The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Cookbook

Nothing says “Southern” like good food and Water Valley, Mississippi will now be known for food thanks to the B.T.C Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook.BTC
The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery (the B.T.C stands for “Be the Change”) is located on Main Street, downtown Water Valley. Owned by Alexe Van Beuren and serving food made by Dixie Grimes, the store is a place to shop and also enjoy the company of friends and family with a tasty meal.
The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook is a special book containing stories of Southern small town life and community alongside the recipes of some of the favorites on the menu. Reading about the townspeople and looking over the recipes, I found myself remembering the small Georgia town I grew up in and longing for a simpler life. Imagine my delight in seeing a recipe for Fried Pies, something my grandmamma used to make. And don’t forget the Skillet biscuits and sausage gravy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. And the Pimiento Cheese…can’t go wrong with lots of pimiento cheese. This book contains some great Southern foods that even a Yankee can appreciate. As a Georgia boy, the Peach Pound Cake and Peach Icebox Pie caught my eye. Only Peach thing missing was Homemade Peach ice cream to put on top of that Pound Cake. Tons of good eating to be had in this book.
The B.T.C Old-Fashioned Cookbook will be a great addition to your home, not just for the great recipes, but also for the simple stories about simple people living life to the fullest in a simple town. The textured cover has the feel of a child’s storybook and the pages are full of colored pictures to complete the B.T.C experience.
The book hollers, “Welcome to Water Valley. And make sure you drop by the B.T.C. before you leave town. They got the chicken salad today. You don’t wanna miss it.”
Pick one of these books up today. If not for you, get one for a friend. Go to to get more information.
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.


Just be Mom

On this Mother’s Day 2014, we will take the time to honor the Moms in our lives. For some, like myself, today is the time to remember and enjoy the memories of the short time we had together and appreciate all she did. For others, the day will be spent enjoying time with a mom that is still around and giving of herself for the sake of her children. Many others will have to endure this day because it stirs up unpleasant and painful places involving a mom, making this day hard to cope with. And then there are those of you that actually are the Moms of the world. For you, I say “Thank You!”

Being Mom is one of the most thankless jobs. You spend hours keeping watch over sick children, putting a cool cloth on a forehead praying for the fever to break. You wipe noses, bottoms, floor, and countertops to show love for your kids. You make cookies, macaroni and cheese, and do your best to make spinach and broccoli appetizing. You are Mom. You bite your tongue when you see the new clothes that are in fashion and you let the tongue loose when the fashions are out of control. You wish silently that your son or daughter would not make the wrong choices and stand by their sides through the consequences and learning process when they do. You lie still in the bed waiting to hear your child come home and nod off peacefully when you know they are safe in their beds. You laugh at the silly things they do and say and keep all their finger paintings and cards and take more pictures than will ever fit into a scrapbook or photo album or in frames on your wall. You are Mom. You have a heart full of joy watching your kids running around in diapers and heart of joyful sadness when they grow up and leave home. Even when they are grown, you still worry about them, pray for them, and always want the best for them. You will always love them because…..YOU ARE MOM.

To all you Moms, don’t minimize who you are or the importance of what you do. No need to add extra titles. Labeling yourself as a “stay at home Mom,” “homeschool Mom”,”soccer Mom,” or “single Mom” just distract from the magnitude of who you are. You are Mom and that says it all.


Happy Mothers Day to the Moms of the world, and from me…Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful wife, Michelle, and thank you for being Mom to our children and being grand mom/Grammie to our grandchildren. To my Mom, thanks for all you did through the years. Enjoy this day with Jesus. To Emelie, my daughter-in-law, thanks for being Mom to the grandbabies (you will understand all of the words in this post as the years fly by…and they will fly by).

Happy Mother’s Day.

