YOU in 2018: What are your priorities?

YOU in 2018: What are your priorities?

Bringing Out the Winner

2018 is upon us. Everyone is thinking about their New Year’s Resolutions, and I’m sure you’ve heard, “I’m going to stop…” or more commonly, “I’m going to start…” It’s the checklist we commonly create this time every year.

I have an idea. Instead of making an annual checklist of different actions, directions or resolutions, why not focus on a list of priorities that can become a part of your life all year long – every day of your life from now on? The list should look something like this:

1) You and God

2) You

3) You and your spouse

4) You and your children


Notice the first word in each is YOU! May 2018 be the year that you allow God to work in your life because this is the year you sincerely ask God to change you. If you do, I guarantee that you will see marked improvement in every one of your priorities. Why? Because God desires to make you better! He promised, “I will create a new heart within you.” He’s just waiting on you to ask.

John Croyle, Founder, Big Oak Ranch 

Author, Who You Are/Defying the Circumstances that Define Us, Bringing Out the Winner in Your Child, The Two Minute Drill to Manhood and Raising a Princess,

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Tax Reform & Estate Planning

Tax Reform & Estate Planning

Legal Matters

presented by Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning

At the time I am writing this article, no one knows exactly what will happen with tax reform. However, it appears that the estate tax exemption will be significantly increased.

Presently, estate taxes are not a worry for the average Alabamian as the exemption limit was increased to $5 million per person under President Obama in 2012. Today, the estate tax exemption is $5.49 million dollars per person. In other words, a person must have over $5.49 million before his or her estate will pay estate taxes. Of course, if estate taxes are an issue, the tax rate is a hefty 40 percent.

If, under President Trump, the estate tax exemption is further increased, it will work to solidify the fact that most Alabamians do not have to actively plan to avoid estate taxes. However, that does not mean that estate planning is not necessary. Tax reform is expected to change other areas such as business taxation and deductions such as medical deductions. These are areas of important interest to business owners and seniors paying for long term care. Planning to pay for long term care and asset protection will continue to be a problem as the baby boomers age and the reality of paying for long term care sets in. Families need to be aware of options and proactively plan the best ways to provide care for seniors.

As tax reform occurs, make sure you check with your estate planning attorney to determine if you need to make changes due to changes in the tax laws and take the time to review your estate plan for any other changes that need to be made. And remember, blended families and families with troubled relationship dynamics will continue to need estate planning to make sure assets are passed in the way that is desired and in the best manner.

Melanie Bradford Holliman 

Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC

Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.

2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124


This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.

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Promoting Your Child’s Independence—and Why You Must

Promoting Your Child’s Independence—and Why You Must

Healthy Living

Many older adults say that today’s children are spoiled. While it is true that we parents are now giving our children far more material possessions and commercial entertainment than most of us received, the greater harm to our children’s development is that we tend to foster their dependence upon us. Not only do we excessively provide to our children the most positive experiences, we also tend to shield them from negative experiences—more so than previous generations of parents have done. This includes protecting the child from contentious peers, demanding teachers, and failure of various types.

Our desire to provide the very best life possible for the child leads us to overprotect, which has quite the opposite result. A child who is never tasked to cope with these unpleasant experiences of life never develops the coping skills that he or she will need as an adult. So, why should we be surprised that so very many young adults are now living lifestyles of utter dependence upon parents? Many of them are residing with their parents because they experienced difficulties in college, cannot find and maintain employment, have divorced, have become dependent upon drugs, or are generally anxious or depressed.

God tasks parents to prepare their children for coping with the stress of this world as they seek the bliss of eternal life. Trying to prevent a child from ever experiencing disappointment, betrayal, unkindness, or failure merely postpones the inevitable. Postponing those experiences only cements the child’s belief that this world is filled with nothing but fun, success, and people eager to praise them and dote on them. The longer this belief builds, the harder it will be for the older child (or young adult) to accept reality and build skills for coping with it. As parents, we must be judicious in allowing our children to have some unpleasant experiences while we protect them from the most distressing ones until their coping skills have developed.

