What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing

What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing


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Some Stories Just Can’t Be Stopped . . .

What Difference Do It Make? continues the hard-to-believe story of hope and reconciliation that began with the New York Times bestseller, Same Kind of Different as Me. Ron Hall and Denver Moore, unlikely friends and even unlikelier coauthors—a wealthy fine-art dealer and an illiterate homeless African American—share the hard-to-stop story of how a remarkable woman’s love brought them together. Now, in What Difference Do It Make? Ron and Denver along with Lynn Vincent offer:

  • more of the story—with untold anecdotes, especially Ron’s struggle with his difficult father and Denver’s dramatic stint in Angola prison
  • the rest of the story—how Same Kind of Different as Me came to be written and changed the lives of its authors
  • the ongoing story—true tales of hope from people whose lives have been changed by Ron and Denver’s story and how they make a difference in their worlds
  • your part in the story—wise, practical, and hard-lived guidance for how you can make a difference to those in need
  • plus intriguing extras—including full-page color samples of Denver’s paintings
Deeply moving but never sappy or sentimental, What Difference Do It Make? answers its own question with a simple and emphatic answer. What difference can one person (or two) make in the world? A lot!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780849946196
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 08/29/2010
Pages: 311
Sales rank: 219,276
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ron Hall has dedicated much of the last ten years of his life to speaking on behalf of, and raising money for, the homeless. Formerly an international art dealer, Ron is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and writer/producer of the Paramount/Pure Flix film Same Kind of Different as Me. A Texas Christian University graduate, Ron was honored in 2017 with the Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition to traveling and speaking, Ron and his wife, Beth, run the Same Kind of Different as Me foundation (SKODAM.org), which meets emergency needs for those who are less fortunate.

Denver Moore served as a volunteer at the Fort Worth Union Gospel Mission until his death in March 2012.

Lynn Vincent is the New York Times best-selling writer ofHeaven Is for Real and Same Kind of Different As Me. The author or coauthor of ten books, Lynn has sold 12 million copies since 2006. She worked for eleven years as a writer and editor at the national news biweekly WORLD magazine and is a U.S. Navy veteran.

Read an Excerpt

What difference do it make?

Stories of Hope and Healing

By Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2009 Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4185-8617-1



Tennessee sour-mash whiskey defined my daddy. He pledged a lifetime of allegiance to Jim Beam, and ol' Jim never had a more loyal friend. As a boy, tucked into bed in a ratty blue-collar town outside of Fort Worth, I sometimes cried myself to sleep wishing my daddy loved me and my brother, John, as much as he loved Jim.

My father's given name was Earl F. Hall. The F didn't stand for anything, but over the years I assigned it lots of unprintable meanings. Earl was a chain-smoking, chain-drinking ladies' man, who slicked back his wavy brown hair with Vitalis and favored wife-beater T-shirts, pleated gabardine slacks, and wing-tip shoes. He was not a mean drunk and most of the time could walk a straight line and recite the alphabet if he had to. Once he even recited poetry till he sobered up.

When my daddy came home from World War II in '45, we all lived in his mama's little shack in Denton, Texas, until he could find a job. After a few months he found one working for Curtiss Candy, driving a 1947 GMC panel truck painted red and white like a Baby Ruth wrapper. Not long after that, we piled our meager belongings into the candy truck and moved them over to a one-bedroom bungalow in the West Fourth Street slums near downtown Fort Worth. The neighborhood was planted smack in the geographic center of a shabby circle formed by a rail yard, a hobo camp, a gravel pit, a junkyard, a dog-food factory, and a sewage plant.

Our neighbors were mostly workaday folks, bagging kibble at the plant or spelunking in the sewer lines. Except for Andy, who lived across the street. Andy was a Harley-riding professional wrestler who stayed home all day and wrestled at night. When he wasn't wrestling in the ring, he wrestled naked in his living room with his redheaded bombshell wife, Rusty Fay. For some reason Rusty Fay had never gotten around to hanging curtains in the front room, so the picture window that faced our street drew neighborhood boys like the hootchy-cootchy tent at an old-time carnival. We never could figure out how little Rusty Fay always managed to pin her big, brawny husband and wind up on top, but we all thought it was the best show in town.

