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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

National Recovery Month - Some Important Info for Addicts and their Families and Friends

Sept. was National Recovery Month. Yeah, I a little late in posting about it now that its the last day of the month. But the message is a timeless one so its not too late to become informed and (hopefully) encouraged.

Please take a moment to check out the video. There's some good stuff in there for anyone who is an addict or knows an addict, which I suspect is just about all of us.

Below are some quotes from Nikki Sixx from the speech he gave before Congress in 2007.

"My experience as a recovering addict is that dependency doesn't just affect the addict, but also the family, the extended family, the workplace, and even our economy."

"When you think about it, it affects and infects the lack of productivity as well ..."

"For me as an addict, one of the first things I heard was, 'why don't you get it together...what's your problem ... why can't you just stop, and things like 'don't you have any willpower'. I have a disease. Its no different than cancer or anything else. And I need treatment for that disease. "

(Might I just add that I too heard these kinds of statements. My personal favorite was "just give it to God". People liked to tell me that but ironically none of the people telling me that could tell me exactly HOW to do that - other than to just pray, which I had already done until I was blue in the face. It was not until I entered a 12 Step program that I discovered the "how" to of giving it to God.)

"I have experienced that it wasn't just the addiction. Because once the addiction was contained or controlled there was a big hole in my stomach. The therapy part is really important part".

I'm Feeling Immortal Now

Great news! Backpacks For Pine Ridge is now an official fund through the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty Township!

That means a few things ...

  • We are now a community based humanitarian organization managed by Christians.
  • People can made a tax deductible donation through the Community Foundation and be assured that their money is being used for nothing other than providing backpacks and school supplies to the kids on the Rez.
  • This fund will last forever. It will outlive me. When I die and when the others who are involved die or move on, the fund will still be there and can only be used to provide backpacks and school supplies to the kids on the Rez.

How cool is that!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bagging Food for Haiti

Yesterday Brian and I along with several people from our church got to do something really cool. Kids Against Hunger is hosting a Haiti Pack-A-Thon in our area. The pack-a-thon this weekend will provide much needed food for those starving in Haiti. The recent food crisis has been intensified in that country due to 4 hurricanes that have recently hit Haiti destroying much of what food supply they did have. Children are eating "mud cookies" made from mud that is full of parasites and animal wastes mixed with cooking oil and let to dry in the sun.

That's the bad news. The good news is that Kids Against Hunger is doing something and you can be involved. There are many ways you can help but perhaps the easiest is to give 2 hours of your time to help pack bags of food that will be shipped directly to Haiti. One person working for 2 hours can produce food to feed 1 child for an entire year!

Oh, and its fun! We got to meet people from all over our community who have a heart for helping out and making the world a better place. We laughed at each other and ourselves and had a great time.

Each bag of food includes 6 nutritionally balanced life-saving meals.

The pack-a-thon is this weekend but if you missed it, there are plenty of other opportunities to volunteer. Click here for a schedule.

The way I see it, we can sit and bemoan the world's problems or we can do something about it and when its this easy to do something that truly makes a difference, then ... well ... why not?

Oh, and did I mention it was fun? You know I'm all about fun. :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Please take a moment to look at these pics. I'm still thanking God for the miracle of Carly and praying for all the others who battle this disease.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Heroin Diaries

I'm a little sad tonight. I always feel sad when I finish a book and tonight I finished reading The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx.

Wow, what a read! It sounds somewhat inappropriate to say that I loved it, but, well, I loved it. Yes it has all the shocking stuff that you might expect from reading the diary of a drug addicted rock star. It is not a book for the faint of heart or those easily offended. For me it was just heartbreakingly sad. At times I felt I was sitting there in the closet with him because pain is something that all of us have in common and I could relate all too well to the feelings he expressed. But more than all of that, it is a story of redemption and hope.

