A Tuesday tutorial

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I do these things so y’all want have to…

I woke up this morning craving hot chocolate. Were there any prepared mixes in the pantry? Of course not.

Did I run to the grocery store? Of course not. I wanted needed to be writing!  Besides, there’s a reason my kids call me the queen of substitution.

I scanned a number of recipes, took an idea from this one and an idea from that one, based on what ingredients I had on hand. I began playing with the ingredients, tasting, adding, and tasting again until — VOILA! I’m sitting here enjoying the most fantastic mug of hot cocoa! (Drizzling hot caramel syrup over the top was genius, if I have to say so myself! Next time I may even have to add a drizzle of chocolate. Hey– I never said it was a diet drink!) Naturally, when it turned our so delish, I thought of y’all.

“My Season Celebrating Hot Cocoa Mix”

3 cups powered milk

4 ounces Coffeemate French Vanilla dry creamer

1 cup regular sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa

So, for this size coffee mug, I used about 3 heaping teaspoons. Enjoy!





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Thirty Days of Thankfulness/Writers and Readers Reach Out #2012

It’s that time, y’all! This Nov. 1st we will officially launch our 30 Days of Thankfulness here at All Things Southern. Longtime readers will recognize it as our annual humanitarian effort designed to coincide with the Thanksgiving season. So many of you have joined with me in past years to express our gratitude by reaching out to those in need. Remember when we worked with Life Today to drill a well in Southern Africa? Even as you read these words that well continues to supply fresh life-sustaining water to an entire village. For that, I thank you once again!

The recipient of this year’s efforts will be Make Way Partners, an organization that works with individuals, churches and other groups to help prevent and combat the evil of human trafficking and all forms of modern-day oppression. I was in the planning stages of our drive and deeply burdened by what I was learning about human trafficking when I read Passport through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith.  I knew immediately that MWP, the organization founded by Kimberly and her husband, was where we needed to focus our attention this holiday season. (Download a free chapter of Passport Through Darkness.)

In addition, this will be our second year to partner in our drive with other authors and their respective communities. The goal of Writers and Readers Reach Out 2012 is to combine our individual platforms and thus multiply our efforts.  (Honestly, I’m hoping to start a tsunami of thankfulness and hope!)

I was in the planning stages of the drive and personally burdened by what I was learning about human trafficking when I read Passport through Darkness, by Kimberly L. Smith.  I knew immediately that Make Way Partners, the organization that Kimberly and her husbanded founded, should be the recipient of this year’s efforts. Make Way Partners works with individuals, churches, and organizations to help prevent and combat the evil of human trafficking and all forms of modern-day oppression.

If you’ll take the time to read just a few of the real-life stories on Kimberly’s blog of women and children who Make Way Partners has rescued from slavery, and for whom they provide long-term care, I believe you’ll want to participate in this beautiful journey of restoration.

Eight years ago, Kimberly began chartering small mission planes to fly her into the war zone of Sudan where U.S. sanctions and Islamic regimes rendered thousands of orphans unadoptable. Providing food and opening a first-grade school in a lawless land with no other educational systems, MWP partnered with an indigenous leader to rescue and care for these most vulnerable orphans. Year-by-year, they’ve added a new grade to their school. Now, graduating eighth grade, the orphans of MWP have more education than many current leaders of their nation.  It is time to build a high school, making it possible to raise up the next generation of educated Christian leaders who will stop the cycle of violence and slavery.

Read about a few of these amazing students and the complete high school proposal here: http://kimberlylsmithblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/battle-cry-by-guest-blogger-matt-mcgowen.html

I’m so excited about the opportunity for us to join this effort! To quote the late Hellen Keller, “It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.”  It feels so right to quote Ms. Keller to the tribes of writers and readers joining with us as it was the power of a word, written in the palm of her hand, that unlocked Ms. Keller’s heart and mind and subsequently impacted untold lives around the world!

As readers and writers, no one knows the value of education better than we. Let’s dream big and build a high school for the world’s most vulnerable orphans!

Can we catch this vision together? I think so. In years past, I’ve asked you to donate a certain small dollar amount. This year, I’m respectfully asking you to consider the weight of the subject and the scope of the work being done by Make Way Partners and make your own personal decision about your contribution. What would we be willing to do or give if it were our children and grandchildren being bought and sold?

You can make your donation online using this donate button. It’s linked to Make Way Partners. In the field that asks where you learned about Make Way Partners, please copy and paste the following label: WritersandReaders,ShellieRushingTomlinson

If you prefer to send a check or money order that address is: Make Way Partners, P.O. Box 26367 Birmingham , AL 35260

In addition to donating, everyone can be of incredible assistance by using the power of social media to spread the news of this drive. When twittering or pinning this drive please use hashtags #WritersandReaders2012 or #WR2012. (My twitter handle is @shelliet)

Authors and Bloggers: It’s not too late to join this effort. If you’d like to participate please comment below and contact audreym@makewaypartners.org with your  blog site, Facebook page, website address, or any other acknowledgement you would like to use for your readers to track this opportunity.

Thirty days of thankfulness. It’s not a long time, but it’s a perfect time to join hands and do something grand, together. ~Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

As always, I love to hear from you.

