Tony A. Smith

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Building Presidential Consensus

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Twenty-four years ago I had written a few letters concerning some of the issues of the day to our new President at the time – Bill Clinton.  I actually received a letter back from him.  I guess he got tired of all of my letters.  It was kind of him to actually acknowledge my concerns.

His first few months of office were very busy after being inaugurated as the 42nd President of the United States on January 20, 1993 three months prior to the time I wrote my letter to him.

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On January 25, 1993 Bill Clinton announced that Hillary Clinton would lead the task force on National Health Care Reform.  The President hoped to reform the National Health Care system so that all Americans had health insurance. It would ensure what he called “Universal Coverage” which would hopefully control health care costs which were continuing to rise out of control.

On February 5, 1993 President Bill Clinton signed the Family Medical Leave Act that requires companies to provide workers with up to 3 months of unpaid leave for family and medical emergencies.

Then on January 26, 1993, six people were killed and more than one thousand suffered from injuries after a bomb was placed under the World Trade Center in New York City. This explosion marked the beginning of threats against the United States by both domestic and foreign terrorists.  Who could foretell the dark days ahead relating to terrorism?

April 19, 1993 the day my letter was postmarked – In Waco, Texas Federal Law officers under the orders of Attorney General – Janet Reno fought a 51 day stand-off with a religious cult led by David Koresh.  The battles resulted in terrible fires that destroyed the cults compound and killed 75 people.

Our country faces issues today, just like we did during Bill Clinton’s presidency 24 years ago. Although there are many things I did not agree with President Bill Clinton on, I can agree that we need to have a consensus to work together as a country and a people.  After all, we are all in it together and we need each other.

Go The Distance

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Love Triumphs

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“Meanwhile, I was in a place of clouds.  Big, puffy, pink-white ones that showed up sharply against the deep blue-black sky.  Higher than the clouds-immeasurably higher–flocks of transparent orbs, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long streamer-like lines behind them.

Birds? Angels?  These words registered when I was writing down my recollections.  But neither of these words do justice to the beings themselves, which were quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet.  They were more advanced.  Higher.

A sound, huge and booming like a glorious chant, came down from above, and I wondered if winged beings were producing it.  Again thinking about it later, it occurred to me that the joy of these creatures, as they soared along, was such that they had to make this noise–that if the joy didn’t come out of them this way then they would simply not otherwise be able to contain it.  The sound was palpable and almost material, like a rain that you can feel on your skin but that doesn’t get you wet.

Seeing and hearing were not separate in this place where I now was.  I could hear the visual beauty of the silvery bodies of those scintillating beings above, and I could see the surging joyful perfection of what they sang.  It seemed that you could not look at or listen to anything in this world without becoming a part of it–without joining with it in some mysterious way.

Again from my present perspective, I would suggest that you couldn’t look at anything at that world at all, for the world at itself implies a separation that did not exist there.  Everything was distinct, yet everything was also a part of everything else, like the rich and intermingled designs on a Persian carpet……or a butterfly’s wing……….. A warm wind blew through, like the kind that spring up on the most perfect summer days, tossing the leaves of the trees and flowing past like heavenly water.  A divine breeze.  It changed everything, shifting the world around me into an even higher octave, a higher vibration.

Through the Orb, Om (GOD) told me that there is not one universe but many–in fact, more than I could conceive–but that love lay at the center of them all.  Evil was present in all the other universes as well, but only in the tiniest trace amounts.  Evil was necessary because without it free will was impossible, and without free will there could be no growth–no forward movement, no chance for us to become what GOD longed for us to be.  Horrible and all-powerful as evil sometimes seemed to be in a world like ours, in the larger picture love was overwhelmingly dominant, and it would ultimately be triumphant.”

Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible.  Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists.  A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.  

Then Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness.  The part of the brain that controls thoughts and emotion–and in essence makes us human–shut down completely.  For seven days he lay in a coma.  Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open.  He had come back.

Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle.  But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere.  While his body lay in a coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence.  There he met, and spoke with the Divine source of the universe itself.”

I am currently in the process of reading this remarkable book called “Proof of Heaven” by Dr. Eben Alexander.  This is an outstanding book written by one of those previously doubting skeptics that has to have everything proven by scientific facts.  If you have never read this book, I would certainly recommend it.  You will never be the same after reading this one.  The statement that evil is necessary kind of threw me a bit… I suppose we would all just be robots in life if we were not allowed choices by an all-knowing, all-powerful GOD. And GOD knew that if we did choose evil instead of good that he still loved us and would forgive us.. But he wanted us to want him, to want to come back to him, to turn from the evil choices of this world, and to follow him.  Love is stronger than any amount of evil that can be thrown at us by the little god (Satan) who controls the world we live in for now.  If you get a chance to read this book, let me know what you think.

Have you ever known anyone that has had a similar near death experience.  I haven’t but my sister used to go to church in Pasadena, Texas with Don Piper (her Sunday school teacher) who wrote “90 Minutes in Heaven”, and who died in a car accident and came back to tell the story of his own encounter with heaven.

There is an unseen dimension, an unseen world that is as close as the breath we breathe.  A world more real than the physical world that we can see with our eyes. A spiritual battle rages on day in and day out, and we will not know how many times we have been saved from terrible accidents by our own guardian angels until we get to the other side of heaven. I have had personal experiences with angelic beings myself which I have written about in some previous blog posts.  On this side of heaven, our prayers and our words are ever powerful. We can choose to speak words of evil or of love. Remember to pray always for your family and friends for protection from the evil forces of this world that fight against us, and let love win out in the end!

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!

 

 

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.”

United Heart of America

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Well it’s been a few weeks since the election of our 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump,  and there are still those interested in pursuing a recount of votes – like Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party.

While it is true that Hilary Clinton does now lead in the popular vote by 2,357,260 votes with the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania still busy recounting votes, Donald Trump is way ahead in the electoral college by a whopping 104 electoral votes.

We all know that the electoral college is the vote that really counts in electing the President as was set up by the Founding Fathers of America under article 2, section 1 of the United States Constitution. There are a total of 538 electors which are based upon the number of members of congress per state.  The exception is the District of Columbia which has the number of electors of the smallest state which is currently 3. Two-hundred seventy electoral votes are needed to elect the President, or which Donald Trump has 306 already.  Some argue that the electoral college is not a fair system and should be eradicated.  My argument to that insane comment is that there would be no fair balance between the smaller states and larger states in voting for the President if it was abolished.

When I was going to elementary school, there is something we did every single day of school before we would start our day.  We would stand up beside our desks, place our right hand over our hearts, face the United States flag of America positioned in the corner of the room,  and boldly say these words.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Hilary Clinton has already conceded, and it looks as if she does not, and will never have enough electoral votes to win the election, in spite of her lead in the popular vote. Nothing will change the outcome of Donald J. Trump officially becoming our 45th President of the United States in January 2017.

No matter how much we protest in the streets or pout, or want to move to another country, nothing will change the outcome.  Division gets us nowhere as a country. We as Americans need to unite behind our flag and President and move forward as a nation of one now.  We have much to accomplish to make our country even better than it is now!

 

Water Hole

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Sometime, when you’re feeling important!

Sometime, when your ego’s in bloom;

Sometime when you take it for granted

You’re the best qualified in the room;

 

Sometime when you feel that your going

Would leave a unfillable hole,

Just follow these simple instructions,

And see how it humbles your soul.

 

Take a bucket and fill it with water,

Put your hand in it, up to the wrist;

Pull it out, and the hole that’s remaining,

    Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.

 

You may splash all you please when you enter,

You can stir up the water galore,

But stop, and you’ll find in a minute

That it looks quite the same as before.

 

The moral in this quaint example;

Is do just the best that you can;

And be proud of yourself, but remember

There’s no indispensable man.

 

                                                                                                       – Anonymous

 

Sometimes we may think that we are the best at what we do, but we should always remember to be humble, and that there is always going to be someone who comes along that may be better.  I think that’s good advice to just do the best we can and let the cards fall where they land. Doing your best is all you can do, and being too proud of oneself always has a downside in the end. 

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.