Harry and Betty Wales.

Harry and Betty Wales are quick to tell you that in 1954, when God called them to serve, He promised to provide for them in their faithfulness and He has always done so. Betty and Harry worked their farm in Iowa for 20 years. When they received their separate callings, both struggled against accepting God’s call and did not share the news with each other for several weeks. Harry was content in his role of farmer. Betty knew speaking to a congregation was not her gift. Betty laughed as she related her profound relief when Harry told her he had been called by God to the ministry; she then understood her role was to be by his side, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the ministry. Harry preached to Nazarene congregations across the southwest for more than 40 years before retiring in Oklahoma City in 2000.
Throughout his ministry, Harry worked two jobs, enabling Betty to stay home with their two daughters. Together, they served the Lord living each day with the promise that God would provide for all their needs. Although retired, Harry has continued his ministry at the Warr Acres Senior Center (4301 Ann Arbor) for more than 18 years offering support through prayer, teaching Bible study classes, and sharing God’s word. Diane Maguire, coordinator at the Warr Acres center, describes Harry as the ‘chaplain’ of the center. He is always willing to share in joy or sorrow. Betty also continues serving others by making coffee at the senior center every morning, helping with lunch. Harry and Betty are truly extraordinary volunteers, goodwill ambassadors, and faithful to their calling.
In November 2018, Harry and Betty celebrated 69 years of marriage. At the glorious ages of 90 (90 is the new 70!) and 87, respectively, Harry and Betty remain firm in their faith that God will continue to provide. Falls have taken a toll on both Harry and Betty this past year. Harry can no longer remodel old houses to provide additional income or to make them habitable for his family. Hospitalizations and the need to be in a rehabilitation care unit with mounting medical bills add to financial concerns.
Unfortunately, working every day for more than 60 years does not guarantee you a comfortable retirement. Since retiring, Harry and Betty rely on the monthly financial support of their daughters, a pension from the church, and the graces of past congregations. When the air conditioning in their home went out this past summer, a former congregation stepped in to replace the irreparable system. Those who know Harry and Betty best, will tell you it is a joy and honor to help them. Their optimism and complete faith that God will provide shines in all they do. Because friends are doing yard work, helping them exercise, making minor home repairs and providing other needs, they are surviving retirement.
Surviving is defined as remaining alive. Merely surviving retirement is never the goal – it’s not how we envision ourselves living out our mature years. Surviving is not comfortable nor is it fun; surviving can be unnerving. Sadly, too many seniors merely survive retirement. The struggles are real, but you are not alone.
Advance 2-1-1 Oklahoma is an easy-access system designed to offer information about and referrals to community services for both those who need help, and those who provide help. Find out what is available by calling 211, or, try out the new text service “211OK” by texting your zip code to 898-211. In Oklahoma City, Sunbeam Family Services, Catholic Charities, Legal Aid, Neighborhood Services Organization and The Salvation Army are a few agencies that stand ready to assist seniors, as well as, more than 60 food pantries.
Senior News and Living OK has a dedicated phone line for you to ASK LISA questions or share information; please call 405-631-5100, Ext. 5 and leave your name, phone number, and a message regarding your concern.
About four years ago, I was in the emergency room with family members, discussing the dangers of falling with a gentleman and his wife. The gentleman and I had both fallen that evening and were waiting our x-ray results. My son walked in and asked, “Mom, how bad was your fall?” Without hesitation, the gentleman said, “Young man, it is inappropriate to use obscene language in present company.” Raucous laughter followed as he explained, “FALL” is our new four-letter word. All agreed that a “FALL” was to be avoided at all costs!
Winter weather is very unpredictable in Oklahoma; avoid wet or icy sidewalks and driveways. If you must be out in the weather take care of YOU; broken bones are no fun and recuperation is difficult!! Use your cane, walker, or a helpful arm when you must be out in the weather.

