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Who Are You Calling a Spelunker?

**This is a post from my blogging days at The Simple Life of a Caver’s Wife, but I’m proud of my husband and love that he is passionate about what he does, so I wanted to share this with SGC readers. :)
Who Are You Calling A Spelunker?- SouthernGalsCook.com
My hubby on the Flint-Mammoth Connection Anniversary Trip 2007

In the caving community, there is a strong understanding that you don’t ever, EVER call a caver a “spelunker”.
Dem’s just fighting words ’round these parts.

If you ask a caver what the difference is, there’s a good chance they will tell you:

“The difference between a caver and a spelunker? Cavers rescue spelunkers.”

What’s the big deal? Well, before you insult a caver, let me break it down for you.

By definition {Merriam-Webster}, a spelunker is one who explores and studies caves as a hobby.

Imagine, if you will, a couple of kids finding a cave and taking a flashlight to check it out. They are inexperienced, don’t have the proper equipment, don’t know the caving rules or techniques, and are really just in there to mess around.  They are on an adventure to have fun and discover a new world, yet they are at high risk of injuring themselves and destroying the cave with their lack of knowledge, experience, and respect.

A caver, on the other hand, doesn’t really view caving as a hobby. Instead, caving is a way of life. In each caver, there is still that curious kid looking for an adventure and need to discover, but now there is a passion; a passion that is fueled with purpose; a purpose that is grounded in respect for both the cave and the caving brotherhood.

 Jeremy Reedy in the Bare Hole in Mammoth Cave ~ Photo taken by Jackie Wheet

Believe me, following protocol does not kill the sense of adventure or the majesty of the cave.

My hubby going through the Brice Crawl in Mammoth Cave

Danger is very real. The risk of getting hurt is real.

A rescue could take many hours. That’s why there must be a level of respect for technique, equipment and the safety of one another.

A caver with purpose will generally be a part of a caving group. My caver is a member the Cave Research Foundation. The organization’s members devote some of their time to explore, map, and collect pertinent data from caves across the nation to help others understand the importance and relativity of caves to our ecosystem and our nation’s history.

Cavers also understand the need for preservation. Not only do they get to be one of the few that get to see virgin areas of these chasms, but they know that for the benefit of generations to come, leaving it the way they found it is imperative. “Take only memories, leave only footprints.” You will never find a caver-to-the-core smuggling cave formations or artifacts out of the cave. It just isn’t done. It’s code.{By the way, in a National Park, it’s also known as a federal offense.} Every precaution is taken to make sure that the cave is in the same shape it was in when they arrived.

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Me on the Wild Cave Tour in Mammoth Cave 2010

So, now you know.

“And knowing is half the battle.”

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Help, we need somebody! Help, not just anybody! Help, you know we need someone, help!

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Do the altered lyrics in our title for this post sound familiar?

Yep, you guessed it!

The Beatles, HELP, released July 1965!

Okay, enough trivia!

 

We at SGC need help from our readers!  Help in finding out how we are doing on our blog.

We ask that you please take a moment to answer a few questions and express your opinion.  Please be honest, courteous and constructive with your feedback.

To thank you for your time you will have a chance to win this cookbook!  But, you can’t win if you don’t participate!

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You have until July 14 to complete the survey.  Once you have taken the survey just leave your name and e-mail address in the Leave a Comments section located at the top of this post.  (Don’t worry, it’s not a trick. We will not share your e-mail, we will only use it to contact you if you win).  We will choose, at random, a winner on July 15.

Thanks and God Bless,

SGC

READY, SET, GO …………

The Purity of a Virtuous Woman

The Purity of a Virtous Woman- SouthernGalsCook.com

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Titus 2The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

I apologize for this post being later than I had hoped.

For those of you who have ever played a large role in a Vacation Bible School, I’m sure you can understand why I took a little break.

The Purity of a Virtous Woman- SouthernGalsCook.com

And all my VBS peeps said, “Amen!”

This past week, our church was having our annual VBS with the theme of “The Virtuous Woman”. Each night, we discussed a characteristic found in Proverbs 31 and used a woman in the bible that exhibited those characteristics.

We talked about:

The Faith of a Virtuous Woman

The Wisdom of a Virtuous Woman

The Compassion of a Virtuous Woman

The Courage of a Virtuous Woman

For our last virtue, we talked about purity.

We all know that purity means clean; without contamination.

We also know that physical purity is important and discussed in the bible.

I don’t want to get off on this tangent, but I feel that I need to point this out: this is something that has been tossed aside in our society. The idea that a person’s sexual purity is disposable, unnecessary, and a curse, has crawled its way into many of our homes.

Our children can’t see a commercial or hear a song without some sort of sexual insinuation, which, if left ignored, will desensitize them to impropriety.

The world is astonished at the notion of having a relationship without physical intimacy until marriage. “What’s the big deal?!” The big deal is that God intended for your body to belong to the person you marry, when you are married, and to no one else at any other time– and that goes for ladies AND gentlemen.

