- 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.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
But worse yet was when I followed the car load of them to the park. That's right, I was the only parent in the bunch who followed behind them as they drove the park to get pics. I was wondering the whole time where all the other parents were since I've done this a few times and there are always parents with cameras at these things. Apparently they were all meeting them at the park. I guess I was the only one who didn't know what park they were going to - so I followed - feeling like an idiot the whole time. But hey, I got pictures! Click on them for a larger view.
Logan and date are at the bottom
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In the past two days I've been contacted by folks who want to give sacrificially to help purchase backpacks for the kids at Pine Ridge.
Yesterday a lady from Pennsylvania contacted me. She's a musician and a believer and likes what we're doing and wants to help. She's willing to travel to Cincinnati and do a benefit for us. She's even willing to go a step further and donate a portion of her CD sales to us. Amazing.
Today the drummer of a rock band in Virginia contacted me. He too is willing to bring his band all the way to OH at their own expense and do a benefit. I felt bad even asking him to come that far knowing that I couldn't pay for any of their expenses but he said he would be honored to do so.
Another man from Florida, also a musician, wants to help in any way he can as well.
I don't know these folks. I didn't contact them. I've never emailed them, read their blogs, or had any real contact with them. Some of them are believers, some not. They come from different backgrounds and play different styles of music. They just want to give and help make the world a better place.
Another man from our church spoke to our Mayor today and it looks like we will probably be able to do this concert with lots of different bands in the center of our city. Unbelievable.
And I got an email today from a ministry that saw some of my videos on Youtube and wants me to do a promotional video for them. Turns out, they work heavily with the Lakota people at Pine Ridge. Uncanny.
It looks like things are falling into place whether I'm ready or not.
And I sit back and marvel. I feel afraid and so very inadequate but God is on the move it appears and so I have to follow.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I'm working on some ideas for Backpacks for Pine Ridge. I'm not even sure how this started but I'm pretty sure if I had known when I began this where it might lead that I wouldn't have done it. It still feels really overwhelming and frankly, I'm scared spitless.
My goal is to provide as many backpacks filled with school supplies to the children on the Pine Ridge Reservation as possible. My dream is to provide every child on the Pine Ridge Reservation with a backpack and school supplies. And foolishly, I would like to do this each year. Crazy huh? You bet.
I didn't know how crazy until this morning.
Since things seem to be doing well this year (we have enough for 3 villages and it's only Sept.) I thought maybe it might be a good idea to sit down and let that dream soar and just see what it would take to make it happen.
I was shocked.
Based on City-Data.org's information about how many children on the Reservation are enrolled in school, and based on the general assumption that $15.00 will buy one backpack and fill it with supplies (sometimes it's less, sometimes more), it would take .... are you ready for this??
I counted the number of zeros twice just to make sure.
That does not even take into consideration the cost of renting a truck and paying for fuel to get them there.
And we need that ... every year.
Now I'm sitting here asking myself "why in the world would I ever want to have a dream like this??? What was I thinking???"
But I'm also reminded that God is not short on cash. So I suppose we'll just go for it and if we fail it won't be for lack of trying.
There's also good news that comes on a regular basis. A friend on our MySpace page is a musician who is willing to donate a portion of her CD sales to this project. She is also wanting to present it to her church to see if they will join with us in this goal. Cool.
We've also had some very generous donations - two different donations of $1000.00 and many many other smaller ones.
And there's an event to raise awareness and money I'm working on... sort of working on. It's a big thing and it scares me to think of what it will take to pull it off, but what else is new. I didn't get into this without a lot of fear and trembling so that's just par for the course.
OK, well I'd better take a deep breath and get busy.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Dave has a funny and oh so true post about church carpet over at his blog.
Jim has a refreshingly wonderful post about what church is up on his blog.
And Josh has a post that will make you smile if not laugh. I should pass on this one because I believe he took a swipe at me in this post, but we'll let it pass.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Billy is a sad kid. An outcast among outcasts. He is an albino. His white skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes set him apart from the other kids who are almost all full blood or mixed blood Sioux. His home is a dump of a trailer that sits on the outskirts of the village. His mother tries, she really does, but it's not easy raising a child in poverty and living with an alcoholic husband. She once aspired to be a lawyer who would take action against child abuse on the Rez. I've not seen her for a few years and have no idea if her dream ever came to be. In all likelihood, probably not.
