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.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Only Baggage You Can Bring

This will be my last post for a while. I am heading to Alaska with my sweetie. It will be the first real vacation we've had in several years, and yes, we both need it. Badly.

I will miss my boys, my dogs, my blog, and quite possibly my ipod.

Since the terror alerts I understand that you cannot take ipods in your carry on luggage any longer. Bummer. That and a good book was going to be my saving grace on the 11 hour flight.

Not wanting to believe it, I was checking the airline web site this morning hoping to find out that I can take my ipod. I never did find a definitive answer but as I was browsing the site AND listening to my beloved device I heard these lines, quite distinctively, in my ears....

"The only baggage you can bring, is all that you can't leave behind".

Think that tells me something?

Be back next week...

One Year

August 29, 2006 will be the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I will be out of town and not have internet access on that day but I didn't want the day to go unmentioned by me. I was privileged to be able to go down and help out in a small way after the storm and I met some really WONDERFUL people. Part of my heart will always be in Grand Isle, LA, Lake Charles, LA and Meridian MS.

There were a lot of news stories broadcasts that told of abuses and greed and misuse of funds by the people there ... that some purchased high end luxury items rather than use the money for necessities. I imagine that did happen. It's human nature. But I can say that in my time there I never saw ANY of that attitude. I saw good people trying to do the best they could after something horrible had happened to them. And I saw grateful people. Many of them asked if my place was OK. When I told them I was from Ohio they looked shocked and humbled and asked why I had come down. When I told them we just wanted to help, a few of the got a grateful look in their eyes and said, "Anything bad ever happens up north .... we'll be there".

This presentation has pictures from the news media as well as some from our own trip(s) and one that my son went on 6 mos. after Katrina. I sometimes pull this out and watch it and wonder where some of those folks in the shelters are today. The old man in the last pic was especially sweet. He has spent 3 days on the roof of his house waiting for someone to rescue him. Instead of being bitter, he was grateful ... and said that he knew there were people who had it worse than he did ... and that he "wished he had been one of the ones who had it worse instead of them".

Please do not forget these folks. The recovery effort is still going on a year later.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm Not Crazy I'm Just a Little Unwell

Today I was at Walmart buying the very last of the backpack/school supplies for the 2007 Pine Ridge trip when I realized that I've been overstressed lately.

As I was kneeling in an isle and counting 2-pocket folders I heard a woman behind me talking. Not wanting to disrupt my counting (those buggers are a pain to count) I ingnored her thinking she was talking to someone else. After a few minutes she kindly said, "don't mind me ...I'm not really talking to anyone in particular". Surprised, I replied, "Oh, I thought you were talking to a little boy". Then it occured to me that there was no little boy and I said, "Gee, I don't know which of us is in worse shape - you're talking to people who aren't there and I'm seeing people who aren't there".

So why is this blog worthy? I have no idea.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Carly Update

Wow! I'm excited! I can FINALLY post pictures again. And none too soon. I just got these pictures of Carly and an update as to how she is doing. Here is what her daddy said today...

Day +97, August 23, 2006
We are nearing day +100 which is a milestone, but we have also taken another huge step today. Carly had her trach put in an hour or so ago and she is doing awesome! She made it through the procedure without any problems. She did not get set back at all, in fact, they were able to come down on her amplitude because her CO2 levels went way down after the procedure. So, in the next few days we hope to make some more progress and get her down on the pressure settings and stuff. We haven't discussed the plans as far as sedation goes. They may want to get her a little farther along before letting her start to wake up. I don't know. We will talk about it soon I am sure. Anyways, TODAY IS A GOOD DAY!! I will update soon and let you know what kind of progress we have made!

Please contiue to pray for Carly and her mommy, daddy, and little brother. Carly's a tough little fighter and I believe God is going to see her through this but she still has a long hard battle ahead of her.

Isn't she BEAUTIFUL!

