Richard Bailey, chairman of the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association, says Norman has a chance to be a leader in senior wellness.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Richard Bailey has spent his entire life in communication. Spanning Asia for the telecommunications industry and then working in the computer and internet industries, Bailey has always been focused on the best way to get a message across.
Retired since 2000, Bailey is now applying his talents as chairman to help the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association communicate their needs as the City of Norman prepares to build a new senior center.
Norman seniors have been watching intently as the city has wrestled with funding a new senior citizen.
For some, it’s been promises broken. For others, it’s simply been a long process that has the promise to unfold into not only a one-of-its kind center but a new wellness philosophy for Norman’s 25,000 seniors.
Welcoming seniors and “anyone who aspires to be a senior,” Bailey’s group is focused on not only seeing that Norman seniors have a place to call home but there’s a philosophy behind it that places value meeting ever-changing needs.
“I think (the value of seniors) is something that’s horribly overlooked,” Bailey said.
The first senior center built was in the 1940s in New York City. Built to provide leisure activities for primarily widows, the center allowed case workers a central location to reach the population.
About 30 years later the city of Norman moved its senior center into a 45-year-old Carnegie Library down the street from the county courthouse.
“And we’re still there,” Bailey said. “And we’re still basically operating under the same service concept that was developed in the 1940s.”
“The whole concept of senior centers has changed dramatically.”
Norman’s population has grown more than 50 percent to nearly 120,000 residents since 1990.
And the senior population is growing exponentially every day.
“Remember that every student at Norman North and Norman High School will be a senior citizen during the lifespan of this building so you have to think about not just the people who are there today but the people who will be there in the future,” Bailey said.
The building will be physical evidence the importance of Norman seniors has been recognized but Bailey says it’s about a concept that embraces senior wellness.
Norman’s current senior center has a half-hour wellness class once a day.
“The new concept is health and wellness on demand and has people there organized to help seniors get the best benefit out of the facilities that are there,” Bailey said. “It’s well-proven that the overall cost to society is reduced by spending money on senior activities to keep them healthy.”
The new concept embraces intergenerational activities. More and more high school and college students are seeing the benefit of spending more time with seniors.
“If you think really hard about it it could extend down to an organized latchkey operation for parents who needed it,” Bailey said.
The new concept also embraces volunteerism.
“The seniors that are there today are better educated, healthier and more involved in activities than ever before,” Bailey said. “And if you organize a set of services in the senior center around people who are willing to volunteer to do things you can get a tremendous number of people that will be active.”
And don’t forget about the ever-growing number of seniors or soon-to-be seniors who are serving as caregivers for their own parents.
Bailey has been through that experience.
“There should be an organized set of caregiver activities within a senior center so people can know they can go there and learn and understand from people who have been through it,” he said.
In March, the Wall Street Journal noted people over 65 years old would outnumber children by 2035, a first in U.S. history, according to updated projections released by the Census Bureau.
The milestone would be the latest marker of the nation’s aging, which has accelerated with baby boomers’ move into their senior years and recessionary effects on births and immigration over the past decade.
The growing elderly population will also put pressure on lawmakers to shift funding toward programs such as Medicare and Social Security, particularly because elderly Americans vote at high rates, said Kenneth M. Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire.
Norman’s senior center serves almost 150 seniors each week.
“We haven’t evolved our programs in our current vision enough to really meet the needs of a significant or even a small portion of the senior community,” Bailey said. “But the value of that senior community to the whole community is much greater than its use right now. It’s an overlooked resource.
You can find out more information online at www.normanseniors.org as well as the group’s Facebook page listed as Friends for a 21st Century Senior Citizen’s Center.

