About Me

My photo
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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Petition to Ask Brian to STOP Posting Fake Taser Magazine Pics

Those of you who read at Brian's blog know the story .... Brian is completely out of control when it comes to making Taser magazine covers.

Most recently Gary at Blessed are the Poor in Spirit had this brilliant comment:

I saw that you wanted to enjoy a romantic evening out on broadway with your honey. But I think Taser would get bored too quickly. You should probably take Amber instead. ~ Gary

Then Bruce replied:


I notice that Brian is at a loss for words on your comment - good job. ~ Bruce

To which Brian replied:

Memo to Gary, David & Bruce:Amber had remarked that it was time to give up the Taser blogging obsession. I was seriously considering it until I saw the recent good natured bantering comments on my last post. So I've put my re-considerations on hold for now and will press forward soon with my newest, more audacious, round of magazine covers -- all in tribute to Gary, David and Bruce. ~ Brian

So it seems that he's off again to post even more outraegous Taser pics. Please help him to stop by signing the petition. Just sign by leaving your comment here on this blog. I'll see that Brian sees all of the responses.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Favorite Home Video

I hate to bore anyone with home videos, but this one is a favorite of mine taken when the kids were little. Anyone who knows Logan or Cody will probably get a kick out of it.

When God Winks

No, this post isn't about the verse of scripture that refers to God winking at sin. It's about those moments that happen on occasion that let us know that God has things under control .... more so than we may realize.

For those not familiar with my other blog about the Pine Ridge mission trips, let me explain a few things .....

Our team generally has a fundaiser or two to help those who cannot pay for their trip raise the money they need to go to the reservation on a short-term mission trip. I happen to detest fundraisers and I also happen to be of the opinion that anyone going on a mission trip should expect that there will be sacrifice involved - including paying for the trip. Still, I do understand that not everyone can pay for the trip even if they sacrifice - so we have a few fundraisers.

This year, our senior high youth are going along with us as their annual Youth trip. I'm excited about that. Because the youth are going we are simply forced to have more fundraisers than usual (hence the long list of them on the PR blog).

But one fundraiser has really caught my attention. Maybe because it plays into my love of mischief. How it works is that someone can pay to "flock" someone else, whereby the team then places several pink flamingos in the yard of the person to be flocked. There is also a note left telling the person who has flocked them. They can then pay to get revenge and have the person who flocked them flocked. It gets involved to the point where people can purchase insurance to ensure that they are not flocked. But where's the fun in that??

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Anyway, we have no money up front to pay for one pink flamingo let alone a couple dozen of them. So in the fundaiser info there was a tiny line that read "If you know of someone willing to donate several pink flamingos, let me know".

Now tell me, who would have ever thought that we would have someone on our team who just happened to work for a place that just happened to have 20-25 of the little plastic creatures that they would be willing to let us use???

Ya just never know .....

I just love it when these things happen. They are things, however small, that are so beyond our control and yet they fall into place, shall I say miraculously? Yeah, I think it is miraculous.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New Pics

There are a few new pics up at the Pine Ridge Mission blog.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving

May each of you who read here have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Holidays can be a double edge sword in that they bring about happy times but they can also intensify pain and heartbreak.
Whatever your situation today, know that all of you who may not fully enjoy this day are in my thoughts and prayers.

Thoughts especially go out to our service men and women and thier families this day.
I am praying for a speedy and safe return for all of our troops.

Below is a picture of me and almost all of my cousins (the family is split so they are not all there). Brad, my cousin who committed suicide a little over a year ago is in the middle next to me.
This was taken in 2001.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

Even More Bragging

Last night was Parent/Teacher Confrence at the vocational school where Logan (our youngest) is enrolled in the Criminal Justice program. Much to my dismay, Logan is well on his way to becoming a police officer. NOT what I would have chosen for him - I would have much preferred that he chose a safer occupation, but Logan has wanted to be in Law Enforcement since his 5th grade D.A.R.E. officer made an impression on him. So, although it will add a few more grey hairs to my head and a few more lines to my face, I wouldn't dream of trying to stop him from doing the thing he loves.

