Friday, October 9, 2015

Wandering Photos: Orb Spider

Caught this amazing spider spinning a web on a sunny 
Sunday afternoon in eastern Delaware County.
According to my friend, this is an orb spider. 
Another non-naturalist friend called it a writer spider.
I thought it was just cool.

Photos by Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller 

Martin marks 100 years of life Saturday

Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller •

The love and legacy of Hazel Belle Martin's life can be explained by three numbers: 12 children, 29 grandchildren and 55 great-grandchildren.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, many of those family members and an assortment of friends will gather in Grove to mark Martin's 100th birthday.

The afternoon celebration is designed to honor the Grove resident as she enters the next century of her lifetime.

Born in Hamlin, Texas, Martin grew up in McAlester, Oklahoma. She later moved to northern Arkansas, living in Prairie Grove and Greenland.

Her family tells the story about how Martin, who was in the eighth grade at the time, would play tag with the boys in the one room school.

Martin would regal her daughters with the story on how one day she avoided getting tagged by a boy at recess by ducking out a side door.

"I got a head start on him," Martin recalled. "I ran and put three barbed wire fences and a pond in between us."

As a student in Greenland, Martin was a member of a prize-winning basketball team. The young women earned an invitation to the state competition, but in those tough economic times, school officials did not have enough finances to send the team.

Martin and her husband, Arthur married in 1933, when they were each 18. The couple had their first child a year later. Eleven more children followed. They include Janelle Martin Hestand, and Kay Martin Spence, both of Grove, and Martin Alden Martin, Gary Neal Martin, Zahn Michael Martin, Stephen Spencer Martin, Janeen Martin Spuler, Jackie Martin Cardone, Joan Martin Dixon and Patti Martin Techanchuk, as well as the late John Edward Martin and Quinton Arthur Martin.

The Martins lived in northwest Arkansas for years before moving to Jenks in the mid 1970s.

In 1995 the Martins moved to Grove and bought a home on a bluff of Grand Lake in the Honey Creek area. They were married for 65 years. Arthur Martin died in 1999.

Martin said she learned numerous lessons in life, including to "forget the things that hurt," and to "thank the Lord for my family."

She said she also reminds her children and grandchildren to remember that God is the maker of the whole world.

"Faith has been [part] of my life even before I went to school," Martin said.

She also credits her longevity to not smoking and refraining from drinking alcohol.

"I looked and tried to do the right thing," Martin said.

She also jokes that her habit of eating an egg every morning may have helped her reach 100 as well.

Martin also credits her time outdoors for extending her life. She enjoys gardening and has extensive flower beds in her yard.

Throughout the years, Martin has kept busy as a seamstress. When the family lived in Jenks she ran a sewing and alterations business. She also made many of the clothes her children wore. She also made dresses for numerous Miss Oklahoma contestants.

Her creativity has continued into retirement. Martin took carving lessons from Gary Mathias, creating numerous items which dot the shelves of her Grove home.

One other way she stays sharp: Martin credits doing the jumble puzzle each day, and until recently, she has crochet afghans for her numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

One hallmark of her life, Martin said she set a goal to make sure all of her children graduated from college. She said all of her daughters graduated with a college degree. All of her sons attended college, with one finishing his degree. The other sons went into the armed services.

"I taught my children a love for beauty of the outdoors and what God has made for us," Martin said. "Sunsets, flowers, nature, even storms have certain beauty. I taught them not to be afraid of storms and taught them the value of being very active and the value of work."

This originally appeared in the Friday, Oct. 9, issue of The Grove Sun.

Bits & Pieces: Got Supper?

The adventures ensue in the Land of We, as the lessons of the newly married continue to roll into view.

Many revolve around food – the ultimate spice of life, or so they say.

Apparently, my “inner 1950s housewife” has come out at times in the last few weeks, because I’ve found myself asking the Lawman what he wants for supper early in the day.

The response given is usually “babe, I can’t think about food now,” or “why are we talking about food again?”

Apparently planning meals of some sort was ingrained in my DNA long before I said “I do.”

For the record, I have a feeling the desire I have to sit down, for a planned meal with the Lawman, comes from years of happy memories from the family dinner table. My family may not have had riches, but my parents made a point to have meals together whenever possible.

So, while I have a desire to have a meal with the Lawman, sometimes my limited cooking skills get in the way.

I’ll be honest; years of busy schedules and single life have lead to countless trips to drive-thru restaurants.

It also meant that I developed a sort of bachelor-ette style of eating – filled with pasta and sauce, rice and beans and well, anything that could be prepped with ease.

I quickly learned in the first weeks of marriage man cannot live on rice alone. Apparently, though, in the case of the Lawman, that quandary can be solved by having corn dogs, hamburgers and hot dogs in the freezer.

But in the event his stash runs out, I’ve been trying my hand at making a few meals, from a cheesy hamburger pasta to a meatloaf filled with oats – yes, box meals, but at least beyond a restaurant menu.

I also took part in a freezer meal workshop, hosted by a friend who sells Pampered Chef. In that single afternoon, we created five different meals prepped and ready for the stove or microwave.

That style of cooking – although it basically took an entire day from start to finish – seems to be my best bet for ensuring the Lawman won’t be forced to eat his stash of corn dogs all at once. It’s definitely a method I’ll return to, once we have landed in our new home.

Ultimately, I think my desire to find a way to feed the Lawman boils (pun intended) into one reason – love.

In my family, food was a way people showed love. From grandmas that cooked to aunts that always had food galore when we visited, food of all shapes and sizes equaled love in my world.

So while I'll quit throwing food at him (for the record his cooking skills are far superior to mine), I will strive to have meals together as a way to feed both body and soul.

Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller is the managing editor of The Grove Sun. Have an idea for a column or story? She can be reached at or 918-786-2228.

This column originally appeared in the Friday, Oct. 9, issue of The Grove Sun.

Looking toward 2016: Dempsey to complete treatment in new year

Candace Dempsey, 42, has been battling
breast cancer since December 2014.
She hopes to complete her treatment in early 2016.
- Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller / Grove Sun
Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller •
Editor's Note: This is a part of a series of stories highlighting those impacted by breast cancer during the month of October, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month. This story originally appeared in the Friday, Oct. 9, issue of The Grove Sun.

Candace Dempsey never thought she would be come a patient.

As a nurse with the Cherokee Nation Sam Heider Community Clinic in Jay, Dempsey, 42, filled her time taking care of others.

Things changed in December 2014 when Dempsey was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Dempsey's journey with breast cancer began on Dec. 17, when she found a lump in her left breast. Her medical provider, who was also her boss at the time, Janet Gorham, immediately sent her to have an ultrasound.

A series of tests quickly followed. On Dec. 30, Dempsey received the news. She had early stage three invasive ductal carcinoma.

It meant Dempsey, who until 2014, had been in relatively good health, became the first person in her family to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Dempsey knows her cancer developed after March 2014, because she had her first, and only mammogram, which came back with clear results.

After her mammogram, Dempsey received an MNR vaccine, required by then employers. A reaction to the vaccine, depleted her immunity and platelets, sending her to the hospital for two lengthly stays.

While the diagnosis is not official, medical personnel suspect Dempsey's weakened immune system played a significant role in her cancer diagnosis.

"I was totally healthy before that," Dempsey said. "I only took a multi-vitamin. I didn't have any health problems."

As a nurse, Dempsey is a proponent of self-breast exams. She said she encourages all of her patients, as well as her children, do self-exams as needed.

It was during an exam, which came after feeling a twinge in her breast, that she discovered the lump.

"Somehow I knew it was cancer," Dempsey said. "If it's a fatty tumor or something, it will move. This lump was attached. It wouldn't move when I tried to lift it or move it."

Dempsey's cancer was aggressive. From the initial diagnosis to when her double mastectomy took place, it spread to at least one lymph node. Her doctors were able to remove all of the cancer during the surgery.

In March 2015, Dempsey began six months of chemotherapy treatment. She completed her last treatment on Sept. 17. Her hair, which fell out after the first treatment, has begun to grow back in a soft, downy fashion.

Next week, on Oct. 14, Dempsey is scheduled to have complete the next step in the reconstruction process. Her plastic surgeon plans to remove the expanders and put implants in during the procedure.

In November, Dempsey will begin 30 rounds of radiation. After the first of the year she hopes to complete the radiation, finish up her reconstruction and put breast cancer behind her.

Dempsey credits the support she received from fellow breast cancer survivors, Carrie Couch and Deanna Chenowith, for helping her navigate the last few months.

"They told me what to expect," Dempsey said, adding that Couch connected her with an online Facebook group of women navigating cancer.

She was also given a copy of Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book, which has been called the "Bible for the newly diagnosed." It provided resources to help her as well.

Dempsey said the support of her husband, Otis, her children: Jordan, a college student, and Austin and Dallas, a junior and freshman at Grove High School respectively, and the young woman they are helping to raise, Autumn Baker, a junior at GHS, as well as her mother, Vickie Alexander, for helping her get through the past few months.

Her mother even took early retirement from her job in the courthouse in Bartlesville to help her travel to and from treatments.

In the midst of her treatment, Dempsey left her position at Grand Lake Medical Park, on Monkey Island, to join the staff of the Sam Heider Clinic.

Dempsey interviewed with Cherokee Nation in December, anticipating a career change. She was offered the nursing position after learning she had cancer.

Dempsey said she officials with the clinic encouraged her to not turn the job down because of her diagnosis. She started working at the clinic in May, in between her chemotherapy treatments.

Her new co-workers have held penny wars and done other things to help raise funds to help Delaware county women pay for mammograms and for annual checkups.

Dempsey credits her faith, as something which has helped her remain strong in the past year.

"I would encourage people to give it to God," Dempsey said. "Having a positive attitude really helps. It also helps to pray about it."

In addition to her family, Dempsey said her friends from Bible Baptist Church also helped provide support and encouragement.

Earlier this year, Dempsey underwent the genetic testing to determine the extent of her breast cancer. While the genetic testing came back negative, Dempsey knows her sons, and her niece, now run a higher risk to contract the disease.

"My advice, definitely do all of your screenings and mammograms," Dempsey said. "See your doctor on a regular basis.

"Get to know your body. If you realize something is abnormal, go get it checked out. It could be something very aggressive - and it might be too late [if you wait]."

She also tells people to become comfortable with their doctors. Dempsey said her breast surgeon, Dr. LaNette Smith, took time to answer her questions, make her feel comfortable, prayed with her before the surgery and after the surgery, made sure she was greeted with a vase of pink roses.

"If you don't feel comfortable, there's nothing wrong with getting a second opinion," Dempsey said. "You have to feel comfortable with the person who is going to be caring for you."

How To For Self Exams

The National Cancer Foundation makes the following recommendation for how a breast self-exam should be performed.


Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.


Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.

Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women's breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.


When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.

Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Images from the 10.09.15 issue of The Grove Sun

Circles of Fun

Carnival goers "hang out" on the Stampede ride on Wednesday, during the opening night of the Pelican Fest carnival. This year's festival, including carnival, vendors and entertainment, takes place entirely at Wolf Creek Park. - Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller / Grove Sun

Front page runners up

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