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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

But Will it Grow?

Well we're finally finished. Almost. I still have 3 Burning Bushes to plant and I need to mulch some more but ... we're almost there. Here is what it looks like now...
(click on the pics to enlarge)

Planted in the back: Catmint

Planted in the middle: Yellow Daylillies

Planted in the front: Firewitch

The catmint will eventually look like this. IF all goes as planned we should have a row of lacy lavender catmint, a row of yellow daylillies and then a row of pink and purple Firewitch.

This is the rock garden. It was always a problem area where nothing would grow.
Now there is lots of little creeping things with tiny pink and purple flowers along with some things that have cool looking foliage.

The stone path replaces the sidewalk and will eventually have Irish Moss growing to fill in the cracks.

The steps replace the old ones that fell off.

But the question remains... will it grow or die?
I will post more pics around June when everything should be in full bloom and will look better.
Right now, I'm going to go crawl off and die somewhere. I am SO out of shape.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Remember This Little Guy?

I've always loved this picture. This little guy was just so adorable and danced for all he was worth. I think Tim took the picture when we were at the small Pow Wow the year before last. I've always wondered who this little guy is. Well, today I got an email from his dad. He had seen one of my videos on Youtube and sent me a message telling me this was his son. He told me his son's name and asked if he could have a copy of the picture.
I invited him to bring his son to see us and pick up a backpack this summer when we're there. I hope he does. Couldn't you just eat him up. He's so cute I can't stand it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Famous Last Words of a Redneck - "Hey y'all, watch this"

We've been working on some major landscaping. I am not a gardner, at all. I tend to kill whatever I get a hold of and if they don't die outright, they sit and beg to be put out of their misery.

Which is why one of my flower beds looks like this.

Needless to say, we have work to do if we want our neighbors to remain happy.

But as projects seem to do, this one grew.

First we were just going to tear out all of the old shrubs that are overgrown and dying and plant some new ones. Maybe plant some flowers too. Nothing that takes much looking after because, well, you know, I'll kill them, but something to at least look like we're trying to beautify the place.

But of course, if you're going to do it, may as well do it right ... right? That's the kind of thinking that got us into trouble.

We have this one problem area beside the garage where a lot of cement is and nothing will ever grow there, so I thought I would put a rock garden there. I've never done a rock garden before and until earlier this week, didn't even know what one was. But I've googled it so I think I can do this.

Then Brian decided that he would take out one of the three sections of sidewalk that has cracked. I figure hey, if we're going to tear out one section of sidewalk, why not tear it all out and make a "garden path" there instead. I've never liked that sidewalk anyway and a garden path would go better with the cottage style flower garden we have planned.

That's when things got ugly. Really ugly.

It meant getting a sledge hammer and busting up all of the old cement sidewalk. And it was a hot day the day Brian did it. Now Brian is pretty buff and pretty strong - ask him, he'll tell you all about how he broke a machine at the Y by lifting too much weight for the machine. But by Wed. night he was doubled over in pain and was throwing up. He over did it. Too much swinging of a sledge hammer in the heat and not enough water will apparently do that to ya.

Then, halfway thought tearing out the sidewalk, the steps fell off. That's them, laying in the flower bed.

So now we've got to build new steps. And a new garden path. And a rock garden. And then till up the old flower bed and plant something new.

I've spent too much time on the phone with nurseries this week and have decided that nursery people really just don't like me. Maybe they can tell by my voice that I'm not a plant person and are trying to protect their plants from the likes of me, but they have been rude and completely unhelpful. At one I visited the other day I simply walked in and before I could say or do anything (the door had not even finished closing behind me) the guy said, "you may as well go on back out". I did.

This morning Brian and I went to the rock place to order rock for the path and the rock garden. We walked around and picked out several small boulders for the rock garden. When we asked how to weigh them so we could pay, we were told that if they had to use the Bobcat to move them it would cost more so Brian and I took the Ford Escort and he and I loaded it up with boulders and drove it to the scale. Yes, I lifted the boulders too - Brian threatened to take a picture. Then, don't ya know it after she weighed them she got the Bobcat and moved them to pile to be delivered to us on Monday. Now why couldn't she have done that to begin with?

