BLESSINGS IN 2017!


IT’S 2017!

Blessings to you! We hope you have a CREATIVE year doing whatever it is you love to do.

This year is the year of the Jubilee. Pastor Joseph Prince has lots to say about it.

http://www.josephprince.org

We hope you receive all the favor and blessings you can stand!

We love living on Lake Tuscaloosa and working with Lake Homes Realty. Chad is now working full time with me (still a few CPA clients) but we are ready to continue to introduce families to the great things at Lake Tuscaloosa.

You will find our report on the unique features of the lake at our website.

GET THE LATEST NATIONAL LAKE HOMES REPORT and see where Alabama Lakes Stand

I was blessed with a record breaking year in my almost one year with LHR and can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.

If you are in Tuscaloosa for any of the many great reasons…

kids in school, gymnastics camps/ meets, tennis matches, baseball, softball, or just shopping at our many fun places or eating at some of the new great restaurants (working on those recommendations on my site at www.parkbench.com/tuscaloosa )

oh, and FOOTBALL……

We would love to see you!

Blessings and ROLL TIDE ROLL!

Allison and Chad

First Friday Art Walk Dec. 2


 

Friday, December 2, 2016

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Join us for Downtown Tuscaloosa’s

FIRST FRIDAY ARTWALK

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And step over to

CARPE VINO for a Holiday Wine Tasting

Enjoy Special SAVINGS on Clothing

at Alli Ray Boutique

Jeans, Tops, Belts, Jewelry, 50-80% OFF

 

#allisonpadams on Instagram-

@artallie on Twitter

$10 for Wine Tasting

#Firstfriday

SEE all of the Galleries and shops open on Friday by clicking here

Lake Living


My next Lake Living article will be coming with some “Messages from the Treehouse”.  Be sure to follow Druid City Living when you come to Tuscaloosa for the most current event information and community news.

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Here are a few of the past articles about Lake Living.

Enjoy!  And have a SAFE Summer!

Allison

March: Swing Into Spring

Paradise on Lake Tuscaloosa / Father’s Day

December : Lake Living Lake Tuscaloosa Wish List

The 8 Most Expensive Lake Homes in Alabama


Lake Homes Realty shares some expensive homes on Alabama Lakes.

But you don’t have to have the largest house to have the largest and most special memories.

Skipping a rock in the back yard or lying in the hammock beside the still waters can be amazing even in the back yard of a 1200 square foot cabin.

But just for fun, you can check these out.

Let me know if you get the itchin’ for your own place in Alabama paradise. I can surely hook you up.

Source: The 8 Most Expensive Lake Homes in Alabama

 

Allison Adams

Lake Homes Realty of West Alabama

Serving Lake Tuscaloosa and Million Dollar Lake

205 NINE one four twenty 4 hundred

A Lesson in THINGS


This morning, I learned a little lesson about THINGS.

This comes ironically the day AFTER I snapped a pic of a thick glass bowl full of treasures and trinkets. They were the topic of an article I had just written in Druid City Living, the little paper I love to write for in my “Lake Living” Column.

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The things were mostly meaningless without the story behind them, from places known and some I have to admit, unclear. My curious kitten sent the bowl crashing to my desk in a thunderous plunk and a pile of mess just where I was typing.

Until now, it sat on my windowsill between me and the sunshine. I glance at it now and then, remembering the times my babies (now grown) gnawed on a small melodic, silver rattle. It is nestled among feathers gathered from my parakeets and chickens as well as sheddings from gulls and a bluebird. It is accented by dried leaves, bright orange rock fragments from North Carolina, a golf tee and marker from Mountaintop, a small Bible with a magnifying glass tucked in the back cover that I got as a child. Sand dollars, some broken, some glued to a piece of wood. Sticks, mostly in shapes that spoke to me while I meandered a labyrinth with my best friend just before brain cancer sent her to a better place.

EF67B0E5-6F74-425D-B873-7562102A8704The slow motion movement from the bowl and the twice as fast dart of the cat is still engrained in my mind. A reminder that we can contain our things, but life still has a way of breaking our concentration, unleashing what is important.

