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!

Friday, August 22, 2008


I think there is a different kind of victory we live as Christians. Different from an athletic victory. It's not one you can hold proof of in your hands like a medal. It's not a victory you FEEL everyday or every moment. But it's a victory that will last an eternity. And it's affects are so much more far reaching than any athletic victory we could be honored to gain. It is a victory over sin, over self, over the world and it's passions, a victory over our very real and very present enemy. There was one such victory I experienced a few days ago when God gave me the privilege of introducing a friend to Jesus! I am so excited! Thank you for all the prayers that have been going out on my behalf. The Lord is working mightily, even when we can't see it!

It has been busy here even though I have only been working out, meeting friends and sightseeing (with some shopping too). I bought a beautiful, custom fit, chinese styled silk dress. We visited the Forbidden City and many of the hospitality centers set up by sponsors for the USA Olympic Athletes. Today we visited the Nike Center where my teammate and I each received an overwhelming free gift! 4 pairs of shoes, shirts, two bags, shorts, sunglasses, a watch, and socks. We then went shopping at the USA House for USA Olympic wear for gifts.

Just prior to that we learned that Khatuna, my teammate, was elected as the flagbearer for the Closing Ceremonies! This is a huge honor and I am so happy for her!!! She is shocked! She says this is better than winning the gold medal, to have her country support her like this! For those of you who don't know Khatuna, she is originally from the country of Georgia. Her parents and loved ones are still there and have had to flee to safety from the recent Russian invasion. She has been very strong and competed like a champion in spite of this great concern she was dealing with at the same time. She placed 5th in the Games. So now she will carry our star spangled banner for her country, the USA, that she loves so much.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I am FINALLY here again to update you on all the action here in Beijing!!! It has been an incredible week!!!

After my last post I took the day off - went far away from archery - and enjoyed some time with friends. It was so nice to just de-stress, not have a busy schedule and be in the company of several godly friends who were here in Beijing. Some of whom were Karen and Judy from Athletes in Action. I met these ladies just prior and during my time in Athens 2004 where they were a great prayer support to me. I had dinner with them Sunday night, we talked and caught up and once again, they encouraged me in the Lord, lifted me up with Scripture and supported me in prayer.

The next day I trained lightly and shot so well!!! My confidence was growing and it was exactly what I needed. One of the only really good days I had shooting just before I competed. That evening my family arrived. I was so excited to see them!!! I only had about an hour to spare but it was of the highest priority that I saw them that night. Especially since I didn't compete till 5pm the next day. It was wonderful to be together with them again though they were all jet-lagged. I think it really contributed to my intention of making a point of enjoying this expereince and not focusing myself to crazy-ness.

On Tuesday, my teammate Khatuna competed in the morning. So I met the home crowd (Wunderles, Ellisons, Wukies, Nichols-Wyoming, and Nichols-Arizona) and was part of her cheering section. She shot so well and won both of her first two matches. I began to feel the heat of the coming match begin. I went back to the village to eat and rest and mentally prepare for the afternoon. It was a real fight to keep my mind positive and not give into the looming pressure. Khatuna could tell I was tense so she talked to me a lot and took me for ice cream before leaving for the field. All day I had been giving it over to the Lord and praying for His will to be done. Well... it started long before that day ;-) But THAT day, the frequency was turned up. One song that I remember coming to mind that day so strong is "I Exalt Thee." I committed my day and performance to the Lord, asked that He would be glorified no matter what happens, that THAT would continue to be my desire through it all, and that He would help me to relax and give me peace and confidence.

I went to the field to begin training. I listened to the song "All I Once Held Dear" over and over. This song is so powerful! I started realizing how incredibly honored I am to even be part of the Olympic Games! To have my moment to perform on stage (aka- archery field)! To have the skill God has given me! Then I started thinking about all the innumerable blessings God has put in my life! But above all - my relationship with Jesus and the sacrifice He made for me to be redeemed completely OUTSHINES EVERY other privilege, gift, opportunity or ambition in life!!! My heart became so grateful for all He has done in me and for me. All of my stress turned to excitement! And finally... I was exactly where I wanted to be mentally and emotionally! I started warming up. Everything was feeling great and I couldn't wait to get in there and shoot my match!

A few ends before I went in, one of my friends from Australia handed me a card from my sister she had just seen in the stands. A little background first - as most of you know, Mandy and I grew up dancing and it holds a very special place in our hearts. One of the MANY common interests we share. Though, dance is much more to us than an "interest" ;-) It's one of those things that makes us come alive!!! Earlier in the week, Mandy had written me an incredibly inspiring email concerning the movie Flashdance. Neither of us have seen the whole movie, but we have seen the end, where she performs at a dance audition. She pointed out the difference of when she started dancing her piece timidly and with mistakes, then stopped. The second time she danced it all the way through, beautifully, breath-takingly and with all her heart, nothing to hold her back. Mandy pointed out that the first time she was dancing for the people watching but the second time, she was dancing for herself, because she LOVED to dance. So when she stopped caring about and considering everyone and everything around her, she was free to offer her best... and ended up blowing the judges away. Then Mandy went on to write out ALL THE WORDS TO THE ENTIRE SONG "What A Feeling" and remind me I'm performing for my audience of One. So... back to the card she sent. On the front it has a dancer and it says "You have the will and you've got the skill.." You open to "Now all you need are the leg-warmers. Go!" And it plays the song "What a Feeling"! It was PERFECT!!! God used that whole process to give me the perspective I needed. I was excited. I was over flowing with joy. And I knew, I was going to enjoy this because I love what I do!

