The running's going well, in spite of a nearly two-month spell where I took up the Insanity workout program and cut way back on my weekly miles. I actually ran less in those two months than I have since we started Running with Amanda. But for the year, it's good news on the running front.
As of June 30th, the halfway mark of the calendar year, I'd logged 812 running miles, including two marathons, two half marathons, and numerous races of shorter distances. I achieved PRs in the marathon, half marathon, 15K, 10K, and 8K distances. Without a doubt, the Good Lord has blessed me in my running this year, and all without injury.
As always, it's only by His grace that I can log the miles, run the races, and stay healthy. Not my strength, but His.
"My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." ~ Psalm 121:2
I still wear my sign pinned to the back of my shirt at all my races, the laminated sign with pictures of victims of teen substance abuse and their stories. This year I haven't had as many comments on it, but have had some and had the opportunity to tell Amanda's story a few times on the road. But the most significant impact we've had in this department so far this year was in our church youth group. Our youth pastor wanted to do a series of sermons on the issues our teens face on a daily basis. Janice and I both had opportunities to get up in front of the kids and give pretty intense talks on the issue.
I actually got two chances at the kids. The first time I was scheduled to speak to them, bad storms passed through our area and lots of kids stayed home. On a normal night we have about 100 kids in the service, but that night there were only 30. But I got up and preached to them like they were 1000. I'm convinced that Satan was working that night to keep kids from hearing the message, but we got it through anyway. And the great thing was that I knew at least one kid was there that needed to hear that message. Two weeks later, our youth pastor stopped me and told me that kid had come to him before the service and told him he was 10 days sober. As far as I know, He still is.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." ~ Romans 8:28
The next week, I couldn't be at the youth service, but Janice went. That night, they split the kids up by gender and she talked to the girls, telling them Amanda's story. I wasn't there, but from everything I heard, it was an extremely effective lesson. Other girls came forward with horror stories that they'd heard of, witnessed, or even endured, and the tears flowed like a river. Those girls really heard our message on teen substance abuse.
The following week, I was asked to give my talk again. Evidently lots of parents had heard about it and wanted their kids to hear it too, their kids who weren't there on that stormy night. So I got up and laid it all out there again, not scripted, but just working from an outline poured out my heart. After that, a kid came up and thanked me, and it turns out it was a kid a young lady had recently asked me to pray for and look for an opportunity to talk to.
Yes, God most definitely uses us to accomplish His will, even using the evils Satan visits upon us to achieve good.
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." ~ Hebrews 13:16
Our work on the fundraising front is somewhat behind. We set goals this year to raise $2500 each for the three charities we support. Quite honestly, we've got a long way to go for all three. So far, we've raised $825 for Soaring Wings Ranch, $800 for Arkansas Children's Hospital, and $1,052.98 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
I've been praying about ways to improve our fundraising efforts and I think the Good Lord has blessed me with an idea. Tomorrow I'll dedicate a post solely to it, but I'll give a little hint here. A contest. A contest where each dollar donated during the month of July to one of the three charities through our fundraising pages constitutes one entry in a raffle. I'll reveal the possible prizes tomorrow, but winners will have a choice of two or three possible prizes. Look for details tomorrow, but hopefully, this will work so well we'll do a contest like this every month and generate a lot more donations for our charity.
All of these things we've mentioned, we do in honor of Amanda. Our daughter was shot and killed by a drunken, stoned 19-year-old at a party. She wouldn't sleep with him and he became angry, went into his bedroom and came out with a gun. He then fired the shot that took Amanda's life. I am convinced that if he and the others there would have been sober that night, Amanda would still be alive today.
Amanda is no longer with us, but we never want her to be forgotten. And that's why Running with Amanda does all the aforementioned in her name. So that her life wasn't wasted, and her death wasn't in vain.
You can help us spread the word, tell Amanda's story, and accomplish our mission. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and encourage your friends to do likewise. Also, please help us accomplish our fundraising goals by donating to one of the charities we support through our fundraising pages.
Thanks in advance. May God bless and keep you.
If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.