News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Wendy N. McDougal

Nine-year-old Mallie Sedlak with her ornament,  a new fund-raising project created by Decatur Charity League to support Parents and Children Together.
Courtesy Photo
Nine-year-old Mallie Sedlak with her ornament, a new fund-raising project created by Decatur Charity League to support Parents and Children Together.

Mallie Sedlak designs first Christmas ornament for PACT

Wendy's Word

It is a cold December day, but as I sit in the warmth and comfort of home (at my computer, of course) I just have to stop and say a word of thanks. How blessed we are to enjoy this season of giving.

Are you giving back or simply worried about what's on your personal list? I encourage you over the next several weeks to think of one person, one family, even a group and make a difference in their lives. The very best gifts we can give cost nothing. Make a dinner for a family in need. Help someone decorate who is not able. Purchase gifts for some children who may not receive any. Do something special for someone else, and do it with a cheerful and happy heart.

Have a delightful December.

Now let's see what the "chatter" is around town . . .

PACT ornament

One of the most precious lessons we can teach young people today is the importance of giving back. What joy we can find in doing for others without a thought of what we may be getting back for ourselves. For 9-year-old Mallie Sedlak, this is a lesson already learned.

Mallie, inspired by the vision of Decatur Charity League's support of Parents and Childre Together, spent her free time earlier this fall designing what would become the first in an annual series of holiday ornaments designed by children in the community.

Her design featured what, in her mind, best told the story of what the staff and volunteers of PACT have accomplished through their efforts, making a positive difference in the fight against child abuse. The center of the design is a blue ribbon encircled by words that Mallie felt a child would gain from PACT's intervention, "hugs, kisses, love, hope for a better future."

"If a child or parent receives hugs and kisses then they will feel love. If they feel love they will have hope for a better future. I hope this is a cycle that will continue," shares Mallie.

With all proceeds going back to the PACT organization and its numerous child abuse prevention efforts and in support of Decatur Charity League's newest fund-raiser, this ornament is the perfect addition to any tree or holiday decoration. For $10, the ornament is available in Decatur at Jimmy Smith Jewelers, Chel'dens and the PACT office, 245-B Jackson St., above the Community Free Clinic. In Priceville, find them at Gallery and Gifts, and in Hartselle at Minnie Belle's.

Artwork from area children will be collected next year, so make sure and keep all eyes and ears open about this artistic opportunity for your little ones. What an awesome chance to see children making a difference in our community.

Stage set for Gala XXI

Homes and businesses aren't the only places to see decorations going up around town. This Friday Decatur General Foundation Guild members will transform a white circus tent into an elegant ballroom for Gala XXI, the annual black-tie event to benefit Decatur General Hospital.

Decorations chairwomen Laura Fite and Kathy Littrell are working with Scott Willis and Kathy Gray Clay's crisp, modern vision of Tiffany blue and citron green. In a nod to the Art Nouveau Era of Tiffany, some tables will have a centerpiece depicting a bronze woman holding up a flower arrangement, while others will feature graduated bronze squares with flowers. Carmen Adams, Marcie Annett, Donna Baggette, Barbie Belcher and Rebecca Bibb are a few of the volunteers who will put together the arrangements.

They will be joined by Marthalyn Biles, Claudia Blake, Carol Bolding, Linda Boyd, Alison Burnthall, Dina Byrd, Elizabeth Chandler, Telete Chappell, Susan Conner, Carlyn Deeds, Jennifer Denton, Vickie Dukes, Jeanie Fincher, Margaret Fite, Jane Ann Ford, Karen Gannaway, Lisa Gilmore, Jackie Goode, Sissy Graves, Tina Hahn, Jessica Hales, Nicole Harris, Kelley Hayes, Sue Hennessey, Caroline Hobbs, Dianne Hudson, Leigh Ann Hurst, April Jackson, Lawana Johnson, Barbara Kelly, Rebecca Koenig, Katherine Lawson, Leigh Littrell, Mo Ann Malcolm, April McAnnally, Lucy McCain, Sarah McNelly, Andrea Murphree, Katherine Peters, Eleanor Powell, Ali Propst, Amy Ratliff, Renee Rush, Susan Sexton, Wondal Shellhorse, Glee Sides, Jennifer Sittason, Janet South, Jenni Spencer, Carolyn Stewart, Carey Sutton, Debbie Swaney, Marie Thomas, Amy Tubbs, Lou Underwood, Belinda Villarreal, Anita Walden, Leslie Whitley, Arabelle Wilder, Suzie Wiley, Katherine Wilks and Suzanne Woller.

Kelley Gillikin and Carol Sartain are chairing the event, which will honor Dr. Steven C. Chandler for his work at the Community Free Clinic of Decatur-Morgan County, the 150 clinic volunteers and St. John's Episcopal Church, which purchased and renovated the clinic property and leases it free to the clinic.

Gala XXI will feature a band new to this area, "Skyline Drive," from Nashville. Music Chairwoman Laurie Davis says the nine-piece (including horns) band plays soul, funk and jazz dance hits from the 60's to the 90's.

The elegant evening begins with cocktails at 7 p.m. and dinner at 8. Silent auction bidding and dancing will continue until late, with profits benefiting employee scholarships and the Decatur General Oncology Center. Reservations are $300 per couple. For more information, call the Decatur General Foundation office, 256-341-2187.

High tea at Carnegie

Join others in the community for a holiday celebration Dec. 11 from 2 until 4 p.m. at Carnegie Visual Arts Center. This festive afternoon will feature lovely music, art and a classic English tea party. A special highlight will be a piano and violin duet performed by Foster Bailey and Sharon Landis.

This also is a great chance to see the latest exhibit, "Women with Attitude" by The Committee. The cost of the tea is $10 per person. Call 341-0562 for registration or more information.

Christmas at the Princess

If you love holiday music this may be the place for you. Brewer High School Band will present its annual Christmas Concert on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts.

Show tickets make great gifts for those hard-to-buy-for names on your list. Gift certificates are available. Call the box office, 340-1778, for more information on this and other season spectaculars.

That's all for now. It's been great "chattin' " with ya!

Let me know what is going on in your little corner of the world. If it's special to you and features any of the great people who live in our community, then it will make a great Chatterbox item. Just e-mail me at, or call me at 350-5730.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Wendy N. McDougal Wendy N. McDougal
DAILY Staff Writer

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