A TRUE SOUTHERN

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Springfield, Missouri, United States
Being Southern is more than where I am from, it is who I am. I love the South with its great beauty and wonderful deep-south traditions. I am Bev Allen, a true Southern Belle'. I am married to the love of my life Rick Allen, we are Assemblies of God US Missionaries. We lived and raised our two children, Chris Allen and Teresa Mosley (married to Randy) in the Great Southern states. Family is important and my grandkids Lexi and Lane are our most precious treasures. We love God and people and devoted our lives in His service. This blog is to share a little of what I enjoy and experienced, a little Southern Joy!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Porch Rocking

Let me just say, I absolutely love rocking chairs, especially those nestled on beautiful Southern porches.  I think all Southern do. Their simplicity of pure relaxation creates an atmosphere of pure Southern Joy. One thing you will notice right off, when you visit any of our Southern States, there are rocking chairs everywhere. It is symbol of hospitality, where most Southern are found sitting on their cool front porches during the summer evenings, talking to each other as neighbors stroll by, generally offer up a wave of being, just "neighborly"!

Just lean way back, stretch out the legs and sip on a pint jar of cold ice tea.  Now, that's the LIFE.

It is not known, who exactly invented the rocking chair, but most historian believe it was Benjamin Franklin. What is known, it originated in North America in the early 18th century.  While a chair is a steady perch, the rocking chair offered a sense of pleasure.  The steady back and forth of the rocker has calmed many crying and sleepy infants, and has served as a calming effect on adults.



Down South, you can hardly find a porch that does not have a swing or rocking chair. One of the best known rocker filled porches, is "The Cracker Barrel Restaurant." You can rock as you wait to eat or you can just sit and rock a spell.



I love ole' Southern houses, although abandon for many years, the ole' rocker that is left behind is a portrait of many summer days of porch rocking. I can just see in my imagination a dear grandma sitting and rocking after the long day of daily events. As she sits and rocks, her grandchildren sit on the porch near her, hearing the stories of a life of many adventures or like my Grandmother rocking with an open Bible spending time with her Lord.

The famous painting of a symbol of porch rocking is that of  Mark Twain sitting on his porch. I can only image the stories that he is dreaming up as he sits and
rocks.

Summer time is here, and many of us are enjoying lazy evenings sitting and rocking on our porches.

Rock a while...........it will do you wonders!!!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blackberry Winter
















I can remember my Grandma telling me as a kid, "don't put that coat away, Blackberry Winter is comin'." So you ask, what in the world is that?  Blackberry winter is what we in the South called the last cold snap in the weather before warm weather is here for good and blackberries were in bloom.  Living in Arkansas that was usually late Spring. And the creek banks and woods would be in full bloom with expectation of blackberries and I absolutely love blackberries!!


The blackberry has a deep black color and feels plump when fully riped. It will then pull free from the plant with only a slight tug.  If the berry is still red or purple, it's not ripe. Blackberries in the South will peak during June in the South. 

As a kid I would grab a bucket and spend some time walking the creek banks that ran alongside the woods across from our house. Sticking my hand carefully in the thorny bushes I would pick those delicious berries and proudly take them home for Grandma to cook my favorite dessert.  Homemade Blackberry cobbler. I can just picture it now, nice warm cobbler served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. (hint: you would have to be careful though, the seeds would get caught in your teeth, and the berries would turn your mouth blue) but it would taste awesome.

Here is the recipe:  Blackberry Cobbler
2 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk
3/4 c of butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, stir together blackberries and sugar.  Let stand about 20 minutes or until fruit syrup forms.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and milk.  Stir in melted butter until blended.  Spread in a 8 in square pan prepared with non-stick spray. Spoon blackberry mixture over batter.  Bake 45-55 minutes or until dough rises and is golden.  Serve with whip cream or ice cream.

I also, enjoy Blackberry tea.  It has a cool refreshing take during those warm summer evenings.  I usually use the Lipton Tea brand.

So if you think winter is over!! 
Just wait...."Blackberry winter is coming!"
to remind us to look for Blackberries!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Peaches.....peaches!!

Some of my favorite memories growing up was how much my Dad loved and enjoyed his peach orchard on the family farm.  The peach is a very popular fruit in the South. Peaches have a yellow or whitish flesh with a large stone(seed) in the middle. They have a delicate sweet aroma and taste. My Dad trees however, were free-stone peaches.This means the stone or seed is easily removed from the meat, making it a good choice for eating fresh, picking it right off the trees. They are also, excellent for canning and cooking.  
Many a days my Dad during the long summer evenings would walk through the orchard and pick a peach off the tree, break it open and bite right into it, letting the juice drip off his chin.

