- 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, September 30, 2006
And I miss the night sky. On the rez you can lay on the grass and as the cool breeze blows across the prarie you can see a billion stars in the sky. Sometimes, if you are very quite you can hear the Indians down in the village beating their drum and singing. There is a peacefulness there unlike anywhere else I've ever been.
And I miss the gentleness of the Lakota people. Yes, there are problems on the rez but these beautiful people have done something that many other people would not have been able to do. They survived. They have survived the battles with the U.S. Government. Theyhave survived brutal winters. They have survived the oppression by the white people and the discrimination that still exists even today. And they have survived with grace.
I remember my first trip to the rez. I went with another church group to get a feel for the work there. On the last day we went sight-seeing after a week of hard work. Many wanted to see Mt. Rushmore but some of us did not and so we were let out in the little town of Keystone, a tourist trap not far from Rushmore. There we could shop, eat ice cream, or see a show and then meet up with the rest of the group later.
For some reason I felt very much alone that day. The others in the group had been very friendly and accepting of me all week so it wasn't that. I just felt alone. After getting out of the van I hung back and allowed the others to "lose" me so that I could be by myself. I bought an ice cream and sat on a bench and settled in to watch people.
Not far from where I was sitting there was an old Indian men in his complete regellia holding a cardboard sign that read, "Will pose for phot for tip". It disturbed me that he was there exploiting himself and his culture so that some tourist could have a picture with a "real" Indian. I didn't blame him. You do what you have to do to survive. I was just very sorry that he had to be there.
After a while I noticed that a car load of white people drove up and stopped in front of the old Indian. They rolled down their window, snapped a picture of him and then drove off laughing. I sat there in dismay, literally burning inside with anger. I wanted to run after them screaming "haven't you stolen enough from these people". Being a tourist town there was a man dressed like a cowboy in the street cracking a large whip. I suppose he was drumming up business for a theater group but I had the overwhelming urge to grab his whip and chase that car down the street. But of course, I didn't do that. Instead I sat there wondering at what I could/should do.
Finally, I approached the old Indian man. I said, "I couldn't help but notice that a car stopped her while ago and took your picture and then drove off without paying you for it. To me that is the same as stealing and I'm very sorry that happend. I want to pay you for the picture they took", and I held out some money to him.
He pushed my hand away and said "No" as he shook his head. When it became apparent that he was not about to accept my money I put it away. At that point the old man held out his hand to shake hands and said, "Now .... we can't judge them for what they do. We do not know why people do the things they do so it is not for us to judge Maybe they didn't have money for a photo. Maybe they could not find a parking place. Maybe they .... ect." and he contineud to list possibilities. We sat and chatted for a while and then it was time for me to meet my group. As I walked away I was humbled. Here I was the one calling myself a "Christian" and yet I was the one wanting to chase people down the street with a whip while this man had nothing but grace and forgiveness for his enemies. I have a long way to go before I live up to his example.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
"Everyday Use", by Alice Walker, gives us a realistic look at how difficulties can affect people in different ways. Some allow trials to paralyze them, keeping them stuck in self-defeating patterns. Others permit bitterness to creep in, ccausing them to be dominated by greed. Finally, we see how destructive both approaches are, and realize that a more balanced course is necessary if success is to be realized.
The story introduces us to Maggie and Dee, two girls who have been touched by the heavy hand of affliction. They have lost their home to a fierce fire, and they ahve lived under the oppression of poverty. Each have been scarred by their circumstance, Maggie by the fire, and Dee by bitterness over her poverty.
We first meet Maggie, a self-concous, cowering young woman who has learned well the art of giving in. She not only gives in to her older sister, but she also gives in to her circumstances. Her victim mentality cripples her, causing her to believe the lie that she will never amount to anything. Maggie demonstrates her defeatist attitude when she concedes to let Dee have the treasured quilts that were handstitched by their grandmother. Feeling inferiour to Dee, she accepts what she believes is her lot in life. She never even dares to dream that she deserves better. We are told that "this was Maggie's portion. This was the way she knew God to work".
It is easy for us to feel sorry for Maggie until we remember that being a victim is not an honorable thing. Certainly she has had a difficult life, but that does nto excuse her from taking responsibility for her future. She is undoubtedly a valuable person with talents like anyone else, but lacking any confidence, she hides her attributes in much the same way as she hides her scarred hands in the folds of her skirt. She fails to recognize that everone faces difficulties in life, but ultimately we alone are responsible for our lives. We must embrace obstacles as challenges that can be overcome. We can fail and not be a failure, or we can fail and become a failure. It is for us to decide.