Then it was off to Home Depot to get stuff to make new steps. Yes, we loaded the Ford Escort up again and drove it, very carefully and very slowly home. I feel like such a Redneck sitting in the car holding onto these long planks so they won't fall out the back. Brian just said, "Oh no problem ... we can get that in the car." Sure we can. As long as the wife sits there holding onto it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Love it When

Not to get me wrong, I love BIG donations to Backpacks For Pine Ridge too, but I just love it when a lot of people pull together in small ways to make things happen.

Today was weird ... I got the following messages/mail.A letter from England with a check for Backpacks for Pine Ridge. England?? Now that is strange enough but this is even stranger .... he said he read about us in True West magazine. I have no idea what or who or where True West magazine is or how in the world we got in it, but we're appraently in it and they must have my home address because the check came to my house. Weird. But wonderful.

I also got a message from a friend on the Backpacks myspace saying that the auto repair shop she works for in Tacoma, WA has set out a donation jar for us. How cool is that? Yeah, it may be pocket change but hey, it all adds up. If you're in Tacoma, WA and need your car worked on, check out A&E Automotive on South Tacoma Way.

Good things are happening.

Just a Reminder

Just a reminder to vote for our friends 8 Lives Spent in the Fox Rocks DC contest. You can vote once a day and if you have more than one email address you can sign up with each and vote once a day with each email address. These guys are going out of their way (16 hours on the road) and to great personal expense to help out Backpacks for Pine Ridge so please take a minute and go vote for them. Click the link - they're the first band listed.


Monday, April 21, 2008

My Lousy Day

I've had better days. I have had worse ones though too so I really shouldn't complain, but I will.

I woke up and first thing checked email/blogs while drinking that all important first cup of coffee. The first thing I read was that my friend David had to put his dog Noah down today. I hate that. I really really hate that. I never officially met Noah but I'm going to miss him. Somehow I think the world is a bit worse off since the best dog in the world is no longer with us. I'm not being a bit sarcastic about that either -I really mean that and if you know what a dog person I am then you know I mean it.

The rest of the day went downhill from there. I've cried, I've been crabby and I'm glad its now time to go to bed and forget this day. I came home from shopping for landscaping stuff (which I know nothing about) and wanted to crawl into my pjs and crash but before I could do that I had to run to Wal-mart.

I stopped by the Wal-mart gas station first to fill up since someone told me gas is going to go up to $3.60 tomorrow. Apparently I was too late. The price was still $3.33 but they were out of gas. Can you believe that? Out of gas? Who runs out of gas these days? Wal-mart does I guess.

So I went on into the store and weaved my way around the night stock crew to get groceries, whipped past the underwear section to get some new undies and then made my way to the cash registers.

Don't ya know it, they had shut down the self-check lanes and there was only 2 lanes open and both were packed. The line was WAY long and several people in those lines had a cart full of stuff. I thought about leaving but knew I'd just have to come back tomorrow so I settled in for a long wait.

Finally a third cashier came to open a lane. Two people with very full carts quickly got into her lane. That was when I remembered that I had underwear in my cart and the other two cashiers were guys. Now call me crazy but I just have a thing about a guy ringing up my underwear so even though it meant I would have to wait longer I got into her lane. And don't ya know it - she ended her shift and a guy came and took over for her. Crap. Now I had no choice. A guy was going to ring up my underwear anyway. I told myself it was OK....that he probably wouldn't even pay attention to what item he was ringing up... that he would just scan it and bag it and not even look. I told myself that he rang up hundreds of people's purchases a day and mine would be of no consequence to him. I told myself that he really wouldn't even care what kind of underwear I wore.