I would like to share my Mom's recipe for Easy Peach Cobbler, feel free to cook one up and enjoy. Best served warm with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 2  1/2 cups fresh peach slices or 1 large can of sliced peaches with the juice

Preparation.
  • Combine flour, butter 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened and well blended. Pour batter a 13- x 9-inch baking dish (prepared for baking).
  • Dump peaches and juice over the batter (do not stir). 
  • Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Most Southern states during the winter months rarely experience any significant amount of snow. However, it seems we have more ice storms. An ice storm is characterized by freezing rain, creating a glazed event. Although it can paint a beautiful wonderland, it can be a little creepy when the freezing rain comes at night. The cracking of tree limbs breaking sends shivers down my spine.  Ice storms can also be very dangerous. Ice-covered roads become slippery and hazardous, as the ice causes vehicles to skid out of control, which can cause devastating car crashes as well as pile-ups.  In addition to hazardous driving or walking conditions, branches or even whole trees may break from the weight of ice. Falling branches can block roads, tear down power and telephone lines, and cause other damage. Even without falling trees and tree branches, the weight of the ice itself can easily snap power lines and also break and bring down power/utility poles

Although ice occurs regularly, I can remember two very memorable ice storms. New Years Eve in 1978, We were living in Dallas, there was a huge ice storm that moved into the Dallas/Ft Worth area. I remember a huge tree broke in half in our yard and pulled our electrical box out the wall. We had to leave our home and move in with friends. We spent New Years Day, gathered around a fireplace and playing cards by Coleman lanterns. Many in the area were without power for days. People huddled in homes around who ever had gas stoves to stay warm. The Cotton Bowl parade was cancelled and the game was played in an ice-covered stadium.
The other was January 2007, right here in Springfield, MO. For weeks Springfield was paralyzed. Thousands went without power – some for days, many for weeks- shelters filled, residents huddled around fireplaces. It was an historical event. 
Well, winter is upon us. We will see what 2013 will bring.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Autumn Fun!!


Oh the smells of Autumn. I have great memories of Autumn family fun, especially when we were pastoring. Autumn in the South means cool weather, hayrides and bonfires. And you could just count on a church-wide Hayride/Bonfire when the weather started getting cool. Just throw on a pair of old jeans or other long pants, sneakers or cowboy boots. Be sure and put on a comfy sweat shirt for the evenings would be a little cool. On a wagon stuffed with hay, you would start on a magical adventure, pulled by a tractor or horse. Expect to be itchy and get dirty. There is usally sing-alongs, spooky stories, and lots of laughter. Hayrides are an easy 5 mph ride, possibly winding through corn or pumpkin patches. In the South the hayride usally will have a pitstop at a bonfire. 
At the bonfire you can roast on sticks, weenes to enjoy a smoky hot dog or marshmallows, which I like burnt black. When I was growing up, without fail, someone would start to tell a ghostly tale that would have all of us kids on the edges of our seats, and/or someone would pick up a guitar and sing a hymn or two, which we all sang along. Then back on the trailer where happy full hayriders would snuggle close for warm for the journey back to start. It was a journey that would always fill our hearts with warm memories.


Friday, September 7, 2012


Ya’ll come over tonight, we gonna boil some crawfish.”'
Louisiana and crawfish go hand in hand. 
Crawfish season in Louisiana is still an exciting time, with crawfish boils and backyard parties a time-honored tradition. Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans, inherent part of Louisiana Cajun culture. "Laissez la crawfish router" which means, "let the the crawfish roll!!" Many cajun South Louisiana favorites are jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish pie, etc. all are made with crawfish.  But the all-time favorite is "Crawfish Boils". 
You have to start with 35+40 lbs of fresh crawfish, Until ready to boil, keep in large ice chest.


You can boil up to 10-15 lbs in a propane cooker. Now get the water to a rolling boil and using a basket, add the crawfish. Stir them up a bit with a large wooden paddle, then cover the pot and return to boil for about 5-10 minutes. Stir them again. urn off the fire and allow them to soak for about 10-15 minutes. Drain the crawfish then pour them out on your table covered with newspaper. If you want them more spicy you can add seasonings at the table. Some favorites are Zatarain's, Louisiana Fish Fry or Tony Chachere's. 

Now, for a step to step instruction in peeling and eating. Usually people just eat the “tail,” but  true Louisiana crawfish eaters, will "suck the head" of a crawfish by separating the abdomen of the crustacean and sucking out the  fat/juices. THAT'S WHAT I SAID.....YUCK!! 
oh, well maybe you will get a chance to enjoy one of these crawfish boils.  "Laissez la crawfish router" 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Coming down with "The Vapors!"



You might say, what in the world is "coming down with the vapors?"  Although a Southern Lady possesses an undeniable natural charm, when facing a crisis or trivial event, she is a delicate flower you know, and a stressful or excitable situation can cause an unladylike response. So the quick and effective response is to, fan yourself, a theatrical collapse and claim to have the "vapors". The "vapors" was a common term for female hysteria, usually associated with swooning or fainting. No worries, there is a cure, a good of dose of smelling salts, briskly used hand fan, and most of all, a tall mint julep, a severe case....might require all three.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Love the Fall Season!

