Monday, March 28, 2011


Sioux City East - Headliners!
Being a good sport is a something that can be difficult to learn, but obviously not impossible. At every competition in every sport all around the globe there are individual participants and teams that are gracious as winners and losers. It is important to have skills on both sides of the coin - a bad winner is just as bad as a poor loser.

Personally I find it very difficult to deal with people who show poor sportsmanship. It makes me want to throw a fit when people feel it necessary to boo at sporting events. I think it shows a great lack of class. In our area of competition it makes my blood boil to have people not applaud for teams that are not theirs. Every kid on stage has put countless hours of blood, sweat and tears into their performance and every pair of hands in the audience should be applauding their efforts, regardless of whether it is a competing team or your own.

Our school attended the last local Show Choir competition this weekend. I know show choir is not prevalent everywhere, but I can tell you that I have never seen more dedicated, more talented kids than show choir kids. I have seen some impressive acts of sportsmanship and compassion at almost every competition and this weekend was no exception.

Let me provide you with a quick run-down of a show choir competition for those not familiar. There are two stages of competition in show choir, all the teams compete during the day. Late in the afternoon is an awards ceremony and awards go out for each daytime division winner, the best band, and the best male and female soloist within a choir. After these awards are given the five teams that scored highest during the day move on to the evening finals competition and perform again. The winning team at finals is crowned Grand Champion, the remaining teams are ranked as 1st-4th runner up.

A show choir day is a very long day. Some students (and parents) can be up close to 24 hours on a show day. To perform with such amazing power and energy -- often twice --on very little sleep never ceases to impress me.

This weekend was the last competition for many students, it is very difficult for Senior students when they realize that their show choir experience has come to an end. There is always tears involved. I do not look forward to the Saturday night two years from now when it will by my little senior having her last show. I am not sure which one of us will be crying harder. Anyway.... there was one young woman just crying and crying in the hallway outside the auditorium and many of the girls who stopped to talk to her weren't even from her school. It was very sweet. They showed her such tender compassion, I think each girl who offered her comfort could relate to how she felt, knowing that all of them would eventually experience the last show of their high school career.

Saturday afternoon when the best male vocalist was announced, the winner was from a rival school. His team, of course, went crazy cheering, but I was very proud to see a large number of students from our school standing and applauding for this well-deserving young man. This was not the first time I have seen this happen and it warms my heart so to see competing teams behave in a respectful manner toward one another.

When the awards for finals were announced late Saturday night, our team was placed rather unexpectedly in third place. Disappointing? Yes. Temper tantrum worthy? No. I was surprised to see some fans from several schools leaving before the Grand Champion was even announced. Even if it isn't your team you should stay and give the winner some props.

The team that got 2nd place was right across the aisle from where we were seated. My daughter, who was broken-hearted over her team's placement, walked across the aisle and offered her congratulations to several members of their team, even shaking hands with a girl she had been chatting with earlier in the day. She may have dissolved into tears later, but I was so incredibly proud of her for choosing to take the high road at a moment when I know it was a very difficult choice to make.

It is so easy for us to focus on the negative experiences and feel jaded about the world today. I could just of easily written about all the unfortunate things I have experienced in the competition arena. Honestly, the worst behavior I have seen has always been from parents and rarely from the kids. Embarrassing, but true.

If you are worried about kids today having little drive, focus, compassion or heart I am here to offer you hope. The show choir kids at East High School in Sioux City have given me great hope in the future of our world. These students have shown astounding work ethic, great team work, boundless spirit, grace under pressure and respect for their fellow competitors. I have come across several hundred more students at schools around the Midwest who are just as amazing. I think our future will be in good hands.

In His Peace -

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Second Verse for March

Hello Blog Friends!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Our Bible study group is participating in a 6 week DVD Bible study with Lysa TerKeurst and Made to Crave. If you need a good Bible study to do with your girlfriends, I highly recommend Made to Crave. We have learned a lot the past few weeks and I will be sorry to see it come to an end. New lessons are on the horizon with Kelly Minter's No Other Gods as our spring study.

We were looking for verses to focus on during those times when you are feeling more stressed than blessed. You know, those times when every cookie in the Oreo box is screaming your name and you are starting to listen to them!! When that happens to you, take a deep breath, plug your ears and think on these:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it . (1 Cor 10:13)

That one might have looked familiar as it was my first memory verse for this year. This next little beauty  is applicable in so many areas of our lives:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:18)
This struck me like a two-by-four upside the head and there was no doubt what my verse for the second half of march would be. I am wondering why it is surprising me that the six verses I have needed for Siesta Scripture Memory Team seem to come at me like heat seeking missiles.

What is your verse for March?

In His Peace -

Monday, March 14, 2011


I was thinking this morning about the blessing of ordinary days. Those days when nothing out of the realm of normal occurs are often considered inconsequential or boring. Every day we are given to live, love and experience here on earth is a gift. So often the gift is taken completely for granted.

