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.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cup of Joe

You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe

But don't think plain - instead think, uncomplicated
You're a low maintenance kind of girl... who can hang with the guys
Down to earth, easy going, and fun! Yup, that's you: the friend everyone invites.
And your dependable too. Both for a laugh and a sympathetic ear.


Wow is about all I can say. You may have seen this on The Early Show or on the news but I thought it was worthy of repeating here. What does this story say to you?

GREECE, N.Y. (Feb. 24) - Jason McElwain had done everything he was asked to do for the Greece Athena High School basketball team - keep the stats, run the clock, hand out water bottles.

That all changed last week for the team manager in the final home game of the season. The 17-year-old senior, who is autistic and usually sits on the bench in a white shirt and black tie, put on a uniform and entered the game with his team way ahead.

McElwain proceeded to hit six 3-point shots, finished with 20 points and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.

"I ended my career on the right note," he told The Associated Press by phone Thursday. "I was really hotter than a pistol!"

In recent days, McElwain's phone has hardly stopped ringing. When his family went out for a meal, he was mobbed by well-wishers. A neighborhood boy came by to get a basketball autographed.

McElwain, 5-foot-6, was considered too small to make the junior varsity, so he signed on as team manager. He took up the same role with the varsity, doing anything to stay near the sport he loves. Coach Jim Johnson was impressed with his dedication, and thought about suiting up McElwain for the home finale.

His performance was jaw-dropping: 20 points in four minutes, making 6-of-10 3-point shots. The crowd went wild.

"It was as touching as any moment I have ever had in sports," Johnson told the Daily Messenger of Canandaigua.

McElwain didn't begin speaking until he was 5. He lacked social skills but things got easier as he got older. He found many friends and made his way through school in this Rochester suburb, although many of his classes were limited to a half-dozen students. And he found basketball.

On the varsity, he never misses practice and is a jack-of-all-trades.

"And he is happy to do it," Johnson said. "He is such a great help and is well-liked by everyone on the team."

Even though McElwain was in uniform for the Feb. 15 game, there was no guarantee he would play - Athena was battling for a division title.

The fans, however, came prepared. One section of students held up signs bearing his nickname "J-MAC" and cutouts of his face placed on Popsicle sticks.

The Trojans opened a large lead against the team from the nearby Spencerport. With four minutes left, McElwain took the court to deafening cheers.

The ball came to him almost right away. His 3-point shot sailed completely off course, and the coach wondered if he made the wrong move. McElwain then missed a layup. Yet his father, David, was unruffled.

The thing about Jason is he isn't afraid of anything," he told the newspaper. "He doesn't care what people think about him. He is his own person."

On the next trip down the floor, McElwain got the ball again. This time he stroked a 3, all net.

He was just warming up.

"As soon as the first shot went in that's when I started to get going," he said.

On the next attempt, he got another 3-pointer. Then another, and another. In fact, he would have made one more 3, but his foot was on the line, so he had to settle for 2 points.

Greece Athena won 79-43, and pandemonium reigned. McElwain signed autographs, posed for pictures and was hoisted by his teammates.

The Trojans begin sectional play Saturday and McElwain will be on the bench again, wearing his usual shirt and tie.

It doesn't bother him. More important, he said, is "trying to win a sectional title for the team."

McElwain will soon be done with high school basketball, then enroll in business management this fall at Monroe Community College.

"I'll go on to college and I'll try to hoop there," he said. "I just love it, it's one of the greatest sports in the world."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Day in Court

A few weeks ago I was rudely awakened by the phone ringing at 6:30 in the morning. It was my youngest son calling with one of those phone calls that every parent dreads.

"Mom, we've been in a wreck".

Well I knew he must have been okay because he was calling which meant that he was conscious enough to at least do that. After a few seconds my heart started beating again and I began asking questions. "Where are you? What happened? Is anyone hurt?" etc. He did have some neck pain so we made a trip to the ER to be on the safe side. Mild whiplash, some muscle relaxers and he was back at school.

It turns out that the man who rear-ended them was in the country illegally and had no insurance.

Not good.

Later we also discovered that the girl he was riding with also did not have insurance.

Really not good.

So, to make a long story a bit shorter, my son was required to appear in court yesterday as a witness. We went along too to support him, to see what was going to happen with the man, and to request the court to make the man pay for the hospital visit that resulted from the wreck. We waited for 2 hours in the courtroom only to hear the man's attorney requst a continuance. Great! All that time only to find out we have to go back March 7th.

But it was an entertaining 2 hours. At times it was difficult not to burst out laughing. Two people were there for urinating in public. One lady who was charged with possesion of drugs decided to lash out at the judge - always an excellent decision. She is now a guest of the Butler County sheriff's dept. for the next 30 days. One lady was here from Guana and was supposed to be accompanied by her interpreter who just happened to be out of state. The judge used exaggerated gestures to try to explain to her that her intrepreter was not here and that she was to come back next Tuesday. One can only hope she understood.

One situation though was nothing less than heartbreaking. A 20 year-old mentally retarded man was led into the courtroom in shackels. He is charged and confessed to killing another resident at the facility where he lives. He had no clue that he had done anything wrong and only wanted to "go home with his mommy and daddy". I work with mentally retarded and mentally ill adults and can easily see how something like this could happen. Many times I have gone to work wondering if I would be beaten up while there. He became very emotional and reached to hug his parents. When he was not allowed to hug them the bailiff hugged him and patted him on the back to comfort him. This young man was adopted by his parents, a pastor, when he was 18 mos. old. He had been sexually and physically abused as a baby. Such a waste.

The whole experience left me feeling weighted down. I honestly don't know how the judges do it. I was drained and I only saw a very small portion of what she had to deal with. I felt bad for the addict who had lost nearly everything. I felt bad for the people who were here illegally even though it does irritate me. I felt bad for the retarded man who was denied even a hug from his parents. I felt bad for his heartbroken parents. I felt bad for his victim's family and friends. I felt bad for the judge who has to somehow figure out where justice is in all of it.

At times like this I wish I didn't feel. I wish I could just not care. I wish I could dismiss them all as jerks who will get what they deserve. Sometimes I try to do that, and sometimes I even succeed. But as I sat there watching each one take their turn standing before the judge I couldn't help but be reminded that they were all human beings, each with their own story, their own pain, their own struggles who were just trying to get by the best they know how.

So tonight I say a prayer for each of them, and for myself becuase I too do stupid things and I am grateful for a God who understands our weaknesses and cares for us in spite of our failings.

Impact Makers

There are a few people I have never met, and never will meet in this lifetime, who have helped to shape my life and make me into the person I am today. For whatever reason, something about their life has touched my own and made an impact. Someone, maybe one of you, once told me once that makeing an impact is different than making an impression. An impression is like leaving footprints in the sand. They are there and then gone almost as quickly. An impact is different becuase there is always lasting change associated with an impact. Rich Mullins was one of those people who have impacted my life. His honesty is the thing that really sturck me about Rich. He was always brutally honest - not about others but about his own brokenness. Here is an excerpt from an article Rich Music, Rich Memories that pretty much sums up Rich's honesty.

Secrets. That's what has drawn me to Rich's music, and it's what holds me there. Rich tells us his secrets, and in so doing he tells all of ours. He speaks the unspoken. He gives the silence a shape. Out of thin air, words come that touch us in places that we have kept hidden, even from ourselves. For seven years and seven records Rich has been telling us his secrets, fighting with God and friends and the devil right out loud in the harsh light of day while we looked on, safe but mesmerized. We were made a little braver while we watched.

Sometimes I had to look away, locked in a recording studio with this impish, damaged, terribly brave man while he put on his gloves and battled with his faith. Sometimes it was just too close to home, watching him try to let his passion out and control it at the same time. I could see it was like trying to let the air out of a balloon a little at a time - it's possible, but it takes a lot of concentration and it tends to get away from you and end up flying all over the room in a frantic burst. That's why there is never anyone in the studio when Rich sings except the two of us, and if he could figure out how to get me out of there he would do it. It's a private thing, and even while recording I feel like I'm eavesdropping. But safe on the other side of the glass, secure in my easy Christianity, I listened. For seventy-two songs I listened. I heard the fury of a pheasant's wings. I believed that the wind would stir. I laughed at Beaker's bike. I worshipped an awesome God. I saw the wood shavings on the floor of a Carpenter's shop. I went to the land of his sojourn. I heard him singing, and I knew that he was telling my secrets, our secrets, pushing us and prodding us to finally admit with him that we can't get along without God, to just stop pretending, and get on our knees.

Source: Rich Music, Rich Memories by Reed Arvin
Rich's career-long producer

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

David and Barbara have both asked what's up with me. I suppose it must seem like I've fallen off the face of the earth, but I have not. At least not yet. There are days that doesn't sound like a bad idea though. ;)

In some ways it seems as if there's nothing new really going on and in other ways it seems as if everything is going on. Maybe that's normal.

Taser is doing well. She is growing like a weed and becoming a real pain in the butt at times but she is healthy and happy and for that I am grateful. She is 3 months old today and here are some pics that I just took of her a few minutes ago.

Sitting on the couch pretending to be a lady.

Doing her favorite thing - chewing up and destroying everything in sight.

Pine Ridge Mission Trip
We are also up and running with the 2006 trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Once we get into the planning stages that becomes like a second job for me. There is SO much to do and time really begins to fly. You can read about some of our plans for this year's trip at my other blog.

Bad News From Haiti
Speaking of missions .... I was shocked and saddened to learn that one of the men who we met in Haiti was brutally murdered last week. He acted as our guard while we were there and was a lot of fun and a really sweet guy. His murder was particularly brutal and I wish I could tell you the details but I've been asked not to share too much about it until a later time. Please be in prayer for the mission there as Tony was with them for several years and was much loved and will be missed by so many people. He is the one on the left - the one who looks like Eddie Murphy.

Pray for Carly
I would also ask you to be praying for Carly. She is a 6 year-old little girl in our church who just found out she has Leukemia. Apparently it's a bad kind of Leukemia too. She was given only a 40% chance of survial unless they can find a bone marrow match. Her 2 year-old little brother is the best chance for a match but there was only a 25% chance that he would be. It turns out that he is not a match. And Carly is not responding well to the chemo so they have tested her heart to see if she can stand a stronger dose of chemo. So far we're all just waiting to see if this will work. Her family has been under a lot of stress for a long time - her daddy just came back from Iraq a few days before Carly was diagnosed. Please pray for her.

The Rolling Stones
In other news, I am going to get to see the Stones in concert afterall. Well sort of. On the 28th a movie theater near me is broadcasting the Stones concert from Brazil and I'm going. :) I have no idea who will go with me, but I'll go alone if necessary. It may seem strange to some people that someone who is a pastor's wife and into missions would also like the Rolling Stones but what can I say - "it's only rock and roll but I like it. Yes I do".