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Devotion in Motion: The Lloyd and Rose Scenario

By nwamamas - Last updated: Sunday, March 1, 2015

lloyd and rose slider12 ¶ So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.  ~  Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I’ve always heard that when their children grow up, married couples either get divorced or fall in love again. The latter must have happened in my case because this part of my life with Susan seems to me to be very, very sweet.

Susan and I have always said that we hope that things work out for us like they did for Lloyd and Rose. Lloyd and Rose were members of our congregation.  They were a married couple who stayed deeply in love for their entire lives. When they were in their 60’s they lived in a house together. When they were in couple on benchtheir 70’s, they moved into an efficiency apartment at an assisted living facility.

Finally, when they were in their late 80’s they were patients in a nursing home, where they lived in hospital beds, side-by-side. Their bodies grew steadily weaker, but, as ever, their love for one another grew stronger.

Today their bodies share a headstone in the little cemetery across from our little country church, and their spirits are alive in the kingdom of God. In my way of thinking, you couldn’t ask for anything more than a life like that.

Susan and I have talked about the “Lloyd and Rose scenario” for many years, with a wish that this would be our destiny in life. But lately I’ve come to a realization. Sometimes it works out that way, but not always. And if it doesn’t work out that way, one of us will pass away before the other one. And then the other one will be alone.

I don’t say that to be morbid or dark. If you read the Bible, it’s not a morbid thought at all. It’s just a realistic description of life in the world in which we live.  In some sense you can even call it “the will of God.” Even though it’s painful to think about, the sooner we think about it, the better. If you love Jesus, you’re going to live in the next life forever. But not in this life.

My realization of that fact doesn’t fill my life with dread. Instead, it fills my life with hope and the greatest joy. When I wake up in the morning, well, I realize that each day is limited time opportunity. Just like the infomercial says, if you’re gonna use this day, you’ve got to “act before midnight tonight” and “supplies WILL run out.”

And because of that, I’m trying to make each day a thing of joy and beauty — especially with Susan. And my children. And all the people that I love. I don’t always succeed making each day a glorious thing. But lately I’m having a lot more good days than bad ones.

In the scheme of things, this isn’t anything revolutionary or new.

I’m pretty sure we all learned a Psalm about this when we were children:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

Lloyd and Rose just had the good sense to put it into practice.

Go thou and do likewise.

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 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, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where we had a “snow day” with no snow this week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

The Rockwood Files: Love Brands

By nwamamas - Last updated: Saturday, February 28, 2015

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Tom did something shocking the other day. He came home from the store with a few things I’d asked him to pick up before the snowstorm hit. As I unloaded the shopping bags, I stopped short. I picked up one of the packages, turned it around in my hands in disbelief and then held it up to Tom, as if he’d accidentally brought home toxic waste.

“What is THIS?” I asked.

“It’s toilet paper,” he said, as if I’d somehow mistaken it for a Crock Pot.

“I know it’s toilet paper, but it’s not OUR toilet paper. Since when do we get this kind of toilet paper?” I asked.

Listen, the store was crowded and this brand was on the end of the aisle and it was on sale, so I just grabbed it,” he explained, as if any willy-nilly explanation could be good enough for switching toilet paper brands. “I’m sure it’s fine,” he added.

He walked out of the room to tend to more important things while I glared a hole in the back of his head. You can’t just go switching toilet paper brands on a person with no advance notice. Some things are just too personal.

By the next day, there was nearly half a foot of snow in the driveway so I had to make peace with Tom’s brand selection. I did not like it, mind you, but I tried my best not to complain since we were stuck with it for the time being. Three days later, the snow began to melt and so did Tom’s theory about impulsive brand substitutions. As we stood in the bathroom brushing our teeth, he said “You know, I don’t like that toilet paper. Next time we go to the store, let’s go back to our old brand.”

I smiled and nodded, but on the inside I was thinking “Yes, and next time let’s not grab the wrong brand just because it’s within arm’s reach. Some things are worth looking for.” (When you’re married for a long time, you learn which things are best said internally.)

What those three days with the wrong toilet paper taught me is that most of us are a lot more brand dependent than we’d like to admit. Sure, we may buy generics on a few things and pat ourselves on the back for saving money, but, for the most part, we love our brands. We grow up with them. And sometimes brands become our buddies.

I read an article recently about a study on brand attachment that was done last year at the USC Marshall School of Business. The results showed that people can be so attached to brands that we suffer separation anxiety when our favorite brands are replaced. (Snippy comments made to husbands are also a common side effect.)

Brand attachments explain why some people panic at the thought of being away from their iPhone for too long. It explains why Pepsi people scoff at the thought of having a Coke. It explains why some teenagers would consider selling a kidney just to have the “right” pair of jeans. Successful brand managers are like business wizards who cast a powerful spell over an unsuspecting public.

