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Letter to a Middle-School Mom whose kid sometimes “hates” church

By nwamamas - Last updated: Sunday, February 1, 2015

33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Luke 21:33 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Dear Anne,

Thanks so much for bringing your middle school age son, Atticus, by to visit with me today. He is a joy, and I love him in the Lord so very much. He reminds square peg round holeme a lot of myself when I was his age; like me, he’s the “square peg” that’s never going to fit into the “round hole” of what passes for normal in junior high school. But that’s OK. He has a very good heart, he feels things very deeply, and he wants to do good things in this world. When you scrape it all off, you can’t ask for much more than that.

You seemed upset when Atticus told me that sometimes he “hates the Church.” Seriously, Anne, I’m not worried about him at all, but I’m quite worried about you. You flushed bright red, and you got that blotchy stuff on your neck that angry moms get. I think you misunderstood what Atticus was trying to tell me.

When he said, “Sometimes I hate the Church” he wasn’t talking about the holy-called-out-assembly for which Christ Jesus shed His blood. What he was talking about was his dislike for the over-kill and “bloat” that passes for Christianity, and which is inseparably connected with it in this present day. Atticus has no problem accepting Jesus and His gospel. People have just added too many (in the words of Bugs Bunny) “accoutrements.”

Anne, I understand what Atticus said. And, I must confess, I agree with him.

After all, we understand that kids are under a tremendous amount of peer pressure to fit in. In American teenage culture, you’re expected to be physically attractive, athletic, and to wear the right clothes and the right shoes. What parents are failing to realize is that there’s also a “peer pressure” in the Evangelical church movement.

Think about it: If a young person in youth group said he didn’t like monastic Gregorian chants or bluegrass gospel music, nobody would say he wasn’t a Christian (even though these are both prominent types of Christian music.) However, if the same young person said he didn’t like the church praise-and-worship band, he’d probably be labeled as some kind of freak. Worse than that, I’ve known youth groups that have said that such a teen “isn’t right with God.”

So, you should be proud of Atticus, not upset with him. He’s smarter than most kids and is more perceptive than many adults. He’s not going to have non-essentials forced upon him. And, face it. A lot of things that Christian kids have forced upon them are fads. They were created by corporations to make money. And like all fads and fashions, they soon go out of style.

Nobody is wearing a “WWJD” bracelet any more. No church group is watching “The Passion of the Christ.” No church is leading a study on “The Purpose Driven Life” or “The Prayer of Jabez.” These things were very good and popular in their heyday. But now these fads have run their course and can be purchased from a bin at the ninety-nine-cents store.

stain glass windowSo if Atticus isn’t bowled over by all these “temporary” things, don’t get so bent out of shape. You see, Anne, the only thing that matters in life is what we do with Jesus Christ. Most of what gets tacked on to Him is popular for only a short time.

In my way of thinking, if your kids believe all the things listed in The Apostles’ Creed, they’re off to a smashing start. Atticus believes those things. He’s made a decision on his own to be baptized into Jesus Christ. Just start there, and build on.

So rejoice and be glad. Always encourage your son in his most holy faith. Pray and relax. As my theology professor used to tell me, “God doesn’t lose too many of His own.”

I have more to write to you, but it’ll have to wait until next week. Have a great one.

Blessings,

Brother John

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 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, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the weather has been sunny and beautiful this week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).



The Rockwood Files: Too much and not enough

By nwamamas - Last updated: Saturday, January 31, 2015

rockwood files color

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

It happened again yesterday. I went to the store for “just a few things.” An hour and more than a hundred dollars later, I pushed an overly full shopping cart out of the store and stuffed more than a dozen bags into the back of my SUV.

grocery-cartAs I drove home, I went through a mental checklist of all the things I’d bought: Milk, bread, cereal, lunch meat, laundry detergent. Check, check, check. I had all the essentials plus lots of other things that seemed necessary when I’d cruised through the aisles.

But then a maddening question popped into my head: “How is it possible that I have a car full of groceries and still have no idea what to make for dinner?” Has this ever happened to you? It makes me crazy.

