Sunday, December 30, 2007

Teaching children, with God's care: Vacation Bible Schools combine religious learning with serious fun

I found this article from 2003 about Vacation Bible School in The Anniston Star online archives. When I worked for the Calhoun Baptist Association, VBS time was always fun! It was fun to go back and read this...

By David Coombs Star Staff Writer
The Anniston Star
Published: June 7, 2003

In the chapel at Parker Memorial Baptist, 18-year-olds Britney Palmer and Erica Yonker were leading a group of second-graders in song. Accompanied by a portable stereo, the second-graders sang, "Let compassion be my compass, let kindness be my key…"

The compass and the key are both means and end in "cracking the Christian character code," the goal of the Vacation Bible School programs taking place this week at Parker Memorial in Anniston and West Side Baptist in Jacksonville. Cracking the code is the central mystery of this year's "Caper in the Kingdom" program, a series of activities and lessons with a Great Britain theme.

In keeping with the British theme, the Rev. Truman Norred, pastor at West Side Baptist, wore one of Sherlock Holmes' double-billed, houndstooth hats while leading the children's recreation sessions.

The halls of Parker Memorial were filled with Sherlock Holmes silhouettes and life-size inflatable Scottish terriers, while cardboard versions of Big Ben, a London double-decker bus, and a red British phone booth decorated the church altar.

Down the hall from the singing second-graders, Parker Memorial's "sixth-grade sleuths" were given worksheets decorated with "confidential" and "top secret" stamps that were part James Bond and part Mission Impossible.

The worksheets have encrypted the two foundations of Christian character, and the sixth-graders use a key to decode the message, finding kindness and compassion again. After they finished, their teacher, Theresa Shadrix, led a discussion about kindness and compassion in the Bible passage studied that day, the Book of Ruth.

Earlier, the sixth-graders participated in a Ruth-themed relay during their recreation period. Instead of batons, the runners had to retrieve potatoes or onions, mirroring Ruth's gleaning wheat to support her widowed mother-in-law.

Combining activities and Bible study is the central concept of Bible school, and the spiritual growth it encourages is one of the main reasons for children to attend, said Chris Pennington, a Parker Memorial congregation member whose two children have attended the program there every year they were old enough.

"Exposing the children to the gospels is our primary goal here," said Gwen Moore, the Bible school director at Parker Memorial.

Appropriately for a program including the Book of Ruth, which emphasizes the power of kindness and devotion to cross barriers of ethnicity and nationality, Vacation Bible School also places importance on community building.

Copyright, 2003, The Anniston Star, Consolidated Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Confessions of a Shopaholic

By Theresa Shadrix
Star Staff Writer
Published: September 2, 2007

The bags are hidden behind clothes in the closet. The receipt was burned, destroying all evidence of the purchase. The credit card bill has been shredded. Such is the covert life of a shopaholic.

"I never really plan my shopping but I can go into Ace Hardware and find something," said Lila, who did not want to be identified.

Admitting that she wants to gain control of her spending habits, Lila said she is not proud of overspending and hiding purchases. "Once, I stashed 10 pairs of shoes that I bought at a Payless BOGO sale at a friend's house," she said with an awkward laugh. "We burned the boxes and then I slipped the shoes into the house."

According to a 2006 Stanford University School of Medicine study, 5.8 percent of people in the nation are compulsive shoppers.

The surprising result from the study was that women and men have similar habits in shopping, with six percent for women and 5.5 percent for men. But, the definition, treatment and causes of compulsive shopping as a disorder are still up for discussion.

In 2003, the American Psychiatric Association released a statement that it had no plans to include compulsive shopping as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, due for publication in 2010. A representative from the APA confirmed the 2003 statement is still in effect and it is too soon to tell what mental disorders will be included in the 2010 report because the task force has only recently been formed. Compulsive shopping is often classified as a symptom of other mental disorders, like obsessive-compulsive disorder.

One expert said it is the rush of buying that compels the shopper and the impulse should be a separate disorder.

