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Is a House a Home? Well, You Do Need Walls

Remember when I told you about moving to the new park? You know, the one we had worked for years to get back to? Yes, that beautiful piece of Heaven on earth.

Oh, and remember how I told you the house we were to move into needed “a little” work so we would need to live in a cabin for a while.  Many of you said how jealous you were, living in a cabin on a park. Oh how cool, like a little vacation.

Then, I told you that we had rats in the attic, we relocated them, but the smell is still here.

home1

The romance, nostalgia, whatever you want to call it wore off at month two. Alright, let’s get real, it was about week three.  Really, I do not mean to sound unappreciative, but I feel the need to be real sistahs. A small cabin with two little guys and one big guy gets a little, let’s call it stuffy.

And, we started homeschooling last week, I am starting to feel real sorry for the gorillas at the zoo. I need a little more room zookeeper!

home3

So, there was a little more work than we thought. Yea, there is no roof on part of the house. Oh, and walls, they came tumbling down.

home8

The boys think this is a grand adventure, they are loving it. Did you read about the RATS? Oh, I forgot to mention the skunk living under our porch.

home2

So, we spend a lot of time outside. Thank you sweet savior of mine for the cooler temps this summer. Now, if you could do something about the mosquitos I will be singing some hallelujahs all through this mountain. Julie Andrews would have nothing on me.

I am thankful I have a little say in the reconstruction of the house, like picking tile, wall colors, etc. It has become quiet apparent that my husband and the crew have certain ideas, and I have certain ideas. See, I am all about bringing the outdoors in, I listen to my friend P. Allen Smith. So, I would choose something like this as inspiration.

home7

When I explain my ideas, none of them have any idea what Pinterest is, bless their hearts. I talk lanterns, clean lines, serenity. They hear:

home6

Go ahead and start lifting me up sistahs, I feel like I am in a bad episode of Northern Exposure.
home5

 

Sorry, we are not taking visitors right now, I am all about hospitality and sharing my world, but I need a huge time out. Thanks.

The Park Wife

The Dove Real Beauty Campaign That Shocked Me

My purpose with The Women Bloggers, home to Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Arkansas Women Bloggers,  is to gather women together, help them grow, and to connect. I believe in and see the results of women encouraging one another, creating a beautiful world where we can be authentic, and where kindness to one another is paramount.

So, when I saw this, as tears ran down my face, I wondered why is it that I see all this beauty around me in these other women but put myself down and do not see it in myself? Take the time to watch this. I do not do paid posts at The Park Wife, this is something that has hit me in the gut, making me step back and remember that He created me, every part of me, and I wanted to share it.

I hope this video will change the way that you think and feel about your own beauty….it did me.

The Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign encourages women to reassess how they see themselves.

You can join the conversation on Dove’s Facebook page here.

Reassessing,
The Park Wife

Happy, Happy, Happy! Duck Dynasty Has Invaded My Home

Big Buckaroo was raised in the outdoors of Louisiana ~ hunting, hanging out around alligators, frog gigging, and I do not even want to know what else. For his birthday this year, my mom sent him Duck Dynasty because we do not get that channel and she thought he would completely relate to the Robertson clan. Oh boy does he. His idea of putting the camper up in the trees at our cabin has now been validated.

If you have been living under a rock, Duck Dynasty follows a Louisiana bayou family living the American dream as they operate a thriving duck call and decoy business while staying true to their family values. And, those values point to the grace and salvation found in Jesus. Now, this is what we need more of in this world people.

Little Buckaroo wears a flag bandana around his head while watching it and asked his brother the other night if he was going to be a redneck when he grows up.

They usually dress like this, the bandanas, however, are a new touch.

I read that for the show’s producers, the family’s strong Christian faith seems to be an uncomfortable storyline — one frequently chopped in the editing room.

According to Duck Commander Phil:

“We don’t have godly people and followers of Jesus owning the channel that we’re on or filming what we do,” Phil said. “So what you see (on TV) is a functional, godly family, but there’s not a whole lot of Gospel and Bible verses.