I actually considered pulling into the drive-through of Chick-fil-A because the thought of putting away all those groceries only to drag them out again and cook something seemed like more trouble than it was worth. (Plus, what does one make with ingredients like milk, Tide with Bleach, bologna and Cheerios? I’m pretty sure you can’t put that stuff in the crock pot and come back home to anything that’s edible.)

I talked myself out of the fast-food drive-through mostly because it felt wrong to go out to eat when I’d spent all this time and money to bring food home. I put away the groceries and then stood in front of the pantry, gazing into it with a blank, hopeless stare.

That clueless feeling reminded me of those times when I look into a closet full of clothes and yet have “nothing to wear.” Men won’t relate to that feeling but women know it well. Even with a closet bursting at the seams, we only wear a fraction of what’s in there. And if the handful of favorite jeans and tops happen to be dirty, well, we may have to stay in a bathrobe all day because we don’t have a single thing to put on. Ridiculous? Yes, of course. But we feel it, nonetheless.

It’s the age-old problem of “too much and not enough.” I still don’t understand how those two things can exist in the same kitchen or closet or even the same universe, but they do.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of “too much and not enough” is far more personal than groceries or clothes. It whispers to the inner critic in all of us – that nasty little voice that tells us there’s “too much” to do and we’re “not enough” to do it successfully.

If only I was good at planning menus for the week, I wouldn’t end up with a shopping cart full of food and yet nothing to make for dinner. If only I was smarter about fashion, I’d know exactly how to assemble these random separates into an outfit that makes me look like I’ve got it all pulled together, inside and out.

But the truth is I don’t have it all pulled together. And some days are more chaotic than others. Just like the kitchen pantry and the bedroom closet, I am too much and not enough.

In times like these, I have to go back to the basics – back to what I know will work even when I’m short on time and inspiration. Jeans and a sweater to greet the day. And when the groceries are all put away and energy is waning, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner will work in a pinch. It’s not fancy, but then again neither am I. I am too much and not enough and perfectly imperfect, just as God made me.

gwen headshot 2014Gwen 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 book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.



Five Minutes with a Mom: Cheryl Hatfield

By nwamamas - Last updated: Friday, January 30, 2015

Cheryl Hatfiled and her sons, cropped

Name:

Cheryl Hatfield

Kids’ names and ages?

Brock (13) and Zach (11)

How long have you lived in NWA and what brought you here?

I’ve been here 25 years. I moved here from North Little Rock when I was 18 to be a Razorback at the University of Arkansas and study Advertising/PR in the Journalism department.

Can you tell us about your work with the American Diabetes Association?

I work for The Mars Agency, who has over a decade-long relationship with the American Diabetes Association through candidacies and creative support. We have developed the Kiss a Pig event theme for the past 10+ years and help with creative design and materials, from flyers to decor to the event program. It’s a cause that is near and dear to our hearts and Kiss a Pig is a community event that we look forward to supporting each year. At The Mars Agency, we focus on creating impact. So what better organization to support than the American Diabetes Association?

For me personally, I have friends whose son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the day after his 12th birthday. They had no medical or family history of the disease. No explanation or reason why to point to. Witnessing their battle with the disease over the last two years has really moved me, especially as the mother of a son that age.

We understand you’re a Kiss a Pig candidate for the ADA gala. Can you tell us a little about the event?

kiss a pigAbsolutely! The American Diabetes Association of Northwest Arkansas’ 13th Annual Kiss a Pig Gala will be held on March 14th at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. Voted as the #1 Charity Gala by both CitiScapes and Celebrate magazines, and ranked as the biggest gala in Arkansas and nationwide for the ADA; Kiss a Pig is a unique and exciting event with this year’s special entertainment by The Wallflowers and themed “KAPOW”. The event features community leaders raising funds and awareness for diabetes education and vying for the chance to kiss a pig live at the event to thank it for producing the first source of insulin for people with diabetes.

