Since its opening in 2015, Joe’s World Famous Pizzeria, located on Hwy 72 across from Chick-fil-a in Athens, has become a fixture in our community. The pizzeria has become “famous” for everything from whole pies that sport the cheese topping faces of soon-to-be-President Donald Trump as well as NFL great Tim Tebow, to Valentina, its 4,000 pound custom built brick oven named after the daughter of the owner, Joe Carlucci.

This past summer, Joe was able to purchase a second oven, also named Valentina, which is mobile, runs on oak, and is perfect for street fairs and catered events. The interior of the shop was redone with a retro diner vibe, complete with red booths and a juke box, and the walls display Joe’s bevy of awards, articles, media events, and certificates, all of which are plentiful.

However, as legendary as Joe Carlucci is in the pizza world, he wanted the focus of this article to be one of gratitude for everyone and everything from God, to Athens, to his faithful crew, specifically Dayana Rodriguez and Tessa Colwell. “It takes a team to be successful,” Joe said, “and I am blessed by God to have young adults who have dedication, who work hard, and care about Joe’s. I have people that I trust, and the ones who have been here for a long time, and have stuck by me, they have made all the difference.”

I got a chance to hear the stories of these young women, and while one wouldn’t expect running a pizzeria to be particularly inspirational at first blush, I left the shop feeling full in my heart, and so happy for all the blessings that have come Joe’s way.

Dayana Rodriguez
Dayana, (pronounced Diana) has worked at Joe’s for about a year and a half, and has come to the place where Joe says, “Anything in the place, she can do it all.” Joe is well known for burning the candle from both ends, and on Christmas Day, Dayana ran everything. They worked together as great team until midnight, busy to the last. Dayana told me how she had applied many places and landed here. She had no prior experience, but was teachable, and is so grateful for all that she has learned. She is taking business classes at Calhoun, is heading toward getting a business degree, and feels that everything she has learned from working for Joe’s will one day be used when she is an entrepreneur herself, perhaps as a clothing store owner. She loves the training she has received, and she loves to make people happy. I asked her why, when I have “pizza choices” in the area that range from big box to those that are locally owned, should I choose Joe’s when I am in the mood for pizza? She said, “He makes each pizza to please the people, and thinks about the customer.” She smiled and said, “The pizzas are thoughtful,” meaning, thoughtfully made. Dayana likes the fact that Joe is now able to spend more time on recipes, and she can focus on doing everything else.

Tessa Colwell
Unlike Dayana, Tessa Colwell “knew” pizza, as she had worked for a national chain. She was born and raised in Ardmore, and her family moved to Georgia. That’s where she learned a trade that she basically had to un-learn and start from scratch when she started working for Joe. For one thing, the use of a brick oven is not something you see very often, and getting good at baking pizza in it takes some real skill. “The whole thing is different,” says Tessa. I asked her if she had learned how to toss pizza dough in the air, and she laughed as she told me about the first time she tried and it literally hit the ceiling. “I have developed my own style,” she said. Tessa is also very artistic, and is getting close to making her first “picture pizza.” I asked her who she is going to use for her subject, and she said, “Scooby-doo. And, Leonardo the Ninja Turtle because he loves pizza.”

I asked Tessa why I should come there for pizza, and she said, “It has a family feeling. The sauce is the best I have ever had. The cheese is fresh, and we’re faster than anybody. We can get a pizza baked in 2-3 minutes.” She went on to tell me more about how they remember the names of their customers, and want people to feel comfortable. She also mentioned that she is hoping they’ll be able to do more catering and weddings. I asked her, “What would you like to say to the people who read Athens Now?” She said, “We hope you have a blessed year.”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Alabama native Sandy Collins has been both a successful financial planner as well as a realtor, with a significant part of her career having been in the Northeast. When she knew it was time to leave those arenas, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do. Her next step was to draw from her enjoyment of collecting beautiful pieces from a more gracious time, and has converted that former hobby into a thriving business known as Serendipity Antiques and Interiors. Her large and charming store is located here in Athens.

