Devotion in Motion: Lost and Found

lost-and-found2.jpg

6 “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’”  Luke 15:6 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

I’ve had a very stressful week. And it was all from the sort of problem that the Apostle Paul never had. I lost a very important computer file this week. Somehow it got deleted from my computer. Actually, it wasn’t a computer file at all that went missing—it was a computer folder. This particular folder contained all the work I’ve done for my Latin classes for the past two years. It contained 949 files and 257 sub-folders. Two years of tedious, grueling labor, lost forever. Ouch.

In between my other tasks at the office, I spent every spare moment I had looking for the aforementioned file. I frantically searched the refuse recycle-bin.jpgof my “Recycle Bin” to no avail. I asked advice from computer experts, who told me all the places  I should be able to locate it. It wasn’t in any of them. I got the business-computer teacher to come and help me search the hidden files of the inner recesses of my CPU. We came up with nothing.

I was overcome with a conflicting array of feelings. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find this file that should be there. I was furious with myself for not backing the file up. I felt like shedding tears over the loss of my work which now I would have to duplicate. I was aggravated at the amount of time I was wasting when I could have been doing something more constructive. I had a headache and heartburn.

But later on in the week, I had an idea. It was kind of like a single beam of light from Heaven parting the clouds and touching my shiny, bald head. I realized there was one more place I could search. Last Spring, I won a door prize at a teachers’ meeting I’d attended—a “thumb drive” thumbdrive-folder.jpgadvertising a local community college. Had I perchance taken the time to back up this file on the tiny memory stick? With shaking hands, I inserted the data chip into my computer’s USB port. I hit the F5 key and waited….and waited….and then SUCCESS! I was elated. The choirs of angels began to sing. The folder that once was lost, now was found.

There’s nothing more upsetting than trying to find something important that’s lost. And there’s nothing that brings more joy than the exhilaration that comes when the lost thing is found. It’s a joy we all understand—and a joy that the LORD understands, too.

Today’s Scripture verse (at the top) comes from Luke 15. In this chapter, Jesus tells three parables about the search for three things that are lost:  a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. Now these stories really aren’t about animals, and money, and prodigal sons. These stories are about you. These stories are about your Heavenly Father, and how He is actively (and diligently) searching for you.

Have you ever searched for God? I know I have. It’s a common subject, and innumerable books have been written about “how you can find God.” But, in reality, the authors have it all backwards. You are not looking for God. The Bible says God is looking for you. He will search for you like a shepherd searches for a lost lamb. He will leave the 99 sheep that are there and go and frantically search for you. He will look for you like a bride looks for a lost coin (from her wedding day), sweeping and cleaning the house from top to bottom. He will search for you like a father searches for a wayward son. He will stand at the end of the driveway all day, hoping He will catch a glimpse of you coming home. And in every case, when He finds what He’s looking for—namely, you—well, then there’s great, great rejoicing.

I have a recommendation for your devotional reading for today. Take a little time to read these “lost and found” stories in the 15th chapter of Luke’s gospel. And slow down a little bit this week so the LORD can find you. You know He’s looking.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher is taking time to back up his computer files.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to extramailbox@juno.com.

The Rockwood Files: Conditional Love

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Today I’m embroiled in a dramatic love-hate relationship – with my computer. An hour ago, I was feeling a strong urge to open the computer-out-window.jpgsecond-story window by my desk and push this blankety-blank machine out while laughing maniacally as it crashes to the front lawn below.

I didn’t, mainly because there are squirrels in the yard and I’d hate for another living creature to endure more undue pain from this evil chunk of electronics. The computer has been misbehaving for weeks now, and I’ve babied it, crossed my fingers and scanned it for viruses, all to no avail. I was convinced my new printer was the culprit so I called the IT support hotline listed on the printer owner’s manual and talked to two guys on two different days, both of whom sounded like they were half a world away. The hotline guys asked me to jump through a few World Wide Web hoops so they could control my computer from their remote location. I was more than happy to let them take the reigns and deal with all the error messages that kept flashing nothing but garbled computer-speak.

After two days with two different hotline technicians working their remote control magic, the printer’s issues and error messages seemed to be resolved. But the computer was as irritable as ever – freezing up the moment I tried to return an e-mail or write a new document. I sat here not-responding-message.gifand waited and waited and waited while that annoying little blue circle went around and around – indicating the computer was “thinking.” But all the waiting and thinking led to the most infuriating thing a computer can ever say to a person: “Not responding.”

Not responding?! I did not pay good money to have this infuriating black box tell me it’s “not responding.” So I responded to its lack of response by calling a computer repair service recommended by a friend. I was thrilled to find out he made house calls. He came and whisked the sick machine away.

And even though I’ve been frustrated with the computer for weeks now, I felt strangely sad when the gentleman walked out of my house with it. It was almost like he’d detached one of my arms and put it in the trunk of his car to take it home for the weekend.

It’s just a machine, I told myself, as I sensed the electronic void on my writing desk. I should be glad to have a few days away from the blasted thing. But its absence helped me remember better times, when things between us were good. Perhaps I’d been too hard on it. After all, it keeps up with my calendar and lets me send tons of e-mail all over the country without ever leaving my desk. It waits patiently while I struggle to find just the right word for an essay. It helps me edit photos of my kids and send videos of school plays to grandparents. It puts new songs on my iPod. It even sifts through an entire world of information in just half a second when I Google the words “pear recipes.” It really is a remarkable, incredible machine. I’m lucky to own such a thing.

So I anxiously looked forward to its return today, and I even wiped down my desk, keyboard and phone in anticipation of the “clean start” I’d enjoy with my beloved work companion. When I heard the doorbell, I ran to welcome the prodigal computer back home.

I asked the computer expert what had gone wrong so that I might prevent it from happening again. He said he’d found quite a few “corrupted files” during his investigation. I nodded my head as if I understood, but I’m not at all sure how my computer got corrupted, unless it’s been running around with a bad crowd or watching too much reality television. Regardless, I was just glad he’d helped it clean up its act.

