Devotion in Motion: He will help you

Joh 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.   John 15:5  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Spencer and Madeline live in a studio apartment in Midtown Memphis. They are social workers. It’s really nice when your children are social workers because they are good to talk to, and they give good advice. Even though they’re still in their twenties, Spencer and Madeline are both very perceptive; I’m always amazed on how much they “pick up on” and understand about the circumstances other people are going through.

The kids came over for a visit last weekend, and I was talking to Spencer about my impending retirement as a public schoolteacher. I told him I was surprised how peaceful I feel about the act of retiring. But I also told him I feel a bit anxious about what I’ll be doing next — especially since I don’t really have the next thing lined up yet.

Spencer summed up my situation and gave me great insight when he said this: “Dad, I’m pretty sure that whatever happens, you’re going to be all right. I mean, I used to teach school when I was in my early twenties. Even though I was in perfect health, I ended each day exhausted. You, on the other hand, are the pastor of a country church who also taught school full-time AND raised two kids at the same time. If you can survive all that, it seems to me that whatever happens next, you’re going to be all right.”

I’ve thought about those words a lot in the past few days. I have done a lot of things — and I wasn’t always in the best of health when I did them. And I realized something. The only way I’ve been able to live (or survive) my life is that God has helped me every step of the way. Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing.” Looking back on my life thus far, that’s not just a memory verse. That’s the Gospel truth. And that’s the way all of human life works.

because he is goodI’m so thankful God has been with me and that He has always helped me. The most wonderful thing of all is that He did not help me because I’m good. Because I’m not. He helped be because I asked Him to help me. But most of all, He helped me because He is good.

Oh my goodness, if you’re raising kids in this present evil age, you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you. But don’t ever give up, and don’t feel discouraged. Ask our loving Heavenly Father to help you. He will help you because He is good.

rp_john-l-cash-212x3001.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 31 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 Preacher and his wife hope to sleep late on President’s Day.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

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The Rockwood Files: Soup saves the day

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

This morning was one of those mornings. I woke up with the kind of headache that’s just annoying enough to keep me slightly on edge. I went through the usual routine – dropped the kids off at school and then started the day’s work.

But my to-do list kept getting longer. And the caffeine and ibuprofen I swallowed at breakfast didn’t shake the headache. There were so many emails with so many questions and deadlines, and I had nothing – no answers, no completed tasks.

It was the kind of morning that makes you want to crawl under the bed and hide from the world. Instead, I did the next best thing and went to lunch.

During the drive to our favorite sandwich shop, I wished aloud for the soup of the day to be chicken and wild rice. That one is my favorite because it reminds me of a bowl of soup I had the last time we were in Minnesota. The kids were taking a class to learn how to snowboard that day, and I was watching from the ski lodge restaurant. A waitress brought over a steaming bowl of creamy soup that tasted like love in a bowl. It was the perfect way to pass the time while watching the snow and my children fall down a hill.

soup bowl 185So today when Tom and I got to the front of the line at the sandwich shop, I looked for the familiar “soup of the day” sign but it was gone. I asked anyway, just in case. The bearded barista glanced behind him and said, “I think we have a bowl or two left of the chicken and wild rice soup.”

“Yes!” I said too enthusiastically. “I’ll have that.” I beamed as I carried my bowl from the counter to the table, encouraged that maybe my day was turning around. Halfway to the bottom of the bowl, I felt decidedly better – as if lunch had warmed me out of a rotten mood. I went back to work and faced the empty page with newfound hope and a full stomach.

That soup salvation made me grateful that at least one of our three kids shows some real talent in the kitchen. When our middle kid, Jack, was only 7-years-old, he marched into the room and announced that he’d decided what he’d be when he grew up: “You know that guy on the cooking show on TV?” he asked. “The one who eats the cupcakes and then says which one is the best? I’ll do that job.”

I remember being shocked at his specificity. I’d been expecting something more general like fireman or race car driver. “You want to be a cupcake judge?” I asked.

“Yep. Cupcake judge,” he confirmed.cupcake-526424_640 (2)

“I think the cupcake judge is a chef,” I pointed out. “That’s why they asked him to judge the cupcakes.”

He thought for a moment and then nodded his head. “Then I’ll be a chef and a cupcake judge.”

Kids usually grow in and out of career dreams at least a dozen times as they get older, but even six years later, Jack, who’s now 13, still says he’s headed toward cooking school one day and perhaps his own diner where he’ll serve all his favorite foods. Last summer, he took a cooking course and even won a class contest for “best cupcake.”

Tonight, as he headed off to bed, I asked Jack if he’d also serve chicken and wild rice soup at his future restaurant and reserve a booth in the back just for his creaky old mom and dad. He smiled and said he would.

It’s good to have kids with big dreams. And it’s even better if they can save a bad day with a great bowl of soup (and a cupcake for dessert).

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.

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2017 Spring Break Guide: Northwest Arkansas Camps & Events for Kids

Spring Break Slider 2017

Spring Break is March 20-24 for most Northwest Arkansas schools. We’ll be updating our Guide as new information becomes available, so check back! 

