Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heading Our Separate Ways

The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived.  Mywife and daughterare on their final leg of thier drive to Mobile AL., to wait for the arrival of Raelynn Sarah Hust.  I am finishing the last touches of packing to head on my journey to Ethiopia.  The waiting is over.

At this point, there is not much any of us can do.  The next week is going to be dynamic, with me half a world away and our new daughter expected to arrive somewhere in the middle of that journey.  I feel like I'm on a ride at the amusement park.  You get in, buckle up and you go where the ride takes you.  You can't get out in the middle, you've comitted yourself.

And yet, I am at total peace.  As crazy as this may look from the outside, so many things have come together in such a way, I can only believe it is still going to work out.

So off I go, into one of the biggest adventures of my life.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The title of this essay is something I wanted to write about during the long period of quiet between my last two posts.  I'm sure I started the essay a couple of times and ended up deleting it because I could never finish it properly. 

There is a path that runs from Puyallup to White Plains called the Foothills Trail.  It is 28 miles long.  The stretch from Puyallup to Orting is about 10 miles.  I have driven it, ridden on it and I have run on it.  The drive takes 10 minutes; riding on my bike takes 30 minutes; running takes about 60.

When you drive by the path, your first thought is, "I can't run that!" When you ride it, you think, "That's a nice little jaunt."  When you run it, you think, "Holy Cow, is this ever going to end?  AND, I have to run home!"  However, as you transition from the car to the bike to running, your persective changes.  Things slow down progressively, and with it, your thoughts.  You have more time to notice things, and you get to appreciate sights and sounds those in the cars will never see.  It's the same path, seen three different ways.

Today, the birth mother called to inform us that all of the consent forms have been signed by her.  This situation is one where the mother has very few choices.  If she does not find a home for her child, it will go to the State, and nobody, including the State wants that.  So, in a matter of exactly two weeks, all the work is done, and we are waiting for the child to be born.

The perspective from here is surreal.  The 20+ months of waiting and over 50 mothers don't quite have the same emotional bearing on my life as they once did.  Sure, I remember alot of them, and I remember the challenges and lessons learned form each of them.  But the pain of saying "yes" and not being chosen or saying "no" and wondering "what if?", are already fading into the recesses of my memory.

Which brings me to my first point:  Your current perspective is temporary.  It can only be based on what current information you readily have at your disposal, so don't put too much stock in it.  The chances are very good it is going to change.  While riding on the STP, the last 20 miles were pure agony.  I didn't think I had enough in me to complete it.  Two weeks removed from the event, the pain is forgotten and I would probably do it again.

The second point is the one thing your perspective changes on the most: your resiliency.  Once you have been through the challenge, your perspective on what you think you can endure changes.  Most often you come out a much stronger person, able to accomplish more than you ever thought your were capable of.

So, don't lose your perspective.  Keep it, and maintain it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When Kids and Bikes Converge

I realize it has been awhile since I last posted.  This was not by design, but rather because things got too hectic, trying to manage kids and bikes.

Last weekend, July 9 - 10, I participated in the Seattle to Portland Bike Classic (STP) to raise money for my missions trip to Ethiopia.  When you spend 20 hours on a bike riding 200 miles, you have alot of time with your thoughts.

While I was riding, I reflected on what was going on in our adoption process.  Over Memorial Day weekend, Beth and I had been wrestling for about two weeks over a child in Georgia that had a condition called schizencephaly (for more information, please see the following link  As bad as this condition sounds, the child had had a recent ultrasound, and her condition had been upgraded significantly.  We pressed on, seeking guidance from friends, family and God.

Ultimately, and heartbreakingly, we declined and sent an email to the adoption agency.  The response surprised us; our profile, which was supposed to have been overnighted to Atlanta, had been sent to Grand Rapids, Michigan by mistake, effectively taking us out of the running.  Also, the other two couples who were also considering the child, backed out as well. 

Sunday morning of the ride, somewhere near St. Helens, Oregon, I get an email on Facebook from a friend.  Offering words of encouragement, she mentioned that she wanted to talk to me during the week.  Exhausted from already riding 160 miles, I put the BlackBerry away, and finished my ride.

