Amazing Feat/Feet

You might have missed it on Saturday but the world of athletics was shaken up. Not by a big disclosure of performance enhancing drug abuse but the lowering of the world record for the men’s marathon. And an attempt at going under 2hours for the same race. #breaking2

However if you read between the lines there is inspiration for all of us not just for some of us that geek out over the times, the splits, the speed….

But Eliud Kipchoge, a 32-year-old Kenyan, ran 26.2 miles faster than anybody in history, finishing the time trial in 2:00:25.

Yes it was…

  • A time trail, so not one of the big time marathons from around the world.
  • A bit of a publicity stunt by Nike. (don’t worry Adidas is attempting it soon with its stable of runners).
  • As many of the controllable conditions were controlled.
    • Running on the Formula One track at Monza, Italy (the fastest in the world), with the least amount of turns.
    • Numerous pacers to help the 3 designated athletes.
    • A carefully chosen start time and day for weather purposes.
    • The food and fluid handed to them so they could keep moving.
    • Some new amazing shoe developed of course by Nike.
    • …..

The list goes on. And from that the haters, doubters and purists were everything from skeptical, even mad. The old record, set at the Berlin Marathon back in 2014 of 2:02.57 might/will still “stand” and the IAAF hasn’t decided if it will ratify this record yet.

BUT…. all the explanation aside, this is an amazing feat. Kipchoge managed to hang on and while not smash the 2hrs mark (which experts predicted that humanity wouldn’t reach this time for another 75years) showed what is and can be possible.

And while he didn’t reach the sub2 goal, look a while and what he did do. He smashed the old record. All because some people got together and said lets try this, we won’t know unless we try. And if they didn’t start with that thought of lets try this they would be still sitting on the couch now talking about it. The old record would still be there and not a revised goal of 2:00.25. Sure they didn’t get there but they got somewhere and closer.

Makes you wonder how much we sit around and wonder but then don’t even try. If we don’t get to ‘our goal’, we got somewhere and that was better than where we were.

In case you are wondering thats 4.34mins/mile. Try doing that once. Then repeating 25 more times… IN A ROW.

The New Normal

The New Normal is a expression that has gained some attention recently. Whether it’s the days getting shorter (or longer) depending on which hemisphere/country you live in. Or a new way of doing business from a Trump Administration. Or perhaps getting outside more with better weather to improve ones health though fitness. The New Normal is what notice and adapt to in light of something we were previously familiar with.

For Robin & I our new normal exists on almost every level. Even down to driving on the left-hand side of the road. Ones opinion on a new normal can create a range of emotions. And sometimes new normals don’t last. For a couple of weeks after we arrived home in NZ Moana was waking up at around 400-430am…. UGH. We wondered if this was our new normal. Thankfully she has adjusted and sleeping is quite regular now.

Some people have asked us why we left the US to move to NZ (my home). The easy & shallow answer is to humorously say there were 10 reasons at 10%. While there is some truth in that, part of it was to find a new normal.

We face multiple new normals and most people have new normals forced on them. Like driving on the left. We signed up for a new normal because our old normal was not working long term. As we prioritized and confirmed that family, faith, & a balanced life were important (& those are in no particular order) we realized that our then current normal was not consistently having those 3 topics at or near the top of our priorities. We aren’t afraid of hard work, but our normal was not normal by any stretch.

There is a story that tells of 2 frogs. 1 frog is in a pot of water and the heat is slowly turned up. Each time the heat is turned up the frog realizes but justifies it and remains in the pot of water thinking its got time to escape when it gets “really hot”. The water temp continues to increase but each time the frog acknowledges the temp increase but remains. Until eventually the water reaches a temp where the frog is too weak to escape because the water is too hot. The 2nd frog is thrown into a pot of hot water and instantly recognizes the high temp and immediately jumps out.

What happens when the normal isn’t exactly a healthy normal? And what about the future of this normal? Who decides when its no longer normal or becomes something else?


Do we ever…

After safely arriving back home in NZ we have (or what we thought was…) completed a big time of DISCERNMENT for both Robin & I. The “conclusion” of that has led us here. I say “conclusion” because I have sense that the D word never ends. Or do we ever…?

