Funny Friday: Laugh out loud photos

Have you seen these great photos that have been circulating via email? Even if you’ve already enjoyed them in your inbox, they’re totally worth another look.

Hope these pics make you smile today. Happy Friday!

can i keep it photo“Can I keep it?”

bake for 20 minutes“Bake for 20 minutes, then turn over…”

ugly bald puppySource: Third photo from (The other two did not come with sources listed.)


How smart are your appliances?

We know you’re smart. And your kids are smart. Your husband is pretty smart. And your smartphone is a freakin’ genius. But… how smart are your appliances?

With the spike in smartphone popularity, people have higher expectations for all the machines in their lives, including kitchen appliances. While our kitchens might not look like something from the Jetsons cartoons anytime soon, appliances are getting smarter each year.

metro oven

Dacor’s new Discovery iQ 30″ Wall Oven allows home chefs to monitor and control their ovens using Android or iOS (Apple) smartphones and tablets. This means you can put a roast in the oven, select a preloaded recipe or find a new one online, and then sit back and relax while you wait for the text message alert letting you know dinner is ready.

New appliances are also smart enough to save a few bucks. Whirlpool has developed a new line of appliances called 6th Sense Live, and they’re designed to run when energy prices are lowest. Using a Wi-Fi connection, a dishwasher could start its own cycle at whatever point in the day it determines that energy prices are lowest. (It does this by using a constantly updated database of real-time energy prices.)

Appliances that break down have been a source of frustration and unexpected expense for homeowners, but today’s new smart appliances may have a solution even when things go wrong. LG has developed appliances with remote diagnostic services. It’s called “Smart Diagnosis,” and it works by allowing the broken appliance to “talk” to a smartphone app by playing a certain sound. The app can “decode” the tone it hears and give the owner instructions on what to do next.

If the repair is simple, the app might send a text message to let the owner know it’s time for a new water filter for the fridge. For more complex issues, the app will automatically request a service call.

metro appliances and moreKitchens aren’t the only room of the house where “smart” reigns supreme. Laundry rooms are also being revolutionized by the technological wave. GE has a dryer that automatically gets messages from the washer about the load it will soon receive. By customizing the cycle, clothes aren’t as likely to overdry.

For more information on ALL kinds of appliances, go by the showroom at Metro Appliances & More in Springdale. (Click here for directions and to see the website.) Or call and talk to a sales associate by calling 479-750-2200.

Life with Ladybug: She’s turning 12. Fetch the smelling salts.

Shannon and L

By Shannon Magsam

In three days my baby Ladybug will turn 12.

That’s a pic of her (above) at a few weeks old. Don’t you just love those chubby cheeks? Mine, I mean.

I haven’t quite wrapped my head around it, but ready or not – she’ll be a dozen years old. I remember when she was little, I would hear about someone else’s kid turning 12 and I would cringe. I just couldn’t imagine it. How OLD that sounded for any kid of mine.

I worried that by age 12 she would have become some snarky, moody, pre-teen who hated me. She can be a little moody, and she doesn’t always want to do what I ask, but she’s still pretty much that sweet child ‘o mine. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed that our path doesn’t get too bumpy from here.

Since this is my diary of sorts about mamahood  – and Ladybug will maybe read it someday – I give her (you) 12 words to describe my favorite (and only) daughter.

Actually, let’s make it a baker’s dozen:













And … Zany.

ladybug roundThat’s my girl. Happy (Early) Birthday, Ladybug!

Ozark Natural Foods donates $20,000 to Apple Seeds Teaching Farm

AppleSeeds-ONFIsn’t it cool to see a local company doing generous things in the community? We were thrilled to see the news about Ozark Natural Foods making a HUGE donation — as in TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS huge — to an area non-profit group called Apple Seeds. This donation was on top of a $5,000 gift they’d already given to the organization at the end of last year.

In case you don’t know about it, Apple Seeds is an organization that partners with schools and community groups to create activities that serve students and families — things like gardening clubs, school garden education, farm field trips, student-run farmers markets and even healthy snack classes. (We don’t want our kids growing up thinking that real food comes from boxes in stores or pizza chain restaurants!)

teaching farm picThese educational programs give kids the skills to grow their own food and inspires them to make healthy choices when they eat. Apple Seeds began its work in 2005 and is now managing the educational component of the Fayetteville Public School “Farm to School” program, which reaches about 6,000 students each year. Their work has resulted in an increase in the number of fruits and veggies that kids eat as well as an increase in what they know about nutrition.

The donation made yesterday by Ozark Natural Foods will help Apple Seeds realize its dream of establishing an “Teaching Farm” right in the heart of Fayetteville. ONF will also help Apple Seeds promote the farm, provide educational support and share programs. (After all, Apple Seeds is about to become ONF’s newest neighbor! The Teaching Farm will be located right next door to ONF on College Avenue.)

