About Me

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

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm Gonna Miss My Baby

Since Brian isn't posting on his blog much these days I suppose it's up to me to post Taser pics. Besides, I just got a new camera and want to try it out. Taser is not a willing subject and I'm not a skilled photographer so these were the best I could do.

I am really, really, really going to miss Taser while we're gone. I'll miss Jazz too but Jazz is not a cuddler. In fact Jazz doesn't like being touched much. She's far more independent. Taser is a smuggler. I can't sit on the couch without her in my lap and nuzzling her head under my chin. She's a real baby and a Mamma's girl despite what Brian would have you believe.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Too Pooped To Party

I am really exhausted. I was just telling a friend tonight that I don't remember ever being this tired before a trip. But it's a bigger trip this year and we're doing a lot more and the more you do the more problems you can have. We load the trucks Friday night and then leave out early Saturday morning and until tonight, two of the five vehicles we're taking needed work done on them. The past two nights people have been here at my house until 9:00 or 10:00 trying to get the wiring from the trailer to the truck hooked up so the lights would work. Tonight they are working!

It's a lot of work but SO worth it.

Yesterday I got a letter from Bree's mom. Bree is a 5 year old Lakota girl who has latched on to me and claims me as her own. That's fine with me - she's my baby girl and I claim her for my own too. Bree's mom is a wonderful lady and is so appreciative of what we do and grateful that someone takes an interest in her children. The back of the card had Bree's hand print and she had written my name above it. So cute! I'm told my several people that Bree cries for me throughout the year. I mean, how could I not do these trips with that kind of thing going on? It's been a blessing to watch her grow up. I'm glad we emphasize building relationships. I really believe that's what it's all about.


2005 - Bree wearing my hat


Her Grandma, Me, and Bree


Thanks to Jim over at Divine Nobodies for bringing this to my attention. I love it. I dare you watch it and not be moved. The thing that moves me is that this guy took a chance. He courageously put himself up there to be judged and risked his dream in the process.

I love that the one's who were the judges smirked and looked bored as if they couldn't wait for this to be over with - until they realized they were in the presence of someone who outshined them all. I love it when the mightly are humbled like that.

After watching it (and wiping tears) I thought about it and I wondered how many people are walking around with a beautiful gift that is not recognized because they never take the risk to shine.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The House

I finally made it down to see Cody and Allison's house. It's about 100 years old and in an area of the city that has a reputation for being a high-crime area.

They chose to live there because that is where they want to do ministry. They want to live among the folks they minister to. I don't think they're sure yet of God's plan for them specifically - just that they feel like they are supposed to work with the urban poor.

So far it's going well. The neighborhood kids are beginning to hang out at Cody's while he's there working on the house. They are street-wise kids. When my dad and Cody were doing plumbing and talking about "doping the pipes" the kids thought they were talking about crack.

I think it's going to be good.

Cody's first lawn mower. Do they really still make these things??

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Holy Moment

There's something awesome happening at church. A while back a young lady began attending. She admittedly had struggled with substance abuse and was really trying to find her way. She is now bringing a bunch of other young folks with similar issues with her. I'm not sure how many of them there are but a bunch. They are from various ethnic backgrounds, various home backgrounds, they have various issues and various hairstyles. One has a sweet looking Mohawk. They obviously stand out in our church of very average people. I love it. I get a kick out of seeing men with comb-overs staring at a guy with a Mohawk. I wonder what each of them are thinking. I'm betting they have similar thought about each other's style.

Tonight one of the young men stood up in the middle of the service and said he had a song and wanted to sing it. Thankfully those in charge of the service allowed him to come forward and share his song. You could almost feel the anticipation in the congregation. What was this guy going to do? Would he rap? Would he perhaps sing a song with profanity in it? Would anyone be able to accompany him on piano or guitar? How would we handle it if it were inappropriate? Who would handle it?

The young man rose, walked to the platform, stood behind the pulpit and explained that he was going through a tough time and that the song he wanted to sing was one his mother used to sing to him and singing it made him feel better. He took a deep breath and belted out a stirring rendition of "His Eye is on the Sparrow and I Know He Watches Me". He sang acapella. He sang from the heart. It was truly one of the most beautiful sounds I've heard in a long time. People rose to their feet and applauded - not just because it was good, not just because this young man was brave enough to take a risk like that , but because Jesus was in the house and it was a Holy moment.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Truck

For family and friends. Here is a not so good pic of Logan's new/used truck. It's a '99 Ford Ranger. Thanks to his Pap (grandpa) and the sale of my old car, (to his brother) Logan now has a truck that he claims makes him feel more "manly".

