Tony A. Smith

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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!

 

Nothing I Know

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Six year old Tammy Lynn Haynes sits at the feet of her mom building a small tower of blocks, ” Mom, you know I can do near about everything there is to do.” she says.

At 19 years old she says, “Just ask me anything.” 

At 41 years old she says, “If it is in my field of work, I know it like the back of my hand.”

At 52 years old, “There is so much knowledge in this great big world that even someone who studies hard can hardly grasp everything there is to know.”

At 71 years old, she says, “You know I have lived a long time and I have come to understand that what I know is small and what I don’t know is very large.”

At 92 years old: ” You know, I have figured out I don’t really know much at all, and I can remember even less than that.”

Being Happy

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“Once upon a time, there were four little girls, who had enough to eat and drink and wear, a good many comforts and pleasures, kind friends and parents…. and yet they were not contented…. these girls…. made many excellent resolutions; but they… were constantly saying, “If we only had this,” or “If we could only do that”….So they asked an old woman what spell they could use to make them happy, and she said,, “When you feel discontented, think over your blessings, and be grateful.”

     “They decided to try her advice, and soon were surprised to see how well off they were.  One discovered that money couldn’t keep shame and sorrow out of rich people’s houses, another that she was a great deal happier with her youth. health, and good spirits than a certain fretful, feeble old lady, who couldn’t enjoy her comforts; a third that, disagreeable as it was to help get dinner, it was harder still to have to go begging for it; and the fourth, that even carnelian rings were not so valuable as good behavior.  So they agreed to stop complaining to enjoy the blessings already possessed.”

Written in the Book – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

True happiness is indeed something that comes from within and does not relate to what we have or don’t have.  It relates to what we make of the day and the time we are given.  I have found in my own life that I am happier when I choose to make the lives of others happier. Everything we have on this earth is a gift from GOD.  The very breath we breathe is a gift.  

This past weekend I was able to see my little grand baby on an ultra sound monitor at only 16 weeks old.  The little baby is 4 1/2 inches long now and weighs in at a whopping 5 ounces.  Yet, as small as our baby is – I saw tiny legs, arms, fingers, and toes moving around and legs kicking like a wild one already. Yes GOD breathes the very breath of life into each of us and what a precious gift a new life is.  I am thankful, and happy I have lived long enough after my widow maker heart attack to be able to see my little grand baby before even coming out of the womb.  

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When I was youngster growing up on the south side of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma we didn’t have much in the way of material things.  My brother and I got school clothes once a year which consisted of 2 pairs of jeans, 2 shirts and 4 or 5 pairs of socks.  That was supposed to last us the whole year.  If we got holes in our jeans, Dad ironed on a patch or two to get us through until the next year.  There were many days we went without lunch and breakfast simply because we didn’t have enough money to make it to the end of the week.  I can remember being so hungry sometimes that I even thought about eating the crab grass in our front yard. Dad had an old Chevy that he paid $50 for that hardly ever ran.  Not having much though didn’t seem to bother us. We were content with playing baseball, hide and seek, freeze tag, and enjoying time with our friends.  Even if our stomachs were growling at us begging for food as we sat our desks in school, we were still happy for what we did have. 

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Sometimes when we start feeling down about ourselves, about what we don’t have, or how our life is going, it is best to start thinking about what we do have and in how many ways we have been blessed.  It might be time to look for ways we can be a blessing to others who cross our path.  That’s the path where true happiness can be found. It won’t be found covered up with things, but is waiting for you to find it where it’s been all along.  

Free Book Blessing Celebration

As a way of celebrating being a new grandpa this coming May I am giving away 8 of my ebooks for free for the next three days November 25th, 26th and 27th. Just click on the book link which takes you directly to Amazon and enjoy one or all of my books if you have not already picked up a copy.  I hope they will help you in some meaningful way or make your children, or those you love laugh and smile. Of course any reviews would be appreciated.

They are available in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.  Blessing to you! I have been greatly blessed and I want to bless others. I can’t tell you how happy I am!

Life is Life   Papa Family Recipes Cover Chair March 9 2015COWGIRL 1 26 15 BLACK YELLOW SMILING DOGGIE

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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.

 

Guiding Light

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Be Afraid

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GOD Winked

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Squire Rushnell is a former network television CEO of ABC who led Good Morning America to number one.  He is also a best-selling author of “When GOD winks at you”.  This is just one book in a series he has written about uncanny encounters, situations, and experiences people have had with GOD which he calls “GOD winks.”

In his book Rushnell says “GOD’S overall plan for you and me is so much bigger than our small, simple minds can possibly comprehend.  When we demonstrate our faith in him, he provides us with hope, and reassurance, revealing a portion of his plan for us.  Hope is a powerful force in life.  It’s like going into the kitchen, turning on a faucet and being surprised by the water pressure. You almost jump back, giddy that there’s so much energy pouring out.”

A few days ago I had what I believe is one of those “GOD winks” that Squire Rushnell speaks of in his book.  I had tossed and turned the better part of the night worried about things that are happening in my life with regards to family health, and finances, along with things that are happening with the elections and all of the uncertainty that surrounds change.

When I got up in the morning I was in the shower praying and crying out to LORD about what I was going to do and how things were going to work out.  I was totally frustrated and was just so uneasy with things that are going on. Then something uncanny happened.  In my mind, or in my spirit, I felt something say go to page 59 of the “Jesus Calling” book you have on the kitchen table and read it today. For those of you who are not familiar with “Jesus Calling”, it is a great little devotional written by Sarah Young that has touched the hearts of many. many people across the world.  My first thought was – “What?”, “Why would I want to read page 59?” I finished in the shower and decided to read page 59, and this is what page 59 said.

“I am leading you, step by step, through your life.  Hold My hand in trusting dependence, letting Me guide your through this day.  Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy even precarious.  That is how it should be.  Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things.  When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine.  This, like all forms of worry is an act of rebellion: doubting My promises to care for you.

Whenever you find yourself worrying about the future, repent and return to Me.  I will show you the next step forward, and the one after that, and the one after that.  Relax and enjoy the journey in My presence trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go.”

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All I can say is “Wow”….. GOD really does hear us when we pray, and he really does care. I do believe it was the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD speaking to me.  He knows all about us and all we are going through and it matters a lot to him! I certainly believe he winks at us!