And there is no doubt that he loves it. His grades even reflect his passion for the job. His teacher had nothing but great things to say about Logan and asked if we had any more kids because he would like to have 10 more like Logan. Logan also made the honor roll this quarter! That is huge since he has always struggled a bit more with school. He's smart but he's one of those kids who never saw the need for certain classes and never put forth much effort in them. Now that he's involved in an educational program that he loves, he's doing very well - even in those classes he once despised. For instance last year he failed Spanish, this year he's passing it with flying colors.

I wish I had a picture of him in his uniform. He looks great in it but he will not let me take a picture of him. I did manage one pic but he deleted it from my camera before I downloaded it. So for now, Barney Fife will have to do.

Oh, and a point worth mentioning ..... he works after school and on weekends at, get this, Dunkin Donuts! Is there a better place for a jr. cop to work??

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Great Man, Great Song, Great Video



Johnny Cash is one of my favorites .... and there are at least 3 other of my favorite celebs in this video. Can you guess which they are?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pardon Me While I Brag a Bit

The Hamilton campus of Miami University recently interviewed by son Cody about Campus Crusade's trip to MS to help out with Hurricane Relief. The article is now featured on the MUH website which you can read here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Eagle's Nest

Sunday evening Ralph and Karen Watts and their family came to share in our evening service. They are a unique and some may say strange, family. You see, Ralph and Karen are in their 60's, have raised 4 biological sons and have served as pastor for many years. In fact, Ralph was my pastor when I was 12 years old. He was the first pastor I ever had and the one who led me to Christ. What makes them unique is that after they raised their biological children, they began fostering and then adopting special needs children. Over the years they have fostered 35 special needs children and adopted, that's right adopted, 13 special needs children.

Yes, you read correctly. They have adpoted 13 special needs children. Even though I have known them for over 30 years, I am still amazed when I hear their story and still humbled by their faith. Seeing them is to see the gopsel lived out in ways that are far too uncommon.

Although Ralph was an accomplished muscian and was offered a chance to sing professionally, he chose ministry instead. Then, rather than settle down to a life of comfort, he and his wife have chosen to pour their lives into these children that no one else wanted.


Three of the kids are in wheelchairs and profoundly mentally retarded. One is autistic. One deaf. Two have cistic fibrosis. Almost every one of them have been severly abused when they were babies. One girl was born "normal" but her birth mother beat her and her twin sister so severly that he twin sister died and Ana was left brain damaged, profoundly mentally retarded and blind.

Eddy, pictured leading the song "I Am A Child of God" is mentally retarded and has a host of physical problems. Doctors will tell you that it is physically impossible for him to walk, but he does anyway. He has a personality that is hard to resist. If you meet him, you'll not forget him.

I could say a lot about this family but to do so would somehow seem to take away from the sense of Christ-likeness that is their life. Perhaps that is why when Ralph speaks in our church, our usually noisy church falls strangly quiet. Maybe people sense that they are in the presence of something very much like Jesus.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Seeing (RED)


I finally got my (Gap) Red parka yesterday! It's an early birthday present from my mom and dad. I really, really like the idea of (Product) Red. Normally I don't shop at the Gap but I suspect I'll be making more purchases there knowing that half of the net profits from their (Red) products will go toward helping eliminate AIDS in Africa. And it looks like I'm not alone....

The (Product) Red Blog reports that in just 3 weeks since (Red) was launched in the U.S.,
(PRODUCT) RED sales in the U.S. have raised enough money to:

Provide more than 10,000 men or women with ARV treatment for a year (Note: These treatments are only a small portion of a person’s overall treatment and represent just one year of lifelong treatment)

Or

Provide more than 1 million peer educators with HIV training

Or

Provide a year’s worth of school materials and daily hot meals for more than 35,000 children orphaned by AIDS

Or

Provide more than 650,000 Rapid Tests which detect HIV and deliver instant test results.

This is GREAT news!

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Day in the Life of Amber

Sunday was a particularly busy day. I woke up to the annoying sound of the alarm just as I was reallllly sleeping good and wondered if there could possibly be anything more annoying.