People can support the KAP campaign by contacting me at cherylh1018@gmail.com to purchase a table or tickets or donate a live or silent auction item. Or by making a 100% tax deductible donation via my personal fundraising page: Diabetes.org/chatfield.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

Oh my…there really is no “typical” day for any mother, is there? :) But I’ll describe a usual weekday with the boys. I wake up around 5:30AM to get myself (and our dog, Skipper) ready before getting the boys up and to school. Zach goes to McNair Middle School and Brock to Woodland Jr. High, so the morning drive to school starts early! Then I drive the I-49 commute to Bentonville, where I work at The Mars Agency. My client is Walmart, so the day usually includes several meetings at the agency and at the Walmart Marketing building where we brief projects, brainstorm ideas, develop strategies and review work. Never a dull moment and always a fun challenge! I drive back to Fayetteville, and on Mondays and Thursdays watch my oldest son play basketball for the Woodland Cowboys. Then it’s home to help with homework, cook dinner, take care of the dog, and hopefully squeeze in a minimum 4 mile run on the treadmill (I’m training for a Half Marathon in March). Off to bed hopefully by 10pm and then back at it the next day.

What’s playing on your iPod right now?

Maroon 5 (V and Songs About Jane), Snow Patrol, and Florence & The Machine.

What’s the best part of motherhood for you?

That’s a big question. I think the best part is when the boys show kindness, gratitude and love. Last year I spent Mother’s Day at a basketball tournament that Brock was playing in. A couple of days later, I came home to find a handwritten card from him saying how much he appreciated me sacrificing my Mother’s Day. And he had wrapped (in construction paper) his Cadbury bunny from Easter that he hadn’t eaten yet as a belated gift for me. Not gonna lie, I cried. What 13 year old does that?

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

Italy with the boys. It’s on my bucket list.

What’s something you have always wanted to learn?

A foreign language. I’ve studied French and Italian, but never to any depth. I’d love to be fluent in another language.

What are three things you always have with you?

1. My mother’s rings with the boys names on them

2. My mobile phone

3. Black eyeliner pencil :)

What’s one of your favorite guilty pleasures?

British Cadbury chocolate and red wine. No better flavor combination exists on this earth.

One word to sum me up …

Persevering



Calendar of Events: February 2015

By nwamamas - Last updated: Friday, January 30, 2015

A Little Princess

Date: Feb. 5-8

Time: Varies

Location: Arts Live Theatre, Springdale

More info: Click here

Elvis Lives!

Take a musical journey across the life of Elvis Presley during this concert extravaganza that pays homage to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Elvis Lives features four talented artists who each portray Elvis in one of four eras: the 1950s, the ‘60s, during his movie career, and his final concert years. If you love Elvis, you must see this show!

Elvis_Lives_TNEWDate: Feb. 6

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Chocolate Games (Grades 6-12)

Love all things chocolate?  Join Fayetteville Public Library’s Chocolate Games!  Teens will have the opportunity to participate in multiple games and activities, all involving chocolate! Games range from ‘Guess that chocolate bar’ to ‘Pudding Pictionary.’  Snacks will be provided and, of course, chocolate. For grades 6-12.  Registration is already underway.

Date: Feb. 10

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here to read about/register for this event. Click here to see more FPL events in February.

Ooh la, la! (Jackson L. Graves fundraiser)

This chocolate and wine pairing dinner at the Garden Room in Fayetteville is a delicious fundraiser with proceeds providing funding to improve the quality of life and care of neonatal and pediatric patients and their families in critical care situations.

Date: Feb. 12

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: The Garden Room in Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Legally Blonde The Musical

Date: Feb. 13-15, Feb. 19-22, Feb. 26-March 1

Time: Varies

Location: Rogers Little Theatre

More info: Click here

Fayetteville Mardi Gras Parade

Date: Feb. 14 (Fat Tuesday on Dickson, Feb. 17)

Time: Parade is at 2 p.m., starting at the Fayetteville Square

Location: Downtown Fayetteville

More info: Click here

2nd Date Formal Wear Consignment Event

second dateMom Prom dresses anyone? :)

Date: Feb. 13-15

Time: Varies

Location: Embassy Suites, Rogers

More info: Click here

NWA Home & Tech Show

Come see the industries newest trends for remodeling and building the home of your dreams. Find the Gnome; win a prize, bring the kids to Lowe’s Build and Grow, visit in-house demonstrators and learn techniques from growing iris’ to designing your kitchen.

