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.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Historic

When I visit Pine Ridge Reservation I am always struck by the history of the place. Indeed, so much United States history has played out in that area that it is difficult to ignore it.

Today marks the anniversary of one of the most infamous of events that occurred there.
Today is the anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee. It is often referred to as the last battle between the United States and Indians. But there was no battle, only a massacre of innocents. Five hundred troops from the U.S. 7th Calvary which has formerly fought under General Custer, opened fire on 350 unarmed Lakota men, women and children.

The stories vary as they usually do when something like this happens. In short, the 7th Calvary was ordered to disarm the Lakota and it was during this process that a deaf man who did not understand what was happening refused to give up his rifle. Shots rang out and then chaos as
the Calvary opened fire. By the time it was over, more than 146 men, women and children of the Lakota Sioux lay dead. Twenty-five soldiers were also dead but it is not known whether they died at the hands of the Lakota or by "friendly fire".

While the bodies of the dead were left scattered over the field to freeze, the wounded were taken to an agency church which was quickly converted into a clinic. Ironically, being a few days after Christmas, the church was still decorated with a banner that read "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men".

The U.S. soldiers were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor, which still stand to this day. This video tells the story. It's almost 10 min. long, but it is extremely well done and informative.




Today is a historic day, but Pine Ridge Reservation continues to make history. In the early 70's there was an uprising at Wounded Knee. Our group always travels to Wounded Knee to see the Memorial with the mass grave from the 1890 massacre, and to see the church shot full of bullet holes during the 70's uprising.

And as recently as last week, the Lakota officially withdrew from the U.S. Today more history-making events are scheduled to occur when the Lakota reveal the "new land boundaries". I am curious to see how that will take place and what effects it will have.

Monday, December 24, 2007

People Tell Santa Things They Can't Tell Other People

I didn't want to go to the Christmas Eve service tonight, but I'm glad I did. It was a short and simple service with Christmas songs and lighting of candles while we hummed "Silent Night". Very nice.

A friend brought her bunny. That's right, a bunny, as in rabbit. She was kind enough to share and allow me to hold it throughout the service. When a family with young children came in, I moved over and sat with them so the kids could pet the bunny. They gently inspected it's ears, patted it's soft fur and examined it's feet. Their dad took pictures from his cell phone in the next pew. All of this occurred during the service. You might say we're a bit relaxed at our church. It was fun to hold the bunny and fun to watch the kids wonder at it. Somehow I don't think Jesus had a problem with it.

It was also good to see a couple of people who have been through a tough time lately ... people that I love and nearly lost recently. It was good to hug them and tell them I'm glad they are here. I really am.

We have a couple in our church who play Santa and Mrs. Claus at various places around town. Yesterday the lady was telling about some of the stories they hear as they are doing their Santa gig and said, "You know, people tell Santa things they can't tell other people".

When I walked in to the service tonight the man pulled out a folded up piece of notebook paper and showed me a letter to Santa that a little boy gave him today while he was playing Santa at a children's home. On it was a child's drawing of a mommy and a little boy and scrawled in childish handwriting was this note.


Today the most very important thing I want for Christmas is to see my birth
mom.

That's all I'm asking for.

That's all I want for Christmas

at the very bottom of my list.

But someday I'll find her somewhere out there.

I really love my birth mommy. I want to go back but I can't because

I don't' belong anywhere.

7 year-old boy




If you happen by here and read this tonight, please pray for this little one.

If you can't have a merry Christmas this year, I wish you a peace-filled one.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cancer is so Limited

My friend Tim posted this on another forum and I asked his permission to post it here.

Cancer is so limited.

It cannot shatter hope.

It cannot corrode faith.

It cannot cripple love.

It cannot destroy God’s peace.

It cannot kill friendship.

It cannot suppress memories.

It cannot silence courage.

It cannot invade the soul.

It cannot conquer the spirit.

It cannot steal God’s gift of eternal life.

