Great Escapes: The More You Travel, The Farther You’ll Go!

Great Escapes: The More You Travel, The Farther You’ll Go!

Healthy Living

We all know how great it feels to get away, but do you know how important those vacation days are for your health and well-being? Trips away are good for our body and soul.

And as it turns out, adding mileage to your vacation can also increase your longevity.

According to an article published by U.S. News & World Report, putting real distance between you and your workplace could very well add years to your life. It isn’t enough just to take time away from the office – we need to advance toward new and faraway destinations. Experiencing new places is invigorating, refreshing, and boosts our creativity. By stimulating feelings of awe and admiration, taking in new sights (and sites) can even make us more compassionate and help us better connect with others.

A change of venue is good for your body too. Breaking away from our regular routine frees us up to take on unique, invigorating activities. The more distant our adventure, the more physically active we tend to be. For example, most of us are more likely to go hiking among exotic ruins than we may be to go walking around our own neighborhood.

We cannot overlook the benefits of reducing our stress levels either. Crossing oceans or long lengths of blacktop not only stirs our sense of adventure – it helps us relax at the same time. Changing our backdrop removes us from our regular stressors of job, house, and mundane responsibilities. In addition, planning for a special trip gives us something amazing to look forward to throughout the year, keeping our focus on better, wondrous things ahead. Improve your scenery. . . and extend your expectations for life down the road.

-Jean Bowick

YMCA of Greater Birmingham,

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Birmingham Volunteers Share God’s Love in Moldova

Birmingham Volunteers Share God’s Love in Moldova

Mission Makers

David Brown and Karen Allen of Birmingham shovel buckets of dirt to be used for flooring in a Moldovan mud-thatch house being built for an area family.

“How beautiful the feet that carry the Gospel of peace to the fields of injustice and the valleys of need. To be a voice of hope and healing, to answer the cries of the hungry and helpless with the mercy of Christ.”

As I joined in singing these words from the “Compassion Hymn,” I reflected on how significant they were having just returned from a mission trip to Moldova – a poverty-stricken picturesque eastern European country about the size of Maryland still struggling to find autonomy after the ruin of Soviet socialism. Our team of 14 included volunteers from Meadow Brook Baptist and Fullness Christian Fellowship in Birmingham. We traveled to Dancu, Moldova to put the words of the hymn into action. We served meals to the sick and elderly, did home improvement projects, taught English, played children’s games, baked new recipes, constructed toolkits, ministered to disabled kids, shared testimonies, visited prisoners, provided greenhouse training, prayed, sang, crocheted, and tatted. And that’s not all! The talents and interests of each team member were used to shine the light of Christ.

Our mission: share the Gospel and help create an environment for economic development. The need for a sustainable level of economic stability and job growth is crucial. Moldovans are often forced to seek employment beyond the borders of their country. Human trafficking also entices desperate young girls grasping at the hope of a promised job that doesn’t exist

Team member David Brown works with Andrae from Moldova to measure and attach braces for hanging sheetrock in a mud-thatch house.

Our Birmingham team leader recognized the need for jobs and improved infrastructure in 2005 while working on a project for his MBA. God led him to a Baptist pastor in Dancu named Slavic. Over the years, their friendship has grown as has the vision. Pastor Slavic and his leadership team impact the community with ministries similar to American church ministries such as Girls in Action, Meals on Wheels, and youth activities. But Dancu Baptist partnering with Tabita Ministries extends its initiatives into business, agriculture, and specific needs including dairy and cheese production, bread baking, growing/harvesting lavendar and sunflowers, and reaching out to the learning disabled and handicapped. Our team shared the joy of assisting in their ministries and offering others during our weeklong stay.


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The Great Outdoors

Packed & Ready for the Next Excursion!

Vacation, vacation, vacation. That’s what summer is all about, right? Whether you are spending time with the family at the beach soaking in the strong summer sun, or looking for that next hill to climb to check off your summer bucket list, you need to be prepared with the best-equipped luggage. Summer vacations are rendered useless without the proper luggage at your hip and why not do it in style and with the peace of mind that it will last you for life?

Great Outdoors Aug 16 Filson Luggage wide IMG_1439

For quality luggage and everything else you need for your next adventure, visit Mark’s Outdoors in Vestavia.