Here’s a preliminary drawing of what the Farm will eventually look like:

teaching farmAlexa McGriff of Ozark Natural Foods said, “Apple Seeds is creating something invaluable to the community of Northwest Arkansas, and with the support of ONF (and hopefully many other local supporters), they’ll be able to make it the best it can be. We’re happy to be a part of it.”

Our thanks to Ozark Natural Foods for continuing to be shining example of local companies doing great things for NWA. Here at nwaMotherlode, we’re always thrilled and proud when we see one of our website sponsors do incredible things that serve kids in our community as well as their families. Ozark Natural Foods has been a long-time sponsor of nwaMotherlode’s “Mealtime Mama” category which serves up new recipes for busy moms several times each month. Click here to check it out and grab a few new recipes to try.mealtimemama-ONF

Empty Nexter: How to be remembered fondly — and often

By Carrie Perrien Smith

Sometimes someone enters your life and weaves himself into it. That’s the way Jim was. He married my long-time friend, Kelly, eight years ago. He was a kind, cheerful, easy-going, helpful guy. That’s what she needed to help raise her three young men.

We attended their parties, and they attended ours.

And they weren’t those socialite kind of parties. They were the kind where we laughed long and loud, where there was always room for one more. Jim put tons of thought into the party menus. Not even my mom can remember my long list of food allergies, but Jim did.

He always proudly announced what they were serving that I wasn’t allergic to. I reminded him it wasn’t necessary, but it always made me feel special.

carrie and friends

Our band Paper Jam before we played at the 2012 Walmart Shareholders meeting. Jim is shown third from the left.

When we went out for an evening of live music, Jim couldn’t wait to dance. When he wore out his wife, he’d dance with me or the bar owner’s wife or any other female he could coax onto the dance floor.

He was my copier tech too. I work from home so a service call to my office included greeting my dogs, Midgieboy and Jazmin. Midgieboy loves almost everyone. Jazmin loves almost no one — except Jim. She loved him, and he loved her because she loved him. He always stopped what he was doing to vigorously rub Jazmin’s ears and neck like she was the only dog in the world.

My husband, Tom, deejays and supplies audio/visual services for business meetings. Jim was a technical wizard so Tom hired Jim when he needed assistance. Even when Tom volunteered his time and services for a charity event, Jim offered to help too. He gave generously of his time to help others.

Jim considered himself a handy type of guy. He assembled my wood filing cabinet in my office. I remember how hard he tried to fix our oddball-brand toilet in our fixer-upper. It still had problems, and I eventually called a plumber. I didn’t tell him though. And I’m sure his wife Kelly will never forget the time he was decided to fix the heater core in his truck himself because it would just take him a few hours. It took a few days instead. He would try to fix anything whether or not he had any related experience. It sometimes made sense not to mention something was broken.

Jim had been in a living-room/family-party band for years. Most of the band members had been copier technicians. One day, he asked my husband to come jam with them. Tom had begun to play guitar again after decades away from it. It was a better than practicing on the couch with his unplugged electric guitar. When the occasional family gathering called for a band, I can’t remember my husband smiling more heartily than when he was playing with them.

The guys wanted to play beyond the living room so they started practicing more often. And when we bought our fixer-upper, it offered enough space for the band to practice. Jim was always the first to arrive to help Tom set up the garage for practice and didn’t leave until everything was stowed again.

And that’s how I ended up in a band called Paper Jam.

When they lost their backup singer, I offered to help out. I didn’t have any experience, but I was willing to learn. I wasn’t all that good back then, but he taught me what he knew. He was the first to encourage me. The band evolved, and we launched our “playing outside the garage” tour of local smoky night spots. We had a few personnel changes, but Jim was a constant influence as a founding member.

Things changed for Jim in 2012. He got downsized at work, and it opened the door for him to launch his own technical service business. Being a longtime business consultant/coach myself, I cheered him on. I also played devil’s advocate just to make sure he had the “running the business” part down right. He did really well.

While he was pouring his heart and soul into his growing business, some long-time health issues were starting to slow him down. He juggled the demands of his business, family, and the band before that. But now, he commented frequently that he didn’t have the time to commit to the band. There were a lot of times where it was obvious he didn’t feel well enough for two-hour practices, let alone the physically demanding four-hour shows we played. Those included three extra hours of schlepping heavy audio equipment.

It was difficult when we suggested he take some time off from the band to focus on more pressing priorities. He agreed, and we left his place open if things settled down enough for him to come back. That was late 2012. By then, I was singing lead more so we split up Jim’s songs between our bass player and me.

We invited Jim and Kelly to our shows after that. They came a few times and stayed for an hour or less. We were always glad to see them. Jim looked much weaker and thinner each time. There were even a couple of narrow brushes with death.

