- 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.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Those questions are ringing in my mind as I write this because we are once again getting ready to kick of Two Weeks of Sacrifice for Blood:Water Mission as a way of helping to build wells and provide clean, safe water to those in Africa. Yeah, I know - yet another "mission" project.
I can already imagine the unasked questions ..... "why do another mission project? Don't we do enough already?" Or I can imagine the unspoken complaints, "You nickle and dime us to death already ... give us a break ... now is not the time to start a new mission project".
This will be an attempt to answer those questions, if for no one else, for myself because I too struggle with these very questions and complaints.
I suppose the short version of why I started the trips to Pine Ridge was simply because God has a heart for the poor and Pine Ridge is one of the poorest places in America. Second only to the topic of salvation, God seems to have more to say in scripture about caring for the poor than any other topic. And I suppose if we're going to be followers of Christ, it would probably be a good idea to follow His heart.
We do that in our church by supporting a mission in the Philippines and by taking mission teams to Haiti each year. We have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, built churches, and sponsored children. I've been to Romania and Haiti myself and highly recommend that people go and see for themselves. It will change you.
And that is really why we started taking trips to Pine Ridge. I firmly believe that mission trips change the people who go on them. It breaks your heart. It makes it a little bit harder to be self-absorbed. It makes the world a smaller place because you realize that other people from other cultures worship the same God we do - that we are all truly brothers and sisters. And you build relationships. Relationships that can change lives.
But there seemed to be a problem. It seemed to be that only a handfull of people went on these mission trips because they were (1) too long - not everyone can get off work for 2 weeks at a time, and (2) too physically demanding - both trips overseas were very difficult trips and many people simply cannot handle it.
There seemed to be a number of people who really wanted to go but simply couldn't and most likely never would be able to.
Going to an Indian Reservation in the U.S. provided another alternative. People could go there and have a mission experience with the assurance that medical care was reasonable close (or maybe not), the trips were shorter, and the cost was less. In a nutshell it made hand's-on missions more accessable to more people.
And the more people who experience a mission trip, the better it is for our church. People are changed and so the church is changed. Mission trips challenge you to grow. Your faith is strengthened as you see God provide every single need in often dramatic ways. And it breaks your heart becuase you find yourself falling in love with people. And once you fall in love, you can't think of youself as much because love compels you to act on behalf of the other. And isn't that what it's all about?
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Now I am shy my nautre and rarely ever go out of my way to initiate a conversation with anyone much less a stranger. At the time Josh preached this I was thinking, 'Oh that's a great idea but I'm too shy to do something like that'. And I am. Unfortunately.
But it so happens that I have a Wal-Mart greeter who is extra special. I've blogged about him before because he is sometimes the only person in my day who acts happy to see me - other than Taser who is always overjoyed to see me. This older gentelman is not your typical Wal-Mart greeter. He isn't just polite. He is truly friendly and seems to genuinely like people. Since I go to Wal-Mart nearly every day, he has come to know me and he enjoys picking on me about how often I am there.
I've been concerned lately becuase for the past month or so my Wal-Mart greeter has been missing. I worry about some of these older guys because well, things happen. I had hoped that he would show up again and that all would be well.
Today I went to Wal-Mart and was disappointed to see that he is still not there. On the way out I asked another Wal-Mart greeter about him. To my relief, he is just fine and is soaking up the sun in Florida and will be back in a couple of weeks.
He did mention however that another greeter, an older man who is in a wheelchair, had been in the hospital for 6 weeks due to a fall in which he broke his neck. I was stunned. I said that I would pray for him and as I walked out I began wondering about what to do for this man. I will pray for him of course, in fact I already have, but there must be someting else ....some way of building a relationship with someone most of us take for granted .....something tangible that will touch this man and let him know that he matters - even to strangers.
