Renewed Faith for the New Year: Susan Alexander Yates

Susan Yates with Dog

Special Feature

Do you really believe God loves you? This is just one question best-selling author Susan Alexander Yates will explore at Samford Legacy League’s Scholarship Luncheon on February 9 in Birmingham. The annual event raises funds for students with challenging financial needs.

Yates is the author of 16 books including Cousin Camp, Risky Faith, How to Like the Ones You Love, and One Devotional. In addition to writing books and blog posts at, she speaks at events around the country on topics “related to parenting, marriage, building strong families, and faith issues.”

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Susan Alexander Yates and her husband John have been married for 53 years and have five children and 21 grandchildren. Visit Susan’s website to sign up and receive a free eBook download about family reunions.

Yates will speak twice on February 9. “Discovering an Infinite, Intimate God” is Yates’ topic for the Scholarship Luncheon starting at 11:30 a.m. at a country club in Vestavia. “We will discuss how we can truly live in the reality that God loves us,” Yates shares, adding “I will share three ways we can get to know God.”

Yates will speak on “Trusting God in Life’s Transitions” during the Supper & Table Talk event at 5:30 p.m. in the Regions Room of Samford University. Yates believes every season of life has transitions. She and her husband John recently experienced a major life transition when John retired.  “Believers don’t retire, they reposition,” Yates believes. She will share six keys she learned through personal experience about leaning on your faith during transition periods.

Susan Yates with Dog
Susan Alexander Yates will speak two times in Birmingham on February 9. Tickets are available for both events at

“Do you need encouragement in the new year? Come to these events. The topics and discussions are appropriate for all ages,” Yates says. To learn more about these events hosted by Samford University’s Legacy League and to make required reservations, visit

-Melissa Armstrong

Sav A Life Crestwood ultrasound machine dedication group

Mission Makers

Sav-A-Life’s newest clinic in Crestwood recently received a new ultrasound machine and training. The Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, in partnership with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, donated the machine.

Sav-A-Life was founded in 1980 to provide a safe place for women considering abortion. The ministry helps women in unplanned pregnancy situations by providing for both physical and spiritual needs. The ministry provides free and confidential medical services such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD/STI testing, educational programs and post abortion recovery for moms and dads. 

Sav A Life Crestwood ultrasound machine dedication group
A dedication ceremony was recently held for the new ultrasound machine at the Sav-A-Life Crestwood Clinic located at 1449 Medical Park South, Suite 300, 35213.

“God has really done an amazing work bringing this center to the east side of Birmingham,” said Lisa Hogan, executive director of Sav-A-Life Centers in Crestwood, Vestavia and North Jefferson. “We know the need is great to serve women and families in an unplanned pregnancy situation and ultrasound is a critical tool as it reveals life in the womb. We are so grateful to the Psalm 139 Project and the Alabama State Board of Missions for making this a reality for us.” Learn more at †


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Get up close and personal with the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales at the Bluff Park Piggly Wiggly on Thursday, Nov. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m.! The gentle giants will be present at Piggly Wiggly, a proud carrier of Anheuser-Busch products, along with their iconic beer wagon to host an educational show, a trot and photo opportunities for those in attendance. City of Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato will join the Clydesdale handlers to ride aboard as the beautiful horses trot along. 

In addition to their appearance at Piggly Wiggly, the Clydesdales’ tour will also include the following:

  • Alabama’s 75th Annual National Veterans Day Parade – Friday, Nov. 11 (With Parade After Party)
  • Lakeview District Trot Parade – Saturday, Nov. 12
  • Cullman Christmas Market Open House – Sunday, Nov. 13 

For more information about these events and the Budweiser Clydesdales, visit

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Special Feature 

Thanksgiving is almost here. The aroma of roasted turkey, green bean casserole, and sweet potato or pumpkin pie, will soon fill homes across America. Many will enjoy a scrumptious meal with family and friends. Some will take a moment to express gratitude to God for His blessings. Others will struggle to be thankful this season, especially people in troubled marriages. Is it possible to be grateful when your heart is hurting? 

Happiness is not guaranteed. No one gets married to live unhappily ever after. We should desire the “better” but also be prepared for the “worse.” It has been said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” There is a third thing: there will be disappointments in marriage because it consists of two imperfect people with sin-stained hearts. When things break down in a relationship, it usually means two immovable attitudes—pride and selfishness—have crashed into each other. Pride and selfishness undermine the ability to find good things in a spouse.

