Serving Veterans in Our Community

Serving Veterans in Our Community

Special Feature

Are you a veteran or know someone who is? The Alabama based non-profit Still Serving Veterans (SSV) was founded in 2006 to specifically assist veterans, at no charge, with securing employment.

SSV offers in person employment counseling to Veterans, transitioning military and members of the Guard and Reserves at its offices in Birmingham, Huntsville and Phenix City. SSV also has a virtual employment team that assists clients across the United States. Last year, SSV conducted over 10,000 one-on-one free counseling sessions and through SSV, 737 Veteran clients were hired resulting in 34.9 million in new salaries and benefits to clients. “Our approach to employment counseling is holistic: we help our clients not just during military-to civilian transitions but during life transitions, engaging one-on-one and person-to-person, not via webinars or chat rooms,” explains Al Wood, the Regional Director of SSV, Birmingham.

“My work with SSV helped me translate my military skills into civilian competencies which boosted by confidence.” said U.S. Army Veteran Jurann H. “Being unemployed for two months, I began to lose faith and doubt my abilities, but I am grateful for the SSV team which was proactive in following up with me even on unsuccessful interviews and helped me identify how to be better prepared for the next opportunity.” Another Still Serving Veterans client, Janice T, U.S. Air Force, adds, “Finding a job is a full-time endeavor. Many of the same jobs and companies that I applied to previously were opportunities that SSV sent me on a daily basis. The key difference this time was that I had an advocate on my side that was able to connect me with a recruiter; a real person. It was a game changer when SSV connected me to a real person, not only did I get an interview, I was offered the job.”

To learn more visit www.ssv.org or call 1-866-778-4645. †

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Same Kind of Different As Me

Same Kind of Different As Me

SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS  ME, Always See The Good In Others…

See It Before Anyone Else! The Jimmie Hale Mission is hosting a special premiere of, Same Kind of Different as Me, at the AMC Vestavia theatre Wednesday, October 18 prior to the national release, October 20. Two shows, 6pm and 7pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance, $5 per ticket. Purchase at www.skodam.eventbrite.com, call 205-323-5878 or email bonnie@jimmiehalemission.com.

Children seem to resonate with this adage but in an adult-size world, execution proves difficult. Judgment and bias cloud perception, ultimately blurring the heart.  Perhaps no other story of this century better supports this premise than the New York Times bestseller, Same Kind of Different As Me.

Written ten years ago, the book took the world by storm. Published in over 14 languages with nearly a half million copies sold, Same Kind of Different As Me became a beloved novel for children and adults. Now, its author, Ron Hall, has joined a powerhouse team of actors and producers to bring this tale of friendship, forgiveness, and love to the big screen.

Due in theaters October 20, 2017, Same Kind of Different As Me tells the true-life story of an international art dealer, Ron Hall (Academy Award® Nominee, Greg Kinnear, As Good As It Gets, Heaven Is For Real) whose life is crumbling under the pressure of pretense and appearance. Marital infidelity strains his relationship with his wife, Debbie (Academy Award® Winner, Reneé Zellweger, Chicago) and he is estranged from his alcoholic father (Academy Award® Winner,  Jon Voight, Coming Home, Ray Donovan). Debbie digs deep to forgive Ron under the condition they put shared purpose back into their marriage. She encourages Ron to volunteer with her at a local homeless shelter where Ron encounters Denver (Academy Award® Nominee, Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond, Amistad), the most unlikely friend he’d ever meet. The narrative follows the lives of these characters as they discover how to risk loving, how to loose life and give till it sometimes hurts.

“This is a story about what love can do,” said Hall. Debbie’s forgiveness of my infidelity required love, and that Christ-like love not only transformed my life but millions of other lives as well.” The repercussions of Ron’s infidelity and Debbie’s subsequent forgiveness served as a model for Ron as he found himself face to face with individuals he normally would dismiss. “At that time in my marriage, I didn’t attend to the fact that we’d started going different directions. Debbie was chasing after God and I was chasing after money. I was not looking for a friend, certainly not one in the form of a big, black, angry homeless man,” recalls Hall. “Denver wasn’t looking for a friend either, especially a privileged white, rich man. In all honesty, I was not rich until I met Denver.”

The beautifully written screenplay by Hall, Alexander Foard, and Michael Carney certainly reflects this truth. At one point in the movie, Denver says, “God don’t give us credit for loving the folks we want to love anyway. No, He gives us credit for loving the unlovable.” Moviegoers see the payout a simple act of kindness and an open heart can have.  “The relationship between Ron and Denver has a lot of different layers,” Kinnear explains. “There’s suspicion, there’s distrust, but over time there’s honesty, and ultimately there is love. In the end, they believe in one another.” Viewers see this same sequence unfold between Ron and Debbie, and Ron and his father.

