Tag Archives: faith

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.

 

The Wisdom of a Virtuous Woman

The Wisdom of a Virtuous Woman- SouthernGalsCook.com

 

Proverbs 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Proverbs 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Yesterday {Tuesday} was the second night in our VBS studies of The Virtuous Woman found in Proverbs 31. On Monday, the character trait we focused on was Faith. Tuesday we talked about wisdom.

My {Tangi} husband is teaching the high school class and one of his students quoted this:

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

It made me chuckle, but what a great way to put it.

I wonder how many times God has looked down at me from Heaven and saw me trying to put tomatoes in the fruit salad.

Do you pray for wisdom?

Myself? Not nearly enough. Usually, I ask for Godly wisdom when I have made such a mess out of things already.  How different the landscape of my life would be if I had asked God to give me wisdom to begin with!

God knows that I need Him.

I need Him so much.

Generally, when I think about the verse Proverbs 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands., I imagine a woman with scandalous behavior. I think of a woman who is dressed like a “woman of the night”, leaving her family to commit adultery and spending the grocery money on parties and clothes.

I know there are women like that, but that is just one side of the spectrum.

Women can damage their families just by being careless. 

My husband made an excellent point to his high school class. He told them that there are a lot of smart people who are not wise and there are a lot of wise people who aren’t book smart. He went on to say that people who usually don’t make wise choices tend to have a lot of conflict in their lives. He went a little further and told his class {all guys} that if they marry a woman who had a habit of making unwise choices, those consequences would follow her into their marriage and effect their relationship. Isn’t marriage hard enough without added strain?

Am I right?

Can I get an amen?

..Ahem… moving on…

As you can see, my hubby is very wise. After all, he married me. 😉

I can’t help but to be honest with you. There are so, so, so, many things that I am not good at. I fail constantly. I’m impulsive. I can be selfish. I can be stubborn. I internalize my feelings until I explode– I have a long fuze, but it still ain’t pretty. {Gosh. Y’all pray for my husband!} I’d go on, but I’m embarrassing myself.

I really DO want to be a woman with Godly wisdom.

I really DO want to speak wisdom into the lives of my children.

I really Do want to help my husband by being that partner that helps him in making wise choices about our family.

Jesus really does love me. Not only does He love me so much He shed His blood for my soul, but He also has to deal with me. I’m thankful for His grace.

May God bless us with wisdom and may we all put our tomatoes in the correct salad. 😉

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}

Genesis 3

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

 

We believe in Intelligent Design. We believe that our Heavenly Father created the world and everything in it in six literal days.

In those 6 days, God created everything that Man would need to survive: food, medicine, shelter, water, and He created them in a way that we would receive optimal benefits.

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}- SouthernGalsCook.com

After the 1950s, we have seen an unnatural alteration in our food culture. Consumers wanted food to be easier, faster, cheaper, and more of it– so, the food industry ramped up their scientific approach for production to keep up with the demand.

Food has been broken down, dehydrated and ground up, fillers added to make it go farther, not-your-grandmas-preservatives were added to make it last longer, colors were added to make it prettier, pesticides are sprayed on it so corporations would have bigger harvests so they would make more money…more, more, more, MORE… Should I even start on what’s happened with our meat and dairy?! …UGH!

Now look at us. We are a generation of disease ridden, obese, malnourished people. {Myself included– but I’m working on that}

Coincidence? I think not.

Over the last few years, my idea of food has evolved. I see the need for Back-to-Basics-Living and am slowly working my household over to that. Not ‘hardcore’ back-to-basics. I’m not a purist’s purist, but I do try to limit the amount of processed foods that come into my home.

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}- SouthernGalsCook.com

The Wheetshire Garden 2013

The first steps that I have taken are to cook from scratch and grow some of my family’s food {check out my 2014 garden here}.

Cooking from scratch it isn’t really a huge change, it just requires more meal prep and planning.

Now, before you start thinking that I am one of these haughty, granola crunching {mmm..granola}, tree hugging {not that there’s anything wrong with that}, out-of-touch-with-the-real-world people, I want you to know that I DO live in the real world and I know that sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for gray sea salt, gluten-free this, free range that, organic everything… and blah, blah, blah. I don’t get them all time. I can’t. That’s why I say ‘when possible’. Cut yourself {and me} some slack. We do the best we can, when we can. Most of the time, the best I can do is buy whole foods and staple items for “from scratch” cooking. I can’t always get organic, either. It’s Oh. Kay. I don’t always have time to make my own cream ‘o soup, so I get it from the store.