From a boy's perspective, that was about the only thing my neighborhood had going for it. For one thing, the place stunk to high heaven. Smelly emissions from the sewage facility and the dog-food plant settled in the trees like an invisible fog with a combined scent that reminded me of a roomful of old men after a chili cook-off. Those fumes competed with equally unpleasant ones from hobo campfires, backyard chicken droppings, and the working outhouse that our next-door neighbors kept out back. Once, on a school field trip, I smelled the warm, cinnamon scent of a bakery and was jealous of any kids fortunate enough to live nearby.

Our house sat near a rail yard with acres of tracks planted like row crops that produced a year-round yield of multicolored boxcars and a round-the-clock clang of crossing bells. Day and night, the cars collided in a steady, drum-like rhythm as screeching engines slammed them together to form mile-long strings that chugged out of the yard with hobos in hot pursuit. (The good news about the rail yard was that my friends and I, through many scientific trials, disproved the old wives' tale that a single penny on the tracks can derail a moving train.)

Playing second fiddle to the rail-yard symphony were the grain elevators and the dog-food plant, each of which produced an uninterrupted, high-pitched whine. But none of these noises was as obnoxious or caustic as my parents' constant fighting.

I have heard it said that a thin line exists between love and hate. From the epithets I often heard floating through the open windows into the front yard, I thought Earl and Tommye Hall were hell-bent on erasing the line entirely.

Most of their screaming matches took place in mornings and afternoons since most nights Daddy hid out at the Tailless Monkey Bar. Then, just before midnight, he'd call home and make Mama come and get him. She'd wake us up and drive the mile or so to the Tailless Monkey. She'd honk, and he'd stumble out. After we were old enough to walk and talk, John and I would fight until the loser had to go in and get him. Earl would usually be sitting with his buddies at a table, sometimes with a woman on his lap. Daddy was handsome and attracted the barflies like ants to a family picnic.

"Gimme some sugar," he would slur, trying to kiss me on the mouth. I'd wiggle out of his grip and turn my head because I hated the way beer and smoke smelled on his breath.

Daddy didn't set out to destroy me, and I didn't let him, though there was no avoiding his influence. I promised myself I'd never drink or smoke, and I managed to make it to age five before I started smoking grapevine and age six before I started smoking Kool menthols stolen from Elizabeth Henson's daddy, who drove a dump truck for the neighborhood gravel pit. I had my first drink, a Pabst Blue Ribbon, at the age of fourteen. It is sometimes a sad irony of boyhood that sons can emulate their fathers and simultaneously loathe them.



Lotta times, people look at homeless folks the way they used to look at me: they'd kinda eyeball me up and down, and I could see them wheels turnin in their heads, wonderin, how'd that fella get that way?

See, that ain't the right question to be askin 'cause it might be that ain't none a' our business. Our business is to find out is there anything we can do to bring a change in their life. To bring opportunity. To bring hope. Sometimes that might mean gettin a man off liquor or drugs. It might mean helpin him find a job.

Here's my story. When I showed up in Fort Worth, Texas, I couldn't read, couldn't write, and couldn't do a lick a' rithmetic. I had growed up on a plantation in the Deep South and never went to school a day in my life.

I was born in Red River Parish, Louisiana, in 1937, a time when whites was white and blacks was "colored." Officially, there wadn't no slavery, but that didn't mean there wadn't no slaves. All around the South we had what we called sharecroppers. Now, my daddy, BB, wadn't no sharecropper. He was a railroad worker, I think—I never did know for sure—and a ladies' man that couldn't set foot in the New Mary Magdelene Baptist Church on Sundays 'cause he'd been steppin out with some of the women in the congregation. But BB got stabbed to death one night in Grand Bayou right out there by Highway 1. My grandma, Big Mama, had already burned up in a house fire by then, and me and brother, Thurman, went to live with my Aunt Etha and Uncle James. They was sharecroppin on a plantation down there near Coushatta.