This is where Mark’s Outdoors has you set and ready to go. Stop in and take a look at their amazing selection of Filson Luggage. In business since 1897, Filson has thrived on a reputation of honesty, quality, durability and listening to what their customers want. With a lifetime warranty, these canvas goldmines will give you the style and toughness needed for any type of vacation, business trip, or overnight weekend in the great outdoors.

Mark’s Outdoors selection of Filson pieces include everything from small excursion bags to rolling check-in bags. Depending on the size, pieces range in price from $175 to $600. Filson uses only the best materials obtainable and guarantees it on every piece of merchandise.

Visit Mark’s and set yourself up for the long haul, knowing you are putting trust in over 100 years of experience in the Luggage industry with Filson and the customer care of Mark’s Outdoors.


Mark's Outdoors Logo– Mark’s Outdoors 

1400-B Montgomery Highway, Vestavia 35216

205-822- 2010,

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Healthy Living

Be Sun Smart This August

baby walk IMG_0133Whether it’s a last minute trip to the beach or lake, band camp or football camp, keep your family protected from the sun this month and all year long. Make sunscreen a part of your daily routine. Ashley Hanna, a nurse practitioner in pediatric dermatology at Children’s South, explains what parents should look for when buying sunscreen. “We do recommend an SPF of 30 or greater in sunscreen,” she says. “It’s also important to look on the ingredient label for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to be listed in the ingredients.” Hanna says children should wear sunscreen from the time they are six months old. Before then, a baby’s skin is too sensitive and it’s best to keep them completely covered with cool clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, or out of the sun altogether. For all other ages, remember sunscreen is only effective when it’s used correctly.

How to Use Sunscreen

  • Apply sunscreen whenever your kids will be in the sun. For best results, apply sunscreen about 15 to 30 minutes before kids go outside.
  • Don’t forget about ears, hands, feet, shoulders and behind the neck. Protect lips with an SPF 30 lip balm.
  • Apply sunscreen generously and reapply often, about every 2 hours. Reapply after a child has been sweating or swimming. Apply a water-resistant sunscreen if kids will be around water or swimming. Regardless of the water-resistant label, be sure to reapply sunscreen when kids come out of the water.
  • Throw out any sunscreen that is past its expiration date or that you have had for 3 years or longer.

Hanna says if your child does get sunburned, there are things you can do to help make them more comfortable. “Make sure they stay hydrated, apply moisturizer and you can give them ibuprofen or acetaminophen.” Watch their symptoms closely. If there’s any sign of blistering or dehydration, you should call the doctor immediately. And remember, repeated sunburns lead to skin cancer. Unprotected sun exposure is even more dangerous for children who have many moles or freckles, have very fair skin and hair or have a family history of skin cancer. It’s important for parents to be a good role model by consistently wearing sunscreen and limiting sun exposure. Lead by example to teach children to be sun smart.†

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Legal Matters

presented by: Frank S. Buck P.C., Personal Injury

 No-Doubt Liability & Contributory Negligence in Auto Accidents

Automobile accidents are typically litigated under the theory of negligence. Negligence requires four basic elements: a duty, breach of that duty, causation, and damages. Under Alabama law, drivers owe a duty to others on the road to drive with reasonable care. Essentially, we all must act as a reasonable person would when driving. Breaching that duty by driving carelessly, such as by texting while driving or taking one’s eyes off thecars wrecked road for a protracted period, may cause an accident and result in damages. If someone drives in an unreasonable manner and hits another vehicle because of it, that person is legally liable for the resultant damages. The determination of liability depends on the facts of each case, and establishing liability can be difficult at times. However, certain types of automobile accidents leave little or no doubt as to who is at fault; this is sometimes known as “no-doubt” liability. If a driver hits you from behind, or rear-ends you, while you are stopped, it is almost never considered your fault. The Alabama Rules of the Road require a vehicle to be able to stop safely whenever traffic has come to a halt ahead of it. To this end, drivers must leave sufficient braking distance between their cars and those ahead of them. The damage to the vehicles is particularly telling in such cases; the front of the vehicle that rear-ended another will be damaged, while the back of the vehicle that was rear-ended will be.

