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, June 27, 2007

I Spent $1000.00 Today

I spent the day shopping for Pine Ridge stuff with John and Josh. It was fun but I'm exhausted.

My oldest son, Cody, took my youngest son Logan's Senior pictures. Here are a few... more to come in the near future.


























Tuesday, June 26, 2007

'Tis The Season

I've not been blogging much. I don't feel really well. In fact, I'm a little concerned that I may lose my voice and it is NOT a good time for me to lose my voice. In a few weeks when we go to Pine Ridge, I'm going to need it. OR, maybe God is telling me to shut up and let someone else talk. ;)

Anyway, it's crunch time getting ready for the trip and I'm dragging so you may not hear from me much.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Clergy Perks

I found this post about clergy parking over at Dave's blog and have to agree with him about special privileges for pastors. I'm proud to say that our church does not have clergy parking. Well, not in a high profile "special" sense anyway. Our pastors park in the grass behind the building so to make for more room in our parking lot.

Oh wait, maybe I shouldn't be "proud" of that .... that's kind of like taking pride in our low status (i.e. I'm more holy because I sacrifice) isn't it. Although Brian and I rarely drive to church together (two too busy schedules) I park behind the church as well. It gives me a chance to drive my Jeep in the grass which is as close to off roading as I'm going to get. Some people think that's a real shame.

One thing that does bug me about our church's treatment of pastors is that several years ago they (I"m not sure who "they" are) decided that the pastors and their wives should have portraits made and hung in the narthex. I suppose I should be happy that they didn't want to actually hang us in the narthex (some churches have dreamed of that) but I still have a problem with walking into a church, any church, and seeing the pastors mug hung in a prominent place. In my opinion, t just sends a bad message. Frankly if I were church shopping and saw the pastor's portrait as soon as I walked in the door, I'd run and never return.

At the time this was being discussed I protested. I gave all my reasons for not wanting to go along with this. So did Brian. They compromised and decided place smaller pictures in frames on a table in the narthex rather than hanging larger ones on the wall. I think they just thought I didn't want to see my picture there because of my issues with body image and not liking the way I look. True, I do hate seeing my picture anywhere at all and that was a part of it, but it wasn't the main reason I didn't want to go along with this. To this day I hate that picture and all it stands for.

Oh well, at least we weren't hanged.

BTW, for anyone at my church who reads here, occasionally you will find the picture of me and Brian laying face down on that table. I know the person who does that but I'll never tell.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A DAY OFF!

I have a day off! Wow. I can't even remember the last time I had an entire day with nothing and no one screaming for my attention. I have worked extra hours this week and it's getting to the busy part of the Pine Ridge trip prep, but as of 8 AM this morning, I"m off work and have the entire day to do nothing. Brian is out of town so I don't even have to take a shower if I don't want to. It's supposed to rain and storm today - a perfect day to hole up in the house and RELAX. I just found the archives that contain full episodes of Jericho (see post below) and so I'm gonna put a pot of coffee on and watch away.

Perplexed

Did you ever have someone ask you a question and you don't have an answer and it just continues to bug you because you can't figure it out?

Well, I keep running across this question on various blogs and I've yet to figure out a good answer. It's a completely useless question. Totally inconsequential. So unimportant that I shouldn't even give it a second thought. But the question has been asked. Again and again. And I still have no clue, so it sits there in the back of my mind begging for an answer.

The question is this, "What movie star would play you in a movie about your life"?

See, I told you it was ridiculous.

What has me perplexed is this, do you answer that based on personality, or appearance?

It doesn't really matter because I couldn't come up with a decent answer in either case. I even asked my 18 year old son and after thinking for a while he couldn't come up with anyone either.

So I pose the question to you. Who would best portray me in a movie? Please, I beg you, put me out of my misery.

....Oh, and if it's not too much to ask, tell me why ....so I wont' be hounded by wondering about that.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Am I The Only One?

I am normally not a TV person. There is really only one show on TV that I like well enough to not want to miss an episode - Criminal Minds. I suppose I like this show because it combines two things I find fascinating, psychology and criminology. I love that kind of stuff which is why my major was psychology and my minor criminology. If I had been younger (and smarter) I may have tried for a career as a profiler.