When you is croppin, here's how it works. The Man that own the plantation give you everthing you need to make a cotton crop, 'cept he give it to you on credit. Then you plant and plow and chop that cotton till pickin time. And when you bring in that cotton, you s'posed to split that crop down the middle, or maybe 60/40, and the Man take his share and you take yours. 'Cept somehow it never did work out that way 'cause by the time you pay the man back for all he done loaned you on credit, ain't nothin left outta your share a' the crop. In fact, most a' the time, you in the hole, so you got to work another season on the plantation to pay back what you owe.

From the time I was a little-bitty boy, I was a cropper. Didn't know how to do nothin 'cept plantation work—plowin, plantin, choppin, pickin, and whatever odd jobs there was to do, like tryin to nail scrap boards in the floor of the shack the Man let us live in.

I worked like that all the way till the 1960s, all without no paycheck. Then one day when I was grown, I realized I wadn't never gon' get ahead. I wadn't never gon' be able to pay the Man back what I owed. So I hopped on a freight train that come runnin through the country and wound up in Fort Worth, Texas. Even though I hadn't ever been outta Red River Parish, I'd heard there was plenty a' work in the cities. But once I got there, I found out there wadn't too many folks willin to hire a colored fella who couldn't read, couldn't write, and couldn't figure.

I got me a few odd jobs here and there, but it wadn't enough to pay for a place to live. So I wound up homeless.

Now, let's say you walked up to me on East Lancaster Street in Fort Worth and asked me, said, why you homeless? Why you down on your luck?

If I told you about BB and Big Mama and the Man, if I told you that I used to work plantations like a slave almost up until the time America put a man on the moon, what you gon' say?

"Here's a dollar"?

"Good luck and God bless"?

A lotta homeless folks has been hurt and abused since we was little bitty. At one time or another we loved or was loved by somebody. We had hope. We believed. Then hope flew out the door, and everthing we had was gone. For a lot of us there come a time when nobody was willin to take us in. Nobody was willin to help in no kinda way. All the doors was slammed in our faces, and next thing you know, we just sittin on the curb with everbody passin us by, won't even look at us.

Even though you is still a human bein inside, even though you mighta been a little boy once with a mama, even though you mighta been married once with a house and a job, now you ain't nothin. And once that happens, people rather come up and pet a stray dog than even say hello.

Sometimes we becomes homeless 'cause we done some real bad thing, somethin so bad that everbody in our life just stop lovin and trustin us. And when you ain't got no one to love you and trust you, you becomes like a wild animal, hidin and livin in the dark. Even when you see them homeless fellas on the street that look real cheerful and happy, that's just a mask. Underneath is a swamp of misery, but they puttin on that mask so they can get through the day. Maybe scare up a dollar or two so they can get somethin to eat or a half-pint to take the edge off the pain.

No, if you'd a' seen me back then, you prob'ly wouldn'ta believed my story. You mighta even just rolled on by and said to yourself, "Idle hands is the devil's workshop! Why don't that lazy fella get a job?"



Daddy started out a comical, fun-loving man who retired from Coca-Cola after forty-odd years of service. But somewhere during my childhood, he crawled into a whiskey bottle and didn't come out till I was grown.

My daddy, Earl, was raised by a single mother, Clarabell, and two old-maid aunts, Edna and Florence. None of them ever drove a car; they walked to their jobs as maids at the laundry for the Southern Hotel and the Texas State College for Women. Their little house never saw a coat of paint inside or out. They had no telephone, heated the place with a four-burner kitchen stove that I never in my life saw turned off, and considered air-conditioning a dream on par with someday owning an estate like John D. and Lupe Murchison, the richest people in Texas.