Just two years younger than me, it reminded me that our days on earth are sometimes fewer than we expect.

Carrie, Jim and Winston 8 72dpi

An old family photo from Jim and his beloved, long-gone Cocker Spaniel, Winston. My husband suggested that Winston ran back over the rainbow bridge to greet Jim and they walked back over it together.

The week before Christmas, Kelly called us. Jim had just learned he was in full liver failure. They arranged hospice care. Kelly was busy tackling those end-of-life details — signatures, final wishes, etc. She needed to handle a few more details but would call when we could see him.

By that Monday evening, he was well-medicated to ensure his comfort. He snored through most of the visit. We chatted with Kelly as we sat on the edge of Jim’s bed in their dimly lit bedroom. We listened as she updated us on all that must be handled when someone chooses to die at home. It was a nice visit. I kept thinking how much I wished we’d been able to visit two or three days earlier.

When it was time to leave, we got up off the bed. Jim snapped awake. Still groggy, he reached out his hands and said, “Let me shake your hand.” Tom and I each grabbed one. His jaundiced skin felt cool and taut. We held on and uttered things that wouldn’t sound like a final goodbye although we knew it was. And as quickly as he sat up, he resumed his rhythmic snoring.

Remember that scene in the 1997-version of Titanic where Kate Winslet is floating in the ocean on a piece of wood from the sunken vessel? When she awoke to realize that Leonardo DiCaprio had died, she releases his grip on her arm and she watches him sink into the dark ocean. That is what it felt like when I turned loose of Jim’s hand that evening.

So many times when I stood next to Jim on stage and looked out at the crowd, I thought, “I want to remember this moment forever.” I felt the same way about those fleeting moments when I held Jim’s hand that night.

Jim died thirty hours later in the early hours of Christmas. Over the coming days, Tom and I sifted through video, audio recordings, and photos for his memorial service. As I wandered through my daily routine, I realized I had a million memories of Jim.

Some will be silly, like when my copier is hopelessly jammed due to stupid human error or I’m referring to my dogs as the corporate security like he did. Others will hit me when I’m singing one of his favorite songs with our band.

He is missed, but he will always be with me. I hope people will remember me so often and fondly when I am gone.

Carrie Perrien Smith-51-Twitter-SquareCarrie Perrien Smith is mama to Darcie and a pack of black dogs (Jazmin, Midgieboy, and Chloe — in pack order), grandma to Robert, wife to world-traveler and Walmart-blue-bleeding Tom, daughter to Wayne and Phyllis, speaker bureau and publishing company owner, Business: Engaged! small business radio show host, community activist, singer in a party band called Paper Jam, and home improvement junkie. Follow her on Twitter @soarwitheagles or contact her at

Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events: February 2014

talent warsTalent Wars

Dinner and a talent show featuring local talent and local celebrities. You’ll get a great take-home bag.

Feb. 1

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Holiday Inn Convention Center, Springdale

More info: Click here

Star Trek Film Festival/Geek the Library, Rogers Public Library

RPL is hosting a free family-friendly Star Trek film festival beginning February 1st and running each evening through February 6th. Popcorn and drinks are free. Then on February 8th we will host our Geek The Library event. Geek is free and runs from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Face-painting, crafts and a live Minecraft tournament with prizes for the kids. Then for the older kids through adults, RPL feature Bridgesim a Star Trek Bridge simulator for battling Klingons.

Date: Feb. 1-8

Time: Varies

Location: Rogers Public Library

More info: Click here

Crystal Bridges Museum

I Love Lucy Live on Stage, Walton Arts Center

LucyTNEWDate: Feb. 4-9

Time: Varies

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

9th Annual CHILIRHEA Charity Chili Cookoff

All proceeds benefit Alzheimer’s Arkansas Programs and Services and Alzheimer’s Association. Live music, Big Dawg Hot Dog Stand, silent auction. $30 adutls (eats and drinks all day) and kids under 13 are free.

Date: Feb. 8

Time: Noon to 6 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Town Center

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Family Sunday

Get in the Valentine’s Day spirit at a Family Sunday celebrating the love of art. Enjoy music, art projects, and fun in the galleries and have a lovely time with your family!  Sponsored by Rockline Industries. All activities are free.

iheartartDate: Feb. 9

Time: Noon to 5 p.m.

Location: Crystal Bridges

Crystal Bridges Family Workshop | Family Love Box

Come together on a Friday night to create art with your family! Celebrate your family’s love of art and togetherness through collaging a family Love box.  Personalize your box with your own small family treasures by bringing them to the workshop. $20 per family ($16 for Members).

Date: Friday, February 14

Time: 6:30 to 8 pm

Location: Crystal Bridges

More info: Register online or at Guest Services.

