Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just a quick update to let you all know I'm still alive and kicking ;-)

I am now returning to school from a meeting in Denver with the USOC Athlete Advisory Committee. As some of you know I was recently elected to Athlete Representative for the sport of Archery. This meeting helped me understand my role and responsibilities within both the U.S. Olympic Committee as well as within my NGB. I am excited about becoming actively involved in representing the archery athletes and advocating their rights. The meeting was also very resourceful in that I met reps from all the other sports, some familiar faces but many unfamiliar, and I learned about the processes their NGB's work through and our unified function as a committee.

School is going well and keeping me on my toes. Only five weeks left, then I am off and running to archery competitions and various training locations. We are still looking for a home church while attending Texas A&M, but are enjoying meeting the vast community of Christians in the area. Mandy and I appreciate everyone's prayers and support as we continue this transition to "college life."

God is faithful and continues to teach me each day about trusting Him more with the little things and everything that would stress me out. I am reading a book by Brennan Manning called "Ruthless Trust" that has been an excellent contribution to my quiet times. The Lord is using this time away from my family to teach me to depend on Him alone for strength, companionship, wisdom, and sustaining faith. Since being at home encourages me to just rely on my family to guide and instruct me. I am learning to listen for His voice, rather than be so distracted by all the noise around me. The most challenging thing about this transition has been the multiplication of having so much to do and seemingly less time to do it all in. So I am learning time management as well :-) The difficulty is when there are so many people I want to stay in contact with but am unable to do so faithfully because of all that is on my plate between school, training, competing and now this new archery rep. position in which I travel five times a year. Needless to say I am busy, but God enables me to complete all that is necessary, and sustains me through the process. He is El Shaddai - the All-Sufficient One.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Been Awhile

Hey everyone!

It's been quite sometime since I've posted. A lot has changed in my life over the past several months. I moved to Texas and began attending at Texas A&M University as a Political Science major. It has been a great experience, but difficult adjusting. Balancing my time has been challenging. I am enjoying my classes though and am able to keep up with my shooting as much as possible, which isn't quie as much as I'm used to.

Speaking of which...
I went to the World Archery Festival in Las Vegas a few weeks ago to compete. It was a great trip! My family met my sister and me there and it was so good to see so many dearly loved archery friends (my other family). I ended up winning the compeititon (much to my surprise). God is so faithful, even in our lack, He proves to be our All-Sufficiency. Not that I will always win, or always shoot high when I haven't practiced as much as is needed. But He is faithful and He blesses us with good things. I just saw my results at Vegas as a special blessing from Him.

I am now shooting Indoor Nationals and just shot a personal best in competition for my first round with a 296 (another big surprise). I'm really working on just trusting God, day by day. If He is who I am living for, then I will accomplish what I can for Him and pray that He be glorified. But it can be hard. Living for self is so natural. Being success focused rather than God focused. Even when it just comes in the form of your to-do list running your life. Always the rat race of getting places on time and doing everything that fills our plate. Thank God we live by His grace, we accomplish what is needed, and that He is ever present to carry our burdens. I just need to remember that. I don't have to carry it all by myself. And in my self-sufficient habits, I try, then fall. He is always there to lovingly pick me up, dust me off, and gently take my burden from me. He is so patient, to be there every time I make that same mistake of attempting to handle everything independantly. This week I really worked on praying, meditating on the Word and praising the Lord when I began to feel stress. Would you know, this week was much more smooth than the past several. Learning to lean on the Everlasting Arm ;-)

I miss writing here and will try to keep up better in the future. I have more to wrie but will have to wait til next time. Goodnight!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wow! Yes it certainly has been a long while since my last post. Just wanted to write and give an update on the current happenings in my life.

It's official, my sister and I are going to be Aggies!!! Come Janurary, we will be moving down to College Station to attend Texas A&M! We are so excited and very honored to be given this privilege. We will be able to continue our aspirations in archery since we will become part of their team, both training and competing. This is an incredible blessing since we were wondering how we were going to mesh school and archery at the same time. The situation for both at A&M is ideal. Mandy and I are convinced that the Lord is leading us this direction and are looking forward to the upcoming changes in our lives, finding out where He will take our paths.

