Mams on Magic 107.9: What Scares Moms Most {Accidents!}

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, Mamas!

We know your kids are chomping at the bit to go collect all that candy! But since we’re Grade A Worry-Warts (and bet you are, too), we want to remind everyone to be safe! In fact, that’s what we talked about in our Mamas on Magic 107.9 segment this morning.

We’ve been talking every day this week about things that scare moms most and ACCIDENTS top our list. Especially the ones that can’t be fixed with a Batman Band-Aid.

Be sure to tune in at 7:45 a.m. tomorrow and Friday more more things that scare us. We KNOW you can relate.

Click the blue bar below to hear the Mamas on Magic segment that aired this morning at 7:45 a.m.

What scares parents most Oct. 31, 2012

Click HERE to read Mama Doc’s recommendation for 8 things all moms need in their home first-aid kit.

NWA Mama Doc: How to help prevent premature birth

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

I remember Halloween of 2005 very clearly.  I was 31 weeks pregnant with our first child. As my husband was out of town, it was my job to open the door and pass out candy to the few drenched trick-or-treaters we had that night.  At the time, I was in the fall of my final year of medical school. I was working on the pediatric infectious disease service at  Arkansas Children’s Hospital.  I’d had a healthy pregnancy so far. I hadn’t missed a single day of school. I’d spent my first trimester on my general surgery rotation, arriving at the hospital at 5 a.m. and leaving at 7 p.m.

My second trimester was spent trying to impress residency programs to which I would be applying. And then there was the third trimester. I’d taken the second step of my boards, and was finally enjoying some elective time. As I lay on the couch between the ringing of the doorbell, I wondered how I was going to continue to work for another 2 months. I felt terrible. I had a pounding headache that would not go away. Over the last week, I had suddenly been unable to fit into my shoes. Even my flip flops didn’t fit. I had to go buy a pair of slip on shoes to wear to work. Things were getting rough, and I wondered if I was tough enough to make it to the end of my pregnancy and still be working everyday.

The next morning, I arrived at the hospital, and my attending physician (AKA “the guy who would be giving me my grade”) asked how my head was. When I told him I was still pretty miserable, he instructed me to leave and go straight to my obstetrician’s office. Being the “good” medical student that I was, I elected to stay and round. I made an appointment for after lunch, and continued my day. Before lunch, we were done rounding. At that point the attending directed me to go sit in my OB’s office until someone could see me. So I did. And then things started moving quickly.  Within minutes of checking in, I was being admitted to labor and delivery. My blood pressure was significantly elevated. My kidneys were not functioning as well as they should have been. My liver seemed to be a little irritated.  It was official – I was diagnosed with preeclampsia.

I was given steroids to help mature the baby’s lungs in a hurry. Though initially I was told that we were hoping to have 12 hours to let the steroids take effect before delivery, we were lucky. I was able to wait 3 days. So, on November 4th, 2005, my oldest daughter was born. She weighed in at 4 pounds, 2 ounces, and was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Suddenly, we were thrust into parenthood. Not just parenthood, but the strange world of the NICU. In order to hold my child, I had to scrub my hands down with a surgical brush. Though I was dying to show her off, only grandparents were allowed in her room. There was a list of emergency drugs above her crib based on her weight for the week – drugs meant to help start her heart if it stopped, drugs to help relax her muscles to put a breathing tube in her throat. Thankfully, she never needed those drugs. We were very, very lucky. After 41 long days (and even longer nights, when I had to leave my daughter at the hospital), she came home. I’m telling you all of this because I swore that I would never let another mama have to have her baby stay in the NICU if I could help in some way.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. In the US, about 1 in 8 babies is born prematurely. This is defined as a baby born before the 37th week of pregnancy has been completed. In Arkansas, the number is slightly higher. The US has set a goal to decrease this number to less than 1 in 10 by the year 2020. I want to share some things that you can do to help have a healthier pregnancy and infant.

STOP SMOKING! This is a big one. From heart defects to breathing problems to ear infections, we know that smoking while pregnant and while around your baby is detrimental to your health, as well as your baby’s health. There’s just no way for me to sugar coat it.