Team Red Grocery Store Tour, American Diabetes Association

This free tour event will kick off the Northwest Arkansas Team Red program. Aisle by aisle, certified diabetes educators and dieticians will discuss portion and serving sizes, how to read nutrition labels and healthier options in Roger’s Walmart Supercenter. Limited space is available. RSVP now to secure a spot in this fun interactive activity.

Date: Thursday, February 20

Time: 6:30pm-7:30pm

Location: Walmart Supercenter, Rogers

More info: If you are interested and have yet to sign up for the FREE Team Red program, please contact Olivia at or 479-464-4121. Team Red welcomes anyone and everyone to participate. Together we can Stop Diabetes! Or click here to visit the website.

Community Creative Center Winter Art Programs (adult and youth)

Community Creative Center (formerly Northwest Arkansas Community Creative Center) is a visual arts organization located in Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios. Community Creative Center (CCC) provides a full spectrum of visual arts classes to children and adults along with specialized workshops, summer, after school and intersession arts camps, and gallery and studio space for local artists. Classes include: Beginner’s Pottery Wheel Class, Figure Drawing, Intermediate Wheel Class, Water Colors, Photoshop, Drawing with Colored Pencils, Handbuilding Pottery Class, Fairy Tale Embroidery Class, Intro to Linocut, Mosaics, Acrylics, and more! For more information and a complete list of classes, visit the website.

Date: Dates vary depending on class; classes run through March 10th. Classes are weekly

Time: Varies

Location: Community Creative Center, 505 W. Spring St., Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Good Gossip: New judge, new babies and one cute actor

good gossip celebrities

Okay, we admit it. We love a little celebrity gossip but don’t want to do something we teach our kids not to do. It’s never good to indulge in stuff meant to humiliate or hurt another person. That’s why we came up with the concept of “Good Gossip,” which is celeb news minus any mean stuff. Have as much as you want because this “dish” is all guilt-free.

As always, this feature is sponsored by Great Day Farms, a national brand based right here in NWA. Look for their products at the Walmart Supercenter. Click HERE to like them and get coupons on their Facebook page.

Did we mention that Great Day Farms is once again the lead sponsor for the NWA Mom Prom? It’s scheduled for April 26, 2014. Get the details at

harry connick amer idolIs it just us or are you LOVING new Idol judge Harry Connick, Jr.? He has brought new life to American Idol and is giving us a reason to watch again. (We also love that he is a devoted husband and father to three daughters who practices his faith.) People magazine calls him “shrewd, funny and gloriously articulate” and we couldn’t agree more. We’re looking forward to seeing even more of his judging magic when the show goes live in the next few weeks.

"Hyde Park On Hudson" Premiere - Arrivals - 2012 Toronto International Film FestivalWow! Actress Laura Linney recently gave birth to a baby boy at age 49! It’s the first baby for her and husband Marc Schauer. Linney stars in the show Big C on HBO. Congrats to the expanding family!

gwen stefaniSpeaking of expanding, rocker Gwen Stefani and husband Gavin Rossdale are anticipating the birth of their third son. The new baby boy will join brothers Kingston, age 7, and Zuma, age 5.

chris hemsworth 2014Can you imagine Thor (actor Chris Hemsworth) changing diapers? He’ll be doing plenty of that soon when he and his wife, actress Elsa Pataky, welcome twins to the family. They are also parents to a 20-month-old daughter named India.

matt czuchryActor Matt Czuchry plays Cary on the hit show The Good Wife, where he and Alicia (Juliana Marguiles) break away from their large law firm to start their own practice. The Southerner, born in Tennessee, has a fondness for good bourbon, just bought an Xbox One to feel like a kid again and connect with friends who have scattered all over the globe, and is a huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band, which he has seen more than 20 times in concert.

Source: People magazine, February 3, 2014 edition

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.)

Giveaway: Win FREE financial planning sessions!

We bet that, like us, many of you made New Year’s resolutions to get your finances in order this year.

But there are only a few days left in January and we haven’t quite started yet.

This giveaway can help!

freedom-5-one-logoIf you don’t know where to start, financial planner Chris Haas of Freedom 5:one Ministries can help you start to navigate any and all of these money issues you may have: setting up a budget; paying down debt; saving for the kids’ college fund; starting a retirement fund; and drafting a will.

You can win four, one-hour sessions with Chris in this giveaway.

You don’t have to be in debt to sign up for this giveaway, but he can help deal if you are. Chris is a professional all the way and will keep your information confidential. We did a giveaway with Chris a few years ago and the winner, Lynette Duncan, had this to say about her experience:

“My husband, Peter, and I read Larry Burkett’s books when we first married, so we knew the importance of living on a budget and the benefits of using an “envelope system”.  More recently, we read Dave Ramsey’s books, and these reinforced concepts for us.  However, we knew there were gaps in our financial planning.

