Tag Archives: track

Simple Moments…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂

Inspiration this week comes from 1 Chronicles 28:9

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him.”

When we get up each day, we don’t know what the hours might bring. But, there are many places in the Bible where we are assured that God will be with us through each moment. If you seek him, you will find him. To me, the beauty of that is found in its simplicity. Each day is filled with many simple moments where God asks us to join him on the journey. It is our job to take hold of that softly spoken call with a whole heart and a willing mind. To patiently trust in God’s plan and to draw peace from his strength.

In some of those moments, God places medals on our hearts as we seek to follow him. In a special few, a medal might also be placed around our neck. One thing is certain, we must respond to God’s ask in order to journey with him. One of my greatest blessings as a parent is to watch my kids learn to lean on their faith to find peace and honor on their journey as Christian Athletes.

My favorite blonde cowgirl defended her title and brought home gold this weekend at the Nebraska State Class B Track and Field Championships. She vaulted with powerful beauty, soaring more than 11 feet 3 inches in the air, with a heart full of the peace and confidence that comes from deep faith. Meg has always felt God’s call to fly with abandon, but this year she led with her heart to find a deeper purpose.

The night before she left with the Haymaker Track Team for Omaha, she told me of her goals and plan. She quietly looked me in the eye and said,

“Mom, I’m going to share Jesus’ love and joy with others in the pole vault pit and on the track. I don’t know how I will vault or run, but I do know that I can take advantage of the opportunity to get to know my competitors and support them on their journey. That way, if I don’t come home with a medal or a personal best, I still know that my trip to the track meet was meaningful.”

Throughout the competition, I watched her share smiles, hugs, and encouragement with others. She stayed true to the bracelet on her wrist which reminded her that Jesus would love first. Over the two day meet, there was only one moment when a state track official placed a medal around her neck, but there were hundreds of moments where God led her heart to share of his love.  It was seeing this shared fellowship with other athletes during competition that filled my heart with gratitude.

Athletes face many pressures on their journey. I’ve watched all of my children and hundreds of others whom I have been blessed to coach, to fight for confidence in the moment of competition when expectations are high and the fear of failure is a reality. The pressure can draw them inward to a place of insecurity that is in direct contrast to what God asks of us. God asks for our hearts – for us to share them – in order to honor the gift that Jesus brought to us on the cross.

Over the past year, I have watched Megan figure out that the overriding call is one of love and fellowship. When we focus on that, then the pressure of competition doesn’t define us and drive our efforts. Instead, it allows Jesus to fill our hearts with the love that carries us to victory. When that happens, fear is replaced with faith as we trust in the simple moments that we share together.



Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

She Believed!

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂

Inspiration for this week comes from Ephesians 3:16-18

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.”

For me, living with grace allows for my faith to be stronger than my fear.

There are many things in life that can bring fear to our hearts and minds — for example, new experiences, worry over how others view us, and concern for those that we love. For competitive athletes, races – meets – and games often bring a new level of fear.

Physical toughness and dedication to training play a huge role in an athlete’s success. But, victory requires more than just physical fortitude. Mental toughness and emotional/spiritual fitness often dictate continued success on the athletic journey.

“Am I good enough?”

How often do each of us ask that simple question? Four words that represent an 800# gorilla that can ride heavily on our backs. Recently, as the District Track meet approached, I watched doubt take hold of my favorite blonde cowgirl. Hampered by a pulled quadricep muscle that stubbornly refused to completely heal, Meg’s confidence plummeted and fear threatened to override the faith that lives inside her heart.

She struggled as a christian athlete.

I searched deeply to find the right words to share. I found them in the above verses in Ephesians 3.

As her mind healed, her leg seemed to follow suit. Two days before the Nebraska State Track meet, Meg looked at me and said:

“Mom, I’m good. I’m ready for Burke Stadium — I’m ready to compete.”

The day of the Class B Pole Vault competition @ Burke greeted us with gloomy skies that offered periodic cold rain showers. But, I knew that Meg was ready. I could tell from my seat in the stadium stands that nothing could dampen her fire. She carried God’s guidance in her heart with Jesus’s confident love flowing deeply in her body, and the Holy Spirit’s inner strength surrounding her as she journeyed into competition.

They delayed the Pole Vault competition twice due to hard rain: once during warm ups and once close to half way through the event. Meg didn’t miss a beat. She vaulted perfectly — not once missing until after she had already won the competition by clearing 11’2″ on her first attempt.

Her mind was calm.

Her soul was on fire.

Her body responded with strength.

I cried as we watched her realize victory. The joy in my heart came not from the gold medal that she proudly wore around her neck, but from the sparkle in her eyes that told me the depth of her faith.

She was good enough. God carried her when she needed Him the most and the end of the journey brought magic as she believed.



Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

A Brief Recap…

The Burkholder residence has been it’s usual crazy self over the past couple of weeks.  Due to a variety of time constraints and an unplanned bout of influenza, this week’s Feed Yard Foodie post will simply be a brief recap of our wanderings…

Last week, my favorite brunette and her Oral Interpretation of Drama speech team garnered 4th place at the Nebraska State Speech Meet for their rendition of “The Bible in 30 Minutes or Less”.  I enjoyed watching these talented 5 high school students take their knowledge of the bible and turn it into an interesting and funny summation of the Old Testament. Outside of the normal speech season, the group performed for many different community audiences allowing for the great inter-generational engagement that often permeates small town America.

Last week also sparked the official start of track season in Nebraska. With two high school varsity competitors, there never appears to be a dull moment… Ashley Grace continues to compete in middle distance and distance events as Megan tackles the pole vault and both hurdle events. My favorite farmer and I are both track nerds so we are having a blast (despite the fact that Mother Nature creates vicious settings for Nebraska track meets in March). Last Friday, I became the favorite farmer fashion parent wandering around the track in her coveralls 😉

My youngest blonde athletic dynamo worked her way onto a traveling soccer team based out of Lexington, Nebraska this spring so she begins her journey of games across the state this coming weekend. We will travel to Lincoln to watch her play soccer on Saturday. The soccer team has been an awesome experience for Karyn, and I am so pleased with how the girls from the neighboring community have opened their hearts with kindness toward the tall blonde Haymaker.

My favorite farmer began the spring farm field work a couple of weeks ago. We received some very needed rain last week with a 2″ soaker permeating the ground. It is currently raining again and this seasonal moisture brings a tremendous blessing. Planting oats sits on the nearby radar screen, followed by alfalfa in the middle of April, and corn in early-mid May. Matt and his crew continue to prepare the alfalfa dehydration plant for its season start up the middle of May.

I am closing in on 60 days on my new job at the Beef Marketing Group and am enjoying both the people and the projects. I’ve made a couple of trips to Kansas as well as visiting all of the feed yards in Nebraska. It seems to be a good fit for me on this journey we call life 🙂 On the home front, we are preparing to take cattle to grass in about a week so bovines continue to play a large role in my daily activities.

Today we celebrate my favorite blonde cowgirl’s birthday.  I’m not sure where the years have gone, but I feel so blessed to be able to share my life with this awesome young woman!


Happy Birthday Megan!


Filed under Family, Farming, General

Track Season in Nebraska…

In Florida, track season is filled with heat and afternoon thunderstorms.  The humidity grabs at you with a consistent tug from March to the end of May.  I ran the two mile, and remember hoping that my races fell in the evening rather than during the full sun of the afternoon.

In Nebraska, track season is filled with wind, snow, cold rain, and the occasional bout of warmth.  It provides a completely different experience for the athletes with a frequently changing set of environmental elements.  The weather toughens the competitors and gives them a firm appreciation for the nice days that occasionally align with the track meet schedule.

With three girls competing in track at three different levels, my favorite farmer and I spend a lot of afternoons/evenings at meets.  It is fortunate that we are track junkies and love every minute of it 🙂

As we prepare to finish up the second straight week with four meets to attend, I remind myself how awesome it is to watch my girls and their teammates fight for success.  Ashley Grace and Megan both made the record board last week — Ashley Grace in her high school 4 X 800 meter relay, and Megan in the junior high pole vault.

A big smile before the relay...

A big smile before the relay…There was an even bigger one after the run!

It’s always fun to continue to legacy of Burkholder record holders for the Cozad Haymakers.  The girls watched their dad’s 20 year old sprinting records fall a few years ago, and are now enjoying teasing him that they took his place on the record board…

Megan sailing over 9′ — #cowgirlsmakegoodpolevaulters

 Ashley Grace and her team head to the Class B Districts today with aspirations of competing in Omaha next week at the Nebraska State High School track meet.  Megan will end her junior high career pole vaulting Saturday at the Nebraska State Junior High track meet.  Karyn finally will trade the bleachers for the track on Sunday competing in the high jump, 400 and 800 meter runs.  After watching her sisters for 8 weeks, she is ready to be an athlete instead of a spectator!