I went into the stadium, fully surrendered to the Lord and ready to shoot my best. Even though my mind was in the right place my body was still reacting to the exciting situation. I walked out confidently and with my head high onto the field where I could hear and see my family and dear dear friends cheering me on! We started shooting and I honestly had no idea what my score or my opponent's score was through it all! This is a big goal for me that I was so happy to achieve. I was very much shooting - One Arrow At A Time! It was a match of faith because feeling is not really there when you shoot in the stadium. I knew what I needed to do in my technique and I just kept on talking myself through and making sure I was focused on those important form goals. But when I would release, I didn't know where the arrow would go because the flood of adrenaline makes everything feel different ;-) My first shot was an X. After that I knew I shot a lot of tens and by the end of it I saw I shot a 114, tying the Olympic record! I won my match but that wasn't the cause for my indescribable joy. It was that I had CONQUERED my fears!!! I had won in that constant competition with myself to reach higher and shoot stronger! And I knew it was fully by the grace of my Lord and Saviour who was guiding my every arrow and giving me strength.

My next match started immediately, which suprised me, but I cut my celebration short to focus on my next 12 arrows again to be shot in the same stadium at the same target. Interestingly, I was more confident this time. I knew what I needed to do and I was more sure of this one. I mean, I had just shot fabulous 2 min. ago. I had a good game plan obviously and I began my match with the same focus and same mental attitude. Only this time, I could feel everything a lot better which was really nice. I was becoming comfortable in this setting. My shots felt GREAT. But they weren't hitting the center. I gave it to the Lord again, repeating that I wanted His will and I was trusting Him to guide me. I feel that I shot really really well. But My hitting wasn't good. I started grouping high right in the 8 ring. This was confusing in consideration of how good my shot was feeling. In hind sight, I should have just moved my sight. But after shooting a 114 not 5 min before, you tend to think your sight is set so it must be you. I ended up shooting a 103 and losing by 2 points.

I was a little shocked. Probably more by how quickly it's over than by anything else. I was sad that I was done, but I didn' give into the tears. Khatuna walked and talked to me as I left the stadium, telling me I shot really well and not letting me forget what's really important in life. It was helpful. Afterward, I met up with my family and the large U.S. representation we had in the stands. I was overwhelmed by the hugs, support and great condition-less love that showered me. My family affirmed that we had put it all in God's hands, His will HAD been done in those moments on the field.

I still don't understand the WHY in where I placed and how quickly I was eliminated. But I know that His plan for me is good. And with all the prayer that had gone out for me through you all, my family, my friends and just about everyone I know (and many many more that I don't know), and the fact that I truly wanted what He has for me... I know that this is what He wanted. No regrets. Terry Wunderle pulled me aside after it was all over and said, "You were good enough to win this, you know. It just wasn't meant to be this time." It hit me then and I replied, "I believe you're right. But this is one of the first times I can walk away from a major event, not having ended up where I wanted to, and still happy in knowing that I gave it my best. And though I was a little disappointed, I wasn't devastated or even upset. Because my identity is not connected any longer to my performance in archery or my results but is found in Christ, I have an amazing peace and security."

This is a big accomplishement, or better worded, fruit of the process the Lord has been working in my life for a couple years now. Anything you place your hope in or depend on to give you purpose or security is going to someday leave you empty and INsecure. God has been emphasizing this to me so much over the past few months. My identity must be in Him, in dying to self and living for Him. Every other purpose or identity is a false one. Because the fact of the matter is - We. Need. God. End of story. Our purpose is to bring Him glory. And that is not always through our own glory. He has His own ways that our higher than our ways and thoughts that are higher than our thoughts. I would like to also say - It Is NOT EASY to let go of all the little things we take pride in, put our identity into and allow to make us feel secure temporarily. It is NOT EASY, to let God have the control, trust Him fully (even out of your comfort zone. And trust me, my friend, you give God the control and HE WILL take you out of your comfort zone! You mark my words! But oh what a grand adventure!), and always put your identity in Jesus. It is a constant struggle against the flesh. And I, by no means, have it down. Understanding something mentally is a far cry from making it a way of life. But when I AM there, there being fully surrendered to Jesus, there is nothing like it and, my dear reader, it is SO worth it!!! No gold medal can replace knowing Christ and living for Him.

So if you've made it this far in my post, A. You're incredibly patient and perseverant ;-) but B. I would like to challenge you to think about where your identity lies. Have you placed it in something (or Someone) that will stand the test of eternity? Or do you know the emptiness and insecurity I have described? Seek God, dear one, place your full trust in the loving hands of Jesus and your identity in Him completely. He has an amazing plan for your life too... "Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you." Is. 30:18. Until I post again, may you continue in His grace.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who commented to me! I love to read your messages and look forward to receiving them so much!!! Your words and prayer support are such blessings. Thank you again.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

I just finished Bible study with Coach Lee this morning. We have been meeting each morning to pray, read from Psalms and Proverbs, and sing hymns. This has been an incredible encouragement to me and has really helped me to stay focused since I've been here. I have been learning new hymns from the back of Coach Lee's Bible, I will sing in english and he in korean half the time. I LOVE the beautiful hymns with their meaningful words!

