About Me

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Florida, United States
Southern born, Southern reared. It's a quirky place and we are unique folk... These are my people and these are my stories.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday with Friends: "Gail Pallotta"

From Eva Marie: This is one of the best things I've read in a looooooong time! You'll think so too, I just know it!

The Sweet Tea Line
     Every summer my mother put fresh mint in our tea. She grew her own in the backyard in the small North Carolina town where I grew up. When she served the cool drink, just seeing it tantalized my taste buds.
      When I got tall enough to reach the kitchen counter, Mother gazed at me with intense dark eyes.
     “I’ll let you make the tea. It’s easy.”                           
     She showed me how to cover five tea bags with water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil and let it steep. 
     “While you’re waiting…” she picked up our tea pitcher… “pour the sugar in here until it looks right.”
      Demonstrating, Mother turned up the Dixie Crystal bag and emptied about one-and-a-half to two cups. Then she put in lemon juice until it looked right, about two tablespoons. She added the tea and filled the pitcher with water the rest of the way.
     “That’s all there is to it.” She served up two glasses and topped them off with sprigs of mint.  
     I’ve been making it ever since. For a Southerner sweet tea is both a necessity and a delicacy offered with each meal. Most of us have discriminating tea tastes.  
     I was married before I realized other people lived without it. The day I found out, my husband and I were on our way to Michigan. We stopped for lunch in Indiana.
     When the waitress came to take our order, I asked for sweet tea.
     She raised her blonde eyebrows. “I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t have sweet tea. We have raspberry tea if you’d like.”
     For several seconds I sat speechless, thinking how do people eat without sweet tea? I shook my head to clear it. “Yes, thank you, raspberry tea will be fine.”
     Now don’t get me wrong, I liked the raspberry tea, but it’s no substitute for sweet tea.
     After I moved to Georgia I heard people refer to the gnat line. A person can travel south from Atlanta and get to just below Macon and sure enough the gnats show up.
     There’s a sweet tea line too. If one travels far enough north or west the sweet tea runs out.
     When our daughter attended college in Kentucky, the town where she lived served sweet tea. But when we rode forty miles northeast to have dinner with friends, we passed the sweet tea line.
     My cousin who grew up in California says, “To this day, I do not believe I have ever seen sweet tea on a menu in California. And during my west to east coast trips via car, I must say, I do not remember sweet tea offered anywhere except in the southern belt.”
     I have another cousin, originally from New York, who now lives in Florida. She drives in the southeast as well as the northeast. Once she gets into parts of Virginia and Washington, D. C., she finds no sweet tea.
     Two relatives who travel from Georgia to Canada have different memories. One says, “Sweet tea--only in the south.” The other thinks he once drank it in West Virginia.
     It would be interesting to know how many towns bordering the southern sweet tea line serve the refreshing drink. Comments answering the following questions should help.
     Have you passed the sweet tea line? How far did you travel from the south before the sweet tea ran out? And where were you?

Wanna know more about Gail's book? 

Feature writer Cammie O’Shea recently suffered through a heartbreaking split-up with her fiancĂ©. She wants no new relationships when she moves to Destin, Florida, to take a job at a newspaper. But she has to interview real estate developer Vic Deleona. He’s quite smitten with her and arranges extra meetings in an attempt to court her. Cammie resists his advances. However, after several mysterious break-ins occur, including one at Cammie’s condo, she and Vic launch their own investigation into the crimes. Then Cammie grows fond of him. She gets an opportunity to return home to her old job. Will Vic solve the crimes and win Cammie’s heart or will she leave Destin?  

Wanna know more about Gail?

Gail’s husband, Rick, says she’s the only person he knows who can go in the grocery for a loaf of bread and come out with someone’s life story. That’s probably because she inherited her mother’s love of people and enjoys talking to them. Working as an editor and freelance writer, Gail published a couple hundred articles. While some of them are in anthologies, two ended up in museums. In 2004, the American Christian Writers Association named Gail a regional writer of the year. She recently published her first romance, Love Turns the Tide. Last fall an excerpt from Love Turns the Tide won the Clash of the Titles Challenge in the best nature / weather scene category. When Gail isn’t writing she likes reading, swimming, and getting together with friends and family.

Gail wants to write books of faith that show God’s love. Visit her Web site at http://www.gailpallotta.com and her blog at http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com
Love Turns the Tide is available from www.awe-struck.net in the inspirational category. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday's Recipe of the Week

Another recipe from Miss Betty's handwritten 1950s/60s recipe book!

Stuffed Celery


Large cream cheese
1 package onion soup mix
Worcestershire sauce, few drops


Mix together the cream cheese, onion soup mix and  Worcestershire sauce. Spread mixture along the stalks of celery. Sprinkle with paprika.

Wednesday's Recipe of the Week

Another recipe from Miss Betty's handwritten 1950s/60s recipe book!