While I won’t go into the timing, when and exact moment of starting to discern a time to return home, because that’s not my point. I suspect the D-word is an insatiable beast. And one that is never fully satisfied. And actually that’s a good thing.

We often in our faith jump on the journey bandwagon. Journey this… and journey that… And that is true, however we at times get sidelined, freaked out, intimidated by the whole thought of discernment, like it’s some ugly jacket we have to wear for a while because all our other clothes are dirty and we need to do laundry.

I mention all this because now for us we find ourselves D-wording topics like… where will we live, and what ministry opportunities will we follow. Robin has several at this point and we want the… ahem… discernment to be “right”. Uh-oh that means we need to put on that ugly jacket again and wear it around for a few days or weeks until we magically strike the answer through the next traffic light being green and being the clear sign we needed or…. WRONG. Well at least as I see it.

What if we embraced discernment as…, well its always there and lets not get all freaked out about it. That while discernment as it is often defined as prayer & patience is true, we have all God’s children and God cares for us.

This definition or understanding shouldn’t give us the opportunity either to ‘switch off’ and become willows in the wind-blown in every-which-way direction. However see it perhaps as underwear that we put on everyday (hopefully). That something we are glad we wear, but aren’t always conscientious its there.

Or put another way, how we have moved to a place where we now see for example recycling as normal and not something we have to go out of our way to do. our life carries on and we have incorporated recycling into our everyday life. Paying attention to those moments when we get a glimpse of reality, clarity and dare is say it discernment.

Our Backyard

Today was a good day! After spending the week in Wellington for meetings with my new co-workers it was nice to get back to the South Island for the weekend.

Today dawned a clear day so we headed up into the mountains. Only about 1hour from my parents place, where we are staying for now.

We will be spending lots of time here. I grew up playing in these mountains. And now this is in some ways my office, in July I get to run a camp up here in these same mountains.

So to introduce Moana this her new backyard was… well you decide.






What the world needs now is….

Today as we walked along the concourse to our flight from raleigh we wanted to give Moana as much opportunity to walk as we would be sitting a lot. She loves to walk and has been a walking/hiking machine this past week. 

As we walked she was joyfully walking along saying hello to EVERYONE & waving at the same time. Her smile and voice was making everyone smile, stop, wave & say hello. 

What struck me the most was her not a care or fear in the world outlook. Only doing what she knows how to do…. be polite… smile…wave…say hello. 

And in this seemingly increasingly verbally combative world we live in her default kicked in reminding us all that what the world needs now is ….  (que music) love love love

In case you were wondering

We have 3 more sleeps left in the USA. 2 in Raleigh and 1 in California. Many of you have wondered about coming to NZ. Well, here’s an incentive…

In case you were wondering…

From Dust You Came &…

Today we did something very meaningful and something that the likes of will never be seen again in the town of Lucama, NC.

You see Lucama is where Robin’s, McClenny side of the family are from. Her father was born and raised there and several generations before him, in and around that area. Its flat, its hot, its agricultural land and while economically has seen better days there is are strong ties within this community and the land.

Oh yes the land. In NZ for some we have a tradition of when a baby is born that the parents keep the Placentia or afterbirth. Yes sounds gross and before you go there …. no we don’t eat it. We call it Whenua (Fen-ua) which translated means land. It is the tradition that after some time you return it to the land (or dust) by burying it back in the ground and…

Most often the whenua is buried in a place with ancestral connection, and is considered a physical and spiritual link to the place of birth.

We took our sweet time in getting to this point today but now seems especially appropriate to do it and do it here as we prepare to depart. We joke that Moana was made in NZ but born in the USA, however burying her Whenua here in Lucama today was definitely the right thing to do for lots of reasons.

Some humor is that when Moana was born we had to sign all sorts of paperwork to get it. I wonder if in New Zealand they just give it to you. It was given to us in a hazmat bag at the hospital and until today it was in that same hazmat bag. All the time chilling in the freezer.

As we go through this season of Lent, I couldn’t help but think of that today and the words often spoken on Ash Wednesday of “From dust you came and to dust you shall return”. Well today Moana you got your connection to the land reinforced. And while your connection to the land will exist on opposite corners of the world, you will always know the land and what “places”  you came from.




Click here for more info on Whenua