- 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, December 29, 2007
Today marks the anniversary of one of the most infamous of events that occurred there.
Today is the anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee. It is often referred to as the last battle between the United States and Indians. But there was no battle, only a massacre of innocents. Five hundred troops from the U.S. 7th Calvary which has formerly fought under General Custer, opened fire on 350 unarmed Lakota men, women and children.
The stories vary as they usually do when something like this happens. In short, the 7th Calvary was ordered to disarm the Lakota and it was during this process that a deaf man who did not understand what was happening refused to give up his rifle. Shots rang out and then chaos as
the Calvary opened fire. By the time it was over, more than 146 men, women and children of the Lakota Sioux lay dead. Twenty-five soldiers were also dead but it is not known whether they died at the hands of the Lakota or by "friendly fire".
While the bodies of the dead were left scattered over the field to freeze, the wounded were taken to an agency church which was quickly converted into a clinic. Ironically, being a few days after Christmas, the church was still decorated with a banner that read "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men".
The U.S. soldiers were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor, which still stand to this day. This video tells the story. It's almost 10 min. long, but it is extremely well done and informative.
Today is a historic day, but Pine Ridge Reservation continues to make history. In the early 70's there was an uprising at Wounded Knee. Our group always travels to Wounded Knee to see the Memorial with the mass grave from the 1890 massacre, and to see the church shot full of bullet holes during the 70's uprising.
And as recently as last week, the Lakota officially withdrew from the U.S. Today more history-making events are scheduled to occur when the Lakota reveal the "new land boundaries". I am curious to see how that will take place and what effects it will have.
Monday, December 24, 2007
A friend brought her bunny. That's right, a bunny, as in rabbit. She was kind enough to share and allow me to hold it throughout the service. When a family with young children came in, I moved over and sat with them so the kids could pet the bunny. They gently inspected it's ears, patted it's soft fur and examined it's feet. Their dad took pictures from his cell phone in the next pew. All of this occurred during the service. You might say we're a bit relaxed at our church. It was fun to hold the bunny and fun to watch the kids wonder at it. Somehow I don't think Jesus had a problem with it.
It was also good to see a couple of people who have been through a tough time lately ... people that I love and nearly lost recently. It was good to hug them and tell them I'm glad they are here. I really am.
We have a couple in our church who play Santa and Mrs. Claus at various places around town. Yesterday the lady was telling about some of the stories they hear as they are doing their Santa gig and said, "You know, people tell Santa things they can't tell other people".
When I walked in to the service tonight the man pulled out a folded up piece of notebook paper and showed me a letter to Santa that a little boy gave him today while he was playing Santa at a children's home. On it was a child's drawing of a mommy and a little boy and scrawled in childish handwriting was this note.
Today the most very important thing I want for Christmas is to see my birth
That's all I'm asking for.
That's all I want for Christmas
at the very bottom of my list.
But someday I'll find her somewhere out there.
I really love my birth mommy. I want to go back but I can't because
I don't' belong anywhere.
7 year-old boy
If you happen by here and read this tonight, please pray for this little one.
If you can't have a merry Christmas this year, I wish you a peace-filled one.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Cancer is so limited.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot destroy God’s peace.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot suppress memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot conquer the spirit.
It cannot steal God’s gift of eternal life.
Cancer is so limited.
But it wasn't the money; everyone said so. It was something else, something far
less tangible but yet so very real. For seven weeks an almost magical sense of
excitement and energy and camaraderie infused the elegant red-brick church on
Bell Street, spilling over into homes and hearts as the parable of the talents
Read the entire story here It's a bit lengthy but worth it to see the impact it had.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Here's my week...
I have had 23 dozen cookies to bake for what is FINALLY the last of the Holiday Candy/Cookie fundraiser for the PR trip. We started in Nov. and I am SO GLAD this is over.
Working on Rezonate '08 and the 2008 Pine Ridge trip has left me with little time for anything else. Good thing I quit my job - I don't have time to work.
I also had a last minute Christmas gift to buy this week. Normally I have that done by now but this one was one of those hard to find things ... and it was requested that I buy it. Not even scouring the Internet helped me locate this thing. But I have a substitute bought and wrapped now.
I have not even attempted Christmas cards this year. I usually have those done right after Thanksgiving but again, this year has been different.
I can't remember the last time I cleaned my house and believe me, that is not good. With the crazy Ohio weather we have extreme cold, rain, freezing rain, snow, and then it heats back up to the mid-40's which thaws it all out and makes massive mud. With two dogs that think they should have the run of the house - that's a problem. At least the mud on the floor has dried and made a nice dust covering now which helps to hide all the other stuff that was on there before.
Today I've really got to clean it though. When my 18 year old son is complaining about the house being dirty, I know it's really bad. His friend wanted to hang out here tomorrow and Logan told her the house was too messy.
Tomorrow I am meeting a friend and we're going to see if we can drum up any sponsors for Rezonate '08. I really wish SOMEONE would take this and run with it. We need sponsors. We need them now. And I really don't have time to do this. Oh, that reminds me, I've got to make up more packets today too so we have plenty tomorrow. OK, note to self - don't forget to do more packets.
OK, and at some point I need to get a shower and wash my hair. But I shouldn't do that until after I 've cleaned the floors because I'll probably get pretty dirty doing that.
If anyone comes to my door today, I'm not answering it. It's 1 in the afternoon and I still have yesterday's make up on and have not showered and look like something the cat dragged in.
