Tony A. Smith

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Family Time


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!




I just got back from a doctor visit and he informed me that my blood pressure was a little on the high side and he wants me to lose some weight.  He said I had gained about 22 pounds from the first time I saw him and that taking the weight off would help to lower the pressure.  I am about six feet tall and I weighed in today at 208 pounds.  The doc said he wants me down to 180 pounds when I go back in two months.  Twenty-eight pounds!  Come on doc!  How in the world am I going to do that?

He recommended that I do some stationary bike riding and get my heart rate up to about 130 beats per minute for at least 10 minutes a day. He also instructed me to watch my diet and that I need to practice an exercise called “the push away.”  Push away from the table!  I guess I will have to cut back on the pasta as difficult as that is going to be.  That is going to be a little hard to do since my wife is half Italian and we eat a bunch of pasta around this house.  Her food just tastes way too good!

I had no idea I had gained that much weight since I don’t own a scale to weigh on.  I did notice that my pants have been a lot harder to get on these days.  I can hide a lot of weight with my height but the pants seem to always be a tattletale on how much good food I have been packing in.

Does anyone have any good ideas for diets or ways to lose some weight before I have to go weigh in on that doctor scale in a few months?  I don’t want to have to look him in the eye and say I failed miserably and ate too much pasta again.  I am not exactly sure what I am going to do about my Italian wife.  I am looking for any advice you can pass my way.



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It’s getting to be that time of year when we all start gathering for the holidays! It’s a very happy and joyful time for many of us, but it’s an extremely stressful time for some who cringe at the very thought of getting together with others on the holidays. They have to face another round of holiday hand grenades in their circle of family and friends who attack each other non-stop with various verbal battles and tactics. Take a look at some of these domestic military maneuvers and personality types that are often seen over the holidays.

Sarcastic Sarah Belle

You know the type! This is the type of person who looks for every opportunity to say something sarcastic to you. “You look like you slept in that dress.” “That shirt makes you look like a baby whale.”  Almost every word out of their mouth is derogatory.  The things that they say are hurtful and insulting most of the time.

The truth is, most sarcastic people have a confidence issue. They try to elevate themselves above you in their insecurities to make themselves feel more important. Many flame throwers of sarcasm think their sarcasm is humorous. Guess what? It’s not!

Here are some ideas as to how you might be able to deal with the person who chooses the weapon of “sarcasm” as his choice of verbal abuse this holiday season.

1)  Call their bluff and tell them directly that you don’t appreciate their hurtful and demeaning words.

2) Repeat back to them what they say so that they can hear what their words sound like to you.

3) Pretend you don’t know what they are saying.

4) Come back at them and tell them to stop what they are doing.  Stand up for yourself!

Needy Nellie

You have all seen this type! These are the people who always want you to do something for them. The more you do, the more they want you to do. ” Can I borrow your pick-up truck to haul some furniture this weekend?” “Oh, and also, if you’re not doing anything would you mind helping me move my furniture too?” “Since you are going to the store anyway, would you mind picking up my groceries for me too? I’ll pay you.” “Would you mind picking up my kids after school, I have to get my hair and nails done today?”

It seems like there is always a never-ending list with Needy Nellie. She always has something else for you to do and does not hesitate to ask for help. You unfortunately seem like you are always available and seem to make a way to accommodate her very need. These are the type of people who will take full advantage of you. I am not saying to not help those who are truly in need, I am just saying don’t let it go to an extreme.

Here is an idea on how to stop Needy Nellie in her tracks!

1)  Learn how to say no! It is really quite alright to say no and gain your own sanity back at the same time. You are the master of your own life – not Needy Nellie. Don’t feel guilty either like many people do when they say no. Start practicing saying the word no and it might just start feeling okay after a while. Start off my looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing your lips pursed at the end of the pronunciation of the word “no”! Now see – doesn’t that feel better?

Know It All Kelly

Know It All Kelly can be an extremely frustrating person to be around. They are the person who knows everything about everything, or at least they think they do. They tend to want to talk over you and dominate all the discussions with their know-it all expertise.  This is the type of person who also has a self-confidence issue and seeks to elevate themselves above others by standing on the steps of their expert opinions, facts, and thoughts that they have built!

Don’t put up with it! Don’t let them bulldoze you any longer. Here are some thoughts as to how you might be able to deal with Mr. Know It All Kelly.

1)  Know your own facts and have them ready to go when you get together with Kelly.

2)  Ask questions to drill down on the reality of Kelly’s facts!  Are they really all fact or part fiction? Ask them what sources they used for their information.

3)  Try to remain calm and not get agitated, but don’t be bulldozed. Take Kelly’s construction equipment away.

Pleasing Patricia

This is the type of person that has to please everyone around them. They are very compliant and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if they can at all help it. They are extremely hard to get a decision out of.  They crave the approval of others and are generally very sensitive people. They are afraid someone won’t like them if they don’t do what they want.

Now try making Christmas dinner with them and getting them to make a decision about what should be made. “What would you like to have for Christmas dinner Patricia?” “Oh, I don’t know what would you like to have?” “I want whatever you want.”  Can you see what would happen if two “Pleasing Patricia’s” ever got together? The family might not ever eat dinner!

How do you deal with a Pleasing Patricia? That’s a real tough one. This is the only thing I know to do.

1)  Try turning the conversation back on them and tell them you want to do whatever they want to do, and that whatever they decide will not hurt your feelings. Assure them again that it will not hurt your feelings and you are okay with whatever they decide.

Life would be a lot easier I guess if we didn’t have to deal with difficult people wouldn’t it?  Watch out for all those hand grenades over the holidays!




images Highway of Life



Buses, trucks and cars

Some with bars







Red lights

Green Lights

Yellow lights

Left turn lanes and right turn lanes

U- turns

Hurry for somewhere

Hurry for nowhere


Passing through

Passing time

Passed by time



Not too bad

Hope dispersed

Hope immersed







It’s getting to be that time of year when you can sleep in a few days with the holidays on the horizon! Take a cue from this little guy who has already started his holiday slumbering. This is a photo of my daughter’s cat. His name is Teddy and he is quite the talker. He always answers when you speak to him. Except when he’s sleeping of course!

So take a lesson from Teddy and sleep in at least one day over the holidays!


My Letters From The Heart (2)

Just wrapping up my next book in time for the holidays entitled “My Letters: From the Heart“. This has been a very emotional book for me to write. My Letters: From the Heart is composed of a series of letters to friends, business associates, neighbors, coaches, teachers, and family members who have made an impact on my life. These are the letters that I am leaving behind for each one of them. In the book I reflect on what each person means to me and what I want to leave behind. I’ll be able to provide more of the details when I get a little closer to the publishing date. Thanks for all of your support!

Hope you have a great weekend! GOD bless!




I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet but I wanted to say thanks to all of you who are following my blog, have taken the time to comment, or to visit my site. I hope I have in some way encouraged you or made a difference in your life in some way!

Not much longer and it will be Christmas! If you are like me you get inundated with Christmas cards and somehow they all seem to get lost in the shuffle with all of the shopping, gift wrapping, and preparations for the big day. Let’s not forget about Thanksgiving though!

One thing that we my wife and I have started doing a few years ago is to send out Thanksgiving cards. It’s a good time to just reflect on all of the things and people in life you are thankful for.  A Thanksgiving card is a good way to do that before all of the busyness of the season gets underway. Thank you all for blessing me in my own life!