-Dr. Thomas Maple 

Dr. Maple is an Alabama-licensed psychologist and the founder of Crosswalk Psychological Services, LLC.  His clinical background includes work in private practice and in university clinics and he specializes in providing faith-based services online. To explore opportunities for you and/or your child to engage in CrossWalk faith-based psychotherapy services online, visit, call 334-744-3694 or email


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2018 Opportunity to Invest in Saving Lives

2018 Opportunity to Invest in Saving Lives

Mission Makers

2018 Opportunity to Invest in Saving Lives: Alabama Teen Challenge

We need your assistance this new year to continue helping those in need of recovery. Since 1958, Teen Challenge has been the most successful rehabilitation program in the world. So, ask yourself this question; Do I want to partner in my giving to receive the most out of my investment? If the answer is yes, then go to our website, and click on the donate tab or call 205-763-0909. You can also help Alabama Teen Challenge by planning your car donation to us in 2018. Plus, don’t forget to encourage people you know who are being affected by drugs to make the commitment to enter our program- a proven cure for the drug epidemic. Out of 1100 Teen Challenge centers, we have 4 right here in Alabama.

We also invite you to come and see what God is doing at Alabama Teen Challenge. Schedule your business or church group for a fellowship dinner in 2018. Just call Tiffany Cosby, 205-763-0909, for an opportunity to see God at work at Alabama Teen Challenge!

Robert Angles 

Executive Director, Alabama Teen Challenge, Adult Men’s and Women’s Centers

205-763-0909, P.O Box 270, Lincoln, AL 35096,



“The Teen Challenge program succeeds when all of the government programs have failed.” 

Charles Colson, Founder Prison Fellowship 

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What’s Your Word?

What’s Your Word?

Publisher’s Note

Have you ever picked a “word” for the year?

Last year my word was, REST. The word came to me in the form of a note of encouragement from my godmother. She slipped the verse, Psalm 91.1, in with a letter she sent me. I tucked the verse card away in my Bible and kept coming back to it. As I looked ahead at 2017, I thought. “It will be anything but RESTful with two seniors in high school applying to colleges and a business to run.” But I kept hearing that word REST and seeing that verse in multiple places. God seemed to be telling me, “REST in ME!” And every time fear would creep in, I would go back to that verse and REST in God’s promise. As I write this, my sons still wait to see where God will lead them in the next school year, but I REST in knowing God has the best in store.

With the start of 2018, I’m sensing my “word” for the year may be RENEWAL. What’s yours?

God’s Blessings in 2018!

-Laurie Stroud 

Founder, The Christian Family Publication, Inc.

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Twitter @cfpBirmingham

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“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 

Birmingham Christian Family JANUARY GIVE-AWAYS!

TO SAY THANK YOU for reading and supporting the businesses and organizations that advertise with us and make spreading Good News possible, we have great giveaways for you this month!

  1. Gift Certificate to Metro Diner- $25 Gift Card to Metro Diner, Inverness or Vestavia location!   Simply visit, LIKE/FOLLOW our Facebook page AND Share the Metro Diner give-away post to be entered to win! Offer Ends 1/22/18. Winner Announced on Facebook Wednesday, 1/24/2018!
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Time with God in 2018: A Fruitful Connection

Time with God in 2018: A Fruitful Connection

Special Feature

When You said, “Seek My face,”

My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” 

Psalms 27:8

The scriptures, especially the Psalms of David, are replete with references about spending time in communion with God. Most believers don’t have to be persuaded of the importance of a regular, healthy devotional life, but many would admit to an inconsistency in the practice. This is no small oversight. Time with God, in His Word and in prayer, is not merely a quaint practice, but a necessity to living a fruitful life.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Jesus makes it clear that just as the branch is dependent upon the nourishment from the vine to bear fruit, so too our fruitfulness as believers is dependent upon our connection with Him. The Amplified Bible is even more explicit: “However, apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5b Amplified Bible).

In Psalm 42:1, David wrote, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.” It’s clear that David put a premium on seeking God. We, on the other hand, live in a society that values industry. In fact, we see being busy as a mark of value and importance. However, as believers it is crucial that we see the distinction between busyness and fruitfulness. The fact is, some of us are too busy to be fruitful. Busyness is activity in response to life’s demands, whether it’s paying bills, running the kids to soccer practice, or doing the grocery shopping. Many of these responsibilities are necessary, of course, but if we think they’re more important than spending time in God’s presence, we’re sadly mistaken. Busyness will never replace fruitfulness, for fruitfulness only comes from nurturing that vital connection with Christ. The truth is that for most of us, it’s not a matter of not having the time, but of making the time. It’s an issue of priorities.