Sandy started out collecting glassware, and then, “When we lived in Kansas, I discovered auctions. I started buying antiques, collected, and I opened my first booth at Regency Antiques in 2000,” she said. Eventually she purchased Regency in 2004, and in June 2011, she sold it, thinking she was going to finally retire. The new owner, Champagne Lane, was open from 2011 until late December 2014. Sandy always knew that if she were going to go back into business full time, she needed a location that was on Highway 72. This shop was located in the Valley Event Center complex near Publix in Athens, and it was perfect. She officially opened as Serendipity on December 29th 2014, and Sandy tells me, “People were just about beating down the doors before we opened back up.” It’s now two years later, and Serendipity is getting ready to throw an anniversary celebration on January 14th. “We want to celebrate and thank our loyal customers,” she said.

“We now have over 30 dealers,” Sandy said, “and it’s hard to believe we are completely full with a waiting list for booth space. It’s really exciting to see the return of some of our former vendors.” She smiled and added that, “It makes me feel like we’re doing something right.”

I asked her what she thought were some of the reasons for Serendipity’s success. “We have been told by our customers that Serendipity is one of the most attractive stores they have visited. They say it’s such a pleasure to shop here because it’s clean, neat, and well organized, thus making it easier for shoppers to find what they want,” Sandy said. Serendipity also keeps a “wish list” for their customers. If they come in and can’t find what they are looking for, Sandy and her friendly crew will keep an eye out for it. They will even contact other vendors to help customers find that special item. “We share our list with all of our dealers in case they have the piece in their personal storage,” she said. This makes it possible for everyone to benefit, and there is new merchandise coming in every day, since dealers can refill their booths as soon as items sell and space becomes available. Every inch of the 7500 square feet of the store is beautifully displayed.

“We have helpful, knowledgeable employees, and they make the shopping experience a pleasant one,” Sandy added. “Customer service is number one on our priority list, and folks say they are always greeted with a friendly ‘hello,’ followed by, ‘Let us know if we can help you find anything.’” There are also several family teams that have booths, and they have specialties such as antique hand tools, primitives and Depression glass.

Sandy is also careful to not try and “sell,” which is something I think we all appreciate. “When people come in, we listen, we care, and we do our best to find what it is that they really want,” she told me. Sandy makes a point of going to estate sales and cherry picks only the best items. She is not alone in her “quest for the best.” Frank Crafts, of “Frank’s Good Stuff” has become her largest vendor. “Frank travels frequently, and comes home with fantastic antiques,” she said.

I have firsthand experience with Sandy’s passion to take excellent care of her customers. About 18 months ago, I purchased a school desk from Serendipity to be used as an end table. It has a place in it for an inkwell, and while I did not fill out my “wish list,” Sandy remembered that I hoped to find one. While we were doing this interview, she said, “I haven’t forgotten your inkwell, you know.”

To celebrate their two year anniversary, Serendipity is going to have an open house on January 14th. There will be refreshments as well as special sales. Sandy and her 30+ vendors are hoping you’ll come out and experience all that has made it possible for Serendipity to become a “destination store.”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

A Tribute To Tammy


One afternoon I had the chance to play the piano in the dining room of what was then called Athens Rehab and Senior Care, located across from the Athens-Limestone Hospital. Every other month, for over five years, I have had the great privilege of interviewing senior citizens who were residents of the facility. On this particular day, I had some time to kill, which is rare, and I chose to use the time to play some worship music and enjoy my Maker.

It wasn’t long before a slight woman with mocha skin, large and tender chocolate-colored eyes, and one of the gentlest voices I have ever heard came and stood behind me to listen. Eventually I looked up, and the rest, as they say, was history. We had one of those connections that was instant and deep, and whenever we would bump into each other while we were out and about, it was like meeting a long-lost friend or family member.

She was a Katrina refugee and had come to Athens to start over. She owned her own catering business called Arabella’s, and she could have just about been the Cake Boss. She was patient and painstaking, and her cakes were a work of art.

She taught classes on cake decorating at the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning, and as Jackie Warner mentioned in her article, Tammy was the Resident New Orleans Chef at the Bridge, the wonderful place on Hine Street that is owned by the Warners, and dedicated to building our community.