"They are addicted to the purchase," said Terrence Shulman, founder of Shopaholics Anonymous and The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft and Spending, based in Detroit. "All addictions become secretive. You feel so out of control and a lot people have this façade. It is masterfully constructed."

A former lawyer turned licensed counselor, Shulman counsels people who have compulsive shopping and shoplifting addictions. Arrested twice for shoplifting, Shulman speaks from both professional and personal experience. He didn't even realize he had an addiction to shoplifting when, as a law student, he was caught trying to steal a cassette player in 1986.

"I was totally paralyzed," he said of the arrest.

But he didn't stop. The shoplifting continued and he was arrested the second time in 1990 at the age of 25. Depressed and suicidal, Shulman said he confessed his addiction to his parents and sought help in counseling.

He said it was in a counseling session one day when he realized shoplifting was addictive.

"My therapist through up his hands and said it was like (I was) addicted to this. It had all the hallmarks of an addictive behavior."

While careful to not place the blame of his behavior on anyone else, he said that his father was a compulsive shopper and he picked up a lot of habits from him.

"He wasn't a good money manager or saver. He was not the kind of guy who thought about the future."

Shulman said his parents divorced when he was 10 and although his father could not pay child support, he could spend money on other things.

"(Therapy) made me realize I was more like my dad, in that he was an alcoholic and compulsive."

When Shulman couldn't find a support group for compulsive shoppers or shoplifters, he started Shopaholics Anonymous 15 years ago this month.

Like Shulman, Lila said her father was a compulsive spender, but her mother was budget-conscious.

"I feel bad when I think of all I have wasted," Lila said. "We used to have savings and investments. It is a constant guilt."

She said her problem started when she married about 10 years ago.

"I was so used to getting everything that I wanted and then I had to follow a budget."

When her children were born and Lila was a stay-at-home mother, shopping was an outlet because it was exciting. "It's not that I was bored," she explains. "It's like an unconscious thing. At the end of the week, I am like, "I spent $300!""

Shulman said many people feel family members will judge them but admitting the problem is the first step.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Coach T’s Basketball Camp teaches life lessons

By THERESA SHADRIX
Special to the Banner
Published Sunday, June 24, 2007 6:00 AM EDT

When Kevin “Coach T” Templeton speaks, everyone around him listens.

“You need to thank the person who brought you here today. You need to have an attitude of gratitude.” As he spoke these words to more than 320 junior high and high school basketball players and their coaches at Lee University, June 15, the gym was silent and respectful. Only moments before, he presented championship awards to male and female players who excelled in an intense five day basketball camp that bears his name.

This week, Templeton started the camp over again with a new group of around 370 campers and 50 coaches. Over the two week period, teams traveled from Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Ohio and the Carolina’s to live in Lee University dorms, play basketball games, hear from dynamic speakers, receive biblical guidance and learn as much as possible from Templeton and the camp staff. It has been a tiring two weeks for all involved, but you won’t find anyone complaining because the foundations of the camp are the love of the game and training in values.

Templeton said he believes basketball players should take advantage of lessons in life, both on and off the court, and he hopes campers take home more than learning how to dribble. He has an old-school coaching mentality of grit, determination and hard work. A man of faith, he is humble, but not timid to admit he loves the taste of glory. “Life is not going to be 30-0. So, you gotta press on, you gotta get up and you don’t give up,” he said. “If you learn not to give up on the basketball court, you won’t give up in life.”

Templeton is no stranger to coaching basketball. He was the athletic director and men’s basketball coach at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, winning the National Christian College Athletic Association championship in 2003.

In March he resigned from TTU and will be the new boy’s basketball coach at Soddy-Daisy High School. Templeton said TTU will always be special to him not only because of his successful coaching experience, but also the summer basketball camps that began at TTU 25 years ago. It was nine years ago that Templeton took over the camp and every year he has mentored more and more players and coaches.