It booted up and hummed along perfectly while the computer expert was here. An hour after he left, however, it relapsed. That’s when I wile-e-coyote.jpgstarted daydreaming about pushing it out the window to its untimely death. I love my computer – truly, I do – but it’s a conditional love. I love it when it works. When it doesn’t, I’d like to drop it off a cliff like Wile E. Coyote.

I called the computer expert back and reported the relapse, and he confirmed what my gut told me was probably a long time coming. I need an upgrade – a big one. From what I’ve read online, my current operating system is the Ford Pinto of the computer world. So this week my computer is getting a new operating system, and I’m going to get new Office software, too. I’d say it’s comparable to a heart bypass and a facelift all at the same time. By next week, I’ll be the proud owner of an overhauled technological wonder.rockwoodheadshot2010compressed1.jpg

And if the upgrades don’t fix it, you can come pick up the smoldering pieces of it off my front lawn. Conditional love ain’t pretty.

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.  

Inside His Head: What scares a manly man?

 insidehishead350.jpg

With Halloween coming up, we started wondering: “what scares guys the most?” Typically, guys don’t “seem” to worry but we know they do. So we asked the anonymous panel of Inside His Head husbands to tell us: What makes you lie awake at night?

greg1thumbnail.jpg

GRAY: Hantavirus. Yep, that’s pretty much it. Just hantavirus.

Ok, I suppose if you twisted my arm I might admit to a few missed winks when facing The Great Unknown. You might be familiar with it, too. It has a habit of dragging itself out from under the bed and keeping me awake just as I’m about to drift off.

The Great Unknown is a many-headed beast that talks and talks and talks. Mostly it jabbers on about the usual: planning for the ever-hypothetical retirement, what projects to do for the house, how I’m going to cope with the day my daughter asks me for the car keys.haunted-house.jpg

But no matter how diverse The Great Unknown’s topics, they all revolve around how I can best take care of my family and whether there are things I can be doing, looking out for or trying to change to make things better for all of us.

Might not sound quite as scary as hantavirus, but worrying about whether the next paycheck would be better spent on retirement funds, a college savings plan or credit card bills can often be more daunting than I’d care to think about. Suppose that’s why they prevent me from getting that beauty sleep my wife keeps insisting I need. (Not sure if she’s saying I’m tired or ugly.)

So when I lie awake into the wee hours of the morning, it’s usually thoughts of what I can do to preempt problems, better our household and care for our financial well being. All I really know is if my sleep deprivation keeps making me uglier I might be able to scare The Great Unknown back under the bed and finally get a good night’s sleep.

marty3thumbnail.jpgMAX: “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” ~ German proverb

When I was in college I had a fear of snakes. One night while walking my dog, I came across dozens of baby snakes squirming on the sidewalk. So, of course, I ran shrieking … more of a manly holler… back into the fraternity house.

My loyal and true brothers poured out of the house to investigate. Turns out the squirmers were not snakes but something called nightcrawlers. I overcame my fear of snakes that night. Unfortunately I developed an overwhelming fear of being mercilessly ridiculed by my so-called friends.I also dislike my high-pitched panic cry being made fun of.

johnthumbnail1.jpgMAVERICK: Ever since I became a father, the one thing that has truly frightened me is that something could happen to my daughters.

Dopes behind the wheels of a gigantic trucks, who clearly are compensating for several things, including the inability to drive, set off my danger-sense. Idiots who treat serious machines, like four-wheelers or motorcycles, or firearms, like toys made me grind my teeth to nubs.

Now, I’m not overprotective. I feel my daughters’ best defense as a child, young woman, or adult, will be to be prepared. Not to be fearful, but to be respectful of the things and situations that can hurt her, or get her hurt. But I can’t ALWAYS protect her from oafish adults who should know better or their offspring who have never been taught to be alert or cautions in certain situations.

So, I guess, in a nutshell, fear or dumb-asses, or their spawn, known to me as future dumb-asses, keeps me awake at night.spider1.png

Now, as to scary stuff — in the spirit of Halloween — I have to go with what Vincent Price said many years ago when commenting on a scene in an old movie where he pushed his way through a hallway full of spider-webs. No spiders, just the webs. Super thick and sticky webs.

He said he knew every man in the theater would be extremely frightened by the scene. Price was asked why and replied: “Men are terrified of spider-webs. To women, it just means you’re a bad housekeeper.”

Mamas on Magic 107.9 Thursday mornings!

sports-equipment.jpg

Attention sports fans! The mamas will be huddling up with Magic 107.9 radio hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland this morning for our Thursday kezaad2.jpgmorning chat-fest, and today we’ll be talking about kids and sports. There’s a lot to talk about, and we’d love it if you’d join us for the discussion. You can call into the show to share your perspective or just listen in from 7:40 a.m. to about 9 a.m. on Magic 107.9. Click on the graphic at right if you’d like to listen to the radio show live on your computer.

In our society, sports can be a really big deal for kids and parents. About 40 million kids play youth sports in the U.S. and numbers are up! Right now we’re in the thick of football-helmet.jpgfootball season and fall soccer, with basketball fast-approaching. On today’s show, we’ll tackle some of these sports-related issues:

  • Too young to lose? How do you feel about keeping score, trophies, etc?
  • Passionate parents on the sidelines: Walking the line between supportive and overbearing.
  • Kids, sports and injuries: How do you feel about your kids playing potentially dangerous sports?

We did some research on the subject and found some interesting articles you may like to see. Click each of the titles below to read the full article trophies.jpgand get more info.

Helmet Safety Unchanged as Injury Concerns Rise, (New York Times)

Shock of a Lifetime: Why you need to know if your school has an AED

Book: 101 Ways to be a Terrific Sports Parent

Teaching sportsmanship tailored to your child’s personality type

Sensitivity when one child is a better athlete than his or her brother/sister

Article on Why Most Kids Quit Sports

Concussions and Head Injuries in Football, (New York Times)

Book: Whose Game Is It, Anyway?: A Guide to Helping Your Kids Get the Most from Sports

5 Minutes with a Mom: Sandra Ware

 warefamily-resized.jpg

Name: Sandra Ware

Kids’ names and ages: Emily, 8;  Nora, 3;  Rose, 8 months

How long have you lived in NWA? 5 years

What brought you to the area? My husband’s job. He is a post doc in Physics at the University of Arkansas and the director of the GK-12 outreach program.