But there is another show that has caught my attention. Jericho became fascinating to me about the end of the season. I rarely caught an entire episode of it and really have no idea what was going on in the show other than someone had dropped a nuclear bomb on America and a little town called Jericho was trying to survive, but what I did manage to see intrigued me. I was bummed to find out that CBS canceled the show for next season. Apparently I was not alone. Fans of the show launched an all out effort the likes of which had not been seen before to rescue the show. And they had some success. I'm pleased to have read that July 6th CBS will rerun several episodes of the show at 9PM on Friday nights. Perfect! Now I can watch an entire episode and find out what is going on. Next season they will run a few more episodes (new apparently) and if the fan base grows, Jericho may return from the ashes.


Note* I will not be taking phone calls between 9 and 10 on Friday nights. Brian goes to bed at 9 but is always available for emergencies via his cell phone. ;)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Father's Day Pics

Me and my Dad
Brian and his boys

I just had to include this one.



Quote

"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?'

Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?'

Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?'

But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?'

And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right."

~ Martin Luther King Jr.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Presidential Crocs? Oh my ...


Stealing Weapons at WalMart

I'm just back from WalMart to buy my dad a knife for Father's Day. Here's how it went.

I pick out the knife - two of them in fact because I'm not sure which size he wanted.

I go to the U-Scan and scan it.

The machine says it needs authorization (something about a knife)

The smart-alec cashier comes over and says, "Oh, it's one of those 16 or over things"... He looks me hard in the face and says, "I don't think you're 16 so I'm going to have to say no and then you wont get your purchase".

Feeling only slightly insulted I say, "What do you mean?? I'm 16 ... and then some"

He keys in his authorization code and walks away.

I attempt to slide my credit card and get another "authorization needed" message. Smart-alec comes back over with a sigh. I say, "This machine doesn't like me today". He says, "I don't like you today".

Me: "That's not a wise thing to say to a woman who just bought a knife."

You would think they would know me by now... I'm there at least once a day.

Then I get beeped as I walk out the door and the greeter (not my usual greeter) looks at me as if I've just tried to steal something and demands to see the receipt. I realize I've walked off and left it in the chaos at the U-Scan. I try to explain that to him. He's not buying it. I walk all the way back to the other side of the store to retrieve my receipt. On the way out there's a new greeter who just waves me by.

????

I'm not shopping at WalMart again... until tomorrow.

Note From Iraq

A while back I posted about my son's friend Nate who is serving in Iraq. It sounds pretty rough right now. You can read his latest blog entry here. I was getting a little worried becasue he had not posted for a while but I assume he's a wee bit busy. Needless to say, Nate could use your prayers.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pastors, Churches, Who Stays, Who Goes?

Bruce had a post on his blog that got me to thinking ... and then David commented ... which got me to thinking more. Rather than take up space on Bruce's blog, I thought it better to just respond here with my thoughts.

I don't think the problem is whether people or pastors stay at one church for too long of a time. It seems to me that the real problem comes when people or pastors either one begin to feel that it's "my" church and that things should be done their way. I've seen churches where both of those occur. Some pastors I know have either a too big ego that won't allow them to let go of having things their way and other pastors have too fragile of an ego to let go. And then there are churches where the pastor has very little say so in matters but boards or committees feel they have the right to run the church their way. None of this is very godly, in my opinion.

I myself have been weary of "stupid people" this week. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone complaining about so and so - and none of it with good reason. The only thing I can figure is that they don't like so and so because they are either too young, too old, too silly, too sober, too radical, too conservative, too something. These folks seem to feel they have a right to criticise the way that person operates in their ministry but for the life of me, I can't find any reasonable reasons for the criticism. It must come down to personal taste - and a belief that things should be done they way "I" would do them. In coordinating mission trips there are always a couple of people on the team who complain and say something like "I would do such and such that way". I want to tell them to get over themselves - they aren't the one's doing it, but I bite my tongue.

We can change churches (no judgment here for anyone doing that) or we can change pastors (no judgment here for that either) , but the problem will remain because the problem is that selfish desire to have things our way. As long as humans make up the church, the problem will be there. We can however challenge ourselves to tackle the problem. We can't change other people, but we can change ourselves and how we respond to others - even when their acting ungodly. Now there's a challenge.

As I said, I have no judgement for anyone who feels they must change churches. I've at times wished I could do that. And I don't have a problem with pastors changing either, but frankly, I don't think either of those is a great idea. To me, a church family is about relationship. It's a place where we learn to accept each other in spite of our differences. It's a place where we rub shoulders with some people who rub us the wrong way and we have the opportunity to work it out or at least to learn to accept them as they are. I'm not sure how pastors can really minister as well if they were to move every 2-3 years. Where's the relationship with that? Being a pastor's wife, I know I would learn to put up walls and not allow myself to care too much for people that I knew I would only be with for a short time.

