Devotion in Motion: A new way to look at interruptions

“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” Mark 6:3 NKJC

By Bro. John L. Cash

ringing-phoneI’ve had a hard time getting a column written this week.  It seems like every time I sit down to write, I have some sort of interruption.  As soon as I sit down at my laptop, the phone rings, there is a knock at my door, or somebody asks me to do something else.

It can make a person feel aggravated and frustrated.

I think, however, I’m dealing with situations like this better now than I would have a few years ago.  A devotion that I read from a book written in the 1800’s changed my way of thinking.

The author described in vivid detail an imaginative tale of a typical day in the life of the Lord Jesus as He was working in his carpentry shop.

The day had been full of difficulties and trials.  After He had finished up His work day, swept the floor, and was locking the front door, He heard footsteps on the street.  A customer had shown up at Jesus’ shop just as He was leaving to go home for the night.  He wanted to talk with Him about a piece of furniture that he wanted to have built.

In the devotional story, the Lord Jesus smiled at the man, unlocked the front door, and took the man inside and gave him a seat.  Together they spent an hour making plans for the furniture that the man wanted built.  And after they meeting was finished, Jesus whistled as He walked toward His home.  You see (the writer said), Jesus understood something that we (in our haste and impatience) have not yet learned. In every instance of interruption and change of plans, the Lord said to Himself, This is the will of My Father.”

In God’s way of thinking, interruptions are not hindrances.  More often than not, the Lord is changing our plans to bring people into our lives for us to minister to.

When we realize that, our days can be filled with joy and peace as we accept our role in God’s eternal plan.

(Here’s wishing you a wonderful new week! Please excuse me now, because I have to run…  The phone is ringing again….)

Dr. 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 congregation had hayride and stew at Bo Clark’s house last night.)  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

The Rockwood Files: Out of place

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

It happened again. It started out as an occasional twinge of discomfort between my shoulder blades, just a little to the right of my spine.

I felt it when I turned a certain way or looked over my shoulder to back out of the garage. After a day or so, the annoyance became more insistent, like a door-to-door salesman who won’t quit knocking. After hearing me grumble about it, Tom reminded me I still had a spa gift card I’d received for Christmas last year. So I scheduled an appointment, certain a massage therapist could work out the muscle spasm.Spa-Girl-Graphic

As amazing as an hour on the massage table was, it only temporarily soothed that angry area of my back. Two days later, it was back and felt like someone was sticking a broom handle into my back and leaning into it. No matter which way I turned, I couldn’t escape it.

As I picked up the kids from school that day, I squirmed in the driver’s seat to find a more comfortable position. I arched my back and tried to stretch it, but the sticking pain made me feel like I couldn’t take a deep breath. (Ironically, the exact moment when you feel like you can’t get a deep breath is also the moment you feel like you desperately need one.) That panicky feeling was accompanied by a strong surge of déjà vu, and I finally recognized the pain in my back for what it was – a slipped rib.

I’d felt it once before about this same time last year, and it took a visit to my chiropractor to pop it back into place. I called and made an appointment for the next day. In the meantime, I Googled “how to pop a rib back into place” and found some questionable methods on the Internet that my better judgement told me not to try at home.

The next day I arrived at the chiropractor’s office, eager to get my rib and my daily routine back in place. When the doctor came in and asked if I’d had an injury that could have caused the rib to slip out of joint, I had nothing interesting to offer. There was no extreme workout to report. No rock-climbing adventure. Not even a session of brisk jogging. I had no choice but to go with the truth. “I think I may have slept on it funny.”

The doctor nodded her head sympathetically and jotted down a few words in her notes. I’m guessing it was something like “Whiny middle-aged woman injured while napping.”

She ran her hand up my spine and then went to work, turning me every which way and applying just enough pressure to snap, crackle and pop my rib back into its proper place. I stretched my back and took in a nice, deep breath that felt incredible.

I asked the doctor if she thought my wayward rib would be an ongoing problem, popping out without provocation. She said it was possible. “Sometimes we have a weak spot and this might be yours,” she explained.

I wanted to tell her I have many weaknesses – cheese dip, sweet tea, fudgy brownies – and that a rebel rib isn’t something I’d like to add to the list. But I knew there was no point grouching about something I can’t change. The rib, just like people and our life circumstances, can get out of whack from time to time.

Whether it’s a wayward rib or a bad habit or a difficult situation, perhaps the best we can do is to call it what it is, find help when we need it, and get what’s out of place put back in line.

gwen-headshot-2014Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of 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.

Slightly Tilted: Becoming the Procrastinator

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

I’m not a procrastinator. I’ll have something done before you finish asking me for it. I was always the nerd that would finish the semester-long assignment the first week it was assigned.