Cancer is so limited.

Author Unknown

An Inspiring Story

This is a very cool story. A pastor in Ohio gave away 40 thousand dollars one Sunday along with a challenge .... and that action changed the congregation.

But it wasn't the money; everyone said so. It was something else, something far
less tangible but yet so very real. For seven weeks an almost magical sense of
excitement and energy and camaraderie infused the elegant red-brick church on
Bell Street, spilling over into homes and hearts as the parable of the talents
came alive.


Read the entire story here It's a bit lengthy but worth it to see the impact it had.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Taser's Enjoys Her Eggnog!

Oh my favorite! Eggnog!
You've really got to lay down to enjoy this

Yeah, it's all mine I'm not sharing a bit of it with Jazz

Oh man, this is the good stuff too


I think it's gone but I might be able to lick up a bit on the sides of the cup

Nope, it's all gone






Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm Not Sure What This Means


This has been passed around of several bulletins from Native Americans on MySpace for the past week or so. Now Fox News is reporting on it. I'm not sure what this means or what the consequences or benefits will be but the Lakota Sioux have withdrawn from all U.S. treaties and declared themselves a sovereign nation which will be issuing their own passports and driver's license. Residents will be able to live there tax-free if they renounce their U.S. citizenship.




I'm not sure how that will change or what it will change, if anything. It seems to me these treaties were only kept in the ways which befitted the U.S. And I was always under the impression that the reservations were already sovereign nations, hence the name "The Great Sioux Nation". They already have their own government, police, etc. And no state police are allowed on the reservation without permission. The FBI are allowed onto the reservation but we all know how that went back in the 70's.
I've asked around to see what benefits and/or consequences this will have for the Lakota people and no one seems to really know. I hope it helps in some way and doens't hurt. I think it may have the potential to do both.

Overwhelmed

Yeah, this cartoon fits. I am swamped this week and getting a little cranky about it -ask Brian. Normally I pace myself and don't overcommit so that I don't get overwhelmed but this week there's this little thing called Christmas that has messed all of that up.

Here's my week...

I have had 23 dozen cookies to bake for what is FINALLY the last of the Holiday Candy/Cookie fundraiser for the PR trip. We started in Nov. and I am SO GLAD this is over.

Working on Rezonate '08 and the 2008 Pine Ridge trip has left me with little time for anything else. Good thing I quit my job - I don't have time to work.

I also had a last minute Christmas gift to buy this week. Normally I have that done by now but this one was one of those hard to find things ... and it was requested that I buy it. Not even scouring the Internet helped me locate this thing. But I have a substitute bought and wrapped now.

I have not even attempted Christmas cards this year. I usually have those done right after Thanksgiving but again, this year has been different.

I can't remember the last time I cleaned my house and believe me, that is not good. With the crazy Ohio weather we have extreme cold, rain, freezing rain, snow, and then it heats back up to the mid-40's which thaws it all out and makes massive mud. With two dogs that think they should have the run of the house - that's a problem. At least the mud on the floor has dried and made a nice dust covering now which helps to hide all the other stuff that was on there before.

Today I've really got to clean it though. When my 18 year old son is complaining about the house being dirty, I know it's really bad. His friend wanted to hang out here tomorrow and Logan told her the house was too messy.

Tomorrow I am meeting a friend and we're going to see if we can drum up any sponsors for Rezonate '08. I really wish SOMEONE would take this and run with it. We need sponsors. We need them now. And I really don't have time to do this. Oh, that reminds me, I've got to make up more packets today too so we have plenty tomorrow. OK, note to self - don't forget to do more packets.

OK, and at some point I need to get a shower and wash my hair. But I shouldn't do that until after I 've cleaned the floors because I'll probably get pretty dirty doing that.

If anyone comes to my door today, I'm not answering it. It's 1 in the afternoon and I still have yesterday's make up on and have not showered and look like something the cat dragged in.