We needed a lot of hand-holding and prodding to take care of things like life insurance and wills. One thing that held us back was lack of know-how.  Chris gave us information that we needed and answered questions for us until we knew what we needed to do and how to do it.  Meeting with Chris provided the catalyst and accountability to get things done.

The best thing about meeting with Chris was that it was personalized advice.  He met us where we were and helped us move forward.  That’s not something we could find in a book or a seminar.”

haas family

Chris, Tiffany and kids/Photo credit Ryan Klintworth

ABOUT CHRIS HAAS: Chris is the founder and President of Freedom 5:one Ministries. He’s passionate about helping people achieve financial health and has coached hundreds of people to create financial plans to help families experience financial freedom.

Chris is a graduate of the UA in Finance, received a Master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is a member of Northside Rotary. He worked as a financial advisor with Clement Financial prior to starting the non-profit organization. Freedom 5:one is a member of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. 

Chris and his wife Tiffany (who has the awesome local business Spaces of Grace Interior Decorating & Design) have four children and live in Fayetteville. You can reach Chris at Freedom5one[at]yahoo[dot]com or learn more at

HOW TO ENTER: If you’d like Chris’ help with knocking down debt — or just talking through your future financial goals and how best to start reaching them now — you can throw your name in the hat by clicking on the words “post a comment” at the bottom of this post and answering the question, “What would you do if you were suddenly gifted with a large amount of money?”

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: If you’d like to increase your odds of winning this financial planning package, just share! Email friends and family about the giveaway and CC us so we’ll be sure to give you credit. The email is

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Pinterest. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

For more information about Chris and Freedom 5:one Ministries, click here. Or call Chris at 479-713-0070.

Mealtime Mama: Broccoli Salad


This salad is sweet and savory — perfect for the next potluck or as a side dish with dinner tonight. It’s delicious!

Broccoli Salad


broc1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (I use a little less)


2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

4 pieces crisp bacon, crumbled

Directions: Mix the dressing ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the salad ingredients and mix the whole thing together well. Refrigerate overnight (or just a few hours if that’s all you’ve got!). Stir and serve cold.

P.S. — I (Shannon) made this for a recent potluck and there were only a few lonely sunflower seeds left in the bowl within about 10 minutes of guests loading up their plates :)

Check out the co-op’s current deals through Feb. 4 by clicking here!

onf hours

Mamas on Magic 107.9: To fight or not to fight?

You know how sometimes your kid will do something irritating, and you consider giving them a little lecture about it? But then you stop yourself because, well, boxing gloves pinksome things just aren’t worth fighting about. But what things make it on your “worth a fight” list and which ones don’t? And how do you decide which is which?

That’s what we’re talking about this week during our Mamas on Magic 107.9 segments. To hear them, listen to Magic 107.9 at 7:45 a.m. Mondays through Fridays every week.

If you happen to miss a segment on the radio, you can click the audio bars below (on the left side) to hear them online. Click the words “post a comment” below to add your thoughts to this discussion!

Monday’s segment: (Keeping your room clean: a battle worth fighting?)

Tuesday’s segment: (Food fight?)

Wednesday’s segment: (Quitting extra-curricular activities)

Thursday’s segment:

Friday’s segment:


Devotion in Motion: Be on the lookout for God’s gifts

3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts:

    the whole earth is full of his glory.  Isaiah 6:3  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

My younger son, Seth, has always been a man of few words.  One day when he was about 4 years old I picked him up at daycare after my work day was finished. Arriving back at the house, Seth silently executed a well-thought-out plan.

Silently, he climbed up on the kitchen cabinet and took out a small plastic margarine tub. He exited the back door and walked to the big tree behind our house. He put an old chair next to the tree and set a milk crate on the seat of the chair.

After climbing on top of the crate, he quickly went to work. Minutes later he re-entered the kitchen without a word, eating a snack from the no-longer-empty Muscadine photoplastic bowl. Every true Southerner would immediately recognize what had just transpired: Seth Cash had been picking muscadines.

For those of you who’ve never heard of them, muscadines are a variety of wild grapes that grow on vines that occur naturally in the Deep South. Muscadines can be used to make delicious jams and jellies.

When I was a little boy, my aunt Luciel McGhie used to make pies by cooking the wild grapes and running the juice and the pulp through a sieve. Muscadine pie was one of my father’s favorite desserts. But I would venture to say that most wild grapes are eaten in their natural state. A lot of times I look out the window between Sunday school and morning worship, and I see the church children sharing (and eating) muscadines they’ve picked. Children love them.

All those years ago, a little boy with the margarine tub made me aware of the goodness of the Lord. Wild grapes are just one of the manifold blessings of God.  Nobody plants muscadines, but they are found everywhere because the Lord plants them. I had never noticed the tangled masses of vines in our own backyard—but Seth was on the lookout for good fruit.