“However, the audience … can be reached in other ways than the TV show,” he added. “We’re going to be making a Robertson family tour. You’ll see the real family when you get us in some arena somewhere and it’s just us telling people the good news of Jesus.

And, that is just what happened at one of my brother’s churches last weekend. Take the time to watch this, you will be encouraged, you will laugh, you will be blessed.

Jase and Missy Robertson at Grace Chapel

Going to wash camo and bandanas,

The Park Wife

 

BooMama’s Book ~ A Little Salty to Cut The Sweet, The Excitement is Building!

I discovered BooMama.net back in the dark ages of blogging. I started blogging in 2006, yes, some of you were still in high school. Of course, I would read Ree~ The Pioneer Woman daily and then check out a few more to find ones I connected with.  I prefer to fill my world with writing that is encouraging, funny, and focuses on the joys of life. Can I get an AMEN?

So, when I found BooMama.net I fell in love. That is the day, out of sheer necessity, that I started keeping paper towels next to my monitor to clean up the coffee I continually spewed from laughing at something her mother-in-law did or her Big Boo Cast with her sweet friend Melanie, oh and to wipe my eyes at the sweetness of her trips with Compassion International. Then, one day I read this post from 2007.

Sweet mercy, I know the people in these pictures.

BooMama is Sophie!!!! Yes, I went to high school with her (although she was a few years old, just call me spring chicken) and we were in the same social club. My heart was doing flips. It was like finding out you were Oprah’s half-sister. Yes, a glorious day indeed.

I have followed Sophie through her bloggity success and now…..she has a book coming out!

 

Here is the gist of her book diggity awesomeness.

There’s nothing quite like family—for good or bad. But in a world where we sometimes know more about the Kardashians than we do the people sleeping right down the hall, it’s easy to forget that walking through life with our family offers all sorts of joy wrapped up in the seemingly mundane. There’s even a little bit of sacred sitting smack-dab in the middle of the ordinary. And since time’s-a-wastin’, we need to be careful that we don’t take our people—and their stories—for granted. Whether it’s a marathon bacon-frying session, a road trip gone hysterically wrong, or a mother-in-law who makes every trip to the grocery store an adventure, author Sophie Hudson reminds us how important it is to slow down and treasure the day-to-day encounters with the people we love the most.

Written in the same witty style as Sophie’s BooMama blog, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet is a cheerful, funny, and tender account of Sophie’s very Southern family. It’s a look into the real lives of real people—and a real, loving God right in the middle of it all.

Just because I have an in with her, here is a link to the  first chapter (I know, I know, there MIGHT be a couple of others that know about this link). You will want to go pre-order after the first couple of pages.

Oh, I am so happy for Sophie and for all of us that get to read her stories in which she weaves the threads of faith, family, and most of all, love together with such grace and beauty (and side-splitting humor).

Blessed for my deep Southern roots and the people who God has placed in my life,
The Park Wife

 

Kids Birthday Cakes ~ Sometimes You Win, Sometimes Big Fail!

The Cake Boss would be mortified if he saw this post. And, Martha Stewart, I am so sorry.

I try hard to make wonderful memories for our boys and birthdays are one of the highlights of their year. They wake up to pancakes with a candle, I make their beds for them, no school, and we spend the day on things they want to do. These kids have no idea how good they have it.

So, as the wanna be perfect mom, I make their cakes (not to mention there are not a ton of bakeries in the rural areas where we live). I let them choose the subject of the cake which usually is whatever they are into that month.

One year, Little Buckaroo wanted a Lego cake.  It was not pretty, but he loved it. 

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Then, there were the dinosaur years.  When we moved from our last park, I had a yard sale and sold about half of the bazillion dinosaurs the Buckaroos had acquired because they were into other things and rarely played with them. 

 Of course, they decided they were back into dinosaurs recently and their favorites were gone. Oh well, at least I got fancy on the cake.