*Carly's story as told by her dad on July 5, 2006

In the beginning of January I (kevin) returned from 14 months of deployment to Iraq. We (myself, Steph, Carly and Jacob) took a trip out to California to visit my parents and we noticed while we were there that Carly was not acting completely herself. She slowly became more and more fatigued and had persistant low grade fevers along with some random bone soreness. Well, by the time we got back home to Ohio at the end of January her symptoms were too much and we ended up taking her to the Emergency Room at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital on January 25th. They quickly realized that this was not a viral thing as we had been told before. And in the early morning hours we were given some of the worst news a parent can hear. They told us that Carly has Leukemia and that she would be admitted to start treatment right away.

At this point they thought it was low risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), but later on we found out that she was Philladelphia positive, and in some of the initial treatments she didn't respond fast enough. So they switched her from a low risk ALL protocol to a very, very high risk protocol for slow responding ALL with PH+.

Despite all setbacks Carly reached full remmission from both her leukemia and her PH+ and remains that way today. She had the normal and some abnormal problems along the way. She experienced extra pain from things like extreme sores in her mouth from Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), multiple kidney stones, etc.

So from January through May she went from extremely cancer ridden to cancer free, but there was one last hurdle for her to jump. In order to keep the PH+ chromosome and leukemia from coming back the doctors wanted her to have a bone marrow transplant. They found an unrelated donor that seemed to be a very good match, and they didn't tell us until afterwards that they had been extremely worried because it was extremely hard to find a donor for her. Her transplant was scheduled for the beginning of May, but it got delayed a week because she came down with fevers and a cough a few days before (causing several emergency room visits). After running every test they could think of they decided to go ahead with the transplant. On May 9th she was readmitted and began radiation and chemo, and on May 17th she received her new cells specially delivered by the life flight helicopter! Everything was going great except that she still had a cough and intermitant fevers.

She eventually began having serious breathing problems which led them to do a bronchoscopy. They found nothing abnormal such as infections. After a night in the ICU they extubated her and sent her back to the BMT floor. A few days later she was rushed to the ICU because she just couldn't breath well enough on her own. She spent a week in the ICU on a mask called a CPAP before she finally had to be intubated again. They told us that they did not know what was wrong with her lungs and they called it Idiopathic Pulmonary Syndrome. Which means that they have ruled out all the things they can think of and they don't know what is wrong. They told us that there was not much hope for her. She was maxed out on an oscillator and barely hanging on for her life. She had leaks in her lungs and there was nothing more that could do to help her. They told us that she was going to die. WE DIDN'T BELIEVE THEM!!!

The next day Dr. Lesley Doughty took over as the attending and she started her on high dose steriods, a nitrous oxide machine, mendriol and experimental drug, etc. That is when she started making progress! Thank you Dr. Doughty you saved our little girl's life!! I know she doesn't read this, but I had to say it anyways. She came up with new ideas when the day before the other doctors had swore up and down that there was nothing else they could do. Even though I just about tried to beat ideas out of there heads!!!

It has been over 2 weeks since they told us that and she has made amazing progress. She has gone from extremely high settings on the oscillator to being on a conventional ventilator and she is still making slow progress. We know that she has a long struggle ahead of her, but we will be there for every step. We just long for the day when she can be a normal kid again. There is a lot more to the story than I have expressed here and there will be a lot more to tell in the future. We love her so much and just want her to get better, and we will stay here for as long as that takes

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Game

Thanks to some friends who gave us tickets, we went to another Reds game tonight. Brian will probably write about the game. I, on the other hand, didn't see any of it. There were just too many distractions for my ADD affected brain.

