Devotion in Motion: On judging versus doing

1 ¶ “Judge not, that you be not judged.

2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. ~ Matthew 7:1,2  (NKJV)

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

I’m sure by now your preacher has told the story about how to boil a frog. If you want to boil a frog, you don’t throw him into a pot of boiling water. He’ll figure out what is about to happen and he’ll jump out. Instead, to boil a frog, you put him in a pot of cold water. Then you set the pot on the stove and heat the water very slowly. Since the frog is a cold-blooded animal, his body temperature will gradually adapt to his surroundings. He won’t realize that the temperature is rising degree by degree, and he’ll sit at the bottom of the pot until he is boiled to death.

And I’m sure you recognize the point of the illustration. We are the frogs, and the water is the culture in which we live. Little by little, unclean things are allowed to come into our lives. Maybe we don’t embrace them at first, but we tolerate them. Soon we are all living in a society that is “boiling” with uncleanness, and we didn’t even see even see the changes taking place. We painlessly adapted because the change was so gradual.

This principle presents some challenges in our daily lives. Since we’re immersed in American culture, how can we see how it is changing? One of the best ways I have found is by asking missionaries when they come home on furlough.  Usually, the missionary has been immersed in another culture for 3 to 5 years. When they come to the U.S. for a visit, the changes that have transpired in their absence are very obvious to them.

Last summer I asked a foreign missionary what changes he saw since his last U.S. visit. He said, “People don’t do as much. They spend a lot more time watching other people do things that they should be doing themselves. People aren’t cooking, but they are watching the Food Network.  Instead of being outside playing games with their kids, they are inside watching ‘Wipeout.’ And Americans spend a lot more time judging the works of others instead of doing good works themselves. They never sing a song for Jesus, but they can tell you how the singer on American Idol messed up. They never teach a Bible lesson, but they are laughing at the Sunday school teacher on YouTube who made a mistake. The whole country is made up of evaluators who feel it is their task to pass judgment on the quality of everything they see. They are expert judges. But they don’t—or can’t–do much of anything themselves.”

There is a lot of truth in what the missionary said about us. And most of these changes are brought about by our widespread use of technology. Even though we aren’t always accomplishing anything in our time spent in “virtual pursuits,” our electronic devices make us feel like we’re being productive. But we must break away from this illusion of  usefulness and realize that the smallest deed is greater than the greatest thought or intention. This week, let’s remember what the Scriptures command of us. We’re called to be “doers of the Word, and not hearers only.”  James 1:22 NKJV

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 27 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 and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church. The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 21), and Seth (age 18), who live in the parsonage, too, except when they are away at college.  He would love to hear from you in an email sent to

The Rockwood Files: Now Entering Barbie Town

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Here’s an ugly secret mothers try to deny, even to ourselves: Sometimes we buy our daughters a few extra things we probably shouldn’t. Is it because we like the girls more? No. We love all our kids equally. Is it because the girls just need more stuff? Maybe sometimes they do, but that’s not the reason, either.

It’s because deep down, underneath our mature, practical mommy selves, there lives a little girl. And that little girl is wildly attracted to glittery purses, super-soft stuffed animals and precious little outfits with cherries or butterflies on them. Sometimes when we’re innocently walking down store aisles, that little girl sneaks out and starts shopping.

I know this because it has happened to me. A few weeks ago, I was pushing Kate around in the shopping cart at Wal-Mart. She was singing the lyrics to “Be Our Guest” for the one-thousandth time. I was heading toward the back of the store, fully intending to walk past the toy aisle without pausing. But then Kate pointed and called out so loudly that it startled me, and I turned to see what had caught her attention. “Beauty!” she said, her eyes wide with excitement. “Mama, it’s Belle from Beauty and the Beast!”

I couldn’t see exactly what she was talking about, but I was sure she was right because little girls can spot a Disney princess from 50 yards away. I knew that, if we didn’t turn down that toy aisle, there would be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. So I agreed to push the cart down the aisle so she could get a closer look, but first I issued this warning: “Okay, we’ll go see what it is but we’re just going to look, okay? Only looking, not getting. You understand?” She nodded her agreement and we turned down the Barbie aisle.

Here’s the thing about Barbie. She is, without a doubt, the most cloned woman on the face of the Earth. When I was a girl, there were only a couple of Barbies to collect – a blonde and a brunette. Of course, Ken was there, too, and there was the famous Barbie car. But I could fit my entire Barbie collection into one shoebox.

These days, you’d need a shoebox the size of Texas Stadium to store a complete Barbie collection. Not only has Barbie had 80 different occupations over the years, she also now has pets, furniture and bath-version Barbies whose clothes turn different colors when you dip them in the tub.

And let’s not even get started on the clothes. Since her debut, Barbie has had about one billion pieces of clothing and shoes produced for her and her friends.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that Kate’s favorite Disney movie has its own Barbie. She wears a beautiful yellow gown, just like her namesake in the movie. I picked her up and handed her to Kate, who noticed that she also comes with a rose-shaped magic wand. The package had a button marked “Try me!” so I did, purely out of curiosity. When I pushed it, the familiar theme song from Beauty and the Beast began to play and then red roses bloomed out from the yellow ball gown. Suddenly my eyes got as wide as Kate’s did.

“Oh! Look at the flowers,” Kate said. Then, in a tone of awe and reverence, she added softly, “Mama, I love her.”

And, as much as I hate to admit it, a little part of me loved her, too. My inner girl was seduced by the combination of nostalgia and new technology. When I was little, Barbie didn’t even have a belly button. And now she has roses magically blooming on her ball gown. Will wonders never cease?

I was torn. Inside my head, the Practical Mom side of me sternly said, “We did not come here to get a Barbie. We came here for milk, bread and cereal. Step away from the doll.” But it was very hard to hear what Practical Mom was saying because my Inner Girl was a lot louder and more insistent: “She plays music and has a magic wand that makes ROSES BLOOM ON HER DRESS! Are you kidding me? We HAVE to bring her home!”

