July 2014: Where to see fireworks plus other local events!

Independence Day events:

Thursday, July 3:

July 4thUptown Fayetteville Freedom Fireworks

Date: July 3

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: NWA Mall (Events during the day and evening)

More info: Click here

The Great American Blast

Date: July 3-5

Time:  After each 7:05 p.m. baseball game

Location: Arvest Ballpark (NWA Naturals)

More info: Click here

City of Rogers Fireworks Display

Date: July 3

Time: 6:30-9 p.m.

Location: Veterans Park

More info: Click here

Friday, July 4th:

Bella Vista Independence Day Fireworks

Date: July 4

Time: 9:30 p.m. or dusk

More info: Click here

An Evening at Orchards Park (Bentonville’s Fireworks display)

Date: July 4

Time: Music will begin at 7 p.m.

Location: Orchards Park, Bentonville

More info: Click here

Ventris Trails End Resort Display (seen by boat on Beaver Lake)

Date: July 4

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Ventris Trail’s End Resort

More info: Click here

July 4th in Eureka Springs

Parade, watermelon seed spitting contest, cupcake walk, crafts, fireworks, etc.

Date: July 4

Time: Varies

Location: Downtown Eureka

More info: Click here

Devil’s Den Games

Date: July 4

Location: Devil’s Den State Park

More info: Click here

Saturday, July 5th:

Prairie Creek Marina and Cabela’s Fireworks Display

Date: July 5

Time: Dusk (around 9 p.m.)

Location: Prairie Creek Marina, Rogers

More info: Click here

Rodeo in the Ozarks

Date: July 2-5 (Fireworks on Saturday after the rodeo)

Time: After the rodeo

Location: Parsons Stadium, Springdale

More info: Click here

Other events

Rodeo in the Ozarks

Date: July 2-5

Time: Kickoff parade starts at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 2

Location: Starts at Parsons Stadium in Springdale

More info: Click here

Sidewalk Sundays

Dates: July 6, 13, 20, 27

Time: Drop in anytime between 2-5 p.m.

Location: The Walmart Museum, Bentonville

More info: Click here or call 479-273-1329, ext. 2

July 6: Sports Day! Come out and play with the Walton Life Fitness Center. Tennis, Zumba, and more!

July 13: Music Day! Make instruments and play music with School of Rock.

July 20: Come play with Trike! Trike Theatre is back with another extraordinary experience!

July 27: Play dough Palooza! Get creative and make your own play dough sundaes!

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Rolling Hills Baptist Church events, Fayetteville

July 12: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Scavenger Hunt at the church

July 16th: Hiking at Devil’s Den + a picnic

July 29th: Water day (all ages) at Springdale Aquatic Center

More info: Click here or call youth leader Hans Sanders at 479-521-2660.

Beach Bingo Bash

Date: July 11

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: UARK Bowl, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

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Miranda Lambert at the Walmart Amp

Date: July 12

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Walmart Amp, Rogers

More info: Click here

Firefly Fling

Firefly Fling

Firefly Fling

Date: July 19

Time: 6-10 p.m.

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

More info: Click here

Color Vibe 5K

Date: July 19

Location: Washington County Fairgrounds

More info: Click here

Girl Scouts Crafty Creations (You don’t have to be in a troop)

Dates: July 21-23

Time: 1-3 p.m. each day

Location: Sessions 1 & 2 at the Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club. Session 3 at David Adams Fine Jewelers, 100 West Center, Fayetteville.

More info: Click here or call Melody at 479-695-1818

 

Devotion in Motion: Are you too busy for God?

11 Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

2 Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

A dear friend of mine spent part of his life as a missionary in a very primitive country. The village that he lived in abounded with witch doctors and demon-possessions, curses and pagan ceremonies. In that foreign land, he often saw open manifestations of the power of Satan—things like a person would see in the movie “The Exorcist.”

evil plans bookHere at home, we don’t commonly see many dramatic outbursts from the occult. When I asked my friend why that is, he gave a very interesting answer. “The devil doesn’t have to work openly and to try to terrify people in the United States. He has so many OTHER weapons he can use.”

I firmly believe that fact. For almost 30 years I’ve been telling everyone, “In America, the devil doesn’t have to try to scare folks. He doesn’t even have to make people bad—the devil just finds ways to make people busy.” You see, whenever people become busy (even if they’re busy doing good things) they are apt to become too busy to remember God.

And in the past 5 years, I’ve seen a change take place in Satan’s tactics. Now the Evil One doesn’t even have to trip people up by making them busy. He only needs to make sure that folks are always distracted by a multitude of petty details and meaningless tasks.