Distraction #1. The Seat Situation. Upon arriving to our seats we discovered that Brian's seat was broken. He reported it to the usher and then sat a few seats down the row until something could be done. As the game was getting underway two very enthusiastic and determined men decended upon me to fix the broken seat. They pulled out a big drill (or I suppose it was a drill, I really don't know my tools that well) and began drilling away at the seat. This was fine except that they were drilling right next to my butt and jarring my seat all over the place. I was not sure what to do. Do I stand? If I stand I will block the view of the people behind me. Do I stay in the seat? These guys may think it strange that I'm allowing them to operate power tools so close to my butt. Or, do I just sit there and do my Meg Ryan imitation from When Harry Met Sally? I decided against that one. In any case, watching the game was out of the question.

Distraction #2. Beer guys. I'm not sure how many beer guys the stadium employs but it must be hundreds. They were constantly running up and down the steps and yelling in a voice only a beer guy has. After a while I became annoyed and began timing the beer guys appearances. Every 3 minutes! Literally. Every 3 minutes a different beer guy came past us to round up more customers.

Distraction #3. England. That's right. England. The guy behind us was from England, which was cool. He apparently didn't know his American friend very well and began discribing England and all of the sights there in vivid detail and in that wonderful accent. It was great and far more interesting than the game. I've always wanted to go to England and now I feel as if I might know something about it if I ever get to go. But then he began talking about Cricket. He lost me there. My ADD affected brian just can't handle hearing about one sport while watching another one.

Distraction #4. The Kiss. After a while I needed a break from the beer guys and from the guy talking about Cricket. I needed some air and a chance to stretch. So I asked Brian if he wanted to take a walk. We found a balcony with overlooked the Ohio River and watched the beautiful city lights and the boats on the river. On the lower deck other fans wandered around and bought drinks. I looked down just in time to see a guy (not a bad looking one either) catch my eye and throw me a kiss. Stunned (that doesn't happen often anymore) I looked at Brian and said, "Was he throwing that kiss to me or to you?" Brain hadn't been paying attention but he began to at that point. In fact, a bit of jealousy came to the surface until I reminded him that the guy was (1) a good distance away, and (2) drunk. Anyone would have looked good to him.

We went back to our seats after that. It was the end of the 8th inning and the Reds were up 14 - 0. Not much chance of the Astro's making a grand comeback, so we left. Apparently my evening at the ballpark was more interesting than it would have been if I had watched the game.

*Blogger is not letting me post pics again. Bummer. =( I've about had it with blogger.

Tagged, OK, Here Goes....

Several days ago Barbara tagged me and I'm just now getting around to doing this. I could say that I've been busy (which I have been) but the real reason for putting this off is ..... it's embarrassing. Embarrassing because I listen to the same thing .... all the time... at least according to my ipod and we know those buggers are accurate. Yep, every song was a U2 song. Sad, I know. I think I'll take some liberty regarding this tag and instead of posting all 20 songs on the playlist, I'll just post some of them and give the reason why that particular song gets my attention. You'll learn more about me that way anyway.

The reason I think I am so into U2 is because they sing my heart. Not since Rich Mullins has an artist/band expressed the sentiments of my heart so consistently. Nearly every song has something about it that is really meaningful in some significant way.

Here's the deal:
1. Turn on your favorite media player and turn your shuffle feature on.
2. Hit "play" and keep track of the next 20 songs that come up. (If you have iTunes, you can make a smart playlist that will automatically list your most recently played selections.)
3. Post your 20 shuffled songs, along with these instructions. You are not allowed to lie, omit tracks or otherwise try to make your musical taste seem hipper than it actually is.
4. Tag five people on your friends list to do the same.

1. Walk On ("What you've got they can't steal it, no they can't even feel it, Walk on".)

2. Beautiful Day ("See the bird with the leaf in her mouth. After the flood all the colors came out. It's a beautiful day".)

3. Kite (this one makes me cry because it is kind of where I'm at in life with my parents aging and my sons growing up and leaving home - "Who's to say where the wind will take you? Who's to say what it is will break you? I don't know, where the wind will blow. Who's to know when the time has come around? I don't want to see you cry I know that this is not goodbye. There's a kite blowing out of control on the breeze. I wonder what's gonna happen to you You wonder what has happened to me...")