“The first year we had 129 campers and then it went to 800 in two years,” he said. “Last year we had 1200 campers at Chattanooga.” When he resigned his position at TTU, he sent out emails to various schools to find a new host. Lee University agreed to hold the summer camp in conjunction with Templeton, making the Cleveland campus the new home of “Coach T’s Basketball Camp.” Templeton said that he feels great about having the camp at Lee, not only because of the comforts and safety on the campus, but also the expertise of the coaching staff, led by Lee’s head basketball coach, Tommy Brown.

“The staff at the camp is more than Coach T. Tommy is here, I have my son Josh helping, I have Marty Rowe, I have other coaches,” he said. “So, if you want to learn basketball, play team games, get individual instruction, and learn how to be a winner, this is the camp for you.” Beyond the campus and coaches, Templeton said the camp is a basketball players dream come true. Days and nights are filled with hard corp hoops, with games playing until midnight. It is this environment of hoops and dedication to the game that lures teams to the camp every year.

In his second trip to the camp, Coach Jon Werle of, Hebron Christian in Dacula, Ga., said he brought four teams, two girls and two boys, to the camp because of the staff expertise, the basketball games and the combination of teaching. “The whole player is addressed, both off and on the court. They grow together as a team and they grow together as basketball players because they are exposed to a high level of coaching.”

When so many summer basketball camps take place in local towns, Templeton said he is humbled for teams like Werle’s to travel to his camp. And coaches admit they will follow Templeton wherever he goes.

Coach Chris Randall of White Plains High School in Anniston, Ala. first attended the basketball camp at TTU as a player with Trinity Christian Academy in Oxford, Ala. more than 18 years ago. For six years he traveled to Chattanooga as a camper and when he began his coaching career, he started bringing his teams. Last week, Randall’s junior varsity and high school team won the camp championship game and the junior high team placed fourth. After taking his team home, he returned this week with another group of players. He said it is worth it because of the basketball fundamentals and concept of team play. Year and year he also returns so his players can improve their game, hear the speakers, receive spiritual instruction and be part of the caring attitude from Templeton and the staff.

“They are going to learn a lot more about life. They will hear testimonies from other men and players. More importantly, they will learn how to be a better man through basketball,” he said. “You can’t put a price on lessons they will learn here.”

Oddly enough, White Plains basketball rival, Faith Christian School in Anniston, Ala., also attends the camp every year. When playing each other at the camp, Faith Coach Doug Worlsey said they each want to win, but when the teams are playing another school, they are rooting for their hometown neighbor.

“We have a good competition and we want them to do well,” he said. “Coach Randall and I are rivals on the court, but we are brothers in Christ off the court.”

Worsley brought two middle school teams to the camp, with one placing second in the championship last week. Despite the fact he attended the camp for nine years as both a coach and a staff member, he said he comes back every summer because he gets something new from the camp every year. “Knowledge about basketball is infinite. I watch other coaches all day because everyone knows something about the game.” In his second year as the basketball coach at Faith Christian, Worsley said he can already see the impact of the camp on his players.

“They hear speakers constantly talking about choices in life,” he said. “People are going to tell them about basketball but also about the truth of life. And the truth of life is Jesus Christ.”

Theresa Shadrix is the managing editor of Longleaf Style magazine and special publications editor for The Anniston Star, Anniston, Ala. She is a former student at Cleveland State Community College, where she was sports editor and features writer for The Cherokee Signal. Theresa is the sister of Carl Maskew, a detective with the Bradley County Sheriff Office and his wife, Karen and the daughter of Harold Maskew. She lives in Anniston with her husband, Mickey, and two sons.

