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.