The star studded cast of Greg Kinnear, Jon Voight, Dijimon Hounsou and Renee Zellweger shares the true story of God’s love lived out in a miraculous way.

The film challenges viewers to question the notion that people are forever products of their environment. It is said that the past molds a person, but Same Kind of Different As Me shows how grace can melt a mold and provide an opportunity for new life and new relationships. And it all starts with Debbie. “She believed that kindness begets kindness and her mission was to make a change within the community,” said Zellweger.  “Change begins when one person makes a decision to put their hands on something, or into something that needs fixing, and recognizing their own ability to have an effect.”

Debbie’s impact on Denver is powerfully depicted in the film. Viewers first encounter an intimidating, loud homeless man wielding a baseball bat and threatening others. Debbie looks past Denver’s callousness, into a tender spot in his heart. “Denver suffered at the hands of other people all his life,” said Hall. “How he came to trust Debbie and subsequently me, can only be explained by the power of love.” Zellweger echoes, “What an exceptional person that she’s able to see people in their best light.  She looks past whatever damage causes them to be fearful in the world and act out. It’s inspiring.”

The unique fabric of this story is that there is no central character.  All four main actors interact to unfold a tale that at onset seems unbelievable. Perhaps the finest cinematic moments come when Denver shares dollops of wisdom or “Denverisms” as they’ve come to be known. Things like, “Our limitation is God’s opportunity.” Or, “When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain’t nothin you can do, that’s when God takes over.”

Hounsou is simply dynamic in the film.  Having his own brush with homelessness at a young age, the actor draws from personal experiences to give a compelling performance. “Denver is not talkative but when he opens his mouth, he seems to say a lot,” reflects Hounsou. “It’s a rare opportunity for an actor to be blessed with a role so soulful. To embody Denver’s spirit was at once an emotional challenge and an extreme privilege, learning the story of a man who came from so little and gave so much.”

Silence mixed with well-placed words—often grammatically incorrect but always life-altering—made Denver bigger than life. Those who had an opportunity to meet Denver before he passed recall a gentle giant filled with wisdom that seemed to flow from Christ. As one woman recalls, “Everything about my life, how I viewed myself and others, changed when I encountered Denver.” Hall concurs, “I marveled at Denver’s counsel and sought him out for advice time and again. I tell you, he was always spot-on with a fresh message from God. He spent countless hours behind a dumpster, in solitude talking with God.”

From Script to Screen

The movie, Same Kind of Different As Me, was seven years in the making and nearly bankrupt Hall in the process. When asked why he didn’t just abandon the project and enjoy the success of his best-selling novel, Hall explains, “I made Debbie a promise that I’d never abandon Denver and I’d champion the homeless. In fact, Debbie and Denver inspired me to make a movie that would keep our message alive.” Since launching the movie, Hall and his family have set up, samekindofdifferentasme.org., a nonprofit organization that serves as a sort of 911 call center for underfunded missions and homeless endeavors. Their mission is to raise money, goods and services for organizations that serve the homeless, abused, addicted and hungry. “It’s not the color that divides us. It’s the condition of our hearts.  If we get our hearts right we can cause a rising tide and bring hope to those who’ve lost it,” says Hall. 

-Susan Reinfeldt, Author & Owner of The Write Word. Five years ago, Susan had the honor of working alongside Denver and Hall to raise money for The Nashville Rescue Mission, an organization she continues to passionately serve.

Photos: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.

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Center Point’s Historic Hillcrest Manor Opens to Public

Center Point’s Historic Hillcrest Manor Opens to Public

Special Feature

Items original to the 1921 Hillcrest Manor have been incorporated into its restoration and research has been done so visitors can learn about the home’s rich history. As a part of a grand opening celebration, the home is open to the public October 6 at 10am. Appointments to see and book can also be made starting October 16, 205-637-1437.

The Center Point Women’s Preservation Society, along with the Center Point Mayor and City Council, welcome the community to tour and experience the history of the stately Hillcrest Manor. After seven years of hard work by the Preservation Society and the City, the 1921 Manor, located next to the nearly eighteen-acre Reed-Harvey Park in Center Point, is opening its doors as a venue for special events. The home’s restoration was spearheaded by Betty Henderson, along with city employees. Henderson founded the Center Point Preservation Society with the purpose of raising money to restore the home. With encouragement from Henderson and 85 plus Preservation Society members, the City Council purchased the house for restoration in 2010. Now restored, the Society will oversee the management of the home. Henderson sat down with us to share about the home and its important place in the community.