Tom Langdon, Development Consultant stands in front of the construction work being done on the John H. Johnson Care Suites, due to be finished in the fall of 2018.

by Vickie Jenkins, staff writer

There is an exciting new concept in affordable Senior living being lovingly constructed right here in Oklahoma City, John H. Johnson Care Suites, is a place for active living with exceptional healthcare for Seniors. Meet Tom Langdon, Development Consultant and partner with John H. Johnson Care Suites, which is being developed by Community Enhancement Corporation, a subsidiary of the Oklahoma City Housing Authority. Together, they are making this project happen. Each resident will have a beautiful secure apartment in a community where 3 meals a day are served, housekeeping and necessary laundry is done and help with daily activities are all provided. Those who live here will see an improvement in nutrition and their social life. An attached medical clinic assures that each resident have proper primary medical care. An activity room is also available, including art work and sculptures for the residents. Local artists will visit often to interact with the residents.
Each apartment will be spacious with beautiful decor, complete with a large picture window to cast plenty of light in the living room. Granite countertops set off the kitchen, along with detailed cabinets with shelves above giving plenty of cabinet space. Residents will be proud to call John H. Johnson Care Suites home.
The wellness of each resident is the primary concern of the caring staff. Everyone is encouraged to be active in spiritual development and artistic expression as well as social interaction.
There will be 120 apartments designed for assisted living. There will be 10 separate duplexes (The Cottages) that will have 2 bedrooms, 1 bath for independent living, available for those that qualify. The price will be on a sliding scale based on their income. A resident will need to qualify in two ways, they will need to qualify medically that they need assistance and qualify financially making less than $2,000 a month. Any elderly American citizen is entitled to $750.00 a month through social security and SSI.
The Care Suites will be unique in its own way. There is not another place like it in Oklahoma City. One of the unique qualities about this community living will is the Prairie Gardens Gallery. The many walls in the public area of this community will be totally different than the other assisted living facilities. There will be original art work from local artists on display and we will be selling them to you. The appearance of Prairie Gardens Gallery will be full of uplifting and the perusal of art collectors through the exhibit wings will enhance the liveliness of our community. Net proceeds of the Gallery will benefit the resident benevolence account.
“We are looking at having The Care Suites finished by fall of 2018 and so far, we are on schedule,” said Langdon. “The whole point of this project is to help seniors in need. My favorite part of this job is when I see the faces of the elderly after they move in and live here,” Langdon added.
Another plus for the Care Suites will be the 15 acre property that will be filled with trees, shrubbery and flowers. It will be a great place for taking walks, enjoying the scenery or chatting with friends. Gardens are to be planted outside the buildings in front of windows so residents of the Gallery can sit and view them. These areas will have doors that will allow residents to walk the garden paths that will be paved with porous material. All other areas will be lawns of native grasses.
“I am excited to share this news with you and I can’t wait for this project to be finished with residents living here. If we improve the health, nutrition and housing of the elderly regardless of their income, I would say we have accomplished our purpose,” commented Langdon.

Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Command Director of Social Service Ministries Dee Watts has been helping Oklahoma seniors stay cool in the summer for more than 25 years.