After 2 cups of coffee I got dressed for the day. That simple chore proved more complicated that it should be and left me especially grateful for a church that generally accepts me any way that I happen to be at any given moment. The reason for the dilemma was that I had to go to work and wasn't sure I would have time to return home to change before work. Given the nature of what I do and the fact that I often deal with body fluids, I don't like to wear anything "nice" to work. Some would argue that I don't wear anything "nice" to church either, but little do they know that I can and do dress even worse than I do at church.

So it was off to teach Sunday School. But wait, first there was that minor issue of a fundraiser for the Pine Ridge trip that needed tending to. That should have been fairly simple too but alas, that would be too easy and we can't have anything easy, can we.

I arrived at church to set my bakery items out on the table in the room that has been dubbed the fundraising room only to find out that our choir was having a bake sale that day. Opps.... well that shouldn't be a problem ...right?? I mean, we have enough people in our church who like to eat to easily take care of both fundraisers. And, it's my humble opinion that there is also enough money in our church to support it all too. My philosophy has been, "if it's God's will, it's God's bill" and I just assume He'll provide what is needed. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same opinion as me. Some even get a bit touchy about other groups invading their "spot". We finally suggested that we arrange the tables so that everyone had adequate room while providing space for people to browse. It worked out.

THEN, it was off to teach Sunday School. Strangely enough we are still covering the "boundaries" material. How appropriate.

After church it was back to the fundraiser. What a crazy, chaotic time. But I think a few people on our team did well and I know some of them really need this fundraiser. There is a big payment due Jan. 1st and some of them might not have it if we didn't do this fundraiser. I've actually been thinking about if there is any way to do this trip cheaper. There is. In fact, we could do it way cheaper ... if we didn't feed the Lakota kids or give them backpacks full of school supplies. I'm not willing to do that. Not when I'm convinced that there is enough money to provide these basic needs for them.

After church we went to Chili's to celebrate my dad's birthday! He'll be 72, on Wednesday but will be out of town so we pretended his birthday was yesterday - even if he's holding out till later to turn 72. It was fun and the food was a good deal - Barb-b-que ribs, fries, salad, and a luscious desert for $9.99. Half-way through our meal another couple from church came in and were seated at the table next to us. I had to rush off to work before desert so I asked the waiter to give them mine.

Once at work the craziness continued. Ms Cranky was her usual demanding self and the new girl, who I am dubbing the Drama Queen, was in full gear. She is 21 years old, smokes cigars and loves to stir up drama of any sort. This little fact became more and more apparent as the day went on. First she wanted to watch a stripper video. Since it's their house I have no say so as to what they do, don't do, watch, or don't watch in their own home but I did tell her that I would not watch that "trash" with her and then I went outside to call a friend.

Later in the day Miss Drama Queen discovered that her boyfriend was cheating on her. Needless to say she was not happy about that at all and proceeded to call everyone in her cell phone address book to tell them about it. She then focused on 2 different men ... and kept calling them, feeding them all sorts of elaborate lies which she made up on the spot. She eventually talked one of the men, a 40-something year old, to come over to the house. What fun. He did so but was quickly caught up in her drama and let us all listen to his voice mails of the other man making threats to do him in. I suggested that the police might be interested in hearing that voice mail but that idea didn't seem to register with him.

The whole time I am at work it's a balancing act. Just how much do I suggest? How far do I assert my will, or my ideas?? These folks are mentally handicapped but they do have rights, and one of them is the right to make their own choices. I have always let them do just that. I make suggestions and hope I have some influence but ultimately the decision is their's to make. It does make me wonder though, how many people who work in this field control the lives of those they care for?

Turning the Clock Back

I did something this year that a lot of people would probably like to do. I got a year younger. You see, I have gone through this entire year thinking that I was 45 years old. I had noticed on my friend's MySpace that she had her age as being 44 and I know that she and I are the same age so I assumed that she had made a mistake.

Then, at dinner the other night, Brian was talking about how he is going to be 46 at his next birthday. I corrected him, telling him that he is already 46 and will be 47 at his next birthday. He then corrected me, telling me that he was indeed 45 and will be 46. I gave him a puzzled look and asked if I were really only 44 to which he replied "yes".