One time Tammy and I catered a dinner for a Juice Plus event, and we had some challenges, that if overcome, would serve to make the meal memorable. One was that we had a woman attending who had Celiac disease so badly that if she came in contact with any gluten whatsoever, she would have to be hospitalized. The other was the goal to make a tasty catered meal with linens and such for $10 a head. Because of Tammy’s generosity and the fact that we could work so well together, we were able to do it, and the sponsors of the event were greatly pleased.

Tammy had a dream, and that was to teach cake and cupcake decorating in the projects with the hope of teaching a trade that could result in owning a business. Frosting would change the future.
When her fellow Katrina refugee and Athens Now cooking columnist Shelley Underhill found herself in need of help with her column while she cared for elderly relatives, Tammy stepped up. She was not at all comfortable with technology, and used the Internet as little as possible; so we used to meet in the beautiful, sunny breakroom at the new library, and she would hand me her recipe written in long hand, with detailed instructions designed to make it just right. My job was to get it converted into a word document and get it to Production, and make sure the pictures she had taken would work.

Tammy’s passing on November 8th shocked and saddened us all, and this paper won’t be the same without her. She has been returned to her beloved Louisiana, and I know that because she was a woman of faith, her “soul is rested,” as Mother Pollard used to say. We will see you soon, sweet girl, and just know that you are sorely missed.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


Bill Daws was born and raised in Limestone County and graduated from West Limestone High School in 1977. For 19 years he worked in Decatur at Wolverine Tubes. In 1999 he was a part of the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department and served as a patrol deputy. Bill had always wanted to own his own business; so, for two years he ran an excavating service gaining experience that would serve him well as a County Commissioner.

In 1996 he ran for County Commission and lost to Dave Seibert. When Dave became the Chairman of the Limestone County Commission in 2002, Bill was appointed to replace him in the District 4 slot. Bill successfully ran in 2004 and 2008, but was defeated in 2012. He returned to the Sheriff’s Department to serve as a patrolman, but then chose to transfer to the work release program as it was getting off the ground.

“I enjoyed helping these guys put their lives back together by working hard and making restitution,” Bill said. He told me how the program worked. “They had to be sentenced, and be willing to work in order to make restitution. It is so much better than just having them sit in prison and not doing anything. Even though it’s years later, I still hear from some of the guys who are really thankful for the program. They’ve turned their lives around and are drug-free. Some of them paid off child support or other debts, and it was a win-win for the taxpayers,” he added. However, it was when several people approached him to run again for his former position that he decided the only way to do so would be as an independent. “I told them, you are going to have to get my name on the ballot, and I will never run as part of a political party.” We chatted for awhile about the need for Commission and judicial positions to be non-partisan, and Bill hopes if he wins that running as an independent will pave the way for that to happen.


Bill also told me that he greatly enjoyed his job as Commissioner. “I loved doing the job, helping people, and working with the other Commissioners and City Council. Bringing jobs and helping industry grow keeps the money local, and helps the taxpayers,” he says.

One of the strengths Bill brings is the experience of being a farm owner. He raises cross-breed cattle, Angus and Hereford, as well as hay. “The Commission should be run like a business, and the tax payer should get the very best use of their tax dollars,” he said. He also said with firmness, “It is time to get rid of party politics. Run on your name and what you can do, not being tied to any group, organization, or committee.”

I asked Bill, “When you were Commissioner, what was your best accomplishment?” He answered, “Maintaining the roads safely.” He also talked about keeping the bushes cut back, getting funding to put guard rails for the Elk River, paving projects, and the fact that he returned phone calls in a timely manner. “I want to hear their concerns and see what we can do about it,” he said. Bill is proud of the fact that he was able to secure funding to renovate the Owens Senior Center.

“As an elected official, you are the voice of the people. You represent those folks,” Bill said. He went on to say, “There can be no room for personal agenda. You have to keep an open mind, and do what’s best for the people of the County.”

