5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles. ~ Proverbs 1:5,6 NKJV
By Bro. John L. Cash
Just like I promised, I’m back this week with the solution to last week’s riddle. In case you’ve forgotten, here is the puzzle:
“The poor man has it.
The rich man needs it.
It is too difficult for God.
If you eat it, you will die.”
What is it?
Well, here’s the answer: “NOTHING”
Did you know that the Bible teaches that nothing is too difficult for God? Mark 10:27 tells us, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
That is a wonderful promise to know. No matter how difficult or hopeless our situation may look to us, it never looks that way to God. Nothing is too difficult for Him.
However, that promise is also a very easy promise to forget. Several years ago, I was going through some problems in our family. (Contrary to popular belief, country preachers and their families are not immune to trials or troubles. In fact, they have all the same problems that you have, plus a few more that are unique to life in the ministry!) Some good friends who knew me well “read between the lines” in this blog, and reached out to counsel and comfort me. I got an email that went something like this:
Don’t be sad, Brother John. And don’t worry. Jesus said that the missing coin gets found, the prodigal son comes home, and the good shepherd brings the wandering lamb back to the fold. Put your faith in Him!
Friends, that’s the best advice of all, and it is absolutely true. The older I get, the more I see that we spend our whole lives learning the same lesson over and over: Jesus Christ can be trusted to help in any difficulty that we have, if we only put our faith in Him. Nothing is to hard for Him, so put your faith in Him today. And keep reminding me to do that, too.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 27 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where it is “Second Sunday Potluck-Dinner Day” today.) The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 22), and Seth (age 18), who live in the parsonage, too, except when they are away at college. He would love to hear from you in an email sent to email@example.com.
On May 4, 2013 I went to the Prom – but not the kind with all the awkward teenage drama. This one was a “Mom Prom,” a tradition which began several years ago in Michigan by a group of mothers. Women liked the idea so much that the concept spread, and this spring there are more than 40 “Mom Proms” held across the country – each one raising money for a local non-profit group.
While getting ready for my high school prom, I didn’t wonder if they make industrial-strength Spanx, nor did I need them. My metabolism was young, carbs were still friendly and I didn’t have the good sense to appreciate the glorious “thigh gap” of my youth.
My high school prom date was a boy named Matt who was perpetually working on a 1968 Mustang in his garage. I was sure we were destined for each other. We weren’t. Destiny was much smarter than I was.
I attended the Mom Prom with about 300 women – all of whom had left their husbands at home. Why pay a sitter for a girls’ night out when there’s a perfectly good father who can hold down the fort?
I styled my own hair before I went to my high school prom – a poor decision painfully proven by the prom pictures. I was still hanging on to those unfortunate “big bangs” of the 80s that defied gravity.
Ironically, the dark blue dress I wore to the Mom Prom was almost identical in color to the sequined number I wore when I was 18. The dress size? Not quite so identical. But who’s counting? That skinny dress was three kids and two decades ago.
For my high school prom, I did what every girl did when it was time to find shoes. I got those terribly uncomfortable ivory pumps that could be dyed to match the exact color of your dress. I wore them all night because they were high and made me feel like the mature woman I was deluded enough to think I already was. By midnight, I couldn’t feel anything below the ankle.
At the older and wiser Mom Prom, we posed for pictures for about 20 minutes while wearing our sparkly, strappy, rhinestone-studded heels. Then we took them off and promptly deposited them into a “Shoe Bank” where they stayed for most of the night while we boogied barefoot on the dance floor to “Brick House.”
Speaking of dancing, I did plenty of it at both proms. But the day after the Mom Prom, my legs were sore, my back hurt, and my friend said she thought she might have danced her hip out of joint when the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy” came on. We mid-life mamas can still shake it, but we need several Advil the next day.
At my first prom, my friends and I were thrilled that our curfew had been extended and we could party until well past midnight. We would have danced until dawn if our parents had let us.
At the Mom Prom, several women left bleary-eyed by 10 p.m. because the thought of sleep was even more alluring than the freedom to party all night. Plus they knew their kids would be up by 6 a.m. asking for waffles.
So which prom was better? Both were fun. But I loved how the second one let me feel footloose and 18 again without erasing the blessings two decades of “livin’” have given.
Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.