Billy never smiles. He is joyless, walking around with a blank stare as he goes through the motions of living. He is by far the most depressed child I have ever seen. He doesn't even fight like the other kids. He's given up caring enough to fight. He rarely speaks. Sometimes when spoken to, he will answer but usually he responds with a look of distrust as if he's wondering if he should respond or not. It's hard to tell if he's afraid or if it just takes too much energy to respond.
This year a strange thing happened. Billy smiled. We have pictures to prove it. For a moment this sad child forgot his sadness and enjoyed something as simple as play. For a moment he connected with someone who cared about him. Looking at that picture, it is all worth it. All the hard work is worth that one little smile.
I worry about Billy. I wonder what the future holds for a kid like him. I wonder if he has a future or if he will succumb to the hopelessness and become another statistic of despair on the Rez. I wonder what can be done for him. I am frustrated because a week on the Rez is simply not enough time to make much of a difference in his life. I can only pray for him and hope he remembers a moment when he experienced joy. I pray too that the memory of that experience may spark something in him ... the hope that he may have other moments like that one. And maybe that hope will see him through.
( I am not posting his picture out of respect for his privacy.)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
There's not a lot of U2 news lately. No new album, although one is in the works. No tour - gotta have an album first.
But U2 do a great job at finding ways to keep us interested. They keep coming out with new CDs and DVDs that are really the old stuff with a new twist. And U2 fans like me willing pay for them.
Yesterday I headed to the store to get the old/new PopMart DVD. I didn't follow U2 much during the Pop and Zoo TV eras. It's not that I walked away from them, I think I was just busy. I was dying in every sense of the word and spent a lot of time in recovery and therapy and reading. I was also trying to get to back to college at the same time. Life left little time for music. It was not a fun time (without music what's life??) yet it was a good time and one that I wouldn't trade. Besides, now I have an excuse to catch up on my favorite band via DVD. OK, well that's my excuse anyway.
Seems I'll have to come up with another excuse to buy something else I already have. According to @U2.com there is an Anniversary Edition of The Joshua Tree coming out. To quote them it will be available in three editions.
1. A digitally re-mastered standard album in a 'super' jewel case with a
2. A deluxe edition to include a 5" hardcover book with two wallets (at
front and back) to hold two CDs (the remastered album + rarities) and the
3. A limited edition to contain everything in the deluxe edition, plus one
DVD of a Paris show from The Joshua Tree tour.
The tentative release date is November 23, 2007.
Ah! There's my excuse....it's set to come out on my birthday!
I saw this ad for Apple Computers that was done back in 1983 with a struggling actor named Kevin Costner. I though Cathy might like it. Oh, I forgot, Cathy probably can't watch a video on the computer. Oh well.... sorry to torture you sweetie.
Wow, computers have come a long way.
And no Josh, if you're reading, I'm not getting a Mac. I'd like to but simply can't afford to switch over. Just getting a new Dell busted my bank.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
This is the kind of thing that creates a great deal of frustration on the Rez. I imagine they feel as if they've been forced into this situation by the government and now are being punished for it. They could be right. Along with the frustration, there is boredom because there is no TV. Boredom and frustration are not a good mix anywhere, least of all among people who have a history of being treated badly (to say the least). It is in times like these that drinking and gang violence increases. With it all kinds of other violence. It's understandable but it's still bad news. I feel bad for these people, many of whom are my friends. Poverty sucks. It just does. And there seems no way out of it and no hope for change.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
The kicker is - those nations have already paid the debts but they continue to pay them.
This crisis occurred when interest rates went through the roof. The resulting compound interest made it impossible for these nations to ever pay.
As I read the Bible it is clear to me that God cares about the poor and those who suffer injustice. He cares a lot. He even instituted a plan to make sure that the kind of situation we have before us now, wouldn't happen. In the seventh year there was to be a canceling of debts and in the jubilee (50th) year, land, which had been sold to pay of debts, was to be returned to its original owners, and slaves were to be freed.
In a time when 30,000 children are dying each day from preventable diseases, it's time for God's people to act.
Jubilee USA is calling for a fast. The plan is simple - we fast anytime between Sept. 6 - Oct. 15th and while fasting, pray for those suffering extreme poverty and injustice. Then take a moment to contact your Congressmen and ask them to Support the Jubilee Act H.R.2634
Friday, September 14, 2007
Gary made a new logo for Backpacks for Pine Ridge. How cool is it to have a very talented professional graphic artist volunteer to make a logo for you?! It looks great. He made several but the one you see on the sidebar is my favorite. It incorporates the Lakota flag (on the backpack) and the Lakota colors (Red, Yellow, Black & White).