There’s a lot of talk lately about how much more we get done by “multi-tasking.” But I’m not sure that multi-tasking is something the Bible teaches us to strive for. Jesus always had time for people, and He always gave them His undivided attention. So if you find that your whole life consists of always doing several things at once, you’re probably trying to do more things than the Lord ever intended for you to do.

O Lord, help us to do good with all our might.

Help us never to be too busy to think of You.

Help us to keep our minds on Your business–

That we can always do Your work in this world

By always keeping “first things first.”

john l cashDr. 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 the folks are hoping that Tropical Storm Karen isn’t anything like her cousin Hurricane Katrina.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

remix (4)Note from the mamas: The Summer Remix symbol appears on posts previously published on nwaMotherlode that were noted as a “reader favorite”. If you missed the original publication date, we hope you’ll enjoy this encore performance. Happy summer!

The Rockwood Files: What were you wearing when…?

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

“Can we give it to him now? Please, Mom? It’s just a few days early.”

“No, you can wait. If you give it to him today, he won’t have anything to open on Father’s Day.”

“I know, but it’s so hard to wait! I really want to give it to him today. He’s gonna be so excited.”

“You’re just like your Dad, you know. He never can wait to give presents either.”

ATGAMES DIGITAL MEDIA INC. ATARI FLASHBACK 4Ten-year-old Jack kept trying to convince me as we made our way to the check-out lane with the gift he picked out for his dad. It was an Atari “Flashback” video game system, chock full of video games nearly as old as we are. Jack’s eagerness to see his dad’s reaction reminded me of the ratty old bathrobe I have hanging in the back of my closet.

Fifteen years ago, I grabbed that robe and threw it on when my apartment’s doorbell rang. I went to the door and peered through the peep-hole, surprised to find Tom standing there looking uncomfortable and fidgety.

I wasn’t expecting him to pick me up for our dinner date for at least another 45 minutes. He was early – really early. And after a year and a half of dating, I knew him well enough to know he was never early.

I cinched the bathrobe closed tighter and wrapped my wet hair up in a towel turban before opening the door.

“Hey! I thought you said 6:30. It’s not even six yet. I’m not ready,” I said.

“Yeah, I know. But I really need to talk to you,” he said as he walked past me into the living room.

Ask any woman who has spent more than five minutes in the dating pool and she’ll tell you that a nervous guy who “needs to talk” is almost never a good thing. It usually ends with a tired speech about commitment issues or an “It’s not you, it’s me” finale that makes you want to break things or jump head-first into a gallon of Butter Pecan ice cream – or both.

But I’d been down that road before and was in no mood for a return trip. So I steeled my nerves and resolved to show him right back out the door as soon as he stopped recapping our relationship, talking about how marriage is such a big step and about how he needs time to make sure he’s ready. In fact, I was just about to launch into a “Go have your commitment issues somewhere else” speech when he interrupted me and said, “Okay, I think I’ve had enough time now.”

In the next heartbeat, he was on a knee, holding out a ring box, asking if I’d marry him. And because I’m a girl and just vain enough to care about those sorts of things, I immediately made a mental note that this was not what I was supposed to look like in the moment I was proposed to – wearing a bathrobe, with no make-up on and my hair up in a towel turban. But there I was, and real life doesn’t wait for costume changes.

Later that night during our celebratory dinner, he told me that his plan was to ask me during a romantic dinner, in the same restaurant where we’d had our first official date. But then he picked up the ring and just couldn’t wait another second to give it to me.

And that’s why I have a 15-year-old bathrobe in the back of my closet. That’s why I still get gifts from Tom weeks before my birthday or Christmas. And that’s why I have three great kids, one of whom can’t wait another second to give his dad a present. The eager apple doesn’t fall far from the “can’t wait” tree.

gwen rockwoodGwen 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. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Inside His Head: How to handle your mother-in-law moving in

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Dear Inside His Head husbands,

My mother is planning to move in with us soon — for a while. My father passed away recently and she’s going to stay with us so she can get her finances in order and deal with her grief. My husband is worried about our family dynamic. It’s just a big change. What can I say to help with the transition?

generichead-1MICHAEL: The first thing I hope you can say is that you’ve discussed with your mother exactly how long this arrangement is going to last and that you’ve talked about ground rules for life at the house.

Because it’s your mother you’re going to be the proxy for all disagreements and snide remarks. Be prepared to deal with it. It’s understandable that this type of thing happens, however, it doesn’t sound like it’s been planned for so the best thing you can do is anticipate what the challenges will be.

Examples are things like:

♦ Your mother doesn’t hear well so now the television has to be turned up all the time.

♦ You watch what your kids eat very carefully and your mother questions your choices in front of them.

Just having another opinion and voice around the house will make it stressful. You’ve got to make sure that you’re not consistently siding against your husband. Remember you’ve got to put with him forever. Your mother hopefully only for a short while.  Make sure he knows you realize that.