Author Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography
Note from the mamas: The following article was written by Angela Hopkins, the fearless, tireless Director of Sales for nwaMotherlode.com. When we hired her and then told her that we wanted to plan and host a Mom Prom in only three months, she didn’t tell us we were nuts and she didn’t run away either. We’re eternally grateful for all her hard work and dedication to this event. Go Team Mom Prom!
by Angela Hopkins, Director of Sales for nwaMotherlode.com
When I was hired in January to become the Director of Sales of NWAMotherlode.com team, co-founders Gwen Rockwood and Shannon Magsam had high hopes to bring a unique charity event to Northwest Arkansas. “We want to bring a mom prom to our area!” they said, “and we want to do it THIS year!” The mamas of NWAMotherlode.com wanted to find a charity that was close to mothers’ hearts – one that also needed a fundraising event to help spread the word about its needs.
We partnered with the Cobblestone Project, a non-profit group on a mission to become a “Community Without Need”. One of their programs, Laundry Love, spoke to us in LOADS. The program partners with area Laundromats to help cover the costs of cleaning the clothes of those families living in poverty in Northwest Arkansas. Every mother we know can relate to doing laundry, so this was a perfect fit.
Having personally grown up living at the poverty level, I know how it feels to not have the luxury of having a washer and dryer in my home. I know how those children feel. So this program really spoke to me.
Plus, both NWAMotherlode.com and Cobblestone Project are celebrating their 5th anniversary this May, so both organizations certainly have reason to celebrate.
So in as little as three months, we kicked into high gear, booked a venue and many area businesses stepped up to sponsor the event. Through God’s grace and lots of hard work, we made it happen! We’re so grateful to the Northwest Arkansas businesses that sponsored the event, and we hope to have them and even more companies on board for next year’s Mom Prom.
All the numbers are in and the mamas of NWAMotherlode.com are thrilled to announce that the NWA Mom Prom event raised $3,000 for the Cobblestone Project’s Laundry Love program. These proceeds will help hundreds of families that sometimes have to make the choice between paying rent or buying food over washing their children’s clothes. The money raised will fund the project’s costs for more than two months. Wow. We are so excited that our inaugural event was a success and so many women had a fabulous girls’ night out that also made a difference in our community.
The NWA Mom Prom had almost 330 ladies in attendance. From red carpet pictures to dancing the night away with friends, the evening became a much needed getaway for moms and women in the area. Here are just a few of the comments we received on the event’s Facebook page:
- “What an amazing time I had. Can’t wait for next year!”
- “My friends and I had an absolute blast. Thank-you so much. We are already planning for next year’s prom.”
- “Thank you so much! Our group had a wonderful time. Best Prom Ever!!! We can’t wait until next year.”
- “What a great event!! I had so much fun tonight!! I danced until my calves cramped. I had to walk to the car barefoot. ”
The response has been overwhelming, and we’re excited to already be in the planning stages for next year’s NWA Mom Prom event. We hope to announce the date for the 2014 charity event soon, so be sure to “like” NWA Mom Prom on FB and sign up for the weekly email newsletter on NWAMotherlode.com to be among the first to find out our next year’s NWA Mom Prom, a “prom with a purpose.” We hope to dance the night away with you next year!
By Shannon Magsam
On the 3-hour drive to my parents’ house to celebrate Mother’s Day last Friday night, my husband, Ladybug and I were chatting happily.
Suddenly, we noticed a car was speeding up the on-ramp to merge into Interstate 40 traffic, except the driver wasn’t merging, he was swerving. We were in the right lane and the left lane was crowded so we had nowhere to go. My husband slowed and honked to let the driver know we were there, but the guy continued to weave.
I was shaking by the time we finally got clear.
It happened fast, but I knew we’d just barely missed being involved in an accident. I felt grateful we’d dodged that bullet. As a former newspaper reporter, I tend to worst-case-scenario situations in my head in headline format: “Mom Maimed in Pre-Mother’s Day Traffic Accident”.
Soon we were all talking again – about the chickens we were going to pick up at MiMi and Papa’s house to bring home, about seeing Ladybug’s horse and her cousins — when we heard a loud horn honking. The SUV that we’d nearly been in an accident with just minutes earlier was on our bumper and laying on the horn. The driver hit his high beams and stayed on us.