Main Street, Petersburg, Indiana
Sunday, January 28, 2007
And things are about to change again at work. The cigar-smoking, multi-colored hair, 23 year-old, drama queen is moving in on Friday. That came as a surprise to me because last I heard, she had done something (we don't know what) horrible enough to be kicked completely out of the system. But now she'll be a part of my weekly life. Not so bad .... we've had worse. And she is likable. Still, I have to wonder what I'm in for. During the trial period she was on her best behavior.... I'm sure it won't be too long before we see the real person behind the politeness. It could get interesting.
Thursday night I went to work and had a trainee show up unannounced. No one, except her apparently, knew she was coming. I'm not sure how long she'll last. I offered her the "white book" with all of our client's confidential info in it to read through so she would know what she was getting into and she refused, choosing instead to go sit on the couch. Within 30 minutes, she was snoring. I woke her up the next morning to show her our morning routine.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Click here to watch a parody of the song/video "Sexyback" by Justin Timberlake
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
And yes, that is Edward Scissorhands and Jack Sparrow.
This one tured out really dark but I love this chair. It's an old one that my parents recovered for me
The doors go out onto our back porch and you can see Taser and Jazz prints all over it. What can I say, it's been muddy here.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
For one thing, churches with no youth, or even very very few youth, ususally die. Not just a physical death when the older folks pass on, but a real spiritual death. Who wants to go to a church with no young people? Maybe some old geezer who wants to be left alone in peace but frankly, if someone feels that way I don't want to go to their church.
But youth are not like that. They have hope, enthusiam, and oh yes, the energy to make a difference in their world.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
But last night as I was coming home from church, I pulled into our subdivision and saw 15-20 teenagers all dressed in black with skulls on their t-shirts crossing over a fence from the field that adjoins our subdivision and walking down the street. It startled me at first, then it scared me as they noticed me driving their way and began to act as if they were going to block my path. I drove slowly but steadily through their little mob and then picked up the pace to my house. As I did so they taunted me by yelling at me and acting as if they were going to step in front of my moving Jeep. It wasn't that they were dressed they way they were that scared me, it was the way they were acting and the fact that there were so many of them. I live in a middle-class suburb in a well-established older neighborhood that sees very little crime so that was the first time I've ever been afraid in my neighborhood. I've even gone running at dark and never felt afraid but last night I swear I heard noises all night long and kept thinking they had seen which house I went into and were back to make some sort of point. They were probably harmless teens out for some fun but they sure gave me the creeps.
I also have some kind of cool news.
A couple of days ago a very nice lady who is the worship leader in her church in Canada emailed me for permission to use one of my Youtube videos in their worship service this Sunday. Their church will be also using an interview with Bono in their service and talking about serving others and making a difference in our world. It struck me as odd that anyone anywhere would be interested in any of my videos (I"m still amazed that they get any hits on Youtube). I especially find it odd that this particular video was of interest because I originally made it just for me. It was meant to be a sort of journal of the places I've been put to the song "When I Look At The World" by U2 because that song pretty much sums up my feelings. I do think it is very COOL when churches can work together and contribute in some small way to each other. I like that. I have no idea what denomination her church is and I doubt if she knows mine - neither of us asked because it doesn't matter - we just want Jesus lifted up and we want to encourage people to serve him by serving others. I must say though, it is an honor for the video to be used by others and hey, I guess I'll be working with Bono this Sunday! ;) How cool is that?? LOL
The video is here if you're intersted.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
It seems to me (correct me if I"m out in left field) that when choose to rely on policy regarding who can or cannot serve in church, we violate common sense and sound judgement, but worse yet, we violate discernment, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we do need policies and we do need to consider them - always, but I don't believe they should be the determining factor. It concernes me because when we do so, we override the Holy Spirit.
And it makes me wonder .... do we get so comfortable relying on policy when we make decisions about other's that we get out of practice in exercising discerment.
And if so, then what happens if one day we in America find ourselves in a position where we can no longer worship freely? What if we find ourselves one day in a position where our survival relies on our ability to discern?