Mama Clara and Aunt Edna and Aunt Florence dipped Garrett snuff. Between the three sisters, they went through a whole jar of it every day. The smell was nauseating, and it ran down their chins and dried deep in the wrinkles. I would rather have had a leather belt whipping than kiss one of them. But once a month, when we visited the three sisters in their little shack across the tracks in Denton, Daddy made me say hello and goodbye with a kiss on the mouth. I squinched my eyes shut, made my lips as thin as I could, and endured it. Maybe Edna and Florence knew it was a trial for me because they always gave me a jar of pennies as a kind of reward.

But they were mighty sweet, and Son, as they called Daddy, was all they had.

My grandmother, Clarabell, wore the shame of being a single mother like a leper. She seldom made eye contact with anyone but her sisters. I recently read a book about single mothers, Holding Her Head High, by the actress Janine Turner. I wish Mama Clara could have read it and held hers high, but I don't believe she could read, and because of her shame, her chin always rested on her chest.

When he was seven years old, Daddy had to go to work to help make ends meet. He wound up washing bottles in a 7-Up plant. Mama Clara and the aunties strictly forbade him to ask for any information about his father. Later, when I came along, the don't-ask-don't-tell policy was still in force.

I remember sitting on the front stoop with Aunt Edna and Aunt Florence one day when I was about eight, each aunt with her little lump of Garrett causing her lower lip to poke out like a permanent pout. With the Texas sun heating up the porch and the seat of my dungarees, I was feeling a little brave.

"Tell me a story about my granddaddy," I ventured.

The sisters barked in unison, "You don't have one!" Then Edna turned her head and spit in the yard.

As I got older, I realized it couldn't be true that my daddy didn't have a daddy, as there was only one virgin birth ever recorded. Once, my brother, John, told me he thought Aunt Edna was our grandfather.

In any case, all his life, when Daddy asked who his father was, the sisters gave him the same answer. Finally, when he shipped off to fight the war in the Pacific in 1942, he quit asking. He was seventy-five years old when his mother died. Florence, the oldest aunt, was on her deathbed when she told him his father was named Wanda and that he was from Stephenville, Texas. But it was too late to go looking for him, even though there could not have been another man named Wanda in all of Texas.

My mama raised us like a single mom with no help from Earl. As opposed to Mama Clara, she held her head high, leading by example. She taught us the Bible and dragged us off to Sunday school and church every week—no excuses, no absences unless one of us was broken out with chicken pox or measles.

Not even circumcision was an excuse. When my brother was five, he got circumcised on a Friday and bled like a stuck hog. On Sunday morning he was no better, so Mama wrapped his penis in a sock, looped Scotch tape around the package three or four times, and hauled us off to church. Sitting on the front pew, I was too scared to ask to go to the bathroom for fear of what other creative uses my mama could find for tape and a sock. So I just sat there and pooped in my pants.

I never remember my daddy ever setting foot in church, except once or twice on Easter when I was in junior high and high school. I don't have a clue what he did on Sundays when the Monkey was closed, but we never saw him. In fact, I can't remember him ever driving us anywhere, except when he moved us to the slums in the candy truck. Sometimes he would go with us when we went somewhere, but my mother was always the designated driver so he could be the designated drinker.

Mama taught us how to throw a baseball, and she also helped coach our games. We'd drop Daddy off at the Monkey before the games and pick him up after.

"Paste that ol' pill!" he'd command as the door slammed on our '49 Pontiac. What he really meant was, "Hit the ball." Later he'd ask, "Did you paste that ol' pill for your daddy?"

That was Earl Hall's definition of involved fatherhood.

* * *

My mama, Tommye, was a farm girl from Barry, Texas, who sewed every stitch of clothing we wore, baked cookies, and cheered me on at Little League ... Tommye, [her brother] Buddy, [and her sisters] Elvice and ... Vida May ... all picked cotton on the blackland farm owned by their daddy and my granddaddy, Mr. Jack Brooks.

