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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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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Live Gospel Music including Jimmy Davis

Live Gospel Music including Jimmy Davis

Music Notes

Jimmy Davis takes the stage at the North Jefferson Gospel Fest October 28 at Black Creek Park, Fultondale, 35068. Enjoy live music from him and many others from 10am-4pm. Davis will also sing at the 11am October 29 service at Glennwood Baptist, www.myglennwood.org.

Enjoy a great day of Gospel Music at the First Annual North Jefferson Gospel Fest at Black Creek Park in Fultondale October 28. Among the performers will be multi-award winning Southern Gospel singer and songwriter, Jimmy Davis (www.jdea.org) from Pilot, Va. Davis has received more than 30 awards (CGMA, AMG, Emmy) for his balanced mix of “songs, hymns and spiritual songs.”

Davis’ musical style has a way of ministering to your heart with a spirit of encouragement and heart-felt love for his Saviour. “My purpose is to give the Gospel. Whether I am preaching or singing, the Gospel will be given,” says Davis, who pastored Lighthouse Baptist Church in Christiansburg, VA for 17 years before being called into full-time evangelism. He has been on stage with artists like Paul Overstreet, Point of Grace, Brian Free and Assurance, Greater Vision and many others. Besides performing at the North Jefferson Gospel Fest, Davis will also be a part of the 11 a.m. Sunday service at Glennwood Baptist in Morris on Sunday October 29. It’s a great weekend of music you won’t want to miss! †

 

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Lending a Helping Hand: Habitat for Humanity & Wells Fargo

Lending a Helping Hand: Habitat for Humanity & Wells Fargo

Mission Makers

As a part of a national effort to improve the homes of Veterans across the country, Habitat for Humanity Greater Birmingham and Wells Fargo volunteers recently teamed up to improve the homes of two local Army veterans. “We all share a common interest and passion to serve those who served our country,” said Richard Busby, Wells Fargo V.P. and Senior Community Dev. Officer in Mid South Region. “This is a tangible way to show our gratitude and bring community together.” Established in 1987, Habitat Birmingham is a nonprofit Christian housing ministry serving Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker Counties. The organization is dedicated to making quality, affordable housing solutions available to low-income families. Learn more at www.habitatbirmingham.org

Volunteers focus on exterior repairs and painting at the homes of veterans living in Bessemer and East Lake.

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Merry Market 2017!

Merry Market 2017!

Cool Stuff

Experience Merry Market 2017 Friday October 20, 9am-6pm and Saturday October 21, 9am-3pm. Admission is $5. Benefits the Just Keep Smiling ministry.

Want to get your Christmas shopping done early, please everyone on your list and help families in need in our community? Shop Merry Market 2017 October 20-21 at the Gardendale Civic Center. You will find great gifts from unique vendors while supporting Just Keep Smiling (JKS), a local ministry that assists families who have children in medical crisis.

Be sure to stop by and visit with Amy Choran and the staff at Junky 2 Funky. Their display will be loaded with great gift giving ideas including unique items by local artists: home décor, lake décor, vintage, holiday, clothing and a large variety of one-of-a kind special pieces to set you apart!

Tina Florence’s Adorned Boutique will also be on-site with the latest looks for your fall and winter wardrobe. This local women and teen Christian based boutique specializes in fashionable and trendy clothing from small to 2XL plus jewelry, accessories and gifts.

Special events happening at the Merry Market include “Cookies with Characters” Saturday from 10-Noon. Children will have the opportunity to converse and have pictures made with Dory, Nemo, Mickey, Minnie, Elsa, Olaf and Anna. Plus, there is a visit from Santa on Friday 10am-Noon and Saturday 12:30-2pm.

And before you leave, don’t forget to stop by the Merry Market Cafe and Amazing Sweet Shoppe to enjoy some delicious treats!

The ministry of Just Keep Smiling was born from the experiences of three women in our community, Patrice Brooks, Debra Cook and Sue Jeffreys. All three women know what it is like to live with tragically losing children or having a child with a life-threatening illness. Twelve years ago, they established the non-profit JKS that seeks to assist families with critically ill children by providing financial aid for immediate needs, emotional support based on personal knowledge of a child’s serious illness or death, and spiritual insight that conveys the solace, grace and strength found in God. JKS works with a network of social workers at area hospitals to identify families with such needs during their time of medical crisis with a child and/or children. Learn more at www.juskeepsmiling.org †

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Native American Experience: Authentic, Educational & Fun!

Native American Experience: Authentic, Educational & Fun!

City Scene 

For the 8th year in a row, Aldridge Gardens in Hoover will host Whispers of the Past, Sunday October 8. Poarch Creeks from Atmore, Ala. will demonstrate authentic Pow Wow dancing.

Bring the family to Aldridge Gardens in Hoover on October 8 to experience a day discovering the culture and contributions of Native Alabamians. From 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Whispers From the Past – A Native American Experience, offers demonstrations, activities, and presentations authentic to American Indians of the Southeast. Demonstrations include authentic Pow Wow Dancing with Medicine Tail Dancers and Singers provided by the Poarch Creeks of Atmore, Ala., flintknapping/observing how real stone arrowheads were made, American Indians creating baskets from long-leaf pine needles and dolls from corn husks, and Porch Creek Indians playing Stick Ball (Modern Day Lacrosse). Hands on activities include fishing with cane poles and worms in the Aldridge Gardens Lake, beading on looms, creating a clay coil pot to take home, leaf pounding, corn grinding, artifact hunting and gourd crafting. Cherokee Indians will also be telling stories with rattles, flutes, and drums and visitors will be able to purchase unique items including projectile points and arrowheads, Choctaw foods and crafts, jewelry and beadwork, and woven baskets. The event is endorsed by the Administration at the State Department of Education and local school districts. Admission is $12 for adults, $7 for students and free for children three and under. Off-site parking and shuttle are available at nearby Bed Bath & Beyond on Lorna Road. For more event details visit www.aldridgegardens.com or call 682-8019. †

 

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Garden Party: Taste of Hoover

Garden Party: Taste of Hoover

City Scene

Enjoy Taste of Hoover October 12 at Aldridge Gardens, 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover. Many new restaurants are taking part in the event this year.

The 6th Annual Taste of Hoover is an opportunity to try delicious dishes from more than 20 of Hoover’s best restaurants and caterers in the beautifully lighted setting of Aldridge Gardens. The bonus is your support will help the not for profit Gardens to be maintained and continue to offer services and events throughout the year. The event October 12 from 5-8pm comes complete with white tablecloth settings and live entertainment by Jackson Ulmer. Tickets are $40 for Aldridge Garden members and $45 for non-members. Purchase tickets at www.aldridgegardens.com. Tickets will only be available at the gate if the event is not sold out. †

 

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