Salvation Army fights summer heat

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

The temperature climbed into the 90s in May and Dee Watts started getting concerned.
“We were freaking out,” said Watts, the Director of Social Services for the Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Command. “We went from spring to blazing. Normally, we have time to get these collected and get them out but we’re already there.”
This past June marked Watts’ 27th year with the Salvation Army. She’s worked on the organization’s annual fan drive for 25 of those years.
But this is one of the earliest summers she can remember.
Fan distribution began in late June and will continue this month until supplies are gone.
“However many we get we will give,” she said.
To request a fan you must go in person to the Salvation Army at 1001 N. Pennsylvania or contact Watts at 246-1070.
“It gives us an opportunity to help our community,” Watts said. “With the weather being so hot most (clients) are medication sensitive.”
A box fan costs $20. Any amount was accepted but donors were urged to purchase “a blade” for $5.
“With that limited income, with medications and limited resources (a fan) can mean everything,” Watts said.
Last year, Watts was able to send out 1,100 fans to those in need.
“When we were giving out 50 fans we thought we were doing something great,” Watts laughed remembering starting the program up nearly a quarter century ago. “It went up to 200 and we thought that was amazing. Then when it went to 500 we thought we had plateaued. Last year with 1,100, you just don’t think there are that many people in need.”
The Salvation Army also offers food pantry as well as other assistance.
Westlake Ace Hardware has been a proud sponsor for the Salvation Army to partner with for the past few years and Watts spent at least one June Saturday afternoon manning a donation table inside the 11801 S. Western location.
“It keeps us on their minds and that need and that cause,” Watts said, sitting just inside the front door. “We so need Oklahomans to come in and help because it’s been so drastic. (The temperature) has not had any lull and the need is so great.”
One great way to stay cool is to come indoors to one of the Salvation Army’s Senior Centers.
Also in June, the Salvation Army Central Oklahoma 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 Warr Acres Senior Center, 4301 N. Ann Abor, will be the venue for the four-part series, The Oklahoma Experience: Looking for Home. The Salvation Army’s senior centers are very excited to participate in this program which reinforces the search for home is not only for a place on the landscape, but also for the peace of mind that comes from a sense of belonging.
The titles in the series include: Sundown by John Joseph Mathews; The White Man’s Road by Benjamin Capps; Walking on Borrowed Land by William A. Owens; and Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie.
The first reading and discussion group is set for July 17th from 9-11 a.m. with Kurt Lively leading the discussion of the title Sundown. Participation is free, however seating is limited. Individuals wishing to participate should contact Diane Maguire, Warr Acres senior center coordinator, at 405-789-9892.
“We are very excited to be offering this reading and discussion program,” said Lisa Sydnor, senior programs manager. “This series was chosen specifically because many of our participants enjoy Oklahoma history. The discussions and open dialogue between the scholar and attendees will be interesting and thought provoking. I am extremely thankful to Oklahoma Humanities for investing in The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma with this program.”
The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma has been serving the elderly population for over 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.

Mr. George Martin has been given a second chance at life. Pronounced dead, he got to see a glimpse of Heaven. Now, he continues to share his testimony with others.

Vickie Jenkins
Staff Writer