Friday, July 20, 2007


This is my oldest roughing it in Canada last summer. This is the first time I've seen this pic. I think that's my shirt he's wearing. (he's the one with the cowboy hat and the huge knife hanging around his neck)

Click for a larger view

Hey, Who Knew He Had A Blahg

OK, so I'm browsing Facebook and discover that my friend has a blog although he calls it a blahg. Stop over and see what he's got to say and say "hi". I wont use his real name because he doesn't but here is what I know of him.

He's got great taste in music.

He thinks about church in ways that are pretty similar to the way I think about it.

He has lived in England for a time

His wife is smart, pretty, gifted, a great mother, and has a delightful sense of humor - which probably comes in handy being married to him.

When he was a kid (yeah, I remember back then) he referred to himself as "awesome". I used to think he was arrogant but now I understand that he really is awesome.

Tammy Faye

I was at work last night and watching CNN for "noise" as I went about my work. Tammy Faye was being interviewed by Larry King. When I heard she was going to be on I thought "oh brother" and almost changed the channel.

I have never been a fan of Tammy Faye. I don't believe in multimillion-dollar evangelism empires like the one she and her former husband Jim Baker built. It just goes against my grain to see that kind of thing. That is not to say I judge them. For all I know God may well use things I don't like or understand so it's not for me to say that God was not in that ministry, it's just that it bugs me.

But last night as I listened to the interview my admiration of Tammy Faye began to grow. I've seen few people handle the challenges she is now facing with such grace and dignity. I didn't hear anything about "self" in anything she shared. Her only real concern seemed to be for those who will be left behind when she is gone. Once, when Larry King asked if she was in pain, she responded, "all the time". She did not go on to elaborate or ask for pity. In fact, there was nothing to pity. Tammy Faye seems to have a peace and serenity that most people who do not face her challenges lack. A later guest noted that she was in pain but not "suffering" - that pain if physical but suffering in mental/emotional. She struck me as someone who has surrendered herself to God's will but not given up. The peace she exuded was truly remarkable. She even poked fun at herself. When Larry King asked what she would like to be remembered for, she jokingly said, "my eyelashes".

It is true that she contacted Larry King and requested the interview. Some may see that as a grab for publicity. I don't. Not after hearing her. I think it was a God thing. Her testimony to God's sustaining grace in the midst of pain and difficulty was amazing and I'm sure it touched many who watched.

Short Video Clip

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm Turning In My Mother Button

Yep, I'm turning it in. I am not going to be anybody's mother anymore. I'm not sure why people have children. They should have dogs. Dogs are good. They don't talk back and they show appreciation.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Wild Ride

It's been a crazy morning. You can read about part of it here. The rest is that my dad had a less than desirable report from his oncologist, and there is another personal matter that has me concerned. The news from the oncologist may not be bad. It's just less than good. It will be a while before we find out more. The whole cancer things is such a roller coaster ride. The good thing is, my dad feels and looks great. In fact, he is working hard every day helping our son Cody work on the house he recently bought. I'll be working there tomorrow and will try to remember to take some pics of it and post them along with the story about the house.

This afternoon I need to run to Walmart and buy 17 cases of spiral notebooks. Then I need to go pick up a pick up truck for my son Logan. Tonight I have my son's softball game and dinner out with Brian.

OK, I'm off .

Friday, July 13, 2007

I Really Hate Cancer

Here is a note I recieved in my email this afteroon. This is from the husband of a lady I met online a number of years ago in a recovery forum. She is a sweet lady who has been supportive of me through my recovery and has supported our efforts on the Reservation. It is sad beyond words to hear this news. Please keep her in your prayers. I am subsituting her online name for her real name. Her blog, which is obviously not up to date, can be found here

Dear family and friends--

An update on Theodora--we've had several meetings with doctors this week--internal medicine, cancer, OB/GYN, etc. Her operation was three weeks ago Tuesday, and they are assessing her progress in that time. The good news is that has been able to do some physical therapy--walking, leg exercises--especially this week. Yesterday she walked 210 feet! That's real progress over what she could do before. And she's alert. She has some low level of pain, but nothing severe, but she does have nausea and occasional spitting up. And she's pretty weak.

The bad news is that the cancer is on her intestines, as well as elsewhere, so she has not been able to eat anything much at all--a couple of bites of jello, a couple of sips of broth every two or three days--and has not been drinking much at all either. So she has been depending for nutrition on what they call "TPN"--a total nutrition package delivered intravenously. They tried taking her off that during the daytime hours, for a couple of days, to see if she had any appetite and could eat, and that didn't work. She had nausea and vomiting as a result of trying to eat. To fight the nausea they have given her medications, and have had a tube down into her stomach to remove the stomach contents. They have the TPN running each night now--a full day's nutrition.

Yesterday they started feeding her through the stomach tube, in the hope that her system could process predigested food, and that they could gradually get her off the TPN. For a few hours that seemed to work, but last evening and last night she threw it all back up, so that's not working either--and this was just a small amount. She would have to get a whole lot more down to be up to full daily portion. One option would be to try that again in a few days, but it's unlikely to succeed.