We then meet Dee, a young woman determined to make a better life for herself. Unfortunately, she has become misdirected in her search for success and becomes the very thing she despises - an oppressor. She makes an issue of the oppression that African-Americans have suffered at the hands of white people. She goes so far as to change her name so as not to be "named after the people who oppress me". She also tells Maggie that "it's really a new day for us", but in her attempt to take advantage of her family, she treats them in much the same way that whites have treated African-Americans for years.
Dee, like her sister, believes a lie. She believes money and possessions can make her "somebody". She is spoiled by her insatiable lust for more, unaware tha tgreed is a vicious monster who's appetite can never be satisfied. She has become a victim of her own ambition. She is as sad a character as her sister, for she too will live an unfulfilled life.
Her hunger for more is revealed when she tries to manipulate her family into giving her the quilts. She does not want the quilts for sentimental reasons as Maggie does, but only for their monetary value and stylish appeal.
It is not wrong to desire a better life for ourselves, but a distorted veiw of success causes us to strive for it in destructive ways. True success has a humble attitude. It possesses a wisom tha twill not allow it to forget where it came from and hold onto it's hearitage without shame. It is willing to serve others. It is unafraid to dream and then to work hard to see those dreams realized. It does not give up, but it continues on in spite of failure. True success cannot be achieved, it is somethign that must be developed.
These are virtues that the mother could not pass on to her daughters because she only possessed them in part herself. She was willing to work hard, and she did dream of a better life, but she never believed she could see her dreams come to pass. She only saw reality. She was blind to possibility.
The story concludes with a hint of hope for change for Maggie and her mother. Upon having some revelation, the mother snatches the quilts from Dee and gives them to Maggie, and we see Maggie smile a genuine smile. It is unclear as to whether the change will be lasting or only temporary, but perhaps it is not necessary for us to know. It is enough to hope.
From this story we learn that attitude makes all the difference when trials come. From time to time everone will face obstacles, but through adopting an optimistic attitude and keeping our priorities in clear focus, difficulties can be overcome. Success is often more satisifing to the one who has had to struggle to overcome some deficit in order to attain it. If we allow them, even our worst experiences can be used to spur us on to greatness.
Monday, September 25, 2006
There is also a link to my MySpace. I finally caved in and started paying more attention to MySpace. Most of my "friends" there are people I know in my everyday life.
There is also a link to Blood/Water Mission, a fantastic ministry put together by the guys from Jars of Clay to help provide clean blood and water to Africa to help fight AIDS and other disease.
There is also a link to the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store where you can purchase items that ensure that no child slave labor is used in the growing or manufacturing of the products and that ensure that a fair price is paid for the products.
And don't forget the ONE Campaign. If you have not taken a minute to sign the One Declaration, please clink on the link and do so now. It wont cost you a thing but one minute of your time and it can make a difference.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Normally, when everyone is home, we have dinner together and have some of the funniest, strangest, weirdest conversations you can imagine. We often wonder if other families are as strange as we are. I don't know about that but we sure have fun.
Tonight was no exception. I didn't feel like cooking and have been tired of being in the house so much so we went to a local pizza place to have dinner. One of the guys in the youth group at church works there and I had told him we'd drop by sometime to see him. As soon as we walked in the door we saw him and waved "hello". There was also another man from church waiting for takeout. Once we were seated the waitress came to take our order and asked if we knew Brandon because she had overheard us saying hi to him. We ordered and I instructed her that I wanted Brandon to put some love in my calzone. She made a note of that. Now you must realize that Brian is menu challenged and has difficulty ordering off of a menu. Our youngest son cringed in horror as he heard his dad ask the waitress if the "Zinfandel" that was recommended with his salad was a kind of dressing.
Before long Brandon was at our table being his usual hilarious self. He brought Brian a rubber glove which Brian blew up until it burst. The other employees eventually came over too and joined in the fun. One of them showed us his brand new tattoo and I showed them all mine. Our table seemed to be party central.
Then on the way home Brian nad I were talking about a particular movie that we are interested in seeing. I suggested we stop at the video store and see if they have it. They didn't. Brian wondered if it could be purchased online at either Amazon.com or Ebay. Once we got home I made a pot of coffee and then went to my computer was Brian disappeared into his study. I found the movie at Amazon and ALMOST clicked on the buy now button but though that MABYE I should check with Brian first. Good thing. As soon as I stepped into his study he announced that he had just purchased the movie. We ALMOST ended up with two copies. Brain said it was good that at least we were not bidding against each other on Ebay.