Bill says that “[t]he roads in District 4 are in bad shape, and safety is a major concern. If I am re-elected, my main project is to get the roads back up and to work with other officials to get funding we need. Limestone County is growing, and we need to make sure the roads and intersections are safe. I have had years of experience working with legislators to get grants, whether they are Federal, from Department of Transportation, or ATRIP (Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program).”

Bill also wants to make sure that major projects undertaken by the Commission are not what are known as “Cost plus 10,” because it’s too easy for there to be major cost overruns. Most of all he wants to be a “working Commissioner for all the citizens of District 4.” If this is what you are looking for in a County Commissioner, then Bill Daws would appreciate your vote on November 8th.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


It was in April of 2015 that I had the joy of first interviewing Kelli Minyard and her brother, Jordan Anderson, co-owners of Sweet Thymes Bakery and Meals to Go. Sweet Thymes is located at 407 North Clinton Street, just south of Persell Lumber. They opened for business in October 2014, and just celebrated their second anniversary by having a booth at the 50th Fiddlers’ Convention.
Kelli and Jordan, with the help of friends and family, converted what had once been a crack house near the railroad tracks in Athens into a most pleasant eatery. Since that time their business has grown for what I think are two reasons: they are just as committed to doing well as they are to doing good. The result is that they are “busy and blessed.”


What do I mean by “doing well and doing good?” “Doing well” means working hard, building your clientele base, finding out what people want and need, and providing it for them. “Doing good” means the ways you give back, and the heart you have to strengthen your community. Sweet Thymes does both, and their crew helps them. They have worked hard to fix up the building, and you would never know that it was once used for purposes that were far less than honorable.

The day I was in the shop for the interview, a customer came in whose spouse is in the thick of a battle with cancer. Kelli told me, “Our food is one of the few things that tastes good to him because of the chemo.” I know for a fact that Kelli understands that the first ingredient of anything she makes for her customers has to be love, and making food for this family that is going through such a tough time is making a difference.

Word has gotten around, and many businesses in town have Sweet Thymes do their lunches. If the order is at least $40, they will even deliver if it’s in the immediate Athens area. Below is an example of a recent menu, which change daily and are posted on Facebook, along with the phone number to call in the order:

11-4-2016-9-25-35-amChicken Casserole
Chicken Alfredo
Baked Ham Sub or Plate
Honey Pecan Chicken
Greek Chicken Pasta w/ cherry tomatoes, spinach, & basil
Greek Grilled Chicken
Taco Chicken Quesadilla
Wrap w/ toppings choice
Spinach Salad with choice of toppings and/or meat (extra charge)
Hot Sides:
Sautéed Mushrooms
Cream Corn
Loaded Grits Casserole
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Brown Sugar Bourbon Carrots
Sautéed Cabbage
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Sautéed Asparagus
Squash & Onions
Roasted Cauliflower
Toppings Choice:
Cheese, Mushrooms, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, Bell Peppers, Bacon, Pepperoncini Peppers, Pickles, Jalapeno Peppers, Banana Peppers.
Dressings: Sriracha Ranch, Blue Cheese, or our Homemade Ranch.
Cold Salads:
Chicken Salad
Pasta Salad
Broccoli Salad
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Pimento Cheese
Jalapeno Pimento Cheese
Peach Pretzel Salad
Wedge Salad (cheese, bacon crumbles, and choice of herbed ranch or blue cheese dressing)
Herb and Cheese Biscuits
Rosemary Rolls
Roasted Peanuts (gallon bag $5)
Chocolate Cobbler
Sweet or Unsweet Tea
Coke Products
Bottled Water

11-4-2016-9-25-13-amI had the honey pecan chicken, the squash and onions, and the garlic mashed potatoes. Oh, I never wanted it to end. I sat outside at the picnic table, and enjoyed the morning glories that were growing on the fence. And then reluctantly I went back to work.

One of the things that makes the food so good is that Jordan grows the herbs right there on site. Kelli told me recently that they heard from a customer that “she could taste the fresh herbs, and it made all the difference.”