I yelled at the cat, I screamed out loud. I watched in horror as he scrambled to the floor, then spoke aloud, “What is MY DEAL?”
BDA68D24-56AA-40BF-BA25-5452098EA62FSomehow, instead of cleaning it up, I ended up in my closet FILLED with trinkets, books and treasures. I sat on the floor. I took out a box I have carried around since I discovered it in the back of my mother’s closet. A glimpse into the life of the uncle I would never know, killed at age 18 in World War Two. Without his death my mother would have never been adopted. I would have never been. I snapped this pic of the box, the pic of, he, his mother and his sister at the time, before my mother was even a thought. The envelope returned to sender with the words “Missing in Action”.

I resolved today that things should either be displayed, shared (as in a museum) for some purpose, or TOSSED. I cringe at the third option. I used to rummage for hours in the upstairs rooms of my grandparent’s abandoned home. They closed it up, left every thing there after Allen died. What remained were things such as this chair, these photo albums, items of someone’s glorious yesterdays, avoided, forgotten.0E9266F3-0344-47AC-8973-40BC77A4D2E1

I scraped up the tiny shards of glass only after snapping a pic of the pile too. I could not deny that there was beauty among that mess as well. This pile of glass reminded me, even on my desk, of tiny grains of Alabama Gulf Coast beach sand where I collected so many of these things.

E8541A48-5734-45F7-B505-58F6D2C3BED6As I sorted to add them to a “non-breakable” plastic topped box I remembered some of the places I had stopped to snatch these things: a rock in a creek bed in Norcross, Georgia at a horse farm; a butterfly I vowed to wear in my hair if we bought it in Ashville, NC; A crystal ornament I couldn’t pack away at Christmas; a lock of my daughter’s blonde hair tied in mesh; shale looking items and sticks from the beach (because those are more rare there than shells); a paper American flag; a cork from our first anniversary.

We may think things will make us happy. Yes, these did, somehow, but they cannot replace the memories of the moments that go with them.

I culled a few shells. Perfect, hand picked, store bought shells I rescued from our beach house the week before my mother sold it with everything in it. I also took the less perfect ones I would often add to her “decor” collection, remembering the coolness of the water on my feet as I would search for them at the water’s edge. She probably doesn’t remember what catalog she bought those from. But I remember every creak, every uneven tile in the beach house floor when I look at these. I remember the home of my childhood that proceeded the newer version. The sleeping porch, the spiral stair, the wood balconies. The humming of my grandmother, the unusual softness of my grandfather’s fingers as he swirled his cane while rocking in his rocker. All of those memories simply triggered by a large rock my daughter, now 20, painted on a day when it was too cold to go outside when we lived there along the water’s edge in Gulf Shores. (We would also paint hermit crabs and release them in the bay across the street). I am pleased to discover I do draw a limit in my treasure collection.

Which brings me back to the lesson of things. None of these were elaborate gifts, jewels or shiny treasures. Even the rattle is coated in black. They are mere triggers for the memories that I hold dear.

I could toss them. But for now, I’ll just move them to a safer place. After all, the article I wrote just before this one was all about USING your treasures, making them a part of your every day life.

Looks like I’ll just have to keep the cat out of the china closet, because if I have it, I’m gonna start using it and quit saving it for that someday that might just never come.

Have a blessed, wonderful happymess ~memory making life!

Allison

 

 


product_thumbnailBuy or Try out the Southern Scribblings Planner

Today I have been planning, drawing, dreaming and just letting the creative juices flow.

I love a new journal.

This one I created so I could start each day with a verse,

record the thoughts of my “daily journaling pages”,

and plan for a balanced day that includes body, mind, work, family, spirit and creativity in my planning.

Some days I meet them all, some days I don’t,

but each day I vow to add balance.

I am inspired today by two CHALLENGES

#30paintingsin30days! by @lesliesaeta

www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com

Artists from around the world are posting a painting a day

for 30 days

AND to get inspired for that,

I decided to not go closed minded, and will start with

Journaling prompts from #LisaSonora

@lisasonora with her FIRE 30 DAY JOURNAL Challenge

www.lisasonora.com 

Taking only 20 minutes a day to journal, reflect, plan,

leaves my mind open for creativity throughout the day.

As @juliacameron suggests 15 minutes a day of unbridled thought in the wee hours to get the cobwebs out, I have found it to be true on the days I followed through.

