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, June 30, 2006

I'm Glad I'm NOT God

I would hate to have His job. Think of it, people questioning every decision you make all the time and blaming you for everything that goes wrong - even when it's their own fault because they didn't listen to you in the first place. Not a job I would aspire to.

And I admit, I am one of those people. Sometimes it's hard not to wonder if God has fallen off his rocker. Sometimes He acts in ways that I simply do not understand. Sometimes His apparent lack of action makes me wonder if He's paying attention. I've been known to tell Him on occasion that if I were Him, I would do things differently. That does not mean that my faith in Him is shaken. I KNOW He knows what He's doing, and I KNOW He has the situation under control, and I KNOW He is doing what is best for everyone involved. It's just that from my limited perspective, I don't "get it". That's OK. I don't have to "get" everything He does to believe He's got it covered. And I don't have to like everything He does to believe that He is indeed a good God.

I've posted here quite a few times about Carly, a little girl who is fighting leukemia. And as I've watched Carly's progress or lack of it, I have questioned God.

So far the story goes something like this ...

Carly's daddy goes to Iraq because he's in the army and it's his job to go when given orders to do so. Carly gets sick about the time her daddy is supposed to come home. RIGHT AFTER he gets home from Iraq, they are told that Carly has leukemia.

Then the search for a bone marrow donor. Doctors say that Carly's little brother is the best chance for a match. He is not a match. The doctors give little hope of finding another match but alas a "perfect" match is found - a 30-something year old man somewhere in the U.S. Carly is given high doses of chemo to get her ready for the bone marrow transplant. When she is ready, the bone marrow transplant is done. To the doctor's amazement, it goes well. Really well. Her body accepts the transplant far faster and far better than anyone could have expected.

Then problems come. Carly has trouble breathing and is put on a ventilator. Apparently the radiation has caused a hole to form in her lung. Things go downhill quickly and doctors give little hope for recovery.

We are now somewhere in this roller coaster ride and Carly is holding steady. She is still on a ventilator. Still having trouble breathing. Still fighting for her life. And we all scratch our heads and wonder at God.

What on earth is He thinking? Why bring her through all of the bone marrow transplant with flying colors only to have her fight this battle? It makes no sense. And yet, somehow I'm glad it doesnt' make any sense. If it did, then God might well be left out of the picture. It's frustrating to be sure, but I believe that God knows exactly what He's doing. And I believe that Carly is going to pull through this. It wouldn't be the first time the doctors were surprised and proven wrong where Carly's concerned. I even have a feeling that as Carly sleeps in her drug induced state that the God of the universe is whispering in her ear the plans He has for her.

Sometimes Life is Just Too Good

If you know me, you know I love the Rolling Stones, U2 and Bono, and Johnny Depp. And you might also know that I am planning a pirate birthday party for the kids on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation as part of our mission trip there. Well how cool is it that ALL of the above mentioned persons have one thing in common - pirates!

For anyone in the dark, Johnny Depp made the role of Captain Jack Sparrow quite famous and made Disney a lot of money on a little film called Pirates of the Caribbean. Disney is set to release the sequel to that film next week, July 7th to be exact. :)

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was the model Johnny Depp used to create the character of Captain Jack Sparrow. And has been rumored far and wide that Keith Richards will make an appearance in one of the sequels as Captain Jack's father. When they had the premiere for the second film a few days ago, Jerry Bruckheimer (sp?) announced that Keith is set to film in Sept. and will in fact appear in the 3rd Pirates movie which is scheduled for May 2007.

And now for Bono. Bono too has taken to piracy as a contributor on a collection of priate songs that will soon be released.

Can it get any better??

Monday, June 26, 2006


There seems to be a theme here, among the "celebs" that I admire. Maybe that's why I like them?

"If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it’s OK to be different, that it’s good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, is a different color." - Johnny Depp

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Some Whine and Cheese

I wasn't going to whine but since my husband Brian says it's OK to whine (boy will he ever regret saying that), I'll be happy to whine on.

Let me start with - I'm sick. Not terribly sick. Just miserably sick. Every year it's the same old pattern. I get a cold (thank you for sharing Logan) and I am MISERABLE with head congestion - something I can't stand. Then it moves to my chest and I sound like I'm dying but I generally feel better. That's when everyone gets worried though and begins to tell me I need to see a doctor. I don't. This is normal for me. I've had this pattern since I was a baby. It will run it's course and I'll be fine. I'm just miserable in the process and probably miserable to be around.

Next up on the whine list - I'm tired. I began working overtime last week - even though I don't get paid for overtime. There's this lovely little loophole in the law that states that if you are employeed as a companion, caregiver, etc. for someone, you are exempt from being paid overtime if you work more than 40 hours a week. I'm working 54 hours a week. Third shift. Sleeping in the daytime just isn't possible with family and neighbors making all kinds of racket. So, I'm tired. I'm trying to grab naps as I can. So far I really don't feel all that bad. It helps to have a job where I really don't have to "work". If I had to actually work at work, then I'd probalby be dead on my feet. I guess that's the trade off - I get paid while I watch TV or read and that makes up for overtime pay... I guess.