Then my oldest son came home and asked, "Mom? How do you start a revolution"? Huh???
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I wasn't sure quite what to make of this odd guy. He wasn't like anyone I had encountered before. He was funny, a bit offensive, and seemed to possess a wisdom that was well beyond his years. And his own brand of music touched something deep inside of me. This strange looking man was singing my heart.
I continued to listen to Rich's music for years after that but it was not until his death that I really started to pay attention. It was reported that this man who had written perhaps the most well known hymn of our time (Our God is an Awesome God) lived in a tiny trailer on an Indian reservation and gave most of the money he made away. No doubt Rich could have lived the high life and enjoyed his worldy success but instead he chose to live a higher life by giving of himself to others.
I remember thinking sadly how unusual that is even in the Christian community, and I knew there had to be more to his man than his music. I sat out to read up on him and listened more closely to his music and discovered that yes, there was something more. Rich was genuine. He was honest. Humble. Compassionate. Christ-like. He was the real deal. He wasn't perfect but he had a faith in his Creator that was rare and precious.
As a result of my getting to know Rich better, he changed my life. He changed the way I think about Christianity. He changed the way I think about giving. He changed my perspective on life here on earth and in heaven. So on this day I wanted to say "Thanks Rich". I can't wait to see ya one of these days.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I have no idea as to this man's intentions. I can only assume the best .... that he was simply trying to help people attain a better life here in America. While I realize the problem illegal immigration has become, it also saddens me to see people like Jiang treated in the manner he has been treated. The day his home was raided and he was taken into custody I remember seeing on the news his front door being busted down by agents. It was quite a scene in an otherwise quiet neighborhood.
The thing that really disturbs me though is that he will be deported back to China - a country that is well known for human rights violations. Among the violations are:
- Torture and Ill Treatment of prisoners
- "Reeducation" camps
- The Death Penalty - Defendants can be put to death for NON-violent criminal offenses, such as theft and often do not have access to lawyers.
- Abduction and Trafficking of Women
It disturbs me to think of what may happen to Jiang if/when he is deported. Sure, he broke the law. He lied. He harbored illegal immigrants hoping to make a better life for themselves. But when I look at the situation in China I have to ask which is worse, lying to help others or sending a man back into a country where he may be tortured and/or killed. And then I have to ask, should we speak up for this man? If he were a Christian brother helping others flee a repressive regime in order to worship freely, would we view this differently? Would we speak up then?
Or, maybe I'm just off my rocker.You can read more of the story here.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I suppose if I have to be sick this is the time of year to do it since it's a relatively non-busy time of the year for me. It's actually the fun part of planning the next trip to Pine Ridge. I hadn't really had a theme or a plan in mind for next year and usually operate under the "it'll come to me" rule. Well, last night at 2am, it came to me. Now I'm really getting excited about the next trip.
We will be doing an African safari theme! We'll get all the kids safari hats. Around the playground we'll put up signs with various African countries and the milage to them. We'll get them animal print bandanas and let them do a safari craft each day .... and then ... here's the kicker .... we'll take a moment to tell them about Africa and the desperate need there and then we'll give them an opportunity to give toward an African well project through Blood:Water Mission. How cool is that???
Some may question why we would go to the poorest part of American and ask for donations but it's my belief that EVERYONE has something to give, and that giving is a good thing - it makes you feel good to help someone else. The kids in the village need to know that as bad as they have it, there are other places in the world where it is worse. And it will be good for them to be a part of giving and helping. I think they'll take pride in that.
If you're not familiar with Blood:Water Mission, please take a moment to check out their web site.
- My artistic ability
- My temper (the Davis temper is well known and feared)
- My attitude about life - which is simply to stop trying to figure it out and go live it.
My mom has been debating about getting a new hairstyle - short & spiky! She went 3 weeks ago and the young hairdresser refused to cut it that way for her. So she went to someone else and explained what she wanted and that the other girl wouldn't do it. The hairdresser said, 'Well no wonder ... a 60-something year old lady walks in and wants a spikey do ... you probably scared the girl to death". But she cut it. To the amusement of all who watched - and did they ever watch. As my mom left the salon with her new punk do, all the old ladies sitting under the hairdryers put their magazines aside and kept their eyes glued to my mom. I bet she was the talk of the bridge club that night. Way to go mom!
