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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

At the Gates



Next summer Brian and I will celebrate 25 years of marital bliss. To celebrate, we are thinking of doing a once in a lifetime trip to Ireland. We seldom take real vacations but 25 years is a good reason to do something extraordinary and we've both wanted to see Ireland for many years.

So I've been dreaming and poking around the Internet to see what's out there about Ireland. Don't you know that over at @U2.com I found a "Dublin guide" and went looking to see what one might find in Dublin. Now being a U2 fan you would think I would have known that Sir Bono lives in Dublin, but I did not know this. I'm not sure I've ever thought about where he might live. No worries, I'm not planning on camping out at his front door. But IF I'm in the area a stop by to see the gates might be interesting just to read the message there. Above is a picture of the gates and following is a portion of what is written there.

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

Sunday, April 29, 2007

20 Years

Today our church held a celebration in honor of Brian's 20th anniversary as Associate Pastor at Winton Rd. First Church of God. Neither of us like those kinds of things and would rather stay out of the limelight, but as his wife I am grateful that they showered him with appreciation. I've been there and seen what it's like for him and he was due. The Mayor of Fairfield even came and proclaimed Sunday, April 29th Brian Buriff Day in Fairfield and presented Brian with a key to the city.

Thanks to everyone for the cards, gifts, and esepcially for your love the past 20 years.

There'll be no living with him after this.

click for a larger view

The Life of Brian

Saturday, April 28, 2007

AWESOME!



I've found an AWESOME new blog called On A Mercy Ship. Go check it out. Scott is a volunteer photo journalist who is on one of the Mercy Ships doing work in Africa. You can read all about his trips and see some amazing photos like the one here. Scott has been generous enough to allow me to use some of his photos in a video project I'm working on. You will also find a link to Scott's blog on my sidebar.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cincinnati

Thanks to Bart Campolo, I found this article that accurately describes Cincinnati. It's long but you don't have to read far into it to get a taste of what the city is like.

Don't Become A Monster In Order To Defeat A Monster

I am having a struggle with not hating haters. Be they the Nazi party who are marching in Cincinnati or be they legalists in the church who want to condemn other believers who do not agree with the way they interpret scripture. People with a cause whether they claim Christ or not are some of the most mean-
spirited, most hateful people in the world. It is all too easy for my righteous indignation to turn into something very ugly and unholy. In short, I can quickly turn into a monster as I try to defeat a monster.

I have recently purchased and have begun readfing The Essential Writings and Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I marvel at this man's ability and determination to love his enemies in spite of the hate he experienced.

Here is a story about MLK that illustrates his determination to love as Jesus loved.


He told me a story about Bobby Kennedy, which changed my life indeed. Harry Belafonte remembered a meeting with MLK when the civil rights movement had hit a wall in the early 60's.

'I tell you it was a depressing moment when Bobby Kennedy was made attorney general. It was a very bad day for the civil rights movement.' And I said: 'Why was that?' He said" 'Oh, you see you forget. Bobby Kennedy was Irish. Those Irish were real racists; they didn't like the black man. They were all the police, they were the people who broke our balls on a daily basis. Bobby at that time was famously not interested in the civil rights movement. We knew we were in deep trouble.

We were crestfallen, in despair, talking to Martin, moaning and groaning about the turn of events, when Dr. King slammed his hand down and ordered us to stop the bitchin': 'Enough of this,' he said. Is there nobody here who's got something good to say about Bobby Kennedy?' We said, 'Martin, that's what we're telling you There is no one. There is nothing good to say about him.' To which Martin replied: 'Well then,let's call this meeting to a close. We will re adjourn when somebody has found one thing redeeming to say about Bobby Kennedy, because that, my friends, is the door through which our movement will pass.' So he stopped the meeting and made then all go home. He wouldn't hear any more negativity about Bobby Kennedy.

Well it turned out that Bobby was very close to his bishop. So they befriended the one man who could get through to Bobby's soul and turned into their Trojan horse. Harry became emotional at the end of this tale, saying, 'When Bobby Kennedy lat dead on a Los Angeles pavement, there was no greater friend to the civil rights movement. There was no one we owed more of our progress to than that man.'

