Tony A. Smith

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LIFE TIDES

I shut my eyes, and I’m free

To really see

To really, really be

Some things we just can’t flee

Like waves of trouble all about

Like time that passes, passes by

I ask you why, oh why

So it does from the start

True love shores up the heart

A love you can not see

But dares to really, really be

You can’t see hope

But it’s there, yes it’s there

Hanging as if a rope

Walk with me these sands of life

Promise they won’t all be sands of strife

To live, to die, they say is gain

You’ll be there in that rain of pain

And when I shut my eyes tonight

Surely all will be alright

Stay by my side

And I’ll get through this dark, dark tide

Now in this sand I’ll hold your hand

The waves may scream my name

But I know who wins this game

The sun will shine

And yes, you’ll see, I’ll be just fine

 

Our Girl

baby-girl-light

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.”

papa-sitting-with-grand-daughter

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!

Christmas Has Done Me Good

scrooge

“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.

Grandpa Thanksgiving

tony-kensington

My wife Denise and I just found out we are going to be grandparents this summer. This has been the best Thanksgiving gift we could have ever received.  GOD is great and we can’t wait to see the new little blessing that is on the way.

This is our first one on both sides of the family so I am sure the little one will get an avalanche of spoiling. I am not quite sure I can wait until summertime though! There are so many things running through my mind about what I want to tell, teach, and do with our new grand baby.

Whether it’s a girl, or whether it’s a boy it makes no difference to me.  We are supposed to have some sort of a reveal party where that information, I guess is revealed? Something about blue or pink balloons popping out of a box. I know GOD has great things planned for this little one!

Someone asked me what I want to be called?  I don’t know, but I have a few months to think about that one.  I suppose I’ll be called whatever the grand baby ends up calling me.  They say the grand babies end up calling the grand parents whatever the first one starts calling them. That’s what happened with our daughter too.  Whatever happens, is fine with me.

We are looking forward to this new adventure in our lives.  I am sure it will be a great ride!

Unmasked

chicago-the-bean

 

“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.

 

Chosen Vessel

clay-pot

The Master was searching for a vessel to use

On the shelf there were many – which one would He choose?

“Take me, cried the gold one. “I’m shiny and bright.

“I’m of great value and I do things just right.

My beauty and luster will outshine the rest

And for Someone like You, Master, gold would be best!”

 

The Master passed on with no word at all;

He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall;

“I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your wine

And I’ll be at your table whenever you dine,

My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true,

And silver will always compliment You.”

 

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass.

It was widemouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.

“Here!  Here!” cried the vessel, “I know I will do.

“Place me on Your table for all men to view.”

 

“Look at me”, called the goblet of crystal so clear,

“My transparency shows my contents so dear,

Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride.

And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide.”

 

The Master came next to a vessel of wood,

Polished and carved, it solidly stood.

“You may use me, dear Master”, the wooden bowl said.

But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for bread!”

 

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay,

Empty and broken it helplessly lay.

No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,

To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

 

“Oh!  This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find,

I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.”

 

“I need not the vessel with pride of its self;

Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;

Nor the one who is bigmouthed and shallow and loud;

Nor the one who displays his contents so proud;

Nor the one who thinks he can do all things just right;

Just this plain earthly vessel filled with my power and might.”

 

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.

Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.

Spoke to it kindly, “There’s work you must do,

Just pour out to others as I pour into you.”

 

Beulah V. Cornwall

 

My mom recently gave me a copy of this poem the other day which I had never seen before.  I wanted to share it with you here if you have never seen it before. What a wonderful description of how GOD wants to use us for his purposes, and how he intends to do it. He wants to use us and for us to give back his blessings and his love that he pours into us.  What a great reminder of the loving GOD we have.

Crowning A Life

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Life Goes On and On

Shore_sun_sand Public Doman

 

That old picture of you

I keep near 

I keep close in my heart 

I did from the very start

You had to go away

But I want one more day

To have you, to stay

Life goes on and on

The tide

Rushes in 

Rushes out

No doubt

Your smile pulsates my heart

The sun blasts its toasty breath

Warmth within and without

I kneel to pick up tiny bits of sand

 And life goes on and on

The tide 

Rushes in 

Rushes out

The tide

Will not take my love for you

I gather pieces

In the palm of my hand

 Clench my fist and hold on as tight as I can

Bare-footed you stand there

I taste the salt in the air

Kiss you on your damp neck and twirl a piece of your beautiful hair

The cool sand squishes between our toes

Racing the water to see who will cover the holes

The tide 

Rushes in

Rushes out

And life goes on 

The sun is setting now 

No doubt

You turn and smile and grab my hand

The tide 

Rushes in

Rushes out

And life goes on and on 

What Would You Say

HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER

 

 

You have been in the hospital now for the past 14 weeks with an incurable illness that has won the battle against numerous experimental drugs.  You are in severe pain and have lost more than 50 pounds since the sickness invaded your body. The doctor has just informed  you that you now only have one hour to live at most.  All ten of your grandchildren are standing around your hospital bed to say their final good-byes.  They have been singing beautiful songs to you all day and praying that somehow GOD will change the outcome that appears imminent. They have the voices of angelic beings.  You hold the tiny hands of your youngest grandchild tight and look deep into his eyes with precious last moments of love.  You feel cold all over and know the end is very close now.  With tears running from the corner of her eyes and dripping down the sides of her face, your oldest grand-daughter asks a question of you with trembling voice.

“What is the secret of a happy and successful life?”

How would you answer?

Rough Characters

Fort Gibson Funeral Area

Fort Gibson National Cemetery

800px-Patriotguard

I had an opportunity to have breakfast with my mom at a local McDonald’s restaurant yesterday. It was good to catch up with mom who I hadn’t seen in some time.  We decided to go inside rather than go through the drive-thru and rush through a meal on wheels.

Just outside in the front there were some rather rough-looking characters with beards and straggly gray hair that had on motorcycle jackets that said “Patriot Guard Riders.”  There were nine men and one lone woman.  Some were seated at the plastic table and chairs and some were standing drinking coffee shooting the breeze.  I asked mom what she thought these guys might be doing and she said she believed that they were the motorcycle riders who went around to different funerals for veterans and protected their family from protesters.  After a few minutes they stopped drinking their coffee, bowed their heads for a long prayer, and rode off on their loud thunderous motorcycles in single file.  Mom said she was sure that they were headed to the Fort Gibson National Cemetery which is located only about a mile north of McDonald’s.

Mom and I talked for a few more minutes and then decided to head on back to the house.  As we were driving home, I asked if her if she wanted to go by the cemetery to see if the Patriot Guard Riders were there.  We pulled in the front entrance and I could see they had placed several American flags on poles that were whipping in the wind all around the outdoor funeral ceremony area.  All ten of them were standing in a circle around the funeral area. It looked as if one of the members was praying out loud and all had their heads bowed again.  As we got closer I peered over and noticed that there were only two people attending the funeral under the covered area.  What a wonderful and thoughtful thing for someone to do for those who have served our country.  There are so many who die penniless, homeless, and without a family or friends to attend their funeral.  The “Patriot Guard Riders” are an outstanding group of men and women who give of themselves to honor the military families and those in the military who have served our country.

Today there are more than 220,000 members of the “Patriot Guard Riders” across the United States. The group was formed in 2005 and incorporated in the state of Oklahoma in 2006.  They not only attend and protect at funerals, but they also assist families in financial difficulties with travel, housing arrangements, visit military hospitals, offer encouragement to the wounded in the United States armed forces, do volunteer work at veteran’s organizations, and greet troops returning from overseas at homecoming celebrations.

I suppose my assessment of the characters I saw at McDonald’s was a bit off.  They were not rough characters at all, but some of the kindest people you could ever meet. They are the kind of people in the world today that make a real difference in the lives of others.