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be-grateful[Note: The following article is published in the fall/winter edition of Arkansas Christian Parent magazine.]

Several years ago, Michelle and I had the opportunity to visit New York City for an extended weekend getaway. I had long desired to experience the buzz of the Big Apple, with its honking taxis, street vendors, and glistening skyscrapers. For a Southern guy, the ‘city that never sleeps’ was a real change of scenery, a sharp contrast from the more sprawling and laid-back Dallas-Fort Worth area that had been home for several years.

Indeed, New York tickled the senses with its sights, sounds, and smells (not all of which were pleasant, by the way). However, I found one thing in strikingly short supply: hospitality. New Yorkers are a different breed, to be sure. It didn’t take long for my wife and I to notice that our smiles, nods, and pleasantries were almost always ignored. Was this a by-product of busyness, or merely an outward manifestation of a prevailing ‘each man for himself’ mentality?

Perhaps nowhere was the sense of unconcern for others more evident than at the subway stations. And woe to those who dared to try and walk against the mob of people who exited the station at each stop! Michelle and I commented to each other that the most frequently used greeting was not much of a greeting at all. As our shoulders brushed against a seemingly endless sea of people, person after person grimaced and snapped, “Excuse you.”

That’s right. One of the kindest and most common expressions — at least in the South — had been corrupted and turned into a belittling battle cry that seemed to say, “You don’t belong here. Get out of our way.” Continue Reading…

Doubly grateful

January 22, 2010 — 2 Comments

This has been a week of birthdays in our house. My daughter turned four on Tuesday, and my son is celebrating nine years today.

January 22 will always be a significant date to me . . . but not just because of my son’s birthday. While the joy my children have brought me is impossible to fully describe in words, this date is juxtaposed with a great deal of pain as well.

At 36 years of age, I stand very aware that, given other circumstances, these words might never have been written . . . or even thought. That’s because on this date 37 years ago, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that would drastically alter the social and political landscape of this great nation for generations.

In a 7-2 vote, the justices decided that a pregnant woman could terminate her pregnancy for any reason up until “the point the fetus becomes ‘viable.'”

Now 37 years and some 50 million abortions later, that decision continues to generate controversy, stir emotions, and pit family members, friends, and church congregants against one another.

So today, as I live my life, I will recognize it as the gift that it is. As I watch my children run and play, as I listen to them giggle with those carefree sounds only children make, I will give thanks to God for these indescribable blessings.

And as my heart is flooded with gratitude, it also is filled with grief and anguish over those millions of children who never got to see the light of day — all because seven justices arrogantly decided that they knew better than God.

Although ground was broken this week in Houston, TX on what will be the largest abortion clinic in our country, my voice will not be silenced nor my spirit dampened. I will continue to be a voice for life, an advocate for adoption, and a cheerleader for brave women who, despite circumstances, choose life.

In the center of my bible, marking the place of Psalm 139, are photos of my children. I’m so glad they had their own birth days. And I’m glad my wife and I did as well. I guess you could say that I’m doubly grateful.

For those of you who have been misled into thinking life begins months into a pregnancy, I would urge you to remember a simple scientific fact: dead things don’t grow. Abortion is an issue of life or death. Don’t allow the years of history to trick you into thinking killing babies is in any way right, natural, or normal.

Abortion stops a beating heart.