At 70, Becky Grantham is still on her bike, loving life and pushing her limits.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Going and doing. That’s what brings Becky Grantham the most joy.
And at 70, the former professional cyclist has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Grantham has a passion and love for people. Quite simple she loves living, working, working out, riding her bike out on the road and being healthy and fit.
She qualified for the 2013 National Senior Olympics in cycling and she plans to start rowing lessons this summer, with hopes of being on a Masters team.
“I love teams in anything,” she said. “I love to learn, grow and spending time with family and friends. I love fresh flowers, organic whole foods, good wine, music and the great outdoors. I love challenges and lots of adventure. I adore and cherish my children and grandchildren.”
Her life story reads like one straight out of Hollywood.
She earned the nickname “Fire Starter” from colleagues with her solid record of launching new products and start-up ventures. Her enterprising spirit allowed her the opportunity to own and manage a successful talent agency and develop into a sought-after casting director in a state not well represented in the field.
She continues to find success in many different industries. As a founding partner in BAR M MUT LLC in Oklahoma, she developed an award-winning marketing program that targeted ranchers, farmers, hunters and commercial nurseries within an eight-state region becoming the top dealer in the nation.
She excelled in the medical industry for more than 15 years, having the distinction of being recruited and promoted by industry leaders.
A lover of the arts, fitness, health and outdoor living, she has cycled century rides (100 miles in length) for many fundraising events and even enjoyed a couple of years as a professional cyclist for a philanthropic team out of Texas.
She took the gold medal in Oklahoma’s 2012 time trial and road race in her age division.
Other passions include being an accomplished competitive rider of Show Hunters and Jumpers, as well as being a whipper-in for Fox Hunting.
The love of gardening led her to achieve a Master Gardener accreditation.
As an advocate for others, she’s held many leadership roles within her church and community serving and lobbying for the wellbeing of children and woman. In addition, she has volunteered on missions to Honduras and within inner-city Oklahoma City and is a strong and passionate advocate against domestic violence.
“Very rarely do I see someone my age out there cycling,” said Grantham, who now works as a relationship developer at Laura Lynn’s Home Care. “Even at my age to train for a century ride takes a lot out of me. I have to train long and consistently so that I’m really prepared.”
Training for a century ride requires lots of time on the bike as well as time in the gym.
“Whenever you cycle year after year after year your muscles almost get locked up so you have to do exercises in the opposite direction to keep from locking up,” she said. “All of a sudden your legs aren’t working like they did. I don’t remember that me being a big deal when I was younger but it is becoming a bigger deal to me I’m noticing.”
“Every chance I get I try to ride on the road but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m becoming more of a fair weather rider. When I was younger I would get out and ride in 40-degree temperature without thinking twice but now I like it in the 50s at least.”
It was her son who got her hooked on cycling. Her first bike was the one he had when he was 12.
“It was a horrible old bike but I figured if I could ride that and enjoy it …” she said. “I just kept increasing the quality of my bike over time.”
“Probably the thing I enjoy the most is my psyche and the endorphins, it’s not just for the moment. If you cycle a lot you have more energy than you can imagine. It’s very upbeat. It’s endorphins that bring about contentment and happiness.”
And she kept increasing her mileage.
Grantham uses all that energy to keep up with her eight grandchildren, one great granddaughter and three children.
She wants to inspire others to do what they love and remain active.
It’s worked for her for her entire life.


Diane Maguire, north district senior programs coordinator for the Salvation Army, says a new book club is bringing seniors together.