FYI, the Summer Camps & Activities Guide is publishing next month on nwaMotherlode! If you’d like to see your camp in the “featured” section of Summer Guide, let us know! Contact Gwen and Shannon at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com — or call us at 479-409-0424 — for more information and pricing.

Featured Spring Break Camps/Activities for NWA Kids:

Community Creative Center Camp ccc

CCC’s Spring Break camps, March 20-24, will celebrate art around the world. Throughout the week students will explore art in a variety of cultures and be inspired to create beautiful works of art using paints, pastels, and clay.

Campers will make colorful Aztec rain sticks and take part in the ancient tradition of sculpting Caddo head pots out of red clay. Inspiration will also come from Japanese cherry blossoms, New Zealand koru plants, and the cave art of France. Projects are designed to maximize the fun for campers of all ages. Community Creative camps will fill quickly, so early registration is recommended.

Rogers Activity Center Camps rac building croppedSpring Break Camp at RAC will be March 20 – 24 & 27 from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. as needed.

The fee is $20/day (RAC membership is required and early registration is recommended because space is limited. For students Kindergarten-7th grade) Each day will bring new activities or field trips and each will have ample supervision. The fee includes morning and afternoon snacks as well as lunch.

RAC is a DHS licensed childcare facility and is Better Beginnings certified so you’ll feel good about your leaving your kids to have fun there.

Activities will include: Skating, Bowling, Movies, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and the UofA Agriculture Department will stop by to visit campers.

Click here for more information on the RAC camps!

Rogers Activity Center

Rogers Activity Center Spring Break Camps, all day March 20-24 & 27

Scott Family Amazeum amazeum

Camp Theme: Under the Big Top. The Amazeum is turning into a circus for Spring Break. From jaw-dropping acts to delicious carnival foods, ringmasters will show you the ropes as you find your place under the big top.

Explore the science behind this mysterious world of wonder and discover the imagination, creativity, and STEAM principles used to create a spectacular show. *Advanced registration and payment required.

Camp runs from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. March 20-24.

The Jones Center bar-logo-jones-center

Parents and kids can enjoy special events all Spring Break week in addition to the extended public hours. Ice Rink hours will run from Noon-8pm & Indoor Pool hours will be Noon-7:45pm.

Monday – Spring Break Kickoff The whole family will enjoy an afternoon of inflatables and games in the gymnasium, as well as the entire afternoon to swim and ice skate. Location: Gymnasium Cost: $3 per person beach ball

Tuesday – Beach Party Dress up in beach attire and prepare for a day in the water. Ice skating and open basketball will also coincide with the beach party. Time: Noon-8 pm Location: Pool Cost: $3 per person

Wednesday – Open gym time for toddlers with little activities Little tikes will have a chance to roam the gymnasium to explore different age-appropriate activities designed with their age-group in mind. Ice skating and open basketball will also coincide with the beach party. Time: Noon-8 pm Location: Gymnasium Cost: $3 per person

Thursday – Block Party (evening family festivities in plaza) Camp War Eagle will host an evening block party with games and activities for families with children of all ages. Ice skating, swimming, and open basketball will be open all afternoon (noon-8 pm). Time: 5-7 pm Location: Outdoor plaza Cost: Free (block party); all access wristband just $3 per person.

Friday – Frozen Friday with special guest princesses Ice skate with the princesses from the Disney favorite, Frozen. Kids can enjoy crafts, hot chocolate, and other winter-themed activities. Open swimming and gym time will coincide with the public ice session. Time: Princesses and activities from Noon-2 pm (public sessions from 12-8 pm) Time: Princesses and activities from Noon-2 pm (public sessions from 12-8 pm) Location: Ice rink Cost: $3 per person

BONUS Saturday – Pools, Gym, and Ice will all be open to the public from Noon-8, (ice and gym Noon-10 pm) with the $3 all-access wristband still in effect.

BONUS Sunday – Pools, Gym, and Ice will all be open to the public from 2:00-4:45 pm with the $3 all-access wristband still in effect. Spring Break

Family Movie Marathon Free Movie Screenings: Bring the entire family for a FREE movie every day beginning at 2 p.m. in the auditorium. Monday: Up Tuesday: The Emperor’s New Groove Wednesday: Big Hero 6 Thursday: The Lego Movie Friday: Frozen For more details on special activities planned, visit www.thejonescenter.net/spring-break-week or call The Jones Center information desk at 479-756-8090 ext. 2100.

Art Camps

Community Creative Center, Fayetteville (see above)

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Art Live Theatre

Paper & Thread Studio, Fayetteville

Sports Camps

Rogers Activity Center (see above)

Fayetteville Athletic Club Camp

Bentonville: Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Softball Fastpitch

Unique Camps

The Jones Center (see above)

Scott Family Amazeum (see above) Camp Bentonville: Lego, Worlds of Amusement

Theatre Camps

Trike Theatre

Arts Live Theatre

Spring Break Activities/Events

Fayetteville Public Library movies every day at 2 p.m., March 20-24

Turpentine Creek Kite Festival, Eureka Springs, March 26

Local Spring Break spots to visit

Hiking, Devil’s Den

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Terra Studios

Hobbs State Park

bumblebee-flowerClick here for more information on local getaways & places to visit over Spring Break. Click here for a list of hiking trail options.