I realized that all around us are the gifts of God, unearned and unrecognized. Only those who appreciate the blessings of our Heavenly Father partake of the good fruit.

Abundance is all around us, if we only take time to look. Don’t take God’s bounty for granted. Give thanks to God for all of His good gifts.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 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 until recently taught Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where sometimes there are “scuppernong” vines, too.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

The Rockwood Files: Goodbye to an old friend

rockwoodfiles2-205x300By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

A sad thing happened here a few weeks before Christmas. I didn’t write about it at the time, mostly because it’s not good to coat your laptop’s keyboard in salty tears and also because it was nearly Christmas – which is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year.” But now that a little time has passed, I can tell you that we said goodbye to our beloved Earless Joe – “E.J.” for short, the one-eared, black lab mix who loved us so generously for 16 years.

When your dog gets to be 16, you know time is running out. E.J. had a tumor near his neck that the vet said was too large to remove at his advanced age. So we decided to love him as long as we could and keep him comfortable and happy, and when comfortable and happy become impossible, we’d help him pass peacefully.

His last two years were great, even though he was getting to be mostly blind and deaf. He got by remarkably well because he had his own seeing-eye dog. Charlie, our 2-year-old Beagle, became E.J.’s little buddy during his old age. Charlie’s puppy-like 1EJ bw (2)enthusiasm was like an energy shot for E.J., and we often marveled at how the gray-faced old dog would romp around the yard with the eager Beagle.

But in December, E.J.’s body became increasingly stiff with arthritis, and one night I lay awake for hours listening to his labored breathing as he tried to sleep beside our bed. It sounded like his lungs were filling with fluid, a fact which the vet confirmed the next morning. We knew what we had to do. And even though our minds said “Yes, it’s time,” our hearts yelled “No.”

So while I took two of the kids to the orthodontist, Tom took our furry, four-legged “kid” to the vet’s office and held him while the injection put him to sleep. Later that day after the kids came home from school, we broke the news, dried the tears and tried to remember how lucky we were to have such a great dog for such a long time. Over the years, I shared a few stories about E.J. in this column, and even readers who had never met him came to love his gentle, easygoing nature. There will never be another one-eared dog quite like him.

Perhaps the loss has been hardest for Charlie, the Beagle he left behind. He has been so anxious lately without his “big brother.” So Tom and I agreed that we’d let Charlie become a house dog since he had no backyard roommate anymore. For the most part, the transition has gone pretty well and Charlie has become quickly spoiled to the luxuries of a sectional sofa and a warm bed. He follows us around from room to room and regularly rolls onto his back to invite a vigorous belly rub.

The only problem we’ve had so far is his bad habit of sprinting out the front door whenever it opens to let in a neighbor’s kid or to pick up a package. He ran away at least five times during the first few weeks after becoming an inside dog. But then I remembered something I’d read online about Beagles – that  a Beagle’s insanely curious nose compels him not necessarily to run “away,” but to run “toward” a squirrel or rabbit – even if it’s miles away.

Fortunately, Charlie’s keen nose eventually led him back home each time. But I can’t help but wonder when he sprints out the door, if his quest is to sniff out his old friend and lead him home. Oh, how we wish that he could.

gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Dancing with the Stars of NWA features local celebrity dancers, benefits the Amazeum

dancing with the stars

On Saturday, March 8, the John Q. Hammons Ballroom in Rogers will be transformed into a Dancing with the Stars of NWA extravaganza.

Last year, the fundraiser sold out with over 650 in attendance. The gala event features a sit-down meal, silent and live auctions, and as the signature feature of the evening: 5 celebrity dancers will perform with their talented dance partners.

  • March 8, 2014
  • Doors open at 6:30; Dinner and program 7 to 11 p.m.
  • John Q. Hammons Center, Rogers

Proceeds from this event will continue to support the progress of the Amazeum. The Amazeum (formerly known as The Children’s Museum) will be approximately 45,000 square feet and is expected to open in 2015. The building will be located on J Street near Crystal Bridges and will incorporate exciting exhibits that encourage interaction. Additionally, the project will feature a 45,000 square foot outdoor exploration area inspired by the seasons.

Amazeum logo

Celebrity Dancers for 2014 are: Tina Winham (Nuk), Cindy Mac Naughton, Dr. Missy Clifton (Premier Dermatology), Wyley Elliott (Celebrate Magazine) and Rod Bigelow (Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art).

Honorary Chair: Duncan Mac Naughton, Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer, Walmart U.S.

Celebrity Dancer bios:

Tina Winham


Tina Winham is a seasoned sales professional with a passion for improving the lives of women and children in Northwest Arkansas. As a marketing Team Leader for NUK, she still finds time to devote nearly 20 hours a week to the community. She is currently the Board President for the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, President-Elect for the Junior League, a founding member of Susan Barrett’s Women with a Mission for Mercy Hospital, and serves as the Board Chair for the Northwest Arkansas Emerging Leaders. Tina was inducted into the 2010 Northwest Arkansas Business Journal 40 under 40. Tina lives in Rogers with her husband, Jeff, and daughter, Lexy.