What’s one movie you could watch over and over again? Sound of Music – just love that movie!!

What’s playing on your iPod right now? iPod? Ha! :o) CD player in the car though has “Wee Sing” Sing Alongs in it right now. :o)

What are some favorite traditions you’ve started with your kids so far? This time of year has me thinking of all the holidays to come – they bring so many traditions to mind… for Halloween, pumpkin carving, making lollipop ghosts, trick or treating (I think they like answering the door at home as much as they like going door to door), for Thanksgiving, always a big cooking event and the kids help with every aspect of it – Thanksgiving usually means family in town too which is a special treat! For Christmas, lighting the Advent candle each week, decorating our Advent calendar (a family heirloom my mother made for me and my brothers as kids), making gingerbread houses, reading “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve… so many – day to day traditions though – meal time together is a must… a sit down meal to come together after the hecticness of the day, bedtime routines of stories read and prayers said.

What’s been the most unexpected thing about motherhood so far? How hard it can be and how tired I can get especially with having a little one still – sleepless nights and busy days with the older two can get exhausting! But I also have been sweetly surprised with how much I have enjoyed every different stage in our girls’ lives; having the girls spread out offers such different places in each of their lives – things they do, discussions they have, so fun!

Favorite place to play in NWA? The park in Tontitown – my girls love all the new and old equipment there – can’t beat the shade in the summer time either!

What are some hobbies you enjoy (when you have time)? Playing games with the girls, playing outside – that way I can sneak in some good bird watching time too! Photography, scrapbooking, card making, genealogy, crocheting, cross stitching, sewing, baking.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I have lived in 7 states and that Morgan and I are high school sweethearts.

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

What’s something you have always wanted to learn? I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. I always thought it would be so neat (as a teacher) to be able to pick up a guitar to play a song that the kids can sing along to.

What are three things you always have with you? My cell phone, my wallet and bags under my eyes (thank God for concealer) :o)

What would your ideal day look like? An ideal day is a day full of wonderful times together, giggles, laughter..and of course lots and lots of smiles!

One word to sum me up … Thankful

Photo Credit: Captured Moments By Jennifer

Military Mama: What to expect when he comes home …

 silent-desparation.jpg

By Jade Stone

No one ever really knows how any soldier will react to their deployment any more than he or she knows what to expect to see when they get there but one thing is for sure, that soldier will never be the same. I’ve been asked on more than one occasion “what was Jay like when he came home”? Well, maybe it’s time to talk about just that. 

I had experienced life with PTSD-riddled Vietnam veterans and knew just how horrible it could be, but I also knew that it was possible to manage. This group of veterans was one of the most highly underserved populations in terms of mental health and as a result many of them dealt with their return by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, or worse, suicide, while others never spoke a word about their experiences except with other “brothers” who truly understood.

At that time, many people would have rather spat upon a veteran than look at him. The vast majority blamed the soldiers for the war and treated them horribly when they returned. The soldiers who did come back, came back broken and in pieces, both mentally and physically. The absolute very last thing they needed was to be scrutinized by the very public they vowed to serve and had sacrificed so much for. 

Our country swore to do it better with the Iraqi veterans, and in many ways they have. However they underestimated the number of traumatic brain injuries that soldiers would come home with. While any injury to the brain is a traumatic brain injury, these differ from concussions typically because unlike concussions, which are caused typically by blunt force trauma to the head, sometimes combined with torsion of the cervical spine, this type of injury is generally caused by exposure to repetitive percussive forces like explosions, or jet engines.

These kinds of forces shear the connections normally used for sending and receiving information in the brain in such a way that it disrupts the brain’s cognitive abilities, leaving a soldier easily agitated, with some compromised short term memory, an inability to make decisions and think simple problems all the way through. 

Because TBI’s are internal brain injuries, they can be virtually undetected without closer inspection. Soldiers with these injuries are called the “walking wounded” because by all physical appearances, they seemed relatively normal.  There were no scars, no deformities and for the most part, they seemed unchanged. It’s not until you begin to test the cognitive abilities of these soldiers that this injury rears its ugly head. It is at this point that the short term memory loss, inability to make decisions about simple things, anxiety, and short temperedness to name a few become evident. 

I will never forget the very first encounter I had with this new and unusually volatile temperament. Jay had been home 2 days when we decided to go run a few errands. I was driving because he was not able to drive just yet. They recommend that soldiers try to acclimate to their new environments when they return because it is so very different than what they’ve done for several months.

The vehicles he traveled by ground in typically didn’t drive faster than 25 mph, so 70 mph felt like hyper-speed to him for a while. Needless to say, he was a little freaked out by the speed of cars on the interstate and was very relieved when we took the next exit, thinking this would be much easier to deal with. I took the exit and then began to yield before turning right. As I made the right hand turn and began to gain speed to match the surrounding traffic, another vehicle on the other side of the road decided to make a left to go the same way we were but tried to skip the turn lane, nearly pushing us over into the other lane in an effort to avoid a collision. I reacted by braking and laughed because the gentleman (or not so gentleman) believed his blunder to be my fault and gave me the one finger wave before cutting me off yet again. Now, imagine all of that happening in a matter of 2 seconds.

By the time the guy began to show me his aggravation with the one finger salute, I realized Jay was searching his right leg frantically for his side arm that for 18 months was kept concealed on his leg. All I could say was “easy cowboy”. While initially, we both had a good laugh, I quickly realized that this rage-filled, impulsive response was going to be how he dealt with everything for a while. And sure enough, this was only the beginning.  His temper flared over the smallest things.

When faced with a simple decision, Jay would become frustrated with all the choices available and would then just ask me to do it for him. The best representation of this frustration was captured perfectly at the end of the movie “The Hurt Locker”, when the the main character gets to return home and is depicted standing in front of the cereal aisle motionless and defeated, obviously overwhelmed by the choices available to him. The emotion evoked in this scene is by far, in my humble opinion, the best example in film I have ever seen.   