Well, back to work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Let's Say Thanks

If you go to this web site, letssaythanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq.
You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services. There is also a place where you can read feedback from the soldiers. It only takes a second to say "thanks".

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas on the Rez

We were fortunate enough to be able to go to the reservation on Friday and Saturday for a short visit with some friends there and to deliver a few Christmas gifts. It was wonderful. The badlands look so awesome covered in show. I wanted to share a bit of this experience with you so I've posted some pics over on the Pine Ridge blog and I've put together two videos from our trip. I don't know why but the videos were a pain in the butt to do today. I kept running into weird problems with it and almost said "forget it". Neither of them are what I originally had. They are not well edited, but they are what they are ... a little taste of our trip. Hopefully you'll get a feel for it.

It's embarrassing to put myself there in the video ... posting a pic of myself is bad enough but video is worse, but hey, it's not about me, right. The last two people in the video are the missionaries there. She is not well and needs our prayers.



The Outtakes

This is all that went wrong and a bit of our foolishness. I am working on a promotional video for Backpacks For Pine Ridge and had hoped to shoot a bit of video explaining why we do what we do. I had wanted the village in the background but the day we were there it was snowing and the wind was blowing so that it didn't work out at all... you'll see.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We're Off to the Reservation!!


I am so excited! I can't wait till tomorrow when we pull into the reservation. We will be back Saturday evening and I'll be posting pics ... and hopefully a video.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Feedback Requested

Here is a sample of a promotional video I'm working on for Rezonate '08. It's less than a minute long and gives a basic idea of what I'm working on.

I would love to have your feedback on this video. Please be honest - are there too many effects? Can you read everything OK? Should we go in another direction?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Video Greeting Card

I'm posting this so our team memebers who participated can see the video Christmas card we made for our friends on the Pine Ridge Reservation, then I'll be taking it down. Anyone else is free to watch as well. :)

I'm an Angel. No, Really, I Am

Here are a few pics from our church Christmas thingy.


Logan and my Dad


Logan and me

Nikki and me (no I'm not a pregnant angel, it just looks that way. The light does look pretty cool on those wings though.)










Thursday, December 06, 2007

The View Outside My Window


Winter finally arrived. Some of us wondered if it would come this year and could have sworn we would be mowing the lawn in January. But yesterday we got our first snow. It was beautiful and most of the kids got a day off school.
Today it is bitterly cold. The temp when I woke up was 10 degrees. Now it is 8 degrees.
I made it to Walmart before 8 am, which is pretty miraculous since I usually wake up about then. My dogs are especially grateful since we were out of dog food.
Tonight is the dress rehearsal for the Christmas musical that I now wish I had not agreed to be in. Tomorrow I'll have a funny story to post about typical preacher's wives.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

OK, I'm Officialy In The Christmas Spirit - for the moment

I've had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. Christmas seemed an interruption to me. I had been busy and had not been keen on the idea of dragging out the tree and putting all the decorations on it again just to have to take it all down in a month or so and clean it all up. Seemed like a hassle to me. And no one in our family could figure out what they wanted. We all have everything we want and need. Even the things I do want don't really seem that important. There's nothing I couldn't live without. It seemed silly to have someone buy me something just because I sort of wanted it. I was really feeling like Scrooge ... until yesterday.

You see, a week or so ago Brian and I went to see The Christmas Promise Tour. As we were leaving I looked up into the night sky commented on all the stars. "It's not quite a South Dakota sky, but it's getting there", I said to Brian. That's when it hit me. I turned to Brian and half jokingly said, "That's what I want for Christmas. I want to go to the reservation and hand deliver the gifts we bought for the families there". Knowing full well that was just a pipe dream I forgot about it. Almost.

Yesterday I was boxing up the gifts we bought, getting them ready to ship to South Dakota. I told Brian that while we were out on our date night I needed to stop by Office Depot and get some packing material. Over dinner he suggested that we look at some flights and see if we could get a good deal. He offered to use some money from a gift we received to pay for plane tickets.