Meet Mr. George Martin, 69, an Army Veteran, a kind and considerate gentleman that believes in second chances in life. He is also an amputee. Martin is an amazing man that has a story to share with others.
Martin had a rough childhood with his parents and ended up going to live with his aunt. His aunt was attending a little, country church. “I remember being about 12 years old and I would go to church with her and then one Sunday, all of a sudden, I felt God calling me. It was a strong feeling that I had never experienced before,” Martin said. “It was as though God knew that I needed to know what love was. So, it was that Sunday that I got baptized in a horse trough. Back then, that is what they used,” he added.
It was the year 1967. Martin was in the Army, fighting the Vietnam War. It was on March 13, 1968 that Martin found himself in a foxhole. He got shot in the leg 3 different times with an AK47. “That is a mean weapon,” Martin said. “A tourniquet was placed on my leg to stop the bleeding but every time my heart beat, I felt the blood gushing out!” He was taken to the hospital where Martin had bled to death and was pronounced dead!
This is when Martin felt a peace come over him. He heard the nurse say, ‘we lost him.’ This is when Martin felt himself floating upward. “It’s true how people say they see a tunnel, full of light. I saw that tunnel and then, I saw Heaven open up! I saw all of God’s Glory!” Martin said. “I saw streets of gold; a pure gold that seemed transparent. It was beautiful! I had an overwhelming feeling of peace, love and joy! It was so magnificent! There was beautiful green grass, not a flaw in it. I heard a choir and orchestra, praising the Lord. I was surrounded by beautiful flowers! The praises were everywhere! I saw water in the distance and it sparkled like diamonds! Beams of glory were all around! I heard God speak to me…I am going to put you to sleep now. I have a purpose for you!”
“The next thing I knew, I was waking up in a body bag. It was dark and I felt a toe tag. With all my might, I tried to move, as much as I could. I heard a voice close by and then, a scream! I was out for 3 days but I was alive! The doctors and nurses were trying to get me stabilized, sending me to a hospital in Japan. I got very ill and spent 8 months in the hospital. Being in Vietnam, we had all been sprayed with Agent Orange. (A herbicide and defoliant chemical, causing many health problems for any individual who were exposed.) It was eating up the inside of my body!”
“That was 50 years ago. The Lord has seen me through so much but I am alive! I continue to give Him praises. I attend a little, country church and I share my testimony in different churches around Oklahoma. I am thankful to God for giving me a second chance and showing me that I still have a purpose here on earth.”
“Yes, I am an amputee; I am living my life for Him. A big thank you to Patriot Prosthetics and Orthotics for everything,” said Martin.
A big thank you to Michael Huggins and Dallas Curtis for taking care of the many Veterans and their prosthetics. The first prosthetic that Martin had was a wooden one, heavy, uncomfortable and bulky. That was in 1968. Now, thanks to Patriot Prosthetics and Orthotics, Martin’s prosthetic is light weight, comfortable and a digitized prosthetic. Martin has been going to Patriot Prosthetics and Orthotics for about 20 years.
“They are such great people over there and I trust them with everything.” Martin said.
It is of the utmost importance of the staff to treat each patient with respect, dignity and fairness. They strive to promote a greater acceptance of each prosthesis or orthosis through a positive spirit and education for each patriot’s individual potential and rehabilitation. They are committed to providing the highest quality of Prosthetic and Orthopedic care with compassion. The staff is dedicated to learning the latest advanced technology to better serve the needs of each patient.
A heart-felt thanks to the many men and women who have or are presently serving our country today. You have given us freedom.