The catering side of Sweet Thymes has really taken off. They have done wedding receptions at Athens State, Rotary lunches, proms, showers, retirement parties, and more. Here is a comment from a satisfied customer:

Catered my son’s Thanksgiving party at school and everything was so organized! Everyone’s plate had their name on it they even sent an extra plate of food just in case we needed it! Plenty of sauces and utensils included!! I heard so many comments through out the party at how amazing the food tasted! We were all blown away!

Speaking of Thanksgiving and the holidays, orders are beginning to pour in. Kelli will be making everything from cakes and pies to turkeys and hams to what she calls “full on meals.” Remember, everything is made from scratch and with love, and you will have a sweet time enjoying the fare of Sweet Thymes Bakery and Meals to go.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

10-21-2016-3-27-45-pmIn 2012, when I interviewed Ben Harrison during his successful campaign for Limestone County District 4 Commissioner, I was intrigued by his blend of career experience in corporate America, as well as that of a small businessman.

Ben grew up on his family’s farm in rural West Limestone County. He is married to Beth McGuire Harrison, and together they have 4 children, Erin, Caleb, Olivia and Emily, as well as two grandchildren. Family and traditional values have always been central to the way Ben does things. This is one of the many reasons why he’s so concerned about the direction our country is headed. “It really makes me sad when I think about the Government debt and burdens we are leaving for future generations,” he said. Fighting for our community and children’s futures is one of the main reasons he got involved in politics, and was a deciding factor in his decision to run for political office. “I’m not a politician and sometimes that gets me in trouble, but I am going to stand for what I believe in and not back down just because it’s politically correct,” he stated with conviction.


Ben’s conservative world view and his experience in the business world make him an excellent watchman over county spending. He knows how to spot and eliminate wasteful expenditures without curtailing services. A recent example was the Grigsby Ferry bridge project in West Limestone County. Grigsby Ferry Road had a one lane bridge which was old and needed to be upgraded. Ben was told the only option was a new bridge at a cost of 250K. That seemed exorbitant and unnecessary, so he looked for alternatives that would be safe, and also save money. He found a solution by changing designs and utilizing round culverts instead of a traditional box bridge design. The upgrade cost only 32K, and saved us (the taxpayers) a whopping 218 thousand dollars.

In addition, when Ben took over as District 4 Commissioner, the District was over 200,000.00 dollars in debt, and the entirety of that debt has now been paid off under Ben’s leadership. That is no small accomplishment in an era when measurable fiscal solvency has been relegated to the realm of suggestion rather than necessity.

Ben says his desire is to always be a wise steward of taxpayers’ money, and be attentive to the needs of the community. He feels it’s been an honor to serve as County Commissioner, and enjoys working with the people of District 4. Ben believes, “We live in a blessed area,” and he says he wants to “keep it that way.”

10-21-2016-3-28-02-pmAs County Commissioner, Ben’s biggest concerns are centered around road maintenance and improvement, i.e. improving the quality and safety of our roads while reducing costs. His priority is to do the job right, taking care of the base and drainage before he resurfaces current roads. He is investigating a different way to chip seal roads that will result in a smoother and longer lasting surface. During his first term, Ben has been a strong supporter of eliminating unnecessary government projects and diverting that revenue to our road system. With District 4 getting less money per road mile compared to the other districts, these issues are especially important to him. If re-elected, he will continue to be an advocate for better roads, not only in District 4, but throughout Limestone County.

Transparency is also something that is important to citizens of our county as well as those of our nation as a whole. Ben has been talking about government transparency since he took office, and if it were up to him, he would post the county books online for easy review by citizens. By that, Ben means, “every transaction, who wrote what check, and from what account”. Baldwin County already does it and Ben believes it would be a good move for us. He would also like to have Limestone County Commission’s work sessions recorded. “We currently record our regular meetings, but adding the work sessions would give people an added level of background as to what we are voting on during those meetings.”


While many think of County Commissioners as being only “the road guys,” Ben says with a passion, “Our job is also to protect the liberties and freedoms of citizens,” and that means public safety as well as their pocket books. He has been a consistent supporter of private property rights, and opposing tax increases on the hard working people of Limestone County. Now that he is a grandfather, he is even more passionate about building a lasting foundation for his grandkids’ future that starts with roads and goes from there.