We were poor but not the charity kind. My mama, Tommye, was a resourceful old farm gal who raised chickens in the backyard and sold the excess eggs and roosters to the neighbors. We always had plenty to eat, a rich diet of yard bird, fried Spam, and Van Camp's pork and beans. Mama bought those beans by the case and stored them in the garage like she was preparing for Y2K. Our daily dose of them produced indoor smells to rival those indigenous to the neighborhood. Daddy always tried to blame the smell of his farts on the neighbor's outhouse. But when I messed in my britches that time at church and tried the same thing, Mama said we were more than a mile away from there and not to be acting like my daddy.


Excerpted from What difference do it make? by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent. Copyright © 2009 Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
Lude More than 1 year ago
These books keep getting placed into my path. Books that take me out of my reality and place me in a spot that enables my empathy to expand. One of those books that I have read lately is What Difference Do it Make? This is the follow up book to Same Kind of Different As Me. Continuing the hard-to-believe story of hope and reconciliation, Ron Hall and Denver Moore, "unlikely friends and even unlikelier coauthors--a wealthy fine-art dealer and an illiterate homeless African American--share the hard-to-stop story of how a remarkable woman's love brought them together." The mark of a good book is one that after closing the cover for the final time, I am changed. I see my world differently because I spent a little time looking through the eyes of someone much different from myself. Both of these books gave me new insight and compassion for the homeless. They don't need our sympathy--they don't need us to be their rescuer, giving hand-outs when it is convenient. Homeless individuals need relationships that give dignity and point them to hope
The_Art_of_Perseverance More than 1 year ago
Let me begin by saying that this review is long, long overdue. I have had "What Difference Do it Make" (Thomas Nelson Publishers) in my possession for many months without ever breaking the binding. The reason for this delay was that I wanted to first become acquainted with the story that the authors offered in their prelude to this book "Same Kind of Different As Me". "What Difference Do It Make" is a savory blend of narratives colored by brief interludes that underscore the significant impact that one woman; Debra Hall had on the lives of thousands of people. The narratives bring greater depth to the meaning of Ron Hall and Denver Moore's friendship, their personal trials and triumphs, and prove beyond doubt, that God will use anyone who opens their heart to Him to perform His work. The book is a continuation of sorts; picking up where "Same Kind of Different as Me" left the reader. We follow Ron and Denver from the pits of despair where Ron is left wondering if anyone will ever read Debra's story, to the wondrous truth that if you accept His will and leave your burdens in His hands, He will do incredible things. Peppered with short-stories about the many lives touched by "Same Kind", the book does not fail in delivering this truth. Debra Hall's story is remarkable. Throughout both books, I journeyed through places of great joy, tremendous compassion and immense sadness. "Same Kind" moved me in such a way that upon finishing it, I simply left the book on my wife's pillow with a post-it note attached saying "Please read. Perhaps one of the best books I've ever read." My judgment was deemed correct two evenings later when she agreed with my assessment. In no way do I want to spoil any part of either "Same Kind" or "What Difference" for you. So I will simply recommend that you obtain a copy of these two books, settle in with a nice hot cup of whatever it is you prefer to drink, and prepare to be there for a while. Because once you begin reading, you won't want to stop. I am a member of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger program.
TimF More than 1 year ago
I received the book What Difference Do it Make? for free over a year ago from BookSneeze as part of their program. The book first sat on my desk for a while... then on my shelf... and then finally in a box as I moved twice. The other day I decided to finally pick it up. I began reading and found that I couldn't put it down. ...the 200 pages went by quickly and easily. The book I'd had for over a year I read in a single day. That's my way of saying that I highly recommend this book. In What Difference Do it Make? the authors recount the stories of their unlikely friendship, which began when Ron started volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission, where Denver (who was homeless) spent much of his time. It follows their effort to write a book together about the love and compassion of Ron's wife, who first drug Ron to the Mission. That book, Same Kind of Different as Me, preceded and set in motion the need for this one. What Difference tells the stories of those inspired by the first story. those inspired and challenged to live more-meaningful lives. What Difference Do it Make? is written in such a way to make reading it fun and compelling. We move from a chapter written by Ron to one written by Denver in his broken English. In between are stories about actual people who were inspired by Same Kind to change lives and systems.
sandyv More than 1 year ago