I personally experienced this feeling of desperation one day shortly after his return. We went to grab a bite to eat at a drive thru that had 2 lanes. As he approached, he pulled into the middle and froze not knowing which to take. It’s hard to imagine something so simple being the least bit debilitating. This was an inconsequential decision however to him, it represented everything he was unable to handle in life. I could see defeat in his tear-filled eyes and knew I needed to lead for a while. I firmly grasped his shoulder, looked into his forlorn eyes, and explained that I would take care of this. Then I instructed him to take the right lane, told him exactly what his order would be and then fed him the words as he gave the woman our order.

He was devastated by his inability to make such simple decisions as though it made him somehow less of a man to me.  I knew this would take time but I had no idea how much. Nothing could prepare me for that defeated look in his eyes. It was a side of him I had never seen before but sadly would see more and more often as time passed. My question soon changed from “how long will this take to pass?” to “will this pass? More to come next time…

k-and-j-heads1thumbnail.jpgJade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at akajadestone@yahoo.com. To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.

Good Gossip: Celebs who scrub, Twilight spotting, and a tale of two lips

2goodgossip2.jpg

Time for a little Tuesday gossip, ladies! As always, our gossip is guilt-free because we don’t include any nasty rumours our mamas told us never to spread around. So have a second helping of our “Good Gossip”! (Speaking of second helpings, our thanks to CCF, a local company which makes Great Day Foods and sponsors Good Gossip! We especially like the Great Day Omega-3 eggs pictured at the bottom of this post because the kids need protein for breakfast before school!)

julie-bowen.jpgWe love Julie Bowen as Claire on the hit comedy Modern Family. She recently told People magazine that her favorite chore around the house is wiping down the “gross little cracks and crevices of all the cabinets in the kitchen. I will do that therapeutically for hours.” Just like any busy mom, Bowen said she wants to get home from a late night of work and in bed asap, so she keeps makeup remover, moisturizer and tons of bobby pins in her glove box. (Source: People magazine, October 18, 2010 issue)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been getting a lot of buzz lately since the movie The Social Network hit theaters. mark-zuckerberg.jpgZuckerberg calls the movie “fiction,” and his pals say that he’s not at all like the character you see on screen. While he may be one of the wealthiest 26-year-olds in the world, you wouldn’t know it by watching him in real life. He lives a frugal life with college girlfriend Priscilla Chan in Palo Alto, Calif., where they rent a sparse house, shop at Target, and he drives in Acura. Aside from Mandarin lessons and a personal trainer, “Mark is not somebody who has a lot of interest in spending money — to put it mildly,” said his friend Matt Cohler. Zuckerberg recently made a $100 million donation to the struggling public schools of Newark, New Jersey. (Source: People magazine, October 25, 2010 issue)carrie-underwood.jpg

Newlywed Carrie Underwood said her long-distance marriage might not be conventional, but she and her husband Mike Fisher (hockey player for the Ottawa Senators in Canada) love to spend time on the couch watching favorite shows like The Bachelorette, American Idol and anything on ESPN. They also like to make the occasional mall run, she said. He actually likes to shop! (Source: People magazine, October 18, 2010 issue)

When actress Lisa Rinna was 25, she had four silicone injections put into her now-famous lips. After 10 years, the silicone lips-02.gifstarted to seep throughout her lips and cause hard, bumpy scar tissue. For years, she was told by doctors it couldn’t be repaired. But recently, the former Dancing with the Stars celeb found a plastic surgeon who said he could reconstruct her upper lip and reduce it by about 30 percent. (Check out the amazing before and after photos in the latest issue of People magazine. She looks awesome.) Rinna, who is now 47 and starring in a reality TV show with her husband Harry Hamlin, said that she hopes her mistake will be a life lesson for her daughters. “I am the perfect poster child for what not to do on a whim,” said Lisa. “With all that’s happened with the lip, I can show them that you need to love yourself for who you are and embrace how you look.” (Source: People magazine, October 25, 2010 issue)

pattinson-and-stewart2.jpgAh, we can’t help but smile when we read that Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart, the media-shy stars of the Twilight Saga movies, have been spotted on several cozy dates lately. Pattinson and Stewart will be heading to New Orleans this month to shoot the fourth Twilight Saga film, Breaking Dawn. (Source: People magazine, October 25, 2010 issue) 

james-van-der-beek.jpgJames Van Der Beek, 33, and his wife Kimberly recently welcomed their first child, Olivia, in late September. The proud papa sent out a very sweet tweet that said he “couldn’t come close to describing this bliss even if I had 140 million characters.” (Source: People magazine, October 18, 2010 issue)

Good Gossip is sponsored by CCF Brands, a Northwest Arkansas company which makes Great Day Foods. Below is a photo of their Great Day All Natural Eggs.  We love that these eggs are untouched by antibiotics, hormones or animal by-products. They come from hens that are fed vegetarian, whole-grain diets. Look for these during your next trip out for groceries, or click here for more info.

gd_motherlode_graphic_1.png

More Cute Costumes!

bat.jpg

Okay, so if you haven’t scored costumes for your kiddos, it’s time to get crackin’, mamas! We found so many adorable photos of kids’ costumes this year while surfing the Net. Here are a few of the ones that caught our attention. Click on the photo if you’d like more info on that costume or details about how to order it. Enjoy!

lion-amazon.jpg

itsy-bitsy-spider.jpg

frankenstein-amazon.jpg

Giveaway: Girlfriend Getaway in Eureka Springs!

crescentcropped.JPG

UPDATE! We have a winner. Congratulations to Pamela Marks, winner of the Girlfriend Getaway!

Mamas seem to take care of everything and everybody. Our kids, our husbands, our aging parents, our houses, our jobs. That often leaves us at the bottom of the list.

Exhausted mamas, we’re here to help.