I don’t like projects and chores hanging over my head – I want them done! Now!

But lately…oh, lately. It’s been a whirlwind of work, school, dramatic fights with kids in retail stores, major life events, and unforeseen situations. I don’t know what’s been the air the last six months or so, but I’m ready for it to go away.

All life’s stresses seemed to hit at one time, which definitely affected my way of life. I became…dun dun dun…THE PROCRASTINATOR.

I have been surprised – both good and bad – at this turn of events. My husband is usually the one who has the procrastination market cornered. He can procrastinate about his procrastination. Never at work, oh no…he saves all of that for home. #ImSoBlessed

to-do-listWhat I’ve learned through this “forced, but necessary” procrastination era of my life is this: it’s okay to wait a bit and let the creativity fester.

Usually I’m so focused on getting the project done and off my “to do” list, that I don’t take the time to kick around several ideas.

I can be too structured, too obvious. I need to take a step back and let my mind wander. Somewhere along the way, I traded deadlines for originality. That’s not necessarily bad, but it sure as heck ain’t good either.

There is something to “smelling the roses” and, although I wasn’t ignoring a situation or project to just laze around and do nothing, focusing on another situation or project allowed me to have fresh eyes when life swung me back the other way.

Some days, I just had to give myself a mental and emotional break and watch Netflix all day and not move. Those days were good, too. Wiping your brain clean of stress allows you to slowly refocus on the people and situations that are causing you stress in the first place.

The not-so-good is that some friendships were strained, some feelings were hurt, and some projects were dropped. As bad as these things were, I really think they couldn’t be helped. Although I never intended – or wanted – that to happen, I would have destroyed my family and my sanity by trying to juggle ten or more balls in the air. I’m just a overgrown girl, not a magician.

I can feel my anti-procrastination creeping back in, and although it’s a welcoming, comfortable feeling, I think I’m going to fight it for a bit longer. I need some mental space. I need a creative spark. I need to breathe.

But don’t tell my kids – I want their rooms cleaned. Right. Now.

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! :)

5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with author Talya Tate Boerner


Name: Talya Boerner

Kid’s names and ages: Kelsey is 27 and Tate is 23.

How does momming change when your kids are in college? Both my kids have graduated college and are happily employed, but those college years were a time of transition for all of us. I’ve never been a helicopter mom, but even so, freshman year felt particularly odd when I realized I no longer had any idea of my kids’ routines or schedules. We all found ourselves with more freedom, and that was a good thing.

The worrying and praying part never changed, but my role became more that of a sounding block, an advisor, and a friend. And home became a safety net and a place for our children to regroup, because really, once they left for college, they never lived under our roof again for any significant stretch of time. When you think about it, that’s the end goal, right?

What’s your favorite “me time” spot? I’m very much a homebody, and there are lots of great spots in our home to sit and read or write. Really, I find “me time” any place I can sit in silence with my journal, Macbook, and a cup of coffee or glass of iced tea. Working in the yard is also favorite “me time”.

the-accidental-salvation-bookTell us about what inspired you to write your book, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee: I always planned to write a book, but a conversation with my father-in-law spurred me to actually put pen to paper. The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee was inspired by my own childhood as a farm girl growing up in the Mississippi River Delta. The book began as a series of blog posts that evolved into a memoir and eventually became fictionalized into Accidental Salvation. It was a process, for sure.

Where have you traveled to promote your book? I’ve had book signings and events all over Arkansas, as well as in Dallas and Austin, Texas. This past summer I attended the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery and did some promotional work in Mississippi. I participated in the Barnes and Noble Teen Book Panel in Tallahassee and had a book signing in Seaside, Florida. Next up, I’ll be attending the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge at the end of October.

Did you always want to be a writer? Not really, although I always planned to write a book (if that makes sense). Growing up, I wanted to work in the corporate world and have a corner office in some large city.

I have vivid memories of playing “banker” with my little sister. We’d count out Monopoly money and write up deposits using slips from the bank in town. When it came time to attend college, I earned an Economics degree from Baylor University.

I worked in banking for thirty years and even ended up with that corner office in Dallas—probably some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, writing feels like my reward for working so hard all those years.

Do you have any new creative projects in the works? I’m working on another novel, I’ve started on a sequel to Accidental Salvation, and I have a children’s picture book in the works. I have lots of other projects working in my head.

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about? Saturday Night Live.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter, where would you go? I’d love to spend Christmas in the Rockies with our entire family.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I can juggle.