Kim Pempin (left) and Pet Food Pantry Board President Devon Sisson are helping low-income Oklahoma seniors feed their pets.

Pet food ministry reaches out

by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer

Too many Oklahoma seniors face financial challenges each month.
But for Kim Pempin, founder of Pet Food Pantry, those decisions should never force seniors to decide between feeding themselves or feeding their best friend.
“Seniors can’t just go out and get more money,” Pempin said.
Pet Food Pantry delivers free pet food and supplies to low-income seniors, veterans, homeless and those in domestic violence shelters so they can feed and care for their companion pet while helping them afford their own food and medical supplies.
Pempin and husband, Mike, started Pet Food Pantry in their garage in June 2010.
Feeding street dogs and doing rescue work was just something that came natural for Kim.
She had been delivering food regularly to the men’s mission in cowtown and whatever was left over she would hand out to those on the street with animals.
“God spoke to me and said “Why don’t you do more,’” she remembered. “I knew people in rescue. I knew people who loved seniors and those who loved the homeless.
“I called some friends and asked if anybody was doing this.”
The answer was a resounding, no.
Two weeks later the group had its name and eventually a 501(c)(3) non-profit designation.
A bunch of pet food from a friend was donated. She called a friend at Skyline Ministries to see if they might need some.
She unloaded cases at the organization’s Primetimers programs and noticed something interesting.
When seniors would win Bingo games they would get their choice of a food or clothing item.
“When the pet food was there they would forego that and would get the pet food,” Pempin said. “That kind of told us it was a real deal.”
Branching out from Skyline Urban Ministry clients, Pet Food Pantry continued to grow to its current 150 seniors that receive home delivery and “at least that many in homeless.”
Mike Pempin does a homeless outreach twice a month to make sure pets of the homeless are fed.
The also group regularly provides food to the Homeless Alliance and domestic violence shelters, where kennels are maintained to help in a crisis.
“There’s probably about 800 pets we feed per month through all of this,” Pempin said.
That equates to nearly five tons of food for Oklahoma City’s dogs and cats.
Reaching Out
Applications for pet food assistance are required. But other resources are provided.
Pantry assistance, medication assistance and other resources are also readily available for Pempin to plug participants into through various metro resource providers.
“We do pet food, litter, bowls and treats and all that but we also do a three-month supply of flea and tick medicine,” Pempin said of what her group can provide.
Mindy Duke has volunteered with Pet Food Pantry since 2014.
“The first thing we did was help Mike start bagging food because he was doing it all himself,” Duke said. “Now we’re expanding out and we know corporations are out there looking for opportunities for their employees.
“Everybody who comes seems to have a good time and they keep coming back to help us.”
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is a major supporter of Pet Food Pantry as are private businesses and citizens but the need is growing.
You can contact the organization by calling 405-664-2858.
Free pet food to those 63 or older, or U.S. Veterans (any age with proof of service) is offered with the condition that all pets must be spayed/neutered.
Areas currently served include Bethany, Britton, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Mustang, Norman, Oklahoma City Metro, Warr Acres, and Yukon.
Volunteers including sub route drivers, bin managers, event, and fundraising volunteers are always needed.
Tips for Pet Health
For dogs who have trouble eating dry food, a few hours before your pet’s feeding, place dry food in bowl and add just enough water to cover food. Place bowl in refrigerator. Dry food will plump up and be easier to eat – plus will give your pet some extra moisture. Take bowl out of refrigerator, add some warm water or warm in microwave checking to be sure food is not too hot. Smash food into smaller pieces with a fork. Repeat for each meal.
Healthy alternatives
Green beans are healthy treats and good for controlling pet’s weight. Store in freezer and give as a frozen treat or thaw in the refrigerator and serve with dry dog food. Low calorie, high fiber helps pets feel full and satisfied without increasing their weight. Green beans in the frozen section will have less sodium than canned green beans.
100% canned pumpkin is good for their digestive system – helps with constipation and diarrhea. Keep refrigerated. Add a spoonful to their food or place “dollops” on waxed paper and freeze. Also good for giving pills.