Yesterday we shot the qualification round. I felt so good going into the competition! I was ready, confident, focused and trusting the Lord with my results. But my scores were not only less than I had expected, they were less than my average! I was disappointed. But I shot well. And upon looking back I wouldn't have done anything different. I gave it my best that day. And though it's hard to accept, I know the Lord placed me where He wanted me. I had more prayer going out for me and I had surrendered it to Him so much, nothing could have gotten in the way of how He meant me to finish in the qualifier. He is God and I am not. Proverbs 10:25 - When the temptest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever. - When this tempest passes, I will still be standing in Christ. And if He needs to strip me of every comfort till I am completely His - this is my desire. I don't understand His plan for me right now, but I know it is for my good. So I will continue to put my trust in Christ alone.

I compete again on Tuesday. I come in ranked 24th and will be shooting confidently once again. Today I am taking the day off and resting. Tomorrow I will train and my family arrives in the afternoon!!!! I can't wait to see them.

There is so much to write to you about!!! Opening Ceremonies was incredible!!! We met and took pictures with President George Bush, the First Lady, the First Daughter and George Bush Sr. It was a magnificent evening! Marching in to the largest stadium I have EVER seen!!! Tons of people!!! It was moving! We looked great, though our outfits were like mini saunas... :-) I will write more later. Have to get to lunch.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Beautiful Serenity

Thanks to all for the emails and the many many prayers going up for me!!! It is such a blessing to have this kind of back up! And I can see the effect as well! My shooting continues to improve as I continue to relax, trust the Lord and be confident. God is faithful! Today in my Bible study I read Psalm 94:17-19 "If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, 'My foot slips,' Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul." God is a stronghold and a refuge for those who fear Him. And He has equipped me every good thing both physically, as an competitive athlete , and spiritually, to complete the purposes He has for me here. But through this whole experience already, I can tell I am growing in my faith AND becoming mentally stronger for the competition to come.

Training went very well today. That day off yesterday did wonders! I think just about all the archery teams are here now so the training field is packed for practice. It was VERY humid today... though it was also very overcast. The kind of humid where you could just stand in the "shade" and drip. I am so happy I was able to come here early to prepare for the weather.

My day off was great! Part of my team and I attended the Village church service. It was very good, small and traditional. But Archery was about 80% of the attendance between the U.S. and Mexican teams ;-) Later, Khatuna and I hung out by the pool for a couple hours to relax. In the evening we went to the University where the USOC set up like a "home base" for the USA athletes. There are training facilities for several sports (only USA athletes have access) and personal coaches are able to lodge there. But WE went there for the dinner. It was wonderful! Set up in a beautiful Asian style restaurant with tablecloths and candles on every table. The dinner was delicious, mashed potatoes, chicken, pasta, salad bar with fruit, cookies and baked apples for dessert! After dinner we explored the athlete lounge. I feel so indulged. Especially after the dinner... but then, in the lounge we have board games, a huge flat screen TV with tons of DVD's. Video games, which, from what I understand was quite impressive, but since I don't play I have no idea. It was so comfortable with sofas, pillows and blankets everywhere and we could order smoothies as well!

Upon returning to the village we heard music coming from the international zone. I went to the outdoor ampitheater to watch the show. I was blown away! I believe the performing group was called "My Dream", I think the group was from China and all the performers were disabled somehow. The dance group, consisting of about thirty dancers, were all hearing impaired and followed the beats given by to attendants on the corners of the stage. They were amazing! They would have been amazing without being deaf, but considering this, they were incredible! There were several visually impaired vocalists, one young lady, my favorite singing performance, sang "Don't Cry for Me Argentina." The voices of all the young people just touched me very deeply. Last, I saw a pointe piece by a young lady who must have been only about 14 years old, she was also hearing impaired. I think it was "The Dying Swan" piece (is that title correct Andrea and Lorraine?) from Swan Lake. She was exquisite! I thoroughly enjoyed the performances, it was the perfect ending to my day off.

But now, I have to run, I have a massage pretty soon and cannot be late. Thank you once again for following my progress, sending your notes and love and most especially your prayers. God bless!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blue Sky

Today was gorgeous!!! We saw completely blue sky for the first time during our visit so far! It was hot though. Training went better. Not so much on the target. But MY SHOOTING was better as well as my attitude. I started to let go of some of the stress and really enjoyed my shooting today. I was able to speak with my coach, Alexander, before the morning session and he built me up so much. He reminded me of my goals, my abilities and my strengths, foremostly my greatest source of strength, relying on God when I'm not STRONG. He encouraged me to relax, be calm, enjoy my shooting and take it easy. He has a saying from Russia that he always says to me: "If we will have day, we will have food." AKA- Do not worry about tomorrow. What you will eat or what you will wear.... "But seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble." Matt. 6:33-34 I am working on practicing this and not just reciting the words. But it's still challenging.