If this is what you are looking for in a Limestone County Commissioner, then Ben Harrison would appreciate your voting to return him to his “watch” over District 4 on November 8th.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


As a former Eagle Scout, Brian Christopher Templeman Jones learned early in life to always give back and help others. As a young scout, Brian built custom furniture for disabled students. As an adult, he chose a career path that touches the lives of many in our community.

Brian was born here in North Alabama. As a child, Brian’s family moved several times all over the United States with IBM. After a few years his parents came home and settled down in Madison County. Brian graduated from Huntsville High School, Birmingham-Southern College, and the University of Alabama School of Law.

After law school, Brian clerked for Circuit Court Judge William R. Gordon and went on to be an Assistant District Attorney in Randolph County and Limestone County.

After leaving the Limestone County District Attorney’s Office in 2002 for private practice, Brian embarked on a legal career representing individuals, families, and businesses in a wide variety of cases. When I asked him if being in private practice helped him be a better District Attorney, Brian said “wearing hats from both sides has helped me see the big picture, and understand it better.”


Brian C.T. Jones was elected to serve as District Attorney of the 39th Judicial Circuit of Alabama in November 2010 and took office on January 18, 2011.

Brian and I had the chance to talk about the major issues facing Limestone County. “Like so many other communities across our nation, Limestone County faces a drug addiction epidemic,” Brian told me. He went on to explain that roughly 85% of all crime is drug related, 10% are people doing stupid things, and around 5% of the offenders are disturbingly dangerous. With our prison system operating at 200% capacity, it is a difficult issue to address. Brian went on to explain that most drug cases are not those of people who actually have a desire to be criminals, but they have gotten hooked and commit crimes in order to sustain their addiction.

To address this situation, Brian created the Pre-Trial Diversion Program and expanded Community Corrections and the Drug Court to increase treatment alternatives for drug offenders. “The fight against drugs is a fight against their demand. As long as there is a demand for drugs, someone will sell them. A true solution has to tackle both the dealers and the addiction” he said. Brian believes it is important for non-violent offenders to be reformed whenever possible so they can give back to the community, instead of being a drain on taxpayers for years to come.

I asked him what he is most proud of with respect to his time as District Attorney. Brian swiftly responded that it was Limestone County being ranked the safest county in Alabama! “This ranking is a testament to the hard work of law enforcement, social services, rehabilitative services, Community Corrections, Drug Court, Pre-Trial Diversion and my office as we work together to serve our community”, Brian told me.
When asked what his second choice would be, Brian said, “I am also proud of my Community Service Program.” Limestone County is the ONLY county in Alabama with a full time Community Service Program that requires non-violent offenders to give something back as part of their sentence. With over 29,000 hours of labor completed in a variety of projects and programs, this program has saved the non-profit agencies in Limestone County over $210,000.00 in labor costs. “I firmly believe that an offender’s path toward rehabilitation is not complete until he or she makes the personal sacrifice to give of their time to the benefit of others. This program has been a tremendous success not only for the agencies who benefit but for the offenders themselves,” he said.

With the success of Pre-Trial Diversion, Community Corrections, and Drug Court, Brian has been able to concentrate his resources on that very dangerous 5%. “From my very first day, I have worked to my fullest ability to bring murderers, rapists, and child sex-offenders to trial without delay or compromise.”

When asked about any final thoughts, Brian said it had been his privilege to serve the people of Limestone County as District Attorney, and that he wants to continue to serve you in the years to come. “On behalf of myself, my wife Kandye, my daughter Tori, and son, Christopher, I humbly ask for your vote again on Nov. 8th.” He believes his record speaks for itself, and he wants to build on the success his office has had over the last 6 years. Brian said, “Limestone County is the safest county in Alabama for a reason, and as District Attorney I will never stop working to keep our families and our homes safe.”