Well, back to work.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services. There is also a place where you can read feedback from the soldiers. It only takes a second to say "thanks".
Sunday, December 16, 2007
It's embarrassing to put myself there in the video ... posting a pic of myself is bad enough but video is worse, but hey, it's not about me, right. The last two people in the video are the missionaries there. She is not well and needs our prayers.
This is all that went wrong and a bit of our foolishness. I am working on a promotional video for Backpacks For Pine Ridge and had hoped to shoot a bit of video explaining why we do what we do. I had wanted the village in the background but the day we were there it was snowing and the wind was blowing so that it didn't work out at all... you'll see.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I would love to have your feedback on this video. Please be honest - are there too many effects? Can you read everything OK? Should we go in another direction?
Monday, December 10, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
You see, a week or so ago Brian and I went to see The Christmas Promise Tour. As we were leaving I looked up into the night sky commented on all the stars. "It's not quite a South Dakota sky, but it's getting there", I said to Brian. That's when it hit me. I turned to Brian and half jokingly said, "That's what I want for Christmas. I want to go to the reservation and hand deliver the gifts we bought for the families there". Knowing full well that was just a pipe dream I forgot about it. Almost.
Yesterday I was boxing up the gifts we bought, getting them ready to ship to South Dakota. I told Brian that while we were out on our date night I needed to stop by Office Depot and get some packing material. Over dinner he suggested that we look at some flights and see if we could get a good deal. He offered to use some money from a gift we received to pay for plane tickets.
We came home, looked at flights, made some calls and today we booked the flight! We'll only be there for a day, but it will be so much fun. The families do not know we're coming. I can't wait to knock on their door and see their reaction. The missionary there knows we're coming and said she would make sure the families were home that day but would not tell them we were going to stop by.
I'm also going to make a video Christmas card of video taped messages from those here who have gone out to the reservation. I'll put it together with some background Christmas music and give each family we visit a copy.
We leave next Friday!
I can't wait.
When I called the missionary last night some of the kids were there. My girl Bree was there. She is 6 years old and her and I are very attached. She got on the phone and said, "Who is this?"
I said, "It's Amber."
"REALLY? I miss you. When are you coming out here?"
Pretty soon. I'll be there pretty soon.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
And when I thought about having an all-day long benefit concert in the center of our town, I thought I was dreaming big.
But I was not dreaming big enough it seems.
This thing is exploding.
When I wanted to have it at The Village Green and was not allowed, I was disappointed. When another big location didn't work out, I was again disappointed. But when a 330 acre park opened it's doors wide and welcomed us to have the event there - I was amazed. Not only is the place BIG but it's very well known. Everybody knows where The Voice of America park is becasue of it's historical significance - and it's size.
Now a Dove Award winning artsist is coming to perform. Along with being a performer, he is a song writer with a major record company and currently has a song out that Rodney Atkins took to #1. It was just voted "song of the year". And he is going to see if another internationally known band will come. He's good friends with the lead singer and producer of that band. Who knows .....
And we're talking to a nationally known speaker - one I really like (no hints other than that one though).
Now The Underground, a wildly popular concert venue in our area who hosts local and national bands/artists is now onboard.
And I just received word from someone on our MySpace that they are going to try to attend the event. The kicker is - they live in Maryland! Here I was targeting our local area and someone from Maryland is thinking about attending.
Do you ever just feel like something is taking off - with or without you. I'm feeling that way about now.
Thanks to Josh for getting the web site up.
Thanks to Gary for working on some logos - we'll pick one soon.
And thanks to John, Paula, Jessica and Tim and Brian for all of their hard work. We have a whole team of people who are just blowing me away with their enthusiam and willingness to work hard.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The official rules:
Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
Post these rules on your blog.
List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post.
Let each person know that they have been tagged.
- I once dated a professional baseball player. He wasn't a pro when I dated him but what the heck, it's close enough to claim.
- I too have seen a UFO that was seen by many people but no one believes me and most think I'm crazy.
- I once had a member of Parliament (Romanian) over for dinner.
- When I was a teenager and attending a National Youth Convention in Indy with my youth group, I got separated from my group and spent a few hours sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for them to show. During that time a very kind man sat beside me and kept me company. Later, after reuniting with my group and attending the evening conference I recognized the speaker as the man who has sat with me. His name was Archie Griffin. I had no idea he was someone famous.
- I have a made-up last name. Year ago, so the story goes, the two Bogenwright brothers got into a fight and one wanted to disassociate himself completely from the other so he made up a new last name.
- I grew up an only child. I had an older sister who died shortly after her birth. She had spina bifida.
- I have experienced some really weird and chilling things while living in Alabama. Maybe someday I'll share them here but it would take too long. Come to think of it, I may have posted about them before.
I'm not going to tag anyone but if anybody wants to join in, feel free.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Now, in keeping with the whole church pageants gone awry thing ....
Brian was shopping for something for he and Scot to use as their uniform and came across pilot uniforms online. He ordered them, had them embroidered with our church's name, made name badges - the whole bit. Last week he gave Scot his uniform. Scot came up to him and asked "do you know what the Mile High club is"? Brian did not. Scot explained.
You guessed it - the pilot uniforms are emblazoned with MILE HIGH PILOT on the front of each shirt.
Yeah, it's going to be an interesting church pageant again.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
The benefit concert is getting to be a drag. I've hit another snag. It happens. It's happened before and it will happen again. Eventually, something will break loose and it will move forward again. I've spent the week trying to get sponsors to no avail. I'm at a point where I need sponsors in order to pursue getting someone here who will draw people. We need to draw people so we can make money so we can buy school supplies
And I hate this.