7 Layer Casserole


1 cup uncooked rice
1 cup whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans tomato sauce
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
Salt and pepper
Bacon, uncooked
3/4 cans water


In a greased casserole dish spread rice evenly over the bottom. Then layer the corn and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 1 can of the tomato sauce and 1/2 can of water on next. Sprinkle on the onions and green peppers. Evenly spread the ground beef and sprinkle that with salt and pepper. Pour the other can of tomato sauce and 1/4 can of water over everything. Finally, add strips of uncooked bacon as the top layer. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and cook about 30 minutes longer or until bacon is crisp.

Wednesday's Recipe of the Week

Another recipe from my mother's hand-written recipe book (circa 1960). This is Southern at its best. You'll notice there are NO ingredient "amounts" written here. Should be fun just to try it with the old "a pinch here" and "a dollop there" attitude. 

It's what Southern kitchens were build on...

Brown Betty


Apple sauce
Graham crackers
Chopped nuts


Spread applesauce in a flame proof dish. Top with crushed graham crackers, chopped nuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Drizzle 5 or more T of syrup over the top, depending on size of dish. Dot with butter. Broil until crisp. Serve hot or cold.

[Photo from KitchenScoop.com]

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday's Southern Style Tunes

(If there is an advertisement before this plays, ignore it... LOL)

I have to tell you, I love this song and this video so much. It's got all the 
qualities of a good ole Southern story. 

The message is just as powerful; when we do the right thing 
(even if it's to correct the wrong thing), 
God blesses in amazing ways.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday's Talk About the Book

I so appreciate good reviews for my work because I work hard at what I do.

Here's one from Crosswalk.com; a website I have written for over the years and have a tremendous amount of respect for:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday Musings on All Things Southern

My husband and I took a walk with our two pooches the other night. We don't walk too far; one of the dogs has managed to become quite tubby so, for her, the short distance for now is just a start. The other dog simply adores being home and let's you know that while she is excited to be a part of the journey, she'd just as soon be a part of the journey at home. 

So, we took our short walk returned toward our lakeside home. We walked up the long driveway. As we neared the door, just before the front porch, we both bent to release the dogs from their leashes. I noticed a huge grasshopper like I haven't seen in years on one of the floral arrangements decorating the front of the house.

"Look at that grasshopper," I said. "It's huge."  

"That's not a grasshopper," my husband said. "It's a Georgia Thumper."

I smiled. "I haven't heard that term in years. No wonder I didn't remember it." (Plus, I'm just not a work-in-the-yard kinda girl, to be honest with you.)

Now for those of you not from the South, you may be wondering what in the world is a Georgia Thumper?

A Georgia Thumper is, in fact, a grasshopper of the Eastern Lubber variety. They are multi-colored, mostly black with red and yellow added in. The males can get up to 8.0 cms. and the females up to 6.0 cms. They are expressive in their faces ("Get too close and I'll jump all over you!") and their names come from the fact that when they jump, they land with a thump.

Georgia Thumper...now isn't that a cute name? There's even a Southern band called by the moniker. And, it kinda makes you think of the cute little bunny in Bambi.But make no mistake about it. They are deadly. Not to humans, of course, unless one jumps on you and frightens you to death. No.

Ask any Georgia farmer and they'll tell you; these little suckers can pretty much eat a crop up in a day. Seeing one is seeing disaster.

So, now I'm wondering why we Southerners didn't think to call the Georgia Thumper the Georgia Crop Destroyer...or something clever like that. Sigh. I suppose, being the genteel Southerners of way back, we just couldn't do it. Give it a cute name...and maybe it will be our friend.

Uh... no.

Hmmm...now I'm thinking...maybe someone should form a baseball team...call them The Georgia Thumpers.  Instead of doing the tomahawk chop, fans can jump up and down in rhythm.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

I can hear it now...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday with Friends: "B. J. Robinson"


Nothing Like a Southern Strawberry, or
Southern Fiction
By B. J. Robinson

New beginnings burst forth with a shower of flowers, green grass, and tiny green leaves sprouting on trees. With fresh air and sunshine, there is nothing like the dawning of a new spring, my favorite season of the year. And, there is nothing like a Southern strawberry, dark green leaves, small white blossoms, tiny green berries, then juicy delicious ones.

 As a result of new spring growth, the world awakens like an old bear from a long winter’s sleep. Fresh mowed grass smells like watermelons. Birds sing happy to see spring. Flowers bud, bloom, and blossom. Smells, sights, and sounds feel the air delighting the senses, making my heart leap like a spring. I have more energy, feel more alive, and I seem to be ready to take on the world. Blood rushes. My heart pounds. A new spring morning dawns bright and fresh. With the dawning of the morning, my senses come alive. Oh, to be surrounded by fresh berries, the smell that fills a packing shed. Early morning dew on the bushes, and the scent of the fruit tempts a picker to eat just one. Problem is, it's so hard to eat only one.

 It’s great to be alive and smell spring! To me, spring is strawberry season. Strawberry season is spring! All around me things are awakening, bursting forth in new bloom and blossom, awakening and coming alive from a long winter’s sleep. My senses are alert. I notice how pretty the sun shines and how sweetly the birds sing. The smell of sweet, juicy, red, ripe strawberries take me back to the past, to another time, another place, an old packing shed. Those were the days!