Why was it so important to you and the Center Point Women’s Preservation Society to have this home preserved? The mission of the Women’s Preservation Society is to restore old buildings and put them to good use for the city. The City of Center Point has been good to us and we want to give back something to our city. This home will bring more historic value to Reed-Harvey Park which has a great deal of history as well.

What type of events is the home capable of hosting? The possibilities of this house are endless. We can have an outdoor wedding for 150 to 160 with a reception. We can also have indoor weddings in several places inside for 25 or 30 in different locations. Rehearsal dinners, holiday weddings, bridal showers, seminars and conferences, business corporate meetings, reunions and much more are possible.

How rewarding is it to you and the Society to have the home now accessible to the community? We are astounded that we, along with the City of Center Point, have created a marvelous place that gives us a joyous feeling that history is being made. We are so excited as to how much this Hillcrest Manor will mean to the future of our city… So many people in Center Point have always wanted to go in this house. How exciting for all of us. It is a dream come true for everyone involved.

Henderson and the Preservation Society’s next goal is to have the home listed on the National Historic Register. A grand opening of the home will be held October 6 at 10 a.m. and appointments to see and book the home start October 16, 205-637-1437. †

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Stretch Yourself: The Benefits of Stretching at Work

Stretch Yourself: The Benefits of Stretching at Work

Healthy Living 

Americans spend huge portions of their lives at the office. But since we’re so busy working, most of us don’t think of our desks – or our cubicles – as ideal places for working out. Given the increasing demands, stress levels, and repetitive requirements of many of our jobs, however, it is essential to our physical and mental health to keep active during the day, stretching ourselves beyond the regular rigors of spreadsheets and paperwork.

Whether you realize it or not, sitting in an office chair hour after hour is one of the worst things you can do for your body, particularly your back and neck. Couple that with extended hours of repetitive motion tasks like typing or answering the phone, and you’re setting yourself up for chronic pain and stress-related issues. According to an article posted by WebMD, employees who maintain sedentary positions at their jobs – with narrow ranges of motion – are more likely to suffer long-term injuries, chronic stress, and weight gain. One of the best ways to protect our joints, bones and muscles, however, is to take regular, stress-relieving stretch breaks throughout the day.

Some of the stretching exercises we can perform at work include shoulder shrugs, torso twists, back hugs, leg hugs, leg extensions, and hand and finger extensions. Standing up and sitting down at regular intervals (without help from our hands) can also make us more alert, energetic and flexible. And if we have the option, replacing our office chair with an exercise ball is an excellent way to improve our balance and strengthen our lower backs, reducing the risk of spinal stress and accompanying vertebral injuries.

As an added bonus, frequent stretching can also make us more refreshed and productive in our jobs. As reported by Shape magazine, these mini-breaks help clear our minds for the tasks ahead, and release us, at least temporarily, from the stresses of our day.

For optimal results, schedule your stretch time every hour, or every bathroom break, to fully integrate these changes (and benefits!) into your daily work routine.

-Jean Bowick

YMCA of Greater Birmingham, www.ymcabham.org 

Read more healthy information from the YMCA at www.BirminghamChristian.com. Click on News/Health

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The Proven Cure for the Drug Epidemic

The Proven Cure for the Drug Epidemic

Special Feature

Presented by Alabama Teen Challenge Adult Men’s and Women’s Centers

Phil Cook in 1977 after completing the Alabama Teen Challenge program and today serving as Senior Pastor at Rich Valley Church, Valrico, Fla.

1977 Alabama Teen Challenge graduate, Phil Cook, came to Alabama Teen Challenge as a teenager and now 40 years later he is sharing the life-saving message that saved him. A supporter of Teen Challenge and senior pastor of Rich Valley Church, Valrico, Fla., Cook testifies to the longevity and continued success of Alabama Teen Challenge:

“In 1977, at the age of 15, living in NYC, doing drugs and rebellious- I got deep into trouble and I was interviewed for Teen Challenge at the Brooklyn NYC Teen Challenge on Clinton Ave. –My parents didn’t know what to do with me, my dad was from Alabama and I had family there, so I ended up going to B’ham Alabama Teen Challenge-within two weeks I asked Christ into my heart and was born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. I stayed at the induction center for the whole year- the director even moved me into his own home for the last 6 months. I went on to Southeastern University, met my wife, have 3 children, 3 grandchildren and even went to grad school. I was ordained and in 1986 we started the South Florida Teen Challenge- I have also started two churches -Calvary Church & Rich Valley Church- these ministries are all thriving! None of this would have been possible without the beautiful mercy and grace of God…….and the ministry of Teen Challenge!” Pastor Phil Cook, ’77 Alabama Teen Challenge Graduate

