Home » Raising Warriors

Category: Raising Warriors

Family Fiddle for the Next Generation

Some of the things/possessions that I love the most are those that I have from my grandparents home. I love the shared history of them and the memories that make me smile when I see them in my home.

So, when Big Buckaroo’s Uncle Tommy found out that Little Buckaroo was playing the fiddle, he offered for Little Buckaroo to have his Great, Great Grandfather’s old fiddle.  Big Buckaroo, who was raised mostly in his Mamaw and Papaw’s home, remembers the fiddle hanging on the wall in their house. There is even a picture of him holding his little sis Katie when she was a baby with the fiddle in the background. Katie had her first baby yesterday, yes, on 12/12/12, a sweet angel boy named Alex is here ready to be spoiled by us! Maybe he will pick up an instrument and join his cousins in a band. I am giving him his first drum set. You are welcome Katie, pay back!

The fiddle arrived from Uncle Tommy in South Louisiana (yes, Cajun/Creole fiddle camp is on the calendar) and we took it to our friends at the music store to get a tune up. They told us that with a little work, it could be a great sounding fiddle. But, there was a catch, the work had to be done by Little Buckaroo with their supervision. Yes, we have some extraordinary people who show up and help enrich our kid’s lives. His fiddle teacher Shay guided him, along with her husband Scott who is a luthier (a maker of stringed instruments). Yes, for free, they just love to pass on their love of music to the next generation.

So, Little Buckaroo spent a few mornings at the music store working on regraduating  the family fiddle. He opened it up, yes, they made me leave him to do the work or I would have been having a “family treasure meltdown” about right now. That is a putty knife heated to melt the glue holding it together.

Under the fingerboard, Little Buckaroo found this! Yes, his Great, Great Grandfather’s name. Since the fiddle is way older than that little punch type label, it is believed that it was worked on in the 60s or 70s.

Then he started scraping the wood on the inside. This makes the sound better (that is what they tell me, hey, I am the mom who plays…the radio). Only two band-aids were needed during the regraduation of the fiddle.

His first fiddle was put in his hand less than a year ago, and Little Buckaroo loves playing music. He is the kid that has always hummed and sang while doing school work and playing. He told me one day when I told him he needed to be quiet and do his math that he was just trying to get some of his joy out.  And, that is true, he has an abundance of joy.

So, for Pops, Uncle Tommy, Aunt Tena, and Aunt Amy,who lovingly handed this very old, treasured family heirloom down to our Buckaroo, he wanted to play you a little diddy or two.


Blessed by the sound of our boys making music, (yes, o.k., it is loud and screechy at times and I am not sure I would say that is always a blessing, more like cats in a heated fight),
The Park Wife

I Think I Am Becoming A Stage Mom

As I sat down and looked at pictures from our week on my camera, the majority of them involved music and our kiddos.

The extraordinary 14-year-old fiddle sensation friend of ours,Clancey, had a show in town this past week and invited the boys to come play a song.

Then, we went to the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock where the boys met the Governor and his precious wife. Oh, and Ambassadors from all over the world.

The best part of that trip? When you ride in a bus full of talented beyond their years musicians, you get to jam with them on the way home. And, the wonderful craftsmen that went to demonstrate their trade to the 75 delegates, yes, they treat us like family.

Then, it was a big festival weekend in town and the last music show of the season at the park. The last show is always a themed show, and this year it was Wild, Wild West, yes,  The Buckaroos were in on the action.

Here they are hanging with Clancey & the Ragtags at Intermission. At one point in the show, they had to chase their friend Mary (yes, a 6-year-old fiddler that will AMAZE you) across the stage. Then….she roped them and corralled them back across the stage.

This is Mary. And, yes, she is as sweet and adorable as she looks. Also, well-behaved and respectful. The Buckaroos are going to LOVE having this picture one day.

I know our kids are having a GREAT childhood, I just hope and pray they will appreciate and savor it all.

Being a state park kid is pretty cool.

My biceps are bulging from carrying a fiddle, banjo, and mandolin,
The Park Wife
Potential Stage Mom

Not Exactly Model Material

There is a new mural in the Kid’s Garden at our park. My friend Jeanette, who is the craft director here,  asked me if I would bring the boys up and take a picture of them on a “Huck Finn style” raft in the garden for her newsletter. Sounds easy enough, right?

I ASKED the boys to put on their overalls so we could walk up to the park and take some pictures. Then, I TOLD them to go put on their overalls right after they asked if they reeeeaaally had to wear overalls because that would be embarrassing. Seriously, our park interprets the heritage and way of life of the Ozark Mountain people. Yea, they will be the only ones wearing overalls.

