About Me

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My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Urgent Need @ Pine Ridge

Porcupine Clinic, located in the small community of Porcupine, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota [Sioux] Reservation is out of heat. According to Stella White Eyes, Administrative Assistant for the Clinic, the Clinic has closed its doors until it can find resources to fund their heating costs. Porcupine Clinic is the only independent Indian community-controlled health clinic in the United States. It is not connected with the Federal Indian Health Services (IHS) program and is funded primarily by grants and donations. Unfortunately, those resources have become exceptionally rare this year.

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


Now I really know I'm old. I just came home from a concert. The first one I've been to in a long time. It was Todd Agnew and two other "just starting out" artist/bands. It was at a high school gym and believe me, sitting on bleachers for 3 hours is not my thing anymore.

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

Kids These Days

I must be getting old. I swore it would never happen, but I'm seeing the signs. I've been listening to a lot of bands lately and it is amazing to me that I can hear my mother's voice running through my head "You call that music?"

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 Only Takes A Minute

Charity Water is an organization that is building wells in Africa. Take a minute and go to their MySpace and take a poll.

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.

Update on The Concert

Well, it's going S-L-O-W-L-Y and I am reminded again how much I hate waiting. A lot seems to be falling into place ... we have lots of talent and lots of people getting very interested in this but ... we're waiting on the essentials - like a location.

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

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

I saw this on Barbara's blog.

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

God Grew Tired of Us

I've just watched the documentary God Grew Tired of Us, the story of three of the "lost boys" of Sudan. The movie follows them from their journey from Sudan, to Ethiopia, to Kenya, and finally to America. It's a moving story that will make you laugh hilariously as they adapt to American culture and will make you cry with them in their struggle. It may even make you think twice about the way we do things in America. And it will ultimately inspire you.

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


I've been tagged by Gary over at Poor in Spirit.

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:

1. Rigid

2. Judgemental

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

God is Crazy

The longer I know Him and work with Him, the more I'm convinced that God is absolutely crazy. He seems to have a way of showing up in the least likely places and doing things that make absolutely NO sense at all.

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


I attended my first U2charist last night. Some time back I had read in the news about the Episcopal Church having U2charist but only recently became aware of a local church having one.

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


There's a truly great Irish poet. His name is Brendan Kennelly, and he has this epic poem called the Book of Judas, and there's a line in that poem that never leaves my mind, it says: "If you want to serve the age, betray it." What does that mean, to betray the age?Well to me betraying the age means exposing its conceits, its foibles; its phony moral certitudes. It means telling the secrets of the age and facing harsher truths.

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

Broken Things

It has been a crazy week here at the Buriff home. The plumber is here. It's the 3rd service call we've had this week - not all of the plumbers thankfully. We've had our furnace serviced for the winter and thanks to Hauser Htg and Air. we'll be warm this winter. Not all of my friends will be. And we had our septic tank sucked out (eewwww). Now we have a leak in our crawlspace. So I'm without water for a while and I'll not complain about that since I personally know people who never have water in their homes.

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.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Here's the Good Stuff

It occurs to me that I seldom have anything meaningful to say here but I do seem to find all sorts of good stuff on other people's blogs. Maybe I should just let this blog be a directory to other blogs??? The truth is though, that's not likely to happen. Anyway, RWK over at Today at the Mission, a fantastic blog and one of my favorites, pointed me to this blog which I am really, really enjoying. Brant has lots of readers for a reason - there' s good stuff there. Like this post about Halloween. Read it and enjoy.