In addition to not smoking, make sure you are not drinking alcohol or taking any drugs other than those approved by your doctor.

Take a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily when you are trying to become pregnant. Better yet, take a vitamin with folic acid in it every day, whether trying to get pregnant or not. Low levels of folic acid have been associated with spina bifida and other problems with babies’ spines and skulls. These problems occur before most women realize that they are pregnant. And since 50% of pregnancies in this country are unintended, it’s best to be prepared.

Try to be a healthy weight prior to becoming pregnant. Women whose BMIs (body mass index) fall above a healthy range (18.5-24.9) have higher risks of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Those whose BMIs are lower have a higher risk of preterm labor. Most women should be able to continue an active and healthy lifestyle during pregnancy without worrying about preterm labor.

Call your healthcare provider if you have abdominal pain or cramping, vaginal bleeding, or feel like you are leaking fluid during your pregnancy. These can be signs of preterm labor, and sometimes your doctor is able to give your medicine to stop preterm labor.

Also call your healthcare provider if you have severe headaches, changes in your vision, or bad pain in the upper right part of your belly, especially in the 3rd trimester. These can be signs of preeclampsia, and need to be checked out.

Of course, most premature births are not preventable. Even though I knew all of these things and never wanted anyone else to endure a NICU stay, it happened to me again. Our 3rd child was also born at 32 weeks, again from high blood pressure, and I got to have the same experience all over again. So there’s one more thing I want to share:  if you know a fellow mama with an infant in the NICU, remember that it’s a very stressful time.

Offer to bring her dinner, fold her laundry, take her kids for a few hours. But maybe even more importantly, give her some encouragement. One of my sweet friends, Jenny, brought me a card while my youngest was still in the hospital. I was having a rough week. I was spending days at home with my 2 oldest children, and nights in the NICU, plus any other time I could find there. I was pumping 8 times a day (often while driving down 540). I was trying to hold my household together, and I was not doing a very good job of it. I was still recovering from my c-section, and the thing I was neglecting the most was myself.

One afternoon, I slept through the alarm to pick up my oldest child from preschool. I jumped up, sobbing, threw my middle child in the car, and drove as fast as I could to the school. They were sympathetic and understanding, but I felt like a failure of a mother. Jenny heard about all of this, and brought me a card the next day, telling me that I was doing a great job and was a fantastic mother. It still makes me tear up to think about it. It was exactly what I needed

So, fellow mamas, try to keep yourselves healthy, especially when you are pregnant. If you know a mama that has a sick baby, help her out however you can. She will appreciate it more than you know. And Happy Prematurity Awareness Month!

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 mamas@nwaMotherlode.com and she may answer it in a future post.

Military Mama: Here we go again (Part 2)

By Jade Stone

Last time I left you with the chance encounter at the airport and said I would tell you the rest of the story later…I suppose it’s later! (Click here for romantic Part 1)

The lethargy didn’t leave, nor did that awful sick feeling after my return from the Dominican Republic. I just couldn’t shake that same crummy feeling I contracted while over there..

My mom of course had the answer. There are only two things in her world when a girl gets sick…you either have a parasite, or you are pregnant.  While I wasn’t willing to believe in her parasite theory, I knew it wasn’t the latter so I became concerned. I conceded, against my better judgment, to take a pregnancy test which immediately popped positive.

Knowing this couldn’t be right, I called the Dr. who also became concerned and asked me to come in for blood tests. By 4pm that same day the Dr. called again and explained that there was a problem with my hormone levels and that she was afraid there was something left over from the miscarriage that would have to be surgically removed.  She wanted me to have an Ultra sound first thing the next day to see how bad things were.  At this point, Jay is gone; I feel horrible and have steeled myself for the worst.

The Dr. enters the room with that same grave look on her face that I had seen before and explains she believes this is a molar pregnancy which is basically tissue growing with no embryo.

Just my luck. We start the ultra sound and her facial expression changes and she says, and I quote “Oh my Gosh!”…now, there are a few things that I don’t want to hear from a Dr. and that is one of them…way to put me at ease Doc.

