Embracing the Simple Things 


We had just checked in to another hotel. (This was the third one in the last 4 days) We unloaded the car, grabbed the luggage cart (more on this later), and headed up to our room. As always, Kinsley had to be the one to press the elevator buttons and use the key to open the door to the room. 

As we made our way inside I was focused on figuring out who would sleep where. We had been upgraded to a suite that had one giant king bed and a sofa that pulled out into a bed. As I was unloading the cart, I heard a little voice ask me if I wanted creamer in my coffee. I turned around to see Kinsley up on the counter of the bar, stirring up a concoction of water, sugar and who knows what else. Her smile was humongous as she took our drink orders and quickly served up our “coffees” to us. 

For the next 24 hours this little counter was her whole world. Her dream of being a barista had come true and she was loving every second of it. Where I saw nothing, she saw everything. 

The next morning we went to breakfast just as the buffet was about to close. I chatted with the lady working and learned that she was from Cuba. When I told her that I had been there, her face changed completely. It was a mixture of pain and happiness rolled into one look. I pulled out my phone and began showing her pictures of places that she had not seen in over 20 years. As we scrolled through the streets and faces of Cuba, tears began to fill her eyes. To me they were simple pictures on my phone, but to her they were everything. Our simple breakfast turned into an eye opening history lesson and a new friendship. 

Checkout time was quickly approaching and it was time to load up the ol luggage cart once again. Addi and Colt went to retrieve it and had only been gone about 60 seconds when the phone in our room began to ring….it was the front desk. I quickly ran through the possibilities of what in the world an 8 year old and 10 year old could get into in under a minute but I never would have guessed this one. 
In the competitive race to be the first to the cart, Colt had made a mad dash in the final stretch. His only mistake, not realizing that the door he was running through was not a door at all. Hilton keeps their windows and doors very clean, so clean in fact that Colt ran straight into it at full speed. The front desk was calling to tell us that he was on the couch in the lobby and that we might want to come down. 

We arrived downstairs to 3 ladies from the front office staff and Colt hanging out on the couches. He was far more embarrassed than hurt and reeeeaaally wanted to get back to loading up the car. One of the ladies asked him if some chocolate ice cream would help his knee feel better. To a multi billion dollar hotel chain it was nothing, but to Colt it was everything. His embarrassing epidsode and knee pain quickly went away and so did the chocolate ice cream in front of him. 

After we left I kept hearing the kids talk about the lady from breakfast, the “Starbucks” in our room and the Ice Cream Hotel. All very simple moments but ones that have a way of sticking in a kid’s mind for many years to come. 

This week we are traveling through Florida, doing our best to raise money for our orphans and pastors in India. We have many “BIG” moments on the calendar, but I am learning to pay attention to the little ones as well.
 

This week be on the lookout for the simple. Take time to appreciate moments or people that you may normally overlook in the business of life. If you need help, spend some time with a child, they sure have an awesome way of reminding us just how fun life can be. 


-Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop Missions, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.
Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.

Should Christians Always Give In Secret?

Anyone who has read the first four verses of Mathew chapter six knows that the Bible clearly tells us not to announce in a prideful way when and how we give to others or the church. It even goes so far as to say that we shouldn’t let our left hand know what our right hand is doing when it comes to giving to those that need it. Most people I know follow these verses to the letter, and quietly bless many lives and ministries around them. I personally think we may be messing up, however.  Continue reading Should Christians Always Give In Secret?

Life as a Combat Veteran: What I’m reminded of on Veteran’s Day 

   
I love seeing my news feed on Veteran’s Day. The old pictures, the memories and the conversation between former combat brothers makes me smile…and sometimes bust out laughing. It is through those pictures and other moments on this day that I am reminded of a few things. 

1. I’m not Special. 

It seems that due to the amount of phone calls, texts and messages that I receive that I would feel the opposite, but I don’t. Each Veteran’s Day I am reminded that, like me, millions of other men and women have answered the call to serve our country. Like me, many have been wounded. Just like me, they have left family and friends to serve wherever their branch needed them to go. It is certainly a special brotherhood to be a part of, but I am just one of many who have sacrificed on behalf of our country. 

