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

By Darlene Franklin

“Why should I be afraid?” Israel’s greatest warrior king, David, asked in Psalm 27.
These past few months, I could have given him a few reasons from the “disease that stalks you in darkness” (Psalm 91:6, NLT) category. It started with a pulmonary embolism that could have taken my life and progressed to a succession of less threatening but still uncomfortable and debilitating ailments, most recently the need for cataract surgery.
Given my propensity to anxiety, I decided to proactively arm myself with encouragements not to give in to fear. When I opened my Bible, I discovered that every time it tells me to not be afraid, it also gives a reason.
If often also gives additional instruments. “Just” do this instead. As I adjust my attitude, my fear level drops.
“Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.” (Exodus 14:13 NLT bold face mine and also in the paragraphs below)
In the words of the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, “No doubt the universe is unfolding exactly as it should.” Given time, most issues will resolve themselves.
Yes, there are times I’m supposed to get to work or even go on the offensive. But I start by standing still. I’m not in control, and why do I want to be? God is so much more powerful than I am on every level.
“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:14 NLT) The phrase “stay calm” follows on the heels of “standing still” in the Bible, suggests the two work hand in hand. “Stand” involves physical action, to maintain an upright position while on one’s feet, without wavering. In this case, “stay” works more like “to be.” I can stand still because I am calm.
“Still” implies calm. I am undisturbed by outside forces, not showing or even feeling strong emotion, e.g., fear.
“Just open your eyes and see how the wicked are punished.” (Psalm 91:8 NLT.)
Take a look at the larger picture. When the doctor told me, I had blood clots in my lungs—not one but two—I was unaware that that I had already passed the first test to survival. I hadn’t died in a heart attack as soon as they developed.
Recently, I spent eight hours in emergency room because of chest pain which turned out to be nothing worse than gastric difficulties. Over the long hours I spent watching the ER fill, empty, and fill again with new patients, I opened my eyes to those in much worse shape than me. I could afford to wait while newborn babies sick from pneumonia cried feebly and accident victims hovered on the brink of life and death.
“Just remember what the Lord your God did.” (Deuteronomy 7:18-21 NLT)
Remember the past. Was I frightened the last time I went through a similar experience? When the doctor warned me that the surgery was very serious, implying “and you could die.” Of course! I was afraid, but at peace—and I survived.
The more often something like that happens, the easier it becomes to remember God’s in control. Whether I live or die, I can trust him. The heart and mind connect what I’m learning from my Bible study and what’s happening in my life more clearly. Past experience increases my confidence that God has a purpose behind the current trial that’s tempting me to fear.
“Just have faith.” (Mark 5:36 NLT)
This guideline feels obvious—except the person who was told to have faith had every reason to doubt. Jairus, a leader in his synagogue, had come to Jesus when his daughter was deathly ill. Before they reached the house, he received word that his child had died.
Jesus’ response to the news? “Just have faith.” Minutes later He raised the girl from the dead. But if I had been Jairus in that moment, I would have felt like screaming, “I had faith. I came to you.” Undercurrent: You failed me.
Jesus encouraged Jairus to continue in the same faith he’d started out with. To trust God even in his bleakest moment. And sometimes I’ll be called on to trust in the face of massive disappointment, impossibility, and personal pain.
The next time fear comes knocking at the door, let’s remember these five principles so we can face those challenges with courage. God is on our side, and He’s always more powerful than what’s happening.


The Oklahoma History Center is honored to present Colonial Williamsburg’s Katharine Pittman in a portrayal of America’s “Lady Washington,” Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. The performance will be Thursday, February 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and will take place in the Chesapeake Event Center. Admission costs are $10 for Oklahoma Historical Society members and $20 for nonmembers. There is no reserved seating, so early arrival is recommended. Tickets may be reserved by calling 405-522-0765. The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City.
Katharine Pittman has been an actor/interpreter for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for six years. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University and holds degrees in theater and history, and performed for many years around the country in musicals and operas. However, history was always her passion and, when given the opportunity, Pittman developed the Martha Washington portrayal and became one of the Nation Builders for Colonial Williamsburg.
While in Oklahoma, Pittman will make an appearance at the annual Colonial Day event at the Oklahoma State Capitol and Revolutionary Day in Tulsa.