She smiles huge and says “you have a heartbeat!”  The cynical person I’ve become not understanding her point retorts “yeah, Doc, I’m breathing too but that’s nothing new”.

She laughed at me and said “No, I mean a baby, you have a baby and it must be 8 weeks or close to it!” Now can imagine the shock.  You’ve been told it’s not possible; and now the prayers that went unanswered all of a sudden have come to fruition.  And then a slice of humble pie came my way…I would have to tell mom that she was right. It sort of is a parasite!

I was elated and scared and thrilled and yet, I would experience these emotions alone. As it turned out, at the time I was 7 weeks pregnant and had to tell Jay about it on the phone.

You know when someone is so happy they begin to cry and you can hear it in his or her voice? Well I could hear his tears. He was so happy. Apparently I made his day!  And then the stars aligned yet again, and he received a 3 day pass just before shipping off to Afghanistan.

I scheduled an Ultrasound so he could see it before he left and would have a least a small part in the process. I was nearly 13 weeks when he came home. It seemed that we might actually get to have this one. I’m sure you can imagine his excitement and yet I could tell it was tinged with dismay because he would miss the birth and at least 3 months of its life. But, I explained that I was strong, and could do it and that he shouldn’t worry because they don’t get really cute until after 3 months anyway! He didn’t appreciate my humor. So much for trying to lighten things up!

Jay has now been overseas for a month and this pregnancy has been far worse than the first. At about 17 weeks I started to feel somewhat human again but still not great.  Then I was told that because the placenta is sitting on the cervix (I didn’t know it could do that) I needed to take it easy. I can still work but nothing more.

I have to admit my cynicism is getting worse.  I simply said “ok” but what I was thinking was “ok so who’s going to take care of my other kiddo, clean my house, cook and do laundry??”  Yeah, we both know the answer to that: no one. So needless to say I have been forced to do something I’ve never done before and that is-be still.

I’m not good at it and I have to have a pep talk with myself once in a while to remind myself what is important and what is not.  Laundry can wait, it will still be there tomorrow and as much as it pains me to say, it’s true. Making sure the “parasite” is healthy has to be number one and everything else can wait. Yes, it goes against everything that I am but maybe I needed a lesson in patience.  In any case, I will do my best.

I talk to Jay on the phone once a week and occasionally we email when he can but it’s hard to keep up with someone whose schedule is 9.5 hours ahead of your own, but we manage. I don’t share about how hard it’s been because he doesn’t need to worry and honestly, it doesn’t serve any other purpose but to worry him.

As long as everything is fine, my discomfort is not important.  I wish I could say the deployment is moving quickly but unfortunately, this baby just reminds me of how wonderful and amazing he was to me with our first son and I miss that now, but I guess you do what has to be done.  In the meantime, we take things one day at a time and just keep putting one foot in front of another.  We get to find out what it is next week so I will keep you posted.  Start thinking of names now because I will take all the suggestions I can get!

Jade 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.

 

Mamas on Magic 107.9: What Scares Moms Most {The Wrong Crowd}

It’s Halloween week, so it makes perfect sense to talk about things that scare moms most.

There were so many things to choose from.

Today in our Mamas on Magic segment, we talked about how scary it is when our kids hang out with the wrong crowd. It’s no secret that peers are a big influence, so we want our kids to be rubbing elbows with kids known for their positive behaviors.

We’ll be at Magic every morning this week to talk about more things that scare moms the most. Tomorrow is Halloween, so that topic will be one that REALLY scares mamas!

Click the blue bar below to hear the Mamas on Magic segment that aired this morning at 7:45 a.m.

Hanging out with the wrong crowd Oct. 30, 2012

Click HERE for more tips on how to handle it when your kids start hanging out with the ‘wrong’ crowd.

Fashion Fairy Godmother: Spiegel launches new ‘Ultimate Outlet’ site with great clothes, deals

We have to admit that when Spiegel reached out to us about their new website, Ultimate Outlet, we immediately thought “pricey”.