I really do.
I hate operating in the business world with their "what's in it for me" attitudes. I hate what exposure I've had to the Christian music business because they have the same attitude. And I hate begging for money. Somehow I don't think Jesus spent His time begging and I can't quite stomach it myself. This is SO not what I'm about. but it seems to be a necessary evil. I do think it's evil. It sure smells evil. I'm ready to say "forget it". Those kids don't really need school supplies, do they?
It's too bad that people who have the money never seem to see the need and people who see the need never seem to have the money to meet it. I wonder why that is?
I don't know but I do know I don't want to do this anymore.
I would much rather just hang out on the rez, but I've already said that.
Never mind me, I'm just grumbling.
Friday, November 23, 2007
She was living in Liberia with her husband and son and had just given birth to a baby girl when the rebels came to her village. Her and her husband were separated in the chaos as they fled the rebel soldiers. Eventually the UN brought her and her two children to the United States and to Cincinnati to begin a new life. She named her baby girl Courage and started all over again in an unfamiliar country all alone. I can't imagine.
She has a friend who is also from Liberia and the four of them joined us for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. It was a joy to share a meal with them and to listen to their stories.
Of course, Brian had to ask, "how do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Africa"? We all laughed because we knew the answer would be "we do not - the pilgrims didn't land in Africa", but we were wrong! They do celebrate Thanksgiving in Liberia. Liberia is a country in Africa with roots in America. When the slaves were freed in our country many of them were returned to Africa. They sailed to Sierra Leon but the weather there was too harsh so they migrgrated down coast to what is now Liberia and settled making Monrovia their capital. Monrovia is named after President Monroe. Joseph Jenkins Roberts, who was born and raised in America, was Liberia's first President. The style of government and constitution was fashioned on that of the United States.
Robert's party dominated all sectors of Liberia from independence in 1847 until April 12, 1980, when indigenous Liberian Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe (from the Krahn ethnic group) seized power in a coup d'etat. Doe's forces executed President William R. Tolbert and several officials of his government, mostly of Americo-Liberian descent.
On December 24, 1989, a small band of rebels led by Doe's former procurement chief, Charles Taylor, invaded Liberia from the Ivory Coast. Taylor and his National Patriotic Front rebels rapidly gained the support of many Liberians and reached the outskirts of Monrovia within six months.
From 1989 to 1996 one of Africa's bloodiest civil wars ensued, claiming the lives of more than 200,000 Liberians and displacing a million others into refugee camps in neighboring countries.
That is how Diana came to the United States with her children. She has been here for 4 years and still does not know what happened to her husband or whether he lived for died.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
In the past few weeks several young people on the Reservation have committed suicide by hanging themselves. The oldest was 21 years old. The others were younger still. The impact this has had and is having among the people there is hard to imagine. Perhaps the best way to illustrate it is to tell what the missionary told me yesterday.
One of the mothers in the village called the church in a panic because she had caught her 6 year old little girl with a noose around her neck and with the end of it thrown over the doorway and was about to pull it when her mother found her. This is a family that those of us who have gone out there know well. My son Logan has had a special bond with this little girl.
For us, this is not a story of tragedy far away. It affects our friends, our extended family if you will. It's personal and heartbreaking.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I awoke to sad news this morning that Joe Nuxhall had passed away in the night. Joe was the youngest player in Major League history when he started pitching at the age of 15. Later he was an announcer for the Reds along with Marty Brenneman.
Everyone loved Joe. I don't believe I have ever head anyone say they didn't like him. A good description of Joe detailing the reasons he became a much loved part of our city can be found here. His passing will be a huge loss for the city, but that's not why I'm writing this. Yes, I'll miss him. A lot. Listening to Red's games isn't the same since he left the announce booth and now that loss is final.
Joe lived in Hamilton, the town where I live, and occasionally I would run into him. One time was a bit embarrassing. Maybe for both of us.
My kids were very small and I babysat a few other little ones in my home during the day. I would often make trips to Kroger with at least 4 boys under the age of 5 in tow.
On one particular day I was at the check out trying to pay for my groceries and watch 4 little boys at the same time. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that all of my boys were wandering off and that an old man seemed to be calling them over to him. Wondering what that old man wanted with my kids, I stopped what I was doing and in a firm voice, demanded the kids come back over to where I was, scolding them for talking to "strangers". The cashier smiled and said, "Oh, that's Joe Nuxhall". I looked again in that direction and indeed it was Joe. He was sitting at a table signing autographs and had spotted my boys and thought they might like his autograph. I hadn't paid attention to the old man at all but had been flustered by keeping my eye on the kids and trying to get my groceries paid for.
Suddenly, I remembered Joe's niece Jody, who I had lost contact with and had been concerned about because she was a missionary in the Middle East. As we walked toward the door I stopped at the table where Joe was sitting and I eased around to the back of the table and asked him how Jody was doing and if he had heard from her. We talked for a while about her and how worried about her we both were. Then I gathered up the kids and we left. Not until after I walked out of the store did I realize that I had not asked for his autograph nor had I allowed the kids to get one. In fact, I hadn't even mentioned baseball to him at all. I hadn't said "Oh I just love you", or "You've always been my favorite" or any of the things I suppose people normally say when they meet their favorite sports icon. I hadn't talked about him at all. I had just asked about his niece, my friend. I wondered if I had offended him. Somehow I doubt it. Joe never struck me as someone who thought he was any different than anyone else because of his celebrity status.