As with most things, after we got there, it was all good.

A snap here. The serious one. We always start off good.


Oh, yes they had to change places.

See the smirk on Littlest Buckaroo’s face. Yes, here we go.

At this point, I lost control of the “photo shoot”.

This is my real life.

Let’s go have some real fun now.


The boy whose picture is on the front of the State Park Guide looking in the State Park Guide. Photo staged by the  self-described clever 6-year-old.


Seriously, a checker game can go on for way too long. Candyland is much faster.

Modeling is a hard job, wears you out.

Needless to say, I have no aspirations of being a photographer and our boys better plan a career path that does not involve standing still and smiling.

The Park Wife

Thank You Mr. Army Man

Dear Army Man at Walmart:

I am in awe of the sacrifice you and your fellow soldiers make so that I can take our kids to the county fair, gather with other families for BBQs, watch our kids play soccer, homeschool them in a country that allows me to be their teacher, to have Bibles all throughout our home, and so much more, all while you have to wave goodbye to your wife and children and go and fight for me to have those rights.

But, that is not why I write this letter. I have an extraordinary 6-year-old who has a spirit of justice, who is disciplined, yet forgiving, courageous, yet kind and who more than anything wants to be “an army man” when he grows up (actually he is leaning toward Marines right now, it changes often). I would like to thank you for smiling at that little boy in Walmart and when he told you that he was going to be an Army man when he grows up, you squatted down to his level, put your hat on his head and told him he could be anything he wanted to be as long as he worked hard and sacrificed for what was right.

I know sir that you and your fellow soldier had been traveling a while and still had hours to go to get to your destination. But, that did not stop you from going a step further and telling this little soldier that he could come outside and see inside your rig.

In  a world where priorities are so askew, you sir, symbolize what is right ~ duty, respect, service, honor, integrity, and courage.

Thank you….for your service to our country and for epitomizing what a true American hero is to a little boy who I pray will not be afraid to live courageously among his peers and who will walk humbly with God.

Blessed at Walmart (not because of saving money, but yes, living better),

The Park Wife

Charlie Daniels Band Inspiration

I know I often gush about the park where we live and our town that supports passing on the love of music to the next generation by giving FREE lessons and a loaner instrument to ANY child in our area that wants to learn. The Music Roots Program has 250 kids in it (we only have about 3,000 people in our town).Yes, that is pretty extraordinary.  Also, The Buckaroo’s are given opportunities to meet some really cool people since their daddy is the park superintendent.

This past weekend, they went to their very first concert and I can not think of a better one for it to have been than the legendary Charlie Daniels Band. We waited outside in the ‘meet and greet” line (yes, they got backstage meet and greet passes) with my friend and her daughter who is a fiddle sensation herself.  Charlie Daniels got out of the vehicle, smiled at the boys and said hello.

I was worried because people had told us of other music stars who have come here to do concerts and were not warm nor welcoming, not even to the kids carrying instruments around with them. Not Mr. Daniels. We walked into the green room and he was casual, relaxed, open, and kind.


He signed Little Buckaroo’s first fiddle.

He also signed photos for the boys and me. He did look at me a little funny when he asked who to sign it to and I said The Park Wife.  I thought about telling him I am a blogger and social media gal and that is my blog name, but I am almost positive he has had stranger requests.

Then, my sweet friend Clancey who has a band and is one of our main performers here at our park and all over this region, was up to meet him. He asked her if she played that fiddle and then told her to “rip one off” for him.  And, that she did.  Big things are going to happen for this young lady, she is only 14.

The intro music started,  the band began and out comes Charlie Daniels with fiddle in hand – and let me tell you for a man that I believe is 75 (or even for a 25 year-old), EXTRAORDINARY!  He tore that fiddle up, worked the crowd, and then a few songs into the show, they gave him a guitar and he played the heck out of that!

The Buckaroo Boys were in awe.


Wow, his band. I have never seen a drummer like that (thank you to CDB drummer Pat McDonald  for giving our boys your drum sticks after the show, yes, they were beat up pretty good). The keyboarder Shannon Wickline came out after the show and talked to Clancey, that meant a lot to a young lady interested in following in their footsteps. Good, kind people.

Now, seriously, this picture is blurry, but look at that bow, he was playing The Devil Went Down to Georgia, enough said.

Charlie Daniels loves the Lord, loves our country, and loves his wife that he celebrated 48 years of marriage the day before he performed here. Thankful that our boys were introduced to live music by such a fine man and his band.