Tomorrow is our day off... Yay!!! I will be getting massage, going to the village church, and having Bible study early in the morning. Tomorrow night our team is planning on going to the University that is supposed to be the USA team's home away from home to have dinner. It will be a nice change. And HOPEFULLY, we can visit a tourist attraction. My goal tomorrow is to not think about archery at all and just have fun. I've been getting a bit too intense over the past few days.

If anyone would like to send a letter or card to me (no pressure.. your comments are just fine too) please address them to:

United States Olympic Committee
Attn: Archery - Jennifer Nichols
1 Dong Fang Road
North Dong Sanhuan Road
Chaoyang, Beijing 100027

Have a wonderful night and God bless!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Pictures!

The night before I left for Team Processing, Mandy suprised me with a small family party including my two closest friends: Alisa and Erika (I hadn't seen Erika for at least 6 months!). It was wonderful!

Mandy ordered a cute cookie cake with the Olympic Rings frosted on top! I think our group devoured the whole cookie in one sitting!

It was just so nice to have my family and two friends together before I left! It was such a special gift!

I have a screen flashing in front of me "7 days 13 hrs until the Olympic Games in Beijing China." I can't believe it's almost here! I am so excied for the Opening Ceremonies! Until then... we're busy training away.

We got this morning off so I was able to sleep in and have a great quiet time! We practiced his afternoon, but it rained on and off. So during the heavy rain periods we would wait under the roof. Then Butch threw a little, soft rubber ball at me. This began a game of ball that EVERYONE participated in at some point (even Coach Lee!) which evolved into a twisted form of baseball. I was pitching, Brady was catcher and Butch was at bat, putting to use his stabilizer rod. We had such fun! When the rain subsided, we returned to training. As I stated earlier, today was rough. But I know the Lord has a plan that He is working out in my life. I wold like to say, I am so happy to have Khatuna on the team! Khatuna was so encouraging to me and tried to help, giving me pointers on my shooting and emphasizing the positive. She is so kind to me and often knows what I need to hear to get me into focus before I compete, as long as I'm not competing with her ;-) She is a dear friend to me. So... I will continue as I wrote earlier. And follow my sister's instructions before leaving: Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things. Thanks Mand! Exactly what I needed to hear ;-)


First, I want to thank all of you for your encouraging comments, your prayers and your continual support. It means so much to me to know I have so many standing behind me and giving me strength to press on!

I am convinced that to fear the Lord is easy to talk about... but quite another thing to walk out. Proverbs 3:7 "Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn away from evil." I am learning that to fear God is to trust Him at ALL times in EVERY situation. Recognizing that He is God, and I am not. But to trust like that... is tough. Not because God is questionable- He is unbelievably faithful! Even when we are not. But it's tough because it is such habit to operate out of our own, limited, understanding and finite power to reason.

Today my trust was put to the test. It was a simple practice day. Nothing special. But during my practice matches with my teammate, Khatuna, I did not shoot to my standards. Immediately the doubts and fears invaded. It was a real struggle. But thanks be to God, He gives me strength in my weakness. It is through the battles you see His faithfulness. But we walk by faith. It's not a smooth and easy path. It is believing - the substance of things not seen, the evidence of thing hoped for. I trust God that He will direct my paths as I compete here in China. Even when things aren't looking so great. I have been crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live for me but for Him. So I also no longer shoot for me, but for His glory. So along with dying to self, I am also dying to my doubts and fears and I have decided to walk (and shoot) in a constant trust in Him. And may He mold my heart to follow these words.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm in Beijing!!!

It has been too long since my last post! I have SOOO much to catch up on! I have been incredibly busy since I left Tucson and haven't had the time to write! So... here we go....

I came home from Tucson having only 5 days before leaving for Team Processing. It was Frontier Days week... to only increase my busy-ness ;-)But it was so much fun and a great distraction for just before leaving. A good friend came into town for the weekend. We had a great visit, going to Rocky Mountain National Park with my family for the afternoon (which was exceptionally beautiful) then later in the evening we went to the Taylor Swift concert. It was so much fun! I was given free VIP tickets for standing room as a gift for being an Olympian! Beth Edwards and Dave Johanson are to thank for that special eveing!
Monday morning, I attended our traditional Pancake Breakfast with my family in downtown Cheyenne. It was delicious! The next day I rode in the Frontier Days Parade as the U.S. Olympian from Cheyenne. I received so much support from on-lookers! So many people wishing me good luck and "Go USA!" It was a great motivation to me! Later that day my family and I went to the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo. Again, thanks to Beth Edwards, my family and friend and I enjoyed another memorable expereince before my departure. The last day at home I WATCHED the parade then ate lunch with my family and the Smith ladies. In between all these activities I was continuing to train and attempt to complete all my preparations for leaving the country. This was a bit of a stressful time for me. Too much to do in half the time I needed. My family was incredibly supportive and helpful during this time, trying to do as much as they could FOR me to cut down my load. There were others during this time who also encouraged me and lifted me up. Don Rabska, our assistant Olympic Coach sent me many emails filled with positive reinforcement and great conversations. Sue Smith encouraged me with scripture and has been praying for me faithfully (as I know many others are as well). And Beth Edwards... that woman just inspires me so much! She has spoken a word in due season to me so many times! Her words have encouraged me and her example of a positive, sweet-spirited woman challenges me. I just want to say thank you to EVERYONE who has encouraged me, written notes, emailed, prayed for and supported me. The Lord has strenthened me through all of you! And I am so grateful for every bit of input you have had in my life.
On Friday I left very early for San Jose where I met my team and went through Team Processing. It was so goog to be back with the team again, like coming back to my second family. In team processing I received SO MUCH clothing! I had to send a 37lb. box home because I couldn't fit everything in my bag! We had a suprise visit from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who came in while we were fitting our clothing. My teammate, Khatuna, and I got our picture with him. It was a building excitement being with all the athletes as we were getting ready for the Olympics. The overall anticipation was rising.
Later in the evening, after re-packing, I had a spur of the moment visit from my Aunt Jo and three cousins! It was so good to see them after a minimum of two years since our last visit. We went out for hot tea and some catching up. My cousin, Kristen, was married only a few weeks ago while I was in France. So this was my opportunity to meet her husband who seemed to be a very kind man.