I stood there for a few moments, as my Inner Girl and Practical Mom duked it out. Wisely, Kate did not plead or beg for the Barbie. She just sat there quietly adoring it, which softened up the Practical Mom just enough for the Inner Girl to win the day.

“Okay, we’ll get her, but only this one time,” I said firmly. “We are not going to get a Barbie every time we go grocery shopping. You understand?”

And as the words came out of my mouth, I wasn’t sure if I was saying them to her or to me. Either way, I hope both of us were listening.

Gwen 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.


Kiwi Crate: Monthly projects for kids delivered to your door

Happy Friday!

We keep hearing good things about a cool company called Kiwi Crate and wanted to let you know about it, too.

Kiwi Crate basically ships out adorable “kit” boxes for kids 3-7 through a monthly subscription service. Kids receive a box filled with enough craft materials and inspiration for several projects that are designed around a specific theme each month. For example, this month’s theme was Farmers’ Market. Below is an example of a “Dig Into Dinosaurs” crate:

Click here to see other sample crates.

The crates ship straight to your door. It’s $19.95 a month with no shipping cost. You can buy a monthly subscription or send a gift subscription/gift card. We think this would make an awesome Christmas present!

There’s even a sibling add-on for a $7.95. Customers call it a “no-fight crate” ;)

Kiwi Crate also has Party Packs, which are special mini versions of the monthly crates. They can be used as favors for guests to take home or as a creative party activity during the festivities. They offer 6 different options and are appropriate for kids over 3.

We really like the Kiwi Crate blog. They post some super cute craft ideas like this lollipop spider below for Halloween. Really easy to make:

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Five Minutes with a Mom: Janeal Yancey

Name: Janeal Yancey

Daughter’s name and age: Vallie – 4

Tell us about your job: I’m a meat scientist, a professional meat head. I work at the University of Arkansas and my official title is Program Technician, which means I help the faculty and students with meats research.

I love doing research with undergraduate students (that’s with students, not on students). The experiments are usually pretty simple, but helping kids learn how to conduct good research and watching them develop from students into researchers who question the world around them is so rewarding. Several of our students have presented their research at national meetings and have gone on to graduate school, vet school, and into the industry. I’m so proud of them.

Because I have a Ph.D. and an awesome set of bosses, I also get to teach class and work with an undergraduate quiz bowl team. I am the advisor for an Animal Science club, and I have several other projects.

It’s all about educating for me. Whether its students in the lab, in the classroom, or at a club activity, I love sparking their interest and helping them learn more and more about meat science and agriculture in general.

I could talk about my job all day.

Can you also tell us about the event you’re helping promote, Moms on the Farm? This is one of my ‘other’ projects.

Like I said, I’m all about education, and in agriculture and the meat industry we are finding that people want to know what we do. Consumers want to know about their food and how it was raised. Most people are several generations removed from the farm and they just don’t know much about farming anymore. They get so much conflicting information about food, they don’t know what to believe. A recent survey said that a majority of people feel more knowledgeable about doing their own taxes than they do about knowing how to eat healthy.

So, we want to show them where their food comes from.

We are going to host a tour of a dairy and a beef farm in Northwest Arkansas for women (moms) from non-farming backgrounds.

We will leave at 9 am (Oct. 8) on a bus from the Pauline Whitaker Arena and head to Triple A Dairy in Bentonville. It is owned by Susan Anglin and her husband. She has a blog about her daily life as a dairy mom called the Spotted Cow Review. We were out at her farm the other day. I don’t know much about dairy farming, and I had a great time! We stood right in the middle of the milking parlor (the barn where the cows are milked) during milking time and we got to pet on some sweet baby calves.

Then, we will get lunch on the bus while we drive down to Lincoln to see Marsh Hedge and her beef farm. She has about 40 cows which is about the average size of a cattle farm in the US.

After the beef farm, we are going to head back to campus for some hands-on cooking demos presented by the Arkansas Cattlewomen. I’m really excited about this part of the day because it brings the whole process full-circle. We will see food being grown and produced, then we will learn how to prepare it for our families.

We are going to have the tourists back to the Arena by 3 pm in time for them to get their kids picked up from school.

We also hope to expand our event in the Spring and add more farms like a poultry farm, a vegetable farm, an orchard, or a vineyard.

Who would enjoy the event and what’s the deadline to sign up? Anyone interested in finding out more about where their food comes from would enjoy our event.

This time, we are going to a dairy and a beef farm, but we are going to have several women from agriculture and farming along for the day to answer questions about all segments of agriculture. We have ladies that know a lot about chicken from the Poultry Science department, some cattlewomen, a lady raised on a rice farm in Eastern Arkansas, one that grew up on a dairy in Virginia, and I grew up raising sheep in Texas.

Our event is called Moms on the Farm, but we are not limited to just moms. Anyone who wants to know about food is welcome. We may have a few Aunts on the Farm and Dads on the Farm.

If you want to join us, you just need to contact me, either by email ( or phone 870-688-4247, and I’ll get you on the list. There is no cost to attend, and we are going to provide lunch. We need to know how many ladies to expect, so please try to let me know by Oct 1.

Where are you from and what led you to NWA? Where did you meet your husband?  I’m going to combine these two questions. I hope that is ok.

I grew up in a small town in Texas, Cross Plains. It is near Abilene, about 3 hours west of Ft. Worth. I graduated with 26 people. We were the Buffaloes.

I went to Texas Tech University in Lubbock to study Animal Science and become a veterinarian. That plan changed over time, and I decided to go to graduate school to study meat science at Kansas State.

In the meat science graduate office at KSU was a boy from Arkansas. He was working on a Ph.D. He is really the only serious boyfriend I’ve ever had. When he graduated, he found a job at Tyson back in Arkansas. We did the no-fun-living-apart thing for 2.5 years. When I finished my Ph.D., there was a job open in meat science at the U of A. We lived in an apartment in Rogers for a few months, but we both grew up in small towns, so we quickly found a place to live outside of town, near Huntsville.