Whether he was exaggerating or not, that was a great lesson for me because what Dr. King was saying was: Don't respond in caricature - the Left, the Right, the Reactionary. Don't take people on rumor, Find the light in them because that will further your cause.

- Bono, from the book Bono In Conversation With Michka Assayas

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Saturdays With Mark & Tony

Today is day #2 at home doing nothing. I had wanted a break or vacation but didn't want it this way. Hopefully the pain will lessen sooner rather tham later. I couldn't ewsist this cool video that I found on Dave's blog. I would have never paired Mark Lowrey & Tony Campolo together but this is awesome.


Monday, April 23, 2007

plastic surgery confessions


yes, i've had plastic surgery. now i can think of several proceedures that i would like to have done at a plastic surgeons but none of those are why i went. no, i always have 'stupid' things done. i went in this morning to have a wart that had grown underneith my thumbnail removed. i knew they were going to have to take the entire nail off and scrape it.. i was told that i would have a bandage for atoday then i would be able to just put a band aid on it starting tomorrow. they lied. this is what i've got for the entire week. i have to go back friday to have the bandage changed because he doesn't want me changing it myself. bummer.
i suppose it's a good excuse not to cook.
what's really a bummer is that i didn't get pain meds.
one handed typing sucks too

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Link - OK Two Links

It's been a long and troubled week for our nation and locally as well. And it's been a long weekend for me personally at work. It ain't over yet and I'm already drained. After I get off work on Monday at 8:00 AM I have surgery on my thumb at 11:00 AM. I may or may not post for a while depending on how much the pain meds knock me out. So for those who check here looking for something, click the link below.
And another link to a great post about the Blue Angels crash.
(yeah, it's my hubby's post but hey, it's good - no Taser pics either)
P.S. the surgery is no big deal. Just have to have my thumb nail removed. I always have dumb stuff happen to me.

What The Church Can Learn From AA

Excerpts of A Speech by Sam Shoemaker


AA indirectly derived much of its inspiration from the Church. Now perhaps the time has come for the church to be re-awakened and re-vitalized by those insights and practices found in AA."


I think some of you may be a little horrified at this suggestion. I fear you will be saying to yourself, "What have we, who have always been decent people, to learn from a lot of reconstructed drunks?" And perhaps you may thereby reveal to yourself how very far you are from the spirit of Christ and the Gospel, and how very much in need of precisely the kind of check-up that may come to us from AA.


If I need a text for what I say to you, there is one ready to hand in I Corinthians 1:26 , "... God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong." I need not remind you that there is a good deal of sarcasm in that verse; because it must be evident that anything God can use is neither foolish nor weak, and that if we consider ourselves wise and strong, we may need to go to school to those we have called foolish and weak.


1. Recognition of Need


The first thing I think the Church needs to learn from AA is that nobody gets anywhere till he recognizes a clearly-defined need. These people do not come to AA to get made a little better. They do not come because the best people are doing it. They come because they are desperate. They are not ladies and gentlemen looking for a religion, they are utterly desperate men and women in search of redemption without what AA gives, death stares them in the face


2. Redeemed in Life-Changing Fellowship


The second thing the Church needs to learn from AA is that men are redeemed in a life changing fellowship. AA does not expect to let anybody who comes in stay as he is. They know he is in need and must have help. They live for nothing else but to extend and keep extending that help.


3. Definite Personal Dealing with People


The third thing the Church needs to learn from AA is the necessity for definite personal dealing with people. AA's know all the stock excuses - they've used them themselves and heard them a hundred times. All the blame put on someone else - my temperament is different - I've tried it and it doesn't work for me - I'm not really so bad, I just slip a little sometimes. They've heard them all, and know them for the rationalized pack of lies they are.


Are we in the Church like that? Have you ever been drastically dealt with by anybody? Have you ever dared to be drastic in love with anybody? We are so official, so polite, so ready to accept ourselves and each other at face value. I went for years before ever I met a man that dared get at my real needs, create a situation in which I could be honest with him, and hold me to a specific Christian commitment and decision. One can find kindness and even good advice in the Church. That is not all men need. They need to be helped to face themselves as they really are.