MAVERICK: I’d tell him in the nicest way possible that there’s no sense in worrying about something until an actual problem occurs.

If you mother is overbearing or generally a pain in the butt or objects to your husband breathing air or thinks him a fool, well, you or more accurately he, is hosed. But since your husband agreed to this arrangement, I can assume either he likes your mother or he’s a good son-in-law, or really just a decent guy trying to help here.

The main way you can calm his fears about your mother messing with the family dynamic is not to let her mess with the family dynamic. She’s your mother, so she’s yours to deal with where conflict is concerned. He’s the son-in-law, which gives him less power in the relationship than a bum off the street.

♦ The best way to avoid trouble with the new situation is to head it off.

♦ Make your mother feel welcome, let her pitch in and help, be there for her, be kind, be supportive, be family.

♦ Don’t let her take over your house, determine your family routine, decide what you eat or where you go or undermine your husband’s authority in his own home.

If she likes certain TV programs, get her her own flat-screen for her room – they’re not super expensive now-days and this ill will avoid conflict. Most of us guy-types can relinquish control of the remote when needed or on short trips to visit family, but don’t expect us to do it for an extended period of time and in our own living rooms.

If she becomes critical of your husband, nip it in the bud. Your mother is in a less than happy place and needs support but she doesn’t get to bad-mouth your spouse. If it starts, you have to tell her to stop. It’s your place. Fight the dynamic that says your mom is always right. Your husband does not deserve to be ganged up on.

And remember, even with your mom in the house, he’s still your husband.

Don’t let the new arrangement turn you into your mother’s daughter at the expense of being your husband’s wife. Turn things to your advantage. Let mom watch the kids so you can go out on a date or a romantic mini-vacation. Spend time together.

In short, give your mother a place in your home but don’t let her make herself comfortable at the expense of your husband’s peace of mind or your relationship. This could be a great time for your husband and your mother to become close.

He’s being a decent guy for opening up his home. Don’t make him regret it.

greg1.thumbnailGRAY: “We’ll get a cat…because your mom is deathly allergic. That way she can’t move in,” would likely be my wife’s remedy to the issue should we face a similar situation.

We’re not a culture that’s used to living with extended family and it can be a mess. The best thing is to get your husband’s worries addressed before the situation turns into a bundle of frustration, before your mother even arrives.

I would be worried about never having privacy, always turning around and finding her there, perhaps thinking I’d like to hear the 2-hour story of the summer she grew a pumpkin for the county fair.

So set some boundaries. Maybe meals are family time, but after the last meal of the day it’s understood that everyone gets some alone time, completely uninterrupted. You get the idea.

But what if mother says, “Well, I’m so comfortable here. What if I just stayed? Would that be so bad?”

The thought of having an in-law transition from temporary to permanent would push many husbands right off the edge of the cliff (and, no, that’s not just a figure of speech) but it’s easy enough to allay. Put a timeline in place. It doesn’t have to be meticulous, but don’t let “three months” become “some day.” Always move forward and don’t let a setback derail the whole works.

The most difficult issue would be personality conflicts. Does your husband fear hearing “my daughter used to date that nice boy before she met you…he’s a doctor now” or some kind of continual drone about how he’ll never be good enough? You may need to play referee for a while and make sure his head doesn’t explode. Just keep reminding him it’s only temporary.

Finally, having you on his side can carry a lot of clout. Let him know that if things don’t go as planned you’ll buy that cat she’s allergic to ensure she’s heading out the door.

Tips for getting kids to unplug

unplugged artwork

Let’s face it. We ALL need a little digital detox now and then — a vacation from all the screens that eat up so much of our time and attention. We’ve noticed that our kids become kinda like little techno-zombies when they spend too much time staring at screens.

If your kids (and maybe you, too) could use some time away from electronics, click the audio bars below to get a few tips on how to step away from your favorite tech gadgets.

To hear more discussions like these, listen to Magic 107.9 at 7:45 a.m. each weekday to hear the “Mamas on Magic” radio chats.

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Segment 5:

5 Minutes with a Mom: Jill Langham

Jill Langham

Name: Jill Langham

Where do you live in NWA? We live in Springdale.

What brought you to the area? Originally, I moved here to help open the Christian Book Outlet stores. I worked at the one in Harrison and was asked to move to help start stores in NWA.

Children’s names and ages:

Tanner – 18
Rachel – 10
Porter – 6
Grady – 3

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Western Grove, AR. No one knows where that is unless you’re from there. :) It’s just south of Harrison, AR.