If you would like to see Brian Jones continue his efforts as Limestone County District Attorney for another term, then he and his family would appreciate your vote on November 8th.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


Miss Jean was born on May 20, 1941 on a little farm near Raytown, MO. It was about six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and ultimately the family moved into town. In 1965, she married Duane, and they are the parents of three children. Her daughter’s family has lived on the mission field in Ireland for 20 years, and her sons are both retired from the Air Force.
Duane’s job brought the Sheridans to Huntsville in the early ‘70s, and Jean, who loves kids, became a nanny for 20 years after her kids left the nest. She came to Athens Health and Rehab in August, and is now a permanent resident. “I couldn’t have picked a better place,” she said. Thankfully, her health does permit her to get out and spend time with her husband and family, and she has no end of appreciation for all who have helped her make the transition to permanent residency easier.

She likes Bingo, and when she first came here, she won three games in a row. Winners of the many games and contests planned by the Activities Department earn points to spend on items in the General Store. So far Miss Jean has “shopped” for a blow dryer, as well as a set of earrings and a necklace, and she asked me for help putting in her earrings for the picture you see above.
She has made a fall colored bracelet as well as a decorative owl out of felt, and she especially loves Misty, Keisha, and Michelle from Activities. “I am very satisfied,” she said, simply.
We talked about her favorites, and she didn’t have to think long for any of them.

Favorite Color? Pink, but she also really likes lavender. “Duane likes blue,” she said, happily.

Favorite Food? Pepperoni pizza. She gets to go out to get her hair done every other week, and that’s when she indulges.

Favorite Song? As a lifelong Baptist, she has two favorite classic hymns. “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less,” (sometimes known as The Solid Rock), and “Count Your Blessings.” She also let me know that when she passes, she wants the congregation to sing “In The Garden” at her funeral. She asked, “That’s a good one, don’t you think?” I agreed, and we took a minute to sing all three.
Favorite Scripture? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
Favorite books? The “Little House” series, and she loved the TV adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s tales.
Favorite TV shows? Again, Little House on the Prairie, the Waltons, and Bonanza.
Favorite actor? Michael Landon.
Favorite President? Ronald Reagan.

Biggest change in her lifetime? “Technology,” she said. “It can be used for great good or great evil. I worry about it sometimes,” she said.
What is the best advice she could give to young people? “Don’t get so drawn into computers that you forget to go outside and ride your bike,” she said. Then she added, “Parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing on the computer.” Sage advice from an experienced mom and a nanny.

Thank you, Miss Jean!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


On October 12th, once again the Athens Limestone Hospital Foundation will be sponsoring the Pink Elephant Luncheon, an event whose sole purpose is to raise funds as well as awareness in the fight against breast cancer. While the color pink has had a number of illustrative roles in our culture, such as being “the” color of baby girls, as well as expressing being in a state of health or well-being, i.e. being “in the pink,” it wasn’t until 2008, when the National Football League approved the use of players using pink garb and or equipment to express their solidarity in the fight against breast cancer, that it morphed into becoming the color of a warrior. Now it is common to see men and women wear pink ribbons in October, and it is even possible to buy pink garbage cans that signal a commitment all year long to seeing breast cancer defeated.

There was a time when breast cancer was considered to be the disease of elderly women, being largely confined to those aged 65 and above. Some oncologists say that with each passing decade, the age of women attacked by breast cancer has itself dropped a decade, with teenagers being stricken in the years 2000-2010. Sadly, last year a ten year old girl in California became the youngest person on record to have been diagnosed with it. In addition, it is now entirely possible for men to have breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2016, 2600 men will be stricken with the disease, and of those 2600, 400 will die. While it is true that 97% of the women who actually die from breast cancer are over the age of 40, still the death toll this year will be close to 40,000, and from every age group. Thankfully, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., and the Foundation is doing all it can to see that number increase.

Because early detection is one of the keys for survival, the Athens Limestone Hospital Foundation raises funds specifically designated to provide scholarships for mammograms, as well as technologies to find it sooner. ALH Foundation started the Pink Elephant Fund eight years ago because they wanted to make sure residents of Limestone County who either have no medical insurance, or whose insurance does not cover mammograms would have the opportunity to have this test at no charge. This has been especially helpful in recent years as insurance costs have sky-rocketed, or mammograms have been dropped from coverage altogether.