Being the spouse of a pastor puts me in the middle. I'm not "staff" and I'm not really a lay person either. We have a great church, it definitely has it's strong points, but it has weaknesses too. Sometimes those weaknesses have frustrated me to no end. I've at times wanted to fight and at other times I've wanted to pull up and leave. But after 20 years of sticking around, I've been forced to grow in ways that I would not have grown if we had left. I've had to come to terms with a few things about my church that make me uncomfortable (sometimes even angry) but going through the conflict has caused me to have deeper relationships. And I think I'm better for it.

This is not to say you should never leave a church. Obviously there are times when people shoud do just that. And it's not to say pastors should never move either. Frankly, I htink some need to get out of the ministry entirely because I wouldnt' wish them on anyone else.

So what are your thoughts?? You can, of course, differ with me. I'm good with that.

*Note* This post isn't an argument and it is not a response to Bruce or David personally. I'm really probably just venting my own frustrations with "churches".

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quote

I don't see Jesus Christ as being any part of a religion. Religion to me is almost like when God leaves and people devise a set of rules to fill the space.

~ Bono, Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 by Steve Stockman

Monday, June 11, 2007

My New Favorite Chocolate

Tonight Brian and I went to Wild Oats to browse around. I like to buy Fair Trade when I can, but sometimes it's hard to do. The good old Bible belt seems to lag behind when it comes to issues such as Fair Trade. Stores just don't sell Fair Trade here - unless we drive for an hour one way to Wild Oats.

I'd be willing to bet most people in my church don't even know what Fair Trade is.

It's basically this - Fair Trade products ensure that the farmers of coffee, chocolate, bananas, rice, sugar, and other products are paid a fair wage, a living wage so that they can feed their families and send their children to school and all of the other things that we Americans enjoy and take for granted. It also ensures that no child labor or child slavery is used in the growing or production of the products.

What people are probably not aware of is that very often the farmers who grow the coffee we drink each morning are paid less for their crop than it cost them to grow it. These farmers generally live in Third World countries where poverty is a way of life. Being paid so little by wealthy countries like the USA keeps them in a state of poverty.

Worse than that, 40% of the chocolate Americans eat comes from the Ivory Coast of Africa where it is very common for children as young as 7 or 8 to be forced into child slavery and made to work hazardous conditions in the cocoa fields. All so that we can have something we don't really need anyway.

Somehow knowing that makes the candy I eat a little less sweet.

Oh, and then there's this ....




Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from
within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you've piled up is judgement. All the workers you've exploited and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger. You've looted the earth and lived it up. But all you'll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse. In fact, what you've done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it.


James 5:3-6 ( The Message)



Ouch!



So, yeah, Fair Trade is a good idea. It does cost a bit more, but ... well.... it's worth it for several reasons:



  • It allows me to know that I'm doing something that truly helps those who live in poverty - not just by giving them a hand out that will not last long, but truly helping them to be more self-supporting. It's the difference between justice and charity.

  • It also tastes better. If you've never tried it, it's really awesome! I once ordered Fair Trade coffee online and when it arrived the roast date was the day I ordered it. You can't get a lot fresher than that.

And then, it just seems to me to be the right thing to do.



Tonight we tried the Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Espresso Bean Chip Bar. All I can say is .... wow! Doing good never tasted so good!






You can read more about Fair Trade here

A Couple of Cool Things

The Backpacks for Pine Ridge project now has a MySpace and I just heard this morning that Lifted Magazine, one of our "friends" on MySpace showcases a ministry each Monday on their blog. Today we were the first to be showcased!

Last week I mentioned that I wanted to get the spot in the center of our town for a Rock Fest next year as a fundraiser for the backpacks project but they do not rent this spot out to the public. It would be perfect too - there is even a stage already there and lots of shopping, coffee shops and restaurants there. Well, yesterday I spoke to the man who is a good friend of the mayor and told him what I wanted. He assured me we would get this spot.

Yesterday was a busy day and not all of it went well, but some things did, and today is a new day.

Friday, June 08, 2007

But Why Is The Rum Gone?


Ms. Cranky, one of the ladies I take care of, likes her rum. She has a few shots each night before she goes to bed. Not getting her rum makes her even more cranky than she usually is - not that she's an alcoholic, she's not, she just gets more cranky when she doesn't get her way about anything.


