• Kids playing Pokemon GO in NWA? Here’s your Poke-Mom cheat sheet!

Devotion in Motion: The end of the story

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you..

remix (4)1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I have so many happy memories of “the Good Old Days” of my younger years. The passing of time paints the past in rosy tones of simplicity and perfection. But the older I get, the more I see that all the same problems existed back then (in some form or fashion) as the problems people have now.

Recently I’ve had a realization. Part of the reason that the events of the past seem so pleasant is because we can see the end of the story. Sure, we can still see the endthe problems we had all those years ago. But we can also see that so many of our problems “worked out.” And the solutions to our difficulties very often came in ways we never could have predicted—or even imagined.

I’m in a different stage of life now because my children are pretty much grown. But I always notice young couples who are “in the thick” of raising their kids, and my heart goes out to them. Seeing their stresses and struggles brings back waves of emotion as I’m reminded of what it was like to be going through that time in life.

These young parents are dealing with overwork, financial worries, health problems, and assorted overwhelming griefs and stressors. Maybe that’s what you’re going through, too.

Well, I want to tell you what I always tell them. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. And try not to worry, because your story is going to have a happy ending.

Things are going to work out, because the Lord never fails.

The portion of your life that you’re going through now will later be part of your “Good Old Days.” God is going to see you through.

Trust me on this one.

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 the weather joyfully had the first hint of Autumn this week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

The Rockwood Files: A Vacation Unicorn

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

It happened – the rarest of family vacation experiences. It has never happened before and may never happen again, which is why I must document it here for the sake of posterity and to give parents everywhere hope that it’s possible.

On our recent trip to Minneapolis, Tom and I took our three kids to the amusement park he’d visited as a child – Valley Fair.  We arrived before the gates opened and hoped the morning rain shower wouldn’t wash out our plans.

We debated about buying “fast passes” for the kids. These passes allow you to stand in shorter lines for rides, which means you spend more of the day riding and less of it standing around sweating. But fast passes are also a fast way to empty your wallet, costing $150 for three kids. We decided to take our chances without the fast passes and hope for the best.

On our first ride, not only did we not have to wait in line, we were the only people on it. I pretended we were VIPs who’d bought out the entire park so as not to be bothered by the paparazzi. The ride was amazing, and we scampered off to the next and the next. By then, the clouds had parted and the sun was peeking through. The temperature was a perfect 82 degrees without an ounce of humidity.

But the most remarkable part was that we never waited in line – ever. Anyone who has been to an amusement park knows just how rare that is. It’s the unicorn of all vacation experiences. You dream of it, hope for it, but you know deep down it’s not going to happen.

unicornAnd yet  it did.

We kept expecting it to end. Surely the crushing crowds would come. They’d catch wind of our good fortune and show up to spoil it. But they didn’t. We meandered through the park, walking on to each ride. We even rode the park’s largest roller coaster two times in a row simply because we could.

By 2 p.m., we’d criss-crossed the park and been on every ride we wanted. We decided to break for lunch, and that’s where the story takes a turn back toward reality. In our haste to get to the park early, we’d neglected to pack a picnic lunch to eat outside the gates.

Luckily, we spotted a Subway inside the park. We’d been burned by other amusement parks in the past, who charged penthouse prices for what turned out to be inedible chicken fingers. At least at Subway, we’d know what to order and what to expect.

As we’d hoped, the food was good, but we paid $75 for it. Keep in mind that only covered sandwiches for five people who shared one bag of chips and one bottle of water. We took comfort in the fact that we’d skipped buying those fast passes, so we were still coming out ahead.

We finished the day with a visit to the adjoining water park, where we slid and splashed to our heart’s content. The people-watching was fabulous, too, although we still haven’t recovered from a few of the R-rated bathing suit choices we witnessed along with some inexplicable tattoo designs. They were the proverbial train wreck you don’t want to see yet can’t look away from.

It was a small price to pay, however, for what will go down in family history as that time we went to an amusement park, walked on to every ride with no waiting, never felt crowded, ate decent food and enjoyed perfect weather.

Vacation dreams really do come true.

gwen-headshot-2014Gwen 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 book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

The Friday 5: Fun things to do this weekend in Northwest Arkansas, July 22-24

Friday 5

ccc pottery class1. Family Friday, Community Creative Center, Friday, 6-8 p.m. {Cost: $20 per person}. The theme for this week’s Family Friday is Pottery Wheel (Ages 6 and Up). Your family can get creative together and take a spin at the pottery wheel. Learn the basics of centering, pulling, and trimming. This workshop will give your family an evening packed with fun and a taste of this classic creation process.