Was it love at first sight? Ha. It was more like love at first random fact. I’ve always been a big nerd and in college my friends used to tease me about my random facts. I just knew lots of random stuff.

Not long after I moved to Kansas, I made plans to go back to Texas for homecoming. (Our town only has homecoming every three years. I missed it this year for the Alabama game.) I invited everyone in the grad office to go with me to Texas so I didn’t have to drive the 9 hours by myself. Ed was the only one who took me up on the deal. We spent 18 hours together in the car that weekend. He met my family, experienced Cross Plains, went to my home church, all as my friend, not my boyfriend. We had a great time, as friends.

On the way home, when the road got long and boring, I suggested we play a game where we quizzed each other on the state nicknames. (It was a game I played on the road with my sister. We are nerds.) Not only did Ed play the game with me, he was good at it and he really enjoyed it. Later, both of us admitted that it was that quiz game that made us think, ‘I could really get to like this person.’ Love over the random facts. BTW, I didn’t know that Arkansas was the Natural State. He got me on that one.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I love Arkansas, but I would love to be closer to my family in Texas. My husband’s family is here, so in an ideal world, we would all just live closer to each other. As long as we are all moving, let’s just all move to the beach. That’s my answer; I want to live with my entire family, at the beach.

If you went back to college what would you study? I’m very happy with my career. I love being a meat scientist. I wish I could learn more about microbiology and food borne illnesses, history, the Bible, public relations and marketing, childhood development, art, exercising (the only PE class I took in college was racket ball and I dropped it because I was failing), Spanish, literature, the list going on and on… Do all those things fit in one degree plan?

Can you tell us a little about your blog? Well, I’m a mom and when you’re a mom, you have LOTS of questions. Is this healthy? Is that safe? I’ve found that the greatest resource for answering all these questions is other moms. Other moms gave me great advice about all kinds of stuff. My mom, mu aunts, my mother-in-law, ladies at church and work, but even random moms at gymnastics or on an airplane. Moms help each other out.

As a meat scientist, I find myself answering people’s questions about meat, as well as all foods and agriculture. Family and friends will call or text me out of the blue to ask me about meat in their fridge, something they’ve read or seen on TV, or even random things like, ‘why is ground beef shaped like worms?’

So, I just put these two parts of my life together. I’m a mom. Moms have lots of questions. I know a lot of stuff about meat. I can help other moms!

That’s my goal. I want to help other moms by answering their questions and ease their minds about the things they don’t understand about meat.

My blog is called Mom at the Meat Counter.

I’ve written posts about thawing and food safety, steaks, chicken nuggets, Happy Meals, pink slime, meat glue, and antibiotics. My blog is not about my opinion. It is based on facts and what really happens in the meat industry.

If you had a whole day to yourself what would you do? This has been the hardest question for me to answer. I never have a day to myself. Honestly, I would probably clean my house. If I had a day to myself (and a clean house), I would secretly wish for bad weather so I wouldn’t feel guilty about curling up on the couch and watching reruns of Law and Order, Star Trek: the Next Generation, or all the chick flicks I haven’t gotten to see.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do but can’t seem to get around to it? I saw this on the internet. I want to take Vallie’s art work from school and mail it to my family.

What are some of your favorite things to do with your daughter? When it’s just me and Vallie, we love to go to the mall and just wander. I admit, it’s much more fun with money to spend. I love to do this at Christmas time. We just wander around and watch people, look at clothes, toys and the new Sperry’s at Dillard’s.

Last weekend, Vallie and I spent a day in the barn. We washed the show calf and cleaned the muck out of her pen. We caught the baby kittens and played with them. By the end of the day, she was so dirty; I had to spray her jeans off with the hose. (She was not in them at the time.) It was a great day.

We like to do anything that involves shopping and/or animals.

What traditions do you hope to pass on to your daughter? My love of animals and agriculture. I’ve always loved being outside and working in agriculture. It is a noble profession. We feed the world.

We didn’t go on family vacations growing up, we went to sheep shows and pig shows. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I hope Vallie loves it as much as I do. We are also very involved in our church. I try to teach her about giving and sharing with people in need. I’ve helped with the Operation Christmas Child Program. I want Vallie to have a generous heart.

What’s a make-up essential you couldn’t live without? Moisturizer.

What would you do with an unexpected infusion of cash? I would hide it from my husband because he would want to buy land, cows, and cow accessories.

Seriously, I guess it depends on how much cash. I might use it to hire a maid or build a new house. Vallie wants a horse, Ed wants a Mustang.

What was the best parenting advice you received? You know how when people ask you how old your child is and you tell them, then they say, ‘That’s a fun age.’ Someone told me one time that every age is fun. Enjoy your kids. Having Vallie was the best thing in the world. She is awesome, and I want to soak up every second of it.

If someone wrote a book about your life right now, what would a good title be? From the lamb barn to the meat counter

One word to sum me up …  Joyful

On Your Mind: Postpartum depression and unsympathetic in-laws

Dear Tom,

I’m a new mom and I’ve been struggling with postpartum depression lately. I’m being treated by my doctor but my husband’s parents think it’s all nonsense and that I should just “get over it.” It’s causing a lot of resentment in the family because I’d like nothing more than to “get over it” but am having a hard time right now. How can I make them understand that this is a very real issue and that I’m not “faking it.” The way they’re treating me right now seems to making the depression worse.

Dear Mom,

I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling with postpartum depression, but I’m glad to hear that you’re getting treatment through your doctor. What you are highlighting is really an inter-personal issue between you and your in-laws. Before we get to that, here are some facts about postpartum depression that might help people like your in-laws see how real and serious postpartum depression truly is.

First and foremost, postpartum depression is a real diagnosable illness listed in the ICD-10 Disease Classification Manual that is used by physicians throughout the United States. It can affect anyone. Famous actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Brook Shields have publicly discussed their challenges with postpartum depression.