Army man birthday cake

Then, the military years began. Little Buckaroo got into it for a period before moving on while Littlest Buckaroo said he wanted to be an army man when he was 2, at 5 a Navy Seal, at 6 a Marine, and now at 7 he “trains” daily to be a Force Recon Marine. He can do 25 perfect push-ups, I can do two! Yes, I pray for peace daily.

Cookie Cake

Then, there was the year we celebrated at our cabin, yea, the one with no electricity or running water yet. So, a cookie cake was easiest. This by far was the tastiest in my opinion.

Shark Birthday cake

Then there was the shark obsession period, I just roll with it. Yes, there is an action figures leg sticking out of the cake with all the red sugar crystals.

Military Birthday Cake

Oh yea, more military.

U.S. Marine Kids birthday cake

Now, this cake from this past year has a story. One I wish I could forget (but I am sure the boys are not going to let that happen). Littlest Buckaroo told me exactly what he wanted and he wanted to help make it. No problem, we got to work on his U.S. Marine Corps  birthday cake. He had so much fun making it.

We were going to have his party the next day. Now, the new cat Fluffy was still pressing her luck jumping on my kitchen counters so I felt we needed to protect the cake in case my back was turned and she hopped up to check out our cake battle. So, I put it in the cold oven before bed. Foreshadowing, uh huh.

The next morning I woke up, started the coffee and turned the oven on to warm up for breakfast. As I sat having my quiet time drinking my first cup of coffee, I started to smell chocolate. It smelled divine. Then, I thought “why am I smelling chocolate?” Remember, I was still on my first cup of coffee, not to swift on the uptake in the early morning hours.

End of story: cake melted. The number candle completely melted into the cake, all the army men were laid over in defeat. Littlest Buckaroo woke up and with tears in my eyes, I told him what happened. He looked at the cake, hugged me and said, “that is so cool mom, it looks like they had a real battle in the oven.”

I love being the mom of boys,
The Park Wife

Holiday Giveaways, Oh Yum!

My friends at Petit Jean Meats are hooking up some lucky people this holiday season!

We are giving away a wonderful Gift Box over at my other site, Arkansas Women Bloggers. An Arkansas-based, family owned company,their meats are delicious! They are good people, and my goodness, bacon, sweet mercy.

Then, after you go enter at Arkansas Women Bloggers (wait….did you go over and enter?, o.k., now you can proceed), I know of  another chance to have some holiday happiness on your table this Christmas. I have a Mississippi friend who lives in Arkansas. We did not know each other growing up in Mississippi, but are connected through our Mississippi ways and through blogging. That is a bond ladies! Amanda blogs at AmandaJaneBrown (formerly My Heart’s Desire Blog).  She is also giving away a Petit Jean Meats Gift Box, go over and enter to win and get simple ideas for seasonal decorating and recipes that are easy to prepare!

Then, do not forget to go check out Relish! What a great gift to give this holiday to your friends, it is something they will actually use and will help them with their New Year’s Resolutions to be more organized and eat healthier. Relish! is giving all The Park Wife friends a  15% discount on a subscription! Go read more here, then click here or on the button in the sidebar to get started. When you sign up and it asks you “How did you hear about us?“, choose  The Park Wife. Badah-boom-badah-bing…discount!

Wow, the holidays just got brighter,
The Park Wife

 

I Hang Out With A Clinton

Yes, I get to hang with the cool kids…at my house, yes, this is my back deck.

chelsea clinton and The Park Wife

The story on why Chelsea Clinton spent the morning at my house will be coming soon!

Country Outfitter Gift Card Winner

Drum roll please, wait , no drums please, we have enough noise, I mean, music making instruments around this joint.

Annnnnnnnddddd the winner of the $150 gift card from

is Melissa M.McClure!

Thanks everyone who took the time to enter and for loving some boots and Country Outfitter like I do!

******Melissa- I will email you the details soon, Merry Christmas! ********

Advice for Paige

I was emailing with a sweet lady that was on the county fair board with me in my old state park town a few months ago and she mentioned briefly that her daughter was coming to that little blog conference we put on back in August.

