoral studies and are pursuing further training and a well-defined career path.
AFAR is a leading nonprofit dedicated to advancing healthy aging through biomedical research. The goal of this program, according to AFAR, is to provide portable and flexible transitional funding for senior postdoctoral fellows as they develop and negotiate for faculty positions and research programs. The award provides full-time research training and grant support. Founded in 1981, AFAR has awarded more than $175 million in grants to investigators and students across the U.S., Ireland, Israel, Italy and the United Kingdom.
“By giving these postdoctoral fellows this extra boost at a critical moment in their career path, AFAR is helping create a research pipeline that is essential to advancing better therapies for age-related diseases and discoveries that will help us all live healthier and longer,” said Jeremy Walston, M.D., Chair of the 2017 Selection Committee for the Irene Diamond Fund/AFAR Postdoctoral Transition Awards in Aging.
At OMRF, Qaisar works in the Aging and Metabolism Research Program with under the guidance of Program Chair Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D. looking specifically at the role of oxidative stress, or free radicals, in the long-term deterioration of muscle. Qaisar researches potential interventions for the disease pathways for sarcopenia, specifically the activation of the SERCA ATPase.
Qaisar earned his Ph.D. at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. His academic focus was looking at the mechanisms of muscle aging, and evaluating potential therapies to counter age-related weakness and muscle loss.
“I am extremely grateful and honored to receive this award,” said Qaisar. “This funding will provide me with a real opportunity to push my research forward and make a difference for our aging population.”

Ten (10) law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in Oklahoma will be among the three hundred and sixty (360) new names to be engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. Those names will be dedicated during the 30th Annual Candle Light Vigil the evening of May 13, 2018. Officers being added from Oklahoma are:
Payne County Deputy Sheriff Shack Palmer, died December.10, 1911, from gunshot wounds that he received late the evening of December 8th attempting an arrest near Fisher;
Bristow Police Detective William H. Johnston, died September 20, 1924, when his car crashed a mile north of Bristow attempting to intercept some Kellyville bank robbers;
Perkins Police Officer Henry L. Cotton, died April 29, 1986, from complications following surgery for injuries sustained during a fight making an arrest March 28th;
Logan County Deputy Sheriff Edward J. Wright, died October 23, 2016, after suffering an on duty heart attack late the evening of October 20th;
Oklahoma Department of Corrections Corporal Stephen R. Jenkins, Jr,, died January 7, 2017, from a heart attack he suffered after chasing an inmate with contraband at the Clara Waters Correctional Center in Oklahoma City;
Sac & Fox Nation Police Officer Nathan B. Graves, died January 24, 2017, about 6 a.m. in a head on traffic accident 11 miles north of Stroud on Highway 99 ;
Craig County Deputy Sheriff Sean F. Cookson, died February 27, 2017, from injuries sustained in a traffic accident the morning of February 22nd while in route to training;
Tecumseh Police Officer Justin M. Terney, died March 28, 2017, after being shot twice during a traffic stop about 11:30 p.m. the night before;
Logan County Deputy Sheriff David J. Wade, died April. 18, 2017, shortly after being shot several times while serving an eviction notice in Mulhall;
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lieutenant D. Heath Meyer, died July 24, 2017, from injuries sustained when he was accidently struck late the evening of July 14th by an OHP unit after he laid out stop sticks for a pursuit north bound on I-35 near NE 27th Street in Moore.
For more information on these officers and the other almost eight hundred officers who have died in the line of duty in Oklahoma, both before and after statehood, go to the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial web site at www.oklemem.com.