This will truly change your mind about judging people.
DoozleDorf More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing true story that will touch eeven the most hardest heart
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic true story of the value of each person, regardless of community status, and how often we cannot see this value in those outside of our circle of associates. It is a story of reaching out, trust, and most of all the love that God wants each of us to express for our fellow human beings. It encourages one to look at the inner being of each person and not just their outward appearance. After reading this book one will look at people who are not just like us in a less judgemental way.
jojoflo14 More than 1 year ago
What difference do it make? takes you on the journey of two unlikely men who develop a friendship that surpasses the understanding of economic class. Mr. Ron Hall, who is a millionaire, and Mr. Denver Moore, who was homeless, met through the commitment of Ron Hall's wife Deborah to serve in the community. Not only will this book inspire you to do more in your life but will help you to understand the problem of homelessness in our country. The book is three in one giving the accounts of the two men and their bond together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not sure what prompted me to choose this book to read, but nonetheless I read it and then read it once more. It truly touched me deeply. It has me looking at my patterns and how I view people. It has me questioning my judgments not only of myself but others as well. Absolutely easy reading which makes enjoying it even more. Looking forward to a sequel. Note: I have not read the first book yet, but it is on my Nook List.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally got more out of Same Kind of Different as Me, but this one was okay and it was inspiring to hear about others inspirations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Themost inspiring book I've read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so great. It will make you think of homeless people in a new perspective. It also reminds us we're all human and there are still some genuinely good people left in the world. The characters come to life.
Hipster_dufas1 More than 1 year ago
I loved their first book, Same Kind of Different As Me, and I was excited to see how things were turning out for these guys. Their books certainly make you rethink your views and actions concerning the homeless. And they are both books of hope, that life can be good even when bad things happen.
Jenapen More than 1 year ago
Posting this book review I was going to follow the definitive format for "book reviews". This time I am not. The book What difference do it make? simply had much to profound effect on me to take a formal approach to sharing its content with you. The book is about loss and love, hurt and hope. It is about all of these things, but more than this; it is about the power of redemption within the context of our human experience. Ron Hall and his wife Deborah befriended Denver Moore after beginning to volunteer at the Union Gospel Mission in Ft.Worth, Texas. As God would have it, the relationship grew to be bountiful, and rich beyond what money can buy. The relationship became a work of the soul. Ron accounts for his experience with Denver, his own family and losing Deborah to cancer. Denver gives us a story of his own. From prison to dining with a U.S. President. Between the lines they also tell us the story of others who have come to know the power of breaking through the barriers of social class and race. These stories are about giving beyond reason and judgement. The book is about learning to trust that God's path is THE path and we need only to rest in his direction for us. Denver made the most profound effect on me personally. His simple instructions and thought helped me to realize that I don't need to just read about Jesus, or even know Jesus just for myself. What God wants me and all of us to do is BE JESUS, DO JESUS! Thanks to Denver, I get that...I get that beyond a superficial idea of what service or outreach means in contemporary Christendom. My heartfelt thank you to Denver, Ron, and Deborah. This book, yep, it changed my life!
anathica More than 1 year ago
I recently read the book, What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent. I received a copy of this book from BookSneeze to review. I would like to start out by saying that even if you had not read the first book (which I did not), this book does a good job at not letting you get lost. It frequently flashes back to the first book and fills you in very well, without seeming to repeat the whole story. Second, I really enjoyed the way this book incorporated letters and stories into the book, although I think they could've been a little better placed. Third, I do think this book has a very good message, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This book talks about the effects that the first book had, which were relayed to the authors, as well as their reflections on those occurrences and instances happening during writing the book. But the one thing I find myself asking is, why do we need a book to inspire us to do these things? Why do people have to wait around for something to be the kick in the butt they need to start doing good works for others? Why can't we just do? Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book, and it nearly made me cry at points. But my whole life, I have striven to be good to others, no matter the cost. I didn't need a book to make me want to get up and do something. But I have to say that all in all, I would definitely recommend this book.