Date: Feb. 13-15

Time: Varies

Location: John Q. Hammons

More info: Click here

Camelot at Walton Arts Center

Recount the time-honored legend of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table in an enchanting fable of chivalry, majesty, and brotherhood in this four-time Tony® Award-winning show.

Camelot_TNEWDate: Feb. 17-22

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Laughter and Libations: A night of food, drinks and comedy improv

Trike Theatre fundraiser event. Enjoy food by Downtown Bentonville food trucks, hosted beer and wine, entertainment by Phunbags Comedy Improv. This event is for adults 21 and up. Tickets are $75 each or $700 for table of 10. All proceeds support Trike Theatre’s education programs that annually reach over 25,000 young people & families.

Date: Feb. 20

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Avondale Chapel & Gardens

More info: Go to www.triketheatre.org or call, 479-464-5084.

Celebrate Black History Month

Join members of Delta Sigma Theta to celebrate Black History Month with stories, a craft and food.

Date: Feb. 21

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here

Soldier On Service Dogs fundraiser at Mt. Sequoyah

This is a non-profit that helps veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder — or traumatic brain injury — by pairing them with a service dog for free. Click here to read more about what they do (and how you might help by raising a puppy).

Feb. 22

Time: 2-6 p.m.

Location: Mt. Sequoyah Center, 150 N. Skyline Drive

More info: Click here

Pitch Perfect Sing-along

PitchPerfectA lead-up event to the VoiceJam Festival in April! The audience will sing along to a subtitled screening of Pitch Perfect, first released in 2012 and directed by Fayetteville native Jason Moore. The competition finalists will also be announced at this event!

Date: Feb. 28

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Chilirhea 

A great event to help fund Alzheimer’s research. Chilirhea is an event for all ages. Bring the family and experience over 30 different types of chili, live music, a silent auction, and a lot of fun. This year is the 10th annual event, now located at the Fayetteville Town Center. Join us on February 28, 2015.

Date: Feb. 28

Time: Noon to 6 p.m. (chili served from noon to 2 p.m.)

Location: Fayetteville Town Center

More info: Click here

chilirhea

Special events at the Springdale Public Library

Ms. Frizzle Presents…Wacky Weather

Saturday, February 7, 2:00 pm

Ms. Frizzle visits again to show us how wonderfully wacky weather can be! Craft project to follow.

LEGO® Club

Monday, February 9, 4:30 pm

Kibbles & Books Therapy Dog Reading Sessions (Registration is required)

Wednesday, February 11, 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Designed to increase confidence in young readers, as well as offer therapeutic benefits to children with special needs. Please call the Children’s Department at 479-750-8180 to register

Valentine Make & Take Craft Hour

Saturday, February 14, 2:00 pm

Craft fashionable cards and boxes to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day.

Beautiful Girl Retreat

The 7th annual Beautiful Girls Retreat, a two-day, overnight getaway for girls and their moms/leaders will be on March 6th and 7th at the Doubletree by Hilton, Bentonville. This non-profit has the mission to create and host a teaching event that is truly community-based, interdenominational, and to inspire young women in character, identity, and self-esteem. The theme for 2015 will be “True Beauty”. The keynote speaker is Erin Davis, author of fourteen books on girlhood, purity, beauty, and parenting. The second day will be filled with creative breakout sessions, tea time, visual arts presentations, a fashion show, and more. This weekend provides girls and moms with a time to get away and be refreshed and encouraged. Tickets are on sale now.

Date: March 6-7

Time: Varies

Location: Doubletree by Hilton, Bentonville

More info: Click here

beautiful girls retreat



Slightly Tilted: I’m a complete fraud

By nwamamas - Last updated: Thursday, January 29, 2015

woman holding mustache on a stick in front of her faceBy Jen Adair, Blogger at Slightly Tilted, Entreprenuer, Homeschool Mom to two fab kiddos

There are days when I really think I won’t be able to make it through without a 4-hour nap, an entire bottle of Advil, and copious amounts of caffeine. Quite honestly, these days have been happening a lot more frequently lately.

I know that a lot of my stress is considered “good” stress. Work has been extremely busy. My social calendar has been packed. Everything is going full steam ahead. But, it’s not “good” stress. It’s “overwhelmingly awful” stress. Working all hours of the day and night, when I’m not at a social event or teaching the kids, has been really…hard. And exhausting. And frustrating.

