Tony A. Smith

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Peach Cobbler Capital of the World

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I was in the “Peach Cobbler Capital” of the world today believe it or not.  Yes it’s  true, I was in the small town of Porter, Oklahoma with a population of 574 people today to take care of some personal business.  There is not a whole lot of town in Porter as you can see from the photo here.

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Porter is located in the northeastern part of Oklahoma and is also the “Peach Capital” of Oklahoma as well. Every year for the past 50 years Porter has hosted their annual “Peach Festival” on the streets of downtown Porter.

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On July 16th of this past year during the Peach Festival, Porter, Oklahoma set a new world record for the largest peach cobbler in the world weighing in at a whopping 2902 pounds. The winning cobbler which is now in the Guinness Book of World Records was 18 feet long and 8 feet wide and beat the previous record of 2195 pounds.  The cooking pan that was built to cook the cobbler in was 6 inches deep.

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It took 7 long hours to cook the peach cobbler cooked on kerosene burners in a permanent oven built right next to City Hall.  The ingredients consisted of 405 pounds of flour, 300 pounds of butter, 87 gallons of milk, 537 pounds of sugar, and 966 pounds of Porter Peaches.  So if you ever get hungry for some good peach cobbler and a lot of it, you might want to visit this little town during the middle of July. I am sure they might have some good peach cobbler and even a little ice cream to go with it!

Go The Distance

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Our Girl

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We had the opportunity to visit with our daughter at our house this past weekend, who will soon be having a daughter of her very own.  While she was here we happened to come across an old box with some of her papers from when she was younger that had something I had written about her when she was only about 3 or 4 years old.  Here is the original paper I had hand written those so many years ago.

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Our Girl

“She came into our lives as a blessing from above.  So tiny, so beautiful.  GOD blessed us with our little bundle of love.  At first she barely crawled, and now look at her run.  At first she could hardly talk.  Now look at her; she hardly stops talking!  Each day we grow to love her more.  Thank you LORD for our little blessing.  Thank you LORD for Valerie.  Brown eyes, brown hair, and that special warm caring smile.

 Each time I look at her, I hear GOD whispering in my ear.  Be good to her, and raise her to learn of me.  Teach her love, patience, kindness, goodness, mercy, forgiveness, and train her in the way she should go.  Teach her right from wrong.  Teach her to love others, to give unto others.  Look at her now how big she is growing, changing every day.  Thank you LORD for our gift from heaven above.  May we love her and show her your ways each day. Thank you LORD for our Valerie.”

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Valerie and Papa

The picture above is of our daughter Valerie and her own grandfather, my wife’s dad.  His name was “Papa”  I can’t wait to have a photo taken with my own granddaughter.  I know people say it often, but it does seem like only yesterday when our daughter was this age.  As a matter of fact, it still seems like only yesterday that I was carrying her to her first bed to lay in after being born in the hospital.  As the days pass, I pray that I will be able to be the grandfather that my granddaughter deserves me to be.  I pray that I will be able to show her the right road to take too, and that we will have many good years together.  If we are together, they can’t help but be good!

I promise again LORD that I will teach her just like I taught her own mother.  I will teach her the road to take, right from wrong, to love others, and to give unto others….. and I promise you I will love her every single day!

Priceless Gifts

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Christmas is a time for being with family, good food, giving gifts, and celebrating the birth of Christ. Let us not forget though, that some of the most meaningful gifts we can give come from our heart and need not cost anything at all.  Here are a few of those …..

– Shovel snow off your neighbors sidewalk and driveway.

– Rather than give advice to someone, ask for some.

– Open the door for someone else.

– Read stories in your local library to children or seniors who can’t.

– Help in your local nursing home by  just visiting and talking with some of the residents there who never have anyone to come and visit them.

– Let someone go on ahead of you while in line at the store.

– Give away some of your secret and most favorite recipes to your friends.

– Visit the Humane Society and adopt an animal if you can.

– Smile whenever you can at others. You never know how much you may change their day or outlook on life.

– Save up some fabric scraps and give them away to someone who quilts.

– Write a letter to the editor agreeing with his views on something.

– Volunteer to be a bell-ringer at your local Salvation Army.

– Write a letter to your friends you haven’t talked to in a long time and see how much it means to them.