Yes, we do need policies. Bad things can or could happen if we had no policy at all. But can we ever really "know" someone else's heart using just policy alone? I once attended church with a man for 20 years and spent countless hours socializing with him outside of church and although we all knew something wasn't quite "right" with him, no one said anything. Everyone one of us including me just assumed we were seeing something other than what we were. No one had an idea that he was a preditor until he raped and murdered a 5 year-old little girl.
Somewhere, we must realize the need for something more than policy.Somewhere we have to realize that what we really need is discernment - and the courage to speak up when something doesn't seem right to us.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Something happened this week that left me frustrated. Actually it made me quite angry. I'm not angry anymore but it still saddens me because it involves my church and I care deeply about my church and want what's best for it and I see this as a sad and unnecessary mistake on their part.
The issue was frustrating because it was so typical of how we become accustomed to doing church. It illustrated the church's need for programs and policies (not bad things in and of themselves) but too often once we have policies in place we tend to adamantly hold to those policies rather than take a moment to consider what God may be trying to do in our midst.
Often, I believe, we really get in the way of the Holy Spirit. Policies are not bad. They just become a hindrance when we place them above discernment and sound judgment. The policy is there to serve us, to be a guide, not to make us a slave to it.
As frustrating as this was, something good may yet come of it. God will work, if not with people, in spite of them. The little group that was meeting and trying to be patient with other obstacles that was placed in it's way by church leadership, finally decided to meet outside of church. And that, may be the best thing that could have happened to it. Sadly, the church lost the blessing this group and this young couple could have been to it.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
For the most part I sat by the fire and read. I finally started and finished Ian Frazier's book "On the Rez" about the Pine Ridge reservation. It took me a while to get into the book but once I did, it was a interesting journey through the lives of various colorful people living on the Pine Ridge rez. It'll make you laugh, gasp in astonishement, and cry. It can be depressing in parts but it left me with an even greater sense of admiration for the Oglala Lakota Sioux people - and for all Indians. I recommend the book, in case you didn't get that.
So, thanks for all the comments and well-wishes. Kath - yes, Brian has come a LONG way since homemade perfume and stuffed pantyhose snakes. He tured out pretty good in spite of a slow start. And Brian, the answer to your question is, YES!
Saturday, January 06, 2007
- I know how exhausted he is when he comes home from a book signing - it's a lot of hard work.
- Even though this book is through a publisher rahter than being self-published like his other two were, he stil had to sink some money into it and it is has still not broken even - so he could use the money himself. (yes, that's right, authors rarely make a ton of money unless they are very well known.)
- He knows how much I could use a break .... just some time to myself to do what I want, when I want.
He's a sweet guy in spite of his weird Taser pics obession. SO, anyway, I leave Monday and will not be back until late next week.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Although I had spent considerable time in therapy and in recovery groups working on my people-pleasing obsession and establishing boundaries, it wasn't until I was thrown into the task of leading mission trips that I really had to put into practice the things I had learned in therapy.
Oh, I had practiced them before that, but being in a leadership position brought about a whole new level of learning. I say I was "thrown" into the task. That's not really fair. I chose it, but it was not something I would have ever chosen without good reason because it is not a comfortable fit for me.
I didn't particularly like the idea of being in a position of leadership. And there was that thing of worrying about what others would think, if they would think me too bossy, not bossy enough, or just simply inadequate. Heaven forbid that someone wouldn't like me.
Still, I felt this was what I was supposed to do.
I've discovered that when you are in a position of leadership, whether it's a church thing or a civic thing, you are a target. Anytime something doesn't please someone, you are the one blamed. And since an awful lot of folks are not mature enough to deal with their complaint face-to-face by coming to me directly (something I've always welcomed and encouraged), they tend to talk about me behind my back.