With the trillion (that is a common number used these days, never used it when I was a kid) things to do to get ready for the conference, I forgot to look at my list of attendees to find her name and blog.

When Paige walked in the door at our conference with her bright, smiling eyes and a personality that evoked joy, kindness, and fun, at first, I was excited to meet her because I know her family, then I got to know her a bit and this girl just warms my heart.

Paige is also a wonderful writer and photographer who blogs over at Approaching Joy, and this talented little beauty is getting married this weekend. So, what do bloggers do, yes ma’am, we are having a virtual wedding shower for her. So, here is what I have to give you Paige…advice.

  • Look to your parents for inspiration, I have seen them together, sweetness. Plus, I have seen you and your brother Cody’s kindness, warmth, and willingness to always help others. There has to be something special there to have raised two amazing kids.
  • Focus daily on the reasons you love your husband, it is easy to get trapped into the things that drive you crazy (not in a good way). In all honesty, this will be a challenge at times, but you must do it.
  • Do not call your mom and complain about your husband. You guys will make up in a few hours, moms are protective and will be angry that he upset her little girl. Help protect your mom’s heart toward him.
  • The word divorce shall never be uttered between you. Once you put the word out there, you can not take it back and you have then allowed it to be an option. Remember, marriage is a covenant, not a contract.
Most importantly,
  • Pray together, often and without fear.

I live an average life, I will never be famous or filthy rich, but at the end of my days, the one thing I know is that I loved another human being so completely, heart and soul, without reservation, sacrificing often for his happiness, lifting him up, and was his best friend and confidant.

The best part of what I just wrote is that my husband would say the exact same thing about me. This is why I am living an extraordinary love story.

I wish that for you and your soon to be husband. He is one lucky fella.

Blessing sweet one,
The Park Wife


Aiming Low Blogger NonConference

I’m leavin’ on a jet plane……. to Aiming Low’s Non Con this weekend. I am very excited, see I have planned and executed two very successful conferences in Arkansas, but, I have never been to any others. Nope, not Blissdom, not BlogHer.  Thankfully, I am going to get to go with some seasoned blog conference gals, they will show me the ropes. Sweet mercy, pray for me.

This is my bloggy friend Stephanie from Evolved Mommy, she rocks. I can not wait to spend time with her, well….except that she has strep throat right now. So, I will wave at her across the room if she is still coughing.

This is the beautiful Amy from Our Everyday Dinners. I hope she brings me good food, my goal for the weekend is to talk her into sending me meals once a week, a girl can dream. Oh, and that lady with her, yes, THE PIONEER WOMAN. As many of you know she is….

yes, my best blog friend. Ree, The Pioneer Woman, is the keynote speaker and oh yes ma’am, she is sponsored by… CountryOutfitter.com! There just might be some boots given away this weekend to a few lucky bloggy gals. I will be sporting mine of course!

Cheesy smile, I was in awe of her graciousness and kindness, plus I had been standing in line for 4 hours at her book signing, delirium had set in.

This is why I became part of the blog world and started Arkansas Women Bloggers, I wanted to meet other women  (it is hard  living on a state park when it comes to that at times) which turned into a love of gathering and connecting women, helping them to tell their story.

 

If you happen to be hanging around the Atlanta are this weekend, check out the Aiming Low Non Conference. From the Aiming Low NonCon website:

The Aiming Low Non-Conference is an event meant to get back to the core values of blogging. It will be a weekend full of question and answers and information-sharing. There will be NO PANELS, just a learning environment where you are welcomed to ask about the personal, technical, seeking and slightly embarrassing questions you might have and get honest, genuine answers from our noteworthy Roundtable Leaders as well as your peers. 

And, it is FREE, yes, you read that right, FREE. If you can’t get there follow along on Twitter using #NonCon. This conference has been organized by the well-known blogger Anissa Mayhew. I am so excited to meet her!
Leavin’ on a jet plane to hang with my bloggy friends Amy and Stephanie, meet new ones, and re-connect with old ones.
The Park Wife