WESTVILLE – A number of years ago, Terry and Pam Lamb began sharing a mustard recipe with friends and family. Now, they’ve created a business out of it.
“After being asked to bottle our lemon dill mustard so friends and family could share it with others, we decided to look into making it a business,” Terry Lamb said. “We had no experience in producing a food product. We looked to our local SCORE office for assistance. They suggested we market more than one product. We started playing with flavors and came up with over 10 we felt would be marketable and decided to start marketing three.”
Partnering with Pam’s mother, Vienna Willard, the Lambs converted their shop into a commercial kitchen. After approval from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Tajour Specialty Products was ready for production.
“We currently manufacture three flavors of mustard,” Terry Lamb said. “Our flavors include lemon dill mustard, rosemary garlic mustard and cranberry orange mustard. We have a number of other flavors developed with the intention of introducing more flavors as our company grows.”
The Lambs chose to incorporate a Hand Up Program, in which they donate 2 percent of every sale to go into an account to help people in their community build local businesses and fight food insecurity.
“We also try to make our products versatile,” he said. “Our mustards can be spread on a cracker with cheese or used on a sandwich. They can also be used as an ingredient in recipes. Our favorite is to make a dressing out of our cranberry orange mustard by mixing it with equal amounts of honey and using it on a salad or as dip. Making deviled eggs using any of our mustards runs a close second.”
Lamb said the goal is to create flavorful, healthy products without added sugar, salt or fat. Tajour Specialty Products was established in November 2017 and started sales in December 2018. The owner is a member of the Cherokee Nation. Tajour Specialty Products recently joined the Made in Oklahoma Program. To learn more about the business, visit www.tajoursp.com, www.madeinoklahoma.net/products/tajour-specialty-products-llc/ or find them on Facebook.

Dear Savvy Senior,

Can you provide some tips on how to choose a good estate sale company who can sell all the leftover items in my mother’s house? Inquiring Daughter

Dear Inquiring,
The estate sale business has become a huge industry over the past decade. There are roughly 22,000 estate sale companies that currently operate in the U.S., up nearly 60 percent from just 10 years ago. But not all estate sale companies are alike.
Unlike appraisal, auction and real estate companies, estate sale operators are largely unregulated, with no licensing or standard educational requirements. That leaves the door open for inexperienced, unethical or even illegal operators. Therefore, it’s up to you to decipher a good reputable company from a bad one. Here are some tips to help you choose.
Make a list: Start by asking friends, your real estate agent or attorney for recommendations. You can also search online. Websites like EstateSales.net and EstateSales.org let you find estate sale companies in your area.
Check their reviews: After you find a few companies, check them out on the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org), Angie’s List (AngiesList.com), Yelp (Yelp.com) and other online review sites to eliminate ones with legitimately negative reviews.
Call some companies: Once you identify some estate sale companies, select a few to interview over the phone. Ask them how long they’ve been in business and how many estate sales they conduct each month. Also find out about their staff, the services they provide, if they are insured and bonded and if they charge a flat fee or commission. The national average commission for an estate sale is around 35 percent, but commissions vary by city and region.
You may also want to ask them about visiting their next sale to get a better feel for how they operate. And be sure to get a list of references of their past clients and call them.
Schedule appointments: Set up two or three face-to-face interviews with the companies you felt provided you with satisfactory answers during the phone interviews.
During their visit, show the estate liquidator through the property. Point out any items that will not be included in the sale, and if you have any items where price is a concern, discuss it with them at that time. Many estate companies will give you a quote, after a quick walk through the home.
You also need to ask about their pricing (how do they research prices and is every item priced), how they track what items sell for, what credit cards do they accept, and how and where will they promote and market your sale. EstateSales.net is a leading site used to advertise sales, so check advertising approaches there.
Additionally, ask how many days will it take them to set up for the sale, how long will the sale last, and will they take care of getting any necessary permits to have the sale.
You also need to find out how and when you will be paid, and what types of services they provide when the sale is over. Will they clean up the house and dispose of the unsold items, and is there’s an extra charge for that? Also, make sure you get a copy of their contract and review it carefully before you sign it.
For more information on choosing an estate sale company, see National Estate Sales Association online guide at NESA-USA.com, and click on “Consumer Education” then on “Find the Right Company.”
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of brain cancer with no cure. Even with surgery and chemotherapy, patients typically live only 12-18 months after diagnosis.
But a new discovery from Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Rheal Towner, Ph.D., offers new hope in fighting this deadly cancer, which claimed the lives of Sens. John McCain and Ted Kennedy.
In pre-clinical experiments at OMRF, Towner discovered that a protein called ELTD1 is present in the most aggressive glioblastoma tumors. Towner then tested how the tumors would react to an antibody known to counteract the effects of ELTD1.
He found that the compound slowed the process of angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, which is key to tumors’ ability to spread and kill.
“This drug seems just as promising, if not better than, what is currently considered the standard of care,” said Towner. “Few therapies exist for treating glioblastoma, but this could provide a step in the right direction.”
If proven effective in further trials, said Towner, “This could provide overall treatment with fewer side effects and better results than we see in current drugs.”
The new findings were published in the journal NeuroOncology.
Towner will continue to look for ways to use the new treatment in combination with other drugs to boost their effectiveness and better target tumors.
“One problem with drug treatments for tumors is that it’s hard to get the drug to the tumor site,” he said. “If we can regulate that process with targeting ELTD1, we might be able to use it to deliver other drugs directly to the tumor and, hopefully, eliminate it.”
If researchers succeed with this tumor-targeting method, Towner said they will begin testing it on other tumors associated with breast, pancreatic or other cancers.
Funding for this research was provided by National Institute of General Medical Sciences, grant number 5P20GM103636-02, and Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the NIGMS, grant number 5P20GM103639. The NIGMS is part of the National Institutes of Health.