Sunday, September 10, 2006
It was obvious to everyone who knew her that Ann loved her family. She continued to live with her mother in West Brighton, Staten Island where one of her favorite things to do was to hang out with her niece and nephews.
Her older sister, Patricia Nilsen says that, “There was a seven-years difference, yet I looked up to her… She was somebody we all looked up to, even my brother. She had a good job, and was a dedicated person. And I wish I could've been more like her”."
My sister was the type of person who never brought attention to herself, she never liked a fuss," she said. "Even as a kid, if she got hurt, if something went wrong, it was no big deal: she'd get up and walk away”."She just picked up and would just keep going. That's just the way she was."
Ann was also well known for her love of all things Snoopy and her office was decorated with the Snoopy-related gifts her friends and family gave her. Her entire Snoopy collection parished with her on that terrible day.
She loved her job and considered going to work a pleasure. Her co-workers were like a second family to her. At work she was known as someone who truly cared for her coworkers. Jack Leahy, who worked with Ms. Cramer at Fiduciary Trust in the World Trade Center, said she was difficult to replace. "She was somebody you could confide in when things weren't going well," he said. "She'd support you in any and all decisions you had to make."
Another long-time coworker had this to say about Ann, “I first met Anne Martino ("little Annie") in 1974 when she was a "kid" delivering the mail at FTCo. She was so full of fun! It was such a long time ago and yet I can still see her smiling face. We extended greetings through mutual FTCo. friends over the years. I know she is at peace and that she is watching over her family. Keep smiling, Annie!”
The unconditional acceptance that Ann gave to others, her infectious smile, the time she took time to listen ... those things will never be forgotten. Albert Pine once said something that seems a fitting tribute to the way Ann lived her life ....
"What we do for ourselves dies with us.
What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal."
Taser is doing well. She is 10 months old now and it looks like she will be a fairly small GSD. She is not quite as big as Jazz. I'm guessing that is partly because she's female and partly because she was the runt of the litter. Her favorite thing to do is to chase anything that anyone will throw. Her next favorite thing is snuggling on the couch with either me or Brian. She LOVES attention of any kind but is really sweet when she puts her head under my chin and goes to sleep. And I would guess that her third favorite thing to do is to chase our other dog Jazz and irritate her. Just like a little sister. She must have learned something at puppy school even though she slept through most of the classes we attened and we eventually droppped out because she can do some of the commands. Typically though she pretends she has no clue what you're asking her to do unless there's chicken involved - then she'll do them instantly.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
She is responsive ... she has blinked her eyes, squeezed hands and today she even said "yes"! It normally takes kids a long time to learn to talk with the ventilator but she is already starting to talk.
AND she remembers.... she remembered how old she was and how old her baby brother is but she does not remember being asleep for 3 months.
AND all of her numbers are better than they have been.
AND most of the breaths she is taking on her own!
Thanks for all the prayers! They're working!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I have some other thoughts to post about 9/11 that I do not want to interfere with Anne's memorial so I thought I would post those early.
Today, as part of my own way of remembering that terrible day, I will talk about where I was that day. It may not be something anyone else wants to read but it will do me good to write it.
I was attending Miami University chasing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminology. My Human Phys. class was due to meet at 9:45. That gave me time to reheat a leftover piece of Tombstone pizza and sit down in front of Good Morning American to eat it before running off to class. Brian was upstairs in his office doing some work. I sat down and flicked on the TV when it suddenly occurred to me that it was odd that GMA would be on a 9:00 am. Then I heard the report that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.
Setting the pizza aside I ran upstairs to tell Brian the news. He was absorbed in his work and told me to let him know what happened. So it was back downstairs to tune in and see what had happened. At that time everyone assumed some sort of accident.
As I watched the screen I noticed a plane at the edge of the screen and though, "That must be a plane they've sent it to survey the damage". But as soon as the thought crossed my mind I realized the plane I was seeing was far too big to be something of that nature. There really are not words to describe what I saw next. I watched dumbfounded as the plane flew into the second tower.
Quickly I ran upstairs to tell Brain that another plane had hit the second tower. To say it was all unbelievable would be an understatement. But there was no time to digest what had happened ... I needed to leave to make class.
Once I arrived at class everyone was talking about what had happened at the Pentagon. The Pentagon? Stunned, I asked what happened and was told that a plane had stuck the Pentagon. It was at that point that I began to wonder what was going on. Were we under attack? What would be next? How was I supposed to think about Human Phys. with all of this happening to our country?