How would you describe a typical day in your busy mama life? Weekdays consist of getting up way earlier than my kiddos to have a quiet time before I get them up at 6:30am. Mornings are usually hectic getting out the door for them to get to school and me to work. I work Sunday through Thursday and weeknights are usually spent at kids activities and some rare nights at home just hanging out. It’s a busy but oh so fun life!

You’re pretty busy on Sunday mornings, too, right? Tell us about your job at Cross Church in Fayetteville: My main responsibilities on Sundays are making sure everything is running smoothly with our preschoolers, their families, and all of our volunteers.

We have a rotating list of about 200 Preschool volunteers for Sunday that I’m privileged to work with! During the week, I oversee our preschool staff and organize any activities that we have where preschoolers will be in our care to help maximize the time we have with them to make the most of every opportunity to share Jesus with these precious kiddos. I also help with our greeter and cafe teams for Sundays and help place new volunteers in serving positions throughout our church.

Favorite all-time movie? Steel Magnolias (with The Notebook running a close second!)

Last book you read? The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz

What’s some great parenting advice you used and then passed along to others? The advice I most often got from my mom was “Don’t do anything stupid”. I have sort of revised that and with my kids and with some of the girls I mentor, I just ask them to judge anything they’re doing with the question, “Is it wise?” Something may be permissible, but ultimately, is it wise? Always choose the wise thing.

Something you’d love to learn in the future? I have always wanted to learn how to play the piano or the guitar.

Do you have a favorite phrase? Y’all! – I know it’s just a word, but said just right it can also be a phrase. :)

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure? Donuts!!

What’s the best thing about being a mother? For me, seeing my kids displaying things they’ve been taught at home and at church is awesome! Seeing them becoming great people and kids who love Jesus is the most I could ask for!

And the hardest thing? Seeing them hurt either by others or by choices they’ve made themselves. (And chasing after a VERY active 3 year old – that’s pretty tough!! :)

What’s your favorite way to relax? I love a good cup of coffee and a good book. A quiet place to enjoy both of those is just about the most relaxing thing ever!

One word to sum me up … Grateful

Life with Ladybug: What did I forget again?

Life with Ladybug logo

By Shannon Magsam, co-founder of nwaMotherlode and mama to 1 little lady(bug)

My memory is shot, y’all.

If I don’t write it down, set my iPhone alarm – or the timer on the oven, when I’m cooking – I’m toast. Burnt toast, on those occasions I forget to set an alarm.

Actually, toast is pretty safe, since it doesn’t require my attention for the final pop-up. But you can bet there are some nights when I’m cleaning the kitchen and, as I wipe down the stove, notice a stone cold piece of toast still waiting forlornly in the toaster from breakfast.

alarm clockIf I don’t set an alarm, it – whatever “it” is — just usually doesn’t get done. Well, either an alarm or getting it written down on my to-do list.

I update my to-do list every night so it’s fresh and un-jumbled for tackling in the morning.

I also have an old-timey calendar hanging by my desk and it’s full of notes in those little squares with the day’s date. I make sure to check that calendar multiple times a day in case I may have forgotten something.

My memory has always been a little tricky. It seems like the childhood memories that stuck with me are all associated with a strong emotional event.

Or, as I tell my husband, my early childhood was pretty low-key, without too much turmoil, so the days may have blurred together a bit.

It went something like this: play with friends or siblings outside in the woods, eat lots of delicious food that my mother cooks without fail, sneak into my daddy’s truck for an extra Little Debbie’s sugar hit, visit the grandparents, play with the cousins. Rinse and repeat.

The teen years are a little more memorable. See above: strong emotional event. I think many of my memories are tinged with emotion from about ages 13-16. (Sorry, mom.)

Sometimes I get so frustrated, I have to look at the bright side of my bad memory. If you insulted me, for instance, back in 2005 I may have already forgotten it. It’s easy to forgive and forget this way (what a peace-loving perk!).

My mother’s memory, on the other hand, is elephant-like and she often brings up stories from my teen years that embarrass me in front of my husband. I’ll look blank, and she’ll say, “Don’t you remember that?”

Way too often the answer is a big fat no.

Of course, there are those times when I can remember things that my mom, brothers and sister can’t, and those occasional memory wins make my day.

I like to think that multi-tasking is the reason I sometimes feel so scattered. I know I need to focus on one thing at a time, but that concept strikes me as the impossible dream.

I started this blog, partially, as a way to remember. I love to look back over my posts and see what my little Ladybug was doing when she was 6 or 8. I like to read about my state of mind at the moment. It’s good to keep records. I may not be able to remember everything and I won’t always be around to remember – or forget — but the stories will stand.

In the meantime, I’ll I need all those bells and whistles.