Note: Next week’s Family Friday (Friday, July 29) will be wizard wand making :) Click here for details.

Click here to read more about the pottery-making event!

2. Barn Party at Shiloh Museum of Ozark History,  Springdale, Friday night, 5:30-8 p.m. {Free} Enjoy great acoustic music by your friends and neighbors at the monthly Barn Party on the front lawn in front of the Cooper Barn at Shiloh. Musicians are invited to bring an instrument and join in the jam session.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic supper. A fun way to start the weekend.

Click here for more info on the barn party.

Farmer and the markets3. Super Saturday: Farmer and the Markets, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. {Free} Come and enjoy a family concert performed by Farmer and the Markets. The show will be in the Walker Community Room at the Fayetteville Public Library.

Farmer and the Markets is a Northwest Arkansas acoustic indie folk band specializing in arranging unique and original takes on music by a variety of different artists, doing both easily recognizable hits and satisfying deeper cuts.

Click here for more info on this Super Saturday show!

4. Bentonville Farmer’s Market, Saturday. {Free} Have you visited the Downtown Bentonville’s Farmer’s Market yet? You’ll find local foods, produce, meats, art and crafts.

Stop by 7:30 a.m. t0 1 p.m.

Click here for more info!

5. Mountain Street Stage Summer Music Series, Ben Harris & the 4tet, Sunday {Free}. This toe-tapping event will be at the Fayetteville Public Library from 2-4 p.m. in the Walker Community Room.

With a decidedly ‘old school’ approach to jazz, Ben Harris & The 4tet play music that is upbeat and energetic, music to tap your foot and snap your fingers to. Producing a sound reminiscent of everything from New Orleans Dixieland swing to 1950′s small group cool jazz, this group swings hard and grooves deep. Featuring original songs and new arrangements of jazz standards by guitarist Ben Harris, the group also features Craig Crocker on tenor sax, Jim Jernigan on clarinet, Benji Wilson on bass, and Ken Everts on drums.

Did we mention that dancing is encouraged at these Sunday events? :)

Upcoming concert: There’s only one more concert left in this summer series and it will be on Sunday, July 31. FlashBack-Inspired by Caribbean Island dance rhythms is an entertaining and talented group specializing in hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Click here for more info on the FPL Sunday music series!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Alone: A Fairytale

By Jen Adair, Blogger at Slightly Tilted, Entreprenuer, Homeschool Mom to two fab kiddos

The girl planned her escape carefully,  considering what to take and what to leave.

She would wear her yoga pants and an exercise tank with a long T-shirt covering her butt. If she was going to do this, she wanted to be comfortable.

kindle readerShe would take her Kindle and her Bible and her computer. She’d need her lip balm and her flip flops. Who knew when she’d be back?

She would miss them. She laughed. Would she? They’d call her. Multiple times. They’d beg her to come home. But she wouldn’t.

She made a list of the things they needed to do that they would end up forgetting to do and that she’d end up having to do anyway. She had made dinner. Fresh pjs had been laid out on the beds.

They would be able to make it without her. For a little while.

She went over everything again, just to make sure. She texted all the other moms to make sure they all had her hubby’s number. There would be playdates later, and she was not going to coordinate any of them.

She called her parents, just to hear their voice one more time and get reassurance that what she was doing was okay.

Her hubby texted. He was almost home. Did she need anything? Oh, yes. She needed a lot. She had a list of all the things she needed. Things he would never be able to find no matter how hard he supposedly looked.

He pulled in the drive 10 minutes later. She went out to meet him. He was surprised. This can’t be a full conversation, she reminded herself. This needed to be a shock-and-awe campaign to be successful.

“Hey, honey…what’s up?” he asked.

“Dinner has been made. Pjs are on the bed. I am going to the grocery store. By myself. The kids are all yours. I’m not coming home until they are in bed. I will need photographic proof of this before I return.”

“Ok…love you?” he said, confused.

“Love you, too. A lot. But I have to do this. Good luck.”

She climbed in the car and threw her bag in the backseat. She backed out of the driveway.

She turned on her music. Full blast.

She smiled. She laughed.

whatever she wantedShe could go to the store and get all the things she needed. By herself. She had time to do whatever she wanted.

Whatever. She. Wanted.

She made up her mind right then and there. She was stopping at Sonic to get an iced tea or a diet Coke.

The possibilities were endless.