We left early the next morning for Beijing. The flight went so quickly because I slept for over half the flight! There was a young mother and her two month-old sitting in front of me. The baby was SO GOOD during the flight and her mother let me hold her for a few minutes before we got off the plane.

When we landed they announced that the Beijing airport is now the largest building in the world for square footage. And when we deplaned, I was so impressed! The airport looks amazing! But that was just the beginning. We were taken to the Olympic Village after receiving our bags, of which we hardly had to carry at all because the chinese people are SO helpful. They were anxious to do ANYTHING to help us out and were so excited to have us! They took us into the Village which, I must say, is amazing!!! It's beauiful, decorated in a definite chinese style. We came in on the opening day of the village...we were some of the first to arrive! The food is excellent and our accomodations very comfortable. So far it's been a two thumbs up for China on everything.

Training is going really well. The venue is beautiful and only a few minutes drive from the Village. My shooting has been better and better each day and my confidence seems to rise with my shooting quality. Everyone has been very supportive and I am increasing in excitement for all that's to come. Each day more and more people come into the village and I look forward to meeting more people and making new friends.

I will write more in the days to come now that I'm in Beijing and am getting settled. I'll have more time to update. But now I must get to bed since, as you can see, I'm beginning to ramble. Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Exciting Times

Yesterday we had quite the exciting experience! After lunch, my coach and I went back outside to finish my training, and tuning, at the long distance. It had begun to rain so we headed for the overhang to wait the storm out. An incredible thunderstorm ensued! It was awe inspiring! The rain POURED! We stood on the tables under the overhang to keep from getting wet. There was lots of thunder too. No attempting to shoot then! No way! There was a loud crack and we realized a nearby power line had been struck and was smoking. We watched for about 20min. as the outdoor archery range flooded. Once the rain lightened we ran inside to finish shooting at thirty meters distance.

I'm still keeping very busy training. Up early in the morning to be the heat, or at least warm up with the day, shooting high quantities of arrows and still working on tuning. We haven't found a combination in my equipment that is outstanding yet, so we will keep trying till we do. In the meantime I'm working (as well as my dad and a couple friends) on finding a scope sponsor. My previous scope I was using blew over at the last leg of the Olympic Trials in a strong wind storm. So now I am looking for companies who may be interested in supporting me with equipment as I compete in the Games.

It's a Grind, coffee shop, has been a stop for me every few nights. Here I can have a coffee or tea and catch up on all of my internet activity. Sunday night, as I was leaving, there was a small group of people gathered outside singing worship songs with a guitar. I joined the group, sang with and met the people who were immediate friends due to that familiarity we share in the Body of Christ. It was so refreshing meeting these brothers and sisters in the Lord and joining them as we worshiped Him together! Tonight, they were at the coffee shop again so we talked and sat and sang. Oh how I loved this sweet but short time we shared in the Lord's presence! Such an encouragement it was to me! And we sang old praise songs I haven't heard since I was a little girl.

I am currently reading Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. It is an allegorical tale of the Christian life. It is so good!!! It seems to very specifically parallel my walk with Christ at this time... almost to the point where it is strange how accurately the story corresponds to the events in my life right now. The story follows a girl named Much-Afraid and her journey to the High Places as she's led by the Good Shepherd to the Kingdom of Love. Currently she's going through the forest of Danger and Tribulation. She is being taunted by her enemies Self-Pity, Craven Fear, and Pride as she encounters storms in this forest. But she holds steady to her faithful companions: Sorrow and Suffering. The Shepherd Himself assigned these companions to her. And the Shepherd is ever present when she calls to Him for help. He will rescue her, challenge her faith and speak truth into her life from the Scriptures. This story continues to encourage me as I encounter the storms in the forest of Danger and Tribulation.

I must go now and get to bed... after I help with the end of a Scrabble game. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Finally.. Day off

Training in Tucson has been very good. I am working on tuning my bows with my coach. We are working on getting my back up bow (the red one) in better shape, and we're putting together a new one PSE had waiting for me when I arrived. It is a silvery purple color. That combined with the almost lavender shade sight I have mounted to it... provoked the title "Pixie Dust." I think it's quite appropriate... if you think of a wonderful thought! ;-) Pixie is beginning to shoot well and is looking to become my primary bow.