How does a “Girlfriend Escape” to the 1886 Historic Crescent Hotel and New Moon Spa in Eureka Springs sound? Yep, you read that right! Today’s giveaway is all about taking time for yourself and seizing the day to recharge.

Eureka Springs is beautiful this time of year and one lucky mama + her invited guest will receive the following FREE “escape” package courtesy of the fabulous Crescent and New Moon Spa:

  • One night stay in a premium room at the Crescent Hotel
  • 2 1-hour massages with soyaffin mitts at the hotel’s New Moon Spa
  • 2 Pure Focus facials (or a hand and foot treatment, your choice!)
  • Breakfast for Two in the Crystal Dining Room restaurant

If you’re new to the area, or have never been to Eureka Springs, the historic Crescent Hotel & Spa is THE place to stay and get pampered. And this little gem of a city also has lots of shopping, sightseeing and places to eat.

The Crescent Hotel & Spa has awesome packages right now and you could take advantage of the great deals for all kinds of events like bachelorette parties, mom/daughter getaways, birthday celebrations or reunions with old friends. But first, sign up to win this awesome package!

WANT TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY?: To throw your name in the hat for the the “Girlfriend Escape” package at 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, click the comment button below and tell us why you’re in need of a great escape! You can also e-mail your comments to us at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

To increase your odds: Send a note about this giveaway to your friends, and we’ll give you an extra chance to win for each person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

Here are some comments from a mom who recently enjoyed the overnight “Girlfriend Escape” package with her four best friends:crescenthoteldec.jpg

“Give a girl some time with friends, good wine and good food and you can pretty much guarantee hours and hours of good old fashioned talking – and honestly, we were no different, we talked and laughed all night long! We talked about everything; friends, work, challenges, children, childhood experiences, men (of course men!) and our deep and meaningful bond to each other.

… After breakfast the next morning (omelettes made to order, poached eggs with hollandaise, bagels, OJ – it was great! The dining room itself is also very big and grand with huge crystal chandeliers and beautiful tin ceilings) we meandered downstairs to the New Moon Spa & Salon. We were all scheduled for 1 hour massages and we got our choice of a Hand & Foot Treatment or a Pure Focus Facial. It was awesome that we were all able to get in at the same time! The spa is gorgeous and has a very hip and today vibe, in contrast to the historic hotel upstairs, which is very beautiful too.

… I think I can safely say for all of us, we toasted more in the last 12 hours than we have in the last 6 months! We definitely want to do it again…it was a blast!”

To begin planning your Girlfriend Getaway at the Historic Crescent Hotel & New Moon Spa, please call Nicole Egan at 1-800-599-9772. Click here for more information abut the Crescent Hotel and New Moon Spa.

newmooncropped.JPG

clickhereorange.png

Healthy Mama: Your text questions answered

Last month, we attended the annual Business Women’s Conference at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center along with about 1,500 other women. It was a great group of women, and we attended some wonderful informational sessions — and an awesome talk by Helen Hunt.

One of the sessions was on women’s health and was led by an all-female panel of health-care providers from Mercy Health System.

The panel invited the room full of women to send health questions via text message to the experts on the panel. Like last year, there were so many questions from the audience that the panel didn’t have time to answer all of them in the time provided. So we were happy to post the additional answers to those questions here on nwaMotherlode.

This is the first of a series of question-and-answer articles covering real questions from real women in Northwest Arkansas, answered by female nurses and doctors in our community. We’ll run the next article in two weeks and continue until we’ve published all the answers to questions asked at the conference. Even if you didn’t ask these particular questions, we’re betting there are some answers here which will give you practical medical info you can use.smallelizabeth-thompson-pa1.jpg

The following answers were provided by panelist Elizabeth Thompson a board-certified physician assistant. Elizabeth Thompson, P.A.-C, is currently working with Dr. Randall Feezell at the Northwest Arkansas Gynecology clinic, located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza in Rogers.

Does exercise have a cumulative effect? For example, if I work out 15 minutes 3 times a day would that be effective? Yes, you can spread your exercise activities throughout the day just as long as you get it in. This method actually works very well for very busy individuals.

What are your thoughts on prescribed appetite suppressants like Phentermine? For example, if my parents are overweight, do the benefits outweigh the risks? At our clinic we do use appetite suppressants. For many people the benefits of using a medication to achieve weight loss outweighs the imminent risk of the patient developing serious health complications like diabetes. However, the decision on whether or not we use appetite suppressants, like Phentermine, depends on each individual and their health issues. Some situations where the risks of using appetite suppressants might outweigh the benefits are as follows: irregular heart beats, uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart conditions, pregnancy or attempting pregnancy, drug abuse, extremes of age. Again this is a list of just some of the things we consider- it really depends on the patient and their health history. 

What’s the best diet advice for a diabetic? Don’t eat sugar and carbs and your blood sugar will greatly improve.

I recently quit smoking and have started putting on the weight. Any suggestions on fast, healthy weight loss? There are some different ways to go about weight loss. You will need to pick which option is best for you based on the following: how much weight you need to lose, how quickly you want to lose it, what your financial situation is, how serious you are about losing it and maintaining it, what you already do or do not know about nutrition, and if you have the time dedication that some of the options require.

(1) You can lose weight on your own- if you do it right, you can get about a 7% reduction in weight. (2)You can use a physician-monitored program with or without the assistance of medication; with this option you could expect about a 20% weight loss. (3)You can have bariatric surgery if you qualify for it- I highly recommend that you seriously commit to one of the two previous options before seeking out surgery if you do not have major health complications. Surgery is expensive, can be permanent, requires recovery time, and can have serious complications.

If you want very fast weight loss without surgery your best bet is to enroll in a physician monitored weight loss program. Our program at Mercy is called New Directions, and Dr. Randall Feezell is the medical director. We do something called a protein sparing modified fast (PSMF), in which most women will lose somewhere between 2-4 pounds per week. What we teach is a lifestyle change and is not a “diet”. We do require a lot of participation on your behalf. At New Directions, you will attend weekly classes, taught by professionals in the field, and you will learn how to eat and exercise for the rest of your life to keep the weight off. This program does require a lot of time and dedication; if you do not have the time to commit to something like this, then I would recommend that you try something else first.