Here’s to BEGINNINGS in 2016!

Allison Adams

“There is no beginning too small!”

Henry David Thoreau

Lake Homes Realty ~ Combining all the Things I Love


You are the first to know that I have found a way to use all of the things I love in one great endeavor,

sharing my love of the South (like in Southern Scribblings which is now on autopilot with orders through Lulu.com and Amazon.com)

sharing my love of the LAKE (as in my column with Lake Living in the monthly newspaper in Tuscaloosa)

Click the link to experience the ducks, sailboats and all of the reasons I love Lake Tuscaloosa, while

sharing my love of blogging and writing

and my interest in photography (Listings on my site will have creative, enhancing photos to amplify all of the great memories and experiences within your home)

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my love for grilling on the lake watching the Alabama Crimson Tide (for Bama fans, fewer Auburn colors on THIS year-round water lake)

my interest in writing ~  I want to paint the scene with words to help capture the personality of the place

my interest in social media ~ I will continue to feed fun and important posts to the REALTOR FACEBOOK page

my vow to promise to help people understand the value of what they are selling and buying based on actual MLS REALTOR data and not some “formula” concocted from entries. ACRE is right here in Tuscaloosa with monthly reports on trends and all things Real Estate related.

View all of the listings on Lake Tuscaloosa on our website.

I believe in the POWER OF THE INTERNET.

Lakehomes.com is a trusted company with proven results to drive people who are SPECIFICALLY LOOKING for lake homes while searching from all the way across the country.

LHR is based in Birmingham (Pelham is the head office) and are forward thinking.

Read about them here:

At the Water’s Edge ~ B- Metro Magazine

2015 Women to Watch- Birmingham Business Journal

I love it that she’s TECHY (no I’m not brown-nosing..I’M EXCITED!)

Fast Track 30: Lake Homes Realty #8

LAKE HOMES REALTY of West Alabama

I am the local contact here in Tuscaloosa, serving

Lake Tuscaloosa

Holt Lake

Million Dollar This is a ZILLOW link but find my profile info by searching for sale in 35406 or 35473

Bankhead Lake

and areas such as Northwood Lakes in Northport

hoping to help YOU SELL YOUR HOME in these areas to those searching from computers nationwide FOR LAKEFRONT PROPERTY (let us show you the monthly printouts of who is looking at Lake Tuscaloosa, from New York to California).

Are they finding YOUR home? Or is it lost in the shuffle?

BUYERS~

We make it easy to find information- if looking for lake property ANYWHERE IN THE SOUTHEAST, it’s there on LAKEHOMES.com.

We make it fun to find your spot on the lake. My office is on Lake Tuscaloosa so you can also view the property by water to get a better idea of the location from town and where you want to be.

Looking for property OFF THE LAKES?

Search properties on my website allisonadamsrealtor.com

You can simply text me an address to my phone (205 NINE one FOUR ~twenty four hundred) and within an hour I usually can send you a full report on the property. I take phone calls and emails as well, but TEXT is the quickest way for a response. My clients can (ok almost, I do sleep) always find me.

As a member of MLS, the National Association of REALTORS, The Alabama Association of REALTORS and our local board I can get access on properties across the state.

I have a strong presence on other WEBSITES in Real Estate.

Find my profile info alongside homes for sale by searching in 35406 or 35473

I can assure you if I can’t find information on the property you are interested in I will probably just knock on the door!

I hope you will pass my information along to anyone considering buying or selling a lake home.

I can’t wait to work with you or someone you know!

Allison

The Many Faces of Allison Adams


Yes, I get it all the time. Wait? Are you that Realtor? That Artist?

“No, I don’t think so,” a fellow acquaintance told someone recently,” she writes for that newspaper.”

I was once told, “If you don’t pick ONE thing you are never going to be successful.”

I see that person now has actually drifted from that one profession into a few of the ones they said I “dabbled” in.

I believe that we are ALL created differently. I get it that many do NOT understand the many faces I wear. It is the way I have lived my whole life, involved to the core, even as a young mom although that span involved fewer “career-like” activities and were more activities such as juggling babies, Jr. League, book clubs, smocking groups and volunteer boards while working.