I did however send Brian back with his Joe Nuxhall baseball card to get an autograph. :)
Joe you will be missed. You were one of the good guys.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
When the editor contacted me about doing a story about what we were doing I was thrilled - ya never know who might read it and want to be involved, but then it started looking like it was just a story about me, and I was disappointed. Sometimes maybe you have to do this to get the word out about what you're trying to do I suppose?? In any case, here's the story that will come out this weekend in a local newsletter/newspaper that goes to 1500 homes.
Amber Buriff is a pastor's wife who has lived in the Fairfield Township area for more than 20 years. She graduated from Fairfield High School and attended Miami University. Since 2004, Amber has organized trips to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, one of our country’s poorest areas. Each year the group delivers backpacks and school supplies to the Lakota children on the Reservation. Amber’s story is inspiring.I’m sure you’ll feel the same as she tells us in her own words how she began to answer the call of those in need.
PURPOSE THROUGH TRADGEY
Backpacks for Pine Ridge was really born out of frustration and pain. Like most people,I would hear about the conditions of people living in poverty but didn’t feel like there was very much I could do. Then I went through a difficult period where I experienced a series of losses. My husband’s cousin passed away from breast cancer leaving six children without a mother. Another friend lost his battle with melanoma leaving his bride of less than a year. And my college professor Sherry Corbett was tragically murdered while standing on her street talking to a neighbor on a Saturday afternoon. These losses and others, drove home the point that life is short. I came to the realization that I didn’t have time to wait for someone else to take action. None of us are promised that we will have another day to do the things we meant to do. Even if I live the 70-80 or so years that are the average life-span, that was not a lot of time. I believe we are given our lives for a purpose and I felt an urgency to get busy doing what I was put here to do.
ANSWERING THE CALL
So the first year I began meeting with a group of individuals who wanted to do something to make a difference in their world. We began The Matthew 25 Project at our church to make our congregation aware of opportunities to give and reach out to the hurting in our own community. The next year we expanded our efforts by planning a trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. That first trip to South Dakota was when we began taking backpacks and school supplies. I can’t really say why we chose school supplies as a project. It just seemed like something we should do. We took 150 backpacks with school supplies to the village of Allen, which is listed as the poorest village in America. We didn’t realize at that time why backpacks and school supplies were so important. We didn’t know that the school drop out rate was 70% or that the poverty on Pine Ridge Reservation was to the extent that people could not afford to have their basic needs met. A lot of people there do not have water or electricity. Many freeze to death in the winter because they cannot afford heat. In those kinds of extreme conditions school supplies can be a need that is easily overlooked and yet is so important and appreciated because it is a way of offering their children hope for a future.
EXPANDING THE MISSION
We are now expanding the Backpacks for Pine Ridge effort to include as many children on the Reservation as possible. It is our hope to be able to give every child on the Reservation a new backpack and school supplies each year. To do this it will take roughly $60,000.00 each year so we are organizing a community wide fundraising effort. In the summer of 2008 we are planning a benefit concert that will include all types of music, Christian, non-Christian, rock, country, blues. The thing that is unique about this event is that it reaches beyond barriers to include so many different people from various backgrounds all coming together to help some of our Nation’s poorest children.
To help out you can contact Amber at TheMatt24Project@aol.com or visit backpacksforpineridge.blogspot.com
Monday, November 12, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
"After looking, reading and watching many many Blogs and bloggers I decided to
issue some recognition to those fellow bloggers I feel maintain integrity in the
Blogs. All these bloggers incorporate within their wonderful sites, an integrity
not always seen. They share terrific stories, topics, discussions and images.
All Well worth a look."
I am honored to receive such an award but I feel a bit undeserving of it too. OK, I feel a lot undeserving of it. Honestly, the only reason I am involved with any of the things I do is because of Jesus. I believe that if I'm going to follow Him then I had better be about doing the things He cares about and one thing that it is obvious He cares about are the poor. If I could have found a way around Matthew 25:31-46, I would have. Selfishness comes very easily to me. Maybe more easily to me because I am an only child?? Yet there is no greater joy that reaching out to serve others. Make no mistake, if it were not for Jesus I would most definitely be serving myself every day of the week.
He got sick and they sent him home early Tues. morning. Now he is reconsidering whether he wants to join or not.
And yes, I'm happy. :)
He may later choose to go this route again, but for now I'm glad he is at least taking some time to think about it.