I told my daughter the other day that the reason I dislike “new country music” is because southern women are portrayed as promiscuous, immodest, drunken girls with a love of drunk boys in pick-ups. Remember when being a southern lady meant having a sense of propriety and values, loving Jesus, and being loyal to family?

I know I sound like an 80-year-old grandma with a wagging finger, but I can’t help it. I have a daughter to raise and I want my son to learn to value women, to be a protector of these virtues, and posses them himself. However, it seems that everywhere we look, women are showing their bodies and men are praising them for it. On the other hand, we have aggressive women throwing themselves at men who want to do the right thing.

Please understand that this rambling of mine isn’t about legalism. If we depended on our actions for God’s mercy, we’d all be doomed.

God’s word, if we have been saved, should cause us to examine ourselves and convict us of our wrong doings. I can’t help but do that every time I study the Proverbs 31 woman. It reveals in me my impure thoughts and actions. I am a sinner saved by grace– but I’m still a sinner and will be until I lay this body down. This is why God’s grace is so needful and wonderful.

It’s also why we need to extend grace to others.

We cannot be perfect. None of us can. It baffles me that people think they can be good enough to go to heaven. Scripture teaches us plainly that no one can be good enough. God compares us to Jesus. Can any of us measure up to Jesus’s purity? No. Not one. When God looks at us, He sees a people who have sinned against Him and His Son– but if He sees the blood of His Son on our hearts, He sees us as His children.

If my kids have had a bad day and had gotten in trouble, I tell them that best thing about tomorrow is that it’s a fresh start with no mistakes. Isn’t it nice to know that it’s the same with God?

Lamentations 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

I hope that we all realize we must strive for holiness. Not just our bodies– but our eyes, ears, and mind need to be guarded. Do we protect our thoughts? Do we guard our hearts? Virtue is something that requires great effort and I pray that God will grant us the strength and perseverance to achieve such things for His honor, His glory, and to the furthering of His kingdom.

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We are linked up!

God bless you all,

The Compassion of a Virtuous Woman

The Compassion of a Virtuous Woman- SouthernGalsCook.com

♥Proverbs 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

♥John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

♥1 Corinthians 13:1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

I’m ashamed.

Not because I lack compassion. There’s enough compassion in this ol’ heart to share.

I’m ashamed because I have allowed the fraud of others to tarnish my idea of charity.

Do you know what I mean?

You hear of non-profits profiting heavily off of the kindness of others.

Our government assistant programs are being taken advantage of by people who are healthy enough to work, they just choose not to.

These situations maybe rare, but they are all you hear about.

So, even though compassion exists among God’s people, wouldn’t you agree that our compassion as become callused?

Well… shame on us!

Shame on me!

Shame on me for allowing the exception to become the rule.

What a wonderful opportunity we miss out on for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Before there were food stamps, free health care, and government housing, there were churches that fed and clothed the poor. If you needed money, they would find something for you to do so you could earn a few dollars. And because there were real people {not agencies} reaching out, it was very rare for the ‘needy’ to continue taking advantage of the compassion of others. As soon as they were on their feet, they were not only providing for themselves, but they were paying forward the compassion shown to them.

In that process, the love of Christ was shining brightly in the hearts of the givers.

I wonder how many souls were saved through the living testimonies of those that reached their hands out to the needy.

Where is it today?

The more I write, the angrier I become at myself.

Compassion and charity are all just extensions of love.

Should it be so difficult to love our fellow man? Especially if we have the love of Christ in us?

I was talking to Dana the other day about adoption. We, as Christians are called out to take care of the widows and the orphans, yet how many of us consider adoption?

I have family members that have adopted. What a wonderful gift it is. I cannot even begin to describe how much our family has loved and been loved through that process.

There are so many children that need to know the love of a family.

Do you know how many 17 year olds feel doomed because on their next birthday they will be pushed out of the system? They will no longer be eligible for adoption because they will be a legal adult– an adult with no one to call them on their birthday. No where to go for the holidays.

My heart is breaking.

What if you could be that one family; the one that could give that child {or children} a soft place to fall when they are disappointed? What about when they are sick and they have no one that loves them enough to fix them a special bed on the couch, pop in their favorite movie, keep their cup filled with ice-cold Sprite and snuggle with them until their fever breaks? What about when they want to know what happens when they die, and there is no one to tell them about the love of Jesus and heaven?

I hope no one comes in here. I’m pretty sure the snot and tears would freak them out.

You know what the problem is?

Our society has taken on this idea that children are an inconvenience.

Women are told not to consider having families until they are well established. “Wait until you have your degree and your career going. A child will just slow you down.”

Children are blessing.

Period.

Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

I’m not saying that they aren’t a huge responsibility. I’m not saying that your life won’t change.

It will!

It has to!

But I’m telling you it is worth it.

It is worth it.

It is worth it.

It. Is. Worth it.