Speaking of Backpacks ... the news is good! We now have enough backpacks and almost enough school supplies to take to THREE villages next summer. We are always collecting both $ and supplies. The more we get, the more we can give. This is really exciting. I guess it's just hard to explain unless you're there but this endeavor is truly needed and truly appreciated by the Lakota people. To be able to go to more than one village with these is just asweome!
Today I got the August/Sept. issue of the newsletter the missionaries out in Pine Ridge put out. About our group they said, 'They really rocked and rolled". They also mentioned the "extreme water fight". Yep, that would be our group.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I found this tonight that pretty much nails it. If anyone doesn't know an MP is Military Police, which is what Logan will be.
They make a hooded sweatshirt with this on it. I think I'm going to have to get one and wear it every day.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Now here we are years later and I still feel those same feelings that I felt the day of the attacks. Now they are accompanied by a strange mixture of other feelings.
As I wrote yesterday I have two nephews that are serving our country and a son who is about to enlist in the Army. My son plans also to be a police officer. For me, as for many Americans, this day is more than just a memory, it is personal.
Here is a tribute video. There will be many of those floating around the Internet today. This one is a bit long - 10 min. and the quality is not the best, but if you watch it until the end it will be well worth it.
* Update on my nephew. Last night we found out that he is one of the few Marines who has a chance to be selected to serve on the Presidential Security Detail. If he is chosen he will be in D.C. and will not see combat. We are praying for that.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I'm sick. It feels like someone has kicked me in the gut and I can barely breathe. For quite some time now my youngest, Logan, has been talking about enlisting in the Army despite the unbridled protest from his mother. It seems that the decision has been made though. He has talked to a recruiter and is filling out paperwork. I asked him to at least wait until the end of his senior year. He will not.
This is my worst nigthmare come to life. I really can't begin to describe how much I hate this. I normally have no desire to interfere in my children's lives and as far as I can remember I've only ever tried to control one of their decisions - this one.
I don't even know how he got here. We are not a big military family by any means. His father never wanted to serve in the military and I will not even watch a war movie. I do think the promise of money and the training as an MP (military police) are strong incentives for him. I keep telling him that COLLEGE will also prepare him to be a police officer. He's not listening.
I've fought this like nothing else. I've said I would fight Logan, the US Army and God himself if need be. Of course, I'll lose on all counts but that has never stopped me before. I seem to have to go down fighting. I'm a mother and this is my kid we're talking about. Nothing else matters.
But Logan has always had a strong sense of justice. It's that sense of justice that led him to want to be a police officer. He's been that way since he was a little bitty kid and chased after the much bigger neighborhood bullies with an axe. I thought I was raising an axe murderer back then but no, I was simply raising someone who wasn't afraid to go after the bad guys.
Me, I'm just wanting Jesus to hurry up and come back. I'm sick of this crazy messed up world with it's wars and poverty and injustice. I'm just ready for the time when there are no more bad guys to go after.
I also have a nephew in the Navy and another nephew who is in Marine boot camp as I type. What are these kids thinking? I'm proud of them all. I really am. But I'd be proud of them all regardless of what they did. They are every one good kids. Pray for them and for us moms who would much rather have our boys safe and sound than to be somebody's hero.
Friday, September 07, 2007
You know, people singing gospel music, they crowded into the churches from the ghettos, to make that 'Joshua fit the battle of Jericho/And the walls came tumbling down' step of faith. In their real life, they were living in leaky, rainy conditions, they were living in a sewer. So that's not the truth of their own experience. The blues is the truth of their own experience, therefore closer to this idea of 'knowing the truth and the truth shall set you free.'
In the Psalms of David, there is this powerful wailing against God. You know, 'You call yourself God!' and 'Where are you when I need you?' The Psalms of David are the blues, and I get great comfort from that."
From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived
when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, "Mercy, Master, Son
of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil
Jesus ignored her.
Did I read that right? Did it really say that Jesus ignored her?
The disciples came and complained, "Now she's bothering us. Would you please
take care of her? She's driving us crazy."
Jesus refused, telling
them, "I've got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of
Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees,
and begged. "Master, help me."
He said, "It's not right to take
bread out of children's mouths and throw it to dogs."
And now he's calling her a dog?
She was quick: "You're right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master's table."
Jesus gave in. "Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!" Right then her daughter became well.
So what's up with this?
Was Jesus really calling her a dog - the equivalent of a slur in those days?
