Tag Archives: Benton Arkansas

WPC: Blur


This week’s photo challenge is Blur.

I rarely keep a blurry photo, as I always go for the picture that has better quality. Usually my cell phone takes blurred images. Some are noticeable, while others aren’t as noticeable until after I’ve posted them on my FB or Instagram pages. However, this one is my favorite blurred image. It’s of my daughter, shopping for a comic book. She’s staring up at Hulk, her favorite superhero; there’s two different stacks of Hulk comic books so, she’s trying to decide which one she wants.

She loves superheroes and comic books. There’s a lot of girl’s who read comic books, they’re not just for boys. A few years ago she found my small stack of comic books; I had a huge stack of them, once upon a time, but they had gotten stolen while I was in the Navy. I found her thumbing through them carefully and mumbling intelligible words, which only had me believe that since she can’t read just yet, she’s making up her own story lines. Suddenly, I thought ‘maybe she would like to have them, if not help me pick some out that she would like’.

Now, when we go to Hastings, the only store nearby that has a large selection of comic books to chose from, she always asks if she can get one. Of course I say yes, it makes my little geek heart leap for joy.

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PC: Ephemeral


This week’s photo challenge is ephemeral. Ephemeral means, to last for a short period of time.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall


For more of this week’s photo challenge, wall, check out The Daily Post.

Last month, I visited one of my favorite book stores, Gingles Books and Baubles. It had been awhile since I’ve been there and I had stopped to search for a few books for a couple of classes. When I arrived, I noticed a huge, beautiful wall mural, covering the entire wall of the building (old Bell building) across the street from the book store (South Street). I walked over towards it and noticed that it’s actually a painting of the history of Arkansas and quite possible, some of it depicted history in the town of Benton (Niloak pottery).

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Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto traveled through Arkansas in 1541-42, when he had encountered the Quapaws, in the city known today as Parkin. For more information on de Soto’s travels through Arkansas, click here.

*Please note, the tribe depicted in the mural is Caddo. In Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca’s book Castaways, he was the first Spaniard to encounter the Caddos. Hernando de Soto died in May 1942, having never met with the Caddos. It was his successor, Luis Moscoso de Alvarado, who after de Soto’s death, followed along the Red River, into Southwest Arkansas, where the Caddo tribe flourished. For more info on the remainder of the de Soto expedition, click here.

Arkansas is also known for it’s timbers and timber mills, as well as it’s diamonds in Murfreesboro, and bauxite ore found in Bauxite. Arkansas had a hand in helping the US military during both WWI and WWII. Aluminum comes from bauxite ore and the town of Bauxite has an abundance of it.

Arkansas was also known for its pottery called Niloak, which is kaolin spelled backwards. Kaolin is the type of find grade clay found here in Benton, Arkansas. It was popular in 1909 to 1946. Niloak had a hard time making it through the depression, but it was successful during WWII when they produced over a million clay pigeons for the military. After the war, the company hit another downfall and it sadly went out of business.

The mural artwork was done by Dianne Roberts, who was hired by the Gann Museum to paint the mural. You can check out their FB pages by clicking on their names and see pictures she used to help her create her beautiful mural.

Sadly, Books and Baubles will be closing it’s doors for good in April, unless a new owner can step forward and keep it open. Click here, for more information.

This Week’s Photo Challenge: Orange


This week’s photo challenge is, orange; anything to do with the color orange. Orange just happens to be my favorite color. It’s bright, colorful, and is cheerful.

Below are a few pictures from my 2001 Navy Deployment, as well as a few pictures from the past few months around here in Arkansas.

Enjoy!

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Dana’s First Fish book signings coming soon


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I love it when I stroll through the aisles of my local bookstore and the employees recognize me as one of the local authors. It makes me feel proud, happy, and excited. I’m no Charlaine Harris, but still, I need that little nudge of encouragement, a boost of motivation. It hasn’t been a successful start as a published author. I’ve paid to have a marketing team help me put myself out there and it started out a little rough, but the wrinkles are starting to work themselves out, finally.

If I were a betting person, I’m not, but if I were, I would bet that if you googled Dana’s First Fish or my name, Jennifer N. Adams, a nice looking picture of yours truly would pop up. 🙂 Go ahead, google me, it’s okay. 😉 Granted, it took a lot of work and quite a bit of time for that to happen, but Dana’s First Fish appears as my book now and not the work of the other children’s author who shares my name. Since she’s written and published quite a long list of titles, I think it is I who shares her name and not the other way around.

When you spend all that time, money, energy into creating something and not receive credit, wouldn’t you be upset? I was. I would show up to events and the coordinator would frown as they were expecting the other Jennifer Adams to show up.

I’ve had a few people personally ask me to get with them in a few weeks (when they’re starting to book events) so that I can set up a date to have a book signing with them. I love when someone asks for me to do that. Make sure you keep your eyes open, as I’ll start setting up book signing events for late March or early April.

I still have a few copies of Dana’s First Fish on hand if you would like to purchase one or two of them. Just make sure that you make a memo as to whom I’m making it out to in the comments section before you check out completely.

