Devotion in Motion: What joy can do

joy to the world10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”  Luke 2:10 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Every once in a while, in the life of every human being, our Creator pulls back the curtains of Heaven and in our lives allows us to see a glimpse of His glory.  And in those moments we feel joy. I’m not talking about run-of-the-mill daily happiness,  and I’m not referring to everyday fun or common amusement. I’m talking about pure, unadulterated joy—those moments when our hearts can scarcely contain the light God has placed within them: JOY.

Now, you don’t need me to draw you a chart because I’m sure you’ve experienced this. I have no idea when you experienced this or what circumstances brought it about. The Bible teaches that each heart has its own sorrows and joys that nobody else can understand. But at some point, God has allowed you to have joy in some moment of your life. I’d love to sit down with you so you could tell me about that time….

Something I’ve come to realize is that so many of my truly joyful memories are connected with Christmases that I’ve celebrated throughout my life. Maybe Heaven is closer to Earth at Christmastime; it kind of seems that way sometimes.

Sometimes when I see a Kodak picture it makes my heart yearn and ache. I was with my loved ones and it was purest joy. I want to climb inside the photograph. I want to live inside the memory. Surely the kingdom of Heaven is like that.

The Christian writer, C. S. Lewis, wrote that the life that we are living now is the “veil of tears.” We only experience joy from time to time and at odd moments that can’t be replicated. But Heaven will be different. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” That is amazing.

I believe joy is a very important thing. It is through joy that we lead our children to Heaven. When we touch their lives with caring and love and attention, at some point the children are bound to feel joy. And this feeling of joy will make them long for Heaven. And because of this longing and yearning, they will believe on the Saviour, Jesus.

We’ve got serious work to do this Christmas, don’t we?

So spread His love. And share His joy.

And have a very Merry Christmas.

Dr. 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 joyful Christmas plans are in the works.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

On Your Mind: How to deal with the holiday blues

onyourmindIs it weird that I don’t feel like it’s “the most wonderful time of the year”? During this time of year, it’s a real struggle for me to feel happy and festive. I usually just feel stressed or a little “down.” I get angry at myself for not being able to snap out of it and enjoy all the holiday parties and activities. I find myself “faking it” for the kids and my husband. Is this common? What could be behind this holiday gloom and doom?

Dear “Down around Christmas time,”

There are many reasons that someone might feel down during the holidays. It could be that the holidays are associated with a painful childhood experience or family issues, a lost loved one whom you typically see around the holidays, spending holidays away from people you love, or a variety of other factors that could contribute. If you feel your “doom and gloom” is persistent and feels excessive, please seek professional help to explore what could be triggering these feelings.

It’s also possible that, during the holidays, your expectations might clash with reality. You want the perfect party, perfect gifts, and the perfect family to get along all the time — happy and celebrating. However, things often don’t go as planned. A good place to start is to look at your expectations and determine if they’re unrealistic or adding to your stress.

Remember that there might be disappointments during the holidays, but there can still be some enjoyment even if all of those expectations aren’t met. Besides, the holidays will be over before you know it. Attempt to create realistic expectations for the holidays such as knowing that the entire family may not be able to get together at one time, or you might not be able to find that perfect gift you’re looking for. Focus on the times and activities you DO enjoy.

not most wonderful time of yearBelow are strategies to help you deal with the Christmas blues:

  • Try to get away over the holidays or change your routine.
  • Spend time with friends and family that care about you.
  • Create new traditions.
  • Volunteer to help others.
  • Develop short term, realistic goals you would like to accomplish during this time.
  • Engage in relaxing activities – yoga, massages, etc.

I hope some of these strategies help you feel better this holiday season. And if you decide that professional guidance would be helpful right now, don’t hesitate to contact one of the counselors on staff here at Ozark Guidance. We’d love to help.

Stanfill, Abby1214Abby Stanfill is a licensed professional counselor with Ozark Guidance, a local non-profit mental health center. Since 1970, Ozark Guidance has helped tens of thousands of children, adults, and families in Washington, Benton, Madison, and Carroll Counties live better lives by providing high quality, affordable mental healthcare services.

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.

Looking for a new series to watch on Netflix? Here ya go!

netflix, cropped

We recently asked our nwaMotherlode. com Facebook friends about their favorite shows to watch on Netflix.

When you get some downtime during the holidays, you might try a few of these series suggestion. Some are a little “older”, but if you never watched them, now could be the time!

nwaMotherlode Readers’ Top Picks:

Call the Midwife

About: Set in the 1950s, this period drama based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth follows new midwife Jenny Lee and the other midwives and nuns working in a nursing convent in an impoverished section of London’s East End.


About: Four grown siblings juggle parenthood, relationships, careers and more as they cope with life’s ups and downs in this family drama set in Berkeley, Calif. Meanwhile, their parents face an unraveling marriage and their own parenting challenges.

west wing

About: Winning four consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series, creator Aaron Sorkin’s powerful political epic chronicles the triumphs and travails of White House senior staff under the administration of President Josiah Bartlet.