Every less dollar amount. Every sleepless night. Every spit up stained shirt. Every car seat in the mini-van. Every “what is that smell?!” Every “GET THAT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!”. Every frantic trip to the ER. Every time you have to answer “why?”…

I wouldn’t trade a nanosecond of that for anything you could offer.

If you have ever entertained the idea of adopting, PLEASE pray about it until you have exhausted all avenues.

We need more compassionate women to say YES to children with no families.

We need more compassionate women to reach their hands toward the needy without hesitancy.

We need more compassionate hearts living out the gospel.

By “we”, I mean “me”… and “you”… and “us”. All of us. I know I can’t be the only one.

Without our actions, our words are just sounds… sounds that mean nothing. Just noise.

I don’t want to be “just noise”.

The compassion of a Virtuous Woman…her words would sound like the song of angels. Her actions would be like a cool breeze on a hot, humid, Kentucky summer day– bringing comfort, and beauty, and relief.

No noise. Just love.

May we all inch closer to being a Proverbs 31 woman by living the way Jesus said… having love one to another.

 

Vacation Bible School

Galatians 3:23-26

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

 

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Our church family starts its yearly Vacation Bible School tonight. This is a four night event that brings about eating, learning God’s word and crafts.

We love this time of year as we get to see many familiar faces, those we rarely see, and some new faces as well.

I (Dana) and my Aunt Tenito (pronounced Ta-ni-ta) is in charge of feeding the multitude.  Tangi will be teaching the 5 and 6-year-old class and Laura will be capturing all the action via still photos and videos.

Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

This year we will be learning about Proverbs 31 – The Virtuous Women.  Our writers chose Women in the Bible that exhibited different traits described in Proverbs 31.

Monday night we learn about Hannah, an example of a Faithful Woman.

Tuesday night we learn about Abigail, a woman of beauty and wisdom. And Deborah, whom was both a prophetess and a judge.

Wednesday night we learn of Compassion from three women, Lydia, Ruth and the Shunammite Woman.

Thursday night we learn about Esther, an orphan girl who became queen.  She was also a woman of Courage and clear judgement.

Friday night we learn about Purity and how Mary, the Mother of Jesus exhibited this trait.

We hope to bring you all the action, plus a little learnens’ about God’s wonderful word, cooking and craft making!

Hopefully, you will find something along the way that will help you in your life and possibly with your VBS.

Sound exciting?

Let’s get started!

Good Bless ya,

SGC

DRUM ROLL PLEASE………… AND THE WINNER OF THE KENTUCKY DERBY HAT CONTEST IS ………………..

2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 

2 Corinthians 1:11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

WE HAVE A WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!!

CONGRATULATIONS CHERYL CASTEEL YOU ARE OUR WINNER!  You will receive a 1-years subscription to TASTE OF HOME magazine

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Thanks to Cheryl and all those who subscribe to our blog, like us on Facebook, follows us on Twitter and pins us on Pinterest, we are forever grateful.  Without our peeps we could not do this!

Cheryl, please e-mail your address to southerngalscook@yahoo.com to receive your subscription.  Don’t worry, we will NOT share your information with anyone else.

This was fun!!!!!  Can’t wait to do it again, and we will.

SGC

Southern Sausage Gravy

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Matthew 5:13

I’ve noticed that foods that I consider “comfort foods” are those that take me back to my childhood. My Mom’s pineapple upside-down cake, my Pop’s manicotti, and my Grandmother Bryson’s sausage gravy and biscuits.

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Taking a bite of this gravy is like stepping into a time machine, dialing the time of arrival to 1983 when I was 3 years old, and stepping into her kitchen. I remember standing on a stool next to her while she let me pat out the biscuits and put them in her baking pan.

Even though I was a pretty good cook when I got married, I did my best to recreate the foods that my loved ones served, to my new husband.

Gravy was one thing that I had to attempt several times before I got the consistency just right. There were times that I served my husband gravy so thick and pasty we could have spackled dry wall with it. There were other times that the gravy looked more like a creamy soup. But now, lucky for him, I’ve got it just right.

To make this Southern Sausage Gravy, you will need:

1 lb bulk sausage

3 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups whole milk {I’ve used 2% and it’s fine, I just prefer whole milk}

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

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Step 1: Heat your skillet over medium high heat. Crumble your sausage into your skillet and cook to a golden brown. DO NOT DRAIN YOUR GREASE! This is the fat you need to make this dish.

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Step 2: Thoroughly incorporate your flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about a minute being sure scrap the bottom of your skillet. The flour can stick and burn if you aren’t careful. {I find using a whisk and a cast iron skillet are the best tools for this job.}

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Step 3: Vigorously stirring with your whisk, pour in your milk. Stirring continually will work out any lumps giving you a smooth, creamy texture. Continue to stir and cook for a couple of minutes or until your gravy is the perfect, velvety consistency.

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Step 5: Serve over Dana’s amazing biscuits to some of your favorite people.

Enjoy!

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