The symptoms of postpartum depression include symptoms similar to traditional depression such as low or sad mood, loss of interest in fun activities, changes in eating, sleeping and energy, and feelings of hopelessness, guilt or shame. But there are other symptoms particular to postpartum depression, such as—

  • Trouble sleeping when your baby sleeps (more than the lack of sleep new moms usually get).
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
  • Feeling inadequate or guilty about not being a good mom, or ashamed that you cannot care for your baby as well as you would like.

According to a 2008 Center for Disease Control (CDC) survey, 11% to 20% of women in 17 different states reported having frequent postpartum depressive symptoms. Postpartum depression can last up to a year after birth of the child.

Besides seeing your doctor, other things which help relieve postpartum depression are:

• Therapy
• Alternative medicines, herbal remedies and dietary supplements
• Support groups
• Exercise
• Stress Management
• Sleep
• Spending time with others
• Making time for yourself
• Medication

Mom, it sounds like you’re savvy and have been doing some things to help yourself already. You should be proud of that. So my last comment is about support from your husband. You say the issue is with your in-laws. Is your husband being supportive of you? If not, this is worth a serious one-on-one conversation or a request that he attend a session with you and your physician or a therapist. I hope you can make that happen. He needs to step in and help.

In the meantime, do all you can to take care of yourself and know that a mom who takes care of herself IS being a good mom!


Tom Petrizzo serves as CEO of Ozark Guidance and has degrees in social work and law. You can reach Ozark Guidance at 479-750-2020.  Tom has spent the last 20 years managing non-profit centers in Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the social work graduate program at three large universities. He’s married to Teri Classick, a licensed clinical social worker, and they have two daughters. When he’s not at work, Tom likes to jog, bike ride, read and he even belted out the National Anthem lately at a Northwest Arkansas Naturals Game!

Tom 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. Tom will be back each month to answer another woman’s question.

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.

Pet Parenting: ‘My dog keeps digging out of the fence’

Dear Denise,

My dog keeps digging out of the fence and roaming the neighborhood. He’s a true escape artist. We need help before he gets hurt or completely lost. Do you have any advice on how to deal with this?

Dear Mama:

You said ‘he,’ but didn’t mention if ‘he’ was neutered. If he is past adolescence, then he is likely digging out to roam and breed. It’s time to get him neutered.

If he is already neutered, then it is likely that he is bored. Is he getting enough exercise, social and mental stimulation? Many people walk their dogs every day, but often times this isn’t enough. Walks take care of animals physical energy, but not necessarily their boredom. You need to play with your dog, take your dog to play at the dog park, or a mixture of both. This is what I refer to as ‘social stimulation.’

You also need to provide mental stimulation by way of training. Teach your dog a behavior: sit, down, shake, roll-over. It doesn’t matter what you teach, as long you are asking him to think. Most don’t need all these things every single day, but some interesting combination thereof. So, maybe a daily walk with some training, or a daily walk then ends at the dog park, or a trip to the dog park and some training.

If you are providing all these things, and your dog is still digging out, it is likely that he is just highly social, and really, really bored. Start thinking of ways to create a backyard playground for your pooch. If he likes balls, hang a tether ball from a tree, or if he likes tug, hang a rope toy. Try putting his breakfast in a treat toy before you leave in the morning. Since he obviously likes to dig (or at least dig out), try creating a ‘digging hole’. This is a custom designed place for him to dig, and you’ll bait it with all kinds of goodies and fun things to discover and do. You can find specific directions on making one of these in the ‘NOTES’ section of my Love Trust Teach facebook page.

If push comes to shove, and none of these things work, you may need to consider hot-wiring the fence. I hate to suggest that, but I think it’s a much better alternative than a shock collar, and it’s certainly better than getting hit or lost.

P.S. Don’t just hotwire the fence and NOT do any of the other things I suggested. That’s not fair! And he’ll likely just start tearing up something else, like your azaleas.

Good luck,

Denise Holmes is a pet behavior counselor with over 25 years of experience. She focuses on family pet training and animal-assisted therapy.  She has consulted with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, helped set up a variety of local programs and produced a CD to help expecting parents introduce the family pet to a newborn,


Good Gossip: Famous friends, engagements, new babies and new judges!

Time to serve up a steaming hot dish of Good Gossip – the only guilt-free celebrity news column in Northwest Arkansas. We strip out all the nasty half-truths and give you only the good stuff. This delicious post is sponsored by Great Day Farms, a national brand based right here in NWA. FYI: Great Day is a sister brand to RingO’s Chicken Rings, and you can get a $1.25 coupon from the RingO’s Facebook page today. Just click HERE and then click the “coupons” tab and print it out.

We’re always interested in the stories of fellow mothers, so the new memoir called Nowhere But Up written by Pattie Mallette looks especially intriguing — partly because she is mother to the boy who created Bieber Fever! In the new book, Justin’s mom says that her boy was a combination of Curious George, Dennis the Menace and Bart Simpson while he was growing up. He got kicked out of a first grade class for making fart noises with his armpits. She said that she once got a note from his daycare saying that he was “biting his friends again.” Justin has his mom to thank for his success. She posted a YouTube video of him at age 12 singing, and the rest, as they say, is history. Usher and Justin Timberlake both tried to sign him as a new pop star, and ultimately Usher won.

Celebrity babies have playdates, too. In the most recent issue of People magazine, there’s a photo spread showing famous toddlers with their famous friends. For example, Owen Wilson’s son plays with Vince Vaughn‘s daughter. Tobey Maguire‘s 5-year-old daughter plays with Gwen Stefani‘s son, who is 6. Nicole Richie‘s daughter, who is 4, went to the birthday part of Ellen Pompeo‘s 3-year-old daughter, Stella. Heidi Klum‘s son plays with Victoria Beckham‘s son. And Neil Patrick Harris‘s twins Gideon and Harper play with Elton John‘s son Zachary.

Do you remember rooting for Michelle Kwan in the Olympics? The star skater and two-time Olympic medalist is now engaged to Clay Pell, who she met while competing for a White House fellowship. (He got the job.) Kwan now works for the State Department, and her fiance works for the National Security Council. Michelle says she hopes that designer Vera Wang, who created her skating dresses, will also design her wedding gown. Congrats to the couple!