She also has a habit of accusing the last staff person who worked of stealing anything that she can't immediately find. Last weekend the rum went missing after my shift. You guessed it, Ms. Cranky was on the phone with one of my coworkers saying, 'If that b%#@& took my rum I'll kick her a#@". It was not actually missing, the lady who worked the shift after mine put it away in a different place and Ms. Cranky soon had her rum back. That's usually how things "go missing". With several staff, no one ever seems to put anything back in the same place.


Last night when I went in to work my shift my coworker told me of all of this. We laughed. She couldn't believe that Ms. Cranky would accuse me, of all people, of stealing her rum. I said, "Shoot, I wouldn't take her rum, I'd rather leave it here and give it to her so she'll sleep and leave me alone". We both laughed and agreed that that bottle of rum is our best friend - and neither of us drink.

I HATE Fundraisers

I hate doing fundraisers for all of the following reasons:

  • I HATE asking people for money.

  • Fundraisers take SO much TIME and ENERGY that could otherwise be spent preparing for actual MINISTRY

  • It bothers me that people seem to need to get something back in order to give. Not all people - we have some VERY generous souls, but for the most part, it seems you've got to offer people something. Maybe they just like to see that we're "working" so as to "earn" money but for crying out loud, we ARE working our tails off just with ministry stuff. Most of the money we raise goes to the poor, very little of it is for our own expenses so I have to wonder when did the poor have to earn our care?

Why can't the "haves" just share with the "have nots"? Why can't people who follow Jesus just share of what they have with those who don't have much of anything?

Just my little rant.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I Have People

I've been marveling at God lately. Ya just never know what's around the bend with Him. I have an idea that I've been letting simmer to see what will come up and where it will go. The idea is to have a Rock Fest as a way to raise money for the backpacks for Pine Ridge. I was thinking we could have an all day Rock Fest at the Village Green, which is the center of our town. ( It is a popular place for folks to shop, drink coffee, and hang out on a nice summer day.) I wanted to include both Christian and non-Christian bands to include more people in the community and to rub shoulders with non-believers. I think it's good to do that.

Today I called the Parks and Recreation board to see if this would be possible and what I needed to do to make it happen and was told that it's not possible. They only use the Village Green for their own events. They already have a concert series that runs all summer. We could however rent part of another local park. In fact the entire park could be rented if we wanted to - and had the money. I thought about that and I'm not too inclined to go that route.

I was thinking about alternatives. We could have it at our church. I don't really want to go that route either - I really want it OUT of the church and in the community. But we do have the facility and it would be free. I was thinking we could pull in a flat-bed trailer for the stage and use our large parking lot for the Rock Fest. Would the church ever go for having non-Christian rock bands playing in the parking lot? I doubt it. I would hope they would see the reason why I want to do that, but I do doubt it. I mean, really, isn't hanging out with non-believers the way to reach them? I thought that was Jesus' approach. Even if they did go for it, I would take a lot of heat for it which would be OK. Not great but OK. If it was at the church we could also utilize our large kitchen and get food donated and have a grill going all day too. We could sell the food cheap and still make money and add to the fun. OK, this might be alright. Not really what I had in mind, but it could work.

Then tonight I mentioned it to two people at my church. One reminded me that we know the Mayor. A friend of ours is very close to the Mayor and is a big supporter of his. Maybe this friend could talk to the Mayor and persuade him to pull some strings (order it) that would allow us to use the Village Green.

So that option is back on the table. In fact, it's in process now. It's just a matter of waiting to see what happens.

The other person I mentioned my idea to said he know plenty of bands and told me that a local Christian "club" was his brain child and that he knows the guy who runs it and that he was sure we could do something there. OK, another great option. It probably wouldn't include non-Christians, but it could still work.

I had no idea that I was so well-connected. I had no idea that my friends knew people who could make things happen. Wow, I have people!

I'm not sure how this will all pan out. We have 3 options that I know of and perhaps others that I don't know of. I have a feeling it's going to be fun to watch this develop.

Wedding Pics - My Favorites





































































Monday, June 04, 2007

Emerging ...

I feel like I'm emerging from a whirlwind of chaos. Last week, and particularly yesterday was busy, mostly with Pine Ridge stuff. Here is the way my day went yesterday...