I have overheard team members talking about me when they had no clue that I was on the other side of the door and could hear what they were saying - and they were not passing out compliments. I've been told that one man went to a party and aired his complaints and opinions about me in front of everyone - and again, they were not positive opinions. Thankfully there are only 2 or 3 people who have resorted to things like this and I've learned that those kind of people generally hang themselves. Everyone has their number and few take them seriously. I've discovered that I can overlook the obvious jerks and just let them show their behinds.
But those things do hurt. The 2005 Trip was the worst. I've often referred to it as the trip from Hell. At one point on that trip I cried for 3 hours because of the stress of dealing with one lady that was not happy about much of anything. And at another point in that trip I said I would never do another trip. Obviously, I have done other trips.
The criticism that has hurt the most is the accusation that I'm too controlling. I hate that one for two reasons, (1) because it's a trait I can't stand in other leaders, and (2) because I have done a lot of soul-searching and asking other people who I trust in an attempt to check it out and have come to the conclusion that I'm not too controlling. I have had to come to the place where I realize that some people thing that all control is bad control. When you are trying to get 20 - 30 people to work together to accomplish a common goal, someone has to be "in charge". Someone has to make the final decisions and someone has to see that things get done. If it were all a group concensus, it would be chaos and it's doubtful anything would get accomplished. I've had to realize that a truly controlling person controls out of a self-serving desire or motivation. I can honestly say that I have no such motivation.
I've learned too that just because someone says it, it doesn't mean its true. I've learned to consider the person and whether they themselves may have an issue that they are projecting onto me. That happens.
It's sad that when you're trying to do a good thing people allow their own "stuff" to get in the way and make the job far more difficult than it needs to be. The thing that really bothers me is that it has the potential to hurt the work that God is trying to do. It hurts for someone to say mean things about me, but it is a far more serious thing for them to say things that have the potential to damage the missions effort.
And now we're getting ready for our 4th trip and I am sure there will be more opportunities for me to grow in this area. And I am still growing and learning. I am still a people-pleaser at heart who wants people to like them. In fact, the fact that some person responded to my post below by giving an anonymous and mean-spirited comment will probably bug me a whole lot more than I wish it would. But I have come a LONG way. In fact, ten years ago I would not be able to do what I do today - at all.
You see, this year when we go to the rez, I think I'm in BIG trouble. Really big trouble.
Last year me and another person on the team who will remain nameless, were involved in a prank. We stole Josh's underwear and socks out of his luggage, put them in a zip-loc baggie, filled it with water, and froze them. Once he discovered them missing he had to wait for them to (1) thaw out, and (2) dry out before he could use them.
That started something akin to war.
This year he has sworn to get even. I have no idea what he's up to but I do know that James is involved and I have the feeling that he has recruited others to join him on his evil mission - including my dear sweet husband and my son(s). This can't be good. He may in fact be trying to get the entire team involved.
So, what I need from you is this:
- If you read here, please, please, please give me some ideas of what I can do to get him back. I need some really awesome prank ideas.
- If you happen to be on the 2007 team, then I beg of you, DO NOT JOIN THEIR RANKS. Help me instead. C'mon Allison?? You're going to be my daughter-in-law - we've got to stick together right?Debbie?? Cathy??? Connie??? You're my friends, right?? Someone??? Anyone???
In the meantime, once we get out there, I'm wearing all of my underwear every day and peeling off one pair a day.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
I am married to the best man in the universe and just wanted to post a short appreciation for him. Sunday we kicked off the 2007 Pine Ridge trip and we have a HUGE crew this year - 27 people!
Brain is our "bookeeper" and does an excellent job. And a TIME CONSUMING job it is too. He spent a good 5 hours on New Year's Day working on Pine Ridge stuff.
And today he came home exhausted from traveling 2 1/2 hours (one way) to a prison to visit an inmate and is now upstairs doing yet more Pine Ridge account stuff. He's taking the time to do letters for each donor (we've had a lot) so they can take it off of their taxes.
I've put in my share of hours the last 2 days too but it's my passion, not his. He just does a lot of the money work for us and not many people really know how much of his time goes into it. So...
THANK YOU Brian!