COPYRIGHT ® 2007 Cleveland Daily Banner, a division of Cleveland Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Banner

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Shannon Stewart — God's Next Top Model

By Theresa Shadrix
The Anniston Star
04-22-2007

Matt Ratliff and Shannon Stewart
Shannon Stewart is on a mission from God.
The blond, 5'11” Ohio native is not a missionary in a foreign land, but rather a professional model and former reality TV show contestant.
The 22-year-old beauty also is unashamedly a virgin and does not smoke or drink. She takes no credit for her good looks — “I owe it all to God,” she jokes — and is the type of girl every Mom wishes her son would marry.
But, she is taken and the lucky guy is model Matthew Ratliff. “Our relationship is totally because of Jesus Christ,” she said. “He is my best friend.”
Girded with their Christian faith, Stewart said she and Matthew just want to be a light in a business known for darkness.
They share experiences in the modeling world, like to hang out together and enjoy speaking as a team about their faith, when their modeling schedules permit.
In a telephone call from Chicago, she told me, “This is a tough business. Sometimes, I hate it. But, if no one shares the Good News, how will they know about Jesus Christ?”
It was this type of thinking that led Stewart to try out for season one of America's Next Top Model, the reality TV show created by Tyra Banks.
First aired in 2003, the season featured 10 contestants who lived together in a New York loft. Each week they were judged on various photo shoots, like one in swimwear and one in which the girls were wrapped in a huge snake. At the end of each episode, one girl was eliminated.
As in all reality shows, drama and conflict are the ingredients that create a spicy TV dish. For Stewart and fellow contestant Robin Manning from Memphis, Tenn., the openness about their Christian beliefs at times created tension.
Stewart and Manning were in the final four when the contestants were asked to pose nude in a photo shoot for diamond jewelry. They refused because of morality issues. Robin was the one eliminated at the end of that episode.
Stewart went on finish the season in second place to Adrianne Curry, who, since winning America's Next Top Model, has admitted to past drug use and bi-sexuality, posed nude for Playboy and married Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady from the classic TV hit show, The Brady Bunch.
Stewart said she has found success in the modeling world, but it has taken her longer to achieve it because of her stand for righteous living.
Signed with Elite Model Management, she said, “It has taken me longer in this business because I won't go to parties or do certain things.” But, she has no regrets and hears from people who commend her stand for clean living.
“I can't recall any negativity about not posing nude,” she said about the TV show episode. “I do hear from people who thank me for standing up for something, which included Muslims and atheists.
Stewart does not focus on what the future holds, but rather what exciting journey God has in store for her.
“I would love to host a Christian TV show with Matthew for teens.”
For the moment, Stewart is happy being God's Top Model.

Web Resourses:
Shannon Stewart's MySpace page
Matthew Ratliff's MySpace page
Models For Christ
Americas Next Top-model

Monday, April 09, 2007

Poverty is never fashionable

By Theresa Shadrix
The Anniston Star
04-08-2007

There is nothing fashionable about poverty. Poverty doesn't look good on anyone and is never in style.

Seriously, I have never heard a financially challenged individual, the monetarily disenfranchised or a plain ol' poor person say, “Wow, I am so glad that being poor is All the Rage this year, cause, ya know, being able to pay my bills and buy groceries is so yesterday.”

The Bible tells us the poor will be with us always.

But, how do we know who they are and what do poor folks look like?

Most people, when asked, will probably tell you the face of the poor is a welfare mama with several kids by different daddies who sits around at home watching Maury on TV, being supported with money from hard-working taxpayers.

The Alabama poverty Project disagrees with this myth by providing numbers that encourage us not to be so quick to judge.

Among their statistics, poverty in Calhoun County is children zero to 17, female-headed households and those too old or too young to work. I guess you could say the faces of poverty in our community are young'uns, old folks and single moms.

So, what does one do to help?

How about when you clean out your closet, don't give away the T-shirt you spilled coffee on three years ago or the pants you ripped when you ate too much Sunday casserole.

If it's something you wouldn't wear, then why do you think someone else will want it?

It is not like poor folks really love wearing hand-me-downs so much that they will say things like, “Man, that coffee stain on that T-shirt is gonna bring out the brown in my eyes.”

Jim Davis, the Baptist Service Center director for the Calhoun Baptist Association, told me volunteers waste many hours sorting through the good and bad stuff that is donated. And I know it is the truth because Jim took my former position at the CBA.