Blessings and fiddles on fire,
The Park Wife

It’s a Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s… ?

As I looked out in my front yard the other day, I saw this.

Who is that masked man in the trees?

I found out he is a true superhero with extraordinary powers and abilities, major behind kicking skills, and high-tech advanced equipment (made out of Legos, Lincoln Logs, and other pieces of toys that I have not taken to Goodwill without him knowing). 

His superhero powers? Superhuman strength, the ability to fly (well, with the assistance of the zipline in our front yard), enhanced senses, and the projection of energy bolts (talk about power).

A distinctive costume is used to conceal his secret identity. Don’t tell anyone.

Little Buckaroo, I mean, masked man in my front yard, remember – With great power comes great responsibilities.

Yes, his brother, dad, and myself are usually thrust into the adventures as his supporting cast. But, I refuse to wear a skintight unitard. You are welcome.

The Avengers comes out next week. Big Superhero party planned at my house. Wear your costume, bring your weapons, and please be careful on the zipline.

The Park Wife

Moms: Here are some templates for Superhero logos.

What Real Heroes Look Like

As we look at heroes in history at our house (and here on The Park Wife blog), our boys got to experience what real heroes are up close and personal this week.

A three-year-old went missing in our area.

Over 300 volunteers from all over show up.

Big Buckaroo, who through State Parks is trained in Search and Rescue and is a First Responder,  joined dozens of other agencies out looking for the boy.

The Little Buckaroos, their Grandma (who is here visiting), and I prayed and prayed – for the little boy and his safety and for all the volunteers in the air and on the ground that  combed through dense, rugged terrain (yes, we live in the Ozark Mountains). There were logs, sticks, briars, and yes, even creatures.

After 30 hours, the boy was found about 3 miles from his home by a pond playing in the mud. Yes, that means he spent the night out there, with no food or water. Nor, warm hugs from his mom.

This, my friends, are what real heroes look like.


The little Buckaroo’s went and checked out every book on search and rescue at our library yesterday. They hope and pray no other children go missing, but if they do, they want to be ready to help save them.

Thankful for Landen’s safety and for the men and women who sacrifice daily to protect those who are not able to protect themselves.

The Park Wife

A Study of Heroes- The Wright BROTHERS

Orville and Wilbur Wright; inventors of the world’s first flying machine.

On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers made the first successful experiment in which a machine carrying a man rose by its own power, flew naturally and at even speed, and descended without damage. Orville and Wilbur Wright made history with their twelve-second flight, from the legacy of that flight much has been achieved.

They were enthusiastic, optimistic, and determined. Every day, they knew they would fail. Every time they went out to attempt to fly, they brought extra materials because they knew their fledgling design would crash. They would crash, they would re-build. Crash, rebuild. But, they never gave up.

I am in awe of their determination, but what I love most about the Wright Brothers is that they did it together.

One of our flying warriors working on his math, flight suit required.

As the mother of two boys who are best friends, the legacy of the Wright Brothers  is not just about aeronautics, it is about family.  It is about a  father that inspired an interest in scientific principles by giving them toys which would stimulate their curiosity. It is about the bond between two brothers who worked together to make history.

They were supported and encouraged by their parents to explore and learn. Most importantly, their parents instilled in them self confidence that allowed them to reject preexisting theories that had been developed by formally educated scientists. They did not just accept a problem, they did not just ask how, but they asked why. Then, they worked to find a better way….together.

We work diligently to strengthen the bond between our boys, and then at times recognize that we need to let it happen naturally (oh I teeter on chaos and uncertainty often). They may not end up in the history books together, but when Big Buckaroo and I are gone, the one thing they will have is each other.

Now, go make some paper airplanes with your kiddos,
The Park Wife


A Study of Heroes: Neil Armstrong

I often say that I write this blog as a love letter to our boys. I also keep a little journal in my purse to write down all the funny things they say (when I can remember to get it out or find a pen that actually works in the bottom of my purse). And, I write them letters on their birthdays. I know, I am sentimental.

I am blessed to have married a man of integrity. He is a wonderful dad and is diligent in helping to provide a wonderful, Godly foundation for the buckaroos that is full of fun and adventure. From a zipline in our front yard, Bible studies in his lap on Sundays, building a cabin on our land as their physical inheritance, a work ethic beyond compare, and so much more. He overcame a troubled childhood to become an extraordinary man. I think part of the reason for that is because he had a grandfather (his grandparents were the stabilizing force in his life) that taught him how to be a real man. His Mamaw and Papaw gave him the foundation that we are striving to pass on to the Buckaroos – love, compassion, dedication, the power of creativity and lessons that can only come from example. Big Buckaroo is a hero in our book.