If you want to do something on your own, I do recommend a 1200-1500 calorie diet for most women; however, this can depend on your level of activity, metabolism, and age. The easiest way to explain what and how much to eat is to have you get out your kids’ or grandkids’ princess plates- the ones that are divided into 3 sections, and do the following:

  • In the 1st smaller section you will have a piece of lean meat that should be about 4oz. which is about the size this little plate section holds. You may eat chicken, turkey, eggs, pork loin, lean ground beef, sirloin, etc.; it must be a lean cut and you must do the following: cut off the visible fat, remove the skin, do not fry, do not bread, only use sugar sauces such as ketchup and barbeque sauce very minimally or not at all.
  • In the second smaller section you can have 1 small piece of fruit. Berries are the best option; apples and oranges are good options too. Do not eat canned fruits as they are in a syrup, stay away from bananas and grapes as they are both high in sugar. Tropical fruits are higher in sugar as well, but fresh pineapple is okay.
  • In the third large section this is where your veggies go. The veggies must grow above the ground so NO potatoes of any kind, use onions, carrots, and all other roots very minimally just for flavoring. (Roots are used by the plant as a nutritional source, so the root is basically a sack of sugar that feeds the plant. This sack of starch is not something you need if you are trying to lose weight or are diabetic). Avoid corn as it is an engineered vegetable and the nutritional quality is not great and it is high in starch. Also, avoid peas as they are high in starches as well.

You can have green beans, squash, lettuce, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and most everything else except for potatoes, corn, and peas.

You will want to stay away from starches, high fat foods, and high sugar foods. Stay away from breads, pastas, frozen treats, flour based treats like cakes and cookies, chips and salty snacks, avoid snacking on nuts if you are trying to lose weight they are high in fat and calories, don’t eat the 100 calorie packs. If you are physically hungry (there is a big difference between physical hunger, cravings, and emotional hunger- make sure your stomach is physically growling before you snack) you could try ½ c. of skim or 2% cottage cheese or a 2% cheese stick.

Exercise is very beneficial for your heart health, blood pressure, stress, and emotional well-being. I recommend 1 hour of exercise per day unless you have heart or health problems- you will want to consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. You can split the 1 hour up into (4) 15 minutes increments if you like, but you need to get the total in. If your cheeks are pink and you are sweating, then it can count as exercise- cleaning the house, gardening, mowing the yard, etc.

Come talk to me if you have questions or need assistance deciding what program would be best for you (Elizabeth Thompson, PA-C; 479-986-6155). This is a general recommendation and may not fit your needs. If you have health problems, please speak with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program or severely calorie restricted diet.

healthymama.jpg

Patty Cakes, patty cakes, these are cute!

 patty-cakes.jpg

Long-time nwaMotherlode reader Angela Watson recently shared with us that she’s now selling Patty Cakes, which are custom made, bronzed keepsakes of baby/toddler hand and foot prints. The company has been around since 1946. You can find out more about their products at www.patty-cakes.com.

With the holidays coming up, we thought this would be a perfect gift idea to share with nwaMotherlode readers. Patty Cakes and Patty Paws (for pets!) make excellent gifts and orders placed by Oct. 25th will be back in time for Holiday gift giving. Contact Angela to set up an impression appointment by emailing patty-cakes@cox.net or by calling 479-601-7787.tilt_handprintbw.jpg

We asked Angela to tell us a little about what she likes about Patty Cakes and how she makes them:

A friend of mine had a set of Patty Cakes displayed in her house and I saw them and wanted some for my kids too. When my second child was born I had a set of Patty Cakes made of his hand and foot prints at 5 weeks old. Every day he grows bigger but everyday I can still touch his tiny 5 week old foot that is now a bronzed Patty Cake. It is so wonderful to be able to capture such a precious moment in time in a way that you can actually hold in your hand in the years to come! That is what led to me decide to make Patty Cakes.

To make Patty Cakes, I meet with the child and make an impression of their hand and foot. I then make a casting from the impression and send it off to be bronzed and mounted. The whole process takes about 8 weeks. I can do bigger kids too and there is even a line of pet products called Patty Paws for those special pets! Yesterday I even made a set of impressions for a friend who had lost her first child several years ago. She had a set of molds that the hospital gave her of her baby’s prints. We were able to take those and make copies that could be bronzed and mounted. That was really special to be involved in helping her with that. I hope to be able to offer my service at cost to other parents in similar circumstances.

People who know me know that I love a good bargain! But I am willing to pay for quality products. Patty Cakes are a very high quality, custom made product. And being able to hold your baby’s tiny hand forever is PRICELESS!

Thanks to nwaMotherlode for supporting this mama’s local business and for supporting  moms in NWA!petplaque_walnut.jpg

Devotion in Motion: Pastoral Appreciation Month

6 Let him who is taught the Word share in all good things with him who teaches. Galatians 6:6 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Well, the month of October is here, and that means it’s “Clergy Appreciation Month.” Now, bit of a disclaimer here. I’m not fishing around for a present or Hallmark card from any of you–or even from my own congregation, for that matter. My congregation takes good care of my family and me. I’m writing this to remind you to do something for your own pastor.

I’ve been in the ministry a long time, and I know a lot of preachers. I rub shoulders with a lot of men who love the Lord deeply and who work hard in His service. But I want to let you in on a little secret. Of all the pastors I know, I’ve never known even one who did not have times of great discouragement. I’ve never known one preacher who did not at some time seriously consider quitting the ministry. 

The ministry is a blessed life, but it’s not always an easy life. Pastors (and their families) have all the exact same troubles you have. But on top of that, they have what the Apostle Paul calls “the care of all the churches.”(1 Corinthians 11:28) People sometimes joke that the preacher works “only one day a week.” But in reality, the ministers I know are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

The person who has the hardest job of all is the pastor’s wife. She shares her husband with the whole world and listens to all his problems. Think of how hard it is for you to take care of your kids by yourself during a worship service. The preacher’s wife never has her husband sitting by her in the pew to help with the children. He is always in the pulpit!

