The life of a writer is never dull. This page is dedicated to the significant events, fun, and detours along my journey.
June 26th, 2010
An article submitted to my local paper about our church’s VBS:
It wasn’t just fun and games during Vacation Bible School at HT Cowboy Church. Aside from the crafts, Bible studies and music of the Saddle Ridge Ranch VBS held in June, the kids spent time on a special Missions project.
Before the “Ranch” was fully stocked, two buckets began filling with donations for purchasing Bibles to be sent to US soldiers. Pastor C.R. represented the boys’ blue bucket and his wife, Debbie, represented the girls’ pink bucket. It wasn’t long before the kids were engaged in the challenge, especially when they learned the losing representative of the respective bucket would kiss a real pig.
Excitement grew as the week progressed with kids bringing loose change in grocery bags and parents writing checks. One little girl waved her dollar at the pastor as she declared, “You’re gonna eat that pig!”
During Family Night that concluded HTCC’s Vacation Bible School week, the kids didn’t need coaxing from the water slides when the time came for the big announcement. And big it was. Approximately fifty VBS kids raised over $500, enough for 116 Bibles. But the girls easily tipped the scales, giving the pig kissing honors to the pastor. Kaycee W. supplied her show pig for the pastor to romance as dozens of children and cameras crowded to see the long awaited moment. No one was successful at capturing it on camera even after three tries, but the purpose and significance of the Missions project was captured by all.
Additional donations from church members brought the total of Bibles to be sent from HTCC to 170 soldiers.
I was privileged to lead the VBS music for the third year. With seven youth and my mom as assistants this year, I have to say it was one of the best yet! What counts most to me is the fact that at least two children gave their lives to Jesus Christ. That’s what it’s all about.
June 14th, 2010
The following is an article I wrote and was printed in our local paper, highlighting the life of a very special person in my life:
On June 14th, current members, parents, and alumni of the Pathfinders 4-H Club held a surprise appreciation dinner to celebrate the service of club manager, Kathy Foley. The group gathered around a traditional 4-H green and white decorated table at the Robles restaurant. Each person conveyed thanks to Mrs. Foley, bringing tears to several eyes.
“You mean so much to me and I am blessed to know you,” said Jo Wolcott, 2009-2010 President of the club, “Thanks for being a part of our lives.”
Long time supporters of the club Mr. and Mrs. Dulin expressed their hearts. “We can’t begin in words to tell how special you are to us. You helped take Kim (daughter) from being a quiet and shy little girl to a confident young lady.”
Two moms of the founding Pathfinders’ families did not lack in words to say during the dinner. “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to enhance our children’s education through 4-H,” said Lynda Kay Sawyer, “It was a big part of our homeschooling.” Elaine Alvarado ended with, “Thanks for your hard word, dedication, and love. You’re the best.”
It was in 1996 that County Extension Agent Brian Cummins made a suggestion to long time 4-H leader and home school mom Kathy Foley. He believed homeschooling and 4-H would synergize and that such a club would be beneficial to the County’s 4-H Program. Mrs. Foley did not hesitate in tackling this new challenge and in the fall of the same year, Pathfinders 4-H Club was established.
Alumni unable to attend the special dinner still shared their thoughts by Facebook direct message.
The first President of Pathfinders 4-H Club Daniel Blanchard wrote, “I want to express my gratitude to Mrs. Foley for her undying faith in us kids who desired to start this group ‘Pathfinders’, to indeed lead me on my path.”
“If it wasn’t for 4-H, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. And if it wasn’t for Mrs. Foley, 4-H would never have been a part of my life,” wrote Aaron Alvarado who, over his ten year 4-H career, served in every office of Pathfinders. He continued, “I am so thankful for the opportunity to reap the benefits of her helping heart, selfless attitude, and amazing leadership. Thank you, Mrs. Foley, for giving so much for so long.”
Alumni Jessica Alvarado spoke at the dinner through tears. “I will never forget the amazing memories and leadership skills I learned while in 4-H. My life will never be the same. I am forever thankful for the role you played in my life. You truly made ‘the best, better.’”
Special thanks to the Sawyer, Alvarado, and Wolcott families for hosting the dinner and to Brookshire’s for their support of 4-H in donating the appreciation cake and flowers.
My personal tribute to Mrs. Foley:
It’s an old cliché. Toss a stone into a pond and watch the ripple effect. One tiny object making waves in a vastness millions of times larger than itself.
Yawn. So what’s the big deal?
It’s not when just a stone sailing through the heavens and plopping into the water, never to be seen by human eyes again. But what if it’s something more?
Okay. Like what?
Like you. If each year of your life were a stone flung out and swallowed by the depths of each person you knew, that would be a big deal.
For more years than we can remember you, Mrs. Foley, have been the stones. And for each year of life you tossed into the deep waters of our lives, the ripples spread and influenced our ‘head’, ‘heart’, ‘hands’ and ‘health’. The ripples that began with your stones have spread into our community, our country and yes, even our world.
We can never retrieve your stones that have disappeared from human eyes. But we can begin to toss our own. And our prayer is the ripples will reach back to you and bless you.
We love you.
Sarah Elisabeth and Family
May 15th, 2010
By Sarah Elisabeth
It was the journey of many lifetimes.
The day started at five a.m. for us. With the three hour drive from East Texas to Tuska Homma, Oklahoma, we left nothing to chance on missing any part of this great day.
The moment we arrived on Tribal Grounds, our family was treated like VIP’s. Shuttled on a golf cart from the parking area and then by bus to the starting point, we were greeted by Chief Gregory Pyle and Assistant Chief Gary Batton.
Loaded with bottled water and orange juice, we joined the thousand or so of others in prayer led by Rev. Bertram Bobb.
So began the annual Choctaw Trail of Tears Commemorative Walk.
The Choctaw Nation Color Guard set a brisk pace. Those around me greeted friends and shared recent stories. I enjoyed the unique scenery of Southeast Oklahoma, wondering again how my ancestors felt when they first beheld this place – their new homeland.
Roughly two miles later, the walk ended at the historic Choctaw Nation Capitol Building situated on the Tribal Grounds.
When the last of the walkers arrived and were seated in the covered amphitheater, Master of Ceremonies Shannon McDonald introduced the Choctaw Princesses: Sr. Miss – Rachelle DiNardo, Jr. Miss – Stephanie Tehauno and Little Miss – Juanita Gonzales. The three presented the Lord’s Prayer in sign language, accompanied by song. A moving speech about our heritage was given by Chief Pyle, followed by remarks from Assistant Chief Batton. Introduction of the Tribal Council was given by Council Speaker, Delton Cox. Tribal Council Chaplain, Joe Coley, closed with prayer.
Afterwards, we had the privilege of chatting with Chief Pyle and Assistant Chief Batton. Chief Pyle was kind enough to introduce me to Lisa Reed, the editor of the monthly Choctaw Publication, the Bishinik. I shared with her a Trail of Tears fiction story I had written, ‘Contrast.’ She requested I send it to her (it was later acquisitioned for publication).
The VIP treatment continued with a complimentary Barbecue dinner, Choctaw Cultural Displays and gospel singing by the Wesley Brothers. Entertaining as well was the Intertribal Bow Shoot, featuring the traditional longbow.
The event befittingly closed with a traditional Choctaw social dance.
The sights, sounds and memories of a people – my people – will echo in the hearts of those who made the journey back in time, honoring those who blazed our trails.
For more on the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, please visit www.ChoctawNation.com