He has funny stories about the one night there ... Logan thought he had a hotel room to himself because he was one of the last one's to check in and was an odd number. Then about 10 PM a guy came to the room who had missed his bus and drove up late. He was from Cincy and had been shot at, robbed, and car-jacked all in the last month. He told Logan that this was his 4th time up there to go through the process - he had backed out every time before. He said if he backed out this time, they would never let him come back. Signing his name on the paper seemed to be the thing he couldn't bring himself to do. Logan and he chatted for a while, Logan telling him that if he wasn't 100% sure, he should not sign the papers. They then turned on the football game and watched for a bit. After a while the guy said, "I'll be back later", then got his stuff, left and never came back. :)
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
On A Corner In Memphis
Saturday on Beale St. with the drunk and the searching
I hear an old man playing guitar
I can’t make out what he’s saying but I can tell you that he’s suffered
And that he means every word from the bottom of what’s left
of his heart… tonight
A few hours later, I slip into church
Singing songs about saving grace
One guy’s nodding off and another hates to be here
We all mouth the words to save face
It’s 11:15 on Sunday morning
And I wish I was
On a corner in Memphis, listening to the old man
Singing out his sorrows, laying down his pride
He’s telling me his story or at least his side
No need to pretend, and nowhere to hide
‘Cause we are all broken here, we are all ashamed
I couldn’t fool you if I wanted to
Our stories are too much the same
And what about this Jesus,
They say He drank with the poor, the blind and the lame
Do you think He’d like the songs we sing
Or would He feel the same as I do
What if Sunday School
Was on Saturday night
On a corner in Memphis, listening to the old man
Singing out his sorrows, laying down his pride
He’s telling me his story or at least his side
No need to pretend, and nowhere to hide
What if their heart-breaking cries of pain
Are the first hymns of tomorrow’s saints
On a corner in Memphis, we’re singing with the old man
Crying for his sorrows and laying down our pride
He’s telling us our story, or at least his side
With no need to pretend and nowhere to hide
On a corner in Memphis
We’re singing out our sorrows
He’s telling us his story
With no need to pretend and nowhere to hide
On a corner… in Memphis
When I see how much time I put into fundraising I always think of how much of that time I might be able to spend actually doing ministry if I didn't have to beg for money all the time.
I would write more but I have to go type up some letters looking for corporate sponsors. Trying to find the people who want to give and hooking them up with a need takes an ungodly amount of time.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
Hint: The city where this will likely take place is home to the Lakota school district - the same name of the tribe we are benefiting. Strange, huh? I'm not sure if using the Lakota name will be a good idea or if it will add confusion. What do you all think?
Thursday, November 01, 2007
- I've talked to politicians
- I've talked to agents (not so nice one's) of Christian recording artists. (can you believe they implied that I was crazy)
- I've attended a concert and talked to one of the artist who were performing
- I've met with city leaders to plan the benefit concert to aid some of the poorest kids in America - (it wasn't planned this way but the city I met with is the home of Lakota school district - the name of the tribe we're raising money for)
- A neighborhood newsletter/newspaper is doing a story about what we're doing for the Thanksgiving issue and the editor is thrilled about what we're doing
- I've been to a home for the mentally ill and was warmly welcomed by residents who wanted to do anything they could to help me carry the box I was bringing in.
- I've been to Christian events where no one spoke a word to me other than a bus driver.
And I have absolutely NO idea what I'm doing. That was painfully obvious to both me and the lady I spoke with today to plan the event. And here's the crazy thing - she is still willing to work with me. She even suggested that we come up with a name that will be recognizable because we might want to do this every year.
I've learned a few things this week.
It's amazing who the people you know, know.
It's amazing who God will put in your path and how helpful they will be.
And its absolutely amazing who God will use - it's usually the people you least expect.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Porcupine Clinic opened its doors in 1992 and serves the entire Reservation as well as the Porcupine District in which it is located. Patients are billed according to their ability to pay and many patients, including low-income Elders and children, receive free health care there. In 2004, the Porcupine Clinic opened its dialysis unit, saving countless lives of those diabetic patients who could not journey 120 miles away to Rapid City for needed dialysis treatment several times a week. The only other dialysis treatment available on the 11,000 square mile (2.7 million acres) Reservation is located in the small IHS Hospital in the community of Pine Ridge. But that facility hosts only a handful of dialysis beds, is up to 100 miles away from the more remote areas of the Reservation, and is completely unable to treat the vast need of the entire Reservation.
Recent statistics state that the diabetes rate on Pine Ridge is 800% that of the National average and the life expectancy rate is 52 to 58 years old. It is said that 55% of the adults on Pine Ridge over the age of 40 have diabetes. Ms. White Eyes states that the Clinic has been unable to pay their annual propane tank rental fees of $245 (for both the Clinic and dialysis unit tanks) or for the propane to fill them.They have three tanks: a thousand gallon tank which services the main clinic and two five hundred gallon tanks servicing the dialysis unit. The minimum propane delivery from their provider, Western Cooperative (WESTCO) out of Chadron and Hay Springs, Nebraska, is $360. If all the tanks were filled, at $1.69 per gallon, it would cost well over $3,000. Further, that will need to happen more than once this winter. While the dialysis unit helps to fund at least part of its own propane use, the Clinic is out of funding now, just as winter is approaching fast.
Harvey Iron Boy, Porcupine District Vice President and Head Man, spoke of the vital role that the Clinic plays in the local district as well as the Reservation as a whole. Not only are the health care services, bi-lingual assistance, diabetic education, and dialysis treatments all meeting critical needs on the Reservation but there are more basic needs met by the Clinic as well. He pointed out that locals often come into the Clinic simply to get warm on days when they have no heat in their own homes. Ms. White Eyes has contacted various non-profits and assistance organizations but has largely gone unanswered.
Link Center Foundation, a small all-volunteer non-profit organization out of Longmont, Colorado, was contacted this week and was also unable to help. With their own heating assistance program for the elders and disabled on the Reservation struggling due to lack of donations, there simply was no funding available to help the Clinic. However, Audrey Link, Founder/President of the Link Center Foundation(www.LinkCenterFoundation.org), personally paid the $245 out of her own pocket for the annual tank rental fees for the Porcupine Clinic and dialysis unit on Friday. Largely retired and on limited income herself, Link stated that she couldn't go to sleep tonight if she thought the dialysis patients and Clinic were going to lose their propane tanks. At least now, if they can raise any money at all elsewhere, they can use the money for propane to fill them.