story and photo by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

A book club series offered by the Salvation Army is helping bring seniors together.
Diane Maguire, Senior Programs Coordinator, North District, began the book club last year that met once a month and brought in various scholars to discuss what participants would be reading.
“The group that was involved was very interactive,” Maguire said.
This is the second offering for the Salvation Army. The initial group wrapped up in November.
“Based upon feedback from a lot of seniors from the first one it just seemed they really enjoyed it,” Maguire said. “The whole thing is socialization here, even the book club the heart of it is socialization. I talked to a couple of the scholars and they mentioned this was an excellent series. Because they had already interacted with the group it just kind of fell in that this would be perfect.”
In December, the Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Command announced that it will host Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma!. The series of reading and discussion programs are made possible through a grant from Oklahoma Humanities with generous funding from the Inasmuch Foundation and the Kirkpatrick Family Fund.
The Salvation Army’s Warr Acres Senior Center, 4301 N. Ann Arbor, will be the venue for the five-part series, Friendship. The series will explore the subject of friendship and its power to enrich and sustain our loves.
The titles in the series include: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson; The Chosen by Chaim Potok; The Color Purple by Alice Walker; Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban; and Recovering: A Journal by May Sarton.
The first reading and discussion group is set for January 17th from 9-11 a.m. with Harbour Winn leading the discussion of Jacob Have I Loved. Participation is free, however seating is limited.
“We are very excited to be offering this reading and discussion program once again,” Maguire said. “The discussions and open dialogue our participants have been having, not only with the scholar, but also with each other are both interesting and thought provoking. I am extremely thankful to Oklahoma Humanities for investing in our senior population with this program.”
“This is how I view it: if it changes one life it’s impactful,” Maguire said. “You have seniors that love playing dominoes or love line dancing but then you have seniors who need to be intellectually stimulated because maybe of their background, love for reading or they can’t do the other things.”
“Some of them needed that intellectual challenge and that really answered to the stimulation they were looking for.”
The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma has been serving the elderly population for more than 50 years. There are currently four senior centers in the Oklahoma City metro area serving approximately 350-425 seniors each week.
The centers are open to anyone age 55 or older, free of charge. Wellness activities, lunch, Bible study, and reading and discussion groups are all a part of the current programming taking place.
The mission of Oklahoma Humanities (OH) is to strengthen communities by helping Oklahomans learn about the human experience, understand new perspectives, and participate knowledgeably in civic life. OH is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, we strive to stimulate discussion, encourage new perspectives, and to actively engage people in the humanities disciplines such as history, literature, philosophy and ethics.
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God.
The mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
Nearly 183,000 Oklahomans receive assistance from The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children.
About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyokcac.org.
The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command is a proud partner agency of the United Way of Central Oklahoma.

Missy Beckett and Stacy Wingfield make a difference in the lives of families through Promise Care Hospice.

story and photo by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Hand-written cards.
The joy of simply being present with loved ones and making their day a little brighter.
The pride that comes with honoring a loved one who gave their life in the service of country.
These simple things have always been foundational for Missy Beckett.
As a registered nurse, Beckett has cared for people from all walks of life, all the while knowing that memories they create will last a lifetime.
It’s this approach that Beckett promised to keep as the director for the aptly named Promise Care Hospice service.
Promise Care is locally and privately owned and Beckett has worked with the owner more than a decade now.
The focus has and always will be personal.
“I want to be small,” Beckett said. “As an RN and the director I want to know everyone. I want to know who my team is talking about. I want to know every single person’s name. I want to know their families. I don’t want ever to be too big to not know why I’m doing this.”
Promise Care is comprised of an expert teams of caregivers consisting of registered nurses, physicians, home healthcare aides, social workers, chaplains, bereavement counselors and trained volunteers.
The palliative care offered eases pain and discomfort for all who experience it.
Social and spiritual support for both patients and their loved ones is bedrock.
Volunteers are often the lifeblood of a quality hospice experience.
That’s where Stacy Wingfield comes in. Promise Care’s volunteer coordinator hand picks those individuals with both the heart and compassion for the role.
Wingfield knows no paycheck could ever be equal both the service volunteers provide and the what they receive in return.
“They’ve gotten a lot of strength,” Wingfield said of her volunteers. “We have training all along the way. You don’t have to have any medical background at all. It’s very interesting the different areas. You could be a florist and want to volunteer to put arrangements together.”
“You could be a masseuse and maybe come do hand massages or an art student who wants to make cards and do crafts. There are so many different avenues.”
One of Wingfields volunteers is an author who comes in after book tours and takes her book into a home and reads while in costume.
“The older you get the more life has thrown at you and the more you do understand where people are coming from,” Wingfield said.
Beckett knew of a woman through healthcare that transportation circumstances had left her homebound. She decided to present her the opportunity to volunteer.
“It has changed her entire outlook on everything to be able to get out and visit and help and spend time with people,” Beckett said. “It’s super important for the patient to have a neutral person to be able to tell their fears. They’re not going to tell their family. Sometime they’ll tell us as a nurse but to have someone who can go in and spend four or five hours at the bedside and just watch TV or read or have a conversation it’s so important.”
“And it’s important for the family to get out of the house and get a break and we really encourage that.”
From the outset, Beckett has brought her staff out into the community when they’re not in patients’ homes.
Once a month you’ll find the Promise Care team working at a homeless shelter serving others.
Every year you’ll find Beckett and staff handing out turkeys with a local law firm.
“Our group is really unique. We like to get out and go do things probably a lot of other businesses don’t do together,” Beckett said.
Remembering the holidays are always packed with events, Beckett was scolded by her staff this year when she suggested they take December off from the shelter serving line.
“They got mad at me,” Beckett laughed. “We like to give back. I think for most of the staff we all have to have a paycheck but I think we’d all do this for free.”
Honoring loved ones is what Promise Care is all about.
And Beckett admits she has a soft spot for veterans.
“I’m a Lawton girl so veterans are near and dear to my heart,” she said. “My dad is buried at the national cemetery. People on our team are veterans so we want to honor them, too.”
It’s those little things along the way that most don’t realize that are actually the big things in life.
And it’s those moments that Beckett promises to make count.

Esther Miller, who lives near Okmulgee, is being recognized as a Significant Woman in Oklahoma Agriculture.

by Bryan Painter

One ride plus one full day equaled two lessons learned for Esther Miller.
Although Miller grew up on a farm, she learned some valid points of ranch life from husband Dave Miller, rather quickly.
“Early in our marriage I learned that when you are told to get a good drink of water, do so,” she said. “Dave and I were going horseback to look for cattle. I had on a new pair of boots which I wasn’t accustomed to wearing. Dave told me to get a good drink of water. I took a sip or two, but did notice Dave drank a lot.”
It was an August morning in humid eastern Oklahoma.
“When we finally got back to the house I had learned to never leave the house with a cowboy without getting a good drink of water, and never wear new boots to go on a long ride,” Miller said. “On the farm, water was never that far away, but it was on the ranch.”
That’s not all. Miller, who lives near Okmulgee, has a tip from another experience that might help a new ranch bride out somewhere down the road.
“I have also learned that when you cut down a fence with a swather,” she said, “just burst into tears and you will have a very sympathetic husband instead of a livid husband.”
Growing up
Esther was born in the 1930s to Aldon and Rose Sullivan Magness, who raised wheat, cotton and cattle near Geary. In later years, the family took on a custom wheat harvesting business and operated combines from Grandfield in southern Oklahoma all the way to Montana.
“We had a trailer house and went along with him some years,” she said. “My mother cooked for the crew and my sisters and I helped in the kitchen. The summers we did not go with him, my mother and a neighbor took care of the farm.”
Through those years, Miller saw her parents work hard and steady for what they had and she realized nothing is for free.
“Agriculture is a way of life to me,” she said. “People in Agriculture have good values, are well-grounded and friendly and are always there with a helping hand. We feel lucky to have raised a family in an agricultural environment.”
The next chapter
Esther and Dave met in 1952 while students at then-Oklahoma A&M College. They married in 1953 and Dave was drafted soon after that.
“The Korean War was just winding down and he went to Japan and I followed,” she said. “When we returned, he continued in the cow/calf and wheat partnership he and his brother had started earlier. They also raised horses and alfalfa, and baled native grass hay for the cows in the winter.”
Dave came from a pioneer ranching family, a cow/calf operation in northeastern Okmulgee County. In 1878, Dave’s grandfather Bluford Miller and his new bride, Lizzie Anderson, made their home in a log cabin along Rock Creek. Two years later they moved into an L-shaped two story house. Today, Esther and Dave live in that house that was remodeled nearly a hundred years ago, in 1919.
Dave and Esther lived on the family ranch at Mannford in Creek County and then moved to the ranch in Okmulgee County after his father Bluford W. “Bunch” Miller died in 1963.
“We have lived here for 55 years,” she said. “We have added some land, but mostly have cleared land already owned. Early on there were some registered Hereford cows, but the cow herd was mostly commercial. In about 1982 the brothers dissolved their partnership and soon after that Dave sold his cows, went into the stocker business and started clearing land. We now have our hay baled.”
The business is still very much a family endeavor. Esther and Dave have three sons: David Jr., John and Mark. Between the three sons, Esther and Dave have six grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
“David Jr. and Mark are in partnership with the stockers and John runs a family owned oil and gas business,” she said. “A grandson, Tanner, a recent OSU graduate, is helping us out temporarily. We hope we have taught our family to be good citizens, to be reliable, honest and trustworthy and that it takes effort and perseverance to accomplish what you want. A ranch is a good place to learn that. Our boys grew up working cattle and baling hay.”
Other lessons learned
When the interest rates were so high in the 1970s and 1980s, Esther Miller said they were just starting in the stocker business and it was pretty tough getting the lenders to loan money for stockers. However, they kept their heads up and continued trying different things and finally got through it.
That lesson taught her that, “If you want to do something bad enough you can do it.”
“When things came together for us financially, I realized even though there had been a lot of trials, we had really had a wonderful life through it all and feel that we have been truly blessed,” she said.
Maybe that’s why one of her favorite quotes is from the Serenity Prayer: “God Grant Me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change, The Courage to Change the Things I Can, and the Wisdom to Know the Difference.”
Miller feels that is a lesson learned that equals a lifetime worth of blessings.
“It seems to me if we all took that to heart it would be a better and happier world,” she said.

(From left) Diana Sturdevant, Ph.D., R.N., and Teri Round, M.S., R.N.

Nationally, Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of staff turnover in nursing homes – 68 percent — a statistic that affects the quality of care that residents receive.
To address that problem, the Fran and Earl Ziegler University of Oklahoma College of Nursing is creating the Long-Term Care Leadership Academy, a training program that aims to develop leadership skills through education and mentoring for staff members at nursing homes across Oklahoma. The goal is that a resulting culture change will improve staff retention and the care that residents receive.
The program is funded by a nearly $400,000 grant from the Civil Money Penalties program, administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. When nursing homes are fined, that money goes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and part of it returns to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, where it can only be used for quality improvement projects that help residents of nursing homes.
“Improving the nursing home workplace culture by developing staff leadership skills is an important determinant of quality care for nursing home residents,” said Gary Loving, Ph.D., RN, interim dean of the OU College of Nursing.
Recent studies have shown staff turnover to be more important to nursing home outcomes than staffing or skill mix. Nationally, certified nursing assistants have the highest turnover rate at 51.5 percent, followed by registered nurses at 50 percent and licensed professional nurses at 36 percent. With an overall staff turnover of 68 percent, Oklahoma’s nursing homes lose significantly more employees than the national average of 43.9 percent. In addition, Oklahoma’s Medicaid reimbursement for nursing homes is one of the lowest in the nation, which adds to the difficulty of retaining good staff.
“It is extremely difficult to work on improving the quality of life and care of residents without adequate staff,” said Diana Sturdevant, Ph.D., RN, of the OU College of Nursing. “High turnover depletes limited resources and reduces productivity because of the added costs of hiring and training new employees.”
Sturdevant is leading the Long-Term Care Leadership Academy with OU College of Nursing colleague Teri Round, M.S., RN. The curriculum is being developed by incorporating evidence-based practices and the expertise of college faculty and nursing home experts.
The program will be geared toward three levels of nursing home employees. Level one consists of the director and assistant director of nursing and the administrator. Level two includes RNs and LPNs who have direct leadership responsibilities of co-workers. Level three consists of certified nursing assistants and their roles in affecting the quality of life and improved care for residents.
Four face-to-face regional meetings will be provided, with one day for each level’s education. The fourth day will be a half-day period for all three levels to practice the skills they’ve learned. Program topics include communication and teamwork, giving and receiving delegation, generational differences, person-centered care, culture change, co-worker engagement, retention and succession planning.
Leadership skills will be an important focus for nursing home supervisors, Sturdevant said. Nursing homes typically employ RNs as directors and assistant directors of nursing, and LPNs as charge nurses. They usually do not receive leadership training as part of their academic education.
“They often lack skills in conflict resolution, effective communication and inclusiveness,” Sturdevant said. “Many use an authoritative approach with top-down communication that does little to facilitate teamwork.”
Following the Long-Term Care Leadership Academy, staff members will continue to be mentored. They also will undertake projects designed to support culture change and to meet a need specific to each nursing home. Projects will potentially address antibiotic stewardship, infection prevention, antipsychotic medication reform and others.
“The OU College of Nursing faculty and staff have expertise in leadership training, development and implementation of quality improvement processes and systems change,” Round said. “We are excited to work with nursing home staff members across Oklahoma on meaningful ways they can retain staff and create a better culture for both employees and residents.”

Jacob E. “Jed” Friedman, Ph.D., director, Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at OU Medicine.

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center has announced Jacob E. “Jed” Friedman, Ph.D., as director, Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at OU Medicine, and associate vice provost for diabetes programs, commencing January 1, 2019.
The announcement comes on the heels of a new $34 million dollar gift made to the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center. The gift from The Harold Hamm Foundation will be allocated over the next 10 years to fund research, technology and talent such as Friedman.
“We are enthusiastic that Dr. Friedman will grow the national and international research stature of the Diabetes Center, competing for sponsored funding, and recruiting and mentoring talented researchers,” said Jason Sanders, M.D., MBA, senior vice president and provost, OUHSC, and vice chair, OU Medicine. “He brings a clear vision for changing the course of diabetes prevention and treatment.”
Friedman comes to the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where he served as the director of the Colorado Program in Nutrition and Healthy Development and director of the National Institutes of Health Nutrition and Obesity Research Center laboratories for cellular and molecular metabolism. He was also a professor in Pediatrics, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, and Medicine.
Friedman has earned numerous National Institutes of Health and industry funding awards, as well as a Gates Grand Challenge grant. He has more than 134 peer-reviewed articles to his credit, selected for publication in a number of prestigious journals, including the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Communications and Diabetes.
Friedman has led teams of researchers, working in both basic and translational research areas. He is the lead investigator on numerous multi-Principal Investigator team science grants, and is involved with several clinical trials based on his basic science work. He was awarded the 2014 American Diabetes Association Norbert Freinkel Award, the highest award given for lifetime achievement in advancing the science and clinical care for diabetes in pregnancy.
“My vision for the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center is a focus on the emerging science of the developmental origins of diabetes and obesity identified in the first 1,000 days of life,” Friedman explained. “Research has established that a variety of adverse events in early developmental phases lead to life-long metabolic problems.’
Friedman’s research will involve studies on metabolism, mitochondrial malfunction, microbiome and epigenetics, and he will advance clinical and translational research in women with gestational diabetes and their infants to halt the growing trend for obesity and diabetes in the next generation.

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

Even in the depths of winter, Wichita, Kansas can be an inviting destination. My wintry escape included a traveling Broadway show, museums, dining, A Cowtown Christmas and quality comfort in an expansive historic hotel. And its two and half hour drive north of Oklahoma City on smooth interstate 35, made it even more appealing.
Over the decades, I have seen several theatrical events at Century II, Wichita’s modern convention and entertainment venue, and it was my starting point in planning my weekend get a way. Having never seen, and needing a humorous musical entertainment, Once I booked a ticket to see the traveling, “Young Frankenstein.” It was performed admirably, and despite the inevitable comparison to the movie, it held up rather well as an evening’s respite from reality.
The convenience of my hotel stay at the Drury Broadview, across the street, added to my pleasure as did the perfect meal at its adjoining restaurant Avi. My filet was prepared to my directions as was the three blue cheese olive Stoli Martini, which got the evening off to a fine start. Completing the meal it was hard to choose from the dessert offerings of: Carrot Cake with German Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate and Orange Vanilla Cream Brule, Apricot Almond Goat Cheese-cheesecake, or a Chocolate covered Cranberry Chipolte bread pudding with Mixed Berry ice cream. But I did.
Besides the complete renovation of the Drury’s interior, the free extras of Internet, a hot buffet breakfast and the offerings of 3 free cocktails at their evening breakaway, complete with heavy additional treats that might include hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and nachos, and free internet, made the reasonably priced stay even more of a pleasure. Of course the pool and hot tub along with covered parking let you know you were an appreciated guest.
The highlight of my weekend’s theatrical entertainment was the surprise virtuosity of the Diamond W Wrangler singers at the Empire House Christmas Dinner at the living history Cowtown venue. Their close harmonies ~ reminiscent to the “Sons of the Pioneers”~ along with tongue in cheek humor, and a sufficient western style meal made the evening worth the effort to venture out in the cold.
Of course I was there during a Santa Claus visit, with his lap venue for good little girls and boys, along with singing in the western church ~ complimented by guitars and dulcimers courtesy of the Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance and Acoustic Treasures ~ and wandering in the moonlight over boardwalks past wooden stores and Victorian styled houses lit by kerosene lamps, set the stage for a congenial wintry outing.
Wichita has a number of exceptional museums and galleries, including the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum with its authentic recreation of an 1890 Wichita Cottage; the Kansas Aviation Museum with its collection of everything aviation; the Wichita Art Museum with its traveling exhibits and the Museum of World Treasures with everything from pre historic Dinosaurs to movie memorabilia.
A visit to Hat Man Jacks, in the historic Delano district, will custom fit your head to the appropriate covering for comfort, utility, and most expertly for an appealing appearance. Jack is the couture of men’s hats. He also has an extensive knowledge of early Wichita, and his stories are not only educational on frontier Chisholm Trail times, but entertaining.
Of course in our mobile society some venues may have changed or even closed so it is wise to do a little on line checking before taking your Wichita visit.
As there is more to share of Wichita, so please explore on your own by visiting, www.gowichita.com and asking for their visitor guide.
Drury Plaza Broadview – druryhotels.com/content/broadview.aspx
Wichita Historical Museum – www.wichitahistory.org
Wichita Art Museum – http://wichitaartmuseum.org
Century II – www.century2.org

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

Runaway June will be highlighting the Annual Mercy Health Foundation Gala with a performance January 18, 2019.

Fundraiser will feature a performance by country music group Runaway June
Next month, break out your dancing shoes to benefit a great cause at the Mercy Gala, hosted by Mercy Health Foundation Oklahoma City.
The annual fundraiser will be held on Friday, Jan. 18, at 6 p.m. at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. This year’s event will feature dinner, a silent auction, a raffle, a special performance by country music trio Runaway June and an after party hosted by DJ Kirby.
Recognized by Billboard as the “Next Hot Trend in Country Music,” Runaway June is the first all-female trio in more than a decade to earn two Top 40 hits. The group also received a 2018 Academy of Country Music nomination for “New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year.” They just released their debut project for Wheelhouse Records and are preparing to join Carrie Underwood on tour in May.
“For more than 30 years, the Mercy Gala has been a way for the community to come together to help those in need receive medical services and we are so thankful for that support,” says Lori Cummins, executive director of the Mercy Health Foundation Oklahoma City. “And, we are thrilled to have Runaway June performing and DJ Kirby hosting our after party this year.”
DJ Kirby has a distinct style of mixing and blending classic party music spanning every music genre. He has performed with The Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock and many others. He also has a mix show every Saturday on eight different radio stations across the country.
Because Mercy provides care to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, all proceeds from the gala will support the charitable needs of patients at Mercy. Last year’s event raised more than $280,000 for programs like Mercy’s Project Early Detection, which provides free breast health services to uninsured or underinsured Oklahomans.
This year’s event will help support the charitable needs of patients at Mercy in Oklahoma City to include the Mercy Good Samaritan Clinic, Project Early Detection and other forms of patient assistance like help with medications, transportation, nutrition and more.
To learn more about the gala, to purchase tickets or to become an event sponsor, visit www.bit.ly/MercyGALA19 or call (405) 486-8944. Individual tickets are $200 and sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Darlene Franklin is both a resident of Crossroads of Love and Grace in Oklahoma City, and a full-time writer.