Next - My dog Taser is sick - again. Yesterday I came home from work hoping to get a little sleep when I noticed that it looked like Taser had ripped her incision open. I'm not much of a medical expert, but it looked bad. I called the vet and got her an appointment for 12:20. In the meantime I was trying to keep her calm when the cable guy came. Great timing. We had called them earlier in the week to repair a cable that was hanging low and they came when my dog was having issues. There was no chance I was going to (1) get sleep, or (2) keep Taser from running, jumping, barking her big-bad-attack-dog bark. Since I wanted to TRY to get a little bit of sleep I called Brian to see if he could take her to the vet. He had to rearrange his whole schedule to do so but he did. Thanks honey! Long story short - she did not rip the incision open, she just has a bad infection. She's on medication and she has yet another CONE! She also has a sedative to help keep her calm. One more week with the dreaded cone!

Last night our board of trustees agreed to back our school supply give-away on the reservation. I was thrilled! Up unitl yesterday it looked like we were not going to be able to give away the school supplies this year. (Every year we take backpacks full of school supplies to give to the children in the village.) But with the church's help, the backpacks are a go. WHICH means I have a LOT more work to do.

Today I went shopping. You can see pics and read about it here. I was really happy to find some great deals. I bought 300 notebooks, 300 ink pens, 44 boxes of crayons, and 130 glue sticks all for $128.00!! Not bad! But it took the whole day and I'm pooped. I pretty much cleaned the store out so I'll have to go back. And there will be other items to buy too, not to mention the 150 backpacks! But that will be another day.

So what can I say. Things could be worse. I guess I really don't have that much to whine about even though that has never stopped me before and certainly didn't stop me this time either.

**Side Note***

I heard from Cody today. He is in Canada for a month. He's doing great! He led two people to Christ the other day and has learned to make fire with two sticks. He has not managed to catch a fish that is bigger than his hand though and has yet to see a bear or a moose. Pray for him. He will be in the wilderness on a survival trip this week. Hopefully he will not see that bear on this trip.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Sad Day

I was sick to hear that two of our soldiers were missing and even sicker to hear that the worst had come to pass. My heart goes out to the families of Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore.

We still have one missing. Matt Maupin has been missing in Iraq since April of 2004. He is from my area and we have not forgotten him. We are still praying and hoping that he comes home safe and sound.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Today Brian and I celebrate 23 years of marriage. It seems impossible that I've been married more than half my life, but it is so. Here are some of the reasons I love my husband.

  • He has more integrity than anyone I know
  • He has wisdom
  • He loves me
  • He is a great father
  • He truly lives out that verse where it says to die to self (This can be seen in how he always puts me and our boys first AND in the fact that even though he is very qualified to be a senior pastor, he has been an associate pastor for 19 years - something that is unheard of and few people realize what it takes to do that)
  • He deals graciously with ungracious people
  • He has never given up in ministry even though he has experienced a lot of discouragement
  • He has great legs (a guy at the Y called him "Mr Legs" and freaked him out but he does have great legs)
  • He is very disciplined. When he sets his mind to do something, he does it. Working out 6 days a week for the past several years is an example.
  • He's not too macho to call Taser "daddy's little girl"
  • Once a month he drives several hours to visit a man in prision
  • Although he is compassionate he has firm boundaries

Those are just some of the reasons. For a gift this year Brian and I bought a new swing. When we got married 23 years ago we were broke. Really broke. We agreed not to get each other a wedding gift since we really couldn't afford it. Even our wedding was "home made". My mom made my dress, the bride's maid's dress, the flower girl's dress, and our cake. We had been working on fixing up an old trailer that we were going to live in. One day while I was at the home improvement store I saw a swing that I fell in love with. It was a really great swing. So one day I took Brian there to see it. I was not asking for it because I knew it was out of the question for us to get it, but I wanted him to see this great swing.

Well ... the night before our wedding he presented me with a small package. I opened it and found a small, clothspin replica of the swing. I thought, "well that's kind of cruel" but didn't say anything. Brian had to do some convincing to get me to realize that he had bought the swing - the real swing.

This year we had to destroy the swing and throw it away. After 23 years it was rotted to the point of not being safe. It was hard to get rid of that swing but it had to be done. We bought ourselves a new swing for our anniversary this year.

