Monday, February 25, 2013

Belief and Nola Ochs

An email article was sent to me recently regarding an 87 year old woman called Rose who went on to college and received a degree.  It is an inspiring and uplifting story that tells of one woman's quest to receive a college education.  In the process, she gains the respect and admiration of fellow students who applauded her spunk and wisdom.   Since I was curious to find out if the article about Rose was true or not,  I went on line to find out more about "Rose".  This is what I discovered in the process....  the story was written by Dan Clark who is a motivational speaker and the Rose story appeared in 28 different books, including Chicken Soup for the Soul.  I found no indication if Mr. Clark ever had the personal experience of meeting Rose in college and to be personally impacted to write about her.   Either way, the Rose story needs to be told since it speaks of the human spirit and how, if driven by a purpose and challenge will make the way for success in achieving that goal, despite age or background.  The below photo was attached to the story circulated on the internet about Rose.

Nola Ochs
I made another discovery when researching the article... the above photo is not Rose. This image with the “Rose" story is actually a snapshot of  Nola Ochs, who is a real-life inspiration. In 2007, she became the Guinness record holder as the world’s oldest college graduate at the age of 95 with a 3.7 GPA.   Nola graduated from Fort Hays State University with a General Studies Degree with an emphasis in History She also graduated with her 21-year old granddaughter, Alexandra Ochs. 

2007 College Graduate at age 95
Nola went on to pursue her master's degree in liberal studies from Fort Hays State University in the fall of 2007.  She received her Master's Degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in History in May of  2010, making her the oldest recipient to earn her master's at age 98.

2010 Master's Degree at age 98
After receiving her Master's Degree, Nola applied for and got the position of Graduate Teaching Assistant in the History Department at Fort Hays State University.  She served in this capacity until the end of the first semester of 2011 and continued as a  History M.A. student at the University.  She celebrated her 100th birthday at the Fort Hays State University basketball game on November 15, 2011. At age 100, she began working on her genealogy project and is currently writing a book.  Ms. Ochs states that she has a good start on the book, which is about her life experiences, and will title the book,  "Nola Remembers".

Some of Nola's quotes:
-  I'm very gratified to have attained the distinction as the world's oldest graduate.  I would like to encourage people to keep on learning.  Our education is never complete.
-  I don't dwell on my age.  It might limit what I can do.  As long as I have my mind and health, it's just a number.
-  I give thanks every day for each new day that the Lord allows me to live and enjoy life to the fullest.
-  Most everyone has an inner desire....something they would like to do.  Maybe it seems impossible, but it isn't.  Today, there are so many options.  People will help you do almost anything if you want to do it badly enough.  The desire has to be intense, but I would encourage people to search their desires, to pick out one, and then get out and do it!
-  I've led a long, interesting life.  We went through the dust storms.  We had some difficult times in our marriage financially.  But it's been the Lord's will that I've lived this long life and I thank Him kindly for it.

I bring this true story to you in today's post about Nola Ochs as an example of what belief can do to fulfill a personal desire.  Believing is a force which encompasses the beginning of a desire and stirs it up towards an outcome.   To believe is to have faith, confidence and trust, which springs from an inward conviction and results in achievement.   Simply stated:
- We can each say, "I believe in You" to our Father of Lights and it will make a difference in our daily living, because.... HE CAN!
- We can each say, "I believe in you" to one another to make a difference in his or her daily living because.... YOU CAN!
- We can each say, "I believe in you" to ourselves to make a difference in our own inner being because.... I CAN! 

Nola lived out these three dynamics towards her goal - her core belief in her Lord, other people believing in her, and personally believing in herself that she could and would make a dream come true.

The following video can further explain, "I Believe in You".  It is delightfully whimsical, yet gives a powerful message using a composite of Disney characters, cleverly produced by  Teddybear2323.  The beautiful song is performed by Amanda Marshall with lyrics written by Amanda Marshall and Eric Brazilian.
Link to this video:

Until next Monday,  we'll meet again at the Turn-Up Patch.  May you discover your dream and believe that it can come true with hope and encouragement through God... who believes in you caring people... who believe in you and yourself ... to believe in you.......

Monday, February 18, 2013

Art of True Friendship

Friendship for me is a rainbow on a gray day.  Friends come into my life in their own unique color of personality, character and commitment.   These colors, distinct in hue, cultivate friendship in traits and expression directly influencing my life and vice versa.  It is like a tapestry entwined in a mix of colored murals…  some more prominent than others, some colors that fade and disappear, others that stand out in brilliance, others semi-transparent as stained glass.  All of this is woven into the design of my life becoming an art of true friendship, purposed by the Divine and orchestrated by my choices. 