Mother Angelica (the feisty old nun who shares her lessons of everyday faith on the EWTN channel) says that we all ought to be united with our pastors: 

I don’t care who he is, what he is, what he does, or what he doesn’t do. I’ve had people say, “Oh, but if you lived under my pastor, you wouldn’t say that.” Do you ever think what a sick heart he has? How lonely he is? What suffering he might have had in his life that made him what he is? And no matter what you do, somebody is unhappy with you. You can’t stand criticism on a little level; can you imagine what they endure? You need to develop a spirit of compassion so deep that it embraces the whole world. Laity and clergy must be united in spirit for the greater glory of God.

Dear mamas, the Holy Scriptures exhort that all those who are taught God’s Word should “share all good things” with their teachers. So do thank-you-note.jpgsomething nice for your pastor and his wife this month. Whatever you choose to do will give them joy. (Susan and I still smile about the little girl many years ago who “gifted” us with her tonsils in a Zip-Lock bag after the surgeon removed them. Now, that was a gift of love!) And never disregard the great help given to Christian workers by the smallest word of encouragement. Most of all, remember to lift them up before the Lord in prayer. What a blessing you are to the Lord’s sheep when you encourage and strengthen His shepherds!

johnthumbnail1.jpg

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the parishioners are faithful to show their appreciation.)  He would love to hear from you in an email sent to extramailbox@juno.com.

The Rockwood Files: Taking My Lumps

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

It started out like any normal Tuesday. I was running late for a dentist appointment. Three-year-old Kate didn’t want to go to her Mother’s Day Out program because she claimed to have a tummy ache, although I was skeptical. There was no time to argue, so I put her in the car and headed to the dentist-chair.jpgappointment I’d already postponed twice.

For the record, I’m not afraid of going to the dentist. Never have been. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it does give me the chance to lie down in a quiet place, which is a luxury for a busy mom.

Things were going along just fine. Kate was happily playing with a toy in the corner while the dentist prepared to fill a small cavity in one of my upper teeth. She gave me two injections to numb that area of my mouth and then left the room for a few minutes while the anesthesia kicked in.

When she came back, she looked at me and said, “Are you okay? What’s going on with your cheek?”

“What do you mean? I can’t feel anything,” I said, happy that the anesthesia was working so well.

Then she placed her hand on my cheek and I could see out of the corner of my eye what she was talking about. In only a few minutes time, a lump that was bigger than a golf ball and smaller than a softball had formed on the right side of my face.

“Have you ever had an allergic reaction before,” she asked. “How are you feeling? Is your breathing all right?”

“No, I’ve never had a reaction before and I feel fine,” I said.

The hygienist began applying an ice pack to my swollen cheek and took my blood pressure every few minutes. I felt normal but my face was anything but. The staff had never seen anything like me before, so they consulted an oral surgeon by phone, who said this was likely a “hematoma” which can form if the injection needle accidentally hits a blood vessel, causing it to bleed into the soft tissue of your face. I know… sounds gross, right?

I assumed the lump would shrink away within an hour or two, so I didn’t sweat it. I asked the dentist to fill my cavity anyway so I could cross this item off my to-do list. Afterward, I took my kid and my lump and climbed into the minivan where I immediately tilted down the rearview mirror so I could get a look at myself.

“Holy moly! This thing is HUGE!”

The only thing more shocking than my face was Tom’s expression when he saw me back at home. “What happened to you!” he asked, confused at how a filling could turn into something that looked like one-sided mumps.

ice-pack.jpg“Hematoma,” I mumbled through mostly numb lips. “Need to keep ice on it.”

I sat down at my computer and consulted with Dr. Google. I found out that what happened was a true dental fluke that typically happens at least once or twice in every dentist’s career. The dentist did nothing wrong, other than working on a patient who’s a magnet for flukes. She even had me see an oral surgeon to confirm I’d be okay, and he assured me that this, too, would pass – in three or four weeks.

I hid out at home that first day because the swelling was so large that I looked like the daughter of The Elephant Man. Kate kept sticking her tongue into her cheek, trying to make hers bulge out like mine. And when the boys got off the school bus, they were shocked by the transformation of their mother’s familiar face.

“I hope that goes away soon, Mom,” said 8-year-old Adam. “I don’t like to see you looking so weird.” That made two of us. And every time 6-year-old Jack saw me, he reminded me to put the ice pack back on my face. I’m not sure if he was trying to help or trying to block his view of it.

By Friday, the swelling had mostly subsided and was replaced by a large, bluish-purple bruise, which the doctors told me to expect. But I was certifiably stir crazy by then, so I brushed off any pride I had left so Tom and I could go out for a kid-free lunch. I covered it as best I could with make-up, but I’m pale by nature so no amount of foundation could keep that purple patch from showing through.

As the waitress took our order, I noticed how she glanced at us nervously, her eyes darting back and forth between the bruise on my face to Tom’s wrist, which happened to be wrapped in a Velcro brace because wrist-brace.jpghe’d sprained it doing yard work the weekend before my dental disaster. It looked like she was visibly torn between taking our order and calling the authorities.

I considered explaining it to her, but our far-fetched story would have made us seem even more suspicious. My neighbor, who’s a doctor, tells me gravity will eventually pull my lumpy bruise down onto my neck, so Tom and I will go back to the same restaurant in a week and let the waitress stare at what will look like a hickey by then. Then she can assume that we kissed – really hard – and made up.

For those of you who are skittish of dentists, don’t let this story unnecessarily scare you. It should actually make you feel better! A dental hematoma is rare, and my face has already absorbed all the rockwoodheadshot2010compressed.jpgweird luck that’s floating around out there. You’ll be perfectly fine. You may e-mail me your eternal thanks and gratitude for “taking your lumps.”

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.  