4. Where the Streets Have No Name ("I want to runI want to hideI want to tear down the walls. That hold me inside. I want to reach out. And touch the flame. Where the streets have no name")

5. Vertigo (And though your soul it can't be bought your mind can wander. I'm at a place called vertigo. It's everything I wish I didn't know but you give me something I can feel. I can feel your love is teaching me how to kneel.")

6. Yahweh (Take this city. A city should be shining on a hill. Take this city. If it be your will. What no man can own, no man can take. Take this heart. And make it break.")

7. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (I believe in the kingdom come. Then all the colors will bleed into one. Well, yes I'm still running. You broke the bonds and you loosed the chains. Carried the cross of my shame. You know I believed it. But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.)

8. Love and Peace or Else ("Lay your love on the track. We're gonna break the monster's back. Lay down your treasure. Lay it down now brother. You don't have time for a jealous lover. As you enter this life I pray you depart, with a wrinkled face and a brand new heart. I don't know if I can take it. I'm not easy on my knees. Here's my heart you can break it.")

9. City of Blinding Lights ("Don't look before you laugh. Look ugly in a photograph. Flash bulbs purple irises the camera can't see. I've seen you walk unafraid. I've seen you in the clothes you made. Can you see the beauty inside of me?")

10. Elevation ("You elevate my soul. I've got no self control. Been living like a mole now going down, excavation. You make me feel like I can fly. So high. Elevation. Love. Lift me up out of these blues. Won't you tell me something true. I believe in you.)

11. Crumbs From Your Table (You speak of signs and wonders. I need something other. I would believe if I was able but I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table.)

12. Miracle Drug (this is a song about Bono's childhood friend Christy Nolan who's story can be found here. It's my song for Carly. "I've seen enough I'm not giving up on a miracle drug. Of science and the human heart there is no limit. There is no failure here sweetheart ... Just when you quit")

13 All Because of You (To really understand this song read the last 5 paragraphs of this.)

14 . Original of the Species (Don't laugh. Bono wrote it for his daughter but I sing it to my dog. She likes it by the way. "Baby slow down. The end is not as fun as the start. Please stay a child somewhere in your heart.")

I tag: Brian, Gary, Bruce, David, hallchick (you need to do a blog girl!)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Cody Loves Allison

It's official! Cody has asked Allison to marry him ... and she said "yes"!

There is a story to this ....

Cody discovered that she loves the song "John Deere Green" (lyrics below) when she was listening to it and singing along back when they met and Cody knew she was "the one". Climbing a watertower was out of the question so Cody drove to his uncle's farm and hung a sign from the silos saying Cody loves Allison painted in John Deere green. He actually free climbed those silos with his cousin Mark! Then he drove Allison to the farm to have ice cream and see the farm while visiting with Mark and Joy. After the visit they took a walk and when Allison saw the sign Cody loves Allison written in John Deere green and hanging from the silo, he droped to his knees, pulled out the ring, and asked her to marry him.

We are thrilled! The two of them are really good together. If I could have hand picked a girl for my son I could not have picked a better one. She is truly everything we have prayed for.

They were farm kids way down in Dixie

They met in high school in the sixties

Everyone knew it was love from the start

One July in the midnight hour

He climed the water tower

Stood on the rail and painted a 10ft heart

In John Deere green

On a hot summer night

He wrote Billy Bob loves Charlene

In letters 3ft high

And the whole town siad that he should have used red

But it looked good to Charlene

In John Deere green

Ahh,paint it green boy

In John Deere green

- John Deere Green by Joe Diffie

Friday, August 18, 2006

Drink Responsibly

I have ordered coffee from Better Beans for Better Life and am happy with what they provide. I am also really happy to see that they are taking things a step further....

Soon they will be allowing participants to give back to the charity of their choice! The program is still in the set-up stage but this could be a great way to enjoy good coffee, help the farmers in third-world countires who grow it, and give to the charity of your choice!