By now you’ve probably heard the news that country singer Keith Urban and rapper Nicki Minaj are the newest judges on American Idol. Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson will be on the four-judge panel as well. We’re not sure how this new mix of personalities will play out at the judges’ table, but it should be interesting to watch.

Sara Rue of Rules of Engagement is pregnant with her first baby. She and her husband Kevin Price are expecting the new addition early next year.

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, who are costars on True Blood in addition to being husband and wife, recently welcomed baby twins! Although the babies were a little early, they are both in good health. Moyer has a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old from a previous relationship.

Nick Lachey and wife Vanessa Lachey just had a baby boy on September 12, 2012. The couple released a statement to People magazine saying “We are incredibly proud to announce the birth of our beautiful baby boy, Camden John Lachey. Love has truly been redefined for both of us.” Awwwww. The mamas think that’s very sweet and oh so true.

Carrie Underwood has an addiction — to mascara. She says she has a makeup bag and then a separate bag that’s just for mascara, with about 10 bottles of the black stuff. “There’s not really one that does the job. I feel better if I use a bunch,” she said.

Source: People magazine, September 24 and October 1, 2012 editions

Good Gossip is sponsored by CCF Brands, a Northwest Arkansas company which makes Great Day All Natural Eggs. These eggs are produced by happy hens who are fed premium vegetarian diets with no animal fats, animal by-products, or antibiotics. Great Day Farms also offers hard-boiled eggs, which you can find in the deli section of the Walmart Supercenter. (Love the hard-boiled eggs because they’re peeled and ready to eat! Perfect in salads.)


3 Ways to Keep Kids Focused on Homework

Many kids have trouble staying focused during an activity or while doing homework. Whether they’re working on an art project or studying for a test, here are a few tips to help your child stay engaged:

  • Create an environment free from distractions (ie: television is turned off, etc.)
  • Reward their success – Agree to do something fun once they have completed their task.
  • Get involved – If there’s a way to do the activity together, join the fun! There are tons of activities parents can do with their children including: reading, arts and crafts, and even studying.

Our thanks to the instructors at Kumon Math & Reading Centers (in Lowell, Fayetteville and Bentonville) for sharing study tips with local moms here on For more info on how Kumon helps local kids, click HERE.

What We’re Reading: ‘Be the Mom’ book review + giveaway!

By Shannon Magsam

Two years ago in the fall, my sister and I took our daughters on a guided trail ride near Pinnacle Mountain in Little Rock.

Our young, beautiful guide, Samara, was especially kind to my horse-crazy daughter. At one point, our horse/rider line-up shuffled and I was on the horse behind Samara’s. We had a great chat as our horses carried us along a gorgeous wooded trail on a breezy blue-sky day. She told me that she planned to attend JBU in the fall and that she was going to be a camp counselor later that summer. When I told Samara what I do at Motherlode, she said, “Oh, I bet you’d like my mother.”

She explained that her mother, Tracey Eyster, created a website,, in Little Rock  so we’d probably have a lot in common. When we got back to the stables, she gave me her mom’s business card. I determined right then and there to reach out to Tracey and tell her mom “job well done” on raising such a sweet daughter.

Even though we live in the same state, I didn’t meet Tracey until Gwen and I attended the BlissDom conference in Nashville in February.

All that to say Tracey recently wrote a book that came out a few weeks ago called “Be the Mom: Overcome attitude traps and enjoy your kids”. It’s a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.

The good news? We have three of Tracey’s books to give away! (See giveaway details below.)

I love that she started writing the book specifically for Samara. She wrote, “I wanted her to know that being a mom is hard but well worth it.”

Tracey Lanter Eyster

Tracey’s book is not “preachy”. She comes across as a girlfriend who’s been there and wants to help you along in your own Christian momlife. Several of the “mom traps” she writes about in the different chapters really stood out to me, personally.

In particular, the “busy mom” trap was the one that made me cringe the most. There are various mom truths scattered throughout the book, and the one in that chapter notes: “Being a busy mom is not the goal; instead, being a relational and content mom is what you should strive for.”

I also loved the part where she cautioned moms to work on having a close relationship with your kids now, so when something goes wrong “you will have earned the right to speak into their lives.” Later, she calls it “relational equity”. Love that.

She also has quizzes at the end of each chapter, which I’m really a sucker for.

HOW TO WIN A COPY OF TRACEY’S BOOK: Click on the orange button below and tell us one of the best pieces of advice you ever received about being a mom. I think some of the best advice I received was to enjoy each stage of your child’s life because they all have surprises and joys (yes, even the teen years!).

If you don’t win one of the books but you’d like your own copy, click here to order the book on Amazon or here to buy it through Focus on the Family. It will feel good knowing that all author proceeds for Be the Mom will go to Project 319 at Pine Cove Christian Camps in Tyler, Texas. Project 319 provides scholarships to youth who are considered at-risk, active military families and campers in spiritual and financial need.

This is also really cool: Samara was a horse wrangler at Pine Cove Christian Camp over the summer. It had been one of her dreams since she was a little girl. Way to go, Samara!


NWA Mama Doc: How to translate medical jargon

By Dr. Haley Vo, Mercy physician and mama of 3

While I was in medical school, the sister of one of my friends was in a car accident. She picked up her medical records from her ER visit to bring to her insurance adjuster. As she rifled through them, she was very offended when she noticed that the first line of her physical exam said, “Well nourished, well developed.” She was mortified that the ER doctor had commented on her bra size!

After I quit laughing, I tried, best I could, to explain that this didn’t have anything to do with her chest. That’s simply the medical way of saying that she had a normal physique. I realized, then, that sometimes medical professionals use words that have completely different meanings to the general public. Here’s a list of words that I encounter nearly everyday that are sometimes hard to explain. I’ll do the best I can, so that next time you see your medical records you don’t panic about your cup size. :-)

URI. This stands for upper respiratory infection. It encompasses a lot of things including runny nose, sore throat, congestion, cough. This is usually viral in nature, though it doesn’t have to be.