– Say please and thank you whenever you are given the opportunity.

– Pick up after yourself around the house, and give others who usually do it a break.

– Say you’re sorry when you need to and forgive others when they do the same and are sincere.

– Call your family members on the phone just to tell them you love them.

– Tell someone you are proud of them.

– Be a mentor to a young person and show them the way to go.

– Take a cancer or dialysis patient to their treatments if they have no one who can help out.

– Volunteer to babysit for parents with a newborn baby to give them a night out once in a while.

– Pray for those who need prayer.

– Bake a cake or pie and take it to the new neighbors on the block.

– Don’t hold a grudge more than 12 hours and try to reconcile differences before the sun goes down each day.  It will give both of you a good nights rest!

– Give yourself a gift by not worrying.  It ends up getting you nowhere in the long run.  Most of the stuff we worry about never comes to pass anyway. Worrying is just a changeless proposition.

Christmas Has Done Me Good

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“What’s Christmastime…. but a time for paying bills without money, a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer, a time for balancing your books?…. If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas:, on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.  He should!”  so says.. Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

But shall we let the story stop there? I say not…. And with that,  this is how Scrooge’s nephew replies………. “There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited.  I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmastime…. as a good time, a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut up hearts freely…. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pockets, I believe it has done me good, and will do me good.”

 

May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

 

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M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S !

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S!

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M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S!!

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THE SAVIOR HAS COME!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

My prayer for you is that Christmas has done you good, and will do you good this year. Someone was born over 2000 years ago that has done us all good and will continue to do us good…. And for that, I am so very, very thankful this Christmastime.  May you  and your family have a most blessed Christmas!

I know this is a tremendously hard time of year for some who have lost relatives or friends.  It can be a time of overpowering sadness and depression, as the thoughts of those who have gone on ahead of them in this life catapult in as a tidal wave of memories that wash their feet out from under them.  Try to remember those who are alone this Christmas season, not only from a physical perspective, but from an emotional perspective as well.  Show them you care, and let them know it is okay to talk about those who have gone on ahead, and how much their loved ones meant to them, and that they are stilled missed. A gentle pat on the hand, a soft hug, and just being a listener that really cares… goes a long,long way. It is something they need to do, for each time they talk of them, it brings a certain amount of healing. Help them heal..  Gone from our sight… but forever with us… especially at Christmastime.

Family Time

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Have you ever heard people say that the family who sits down to eat a meal together around the table sticks together through thick and thin?  Too often we are so busy being busy with work, running to soccer practice, or dance, or baseball, or football, or another meeting, or shopping, or playing on the computer, or talking on the phone, or texting,  or combing our hair, putting on makeup, or whatever, that we don’t take the time to sit down at the dinner table and reconnect with each other.  There are many who never sit down together and break bread due to overwhelming schedules of life.  It’s a pretty sad shame too, since there are many benefits to eating together as a family if you can fit it in your schedule.  Now I’m not talking about sitting around the television in the living room with a television tray full of food.  I am talking about honest to goodness “Pass me the potatoes please, and how was your day”? conversation.

There are so many benefits that result from being able to eat together and look one another in the eye and actually hear each other breathe.  There was a study done by John Sandberg and Sandra Hofferth entitled “How American Children Spend Their Time,” which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family which found that having family time meals on a regular basis results in fewer behavioral problems.  According to an article published in 2006 in “New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development”, family time dinners are even more important from a vocabulary standpoint than being read to.  It was found that young children learn 1000 rare words at the dinner table in comparison to only about 145 words from parents who read books out loud to them.  It only makes sense that there is more focus at the dinner table and obviously more comprehension.  No television, no phones, no computers, no noisy noise for a few minutes…. Sounds too good to be true……..but something you might get used to… right?

Being able to sit down and eat together as a family gives you a sense of belonging, and reminds you that you don’t have to face this old world on your own. It’s important especially for young children to give them that sense of security as often as we can.  So if you want to do something good for your family that will last and last, encourage everyone to try to sit down at the table at least for a few minutes, at least once or twice a week if you don’t already. It will make all the difference in the world. Children will remember those times for years to come, as they try to instill the same values, and quiet times in their own families that they were taught and can recall made a difference in their own lives and upbringing. Bind the family together and wrap them with the minutes of together moments forever. “So that’s what breathing sounds like?” Honest to goodness!

