Saturday, April 27, 2013


Hello there.  I’m so glad you could come.  Have a seat.  I’ve been looking forward to this little chat.  Let’s talk about this ultramarathon business.  

To refresh: Zack is training for a 50 mile ultramarathon (yes, I said 50 miles) this summer.  The event takes place on June 15th.  It will take him approximately 12 hours to complete, if he does indeed make it the full 50. He is gathering sponsors to pledge donations on a “per-mile” basis to raise money for our adoption.  Since we’ve been doing that, this event has been under the spotlight somewhat.  Therefore, a really long post highlighting it.

I’ll first address Zack’s training.  He is not the Dragon Warrior.  He cannot survive for weeks on the dew of a single gingko leaf and the energy of the universe.  (Bonus points if you got the movie reference).  He does need to train.  He’s been carving all the time out that he can to get his 40 miles in a week.  Some carefully calculated days, he runs to or from work (12 miles one way), and pretty much every weekend he runs at least 20 miles.  Toss in an odd 3-6 miles peppered throughout the week, and he usually pulls it off.  He is not running exclusively.  In the ultramarathon fashion, he is running around 12 minute miles and walking up hills.  This maintains his stamina for the long weekend runs which usually take him about 4 hours.  In the half marathons that he has done he has run around 8 minute miles, so the “slowing down” alone has taken some mental training.

Ok, that’s the boring stuff – but I hope it’s reassured those that are convinced he’s doing something extra crazy.  It’s really only moderately crazy.  Like, 6/10 on a 0=easiest thing ever (falling off a log?) and 10=jumping out of a plane scale.

Now let’s talk about the really cool part of it.  Like the UNCANNY PARALLELS between this race and the adoption we’re called to undertake.  Both arduous, both somewhat dangerous, both risky, both unnatural, both kindof incredible.  Both require trust, both require faith, both require a little streak of crazy.  Oh yeah, now it’s gettin’ good.

Like the race, we have been training our minds and our spirits for the potential challenges we may face.  Zack needs to learn what and when to eat, how to alter his pattern and timing, how to mentally focus on the end goal when running so far and long.  We as a couple have read book after book about parenting techniques and adoption, role played situations, fasted and prayed for our future selves, and practiced patience with our existing children.  These are ways we are training.

Like the race, the adoption will take stamina.  Not only the waiting in the paperwork stage, but the road to healing and attachment is a long one with kids who come from hard places.  We will need to focus on the end goal, wholeness, the overall picture – which can be hard to do when in the trenches of day to day life.  Maintain a big picture attitude while taking it step by step.  We will need to be careful not to compare these kids to other kids, but to themselves.  Where are we compared to three months ago?  Zack would be paralyzed thinking of the entire 50 miles every step he took.  They say to run a 50 mile ultra is to run 4 – 12 mile runs.  Make it through the first 2 weeks, then make it through the first 3 months, then make it through to 6 months, then to 1 year.

Like the race, it takes faith to trust that God is there to help you.  Adoption is not easy.  Running 50 miles is not easy.  There exist a few gaps, because we are human.  God is ready and willing to help to fill them in.  Fear is easy to grasp when there are so many unknowns, but “faith is being sure of what we hope for…”  Isn’t that all of life?  Learning to rely on a seemingly invisible God, only to be surprised when he moves you like the wind moves the leaves.  God, just maybe, could be the wind in our sails on race day and on adoption day.

Let’s talk about fasting.  It’s a little arduous, going without food.  It could be potentially dangerous, risky, certainly unnatural.  But pretty incredible.  It’s incredible because it requires faith.  It requires trust, and sure, a little streak of crazy.  It gets us to a higher place.  A higher faith, and what is a seed of faith if you never plant it?  It can’t grow into a tree sitting in the bag in the dusty corner of your shed.
God doesn’t call us to the easy things.  God calls us to the things that not only advance his kingdom, but teach us to lean on him as well.  This ultramarathon has been so uplifting for Zack, as every day he trains he is reminded of the big things that God calls us to do, and the ways that he works in our hearts to teach us more about trusting him.