Gastroenteritis: Gastro = stomach, enter = intestines, itis = infection. Put them all together and you’ve got nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or some combination there of, often caused by a virus as well. This is a very scary word in my house!

CT scan: A special xray that allows us to see the insides of people. It used to be called a CAT scan, but the images are able to be produced slightly differently now than they used to be, so the “A” has been dropped.

MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging. This is another special radiology test that is produced by a high-powered magnet. It’s really good at visualizing muscles, cartilages, nerves, and fine details of the brain.

Echo: Short for echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart. This test allows us to see how the heart is beating, how the heart valves are working, and the overall structure of the heart.

CABG: We pronounce this as “cabbage.” It’s not what we eat for lunch! A CABG is a heart bypass surgery.

Diverticulitis: This one gets a little complicated. It’s an infection of the large intestine, caused by small pouches that have developed in the wall of the intestine. This is not to be confused with diverticuLOSIS, which is a condition where the pouches are developed, but there is no infection present.

Pyelonephritis: A kidney infection. This is a little more complicated than cystitis, which is infection of the bladder.

Sepsis: Sepsis is a syndrome, associated with a big infection, that encompasses dysfunction of many of your organ systems. It is very serious and often fatal.

Here’s another nomenclature system that you may see and wonder what it means: Doctors use the abbreviation G and P to talk about a woman’s obstetrical history. The G is the number of times a woman has been pregnant, and the P is the number of births a woman has had. So, if you have been pregnant 2 times and had 2 deliveries, then you would be a G2P2.

Easy, right? With these definitions in mind, medical jargon won’t feel like a foreign language. Hope it makes your next doctor’s visit a little more enjoyable and a little less intimidating.

To visit with Dr. Vo in person, you can schedule an appointment with her by calling the Mercy Clinic Primary Care Sugar Creek in Bella Vista.  It’s located at 24 Sugar Creek Center and the phone number is 479-876-1414. Same day appointments are available at the clinic.

If you have a general health question for Dr. Vo, you can email it to and she may answer it in a future post.

Mealtime Mama: Fancy taters and, for dessert, the ‘Pink Stuff’

Guest post by Shannon Patricia, mama of five and blogger at Still Seeking Martha

Feeding seven mouths every night can sometimes be a challenge. And by sometimes, I mean it usually is. I have to plan ahead a lot, and I do my very shiny green bellsbest to do that but, sometimes even the best laid plans fail.

I am a stickler for a budget. I have to be. Now, I probably don’t need to shop with excel spreadsheets but I do. And, I’m proud of it; strangers can stare all they want. I know how to stay on track and on budget. (Most of the time)

One of our biggest expenses food wise would be produce. We failed to plan out our garden this season and therefore we are buying everything right down to the green onions.

I try my best to have a plan for the produce I buy but sometimes, if there is a really good deal, I deviate from the plans again, and buy it up. When I do that, once I have used all my pre-planned ideas for it up, I usually end up with an odd amount or supply of mixed produce.

Last week The Dad went shopping with me and I didn’t pay close attention to what he was picking out. Instead of a 5 pound bag of potatoes we ended up with a 10 pound bag. And, instead of a couple onions we ended up with a bag of onions. Don’t get me started on the bell peppers.

You might see where this is going. If you don’t, let me tell ya. After using what I had planned to use throughout the week I opened my fridge to find I had an abundant supply of potatoes, onions, and peppers.

Fried taters anyone?

In an effort to be a little more healthy I decided not to fry, but to bake this one pan meal. We made good use of The Dad’s extra purchases and I made us some potatoes with onions and peppers, and for fun I tossed in some smoked sausage.

For these extra-special ‘taters’ you’re going to need:

  • Your oven
  • A cutting board
  • A knife
  • A large mixing bowl
  • A cookie sheet
  • Aluminum Foil


  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Bell Peppers
  • Smoked Sausage
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

*Notice I didn’t give you an amount to use. That’s up to you. If you need help deciding, I can send The Dad your way. He is great at shopping for abundant produce.

Directions: First things first, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Once your cookie sheet is covered drop a teaspoon or so of olive oil on it and spread it around. Now let’s prep you veggies, etc. I like to cube my washed potatoes with skin on but again, that’s up to you on how big you want the pieces and if you’re a skin or no skin kind of eater. I just slice up my washed bell peppers, and smoked sausage. I cheat and use a mandolin for my onions. When everything is prepped I toss it all into a large mixing bowl and add in a few teaspoons of olive oil, a little bit of salt, and some pepper. I mix it with my hands. It’s just easier to get it all coated and mixed up that way. Then I spread the mixture on to the cookie sheet and cover it with foil. I bake mine for 45 mins but I suggest you check your potatoes softness at about 30.

So the next time your shopping gets a little off course, don’t worry, it could be worse. You could have 5 pounds more of potatoes than you ever needed, a bag of onions instead of two, and, well, I’m still not ready to talk about the bell peppers.

Later that same week…

“Hey Mom, can you make that Pink Stuff?” That’s how I was awoken from the first nap I’ve had in awhile.

Ah, that Pink Stuff. You know what I’m talking about. It’s one of the favorites. It’s a dessert made up of almost nothing but taste as if it’s just meant to be there.

It’s Sunday, so why was my kid waking me up from my first nap in what feels like years to ask me to make it? Turns out, it’s my sister in law’s fault. She posted something on good old Facebook about looking for a real name for it. Apparently, her kids wanted some, too. I wish she would’ve kept her quest to herself long enough for me to get a nap. She didn’t though, so not only were all of our kids now curious as to what it was “really” called, they were ready to eat it to. By the way, according to the Internet, that Pink Stuff is really just called “Pink Stuff.”

My daughter would beg her Great Grandma Annabell to make it for Thanksgiving. She would then dip her turkey in it. I don’t necessarily recommend that but, hey, she liked it.