Do you have a good memory? Any tips on how I can hang on to my remaining memory cells? Or, you know, whatever those things are called. How do you ensure you don’t forget and drop one of those important household/work/kid balls?

Blue dress, shannon, croppedShannon is co-founder of nwaMotherlode, and married to John, awesome dad to their 12-year-old daughter, Ladybug. If you have any comment about your memory, lack thereof, or tips, feel free to leave them below! Comments are the marshmallows in Shannon’s Cheerios (or something like that). Have a happy Thursday!

Healthy Mama: When to treat a child’s fever

By Kimberly Steed, nurse and mother of 2

Every parent has battled a child’s fever. It often happens after the doctors’ offices have closed, in the middle of the night or on the weekend. As parents, we’re often left wondering, “What should I do, or should I do anything at all?

feverFever in a healthy child is usually not serious. Fever by itself is usually harmless and just the body’s way of fighting an infection. For healthy, normal-acting children with a rectal temperature lower than 102° F (38.9° C), medication is usually not required. If your child’s fever is making him or her uncomfortable, try giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen but be sure to follow the package directions.

As a mother, I’ve been there. My son had several fevers as an infant and early toddler. He was fine and playing one minute, and the next minute he was fussy, crying & inconsolable. Except for a few throat infections, Glyn has been a healthy child and eventually I started to recognize other symptoms such as a strange smell on his breath, a grimacing when he swallowed, pulling at his ears, not eating/drinking normally, or a red throat.

My husband (who is also a doctor for Mercy) recommends getting medical attention for a fever for the following situations:

  • Infants who are less than three months of age and who have a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or greater, regardless of how the infant appears (Even the infant that looks well should be evaluated by a medical professional.)
  • Children who are three months to three years who have a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or greater for more than three days or who appear ill (other symptoms might include being fussy, clingy and/or refusing to drink fluids).
  • Children 3 to 36 months who have a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or greater.
  • Children of any age whose oral, rectal, tympanic membrane, or forehead temperature is 104° F (40° C) or greater or whose axillary temperature is 103° F (39.4° C) or greater.
  • Children of any age who have a febrile seizure. Febrile seizures are convulsions that happen when a child (between six months and six years of age) has a temperature greater than 100.4° F (38° C).
  • Children of any age who have recurrent fevers for more than seven days, even if the fevers last only a few hours.
  • Children of any age who have a fever and have a chronic medical problem such as heart disease, cancer, lupus or sickle cell anemia.
  • Children who have a fever as well as a new skin rash.

Besides treating a fever with medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, a parent should make sure their child is drinking more fluids because it’ll decrease the risk of dehydration. Also, be sure your child is getting enough rest.

One of the less effective methods of bringing a fever down is “sponging” or baths. Alcohol sponging is NOT a good idea, though, because of the risk of toxicity throfever articleugh skin absorption. If you’re ever in doubt on whether to treat a fever or what a fever might mean, or if your child appears ill and it concerns you, call your doctor for advice.

Last summer while Matt was in Alaska, Glyn developed a fever. He was playing with his trains, and this is how I found him. His temp was 103° F degrees. But after an injection of “vitamin R” (Rocephin) and oral antibiotics, he was ready to welcome daddy home. :-)

Kimberly is wife to Dr. Matthew Steed, whose 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.

NWAMotherlode.com 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.

Empty Nexter: Why we must take the risk

PJ Kent Rylee Lions Car Show 4-2014 2014-04-12 041 E

By Carrie Perrien Smith

I’m the oldest of Generation X.

We’re the first generation to know what it is like to enter the workforce and not encounter barriers just because we’re female. We didn’t have to claw our way to the top, burn our bras, or march in front of the White House to compete a fair share of opportunity.

Generations of women before me made that possible. I don’t always say thanks or even stop to think what life would be like without the privilege of equality.

Is it their ideas holding us back or ours?

Sure, there are some goofballs out there with old attitudes, some of them younger than me. But there are far too many of us who are willing to listen to them and allow their roadblocks to stop us from doing what we think we’re big enough to do. We set low goals because we are afraid to take risks. It’s really a slap in the face to the woman who paved the path for us. We owe it to them to take the path and forge new paths for the women who follow us.

I sing in a band. You should know that I’m not in a band because I’m a great singer. I’m great at a lot of things but singing is NOT one of them. I’m average — at best.  I wish I was just saying that because I’m humble.

But I own my place on stage and give it everything I’ve got. I schlep the same equipment in and out that my band mates do, practice as much or more, and handle a good portion of the band’s marketing.

I started with no experience as a singer and worked hard for two-and-a-half years learning the craft. I can’t wait to see how much better I’ll be in another year or two or even five.