  • 8 AM - Leave for church in hopes of stopping by the drugstore to get my mother a birthday card.
  • The store was closed so it was on to church for coffee and to meet up with my class and my family to go on a field trip to visit my son and daughter-in-law's church in Cincy.
  • 9:45 AM - Leave the parking lot with the group and head to Cincy.
  • 10:30 - Arrive at River of Life and enjoy an awesome service. The preaching was great but I felt bad for the pastor. He seems to have a real heart for outreach in the inner-city and it is difficult to get people to "do" things. Older people are often unable and younger people are busy. Who will feed the hungry and do the work of the church? I felt his burden and I felt bad for him.
  • 12 Noon - arrive back at Winton Rd to meet up with families and head home.
  • 12: 30 - Arrive home, change clothes, swallow a sandwich and then head to Target to get a gift of appreciation for the guest speaker at our PR meeting.
  • 1:30 - Get back home, get the gift ready, gather up all of the materials I will need for the meeting (map, presentation board, boxes for water bottles, notes, etc.) and load up my Jeep.
  • 2:00 PM - Sit down to look over my notes and get my head together for the meeting.
  • 2:00 PM - Start getting calls from team members who are unable to be at the meeting.
  • 2:30 PM - Have a cup of coffee with Brain - or try to - still getting phone calls.
  • 2:30 - 3:00 PM - Get a call from Allison wanting to go over the interview questions for our guest speaker. Share my growing frustration with team member's not attending meetings.
  • 3:15 PM - Get one more phone call from another team member as I'm walking out the door to head to the meeting. I need to be there early to set up and TRY to focus on what I need to present to the team.
  • On the way to church I pass the drugstore and realize that I've left my mother's birthday card at home. I call Brian and ask if he can bring it. I also scold myself for forgetting to get a card for the team to sign for a man who has given a HUGE donation to our trip and is in the hospital.
  • On the way to church I also get another call, from Cody. He lets me know that he has two problems - our guest speaker is going to be late and he cannot get his key to turn in the ignition of his car and needs a ride to the meeting. I tell him I'll pick him up. Then I see that it is now 3:45 and I still need to set up for the meeting that is supposed to start at 4:00. I call another team member who lives near Cody and ask them to pick him up - they will. (Thank you)
  • 3:45 PM - I pull into the church while calling Cody back to tell him the Jackson's are picking him up.
  • 3:45 PM - I unload the Jeep by the front door and then park.
  • 3:50 PM - I attempt greet a number of team members and family who are all asking me questions and trying to help. I am easily distracted by so many people needing my attention - especially when I really need to focus on what I'm going to be presenting.
  • I track down an easel, set up the map, get my notes organized, all while being pulled in different directions by well-meaning people. I think it will be a miracle if I even know what I'm supposed to present. I really like/need time to THINK about it just before a meeting but that never happens. OH well.
  • My dad wants to help box up the water bottles. He and my mom ask numerous questions about them. I tell them repeatedly that they can wait until after the meeting - that I'll deal with them later - that I have to think about the meeting right now.
  • 4 PM - I head into the narthex and crap my whip to get the team into the meeting room.
  • Cody tells me that our speaker is going to be at least another 20 min.
  • I look over my notes to see how I can re0arrange the meeting so we don't waste time. All the while I am irritated because so few team members are there and I wonder how I'm supposed to prepare a team to accomplish something if they don't come to the meetings for info.
  • 4:00 - 5:45 PM - We have our meeting. The speaker shows up and shares an amazing story. Somehow it all falls together. It's OK. I share my disappointment regarding meeting attendance and figure out a way to reward those who do come to every meeting. They like not having bathroom duty!
  • 5:45 - 5:50 PM - I break down the meeting stuff and carry it back to the Jeep with the help of Logan (thanks)
  • 5:50 PM - I see that the water bottles have been boxed up. I ask my dad if he counted them. He did not. I unpack them and begin counting and re-packing them. Lots of people are talking to me, one little girl decides to call out numbers. I'm in no mood for it. I ask her to PLEASE not do that. She stops thankfully.
  • 6:00 PM - I finish the water bottles and head into church. I have a headache and am exhausted in every way imaginable.

Today I am reminded of the words of one of our team during a particularly exhausting day on the rez last summer. "I don't' want to be a missionary any more". Of course I don't mean that. I love it too much to consider NOT doing it. But there are challenges and 99% of the work is so not what people think of when they think of outreach, ministry, missions.

BTW, there are some new pics up on the Pine Ridge site if you're intersted. The moments captured in those pics make it worth all the chaos and hard work and frustration.