Over the years I have watched my interests develop and deepen. I now feel that if I didn’t do them all, I would be cutting off a part of me.

They say (we can get away with that as gospel here in the South~ “they” are all powerful) if you are frustrated late in your career, take your mind and heart back to those days, just about age 5-10 (before the world influenced your desires, curiosities and interests) and THAT my friend is who you have always wanted to be.

For me as a child, I loved lining my little sister and friends up on the sofa with worksheets I created and playing teacher. (We also served food through the kitchen window on roller skates so hey, I guess you would say that is my back up plan!)

I loved singing in front of a fat red tape recorder with five black buttons, knowing I sounded nothing like Olivia Newton John but belting her songs anyway, my sister sneaking up to make fun of me. My dad taught me to wire a four component stereo when I was nine. That has served me well as electronics are more cool to me than diamonds. (and to ride motocross before my toes could touch the ground on a Honda 50).

I loved the Sears catalog, dog eared pages marking lime green shag, bean bags and paint colors for me to decorate the play house with. (I resorted to a wooden fort with no walls with access from the trampoline below).

I loved painting, my first class probably in second grade and I still remember the foreground exercise we did. My huge brown, barren tree hanging from a cliff in the front left corner with cotton fields in the background.

I loved writing. I have journals from each and every moment of my life (yes Mendy, you can have those and burn as you see fit). Honesty (at least from my perspective) has always been my downfall. Perhaps some editing and censor would have done me well all these years.

In college I took Real Estate Investing. I majored in Interior Design at BAMA (remember the playhouse decorating? Sometimes the interests stick) and did commercial design for banking and medical clients for ten years. Bama’s was one of the few to be FIDER accredited. I am a state licensed and registered Interior Designers in the State (#250) Finding this coming in handy as I work on specializing in handicap accessible properties in the Tuscaloosa Area as well as in Staging Homes for Sale.

I got my Real Estate license over twenty years ago, motivated by men at the hunting camp discussing a land deal. The words still ring in my memory, “these girls grandparent died and they have no clue what it is worth. I think we can make some money on this one.” That day I vowed to know more than the vultures of the world, hoping to never become those young girls who probably lost that family farm on the outskirts of town. Today I LOVE helping people find a home. I can see the possibilities as they discuss their dreams. We talk about design tweaks here and there that could fulfill them. This month, the small town, traditional company I started here with, transgressed into a new national office. I was offered an opportunity to be a part of Lake Homes Realty, specializing in Lake Homes, particularly Lake Tuscaloosa.

And so, enough reminiscing. I have been quite busy this summer and have a few projects under the belt. Thought I would share them on this, my “almost 50th year of life”-  But NOT YET! I’m a Taurus (go figure you say) so I can still say I am barely 49.

Here I introduce the babies I have created with my many faces.

They are each a part of me and I still have some more to get out there:

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I love to learn. This from a workshop with Kellie Newsome.

Face 1: MOM

Lets not forget that. Birthing three little beings is quite the face to wear! So proud of each of them!)

(I’ll know when my brilliant one who is going into marketing finds this post. And YES that was our Tiffen RV in the background…had to retire it after a neighborhood pile in on the way to the ice cream shop in Mt. Brook turned into a “crap what is with the brakes” episode! Just sayin!) We went from Harley Davidson to this so hey, I thought it was a safe decision!IMAG0100

Artist

Paintings are now on the new SHOPIFY site and ready for purchase~

Click here to see the paintings waiting to come HOME to YOU!

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Teacher.

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What can I say? I don’t proclaim to know it all, but I sure have fun with my Friday paint group helping them bust out of their “I can’t do art” shell! It makes me SMILE.

Lover of Christmas.  And JESUS as the reason for that holiday.

Link to The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving

The book I wrote a few years ago is now on Amazon and Lulu.com as a coloring book. Who knew all these adults color!? Either way, this is the year I was determined to remind everyone that JESUS IS CHRISTmas.

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Yes, that WAS our first tree in the new house in Birmingham, stood two stories and took our neighbors help to get it into the doors, after discovering it at the local tree farm in Griswold fashion and dragging it behind a not so short Acadia.

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Did I say I was a lover of Christmas? Here is an article I did as the Sweet Home Alabama Coordinator for Alabama Women Bloggers.