Today was incredibly hot and humid! Being my sixth training day in a row, I was exhausted. It was a struggle just to finish my training schedule today! I fell into bed when I got home for a nap. I am so grateful for my long awaited rest day tomorrow. I will be going to church in the morning with several girlfriends from here in Tucson. I am so excited! I go to Victory Assembly of God while I'm here. And I LOVE this church!!! It feels like home. Here is the link to the church:
Last Sunday, Pastor Zane spoke on our godly heritage, our founding fathers and our responsibility as the church in America to pray for our country and to be involved as much as possible. I'm only here periodically, but I consider it my home church when I'm in Tucson.

I've been keeping busy having fun with friends in balancing out my training time. Last night Antje, Jenny and I had a girls' night and watched a chick flick after sitting out on the back porch in the warm evening, talking and watching the lightning storm over the nearby mountains. Tonight I went to dinner at Nicole and Allen Rasor's house. We had a wonderful time visiting and catching up. Then we all put little Caleb to bed, but not before our dance party (Caleb loves to sing and dance to the music of the Three Tenors. Caleb is 2 yrs. old).

I have another week left of training in Tucson before I go home. My coach is working so hard to get my equipment (and me) ready. A few days ago, he and I were interviewed by the local NBC station and made it on the 6pm news the next day. Between that and the recent newspaper article on he and I... many people are recognizing me here and congratulating me on my success. When I got out of my car at my coach's house, his neighbor met and greeted me so that she could congratulate me and say good luck.

I must get to bed now. This has been tricky for me this past several weeks. And getting up at 6am every day only makes it that much more important to sleep. And prepare for my day off tomorrow! YAY!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Party Time

On Thursday last week, my dear friend and biggest fan, Dr. Bob Farr, threw a party in my honor celebrating my making of a second Olympic Archery Team. It was a wonderful party! And it was so good to see friends and meet some new ones. Everyone was very kind, very supportive and greatly encouraging. Senator Barrasso had a represenative from his office attend the party and wish me well. Dr. Farr also read letters of congratulations and high compliments from Congresswoman Barbara Cubin, Senator Mike Enzi, Governor Freudenthal and Mayor Jack Spiker. I was overwhelmed! I then gave a short explanation of archery competition, how to shoot a bow and a summary of my experiences as a member of the U.S. Archery Team. I introduced my family as well as my first coach, John Wilson, who was able to attend. Later, I did a shooting demo at balloons. This was after considering to shoot an apple off Dr. Farr's head but thinking better of it ;-) (not really, bu it was fun to pretend). Many guests gave generous gifts to help relieve the finacial burden of my family traveling to Beijing to support me as I compete in the Games. I would like to say thank you to all who gave and all who attended the party to support me. This was such an encouragement to me and makes me even more excited about representing the U.S. at the Olympics!

My family and I had a wonderful Fourth of July. We met with friends for dinner and later watched the fireworks from the interstate (yes, we pulled off the freeway and watched with about 150 other people with the same idea). Then rushed home to pack for my trip the next day.

Now I'm in Tucson, training and working on equipment. We (my coach, Alexander, and I) are setting up a new bow to take to China. I am very excited about a new set-up and to get to know the personality of this new bow ;-) It is so incredibly HOT down here. And Tucson is in their rainy season so it's strangely humid as well. It is fabulous preparation for China! I am really enjoying being down here. I am able to work hard and focus in on shooting and direct preparation. Plus with the weather as it is, makes for beautiful skies and breathtaking sunsets! Though it's a high training time and I'm working hard, it's relaxing being here in a way too. Alexander and I have had some great conversations and I am really preparing well mentally for the competition to come. In the evenings, I am often over at Colton and Antje's house. Good friends are those who will take you in at any hour, feed you constantly, listen to your archery ramblings, and still welcome you back each time ;-) Thanks guys!

I had an interview today with a local Tucson station, Channel 4 news, that went very well. Though it was very hot in the sun and I was drippping. I believe it will air tomorrow around he 6pm hour.

I better get to bed since we have to start early each day to beat the heat.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Steve Gatto... No one can make me laugh like Gatto... our male compound shooter on the team. The Cat man. He brings out the squeaky hinge in me like no one else can.


In my last post I asked for prayer that I would understand what the Lord is doing and why if possible. He both comforted and strengthened me this morning during my quiet time. I want to record some of the passages that seemed so directly for me today:

Ps. 32:6-11

Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when You may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with shouts of deliverance.
(God speaking) I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
(David speaking again) Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Ps. 94:17-19, 22

If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, "My foot slips," Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul.
vs.22 But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.

Ps. 125:1-2
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forevermore.

These verses spoke directly to my trial. The Lord gave me such a great sense of His sovereignty and power in my life. There is no "by chance." He has purposes and plans in and through everything. And it's not up to us! It is His work, because it is His plan. I surrendered my will over to Him and asked that He would help me to walk in surrender to His will. It doesn't mean I won't go through stuff, that I won't be confused, disappointed, frustrated and even hurt sometimes. But He is working toward the big picture in all these things. I am so blessed that He would consider me. That He would take the time and care to work in my life, to allow trials as they come to mold me and make me more like Christ... to make me His maidservant. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies."

There is nothing more I desire than to please my Lord. I thank God for the difficulties and for stretching me to the limit. Because that's when I find Him the most real and active in my life. So I will continue to trust Him in all things. Even when I don't understand. Because I know that He is powerfully working in me to produce a greater weight of glory and a steadfast faith as my love and devotion to Him grows tenderly deeper. Oh the Lord is so good! So kind and faithful! I thank Him for lifting my heart to joy.