The professor walked in and was either unaware of the events of the morning, or felt that class was more important. In either case we proceeded into the day's lesson without a mention of the attacks. Somehow I was able to put it out of my mind and focus on physiology.
I was to meet Brian for coffee just after class and ran downstairs to find him as soon as class was out. When I found him his demeanor was solemn and I will never forget his words .... "the firefighters and emergency workers .... they're all gone". Gone? What did he mean gone? Even after he told me that the buildings had collapsed it didn't register with me the enormity of what had happened.
Rather than go for coffee we went to the student center and watched it all unfold on TV. The room full of college students was eerily silent except for the newsbroadcasts. Occasionally a swear word could be heard or the sound of crying. Across the bottom of the screen local news stations were announcing that some of the local schools would be dismissing early. I decided to go home and skip the rest of my classes in case my son's came home early. I wasn't sure what was happening to our country and I wasn't sure how much they might have seen at school and didn't want them to come home to an empty house.
I came home, turned on the TV and like so many other confused Americans watched the news for the rest of the day in hopes of hearing something good.
Years ago two brothers who were named Bogenwright got into a fight. One brother wanted to disassociate himself from the other brother so he changed his last name to Buriff.
This however, can cause problems. For one thing, NO ONE can get our last name right. People who have known me for years still spell it wrong and that creates all sorts of issues.
I have been sick all week. Really sick. The kind of stay in bed and wish you could die kind of sick. Yesterday Brian came home with similar symptoms. He was good and went to his doctor and was told he has pneumonia. Given that it is really likely that he caught it from me, I decided that going to the doc might be a good idea for me as well. That, and the fact that my work has already called asking me to work some more crazy hours this week and will only take a "no" if it is accompanied by a doctor's order. (Long story about my dystufncational workplace.)
So I called the doctor. The same doctor I've seen for years. And I'm told that I am not in their system ...that I have to start all over as a new patient which means that the next appointment I can get is on Sept. 18th. I told the receptionist that I would either be over this or dead by then and I'd really like to see a doctor sooner. She insisited that it MUST have been 7 or 8 years since I have been there. I know I've been there in the past few years. I imagine that they have our last name spelled wrong, or either she is looking it up wrong because she has confused the "f's" for "s's". She is probably putting Burriss, or Buriss, or Burris into her computer and since there is no such person, I am not in the system.
So my question is WHY COULDN'T THAT BROTHER FIND AN EASIER FAKE NAME TO ASSUME? Something like Smith or Jones would work really well.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
- She has a heart for missions and has been to Haiti, Pine Ridge and on Hurricane relief trips to Mississippi and Louisianna after Katrina and Rita.
- She is a stay at home mom and puts her family first.
- She has been married to her hubby for a long time now and they both act like a couple of teenagers who are still as much in love today as the day they got married.
- She is currently batteling breast cancer. In fact, she found out that she had cancer the first day we were at Pine Ridge and she amazed everyone with her courage. I will never forget her saying, "I came out here to do this mission trip this week and that's what I'm going to do". She took a moment to cry with her husband, to call family and friends to let them know the news and then she pitched in and worked like a trooper and never once felt sorry for herself.
- And last but not least, she sounds EXACTLY like a clucking hen when she laughs.
Go stop in at her blog and say howdy.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Please keep my dad in your prayers. About a year and a half ago he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of prostate cancer - not your typical prostate cancer and not good news. He began treatments and responded remarkably well. You would have never known he was sick because he kept busy with all of his usual projects - he even bought a house, gutted it and remodeled it. He also went on a mission trip with us this summer. He got tired a bit quicker than normal but then that's to be expected with radiation and hormone therapy.
A month ago he got bad news. His PSA was higher than it has been. They waited a month and then took it again to make sure the test wasn't faulty. It wasn't. It's even higher now. So they have started him on Casodex along with the injections he's already taking.
According to the info that came along with the meds, came a "days to death" chart. That was/is a bit unsettling and I think it has him scared. It's scary for me too. Scary to think about losing my dad (I've always been "daddy's girl") and scary to think of what he might go through in the process. Certainly he has always been healthy and still is quite strong so that is on his side. More importantly prayer is on his side. So I'm asking you to put him on your list and remember him in prayer. Thanks so much!
This is a dog that was in the movie 8 Below. This is the kind of dog people envision when they think of dog sled racing but actually, the dogs that race are a much smaller, more muscular mixed breed.
This is one of the dogs that was on the winning team in 2004
Brian dressed like a musher