About Me

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pine Ridge in the News

Pine Ridge in the news

Rezonate '08 !

We had our first team meeting last night and today we have a web site up! (Thanks Josh) Check it out and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We're Going to Ireland!

Our flight is booked! Brian and I have always wanted to go to Ireland and next Spring, we are going. Thanks to a generous gift, we will be going to Ireland to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

We're going to be brave (or stupid) and go alone, renting a car and driving around the country on our own.

For those of you wondering ... yes, we will be dropping by Bono's house. No chance of seeing him - not sure I'd want to anyway, but I hear his gates are something to see. Here's a pic and then you can read what they say.

In the service of God one can learn three things from a child and seven from a thief. From a child one can learn 1) always be happy 2) never to sit idle 3) and cry for everything one wants. From a thief you should learn 1) to work at night 2) if one cannot gain it in one night to try again the next night 3) to love one's co-workers just as thieves love each other 4) to be willing to risk one's life even for a little thing 5) not to attach too much value to things even though you've risked your life for them just as a thief will resell a stolen article for a fraction of its worth 6) to withstand all kinds of beatings and tortures but to remain what you are and 7) to believe that your work is worthwhile and not be willing to change it.

7 Random/Weird Things About Me

Gary posted this the other day and I think I'll take him up on it. It beats cleaning the house, which is what I'm supposed to be doing right now.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. I too have seen a UFO that was seen by many people but no one believes me and most think I'm crazy.
  3. I once had a member of Parliament (Romanian) over for dinner.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. I grew up an only child. I had an older sister who died shortly after her birth. She had spina bifida.
  7. 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

The Mile High Club @ Church

Yes, our church is having a musical this Christmas. It will be an out-of-the-ordinary production. I think the title of it is "Flight E1". To be honest, I don't have a clue what it's about. I only know that it involves an airplane (obviously) and that Brain and Scot are pilots and that me and Nicki are angels. All of it has me .... intrigued. I'm not sure what to expect but it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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

I Don't Want to Do This Anymore

It has not been a good week. Oh, it's been good in many ways, but as far as Pine Ridge stuff, I would be happy to throw in the towel. Not completely mind you, I would just much rather be on the rez hanging out with the people there than doing what I do on this end.

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

My Day

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. We spent the day moving my son and daughter-in-law into their new house. I will try to post some pics soon.

Thanksgiving Not Just an American Holiday

Yesterday my husband, my sons, and my new daughter-in-law gathered at my parent's house for a traditional Thanksgiving. We had a 20 pound turkey and all the trimmings. We also had some guests. Allison, my daughter-in-law babysits two children for a lady from Africa who is getting her GED. Her story is something else. Something a lot of us hear about but few really understand. If you've seen the movie Blood Diamond (which I highly recommend), then you might have an idea of what this lady has endured.

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


I got a call yesterday from the missionary on the Reservation. She was distraught and asked us to be praying for the Lakota people, and for them as they deal with several tragedies.

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.

Please pray.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Guys

These are my guys. Only one is really mine but I claim all three as "sons". These guys are the best! Of course, they're supposed to be on a mission trip in this pic. Looks like they're really suffering for Jesus doesn't it.

Right to left: Bub, Josh, Logan

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

And a video is even more powerful. Here is a video from Nate's Blog

Cincinnati Loses Big

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

News Article

I hesitate to post this because I don't want to seem like I'm drawing attention to myself. That really isn't my intent. In fact it is embarrassing but some have asked that I post it. I normally do not like credit for anything because that means I will also get the criticism that goes with it. No matter what you do in life, some will bless you and some will curse you. I try not to pay attention to either camp. I just do what I think God wants me to do and what others think of it is not my business.

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.

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.

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.

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

Thank You

Thanks to all of our veterans who have served or are now serving.
For a read that will help you appreciate what these men and women do for us, read here.
And for some amazing pics of a memorial service for one of our American Indian's who died in battle, click here

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Christmas for a Recovering Soldier

When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:

A Recovering American soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

An Award

Barbara over at Writing From The Inside Out has given me the Bloggers With Integrity Award in the catagory of Social Conscience.
This award was started by The Little Aussie Cynic to give props to those bloggers who stay true to themselves.

The following paragraph, which explains the basis of the award, is taken from her blog:

"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.
What's different about this award is that she has broken it down into several categories.

I am awarding it to the following bloggers:
For Creativity: David has a way of blending humor and wisdom that few other people do. He can say something so powerfully moving and yet make you laugh at the same time. He is a gift.
For Staying True To Their Beliefs: Brian Brian has a warped sense of humor but if you can stomach the silly Taser pics, you will see the heart behind this blogger. He has worked as an associate pastor for 20 years at the same church. He has passed up numerous opportunities to pastor other churches, large and small, and had passed on many opportunities to serve himself. He has continuously put others ahead of himself, at home and at church. I can say that because I've been married to him for 25 years. He constantly deals with issues that most people would lose patience with but does so in a gracious manner. Probably no one, not even me, will ever know all that he deals with. He is by far the most trustworthy person I know.
For Keeping It Real: On Soildering The blog of a young soldier in Iraq. Nate's talent for writing will give a glimpse into a world that most of us will never be able to fully appreciate.
For Social Conscience: Today at the Mission It's been a joy to read this blog. I'm not sure anyone I know is more like Christ than RWK.


Logan is home! Actually, he came home early and did not sign up with the Guard.

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

I've been known to say that I rarely listen to "Christian" music. It's true. There are many reasons for that. Maybe one day I'll write about that, but that's not what this post is about. I have been listening to Todd Agnew lately. I've always liked his song "My Jesus" and I actually went to his concert recently, will be seeing him again in a few weeks, and have bought one of his CDs (two actually). On the Better Questions CD there is a song that I just love. You'll see why when you read the lyrics. It's real. It's honest. It's the kind of "Christian" music I've been looking for.

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

I HATE Fundraising

I really hate fundraising. It's humiliating and embarrassing to always have your hand out. A friend recently described me as a "passionate philanthropist ". It cracked me up. When I told Brian that, he laughed and said, "you're more like a passionate beggar. I couldn't agree more. I'm quite tired of being a beggar too.

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

A Day I've Dreaded For 18 1/2 Years

My son Logan left this morning for Columbus to sign up with the Ohio National Guard. It could be worse. He could be with another branch of the military that would put him in more danger, but this is quite bad enough with a war going on.

We had planned for the three of us, me, his dad and him, to go to breakfast together before sending him off. I didn't make it.

Driving through the neighborhood there were too many little boys standing on the corner to catch their bus and go off to Kindergarten and too many moms and dads standing with them who have no idea how fast the time will pass.

I pulled my Jeep over, called my husband and told him I was going to have to let him do this. I just can't. It would not be good to bawl my way through breakfast. I have no problem with my kids growing up and leaving home. When Cody married Allison and moved out it was sad but it was OK. This, this is something else entirely.
The pic is of Cody and Logan and Jazz. Logan was 3, Cody 7 and Jazz was a puppy.

Friday, November 02, 2007

So What Do We Call This Thing?

As I posted yesterday, it was suggested that we come up with a name for the benefit concert that will be recognizable from year to year (are we really going to entertain the thought of doing it again???) Maybe. In any case, we need a name for this year.

Any suggestions?

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


It's been a crazy week. There is really too much to tell and I'm too tired to tell it so here's a brief summary.

  • 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.

My Friend Gary