My favorite season is Fall. A wonderful time to explore the Southern states is in the Fall. The splendor of color splashing over winding mountains, rolling foothills, and beach side walks are all great ways to enjoy the Fall season. You have the Arkansas Ozark Mountains, the Tennessee Smoky Mountains, Georgia Chattahoochee National Forest, Alabama Natchez Trace Parkway, so much to see and explore.  Let me show you just a bit....
To the left, my home state, Arkansas.

We lived for a time in Tennessee.....I have shared with you on a previous post my love of the Smoky Mountains, but another spot very beautiful is the Shenandoah Valley.


Mississippi!


                                          Alabama!






North Carolina!!





This is only a small taste of what beauty you can see.  Now it's time for a rocking chair, a warm cup of coffee, a shoulder wrap and sit back and enjoy the Fall Season.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sunday bonnets or Sunbonnets


Hats used to be THE FASHION statement in the South. Most ladies or girls would own what was called a Sunbonnet.
With the hot sun, and harsh weather conditions the sunbonnet was their do it all fashion accessory. Some of the early sunbonnet styles were made with casing in the brim of the sunbonnet, so that wooden slats could be inserted into it to hold the brim of the bonnet out to shield the face. These sunbonnets find their sweetness in their simplicity of style.  They are the most practical way to prevent sunburn on the cheeks and nose, shade eyes, and keep those "things" from getting in the hair while little girls play, explore, and help around the yard.  The bonnets are intended to play in, but many styles of the Sunbonnets were made, fancy versions for church and social occasions.

But a true picture of a Southern Belle was not just sunbonnets but the big floppy hats. It is said, women need occasions to wear hats and the confidence to wear them. When I was young, women wore a hat to church every Sunday. She had beautiful hats that matched her suits or dress. (And her "bag" always matched her shoes, too.) There were hats in any color and style you can imagine, and some that you can't.

Southern ladies don’t wear hats like they used too, but I love to sport one every now and then. I think they make a fashion statement.  Like I said earlier, you have to have confidence and true Southern gentleness to sport these beautiful hats. I can just see me wearing one of these beauties......

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Top Ten: Novels set in Great South (Top Five)

The Great Southern States has been the setting for many of great novels. 

Now for my final TOP FIVE.

5.  Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Through the eyes of Henry Fleming, a young Civil War soldier, we see the fears of battle and the inexplicable courage that comes when soldiers unite in a wartime machine. he novel features a young recruit who overcomes initial fears and shame to become a hero on the battlefield.


4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on black female, Celie’s life during the 1930s in the Southern United States, addressing the numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture.




3. Roots by Alex Haley
This outstanding novel tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African, captured as an adolescent and sold into slavery in the United States, and follows his life and the lives of his descendants in the U.S. down to Haley.



2. Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
Forrest Gump experiences adventures ranging from shrimp boating and ping pong championships to thinking about his childhood love. The Vietnam War and college football are all part of the story. Throughout his life, Gump views the world simply and truthfully. Throughout the course of the book, he really doesn't know what he wants to do in life. Author and narrator Groom uses intonations that capture Gump's personality. Gump is full of wisdom, but is considered an "idiot" because of his low IQ and disability. According to him, he "can think things pretty good", but when he tries "sayin or writin them, it kinda come out like Jello". He is also physically strong and falls into amazing adventures.




AND NOW........DRUM ROLLL.......
MY ALL TIME FAVORITE NOVEL ABOUT THE "OLE SOUTH IS.....

1. NORTH AND THE SOUTH by John Jakes
The saga tells the story of the enduring friendship between Orry Main of South Carolina and George Hazard of Pennsylvania, who become best friends while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point but later find themselves and their families on opposite sides of the war. The slave-owning Mains are rural gentleman planters while the big-city Hazards live by manufacturing and industry, their differences reflecting the divisions between North and South that eventually led to the Civil War.

My Top Ten: Novels set in Great South

The Great Southern States has been the setting for many of great novels.

Here is my favorite Top Ten Countdown List:

10.  A Painted House by John Grisham

Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers — and two very dangerous men — came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke’s world.


9.  Adventures of Huckaberry Finn by Mark Twain
This novel is widely known as one of the first true "American Novels". Justice and honor is are explored and celebrated in this story about Huck's great adventures on the Mississippi River.


8. Cold Mountain by Charles Fraizer
This story of W.P. Innam, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the Civil War who walks for months to return to Ada Monroe, the love of his life.


7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
      This is also listed among  "American Great Novels".  Based in a small town in Alabama in the 1930s, it is the setting for a 
outstanding novel of a child's brutal introduction to racial  prejudice and adult injustice.


6. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
 Set against the backdrop of Georgia during the Civil War, Mitchell’s massive  historical novel chronicles the tempestuous romance of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara.