Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Iowa Open Chess Tournament 2014: Part 1

On the morning of August 16th, Papa, my brother, one of my sisters, and I started our drive to Coralville, Iowa.  On the way we stopped at Casey's (a convenience store) for donuts for breakfast.

We reached the Marriot Hotel and Conference Center where the tournament was to be held, walked in, and climbed the stairs to the second floor.  We let the tournament director know we were there and greeted our tournament friends. 

In past years I have always played in the Reserve section (U1600), but since my rating was 1637, this time I had to play in the Open.  The time control was 90 minutes with a 30 second increment; 3 games were played on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunshine and Liebster Awards

Thanks to Heidi from Along the Brandywine for nominating me for the Sunshine Award and Jon and Caryln for nominating me for the Liebster Award. These awards are a way for bloggers to learn more about each other by asking several questions.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cherry Raisin Oatmeal Bars

Today I'd like to introduce you to Cherry Raisin Oatmeal Bars; an easy and flavorful favorite recipe from my favorite cooking site,  The original recipe has been changed very slightly to fit my tastes. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Scenic Manor Sing and Picnic

Last Sunday my family and I sang at Scenic Manor, one of our favorite nursing homes, on their special event day.  The event also featured a hymn sing, 2 other groups, dinner, and games for children. It is attended by residents of the home, their family members, and locals.
I enjoyed singing and the crowd was a pleasant audience.  Unfortunately though, my shoulders, arms, and fingers have been programmed to hold a guitar for the duration of a 45 minute concert, so by the time our hour was up they were fatigued; my strings were starting to dig into my fingers with every chord...evidently I need more practice!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mr. Pea Seed and the Soybean Revolution

In Mark 8:34-35 Jesus tells us, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's the same shall save it." 
via Flickr
Some people may see this verse as instructions for missionaries in a far off land; however, this verse is for "whosoever."  To me "whosoever" is a word that includes all farmers, gardeners, bloggers, and even red-headed musicians.

My family and I are avid gardeners, and between rains every spring we plant our peas, onions, radishes, beets, lettuce, carrots, and potatoes. Pea seeds are shriveled and ugly and don't look any more alive than the even more ugly beet seeds. But, if a pea seed could think, would it see any sense in being buried? I think not.  Mr. Pea Seed would rather be out in the warm sun; gradually he would become even more shriveled, and eventually he would die. Trying to save his own life, pride, beauty, and self, he would lose everything.

Imagine getting ready to plant a field of soybeans. You have the soil prepared, and your seeds are in the planter. You're ready to go and can already envision a healthy field with green leaves and blossoms swaying in a warm gentle breeze; then you see the harvest with dollar bills jumping into your wallet as you combine... Suddenly your pleasant dreams are interrupted as you hear a noise coming from the seeds in the planter. The beans are jumping out of the planter, and a Soybean Spokesman informs you that this is a Soybean Revolution. The beans have decided that they are too beautiful to be buried! They are casting off your old-fashioned ideas of what is best, and they are going to live life their own way! What a scary thought!

Sadly many people are just as blind as Mr. Pea Seed and the soybean revolutionaries. They want to live life "their own way," and forget about God's plans. They say, "Oh, I want to have fun for a while, and when I'm old then the Lord can have His way." But when they're older it might be too late. Don't let your youth and vitality go to waste. Plant yourself in God's plans for your life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." You won't remain a shriveled up pea seed, selfishly seeking your own good, but you'll grow into a beautiful plant, blossom, and be a blessing to many people. Complete surrender to Jesus Christ, the Master Planter, is the only way to fulfillment and happiness in life. All else is as senseless as a soybean seed revolution.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Illinois: My 21st State!

After leaving St. Donatus, we returned to Dubuque to cross over the Highway 20 bridge into Illinois, the Land of Lincoln and home of President Obama.  Someone reminded us that it was also the land of gangsters and Al Capone.  We thought it over, but decided that since Al Capone has been dead 67 years, and Chicago is on the eastern side of the state, we could probably safely venture over the Mississippi.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Perfect Work of Patience

Yesterday I had the opportunity to guest post at Caitlin Baughman's blog Daughter of Destiny.  She always fills her blog with interesting and challenging material, so be sure to keep scrolling and read more about her life and thoughts.  Here's a preview of my post on the perfect work of patience, a virtue that makes life easier and goes hand in hand with faith.  
"Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."  --James 1:4

Patience is not a virtue easily acquired.  James tells us that the trying of our faith worketh patience.  God has given us many promises, some of which may seem impossible.  He promised Abraham when he was nearly 100 years old and his wife Sarah was 90 that they would have a son.  Was this humanly possible?  No.  But they believed God, and with God all things are possible. 

It's easy to have faith right after a promise has been made, but 2 or 3 years later it can be hard to still have faith.
Read more at Daughter of Destiny...