As for Matt and I, we will celebrate the awesomeness of our girls as we proudly watch them travel down the road to excellence.  I might also be found teasing my favorite farmer as my name still appears on my high school record board 🙂

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Fueled By Beef!

Thoughtful Thursday…


I fuel her muscles with beef, and she fuels them with determination…It’s a winning partnership!

Do you fuel your family with the ZIP of beef?

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Filed under General, Thoughtful Thursday

What is a Beta Agonist?

A beta agonist works to relax smooth muscle tissue.  In humans, it is used to treat or prevent breathing problems that result from asthma or other airway diseases.  My daughter, Karyn, uses an albuterol inhaler before athletic events—this is an example of a beta agonist.  By relaxing the smooth muscle tissue in the airway, albuterol allows air to flow in and out of her lungs more easily.

Yes, it was cold enough Friday to warrant the stocking cap…Especially since she had just finished swimming practice 🙂

The use of an albuterol inhaler is new for Karyn.  Those of you that followed Feed Yard Foodie last November and December will remember that she became very ill and was hospitalized with pneumonia over Thanksgiving weekend.  My baby (she may be 7, but she’s still my baby!) got very sick, and her respiratory system still has not fully healed.  While there appears to be no permanent damage to her lungs, the tissue in her airway has not fully recovered which impedes her ability to move oxygen in and out of her lungs.

Go Kare-Bear Go!

Because she is such a tremendous little athlete, this challenges her.  She is my most “stoic” child, and never complains.  But, as I watched her run early this spring when athletics started up again after a winter hiatus, I could see her struggle to breathe.  When I initially took her to the doctor, she was only getting a 60% supply of oxygen into her lungs.  After an intensive two week treatment, we got her up to 80%.  She is on the right track, but it will take time for her to fully heal.  Until then, her albuterol inhaler will be a part of our athletic routine.

Setting the meet record in the 200M Saturday in Hastings, Nebraska…

Modern medicine and medical technology is amazing.  The first beta agonist became available for human use in 1968, and it has revolutionized the lives of asthma patients or other people like Karyn that have a temporary condition which impedes oxygen flow.

Animal scientists often look to human medical advancements for new ideas.  Animal scientists and food animal caregivers are constantly looking for ways to improve.  Whether you are talking about improvement in animal care, improvement in food quality and safety, or improvement in the use of resources necessary to grow that food; we constantly search for ways to get better.

I raise them to make beef—I am always looking for ways to do a better job. That sets both my animals up for success and also, you, the consumer of my beef.

A couple of decades after the first beta agonist became available for use in human medicine, animal researchers began looking for ways that they could be beneficial on farms growing food.  They discovered that a beta agonist could allow cattle to increase lean muscle (what we want to eat), and decrease fat deposition (what we do not want to eat) all while enabling them to use fewer pounds of feed to make more pounds of human food.

It is my job to be a responsible grower of food…Technology helps me to do this!

Thursday’s post will talk in more depth about the role that beta agonists play in improving the beef that I grow on my farm.  Which one do I use?—Why do I choose to use it?—How does it work?—How does it affect my animals and the beef that they make?

Family time on the track last Saturday—minus my favorite 12 year old who was competing in Tennessee at the Global Finals for Destination Imagination…

Beta agonists play an important role on my farm—Just as they play an important role in allowing my youngest daughter to continue with her love of athletics while her respiratory tract completes the healing process.


Filed under Antibiotics, hormones, and other growth promotants..., General

Happy Friday–The Feed Yard Foodie Clan Rocks the Track!

When two kindred track lovers get together they make a new generation of runners and jumpers!

My favorite 12 year old…She inherited her grit from her mama and her speed from her daddy.  This picture was taken with one lap to go–I love the expression on her face.  She is a tough kid and easily won the 1500 meters in a time of 6:13.

My favorite 10 year old loves to “fly”—Whether it is on the back of her horse or into the long jump pit. She has her eyes set on her Auntie Lara’s high school long jump record…

My baby (age 7) won both the 100m and 200m. Her quickness amazes me, and her focus makes me proud…

Matt and I have both loved helping to coach the Cozad Youth Track team this spring.  We have about 10 more days of track fun until swimming meets take over for the summer.  Go Haymakers!


Filed under Family