 

Alabama Teen Challenge, Adult Men’s and Women’s Centers

205-763-0909, P.O. Box 270, Lincoln, AL 35096, www.alatc.org 

“Too many young people have already lost their lives, and too many others have suffered serious injury for us to ignore the problems. Programs such as Teen Challenge work to change people’s lives by changing their hearts. Let us bring to all Americans who struggle with drug addiction this hope: The miracle of recovery is possible, and it could be you.”  President George W. Bush

 

“I saw the humble beginnings of Dave’s ministry in New York City and it was a dangerous setting with all the violence in the gangs. It’s beyond calculation, the lives that have been touched and changed, who in turn have touched and changed many more. The impact is enormous. Really, it’s God’s work.” Pat Robertson/Pres. The 700 Club 

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Paws-itively Training & Puppy Kindergarten!

Paws-itively Training & Puppy Kindergarten!

Two by 2

Well-socialized and well-trained pets are happy pets and happy pets mean happy owners! Helping your pet learn proper behaviors and reactions to certain events helps them become a successful member of your family.

Spending time training, exercising and socializing your dog or cat is one of the most important gifts you can give to your furry family member and will help you form a strong bond together. Using positive reinforcement like praising, giving treats and positive attention will help your pet learn the good behavior and discourage undesired behavior. Starting early as a puppy or kitten or soon after you adopt is best, but training can be applied to pets of all ages. You can teach an old dog new tricks!

Valleydale Animal Clinic offers ongoing personal dog training sessions and hosts group classes with our American Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer. Starting Sunday, October 1 through Sunday, October 22, you and your dog (over 5 months) can participate in our Paws-itively Training Course. In this 4-week class, you and your dogs will learn the foundations of basic obedience including “sit/down/stay/come” and proper leash walking, as well as “drop it”, “leave it” and “take it” and other ways to help your dog become a successful member of your family.

Have a puppy? On Thursday, October 5 through Thursday, October 26, bring your dog 5 months and younger to our “Puppy Kindergarten”!  It’s an opportunity for you and your puppy to learn proper socialization with other pets, crate training and house training, how to discourage puppy biting and recommendations on nail trims, baths and an introduction to grooming.

Both courses are $100 each and include materials. They are based on a positive method of training using a clicker and reward system. All dogs must be up to date on age appropriate vaccinations. Registration is required. Call 991-5416.  For more information visit www.valleydaleanimalclinic.com.

Jeff Falone, DVM 

Valleydale Animal Clinic

205-991-5416

www.valleydaleanimalclinic.com

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The Advantages of Online Therapy

The Advantages of Online Therapy

Healthy Living

While you might be aware that some psychologists perform psychotherapy sessions online, you might not be aware of the advantages that this mode provides.

Practical Advantages

  • The client can participate in the session from any location that allows for privacy and an Internet connection. When Internet connectivity is not good, the session can occur via a phone call.
  • Therapy is accessible to those who reside far from a good-fit therapist.
  • A person who has difficulty leaving home due to a disability or due to a lack of transportation can participate.
  • Avoiding a drive to and from a professional office means avoiding stressful and dangerous traffic conditions.
  • A client might not have to take leave from work in order to attend an appointment.
  • The contagion of a head cold would not prevent the therapy session from occurring.
  • Clients who have children are not limited by the availability of babysitters. A marriage therapy couple might be able to leave their school-aged children in the next room for an hour in the evening in order to engage in marriage therapy.
  • Clients who frequently travel are able to keep their therapy sessions.
  • In marriage therapy or family therapy, if one family member is away, the session may be held with multi-user videoconferencing.

Therapeutic Advantages.

  • A client who is uncomfortable disclosing personal matters might find it easier to disclose when the therapist is not sitting in the same room.
  • A client might feel more relaxed at home, making it easier to engage in therapy.

The Session Format. In my practice, at the appointment time, the client and I each connect to the meeting through the user-friendly website of a company that is a major provider of videoconferencing services. That company’s videoconferencing service is certified as HIPAA-compliant, which means that the transmissions meet high standards for security. For about an hour, we engage in discussion of the client’s concerns and issues. Typically, the session ends with a plan for the client to take certain actions before the next session, which will typically be one or two weeks afterwards.  My approach tends to be solution-oriented with an emphasis on skill development.