Our band is a 60s and 70s rock band. The list of female rock singers from that era is short. Women didn’t start changing the rules until nearly the 1980s. I’m in a band with some pretty talented musicians who aren’t afraid to remind me that they dwarf me in experience. Sometimes the guys in the band remind me that I am female and pitifully average and suggest that I shouldn’t attempt some of the songs I am working to master.

It isn’t really about us

After some tough feedback and some failure, yes, I lick my wounds and think about quitting. That would be safe. But then I remember something important — women need to see me take a risk like this. There are tons of women way more talented than I am who don’t believe they could ever sing in a band. I am living proof that they can.

But wait, singing isn’t my only average performance. I lost my first race for city council too. Dead last of four. Believe me, no one was more shocked than me. I licked my wounds and thought about giving up my hope to make a difference in our city as an alderwoman. It took about forty-eight hours to rationalize that I learned far too much (mostly about what I should have done with my campaign strategy) to waste it. And I am a much-needed voice for small businesses on the city council. I realized that if I shy away from the risk of losing another election that I couldn’t set an example for other women. So here I go again this summer.

Our band plays in bars a couple times a month. Most nights when we play out, I make an effort to mingle with bar patrons on break, particularly the women. The feedback I get from them confirms that it is important for them to see other women taking a risk and stepping out in front, shoulder to shoulder with men.

Despite what other people tell them about the way the world works, I prove it is possible — even if I am average. I’m living proof that you don’t have to be extraordinary to spread love, encouragement, and hope.

And you don’t have to be very far along to reach back and bring someone along the path with you.

Cheer them on

Probably the most important lesson is how much the smallest encouragement helps keep me going on those days when I am frustrated with my averageness or licking my wounds.

After the last gig, a sweet girl I didn’t know named Samantha posted on our band’s Facebook post “Carrie is so cool!!!” I commented back that she made my week. It had been a tough, humbling week for me, and it really was the highlight. It reminded me how important it was to tell others how cool they are too. I vowed to do that more often. People just don’t hear that often enough.

We owe it to the women before us and the women after us

My example matters. Your example matters. What is your rock band or campaign? Let’s get out there and be fearless together. Surely we won’t be inexperienced or average forever. If our girls see us attack life fearlessly, they may attempt something and discover they are extraordinary. And that will definitely be worth the risk.

Photo above: Performing with Paper Jam at the Rogers Lions Club car show at Kent Rylee Automotive Solutions in April 2014.

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 carrie@soarhigher.com.

Beauty Buzz: Help! My eyelashes are breaking off!

beauty buzz, nwaMotherlode.com

Dear Andi,

My eyelashes are starting to break and look sparse. I think it may be because I have to rub so hard to get my mascara off. Do you have any ideas for how I can make my lashes healthier while still wearing mascara almost every day? Help!

Ouch, that does not sound like a fun way to end your day. I also like to wear mascara every day, even on a bare-faced day.

vaselineFirst thing, you need to have the right tools for removing your mascara. I’m assuming if it is this hard to take off, that you are using a waterproof or long-wear formula. Either way, water is not going cut it.

There are oil based eye-make removers, but any type of oil (ie: olive oil, baby oil) will get the job done. Since coconut oil is the duct tape of the beauty world, I’m recommending you pick up a jar. Baby shampoo or petroleum jelly can also be used and will not irritate your eyes.

Once you have chosen your cleaner, saturate a cotton ball with it and hold it against your lashes for about 20 seconds while the oil does its job. Begin GENTLY wiping the underside of your lashes upward, in the same motion you apply your mascara. It may take a few passes to remove it all, so GENTLY repeat the motion. A q-tip can be used to GENTLY remove the mascara closest to your lash lines.

Remember to GENTLY wipe, not tug at your lashes. Are you sensing a theme here? Let me GENTLY remind you that the skin around your eyes is very delicate and any rubbing will cause you to get wrinkles or droopy eyelids at a younger age.

The oils applied daily will help to repair the damage that is already done.

After you wash your face, apply a small amount of coconut oil or Vaseline to your lashes to help replenish them while you sleep.

eyelashesIf you want to give your lashes a break from the daily routine, give eyelash extensions a try. My sister got some recently and I was blown away! They last about 3-4 weeks, and then you just need a touch-up to maintain the fullness.

Contrary to popular belief, extensions will not damage your natural lashes.

If applied properly, they fall out with your eyelashes at a normal rate, which is why a touch-up is needed. You don’t have to wear mascara to make your eyes pop, so it can be a huge time saver, but if you can’t resist or need a little extra oomph for a night out, only apply mascara to the tips of the lashes to avoid clumping at the base.

Eyelash extensions are rising in popularity and are being offered at more salons and can cost over $150 for a set. I recommend getting references or ask about the training a technician has had. It is definitely a splurge, but the results are really impressive.