BTW, you can click on the Faith in Action icon in the sidebar to see other ways you can begin to make a difference in your world.

Now speaking of coffee ... mine is almost finished brewing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How Weird is This??

God just never ceases to amaze me.... Two stories.

When I was going through my files looking for the HS pic and found the one below, I happened upon a picture of Bear, the German Shepherd that we had years ago (pictured in the post below). I was struck at how similar he and Taser look and decided to take Taser's picture in a similar pose. (You would not believe how DIFFICULT that was with a hyperactive dog who was FAR more interested in licking the camera lens than posing for a pic.)

But it got me to thinking ...

About 20 years ago we had to give Bear away. He had been my "baby" and was truly part of our little family. But we had been asked to leave a church in Alabama - truth be known, we were kicked out - and had to move. From that experience, we lost nearly everything. We had been living in a parsonage and had to move out of it so we lost our home. Brian was the pastor so we lost our only source of income. We lost our church. We lost friends because we had to move in with my parents several states away and this was before email and IM's and free long distance on cell phones. And finally, we lost our dog. I remember being very angry with God and telling Him how much I resented losing everything on account of Him. Afterall, we were only trying to serve Him to the best of our ability. And I remember feeling as if He were promising me that everything we had lost would be replaced. I do not ascribe to the "name it and claim it" or the "give to get" brand of Christianity, but I did feel that whatever we had lost for His sake would be returned to us.

In the years since, I've watched that promise be fulfilled. We are in a far better house. The parsonage had mismatched, long shag carpet and a dishwasher that the sewer backed up into. Now I live in my dream home which means a great deal to me because my husband built it with his own hands. We have a far better church. I don't know for sure, but I think the people in our church like us. They must to have put up with us for 20 years. That is a much different situation than we had in Alabama.

Many other things have been returned as well - all to a far greater degree than we had before. But in the past 20 years there has always been one piece that just seemed to be missing - my dog. We've had other dogs since then - all of them wonderful dogs. But they weren't German Shepherds. New Year's Eve of this past year I got Taser and felt that finally that last piece of the promise was fulfilled. At the time I had no idea what Taser would look like when she grew up. It didn't really matter. She was not the cutest pup of the litter. In fact, she was the smallest and most sickly looking - not a good choice if you're trying to be smart about picking a pup. But I fell in love with her the moment I saw here so it was her that we brought home. She is now 9 months old and her markings are almost identical to Bear's. We could not have planned that but God knew.

Then tonight something else happened ....

For the past few weeks we have been collecting money for school supplies and backpacks for the children in the village at the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. I had purchased the last of the school supplies today and had spent all of the money that had come in. I still needed to buy backpacks - 150 of them at about $10.00 each. In short - I needed $1,500.00. I was starting to get nervous, wondering where the money would come from. Then tonight I went to church and by the time I left, I had the entire $1,500.00 in my pocket! The strange thing it - it was the exact amount we needed - to the penny!

Do They Look Alike?

What do ya'll think? Do they look alike? The first one is Tazer. She is now 9 months old. The second one is Bear, the GSD that I had 20 years ago and had to give away. He was an adult dog in the pic. It broke my heart to give him up. In fact, Brian drove from Ohio to Alabama to make sure he was given to a good home (what a sweet husband).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Barbara asked us to post a picture from our high school days. My, my, my ... whoever said high school were the best days of your life, lied. I have high school pics somewhere but it would take some digging to find them, so here is one that is shortly after high school. I was in art school at the time of this pic. There was a rock garden behind the school building and this pic was taken on lunch break. I don't remember who took the pic but geez, did I ever wear too much make-up back then. :b

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Quote

" I get this feeling sometimes that after the world ends,
when God destroys all our buildings and our flags,
we will wish we had seen everybody as equal,
that we had eaten dinner with prosititues and held them in our arms,
opened up the spare rooms for them and loved them and learned from them."