They want to get her strong enough that she can start chemotherapy, but she's pretty far from that point right now. One possibility is to go ahead with chemotherapy even though she's not at full strength. Considering the fact that chemo causes nausea and weakness even in people who are "strong enough" for it, that doesn't really seem to be an option for Theodora. And the cancer keep spreading, day by day.

The hope has been that she can be moved to a nursing home for her recovery. (The insurance company is wanting her out of the hospital, but she's not yet at a stage that a nursing home could take her. She may need to be off the TPN, and stronger, before they're willing/able to take her. We're exploring options there.)

We just don't know what the future holds--but no one ever does, do we?
So we are, as I said, exploring options, but there don't seem to be much left. We have started talking about hospice care. We have today asked the Red Cross to process a request to the Marines to send J home 5 weeks early so he can see his Mom sooner than later. (He is scheduled to come stateside August 17, and would come home then, under his current schedule. We're asking that that be moved up.)

Keep us all in your prayers, please.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And this was before 9:00 AM

You really have to have a sense of humor to do what I do. Here you will see how my morning went.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Personal Prayer Request

It's that time of year. We are 20 days out from our mission trip and it's getting tough for me personally. So far this year things have rocked on pretty smoothly, way more smoothly than ever before - until this week. This week I'm taking some personal hits and I could use the support of your prayers.

It's not anything that was really unexpected. I can never tell what the issue will be but after 4 years of doing this, I have come to expect that there will be people who will have issues with me each year. It's just not possible to please all the people all the time.

This is the hardest part of doing these trips. Being a person who wants the approval of others and wants to please everyone and wants to be liked, having people disapprove, accuse, and misunderstand my motives really rattles my cage. I tend to crumble inside, think I must really suck at this, and want to quit and run away. I truly believe that I do a good job but times like this can make me really feel like I need to just hang it up.

I do handle this kind of thing in healthier ways than I used to. Being in recovery for years helped me learn how to deal with stuff like this without self-destructing, but the issue is as much there as it ever was and that is what makes my job of coordinating these trips a huge challenge for me personally. Besides, I have a ton of work to do and dealing with "what must they think of me" really weighs me down and makes it hard to want to do anything.

There's not much anyone can do, but if you can pray for me, that would be appreciated.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I'm Mad at Hell and I'm Not Going to Take it Anymore

I've noticed a distrubing trend among the young people at my church. They simply aren't there anymore, and those who are, often do not want to be.

I'm not sure the reason for this (although I have my opinions), and I'm not sure of the solution. I have no opinion about that but I'm pretty sure it isn't another program that they need.

What I do know is that whatever that solution is, it is worthless if we don't pray. I'm not sure there is a substitute for that. I'm not talking about the "God be with them and bless them" kind of prayer. I'm talking about people who are willing to battle hell for the souls of our kids. I think it just may take that. It may mean some repentance on our part. We sometimes make it difficult to see the real Jesus through the mess we make.

If you want to join me, meet me at church on Wednesdays at 5:30 at the altar. We will not eat. We will not talk. We will not teach. We will not fellowship. We will simply pray like we mean it. And we'll do it until we see change. All are welcome.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Reasons To Be Happy

1. It's the last day in a very long work week. I did get someone to take one of my 18 hour shifts this week so I'm now down to my last shift in a 74 hour work week. (I was originally scheduled for 91 hours)

2. Jericho is back on TV tonight.

3. We have the freezer we bought for Pine Ridge and we just got word today that Matthew 25 Ministries has 8 pallets of product for us!

4. The new missionaries are doing a GREAT job at Pine Ridge. I talked to Shelly this week. They now have people coming up to take showers and have a "store" for the people to get what they need - for free. (that is what the "pallets" we bought are for) (Some of the people on the reservation do not have running water in their homes so they are showering at the church)

5. The kids at Pine Ridge are doing better than I've seen them in a while. One little boy called the missionary on Monday asking what time church was. She told him that it was Monday and that they didn't have church on Monday. He sighed , "OK... what about tomorrow?" I know that kid and he has been a real booger so I'm glad he is now wanting to be at church.

6. We got word too that it is possible we will be able to have Phayth do a rap concert in the center of the village and do some graffiti art on a wall in the village. This is way better than I had hoped for. I had requested a place down the road from the village but the missionary there is pushing for a spot right in the center of everything.

7. I get to go shooting with my son again on Sunday.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

July 5th in Iraq

This is the post on Nate's blog today. I'm posting all of it here because I couldn't pick just a portion of it. Please stop by there and let him know we're thinking of him and all those fighting this war.