4. Necessity for a Real Change of Heart


The fourth thing the Church needs to learn from AA is the necessity for a real change of heart, a true conversion. As we come Sunday after Sunday, year after year, we are supposed to be in a process of transformation. Are we? The AA's are. At each meeting there are people seeking and in conscious need. Everybody is pulling for the people who speak, and looking for more insight and help. They are pushed by their need. They are pulled by the inspiration of others who are growing. They are a society of the "before and after," with a clear line between the old life and the new. This is not the difference between sinfulness and perfection, but it is the difference between accepted wrongdoing and the genuine beginning of a new way of life.


How about us? Again, I quote Jerome Ellison, in his report to God (p .205): "...I began to see that many of the parishioners did not really want to find You, because finding You would change them from their habitual ways, and they did not want to endure the pain of change...


Read the entire article here

Friday, April 20, 2007

Update on Hamilton Firefighter

A note in my email ....

I thank you all for your prayers! It seems to be helping! Today Chris
Gabbard opened his eyes for awhile and responded to pain stimuli. He is still in
critical condition, but he is improving everyday!

John Hansbauer is improving and they are hopeful for a full recovery!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech

Somehow I missed this until Brian pointed it out to me. My own words seem to fail in light of the Virginia Tech massacre. Nikki Giovanni's seem the best way for me to express my condolences.

Nikki Giovanni's Convocation address
Delivered April 17, 2007

We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not
moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to
bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve
it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible
children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army,
neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for
ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the
Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his
father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was
destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and
hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and
innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want
to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue
to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our
sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.

Quote

“It’s a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a missions project but become genuine friends and family with who we laugh, cry, dream, and struggle” - Shane Claiborne

Please Pray

Our community is affected by a local tragedy involving 4 of our firefighters. This hits close to home for me in several ways. First we have friends who serve as local firefighters and this could have easily happened to any of them. And I have a nephew who is going to be a firefighter and a son who is going to be a police officer. When something affects our men and women who serve whether as firefighters, police, or military, we all realize that it could be one of our own.

Following is a letter sent via email from the wife of one of the firefighters who were involved in this accident. Please read it and please keep Chris Gabbard (pictured) and John Hansbaurer in your prayers.


Hi Everyone,

Most of you are aware of the tragedy that occurred yesterday involving 4
Hamilton City Firefighters, one of which was my husband.

I have posted the article taken from the Journal News in case you haven't
been informed:

HAMILTON ­ The critically injured firefighter pulled from the Great
Miami River Tuesday has been identified as Chris Gabbard.Gabbard, 32, remains in
critical condition at University Hospital after being transported there by
ambulance from The Fort Hamilton Hospital, the Hamilton Fire Department said
late this afternoon.

The second hospitalized firefighter ­ John Hansbauer, who sustained a
head injury ­ had been listed in fair condition at Fort Hamilton. But he has
been transferred to University Hospital for further evaluation, fire officials
said.

The accident happened about 4 p.m. while about 12 to 14 members of the
HFD's River Rescue Team were conducting their annual recertification training
just below the Low Level Dam. One of the boats started to drift toward "the
boil," turbulent water near the dam. During the rescue efforts, two of the
boats overturned and four firefighters fell into the river. Three of the
firefighters were pulled from the water within a minute while Gabbard was in the
water for 20 to 30 minutes, fire officials said.

I wanted to let everyone know that I feel it was a true miracle from God
that all 4 men were pulled out of that "boil" which has claimed lives in the
past.

My husband, Dan Baumann and our friend, Dan Bagley came out of the incident
with only a few bruises and scratches. John Hansbauer has been transferred to
University Hospital to be checked for further injuries and remains listed in
fair condition.

Chris Gabbard is giving a good fight, but is still in critical
condition and has sustained a lot of injuries.


These brave men risk their lives everyday so that we stay safe...and that
very sentence doesn't even begin to describe the encounters that they have
everyday they work a 24 hour shift. We should all have the utmost gratitude for
all that they give up so that we may have a few more days on this earth to spend
with our loved ones.I just wanted to start a prayer chain for the 2 firefighters
that have not been released from the hospital.

Please take a moment to pray for these two firefighters.

Love,

Melinda

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Brian!


Happy Birthday Brian!

If you've not already, stop over at Brian's Blog and see the new video tribute he has done for the Virginia Tech students. Oh, and congratulate him on being 46 today!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What To Do With This Day??