Fan and lover of the Alabama Crimson Tide and all things Southern.

Some Recent Artwork by Allison Adams e2827-258226_2043374639062_1085234144_2395210_2753920_o

A “younger” BEAR and an attempt at a watercolor shotgun. (Do you KNOW that acrylic and watercolor are TOTAL OPPOSITES? Watercolor you start soft and build up your darks. Acrylic, you put in your DARKS and add in with lighter colors and highlights. TRY it sometime! Really! If you want to stretch your brain! That will do it. Forget hours in front of TV.

Writer

I have been blessed with the Lake Living Column at Druid City Living where each month I create another reason to be thankful for looking at Lake Tuscaloosa as home every day.

Here are a FEW of the articles:  TRIALS

LAKE LIVING ARTICLE 2

Gardening on Lake Tuscaloosa

I take writing seriously and have written cover stories for Southern Beauty Magazine about LeAnn Rimes, Emily Procter the mom of Princess Lea on Star Wars who told the publicist,”She was the most thorough interviewer I have talked to, and funny”. Well everyone REALLY did want to know ALL the juicy details and with a “story like mine (the square for all who know)” I had an IN.

I am a member of the Alabama Media Professionals in Birmingham.

Illustrator

I am a member of SCBWI and love meeting other authors and illustrators. Birmingham has one of the GREATEST chapters so if you are interested in that, by all means come to a conference! I have written and illustrated books and have had illustrations in other books (Birmingham Sketchbook) which I wrote the 2400 word history of Birmingham. What about THAT challenge. That’s a lot of history in a few words!

PHOTOGRAPHER

Did I forget photographer? I never thought of it as a job, but the kids will tell me I have stumbled in holes, held them up from catching the train because I was lingering behind to get a great shot while on a trip. You can find many of those (download, buy on canvas, notecards) in my new

SOUTHERN PHOTO Photography WEBSITE AND STORE

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This one is the most important to me to share as it includes hundreds of photos from my travels around the world to the things I discover in the back yard.  These are now available for media download, on canvas and prints.

Enjoy the adventure~   The Southern Photo Photography Store

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And music? I love to karaoke a good Dixie Chicks tune and have written a few songs in my rebellion phase that are recorded, but I pass the gavel for that to my son who is pursuing a grad degree in music at University of North Texas and the teachers assistant for Pat Coil (keyboardist for Michael McDonald)- who doesn’t love a kid who does Jazz and is trained by a Doobie? Charli is in Nashville and just recorded a song she wrote (is working on an album and was just on a video by the BAND PERRY.

Brent Music : This is my favorite song Brent and Shelton wrote and sang together.

I am seeing a bit of me in Brent. He can live for a day in his studio and not come out. He creates classes online to make it easy for others to learn to play by ear. He has taken my RIGHT BRAIN LEFT BRAIN dance to the next level…responsible, driven, focused. (and reminds me..MOM..FOCUS, but he gets the swirl of different vantage points.

I am a bit creative and flighty but I also love to be organized, thus the Creative Journal and Planner (crazy isn’t it? I am all over the place and like to be focused, goal oriented and organized). I have been working on it since my last name had an M in it. It is finally DONE, less some tweaks.

I am sharing it with you here so you can preview it. It is the ONE week journal and the ONE Month Journal and Planner which promises to have you BALANCE your day and start it with God’s word. *Disclaimer~ I am NOT and never WILL be perfect, but every day I wake up just like you to TRY to do better than yesterday.

Wow, getting it all out there, after many days lying in my bed feeling lost, worthless and tired of trying to push things around that were never seeming to make headway feels surreal.

I don’t know when or where it all happened but it is like the 50 year mark has been testing me.

I feel SO much better now that our BFF’s that we go to see in North Carolina, that I paint with and adore and who work out with Chad are 90 and (70ish). Sorry that is NOT gonna be changing..if I exercise its probably the S thing, running from someone or dancing while about to have a heart attack thinking I am looking sexy on a dance floor somewhere..but NOT spending my time on a treadmill (unless someone has one of those walking computer desks, hey I might be DOWN for that) the kids remind me that it is NOT “up for that”…when did they start changing the rules!?

