Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Hard Row to Hoe

This summer has been unusual in that it’s rained almost every day in June and July. One afternoon in June, it poured 4 inches in less than an hour, which led to flash flooding and part of our road being swept away.  A new bridge is still under construction. As a result of the excessive rain, I’ve not been unable to weed the garden and I’ve lost the battle.  It reminded me of a time in my childhood when the weeds almost overtook our tobacco crop because of wet weather. Losing the cash crop to weeds was not an option. We called this task, “chopping out tobacco.”AdobeStock_99823358_WM

I remember those long, never-ending rows, filled with thick grass, almost choking the plants. Mama and Daddy both had full-time jobs, plus garden and farm work, so chopping out tobacco usually fell to me and my three siblings.  But on this occasion, the weeds were so fierce it took all of us. Daddy sang as he worked. If one of us got to the end of our row fist, we’d help the next person until everyone finished together and started a new row together.

Daddy would say, “Just keep your head down, don’t give up, and before you know it, you’ll be at the end of your hard row to hoe.” And he was right. There are seasons in life when we all have a “hard row to hoe.” I’ve learned that this is the best time pray. One favorite passage in the Bible comes from Paul, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.

Lately, I feel as though I’ve had a hard row to hoe. I’ve suffered a minor health issue, signed a contract to write ten devotions with a deadline, had over three-hundred children registered in our summer reading program, and I’m planning a mission trip in a few weeks. With the latest coup in Istanbul, terror attacks in France and Germany, I’ve lost more than one night’s sleep. For a brief instant, I considered cancelling my trip to Africa, but as I prayed about whether to stay or go, a song from my childhood Bible School days played in my head, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I whined to God. But I don’t want to be a soldier.

Then I remembered Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” Luke 22:42-43. What if Jesus had said, “No” to what God asked of him? None of us would have hope. Surely I can live in difficult  conditions for a week. After all, He suffered and died on the cross to redeem me.

Please keep our missionary families, the national believers and my Africa team in your prayers. We will be travelling to a remote area, camping where temperatures might reach 120 degrees during the day with a low of 90 at night. We’ll be teaching a Bible School for children. These same children might someday be asked to join the terrorists. I believe the best weapon against terrorism is the love of Jesus. We’ll also be training national believers how to evangelize. I feel strongly that the window is closing and someday in the near future, we will not be able to travel to this remote area. But if we teach the national believers how to become fishers of men, then God’s kingdom will continue to grow without the American missionaries’ support. Africa_a Please pray that they will not grow weary. Pray for the missionary families in Niger and the national believers. They are the ones who truly have a hard row to hoe. The national believers are often persecuted, and rejected by their family and friends. Many of the Songhai who we will be seeking have never heard the name of Jesus. Thank God for the missionaries who have left family, friends and the comfort of an easy life to share the ‘Good News.’  Pray that they do not grow weary. We are simply going to support their efforts. I know in due season, God will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Thank you for your prayers and support. #africanmissions

Lila’s Blackberry Cobbler

blackberryBlackberries are in season on our farm and it’s been fun introducing my five-year old grandson to the adventure of berry picking. One of my earliest memories is following my mother with my three siblings into the thicket to pick blackberries.  I’m sure I never collected enough to cover the bottom of my bucket as I ate almost all of my pickings. Somehow, Mama would gather enough berries to make a cobbler and several jars of blackberry preserves.  If I close my eyes, I can remember the taste of her blackberry cobbler filled with gooey sweetness.

Lila3Sadly, I don’t have Mama’s recipes, but my son has always claimed that my sister’s mother-in-law Lila Ray Dodd makes the best blackberry cobbler. It’s his favorite dessert. Lila is a wonderful cook, and she’s generous and kind as she agreed to share her recipe for blackberry cobbler with me and gave me permission to share it with you.

But before you can make this delicious dessert I suggest you make a treasured memory. Grab your child, grandchild, or borrow someone’s little one, and introduce them to the adventure of blackberry picking. I used three cups of berries in my cobbler yesterday and I baked the dessert in a 12 x 6 oblong, clear, three quart glass baking dish.

blackberry_cobblerIngredients

3 cups blackberries
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 stick salted butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk

Directions

Rinse berries and add 1/3 cup sugar and stir until all berries are covered.
Place berries in the bottom of a clear baking dish and make sure they are spread evenly.
Slice butter into thin slices and cover the top of the berries with the butter.
Mix 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk and stir until the batter is smooth.
Drizzle the batter over the top of the pats of butter/berries.
Gently shake the dish to evenly distribute the batter and berries.
Bake in oven at 350 degree for 45 minutes or until top is brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!