I'm not sure what to do or what to think or what to feel on a day like today. I seem to be in the middle of such feelings and thoughts that are so extremely opposite of each other.


There is the paralyzing sadness of the Virginia Tech massacre. I don't even know what to say about this. Any words I find seem so shallow and empty. I feel drawn to my TV to hear details and as a way to try to make sense of a senseless situation. My heart aches for all of those affected and all I can do is pray.


Today is also a sad day personally. Two years ago today my cousin Brad committed suicide. It doesn't seem like two years have passed. I still wish I could turn back the clock and find a way to prevent him from doing this horrible thing. And even if it could not be prevented, to enjoy his company a while longer. Here is a picture of Brad when he was a kid playing with a much younger Cody and Logan.



Yet in the middle of so much sadness and grief, there is so much crazy good stuff happening. I am amazed at the way things are happening so fast. The Backpacks for Pine Ridge project has barely begun and yet we already have $150 collected, there is a teacher's association at Ball State University that is very interested in making this a significant project next year, and the Mountain Fund has offered several backpacks and may even be willing to ship them!

In addition to that, Caring Partners, a medical mission ministry will be speaking at our church this Sunday. They have offered to give us medications and retail sized personal care items for both Haiti and Pine Ridge. Apparently they have skids full of items they are willing to give. Now where do I put all that? I'll find a place, don't worry.

And then another team member is checking with Matthew 25 Ministries to see if we can get donations from them and they have said they have plenty of school supplies. We should be meeting with them soon to see how this is going to work out.

And in a few weeks we will have more than 20 people from our church going to Eagle's Nest to do all sorts of work projects. The same day there will be 4-6 more people going to the homeless shelter to give haircuts and massages.

It's crazy. So much evil in the world and yet so much good too.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's All About Me

Not really, but I sure do think so sometimes. I find that when I am focused on myself is when I'm the most miserable.

Yesterday was a tough day for me.

First off I started the day tired. The weekend work schedule always leaves me exhausted but normally I rest up on Saturday night. Not so this weekend. It sure seemed like all Saturday night I kept waking up every 5 min. It was frustrating. I kept being bugged by why I was waking up every 5 min. when I really needed to sleep. Then I realized the reason I kept waking up - my alarm was going off and I was unconsiously hitting the snooze button. Not a good sign.

Then I taught class (The Micah 6:8 Group -, otherwise known as Sunday school (I hate that title). That was OK. Nothing great, nothing horrible, just OK.

Sunday afternoon we had a team meeting for the Pine Ridge team. THAT wore me out. I was tired to begin with but when I have to teach and do a meeting all in the same day it drains me. I'm not as mentally sharp as I used to be and keeping all that information in my head and ready to use is just taxing. I found myself talking about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the mental handicaps it causes and sounding pretty mentally handicapped myself. (There are some funny pics over on the Pine Ridge blog of the team building exercise we did)

At the end of a day like that I come home and want to crawl off and die somewhere. I can easily slip into depression and self-hatred. I get so tired of hearing myself talk. Although I've not found another way around it, doing ministry can really take a chunk out of you. I fell asleep and tried to forget the day.

Today I woke up a little later than usual and began making my "list" of to do's for the week and was glad it was a new day. I still feel a bit hung over from the weekend but once I get my butt in gear it'll be OK.

It occured to me at some point this morning that perhaps the reason I get so down after a day like yesterday is that it is too full of me. Not just the talking, teaching, leading meeting part, but after it's all over I tend to wallow in self. I think about how bad I feel and how stupid I sounded, and all the dumb mistakes I made, and how fat I look and on and on it goes. It's all about me. Focusing on myself so much is a pretty depressing thing. So enough of that. I may well be less than perfect, but none of it's about me anyway so why waste time thinking about poor, poor me.

You Write the Caption

Here are some pics from Allison and Cody's wedding shower. I will "explain" a few of them, but you take a shot at writing a caption for them.


Cody is opening a basket of sexual goodies.


Playing "The Newlywed Game" with Cody and Allison and my Mom and Dad














Some Friends













Cody and Logan - his little brother and best man















Thursday, April 12, 2007

For David (and others)

I know David likes The Shawshank Redemption and I am using a couple of clips from it in The Micah 6:8 Group this Sunday. I thought I'd post the link to the video here. It's about Hope.