READ ABOUT THEM HERE

And after reading Esquire’s One Hundredth issue, I retract my “almost fifty” and say instead (learning that life is all in your attitude and perception)……

I’m actually in my VERY latest forties~

And THAT is what I intend to embrace today!

I also know LOTS of prayer (years of journaling with the same prayer requests) has kept me moving forward.

2016 I am praying is the year for the cocoon to burst into life.

No matter what I am doing, I won’t be doing anything I don’t enjoy, that’s for sure.

Life is too short to live on other people’s definitions and terms.

It’s mine to live the way I choose.

I choose to wear and share all my faces.

Blessings to you in finding who you are and living it to the CORE!

We might just be developing some workshops to help you do that! Hey let me call my support group (you know who you are!) so we can collaborate.

Any other ENTJ’s out there? Come to find out, my husband, son and I are all that…ENTJ. Look it up the odds are crazy for that.

Can’t wait to see what YOU do with whats inside. LET it out. YOU have the ONLY SET OF FINGERPRINTS ON THE ENDS OF THOSE FINGERS…EMBRACE THAT. YOU are here for a reason. YOU are specially made. Let all of the gems you have to offer out. Don’t treat me like a pinterest pin…just know..I have struggled for YEARS with all of this. And even my songs are stupid…but guess what..they are mine..I captured them in a little studio in Foley with a crazy ass person who could put them to vinyl in an hour (otherwise I would have gotten distracted). But they were MY feelings and thoughts. They were songs I had to get out and the time.THAT is what you have to understand. Do it all FOR YOU. NO-one else.

I can’t explain how it is finally blossoming, bursting forth. I am just thankful it is…as I was just on the verge of GIVING IN.

Feeling creative? My creativity journal will help you make BABY steps to discover it…let it out. Message me and I will send you one FREE. We all need to discover who we are and who we were made to be.

Allison

This Poll will be up for a week~ Let me know what you think!

SOUTHERN SCRIBBLINGS ~ Adult Coloring = Southern Style


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It’s here! The SOUTHERN version of that relaxing thing you keep reading about and seeing on the news. ADULT COLORING BOOKS! Tested by a business professional in a high stress, computer oriented business who said, “I am actually coloring at night before I go to bed and I haven’t slept like this in years!”

But coloring isn’t just for relaxation. It also connects us with the thing we did most when we were children. We played without thought of time or limitation.

It opens the rusty valves of creativity that still live within us. Check out the book and see if you don’t find yourself looking for more to color!

These are HAND drawn, loose, so there is no intimidation to get it wrong! DIG IN with pencils or markers.

The pages are blank on the back (with ideas for other creative adventures) so you can tear them out when you find the one you want to share or frame.

So what are you waiting for? There is a FREE coloring page for you just in time for

THE KENTUCKY DERBY

and

MOTHER’S DAY

Downloadable to your printer at the website for SOUTHERN SCRIBBLINGS (www.southernscribblings.com)

PRINT ONE for you and your daughter, grand-daughter. And share in the love of coloring.

They will be asking you what took you so long to learn to “chill”. Just sayin’!

Have a BLESSED Weekend!

 

Allison Adams

And this is the first copy of a series so if you have requests or ideas on how to improve the process, I’m in creative mode! Send it to me!

SATURDAY EVENTS IN TUSCALOOSA


Bark2 Logo

is a special event created by THE TUSCALOOSA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS to help raise funds for the Will May Dog Park at Sokol Park in Tuscaloosa.

Click here for the PROGRAM AND NEWSLETTER

I have loved getting to know all of the REALTORS in Tuscaloosa and being a part of such a great event.

I created/designed the newsletter this year, since I will NOT be able to be at the event.

The DRUID CITY ARTS FESTIVAL is the same day

and I will have a booth there again this year. Hope you will jump in and enjoy the day

with ALL three events!

including the LAKE CLEANUP.

Saturday will prove to be a GREAT day to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.

(See my article that advises the same in the latest issue of DRUID CITY LIVING in my Lake Living column!

CURRENT ISSUE LINK HERE~

Have a BLESSED day..and don’t forget to bathe your 4 legged friends (let the boy scouts do it…all in the name of the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS!)

