Sunday, October 21, 2012

Arkansas Color


This weekend was beautiful and the fall colors were exquisite.  We made a trip to Little Missouri Falls to look at the fall scenery.  The road out to Shady was lined with glorious colors.  I'm not sure why, but the newest owner of the house my parents owned a number of years ago had made his yard look like a plane crash scene.



At the falls The Little Missouri River plunges through a cleavage creating a spectacular waterfall during periods of high water. Then it tumbles over a series of natural rock dams 2 to 4 feet high, intermixed with relatively quiet pools (natural swimming holes) it continues as a cascade for several hundred more yards.  The falls are beautiful any time of the year, but they are particularly spectacular during the fall color season.



Sunday afternoon we traveled the Talimena Drive up Rich Mountain to Queen Wilhelmina State Park.   The Talimena Drive stretches across the very top of the Ouachita Mountains in Eastern Arkansas and Western Oklahoma.  Normally there are great views from the many vistas along the road, but as we drove up the mountain fog closed in around us.  Visibility was very limited.  We were disappointed because we were looking forward to seeing lots of color.  As we turned on to County Road 100 and started down the side of the mountain we stopped to take photos in the fog.






A friend said, when seeing the pictures, “This is making lemonade out of lemons! I'd just complain because the fog kept me from seeing things not take advantage of it to make great photos".  

Hope Floats


The Hope Floats - Wal-mart 67 Relay For Life team held a innovative and interesting fundraiser on October 20, 2012.  When people made donations to the team their name was written on the bottom of a rubber duck. The ducks were then taken to the middle of the pond at Rich Mountain Community College and set adrift.


When the ducks were set adrift, Lady, a black lab, was sent into the water to retrieve a duck.  The name on the first duck retrieved received a 40" flat screen HD TV, the second a Nook e-reader and the third a rocking chair.


It was a breezy day, and when all of the rubber ducks had been blown to shore, the kids present had a great time collecting the rubber ducks from the lake.



It was a great fundraiser and over 2200.00 was raised for Relay For Life.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Brandi Sachs - Volunteering to Find a Cure

Brandi Sachs is a friend of mine and is very active in the Relay For Life of Polk County.  This article about her was published in a local paper, The Polk County Pulse.

Citizen of the Week by LeAnn Dilbeck - Published in the October 17, 2012 issue of The Polk County Pulse.

Family is an integral part of who so many of us are.  But for many it goes much deeper and defines who we are.  A statement that can be said for this week's Citizen, Brandi Myers Sachs.  And family is who has inspired one of her greatest active outspoken champion of the Polk County Relay For Life.

"It was devastating," says Myers through tears when she remembers getting the call that her Aunt Peggy had pancreatic cancer.  Her aunt underwent treatments but lost her battle within only a few short months of diagnosis.  Brandi had known of others with cancer but had never had the devastating illness strike so bitterly close to home and says she regrets now taking so long to become involved in helping to find a cure.

"When you become involved with Relay, you are helping to find a cure...97 cents of every dollar raised goes to research," says Sachs, and it is in that she finds great healing.  "It's too late for my aunt but it's not too late for my mom or your aunt or your daughter...or on and on."  Through grief and loss, Brandi has discovered a passion that she chooses to champion a cause and make a profound difference...a difference that she may never actually see but finds inspiration and comfort in knowing she was part of a larger cause that worked to eradicate an illness that has devestated families across the globe.

Brandi moved to Mena with her parents Don and Judye Myers along with brothers Cotye and Justin when she was just two.  Don had been sent on "assignment" by his father to open a Sonic Drive-In.  And that he did.  The Myers Sonic Drive-In became a cornerstone business on the corner of Cherry and Hwy 71 as well as part of at least two generations of teenagers' memories that made the drive-in a regular weekend and after-school hangout spot.  In 2000, the family made a very tough decision to discontinue their Sonic franchise and the restaurant became Myers Cruizzers Drive-In.  "It was a really big decision for my Dad but he believed as long as we continued to give good service we'd be fine."  Brandi said the business barely experienced a hiccup and the customers continued to turn-in day after day.

Now the three siblings share the responsibility of running the same drive-in that was such a big part their own childhood.  Brandi graduated from Mena High School in 1991 and married her husband, David, in 1996.  The couple have two children, Ridge age 14, and Brickie, age 10.  "My life didn't begin untill I had them," sand Brandi.

She said the family enjoys camping, four-wheeling, and just spending time together.  Each of the Myers siblings have homes near their parents, Don and Judye.

Just as passionate as her advocacy for cancer, Brandi wants her children to have the same childhood she had where her parents instilled the values and beliefs she still carries today.  "You want to raise them right...raise them so they know how to make the right choices."

Brandi also enjoys photography but even in her hobby it is in her appreciation for family that she finds fulfillment.  When asked what she found the most fulffilling about her photography, she said immediately and simply, "preserving those memories for the families."

Quite satisfied raising her family in the same hometown where she was raised, Brandi enjoys working at the drive-in, being a wife and a mom.  When asked where she saw herself in ten years, she said, "well, I hope as happy and as blessed as I have been the last ten!"


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Even Our Adversaries

I recently read an editorial in the Adventist Review written by Steven Chavez titled, Even Our Adversaries.   It made an impression on me and this post borrows heavily from it.

Not long after He had washed His disciples’ feet at the last supper, Jesus spoke to them.  His words are recorded in John 13:35: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”.  His words still challenge us with a nearly impossible goal: to demonstrate our loyalty to Jesus by the way we love and serve each other.