**This mom fairytale was based on a true life event. Names and details have been deleted to protect the mother who is concerned an insane wave of jealousy will cause complete strangers to hate her for getting time to herself.

jen adair3Hey. I’m Jen Adair. I’m an entrepreneur. Homeschool mom. CEO of organized chaos. Ok – it’s really not all that organized. Some days are great, some are not, some days I feel invincible, some days I can barely get out of bed. BUT…it’s my life and I’m living it. Browse my collection of random thoughts, humor (well, I think I’m funny!), images, links, whatever…at my blog Slightly Tilted. Sharing is caring, people! :)

What We’re Reading: Read these True Lit Festival-worthy books before the event!

whatreading FPL

By Hotspur Closser, teen librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library

The dog days of summer are fast approaching, and what better way to beat the heat than with a visit to the Fayetteville Public Library!  The Library is gearing up to host its fourth annual True Lit Fayetteville Literary Festival, to be held October 17 through 27, so now would be a terrific time to bone up on the works of this year’s featured authors.

For a full schedule of events, head over to www.truelitfest.com.

All highlighted titles are available for checkout at the Fayetteville Public Library.

holes

Holes

By Louis Sachar

For the fourth consecutive year, FPL is privileged to host a Newbery Medal winner as its headliner for True Lit.  Perhaps the most prestigious award in children’s literature, the Newbery Medal is given each year to the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children, and in 1999 it was awarded to acclaimed children’s author (and 2016 True Lit keynote speaker) Louis Sachar for his novel Holes, described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magical realism.”  Sachar is also well known for penning both the successful “Wayside School” and “Marvin Redpost” series as well as many other titles such as the beloved There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom.  Sachar’s most recent novel is Fuzzy Mud.

citizen

Citizen

By Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine comes to True Lit courtesy of the University of Arkansas Creative Writing Distinguished Reader sponsorship.  An accomplished poet, playwright, and anthologist, Claudia is perhaps best known for her award-winning Citizen: An American Lyric, a poetic rumination exploring what it means to be black in “post-racial” America.  Her other work includes Nothing in Nature is Private, The End of the Alphabet, Plot, and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely:  An American Lyric.

holding on upside down

Holding On Upside Down

By Linda Leavell

Author Linda Leavell will be lending her writing prowess to the workshop “Narrative Nonfiction:  Turning Facts into Story,” and she is certainly no slouch when it comes to crafting nonfiction.  Her book Holding On Upside Down:  The Life and Work of Marianne Moore won both the Plutarch Award and PEN Award for Biography in 2013 and was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

nemesis

Nemesis

By William Bernhardt

Named “Oklahoma’s Renaissance Man” by OSU, William Bernhardt is not only a New York Times bestselling author who has penned more than forty books including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid mystery series, but he is also a traveler, adventurer, and even a “Jeopardy” champion.  Founder of the Red Sneaker Writing Center, Bernhardt will be hosting a “Fundamentals of Fiction” workshop at FPL.  His novel Nemesis:  The Final Case of Eliot Ness is in the works to be adapted into an NBC miniseries.

the improbable life of the arkansas democrat

The Improbable Life of the Arkansas Democrat

By Jerry McConnell

Local history buffs will be interested in checking out University of Arkansas Press Spotlight Author Jerry McConnell will be presenting his book, The Improbable Life of the Arkansas Democrat, which examines the history of the newspaper war between the Arkansas Democrat and the Arkansas Gazette.

less fortunate pirates

Less Fortunate Pirates

By Bryan Borland

Poet Bryan Borland will be leading a “What to Expect When You’re Expecting (to Be Published)” workshop designed for poets looking to publish.  He has published two volumes of poetry:  My Life as Adam and Less Fortunate Pirates:  Poems From the First Year Without My Father.

black rat

Black Rat

By Cole Closser

Cartoonist Cole Closser will be leading graphic novel workshops for both teens and adults at this year’s event.  Closser was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2013 for his homage to early newspaper comic strips, Little Tommy Lost.  His most recent publication is the avant garde comics anthology Black Rat.

champion trees of arkansas

Champion Trees of Arkansas

By Linda Williams Palmer

Hot Springs fine artist Linda Williams Palmer will be leading a discussion and also showing sketches from her book Champion Trees of Arkansas:  An Artist’s Journey, soon to be published by the University of Arkansas Press.

nefertiti the spidernaut-1

Nefertiti, the Spidernaut

By Darcy Pattison

Children’s author and founder of Mim’s House Publishing, Darcy Pattison, will be presenting her soon-to-be published work Nefertiti, the Spidernaut.  Pattison is best known for creating the Novel Revision Retreat and for her “Kell” series of children’s books.

FPL LOGO WITH 100 YEARSAll these books are available for checkout at the Fayetteville Public Library, our What We’re Reading sponsor on nwaMotherlode. Click here to see more about the Fayetteville Public Library’s Summer Reading Program. Win prizes for doing what you love — reading!