2. America is Grateful. 

While there will always be extremists on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to any issue, I truly believe that most Americans appreciate what the members of the military have done and continue to do. The posts of gratitude are heartfelt, sincere and come from just about every person that we know. You may say that it is only a status update and doesn’t require much effort, but I appreciate each and every person that takes a moment to remember. 

3. Freedom is Worth the Cost. 

This is a hard point to write and to think about, but it is true. The cost of freedom is not cheap but it is necessary. If the alternative means sacrificing our freedoms of religion, speech and so many more, then I think we all would agree that we must continue to defend the way of life we all hold dear. As I write this I realize that the future battles of the United States will not be fought by myself or my military brothers. It will be up to future generations to carry on the tradition of service, sacrifice and duty. This could include our own children. While this thought makes me cringe inside as a parent,I know that the freedoms we hold dear will not go without future attacks. 

So this Veteran’s Day take the time to thank those who served our county. As a group, they are special and are worthy of our gratitude. Also take a moment to discuss with your children what this day means and why it is so important. For it is their generation that the responsibility of our freedom will be handed to one day. 

Praying that God continues to bless America! 

                     –Andrew Smith


Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop India, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.

https://give.rooftopmissions.com/rooftopmissions

Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.
http://www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/asmith
http://www.facebook.com/thepurpleheartvet 

Is Your Life Significant? 

Many times we confuse success with significance. We spend so much time trying to reach the goals in front of us and very little time thinking about why we have those goals in the first place. 

Merriam-Webster defines being Significant in these 3 ways:

1. Having meaning

Does your life mean something to you? Do you think you are on this earth for a purpose? If so, then you probably want to live a certain way and accomplish specific things while you are alive. What goals have you set to make this happen? 

2. Having or likely to have influence or effect  

A focus on success is usually based on selfish motives. A focus on significance realizes that our lives can and should have a positive influence on those around us. Do you take the responsibility of influence seriously? Do you purposefully grow your level of influence? 

3. Important 

Everyone wants to feel important. All of us want our lives to be ones that are wanted, needed and valued. The question we have to ask is, “What makes my life valuable?” Are we content with the value of our life being based on what we can offer an employer, or do we really believe there are other ways to add value to the world? 

A significant life will not happen by accident. Just like being successful takes focused decisions over a long period of time, significance requires us to shoot for a specific target. 

Over the past few years, I have watched my children grow from babies to the nine, seven and three-year olds that they are today. I have missed many days that I will never get back. As a dad, I want to make a difference in their lives. I know it is my job to discipline, teach, love and praise them. These things don’t happen automatically though. 

I also want to be the best husband that I can be. I want my wife to feel loved, appreciated and valued, but again, these things don’t happen by accident. 

Our lives will never be significant unless we are willing to live in a very intentional way. Our goals must be clear, our time managed and our attention focused on the things that truly matter. 

-Andrew Smith

*If you are interested in living an Intentional Life, then check out the link below. John Maxwell’s new book, Intentional Living is now available and it comes with a special 30 day Challenge! 

http://clicks.johnmaxwell.com/aff_c?offer_id=9&aff_id=163 

 
Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop India, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.
Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.
He has also owns and operates a small business -Yellow Dawg Striping – in Southwest Virginia.

http://www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/asmith

http://www.facebook.com/thepurpleheartvet 

Who is Most Valuable to You? 

Around 5th grade was the first time that I began to notice the different parts of a team for the first time. I watched as Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to some thrilling wins on the basketball court. While some may argue this point, to me it was easy to see that he was by far the most valuable player in the NBA at that time. I could not imagine the Bulls being successful without him. 

Over the years I have been blessed to be a part of many amazing teams. From high school and college basketball to my days in Fallujah with 10th Mountain Division, I have watched certain individuals step up and play a critical role in our team’s success.  

Even now as I serve with Rooftop Missions I can clearly see how we each play a different part in reaching our goals. Matt, the founder of Rooftop, sets a vision in front of us and encourages us daily to do the things necessary to make it happen. Eric, our Director of Communications, captures critical video and photographs on foreign soil and then gets the final cut on our social media pages in a way that only he can do. 

But none of these people are Most Valuable to me and my life. 
It became very obvious to me awhile back just who makes my life the best that it can be. She is my best friend, encourager and supporter. She is the only one who has made the commitment to spend her entire life loving me and staying by my side. She is my wife. 

When I think about who is “Most Valuable” to me, it really isn’t even close. My wife has been there during the fun moments, but also for the dark ones too. She knows more about me than I would like and she doesn’t even hold it against me. Each day, she is the one that I come home to. She is the one that is affected most by my decisions. She is the one who is always willing to talk and when necessary ask the tough questions. 

As you go through this life and the career that you have chosen, your attention will be pulled in many different directions. You will be tempted to focus on titles, salary, goals, possessions and other people. In the midst of all of this, please do not lose focus on the one that has agreed to stay beside you for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. 

Take the time to remember who is Most Valuable to you and then treat them like they truly are just that. 

-Andrew Smith


Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop India, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.


Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.


Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.
He has also owns a small business -Yellow Dawg Striping – in Southwest Virginia. 

When Success Isn’t Worth the Sacrifice 

    Last night a friend suggested that I do something. Okay, he actually CHALLENGED me to do it and to guys that small word can make a big difference. 

    You see, guys love a challenge. From the time we are little, we dare each other to do really stupid stuff. The problem is that instead of thinking about the consequences of accepting the challenge, we usually only picture what the completion of the challenge will look like. 

    I still remember as a young infantry soldier just how bad I wanted to close with and destroy the enemy. I saw war as the ultimate challenge and surviving it would be the victory of a lifetime. Little did I know that the consequences of going to war would mean PTSD, TBI’s and injuries to myself and many of my friends. 

    But back to last night’s challenge. My friend wanted me to do something special for a family member. It could be anyone that I chose, but I had to agree to 2 conditions. 

    1. I would give them some of my time. 

    2. I would write them a note. 
    Now last night was not the best time for me to do something like this. My back is messed up and I am on medicine that makes me really tired, I had a ton of work to get done and many phone calls to return. But I accepted his challenge. 

    My daughter, Addi, is always asking for a special bedtime story. Not the usual kind from a book or a short one from memory. She likes it when I take the time to tell a long story complete with different voices and exciting plot twists. And last night when she went to bed, here is the note that she found. 

     
    After finding it, she came flying into the living room. She said, “Dad, are you serious about this?”. It was then that I realized just how long it had been since our last “special bedtime story”. I had done my duties as a normal dad would, but I had failed to be the best dad that I knew to be. 

    Many times in life we are distracted by success. We dream about it and can’t wait to reach the end of our goals. The problem is that we often fail to see the consequences of what that success may be.  

    We have all been challenged by society to be successful. That is defined many different ways but the fact remains that most of those definitions are not good ones. 

    There is nothing wrong with striving to be successful, but we must realize this:

    Success requires sacrifice. Before you decide to strive for success, make sure what you are letting go of isn’t more valuable than what you are reaching toward. 

    So last night I decided that work could wait. I also decided that ministry could be put on hold as well. You see, I love my jobs, but I love my family more. 

    Addi was sitting up in bed when I walked into her room. The smile on her face was the biggest I had seen in a long time. As I sat down beside her, she let out one of those ear piercing screams of excitement and I couldn’t help but smile myself. She could have cared less about what my current job title is, how many miles my car has on it or how much money we have in the bank. The only things she wanted from me were my time and a horrible story about a talking dog and its quest to find his home. 

    The challenge that I accepted was simple but it has changed my life. It showed me that most of the world is wrong. Success isn’t always worth the Sacrifice. 

    If at the end of the day I still have my faith, family, friends and health then I will go to bed a very rich man…regardless of how others define my accomplishments. 

    -Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop India, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.
    Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
    Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.
    He has also owns a small business -Yellow Dawg Striping – in Southwest Virginia.