I’m ashamed of myself for being a whiney, down-in-the-dumps, complaining mess lately. It certainly does not make me fun to be around and it sure as hell doesn’t make life better for me. It just makes me a brat.

And there’s nothing I hate worse than brattiness.

I feel really bad even complaining about my “good” stress, because I know I’m definitely not alone. Most women work, take care of the children, and still have all the house duties to perform. It’s go, go, go ALL the time. Men, I’m not leaving you out…you’re right there with us.

But…I feel like a complete fraud. I’m happy, but not “life-is-the-best-thing-ever” happy, even though I try to project that happy attitude. I’m positive, but not all the time…it’s very mentally challenging. I’m energetic, but also really, really tired. And then there are the little things, like the fact that my house is only really clean when company is coming and I don’t look good – at all – unless I have on makeup. See the trend here? I feel…fraudulent.

My frustration lately is this:

I WANT to homeschool. I chose it. I still choose it. It’s hard. Some days I hate it, but it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.

I WANT to work. I like it. It’s my creative outlet. I want to quit, but I also want to keep going. I want something of my own.

I LOVE my friends. I adore spending time with them. I need them. I’m tired at night, though. I want alone time with my hubby, but I want to be with other people I love and do fun things with them, too.

I DON’T WANT TO GIVE ANYTHING UP, BUT I WANT TO GIVE IT ALL UP.

I feel like I can’t win some days, and it’s driving. me. crazy.

Do any of you feel like this? Like you’re “okay” at a lot of things, but not really great at one thing? Like your brain is divided into a million pieces that you can’t corral? I don’t want to be a fraud. I WANT to be a great person, positive, energetic, funny, and smart. Instead, I’m….meh….

I must admit that I have a great life. I mean, it’s not like my world is falling apart or anything, I’m just tired of being tired. My time and attention are pulled in a million different ways, and I don’t always give top priority to the things that need me the most.

question-markI’ve been praying more about this lately, and I’m not getting a clear answer as to what to do. It’s almost harder sometimes to have options. Should I quit working so much? Cut back on all social engagements? A little of both? Take a complete break from everything? Pull the plug and just walk away? I know I am blessed to even HAVE a choice, because so many people with REAL problems have to just keep going – I’m not trying to slight them in the least. But…I still have stress, regardless. Everyone does.

The fact is that whatever I’m worried about either doesn’t matter or it does matter and IF it does matter…I shouldn’t worry. I should just make the changes I need to make and move on. I should pray more. I should get of my butt. I should do a million other things rather than worry.

I do know this: I will try not to step into the puddle of self-pity and depression that sometimes surrounds me. I realize that most of the time, I create a problem for myself based on nothing but emotional frustration. To dive into that puddle will create a real problem, not just for me, but for those who choose to include me in their life.

Maybe the problem is that I don’t have a problem so I create a problem because I need something to solve. Or maybe I can’t handle putting together eight websites while homeschooling and taking care of the house and cooking all the meals and being a chauffeur and handling 113 social media plans for clients. Or maybe being a fraud just takes a lot of energy.

Or maybe I just needed to whine a little bit, because I sure feel better now.

I’m just now realizing, right this moment as I’m writing, that I do feel better. Maybe I’m just a little bit lonely in my emotional world and needed to confess that I don’t have it all together all the time. This is no shock to most of you, but sometimes you just have to say it out loud to avoid a total collapse of the heart and an implosion of the brain.

Or maybe I just need a nap. And a massage. And a vacation.

But first I have to make dinner…and by that I mean have a bottle of wine and order pizza.

Because even frauds like pizza.

jen adair3Hey. I’m Jen Adair. I’m an entrepreneur. Homeschool mom. CEO of organized chaos. Ok – it’s really not all that organized. Some days are great, some are not, some days I feel invincible, some days I can barely get out of bed. BUT…it’s my life and I’m living it. Browse my collection of random thoughts, humor (well, I think I’m funny!), images, links, whatever…at my blog Slightly Tilted. Sharing is caring, people! :)

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