While liability is usually not disputed in rear-end automobile accidents, there are exceptions. Alabama is a pure contributory negligence state,meaning that, if an accident is even 1% your own fault, you cannot recover money from the one who hit you. If a driver fails to act with reasonable care and is hit by another driver, their own negligence may prevent a successful lawsuit, even if the accident was technically or mostly the fault of another. Essentially, drivers must take reasonable steps to protect themselves from harm while driving. For example, in a rear-end case, if the vehicle that was rear-ended has malfunctioning taillights, that is considered negligence on the part of the driver, and it will bar recovery under the theory of contributory negligence. In sum, always make sure to drive carefully, pay attention to the road and other vehicles, and make sure to keep your taillights in working order.


unnamed-2-Frank S. Buck, P.C., Attorneys at Law have been offering professional legal services and serving Alabama citizens for over 40 years. We have experienced trial attorneys who have over 89 years of combined trial experience. You can reach us 24 hours a day at (205) 933-7533. Please call us for a free consultation.

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Fashion For You

Handbag Heaven


Chandra and Sean Lucas’ Handbag Heaven is located at 2370 Hillcrest Road, Mobile,

Headed South for a little beach vacation? Consider adding a fashion stop on your way at Handbag Heaven in West Mobile, Ala. Chandra and Sean Lucas opened the unique store last year and showcase their passion for unique designer inspired handbags. The Alabama natives have curated Handbag Heaven’s inventory from California to Texas to Georgia, and have ached over every detail of the store’s design. Their shop personifies their passion for providing customers with excellent service and a high-end shopping experience.

The Lucas’ believe handbags are more than an accessory – they are a statement of your uniqueness. Their exclusive collection has affordable designer-inspired styles to match your dress, event, or mood. It’s an upscale shopping experience without the upscale price tags.

Handbag Heaven article pic

Handbag Heaven offers cross body, satchel, sling backpack, clutch, messenger, saddle, tote, hobo, bucket, drawstring, and structured handbags all with a scripture attached.


The couple creates their own tags for each item and includes a Scripture for extra encouragement. The Lucas’ explain that they feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity from God and want to use their business as a blessing for others through Him. They are thankful for their customers and want them to enjoy their purchases as well as their store experience. Come shop and find out for yourself how heavenly their handbags are!




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Parenting Points

Content in What Matters: 1 Timothy 6:6-10

With summer approaching, we are planning vacations and family trips. We are looking forward to fun family time and relaxation. Chances are we will take a few hundred pictures (at least) and then post the best ones on Facebook or Instagram to share with family and friends.unnamed-4

However, once the trip is over and the pictures are posted, we are at risk of falling into the trap of discontent and envy. We wait to see how our pictures are liked and commented on. If they don’t get much response from others, we might wonder if our vacation was really as good as we thought. Then we see the trips our friends took that look more exotic or more relaxing and we are convinced we did not do our vacation the right way.

Now all the joy is stolen from the summer vacation and we go into catch up mode to post even better and more fun pictures of our summer experiences. It all becomes one big cycle of disappointment. But there is hope. Paul urged Timothy and the people in Ephesus to find their contentment in God and not fall for the falsified promises of material possessions. It is only in Christ that we find our full worth and joy, and in the end contentment. When he alone is our source of contentment, everything we do in life will have a new sense of joy.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help ground your contentment in Christ:

  • Am I looking for joy from this experience or am I entering into it with joy already?
  • Will I be content if my plans don’t work out?
  • Will my joy and contentment from this experience depend on the approval of others or am I content with God’s love and acceptance of me?
  • Do I consider this to be a need or a want? Why do I consider one or the other?

Embrace the time you have with your family this summer. May it be a time of true joy!

Parenting Points Head Shot Drew Phillips_Byline pic copy-Drew Phillips, Chaplain

Covenant Classical Schools & Daycare

Covenant Classical Schools and Daycare TM2014 copyTo learn more about Covenant Classical Schools visit


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Are We There Yet?

Yellowleaf Creek Mill: Unique Wedding & Event Destination

Are We There Yellowleaf Wide Shot_Creek Mill Fountain pic

Photo Credit: Jake Fountain

The splash of the waterfall and rotation of the 16 foot water wheel are signs of new life from a 150 year old Chilton County landmark. Yellowleaf Creek Mill is a historic gristmill that dates back to before the Civil War. Gone are the days of producing grits and cornmeal, today the mill has experienced a modern day renaissance as one of the most picturesque and unique wedding and event venues in the Southeast.