What is a doctor’s doctor? Here’s what you need to know.

compfrankhauser-joel_1.jpg

If, God forbid, your child gets sick and his or her doctor is having a tough time coming up with the reasons why, you’ll definitely want to know exactly what a “doctor’s doctor” or a “Meds/Peds Physician” is. We learned a lot from the following interview with Dr. Joel Fankhauser, and now we won’t be secretly confused about what an “internist” is and what that really means. (Think of television’s Dr. Gregory House, minus the bad attitude. :-) )

Dr. Fankhauser is one of the area’s newest specialists, and he is working at the Garrett-Goss Clinic in Bentonville, which is part of the Mercy Health System. In addition to his training as a Meds/Peds physician, he is also a primary care doctor and can see children as well as adults for regular visits.

If you or your child should ever need someone who specializes in making a difficult or complicated diagnosis, we hope this interview will help you remember the vital role that a “doctor’s doctor” plays in health care.

How is a doctor of internal medicine different than a general practitioner or pediatrician?

A doctor of internal medicine, or internist, is a physician who has specifically trained in adult primary and inpatient care. In contrast to pediatricians, they are trained to address adult health issues. In contrast to stethoscope.jpggeneral practitioners, they have primary care training as well as typically more inpatient training than a family medicine doctor. An internist typically will do well-woman visits but does not deliver children, as some family medicine doctors (especially in more rural areas) still do.

Internal medicine residency training is three years spent entirely in outpatient (primary care) and inpatient (hospital care) adult medicine. A Med/Peds physician is a physician who has completed a combined pediatrics and internal medicine residency. Residency is the period after medical school during which an individual is a physician under the guidance of fully-trained physicians, like an apprenticeship, of sorts.

What are the specific types of diseases/conditions that an internist would diagnose and treat in adults and/or children?

An internist typically feels more comfortable than a pediatrician in addressing what used to be traditionally adult health issues such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol. A Med/Peds physician has been trained to address the health and well-being of any patient from birth to old age. For more information on who an internist is, and what he or she can treat, I would recommend checking out the following website: http://www.acponline.org/patients_families/

When there are multiple problems in a child’s health, what are the first steps in diagnosing what’s going on?

Most physicians want to find a common cause for multiple simultaneous problems. The hardest part, but also one of the most crucial parts, of being a good physician is creating a list of potential diagnoses, called a medical-symbol-150x150.gifdifferential diagnosis, for a particular illness or symptom. This can usually be made after a history and physical examination. Once a physician has made that differential, he or she must then decide which particular diagnosis or diagnoses are most likely and how to best make that diagnosis more certain.

We know that sometimes an internist is referred to as a “doctor’s doctor.” What does this term really mean?

An internist is often the physician consulted to help solve a particularly difficult diagnostic dilemma. The majority of nonsurgical specialists such as cardiologists, gastroenterologists (stomach doctors), nephrologists (kidney doctors) are initially trained as internists and then do further specialized training called a fellowship after residency.

What’s the difference between a pediatrician and an internist?

A pediatrician is a physician specialized in treating children. An internist specializes in treating adults. A Med/Peds physician has completed specialty training in both pediatrics and adult medicine.

Can you give us some examples of cases you’ve had where you helped solve the puzzle of what was wrong with the patient/child?

It’s hard for me to be too specific due to patient privacy laws. I think some of the most difficult diagnoses prescription-pad1.jpgto make are those involving deficiencies or excess of hormones such as growth hormone or cortisol because these illnesses are relatively uncommon and often times the patient’s symptoms are very nonspecific.

I do recall one specific case in which the diagnosis itself was not difficult to make but was an emotionally difficult diagnosis for the family and required that the child stay in the hospital for a prolonged period. For me, forming that bond with the family is why being a doctor is worthwhile.

What led you to Northwest Arkansas and how long have you been in the area?

I completed my residency training at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. After residency, my wife and I looked at jobs in Little Rock, Northwest Arkansas, and Dallas, where we’d lived prior to residency. We came here for a variety of reasons. First, my wife has family here. Her grandparents have lived here for most of their lives. She’s the eldest of seven girls and two of her siblings go to school in the area. We really enjoyed the more spacious, laid back lifestyle of Northwest Arkansas compared with the other two towns. We also really enjoyed the doctors with whom I work at the Garrett-Goss Clinic. We’ve been in the area for about 2 months.

Tell us about your family and what you like to do when you’re not working.

I’ve been married for eight years. I have three children, ages 5, 3, and nearly 2. We also have two dogs, Lewis and Minty Maizy Ruff Ruff (named by our kids). When I’m not at work, I’m usually with my family. chicken1.jpgMy wife and I really enjoy the outdoors. We love to go hiking and camping. We want our children to grow up to appreciate the outdoors. Since moving up here, my wife and I have built our boys bunk beds. We’re currently making a chicken coop to raise a few chickens.

Dr. Joel Fankhauser is a Med/Peds Physician at the Garrett-Goss Clinic located at 2900 Moberly Lane in Bentonville. You can reach the clinic by calling 479-273-1550.

GREAT reason to get a massage

We’re entering the dreaded cold and flu season, and we all know that mamas don’t have time to be sick. So our ears perked up when we heard this report on The Today Show last week — five ways to AVOID getting a cold by naturally boosting your immune system. One of the five ways listed for avoiding colds is “Get a massage,” and we were thrilled to hear that news because now we can book a massage and call it cold prevention as well as a luxury! Studies show that getting a massage lowers cortisol levels in the body, and higher cortisol levels can weaken your immune system. Woo-hoo! Massage tables, here we come.

Here’s the complete list of cold-preventing practices:

  1. culturelle.jpgTake a daily probiotic like Culturelle. (There’s also a kids’ version.)
  2. Drink Green Tea
  3. Take a Vitamin D supplement
  4. Maintain Social Friendships
  5. Get a Massage!

Speaking of massage, the best all-time massages we’ve ever had happened at I.M. Spa on Block Street in Fayetteville and it’s our go-to place for pampering. Owner Wendy Finn works her magic, and we leave feeling like new women. You can book one for yourself by calling the spa at 479-251-7422. Or check out the full list of spa services by visiting the I.M. Spa website. Click here to see it.

See The Today Show video on cold prevention by clicking the “play” arrow below.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required Email Address * First Name Last Name
Advertisement