When all the Thanksgiving dinners had been attended, and all the helpings of Pink Stuff we could possibly want had been served, we had almost a month to get over eating so much of it and to be looking forward to having it at Christmas dinner all over again. At Christmas, my daughter would dip her ham in it. Again, not something I recommend but, she liked that too.

Now, back to me not being able to take a nap; I got up, explained to my child that waking me up for Pink Stuff wouldn’t the smartest move in the future. And, then I proceeded to make it. Yes, I made it even though I didn’t get my nap. What can I say, I’m a giver. 

So, if you’d like to make that Pink Stuff, and can’t seem to remember what all goes in it, let me refresh your memory:

For the “Pink Stuff’, you’re going to need:

  • 1 (21) ounce can of Cherry Pie Filling
  • 1 (14) ounce can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 (20) ounce can of Crushed Pineapple, drained
  • 1 (12) ounce container of Cool Whip

If you want to get really fancy, or you really love your kids even when they wake you up from your nap, you can add in the following:

  • 1 cup of chopped Pecans
  • 1 cup of Small Marshmallows

Directions: Now comes the hard part. You want to combine all of the ingredients together and mix them well. Once that’s done, chill it in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

After it’s had time to chill, serve it up in bowls, head to your bedroom, lock the door, and take a nap. If not for you, take one for me.

About Shannon Patricia: Modern Day Version of Yours, Mine, and Ours. Stories of Life, Love, Food, and Funnies As Told By Me, The Not So Martha. Click here and pop over to Shannon’s blog!

Photo credit: Lawrence Farmers’ Market via Flickr

Devotion in Motion: “Two too tatooed”

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  ~ Luke 9:23 (NKJV)

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

I am going to reveal a prejudice of mine today. Tattoos are not my favorite things.  I have a great number of  friends and loved ones who have chosen to decorate themselves in that way, and I love them with all my heart. But I’ve just never wanted a tattoo for myself. And I didn’t want my sons to get any, either.

You have to understand that a lot of my bias has to do with the fact that I was born in the Deep South over 50 years ago. Also, I was raised surrounded by older people. I’m a product of my generation. One of the local girls told me that the night she came home with her first tattoo, her step-dad (who is my age) took one look at it and quietly said, “You know, Grandpa always said if you got a tattoo you’d go straight to hell.” He didn’t condemn her, mind you. He just quoted what Grandpa said. But admit it. If you were raised with that mindset, it might put a damper on things.

I bet you can already figure out where this story is headed. Yes, both of my sons have tattoos. When they were little, I used to tell them, “If you ever get a tattoo, I’ll take my pocketknife and cut it out.” Of course, everybody knew that this was bluster and bluff. But it worked. At least I thought it was working. It seemed like it was working until they had birthdays and were no longer minors. Something that I didn’t take into account is that when your kids turn 18 they can get as many tattoos as they want, and you can’t do anything about it.

And to be truthful, if my boys have to be tattooed, their choices of  body-art not that bad. On his shoulder, Spencer has a tattoo of a sailing ship. The ship has a cross on the main sail. He had the artist copy this picture from  Luther’s Shorter Catechism, where the theologian uses the ship as a representative symbol of  the Church. Spencer told me, “I told the tattoo artist not to make the ship too fancy or pristine. The Church is a ship that has been through a lot of storms. But the Church is a good ship—and she will carry us safely across to the other shore.” It’s hard to argue with that.

Later on, Spencer got another small tattoo over his heart. This one consists of three words: “Here I Stand.” These were the words that Luther said when he was told to burn the books that he had written that said that the Bible is all-sufficient. He was told if he did not recant, he would be put to death. Instead he said, “ I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.” Again, if you have too get a tattoo, that’s not too bad of a one to get. In my book, it’s a lot better than a “Peace Frog.”

Two weeks ago, Seth got a tattoo on his shoulder. It’s a picture of an Arkansas Razorback. I think there are a number of virtues associated with getting this particular tattoo:

1) It is coverable with a T-shirt, which makes for easier employment by a picky boss. (Spencer’s tattoos fall into this category, too.)

2) I take it as a compliment to our family. Seth was born and raised in Mississippi. The only Razorbacks he knows are his mother and me, our loved ones and friends. His loved ones from Arkansas must have impressed him as being a good class of people.

3) The tattoo artist really did a nice job with the artwork.

4) Last but not least, having a Razorback tattooed on one’s back seems like a nice thing to do for the Hogs. They can probably use a friend or two right now.

I’ve been raising kids for over 20 years, and my views have changed quite a bit with the passing of time. I guess what I want more than anything else is for my sons to love the Lord. So if there is love for Jesus in their heart, I can overlook the ink that is on the skin that covers that heart. And I’m not so worried about the pictures on my sons’ shoulders either. I just hope they will use those same shoulders to take up their cross daily to follow their Saviour.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 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 and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 21) and Seth (age 18) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the holes in the [previously] pierced ears of the Preacher’s sons have also grown up.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to

The Rockwood Files: My computer’s obituary

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Hewlett Packard Pavilion M6000, lovingly known as “Hippy,” died on a local writer’s desk on September 7, 2012. She was almost 5 years old. After weeks of a lingering, undiagnosed illness, Hippy’s screen suddenly went black and her familiar hum fell silent.

Attempts to resuscitate Hippy were unsuccessful. The coroner listed cause of death as “defective processor” – also known as the “widow maker” of the electronic world.

Hippy was born in 2007 in an overseas factory and moved soon after to a Best Buy store shelf. She was adopted by a freelance writer later that year. Hippy and her human mother worked together efficiently for many years, churning out hundreds of newspaper columns and thousands of e-mails. She was also quite proficient at taking “red eye” out of family photos and could Google everything from “Apple Crisp” to “zipper repair” in a split second.

Survivors include Gwen Rockwood, owner, mother and longtime writing companion; Tom Rockwood, avid surfer of Craigslist; Adam Rockwood, who often checked basketball scores on; Jack Rockwood, who watched many funny online cat videos; and Kate Rockwood, who played games on

Hippy was preceded in death by a Toshiba laptop circa 2007, a.k.a. “Tosha,” who died early of “lemon-itis.”