Mt. Vernon Rainbow
Life throws us a learning curve in the process of friendship as to who gives and who takes - the positive that reinforces or the negative that drains. A friendship can be deep or shallow, a delight or a dismay, a gain or a loss, depending on circumstance and capricious human nature.  Some come and go and some stay for a lifetime.  

  Statistics show in research:
-  we make nearly 400 friendships in a lifetime - but maintain only a handful.
-  we form an average of 396 personal relationships but only 33, one in 12, will stand the test of time.
-  only one in five of these - just half a dozen people - is considered a close friend while the rest are 'social friendships'.

..."true friends"
There is a famous quote by Albert Camus, which states: 
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.

To walk behind or ahead in a friendship does not work because of expectation and assumption.  To be either a follower or a leader in friendship often results in manipulation through a demand of personal requirements and control.  It is an unbalanced "connection" at its best and toxic at its worst. This usually leads to a tear or a breach in the art of friendship.  Sometimes this tear can be mended using God's needle of forgiveness and His threads of mercy and grace and the relationship emerges in tact and in greater wisdom.  But it doesn't always have this result when the friendship refuses to give up its position of walking behind or ahead.

"Just walk beside me and be my friend".....

This is an equal connection; there is no leader and there is no follower.  As human beings, we are marbled with strengths and weaknesses accented in personal struggles.  By walking beside, you get to know these strengths and weaknesses of each other and determine not to cling unto their strength nor pass judgment unto their weakness.  Instead, you are able to take or hold their hand and also offer your shoulder or lean on theirs, if the need arises.  You can keep in stride and offer encouragement, support, appreciation and enjoyment of one another as individuals.  There is movement between hearts where there are no expectations or assumptions, only acceptance.  In walking side by side, each is given the space "to be" in that connection; you know and love them for who they are.  It becomes an art of true friendship in painting it's own mural between two people with sharing human and spiritual experience, peppered with laughter and tears.  Viewpoints in life may differ on how each "sees" out of their own perspective but they are available to each other with a listening ear and an open heart and mind.  This unique kind of friendship holds a sacredness to it, governed by love, forgiveness and grace.  It may be connected with family or to that rare person knit in your heart as a true friend.

The ultimate True Friend is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all wrapped up in One.  However, in His infinite wisdom, He sees that we need human comfort as well,  a friend "with skin on", to walk along side in the seasons of our life's journey.  That person or persons in true friendship may be near or far in physical distance but always close by in heart.

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” – William Shakespeare

I came across this wonderful and happy video (created by Matt Harding and Melissa Nixon) which has connection in mind, only on a global scale.  It shows the power of acceptance using the medium of dancing and how you can cross over into another's world in culture and discover how much alike we can be as human beings.  Watching this video and listening to the song stirs a greater hope that the light would be tripped, ripping apart darkness and setting mankind free as was the original intention of the Father of Lights, for Peace and Good Will among us all.

We're gonna trip the light
We're gonna break the night
And we'll see with new eyes
When we trip the light 
The song is "Trip the Light" composed by Garry Schyman with vocals and lyrics by Alicia Lemke and Matt Harding.  Video editing  by Jarrod Pasha  - Many thanks to all who were involved to make this video possible.

You can also watch this video at:

Come and visit the Turn-Up Patch for next Monday's posting...... 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Journey Through Time & Eastern Oregon

There is an Oregon Scenic Byway called Journey Through Time that stretches 286 miles through north central to eastern Oregon. It winds through five Oregon counties, beginning in the community of Biggs and ends in Baker City.   Uncommonly rich in history, this route tells stories of fortunes made and lost, of Chinese laborers, of towns boomed and busted, of timber, agriculture, and pioneer settlers. It also tells a special story of the earth's history; of sea beds which have long been dry and of extinct creatures.  In a future post, I will highlight the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument which looks back through time in geologic history, extinction of the dinosaurs and beginning of the Ice Age.  We have all of this (and more) in this "back yard" section of Grant County.

A portion of this route is on Highway 26 and passes through my familiar country and communities of  Dayville, Mt. Vernon, John Day, Canyon City and Prairie City.   Each community has it's own flavor in history and unique setting within the landscape in Eastern Oregon.

The photo to the right is of a large replica of a covered wagon or prairie schooner that was the mode of transportation heading west in pioneer days.  This over sized Covered Wagon was built on a viewpoint about 5 miles east of Prairie City on Highway 26.  It commemorates the arduous journey of more than 150,000 pioneers who traveled in covered wagons in the mid-1800s on the Oregon Trail.