Then we went to the site and the words “gorgeous clothes” and “wow, look at that price!” drove all other words out of our minds.

The online outlet not only features Spiegel clothes, but also Newport-News and Shape FX items. They not only have clothes, but jewelry, shoes and handbags as well — all at outlet prices. (Click here to visit the new site.)

While cruising the online outlet, a few other words caught our eye, especially when checking out all the Shape FX  options. Words like “sculpting”, “nip and tuck” and “hold-you-in”. We’ve never tried Shape FX before, but with up to 70 percent off on many of the shapewear items, we WILL be ordering a few and trying them out. Even if your body is just like you want it, shapewear helps smooth out the appearance of any outfit. We like that it helps with slight muffin tops or panty lines (don’t look at the shapewear behind the curtain!).

There’s even Shape FX swimwear. Now that makes a mama happy, especially when it’s ALSO on sale (click here to see).

Here are a few pieces we LOVE from the Ultimate Outlet site:

*Full disclosure, mamas: This post is sponsored by Ultimate Outlet, but the opinions about the site are our own. We knew you’d want to hear about this new online outlet. Happy shopping!

Good Gossip: A new baby, a pink dress and a vampire reunion we can’t help but love

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.

The amazing Adele has joined the mama club! She gave birth to her first child on October 19, 2012 — a baby boy — with boyfriend Simon Konecki. Don’t wait around for pictures of the newborn to appear in magazines, however. Sources say Adele feels that this is an intensely private time and won’t be showing the baby off anytime soon. No one knows for sure yet, but she may take a year off from performing so she can be with the new baby. Congrats to the new parents!

Okay, we can’t help ourselves. We’re happy that our favorite two vampires seem to have patched things up, just in time for the final Twilight movie. (Breaking Dawn Part 2 will hit theaters on November 12, 2012.) According to a recent report in People magazine, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were recently spotted out together in Los Angeles and were even photographed smooching. Although Kristen moved out of the house they once shared, she recently purchased a new one less than two miles away from Rob’s house. Perhaps we’ll all finally see them together again when they hit the red carpet for the official movie premiere.

If you’re a sucker for a wedding, you should definitely pick up a copy of the November 5th edition of People magazine, which is chock full of gorgeous photos from the wedding of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in Italy. We tend to like traditional wedding gowns, but we have to say we LOVE that petal pink gown that Jessica wore for her big day. Her bridesmaids wore white and she looked stunning in that ultra feminine pink gown that still had a very traditional shape and elegant feel. He didn’t look too shabby, either. :-) And he scores BIG points for writing an original song for his bride so that he could “sing her down the aisle.” Very cool. Some of the celeb guests included Jimmy Fallon, Andy Samberg, Timbaland and Beverley Mitchell. At the reception, the newlyweds were the last ones on the dance floor at 5 a.m. If you pick up a copy of the magazine, check out that last photo of Justin kissing Jessica on the cheek. That shot is our favorite. So, so sweet.

Do you watch the show Revenge? If you do, you’ve seen that beautiful beach house that the main character, Emily Thorne, lives in. Well the actual house is up for sale now and it has a price tag of $1.57 million, but get this — it’s not actually in the Hamptons! It’s located in Southport, North Carolina. It comes with its own private pier and pool.

Source: People magazine, October 22nd and November 5, 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.)

 

 

 

Mamas on Magic 107.9: What scares moms most {Germs!}

It’s Halloween week, so we thought it would be fitting to talk about things that scare moms most.

So what’s really strikes fear in a mother’s heart? First up: GERMS. We hate it when our kids are sick and around this time of year, sickness abounds. This morning on Magic 107.9 we talked about some of the ways to help ward off the evil cold or flu.

We’ll be at Magic every morning this week to talk about more things that scare moms the most. Tuesday’s topic really gives us the chills!

Click the blue bar below to hear the Mamas on Magic segment that aired this morning at 7:45 a.m.

Things that Scare Moms Oct. 29, 2012

Click HERE for more tips on how to keep your kids healthy as we head into winter.