Tuesday, July 13, this friend calls me at work.  She and her husband are also in the adoption process, and she shared with me her latest opportunity.  Thinking she was looking for counsel or support, I listenend intently, as she shared her story.  The child is in Alabama, the mother is caucasion, the father African American, and the lawyer was having trouble placing this child out of state, which was the mother's request.  And the baby was a girl.  However, my friend and her husband were not in a position to take this child, and I was sad for them.  Been there, done that.

What I didn't see was that my friend was trying to get us to consider this child.  However, even after an, "I don't want to pressure you but..."  I still didn't get it.  In my estimation, this was too far out of our realm of possibility because this was a private adoption, and we were commited to our relationship to our agency.  I didn't even share my conversation with Beth until after dinner, because I thought the news would be discouraging.  I could not have been more wrong.

Within 48 hours and with the help of my friend, the doors flew open, and we are on track to adopt this little girl.
Here is the kicker.  The due date for the baby is August 25th.  That means that I will be in Ethiopia, with my mission team, working with the adoption ministry when our daughter will be born.

The description of this blog, while not easily seen above states, "My journey of faith, to adotion, for adoption and to Portland.  This chapter started on my bike to Portland, and may culminate while I am in Ethiopia. 

How good is that?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

10 Things I Learned on the Path

Here are some observations I made while training for the 2008 Chicago Marathon.  While this doesn't refer specifcally to biking, the same principles apply, and I will refer to this essay from time to time:

10. You have to start somewhere, and getting started is the hardest part. Making changes is tough. I was not a runner by any stretch of the imagination, and I really was not looking forward to this quest. But I wanted to challenge myself and make some lifestyle changes, so I started. I got up every morning and did what my schedule told me. 5 months later, I completed a marathon.

9. You can't start at the end. You don't just get up one morning and run 26.2 miles. Constant focus on the end goal will either defeat you or make you impatient. You do what you have to do for that day.

8. Break things down into manageable goals. In my training, I broke my runs down into how many water and nutrition breaks I would take. During the marathon, I ran from water station to water station. I always had a goal I knew I could reach. As I achieved each goal, I got closer to the finish line, and before I knew it, I was there. I would never let myself think about how far I still had yet to go.

7. Toenails are for sissies. While running in the marathon, I kept seeing signs on shirts and on the side of the course displaying this truth. It wasn't until got to the end of the race that I realized I had a blood blister under my toenail, and I too am going to lose a nail. The point is, losing a nail is a sacrifice runners expect to make. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

6. There is no room for negativity. During the course of my training, I kept running into a "two mile" wall. When I went on my longer runs, I seemed to crash two miles before the end. After much analysis, it turned out that at the two mile mark, I would "see" the finish line, recognize how tired I was, and I would shut down. One negative thought would cause my leg to cramp up. We have that much control over ourselves.

5. What you put into yourself is what you get out. Note: When you eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food the night before a 16 mile run, don't expect much. The next morning, ten miles into a hilly course, I was done. Out of gas. I walked four miles home in the heat, and eventually had to be picked up. This lesson also applies to other facets of life as well. What you are putting into your body, mind and spirit is what you get out.

4. You HAVE to rest. One of the beauties of running on a schedule is the day where all it says is "REST". You look forward to that day, because after a 40-mile week, you need a break. So I took rest days seriously. You should too.

3. You can't let one setback defeat you. On one particular week, I had just completed a 16-mile run, done a full week of training pain-free, and was setting out for a nice 12-mile run. 5 miles into it, my leg locked up and I found myself sitting on the side of path, bewildered. I tried to work through it, but the cramp wouldn't let up. I had to walk the 5 miles home, and was utterly defeated. I began to lose hope that a marathon was attainable. But come Tuesday, I got up, ran my miles for the day, and just kept following the schedule as if I had never had the setback. Although my longest run for the period was 16 miles, I refused to let that convince me that I could not do 26.2.

2. If you are struggling to find time with God, go for a run. When I first started, I hated being alone with my thoughts. I would crank up my MP3 player, anything to distract myself. By the end, I would leave my MP3 player at home, and as I settled into my run I would say, "So, God, what do you want to talk about today? We have a couple of hours."