They pursued a dream and a purpose for a better tomorrow, enduring struggles, hardships and adversity.  In those days, there were no paved roads, no motels with neon lights, no McDonalds for a quick meal, no smart phones, no Les Swab for a tire change, no GPS, no hot and cold tap water, no toilet paper!  And that is just to name a few of the modern conveniences which we enjoy today that was unheard of in their day.  Often, the pioneer traveler would walk along side the wagon train if there was no horse to ride or if the wagon itself was loaded with supplies having no room for a passenger.  What these pioneers did have was a common goal to forge a trail into a new land and a new life.  They had a persevering spirit and inventive minds to handle obstacles and unforeseen circumstances. They had a passion to reach a destination they had never seen based on a hope which existed in their hearts.  They left family and friends behind knowing that in all probability, they would never see or hear from them again.  The name "pioneer" in itself speaks of a trailblazer in discovery, independence and change.  Their passion was so strong and the promise so great,  they were willing to take the risk of  a journey into an unfamiliar and uncharted land with its hidden dangers and its ultimate reward.  Part of the reward was to arrive at a place that they could ultimately homestead and make it their own in the new frontier.

The viewpoint of the Covered Wagon Commemoration Site takes in a panoramic scene of the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness area and the John Day Valley.   These photos were taken last  June with the mountain snow still visible, gradually melting off with the continuing heat of summer.
Strawberry Mountain Wilderness & John Day Valley

The photo below is a reminder of a mode of travel and history out of yesterday's memory.  A circular piece of wooden wheel, of hub and spokes and iron; a relic from the past!  A wheel was as essential to the wagon as the horse, mule or oxen which pulled it to transport people and supplies from coast to coast, from border to border.   As it is, it chronicles the human spirit.... resilient and resolute to complete their journey's end, often with a Bible in their hands, faith in their hearts and a vision of a better life for themselves and their descendents.

"Yesterday's Journey"

See you next Monday at The Turn-Up Patch......until then,  Happy Trails!

Monday, February 4, 2013

No Two Alike - Snowflakes and Humanity

Snowflakes are a world in themselves.  It is hard to comprehend that of all the snowflakes, which have fallen  from the heavens, there are no two alike up to this present time of research.  Wilson Bentley was the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885.  He would go on to capture more than 5000 snowflakes during his lifetime, not finding any two alike.  Because of his wonderful work with snow crystals, he became affectionately known as "Snowflake" Bentley.   

Today, there is a photographer known as Kenneth G. Libbrecht who photographs snowflakes using a specially designed snowflake photomicroscope.  The below photo is an image of many such intricate designs of snowflakes photographed by Mr. Libbrecht.  He is also a professor of physics and has a wealth of knowledge from the scientific viewpoint of the creation of a snowflake.  If you are an admirer of snow crystals and snowflakes, go to his website at...   Check it out for great in-depth information and awesome photos that he has captured of snowflakes.... no two alike!   
Snowflake photo by Kenneth G. Libbrecht
Our area was hit with a major snowstorm last Monday and Tuesday, which dropped 8 to 20 inches of snow on the ground depending where you live in various parts of this valley.  We haven't had snow like this for many winter years.  I took some photos around the ranch on January 28 and 29 to give you an idea of what it looked like.  I'm sure that many of you are quite familiar with snow and would say, "that's nothing compared to the winters experienced in our area or country with snow".  And for those of you who are fortunate to live in mild climate areas, you can get a taste of what winter is like for the rest of us who live in seasonal climates.  It's hard to grasp that this blanket of snow is made up of tiny snowflakes creating all these inches of snow.... and no two alike!  Amazing!

Playing in the Snow
(Click on photos to enlarge) wide!
Horses behind the veil of snowflakes

As I write this post, a week has almost passed since the storm.  The weather has  warmed up and the snow is slowly disappearing into a marbled patchwork of brown and white,   melting away into a wet and soggy ground.
It was a 'Winter Wonderland' for a short while.  The snow became an instrument of fun used for sledding, making snowmen and  snowballs, and shaping angel wings.  Even the horses seemed to enjoy having fun as they kicked up their heels in a game of chase through the newly fallen snow.  The horse to the left had just finished rolling in the snow with all four legs in the air.  He stood up, shook the snow off his back and opened his mouth wide either to yawn with boredom or express delight in the moment (or show off his teeth!).

As it is with snowflakes, so it is with us. Even though we are all part of the human race, the essence of each one of us is remarkably unique and one of a kind.  We are individually shaped in the cause and effect of culture, environment, circumstance and belief systems, which are either inherited or acquired.  What a scope of humanity through the centuries... and no two alike!  The Father of Lights views each one of us as a very distinct living soul  from the rest, individual and personal, even though we are a collective race of human beings.  But the most amazing of all is His Grace which is big and deep and high enough to cover us as a divine blanket since time began and reaches into eternity, where time does not exist.

The above YouTube is a song which most of us know... Amazing Grace.  It is sung to the tune of  "House of the Rising Sun", which gives it a different flavor and done by "Hocus Pocus".
You can also view at:

Until next Monday, have a great week from "The Turn Up Patch"........