Last night Brian presented me with another small package. I opened it and found that he had cut off the end of the arm piece of the old swing and placed a picture of our old swing on the end of it. He chose the arm piece because our old dog Bear used to chew that part of the swing and several of his teeth prints were on it. Bear was the dog (my baby) that we had to give away when we were kicked out of a church in Alabama. It nearly killed me to give up my dog and Brian knew that so he wanted to preserve that reminder of him. What a sweet guy. That's another reason I love him.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

My Dad

They say that we learn about the nature of God, our heavenly Father, from our relationship with our earthly father. If that is true, then I have been very blessed. Being a daddy's girl from day one, I could tell quite a few stories about my dad and the impact he has made on my life, but I'll settle for just one.

I was a broken hearted teenager. After a relationship that I was sure would lead to marriage, I caught my boyfriend cheating on me. I was devestated and I retreated to my room to nurse my wounds. Throughout that evening my parents had both made a number of trips to my room to encourage me to come downstairs and eat dinner with them or to watch TV with them, but I would have nothing of it. Finally, my dad came to my bedroom door, walked in and sat beside me on my bed, wrapped his arms around me and just cried with me. He didn't try to talk me out of my feelings. He didn't tell me I would get over it or minimize my pain. He didn't give me a bit of advice. He just simply cried with me.

I've never had much trouble trusting God's love for me. But then, I had a great example of His love in my dad.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Time to Hit the Knees - Carley Update

As many times as I've posted about Carley I still am unsure how to spell her name. But anyway....

Carley is not doing well at all. In fact, the docs give the family little hope. She is sedated all the time now which is probaby good because if she were awake she would be in a lot of pain.

The bone marrow transplant seems to have worked well, but she is still having a lot of trouble breathing and is on a ventilator. They've tried to remove it, but she can't breath without it. They did discover the cause of this - she has a hole in her lung - probably from radiation. As of today, they have put a new line her her wrist and leg and turned her onto her stomach to try to open her lungs.

I still believe that God is able to heal her. And in fact, I'm holding Him to that.

Someone I shared this with said that it sure put their problems in perspective. That's how I feel too. I'm really tired. I started all the overtime at work this week and it is harder than I thought. And I'm sick too. After I got off work today I went to bed and didn't get up until 4pm.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Taser Update

This is a pic of Taser with her THIRD cone in SIX days! She's discovered that she can chew them and has destroyed two already. She is supposed to wear it for 14 days .... right....

She is also wearing me out. It's like having a sick baby. Last night she paced the floor intil 2 AM. Not sure what she was so worried about, it was my son that left but she's the one who paced. Go figure.

In any case, I WILL BE SO GLAD when she is healed up and can return to normal. She will be too. I know that stupid cone is driving her nuts too.

I'm tired from being up with her so late and am going to try to grab a nap before work tonight. The next 3 weeks are going to be extremely busy. Tonight I begin working 54 hours a week for the rest of the month. And I still have a lot of shopping/packing to do for Pine Ridge.

Right now, I'm off to a meeting for the youth trip to DC/LA, then it's home to nap.

BTW, Cody called and they made it to Canada okay but he is feeling sick.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

They're Off

My son and his buddy just left for Canada! They will be there for one month on a trip with Campus Crusade. They will stay at Nipissing University and take several camping trips to do some wilderness survival. What's a mother do to? It makes me nervous but ya gotta let them do their thing.

Nerves of steel... nerves of steel.... nerves of steel.

Friday, June 09, 2006

50 Years and Still Counting

Tonight we celebrated my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. It was fun. A lot of work, but fun. We invited several of their friends to a restaurant for dinner then went to my parent's house for cake and punch. I made a video with their pictues and put it to 50's music. I think people who grew up in the 50's had more fun than we did - their music was fun music. I also made a wedding album for them since they never had one. And we had the cake made to look like a wedding cake. I have to give credit where credit is due. David from A Piece of Cake by David did an outstanding job with the cake. If you live in my area, I highly recommend him for any cakes you may need.

The thing that was the most fun though was seeing my mom and dad both enjoy the evening. Usually my mother will not allow anyone to do anyting nice for her. This evening was like pulling teeth to get her to let me do it, but once done, she really did enjoy it.

I am grateful for parents who have stayed together through all the rough times (and there were rough times) and who taught me what marriage and real love looks like.

Brian Has a Blog!

My husband Brian now has a blog of his own! I'm excited. You can check it out here.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Meet my Husband

I've suggested to my husband that he start a blog as a way of sharing his bible studies/messages. I'm biased of course, but I think he's a pretty decent teacher. Unfortunately, he seldom gets to use that gift. Blogging may give him an outlet to be able to share some of his teaching in a different way. Most of his messages are already on video since our church tapes each service so last night Brian played around with video and YouTube and put up his first 5 min. snippet of one of his messages. The quality of our church video leaves a lot to be desired, but what can ya do? If you have 5 min., check him out. Er, rather check out his message - if you check him out I might have to be jealous. ;)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I'm not sure how or when it happened but my son will turn 21 on Sunday. I can't be old enough to have a 21 year old... I only feel about 25 myself.