Giveaway: Win a copy of Gwen’s new book + a party invitation!

Let me just start by saying I am crazy proud of my nwaMotherlode business partner and amazing friend, Gwen Rockwood.

She has done something very brave. She has done something many writers only dream about. She has done something that required tons of internal wrestling, late nights, stress and vulnerability.

What she has done has resulted in her first fabulous book, Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection. (The book trailer at the top just adorable, yes?)

This is a collection of her best newspaper columns from the past 17 years. Isn’t that a long time? We joke that she blogged before blogging was cool ;)

On Friday night, we’ll celebrate this momentous occasion with a drop-in book launch party and we’d love for you to join us. It’s from 6-8 p.m. at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street. We’ll have snacks and books and free gift wrapping. Gwen will read from her new book around 7 p.m. Reporting Live From the Laundry Pile is an awesome gift for any fellow mother, grandmother or that friend who wants to know the real truth about what it’s like to bring children into the world and occasionally want to take them out. (I joke!)

Here’s your invitation below. Just RSVP to me (Shannon) via phone or email:

We’re getting this book launch party started early with a giveaway. We’ve got THREE of Gwen’s signed books to give away to to three different mamas!

HOW TO ENTER: To enter to win one of Gwen’s signed books, just CLICK HERE to visit her Facebook page and leave a comment about what you’d rather be doing instead of laundry. Reading a book, perhaps? Shopping? Playing outside with the kids?

You’re really going to love this book. All moms will catch glimpses of themselves in these stories — if not entire pictures!

I’ve worked alongside Gwen since we first started developing ideas for nwaMotherlode in late 2007. We weren’t tight friends at the time – more like work associates – but believe me, starting a business with someone will either make you very close or make you wish you’d never heard the phrase “business partner”. I tell Gwen all the time that I wouldn’t want to be running our business with anyone else.

All that to say, she’s the real deal. She’s a mom who adores her kids, her husband, her parents and her friends. She’s exceedingly loyal. Her writing goes straight to the heart — usually by way of the funny bone. She’s so, so smart. And I love that she often reminds me how important it is for mothers to take off our Supermom capes. Because not one of us is perfect – and never will be. But, just like the rest of us, she’s the perfect mom for her kids (and I think she’s pretty perfect, period!).

This book is an honest accounting at Gwen’s journey from single girl in the city to married mama of three who runs her own business, stares down snakes on the front lawn and does lots and lots of laundry.

This book is a long time coming. So a HUGE congratulations, Gwen! Cheers!

If you can’t make it to the party (and we know many of you out-of-towners can’t), Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection is available at Amazon.com and at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville.

NWA Boutique Show Giveaway: Girls’ Night Out Tickets + Vendor Gift Cards!

The NWA Boutique Show has got it ALL going on the weekend of Nov. 9-10.

This week’s giveaway will send FIVE separate winners (and their friends!) to the boutique show’s special Girls’ Night Out event on Friday night! Before we get to those details, we want to give a shout-out to last week’s 5 winners:

  1. Amanda Shertzer
  2. Laurie Marshall
  3. Celesta McLaughlin
  4. Kathy Ferguson
  5. Angela Howrey

Girls Night Out: “Shopping & Chevron” will be Friday, November 9th, from  6-9 p.m. And you know what’s extra awesome? A portion of the tickets sales will benefit The Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation. If you don’t know about this foundation or the “I’m With Miller” campaign, visit the foundation’s website or look for “Prayers for Baby Miller” on Facebook

The evening is sponsored by Wit & Whimsy and the Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum, so you KNOW it will be wild!

Bonus tip: If you wear anything chevron to the GNO, you’ll be entered to win all kinds of fabulous chevron-themed door prizes. How fun is that? Remember: “Show us your chevron!”