by Major Lesley Norman, Risk Reduction Officer, Oklahoma City Fire Department

At the beginning of the year, we set goals to make positive improvements in your lives. Most people never consider improving safety around their residents. The Oklahoma City Fire Department (OKCFD) has a few safety suggestions for 2019. Ensure the following safety recommendations are completed to provide a safer year for you and your family at home.
Smoke alarms should be installed inside each bedroom/sleeping area and one outside those areas. Smoke alarms should also be installed on every level of the home including basements. The Oklahoma City Fire Department “Project Life” smoke alarm program allows Firefighters to install smoke alarms at no charge for qualifying residents of Oklahoma City. Contact 405-316-2337, www.smokealarmsokc.com or www.Gratisalarmasokc.com to request smoke alarms. Residents outside of Oklahoma City can contact your local fire department or Red Cross. The hearing impaired can contact the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT), 888-885-5588 or email abletech@okstate.edu. OkAT will install smoke alarms with strobe lights and bed shaker for qualifying Oklahoma residents. Apply at www.okabletech.okstate.edu.
Carbon Monoxide alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas created from incomplete combustion of natural gas, propane, methane or gasoline. Running vehicles and generators also produce CO. Make sure gas appliances are professionally serviced every year to avoid possible CO leaks inside your home.
Fire extinguishers should be located in a kitchen, garage or both, ready to extinguish small fires. If there are smokers in the home, consider additional locations. Small “ABC” extinguishers can be purchased from the local department store and are disposable. Review the manufacturers’ recommendation for a disposal date. Always call 911 or have someone call 911 before extinguishing a fire. When using the extinguisher apply the PASS method for extinguishment, stand six to eight feet from the fire. P – pull the pin, A – aim low at the base of the fire, S – squeeze the lever slowly, S – sweep from side to side. An OKCFD training video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_ZYolzwMX4 or follow instructions provided with the extinguisher.
Fire drills should be practiced monthly while testing your smoke alarm. The OKCFD has a program called “EDITH,” Exit Drills In The Home. The EDITH program’s purpose is to inspire residents to develop an exit plan for their home. The exit plan should include two ways out of every bedroom, a meeting place outside the home, and practicing the fire drill. Practice your exit plan around your mobility and the plan should be shared with everyone sleeping in your home.
Fall prevention measures should include installing grab bars inside your home if you or other family members have a fall risk. Suggested location for grab bars is near toilets and bathtubs. Make sure you have a clear path to the restroom from your sleeping area. Use your walking aid or lift chair on those days you feel weaker than normal. Speak with your physician if your strength starts to fade. Begin this year making fire and fall safety improvements a priority in your life.
* According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or the alarms are not working.”
Additional fire safety information is available at www.nfpa.org/Public-Education.

By Ron Hendricks

Hearing Loss Association of America Central Oklahoma Chapter’s December/January coat drive is a resounding success. We had a goal of 25 coats and exceeded that by almost 50%! Chapter members delivered almost 3 dozen coats to the City Rescue Mission and learned about the Mission’s goals to help eliminate homelessness. City Rescue Mission has 640 beds for women with children, single women, and men. The Mission provides meals, a safe and clean environment, and many programs such as education, employment, and recovery to help their clients live successfully in the world today. Sounds like the HLAA mission — to help those with hearing loss live successfully in the hearing world. A warm coat can help both groups to become successful citizens of Oklahoma. Thank you to all who participated in this effort.