For six years, I smiled and thanked people when they donated clothes and goods from their home, then smiled again when I gave them a receipt. Then, volunteers sighed and shook their heads when they threw out old diapers (no kidding), soiled clothes, old underwear and such.

In our community, there are five organizations that provide clothing for free to those in need. The people are screened through Family Services and referred to them.

If you have clothing that is not suitable for wear, you can donate it to the Salvation Army for recycling. Just make sure to let them know your donation is not for the thrift store.

So, when you are spring-cleaning and you want to donate items to the less-fortunate in our community, just be respectful.

Where you can go to donate:

All Saints Interfaith Center of Concern
1029 W. 15th St., Anniston
Director: Sister Mary Roy
Phone: 236-7793
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday-Friday

Baptist Service Center South
806 Stewart St., Oxford
Director: Jim Davis
Phone: 831-4691
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Monday-Friday

Baptist Service Center Northwest
259 Halls Chapel Road, Alexandria
Director: Jim Davis
Phone: 846-3525
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Community Enabler Developer
1411 Gurnee Ave., Anniston
Director: Maudine Holloway
Phone: 237-6144
Hours of operation: 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday

Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center
206 Francis St. W., Jacksonville
Directors: Mary Agnes Hester and Chalcy Evans
Phone: 435-1891
Hours of operation: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

Salvation Army — Recycled Clothes
420 Noble St., Anniston
Phone: 236-5764

If you are in an individual or family in need of clothes, then you must be screened through Family Services Center of Calhoun County, 15 E. 11th St., Anniston. Call 231-2240 for intake hours and more information.

Visit the Alabama Poverty Project online at www.alabamapoverty.org.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The personality of prom

The Anniston Star
By Theresa Shadrix
03-18-2007

Leah and Lauren Sparks share the same birthday, are involved in similar clubs at Oxford High School and complete each other's sentences, but the 16-year-old twins are total opposites.

Leah is an athlete with state championship trophies in track and field, while Lauren is a class beauty who has modeled locally and likes to watch America's Next Top Model.

Selecting a prom dress was as different as their personalities.

“Lauren was out there in the store, looking at herself in front of the mirror and twirling around,” Shawn Jones, the girl's mother said. “Leah wouldn't even come out of the dressing room.”

Leah recently placed fourth in the 100-meter dash at a track meet, plays volleyball, is a guard on the basketball team and was selected as Most Talented in Who's Who by her classmates. She rarely wears make-up and admits shopping is not her forté.

“I tried on long dresses, but I couldn't move in them. But I can in this one. I am ready to dance,” she said about her mini gown with long, layered ruffles.

Both girls selected playful, colorful gowns, but while Leah's is short, Lauren's is long and straight. “I think it looks glamorous,” Lauren's mom said about her dress.

Lauren can't wait to get dressed up for prom but said she is also excited for her sister. “Leah doesn't wear make-up or wear dresses or heels, and I can't wait for people to see her in this dress. It is like a total make-over!”

“OK, so I will wear make-up to prom,” Leah laughs. “Enough already.”

It is rare for Lauren to leave the house without make-up, and when she does it doesn't go unnoticed, but the duo will get help from their big sister, Lyndsey. “I don't want to look like I have on a mask,” said Leah. “I trust her.”

Noticing things like make-up, personality and style is one way to help girl's select prom gowns said JoAnne Kirby, manager of Prom Headquarters in Jacksonville.

“I let the girls pick out a few dresses and try them on and then I help them select the best one for their individuality. I just notice how they look and what they like.”

With the charm of a grandmother, Kirby said she encourages girls towards dresses that fit their uniqueness, body type and trends.

“The A-line dress is perfect for girls with an hour glass figure or bigger hips,” she said. “Brown is also the color this year for prom, but we have seen bright colors. It really just depends on the girl with what color they pick.”

Kirby has noticed gowns like the brown and aqua Lauren is wearing are popular but so are full ball gowns.

Tammie Tuck, sales clerk at the Quality Shoppe in Jacksonville, agrees.