Each winner of this giveaway will receive 1 ($65) ticket bundle apiece, which includes:

  • 4 Girls Night Out passes ($40 value)
  • 5 general admission tickets ($10 value)
  • 1 $15 merchant gift certificate to be used at the show

The 5 winners will be able to use their gift certificates at the Boutique Show from one of the amazing merchants represented below (we’re using chevron-inspired items from these vendors since that’s the theme of the night!):

Vintage Crush {chevron lamp}

The Pink Lilli

Katie Goodwin Art {chevron table}

Picking Poppies {chevron iPad cover}

 

Lynn Lynn and Me

ABOUT THE GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT: Enjoy festive music, a complimentary shopping tote, shopping, free return admission, a sampling of delicious appetizers from J.J.’s Grill, Ozark Natural Foods’ famous homemade brownies, Nestle Waters and savory treats from Tooley’s BBQ. Reminder: They’ll also be giving away chevron-inspired door prizes for those who “show us their chevron” at check-in! Wear it proud, mamas! If you don’t want to chance not winning,  tickets are just $8 in advance online (through 11/7/12) or $10 at the door (while supplies last). And, of course, the best part is that a portion of proceeds benefiting the Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation.

HOW TO ENTER: Just click on the big orange comment button below and tell us why you need a Girls’ Night Out right now! Is work stressing you out? Are you in desperate need of hanging out with the girls who “get you”? Or maybe you just need some time to decompress and shop, talk, eat, drink and be merry with friends!

FOR MORE CHANCES TO WIN THE AWESOME: Just email your friends/family about this giveaway and add our email address to the CC line so we’ll be sure to give you the proper credit. You get an extra chance to win for each person you tell! Our email address is: giveaways{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

Good luck, mamas! As always, we’ll choose a winner this Friday at 5 p.m.

Devotion in Motion: The Christian history of Halloween

16 ¶ So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths,

17   which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.  ~  Colossians 2:16,17 (NKJV)

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

My older son, Spencer, is a senior at the University of Mississippi. This semester he has a professor who is always asking insightful questions about religion. On a recent pop-quiz, the instructor’s question was, “What is the only major holiday that completely Christian in its origin?” (I knew that Christmas and Easter were excluded, because they both incorporated customs of some Roman holidays.) The correct answer (according to the teacher) is “Halloween.”

Well, I have to tell you, hearing that got me to thinking. When I was growing up, you celebrated Halloween by going trick-or-treating. And you also celebrated Halloween by going to church. Some of my fondest memories are of the fun we had at Halloween carnivals and parties given by the various denominations. For Christians, Halloween was seen as a holiday that belonged to “us.” November 1st was “All Saints Day,” the day when the Catholic Church remembered all of the Christians who had died and were now with the Lord. The night before, October 31st, was the “Hallowed Evening,”  which was shortened to “Halloween.”

I have always believed that the whole practice of trick-or-treating originated as a phenomenally funny historical joke in the name of the Church. Think about what it was like to live in the superstitious Middle Ages when there were no electric lights. You’re sitting alone in your pitch-dark house late at night on October 31st. You have plans to go to Mass the next morning in honor of thousands and thousands of dead people. (Not exactly a comforting thought.) Just then, there’s a pounding on the door. You ask who’s there, and the answer comes, “I’m St. John the Baptist, back from the dead! They cut off my head and put it on a plate! I’m here a day early, and I’m as mad as can be. But give me something good to eat, and I’ll leave you alone!” As you look out the back door, you wonder why St. John the Baptist looks a little like your neighbor Bob the Blacksmith with a sheet over his head and a pumpkin under his arm. But, you give him a piece of gingerbread just to be on the safe side.

Voila! The first trick-or-treat is born. A practical joke that all Christendom enjoys for a twelve-hundred years. Scare your neighbors, and get a sack of sweets, all in the name of the saints. Halloween, a holiday invented by Christians, for Christians.

But then, sometime in the 1980’s, Halloween got a bad rap. Suddenly, the word on the street was that Halloween is a Satanic high-holy-day when cult members practiced blood sacrifices and did other horrible things. The churches start having “Harvest Festivals” instead of “Halloween Carnivals.” Or, the congregations stop acknowledging the holiday altogether.