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

Sometimes you just have to grab an important birthday denotation by the horns and plan a celebration yourself. Sound egotistical? Not really. When a landmark birthday approaches, particularly ending in a year with a zero, you reflect on your life, you discover your longtime friends and family were the joys along the way. To insure your landmark in the highway of life is not neglected you can organize your own celebration for not just for your life, but for the people along the way that have shared it with you and supported you through the decades.
This is what I did six months ago as I was surprised that a multiple decade birthday would be here next June. I started making a hand-written list of the people that I thought might like to attend and could attend taking in to consideration that some are almost a continent away, and some may not be in good enough health for an extended event. Then I thought to myself what I would like to do in a long weekend of events that I would enjoy, and as importantly could afford?
I came up with a Friday night come and go cocktail party in my garden and home, a Saturday brunch, and Saturday evening entertainment and a Sunday morning brunch, knowing some guests might need to catch a plane or get back home early.
I tempered this idea with my meager budget and decided to let the guests pay their own way at dinner events. This ala cart method is not unheard of and gives the guest the opportunity to choose the food they would most enjoy, what their budget allowed, and in a way was their gift to me. I included this information in a multiple page hard copy invitation, four to six weeks before the weekend, to enable them to “save the date” and to reply with their intention, the names of their guests and what events they would be attending, in a deadline announced RSVP SASE reply sheet.
In this day of email, I was afraid that many would not use the hard copy reply sheet to let me know their intentions, but ninety percent did just that. This gave me a written page account I could tally and record. I even asked their adult beverage preference so I could have it on hand for the garden cocktail party.
The Friday night garden party would take the most planning and preparations but was happy to share the enjoyment of my garden and my collectible cluttered house with those congenial friends I had not seen in years. I would serve all in crystal glass ware.. No red solo cups – this was not a college style bacchanal. As the weather predicted record breaking temps for my 7 pm event I purchased a number of fans for air circulation[T1] [T2] in the house and out on the deck. These seemed to do the trick, as I was the only one affected by the heat. Months before I had also purchase a mosquito killing machine that cut down on those pesky party poopers. To insure the safety of my evening guests in my “transitional neighborhood” I hired an off-duty policeman to patrol the parking lot. After all one must foresee what might mar the guest’s party remembrance. No drinks without food, so I offered a homemade spinach and avocado hot dip, a favorite spice cake, strawberries and grapes, a variety of cheeses and dips along with a tray of vegies and good ole Southern pimento cheese spread.
For my Celebratory Saturday Bruch I chose Oklahoma City’s newest contemporary hotel, 21c Hotel, (https://www.21cmuseumhotels.com/oklahomacity/) as well as for my host hotel for out of town visitors. The event managers are a joy to work with especially when you have special requests for a memory video screen, music, table arrangements, and preparation for my gift bags and table top party favors of an original small canvas abstract painting I did. Free valet parking for my guests was a boon and with an ideal installment plan to reserve the private dining room, all was ideal. The gathering was greeted with a fluted orange juice or bubbly which was offered next to the 21c hotels’ static penguin mascots.
For the evening entertainment I chose the Remington Park Casino and Race Track (https://www.remingtonpark.com/dining/silks-restaurant/) for their end of season running of the quarter horse races. By reserving 6 weeks in advance I was able to secure tables at the finish line in the glass enclosed Silks restaurant with their large delicious entrees, one would not expect at a race track. By following the advice of the jumbo screen MC I placed a 2 dollar bet and won to the amount of $14. I quit while ahead.
The casual yet elegant Sunday brunch was at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art Cafe, (https://www.opentable.com/museum-cafe?page=1) which always delivers the best of food and beverages. The upscale atmosphere was under samplings of the Dale Chihuly art glass, which is exhibited in more quantity in the museum permanent collection. It’s always a joy to tour the Museum, as I and some of my guests experienced.
You may not be able to host in your house, but perhaps a community center or condo common place can be reserved for an evening cocktail party. Also you need not wait for a decade birthday, as the Holidays are approaching, or just a celebration gathering of your long time friends, showing them and they showing you their love.

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

Jill DeRusha of Willow is being recognized as a significant woman in Oklahoma agriculture.