- from the book Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller


Here are some questions that are familiar to everyone but this time, tell us why these are your favorites. Maybe we will learn something about you - other than what your favorites are.

1. What is your favorite TV show - and why?

2. What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction) - and why?

3. What is your favorite comfort food - and why?

4. What is your favorite way to relax - and why?

5. What is your favorite CD or album - and why?

My answers ....

Favorite TV show - Criminal Minds. Why? Because I love crime/psychological thrillers/mysteries/ etc. I majored in Psychology and was working on a minor in Criminology. I guess I'm intrigued by abnormal behavoir.

Favorite book - that's a tough one because I read so much and love so many books. I guess I'll go with the book that has been most helpful to me - outside of the bible. That would be Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It's the only self-help book that ever really helped.

Favorite comfort food - Assuming that coffee doesn't count as a food, I would have to say chicken noodle soup. Homemade. Mine. Why? Because it is SOOOO good and there is nothing like curling up with a cup of warm soup on a cold day - or when you're sick.

Favorite way to relax - crashing on the couch with a soft comfy pillow, a good book, and my grandma's old quilt. Why? I love my grandma's quilt. I love to read. And I love the feeling of putting my feet under the coolness of the quilt.

Favorite CD - U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Why? Because it seems to me the theme of the entire album is one of encouragement, grace, and God making something good out of something bad. Examples: Beautiful Day - "see the bird with the leaf in her mouth, after the flood all the colors came out". Walk On - "What you've got they can't steal it, no they can't even feel it. Walk on." Elevation - "You elevate my soul. I've lost all self-control. Been living like a mole. Love, lift me out of these blues. Won't you tell me something true. I believe in you." Grace - "Grace makes beauty of ugly things". I get discouraged easily and need to hear the message in these songs.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lesson of the Day

Never wear shorts with Pride written across the fanny .... especially if they are bunched up in your butt crack.

Went to a Red's game tonight and actually saw that disturbing sight. Wish I had a camera phone. On second thought, it's good that I don't.

Well That Was an Experience

I'm just back from the Christian book store. It's been a while since I visited there. I used to work in one and have somewhere over the past few years developed a mild distaste for them. There are several reasons for that, the main one being that I do not believe that what I'm looking for, or what the church needs for that matter, can be found in a book.

But today I went in search of The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight. My friend Gary has talked about it enough to get my attention. I've known Gary long enough to know that if he likes it, I will probably like it too. I've not searched this book out before though becuase (forgive my arrogance here), the gist of the book "Love God, Love Others" is my own personal mantra and I didn't think I'd learn anything new. I didn't find that particular book - for whatever reason they don't keep it in stock at the local Christian book store but as I searched for it I was reminded of some other reasons for why I don't like going to the Christian book store....

As I browsed row after row on books looking for something that I can use in The Micah 6:8 Group, I started feeling .... well ... sick. So many of the titles had to do in some way or another with self. I could list titles and would except that I am feeling better now and don't wish to nauseate myself again. Now admittedly, the interest in self is an understandable one. But I have to wonder why there are so many flavors of it on Christian book shelves?

I did see two books that caught my eye though... Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Centered Church Neutered the Gospel by Brain McLauren and Tony Campolo, and The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World. I'm also reading my son's recommendation - Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller.

I snagged the two books I had found up and went to the check-out to pay and there I was reminded of another reason why I keep a distance between myself and Christian book stores.

There was an elderly couple in line in front of me paying for their purchase with a credit card. I only noticed this when they questioned why there were two copies of their reciept. The clerk explained that one copy was for the store and the other for the credit card company. She went on to explain that one day we will not even need paper because everything will be electronic. Looking baffled, the elderly lady said, "No paper??? I'm not sure I want to live in a world with no paper". The clerk eagerly agreed and said in a hushed tone, "I believe that's how 'the mark' will come. Everyone who has a credit card will have 'the mark'."