I guess I sort of bought into the rumors at the time. But now I’m not so sure. Before the advent of the Internet, there was a lot of  misinformation that wasn’t easy to research. But since then, I’ve done a lot of reading. A lot of rumors I was taught as a child have been debunked—including the accusations made about Halloween. Truth is, I didn’t know any Satanic worshipers who were celebrating Halloween when I was a child, and I haven’t ever met any in the interim. So, for me, Halloween is a holiday of the Church. You’ll find me handing out candy and being “scared” by little goblins when the last day of October rolls around.

In today’s Scripture lesson (at the top), St. Paul writes about the freedom that we Christians have to celebrate (or not celebrate) various special days. I celebrate many holidays, striving to highlight the aspects of the each special day that are virtuous and loving. Some of my brothers and sisters in Christ choose not to celebrate certain days, and I love those folks and respect their convictions. Each believer should strive to live with a clean conscience and a heart of faith.

So, as the October 31st rolls around, have a Happy Halloween (if you see fit).

Or have a Happy Hallelujah Night.

Or  have a Happy Harvest Festival.

Or  have a Happy Reformation Day.

(At very least, have a Very Good Wednesday.) :-)

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 (where the congregation is having its first Trunk-or-Treat ). 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 countrypreacherdad@gaggle.net.

The Rockwood Files: “But what if we’re wrong?”

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Last night we heard the familiar sound of footsteps on the stairs well past bedtime. From the living room, I heard Tom talking in the kitchen to the kid who couldn’t sleep. Over the years, we’ve heard every “I can’t sleep” excuse in the book – not tired, too thirsty, too dark, monster under the bed – but this time was different.

This time it was a question, one of the biggest we’ve faced: “Dad, I know that people die sometimes. And I know we believe in God and Heaven and everything… but what if we’re wrong?”

We probably should have seen it coming. In the past six weeks, we’ve been to two out-of-town funerals for family members. The kids didn’t attend the funerals with us, but they knew why we were leaving them with a sitter.

So there it was, hanging in the air: “What if we’re wrong?” But unlike the proverbial monster under the bed, this fear is all too real.

His innocent question echoed the same one I’ve had myself, the same one millions of us have, if only for a split second. But the question brings with it a familiar stab of shame for what feels like a lack of faith. I’ve grown up in church. I know better. At my core, I believe I’m a child of God. I believe in Heaven, even though my human mind is ill-equipped to imagine it.

Tom believes these things, too, and he did a good job of explaining it last night. He told him it’s okay to have questions and it’s normal to wonder if it’s all really real. It’s okay to talk about it with us and with Sunday school teachers, he said. And it’s even okay to talk to God about it. He knows what we’re thinking, and He can handle it.

After they’d talked for a few minutes, I heard a quiet voice ask, “Is it okay if I sleep in your bed tonight?” Sure. That would be fine, Tom said. Our boy fell asleep quickly after that, with his dad’s reassuring hand resting on his back.

As the two of them drifted off to sleep, I laid awake thinking about how kids eventually get old enough to realize that grown-ups sometimes get things wrong. And if we can be wrong about little things then it means we can be wrong about big things, too. It’s a scary feeling. I pray we’ll be able to assure our kids of the things we know in our hearts to be true. But I also know they’ll have to find their own ways of knowing that God is real.

For me, I see spiritual assurance almost everywhere, when I get out of my own way. It practically demands attention. It’s in the skies and the trees. It’s in massive whales and tiny insects. It’s sunlight and mountains and expansive fields. Oceans and lightning. It’s the fine-tuned complexity of the human body. It’s kindness. Compassion. And love. I felt it so strongly the first moment I looked into the face of our newborn baby – that miracles like this can only come from God, certainly not some grand accident.

All of it convinces me and convicts me of what I know to be true – that a world this creative can only come from a Creator. It’s the reassuring hand of a Heavenly Father resting gently on our backs. And if His first act is this amazing, I can hardly wait to see what He has in store for us next.

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.

Mamas on Magic 107.9: Pop Quiz on Halloween Treats!

One of our favorite parts of Halloween is all the treats! Fun size, king size or any size, we love the chocolate treats the best and that’s what we talked about during the Mamas on Magic segment this morning on Magic 107.9. The segment airs Mondays through Fridays at 7:45 a.m.