“This is the year of full dresses,” she said. “We have had girls come in and they don't want poofy, but the mom talks her into trying one on and she walks out with one.”

Tuck observed both the brown and bright color trend too. “We have sold a lot of chocolate brown, and they are normally straight dresses,” she said. “The poofy, full gowns have been bright colors. Aqua, orange, raspberry, yellow…they are bright and fun.”

The most popular prom gown for Alexander's Bridal Shop in Oxford is a chocolate brown, full length gown said owner Mike Alexander. He has also seen there is no one trend and the character of the girl is what matters most.

“We have about 1,000 dresses, and they make them to fit all personalities.”

Alexander points out a full length, black and white polka dotted gown with a large red sash and bow. “This one has been popular.” Then he directs his attention to a simple, straight aqua gown decorated with a stream of Swarovski crystals. “Oh, but this one is also popular too.”

Alexander points out that prom is not just for girls and some guys are taking note of fashion for the social gathering of year.

“This year we had a few girls that told us they had to match their gown to the guy's vest.”

Admitting it is rare for girls to select gowns around their dates, he said sometimes boys do take just as much time selecting a tuxedo as girls do with dresses.

“Guys no longer wear cummerbunds. There are no bow ties and no button covers,” he said. “Now it is brown tuxes, long ties with matching vest and longer coats. They want to look good too.”

Lauren and Leah's prom dates matched their tuxedos to their dresses and both say the like what was selected.

“He is wearing a brown tux, brown vest and an aqua tie,” said Lauren, speaking about her date Taylor Clark. “I don't think he is too excited about it but he is wearing it.”

Leah said her date, Devin Futral, is wearing all white. “His is a white tuxedo, white vest and white tie.”

Now that they have their dresses and their dates have their tuxedos, the only thing on their to do list for their March 30 prom is picking up their shoes and waiting to get ready the day of the dance.

“We have to make a hair appointment, get our nails done, our eyebrows waxed and get our tan,” said Lauren. Leah is excited about dressing up for the prom, but she just wants to have fun.

“It is going to be so much fun. It is a time to let loose and dance. But I will probably take off my shoes and go barefoot.”

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Miss Alabama searches for her Hollywood-glamour side


By Theresa Shadrix
Star Staff Writer
01-14-2007

Miss Alabama Melinda Toole knows — for sure — only one thing about what she'll wear to Gov. Bob Riley's inauguration ball Monday: It will be glamorous.

“I love the old Hollywood look, and people have told me for years that I have the look,” says Toole, who early last week had not settled on a design. She only knew that it would be a custom-made design by Ann Northington, the official dress sponsor of the Miss Alabama Scholarship Pageant.

And, since Toole is preparing to leave for the Miss America pageant on Friday, she had a lot of gowns to choose from.

“Ann has created some amazing gowns for me this year. To me, all of her gowns have that old Hollywood look to them.”

Northington said the gowns she created for Toole this year are her best work yet. When Miss Alabama Deidre Downs won the Miss America pageant in 2005, the two-piece white gown was a Northington design.

“I make only pageant dresses and have been proud of my previous work, but I think this year is very special,” Northington said.

Toole said Northington creates a signature style that fits each Miss Alabama, and she feels very good in all of the gowns created for her. After she makes up her mind which gown to wear for the inaugural ball, she said getting ready will not be that different than for a pageant. Except she will not have to worry about wearing a swimsuit or being interviewed by a panel of judges and entertainment at the ball will be left up to country music singer Sara Evans.

As Miss Alabama she said she is excited about attending the ball to celebrate Riley's next term and then representing the state at the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas.

“I know the ball will just be a very glamorous night.”



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you want to get a glamorous look of your own, Miss Alabama Melinda Toole has some tips:

Try on as many dresses in various colors and styles as you can. Don't go for the first thing you try on. Take a friend with you. If you plan on shopping at two different stores, have a friend take a picture of you in gowns that you really.

Choose something that makes you feel comfortable and beautiful. But make sure it is the right fit for your body type.

The day of the event, plan a pampering day and get your hair and nails done.