Home Again

We just returned from France. In the Team competition the USA Women's recurve shot really well. We qualified our team in 10th place so our first match was against Japan who was the 7th ranked. We all shot really well (Karen, Khatuna and me)and scored a 208 to win! We shot well in our next match also against 3rd ranked China. But our consistent 209 was not enough to defeat China's very impressive 222. We finished in 8th place but were very pleased with our shooting.

Mandy and I continued to thoroughly enjoy our stay in Agen. We did a lot of walking and sight seeing.... and LOTS of card games. We had a day off while we were there and took a train to Bordeaux where we walked all over and toured Saint Andre's Cathedral. The last day our whole Team turned out to watch Jamie Van Natta, US Women's Compound shooter, compete in the Bronze medal match where she shot very well and won. The finals were held outside at night with artificial lighting... gave competing a ew twist. Mandy and I returned with no trouble to speak of. All our flights went smoothly and all of our luggage arrived the same time we did.

Now begins the direct preparation for Beijing. I am very excited and will be traveling to Tucson this weekend to spend two weeks with my coach. I am looking forward to this trip as it will help me to focus and really prepare well for the Games. But I am asking for prayer because I have entered a time of great struggle right now. Please pray that God will give me the strength I need and the confidence in Jesus Christ to walk through this valley. Also... I need understanding as to what the Lord is doing through what I am experiencing, what I am to learn or the reason for this if I am to know. It is a good thing His grace is sufficient for me and that His strength is made perfect in my weakness, because I'm going to need it! But in all circumstances, I take up the shield of faith with which I can quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. The darts are flying. But thank you, to all my brothers and sisters in Christ who are praying for me and standing with me through all of this. God is faithful!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Olympic Round

We shot the Olympic Round/Eliminations on Wednesday. The day was gorgeous and the Lord granted me a special gift of peace. I wasn't nervous in least and was truly competing in a manner to offer my best and fully enjoy the experience. I shot really well too! My first match was my lowest, just getting into the swing of things and finding my shot under pressure. Shot a 108 to win. I surprised myself for the next two matches I shot 112 each and won. My focus and timing were increasingly better as the day progressed. My fourth and last match was good scoring 109-110 but not enough to make it to the finals. I was increadibly pleased, though. I ended up in 5th place overall and believe that was exactly where the Lord intended for me to end. It is a great confidence booster going into the Games. Will write more later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day One: Qualification

We just returned from the field after competing this morning. It was such a beautiful morning! A little cooler for a nice change. I started as usual by warming up at blank bale. I had a clear plan for today: work on setting my bow shoulder and keeping it and my head solid for a smooth shot. I had our coach, Don, video me during practice and saw I needed to keep my shot even smoother. I will try to post this video. I shot strong and well. My shots kept getting better and better till the last two ends where I think I started trying too hard and being too careful. Being careful never pays off ;-) And I did pay for it. But I still ended up well and my shots continue to improve as I continue to work on smoothing out the rough spots. I had a great time, though, and am excited for the eliminations rounds tomorrow! If you would like to see the results you can find tham at: Click on Boe 2008 and all the news and results will begin to come up.

Mandy shot well too and kept a great attitude even though she missed the top 64 cut by 7 points. We are now wanting to go shopping and have been considering taking a train to Bordeaux on our day off to tour.

All I can say is, I am so glad that God takes us through rough times and trials so He can mold and change us. It's never fun to not have things go your way. But it's the unpleasant and even sometimes the painful experiences that grow us and teach us to lean not on our own understanding but to trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. I'm not saying I FEEL glad about the difficulties I experience, but that I have decided to be happy for them because I know that God is sovereign and that He has a Master plan for my life. He is using even the little details of life to work toward the big picture. That is, to know Christ, to become more like Him and to glorify Him in all things. I pray that I can press on, through the frustrations and difficulties and come out more like Him than before. Thankfully, it is His work (the life changing and faith building), and He who is the Author and Finisher of my faith will be faithful to complete the good work that He began in me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pictures From France

France World Cup

Today was the official practice day of the World Cup in Boe, France. Practice was great and the field is beautiful! But it is SO HOT here!!! The weather being so hot is probably worsened by the fact that our hotel has no air conditioning. You sweat just sitting in your room. Our Team Leader bought fans for each of the rooms today so now I am sitting in a dark room with two fans going... probably as cool as I'm going to get this afternoon.

Shooting is going well. I am putting to pratice the corrections my coach gave me while we were at the Olympic Training Center and really just working on smoothing out my form. Yesterday was difficult since it was the day after flying and my back was knotted from the travel. But each day my shot quality is improving. Today was better and I know I will be in top condition for the qualification day tomorrow.

My goals for this competition are to focus on my shot, executing good form and to build confidence in my shooting. My confidence is on a greatly needed upward swing and I plan to just keep building through the Games. One other goal is to have fun on this trip. And so far, I have been accomplishing that goal! The first night we were here (we are staying in Agen, France) we went walking into town and found a street full of people and shops, food and musicians on every block! They were having a festival and it seemed the whole town had turned out for it. We walked till we came to a relatively large river with a walk bridge over it. We spent some time there taking pictures and looking for fish. Last night we walked into town again with our cameras on a mission for churches. We found 3 beautiful churches! On our day off we are hoping to take a train somewhere, tour and see a little more of the countryside.