The Friday 5: Fun things to do this weekend in Northwest Arkansas

Friday 5

There are so many fun activities happening in northwest Arkansas this weekend! And the weather is supposed to be beautiful. We hope you take part in at least one of these amazing family activities!

1. Jones Center Movie Night: Secret Life of Pets
Secret Life of Pets
Friday, February 17, 6:30 to 8:30pm

Location: The Jones Center

#JCmovienight is back! This Friday night, scoot on up to the Jones Center auditorium with your kids to see a free showing of the Secret Life of Pets, a hilarious family favorite! No registration necessary.

More info: Click here.

2. Great Backyard Bird Count

Saturday, February 18, 9am to 12pm

Location: Devil’s Den State Park

This Saturday, in the mild morning weather, meet up with author and bird enthusiast Joe Neal and the staff of the park to hike and count the birds who live in our state in winter. Never been bird-watching? That’s okay! This is a great way to give your kids (and yourself!) an introduction to bird-watching, guided by an expert, in a fun group environment. Meet at the lower Devil’s Den trail area, by the highway bridge.

More info: Click here.

House Sparrow

3. Cooking Local Demonstration

Saturday, February 18, 9:30 to 10am

Location: Ozark Natural Foods

Do you have a child who loves to get in the kitchen? Help them develop their skills by taking them to the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market’s free cooking class at ONF! ONF’s wonderful and hilarious Chef Heather will be teaching how to cook meals using fresh, local ingredients directly from the Farmer’s Market.
P.S. Did you know the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market meets all year round? Their winter market happens every Saturday at ONF!

More info: Click here.

4. History and Technology

Saturday, February 18, 10 to 11am

Location: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History has a series of family activities on the third Saturday of every month, and this month they are bringing in an EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) team from Springdale to demonstrate how 3D printing, virtual reality, and other modern technologies can bring history to life. If your kids love technology, robotics, or video games, this is a GREAT event to take them to!

More info: Click here.

5. Super Saturday: The Scott Family Amazeum at the Fayetteville Public Library
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Saturday, February 18, 10:30am

Location: Walker Community Room at Fayetteville Public Library

The Amazeum is coming down to Fayetteville this weekend! Visit the Fayetteville Public Library for a fun morning of exploring what the Amazeum calls “hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math)” activities. We love the Amazeum around here—if you haven’t been up to the Amazeum with your kids yet, this is the perfect opportunity to get a little taste of the fun!

More info: Click here.

Walk a Mile in my Shoes SALE is coming up! Snag your newest pair of shoes!

Walk a Mile logo 2017If you love shoes and handbags, this is your must-attend event. The Walk a Mile in My Shoes fundraiser, hosted by Ozark Guidance, is THE shoe and handbag sale of the year. It includes new and nearly new shoes, handbags, accessories and more, and the prices are so legendary that you’ll be bragging about your bargains for months.

Brand new name-brand running shoes donated by the event’s presenting sponsor Rush Running Co. and high end designers will be sold for $40. Other brand new shoes/handbags will sell for $20, and nearly new shoes/handbags will be sold for $10.

You’ll definitely want to go to the VIP Party on April 28, 2017 because you’ll be able to see the full selection before the general public shops the sale during the next day. The VIP Party also includes food and entertainment. (It all happens on the campus of Ozark Guidance, located at 2400 S. 48th St. in Springdale.) Click HERE to get your ticket to the VIP event.

If your problem is that you have TOO MANY shoes that you don’t really wear, this fundraiser could use your help. Donate some shoes and free up space in your closet for new shoes you DO want to wear. For more info on how to donate, call 479‐725‐5294.

New this year! The Walk a Mile in My Shoes event will also offer a 5K race and a Family Fun Walk this year. Click here for more info.

Why it matters

Statistic snip1This fundraiser helps raise needed funds for behavioral health care. One in five adults, adolescents and children can have behavioral health disorders that interfere with the way they think, feel, and act.

Northwest Arkansas now has a population of more than 500,000. Potentially 100,000 NWA residents could need mental health services at some point, but many will go untreated due to knowledge, stigma, or funding.

When untreated, mental health disorders can lead to school and work failure, family conflicts, drug abuse, violence, and even suicide. (Last year there were more than 500 reported suicides in Arkansas, which means the state ranks as the 16th highest in the nation for suicides.)

Ozark Guidance is the nonprofit community based mental health provider serving Washington, Benton, Madison, and Carroll Counties in Arkansas. Each year, Ozark Guidance provides quality, compassionate mental health service to nearly 10,000 adults, children, and families.

Ozark Guidance is also the long-running sponsor of the “On Your Mind” feature here on nwaMotherlode.com. In this monthly column, counselors at Ozark Guidance answer questions from local moms who submit their concerns privately and anonymously via an “online hotline.” For more info about this service, click HERE to see the On Your Mind category.

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