I like to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on my cobbler.

The Hometown Bakery & Marketplace

I’m often asked from where my inspiration comes for my stories.  The simple answer is, my life. Dot’s Deluxe Diner (Known as the Triple D to the locals) is a favorite restaurant in the make-believe town of Weldon. I plan to add a new eating establishment in the third book of the series and it’s inspired by the new Hometown Bakery and Marketplace in Scottsville, Ky.  I first met the owner, Dana Moore when she catered the Downton Abbey Tea Party for the Friends of the Library.  Her blueberry scones with clotted cream were divine and her fruit tea will make you beg for the recipe.

I love stopping by the Hometown Bakery and Marketplace on my lunch break.  The tomato basil soup with a grilled smoked Gouda cheese sandwich is my favorite meal. It’s so good, I want to pick up the cup and drink every last drop. When I asked her about the recipe, she said, “I don’t have one.  I just throw in a little of this and a little of that, just like my grandmother taught me.”

Dana2Dana is a southern girl, born in Scottsville, but she has done something very  un-Southern. She’s shared a few of her recipes on her blog at https://southerngalscook.com/.  Visit her recipe box.  https://southerngalscook.com/recipes/.  I can’t wait to try her recipe for cold biscuit pudding, or her Granny Long’s coconut pie recipe. Her recipe for chicken and dumplings is award winning, and she’s had two recipes featured in Taste of Home Cookbooks. She also sells fresh produce. Last week she had crates of homegrown green beans, squash and tomatoes.

If you are in Scottsville, stop by the Hometown Bakery and enjoy a glass of sweet tea with Dana. You’ll be glad you did. Hometown_Bakery

You can also connect with the Hometown Bakery & Marketplace via Facebook. www.facebook.com/hometownbakerymarketplace/

Unexpected Friendships by Rose Allen McCauley

Have you ever had a friend whom you weren’t sure you would get along with when you first met, but you now are best friends? I have, in fact we sat side by side at a funeral service this afternoon and held hands during the prayers! Although we got off to a rocky start years ago, and have differing opinions on many things, we decided a long time ago to like each other and be there for each other regardless of our differences.

My novella “Hidden Dreams” in The Courageous Brides Collection shows the heroine Elinor Peck and her slave girl Shug as lifelong best friends, despite the differences society sees in them. They grew up together, playing on the floor of the cellar kitchen while Shug’s mom cooked and watched them both. Now Shug must walk behind Elinor when they walk in public, but Elinor plans to emancipate Shug when she marries and has a home of her own. Read “Hidden Dreams” to discover other courageous things Elinor does to help slaves on the Underground Railroad as they pass through Kentucky to try to reach the Promised Land.

Since Shelia always has great recipes on her site, I am sharing an old recipe that my daughters loved when they were younger, and I’m sure Shug and Elinor enjoyed as girls, too.

Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies Recipe

1⁄2 cup butter, softened
,1⁄2 cup lard (or substitute additional butter or margarine), 11⁄2 cups sugar, plus extra for dipping, 
1⁄2 cup molasses,
2 eggs
, 4 cups flour
, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 
1 teaspoon cloves,
11⁄2 teaspoons ginger, 
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and lard (or substitute) with sugar. Beat in molasses and eggs. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to creamed sugar mixture and blend. Dough will be stiff. Shape dough into small balls. Dip into small bowl of sugar. Place sugar side up on greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Cool and store. Makes about 4 dozen.

Courageous_Brides_CoverThe Courageous Brides Collection

Ride into adventures alongside nine determined women of yesteryear whose acts of compassion and bravery attract male attention. Marcy helps displaced Indians. Emmy tends wounds at Fort Snelling. Ronnie stows away on a cattle drive. Daisy disguises herself as a Pony Express rider. Elinor becomes an abolitionist. Mae tames wild horses. Hannah gets help for accident victims. Lucy’s curiosity unnerves criminals. Kate nurses soldiers on the battlefield. Will real dangers douse the sparks of love?

About RoseAllen McCauley
Rose has been writing for over a decade and has four books published. She is thrilled for this to be her second novella collection with Barbour. A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for over forty years, they enjoy their growing family of three children and their spouses and five lovely, lively grandkids! She loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website www.rosemccauley.com or twitter @RoseAMcCauley and Facebook http://on.fb.me/1LrXNoS

Books are available in bookstores and on Amazon in print and on Kindle  https://www.amazon.com/Courageous-Brides-Collection-Compassionate-Attracts/dp/1634097777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467631271&sr=8-1&keywords=the+courageous+brides+collection

#thecourageousbride, #rosemccauley, #storieswomenfriendships