About Me

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My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Chocolat

Before I begin I want to apologize for having "disappeared" for a bit. Thanks to those of you who have asked about me.... it has been a really, really difficult time and your prayers for me and my husband are very much apprecited. I know there are many who have suffered at the hands of an abusive and controlling pastor and I feel for those folks, but there are also a number of good, humble, servants who get emotionally and spiritually beaten up in ministry too and I hope that if you have a good pastor, that you let them know how much you appreciate him/her.

Now .... for Chocolat

This is what I'm currently doing in my Sunday School class. We are watching clips of the movie Chocoat. It is not a parable, but I see quite a few parallels between this movie and the gospel. It's a good movie and it's cool to see the same old gospel revealed in a new way. My favorite scenes ....

When the priest is in the pulpit preaching "what is truth? Where will we find truth?" ... and then a rushing wind blows the church doors open. The mayor looks disturbed and gets up and shuts out the wind.

When the grouchy old woman gets her first taste of the chocolat ... and her whole countance changes and she almost giggles. Remember your first taste of God's grace?

When Josephine, a battered wife and pick-pocket who is talked about by everyone in the village and has no friends, gets her first taste of the chocolat and then in fear spits it out when her abusive husband calls for her. Later she works in the chocolat shop making and giving out the chocolat.

When Roux (a gypsy or "river rat") says, "I should warn you. If you make friends with us, you make enemies of others". I have a thing for outcasts. :)

Be sure to check out the Movie Glimpse site for a bible study using the movie Chocolat.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Quote

Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption.

Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world.

Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.

Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart.

Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand.

Have no shame in being kindly and gentle, but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret.

In the time of your life, live--so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.

- William Saroyan, 1939

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

I am grateful to the many men and women who have served and are still serving my country. I really do feel that I owe my own freedom to them so even though this is a busy day for me, it's not too busy for me to say "Thank you"! Those little words do not seem nearly "enough" to express all I would really like to express but they are from my heart.

I would also like to ask anyone reading if they would remember the name Matt Maupin when they come before our Father. He is from the Cincinnati area and has been missing in action in Iraq for many months now. Last week they found some items that they thought belonged to him and might clue them in on his whereabouts, but it turned out the items did not belong to him, so the mystery of what happened to him and where he is, is still a mystery. If this were my son I think I would have gone mad a long time ago. I suppose, putting myself in his mother's shoes, I would want prayers that (1) he was still alive, unharmed, and would be found soon. Those may seem unlikely outcomes for such a situation but our God is a big God and able to do many things we cannot imagine.

*Note: The flag in the picture is currently flying in Grand Isle, Louisiana. The picture does not do it justice, but if you look closely, the flag is torn and battered from Hurricane Katrina. It still waves above Town Hall as a symbol of a community's will to survive. I could have found a nicer picture but I think this captures the spirit of the American people better than a pretty picture of our flag.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Competition

It's sad when we get into the mind set that we are competing with other ministries. I am seeing a bit of this in my church lately and it just makes me sad. There seem to be a number of other outreach ministries in our church who feel they are in competition with the hurricane relief efforts for dollars. I've heard some "behind the back" criticism of the efforts, and some not so behind the back comments such as "we didn't do too badly considering that we're competing with hurricane relief".

I understand their feelings. It is just basic fear that they will not have "enough" and that the people they are reaching out too will suffer for it. I really believe their feelings are born out of love for the people they serve. But I wonder if we don't cut our own throats when we begin to fear...

I am convinced that God has quite enough money for all of the things He has ordained. I try to look at it this way, If God wants it to happen, it will ... there will be enough of what we need to do it. And if He doesn't want it to happen then I don't want to be out there pushing something He is not behind. I never want to have such a grip on any ministry that I can't let go when God says it's time to let go. I never want anything to be "my" ministry - I want it to be His, and that means He's the one who has to worry about providing for it. It also means He can shut it down anytime He sees fit.

A Higher Level of Faith

Each year I take a group of people on a short-term mission trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to do a VBS with the children there. Our main mission there is not the VBS, but simply to build relationships and to love the kids there as much as possible in a week's time. We try to "preach the gospel always", and "when necessary, use words".

Each year poses it's own set of difficulties in pulling the trip off. The first year I was scared spitless because I had never before attempted anything remotely like a mission trip. Oh, I had been on some mission trips - to Romania, Haiti and to the Pine Ridge Rez., but I had never had the enoumous responsibility of planning one and seeing it carried out. The fear and self-doubt was quite an obstacle for me to deal with that year.

Foolish me thought that the second year would be easier since by then I had some experience. WRONG! It was harder. A LOT harder. The second year I had a lareger team and there were some on the team that, how shall I say it ..... were a pain in the butt. I'll not go into all the details here simply because it's all history now, and doesn't really matter. But it was challenge enough for me to give serious thought to stopping any future trips. The only reason I was inclined to do this again this year was because I can't turn my back on the kids at Pine Ridge.

So, this year, we're off again. It takes us about a year to pull together the money and plan this thing so I ask for a commitment from people really early on. This year the deadline for making the first non-refundable payment of $100 was last week. I had said that we really need at least 15 people for a trip to the possible. It is just too hard to handle 100 kids and do all we do with a crew of less than 15. The deadline came and we had 14 people. Whew! That was close. Should we do it?? I decided that it would be a stretch, but we would go ahead and give it a go.

Last Sunday
Then last Sunday one of our crew told me he had to back out. He had asked for the one week grace period that I always give when a payment is due so he was supposed to give me his $100 this past Sunday. Instead his father told me that they simply didn't have the money. Too many things had broken around their house and made it impossible for them to come up with his payment. I understood. I hated it because (1) we really needed him, and (2) he is a great teenager who loved it there last year and hoped to go into missions full-time someday.

I came home from church Sunday and thought, "OK God, maybe 15 people was going to be hard, 14 a stretch, but 13 I'm just not sure we can do. Maybe You're telling us this is a year to stay home"???? I prayed about it and suddenly I remember that I've already seen ONE miracle regarding this trip. My friend was about to back out becuase she needed $300 for her families first payement and they didn't have it either. Just before the deadline a co-worker gave her a check for $300 - not knowing that was the exact amount she needed. So I figured God probably did want this trip to take place. At our evening service I went back to the mother of the teenager who had to drop out and told her that with her permission I would put him back on the team and that I would find his first $100 payment somehow by midnight that night - not to worry about it. They were extremely grateful and the trip is back on. And before I left the service that evening, I had $100 in my pocket.

I believe that God may be calling us to a higher level of faith. I believe He has enough money, it's just a matter of trusting Him for it.

What's the name of your God?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Update on my son

It's been a troubling week so I've not gotten to blog as I had hoped. I'm really struggling and bent out of sorts to put it mildly. I have managed to get quite a bit accomplished around the house though, so that's one positive.

And another positive is that I think we might have found out what is wrong with my son. He has Mono. All of that trouble for Mono. At least it's nothing serious and can be fixed with rest and time. Thanks to everyone who said a prayer for him.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Calling

On his blog, Michael has asked "what is your calling"? I thought I would respond here rather than clutter up his comment section with a long post.

I was actually just thinking about this earlier today. I hadn't really thought of it as a calling, but it is my passion and it is something that other people notice in me, so I suppose that may be considered an indication of a calling. I tend to be drawn to those individuals that are often seen as outsiders ... people who are weird, or differnet, or poor, or messed up in some way. One of my best friends has called me "the patron saint of lost causes". Let me assure you he did not mean that as a compliment ... he was rather upset with me at the time he said it, but I suppose it may be true in the sense that I find myself drawn to the people no one else cares about.

Part of this comes out of my own feelings of being an outsider. I can relate to people who don't quite fit in or who struggle in some way because I have experienced not fitting in and struggle for most of my own life. My heart goes out to people in pain and it's only natural that I want to let them know that someone cares.

Another reason is simply that I believe that the only things that matter in life are to love God and love other people. I really can't think of anything else that matters a whole lot. I also find it difficult to ignore Matthew chapter 25.

The thing is, a lot of people believe that we should love ... and a lot of people do try to love others but they do so expecting something in return. I don't believe that is the kind of love God calls us to. In fact, I don't believe that is love at all. For a long time I expected a return, or a response of some sort ... or at least some evidence that my caring mattered to the person I was reaching out to. But I've learned that even that is not something that can be expected. Love is most pure when it is given with any expectaion. The person may or may not love us back, they may or may not change, they may or may not care that we care, and they may never find Christ because of our love. It is simply the loving that we are to do and without regard for the results.

That is not to say that I find this calling easy to live out. I fail miserably at times. I actually find it much easier to love those who have been cast aside by others than to love the person in the pew next to me who thinks they have it all together. Thankfully I serve a gracious and forgiving God.