This will be our one and only trip (moving away) to Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska. We attended the Gathering of the Talents with a contingent from Hope Lutheran School in Shawnee, Kansas. It was a great learning experience for the kids, and it's one of many opportunities provided by Hope that benefits the kids. Having been a Forensics coach for over a decade, I can see the need for this kind of tournament. Lutheran schools are always excellent at providing sports opportunities, but it's also important to foster the slightly more academic or artistic side of kids who have other kinds of talents.

Of course, one could criticize the liberal use of blue ribbons at the event, but as long as there's some comments that can help students improve, it's not a real issue. Most of the kids were excited about getting a blue ribbon ranking, even if 90% of their peers received the same. We told our kids it was mostly about the experience. Getting up in front of others to perform and receiving feedback. Working hard to get their performances right. Moving past stage fright. Yes, they wanted to count the number of blue ribbons, but I hope they also learned that it's as much about seeing the talent of others and learning something than it is about receiving accolades.

Our kids wanted to participate in several categories. They didn't necessarily feel inspired to do the choir thing, but it just made sense because we were already there. Besides choir, they both did art (one photo and one drawing). Helena played a duet on her flute. James performed a monologue and a dance. James also wrote a story, while Helena wrote a poem. It's nice for others to see what we create. I'll post the videos I have here, and I'll also add the text of the poem/story. If you have kids in a Lutheran school in the Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, or North Dakota, find out if your school can participate.

Grade K-3 Hope Lutheran Shawnee

Grade 4-8 Hope Lutheran Shawnee

James's monologue

Helena's duet

Link to James's dance


Soccer by Helena


The ground was as hard as a street

leading to the end of the field.

I could taste victory on the tip of my tongue.

The crowd roared like a lion in the distance.

I heard the whoosh of the ball

as  it dropped towards my knee.

I could see the goal right in front of me.

I went blank as I dribbled the ball

toward  the goal.

Everything around me felt still

As if I was floating on a cloud in a dream.    

I looked out for defenders

As they zoomed at me like cannonballs.

My heart was racing like a meteor.

I took a few dribbles

And kicked the ball as hard as I could.

My eyes followed the ball as it flew down the field.



The Ride of my Life

By James B. Jaeger


An awesome autobiography

Chapter 1: Me

 Hi. My name is James. I am 8.


 I have a sister named Helena. Helena is now 10, and loves to fight with me. I don’t have any pets, although I would love to own a Golden Retriever named Arf.


 Arf would be a big responsibility, but I wouldn’t mind doing all of the chores for him. I would like to play outside with him and play games & sports with him. I would read stories to him at night. Sleeping with him would NOT make me UNHAPPY. Instead, I would just cuddle with him ‘till I fall asleep. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzZZzzzzzzz::::::::::;::;::::::;:................



                                                                    Until that happens.



Chapter 2: The early Years


 When I was little, I was fairly clumsy. On my first B-Day, I fell asleep in my cake. Once I woke up, I couldn’t stop licking the frosting on my face. My mom washed my face right afterwards.


 Many of these times of me being clumsy just came randomly, like when my cousin Amelia tried to get on my tricycle, and I shook it so that we would fall off.





Chapter 3: When I got older


 I loved visiting the zoo. Many times when I visited the zoo, I would ALWAYS want to go on the giant playground in the Family Farm area. I would get Ice Cream in the farm area, too.


 When I was playing soccer, I once had an interesting game when it was raining, and the entire field was covered in mud. I fell down many times, but the worst time was when I was goalie and my opponent ran up to me and I fell, skinned my knee, and got covered in mud. Luckily, they didn’t score. Phew!


 Soon I grew into loving Star Wars. I also loved the Disney Buddies movie series. Not only did I love watching movies and TV shows, but reading would let me enjoy myself if I got bored. I loved small books and picture books a lot. But once in a blue moon, I would decide to challenge myself by reading a chapter book.

 I loved to read books, but I would write books of my own, too. In fact, when I was 5, my dad published one of my books titled “Numbers Cool Book”. It was a great success.

  Chapter 4: Oregon Trip


 About a year ago, my mom got a job offer to teach in Oregon, so we drove there from Milwaukee. Helena and I would draw, read, talk, and just sorta look around. When we got there, we went to a hotel. I loved the room. It was large, spacious, and comfortable.


 The next morning we explored the area and visited the school. We kept exploring the town as days passed. One day we visited the ocean. The Pacific Ocean, of course. I loved playing in the water!


 Our first stop on our way home was our Great Aunt Eva’s house. We slept over and had cereal and eggs for breakfast. Later in the morning I went for a walk with Eva’s dog, Willow. I walked on all fours!


 After a great, big lunch, I got to meet Eva’s horses. They were majestic and I got to feed them. I decided to go back inside to hang out with all of the men. But soon things got boring, so I just took a little nap.


 We had a big taco dinner and stayed one more night. Before I knew it, I was already saying bye. On our next stop, we visited a cool underground cave called Jewel Cave. We even stopped at Mount Rushmore-OMG! As we went from place to place, we got closer to home. And eventually we were there.


Chapter 5: My Home in Kansas


 Right before my family was leaving for our Oregon trip, Mom got another call to be a teacher, but in Kansas. So once again, we took a drive into Kansas. It was real great. We got to visit a school called Hope, and spent a few nights in a hotel with a pool.


 When we came back to Milwaukee, we had to make a decision: Kansas, Wisconsin, or Oregon. We chose Kansas. And here we are. The ride of my life.