Are We There_Yellowleaf Wedding 1Y9A4809

Photo Credit: Alyssa Rose Photography

Once called Shannon’s Mill and before that Miller’s Mill, Yellowleaf Creek Mill is believed to have been built around 1855. At one time it was the hub of the community, producing up to 4,500 pounds of cornmeal, flour and grits each day. In 2014, the mill was purchased by a Birmingham businessman with a love of the past. David Brogdon initially purchased the mill to be a centerpiece for a new 530 acre development named “The Highlands” he’s building in North Shelby County. But after the purchase, as he and a few of his colleagues sat in rocking chairs on the mill’s porch overlooking the 150 foot waterfall, its fate became clear. He recalls, “We looked at one another and I said, ‘Well, what are we gonna do?’ And they looked at me and said, ‘We can’t move this mill. It’s too old and too valuable to the community.’’ Brogdon agreed and responded laughing and shaking his head, “That’s what I thought. Now what are we going to do with a gristmill?”

Yellow Leaf Creek Mill Bridal Session, Clanton Alabama Wedding Venue

Yellow Leaf Creek Mill Bridal Session, Clanton Alabama Wedding Venue

Brogdon brought in Chris Reebals of Christopher Architects and Interiors to provide a restoration look that would utilize some new ideas of large porches and additional windows to enhance the mill’s previous glory and beyond. New siding, paint, and a fully functioning water wheel were just some of the additional improvements made. Today the mill is a perfect blend of old and new. Guests feel like they are taking a step back in time without sacrificing modern conveniences. The mill features some of the original machinery but also has state of the art equipment for meetings and events including a 3D Hi-definition projector and large retractable screen, as well as high speed internet.

Yellowleaf Creek Mill features a large covered porch that overlooks Yellowleaf Creek. There’s a bridal suite and a fully functioning, top of the line Viking kitchen. But of course the best seat in the house just may be along the wrap around porch that overlooks the iconic water wheel and breathtaking waterfall. Yellowleaf Creek Mill is available for weddings, receptions, reunions, corporate retreats, church retreats, showers and parties. Enchanting, historic, inspiring, an event at Yellowleaf Creek Mill is sure to be picture perfect and memorable. For more information visit To book an event or learn more about the mill call 205-280-0903 or email

Are We There Yellowleaf kitchen
Just a short ride from Birmingham, Yellowleaf Creek Mill offers a unique blend of beauty and history perfect for weddings, retreats and reunions. Learn more about this Southeast destination on Facebook and at


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Fashion For You

Master Minimalistic Packing & Travel in Style

 hatsAnyone who knows me knows I absolutely love to travel. I will take a boat, plane, train or any form of transportation to get to that long awaited destination. One thing I have not always loved about traveling is packing for a week – or two or three – into one suitcase. This packing problem was a constant dilemma for me-until recently! I am excited to share with you the secret to pulling off minimalist packing: bring essentials without being matchy-matchy and invest in ‘one-and-done’ pieces.Shades

Whether you are heading to the lake, beach, mountains, far off islands or that much anticipated European vacation remember to…

  • Bring interchangeable stapleswedge
  • Make a checklist
  • Don’t forget a LWD (little white dress)
  • Wear a pashmina, bring a sarong
  • Bring your own entertainment (iPad, iPhone, ear buds)
  • Sunscreen is a must
  • Take versatile shoes
  • Layer, layer, layer
  • Stick to a color schemeSarong
  • Stay cool in the shade with a hat
  • Chic starts with the shades
  • Never pack for rain
  • Carry travel sizes of your favorite beauty products
  • Bold accessories make a big punch
  • Wedges win
  • Roll instead of fold

These key summer travel must-haves will ensure you never get stuck at a cocktail party with nothing fancy enough to wear and you won’t spend a day sightseeing in your favorite heels. Put your best foot forward no matter where your compass takes you and always enjoy the ride. Happy Trails!

Fashion for You Krista Conlin BCF Sept 14

-Krista Conlin Robinson 

KC Projects, a full service public relations agency providing branding services to clients from the fashion industry to the corporate world,

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