INTEGRIS is joining other hospitals and health centers around the country in a national effort to produce a stable supply of generic drugs. The venture is designed to address the growing frustration caused by persistent shortages of simple yet vital medications.
Utah-based not-for-profit generic-drug company Civica Rx is spearheading the initiative. “Drug shortages have become a national crisis, with patient treatments and surgeries canceled, delayed or suboptimal,” says Martin VanTrieste, chief executive officer of Civica Rx. “We thank these organizations for joining us to make essential generic medicines accessible and affordable in hospitals across the country.”
The benefit of the Civica Rx initiative is expected to be two-fold. Hospitals will not only have access to generic drugs that are frequently in short supply, but they will also be able to purchase those medications at a reduced cost. A savings that can then be passed along to patients.
“We are excited to be a partnering member in this venture,” says Tommy, Ibrahim, M.D., chief physician executive at INTEGRIS. “We enjoy a proud tradition of being a leading-edge health care provider known for a pioneering spirit that has paved the way for many medical firsts and technological advancements. We believe this initiative is another example of that. It is an innovative approach to providing quality, accessible, more affordable medicine to the citizens of Oklahoma.”
Civica Rx plans to bring 14 hospital-administered generic drugs to market in 2019. The overall vision is to become a model generic drug company that provides high-quality Food and Drug Administration-approved products at affordable prices.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak.

As new state leaders are sworn in today, John D. Doak reflects on his eight years as Oklahoma’s insurance commissioner. Doak was elected the state’s 12th insurance commissioner in 2010 and was re-elected for a second term in 2014.
“I’m honored that Oklahomans chose to elect me to represent them, both in terms of insurance company solvency and ensuring fair claims handling,” Doak said. “I’ve been privileged to witness the courage and resilience of Oklahomans in the face of difficult natural disasters. It’s also been a pleasure to work with our state Legislature and governor and to travel to every one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, meeting and working with the people who live there.”
During his tenure, Doak has tirelessly worked to raise awareness of the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) and how it can help Oklahomans. He started a field representative program to reach every corner of the state. He also made it a mission to have boots on the ground as soon as possible after a disaster. Many times Doak himself would visit with storm victims to reassure them that his office was there to help, if needed.
Another issue Doak worked on during his time in office was lowering the rate of uninsured motorists. Oklahoma has one of the highest rates in the country. Just a few months ago, the OID announced it would host the Auto Insurance Verification System which allows law enforcement to verify a driver has insurance in real time.
“One of my proudest accomplishments is that, as I leave the OID, it is now being recognized as a global leader in insurance regulatory issues,” Doak said.
Doak’s recognition that government must be ready to accept new and innovative ideas and products has helped frame that thinking. His belief that the OID should not only to protect consumers but allow the free market process to bring new quality products to consumers is recognized by many leaders worldwide.
More of Doak’s accomplishments include:
*Recovering $27,675,828 for Oklahomans since 2011
*The passage of House Bill 2308 which allows the OID to construct and own an office building
*OID employees earning more than 160 professional designations
*Co-hosting the National Tornado Summit since 2011
*The passage of the Insurance Business Transfer law
*Developing an earthquake education requirement for insurance professionals
*Testifying before a U.S. Senate sub-committee about insurance fraud
*Helping launch the University of Tulsa Cyber District
“I wish the best to the new leaders of our state, Gov. Kevin Stitt, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell and Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready,” Doak said. “Commissioner Mulready has already proven that he is a dedicated public servant with expertise in the insurance industry, and he will continue that tradition in this new role.”

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor
Feb 7/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Feb 8/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Feb 13/ Wednesday/ Warr Acres/ 8:30 am – 3 pm/ 789-9892/ Kruck
Warr Acres Community Center – 4301 N. Ann Arbor Ave.
Feb 15/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 8:30 am – 3:30 pm/ 470-8963/ Kruck
Baptist Village – 9700 Mashburn Blvd.
Feb 26/ Thursday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 307-3177/ Palinsky Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter Ave.
Mar 7/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Mar 8/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W.Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas , Suite B-10
Mar 9/ Saturday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 473-8239/ Williams
First Christian Church – 11950 E. Reno Ave.
Mar 12/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State Conventional Learning Ctr – 6191 Tinker Diagonal, room 203

The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to: johnpalinsky@sbcglobal.net