Sometimes for a tree to be fruitful, the extraneous branches have to be trimmed off so the life and vitality of the tree can be redirected to the larger, fruit-bearing branches. The same can be true of us. If we’ll allow God to trim off some of the busyness from our lives and give ourselves to spending time in fellowship with Him, we will see a marked increase in the fruitfulness in our lives. A Bible reading program or a good devotional can be a great help to give us structure, but the primary tool needed to cultivate a good devotional life is a firm dedication to be intentional about giving God the place in our lives that is His due. Join me in making 2018 a year of daily, intentional time with God. I can’t wait to see what He chooses to do through such a fruitful connection!

-Dr. Randy Lane Bunch 

Church planter, pastor, and adjunct professor at Summit Bible College in Bakersfield, California. Author of several books, including his new devotional, Immutable: Changeless Truth for a Changing World, available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, or Apple iBooks. For more information about Randy’s ministry, visit

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Senior Pet Health

Senior Pet Health

Two by 2

Have you wondered, “How old is my pet in human years?” Use this chart from Valleydale Animal Clinic as a guide, however individual pet needs may differ.

As your pet ages – their healthcare needs become greater. Since pets age at a faster rate than humans, we recommend a veterinary examination with testing every six months after your pet reaches age seven to ensure your older pet is happy, healthy and pain-free. Good senior pet health care requires attention to several factors:

  • Diet and weight management
  • Joint health
  • Cancer screening
  • Heart disease screening
  • Dental care
  • Diabetes screening
  • Function of thyroid, kidneys, and liver
  • Eye and vision health
  • Pain management

Regular exams and testing allows your vet to determine what is normal for your pet. Knowing these results help your vet detect any abnormalities or problems early. When diagnosed early, many conditions can be successfully managed to lead to better outcomes for your pet and reduced treatment costs for you. Valleydale Animal Clinic has developed a comprehensive senior wellness program designed to meet the changing needs of your pet as he or she ages. The program includes:

  • Complete physical exam – evaluates heart, lungs, eyes, ears, abdomen, joints and skin
  • Intestinal parasite exam – Check for worms
  • Early Disease Detection Testing:
    • Urinalysis – detects ph balance, crystals in urine, abnormal cells and any signs of urinary tract infection or bladder cancer
    • Full biochemisty test and bloodwork – evaluates the liver, kidneys, thyroid levels, blood sugar levels, white blood cell count, red blood cell count and platelet count

By sharing life and love with you, your pet has given you a precious gift. Now that your pet is a  “senior,” you can give something in return: the special care that makes their golden years happy and healthy. Let’s keep your senior pet feeling good with regular examinations and testing – schedule an appointment today!

Jeff Falone, DVM 

Valleydale Animal Clinic



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Comforts of Home with the Security of Community Living: Regency Retirement Village

Comforts of Home with the Security of Community Living: Regency Retirement Village

Senior Scene

Conveniently located off the Lakeshore Parkway Exit off I-65 (Exit 255), Regency Retirement Village shares the entrance with Homewood Church of Christ and is adjacent to the church campus.

“A Family Caring for Families” is the motto of Homewood’s Regency Retirement Village which offers affordable Independent and Assisted Living as well as Specialty Care Assisted Living (Memory Care). “Our area seniors and their families trust our community as their choice for quality and compassionate care, because we understand that you deserve a secure and fun filled lifestyle while giving your family peace of mind,” explains Lisa Tinny, Community Consultant for Regency Retirement Village, adding, “Relax and let someone else do the work for you. You live your life on your terms and our job is to help you do so.”

Located in west Homewood in the foothills of Shade Mountain, Regency Retirement Village offers the comforts of home with the security of community living. Assistance with day-today routines, transportation and daily housekeeping services afford residence ample leisure time to enjoy social activities and family visits. “What truly makes Regency unique is our commitment to creating an atmosphere of fellowship and sense of neighborhood in our community. Each resident has an important role, and our staff members relate to each resident as an individual,” says Tinney.

Regency offers a variety of amenities and activities to keep residents active and engaged, while still respecting their privacy and independence. “We are committed to caring for the mind, body and soul through the stages of life,” says Tinney.

For seniors and their families needing assistance in navigating financial solutions for senior care, Community Consultant Lisa Tinney can help, including identifying possibly Veteran benefits. To learn more about Regency Retirement Village or to arrange a tour, call 205-942-3355, †


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Photo Fun: Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic

Photo Fun: Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic

“Joy to the World”

Maggie Baldwin (front right) and Connor Cameron (back right) portray Mary and Joseph accompanied by angels Sam Niedermeier (front left) and Stella Ferlisi (back left) dressed in white in the Homewood Christmas Parade. The Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School students shared the Reason for the Season traveling on a brightly decorated float.

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