Rockwood remembers Hippy fondly, saying, “She had a great run. Thankfully, her good work will not be forgotten – mostly because we backed up the important files last week. During our time together, we met many deadlines, launched a website and wrote a book. I am utterly lost without her.

I keep walking to my desk and staring into the void she used to fill with her blue power light and electronic warmth. I had no idea how much I really needed her until she was gone. She has died and taken my productivity with her. I only hope others who read this will hug their computers, back-up their files and appreciate their machines while they’re still living. You never know when they’ll be gone.”

Hippy will be laid to rest at a nearby electronic recycling center, and her spirit will roam free in the big digital paradise in the sky. She will never again suffer through a virus or spyware sluggishness.

Memorials may be made to Visa Credit Card, which helped ensure the quick adoption of Hippy’s successor.

# # #

Electronic Birth Announcement

Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition was born August 2, 2012 in a manufacturing plant in Asia.  Delivered on September 10, 2012 by FedEx, she weighs 7 pounds, 2 ounces. She arrived with an impressive 8 gigabytes as well as an “Intel i7 processor.” She also has a beautiful high-definition, anti-glare display admired by family and visitors alike.

Nicknamed “Adell” by her adoptive family, she is now residing on the desk of Gwen Rockwood, mother of three human children, freelance writer and self-described email junkie. Rockwood squealed with delight upon opening the box where Adell was nestled inside, waiting to meet the World Wide Web.

Mother and newborn laptop are now working comfortably at home and in area coffee shops.

Gwen 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.


Fashion Fairy Godmother: Inspiration from New York Fashion Week

By Paige Meredith, fashionable blogger at Approaching Joy

The best thing about going to New York for Fashion Week is knowing what’s coming in terms of trends. The worst thing about going to New York for Fashion Week is knowing what’s coming in terms of trends.

Even though the (welcome) nip of fall just arrived here in Northwest Arkansas, I’ve already planned my outfit for the first day of spring.

What’s a girl to do before then?

Ease into it by picking one or two of your favorite elements.

Take a few of the looks that you caught from your favorite blogs, magazines, and Instagram feed and find things that you love and that you can ease into your fall and winter wardrobe.  Here are a few examples:

The Look: Vivid colors and animal prints with a subtly feminine flair
How to work it this Fall: I’m a huge fan of wide leg pants and I was so excited to see it on the runway at the Carlos Miele show in New York. Pair those with a studded belt and a fun fringed purse that you will be able to carry around for the next two seasons.

The Look: Feminine and floral but distinctly bold

How to work it this Fall: Joanna Mastroianni totally wowed the crowd with her creations inspired by nature. Follow her lead and grab a dark, fitted, floral blazer for this upcoming season. I got one right before my trip and it is amazing at how easily it dresses up a tank and jeans as easily as it injects a little playfulness into your standard business attire.

The Look: Familiar silhouettes made new with eye popping color and 3 dimensional geometric shapes

How to work it this Fall: At his show, Angel Sanchez proved that black and white has a seasonless nature and that this pallet can be used as a neutral backdrop for geometric gems that lay just outside of your comfort zone. Go ahead: slip on those square bangles you haven’t wore since high school, see how those angular earrings draw attention to your eyes, slide on a pair of metallic heels and give “edgy” a try!

About Paige: Paige Meredith blogs at Approaching Joy where she’s a “Fabulous twenty something who’s into photography, food, fashion, fun. I blog because I believe everyone’s prettier when they share.” Click here to read Paige’s fabulous blog. Click here to follow her on Twitter @ApproachingJoy. Thanks, Paige, for virtually taking us to New York Fashion Week!


Online crowd-funding tool helps dreams come true

If you’ve ever had a really great idea or a dream to do something BIG but didn’t have the money to make it happen, you’ll be fascinated with a new online trend called “crowd funding.” I just discovered it a few months ago when a friend told me about a writer who was using a crowd-funding website to help him cover the costs to self-publish his first novel.

When I visited some of the crowd-funding websites — including Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Crowdtilt — I realized that this new fundraising trend is being used by a wide variety of people pursuing lots of different dreams. One woman is using crowd-funding to help cover the costs of in vitro fertilization. One young filmmaker is using it to raise money to make a movie out of a screenplay. Some are using it to set up memorial scholarship funds or to dig a new well on a horse refuge facility. The opportunities are limitless.

It’s fun to find projects with a Northwest Arkansas connection that are being funded through online contributions. For example, Justin Kaleb Driggers grew up in Northwest Arkansas and bleeds Razorback red. (In fact, he even has a running Razorback tattooed on his bicep!) Justin’s parents live here in Northwest Arkansas but, after Justin grew up, he moved to Nashville to make his own singer/songwriter dream come true.

See Justin Kaleb Driggers on the Indiegogo website.

Justin is in the process of recording his debut album and is using Indiegogo to raise money needed to cover costs for the recording studio time, packaging, marketing and promotion. Here’s an excerpt from Justin’s Indiegogo campaign page:

“My hope is that you will consider pledging money toward this project because you believe in the power of music the same way I do. Whether you give one dollar or a thousand, your gift is a blessing that will help bring this new music into the marketplace where it can be shared. I hope you know how much I appreciate your support and encouragement.”

If you have a dream or a big idea, click HERE to surf around the Indiegogo website and check out how people are using this tool to make dreams a reality.

And if you love good music and want to help launch the music career of a fellow Northwest Arkansan, click HERE to see Justin Kaleb Driggers’ campaign page. Donation amounts range from one dollar to one-thousand dollars and there are perks for donating at various levels. One of the perks is a copy of the album that you’d be helping to fund! Even if the entire campaign amount is not reached, all monies contributed will go toward production of the album.

Here’s a video clip of Justin doing what he does best. (This song is especially touching for anyone who has lost a loved one. Gave me goosebumps!) Hope to be listening to his new album soon!