Tina is accompanied by dance instructor, Ellis Wyre.

dancing, tina

Cindy Mac Naughton

Cindy currently lives in Rogers with her husband, Duncan, and has four daughters: Ainslee 21, Miranda 19, Taylor 17, Saryn 17. She is actively involved in her daughters’ activities and an active philanthropist in NWA. Cindy serves on the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter Board of Directors, the American Heart Association Fundraising Board of Directors. She is the Walton Arts Center 2014 Masquerade Ball Honorary Chairperson and is a Committee Member of the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter Fund Development. Cindy believes in the Amazeum project and says “When we lived in San Antonio our children loved hands on learning at their local children’s museum. It provides access to children across the community that teaches and challenges kids in a fun environment.”

Cindy is accompanied by dance instructor, Christian Sanchez.

dancing, cindy

Dr. Missy Clifton, Dermatologist

Premier Dermatology and Skin Renewal Center

Dr. Missy Clifton is a native Arkansan from Dardanelle. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science degree and a minor in interdisciplinary studies from the Honors College in 1995. She attended the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where she graduated first in her class from the College of Medicine in 1999. Dr. Clifton then completed a one year internship in Internal Medicine and a 3 year residency in dermatology at UAMS. She served her last year as chief resident at UAMS. During her residency, she received advanced training in the use of lasers, Botox® Cosmetic, chemical peels and dermal fillers for skin rejuvenation. Dr. Clifton enjoys the cosmetic side of dermatology, but her passion has always been treating diseases of the skin. She treats all types of skin conditions, from acne to skin cancer.

Her research interests have led to several publications in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Pediatric Dermatology and the Journal of Cutaneous Pathology. Dr. Clifton stays up to date with regular journal readings and participation in medical and cosmetic conferences.

Missy is accompanied by dance instructor, Michael Schreiber.

dancing, missy

Wyley Elliott

Executive Editor, Celebrate Magazine

Wyley considers himself to be a “recovering banker” after 31 years of public relations and marketing experience that has taken him across the great state of Arkansas. Wyley’s wife of 25 years, Stephanie, jokes that he took great pride in moving their family from Texas to Little Rock, Arkansas to Mountain Home, to Camden, to Hot Springs, and now to northwest Arkansas almost eight years ago.

Wyley is truly a “people person”, specializing in building relationships and teams, and fighting for great causes that impact people in a positive manner. As Executive Editor of Celebrate Arkansas, Wyley is responsible for day-to-day operations, as well as public relations and marketing for the magazine.

In his spare time, Wyley enjoys swimming, spinning, and weight lifting, is a huge Arkansas Razorback fan, and is a proud member of Rotary International. Wyley, his wife Stephanie, and their two daughters, Aubrey and Aaryn, live in Bentonville.

Wyley is accompanied by dance instructor, Anna Sanders.

dancing, wyley

Rod Bigelow

Executive Director, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Rod Bigelow has nearly 20 years of combined experience in financial and museum management. Bigelow joined Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2010, serving as the deputy director of operations and administration. Most recently, he led the Museum’s strategic planning process, resulting in a comprehensive plan that will focus the Museum for the next five years.

Prior to joining Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bigelow was the chief operating officer at the Toledo Museum of Art, where he implemented a federal grant program to increase funding for the museum’s sustainability projects, initiated collaboration with local nonprofit organizations, and coordinated planning and pre-construction activities for a new contemporary gallery space. He holds a master’s in business administration degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. In 2012, he completed the Museum Leadership Institute sponsored by the Getty and Claremont Graduate University. He has served on the board of directors of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and currently serves as a director of Downtown Bentonville, Inc.

Rod is accompanied by dance instructor, Amy Hulse.


For tickets and more information about Dancing with the Stars of NWA, click here!

5 Minutes with a Mom: Joyce Binam Davis


Name: Joyce Binam Davis

Daughter’s name and age: Paige, 3 years

Where are you from and how long have you lived in NWA? Harrison, AR.  I moved to Fayetteville to attend the University of Arkansas. I’m not saying how many years ago that was!

How did you meet your husband? During a haircut, my stylist said she thought her cousin and I would be a good match. That night I received a Facebook message from Pete saying that his cousin thinks we should go out.  Less than eight months later we were married.

What’s one movie you could watch over and over again? I can’t think of any that I would want to watch over and over and over.  I’m not a “repeat” person.  I’m always craving a new experience or in this case, a new movie. A couple favorite movies are The Notebook and Jerry Maguire.