About: From the creator of “Weeds” comes a heartbreaking and hilarious series set in a women’s prison. Piper trades her comfortable life for an orange jumpsuit and finds unexpected conflict and camaraderie amidst an eccentric group of inmates.

bob's burgers

About: In this animated series, hamburger restaurant owner Bob Belcher, his happy-go-lucky wife, Linda, and their three rambunctious kids try to outwit a rival eatery and overcome their own family dysfunction to get their greasy spoon off the ground.

raising hope

About: Slacker Jimmy suddenly finds himself a father after a one-night stand with a murderer, but his eccentric family — including his dim-bulb father, sarcastic mother and addled great-grandmother — reluctantly pitches in to help with the new arrival.

breaking bad

About: Emmy winner Bryan Cranston stars as Walter White, a high school science teacher who learns that he has terminal lung cancer and teams with a former student to manufacture and sell high-quality crystal meth to secure his family’s future.

house of cards

About: Ruthless politician Francis Underwood and his ambitious wife Claire will stop at nothing to conquer Washington D.C. in this dark political drama, winner of three Emmy Awards, including Best Director, and a Golden Globe for Best Actress.


About: This adaptation of the story of DC Comics’ Green Arrow stars Stephen Amell as the titular character, an affluent playboy who becomes an archer superhero at night, saving the city from villains armed with just a bow and arrows.

once upon a time

About: Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin and Robert Carlyle star in this fantastical series that follows the travails of a young woman who is drawn to a small Maine town and discovers that it’s filled with the mystical elements of the fairy tale world.

dr. who

About: After more than a decade off the air, this epic sci-fi series returns with an all-new look — and the ninth (and beyond) incarnation of everybody’s favorite time-traveling Doctor, who promptly sets about fighting nefarious aliens and other foes.


About: In this updated take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved mystery tales, the eccentric sleuth prowls the streets of modern-day London in search of clues. At his side — though hobbling — is flatmate Dr. John Watson, fresh from the war in Afghanistan.

freaks and geeks

About: A group of high school students in 1980 faces various social struggles. Lindsay Weir rebels and begins hanging out with a crowd of burnouts, courtesy of an invitation from Daniel Desario.

the walking dead

About: In the wake of a zombie apocalypse that desolates the world as we know it, a group of survivors led by police officer Rick Grimes holds on to the hope of humanity by banding together to wage a never-ending fight for their own survival.


About: Olivia Pope leads a team of Washington, D.C., lawyers who specialize in making scandals disappear. As they secretly handle crises at the highest levels of government, the dysfunctional team must also cope with problems closer to home.


About: Inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, this modern-day drama follows a lovely young woman who moves to the Hamptons and charms the pants off her new neighbors — while plotting their downfall for sins committed against her family.

Here’s to a little downtime. Happy watching, mamas :) If you’d like to join our fun conversations on Facebook, click here!

James + James adds retail location, new surprises

james jamesad 2

Can we start out by saying that we think the world of the owner at James + James?

We first met James Smith when he was shooting video Christmas cards for families and then we recruited him to shoot and edit videos for our brand new (at the time) Doc Talk series with Mercy Health.

Then James (and his friend, James) shifted gears. He noticed there was a need for affordable, quality and real-wood furniture, so he tried his hand at another passion — furniture building. Now his start-up, James+James is one of the fastest growing furniture companies in the country.

James+James products are found in nearly every state from coast to coast. Job creation right here in the U.S. continues to remain a top priority. The company now provides work to over 20 team members and growing.

And just a few months ago, James + James opened a new retail store and it is a furniture showcase that’s filled with amazing home decor, lighting and gift options you don’t see in other places. They are headed to market soon and plan to come back with a HAUL. We can’t wait to see the new surprises in store!

We have to tell you, the retail location (at 4217 S. Thompson St. in Springdale, 1 mile north of the NWA Mall) is beautiful even without all the great furniture and accessories.

Here’s a little peek inside:

james inside store

Here’s a video about their story. In it, James talks about the versatility of their hand-crafted furniture and how it has led them to selling to people living in all but two states in the U.S. (and lots of other  countries) from penthouses in New York City to farmhouses in Illinois.

The retail store and showroom is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm and Sunday from 12 to 5pm. In addition to the amazing tables and chairs, we’re partial to the lighting options at the retail store:

james lighting

CLICK HERE to visit the James + James website. You can order online or stop by their retail store and showroom on “furniture row” in Springdale! Like them on Facebook to stay in the loop about what’s new. They have some surprises coming soon!

Mamas on Magic 107.9: Holiday shopping tips!

If you’re not done with your Christmas shopping, we know you’re hard at work trying to get it all done. Click the audio links below to get some tips on finishing christmas giftup the prep work before the big holiday next week!

For more fun and practical tips, tune in to hear our radio segment called Mamas on Magic 107.9. It airs each weekday at 7:45 a.m. on Magic 107.9.

Breaking it down 

Thinking out of the gift box

Gift ideas for moms

Gift ideas for guys

Gift ideas for ANYONE

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