If your eyelashes are naturally full, but maybe too blonde or light to make an impact, try having them tinted a darker shade so they stand out more for around $15. This might help you need mascara less and give your eyelashes a break from time to time.

Now, let’s all wish this rain away so we can send the kids outside to run off some energy.

Otherwise, I will probably have cried my mascara off by bedtime and this will all be a moot point. Happy Soggy Summer!

AndiAndi Davis is the mama of three little ones and when she’s not playing house, reading them a book or trying to get them to go bed on time — adores playing with makeup. She loves to answer your beauty questions (including those about hair) so send ‘em on over! Just email them to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

Mealtime Mama: Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

mealtimemama-ONFKaylin Gilkey blogs about healthy living — which includes healthy eating — at Enticing Healthy Eating and is working toward a holistic health coaching certificate.

She loves to take recipes and healthy them up. Thus, these dark chocolate AVOCADO truffles.

kaylin's trufflesWant to try them out? Here’s the recipe and directions:

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Makes 16-20 truffles

Ingredients:

1 1/2 small, ripe avocados
5 oz. dark chocolate
1 heaping Tbsp. Splenda brown sugar blend (or 2 Tbsp. brown sugar)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (separated)

Directions: 

Slice avocado in half, pit the avocado, then get all of the flesh out into a medium sized bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado until lump-free.

For the dark chocolate, try to find baking bars or dark chocolate bars rather than dark chocolate chips if you can. I used Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate bars.  Melt the chocolate in microwave safe bowl.  Add the melted chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the cocoa powder to bowl of mashed avocado.  Stir well to combine.

Place the mixture in the bowl into the fridge and let set for at 40 minutes. Use a small ice cream scoop or a small tablespoon to scoop about tablespoon-sized truffle balls. Roll the truffles around in your hands, then roll them in the remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder. Place all truffles back in the fridge to fully set for a bit longer. Yes, I know it’s hard to wait, but it’ll be worth it! Then pop one in your mouth. Smile and enjoy your healthy treat.

Kaylin GilkeyKaylin Gilkey blogs at Enticing Healthy Eating and is very passionate about food, nutrition and health. She can’t wait to help others reach their health goals. She works at Back in Emotion Chiropractic and Wellness Clinic in Bentonville. She’ll start soon teaching nutrition workshops and classes at at the Artist Retreat Center in Bella Vista and at Back in Emotion. CLICK HERE to visit her business Facebook page, which is Kaylin’s Keys to Health.

Devotion in Motion: What makes a preacher want to lie

2 I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. Psalm 138:2 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I try to be a person who tells the truth. But this past week something happened that made me wish I could tell a lie. Here’s the story.

On Saturday I was in the process of checking out a big pile of books at the Meridian Public Library. Most of them were Bible commentaries and there were also some historical books about the King James Version. Making small talk, the librarian asked “Are you a preacher?”

Of course, I said “yes.” But for a moment I wished I could lie. In my mind, it would have been a lot better if I could have said “no.” People naturally expect preachers to study the Bible. Wouldn’t it have been great if I could have said, “No, I’m not a preacher. But I dearly love the Bible and everything about it because it is God’s holy and inerrant Word.” Or words to that effect.

bibleI’ve got to admit something here. Sometimes I have studied the Bible because I’m a preacher. Ready or not, Sunday is coming and all the preachers are going to need something to say. But it is my sincere hope that most of the time I love and study the Bible because I’m a child of God and because that’s the thing that God’s children do.

Today’s Scripture verse (at the top) contains a truth that is amazing to me. It says that God has honored His Word above His Name. That means that God’s Word is vastly important. I am not sure that I can even fathom that. That’s something to think about next Sunday when we dig our Bibles out of the floorboard of the car where they’ve been for seven days.

So, if you’re not a preacher, help me out this week. Become a student of God’s holy Word. Make it such a part of your life that people can’t help but notice. Sooner or later, somebody will ask you if you are a preacher.

Then you can take it from there.

john l cashDr. 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 the preacher mailed the photographs yesterday.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

The Rockwood Files: Are you a Netflix zombie?

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

It’s not culturally sophisticated to admit it, but I love TV – always have. I loved it ever since I was a kid and Fred Flintstone heard the whistle blow at five o’clock and slid down the back of his dinosaur bulldozer.

4.1.1I loved speculating with my mother during the summer of 1980 about who shot J.R. I loved watching Bill Cosby raise the Huxtable kids. And thanks to TV, I’ve met great characters like Flo from Mel’s Diner, Frasier Crane, J.D. and Turk from Scrubs, and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Oh, they make me laugh, even in reruns that never seem to get old.