by Bryan Painter

Jill DeRusha wears her hands-on love for agriculture with pride.
Before the sun has snuck a peek at the new day in southwestern Oklahoma, the 60-year-old who lives northwest of Mangum in the Jester/Willow Community, is out at the barn feeding. Depending on the day, she’s checking to see if heifers are calving. She’s checking water on the places with no ponds. She’s running after parts for the machinery. She’s making sure everyone has lunch and that the paperwork is filled out for the Farm Service Agency office. She’s checking on markets for cattle and crops, and selling crops “when appropriate.” She’s feeding hay to cattle and, when time permits, she’s mowing the yard.
So by the end of the day, DeRusha is always wearing her love for ag not only in her heart, but on her button down shirt and blue jeans.
“On any given day, I can have manure, hay, dirt and grease on me somewhere,” DeRusha said.
Paying attention
She and husband Randy raise cattle, cotton, wheat, alfalfa and some milo. They’ve had roughly 2,000 acres of cotton in recent years. They also have 350 mama cows. They own some acres and lease the rest.
DeRusha said, “We have a sign that says, ‘Jill Ranches, DeRusha Farms.’ That sums up our roles around the place. I can operate most of the machinery, but Randy is who keeps it running and in good shape. I take care of the cattle and he helps with them when needed.”
When DeRusha says she checks on her cattle, that doesn’t mean she’s simply counting them. She knows her mama cows – and the reason for that dates back more than 50 years.
“My granddad would take me everywhere with him,” she said. “He taught me to tell one cow from another. He would say, ‘Just look at their faces or look at them closely. That’s ole curly face, that’s short tail.’ To this day, I don’t tell my 350 mama cows by an ear tag. They all look different or have different personalities.”
DeRusha firmly believes agriculture has shaped her entire life.
“I think the way of life on the farm or ranch teaches a person to deal with everyday living in a positive way,” said DeRusha who’s quick to point out that their ag operation is four generations deep. “One learns there are many different paths to reach a goal or complete a task.”
The well-known drought in the 1950s ended the year Jill DeRusha was born, 1957. However, Jill and Randy found themselves right in the middle of the historic drought that sank its teeth into Oklahoma less than a decade ago.
“One of worst times we have faced was the drought of 2010-2011,” she said. “We had to decide whether or not to hold on to our cattle. We kept all but the 50 head and sold those. We fed hay. We hauled water. Every other day, I hauled a little over 3,000 gallons of water. It paid off, because when it rained and the grass came back we didn’t have to buy all the cattle back that we needed.”
It was a lesson of life, of carrying on, to pass along to family, regardless of their professions. Between them, they have five children. Her daughter Jaclyn and son-in-law Trey Christensen live in Oklahoma City, daughter Kelsey and son-in-law Kelby Merz live in Elk City, and son Kolby Miller and daughter-in-law McKenzie live in Oklahoma City. TaShina DeRusha lives in Somerville, Tenn., and Jared DeRusha lives in Dallas.
Jill and Randy have six grandchildren.
“I’m thrilled that the fifth generation loves coming to visit us at the farm,” DeRusha said. “I am so proud of our family.”
Always a part of her life
DeRusha’s parents, Jimmy and the late Joyce (Wheeler) Heatly, were partners in the family farming and ranching operation which included a cow-calf operation, cotton, wheat and hay.
The first tractor DeRusha drove was a Massey Ferguson 65. She was in second grade.
“I could jump across the width of the plow, so you didn’t seem to get much accomplished in a day’s time,” she said. “I loved the cattle part of the family business the most and my brother Jack would rather be on some piece of machinery, so it worked well. We learned teamwork was always the best way to get things done and that hard work usually pays off.”
Through 4-H and FFA their family traveled near and far showing cattle.
“It taught us more about hard work and responsibility for our animals, as well as sportsmanship and competition,” DeRusha said. “Through 4-H I grew to love Oklahoma State University. While there I was the Agriculture Queen, and even won the wild cow milking contest.”
She finished in the top 10 in the “Ag college.” That college experience only deepened her love for agriculture and she went on to work in the OSU Extension Service at the county level as an Ag Agent. She was a pacesetter in that regard.
She uses that knowledge and experience daily in their ag operation.
Knowing a little about a lot
Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” includes a heartfelt description of just some of what is required of a farmer and rancher.
“I love Paul Harvey’s poem, ‘So God Made a Farmer,’ and it is on our wall,” DeRusha said.
Why does she love it? Because she believes that in agriculture you not only have to be determined, you have to be flexible.
“I think farmers and ranchers wear many different hats and I have worn a lot of them,” she said. “I love the spring or fall when the weather is cool. We calve both spring and fall and I love seeing the calves running around their mothers. I love the smell of fresh cut alfalfa hay and the sound of rain on the roof is music to my ears.”
So whether it’s mud, manure or grease that she has on her shirt and jeans at the end of the day, DeRusha will be found wearing every bit of it with pride.

It is summer and Oklahoma families are spending more time at lakes and state parks. With that, the possibility of contact with one of Oklahoma’s many venomous snakes becomes a reality. A new local exhibit offers the opportunity to see these creatures up close and personal in a safe setting to help identify them in the wild.
OKC Rattlesnake Museum will open daily beginning July 5th at 1501 S. Agnew, in Oklahoma City’s Stockyards District. The museum includes 26 exhibits featuring all of the rattlesnakes native to Oklahoma, as well as Oklahoma’s other dangerous snakes — copperheads and cottonmouths. Other rattlesnakes from around the U.S., and a Gila Monster (large venomous lizard) are also on exhibit. Carl Sandefer, museum curator, is available for any questions visitors might have during their tour of the museum.
One of the rattlesnakes on display is an Eastern Diamondback named “Big Girl.” She is over five feet long and weighs 22 pounds. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are the largest of any rattlesnake species, as well as the heaviest venomous snakes in North America. This particular rattlesnake is found in the southeastern United States.
OKC Rattlesnake Museum will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. For more information, go to: https://www.facebook.com/snakemuseumokc/ or call (405) 850-5905.