Anyone wishing to donate towards propane fuel for the Porcupine Clinic may do so directly to the propane company. Please contact: Loretta at Western Cooperative (WESTCO) 170 Bordeaux St Chadron, NE 69337-2342 Call Toll Free 800-762-9906 Credit Card and Bank Card donations by phone will be accepted. Small donations are also welcome and will accumulate until the minimum delivery has been reached and then the company will make a delivery of propane to the Clinic.Please clearly mark any donation "For Porcupine Clinic." Donations may also be sent directly to the Clinic.For more information, please contact:Porcupine ClinicStella White Eyes, Administrative Assistant P.O. Box 99 Porcupine, SD 57772 Internet Information:http://www.lakotamall.com/porcupine/Phone: 605-867-5655Note: Due to lack of heat, there may or may not be anyone available to answer the phone at the Clinic at this time. Please leave a message.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I went alone. That part was OK. The music was OK. Actually it was great. And Todd's 30 min. sermon before he sang a single song was great too. He talked about Africa. He wasn't nice about it either. Bono is nice. Todd Agnew, not so much. He says what needs to be said, like it or not, like him or not. I like that.
He talked about how the World Vision people told him that if he talks about Africa, or hunger, or AIDS, or how people do not have clean water, that only about 3% of the people at a Christian concert will respond and do something like sponsor a child. He told them he wanted to take the sponsor packets to his concerts and that he was hoping for 10% response. They told him he would be disappointed. He said something to the effect that he didn't care. He made the point to the younger people there that if they took a test with 100 questions on it and only got 10 right, would they pass the test? Of course not, and yet that is the best the Church hopes for. Sad.
But that's not what this post is about.
I went to the concert to see Todd Agnew, not to hear him. I spoke to his agent the other day about the possibility of him coming to participate in the benefit concert I am trying to organize. His agent told me flat out "no". Not being one to take no for an answer the first time, when I discovered that he was in town, I decided to drop by his concert and see if I could run into him.
Well, I got tired. And I felt stupid asking him to do something for Pine Ridge after hearing about Africa. And I was in an unfamiliar part of town and was afraid if I hung around after the concert too long I would miss my shuttle bus. And I lost my nerve. So I talked to one of the other artist who performed tonight. She was sweet and said she would make sure Todd got the materials I prepared for him. I think she will. She seemed sincere, and fragile, and vulnerable and real. Keep an ear out for Joy Whitlock. You'll probably be hearing from her soon.
It was strange, I went to a concert and the only people who talked to me was one of the artist performing and the bus driver.
I don't know what will happen with Todd Agnew and our benefit concert. I suppose what will happen is what is supposed to happen even if it's nothing at all.
Today was weird. I spent the afternoon talking to people who can make the concert happen. A friend of a friend gave me the name of a local politician to call. I did and was amazed. He immediately began rattling off names and phone numbers of people who might be able to donate all kinds of stuff from port-a-pots to generators. He suggested a huge and well known park to me for the concert. I told him we would love to have it there. He asked what was keeping us out. I told him my calls were not being returned so he gave me the name and cell phone number of the lady who is in charge there and told me to use his name and tell her we want in. I did. She seems open to it. I have an appointment to meet with her next week.
It's been a weird day.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Now, I can rock and roll any day of the week and I like it loud (actually the loud is necessary these days due to too many loud nights in my past) but I have my limits. I have no doubt these bands are "good" and they obviously have a following and many of them have even played at The Underground, which is saying something, but seriously, do they really think that's music? I load up their web page and immediately look for the "off" button for whatever is playing. It sounds like noise to me. Loud noise. I feel assaulted.
And my knee is killing me. In fact, I'm supposed to be at Cody's working today but I'm here because pain kept me awake most of the night.
Yeah, I'm officially old.
But only when it comes to that stuff. I think more like a 20-30 something than a 40 something and I generally feel very much at home with people far younger than me. I often feel that I fit in better with younger people than I do with people my own age.
Recently I spoke with an older man that I respect and admire. Somehow the subject drifted to inner-city ministry. I was shocked to hear him say, "Those people just don't want to change and you can't help them if they don't want to change". I think my mouth may have dropped open and I silently prayed, "God don't ever let me get old." This is a good man. A sweet man. One of the best. But he has apparently allowed life to sour his attitudes toward certain groups of people. Brian reminded me later that day that Jonah said the same words about Nineveh.
Let's hope that I don't ever grow old in my thinking - at least not when it comes to trying new ideas and believing great things can happen. I may just have to get used to this "music" too. I may be working with these bands in the future.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
It's a one click poll.
A company is donating $1 for every person who takes the poll.
And $1 can provide someone in Africa with clean water for one year.
It's an easy thing. Charity Water MySpace
Scott Harrison is the founder of Charity Water, has worked as a photojournalist and has been very generous in allowing us to use his photographs in the past. He's a good guy doing a good thing.
Last week I got a very polite "kiss off" letter from my city who obviously wants no part of this - we are not a "city" group. Not sure what makes one qualify. I've lived here most of my life, graduated from the local HS, my kids graduated for the local HS, my husband has pastored here for more than 20 years. But alas, we are not a "city" group. OK. Their loss. It's not nice to turn your back on the poor. Do I sound just a wee bit miffed? I thought about going to a City Council meeting to see what could be done but I just don't have the time. Make that, I have the time but I need to spend my time finding a place that wants us.