Goannatree More than 1 year ago
What Difference Do It Make? is the follow-up to the Best-seller, Same Kind of Different as Me (2006). The press materials for the book begin with this precis: "It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana... and an East Texas honky-tonk... and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda... an upscale New York Gallery... a downtown dumpster... a Texas ranch. Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, it also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love." If you want heart-felt stories about those who choose to give to those in need then this might just be a book for you. I have to admit I shed a few tears while reading short stories about small children who see or hear about need and respond. It is also the story of Ron Hall's childhood. Hall, an international art dealer, and his late wife Debbie, committed to the friendship with a homeless man they met in Fort Worth. It is a story of finding ways to bridge the gap between poverty and extreme wealth in focusing on basic needs. It is the story of the poor in Texas. It is a narrative designed and written to provoke an emotional response. It shows humanity at its best and worst. It is real and raw. The first story Same Kind of different as Me was focused on the development of the friendship between Ron and Debbie and Denver Hall - this one looks at how their lives have changed and the impact of the first book including the responses of readers, meetings with George W Bush, former first lady Barbara Bush, and other experiences resulting from the publicity surrounding the book. The official website has a raft of information including calendars of speaking arrangements, supporting materials including video interviews with the authors. This book was on the New york Times bestseller list for some time and may serve as a nice gift. ** The book was provided free to Goannatree for review **** No other compensation was provided.
MinnesotaReader More than 1 year ago
In this magnificent follow-up to the NYT bestseller "Same Kind of Different as Me", fine-art dealer Ron Hall and formerly homeless Denver Moore, tell more of their compelling personal life stories. Inspired by Ron Hall's late wife, Deborah, they work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of the country's homeless population. In alternating chapters, each man tells his own account using his own words and individual voice. Mr. Moore shares poignant truths and nuggets of wisdom, while Mr. Hall recounts his deeply touching story of forgiving and reconciling with his father. Advocating for the homeless, they describe speaking at engagements all across the country. They even had lunch at the White House with President and Laura Bush! But the heart of the book has to be the heartfelt testimonials from readers of the first book, who were inspired into action. They clearly demonstrate how one person helping others really does make a big difference. Each one of us, in our own way, can forever change lives. "What Difference do it Make?" is inspiring, engaging and very thoughtfully written. Repeatedly, I was touched by the authors' deep feelings of compassion for others. This wonderful book teaches many important lessons about life, faith, and unconditional love. The full-color paintings by Mr. Moore were a delightful extra. I truly loved this heartwarming book, and I strongly recommend it, and its predecessor, "Same Kind of Different as Me".
lamason More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about the friendship that has continued to grow between a wealthy fine-art dealer and a homeless man. This book continues the story from Same Kind of Different as Me and shows the impact Deborah's story has had on people throughout the country. This book not only gives more details about the original story, it also gives an update on Ron's relationship with his father, and stories about how others have been inspired to take action to help the homeless in their area. In my opinion this book was not at the same level as Same Kind of Different As Me, which I could not put down until I finished the book. However, What Difference do it Make? Was also a great book and still brought me to tears at some parts. This book inspired me to not take the things I have in my life for granted but to truly appreciate the time that I have with my loved ones. I would highly recommend this as a must read.
StrategicLearner More than 1 year ago