We just returned a couple weeks ago from a two week tour in Israel! It was an amazing trip! One of my favorite parts of visiting Israel is meeting up with old friends who have become like family to us... both from the U.S. and from Israel. We traveled to Tel Aviv first, visiting Joppa, Caesarrea Maritima, Mt. Carmel, Meggido and drove through Nazareth on our way to the Sea of Galilee. We stayed in Tibereas while we toured the Galilee area where we saw Caesarea Phillipi, Capernaum and the Golan Heights and drove down to the Dead Sea where we floated in the water that is 1/3 salt. We went to Massada (a favorite stop)and Qumran, then started our accent up to Jerusalem! This is one of the most exciting moments of the trip! In Jerusalem we were busy bees! We saw the Holocaust Museum (very heartbreaking), Bethlehem, the Pools of Bethesda and St Anne's Cathedral, the Western Wall and Rabbinic Tunnels, the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount, the Jewish Quarter, the Garden of Gethsemane.. and then he climax --The Garden Tomb. This is the site that protestants hold to as the site of the crucifixion and resurrection. Regardless if it truly is the site or not. We gather there in commemoration of the ACT of our Saviour rising from the dead, sealing our hope of salvation under the New Covenenant. We had a very impacting mini church service there and took communion.

Upon returning I began reading "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom after finishing reading "Discipline -- The Glad Surrender" by Elizabeth Elliot. I finished "The Hiding Place" earlier this week and was both moved and challenged by Corrie's life, faith, courage and focus on the ultimate goal of knowing and sharing the intense love of Christ. He faith infiltrated EVERY phase of her life and sustained her through her experiences in prisons and a German concentration camp. Her testimony is incredible. That she was able to stay alive and keep both hope in her situation and love for those around her (including her persecuters). I highly recommend both books I mentioned above. "Discipline" is an excellent book on the marks of the life of a disciple of Christ. It is a challenging book but as usual, Elizabeth Elliot speaks directly to her topics rather than wasting time trying to be appealing in her approach. She is candid and honest. And for those of you who know Mandy, I have grown to really appreciate the direct approach. ;-) I am just beginning a book on the life of William Wilberforce that is a quick read (hopefully) and highly inspirational. For any of you who have not seen the movie, Amazing Grace, you must! It is also on the life and the slavery abolition work of Wilberforce in England.

That it all for now. I am wishing all of you who are reading a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Day! We have SO MUCH to give thanks for in this country. Even if the election didn't turn out the way we had hoped, we still live in a free nation and enjoy liberties and abundance far beyong what most others elsewhere can imagine. God is still on the throne, Christ is still above all else, and we who recognize Him as our Saviour, could never offer enough thanks to Him for the gift of redemption from our sin! We have a God who is good, faithful and true! And One who is directly and intricately involved in our individual lives, showing us His grace, mercy and love day by day. No matter who you are or what you HAVE, we have GREAT reason to give thanks to our God on this day and every! Be blessed!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

I am staying incredibly busy in my post Olympic season! I have had a ton of thank you notes to write and stuff to do before leaving on our vacation to Israel.

Today, though, I met the Governor of Wyoming in a personal visit! It was a great opportunity I received in a letter of invitation when I returned from Beijing. When I came into the Capital building today, our local TV station was waiting to interview me. It was really cool! Then I met Governor Dave Freudenthal. He presented me with a certificate and a Wyoming flag that has flown over the Capital building. Such a special gift! Gov. Freudenthal is part of the Democratic party, he made many remarks and digs at Republicans during our conversation. I decided to not be offended or contradict him since I was his guest and obligated to be respectful. I had a very engaging discussion with him about civic involvement, holding office and the issues Wyoming deals with the most. He was very encouraging to me. All in all, it was a privilege to meet and visit with the Governor.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On the road again...

I am now in the middle of Missouri after touring Evangel University today in Springfield. As you know, part of my family and I are on a VERY LONG road trip to look into various universities my sister and I are interested in attending in the near future. We have had a WONDERFUL trip so far! We have been able to see many dear friends along the way as we stop to sleep then get on the road and drive some more. We've stoppped in Washington DC, Little Rock AR, Charleston SC as we visit Regent University, Charleston Southern, Evangel and Grand Canyon. The schools all look fantastic! Sometimes I think that maybe going to visit each is only making the decision harder. I continue to pray for the Lord's direction in this decision. I will continue to shoot and compete... wherever I go. I am so excited about this coming new change in my life!