About the time I got myself talked into it being OK, it was my turn. I told him I had two separate purchases and wanted them rang up separately please. Then I rummaged through my purse so I wouldn't have to look at him. Mistake. I should have paid attention because when I did look up he was ringing it all together. Great. Now I've got to sort it all out and pay Brian back for some of the stuff. That was fine but then the horror of horrors happened. The cashier guy started talking to me ....which meant that I had to keep looking at him and we were not to the underwear yet. Then he picked up my underwear, looked at it, looked at me and said, "I see you in here all the time". Great. So much for anonymity. And now he knows what kind of undies I wear. I really need to start shopping somewhere else.

VOTE for these guys - please

Most of you reading here know that we are doing a day long concert at VOA park in August to benefit Backpacks for Pine Ridge.

One of the bands coming to Rezonate '08 are competing in a context on Fox DC (they are from the DC area) and they are needing our help.

The way I see it, they are going to be spending about 16 hours on the road and giving us at least 2 days of their time - all at their own expense to help out the kids at Pine Ridge by playing at our concert. Not only that but their bass player is designing 2 custom Dean guitars that will be raffled off to help Backpacks for Pine Ridge.

If they are doing all of that to help out, the very least we can do is take 3 min. of our time to click on the picture link below, sign up, and vote for them. Yeah, you have to have an account and it will take about 3 min. to do it but you only do that once and then you can vote every day.

I am asking you to please take a moment to do that. They are 8 Lives Spent, the first band on the page! Just click the link and follow the directions. THANKS!


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Its Only Rock 'n Roll

Just back from seeing the Stones movie, Shine a Light, again. Thursday night Brian and I saw it. Tonight I went with some people from church who will remain nameless. ;) I was disappointed in it the first time I saw it, but tonight I enjoyed it much more. I just love Keith Richards. I really do. I have this crazy feeling that he'll be playing right smack in front of the throne in heaven one day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

And the Earth Shook

Around 5:30 this morning people in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, & Ohio awoke to an earthquake. Apparently it shook for a long time and was the strongest we've ever had in this part of the country. The epicenter was very near my hometown but shook buildings as far away as Chicago and Cincinnati. As far as I know, no real damage was done. Brian felt it here. Me, I slept right through it.

It was 47 years ago today that another earthshaking event occurred. Brian was born. The world will never be the same. I told him yesterday that I'm happy to be married to a guy who is SO far out of my league. He had no clue what that meant and then proceeded to swim in his dinner plate getting his crawfish all over him, and half the table. Then we went to see the Stones movie and just as the Stones were taking stage, he went to get more salt for his popcorn. Who does that??

Do Any of These Women Look Old to You?

Madonna - born 1958

Supermodel Iman - born 1955

Brooke Shields - born 1965

Helen Hunt - born 1963

Julianne Moore - born 1960

Marcia Cross - born 1962

Courtney Cox Arquette - born 1964

Me - born 1961

OK, it may not be the wisest idea to post a pic of myself alongside those ladies, but my point is that we are all about the same age. So, would you call any of us old? I think not.

Why is this an issue. Well, recently I've had a few "age-related" conversations. One with with a young man in our church who in all honesty meant it as a compliment when we had the following conversation (or something close to it - I can't remember entirely because they say memory is the first to go).

He: "you're really an inspiration to us younger people"

Me: "are you saying that I'm old? Is that what you're saying?"

He: "oh no, no. I'm just saying that you're old than me."

Now he should have stopped right there but he went on to explain....

"You should be proud of your age. With age comes wisdom."

Me: "There ya are with the age thing again."

Poor guy. He's not going to live this down anytime soon. ;)

Then I was asked to speak at a conference for the young adults at church ... and the topic I'm supposed to share my testimony on - "Live a Legacy, Leave a Legacy".

Yeah, that's right. Does that not sound like something an old person would speak on?? My feeling is that I've just now begun to live my life and am no where near old enough to talk about leaving a legacy. But I'm going to give it a shot. Have no idea where I'll go with it but I'll shoot for it.

My friends are quick to point out that we are aging. Well, maybe they are. I don't feel a day over 20. OK, well maybe we'd better make that 30.