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}- SouthernGalsCook.com

Wheetshire Tomatoes 2013

Did I mention that I am also a working mom? Yeah. I have a work schedule and a $50 to $60 a week grocery budget. How’s that for “in touch”? 😉 Cooking from scratch is possible in a working mom’s schedule– we just have to plan a little better.

For funzies, let’s look and compare sandwich bread– Factory made vs. Homemade.

Homemade bread has: flour, yeast, honey, water, extra virgin olive oil and salt. That’s a total of 6 ingredients.  

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}- SouthernGalsCook.com

Homemade Sandwich Bread


Sunbeam Bread Ingredients:

Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Water, Wheat Gluten, Cellulose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast. Contains 2% Or Less of Each of The Following: Whole WheatFlour, Salt, Wheat Bran, Yeast Nutrients (Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate), Dough Conditioners (May Contain One Or More of The Following: Mono- & Diglycerides, Ethoxylated Mono- & Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Enzymes), Corn Starch, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Distilled Vinegar, Caramel Color, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour. Contains Wheat and Soy.

**Um, dough conditioners? Caramel color? What the what?!

 

Now, let’s get real. Right now, there is a half eaten loaf of store-bought bread in my pantry. There is also a mostly eaten loaf of homemade sourdough bread on my counter.

I have homegrown organic vegetables in my freezer, as well as non-organic, non-free range chicken.

I have a box of raisin bran next to a jar of homemade granola.

You see where I am going with this? This is a gradual, do-the-best-you-can-with-what-you’ve-got process.

If we want to live a more natural, wholesome lifestyle, let’s take it one step at a time. Do the best you can with what you’ve got. Some improvement is better than none. I’ve heard this called “imperfect progress” and I feel good about it.

 

Roots- A Brief History Lesson on Southern Cuisine

I’m kind of a nerd. I start thinking about things and wonder how they started, where they came from, who made it, why, why is it called what it is– and then I study. Not because I have a project due or a deadline, but because I’m a curious person that likes to learn.

A couple of years ago someone asked me what my favorite kind of food was. I jokingly responded, “The kind you eat.” The thing is, I’m not a picky eater by any stretch of the imagination. I’m very adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. After I giggled at my smart aleck remark, I answered seriously with, “home-style southern food”. If you put a five-star restaurant plate with something exotic and beautiful next to a plate with collard greens ‘n ham hocks, fried fat back, corn bread, and black-eyed peas, then told me to pick a plate–I’d go for the latter.

Sweet Tea- SouthernGalsCook.com

Click for recipe

I got to wondering about why Southern cooking is different from other places in the country and where our southern food traditions come from. So, being the nerd I am, I got to reading up on a little Southern Cuisine history.

As I figured, influences stemmed from the multicultural population, crops, livestock, wild game, and necessity. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. Is it not?

The influential multicultural groups included African, English, Scottish, Irish, and Native American, just to name a few.  Not only did their style of cooking form our roots of southern cuisine, but also the ingredients that they brought with them from their native homes largely affected the culinary style we know today. The BIGGEST influences of Southern food, in my opinion, were the Africans. I’ll get more into this in a minute.

Because the growing season weather is hot and humid, and because most of the dirt in the south is clay, some crops thrived in the south while others had to be imported from surrounding regions.

Southern Cornbread

Click for the recipe

Now, the part that I found to be the most interesting was the huge influences that the slaves had on the foods that I love so much. One of the things that I read told how the slave owners would give the slaves the parts of the butchered pigs that they found inedible, such as pig ears, pig’s feet, ham hocks, etc. The Africans would use those piggie parts to season their cooking. That is why, still to this day, we cook down a mess of greens with a pork product. They also breaded some vegetables and fish in cornmeal, such as squash, okra, and catfish, then deep-fried them in pork grease. {Yum!} They introduced okra, black-eyed peas, and many other things to the Southern table.

Roots- A Brief History Lesson on Southern Cuisine

Greens- A Southern Staple

Barbecue is a Southern tradition that can be traced to our Native American ancestors. Barbecue varies in every region and every region “has the best and only way to eat bbq!” HAHA! I’m not kidding! People get crazy competitive {and snobby!} with it! Everything from the wood used to smoke it, the sauce to baste it, the rub to massage it, and the way to cut it is up for debate! Don’t even get me started on the different sauces!