 So what, hand carries of berries were stacked to the ceiling, waiting for one lone packer to roll them around on that little silver tray, like she was washing red beans. Strawberry flats were stacked higher than she, waiting for their journey to the farm bureau. The fate of those berries was decided with a roll in the silver tray. Either they traveled to the farm bureau, or they were culled to become a sweet delight with a bowl of sugar and cream, or baked into strawberry shortcake. Every sweet berry had its own unique special place in the world and would end up pleasing someone in some way.

 Back to a time when life was simple, strawberries bring memories of early-morning dew and spring, an old beat-up car, a baby stroller, a baby boy named Rodney. Wow, where has the time flown? Now, there is no baby stroller or baby boy. He's now a proud father of two boys of his own and has become an automotive mechanic and an electrician. He has his own new beginnings. Years have come and gone, but a sunshiny spring morning with birds singing, the smell of strawberries in the air, flowers blooming, and an old strawberry shed are strawberry-packed memories, memories everlasting.

 There are so many reasons why spring is my favorite season of the year. It's the renewal and rebirth. It was also my mother's. favorite.  For me, spring is the season that awakens my soul and my senses. Spring makes me feel more alive than any other time of the year. Fall is my second favorite because I love the turning of the leaves in all their splendid colors. Thank God for blessings us with seasons. 

From Eva Marie: Journey with B J through another season of  life! Last Resort releases July 15 from Desert Breeze Publishing. It is the story of honest farmers who try to earn their living with the toil of the soil.  

You can read a free excerpt from Last Resort, B. J. Robinson's Christian Romantic Suspense released by Desert Breeze July 15 at http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-184/B-J-Robinson-Last/Detail.bok

Visit B. J. at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com for an opportunity to win free novels by leaving a comment.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday's Talk About the Book

From "A Peek at My Bookshelf" by Deena Peterson 

Chasing Sunsets by Eva Marie Everson

Fair warning! Eva Marie Everson is back with a new fiction series, so don't pick this one up thinking all things will be nice and tidy at the end. While I've enjoyed all of her stand-alone novels, it's nice to have a series to look forward to!

"Chasing Sunsets" is about life not turning out like we've planned...can I get a witness! Kimberly Tucker is making her way through the valley of the divorced. Problem is, she hasn't a clue as to what went wrong. And her two sons are caught in the middle of the animosity between the two former spouses.

Maybe a vacation back in time will help her clear her head? Not literally...but back in Cedar Key, where life felt less complicated and the air was fresher. While the boys are with their dad, Kimberly returns back to happier memories and to hopefully make some new ones.

Unfortunately, she didn't know her first love had returned as well. Seeing Steven Granger puts a crimp in Kimberly's sense of peace. But maybe it's time to talk about the past and heal and move on...

...and see what the future holds.

I enjoyed my time in Cedar Key, and look forward to more stories from this lovely locale. No word on how many novels, but I'm hoping for at least four or five...or six or seven...

My thanks to Donna Hausler at Revell for my copy, and I'm giving "Chasing Sunsets" four out of five bookmarks, with a key to the future as a charm. Take my advice...give that key to God and let HIM plan your future...and then FOLLOW HIM!!

Happy Reading!
To see more of Deena's book reivews, go to: http://deenasbooks.blogspot.com/

To see videos, photos, and stay updated about the next book in the series, go to: 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday's Recipe of the Week

Another recipe from Miss Betty's* Daily Diary Cookbook

Cheese-Chili Burgers


1 small onion
2 Tbs. shortening
1 pound hamburger
1 can tomato soup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 cup grated cheese


Chop onion and cook in melted shortening along with hamburger until meat is rich brown. Stir in tomato soup, salt and pepper and chili powder. Cover and cook slowly for a half hour. Stir occasionally.

At the end of the cooking time, add grated cheese and stir until well mixed. Cut hamburger buns in half, toast until crisp and spoon the hamburger on top.

(Miss Betty was my mother. These are the recipes I found in her penmanship, written in a Sexton's Daily Diary from c. 1955.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Monday Musings on All Things Southern

How do you celebrate this great day in our nation's history?

Do you tell your children about it? Do you remind them of why we celebrate? Have you shared the story--the real story--to the older ones? Have you expressed the real sacrifice that was made during the Revolutionary War?

If you have not had a chance to see America, The Story of Us, I highly suggest you do. Watch it with your children or your grandchildren. I watched it with our youngest and was absolutely dumbfounded at the things I did not know. Reminded of the things I did. Made proud at them both.

We live in a great country. Whether you hail from the North, the East, the West or the South...whether you are Democrat or Republican, Independent or Tea...this country, with all it's problems, is still a great country.

I encourage you to say one thing today...just one...to your children or your grandchildren about the "land of the free and the home of the brave." One thing that will tell them why this country is great. They've probably heard you plenty of times fussing about this or that. Now, tell them one reason why they can hold their shoulders back, tilt their chin up, and say, "I am an American."