Allison

 

Water for Life


 The lake outside my window has taken on a whole new life. Mother nature has dumped gallons of water across the Southeast, making us all take notice of the power of water.

Here on the lake, not only is the beauty, the million dollar homes, the leisurely lifestyles and the fishermen who flock here the focus, but so is the quality of the water and the love for nature shown by those who will gather in the next weeks to clean her shores.

Water brings with it the gift of life. The stored treasure beyond my yard fuels our children, quenches Tuscaloosa athletes, bathes us as we prepare for each day. It flows freely from the lake to filtering systems to our faucets. We work to conquer our little empires, meet our goals, and work to afford vacations to other waterfronts across the world.

As we gathered over burgers on the back porch, the value of that water we take for granted took on new meaning. I learned of groups from local churches venturing to Haiti and the Dominican Republic 6-8 times a year, carrying water filters into the hillsides where families with million dollar views live in three dollar shacks with no clean water. Each year 3.4 million people die from water related illnesses, almost the number for the entire city of Los Angeles.

A group there worked with Church of the Highlands to hike into the jungle, going door to door in Voodoo country taking 600 free filters to families.  Volunteers visit each home, placing water filled with mud into the filters and and out comes water that the team drinks in front of them.

On a particular trip, a mother had recently passed after giving birth. Four other children remained with a father, who was terminally ill. The team took him to the hospital for treatment and has arranged for the children to be taken care of.
“The needs are so great,” a local participant said. “We cannot do it all, we know that. But it is like those starfish that you throw in the ocean. Some of them DO make it back. We return as often as we can to find those starfish.”
There are teams working on adding space in their building there to take in children who are orphaned and have nowhere to go. They also are sponsoring children for school. Education is the key to their escaping this life.

I recently met a sweet girl who ran the Mini Cooper tour business there. Twenty four, bright, educated, but unable to ever leave the country. We offered to host her here. She now has a baby and will probably never leave.
As I stand on the hillside and look out across the Caribbean beauty on a recent vacation with my family, it is hard to express what hides among the hills with the best views.

It is this groups goal to find each one and bring them the fountain of life that we here in America expect to simply drip from our faucet, straight from our freshwater lakes.

I!f you are interested in learning how to get involved, contact info@filterofhope.com or visit your local church to find a trip you can be a part of!  www.churchofthehighlands.com has a number of ministries across the world for you or your child.

Dock of the Lake by Allison Adams

Dock of the Lake by Allison Adams

http://www.adamsacrossamerica.com

 

This Weekend is the SOUTHERN VOICES Festival


Congratulations TONIGHT to MELANIE MORRIS for being the official artist for the Southern Voices Festival, taking place this weekend.

Tonight is the reception, rain, snow or ice!

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She will unveil her newest work and it will be displayed through the next month at the Hoover Public Library following the event.

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Visit her facebook page to get the current pics!

Wally Lamb, author of She’s Come Undone will be the main speaker and hopefully will share his experience with his volunteer facilitation at York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison located it Niantic, Connecticut. With his guidance, women were able to express their frustrations and craft the experiences into something unexpected and beautiful. Those publications are Couldn’t Keep It to Myself and I’ll Fly Away.

The full syllabus for the event and the authors who will be sharing their expertise on Saturday, February 28 from 9:30-4:00 pm is located at http://www.hooverlibrary.org/sv

Nearly ten years ago Melanie started a Christian small group for artists when it was all we could do to claim the phrase, “I am an artist” while blushing showing us that ANYONE WHO CREATES IS AN ARTIST, as taught in the books we studied over the course of six years.

Some of those are listed here:

The Creative Call, Janice Elsheimer

If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat

Scribbling in the Sand, by Michael Card

Other inspiring books on creativity:

The Vein of Gold A Journey to Your Creative Heart, Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way

Unlocking the Heart of the Artist, Matt Tommey (Purpose Driven Life for Artists)

Walking in This World, Julia Cameron

Finding Divine Inspiration, J. Scott McElroy

Melanie paints using a palette knife. She layers vivid color masked with muted tones that create vibrant landscapes and some of the most vivacious trees I have ever seen.