Tell us about some traditions you’ve started with your daughter: I haven’t intentionally tried to start any traditions, but I guess some are forming.  I always make her a chocolate cake on her birthday, because to me, a chocolate cake says love.  We have always gone to see the Lights of the Ozarks and had her photo made with Santa.  We always attend the New Heights Christmas Eve service, then go around “paying it forward” with little treats for people that work on Christmas Eve.

Where does your family love to play in NWA? Outside! We love the area parks. In bad weather, we make the kid friendly circuit of libraries, Boingo Bounce, Gymnastic Joes, and just recently we added Starlight Skatium to the mix.

Do you have any special hobbies? I LOVE international travel, the more culture shock the better.  I also love playing games and learning new things.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I’m actually less competitive than everyone thinks because I don’t like anyone to lose.  I strive for win-wins.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this summer where would it be? I would go on a safari in Kenya or South Africa.

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life? Sandra Bullock

What’s something you have always wanted to learn? A foreign language.  Alas, I’m terrible at language. I just can’t hear the difference in the sounds.

What are three things you always have with you? Water bottle, iPhone, pen

How do you wind down at the end of the day? Lounging in bed with my husband surfing on the iPad or watching something.

One word to sum me up … Thankful

Healthy Mama: Exercise guidelines during pregnancy

healthy mama logoBy Dr. Matthew Steed, Mercy family practice doctor and obstetrician (and father of 2)

I’m commonly asked what things are safe during pregnancy. Over the years, I’ve been asked some “odd” questions:

  • question-mark“My aunt has been checking my cervix and thinks I’m in labor. Do you mind checking me?”
  • “Is red wine good for my baby’s brain?”
  • “After the delivery will you be able to tell who the baby’s dad is? ”

But others are a bit more practical with questions like, “When is it too late to travel by plane?” “Is it okay if I walk around when I’m in labor,”or “Is it safe to exercise while I’m  pregnant?”

As you can imagine, some of the odd questions have fast, easy answers: “Your aunt needs a psychiatrist.” “Have you ever heard of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?” and “Sorry, but genetic testing is your best option.”

Other questions require more of a conversation, particularly the one about exercise. Exercise or planned repetitive physical activity structured to improve and maintain physical fitness is safe during most pregnancies, but the type, frequency and amount depends on the individual. A pregnant women who does regular, vigorous aerobic activity can continue exercising during pregnancy, as long as her pregnancy is uncomplicated.

Women that are not highly active should aim for about 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. However, very few of my patients have that much time to exercise and 90 minutes might be a more reasonable goal.

“DON’T”: High impact exercise (gymnastics, horseback riding, and skiing) as well as scuba diving, hiking at altitude, and contact sports should be avoided. Pregnant women should also avoid hot tubs and sauna because they shouldn’t increase their core body temperatures.

pregnant yoga“DO”: Exercise like walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling , yoga, and low impact aerobics (prego aerobics) are good options. But it’s important to hydrate before, during and after exercise, wear loose fitting clothing and exercise in a cool environment.

Here’s some good news: You’ll need an additional 300 calories a day to get the proper nutrition if you’re exercising while you’re pregnant. And here’s even better news: Patients who exercise during pregnancy have less excessive weight gain during pregnancy and fewer of them experience an inability to lose weight at six months after delivery. Also, there’s no need to worry about exercise negatively affecting breastfeeding. It won’t. And pregnant patients who exercise usually have have better muscle tone, better energy levels, less back pain, and studies have even shown a reduction in postpartum depression.

But don’t go it alone. I strongly encourage the spouse to be involved in the exercise program because it gives the two of you time to talk about what’s going on in your day-to-day life, and it’s a great time to bond more as a couple. It helps for husbands, in particular, to see how much more effort it takes to move your body as your pregnancy progresses. Exercise is the best way I have found to demonstrate that process, and it gives him a better appreciation for the amazing work your body is doing during pregnancy.

Exercise during pregnancy is not for every patient, so please discuss ANY exercise plans with your OB provider. If you have any of the warning signs or conditions listed below, you should NOT exercise during the pregnancy.

  • Severe anemia
  • extreme morbid obesity
  • extreme underweight
  • fetal growth restriction
  • Gestational or chronic HTN
  • orthopedic limitations

If you have any of the conditions in the following list, you may be advised not to exercise so please talk to your doctor BEFORE you begin or continue any type of exercise: vaginal bleeding; dizziness; headache; chest pain; preterm labor; amniotic fluid leakage

I hope your pregnancy goes smoothly because, as I always say, healthy babies and happy moms make the world go around. :-)

Dr. Steed’s number one passion is to care for the pregnancy and birthing needs of women. You may call him at the Mercy clinic at 479-338-5555 to begin your prenatal care and let him help you enjoy your pregnancy journey. His office is located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza just off Interstate 540 in Rogers.

MERCY2 does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.