How many thousands of people woke up in Japan on Friday and lamented that their day would be ordinary and dull? "Ho-Hum, going to work" or "Heavy sigh, another day of changing diapers and chasing toddlers". Everything the people of Japan knew about an ordinary existence was literally shaken out from under them. Ordinary no longer exists in that part of the world. The people near the epicenter of the earthquake and resulting tsunami are now fully engulfed in a world of fear, chaos and incomprehensible damage and loss. They would probably give anything to have the opportunity to return to ordinary.

This morning I woke up in my slightly wrinkled and moderately overweight middle-aged body in my average American home. I have an husband whom I dearly love and three healthy, happy children, although all four of them get on my nerves some days, I wouldn't trade any of them. I am blessed. On this ordinary day in my ordinary life I have more than most -- for this I am grateful. Tomorrow it could all be gone and I am going to be thankful for it today.

Now, our God, we give you thanks
and praise your glorious name.

How is your ordinary extraordinary?

In His Peace -

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lenten Traditions

The Lenten season has begun. Traditionally the season of Lent is 40 days long. This 40 days is representative of the time Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan. Here is the story as told in Matthew 4: 1-11
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."  Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "  Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.  "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' "  Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."  Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' " Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Folks from a wide variety of denominations opt to give up something for Lent as a way of sacrificing like Jesus did. I have heard from several people who are giving up things like soda, sweets, junk food and television. Giving up something like this is fine, but how is it growing your relationship with Jesus? What if instead of giving up something that is bad for you anyway, you added something to your life instead?

What if you added Bible study? My favorite EVER Bible study to engage in during Lent is "Jesus the One and Only" by Beth Moore. It is goosebumpy-perfect for Lent. If not a sit-down formal study, how about adding Bible reading time or adding a scheduled time to spend in reflection and prayer?

How would you be different at the end of 40 days if you added positive thinking or affirmations to your day? Or if you found ways to extend the hand of kindness to another person every day during Lent? If you really focused on looking at people with the eyes and heart of Jesus how would your own heart change in six weeks?

The ultimate goal of Lent is for your relationship with your Savior to deepen and for your heart to change for the better. We journey through the valley of darkness toward the remarkable joy of Easter morning... a joy that will be ever richer if you arrive that blessed Sunday after spending time sitting at your Savior's feet.

In His Peace --

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and it marks the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent's way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one's penitence is found in Job 42:5-6  Where Job, speaking to the LORD exclaims: "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."  (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Work can be such a distraction!

Hello blog friends!

It feels as if it has been a long time since I wrote a blog post even though it hasn't even been a full week. It seems like every moment at my desk has been occupied with items that are higher on the prioritized to-do list.

We have been updating our business software. It has been a logistical nightmare. First it was several weeks trying to determine what our options were, followed by two weeks of software demos.  Some were quickly eliminated and others had to be looked at in depth. It has occupied a large portion of my brain capacity lately.

About 10 days ago we finally made a decision and purchased the new software. Unfortunately the software company had a huge overhaul of their systems around the same time and this has combined to create a myriad of glitches we are struggling through. To say it is making me feel crazy and stressed would be a huge understatement at this point. I am sure it will all work out fine, but time is ticking toward the beginning of the irrigation season and we need to be ready. Right now I can't even schedule an appointment.

So I am taking lots of deep breaths and trying not to get all in a twist over things I have very little control over. The tech guy assigned to me is very patient and does great work. I just want it to work RIGHT NOW. This is our business at stake here. If we can't operate smoothly our customers will find someone else to work with. Sigh... needed another deep breath there.

I think this verse from Romans applies  -

Romans 12:12 NIV

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
 I am working on the joyful part. I am hopeful it will all work out. I am certainly feeling afflicted and I am definitely being quite faithful in praying these problems will be resolved. 

How are things going in your world?

In His Peace -

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome March!

Ahhhhh.. March! The month that gives us hope that winter will really be over soon. The daylight hours are longer. I noticed this morning that it was full daylight at 7am when I drove the girls to the bus stop. We will be back in the dark again for a while after we "spring ahead" for daylight savings time.

I have also noticed that my bird friends are singing more. There was a male cardinal this morning singing his little heart out for his mate. Very soon we will here his territorial songs warning all the other males that he has claimed this area as his own. The dark-eyed Juncos, here in large flocks in the winter cold, are now fewer in number and will soon disappear into the northern regions until late next fall. Seems rather odd that they follow the cold and not the warmth. 

My memory verse for the first half of March is short and sweet. I didn't have a verse and Beth Moore put this one in her blog yesterday and it leaped off the screen at me. I knew it was exactly what I needed.

March on, my soul; be strong! 
Judges 5:21b NIV

The long, bone-chilly and weary days of winter will soon depart.
Next comes Spring! Oh, delight! Oh, my heart!

In His Peace -