Monday, May 6, 2013

Disturb Us, Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim. 

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars. 

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love. 

A Prayer of Sir Francis Drake

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Responding to Boston with Strength and Grace

This is why the terrorists will never win. 

They want us to scatter like mice. They want us to turn on each other.

But it never quite works out that way. 

My old Pastor used to say that a crisis creates nothing; it simply reveals what is already there. And what this crisis has revealed - once again - is a  core of strength and grace.

Tatyana McFadden responds to the Boston Marathon bombing.

Take a good look, terrorists. This is the face of America. Yes, we have soldiers, sailors, and police who will chase you to the gates of hell. And I am proud of them. But we also have young people like Tatyana, who will pick up the people you leave for dead and teach them them to walk again. 

This is why you can't win.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son

Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

North Face Endurance Challenge

There are three things that Val and I have learned about adoption:

  • It's a race against time;
  • We've got to push way beyond our comfort zone;
  • We're not on this journey alone.

It's a race against time because our children face a very real danger of aging out. If that happens, it may mean a life on the streets. As for the comfort zone - instead of kicking back and enjoying the empty nest, we've joyfully made the decision to open our home to some very needy young people. And we're not alone. Not only have we sensed God's presence, but we've come to love an amazing community of people who are giving themselves to helping children. They - you - inspire us.

So here's the racing metaphor: Next June, I'll be running the North Face Endurance Challenge as part of the RODS Racing Team. Believe me, this race is way beyond my comfort zone.

But I'd like you to be part of it. Please consider sponsoring 1 mile of this 26.2 mile race. On the day of the event, I'll be carrying the names of each sponsor with me and praying and thanking God for you during your chosen mile. And you'll be helping Estelle and Gerard to find a home.

Please share this with your friends and consider signing up. Most of all, thank you for your prayers and continued concern.

All donations will go directly to Reece's Rainbow, a 501(c)3 Registered Public Charity. Due to the nature of international adoptions, no one can guarantee that every adoption will go through as planned. No matter what happens, though, all donations made to this race will go towards the adoption of an at risk child.

To sign up, or to learn more, just click here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Don't Go Out Too Fast!

Ask any experienced marathon runner for first-timer advice and nine out of ten will say, "don't go out too fast." Great advice. I heard it. I understood it.

Guess who went out way too fast on his first marathon?

I chose the Instant Classic Trail Race as my inaugural 26.2. That may have been a little bit crazy in itself. The course is single track and rolling hills with roots and loose gravel. The only pavement in site is the opening quarter mile through the parking lot. (Uphill, by the way.)

Despite being under-trained and over-tapered, I was pretty psyched when I arrived at Pocahontas State Park on the morning of the 16th. And so when we surged past the starting line, adrenaline and a complete lack of judgment took over.

The weather conspired wonderfully with my unwise zeal; it was chilly and a sudden downpour at the starting line instantly contracted every muscle in my body.

The  mustard on my bib is from the post-race Brats!
I ran this race (or started this race, anyway) with my buddy Rob - a veteran of torture tests like the Blue Ridge Marathon. So the fact that we even started out together should tell that I wasn't thinking. He pulled way ahead when I had to, um, pit stop in the woods. (Rain does that to me). Fortunately, he was not there to witness my dramatic decline.

Around mile eight, I was feeling fantastic. My feet were turning over fast I was and passing people who had a lot more respect for this trail than I did. (They would all cruise by later).

At mile ten, I experienced the first omen of impending doom. It felt like someone suddenly shoved a knife into the back of my right hammy. For some ridiculous reason, I tried to hold on to my pace even after that. But the slow, inexorable deceleration had begun.

In shorter races, I always hunt for bunnies on the second half of the course. Great motivation! Choose your bunny. Pass. Repeat.

By the time I reached mile thirteen, I was the bunny. Everybody's bunny. Seriously, I had pellets in my shorts after the race. Ouch. If you ran the Instant Classic, you are quite welcome for the inspiration and entertainment I provided.

By mile eighteen, I was out of gas. At twenty-one I completely bonked and was reduced to thinking thoughts like, "Just run twenty steps, you can do that."

My death march continued until mile twenty-five. I smiled and jogged through the aid stations, but it was misery. Realizing that I would be visible to the few remaining spectators when I came out the woods, I forced myself to run like I was enjoying myself.

As soon as I hit open trail near the finish line Camille, the ebullient race director, came over the the loud speakers. "Is that you, Bill." Of course I couldn't speak, so I just waved my arms over my head. Not easy. "Hey, is this your first marathon"? I pumped my fists in the air.

My daughter Heidi high-fived me as I hit the last straight-away. Then she ducked under the orange tape and we ran it in hand in hand.

All in all, I'd guess that my lack of strategy cost me an extra hour on the course. There will be faster finishes, but none happier.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Change of Direction

Well, it's been a while since I've posted about our adoption, but my family and I  haven't been sitting still. This adoption journey we've been on has taken a sharp, unexpected turn. 

As you probably know by now, the Russian government has outlawed all adoptions by Americans. The news came out the morning after our home study was completed. For a while, we held on to the hope that this cruel law would be overturned. Or that exceptions would be made. Or that adoptions already in progress would be allowed to move forward. 
It soon became evident that the door to Russia was bolted shut. At least for now. If we've learned anything from our journey, it's the truth of this Psalm. 
Thy way is in the sea, 
And thy path in the great waters, 
And thy footsteps are not known. 
(Psalm 77:19)
I really don't know why the Lord allowed this to happen. And I can't be certain of exactly where He's leading us. But even as my heart aches over Tim and Ana, I know that He is in control, and that He loves them more than I ever can. I will never forget Tim and Ana, and will continue to pray. Perhaps someday, they may still join our family.

In the meantime, there are many, many children in their same situation. Children without a loving family who face a life on the street if they age out of their orphanage. 
Estelle (not her real name) is one of those children. She's in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, and she has about a year to go before she'll be forced to leave. I don't want to see that happen, and so Val and I are working hard to bring her into our home. At the same time, we're open to adopting other children on the same trip.
As of today, we're in the process of updating our home study for the new country. Piles of paperwork still await. And, Lord willing, Estelle will join our other beautiful daughters this year. Perhaps she'll bring more brothers or sisters home with her; we just don't know. But our eyes are still on the Lord; we're trusting in Him to guide us.