By Darlene Franklin

What would you do if you only had six months to live?
That question confronted me during a recent close brush with death. A blood clot had formed in my lungs. I filled a tiny red notebook provided by the hospital with thoughts on how to leave nothing important unsaid or undone.
Living intentionally is like carpe diem, seize the day. Don’t put off to tomorrow what is on my mind today. But it’s also not carpe diem. I’m not ignoring the future; I want to live life to the fullest today because tomorrow is uncertain.
I’m not talking about doing more. I’m talking what I choose to do. Yes, prioritize. After all, I won’t care if I have 100 unique book titles written before I die (although I hope to) but I will regret not sharing as much of myself as I can with my grandchildren while I am still able and they are still listening. My to-do list (which gets longeron a daily basis) will probably still have unfinished projects on it when I die, and that’s okay. God’s got it covered.
But there are things only I can do in the time where I am, in the place where I live, with the people around me. That’s where I want to make a difference while I can.
What did I add to my intentional living list? What last things did I want to make sure I focus on?
My relationship with God, my Father, my all in all, whom I will worship for all eternity. Since I want to see the world as He does, I need to spend time with Him every day..
My relationship with my family. To pour my unconditional love, joy and pride into them. To pass on our family legacy, things they won’t know if I don’t tell them.
My interactions with people. To grow in graciousness and friendliness, to make people a priority.
Using time wisely. Don’t accept opportunities because they exist. Accept them only after careful consideration.
My health. Take better care of my body, to prolong my days on earth or at least the quality of living.
My tasks. To be faithful in the jobs God has given me to do; to continue writing unless God gives me permission to stop.
While I do the above, I want to suck as much joy as possible from each day.
How about you? What would be on your list? Your priorities may be different than mine, especially if you’re at a different age or stage of life.
Having a clear view of what I want from each passing day, from every person I encounter, will make living intentionally easier. If I can get to the end of a day without regrets, so much the better. If I mess up, I confess where there’s sin, give myself grace where I just was thoughtless, and start over again,
The bigger question is, how do we get there? How do we avoid Blame Lane because we set ourselves up for failure?
Here’s a few tools I use:
Plan ahead. I realized I spent most of my visits with my grandchildren talking with their parents. I’ve started planning activities for us to do together. They bring things to share as well. We may read about trains, play a board game, write poems.while we talk about their lives, and mine. The planning allows for spontaneous moments that are the best of all.
Let go of schedules and allow life to happen. If someone drops by, invite them in for a visit. Human beings always trump things and work. I had to ask my grandson’s forgiveness when he broke a Christmas ornament. For a moment I lost sight of the fact the ornament was meaningless compared to his precious life.
Forgive myself when I mess up. God’s rule to forgive someone seventy times seven starts with me. When God has forgiven me, why can’t I forgive myself?
Let go of the small stuff.
Follow through. What made me examine my life in the first place?. Seek reconciliation with that person, take care of my health, spend more time with my family.
Keep track of your progress. I keep a record in my prayer journal, thanking God when I meet my goal, asking for help when I allow small things to get to me.
Examine your priorities periodically. Is there something I need to change?
When we live life intentionally, we’ll have fewer regrets when we reach the end.
You can find Darlene Franklin online at www.darlenefranklinauthor.com .