I was stunned. I've been telling everyone I was 45 and was not looking forward to turning 46 in a few weeks. But now since I've already crossed that bridge (in my mind anyway) maybe turning 45 will be OK.

The only bad thing about discovering you're a year younger than you thought you were is that you then realize that you've aged earlier.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Song

Urbanmonk over at Supermarket Monkey has an awesome post today. Check it out when you have time. And to answer his question, this is the song. Perhaps a few others as well, but definately this one.

Where could I go, where could I run
Even if I found the strength to fly
And if I rose on the wings of the dawn
And crashed through the corner of the sky
If I sailed past the edge of the sea
Even if I made my bed in Hell
Still there You would find me

'Cause nothing is beyond You
You stand beyond the reach
Of our vain imaginations
Our misguided piety
The heavens stretch to hold You
And deep cries out to deep
Singing that nothing is beyond You
Nothing is beyond You

Time cannot contain You
You fill eternity
Sin can never stain You
Death has lost its sting

And I cannot explain the way You came to love me
Except to say that nothing is beyond You
Nothing is beyond You

If I should shrink back from the light
So I can sink into the dark
If I take cover and I close my eyes
Even then You would see my heart

And You'd cut through all my pain and rage
The darkness is not dark to You
And night's as bright as day

Nothing is Beyond You
by Rich Mullins

Carly Update

Carly is doing GREAT!! She continues to beat all the odds and is now down on the Trach/Rehab floor! According to studies only 3% of BMT kids who end up in the ICU make it out alive so Carly is indeed a miracle!

Since I last updated here Carly has,

Had her 7th Birthday!

Attended a Halloween party at the hospital.

Become even more of her usual self and is joking and laughing and accusing her little brother of cheating at a game.

And she has lost a tooth!

All things most of us take for granted with healthy 7 year olds. This is a picture of Carly last Christmas ... hard to believe she could go from being as healhty as she looks in this picture to being as sick as she has been in such a short time.

She still has quite a long hard haul ahead of her so keep her in your prayers. Pray especially that the scar tissue on her lungs will be replaced with new, healhty tissue so that she can get off the ventilator for good!

What I'm Reading

This is a book I read for one of my psychopathology classes back when I was in college. It's a fascinating book about the effects of trauma. This was an interesting read - not your usual boring educational book.

Too Scared to Cry by Lenore Terr. M.D.

Terr is a child psychiatrist who explors the effects of trauma.
The book focuses on the 1976 abduction of a group of children in Chowchilla, California, who were seized from a bus as they were returning from day camp and buried alive in a rock quary. The author interviewed the victims soon after their release and continued to make periodic assessments of the children.

She also goes on to explore post-traumatic behavior patterns she claims can be seen in the works of writers such as Poe, Hawthorne and Stephen King, and in the films of Ingmar Bergman or in the art work of Rene Magritte.

For example, here is an excerpt from her writing on Magritte.


The Belgian painter, Rene Magritte, was fourteen years old when his mother committed suicide. Young Rene Magritte had a profoundly depressed mother. She was subject to repeated bouts of mood disorder, some of them suicidal. There were times when Magritte's mother slept in her son's room so that the lightest sleeper in the house could watch out for her. One night Rene's younger brother discovered that their mother has slipped away. He alerted the family. A search was undertaken, to no avail. They followed her footprints to a bridge where they belive she threw herself into the river. A day or two later they found Magritte's mother in the Sambre River. Her body was found with her nightgown wrapped around her face. Her body was laid out at the house, as was the custom.

Magritte did not like to speak about the experience. He also could not face either his past or his future very well. Magritte tended to reenact his trauma in behavior. He was fascinated with coffins, and one day at a coffin-maker's shop he climbed inot one of the finished products and spent the entire afternoon there.

Magritte consistently denied that his mothers' death had been traumatic for him. He told his official biographer, Suzi Gablik, that he had forgotten all about it.


Some of the ways Magritte's trauma (and his denial of it) shows up in his paintings:

His mother was found with a nightgown wrapped about her face. Magritte has done at least two paintings with the faces of the subjects wrapped in fabric.