For TV lovers, the last decade of technological advancements have meant huge changes in the way we cozy up to the tube. The game-changer invention has to be the DVR, which is easily the best thing to happen to television since the remote control and microwave popcorn. The DVR lets you record shows and skip all the commercials, which reduces an hour-long show to about 40 minutes or so. It saves time and helps keep annoying commercial jingles from getting stuck in your head.

But lately, one of television’s new conveniences is wrecking me. I’m suffering from the “Netflix effect.” In case you’re not afflicted yet, Netflix is an online service that lets you watch almost any show at any time and in almost any place where you can get a Wi-Fi signal. For example, if you missed the boat when the show “Mad Men” first started, you can go back and watch back-to-back episodes online for all seven seasons. Want to know if the hype about the show “Breaking Bad” is justified? You’ll find the answer on Netflix, along with more than 30 million other subscribers.

The instant, easy access is a wonderful, terrible thing. Otherwise rational people who KNOW they should go to bed already find themselves desperate to watch a story unfold just a little bit more. We’ll say, “Well, maybe just one more episode..,” and then we kid ourselves into thinking we won’t pay the price for it the next morning with under eye bags large enough to hold all our regrets.

zombie redIf your friend or co-worker is shuffling around in a bleary-eyed haze, it could be a drinking problem, or it might just be a bad Netflix hangover – one too many episodes that stretched into the early morning hours. With just the push of a button, the closing credits of one episode morphed into the opening scene of the next. They got drunk on the power to keep the story going. (Tom and I may or may not have watched four or five hours of House of Cards the other day – just because we could.)

Television binge-watching is like eating Cheetos. Once you’re halfway through the bag, you know the responsible thing to do would be to stop. But then again your fingers are already coated in that orange Cheetos dust, so you might as well just finish it off, right? (Trust me, that line of reasoning makes perfect sense around 11:30 at night.)

Netflix should start posting a public service announcement at the beginning of the really juicy episodes that reads: “Just because you can watch an entire season at one time doesn’t mean you should. Watch responsibly. Friends don’t let friends become Netflix zombies.”

Of course, I don’t have a problem. Not me. I know when to say when. I can put down the remote any time I want – unless the last scene was really good and I need to know what happens next: “Well, maybe just one more episode.”

gwen rockwoodGwen 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. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Funny Friday: Worry About Yourself

This one’s for every mama out there who has ever had a toddler who insisted on doing it herself. NO HELP needed here! We especially love this little girl’s go-to phrase — Worry about yourself! — because you know she has heard it a million times from her mom and dad and possibly the big sister next to her. :-) Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Fayetteville favorite Joe Crookston returns to teach and perform!

joe with kidsThe Fayetteville Public Library will welcome Joe Crookston for three days of songwriting workshops for kids, teens, and adults, as well as a special Friday, July 11th concert.

Crookston is an artist, writer, singer, guitar picker, painter, claw hammer banjo player, eco-village member and believer in all things possible.

Crookston will be at the library for three days teaching a variety of songwriting workshops and performing for various age groups.

He is no stranger to teaching. He received a year-long songwriting grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to travel throughout New York State, collect stories, and write original songs.

Joe Crookston Musical Performances:

♦ Joe Crookston Kids’ Concert

Wed, July 9 at 1pm & 2pm

♦ Joe Crookston Family Concert (Preschoolers)

Thurs, July 10 at 10:30am

♦ Joe Crookston Live In Concert at FPL

Friday, July 11 at 7pm

Songwriting Workshops with Joe Crookston:

♦ Creativity and the Song Inside of You – Kids Songwriting (Completed 3rd-5th)

Wed & Thurs, July 9 &10 at 4:30pm

Online registration begins June 18.

♦ Teen Songwriting Workshop with Joe Crookston

Thur, July 10 at 1pm

Online registration begins June 19.

♦ Joe Crookston Workshops’ Concert

Thurs, July 10 at 6:30pm

joe-crookston-2Crookston performed during the 2013 Fayetteville Roots Festival, where FPL Executive Director David Johnson met Crookston as they helped kick off the festival on KUAF.

“After hearing and visiting with Joe, I knew we had to invite him back to Fayetteville and to the library,” Johnson said.

Crookston’s style of teaching was what moved Johnson and his staff to contact him for their very popular Summer Reading programming. “He has a unique way of helping others find their creativity.”

As for his own music, his CD, “Able Baker Charlie & Dog” received the most airplay of any folk acoustic recording and was awarded: “Album of the Year” by the International Folk Alliance in Memphis, TN.

His performances pull audiences by the magic and musical world he creates and draws the crowd into the moment. His story songs are universal, masterful and his concerts are a grand celebration of all of us.

Click here to visit the Fayetteville Public Library website and see what else is happening this summer!

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