Author Archives: Al Blanton

AHMEN looking for donations for Clean Water Project at this year’s Foothills Festival

Americans use between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day. Whether taking a hot shower, flushing the toilet, or pouring a glass of water, most of us use our water and don’t even think about it. Yet there are still places in modern society without access to clean water. For the last several years, a group of missionaries from … READ MORE

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A Consistent Life

In this crazy world of ours, what lasts anymore? In a temporal world of quick fixes and instant gratification, of indulgence at our fingertips, where can we find the eternal? Perhaps the life of Etta Stephenson can provide a clue. Etta has been working at Kilgore-Green Funeral Home in Jasper, Alabama, for forty-five years—half her life. She began working there … READ MORE

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Get in Shape, Walker County!

Get your yoga pants ready, because a new workout craze has landed in Jasper. On a sun-sweltering afternoon, a group of fifteen women are cloistered inside an air-conditioned studio, moving from station-to-station, shuttling between cones, performing ballet-like sit-ups, hopping and spinning with medicine balls, and snapping a heavy rope as if it were the reigns of a bridle. This circusesque … READ MORE

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Amy Grant to Perform for Big Oak Ranch at Samford

Where is solace in the storm? For Maureen Willard, she found it in music. A 1989 graduate of Westminster Christian School, Maureen was a thriving teenager until she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer her junior year in high school. Maureen already possessed a strong faith, but she faced this dreaded disease with dignity and a rare confidence in the power … READ MORE

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Parkland Hardware Offering Bathroom Remodeling, Ceramic Showers

Jasper, AL – Since 1962, Parkland Hardware has been sitting in the same spot, just off of Highway 78 in Jasper. From hammers to washers to sandpaper, Parkland was Jasper’s go-to place for home improvement. Eight years ago, Philip Ellis bought the business and continued to offer the same great products and service that Parkland had offered for over a … READ MORE

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Why It’s Time to Stop Trying to be Perfect

The world has become fake. Fake nails, fake tans, fake hardwood floors, fake personalities. Fake everything. Plastic has taken over our lives. Americans spend millions of dollars on things that are fake. In certain ways, our lives are faker than they are real, and as social media and virtual living continues to rule our lives, the faker we are going … READ MORE

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What I Learned from My Time with the Boy Scouts

My last Boy Scout camping trip occurred over twenty years ago somewhere deep in Alabama’s Bankhead National Forest. I don’t remember much from that trip, except three things. I remember riding in an old van as Bon Jovi’s song “Bad Medicine” belted through the speakers. I remember one of the boys swatting at a yellow jacket (with a tube of … READ MORE

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Not far from the soybean fields just south of Marion, Alabama, a campus is waking up. It won’t be long before a legion of groggy cadets will rise from their bunks, off to their respective obligations. They will crisscross the quad in their Class C uniforms, intersecting the Chapel, the center of this place. This morning, above its belvedere, the … READ MORE

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What I Learned About God from My New Dog

Right now as we speak, my dog Moses is standing on the end table in my living room. Underneath him are a series of architecture magazines and coffee table books. I’m hoping he doesn’t pee. I got Moses three weeks ago when a lady posted an ad on Facebook, advertising a litter of free lab puppies. I was particularly drawn … READ MORE

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Let’s Make this Coffee Shop Happen

Coffee shop lovers understand that the coffee shop is more than just a place to get coffee. To some, the type coffee is even immaterial. Good coffee, second to good conversation or inspiration, is a bonus. In modern times, the coffee shop has become the hub of civilized society. It is a place where people collect, where inspiration is birthed, … READ MORE

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