Being the polite person that I am I did not roll my eyes dramatically or run screaming from the store - both of which I felt like doing. I simply waited until the confused couple walked away, then I approached the clerk and laid my purchases on the counter. She looked them over, gave me a disapproving look and rang them up. I then handed her my dreaded credit card, which she swiped and handed back to me. I could not help but notice that from the moment she saw the books I was buying she treated me differently than she had the elderly couple. To them she was all smiles and sweetness and of course, that loving warning about credit cards. To me, she acted as if she was handling something dirty and couldn't wait for me to leave so she could wash her hands.

It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Not a Day I Would Want to Trade Places With My Husband

Barbara asked on her blog how a typical Monday started for us - check out her blog if you've not already. I don't really have a typical Monday. It's usually a catch-up day for me because I work long hours over the weekend. Basically I cram a full-time job into the weekend. Normally on Monday I sleep until I wake up, which is usually around 7:30. Then it's a bee line for the coffee, which I read while I check email and blogs. Then I have another cup while I think about what I have to do that day. After another cup of coffee, I get about doing what it is I have to do.

Today was different. Brian was already gone when I woke up - that's pretty normal. As I was sitting thinking about what I had to do and mentally making a list, it occured to me that we had a funeral today. I decided nothing on my list was all that urgent so I decided to pick up some food and head over to the church to see if the ladies needed any help putting the after-funeral lunch together. As I was getting ready I thought about my husband's day .... and it's not one I would want. In fact, I don't know of many people who would want it.

He left the house early, had a funeral to do and a family to try to comfort. After bringing coming back to the church for lunch with the family (where I met up with him) he went on hospital visits - one to see a newborn baby and one to see Carly, (who I've written about before). Seeing Carly is normally a difficult visit ....it's just hard to see a young child fighting for her life and her parents being tortured with a slow-motion roller coaster that swings between distress and slight improvement. After seeing Carly he dropped me off at church to get my Jeep, then headed to a town a good hour's drive away to visit an elderly shut-in. He will be home for a quick dinner at 5pm and then has a meeting that will likely last from 6pm throughout most of the evening. When it's all said and done he will have put in at least a 15 hour day. And it's not just a long day but an emotionally draining one. Not that he minds. He loves visiting with patients and shut-ins and is particularly gifted when it comes to helping people grieve. I doubt he would have things any other way.

I don't know of many people who could do what he does, or do it as well as he does. (bragging) I don't even know of many people who would want to do what he does. I know I wouldn't.

But you know what? There are hundreds and thousands of pastors all over the world who do this kind of thing. So, if you have a good pastor (I know there are some bad one's out there - believe me I know) take a moment to pray for them. And if you are inclined, let them know they are appreciated. But even if you don't tell them you appreciate them, pray for them because that is what they need the most. And if you have one of those bad pastor's ... then pray for them even more.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

God Is So Weird: Part II

I am continually amazed when I watch God move. He rarely ever makes any sense at all. I not only wonder at that, I wonder about it. There are no doubt countless reasons for why He works as He does but I wonder if He always worked in sensible ways if we wouldn't try to figure Him out .... and then once we had Him figured out, try to control Him?

I've wondered again tonight. I am just back from church where I was invited to "sit in" at the monthly youth service. It is always a treat to hang out with the youth even though they do intimidate me a bit. Tonight there was a special guest in the service - a young man who has done a lot of painting in the youth room. He is a graffitti artist and a rapper and a genuinely sweet and humble guy. Not what you would expect in a rapper or a graffitti artist with a bit of a shady past.

As I watched him paint and listened to him rap ( he did not do these at the same time), I began to think what a cool thing it would be to have him along on our next mission trip to Pine Ridge.
I often tell people that going to the rez is a lot like going to the inner city, without the city. The kids there LOVE hip hop. I, on the other hand, do not. I'm not oppoesed to it - I just don't 'get it'. But it's not about what I like or don't like. It's about what communicates to the kids there. This year we tried to get Red Cloud, a native American rapper from southern California, to come to the village where we were but the timing just didn't work. Maybe another year...