He frequently paints coffins. At least one painting shows a woman laid out in a house setting.

Magritte's trademark is to conceal faces of his subjects using fruit, bowler hats, clouds - anything at all that he can come up with to hide the human face. Some have analyzed that this is to prevent him from having to deal with his mother's ruined face in death.

Below are some samples of his paintings. You decide what you think.





Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Current American Models of Ministry

by Phillip Sell

Here is a chart my son picked up at a confrence that details the 3 basic models of current American Models of Ministry and how they line up on various issues.

The Issue - Cultural Orientation

Traditional Church
Assumes the support of Christendom - Minimal passion for evangelism

Contemporary Church
Accommodation to culture. "Church can be attractive to lost people". Marketing approach and image managment.

Missional Church
Penetration of culture with the Gospel. Chruch a missionary to the unsupportive culture.

The Issue - Image of the Christian

Traditional Church
Representative of dominant culture. Civil Religion.

Contemporary Church
Successful and happy. Alternative to dominate culture.

Missional Church
Resident aliens within the pluralistic culture

The Issue - View of the Church

Traditional Church
A place where religious things happen. The country club/dues.

Contrmporary Church
A vendor of religious goods and services. The mall/consumer.

Missional Church
A people sent on a mission. The web/relational.

The Issue - Orientation

Traditional Church
Content-centered. Right ideas.

Contemporary Church
Program-centered. Right activities.

Missional Church
Relationsihp-centered. Right relationships.

The Issue - Centeral Structure

Traditional Church
Pulpit, Sunday School (one way communication). Age-graded (mimic the public school system).

Contemporary Church
Seeker-oriented services. Needs-oriented ministry. Market segments/Generational ghettos.

Missional Church
Equipping venues. Discipleship/Mentoring. Small Groups. Spiritual Formation

The Issue - Organizational Structure

Traditional Church
Hiearchy. Committies. Recruitment to church ministries.

Contemporary Church
Pastoral Oligarchy. Teams. Mobilization into church and world.

Missional Church
Networked teams. Empowerment to interpersonal ministry and team formation.

The Issue - Role of the Pastor

Traditional Church
Preacher/Caregiver

Contemporary Church
Evangelist/Learder/CEO

Missional Church
Equipper/model/Leader

The Issue - Learning Orientation

Traditional Church
Cognitive processing through teaching.

Contemporary Church
Cognitive processing. Social learning in groups.

Missional Church
Experiential learning. Social learning. Cognitive processing.

The Issue - Media/Era

Traditional Church
Print/Oral

Contemporary Church
Broadcast

Missional Church
Digital

The Issue - Internet/Website

Traditional Church
Source of information.

Contemporary Church
Advertising and promotion.

Missional Church
Interactive community.

The Issue - Evangelism

Traditional Church
Come and see approach. An isolated program. Proclamational. Reach the churched. Adult convert growth rate.

Contemporary Church
A consistent emphasis. Need-orientated event. Come and see approach. Reach the dechurched. How do you gather a crowd?

Missional Church
A life-style, relational, incarnationnal and service-orientated. LIstening, dialogical. Go and seek approach. Reach the unchurched.

The Issue - Worship

Traditional Church
Predictable. Historicaly anchored. Hymns, hymnals, choirs, organs and pianos. NOt in cultureal idiom and in some cases liturgical.

Contemporary Church
Scripted excellence. In cultural idiom and popular instrumentation. Historical, disconnect. Celebrative, upbeat, choruses and worship ensembles. Use of other media added.

Missional Church
Laid back, serendipitous. Ancient and vintage worship practices creatively mixed with contemporary media. Multi-media, multe-sensory, participatory.

The Issue - Ethical Orientation

Traditional Church
Subcultural taboos

Contemporary Church
Personal ethics.

Missional Church
Social ethics.

The Issue - Other Churches

Traditional Church
Cordial. Denomination-building.

Contemporary Church
Competitive. Congregation-building.

Missional Church
Networked. Kingdom-building.


Questions:

What kind of church do you attend, if you attend? One of these, or another kind?

What kind of church do you prefer?

What problems do you see with any/each of these?