Growing up with Autism


I’ve started to notice my daughter’s Autism progressing more. She’s more sound sensitive, even more scared of the washer, blender, and vacuum cleaner than she was before. The sounds of fireworks terrify her to the point she’s screaming with fright. She’s even more attractive to things with bright, flashing lights, like glow sticks or the light up wands you would find at Halloween or at concession stands at parades or carnivals.

Last night we had our Christmas parade here in Bryant, my hometown. I didn’t take her due to her reaction to the Christmas parade we went to in Benton the night before;  Benton is the town next to us. She showed interest in the floats, decorated with bright Christmas lights, with cheerful people waving and shouting ‘Merry Christmas’. My daughter cheered and waved back at each one as they passed by us. Then she started to push away when the band started coming near us. I calmly walked behind the crowd of people that was around us, but started to dance along with the band’s music, showing her that it was okay.

As soon as the band passed by I put her up on top of my shoulders, where she would sit for majority of the parade. She resumed her clapping, waving, and cheering at the brightly lit floats driving past us, until the motorcycles started to approach us. She started to scream and try to climb down from my shoulders. I cuddled her as best I could, trying to comfort her as she hid her head in my chest, covering her ears and whimpering. I placed my hand over her head, bringing her into my chest and covering her ears as best as I could, telling her all will be okay. The more the motorcycles revved up their engines, the more she stirred and cried.

I continued to stay at the back of the crowd, far from the parade procession. Though as each loud group that passed by us, I would put her back up on my shoulders so she could enjoy the rest of the parade. It was soon coming to an end and it was time for the firetrucks to make their appearance, followed by the fat jolly man on top of the last firetruck. It wasn’t hard to tell they were nearing as each one would blast their sirens, causing it to echo off of the buildings, making it sound louder and louder as the approached. It was our Que to leave.

I didn’t need to stay any longer to see Santa and I knew she could care less if he was approaching or not. It was the loud sirens that had her terrified and her wanting to leave. So leave we did. She loves firetrucks, has several firetruck toys at home. She just doesn’t like the loud sirens that they have.

Children don’t come with handbooks or manuals, nor does Autism. It’s all a learning process. A few years ago I had to learn from these similar reactions that fireworks aren’t something that we’ll be into viewing each fourth of July. Every fourth we’ll go to the carnival, but we return home way before the crowd shows for the fireworks display. I try to distract her with cartoons, puzzles, and games on her kindle as each whistle, pop, and crackle noise is made from the neighbors setting off their own little fireworks.

Parades and fireworks won’t stop us from enjoying ourselves. We might not go off to watch it in person, but that won’t stop us from finding something else to entertain ourselves, such as a Disney movie in the comfort of our own home.

Book signing at a book fair


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This Thursday Civitan Preschool in Benton, Arkansas will be having a Scholastic Book Fair to celebrate Clifford’s 50th birthday. The Civitan Preschool has teachers that have extensive training and experience in working with kids with special needs; Autism, Down Syndrome, Developmental Delays, and many other children with disabilities and special needs.

This book fair will help the preschool in purchasing books for their classrooms. They will be providing OT, PT, ST, and any other developmental services so that all children will be able to attend and enjoy the book fair. There will be door prizes, cake, and free screenings for children. And the first 50 kids to come will get a free book.

I will be there signing my children’s book, Dana’s First Fish. I will be donating a percentage of my sales from that day to the Civitan Preschool.

Everyone is invited to come join us at Civitan Center, 121 Cox St., Benton, Arkansas 72015. If you have any questions concerning the book fair ask for Julie (501)776-0691

Here’s a link to the FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/343452182453043/

Hope to see you there!

A Typical Friday Morning


I walk through the door on the the cafe side of Hastings in Benton. It has become my usual place to be on Friday mornings.

I sit at one of the tables that are situated between the magazines and the Hardback Coffee Cafe. Immediately I begin pulling out my notebook, pen, and the current manuscript I’m working on and begin to work.

My other writing places are at home, Pulaski Tech’s library, and the Bryant public library. The change of scenery seems to help my creative mind. This is how I have learned to break my writer’s block.

I love it here, being surrounded by books. It’s just like being at the library, but it has a different atmosphere. The aroma of coffee, my favorite smell, teases my nose. Its alluring magic overwhelms my sense of want like an imaginary hand, pulling my attention towards the coffee counter. I get up and place my order, Chai tea frappe.

I watch the tall blonde young woman make my order. Her hair pulled up in a short pony tail. She has a colorful tattoo on her arm that I cannot quite make out and a bracelet that looks to be made out of blue plastic beads. She sets my cup down in front of me and tells me how much it is. I hand her exact change and return to my seat.

I slowly drink my frappe and the cold taste hits my taste buds; a wonderful mixture of vanilla and creme, sweetness and cold. It hits the spot and the imaginary hand soon disappears.

I finally begin to write. The words just pour out onto the page. Customers come in and out through the door behind me, ordering their drinks. I never stop to look up to watch them, though I can see them in my peripheral view. Some sit and tap on their laptops, or browse through the magazines before moving into the other part of the store.