Click here

The Rez



I miss the reservation. I miss the familiar drive through the village stopping at well-known houses to pick up kids that I've not seen for a year. I miss their excitement. I miss their childlike playfulness. I miss their hugs. I miss the gleam in Breanna's eyes when she thinks she's about to play a trick on me.

And I miss the sky. There's nothing like laying on your back on the prairie and looking up at the endless expanse of night sky with a billion stars blinking. It might be the most peaceful feeling in the world to let the night breeze blow over you as you watch the stars. Sometimes, if you're really quiet, you can even hear the Indians over in the village singing and beating the drums. It's surreal. It's calming. It's like nothing else I've ever experienced.

I miss to the long talks with friends late at night as we soak in all the goodness of the day. I miss their laughter at the days mishaps. It's amazing how many ridiculous situations you can find yourself in when you travel with a team. I miss their tears too because they are tears of compassion and heartbreak for the people there. It's in those moments that our mission is accomplished because they've came, they've seen and they will never again be the same.

It's not a perfect place. Not by any means. There is poverty, and disease, and violence. Yet there is also a peace and a goodness that is hard to understand. I guess you have to be there ... and I wish I were.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

OK, I Feel Better Now

I blasted "Walk On" by U2 for a while, then I went to the shooting range with Logan and shot this baby - a Glock 9mm. I feel better now. It was my first time shooting but probably not my last. As I've said, I could never shoot a living creature (other than maybe a snake) but it is fun to do target practice and it does seem to relieve stress.

Here is how I did on my first time out. Not bad, eh?


Now for the rest of the story...
You may notice there are only 11 holes there.
True that some of them are pretty close to the X, but I shot 24 bullets.
I pulled the target in and amazed myself.
Then I counted and thought, "HEY, I shot 24 shots and there are only 11 holes."
Bummer.
I'm going out with my friends tonight. That will be fun too!

Anyway

It's been a difficult day. One of those days I'd like to pack up and just run away. One of those days when I long for "home". One of those days when I can say, the more I see of people, the better I like my dog, and I already like my dogs a lot. One of those days when I feel like one of the most disliked people on the face of the earth. One of those days when I can say with assurance that ministry wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for people.
On days like this it helps me to reread the poem I've posted here. I've found every line of it to be all too true, but encouraging all the same.
Anyway
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Follow a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's Gotta Make You Wonder

There are dozens of startling statistics about the conditions on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (which can be found here) but if we just look at one of them it would have to make a person wonder.....

70% of students on the reservation drop out of school

If that were happening in my town, or in yours, or anywhere else in America, someone would be doing something about it. It would be all over the news. Politicians would be all over it. And yet, here in America there is a place where it happens and no one pays any attention.

It's gotta make you wonder why. Do we really believe that all men are created equal?

Friday, April 06, 2007

My Dream

I've had this dream for a while, and it has partially came true. When we first started going to Pine Ridge I really felt strongly that we needed to provide a backpack filled with school supplies to each child in the village we visit. This will be our 4th year in doing that and it is always one of the highlights of the trip. Last year one of the little boys squealed "Cool, there's the backpack truck" when he saw the Ryder truck parked in front of the church.

That is all well and good and we will continue to do that, BUT, I really would like to expand the project. I would love to take backpacks to Wounded Knee and to the main village on the Reservation, Pine Ridge. (all are on the rez) The problem with that is - money. It costs about $15 per child for a backpack filled with school supplies. We usually buy 150 for the village of Allen where we go each year. That's $2,250.00 each year. To expand this outreach it would take 3 - 4 times that amount.

So I've been wrestling... trying to figure out HOW to make this happen. I've even considered contacting Oprah. She apparently knows how to move people. I've checked into getting corporate sponsors. They all seem to have their pet programs already in place. So, I'm not sure where to go or what to do. But I can do one thing. I can put it out there on the Internet for anyone who feels inclined to help provide children on the rez much needed school supplies. I've made a new site that explains it a bit and I'll just see where this goes. I would humbly ask my readers to consider putting a link to that page on your site. You can email me at amberburiff@aol.com and I'll send you the image code that you can paste into your sidebar. Really, just anything you can do to help me get the word out. Maybe corproations will not help but I believe there are good people who would like to help the needy kids on the rez get an education.