Jesus didn’t say that proper doctrine would prove we are His disciples; Even though understanding the Bible is important.  He didn’t say that our understanding of Bible prophecy would prove that we are His disciples. Jesus said that people would know His followers by their commitment to love everyone—the lovely and the unlovely.

Aren’t there more important things to worry about?  What could be more important than the one thing that shows the world that we are disciples of Jesus?  Apparently it is too much to ask of Christians because by and large we are known much more for those we hate than those we love.

But if loving one another is too difficult, I’d settle for just a little civility from Christians. I’m tired of the incivility in both words and actions among those who find themselves on opposite sides of the many issues facing our country. I’m not asking people to ignore their differences, or that they should not take principled stands; I’m only asking that our conversation and correspondence—both public and private—be done in a spirit of Jesus.

We can disagree with one another without resorting to name-calling, baseless rumors, and innuendo, but we can’t call ourselves Christian unless we love one another—even our adversaries.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

DeGray Lake

After attending church we drove to DeGray Lake for the afternoon. My wife had driven to Arkadelphia on Thursday to speak as an American Cancer Society Hero of Hope at the FCCLA meeting at Henderson State University. The drive was beautiful with the beginnings of fall color, so she wanted to go back to the area when I could go.

The drive was beautiful even if the day was overcast. We saw a lot of beautiful scenery on our way to DeGray Lake. We even saw a bobcat cross the road and were able to pull off the road and watch it for a while.  I love old barns, and had to stop and photograph this one.

Our first stop at DeGray Lake was at the Point Cedar Campground, one of eight different campgrounds that surround the lake.  Last year  I was invited to speak at the Arkansas-Louisiana Pathfinder Camporee held at Point Cedar.  Even though it is less that two hours from my house I had never been there before.  It is such a beautiful place that I had always intended to come back, but yesterday was the first time that I was able to.

While we were at Point Cedar, we found a very interesting tree and thought that it would make a great place to take photos.

The most visited place on DeGray Lake is  the DeGray Lake Resort State Park.  It  is Arkansas’s only resort state park. It is in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains along the north shore of the 13,800-acre lake. DeGray offers all the outdoor adventure and quality of an Arkansas State Park combined with resort class amenities. DeGray is a fishing and water sports paradise, a golf resort, the ideal camping spot and the perfect location for family vacations, getaways, reunions, weddings, business meetings and retreats.

We went on the Sunset Cruise while we were there.  Our park interpreter was excellent and the evening was great.  Even though the day had been overcast, the sun broke through so there was a  beautiful sunset.  DeGray Lake is known for it's Bald Eagles, and we were able to see two of them during the cruise.  The sunset was a magnificent end to a special day.

Friday, October 12, 2012


On our trip this last weekend we started listening to the podcast, Stuff You Missed in History Class. One of the podcasts was on Henry Ford. I thought I knew quite a lot about Henry, but I learned something new; I learned about Fordlandia. In the 1920's Ford Motor Company was producing over a million cars a year. Henry Ford needed rubber to make tires, hoses and other parts for the cars. Rubber does not grow in Michigan, and European producers enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the rubber trade because of their Asian colonies. So Henry decided to grow his own. In 1927 he decided to get it by carving a plantation and a miniature Midwest factory town out of the Amazon jungle. He called it Fordlandia.

The site chosen for Ford’s new rubber plantation was an area of some 2.5 million acres on the banks of the Tapaj√≥s River, a tributary of the Amazon about 600 miles from the Atlantic. It took Ford’s agents approximately 18 hours to reach the place by riverboat from the nearest town. Ford’s vision was a replica Midwestern town, with modern plumbing, hospitals, schools, sidewalks, tennis courts and even a golf course. There would be no drink or other forms of immorality, but gardening for all and chaste dances every week.

Ford tried to use his knowledge of mass industrial production on the diversity of the jungle. But the Amazon is one of the most complex ecological systems in the world — and didn't fit into Ford's plan. Ford was so distrustful of experts that he never even consulted one about rubber trees. If he had he would have learned that plantation rubber can't be grown in the Amazon. The pests and the fungi and the blight that feed off of rubber are native to the Amazon. Basically, when you put trees close together in the Amazon, what you in effect do is create a feast for the pests. The Fordlandia plantation actually accelerated the production of caterpillars, leaf blight and other organisms that prey on rubber.

Just like the rubber plantation didn't work, neither did Henry's idea of creating a utopian society in the middle of the jungle.  Although he built nice homes for the workers and built modern schools, his work force was never happy.  There was tremendous turnover.  He didn’t like drinking, so he prohibited alcohol.  He tried to regulate the diet of Brazilian workers. He had very rigid thoughts on healthy food, so he had them eating whole rice and whole wheat bread and canned Michigan peaches and oatmeal. There were riots over the food.  He also tried to regulate their recreational time. He introduced square dancing to replace the samba.

The Brazilian workers resisted the heavy attempt to regulate every aspect of their lives, not just the industrial regime, but also their diet, their sanitation and medical regulation. And during one riot in particular, they smashed all the time clocks.

Ford spent about a billion dollars, in inflation-adjusted dollars, on this project, and not one drop of latex made it into a Ford car. It was an absolute failure. In 1945 it was sold to the Brazilian government for $244,200.

In the video below is an interview with NYU professor Greg Grandin about his new book, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City.