But I, for one, am not ashamed of my brand attachments. I know what I like and I stick to it. Give me a quality product, and I’m as loyal as a Labrador, consistent as a clock. So I offer this poetic vow of consumer devotion to what, for many of us, have become our “love brands”.

“I, average consumer, do take you, preferred brand, to be my constant shopping cart companion. You are the Apple® of my eye, and my Gain® is a generic brand’s loss. The purity of my commitment is like a Dove® taking flight at Dawn®, soaring across the Quilted Northern® plains. Despite the great Bounty® of brand variety, I will not Bounce® from one name to another, for I am Glad® to forsake all knock-offs and imitations. While others get swept away by the Tide® of change, I enjoy the gentle Febreze® of familiarity. I hold steadfast to my favorites and Nestle® my beloved brands safely into my shopping gwen headshot 2014bags. Truly, I love you All®.”

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.

Calling All Shoe Lovers: Save this date!

By nwamamas - Last updated: Friday, February 27, 2015

shoes conquer the world

If you love to shop for shoes and finding an amazing deal makes you crazy happy, write down this date because this is THE ultimate shoe shopping event in Northwest Arkansas.

Ozark Guidance_Horizontal_Banner_Color_1970 (2)The Walk a Mile in My Shoes shopping event happens this year on May 15-16, 2015. It’s an amazing fundraiser that helps support Ozark Guidance.

This event has grown like crazy since it was introduced several years ago, so the selection of shoes is ENORMOUS. This year’s event will take place at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Springdale, right off the Interstate.

Shoppers at this event can buy men and women’s shoes for $10 each and kids’ shoes for $5 each. Handbags are $10 each, and there’s also a selection of high-end designer shoes for $20 each. (The shoes are new or slightly used, and there are LOTS of new shoes that are donated from local stores, too.)

There will be a Preview Party on May 15, 2015 and the Public Sale is on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (We suggest you get tickets to attend the Preview Party on May 15th if you want the very best selection. The tickets are on sale now. Click here for info.)

Note: If you’re going to the NWA Mom Prom this year, this might be the perfect place to get shoes to go with your Mom Prom dress! The Mom Prom happens this year on May 30, 2015, and the Walk a Mile in My Shoes shopping event happens just two weeks before on the 15th and 16th. Perfect timing!

For more info on the Walk a Mile in My Shoes event, click here to follow the updates on Facebook. We’ll share more details about it as they become available.

walk a mile save the date


NWA Calendar of Events + Spring Break Activities: March 2015

By nwamamas - Last updated: Friday, February 27, 2015

TheUglyDuckling-MotherlodeWebAd_266x375The Ugly Duckling and Tortoise and the Hare

Lightwire Theater presents two cherished fables in a new and brilliant light. Full-bodied electroluminescent puppetry visually dazzles like moving sculpture in a theatrical experience that will delight children. In an age where television, computers and video games reign, Lightwire delivers classic tales in a visually remarkable way with an artistic musical score ranging from classical to jazz to pop. The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare are incandescent story-time adventures that the whole family will enjoy.

Date: March 1

Time: 2 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Beautiful Girls Retreat

This is a two-day, overnight getaway for girls and their moms/leaders on March 6th and 7th, 2015 at the Doubletree by Hilton, Bentonville. As a non-profit with a mission to create and host a teaching event that is truly community-based, interdenominational, and to inspire young women in character, identity, and self-esteem. The theme for 2015 will be “True Beauty”. Keynote speaker is Erin Davis, author of fourteen books on girlhood, purity, beauty, and parenting. The second day will be filled with creative breakout sessions, tea time, visual arts presentations, a fashion show, and more. This weekend provides girls and moms with a time to get away and be refreshed and encouraged. Please visit our website for details and registration at .

Date: March 6-7

Time: Varies

Location: Doubletree by Hilton

More info: Click here

Spring Break begins at Devil’s Den

Date: March 7-29

Time: Varies

Location: Devil’s Den, West Fork

More info: Click here

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joseph_TNEWOne of the most enduring shows of all time, Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber’s JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is the irresistible family musical about the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favorite son.  Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colors, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including ”Those Canaan Days,” “Any Dream Will Do” and “Close Every Door.”

Date: March 10-15

Time: Varies

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Father-Daughter Princess Ball

Date: March 13

Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Location: NWA Mercy Family YMCA, Rogers

More info: Click here

father daughter dance

Tales from the South: On the road

Tales from the South, the unique, radio showcase of Southern writers which broadcasts locally on KUAF is returning. Host Paula Morell will choose local writers for performance, music by local musicians, and there’s a Southern Sunday Night Supper.  Presented with support from the Arkansas Arts Council.

Date: March 15

Time: 6 p.m.

Arts Center of the Ozarks, Springdale

More info: Click here

Midtown Men

Midtown_Men_TNEWThey’re BACK! The Midtown Men are returning to Northwest Arkansas with their unique Broadway flare and bravura, as they sing all the hits from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Jackson Five, The Four Seasons and more! These four talented entertainers shared the Broadway stage for hundreds of performances of the Tony® Award-winning mega-hit Jersey Boys before reuniting as The Midtown Men to bring their magic to audiences everywhere. By popular demand, the boys are back for 2 nights only! Act fast for tickets to this sure sell-out – this show rocks!