Our love of pies and cobblers go back to our European ancestors that showed us amazing things that can be done with flour, butter, sugar, eggs, fruit, and imported vanilla and cocoa.

Peach Cobbler- SouthernGalsCook.com

Click for the recipe

I enjoy knowing my Southern heritage. I like knowing why we do the things we do. I love being Southern. I’ve enjoyed sharing with you. And, as the southern comedienne, Minnie Pearl, would say “I’m just so proud to be here”.

Garden Planning 101

Proverbs 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. Garden Planning 101- SouthernGalsCook.com

This weekend, South Central Kentucky was beautiful! With the threat of a late frost behind us {hopefully}, we took advantage of the 75 degree weather and planted our garden.

I LOVE to garden and am always eager to teach others what I have learned in my short time as a gardener.

Over the last few years I have made it a goal to learn and apply something new each season. This garden season, I wanted to learn as much as I could about companion planting. I want my family’s food to be chemical free so I want to do everything I can to prevent pests and diseases as naturally as possible. With the knowledge that I acquired over the winter, I set about planning out my garden.

Here are a few tips!

1- Decide what you would like to grow. After reviewing last year’s gardening notes, my husband and I decided that we definitely wanted to grow more this year. Not only did we want to grow more corn than last year, but we also wanted to grow other veggies that we didn’t before. I also knew that I wanted to companion plant by incorporating pest-deterring flowers, as well as careful plant placement. If you are new to gardening, start by choosing a few things that you and your family like to eat and go from there.

2- Consider your garden space. Once you know what you want to grow and how much space you have to work with, you can start to put a plan together. Remember that plants have different real estate needs. Some plants need to be trellised while some don’t. Squash plants need about a 2-3 ft circumference, while a bush bean plant may only need a foot of space to thrive. You can find out that information on the back of a seed packet. But y’all, even if you have 50 acres, if this is your first garden, start small. Take time and learn as you go. Gardens are hard work. If you invest too much time and money into something you don’t know a lot about, you could easily become discouraged and give up. Even a small garden can produce a lot of food!

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My Family’s Garden Spot

3- Educate yourself on what plants work well together. I scoured the internet  for hours learning as much as I could about what garden plants are beneficial to each other. I found many companion planting graphs and charts on Pinterest, but some of them were missing things I wanted to grow, like okra and radishes. So I ended up doing a search online that looked like this– “okra+companion+planting”. I used the information that I got to map out my garden.

GardenPlanningSGC

I’m kind of a geek and loved making this map.

Some of you that are more experienced, may see some ways that I could have done this better, and if you do please let me know! I am a sponge when it comes to learning about this stuff. I did take a lot of time carefully deciding the best way to utilize the space and grouping “companions” together. Bonus: I’ve always heard that to detract rabbits, you needed something shiny and moving in the garden. Some people string up pie tins around the perimeter of their garden. I decided to make row markers with wooden stakes and shiny duct tape. I’ll let you know if it works. We have A LOT of rabbits.

GardenPlanning7SGC 4- Get to work! A dear, sweet friend {cough cough Dana’s hubby cough cough} broke up our garden for us with his big tractor. Since we didn’t plant for a couple of weeks, we had to go back over it with our new-to-us tiller. My little lady was sick with strep throat and had to stay in the air conditioning while my husband, son, and I got to work.  Bo, our Bagel {beagle-basset mix}, supervised close by. Since my hubby is recovering from a medical ordeal that I don’t care to get into, he only did what his energy would allow. My son is eight– need I say more? Otherwise, this would have been a major family involved effort. I pray that as the weeks pass by, everyone will be recovered and can help with the upkeep, harvest, and preservation of the garden.

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Hoeing crooked-but-mostly-straightish rows

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My two favorite guys planting corn.

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PJ carefully placing corn seeds a hand-width apart.

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Bo is making sure I stay on task and that the rabbits stay away.

I know this was brief, but it really isn’t that complicated. It just takes some homework and planning. We welcome any questions you all may have about gardening. We don’t know everything, but together we know a lot! HAHA! Happy Planting!

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We linked up with:

Brie Gowen

Savor the Essence of Life

Reagan Rose Blog

Applying God's Word to Absolutely Everything

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

Two Barn Farm

Sustainable Farming, Permaculture, Gardening and Homesteading in Ohio

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