As the owner of The Women Bloggers, over 3000 WOMEN bloggers strong, I have been blessed with some truly amazing women that teach me something new about life and myself daily. However, the balancing act of being a help meet to my amazing husband, a homeschool mom, and running these networks has been the greatest lesson into who I am and who I want to be. And, to be honest, a little overwhelming.
I have a lot of conference options in the social media world in 2015 and I actually put one on~ our 5th Annual Arkansas Women Bloggers University. I am also scheduled to speak at several conferences; first up, the keynote at Arkansas Women in Ag, helping women tell their farm stories through blogs and social media. Y’all know I love farmers, farm wives and of course, promoting Taste Arkansas and Arkansas Grown.
HOWEVER, over the past few weeks I have been yearning to be surrounded in real life, in one place, with women who are seeking to have more of Him and less of themselves in their hearts, minds, worlds. A place where I can be encouraged and feel that I AM ENOUGH, I am His masterpiece just as I am, that being a mom is an amazing calling. And, a place where Miss Kay hugs me and tells me why I can not get my shrimp grits right.
Yes, I am going to Heart to Home Conference in West Monroe. The conference will feature the Women of Duck Commander (I wrote about my families love for the Robertson’s in a post promoting their Season 4 Premier), Dr. Joneal Kirby (who I can’t wait to meet and soak up her knowledge, love, and heart for the Lord and women), and then there is Tracey Eyster. Oh Tracey, the creator and host of MomLifeToday.com will be the emcee. If you are one of my Arkansas Women Blogger gals, you will remember Tracey as one of our speakers from the 2013 conference in Little Rock. I could gush on and on about how Tracey’s nuggets of wisdom were given to me right when the Lord planned and how her heart for supporting and encouraging me and so many women has made all the difference. Check out the videos of Tracey interviewing me for MomLife Today over in the sidebar of my blog. This woman. When I think of her, it just makes my heart happy.
I know it is going to an amazing weekend. I will get to tour Duck Commander, eat at Willie’s Diner, be encouraged, rejuvenated, listening and learning what the Word says, delving deeper into this amazing job I have been given. For I do know, much is at stake.
If you are going to the Heart to Home conference, let me know. I would love to meet up with you and hug your neck! Of course, there will be a lot of Instagramming and Tweeting happening from my end.
A wife and mother, it is who I am,
The Park Wife
Note: I purchased my own ticket to this event, I have not received anything in return for this post. This is about my heart for women and using the gifts I have been given to shine His light.
I have enlisted The Buckaroo Boys to compile their first “Adventurous Boys Gift Guide” for 2013.
We live on a state park, have boys who are constantly seeking adventure, and yes, I have a lot of laundry. Their creativity throws me some days, I can not keep up. So, when the holidays come, I get overwhelmed trying to find the perfect gift that provides opportunities for our guys to be fierce and dangerous, to train them to be warriors that seek adventure, that will be fun, creative, and could possibly teach them something that might help them grow up to be all that they were created to be. Tall order there.
Now, our boys like their Ipad, but thanks to Duck Dynasty, all I have to do is ask if they are being yuppies and they do not ask for more than their allotted screen time for the day. But really, in our world, the Ipad can not compete with the active pursuit of adventure in the woods, or park.
I bet some of you boy moms go through the same thing. So, I hope this list helps.
Note: We have not been compensated for this, these are the Buckaroo Boys opinions.
1. Military Surplus Tent
The Buckaroo Boys love that these Military Surplus Tents were probably used by real soldiers! They have used them for camping, a fort, and even a place to take cover during a serious neighborhood airsoft battle. The tents are the real deal, so they are heavy canvas, which will hold up better than a lightweight tent that could blow away when the wind blows. Again, we live on a state park, we have seen this happen. Giggle, giggle, sorry, really it is not funny, giggle.
Lighting is important, seriously, it gets REAL dark where we live and I admit, I am afraid of running up on a bear, coyote, skunk, or well, Big Foot when I go out at night. The Buckaroo Boys always laugh because I walk out of the cabin door talking to the animals, letting them know I am coming outside so they can run away. Survival people. The Buckaroo Boys prefer a headlamp so they can keep their hands free to sword fight, wrestle a bear, or be ready to capture the elusive Big Foot in our woods. Makes perfect sense to me.
3. Backyard Zipline
The boys love their zipline. Add to any activity an element of danger, stir in a little exploration and speed, add a dash of destruction, and you’ve got yourself a winner. I am usually at the end on my knees, they think I am just waiting for them, but I am PRAYING sistahs!
4. Dangerous Book for Boys
Our guys LOVE the Dangerous Book for Boys. They can spend hours looking at it and finding projects to do. Warning: there is an obscene number of various kinds of paper airplanes and a lot of ropes tied in some amazingly cool knots littering their rooms.
I think every outdoor boy dreams of his first knife, it is part of becoming a responsible young man gifted from a father, grandfather, uncle, or other special man in their lives. The shiny red case with the Swiss flag will have boys yearning to carve sticks, shave tinder for a fire, or use the screwdriver to fix something around the house. Yes, rules must be implemented in the beginning so you do not have to use a whole bottle of liquid band-aid. Do not ask how I know this.
I have linked all of the above to JM Cremps- the boy’s adventure store. Many of the toys in our home are from this family run business out of Minnesota, I have a deep love for their company and mission. I get their newsletter and know that you can receive a $20 JM Cremp’s gift card with any $99+ purchase (Use promo code: GIFT20) valid now through November 25.