Click on the blue bar below to hear today’s segment about Halloween treats. (If you get a pop-up window asking you to either open or save the file, just click on open.)

Halloween Candy! Oct 26, 2012

To find out more about which candies are better for you than others, click HERE to see if you can guess which candy is healthier in this head-to-head candy battle from the Real Simple website.

 

Photo report: Fun fall day at Farmland Adventures

This weekend is shaping up to have perfect fall weather — sunny and crisp, not too cold or too hot, and the leaves are gorgeous right now. If you want to take the kids out for some fall fun before the weather gets too cold, we can definitely recommend spending some time at Farmland Adventures. I just took my whole crew a few weeks ago and they had a BLAST. My youngest loved the pony rides and the huge sandboxes filled with corn. The boys thought the corn maze was “way cool.” And everybody loved feeding the animals and picking pumpkins that soon became jack-o-lanterns once we got back home.

Here’s a little photo journal of our Saturday afternoon at Farmland Adventures. For more details about the activities at Farmland Adventures, click HERE to see a previously published article we wrote about it. Or click HERE to visit them online. Have a great weekend!

Mamas on Magic 107.9: Tips for Halloween Parties

If you’re going to welcome ghouls and goblins into your home next week, you may want to hear a few of the Halloween party tips we talked about today on Magic 107.9.

Click the blue bar below to hear the Mamas on Magic segment that aired this morning at 7:45 a.m.

Halloween Party Ideas Oct 25, 2012

Click HERE for more suggestions on Halloween entertaining from the Martha Stewart website.

Five Minutes with a Mom: Rhonda Bramell

Name: Rhonda Bramell (blogs at Bramell, Party of Five)

Kids’ names and ages: Becca, age 5,  and Evan and Carley, age 2

What are the challenges/perks to having twins? :) Oh dear, that’s a loaded question.  It’s definitely a challenge not having enough hands–from trying to feed two babies at once when they were infants to now, as toddlers, trying to go somewhere if I’m alone with them.  One of the great perks is that the kids always have a playmate in each other; all three kids play well together.

Where are you from and what brought you to NWA? I am from small town Wynne, Arkansas.  My mother would tell you that I came to NWA to follow a boy, but 20 years later, I still won’t own up to that.  Let’s just say I came here to go to the U of A.

If you went back to college what would you study? Hmmm….I really don’t know. I did not like school enough to go back.

What’s your work background? I worked in the radio business for 7 years after college; doing station events and promotions.  I got to meet lots of musicians and celebrities along the way, which was very cool.  Now I work for the American Cancer Society, helping the medical community connect their cancer patients to our services.  I also recruit and train volunteers.

If you had a whole day to yourself what would you do? I wish I had a fabulous answer to this question. I cannot even tell you what I’d LIKE to do…it just never happens. Never.  But I’d probably end up doing something stupid like cleaning the house.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do but can’t seem to get around to it? I’ve been meaning to help my 5-year-old daughter make a scrapbook from our trip to Disney World this past spring. I’m afraid that she’ll be big enough to do it herself before I get around to it.

What are some of your favorite things to do with your kids in Northwest Arkansas? We take lots of walks—in our neighborhood, on the trails and at the parks.  We also like going to the the libraries for special events, concerts and storytime.

What’s a make-up essential you couldn’t live without? Does moisturizer count? I have horribly dry skin, so I use lots of it.

What would you do with an unexpected gift of cash? Finally, an easy question!  I would go pick out some new carpet. Today.  And I’m not even kidding.

What’s one of the best pieces of parenting advice you ever received? From a friend of mine who also has twins: get them on a schedule from the beginning.  I did, and I think it’s the only way we survived. They are still very routine-oriented, which makes it a little tough when we have to travel or disrupt the routine.

The worst? I’m sure there was plenty, but I can’t think of anything now.

If someone wrote a song about your life right now, what would a good title be? Crazy Lady with a Messy House

One word to sum me up … Tired.

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