I immediately called 911. When I said where we were on I-40, the operator switched me to a different county’s dispatcher. Then that operator switched me and a THIRD operator who switched me to the State Police. At least I think that’s who I was talking to. I was confused at that point. I explained the situation for a fourth time and in the middle of my terse account, the operator told me to hang on because she had another call.
When she got back on the line (!) I told her that I was especially concerned because road construction was ahead and we were likely going to be at a standstill or a slow crawl with this crazy driver tailing us. I told her I could see blue police lights up ahead and maybe she could ask one of the officers to help with this tense situation?
She told me the officers were busy with the “incident” and basically offered no help – or even a suggestion for how to handle the unpredictable predicament. I even pointed out: “MY CHILD IS IN THIS CAR.” For Ladybug’s sake, I didn’t freak out or raise my voice, but I was not fine inside. My husband continued to drive defensively, even trying to get over at different points to see if the guy would go around us. Nope. He stuck to us like glue.
The dispatcher asked for my cell number, I gave it to her, then we hung up. I felt completely blown off, dissatisfied, angry and SCARED since the guy was still behind us, honking and bright-lighting us. He stopped with the bright lights and honking when we slowed down at the construction site, mostly because the police officers were there, I suppose.
But as soon as the blue lights disappeared in our rearview mirrors, he started up again. I’m not sure why no other drivers called 911. Maybe they did, but I have no way of knowing since the dispatcher never felt the need to call back and follow up with us.
I asked my husband (who had remained completely calm during the whole ordeal): “What would have gotten their attention? If he had rammed us? If he had started shooting?”
Finally the creep (as my husband pointed out: most likely a drunk creep) got off at an exit and I craned my neck to get his license plate. Unfortunately, I couldn’t read it from the distance.
I realized I’d been practically holding my breath the whole time. My heart was pounding and I was trying hard not to remember a road rage shooting incident I had covered while working as a police reporter years before. That incident had ended very badly.
I was so relieved to see that jerk exit, but I kept thinking of all the what-ifs.
When we got to my parents’ house, we told them the tale and then I ate a huge bowl of my mother’s homemade vegetable soup. My mother’s food has healing properties — for body and spirit.
Then I switched the topic to more pleasant things – like the chicks we were bringing home and seeing my daughter’s horse and visiting with my nieces and nephews.
The drive home on Sunday night was uneventful. My Internal Headline Writer formulated a new announcement: “Mom Feeling Grateful After Mostly Uneventful Mother’s Day Weekend”.
Shannon Magsam is mom to 11-year-old Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-founder of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here.
By Alyson Low, youth services librarian, Fayetteville Public Library
The ability to simultaneously tickle the funny bone of two such disparate age groups is a wonderful gift, and authors Mo Willems and Tim Egan are richly endowed with it. And their respective easy reader series – Elephant & Piggie and Dodsworth – aren’t just rewarding for listeners big and small, they’re enjoyable for emerging readers as they practice their burgeoning literacy skills.
Willems writes on the sparing end of the scale, just perfect for the newest of readers, but he knows exactly which words will pack the biggest comedic punch combined with his illustrations of the endearing Elephant and Piggie.
Egan writes at the other end of the easy reader spectrum, employing more plentiful text while keeping it accessible. (His series highlights the adventures of a sassy duck and his exasperated traveling companion, Dodsworth.)
Both authors have a wry, minimalist sense of humor that adults will find refreshing in a market that generally relies on ham-handed gags.
No worries that the little ones won’t get the joke – even the youngest listener/reader will be giggling, too, because the artwork supports the text and in a truly delightful way.
These two series are absolutely worthwhile purchases for the family library, as both the adults and the kiddos in the house will pull the books off the shelves to enjoy together over and over again.
Even the youngest child can participate in the Fayetteville Public Library’s Summer Reading Club! CLICK HERE to sign up for the club which is for children, teens and adults. CLICK HERE to see a full listing of all the FPL awesome events and activities planned for this summer!
ABOUT ALYSON: Alyson Low has been a youth services librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library for six years. She designs and leads story times for toddlers and preschoolers; develops four juvenile collections –nonfiction, graphic novels, easy readers, and read-alongs; writes book reviews for School Library Journal; coordinates Sit Stay Read – FPL’s reading program with therapy dogs, and teaches after-school and summer writing classes for 3rd-12th grades. Prior to working at FPL, she was an eighth grade English teacher for nine years.