Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, January 28, 2016

It is time to get angry!!!!

Today a kid overdosed at school. This week I read about a 17-year-old girl who was shot and killed at a party by the 40-year-old mother who resided at the house and provided alcohol to her teen guests. I also read about two kids in Tennessee who died after drinking a mixture of Mountain Dew and racing fuel. Yes! You read that fuel...the kind that makes race cars run!

My question is...What are we doing to our kids? What kind of world are we handing over to them?

We have become a society so afraid of "judging" that we lead kids to believe that anything goes, that anything is okay, and that nobody (not friends, strangers, or even parents) has the right to say any choice they make is wrong!

That's crap!

Our kids are pushing, testing limits, looking for lines that we as parents, that we as society are supposed to draw in the sand, lines that kids are not allowed to cross. But we, in our "enlightened" state in this 21st century, haven't only blurred those lines. We've erased them altogether. We have decided, as parents and practically all other supposed authority figures, that we should draw no such lines. We've decided that it's best to let kids make their own decisions, with no thought to the permanent negative consequences that seem to follow more and more often every day.

We have relinquished our authority, handing it over to immature, incompetent, and ignorant kids! Immature because they haven't lived long enough to mature. Incompetent because they haven't lived long enough to become competent to make good decisions. And ignorant because they haven't lived long enough to learn how serious and common those negative consequences are!

WE are killing our kids because we are not angry! We are killing our kids because we'd rather just shake our heads when someone else's kid falls prey to this vicious monster that is teen substance abuse! We are killing our kids because we won't draw those lines in the sand! We are killing our kids because we won't tell them that some things are not okay!

IT IS TIME TO GET ANGRY! It is time to reclaim our authority as parents! It is time to stand up and tell our kids what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong! It is time we demand our kids act right and make good choices! It is time to draw those lines in the sand and say, "YOU WILL NOT CROSS THIS LINE WITHOUT SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES!"

I'm tired of seeing kids die. I'm tired of watching kids ruin their lives before they even graduate high school. I'm tired of watching adults close their eyes and refuse to see what is happening to our children. I'm tired of seeing adults and authorities act as if it just doesn't matter, as if there's no way to change it or stop it.

We can change it! We just have to get angry enough that we once again draw those lines and refuse to let our kids step across them.

So, yes, it is time to get angry and save our kids' lives!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Five Years Without Amanda

Five years ago tonight we received the call that would change our lives. "You need to call this number. And I want you to be prepared. I think Amanda has been shot." That's what Amanda's friend told me after receiving a call from a Cleburne County deputy.

That's the night we lost our oldest daughter, Amanda. She was at a party. Her killer was drunk and stoned. He pulled out a sawed off shotgun and killed her. Five years ago tonight. January 15, 2011. Four days before her 18th birthday. Four months before she would have graduated high school. She never made it to either.

Everyone at that party was either drunk, stoned, or both. Under the influence of mind-altering substances. The oldest was 19. Nobody there was old enough to buy alcohol legally, yet they all had access to alcohol and illegal drugs.

I believe, with everything in me, that if everyone there that night had been sober, Amanda would not have been shot and she would not have been killed. Heck. Maybe if ANYONE at that house had been sober she would still be alive today!

Everyone seems to think this day is harder for us to deal with than other days. It is hard. But everyday is hard. Every day. We don't suddenly remember that we lost our daughter on the anniversary of her death. We remember that every single day. We don't suddenly miss our daughter on the anniversary of her death. We miss her every single day.

And though every day is hard, though we miss her every single day, we have learned to keep going, to get through, and to get by. We've made it five years now. We'll keep making it.

I appreciate all of you who thought of us today and who prayed for us today. Your thoughts and prayers got us through those early days before we ever thought we could keep going, and they continue to give us strength. So please keep them coming.

But I have another request. Not for us, but for all the parents who will soon join this brotherhood to which no one wishes to belong. Every year, more than 5000 young people die because of alcohol abuse. I have been unable to find numbers that show the number of young people who are killed because of illegal drugs each year. But together, illicit drugs and alcohol, directly or indirectly, take the lives of thousands of young people each year.

That means thousands of parents', siblings', and other relatives' lives are ripped apart by teen substance abuse every year. Because of teen substance abuse.

So my request is this. Please pray for all the people who WILL lose a young family member this year because of teen substance abuse. Pray that thousands of teens will be reached with the message and recognize the dangers and refuse to partake, so their lives will be spared and their parents' hearts remain unbroken.

Sadly, our society of late is practically encouraging teens to experiment with alcohol and drugs. Our entertainment industry, and even our politicians seem to want our young people drunk and stoned. And as the number of young abusers increases, so does the number of their cadavers in our nation's morgues...because they chose to abuse alcohol and drugs.

So please, when you think about Amanda, on this day or any other, don't just pray for us. Pray also for all those like us--who have lost kids to this epidemic, all those who will be like us, and all the young people out there--who still have time to wake up, recognize the danger, and refuse that drink or that hit that might just end their life.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Great Run to Start the New Year!

Happy New Year! When we headed for NC last week, I was planning to run 16 miles today to ring in the New Year. That was my plan, even though I already knew my New Year's resolution was going to be to run fewer miles but run them faster.

Well...God has a way of setting me straight when I seek to stray from His path. All week it's been unseasonably warm and humid, making pretty difficult what I expected to be a pretty easy running finish to 2015. I managed to close the year with 2015 logged miles, but it wore me out. Put simply, I just didn't have 16 miles in me after this week, even though temps dropped this morning.

I realized that was God's way of telling me that I needed to start on that New Year's resolution TODAY!

So, I left the house this morning with a plan to run 4 miles instead of 16. I decided to do the first at 9 min/mi pace, the next two at 8 min/mi, and the last at 9 min/mi.

When I hit the road, even that 9 min pace felt tough, and I started to think maybe I was a little ambitious after the week of warm weather running. However, I managed to knock it out in 8:54. When I picked it up to start mile 2, it again felt like it would be hard to keep it up.

But I pressed on, recalling that I only had to run 4 miles. I have to admit though, several times in that 2nd mile I thought about changing plans and slowing down for mile 3. When I hit the 2 mile mark, my Garmin showed I covered the ground in 7:55.

By now I was warmed up and it started feeling a little better. I actually began to think I could hit my target paces. That 3rd mile clicked by in 7:45 and it was time to slow down.

The thought crossed my mind to abandon the 9 min goal, but it was only for a second. Actually, I found it more difficult to slow down to even the 9 min pace I'd planned. The 4th mile was covered in 8:26, and my first run of the New Year was over.

So thank you Jesus for a great run to kick off this New Year! Looking forward to this fewer, faster miles thing.