10-7-2016-11-30-36-amIn keeping with October being National Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Foundation will be holding the Pink Elephant Luncheon on the 12th at the Limestone County Event Center from 11:30 am until 1 pm. Individual tickets are $30, and in addition, there are a number of opportunities to be a sponsor. If you would like to be a mammogram scholarship sponsor, you can do so for $125. You will receive one ticket to the luncheon, and will be designated as a “Pink Table Top” sponsor.

The “Tickled Pink” designation is for a donation of $500, includes two luncheon tickets, event day recognition, and having name/organization posted on the Pink Elephant Sponsor Board for the fiscal year.

The $1500 “Pretty In Pink” designation includes a luncheon table for 8, the same event day and Sponsor board recognition, as well as inclusion in a full page color ad in the Sunday News Courier. For $2500, the “Passionate Pink” sponsors will have 2 tables of 8, the same event day recognition, Sponsor Board recognition, News Courier recognition, name/organization posted on hospital digital donor wall, as well as further recognition in Foundation marketing campaigns.

For more information on purchasing tickets or being a sponsor, please call the Foundation Office at 256-233-9557.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


“Tell me what brought you to seek a life coach.” Is how my first coaching session began. I had been thinking about hiring a life coach for certain places where I am “stuck,” and when Charlie Wallace approached me about some advertising, I decided to find out what she does. I have a garage that is a hot mess, and despite herculean efforts to deal with the stuff, I have made very little progress over the long haul. We set an appointment and Charlie and I sat down to develop a strategy to tame my garage clutter.

Before our session, I asked Charlie how she got involved with life coaching. “A friend whom I had been watching coach for a couple of years had asked ‘If you could do absolutely anything, what would it be?’ I knew instantly that I wanted to somehow be a life coach and help people like she does!” She helped me find a certification program, which I completed, and now I’m certified, am in business (more of a calling, really), and love what I do!”

I asked her what has been the biggest change that has occurred in her life since she received her certification, and she said, “Confidence. I walk in a level of healthy confidence that I have never experienced, and love being able to help someone else experience that, too. I enjoy watching people grow and transition through the seasons of life.”

Every season of life has its own challenges, whether it’s learning to rest in winter in preparation for spring growth, or figuring out how to distribute the fall harvest most effectively. Sometimes we all need help to get through a season – not because we are weak or ineffective – but because we haven’t been taught how. The rough seasons can seem overwhelming! Sometimes we all want someone who has been through similar struggles to come alongside and show us how to get through.


Charlie has been through her share of seasons and brings those experiences to the aid of her clients. She served in the US Air Force, has lived internationally, transitioned from a stay at home mom to being a struggling single mom, dealt with an addict spouse, worked through a recovery program to heal from her past, and believes that it all helped shape the coach that she is today. She has been taught how to use the decision making process to navigate her own life seasons and is able to assist others in navigating theirs as well.

I wanted to know: what is different between a coach and a counselor? According to Charlie, counseling is mainly focused on healing from the past or from an issue, while coaching takes a client who is healthy and is looking to move into a different season of life, or to move past a particular obstacle (my garage). Charlie went on to tell me that, “Sessions are client driven, and coach led. My job is to listen and guide the client to develop realistic and manageable steps to accomplish their goals. I also teach clients the decision making process. I honestly want my clients to outgrow their need for me!”

Although each client is unique, the process is the same for each…whether they are a parent overwhelmed with kid clutter and desiring a clean home, or a Fortune 500 CEO wanting to change the direction of their company. Identify the issue, develop a plan, break the plan into steps, and get busy. It is also important to have accountability, which a coach provides.

During our session, Charlie was the consummate professional, asked excellent questions, was kind but firm, and kept good boundaries. What especially impressed me was her creativity when it came to giving helpful suggestions for managing my goals with regard to crushing the clutter. I am on track, sticking to my daily goals, being accountable to Charlie, and it feels good. If you are interested in moving forward, no matter what the season in which you find yourself, than I highly recommend you contact Charlie. Let her help you walk in the freedom that has been given to you.
Charlie Wallace, Certified Life Coach
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner