Tony A. Smith

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Life Passes By

Life Passing By

Peace and Destruction

This is a peaceful scene of a Japanese fisherman fishing off a bridge in the mountains.  This hand painted and signed Japanese silkscreen painting has something that is not so very peaceful associated with it though.  As a matter of fact it is the opposite of peace and relates to utter and complete evil. and destruction.  Perhaps you will be able to understand what I am referring too with a little more information to follow here.

The painting was given to my father-in law by an architect in Detroit, Michigan many years ago when he was working with him on some projects as a contractor in the Detroit area.  My father-in law, Albert Petrucci was close friends with an architect named Minoru Yamasaki who gave him this painting at the conclusion of one of the projects they worked on together.  Minoru came to Detroit in 1945 and started out working for a firm called Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, and then went on to form his own firm called Yamasaki & Associates.

Minoru Yamasaki is best known for the design of the original twin towers called the World Trade Center towers in New York City.  At one time, the towers were the tallest in the world at 1368′ and 1362′ tall.  The towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001 when al-Qaeda Islamic terrorist flew American Airlines planes into the buildings. The buildings stood for more than 30 years and were leveled within 1 hour and 42 minutes on that fateful day when almost 3000 people were murdered.

wtc-9-11-small

John 10:10 KJV

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 14:27 KJV

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, nether let it be afraid. 

 

The Beginning Of GOD

Eureka Springs First Spring Capped Off

My wife and I recently had a chance to visit a town in our neighboring state of Arkansas where we stayed for a night in Eureka Springs.  Eureka Springs is probably best known for its mineral springs that have been touted to have healing properties.  Today there is only one active spring in the area since the remainder of them have been capped off by the city fathers because of high sulphur content and bacteria.  If you want to find more active mineral springs you would have to travel to the south a few hundred miles to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

There is still a lot to do in the area with many restaurants and hotels lining the main roads through town.  There are also some great pieces of architecture and sites to see in the area like the one below.  This is the Thorncrown Chapel which was built in 1980.

Thorncrown 2 Exterior

Jim Reed, a retired schoolteacher and native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas wanted to build a glass chapel in the woods to give others a place to relax and reflect in an inspiring way.  That he did!

Thorncrown 4 Exterior Front

The structure is 48 feet tall and has 425 windows with over 6000 square feet of glass. It sits on top of 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone.  It is the winner of the AIA – American Institute of Architecture’s Design of the Year Award for 1981 and the AIA Design of the Decade Award for the 1980’s.  It was voted fourth on the AIA list of the top buildings of the twentieth century and is called “one of the finest religious spaces of modern times.”  The building was designed by E. Fay Jones, an Arkansan architect who was mentored by well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Thorncrown 3 Interior Ceiling

E. Fay Jones designed the structure so that no structural element is larger than what two men could carry through the woods.  This was done to preserve the natural setting that surrounds Thorncrown Chapel. 

Thorncrown 1 Interior

As the story goes – “Half way through the project, funds began to run out.  Soon the building process ground to a halt.  Jim began to believe he had made the biggest mistake of his life.  He desperately tried to raise the necessary funds to complete his dream, but all of his efforts failed.  Finally, one evening Jim took what he thought would be one last walk down to his half-finished chapel.  He would take one last look and never return.  Then the unexpected happened.  Describing his experience Jim said, “I am not proud of the fact, but the first time I ever got down on my knees was on the chapel floor.  I prayed more seriously than ever before.  All the trials and tribulations gave me the humility to get on my knees.”  That evening Jim reached the end of himself, but soon found that God’s kindness had just begun.  A few days later, a generous woman from Illinois provided a loan, allowing Jim to finish his dream.  On July 10, 1980, Thorncrown Chapel opened.  Since that time more than 6 million people from all over the world have visited Thorncrown Chapel.”  As I sat in the beautiful chapel there this last week with my wife, I sensed something very special. There was a special peace in that chapel, and the presence of GOD.  Thorncrown is indeed a very unique and extraordinary place.

When we come to a place in our life where we don’t know what to do, the best place to be is on our knees before GOD.  It is there that GOD will be waiting for us in that special place and will fill us up with his peace.  It is when we reach the end of ourselves that we find the beginning of GOD.

Settling In

Settling In

Settling In

Gigantic Fish

Gigantic Fish

Canadian Geese and Children

Canadian Geese and Children

I had an opportunity to visit my daughter down in the southeastern part of Oklahoma yesterday. It was sure good to see her.  What a great time we had!  We were able to go to a local pond and do some fishing.  She has been married now for about two months and we are all trying to get used to the idea of her being married.

She is our only one and now lives over a hundred miles from us. When she was younger her grandmother in Michigan had a good-sized pond on some property where we used to go fishing all the time.  We would generally have a contest and make an official award at the end of the fishing season for whoever caught the biggest fish of the season. More often than not, she would be the one who was declared the winner.

We did not do too good to start the year off with as you can tell from the photo. Isn’t that a huge fish?  It took the both of us to drag it to shore!  We did catch four fish in a short amount of time, and then went off to a local restaurant for a nice lunch and some quality daddy daughter time together.  We used to get together once a week for dinner to talk about life and how things were going when she got older so it was kind of nice to get to do that again.

Things are kind of different now that she got married and I guess it will take us all a while to kind of settle in to the new way of life.  Her Italian mama is having a little rougher time than me I believe and trying to get used to her not living nearby, but I know things will get better for us all.  It just takes some getting used to.

It was a beautiful day as far as the weather and after the ducks stopped bothering us for something to eat.  The best part was just getting to be with my daughter again.  It felt different though between us in a new kind of way. I know things can never be the same way they used to be between us and I don’t really think they are supposed to be.  I think it’s all just a part of settling in for all of us!

 

EXTINGUISH FLAMES OF DARKNESS

LIGHT OVERCOMES DARKNESS

LIGHT OVERCOMES DARKNESS

 

Hasn’t it been troubling these past few weeks with all of the things that the ISIS criminals have been doing lately to Christians and others out of pure hatred and meanness?  If someone does not believe the same way you do, I suppose the best thing to do according to ISIS is to chop their heads off and do away with them so that they won’t be an issue any longer.  What a dark. depraved, and very confused way of thinking. Who would burn someone alive and then crush them with concrete?

Have you ever turned on a flashlight in a totally dark room?  The light penetrates the darkness and overwhelms it.  There is no darkness in the path where the light is shining. Turn off the flashlight and the darkness returns to fill the void the light has left.

Do you think that is what may be happening in our world today?  Have we allowed the darkness to slip into our lives and overtake the light?  Perhaps it is time we all stand up and shine our own lights into a very dark world.  Darkness and light can not coexist and perhaps that is why the enemy is working in overdrive to try to overcome the light now.

 

The light overcomes darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it. John 1:5 World English Bible

 

HAVE A GREAT DAY!

“And GOD said, “let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let the birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 

Genesis 1:20 ESV

Have a great day today!

BE STILL

download CANDLE

 

Find me in those quiet hours of your life where the world can not be found. 

When you and I meet together I stop the world for you.

It’s just you and me. 

You speak and I listen.

I speak and you listen.

Go ahead and crawl up in my lap. 

Lay your head on my shoulder and rest.

Let me hug you just for a little while.

Can you hear the angels singing all around us now?

There are more than you can count.

Now rest my child before you go back into the world.

I want to hold you just a little while longer.

Just be still and know that I am GOD.

MASTERING PATIENCE

Michelangelo,_Giudizio_Universale_02

The Last Judgement

 

Helen Hoven Santmyer once said ” But surely, if you trust GOD, you can believe the bad moments pass, and the good memories are worth enough.” She was the author of the New York Times best-selling classic ” And Ladies of the Club” with more than two and one half million copies in print today. It took her more than fifty years to write!

“The Last Supper” was painted by the Italian painter/ jack of all trades – Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, Italy on a wall in a dining hall. Leonardo worked on this painting for ten years.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, more simply known as Michelangelo – painted “The Last Judgement” which is considered to be one of the twelve master paintings of the world. It took him a total of eight years to complete this work of art. He spent four years producing more than 2000 sketches and renderings and four years to do the actual painting.

Mastering your patience may very well create masterpieces in your own life. Sometimes it’s hard to do, but try to master patience every single day!

JUST BE

park-bench-free-pictures-1 (2621)_thumb

 

Alone

A bench in the park

Eyes closed

Mid-day

Streams of sun stroke your face with gentleness

Rattle tones of leaves brush against each other

Wind washes 

Shoulders slump

Breathing deep

Mind slows

Birds nearby

Harmony – melody

One, another, and another

Breathing deeper

Eyes shut still

Release

All of them

Flutters 

Taking flight

 

How often have you gone away to a place like that lately? To a place where you don’t have to do anything or talk with anyone about anything? When was the last time you went to a place where you just are? To a place where the world stops at your command for just a few minutes. Don’t we all need that every once in a while? Make sure you find that place and time in your life to “just be“.