Smith adding Southern twist to devotion

Published 1:02 pm Monday, October 9, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Chilton County writer Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith is releasing a daily devotional intended to strengthen people’s relationship with God, with a Southern-style spin.

“Bless Your Heart: A Devotional for Southerners with Daily Old-Timey Sayings” is a 365-day devotional written for all ages and ethnicities with personal stories from Smith’s life and a daily old-timey saying like “every dog has his day” or “curiosity killed the cat.”

Smith spent many years working as a secretary to Rev. Rob West at First Methodist Church of Clanton, and he would encourage everyone in the congregation to write a devotion, or a testament of their Christian life. Smith would put the devotions into a booklet and distribute them throughout Chilton County.

“When you ask people things like that they have a tendency to write something that sounds like a sermon,” Smith said. “He encouraged people to write from their hearts and to share maybe a personal experience or testimony. I typed hundreds of those through the years, and the ones I remember the best are the ones where people really shared their life experiences. So, that is what I tried to do.”

Over the last couple of years, Smith has made a collection of her life stories and “how our lives are directly related to living a close relationship with God in hopes that something from my life might lead readers to their own closer relationship with God.”

Growing up, Smith’s grandmother was repetitive in teaching her grandchildren about their family heritage, and many of the teachings came in the form of old timey sayings.

“Our inheritance of those old sayings is part of who we are, and can be applied to our Christian witness for future generations,” Smith said.

“I feel like every person in life is busy with their calendars, running from point A to point B, and it is easy to get devotion time with God lost in that. It is even common for people to think they are not qualified because they are not a preacher or as spiritual as they should be … This devotion is evident that every single person has a story to share for other people. This is a fun read, there are a lot of laughs, a lot of tears and it is meant to connect people to a real God instead of someone they see as someone in the hierarchy.”

The official release date for the book is Oct. 6, and a link to purchase can be found at Smith’s writing website Smith will also be hosting a book signing at the Howloween event hosted by the Humane Society of Chilton County at Ollie Park, 403 Ollie Avenue, Clanton, with copies for sale for $20.