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

By Darlene Franklin

I often feel like I live on a pendulum between pride and neglect, with patience as the fulcrum.
My natural tendencies, formed by years of childhood abuse, make me overly sensitive. I’m right to be concerned when my physical needs go untended for hours. But sometimes I get upset over little things.
I feel guilty when I think about Jesus. He wasn’t neglected; He was abused, painfully, to the point of death (Isaiah 53:7)
But at times Jesus did “complain.” He cursed a fig tree (Matthew 21:19). He talked about his ill treatment in his home town and by religious leaders (Matthew 13:57.)
Those became occasion to teach spiritual truths. My complaints are centered on my needs.
The Bible gives us many other example of patience under persecution, such as Joseph and David. My question was, is it ever okay to say “enough!”
I looked for affirmitive examples.
I had hopes for Hagar, who ran away from the great patriarch Abraham. His wife Sarah mistreated her handmaid, perhaps even to the point of physical abuse (Genesis 16:6.)
Get this. God told her to go back. (Genesis 16:9) The Bible is silent on Abraham’s treatment of Hagar until after the birth of Sarah’s son Isaac, fourteen years later. That time, Abraham and Sarah sent Hagar and her son away. (Genesis 21)
Both times, God appeared to Hagar personally and promised to take care of them. He gave them the courage to continue.
God didn’t get Hagar out of her situation; He helped her endure. The question remained, is there never a way out?
And what about the times God lets the bad stuff happen, like to Job? When his life fell apart, his friends insisted sin must be the cause. Yes, God allowed Satan to test Job with loss of family, things, and health, but in the end He vindicated Job before his friends. What if it happened to me? I didn’t know I could stand it.
The story didn’t end there. God had an entirely different plan for Esther. Her husband the king had issued an edict that all Jews be killed—not realizing his new queen’s heritage.
Esther recognized her unique position to act on behalf of her people—and it terrified her. Because if she approached the king without his permission, she would face an even more immediate death than the date set for slaughter. After she fasted and prayed, he received her. And he did what he could: he gave permission for Jews across his empire to fight back.
In the New Testament, I read a troubling account of the Gentile mother who approached Jesus for healing for her daughter.. Unlike other occasions, Jesus turned her away. He said He had come first to the Jews, comparing them to children and her to a dog.
That would have made me angry. But not her. Instead she said, “Even dogs get to eat scraps that children drop from the table.”
Jesus rewarded her faith and healed her daughter. Sometimes standing up for my rights is a way of demonstrating my faith.
Then there’s the enigmatic apostle Paul. He insisted on returning to Jerusalem even though he would be imprisoned. During his trial, he exercised his rights as a Roman citizen by appealing to Caesar. Earlier in his career, when he was falsely accused, he would trot out his citizenship papers and say “tut-tut, you can’t treat me this way.”
I might wish the answer was always, no, I don’t have to put up with neglect. But God may call me to endure for a time. Or I might need to stand up for myself and fight the ensuing battle.
Perhaps the question isn’t how long I’m asked to be patient or how much I’m asked to accept without complaint. The question is more, what is God doing in the situation and what does He want? My best course of action is to bring my complaints first to him, and then move as He directs.
I’m a pawn in the spiritual battle. No, not a pawn. A favored piece, with tests of patience as my strategy.
I am a Yoyo
I am a yoyo
Vacillating back and forth
Kind, loving—angry
Irritated—patient, hopeful
Can the yoyo come to rest?
To camouflage my truest self
In order to survive
But I won’t be