SO, I talked to the Events Director at a local mall and she was excited. She just had to check it with her General Manager. This week however, she is not returning my phone calls. Not a good sign. I may have to drop in at her office where it will be a little more difficult to dismiss me. She's a nice lady but I'm getting the feeling the GM wasn't thrilled. *Update* Since posting this, I have spoken to the Events Director again. She is still very interested. She had spoken with the General Manager and she is OK with it too BUT they have to clear it with Corporate. She said they normally don't allow outside groups to use the property but rather run the events themselves but she was still going to check it out with Corporate and she still wants to work with us. I didn't detect hope in her voice though. Corporate can be a pain. Too bad the local people who actually run the place don't have more say so.
SO today another proposal to another mall will go in the mail. And next week I'll begin again. And I'll probaby get the same answers.
If worse comes to worse we can rent a city park. I really don't want to do that. I want a place with a lot of foot traffic. This is bigger than just raising $ for backpacks - it's about the Church going into the community and being the Church. It's about getting believers and non-believers alike to gather in the city and work toward a common goal. I like that idea. If we do it at a park, it will lose some of that. If you're the praying kind - pray.
Other things are coming together. We have one of the most talented graphic designers in the country who has volunteer to do promotional materials. Stop by his blog and say THANK YOU GARY!
Josh has also been a big help by contacting people who can make this happen. Unfortunately I can't mention any names yet but if they get on board I'll be sure to let you know. It's exciting to see what Josh is trying to pull off. Now you can't wait to hear, can you? Again, we're waiting...
We have the musical talent getting in line as well. Committed so far are:
8 Lives Spent - a high-energy, driving rock band with a unique good time feel. What can I say, these guys rock. In more ways than one. Brian, their drummer has been incredible. He is passionate about Pine Ridge and is willing to bring the band to Cincy from Virginia at their own expense to perform. He is also recruiting other bands for us and giving me a bit of direction. He is also a great source of encouragement to me because he believes in this so strongly. I've never met him but I'm looking forward to doing so. Check out their MySpace to listen to them
Jenah Ross - a Christian, Acoustic, Folk singer from PA. Jenah is also willing to travel to Cincy to perform. She is also a great prayer support for our ministry and she and her daughter are approaching other churches in their area to see if they will support us. Check out her MySpace to listen to her music.
Our own Gary Hitsman. Gary is a good friend and a talented musician. In his earlier life he was the frontman for a local rock group that headlined at Bogarts.
We are also talking to:
I've also been in touch with Kinsey Rose, a local country artist who is a bit of a local celebrity. After moving to Cincinnati Kinsey began writing with Jeff Pence, of Blessed Union of Souls, and has a song cut on the Cincinnati Clutch Hits sold at the Great American Ballpark. She has also had the opportunity to sing the Star Spangled Banner for the Reds last summer and recently sang for the Los Angeles Dodgers in California. She also has a song out currently for Jungle Jams; an album for the Bengals. Kinsey says she is very interested in helping us out as well. Check out her MySpace to hear her.
So that's where things stand at the moment. I'll keep you updated.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
John Bul Dua, one of the "lost boys" now lives in New York where he is working to build a medical clinic in his homeland through the John Dul Dua Foundation. You can read about it, and his story here.
“Hope is never lost,” he says. “Impossible things are only the things you refuse to do.”
The DVD can be rented at any video store and probably online as well. It's worth your time.
Monday, October 15, 2007
The task is to "write four things about Christians: three negative perceptions and one thing that Christians should be known for.
Here goes ....
I think a lot of people see the Church as:
3. Slow to be involved in issues facing the world today
One thing Christians should be known for:
1. Love (OK, that's a broad one but you get the idea)
So, I'll tag Josh ... and anyone else who feels like being tagged.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I feel so out of place talking to people in some position of authority or power. I get intimindated when people aren't even trying to indimidate me and generally want to crawl under a rock and hide somewhere. Yet I'm now in this position of having to negotiate with people who are in power. Crazy, huh? I don't really believe that I'm crawling to them asking for a favor. I feel like I'm offering them an opportunity to be involved with something good and that it would benefit them to get on board. But I still feel like I'm crawling and begging and I'm still scared spitless.
Oh well, this isn't about me now is it. Sometimes you have to forget yourself and put fear aside and just do something.
Today I did that something. I met with the Director of Events at a local outdoor mall to see if we can hold the benefit concert there. I prayed. I asked others to pray. I mustered all the courage I could and went in trying not to act as nervious as I was. And I was surprised. They acted nervous about talking to me. Who would have thunk it? The good news is, they are very excited about being involved with this and really want to do it. The General Manager will still have to approve it and make sure they are within policy, but the Director of Events is excited. She commneted, "It's so strange that you would ask this because we just had all of these school supplies printed up with our name imprinted on them and I'm going to see if we can send you out some boxes of these as well".
As soon as it's a go, I will name the place. It's a very nice and new outdoor mall/park area with a lot of restaruants. Once we have a date, I'm also going to be checking with those restrauants to see if they would donate a portion of their sales that day to purchase backpacks/school supplies.
Wow. This really rocks. Literally.
Monday, October 08, 2007
It was.... different. Good ...but different. But good. Growing up in the First Church of God non-denominational movement where things are pretty laid back, a liturgical service was way outside of my experience. I like it. I think there can be great value the traditional liturgy. For me part of the beauty of the body of Christ is the differences within that body. For me, no one church or denomination has it all - each have their own strengths and weaknesses and that's why we need each other. A particular style of worship may or may not be my "thing" but it still holds value for me.