We came home, looked at flights, made some calls and today we booked the flight! We'll only be there for a day, but it will be so much fun. The families do not know we're coming. I can't wait to knock on their door and see their reaction. The missionary there knows we're coming and said she would make sure the families were home that day but would not tell them we were going to stop by.

I'm also going to make a video Christmas card of video taped messages from those here who have gone out to the reservation. I'll put it together with some background Christmas music and give each family we visit a copy.

We leave next Friday!

I can't wait.

When I called the missionary last night some of the kids were there. My girl Bree was there. She is 6 years old and her and I are very attached. She got on the phone and said, "Who is this?"

I said, "It's Amber."

"REALLY? I miss you. When are you coming out here?"

Pretty soon. I'll be there pretty soon.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I Don't Normally Do This, But ...

I am going to recommend, dare I say it, Christian music. Yeah, that's right, me, the person who rarely listens to Christian music, am going to recommend a Christian Christmas concert.



Last Thursday evening Brian and I went to the Christmas Promise concert with Newsong and Todd Agnew. It was beautiful. Did I like everything about it. No, but I did enjoy the music. Their voices are truly amazing. If this event comes to your area, I would say it's worth your time to go.




You can read about it here.




And see a clip of Todd Agnew here. I especially liked his portion of the concert. He has a Christmas CD out. Each song on the CD is from a different point of view of each of the characters in the Christmas story. Interesting.


Now a lot of you are wondering why I don't normally listen to Christian music. Well, working in Christian retail kinda opened my eyes to some of the seedier aspects of "Christian" business. Whether it's retail, or the music business, or "Christian" publishers, there's just a lot that rubbed me wrong. I have difficulty seeing how a ministry can be a business. It seems they start out with the right motive but get caught up into the business end of it. I kinda wish they would get on one side or the other. I'm not saying it's wrong, just that I have trouble stomaching it.


That's one reason, the other is that I dislike the isolation that having a nice little "Christian" world brings. I thought we were supposed to be in the world, not of it. Seems to me the more isolated we are from the world, the less we do that.


But that's just me. I do listen to Todd Agnew because he seems more down to earth than a lot of Christian music artists. There's something about him that reminds me of Rich Mullins.




Thinking BIG

One of my friends always teases me saying, "This is my friend Amber - she dreams big". I admit, when I first began thinking about providing backpacks and school supplies to the entire Reservation, I thought I was dreaming big too.

And when I thought about having an all-day long benefit concert in the center of our town, I thought I was dreaming big.

But I was not dreaming big enough it seems.

This thing is exploding.

When I wanted to have it at The Village Green and was not allowed, I was disappointed. When another big location didn't work out, I was again disappointed. But when a 330 acre park opened it's doors wide and welcomed us to have the event there - I was amazed. Not only is the place BIG but it's very well known. Everybody knows where The Voice of America park is becasue of it's historical significance - and it's size.

Now a Dove Award winning artsist is coming to perform. Along with being a performer, he is a song writer with a major record company and currently has a song out that Rodney Atkins took to #1. It was just voted "song of the year". And he is going to see if another internationally known band will come. He's good friends with the lead singer and producer of that band. Who knows .....

And we're talking to a nationally known speaker - one I really like (no hints other than that one though).


Now The Underground, a wildly popular concert venue in our area who hosts local and national bands/artists is now onboard.

And I just received word from someone on our MySpace that they are going to try to attend the event. The kicker is - they live in Maryland! Here I was targeting our local area and someone from Maryland is thinking about attending.

Wow.

Do you ever just feel like something is taking off - with or without you. I'm feeling that way about now.

Thanks to Josh for getting the web site up.

Thanks to Gary for working on some logos - we'll pick one soon.

And thanks to John, Paula, Jessica and Tim and Brian for all of their hard work. We have a whole team of people who are just blowing me away with their enthusiam and willingness to work hard.