As we began our homeschool year, I thought we should introduce the boys to other real life heroes. So, the boys and I will research and write about those brave souls who strive for something greater. Stories that are not lectures, but show that if they work hard, are determined, not afraid of failure, the impossible becomes possible.  And, it is not about being famous, thank goodness because I think we are lacking in real heroes that are “famous” these days.

I will share a brief description here on The Park Wife of who we are studying.

We begin with:

Neil Armstong, Test Pilot, Astronaut, Space Traveler.

Photo courtesy of NASA

It was not just the one small step that made him great, it was the thousands before that.

He started working at age 10, cutting grass at a cemetery so he could save enough to buy a model airplane. At fourteen, he WORKED three jobs to pay for flying lessons. At sixteen, while his buddies were learning to drive cars, he EARNED his pilot’s license. At thirty, he FEARLESSLY tested 200 different aircraft. At thirty-nine, he floated down the ladder, his voice calm, unhurried in his movements. He took a small step and began walking on the moon.

“I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul… we’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream. Neil Armstrong

Thank you Neil Armstrong for a real-life adventure story that inspires us to reach for boundaries far beyond what is known. We honor your example of service, accomplishment, and modesty. I pray the Buckaroos will work hard to make their dreams come true, be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves. Just as you did.

Oh, we have been Lost in Space before. Check it out.
The Park Wife

Raising Warriors: the Adventure for Boys Resource

I often hear from readers that they wish their kids could be adventurous like the Buckaroo’s but they don’t get to live on a state park. I say that you make the adventure wherever you are be it in the city, the suberbs or the middle of nowhere.

In our technology focused world of video games, computers, cell phones, and on and on, we have to be deligent, focus our time and effort (yes, it does wear my little brain out at times) on providing opportunities for our guys to be fierce and dangerous, to train them to be warriors that seek adventure. We hope  to raise our boys to be strong, Godly men of character, with inquisitive spirits and the self-discipline and drive to achieve their goals.

From catapults to ziplines to outer space, it just takes a little creativity and letting the guys explore without worrying about how dirty and messy things are getting. At our house, we have a firm stance on letting boys be boys, I think this unstructured play helps them to develop imagination, teamwork skills, resilience, persistence, creativity and patience. Yes, I cringe and pray a lot.

Thankfully, we have a partner in this that we found a couple of years ago. His name is JM Cremps Adventure for Boys Store, we call him Jeb.  He is an explorer and an adventurer that has traveled  the world experiencing great adventures. He has a strong love for America and believes in defending our freedom. Jeb and his wife (his best friend) raised five (5) sons.

The Buckaroo’s love when Jeb sends a catalog of his cool adventure tools to our house. They peruse it for hours. Dreaming and planning their future expeditions.

J.M. Cremps vision is “to help raise-up Godly people by providing resources to parents, creating opportunities for fathers to connect with their sons (and daughters) and to offer products designed to foster the spirit of adventurous boyhood. We strive to honor God in all we do, not claiming perfection, but claiming a moral compass pointing us in a focused direction. We will pursue excellence as a company by continually developing employees and being a resource for our customers. We will strive to respect the balance of growth and profitability seeking wisdom and discernment in our decisions.”  You guys all know that I seriously LOVE this!

 Boys Amazing Adventures  Adventure

Gear  Real Gear for Active Boys

Toys and Games that Ignite the Imagination Toys and Games

Books  Boyhood Books to Encourage the Mind

Clothing to Fit Your Everyday AdventuresClothing

Oh, it gets better! They have a blog, yes ma’am, they even give you ideas and tools for things like scavenger hunts, how to whittle, a spy game with a fingerprint how-to, boot camp missions (yes, my little Army guy loves this), even a free online kids adventure book called The Missing Treasure. Go check out the blog  JM Cremp’s Adventure for Boys Blog.

I pray our boys never stop exploring, are never bored, and they are prepared to search deep in their hearts for the answers to fundamental questions that can’t be answered at our kitchen table, like Who am I? What am I made of? What am I destined for? I hope they take that journey for themselves, until then, Big Buckaroo and I pray for the knowledge and grace to prepare them for the adventure!

With a litle help from Jeb,
The Park Wife


JM Cremp’s is owned and operated by Jay and Maria Asplin along with their five adventurous boys… ohhhh, the adventures they could tell! They currently homeschool their boys and reside in Dassel, Minnesota.