If you could share a message with the entire world, what would you say in just a few sentences? Be kind and laugh often.

the farm sunflowersWhat’s the most reliable way for you to get inspired? Nature always inspires me, especially working in the garden and walking around on our family farm where my mother still lives. Even a quick walk through the neighborhood provides inspiration for me. I also find inspiration in being around other writers and bloggers. Reading inspires me, too.

What were you doing last when you lost track of time? Writing. For me writing is like time traveling. I can easily lose half a day or more.

What do you most want people to remember about you? Maybe that I had a way of making people see something special in ordinary things.

One word to sum me up: Inspired.

On Your Mind: Could it be an eating disorder?

on your mindMy 13-year-old daughter has lost weight and seems to be obsessed with how much she eats, calories, fat grams, sugar, etc. My husband and I are worried that she could have an eating disorder. Can you give us some advice on how to talk to her about this without causing her to feel like we’re accusing her of something or like we’re trying to control her? What type of doctor do we take her to for an accurate diagnosis?

Response by Sara Laughinghouse, LPC

First and foremost, thank you for reaching out and noticing the changes in your daughter. It is difficult during the teenage years to know what is ‘normal adolescent development’ and what is a more serious issue. I commend you for taking note that your daughter appears to be losing weight and is hyper focused on her food intake. The good news is there are ways to talk to her and gain more understanding as to what is going on.

scale 200My first suggestion would be to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. This is a great place to start because you can present your information and the physician can rule out any medical concerns.  Also, this allows you to begin the conversation. Simply letting your daughter know what you’re noticing can open the door to the conversation you want.

This is where I suggest you use empathy because you don’t want to push her away. However, something as simple as, “I’ve noticed you’ve lost some weight lately. We want to do a check-in with our doctor to make sure everything is okay,” opens the door to the conversation and the doctor’s visit. Statements of observation keep things simple and do not point blame, allowing the dialogue to open.

You can use information from the doctor’s visit to piggy-back the conversation even further. Try to remember to state your observations and concerns versus blaming or suggesting such as, “you-type statements.”  This will allow your daughter to feel that she can trust you and gives her that sense of control you mentioned.

Speaking of control, you’re right on track. Teenagers are developing their own sense of autonomy and they want control. I would encourage the following when starting to develop the conversation with your daughter:

1. Promote Empathy. Empathy means you’ll put yourself in your 13-year-old daughter’s shoes and try to think what it must be like to be her. Try to feel the pressure she maybe experiencing about her current life, including the weight issues, and go from there. Sometimes parents get lost in trying to immediately fix the problem and can neglect to listen to what may be an underlying source of the problem. Your daughter could be experiencing other stressors that are connected to her choices with food that may not mean a full on eating disorder.teenage-girl

2. Promote Support. You already seem to have support for her with your desire to ‘not control her or accuse her’ however, making sure you let her know you support her and have noticed changes is a crucial factor. Often, parents make assumptions that “their kids just know” because it appears to make sense but there is power in saying the actual words. It reinforces that you are there for her no matter what.

3. Promote Communication. Communication is hard. It’s especially challenging with teenagers. However, the more you model healthy communication and overcome hard conversations, the more comfortable they will become with doing it, too. If you can come at this conversation from a place of love and understanding versus accusing and blaming, the more apt she will be to respond positively. If you’re looking for something more concrete in regards to a response, I really like opening a hard conversation with vulnerability. Vulnerability happens when we let others see what’s going on inside of us. Letting your daughter know exactly what you are feeling allows her to see that vulnerability is okay, which can reduce fear associated with the situation. Statements such as “I feel worried about how you may react to what I want to talk to you about, but I feel concerned about ______,” is an example of how to open with your own feelings. This is another way to open this dialogue and provide a safe environment to encourage your daughter.

4. Promote listening. Listen to what she has to say before you make a decision, and involve her in that decision. This is what adolescence is all about! There is an art to teaching and listening. This is a great time to give her some control by listening to what she has to say on her issues while still reinforcing that you are responsible for her safety and ability to make informed decisions. The more she feels part of the conversation and decision, the more likely she is to respond positively.

Today, I focused on how to start this conversation with your daughter, but I want you to remember that eating disorders are complex. Don’t forget about the messages you send yourself as a parent. Modeling healthy eating patterns and confronting misconceptions about food are great ways to provide an example that reinforce positive messages about weight and food.

Remember adolescents receive messages about food and weight daily. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you’re promoting positive, healthy messages at home while exploring your concerns with your daughter.

Finally, you don’t have to explore these concerns alone. Seek support through a mental health professional. There could be other contributing factors that are impacting her eating patterns. A mental health professional will be able to provide support in helping you determine the best course of treatment.

Thank you for reaching out!

Therapists at Ozark Guidance would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback.

Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.