Something to be thankful for. Many families have a Thanksgiving tradition in which everyone shares one thing for which they are thankful. This tradition can be fun but also a little awkward, especially when you are with people who are experiencing relational difficulties. The Bible tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, ESV). This verse instructs Christians to thank God in the good and bad times. Perhaps you can start a new tradition this Thanksgiving. Consider three reasons you are thankful for your spouse and family, and tell them!

Nothing is wasted. Matthew 14:19-20 describes how Jesus “gave thanks” and broke five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand. Jesus took what could only satisfy one person- a boy’s lunch- and helped thousands, with nothing wasted. But for this to happen, something had to be broken first. When your spouse or someone close has broken your heart intentionally or unintentionally, remember Jesus is waiting to pick up the pieces and use them for a higher purpose- to bring God glory and make you more like Christ. Everything-including life’s heartbreaks- has value and usefulness in God’s kingdom (Romans 8:28-29). Now that is something for which we all can be thankful!

Alonza Jones-Alonza Jones

President & Co-founders of Biblical Marriage Institute


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Riverside Baptist Church Helena will be hosting a FREE Fall Harvest Party on October 30, 2022 from 4-6 pm.  Everyone from the community is invited for dinner, inflatables, a hayride, LOTS of candy, a dunking booth, and more!  Children are invited to wear (non-scary) costumes and participate in our annual costume parade.

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A city wide family event with 90 Christmas trees on display. The Gardendale Civic Center Lawn will be beautifully lit with a multitude of designs. This event benefits the Dick Lee Memorial Scholarships Fund. Free admission. Learn more about the event here.

Ranell waving from car

Miracle Moments

Brought to you by: Molly Maid of Birmingham,

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I can still remember the long, awkward ride from my “home” to Big Oak Ranch. It was April of 1990, and I was 14 years old. It’s my most vivid childhood memory – arriving at Big Oak Ranch. As I was welcomed into my new home, I watched my dad drive away and I stood there uncertain and angry.

Ranell waving from car
After arriving at Big Oak Ranch at 14, Ranell Tillet still calls the Ranch home today.

All I had ever known was a life of brokenness, instability, and chaos and I didn’t see how Big Oak could change that for me. In fact, I was determined to let no one pass the protective walls I had built around my heart. The walls seemed like a refuge from the cycle of disappointment to which I was accustomed. But little did I know, Big Oak was being written into my story because God wanted to reveal Jeremiah 29:11 as a promise to me. One year from that day, I realized His provision in my life. I experienced the love of Jesus through the lives of selfless, seed-sowing, faith-filled people – a love that would tear down my well-built walls. My biological sister also arrived at Big Oak during this time, and I began to see a work unfolding in both of our futures. I was finally able to reflect with gratitude and praise because God had not only provided me with a home that day in April, but a place I still call home today. I grew to trust His plans for me, and I stayed at Big Oak through college. 

Ranell with here Children
Ranell Tillett is seen here with her four children.

The care I received then prepared me to be the wife and mother I am today. I have been married for 23 years and I am the mother of four children. As my husband and I raise our children, I am blessed to return to the examples of my childhood at Big Oak. The powerful love of God that intervened in my life continues in my children. Even more, because of the generational impact of Big Oak, my biological parents experienced the love of Christ and, later in life, came to know Him as their Savior! From an untrusting 14-year-old girl who knew nothing of the plans God had for me, I now stand boldly upon them as a daughter of God who repeats Philippians 4:16, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

-Ranell Tillett

Full Life Ahead

Full Life Ahead, a non-profit serving teenagers and young adults with any kind of disability and their families, is hosting their first annual Toss for Hope Corn Hole Tournament. There will be 2 divisions of play, Competitive and Special Needs.  All players should be 14 years old and up. Community resources will be on-hand to share information with families that have a young person with a disability. Join us for food, fun, prizes, and connection!  Saturday, October 29 at Hargis Christian Camp in Chelsea. The fun starts at 9 a.m. with food, games, prizes.

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Premier Event for Women of destiny! Get ready to soar like never before. Join us for an incredible day of Encouragement, Empowerment and Inspiration galore. Hear from a powerful panel of Miss Overcomers as they share life transforming Biblical strategies to help you Reclaim Courage, Affirm your Calling and Walk Strong in the Miss Overcomer lifestyle you were born to enjoy! Don’t miss this Divine Moment tailor made just for you. You’ve been Chosen for the Miss Overcomer Gathering! Cost is Free but seating is limited. Click here to register.

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