Tomorrow we will be having breakfast with my grandparents. I am looking forward to this very much because I think it has been about a year since I've seen them. Then ... on the road again!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Home on the Range

I have been thoroughly enjoying my time at home since my return from Beijing. I am taking a temporary break from shooting and using this time to catch up on mail, email, and phone calls I have missed over the past month. AND spend some time with friends an family that I have been unable to see or get together with over the past year or so.

A very good friend of mine, Erika, will be getting married next month. So I visited with her for a couple days over the weekend. I haven't seen her much this year since she lives in another city. And after her ceremony she will be leaving for Japan for three years where her husband will be stationed. It was wonderful just getting to be together and go to church, then to the mountains to hike and hunt for prairie dogs.

I've also been working in the office at our dance studio and trying to get organized after being at the Games and bringing so much back with me. I will need to get going on my scrapbooking immediately! I was home for my mom's birthday which was wonderful! I missed her so much while I was in China! I would call on the phone lines the USOC provided the American athletes and just talk to her for as long as I was allowed. She faithfully emailed me while I was in China both before and after my competition. She is a great source of support to me.

What Now?
Now that the Games are completed, I get the next few months to regroup, have some time off and travel. Next week all the girls in my family will be going on a road trip! We will drive to the east coast visiting friends and prospective colleges on the way there and back. I plan on beginning school (finally) in January. I held off from college after high school to pursue my archery ambitions. I didn't know I would continue to train and compete for the next Olympics when I finished in Athens. I have completely enjoyed the last 7 years I devoted to archery. But I realy know it's time for a change in my life and look forward to living in a new place and going to school. I am still undecided in what major and what school. But I know I will continue to shoot whenever not studying and compete as much as possible. I am excited about incorporating something new in my life, and expanding my perspective of my future. I can tell the Lord has been preparing my heart because I am not one for loving change. But, for the first time, I feel ready to move on and begin a new chapter. I don't know what the Lord has in store for the next several years, but I am thrilled to be following His path. I am praying for direction.

But when it comes to the Olympics... I believe I will be back to train full time and pursue London in 2012. The Olympics are kind of addicting. The thrill and excitement, the people you meet and the incredible memories are priceless. So... we will see what happens. The future is in God's hands, not mine. But if He wills, I think I will try to make a third Olympic Team in four years.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

In Closing...

Tonight was Closing Ceremonies and it was incredible!!! For any of you who did not see it, please watch it when it is broadcasted in the USA. It was so well done!!! Fireworks, music... and my favorite part was the dance expression of the torch with the people on the large rack in climbing gear, dancing and dressed in silver and red costumes. Then the banners that were raised... it was a magnificent display! Khatuna was flag bearer and she did an EXCELLENT job, though we didn't see her at all while she had the flag. She was so honored to take that role!

It's hard to believe it's over. Four years of anticipation and training and preparation for what seems to have ended so quickly. But at the same time, I am SO ready to come home. I leave Tuesday for home and will be returning exactly one month after my arrival date. I am so excited to NOT be busy. To see friends. To take our long awaited road trip. To visit Israel in November. And to go to college in January. I feel like a new chapter is beginning in my life and I am so excited to see where the Lord will lead me. I will continue to shoot. But I am very ready for more than archery to fill my days. This was an amazing experience and I feel so privileged to have been one of the 2008 Olympic Athletes selected to represent my country, the United States of America! God has blessed me with this honor, has given me memories to last a lifetime and taught me valuable lessons for my future in archery as well as everyday life. Now, may I just put these lessons to use!

Thank you all for your comments, prayers, letters and encouragement. It may sound easy doing what I do, being here, competing and just being an athlete. I've had several people mention how it seems so easy for me to be a christian and live the way I do. But I would just like to tell you, it's NOT! And your prayers and encouragement has strengthened me, pushed me to keep going and helped me to refocus many times. I have THE SAME struggles every single person has and if it were not for the grace of my Lord Jesus, I wouldn't be here.

I am including a hew pictures here from my time in China that have been highlights to my trip. God bless and keep you!