 

 

60 Thoughts For My Granddaughter

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I have been thinking about writing a new book in honor my granddaughter who will be born this May.  The title I am kicking around is called “60 Thoughts For My Granddaughter”

I am not sure where to take it or exactly what to say quite yet, but I know I want to leave some life lessons for her.  I also want to introduce some humor I think for things that new grandpas have to learn along the way, maybe some things they have forgotten and need to relearn.  I am not quite sure yet, but I have been doing some thinking along those lines.

What do you think?  If you have any ideas or thoughts about what I can include, let me know as I just started to try to build this in my mind now.  I welcome any and all suggestions!

 

Cost of Air

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Unmasked

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“Step in as close as you can so that I can see you!  Now you know I can’t really see you with that mask on.  You’re going to have to take your mask off so that I can see who you really, really are.”

We all want others to love us and accept us for who we truly are yet we don’t live a life of transparency.  The person we are on the inside is not the image we portray on the outside.  Aren’t we all guilty of wearing masks to protect our true identity; to protect who we really are? We are afraid of being emotionally uncovered, and so we hide and crouch behind our masks that cover our deepest hurts and darkest thoughts that go rambling through our minds.

I suppose the mask has its proper place in our lives for a time.  But I believe also that great day we learn to live without a mask is the day we really live for the very first time.  It is in the removing of our masks that we find freedom.  We become free and are liberated by learning to love and accept ourselves by honoring who we truly are.

Sometimes people act the way they do because of what is anchored deep behind the mask.  We tend to look at the resulting action rather than what or who created the action.

I have received mercy, forgiveness, and kindness along my own life journey, none of which I deserved – but I am so very thankful.  Showing love and compassion beyond the borders of the mask is how we can really make a difference in this world, for what we often see on the outside is only a reflection of the mask.

May we all learn in time to remove our masks and to be thankful for others who have extended to us forgiveness, mercy, kindness, and compassion.

This Thanksgiving may we all be able to work on removing our  own masks, to truly see those who wear them, and of course to be thankful for others who have helped us to become better along the way.

 

Keep On Keepin On

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“Come on Sparky, it’s time for school.”  Said his dad, a barber in local Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Sparky was always running late for school where he attends Richards Gordon Elementary.

“Come on Sparky, get the lead out, put your pencil down and that silly pad, and get your butt going.”  “You are going to be late for school again.”

Sparky was kind of a loser at school if you want to know the truth.  He got an F in Algebra, English, and Physics, but he did make the golf team. He lost of course!  He was a very shy kid in school and rarely talked unless spoken to.  He especially never talked to girls.

There was one thing Sparky thought he was good at though and that was drawing.  Even if no one else thought he was good at it, he did.  When he attended Central High School he submitted a drawing for a scene in the High School Yearbook which he thought might get published.  It didn’t!

After finishing high school Sparky sent drawing samples to Walt Disney Studios.  Once again he was rejected. Sparky could have quit there but he was persistent, and kept going, knowing all along that his artwork was good and soon someone would appreciate what he did.

Then he submitted some of his work to the “Saturday Evening Post”, and from there everything changed in Sparky’s life.  Better known as Charles Schulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip.  Just like the character he created – Charlie Brown – could not do a lot of things. But one thing he could do was to draw.

Sixty years later, the high school that once rejected Charles Schulz and his drawings, now has a 5 foot tall statue of “Snoopy”, one of the characters made famous in the “Peanuts” comic strip he created.

The “Peanuts” comic strip ran for some 50 years, and was published in more than 2600 newspapers in more than 75 countries, in 21 different languages. There have been movies and an assortment of books associated with what Mr. Schulz did with his artwork.  At one time, Charles Schulz had income of more than 40 million dollars per year from his simple artwork that no one wanted or thought was any good.

Charles Schulz once said, “I think I’ve discovered the secret of life – you just hang around until you get used to it.”  I think we can all learn a lesson from Sparky.  Never give up on your dreams, never give up on your hopes, even if everyone else says you can’t do it, or you are no good at it.  Keep going and “Keep On Keepin On”.