A lady sitting at the table next to mine taps away at her laptop. She’s been here every Friday like me, though she arrives before I do. I listen unintentionally to her long fake nails clicking on the keyboards. They make a rhythmic, yet annoying sound, but only last for a few minutes as she packs her laptop into its bag and leaves.

The employees behind the register rotate out. The young blonde woman is replaced by a tall, dark haired young man with a beard. He turns the music on, playing it low on the speakers overhead. Immediately he begins to sing along. First it’s Adele, followed by Christina Aguilera. i smile, still staring down at my notebook. Soon I find myself humming along. I don’t seem to mind listening to him sing as he isn’t bad.

He walks around the small cafe, wiping the table tops. I look up and my eyes wonder to the magazines. Famous places, cars, faces, and movie stars stare back at me. It’s time for a mental break. I pack my things into my bag and head back towards the books.

After a few minutes of walking through the aisles at a snail’s pace, my phone rings. My sister wants to meet up for lunch. Pizza. My stomach helps me answer yes. I didn’t realize the time, it was almost 1 PM. I had been here for three and a half hours. Time had surely flown, but yet I made great use of that time. I’m looking forward to next Friday morning and begin, what seems like a routine, all over again.

A Historical Weekend


This weekend my parents, nephew, daughter, and I visited The Shoppach House here in Benton, Arkansas. It is a Historical Landmark and is also a rare opportunity to be able to visit the place, as it’s never open. I had the pleasure of talking to a nice elderly woman who gave me quite a story of the house and the Union Army that occupied it. A few men and women from the ‘Sons of Confederate Veterans David O’Dodd Camp 619’ were there, dressed in period clothing, as well as in Civil War uniforms. They had a cannon that they were firing off every hour and were also showing guns, bullets, and other pieces from the Civil War Era.

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Cornhusk Dolls

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The Shoppach House is the oldest structure in central Arkansas and was once owned by a German immigrant farmer, John F. Shoppach. He and his wife, Siddy, had 11 children, 6 of them survived passed infancy.

The house was built in 1852; the local Native Americans made the bricks that were used to build the house. John F. Shoppach died at the age of 52 in 1861.

In 1863, Union Army Soldiers occupied most of Benton. Some of them camped across the street from the Shoppach House; Fort Bussy was just down the street where the water towers now stand today. In September 1863, Union Soldiers commandeered the Shoppach House.

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‘Built in 1852 of bricks made on the site, this is the oldest house standing in Benton. In April, 1861, Saline County’s Company E, First Arkansas Infantry, Confederate States of America, was presented with a battle flag made by the ladies of Benton. The ceremony was held in the Shoppach house yard, following which the company left for Virginia, where it took part in the Battle of Bull Run, and subsequently, other major battles. When Benton was occupied by the Union Army in 1863, Union Army officers took quarters in the Shoppach house.’

Also, behind the Shoppach House is the Pilgrims Rest Church built in the 1860’s and

the DeToni Post Office built in the 1940’s.

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Biology project and power outages


Yesterday I was going to blog about a project I was working on in Biology, but the electricity was out for most of the day. I had stayed up late working on my Biology project, I have two, both due on the same day. Both of them having to do with food. The first project requires me to record a weeks worth of food, everything that I consume, food and drink, from the time that I get up, to the time I go to bed. Then, go to a website and enter the information. The website then gives me a list of information, such as calories, sodium, protein, percentage of grains, vegetables, fruit, etc. I’m to take that information to another website for it to total it up for my project. After I have all this done, I’m to write at least a two page report talking about what I thought about this project, what I got out of it, and my conclusion.

The second project I have to work on, is to eat out at five different fast food restaurants. The first project I really enjoyed and was very easy, but this project doesn’t sound too pleasing to me at all. I don’t mind eating fast food now and then, but having to do this for a school project? I’m surrounded by every fast food restaurant imaginable, but not all of them has a list of healthy food on their menu.

Going back to the one website, I added the list of food I ate that day and was depressed by the numbers staring back at me from the computer screen. I had went over the sodium levels, the empty calories, the saturated fats, the daily calorie intake. It’s amazing what eating fast food will do to a person. I could not imagine eating fast food on a daily basis.

I looked at the clock which read twenty minutes after midnight. I printed out part of my homework and set it aside to finish the next day, which would be Sunday. I got up Sunday morning and got my daughter and I ready to go to the store. My grandmother went off to church. I wasn’t in Walmart for ten minutes when the power went out. I continued to shop thinking the power would come back on, but a lady had came down the aisle telling us that everyone is being forced to leave.

I didn’t have but two items in my hand, but checked out anyway. I texted a friend as soon as I got to my car and told him about the power outage. He texted me back saying that my county has about 7000 people without power all due to the weather. It was really windy out and was sprinkling. It didn’t rain until later that night. I ended up driving to the Walmart in the next town over and picking up McDonald’s on the way home. My house was really dark when we got home. The power was out for almost five hours.

We have a small battery powered lantern, some flashlights, and some hurricane lamps, but I’m thinking about investing in more battery powered lamps and stocking up on batteries. With winter quickly approaching, I’m sure we’ll have more power outages in the very near future.