I still felt terribly awkward and out of place. I knew I belonged there among other believers but it felt so strange. The music was good of course. It was all U2 music - no hymns or other "Church music". The lyrics were displayed on the big screen with moving video footage running throughout that complimented the message and the music. I like that. Even though I've listened to U2 since the 80's and now listen to them more than ever, I still found meanings in songs I've heard for years that I didn't realize was there.
I also liked the sermon. I learned something and was encouraged. There was something in it that I can apply to my life and benefit from. To be honest, having the sermon read seemed a little stiff and rigid to me, but it's not the delivery that matters - the message is what matters and the message was good. I'd take a read message that benefits me in some way over a well-delivered one that doesn't' anytime.
I also liked the focus on social justice issues, namely the One Campaign. There was a table set up for people to sign the One Declaration and the entire service was dedicated to encouraging people of faith to get involved in making a positive impact on our world. Sometimes I hear people criticize saying, "they only preach a social justice". I disagree. I was there and yes, there was social justice preached but the message of Jesus' sacrifice for our salvation was very much the center of the service and was presented as the reason for our service. I'm not sure you can have one without the other and both were communicated unashamedly. I like that.
The only thing I didn't like was feeling so awkward. I could have enjoyed he service more and benefited from it more if I hadn't been so nervous about doing something wrong. I suspect that feeling of awkwardness will slowly go away with each exposure. I will probably go back next month.
Speaking of differences. One of the things I really like about our church is the people. We have wonderful, giving, loving, fun people who really do like each other - most of the time anyway. Since the U2charist started earlier in the day I was able to make it back to my own church and only be 30 min. late. That gave me the opportunity to hang out with some of the people at church. In fact, we all went to a restaurant after the service and had fun. One man who will remain nameless even threw a muffin across the restaurant at the people from our church who were sitting at another table. Crazy bunch but they do know how to have fun and enjoy each others' company.
Wow, I think last night I got to experience the best of both worlds.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Every age has its massive moral blind spots. We might not see them, but our children will. Slavery was one of them and the people who best served that age were the ones who called it as it was — which was ungodly and inhuman. Ben Franklin called it what it was when he became president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. ~ Bono
Friday, October 05, 2007
My monitor died this week too. Sad, it was less than a year old. And I can't say that I love my new one, but it serves it's purpose (it works). While installing my new monitor Brian accidentally knocked my desk over, busting the corner of it and breaking several things that were sitting on my desk. (oh oh, I hear water running mightily now and the plumber yelling to Brian to turn it off - this can't be good)
Anyway, as I cleaned up the disaster that is/was my workspace, I found it odd that I wasn't too concerned about the stuff that was broken. I do hate that my desk has a busted corner but I wasn't extraordinarily bothered by any of it. It's all just "stuff". Nothing there that will not be trashed when I die. I figure if it can be thrown out when I'm gone it's not too much to fuss over.
I did put some of the broken items back up on the desk. My desk, or I should say the bookcases around and above my desk, are where I keep mementos of people I've encountered in some meaningful way. There are pics of my family, some teddy bears people have given me, a biker bear (wonder why someone gave me a biker bear?), a picture of a little girl who I helped to save, the broken piggy bank from the little Lakota girl who gave all she had to help people in Africa, a candle made by a friend that says "HokaHey" the Lakota word meaning "Today is a good day to die - no regrets".
There is also the arm of the swing my husband gave me for our wedding. After 24 years of marriage the swing finally gave up the ghost and had to be thrown away last year but Brian managed to save the arm complete with my favorite dog's teeth marks in it. We lost that dog when we were kicked out of a church and had to leave everything we had behind, including our beloved dog.
There's the hourglass my friend gave me for watching her granddaughter - a reminder of how fast time flies. It, sadly, was one of the items broken when the desk came crashing down. I saved it anyway and put it back on the bookshelf as a reminder that one day time will indeed run out just as the sand has ran out of the broken hour glass. There's my old teddy bear Blue-B. He and I have been best buddies since I was born. My parents tell me I nearly died when I was a baby and I held onto him the whole time I was sick and wouldn't let him go. He's seen me through many a dark night since and has deserved the spot above my computer. He's nothing but a rag now, but he's "real" if you know what I mean. If you don't, then read the Velveteen Rabbit and maybe you'll understand.
I also had some Boyds Bear figurines on my bookcase (it's really not as cluttered as it sounds). They were broken when the desk fell too. One was given to me by my husband when I was an adult trying to go back to college to get a degree. It's a bear holding a diploma. I never got the degree. I dropped out after a friend/professor was murdered and stopped 3 classes shy of a diploma. Funny, when the desk fell and the bear broke, the only thing that broke was the diploma broke off out of her hand. That seems more appropriate. Another angel bear had a wing broken off. That too would seem appropriate to those who know me. Maybe some things are better broken.
All of these broken items, a broken hourglass, a broken bear, a broken piggy bank. You would think my desk is a trash heap but I don't think so because I do believe some things are better broken. If you've ever been broken and had to scratch and claw your way through recovery, you know what I mean. If not, I can't help you.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
But worse yet was when I followed the car load of them to the park. That's right, I was the only parent in the bunch who followed behind them as they drove the park to get pics. I was wondering the whole time where all the other parents were since I've done this a few times and there are always parents with cameras at these things. Apparently they were all meeting them at the park. I guess I was the only one who didn't know what park they were going to - so I followed - feeling like an idiot the whole time. But hey, I got pictures! Click on them for a larger view.
Logan and date are at the bottom