After the service I approached Phayth (faith) about the possibility of going along with us next year. He seemed interested but of course he was being mobbed by a bunch of teenagers at the time so maybe he was just being polite. As I was talking to him I happened to mention Red Cloud and asked if he had heard of him. His reply was, "Yeah, I've heard of him. I know him. He is a friend of mine."

That leaves me to wonder again ... about what God might have in mind. Of course there is a good chance that nothing at all will come of it ... but it is interesting to wonder. It does strike me as odd though ... who but God would take a white girl from a coal mining/farming town in southern Indiana and hook her up with some rappers, former gangsters from southern California and put them on an Indian reservation??? It's weird alright, but it's so like God.

If you're not familiar with Red Cloud, see the video below.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Grace or Disgrace

By now everyone is no doubt sick to the gills of hearing about Mel Gibson's DUI and anti-Semitic statements upon arrest. I not one to follow celebrity gossip but this story did catch my attention... but maybe not for the same reasons it has captured the media's attention.

The other day as I was watching various "news" reports about this incident it became apparent that the media, other actors, producers, and an awful lot of "men on the street" were outraged by Mr. Gibson's statements and were ready to dismiss his apology and inflict punishment.

Ari Emmanuel had this to say...

People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line. - Ari Emmanuel

Since then other actors have vowed to never again work with Mel Gibson. It seems Hollywood is willing to take a moral stand on this one. Good for them for trying.

But as I watch all of this unfold I wonder where are all the Christians who supported Mr. Gibson in the making of The Passion of the Christ? Granted, I seldom watch the news and even less "celebrity news" so maybe I've just missed it, but there seems to be a definite silence when it comes to supporting Mel Gibson this time around.

To be fair, I can only guess that no one is going to be too quick to rally around Mel for fear of looking as if they support his blatant anti-Semitic statements. Understandable. Statements such as the one's Mr. Gibson reportedly said should not be supported or condoned in any way shape or fashion. But does that mean we reject him personally as well?

If Hollywood is going to take a moral stand on this, then shouldn't Christians also take a stand - for a higher law by reaching out in love to a brother who has obviously said some terrible things and made some terrible mistakes? Can't we hate the sin and love the sinner? This is our chance to show grace .... will we take it or will be once again shoot one of our wounded because we don't want to get our hands dirty?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Video Message

Click here message

Nuthin' Much to Say

I've not posted here much since getting home from Pine Ridge. I felt a little emotionally overwhelmed. I mean, how do you begin to describe a trip like that? I found that words really didn't do it justice so didn't tell too many stories. Besides, Brian had already shared a few of the stories on his blog.

And too, even though I'm home now, I'm still as busy as ever. There has still been a lot of wrapping up to do with the trip. It always amazes me how long before the actual trip the prep has to start and how long afterward there is still work to do regarding money, pictures, thank you letters, etc.

So I'm back to a normal schedule at work now. Maybe it's because I'm just home from the mission trip but it seems to me I have the most boring job in the world. I worked from 10am to 8pm the other day and watched 10 straight hours of Animal Planet. I thought I would die. Really. Ten hours of anything is too much but Animal Planet??? I do believe I could deliver a giraffe if I had to with all the Animal Planet my client watches. I worked a second shift this week too and had been looking forward to a little more action. Second shift is generally busier and time goes faster, but no, my client came home from work, we fixed dinner, she ate and then promptly fell asleep in her recliner until I woke her up at 9pm to give her meds and put her to bed for the night. BORING!

All that to say this - I have nothing to say - which is why I'm not posting much.

Something I am excited about though is that Brian and I are going to get away for a few days in late August! It's a trip we would not otherwise be able to do so it's a BIG DEAL to us and we're both really excited. You'll have to stay tuned to find out where. Hey, I've gotta do something to keep you coming back.