Take Off the Headphones

On most afternoons  when I get home from work, I take a walk. It’s my time to wind down, get out in the fresh air, and try to burn some of the fat off my aging body. I grab my iPod, put on my headphones and head out for my 3 mile walk around the neighborhood. As I walk, I wave at my neighbors, many out doing a variety of tasks in the yard, some just coming and going in their cars and trucks.  Several weeks ago it hit me that I have waved at some of these people for years and I don’t know a thing about them, including their names. Unfortunately, this is not so uncommon in today’s hurried world. We are starved for connection and belonging but don’t take the time get to know the people who live two houses down. So I made a decision. I would still take my walk as normal (because my heart needs the cardio work), but I would remove my headphones and turn off the music if someone was out working outside. I would step out of my private world of music for a moment and enter my neighbor’s world. Stretch my comfort zone. Introduce myself. Be neighborly.

This has made a major difference in the meaning of my walk. I have met several people in my neighborhood (by name, not just by face) and I know a little about them. I am reminded of Jesus saying that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). It is easy to over-expand the application of this and say it applies to everyone in the world (which is true) and then never apply it to the people closest to us, including the people next door or three doors down. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) Jesus concludes that the neighbor is the one who showed mercy to the beaten down man on the side of the road.  If we are going to show mercy and help our nearby neighbors, don’t you think it would help if we get to know who they are and learn how best to show mercy?

What is the equivalent of your “headphones?”  What wall have you put between you and your neighbors?

Let’s show mercy and love our neighbors. Take off the headphones.

Hope Rising by Scott Todd (A book review)

Hope cover“How Christians can end extreme poverty in this generation.”

This is the subtitle of the new book Hope Rising written by Scott Todd, Senior Vice President of Global Advocacy  with Compassion International. My initial thought when I saw the subtitle was one of doubt and “Here is someone else who has the solution to the world’s problems.” As I began reading, I realized the key focus was on extreme poverty, people living on less than $1.25 a day.  The reality of someone living on this amount doesn’t compute with my westernized way of thinking, especially when I take a hard look at how much money I waste on basically anything I choose to waste my money on. For the most part, my wastefulness will never have any bearing on my ability to eat today.

Early in his book, Todd provides statistics that are simultaneously alarming and hopeful:  1.2 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty today (that’s the alarming part); the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has been has been cut in half since 1981 (that’s the hopeful part).

This reduction in world poverty has come about, as Todd notes, because of increased action and a replacement of low expectations for making progress with high expectations for poverty elimination. Todd provides examples of individuals, Christian and non-Christian, taking a stand against poverty. He writes about the role of government, business, the church, and the individual to bring about global social change. Every part of the world, however big or small, can do something to make a difference.

The final section of Hope Rising provides strategies for eliminating extreme poverty:

  • Fast Living: Doing without certain things to be able to give more (this could be food excess or money spent on a hobby or some sort of pleasure or entertainment). We all have something that consumes money that could be better used by giving to someone who often goes without basic needs.
  • 10% Radical: Tithing (you know, giving 10 percent of your income to the church). Todd provides statistics that should not be accurate but are. On average, Christians keep 97.1 percent of their earned money for themselves. 20% (yes ,you read that correctly) “don’t give a red cent to anyone for anything.” However, on the bright side (more a slight glimmer), 20 percent give more than 10%. The middle 60% (statistically, probably you the reader of this review) could generate an additional $134 billion per year f they started tithing. Yes, per year. And that’s just American Christians.
  • The Next Generation: Because ending extreme poverty will likely take 25 years, it is crucial that children be encouraged and inspired to do great things and take risks to end poverty, since teenagers now will be in their forties when the task is complete. They will be in positions of leadership and influence then. But they can start doing things now. Great change is already being done by young people.
  • Biblical warnings and commands: Scripture is full of commands and warnings for those who are followers of Christ and the one true God. God has a heart for the poor, evidenced by the words and actions of Jesus himself. Believers cannot separate the Gospel and helping the poor and needy. Our salvation is evidenced by our good deeds. We are to love God and love people through good works.

Hope Rising provides helpful insights and action plans for all of us as we move forward in alleviating suffering caused by the lack of basic human needs. Scott Todd has done the church a great service by giving us another tool to use, a tool not to be stored away in a dusty box in the shed, but one to be held in a hand hard at work.

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.