Thankfully restaurants don't believe I'm old yet. I was recently carded trying to get into an Irish pub for dinner and last night Brian and I went out to eat where I was told I would not be able to order what I really wanted off the menu unless I was a senior citizen and the waitress was sure they would not believe I was. Thank God for small gestures that boost my ego. Then we went to see the Stones movie. Now those guys are old. I know, I know, the fact that I listen to the Stones probably dates me. Middle age is so ... troubling.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Quote

“God has called us to be lovers and we frequently think that He meant us to be saviors. So we “love” as long as we see “results.” We give of ourselves as long as our investments pay off, but if the ones we love do not respond, we tend to despair and blame ourselves and even resent those we pretend to love. Because we love someone, we want them to be free of addictions, of sin, of self—and that is as it should be. But it might be that our love for them and our desire for their well-being will not make them well. And, if that is the case, their lack of response no more negates the reality of love than their quickness to respond would confirm it.” - Rich Mullins

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Crisis in Haiti

I heard some news recently that broke my heart. Having been to Haiti in 2003, I have a bit of my heart left there. The picture here was one I took while in Haiti. Tammi, the group leader and I went walking about the village giving out tickets to come to the mission and get food. We nearly walked past this little hut when we happened to look over and see this man and new we had to stop.

The thing that breaks my heart is that the people are starving. So much so that they are rioting over the recent spike in food prices. The cost of a bag of rice has doubled in the past few months and in a country where most of the people live in less than $2 a day, that is devastating. One news source reports that the Haitian people have taken to calling this crisis of starvation "Clorox hunger" because it feels like Clorox is eating away at their stomachs. So far in the rioting at least one UN peacekeeper has been killed and who knows how many Haitians.

Now I could go on and on, and in fact I did but then deleted it and decided to get to the point. I am posting this to ask for your prayers. Please take a moment, just a moment, you can spare that, and pray for the Haitian people. And pray for the group from our church who are planning to travel there this summer. Pray for their safety. Brian will be going with this group and I'm sure he will be blogging about that as the time gets closer. The groups that were to go in April have been told not to come because of the rioting there. Pray for the missionaries there. If you read no other blog today, please check out Heather's blog. I promise it will be worth your time.

Heather's Blog

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Have a Hangover

Did you ever have a day that was so good that it just takes a while to get over it?

Yesterday was that kind of day for me. OK, maybe I get excited too easily, or maybe I get my hopes up too quickly - or maybe it was just a good day. Frankly, I don't want to analyze the thing to death, I just want to enjoy it. (BTW, this is my new little cartoon me)

Last Sunday I spoke briefly to our church to try to sell them on the idea of getting behind a secular rock concert. Not an easy task considering that our church comes out of that old time "holiness" movement that believed that women should aways wear dresses, NO jewelry was to be worn - not even a wedding ring, movies and dancing were strictly forbidden - even Christian movies. This was not so long ago either - when I was a young adult I attended a church within our movement where if you went to movies you were not permitted to serve in any capacity at church. I always wondered who would want to serve in a church like that, but then I guess that explains why I didn't serve there.

Anyway, apparently it went OK last week because people are coming out of the woodwork wanting to be involved with Rezonate '08. We picked up another sponsor yesterday and possibly another one as well. Someone else gave us a $600 donation and a little old lady who can't really afford to give, gave us $60. Amazing. Earlier in the week an online friend (you know who you are ;) gave $118.00 and a couple of weeks ago a young mother who has lost a child (you also know who you are) gave a gift to Backpacks in memory of her son on his birthday. I can't even begin to express what an honor it is and how humbling it is to have people do things like that. It really just blows me away. I really just have no words for something like that ... a "Thanks" seems so inadequate.

Another friend came to me yesterday with a great idea ... he asked if I remembered a radio personality who used to be on the air in our area. I did. Well, turns out, he is good friends with the guy and wanted to know if we would like to have this radio personality introduce the bands and do the MC stuff at the concert. YES, we would like that. Last night I was told he had been contacted and would "be honored" to be a part of it. And it turns out too that this radio personality is good friends with Brian White who will be performing at Rezonate '08. The first time Brian heard one of his songs played on the radio this DJ was the one who played it. Brian drove to the radio station immediately and they've been friends ever since. Brian (White) is now up for the Academy of Country Music "Song of the Year" award and I expect he'll win it.

And another friend said that 3 more bands have contacted us wanting to play the event. We don't need 3 more bands. Actually I have bands out the wazoo who want to play the event. But there is a good possibility that we can get one of the more popular bands in our area to join us. We already have some really great talent lined up ... some that I'm really excited about but can't say who they are yet.

Its looking like this is a go and that it will be a good thing. Maybe even a really good thing. I know I'm excited!

Lots to work out of course but I'm not stressed ... I'm just enjoying it. Looking forward to it even.

And then, the finale.

Last night the Omega Youth were in charge of the service at church. I always love it when the youth do the service. I had my expectations high. Maybe too high. I was a little worried that I had them so high that I might be disappointed but instead - they exceeded my expectations. It was AWESOME! I know, awesome is an overused word but there are just some things that are awesome and last night was one of them. If you missed it, go and weep wildly because you really missed it.

They acted. They sang. They danced (yes danced). Two of our guys played "Wipe Out" on the drums and switched off playing in the middle of the song without missing a beat. It was wild. It was wonderful and the congregation squealed with delight.

Our Kids Doing Wipe Out

And then they did this skit and had everyone in tears. It was powerful. Really powerful. Please take a moment to watch it.

Lifehouse "Everything" Skit: - at first it seems a little weird but watch till the end and I dare you not to be touched. Both of my boys, my big strong, manly boys cried when they saw this for the first time.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Again, for Cathy

What ya wont do for your friends. My bff Cathy (we have our own unique interpretation for bff) has said that I look far too serious in the pictures of me in Ireland. Well, there's a reason for that. The pics of me smiling or being silly were HORRIBLE and me, not wanting anyone to know how awful I looked, didn't post those pics. In fact, when I went through all the pics my thoughts were "geez, I knew I was ugly but I didn't know I was that ugly". So, to prove to Cathy that I was not utterly depressed while in Ireland and to overcome my vanity, here are the pics that did not make the first postings. OK, now I'm off to therapy. ;)

Heroes Among Us

I'm sitting here, supposed to be working on Sunday School and Pine Ridge stuff, but instead I'm watching the funeral of two of our local heroes. Today Cincinnati is burying two firefighters who lost their lives protecting others in a house fire.
Robin Broxterman was a young mother and Brian Schira was just 29 years old. Last week they were alive and well and going about their daily lives like the rest of us. Today they are being buried because they willingly made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of other people, strangers who they did not even know. They are just two of the heroes who put their lives on the line for our benefit every day. Others serve and may never have to give up their lives, but they are willing to if need be.
Firefighters are my heroes. They are just the best of the best.
As a side note that seems inappropriate to even talk about in this post .... the fire department yesterday agreed to come out to Rezonate '08. They will be bringing out the trucks to show off and spending time there. Some of the firefighters/EMTs will also be volunteering their time to provide First Aid at the event. And all of it is to help the Lakota kids and be a service to the community.

Monday, April 07, 2008

For Cathy

This is for my bff Cathy who is wanting to know what the gates at Bono's house say. They say a lot ... some of it I can't make out, but here is what I've got.

In the service of God one can learn three things from a child and seven from a thief.
From a child one can learn 1) always be happy 2) never to sit idle 3) and cry for everything one wants. From a thief you should learn 1) to work at night 2) if one cannot gain it in one night to try again the next night 3) to love one's co-workers just as thieves love each other 4) to be willing to risk one's life even for a little thing 5) not to attach too much value to things even though you've risked your life for them just as a thief will resell a stolen article for a fraction of its worth 6) to withstand all kinds of beatings and tortures but to remain what you are and 7) to believe that your work is worthwhile and not be willing to change it.

And there is also a poem by Yeats

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Saddest Birthday Cake Ever

Today is my youngest son's 19th birthday. Hard to believe he is that old. Harder to believe that I'm that old too. I don't feel much older than 19 myself.

For his birthday he wanted a German Chocolate cake. I made one. And it fell apart in a big way. I think I need a bowl to put this thing in.
OK, now normally I do OK baking. I've made some pretty decent looking baseball cakes, train cakes, and swimming pool cakes for my kid's past birthdays, but for some reason a simple German Chocolate cake ended up looking like a disaster on a plate.

As I was frosting it, it just started coming apart and falling everywhere. The cake wasn't the only thing that cracked up - so did I. Too funny.
I'm making another one. I sheet cake this time. :) But trust me, this mass of cake and frosting will not go to waste.

Friday, April 04, 2008

So, We're Home

We got back late last night. The flight from Dublin to Chicago was long but good. Then we arrived in Chicago and were greeted by some of the rudest people in the world (employees of an American airline). I can only hope that people entering our country from other countries are given better treatment. Anyway we got in well past midnight, which was somewhere closer to 5 or 6 am Dublin time. Needless to say, we were exhausted.

Today I'm well rested and I'm getting to wash my hair in my own shower and use my own hair appliances and drink my own coffee out of my own coffee pot - all great things to be able to do, but to be honest, I'm having difficulty being home. I'd rather be in Ireland. I simply wasn't ready to come home - probably because I know it will likely be our last trip there. It took 25 years for us to be able to get there one time. Oh we would go back in a heartbeat but there is always the issue of $$$ That is what will prevent us from going back. Now I know I should just be grateful that I got to go once, which is more than a lot of people ever get to do, but well, shoot, I'm bummed.

Some good things about being home .....

I didn't gain weight! I thought I would. Afterall, I ate fish & chips all over Ireland. The best were at a pub in a little village called Newmarket-On-Fergus.

I ate one full Irish breakfast (which went through me at least 3 times) and we did a lot of sitting in the car. But according to the scales, I didn't gain one pound.

I also discovered that I make good Irish soda bread. About a year and a half ago I found a recipe for wheaten Irish soda bread and have been making it for a while now but since I had never eaten real Irish soda bread, I had no idea if I was coming close or not. It's a bit hard when you don't know what you're shooting for, but you know what - my Irish soda bread is dead on the real thing. If you want me to post the recipe, just ask.

I've also discovered a new snack bar that I like a lot. It is not from Ireland but its good. Not sure if they can be bought in the US but I've emailed the company to see. We found them at Nude, a WONDERFUL little place to eat in Dublin. Nude offers fantastic very fresh food - organic whenever possible - in an ultra-cool, youthful environment. Just off Grafton Street, it’s a great place for a healthy breakfast or a quick snack, with plenty of room to sit down at long canteen-style tables. A choice of soups all come with with freshly baked breads; there are hot wraps - or try the chill cabinet for salads like Caesar or tomato & mozzarella, and cold wraps or soft bread rolls. Freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and organic Fair Trade coffees, teas and herbal teas are all very popular. The Hewson boys both know their stuff. :)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Irish Country Roads

Irish Towns



I can't remember where these were taken

Signs & Funny Sights Around Ireland

The Guinness sign is a classic in Ireland. We've seen a million of these.
It says "Stud Fitting". You figure it out.

Brian is choking the poor lamb.

Traffic calming... hmmm... we encountered some pretty stressful traffic so I guess they have to calm it from time to time.

The ever present reminder to drive on the left.

Yes, they do paint the sheep green. We were told that the government used to come in and count the sheep in a field to determine how much to pay the farmer. Well, the Irish being very creative just moved the sheep from one field to another so that sheep were counted more than once which helped out the farmers - until they didn't have enough sheep to turn in when it came time to do that. Now they mark them so they can't be counted more than once.

This was a strange sight. Walking the walls in Derry there was a church with what appears to be a pirate grave in the church graveyard? There must be a story there.

They must serve some strong coffee

This one cracked me up.

Glass doors on the public bathroom ... or as they call it, the toilet. So much for privacy.

And this is the public toilet. I'm not sure why they have a padded back to it. Maybe its for when you need to sit a spell.