Danica D. Smith grew up in Lutcher and enjoyed her early schooling locally before earning degrees from Southern University, University of Florida and University of Phoenix.
Her engineering and chemistry background birthed an entrepreneurial spirit that led to Smith opening a fitness center.
She was especially motivated in the business endeavor because of a desire to help youth fight childhood obesity.
Unfortunately, she told me when we talked this week, she had to close the business and temporarily halt her mission when the economy went south in 2008.
“When I did that, I was just emotionally distraught to the point where I pretty much stayed in my bedroom and read,” she said. “I started reading the Bible. No matter how much my family was encouraging me, telling me everything was going to be OK, nothing was working.”
Luckily for Smith, she fell back on something she has held close to her heart for as long as she can remember — the teachings of Jesus Christ.
She read the Bible daily and began sharing some of her favorite stories and their meanings with friends. Questions naturally arose during their discussions, and the explanations led to many notes Smith logged so as not to forget anyone’s feedback.
“I didn’t intend on it being a book,” she said. “A friend of mine basically said, ‘I think you should write a book.’ I looked at my stack of notes one day, and I had quite a pile of notes. It started off as just a stack of paper notes. I was afraid to lose them so I started typing and saving them in the computer.”
The seven-year, on-and-off effort turned into “Love, Faith & Destiny: Short Bible Stories of God’s Amazing Love, Journeys of Redemption & Promises You May Have Forgotten.”
The book contains chronological, bite-sized Bible stories from the historical books of the Old Testament.
Smith said those reading through the stories will relate better to many familiar sermons because they will understand the history of God’s people. Becoming more familiar with these faithful men and women will strengthen a reader’s faith and build on his or her relationship with God. Smith said many find the Old Testament a challenge to read, but her book makes it “easy, enjoyable and quick.”
“I hope (readers) get encouragement,” she told me Wednesday. “I hope they can see how much God loves us through those stories and see those people back then are not different from us now. The same way God loved them and blessed them is the same way He loves us now. I want their faith to be increased through these stories. I want their hope to be increased through these stories.”
Through it all, Smith, who lives in Orlando, has never lost sight of her fitness-based goals, which still focus on youth.
She has combined the book with her health background to create a “Love, Faith & Destiny book tour,” where she joins forces with Community Fit Arcade to combine the Word of God and fitness.
The faith and fitness tour consists of several story readings from her book, a Q&A session, book signing and approximately 20 minutes of fitness and nutrition sharing.
Best of all, Smith is bringing the message home with an event starting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the St. James Parish Library in Lutcher.
“There is something so sweet about being home and being around your family,” she said. “I’m on Facebook and a lady I knew from high school said, ‘I just bought your book.’ Another guy said, ‘I’ll be there to get the book signed.’ The response has been fantastic.”
Friends of Smith and just those interested in her message should make time to see her next week.
To learn more about Danica D. Smith, visit LoveFaithDestinyBook.com.
Stephen Hemelt is publisher and editor of L’OBSERVATEUR. He can be reached at 985-652-9545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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