Date: March 19-20

Time: Varies

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Devil’s Den Rocks

It’s time to celebrate what makes this park special. Join state geologists along with park staff for a fun weekend as you learn about the special features that make Devil’s Den the rockin’ place to be.

Date: March 28-29

Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: Devil’s Den, West Fork

More info: Click here

Spring Break Activities:

mountain bikeCommunity Creative Center (Fayetteville and new location in Rogers)

Click here to see various art class options

Hobbs State Park

Click here for info on nature classes, March 25-27

Fayetteville Public Library

Click here to see times for daily kid movies and daytime lock-ins for elementary-age children

The Jones Center

Click here for info about activities scheduled for the week

Trike Theatre

Choose-your-own-adventure Spring Break theatre options

Crystal Bridges Museum

Click here for more info on drop-in activities daily



Five Minutes with a Mom: Audra Shaw

By nwamamas - Last updated: Thursday, February 26, 2015

Audra Shaw

Name: Audra Shaw

Kid’s names and ages: My beautiful daughter Aubree is 2 1/2 years old.

Where are you from and how long have you lived in NWA?

I grew up all of my life in Pearcy, AR outside of Hot Springs. I moved to NWA in Fall 2004 to attend the U of A and have called it home ever since.

Which songs are on your iPod right now?

I seriously have no music in my iTunes account and just play Pandora when I want to listen to music.

Tell us about a day in your life:

I am fortunate to get to stay home with my daughter Aubree. Days with her involve reading books, playing with baby dolls, listening to and singing lots of songs, working puzzles, playing with one of her many you kitties, practicing flash cards (which she crazily loves), therapy sessions, exploring the whole house, and lots of snuggling during nap time. Of course, there’s the typical keep the house running things, too.

Tell us about some traditions you’ve started with your daughter:

We watch Wheel of Fortune as a family together every night after realizing Aubree loved it. Simple, clean, fun with everybody interested in the same thing for 30 minutes! During Christmastime, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights many nights, which we plan to continue in the future. In the fall, we also go to a local pumpkin patch and let Aubree pick out pumpkins. We also enjoy going to the farmer’s market when it’s open on the weekends.

What has been one of the most surprising things about motherhood?

I think the most surprising thing is that it is surprising and you can’t be completely ready for it. The pain you feel when watching your child hurt, the joy you have when you see her accomplish or reach milestones, and how amazing the feeling is of holding her cannot be described or understood accurately until you experience it yourself.

I always knew I would love my child, but didn’t know how great that love would be until we had her!

Where do you and your family love to play in NWA?

Our own backyard is probably our favorite! Great shade in the afternoon, swinging, gardening, playing fetch with our dog Mo, playing in water when the weather is warm, it’s great fun only a few feet away!

Away from home, we like going to Murphy Park, Tyson Park, and JB Hunt Park (all in Springdale) to swing, slide, and climb. We also like to take family trips to Lowes for getting things for projects! The racecar shopping cart is too fun!

Do you have any fun hobbies?

I love getting creative in the kitchen and cooking. It’s a great outlet that I really enjoy and allows me to share with others.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter where would it be?

Hawaii. My husband and I love traveling to and spending time there. We hope to take Aubree one day when she is older!

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

I’m not really sure. It would have to be someone who has experienced unimaginable emotional pain in real life (severe illness or loss of a child, etc.) to be able to come close to conveying it on the movie screen.

My daughter has a rare genetic condition called Jeunes syndrome that has left her critically ill and in the intensive care unit much of her life. Watching your baby be so very sick, not knowing if you will ever get to take her home again, and how that makes you feel, I don’t think could be accurately portrayed by someone who hadn’t experienced such terrible hurt that one doesn’t know existed until you have been in that situation.

Also, someone who is a believer and follower of Christ to know from personal experience the hope found in Him to go make it through tough situations.

Thankfully, after ten months in the pediatric intensive care unit and innumerable prayers from us and our family and friends, we were able to bring our daughter back home. Praise The Lord!

While there are still medical complexities, surgeries, and the like, we are so thankful to God for allowing us to continue having our daughter here with us, enjoying life and spreading her infectious joy to all who meet her.

A very specific order for an actress! Don’t see a movie of my life coming out anytime soon!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn?

I’ve never learned to drive a standard transmission vehicle. It would probably be useful because I have never been able to drive either of my husband Derrick’s Jeeps in the 8 years we’ve been married!

What three things do you always have with you?

My iPhone, hand sanitizer, and tea bags for a cup of hot tea!

How do you relax at the end of the day?

Holding and rocking my daughter to sleep every night. Many nights I hold her an extra 30 minutes to an hour because it’s just the best feeling in the world!

One word to sum me up: Blessed.

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