To explore the opportunities to participate in online therapy in our faith-based practice, please visit our website at www.crosswalknow.com, call our office at 334-744-3694, or email us at office@crosswalknow.com.

-Dr. Thomas Maple

Dr. Maple is an Alabama-licensed psychologist and the founder of Crosswalk Psychological Services, LLC.  His clinical background includes work in private practice and in university clinics. Born and raised in the Birmingham area, he now resides in Auburn with his wife and his two daughters.

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Revelation Walk Reaches Thousands

Revelation Walk Reaches Thousands

Mission Makers

The Revelation Walk outdoor drama is designed for teens through adults and will be performed every Saturday in October at Eden Westside Baptist. The event is free but a donation of $10 each is suggested.

To date more than 45,000 people have experienced the “Revelation Walk” hosted by Eden West Side Baptist Church in nearby Pell City. The interactive dramatization is portrayed in over fourteen outdoor scenes based on the book of Revelation. Eden West Side’s senior pastor, Rev. Jacky Connell explains, “It’s an exciting drama that reaches out to a lot of different types of people…I think this brings people face to face with questions about eternity and the future.” Connell adds that although the script is updated each year, the core message of the walk always comes straight from Scripture. “The introduction to the walk can change, based on the theme that year. For instance, we may begin the drama with a family in distress, but then it transforms itself into biblical Revelation.”

The Walk requires the help of about 250 volunteers including actors, actresses and support staff. Rev. Connell marvels at the energy of volunteers even as they enter their nineteenth year of production. “I think what keeps the momentum going [for the event] is that we see eternal results. We see people actually give their lives to Jesus…Our volunteers are giving their lives away to something that has value.”

The drama will be performed every Saturday in October, 7-10:30 p.m. Groups of 20 to 50 experience the walk together, and the walk lasts about one hour. Reservations are available but not required (205-338-7711, ext. 245).  “Our goal is to meet people where they are,” says Connell. “People today are asking questions, ‘What is life all about? What is death about? What is eternity about?’ We are trying to give a snap shot of those things- to bring people to Jesus Christ as Savior.” Learn more at www.edenwestside.org.

– Laurie Stroud

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Faith over Fear: Savannah Chrisley at Southern Women’s Show

Faith over Fear: Savannah Chrisley at Southern Women’s Show

Special Feature

While at the Southern Women’s Show at the BJCC on Saturday October 7, expect to see Savannah Chrisley wearing clothes from her just released fashion line. She also says she will have news to share about a new hosting project she is completing in Los Angeles this month.

Best known for being one of five siblings on her family’s reality show, Chrisley Knows Best, 20-year-old Savannah Chrisley is blazing her own trail as the youngest person ever to appear on HSN. Her new fashion line, “Faith over Fear,” is featured on the network. “Faith over fear is just something I have lived by for quite some time now,” says Chrisley reflecting on the name she chose for her line. “I just feel like so many people, especially people my age, get scared of things working out…We don’t want to fail. So, for me I have to let my faith be bigger than the situation.” Chrisley says her faith in God is what guides her, and she sees the opportunities God has given her as a platform to share her faith and encourage others. “A lot of women will dim down their worth just to be with someone and that’s just not good,” says Chrisley. “I have found myself guilty of doing that and at the end of the day it’s not the right way to be.”

Expect to see Chrisley wearing pieces from her clothing line when she is in Birmingham October 7 for the Southern Women’s Show at the BJCC. “This was about designing something I truly love and I’m going to wear. If I’m not going to wear it, why would I expect anyone else to,” says Chrisley whose clothes have a modest but stylishly comfortable flair. You will also have the chance to hear Chrisley share behind the scenes details on what it’s really like growing up under the watchful eye of her protective father who she calls a huge faith influence on her life, along with the rest of her family. Besides an appearance by Chrisley, here are some other exciting highlights from this year’s Southern Women’s Show October 5-8.

  • Hourly cooking demonstrations by Birmingham’s best chefs with complimentary samples.
  • Hourly runway shows featuring the latest trends plus musical entertainment.
  • Hundreds of boutiques to browse and shop.
  • $3 admission after 3 p.m. on Thursday, and $5 after 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
  • Present your ticket stub from the Auburn or Alabama game and get in free on Sunday.
  • Every ticket to the Southern Women’s Show includes a gift of one year free magazine subscription. Register at the show entrance and pick from a selection of popular women’s magazines.

For more show details and tickets ($12 at the door, $8 in advance on line) visit www.southernwomensshow.com. †

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