This book takes up more or less at the end of "same kind of different as me". That book introduced us to Ron, Denver, and Deborah through a sometimes disturbing, sometimes humorous, and completely engaging description of the God-driven arc of Ron and Deborah's volunteer work leading them to Denver and resulting in one very improbable friendship. While we grieved for Deborah as she battled cancer, the larger story was the development of a trusting and loving relationship between Ron and Denver as they each sought to cope with the looming loss of Deborah. "what difference . . ." takes up mostly after Deborah's death as Ron deals with his grief, tries to establish a positive relationship with his father, and teams up with Denver to spread the good word in memory of Deborah's faith. We learn much more about Denver's past, especially his early experiences with loss, deprivation, and searching. Vignettes showing how Deborah's life inspired others to act are sprinkled liberally throughout this volume. For me, the most affecting parts are those where Denver's word shine out, with simple truth and complete faith in God. We often make statements about "simple truths", but this man lives them. Reading his story is like being dipped into refreshing waters. His life as poor and illiterate sharecropper, homeless person, criminal, friend, minister, and inspiration is breathtaking in its positive impact on others. Whether you have read the first book or not, grasping the main story lines is not difficult. The authors do a masterful job by using very short chapters and inserts to give us the heart of the various story lines. Those who crave linear stories will be challenged by the frequent "time-travel" as we weave back and forth between the relationships and events that affect Ron, Denver, and the other characters. We learn about the current ministry that Ron and Denver deliver in support of helping the homeless and how Deborah's message of love, faith, and trust in the Lord is carried by others who have read and responded to the first book. Never fear, though. The basic messages that relationships take a while and require uncomfortable and even painful change, that God will provide what we need rather than what we want, and that everyone has the divine spark within them comes across loud and clear. Even if this is not your normal kind of book, try it. You may just be amazed. John is a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program: http://brb.thomasnelson.com/
busy91 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This charming book consists of intertwining stories. Ron Hall and Denver Moore are an unlikely pair of friends. Denver, a former homeless man was befriended years ago by Ron Hall and his wife Deborah. They each tell the story of their lives through vignettes. Interspersed between Ron and Denver¿s stories are other stories of people who have read their previous book ¿Same Kind of Different as Me¿, and had their lives transformed. ¿What Difference Do it Make?¿ is an enchanting book of hope that can reach across all religions and backgrounds.Upon reading the first few chapters of this book, I thought that it was going to be a depressing read. Ron and Denver started both of their stories in their childhood which was filled with anguish, but I suppose the best stories start in the darkest places. As their stories progressed the dark cloud lifted and I became inspired and excited to read more.Not only did I enjoy Ron and Denver¿s stories, but I also enjoyed the stories of the everyday people who sent their stories to the pair after reading their first book, ¿Same Kind of Different as Me¿. Each of these stories gave me hope that this world isn¿t such a bad place after all. Each one of these people made a difference in the lives of others, sometimes with a grand gesture and sometimes with just a little blessing.As a unit, this book worked well. Even though the stories skipped back and forth, it was not hard to follow. The Biblical truth was not buried deep with in flowery prose, it was easy to see what this book was attempting and I felt it was successful.I would recommend this book to anyone, even the most non-religious cynic I know. If this doesn¿t put a crack in their exterior, nothing will.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Last week, I finished Same Kind of Different as Me, posted a review on my blog, and attended a book club meeting where we discussed the book. At the book club, we were told there was a sequel and there was some talk of trying to obtain the sequel and read it. We unanimously reveled in the book.I was overjoyed then to see a publisher¿s representative posted a comment on my blog about my review. She mentioned the new sequel and offered to send me a copy. I replied and, to my astonishment, I found a beautiful copy of the new book in my next day¿s mail. I will warn you that sequels often disappoint me. I¿m not even one to read all the books in a series; I will often read the first book and then stop, not wanting to experience the disappointment of a follow-up book.This book was not a disappointment. I picked it up at noon and leisurely read it and thought about it all afternoon. It answers some questions we pondered at our book group (included are some photos of Denver¿s artwork and we learn more about Ron¿s experiences with his father) but it also includes stories of people who were affected by the first book and felt called to take action. I¿m happy that I can recommend it to others. It¿s the best kind of book about real Christianity, the kind that pops up in surprising places, that moves in waves of love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful inspirational read, you must read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great insight in to a problem we have ignored, heart warming. did not put it down till I finished it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm still reading this, but it's so good...so good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book shows we are all basically the same under the skin. Sadly slavery is still happening in the U.S. Fortunately however everybody has a choice today and can break free. Excellent book that shows God is still in control regardless and we all make a difference in to each other.