Make good use of make-up artists at department stores. For Monday's inaugural ball, Toole will have her make-up done at Gus Meyer in Birmingham.

“It is always fun to play with make-up,” she said. It also takes the guess work out of finding the right look for your skin type and coloring.

Choose accessories wisely. Don't over-do the look with too much jewelry in an embellished gown.

Don't forget to wear comfortable dancing shoes.

The Miss America pageant airs live on CMT, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.






Solving the mystery of the ball gown

By Theresa Shadrix
The Anniston Star Staff Writer
01-14-2007

Patsy Riley does not design and tell.

So when the red carpet rolls out at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex tomorrow at 8 for Gov. Bob Riley's inaugural ball, all eyes will be on his wife. After all, she is not only the First Lady of Alabama; she will be the belle of the ball in a couture gown she designed.

“I like secrets, and I don't usually tell too much,” she said when asked what she will wear. Wanting to keep the details of the dress design a secret, because, “every girl should have an element of surprise,” she said she just hopes the governor likes it as much as she does.

She did fess up that it will be a vintage-styled gown she designed with a little help from some friends. Inspired by her childhood fashion icons, it will be a 1950s and '60s-inspired ball gown.

“When I was a teen, I admired Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn and Debbie Reynolds in the movies,” Riley said. “They were my role models. So my dress has a little bit of Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn and a dash of Debbie Reynolds.”

It was Liz Stearns of Susan Lee Boutique in Atlanta on whom she called to help dress her for the ball.

“I described what I wanted, and she had it made,” Riley said. Stearns also helped dress Riley for President Bush's inauguration and was excited when she received her call.

“I was just beside myself that she remembered me after two years,” Stearns said.

Riley brought a picture of what she wanted, and Stearns said she knew a designer, Saul Kapilivsky of Rose Taft, who could make the dress a reality. Stearns said Riley knows what she wants and what looks good on her, and it makes dressing her for an event easy.

One thing Riley admits is that she is not sure how to do her eye make-up for the ball. She will do her own hair, foundation and blush but asked her cousin, Hayley Mauldin Daniel, a make-up artist at Gates of Pearls in Birmingham, to glam her up for the night by “painting her eyes.”

With Sara Evans headlining as the entertainment at the ball, Riley said she can't wait to dance with the governor and celebrate his second term. He will wear one of his favorite tuxedos and his trademark black cowboy boots.

“Ya know, a man never looks as handsome as when he is in a tuxedo, she said in her distinct Clay County accent.

For the inaugural swearing-in ceremony, Monday at noon on the Capitol steps, the governor will most likely wear a favorite red tie with a dark suit. The First Lady jokes that she is not like her mother's generation in which the wife often laid clothes on the bed and selected the husband's outfit for the day.

“I used to think that was so funny. Now, I love to buy his ties, but he does dress himself,” she insists.

Standing by her husband as he takes his oath as the 53rd governor of Alabama, the First Lady will wear a custom made suit by Sue Tang of Sue Tang Designs in Montgomery and a hat by Melanie McLaughlin of Mobile. McLaughlin designed the hat Riley wore to the first inaugural swearing in ceremony and she knew she wanted her to do another one.

“I'm going to reinvent the hat,” she jokes.

Tang said Riley designed the suit, and she wanted something feminine and patriotic.

“The suit is full of life and is very feminine. She has a flowing skirt, and I think she looks very good,” Tang said. Tang said it is important for any outfit to fit a person's personality and the first lady's suit is no exception.

“She is very outgoing, warm to people and we wanted to make her suit warm, with a happy color with a celebration look.

Stearns said Riley makes the process of dressing her fun and relaxing.

“She looks like a million dollars,” Stearns said. “I can't wait. Alabama will really be proud.”

Riley said when she is announced at the ball with her husband, she hopes southern young ladies will appreciate her style. More than anything she hopes Alabamians will see they are normal folks.

“We are just like everyone else but we so want to always put our best face and best attitude for the people. Ya know, they deserve it.”