Here is what it would look like. Click on it and go to the site. Thanks SO much for your consideration.

This Could Be My Favorite Video

Brian did this last week and I've been waiting for him to put it on his blog.

This is definately worth watching.

By the way, I've also tried to convince him to begin posting excerpts from his book Revelations To Go. It's got a hokey title (sorry B) but the content is unique in that it by-passes all of the usual doctronal disagreement about the book of Revelation and pulls out principles that can be applied to daily life. If you would like to see him post along those lines, let him know. He's not listening to me. ;)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

18


My baby turns 18 today. I would post a pic but blogger is being stupid today and won't let me. We will not be able to celebrate today - he has Police Explorers today and will not be home until later in the evening. So, we're celebrating on Saturday. And whay might you ask, do you do to celebrate an 18 year-old's birthday when that 18 year-old wants to be a cop? Why shoot guns of course. We are all going to a shooting range to shoot handguns - or at least try to. Everybody clear the place on Saturday.
This is a Glock 22 which is probaby the gun I will choose to shoot.
I cannot post a picture of Logan in his uniform ... apparently it's against the rules to post a pic of an Police Explorer in uniform on the Internet??


Happy Birthday Logan!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My New Blog

I've been a little confused about where exactly to put posts that deal with the things announcements and info. regarding outreach projects we do so I created a new blog for that. Some people have thought that The Matthew 25 Project died but it has not. The purpose of The Matthew 25 Project was never to plan activities for our people but to make them aware of opportunities for them to get involved. It has continued because people get a burden for something and just go do it.

Check out The Matthew 25 Project blog for some brand new announcements and info. There will be more coming later this month too!

BTW,I've also added a link for Eagle's Nest where you can see a lot of pics of us working on the farm. Although, it seems that the only "work" I do is kiss critters.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jack is Back ... and so is Keith


Here's a look at Keith Richards on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End which is due to be released in May.
I was disappointed in the second Pirates movie but I'll see the third if only to see Keith play Jack's dad.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Roles We Play

Yesterday our church had a couple's shower for Allison and Cody as they prepare to be married. I had the pleasure of introducing Allison - actually, I asked to be able to introduce her. Not that she needed an introduction, most everyone knows who she is, but I wanted take the opportunity to tell a few things about her that most people do not know - and I wanted to say some things to those attending from our church. I introduced our church as our "family" - not just our "church family", because they have been precisely that. They have been a part of our kid's lives from the get-go. They have watched them grow up, have been their Sunday school teachers and youth leaders. They've set them straight when they needed to be set straight, and they've encouraged them when they needed to be encouraged. They have been a real family to us and to our kids and I wanted to thank them for their help in raising our kids.

I've often thought about our church as family and like any family they are a bit dysfunctional at times. That's not saying something bad about our church, it's just a fact that every family or church family is dysfunctional to some degree because they're made up of imperfect people.

That got me to thinking. Psychologist have identified 4 - 5 roles that family members play in dysfunctional families. I wonder if the same roles apply in church families? I think they might. I believe I can see a pattern in my own life as to the role I play in my family and the role I play in my church. I may share more about that later.

For now, here are the basic family roles identified by psychologists:

The "Hero". Typically the "good" child who never gives anyone any trouble. They often take on the role of parent or the one who is responsible.

The "Scapegoat" or "Black Sheep" who is blamed for most problems in spite of being the only emotionally honest one in the family. If you want to know what's going on in a family, ask the black sheep - they have nothing to lose by being honest.

"The Caretaker" – the one who takes responsibility for the emotional well-being of the family.

"The Lost Child" – the inconspicuous, quiet one, whose needs are often ignored or hidden.

"The Mascot" – uses their comedic personality to divert attention away from the increasingly dysfunctional family system.

It seems to me that it is somewhat "normal" to take on one of these roles and not necessarily a sign of maladjustment. But then I'm one who always says that perfect mental health is overrated. Even so, there are some pros and cons to each of these roles and it may be a good idea to look at the role we play. Is our role helping us? Hurting us? Helping the family? Or hurting the family. Are there changes that we need to consider?

By the way, I believe we're all a part of the Church family and play a role whether we attend a local church or not.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this....