6. Daisy BB Gun
My little brother shot me with a BB Gun in the stomach when we were kids, yes, I am still working through the trauma. It comes up every time we are in Mississippi and the whole family is together. They laugh, I don’t.
When I went on a blogger junket a few months ago to the precious town of Roger, AR, we went to the Daisy Airgun Museum for a tour and saw their collection of antique airguns and learned the history of this wonderful company. The Buckaroo Boys took their first shots with Daisy BB Guns, as I am sure many little boys do. Littlest Buckaroo is loving the camouflage one of course, I bet it makes his wish list this year. Don’t let them shoot their eye out.
7. Duck Dynasty
The Buckaroo Boys love all things Duck Dynasty. They were fortunate enough to go to the warehouse in Monroe a few months ago since Big Buckaroo is originally from Louisiana and we have family and friends there. Little Buckaroo wrote a letter to them and gave it to the gal at the front counter, he is waiting for a response from Si. Of course, their merchandise is everywhere, but you can also visit their Duck Commander Store online.
8. Hydration System
The Buckaroo Boys like to be cool. No, really, they do not like to be hot, and I get tired of lugging water bottles on hiking trips. Being hydrated when hiking the trails is important. Survival expert Bear Grylls says you can only survive a matter of days without water, sweet mercy. Hydration packs are a ‘cool’ way you can get kids to carry their own water. And if they carry their own it gives them a bit more responsibility and independence and means less for you to lug. Can I get an AMEN mamas?
9. First Aid Kit
Our boys love being prepared and that means they always have an Adventure Medical Kit handy. Their kit contains supplies to treat cuts & scrapes, sprains, insect bites, headaches, muscle aches, and allergic reactions. We have to be prepared out on the trails of the park, or at the soccer field, or sitting on the front porch (seriously, you never know).
10. Magazine Subscription
These can make an excellent gift, providing regular injections of inspiration. Shhhh…the Buckaroo Boys are getting National Geographic Kidsfrom their Pops this year. The main magazine is a great education for older teens or there’s National Geographic Kids for younger ones (6-14) and even National Geographic Little Kids for tots (3-6). This will be a great addition to our geography curriculum. You can get 10 issues for $15, woohooo!
Added bonus wishlist idea from Littlest Buckaroo:
A Bucking Bull
From this ALL BOY mom to you, have fun, look for adventure, and pass that on to your boys this season.
WINNERS: According to Random Number Generator, the winners of the signed copies of The Pioneer Woman’s A Year of Holidays cookbook are:
Nicky C.:I am looking forward to spending time with my family . Now that my twins are in high school , they are studying and are very busy . I am ready for them to be home and cook and catch up. I want to try some new recipes and cook some of the great recipes I have been finding ! Pick me ~~~!!!
Susan F.: I am looking forward to hugging grandbabies, cooking with my family, and eating!
Congrats ladies, I will email you.
For the love of all things boy, don’t forget the camo face paint,
The Park Wife
Yes, we are part of #ducknation around our house. The bearded, bayou-dwelling rednecks from Louisiana, the area my husband was raised, have made it big! And, I can not be happier for them. They represent what I see as the American Dream; they have valued family, truth, and most of all, God, as they have built their family business.
For those of you who have been living under a rock, or have been too yuppified to watch, tune in tonight for the Season 4 Premier on A&E. You will laugh and be touched by this wonderful family.
Here are some reasons why I love the show and what they represent:
1- They know and honor their roots. It all started in a shed on the family property where Papa Phil designed and built duck calls. Yes, it is now a multi-million dollar company with a bigger building and more employees, but they have stayed true to who they are, to providing quality products and supporting their community and their state of Louisiana. Phil and Kay (and oh mercy Uncle Si) still live modestly and the family frequently gathers around the dinner table. As a Southerner, roots are very important to me and I hope we are providing some pretty strong ones for our Buckaroos.
2-Be who you were created to be. They hunt, wear camo, do not shave. They are totally comfortable with who they are, and their audience loves them more for it. Isn’t that amazing in this world, being completely content with who He created you to be? Honestly, I struggle with this, thankfully, there are things like Duck Dynasty that continually teach the lesson of truly being your authentic self. No, not just using those little cliché buzz words “authentic self”, TRULY being who you were created to be, embracing it and enjoying it.
3- Have fun. I love how they tease each other, act silly, and laugh. We need more laughter in this world. They are very serious about their business (when not frog gigging or hunting) but they’re also not afraid to be themselves and act silly. They give each other grief in fun and in the end if there was any conflict, they always come together through prayer and forgiveness.
4-Parenting. The proof is in the pudding. I am sure there were hard times, days Miss Kay wanted to run away. But, they raised 4 boys who are respectful, honor God, love their neighbor, are good husbands, and know the importance of family. I know they started Duck Commander and it is wildly successful, but the family they have raised and continue to nurture, that is their legacy.
5- Marketing. They know their market so well because they are their market. From duck hunting to fishing, their hobbies and lifestyle that steered them into this dream business is still part of their daily lives. They not only understand what their customers want, they can also relate to them.
And social media, which is my business, they are ROCKIN’ it. Have you joined their Duck Scout. This is so much fun, go join now.
6-Stick to your guns (yes, pun intended). Don’t sacrifice what is most important to you. Ever. When a company or a family compromises their values, they may as well put up the “out of business” sign. Those that follow their convictions and maintain integrity rarely find themselves in a position to call in the PR Reputation Disaster Management Team (I made that name up, but I am sure there is such a thing).
It is evident that this world is looking for more of THIS, of everything this family stands for and believes.
I hope they shatter some more ratings records! Tune in tonight!
@duckcommander, call me if you need a social media gal.
The Park Wife