1. Don't scrunch your toes. When I started running, I would hit the three-mile mark and experience tightness in my left leg. It was like clockwork, Some days I would run through it, most, I ran with it. On the last morning of training before the race, I was doing my running inventory, "How's my breathing? How are my legs? Am I relaxed?" When I got down to my feet, I realized my right foot was really relaxed and my left foot was tight. Upon further examination, it dawned on me that for five months, I had been running with my toes curled, which also explained why I had blisters on the tips of my toes! All this time, I had been running with a limp. Some of you reading this right now may be running through life with a limp, and it's hampering you from enjoying the full experience. But we've all grown so accustomed to the pain, we think it is normal. Trust me, it's not. If there is something that is causing you to limp, start working on correcting it. It may take awhile. It took me five months, but in the end, I completed a marathon with no leg pain, and I'm gearing up to do another challenge.

Gotta run,


Monday, April 25, 2011

Grace in Unusual Places

Two weeks ago, the missions team began preparations for teaching Vacation Bible School to the Ethiopian orphans we will be serving.  Of all the activities we will be doing, this one scared me the most.  I can put in the floor in a church, deliver animals to widows an orphans, but get up and do a skit in front of 100 children... not so much.

However, about half way through the skit preparations, it began to dawn on me.  All this year, I had been participating in AWANA.  I was the leader for four Sparkies, ages five and six.  I also had to do a skit in front of a room full of five to seven year-olds, and keep their attention for 20 minutes. 

This was a real stretch out of my comfort zone. The last time I was in any type of play was 31 years ago, in the 8th Grade.  But I did pull it off, and afterwards some of the kids came up and thanked me for my skit.

You see, God had been preparing me all year for this missions trip, by placing me in AWANA.  As Pastor Brett said in his message two weeks ago, "God doesn't prepare you for great works, He prepares you for good works."

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Thursday morning April 7, I woke up to the sight of snow on the ground.  The ten-day forecast showed nothing but rain.  Ten days prior to that, the forecast showed nothing but rain.  This year appears to be headed toward being one of the rainiest Springs on record for many decades.  I cross-train indoors and ride on a trainer, waiting for a break in the clouds, hoping I will be in good enough shape to ride 200 miles twelve weeks from now.

The same is true for the adoption process.  We were approved for adoption back in December of 2009.  Sixteen months later, we are still waiting and hoping for our second adopted child.  That is not to say there has not been any activity.  Far from it.

By our estimate, we have had approximately 40 mothers come through our lives, each with their own unique story.  In all of but three weeks, we have either been waiting on a mother to decide, or we have been wresting with our own decisions as to whether we want to be considered or not.

Three times we were picked.  Twice, the mothers changed their minds and backed out.  Once, I backed out, a decision that still haunts me.  It was a special needs childs whose needs were beyond what I thought we were capable of handling.

What I have found most difficult, and yet most rewarding is how waiting has shaped me.  In some instances, a child came through my life to shape an issue in my character that needed to be addressed.  The child I backed out on opened my eyes to an area of my life that needed fixing in order for me to move forward as a better person.  Other times, the mother simply chose another family, and that opportunity slipped away.

Today is one of those days where we have no solid prospects for a child.  It is quiet on the adoption front, and raining outside.  And here I sit, waiting... hopeful for a break in the clouds.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Welcome to my Mid-life Crisis

This year, I turned 45.  To celebrate, I have decided that I am going to do not one, but two things on my bucket list; ride the Seattle to Portland Bike Classic, and go on a missions trip to Africa.

This blog will document my journey from three different perspectives.  The first will be to update you on  the progress towards the missions trip I am going to take to Ethiopia.  I will post updates on events leading up to, and while I am in, Ethiopia.

The second will be to document my journey on the bike.  Training for an event opens your eyes to lessons that not only apply to the event, but to life in general. I will share those perspectives as they come to me.

The last perspective will be my family's journey towards adopting our second child.  Many of you have asked me for updates, and this will be a good forum to keep you appraised of our current situation.

I am grateful that you have decided to come along for the ride.  As the old saying goes, "It is not the destination, but the journey to get there."  I know where I want to go, what I am not certain of is how I am going to get there, or what the destination will be like.

Happy trails,