Yes, I believe He was. There's not much of a way around it. I've read the commentaries about it but frankly, I don't buy their take on it. They seem to be pretty concerned with protecting Jesus and I happen to believe that Jesus doesn't need protecting from the likes of us.
But isn't it out of character for Jesus to slam someone like that?
Maybe, but then again, He did call the religious leaders a "brood of vipers". And they were highly offended.
Here's my take on it...
I think Jesus, being God in the flesh, knew this woman. I believe He knew her character well enough to know that she would not be offended by the slur. I think she was one of those non-religious yet truly spiritual followers of Jesus who didn't try to put on pretenses but who was honestly able to admit her sinful state and had enough faith in Jesus to believe that He would honor her request. I think Jesus knew this in advance. I think He knew this lady practiced a more honest relationship with Him than did those who put faith in their holiness. And I think He knew this was a good opportunity to show that kind of faith to those who were watching.
He had just gotten finished offending the Pharisees ...
After that, Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from
Jerusalem, criticizing, "Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the
But Jesus put it right back on them.
"Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God's commands?
You cancel God's command by your rules.
Frauds! Isaiah's prophecy of you hit the bull's-eye:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
but their heart isn't in it.
They act like they're worshiping me,
but they don't mean it.
They just use me as a cover
for teaching whatever suits their fancy."
I think God always honors honesty. I think He prefers it to piety. And I think He just loves to use the most unexpected people to teach us about Himself. That does fit with His character.
What do you think?
But it was a little sad saying goodbye to the ladies. Ms. Cranky took it well. Her main concern was who would be there to take care of her now. Someone will, she need not worry about that.
My 20 year-old cigar smoking drama queen was a bit more sad at my leaving. As she was getting on the bus this morning she started to say "see ya later" when she suddenly realized that I would not be back. She ran back with a sad look and gave me a hug and asked me to call or come visit sometime.
The amazing thing to me about all this is that she is the most soft-hearted one of the two I've cared for and yet she has plenty of reason to not want to get attached to people. Since she was a small child she has been shuffled from foster home to foster home and was badly abused in many of them. As a young adult she is not in the care of our company where she has a constantly changing staff. Over the years she has had no one that was there for her over any length of time. She has known cruelty from people and not a lot of care. It would be quite understandable if she shut people out and protected herself from further pain but she has not. She is very compassionate. She does have anger issues (who wouldn't) and she does get quite irate when she hears a news report of a child being abused. Just this morning the news was reporting on a mother who left her 2 year old in a car in 90+ degree weather, killing the child. The drama queen was upset that no charges were going to be filed against the mother in this case.
In the months that the drama queen has been in my care she has been a source of inspiration to me. She has her faults. She has an overactive sex drive. She uses language that would make a sailor blush. She can party with the best of them. But she also is a sweetheart who cares deeply for other people and will stand up for anyone being taken advantage of. She does beautiful sign language and dance to some of the contemporary praise music. For the things she has been dealt in life, she's not done too badly. I will miss her.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
So, just to get me going again (is that a good thing?) here are some updates.
- I only have ONE day left to work at my job and then I'm outta there. It may take a long to to wipe the smile off my face when I leave. I will miss Ms Cranky and my 20 year-old cigar smoking drama queen though.
- They have still not caught the guy who stole Brian's wallet, keys, and cell phone but I got an email from a friend tonight with an update .... apparently he's now hit a Gold's Gym in the area and stolen another credit card. I now have a picture of him and I am SO tempted to post it here. I may do that soon.
- We received an anonymous $1000.00 gift to Pine Ridge the other day. I'm amazed at how people are willing to give. I have now set up an online donation option on the Backpacks for Pine Ridge page. It should be working in the next day or two. We now have enough to provide backpacks/school supplies to TWO villages next year! And we are on our way to having enough for THREE villages! The more $ we get, the more we will give.
- I can't believe it but it's time for Pine Ridge to start again. We have an informational meeting this Sunday and I've been busy printing out packets for that. I also have some fun ideas for next year that I think the kids out there will love. We are doing a Beach theme complete with a water slide, a water fight, and a watermelon eating contest.
- My father-in-law is not well. Pray for him - he will soon be getting a new pacemaker and he needs a bone marrow biopsy and he has a suspicious polyp in his stomach. He will be 80 in Feb.
- I've been reading some excellent books by an author who lives near my hometown. I seldom like Christian fiction but this guy is good. Really good. I love a good crime novel and his character is a PI that is really likable. Check out Brandt Dodson's books at Amazon.com