5 July, 2007: Though my intent was to symbolically write and post on our Nation’s birthday, the fireworks presentation proffered by the enemy precluded my own desires yesterday. How ironic…

David Finkel, the Washington Post writer, has returned from his hiatus for another extended stay with the Soldiers of 2-16 IN. His mission, as I understand it, is to write a book which he intends as a journey of sorts, describing the physical, philosophical, spiritual, and ideological changes we all will and are inevitably undergoing during this tour in Iraq. I don’t know what part, if any, I will have in his manuscript; nevertheless thinking about his work prompts me to take an introspective look at myself and these last five months. Hopefully I can help you, whoever you are, understand us a little bit better.

This war is not Vietnam. It is not World War II, or Korea, or the Gulf War, or any of the other conflicts that it is inevitably compared to in the journalistic pages back home. We will, I trust, not receive the same rancorous return that awaited my Uncle’s generation upon his return from the Orient. Though this conflict has been enormously expensive, the human losses have not yet climbed close to what they amounted to in the Seventies. At the same time, each loss is as keenly felt as ever. We are not The Greatest Generation, as Tom Brokaw has dubbed my grandfather and his peers. The numbers who have served in this war do not yet approach those of 1941-45, and yet they are of enough significance that I think they will in some way have great influence in history. The veterans of this conflict will hold their own unique legacy, whatever it may be. When we return, we will attempt to fit back into a world nearly as fast paced as the one we currently inhabit, back into commercial America, the world of malls, fashions, parties and stock markets; back into the world of unlimited prosperity. We will attempt to go back to church, wondering if the preacher in the pulpit talking about poverty in some far country has ever smelled the stench of human feces in open trenches, or seen the look of hopelessness in the eyes of black-clad women walking war-rubbled streets; we’ll wonder if the successful out-of-shape suburbanite, sitting next to us in Bible study and thanking God for His mercy, has ever had indelibly imprinted in his senses the smell of his friend’s burnt flesh, the one that didn’t make it out of the Humvee in time, or stood next to the corpse in which resides a 5.56 round that only moments before was in the chamber of his weapon. We will invariably react defensively at first to loud noises, as we do now. We will find it difficult to vote; politicians make many promises, and break nearly as many. Politicians, civilian or military, have at heart the next election primarily, or their place in history, or the next promotion. We will outwardly say “you’re welcome” and smile when you say thank you for serving, while we inwardly recite the names of Cajimat, Craig, Crowe, Payne, and Gajdos, and wonder why they really had to die, and if Iraq will remember their names.

The bottom line is that my platoon and I have surpassed 120 days in Iraq; we have been blown up and shot at so much that it is almost expected; we have returned fire and arrested the IED emplacers. We have seen everything the insurgency has to offer and have returned the same. When I first began writing, I was not sure I would even have the chance to earn the CIB; now that that fact has been assured many times over, none of the medals or badges or acclaim matters. When war was merely a fantasy of prose and film, I was philosophical and idealistic; it is now a sensation of sight, smell, and touch, and the idealism and philosophy has been replaced by cold facts, and they are these: (1) Republicans and Democrats can go to hell. (2) Concern for the welfare of innocent Iraqis is increasingly frustrated by our perception that they will risk very little to secure their own future. (3) The warrior’s axiom that “you fight for the man next to you” should be biblical, for no words ever rung truer. If I lose not one more man to this war during the duration of our duty, that will be an acceptable outcome; I will take all steps in my power to secure this end.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Stories That Make Me Proud

One of the things I love about my church is that we have a number of people from other countries. Some of them have some amazing stories. One came over on a raft from Cuba risking his life for a chance at freedom. One is from England, a few from Germany, one from Mexico, one from the Philippines, one from Africa. Some came from a life of poverty. Some came illegally. All of them have their own story and I could sit and listen for hours.

David is a blogger friend from Korea who I've met online and known for a while. Please don't miss this post from him. It will make you appreciate some things about America that maybe you've not recognized.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

What A Sweetheart

I'm just back from church and once again I am amazed at people. In a good way. Some of you may know that Backpacks for Pine Ridge is selling Fair Trade coffee at our church. It's a way to raise some $ for backpacks and school supplies and help the farmers in Third World countries who grow the coffee and raise awareness about Fair Trade, something not a lot of folks in our area know about. I was happy that a $10 bag of coffee could do so much good but then tonight a man in our church approached me and asked if he could ask me a question. "Sure",I said. He pointed to the list of needs at the local homeless shelter that his hanging on our bulletin board. He particularly pointed to the "coffee" and asked if they still need coffee. I told him that they pretty much needed coffee all the time. He then asked if I would bring a case of coffee to church next Sunday so he could buy the whole case and then take it to the shelter. Amazing.

BTW, I will not be blogging much this week. I am scheduled to work 91 hours this week at work.