If you haven’t signed up for Southern Voices and want some tidbits from the festival, you can watch for my summary on my website, www.allisonpadams.com

Speakers will be:
Wally Lamb (author of She’s Come Undone, I Know this Much is True and We are Water)
Karen Abbot (American Rose)
Chelsea Cain (Heartsick, Sweetheart, NPR’s list of top 100 thrillers ever written)
Amy Greene (Bloodroot, Long Man, 2010 Tennessee Writer of the Year.
James Scott (The Kept)
Jon Sealy (The Whiskey Baron)
Thrity Umrigar (Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, The Weight of Heaven)
Meg Wolitzer The Ten Year Nap among others, and two that became movies, This is My LIfe and Surrrender Dorothy starring Diane Keaton.

Whether you attend or not, the books mentioned will surely fuel your creativity. Simply celebrate and explore the work of these writers with published works. Let that inspire you to press on with your blog, poetry or whatever creative endeavor is inside you. Let it burst forth to life!

And if you want to jump into painting and are in the Birmingham area, try one of her workshops!

She is the one who taught me to undercoat in red for every painting and to use the palette knife! You are sure to have some fast and furious FUN!

Fast & Furious Florals with Melanie Morris

Alabama Art Supply
Birmingham, AL

Cost – $100

Saturday, March 7 (Full with wait list)

10AM – 4PM

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Saturday, March 21 (New)

10AM – 4PM

Happy Creating and Blessings for Unleashing your Creativity!

Coco Love

Coco Love and painting “Dock of the Bay” by Allison Adams

Allison Adams

Follow me on twitter : Artallie

Lake Living: Gardening on Lake Tuscaloosa


I like to focus on lake topics, bringing ideas of nature to your mailbox in Druid City Living Newspaper in the Lake Living Column each month. This month, I’m writing about a challenge that applies to many of us: how to have a beautiful garden.

Rule one: Sun is required. I have discovered that the raised garden at our new home is in the shade most of the day. I wish I had realized that last year when…

I planted seeds that yielded tiny, Barbie-sized squash and melons, dangling from nearly brown stems.

Another issue is water. We have irrigation, but last year I watered in the late afternoon because, well, I am not a morning person. Keep disease at bay by watering in morning.

I am not yet a gardener, but I am a newly adopted member of the Ceres Garden Club. This week, I received two Knock Out Rose bushes from Peggy Babbs, after a meeting in her magical rose garden. The month before, Renee Holloman with Holloman Farms shared her expertise on Daylily plants. Later, a sweet neighbor gave me more “divisions” from her yard. This week, Wayne Ford, a former County Extension agent cheered us on with helpful hints.

I have been told that the largest hurdle, besides the rock that lies less than four inches below my “grassy looking stuff,” is the deer. I discovered there are some pretty plants the deer are not fond of, including burgundy blanket flower, verbena, butterfly weed, globe thistle, Jacob Cline bee balm, butterfly bush, purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, thyme and crepe myrtle. If deer concern you, fence in the plants, or use bone tar oil.

While trying to “keep up with the Ceres,” I’ve been reading The Impatient Gardener by Jerry Baker. It has some amazing tricks for those of us who are “horticulturally challenged.” Who knew plants love beer and dishwater? (They help to keep flowers disease-free). I didn’t clarify how much left over beer is too much. Proceed with caution.

All of this new information inspired me. I rushed to Lowe’s, bought two green planters, soil, fertilizer, two rose “topiary style” trees with mixed color, grabbed a multi-mix basket of flowing verbena and petunias and began planting (after a stop to get the important part, beer). After planting two Knock Out Rose bushes, daylilies, and putting seeds in pots that I had started last month after the first Ceres meeting (it’s how I roll), I sat hunkered under a fluffy blanket, serenaded by the waterfalls as they deliver the overflow from recent storms to the lake. Lightening bugs flickered. A red bird swooped into a tree. A bat hovered as I dodged mosquitos. One by one, I noticed more stars. I was overcome with the stillness.

Genesis 1:29-30: “Then God said, ‘Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as good for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground – everything that has life.’”

Nature is for all of us. May we all come to find our little slice of Heaven. For now, I am starting with the slice I can possibly conquer: The deck!

Disclaimer: if you burn up your plants with beer and soap, don’t blame me, I’ll be right there with you. But if it works, tell the neighbors I told you so!

Photo: Allison Adams

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