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Andy Andrews to Visit ATS LIVE t/row, Mon. the 22nd

Most of you know that Sunday evenings generally find me prepping for Monday evening’s radio show. By now you’re accustomed to my asking y’all to join me for another visit on ATS LIVE, but never have I felt like it was more important for y’all to engage. As the presidential election nears, and the mud-slinging gets deeper, my special guest and I are going to wade into the discussion.

But, here’s the thing. We won’t be addressing the election in the way you’ve come to expect.  While we both feel this is a crucial moment in our nation’s history, we won’t be choosing sides and hashing it out, talking over each other in efforts to score points. Nor will we gang up on one side and lay out our case against the candidate that is challenging our favorite.

Instead, NYT’s Bestselling Author, Andy Andrews, will be with me to discuss one of his powerful new releases that answers a sobering question, “How Do You Kill Eleven Million People?”  What does that have to do with the election? Tune in and find out! You’ll be glad you did.

Now, here are those details/schmetails:

ATS LIVE airs locally on KMBL Talk50 and steams live through my website but I’ll save you a click by posting that link here for you. Show time is 5:00 to 6:00 PM Central Time and YOU’RE INVITED! As always, I’ll be chatting with everyone during the show on the All Things Southern Facebook wall. Hope to see you on the air.

Hugs, Shellie

Leave your comments and questions here or on the All Things Southern Facebook wall to enter a drawing for Andy’s book. 


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Weekend Warriors

OH, the fun we had this past weekend when the Houston baby czars joined the Louisiana czars! Four little ones under four creates the most wonderful chaos.

I relished the first opportunity for them to play in Keggie and Pop’s Grand Play House.  The pictures don’t do the spot justice, so here’s some FYI: It’s a walk-in closet that I cleaned out for them. I painted the bottom of the walls with chalkboard paint, put colorful vinyl stickers at the top, and loaded it up with their toys. To call it a hit would be an understatement!

Actually, you’ll notice that the majority of these pics are fuzzy. Blame it on my mistreated and limping iPhone. I hope to find time to replace it this week. Okay, I’m not going to caption all the pics. You’ll see that the czars went out to eat with us. We may have over stayed our welcome there. I fear they successfully terrorized the coffee-house that belongs to our beloved pastor and his wife.

Over the course of the weekend the older czars made fall turkeys with Grant’s mommy and Emerson’s aunt Jessica while Connor and Carlisle napped. The four of them posed hahahhahahahahhaha, excuse me, for pictures on the lake bank, enjoyed a Ranger ride with Pops, and took mini-kayak adventures with the two of us. A good time was had by all.


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Courtney Walsh to visit ATS LIVE, Monday the 8th

Heads up, freaders! (That’s friend/readers for any newcomers.)  I do hope you’re making plans to join me tomorrow evening for ATS LIVE, the radio talk show that is unlike anything else on air, and I don’t even think I’ll elaborate on that. You’ll just have to join us and experience the porch for yourself.

I’m excited about my special guest, Courtney Walsh. Courtney is an author, scrapbooking expert, theatre director, playwright, and contributing editor to Memory Makers Magazine and Children’s Ministry Magazine. Oh, and did I mention that she’s also written several full-length musicals?

Courtney will tell us all about her latest release, A Sweet Homecoming, and we’ll have a 3-set giveaway of the whole Sweethaven series. As always, to enter the drawing, you’ll need to comment on the show thread tomorrow. Remember, these days we’re holding the live chat on the All Things Southern wall instead of my personal wall. I won’t be checking my personal way for your entries, so make sure you “like” All Things Southern and join us there!

And here are those details/schmetails:

ATS LIVE airs locally on KMBL Talk50 and steams live through my website but I’ll save you a click by posting that link here for you. Show time is 5:00 to 6:00 PM Central Time and YOU’RE INVITED! Hope to see you on the air.


Do you have any questions for me or Courtney? Leave ’em here
and we’ll get to them on air!


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Spice tea + comfy jeans + cool weather = Bestseller? Oh, just say yes!

Awoke to an awesome Saturday. Temps have dropped and I have a free block of time to get some words down on the work in progress.

But, hey– I may be offline but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about y’all, dear readers. And to prove it, I thought I’d post one of my favorite fall treats. I whip up this Spice Tea every year around this time. It’s next week’s “radio recipe” but seeing as I’ll be enjoying several cups today while I work, I decided to share it with y’all in case you’d like to stir some up for your weekend!

“Fall’s Favorite Spice Tea”

1 cup instant tea

2 cups lemonade mix

2 cups Tang instant breakfast drink

1 cup sugar (option)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. allspice

We’ll begin by measuring out a cup of instant tea, two cups of lemonade mix, and one cup of sugar. Mix this up with a teaspoon each of ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and allspice. Put it in a dry container and store it in the pantry. Now, when you want a great cup of spice tea, just heat a mug full of water and stir in 2-3 heaping teaspoons, depending on how strong you like it. Believe it or not, I used to put 2 full cups of sugar in this recipe. These days I either use half the amount of sugar or leave it out completely!  I think there’s plenty sweetness in the Tang and lemonade mix. You can always add a teaspoon to your cup if you need it sweeter.

Oh, and y’all—if you want a quick wassail flavor, just substitute orange juice for the water. This also makes a really nice gift. Just put it in a pretty container, tie a bow around the top and attach the recipe!

And now for some totally useless FYI, I’ve writing in my seriously comfy chillin’ jeans. These things are powerful!

Do you suppose that means I’m writing a best-seller??!!!



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