We want to thank all of those who have supported Zack in the race, and us in our endeavor to follow God’s call.  In the big ways (you know who you are), and in the small pats on the back and “How are you feeling about things?” and “ How is everything going?”  Thank you, and even if Zack stumbles across the finish line at 18 hours, or we have a hairy of an overwhelming day that brings us to our knees, know you are a little of the wind in our sails that will keep us moving forward.

"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.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of our faith,
 who for the joy set before him endured the cross,
scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12: 1-2

Sunday, April 21, 2013

MONEY - spare change!

Dudes and Dudettes, guess what I just learned...  Pennies make dollars!  And lots and lots of pennies make lots and lots of dollars!  Zack and I have been saving the spare change from our pockets for nigh on 8 years now, and I lugged our jars and piggy banks to the change sorter at our local bank this week.  Dumpin' them coins in that thing with that satisfying rattle and I felt like I had won the lottery.  Now that I've had such a buildup people are going to think there were thousands in there.  Well, no, but I'll tell you I was quite pleased with $770 that we didn't have before!!!  I'm thinking... 3/4 of the way towards our first homestudy payment!  Booya!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I think my little ones are waking up from their naps, but I wanted to post this.

Back story!  My son Kian has a Veggie Tales video about the Bible character Gideon.  He trusted God to help him when he was called to lead a teensy army in a battle that looked completely impossible to win.  Not only did he win it, but God did all the work for him.  All he needed to do was trust!  Gideon wasn't sure at first, however, and so God gracefully allowed him to "put out a fleece" and to test if God was surely in this calling.  His tests pointed him to the fact that God was indeed calling him to this and could be trusted to fulfill his promise.  It's a cute video - I encourage the watching of it.  "Gideon, the Tuba Warrior" or something like that.  Anyway, what struck me is the fact that we are teaching our children these things.  Do I fully believe them?  Do I put these things into practice?  Do I trust God?  Do I believe that he will help us in what he's called us to?  After introspection and review - yes.

Admittedly, I also was sortof inspired by the fleece idea.  The next day I decided to lay one out.  Partly in jest, I prayed "God, if the doctors are on time today ( ), then I will know that you are in this adoption idea (it's been seeming more and more crazy), and you will help us through."  In all truthfulness, I did think in my head that even if they were late as usual, we'd still go through with the adoption.  I don't know of all the theological ramifications of that little point, I'm sure one could dissect that more if one had the desire.  "Your fleece was stupid if it wouldn't have changed your mind anyway, Rachel" could be one potential thought, .  Ahem, be that as it may, let's continue, cuz here's where it gets pretty cool, .

When I arrived, the midwife was already there.  I want to say that again.  Jessica was already there.  Trust me on this, that's pretty cool.  It's maaaaaaybe happened one other time to me since I've worked there.  K.  "Woah," I thought, pausing pensively with a slight dismissal being still unconvinced that my fleece is not a stupid idea, "but Dr Cain still has to be on time".  Hey, little red devil, let's just see what happens, shall we?  Cuz - kablooie - in walks Dr Cain 20 minutes early.  That has happened more than once, albeit rarely.  That day it was because a scanner came that he wanted to play with and set up.  It was cool because it was supposed to come the day before, but came that day because the truck got lost! Divine intervention?  Distinct possibility.  Fleece?  Decidedly less and less stupid.

So there you have it.  What Veggie Tales has been telling Kian is true!!!  God is present and active and wants to help us!  As much as we get discouraged with the rising hurdles that come up in this process, I know more certainly now that God will surprise us and come through.  I don't know why I ever questioned it, but Thanks for the assurance, God.  You're awesome.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Poor Logan has just had a horrible time this winter.  He's getting over the second cold of his life.  It's been two weeks of coughing nights and can't-breathe-through-nose junkies.  When you consider that the first illness put him in the hospital and we were clearing snot from his nose for a full month afterwards, it feels like he's been sick his whole life!  I thought breastfeeding really helps with this kind of thing... But it hasn't saved me from what seems like endless nasal suction for 7 of my baby's 16 weeks thus far.  This flu season has kicked my tender behind.  Don't let the door hit you on your way out, flu season 2012/13.  Or I hope it does.  Either way, be gone!