I am SO HAPPY Mandy came with me! We are having such a great time together! She is currently out on a run and I stayed here to nap ;-) Big surprise huh? I haven't been sleeping well, though, and the jet lag is still affecting me. I am having so much fun being with my team as well. Mandy and I have been playing cards with Jacob and Brady... pretty much non-stop. These have been sessions of good conversation, lots of laughter and great memories. Karen has a new camera and has inspired many of us as we go out together on photo excursions. I think all of us girls are planning on a dip in the pool later to cool off. We are having a devotional time each day with whoever wants to join us. These have been so good for me, necessary encouragement. All in all we are having a great time and I am so excited for the tournament to begin tomorrow!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Up Late

Tomorrow I leave for the Olympic Training Center to train with our team for a few days before heading to France for a World Cup. As usual, I am up late packing and very tired. But I will be gone for two weeks so there are just a few things that HAVE to be done. I'm glad I get to spend at least half of Father's Day with my family and dad. We will be going out to breakfast as a family before they take Mandy and me to the airport. I am so excited Mandy is going with me! It will be so much fun having her with me at the Training Center and in France. Plus I think she will enjoy her time and maybe even gain some good experience. I can't imagine better training and tournament preparation than practicing with the Olympic Team ;-) I hope she gets as much out of it as I'm sure I will. I am looking forward to being out there in warmer weather and probably less wind than we have here. Whoever said Chicago was the windy city had never visited Wyoming. We seriously had hurricane winds the other day... gusts of 67 mph! I definitely haven't gotten the outdoor 70m practice I need. It will be good to be at the Training Center on that account. I have to get back to packing now. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Training At Home

I have a little under a week left to train at home before I begin traveling again for both training with the team and competition. I am so grateful for the time that I do have at home. I am the oldest of five kids and my family is very close knit. Though it can be stressful being at home because there is so much more to do on top of regular training every day, it is a blessing to be with the ones dearest to my heart when I can. Especially since tomorrow is my youngest sister's birthday, I am glad I can share in her excitement.

It was a special treat for me tonight when I was asked to substitute teach a beginners ballet class at our dance studio. I grew up dancing, and miss it a lot since I have not been involved in regular classes for about two years or so. I especially miss teaching! I loved my little girls in my classes. So tonight was a gift for me to teach since I happened to be in town.

A normal day of training for me consists of shooting 2-4 hrs in the morning, workout before lunch (weight training and cardio) then another 1-3 hrs of archery practice in the afternoons depending on my training schedule. I shoot a distance of 70m for competition at a 122cm diameter multi-colored target face. So I practice this format as well as shooting close to a blank target butt and 70m blank bale to work on my form and the feel of the shot. When the weather is too bad to shoot outside I train at our indoor range, Cheyenne Feild Archers Club, where I can get up to 50m distance. At this distance I will also use a smaller target face for aiming.

The reason I picked "psalms-girl" as part of my URL is because that is what I was called by a newspaper who interviewed me in Athens during the 2004 Olympics. They caled me this because while I train and compete I like to memorize portions from the Bible, primarily Psalms and Proverbs. It is a way for me to discipline my mind to focus and to meditate on thoughts that are true and good. I believe the words of Scripture holds life, life-changing power and it is a means by which I can come to know and understand the Lord better. The more I can get the words of God in my heart, the more I can live it out.

Memorizing during training helps me to keep life and my archery aspirations in proper perspective, eternal perspective. You see, I cannot take my medals or achievements with me to the next life. For goodness sake! Who cares who won the National Championship 30 years after the fact or after my life is over? My Pastor used to tell me, "Only one life, 'twill soon be passed. Only what's done for Christ will last." If I live for Christ, surrendered to Him... if I shoot and train my best for Him and His glory... if I build friendships that last, pursuing the kind of genuine relationships with others that Christ desires to have with each individual - Then my life counted for something. Then I have purpose for living each day like it's my last. And when I live for Christ alone... I cannot fail. Because He loves and accepts me unconditionally! Not because of anything I've done! I couldn't possibly DO enough to earn His good favor. But because I am redeemed by Jesus, I am fully acceptable to God! Living in light of this truth has revolutionized my life!!! And I am still trying to grasp it. Still trying to get it through my head that trying to earn value or worth is a dead end road full of pain and disappointment. But when my identity is wrapped up in Jesus and living for Him, not myself, there is no greater joy, no greater hope or abundance of life!

This does not discourage me from working hard to be skilled in my sport or to develop a high standard or performance. Rather, it FREES me to perform my best, train my hardest and shoot my strongest because I need not fear failure nor my weaknesses. Because I am living for the glory of God, offering all that I can, all that I am, I will be acceptable in the eyes of my Lord. I strive to trust Him to determine the outcome of competitions as well as the path of my life. He is faithful.

Monday, June 9, 2008

First Post

I am so excited to be part of the Lenovo Olympic Bloggers! I just got my blog set up and am really looking forward to beginning logging my experiences! Read and join me as I train, travel, compete and walk through this incredible journey.