Since on Saturday he will be leaving for Canada for a month on a wilderness survival Campus Crusade trip, we celebrated his birthday tonight. And since he is leaving for the wilderness, he decided to get a mohawk. It's going to take some getting used to for me, but I've never been one to fuss about external things that do not matter.

It kind of reminds me of another of his birthdays ... when he was in 5th grade his birthday fell on the last day of school. To celebrate he wanted to do something wild with his hair so we dyed it green. It's something he will always rememeber because he was asked to leave school when he arrived with green hair. The principal asked him if his mother knew about it and he replied, "she did it". Opps. I didn't know they had a rule about green hair. Oh well, we've had a lot of laughs about it.

I could write a long post all about how proud I am of him but I'm his mom and that all goes without saying. He's an amazing guy. Never given us a minute of trouble. Is going into ministry and has a passion for God that puts me to shame. But I still can't believe he's 21.

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

I have a problem. Two problems actually. I discovered these two problems the other day when I went to put on my shorts.... they do not fasten anymore. They don't even come close. I can't rubber band them and make them work until I can lose 5 pounds. No, instead I am forced to realize that I really have gained way too much weight. How did that happen? Surely not because I eat whatever I feel like eating whenever I feel like eating it?

The shorts are one problem. In 6 weeks I leave for the reservation where we will be working outside in sometimes extremely hot temps. And I have no shorts. That's a problem because extra money is an oximoron around here. But I can shop thrift stores to find some old/new shorts. That problem is relatively easy to fix. The real problem is my weight. I've known for a while that I've got to do something, but never get past that to the actual doing of the something. So this reminder is here for me....

If Nothing Changes,
Nothing Changes!

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Baby

Taser will have a rude awakening today. She goes in to the vet to be spayed. And I'm a worried mama. I know she'll be fine. The thing I worry about is leaving her. She has never been left anywhere before and she is very attatched to me. I once had her at my mom and dad's house and when I left the room to go down the hall to the bathroom, she freaked out. It will be traumantic for her today just being left there and not knowing that I'm coming back. It may be traumatic for me too. I'll let you know how we manage and will try to post pics of her with her cone.

Edit: I'm back from dropping her off. They wouldn't let me stay with her until they were ready to do the surgery. In fact, they looked at me like I was a little nuts for asking. Oh well, doesn't hurt to ask, eh? She was nervous but distracted by all the chaos and I'm not sure she realized they were taking her away from me. Poor baby. I'm a nervous wreck too.

Another Edit: Taser is home now and we are both fine in spite of her being groggy and not feeling well and me suffering a bad case of sticker shock. $342.00 !!!! I'm still feeling dizzy.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What I'm Reading ...

I am currently reading Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas, which I recommend for fans of U2 and non-fans alike. Here are a couple of things I thought were interesting.

On Fame and Beauty:
Self-consciousness. These thoughts can bend you out of shape. You walk differently. YOu carry yourself differently. Ask any photographer. You see, a photographer understands that a face once beautiful can become ugly because of self-consciousness. The great gift of models are not that they're more beautiful than the next person, it's that they're able to be photographed and not be self-conscious. The lips drain of blood. The face suddenly harrowed. The photograph is being taken, but the reason why you wanted to take it has gone. In the 80's I was that.

An interesting conversation where Bono explains the gospel of grace to his interviewer:

MA: As I told you, I think I'm beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real realationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

MA: I haven't heard you talk about that.

Bono: I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

MA: Well, that doesn't make it clearer for me.

Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: and eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics - in physical laws - every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I'm abosolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "As you reap, so shall you sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interruptes, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done an lot of stupid stuff.

MA: I'd be interested to hear that.

Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep shit. It doesnt' excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.

MA: The son of God who takes away the sins of the world. Iw ish I could believe that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea tha tGod says: Look you creatins, there are certain results to the way wee are, to selfishiness, and there's mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sin of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled ... it's not our own good works tha tget us through the gates of heaven.

MA: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my vew. Christ has his rank among the worlds great thinkers. But the Son of God, isn't that farfetched?

Bono: No it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, "No, I"m not saying I'm ateacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying I'm the Messiah. I'm saying: I am God incarnate." And people say: no, no, please just be a prophet. A prophet we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But dont' mention the "M" word! Because you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was - the Messiah - or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson.... the idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have it's fate changed and turned upside down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched.

MA: But sometimes I'm not far from thinking that the world has been shaped by a bunch of nutcases, or one big nutcase hiding somewhere in some big fancy invisible lighthouse. [Bono laughs] Now, that cartoon stuff of yours has taken serious possession of my brain. what I mean here is that Christ was not the only one to make those kind of claims. There have been other prophets.

Bono: That's right. But they didn't change anything....