One day, in about 2014, our family was at the table, talking over our dog-breeding business, another venture we have enjoyed for many years, long before moving to the farm. We needed a name for both the dog business and for our farm and were brainstorming to come up with something unique and recognizable, simple and meaningful to us. I had previously thought we might use the name “Woodhaven,” having loved the sound and the fact that it described our own little haven, surrounded by woods. However, we quickly found out that this is a fairly often-used name and wouldn’t work for our purposes. Someone suggested that German should be incorporated, to honor Gero’s Austrian roots and his mother tongue. Someone else asked, “What are dogs known for, since it’s describing our dog business, too?” Various ideas were thrown around, and finally Gero said, “How about ‘renn’ . . . . for ‘run’ . . . dogs love to run . . . it is a simple word and incorporates the German that we were looking for. . . .” and one of us said: “RENNwood!” and thus our name was born. As we talked about this new name and what its deeper significance would be, it became clear that “running” was a great theme for our family and our farm. Not only do our dogs love to run, but we ourselves are running–after excellence, after new knowledge, after deeper relationships with each other, after meaningfulness in our vocations and hobbies. Mostly, though, we are running the race God has set before us, running towards him, running with perseverance, the race marked out for us. I love the words of Hebrews 12:1-3, and they perfectly encapsulate our greatest wish for our farm, our family, and our lives in Christ:

“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

As we faithfully pursue all that God has set before us at Rennwood Farm, we keep this in mind and pray that each of us, whose lives are hidden in Christ, will faithfully run straight towards him, keeping the goal of eternity clearly in the forefront of all that we do here on earth!