As I sit here at my keyboard I don't even know what to say about it. I think my favorite line is one that captures the wisdom of someone who has painstakingly worked a program of recovery and through it has developed a beauty and humility that can only come about through brokenness. He writes,

"Part of me thinks this was all part of a master plan to expose the raw nerve
endings of dysfunction so I could heal. But alcoholics always think
everything is about them, so chances are this is just another character defect I
have to work on."

As I said, I don't even know what to say so blogging about it now is probably not a great idea. Maybe at some point in the future I'll be able to write more intelligently about it. There is a soundtrack by Sixx A.M. that goes along with the book as well. I've listened to it non-stop for the past few weeks and have found it to be a great source of encouragement as I deal with some issues in my own recovery.

A portion of the proceeds of the book go to Running Wild in the Night, a fundraising initiative for Covenant House a ministry to homeless teens.

"From A Needle, To A Pen, To A Musical Note, To A Cause" - Nikki Sixx

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Don't Like Ike

Well who would have thunk it. We had hurricane force winds from Ike on Sunday that resulted in the worst power outage in this area ever. We were without electric for a little over 2 days. Its amazing how much I depend on electricity. I tried to have a good attitude, but failed. Miserably. That's too bad considering that so many have it so much worse than us. What can I say, I'm a selfish jerk sometimes.

It is sad that Galveston, TX seems to have taken a really hard hit. I feel for those folks and all the others affected by Hurricane Ike. Galveston was always a nice place for Brian and I to get away too when we were living in Lake Charles, LA. And I've been requested to share this story on my blog, so here goes....

On one of those visits to Galveston to get away, Brian and I thought we would have a nice romantic time and go horseback riding along the beach. Well, things never go as you plan do they?

Brian's horse "Sue" would not budge. So the guy from the stable rode along with us and hollered "Ha Sue! Get up Sue!" all they way down the beach. And to make the situation more interesting, my horse had a thing for the trail guy's horse so he and I rode side by side with Brian in front. Turns out, my horse's name is "Baby" so the guy kept saying things like, "hey Baby, how ya doin'? What's up Baby? You enjoying your ride Baby?"

Brian turned in the saddle and looked daggers at the guy, which made me realize that Brian thought the guy was talking to me instead of the horse so I began patting my horse and saying, "You're a good horse Baby".

I think the thing that really topped the experience off was when the trail guy asked me if I wanted a beer. When I said no, he said, "Ya sure? I got some in my saddle bags ... be happy to share".

So much for romance.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

10 Years

Its funny how time can go by and you don't even notice. I was talking to Brian the other day and was a bit surprised to realize that this year marks my 10th anniversary of "sobriety" from anorexia. The actual date came and went without any notice by me or anyone else. How could it not - I was busy living my life. That day was the first day of the 2008 mission trip to Pine Ridge, July 28th.

So, since I missed it, I hope you'll allow me to reflect a bit. I'll warn you, I'm going to be honest. Brutally honest. If its going to bug you to read it, then don't.

I'm not really sure how it began or what the big "trigger" was but I do know when people began to notice that something was terribly wrong. The thing about an eating disorder is that you can't hide it for long. You tend to wear it like a neon sign for everyone to see. Some say we do it for attention. Other say its all about control. I don't know. All I knew was that it bugged me to no end when people worried because to me, they were all overreacting. In my mind, I was fine. I just needed to lose a little weight and then I would stop.

The thing is, I didn't stop. I would lose 5 pounds only to decide that I needed to lose 5 more. Then that 5 wasn't enough so I would vow to lose just 5 more. It became a losing cycle in more ways than one. I resorted to starvation and then laxative abuse to help me achieve my goal. At my worst, my daily routine looked like this: Get up and run 6 miles. Then go to the Y and work out. Eat no more than 400 calories a day and then take up to 60 laxatives in a day to get rid of whatever I did eat. I built up a tolerance to the laxatives and became physically and psychologically dependent on them. I think that's called an addiction. I don't know what I was addicted to the most - the laxatives or the "high" I got from getting on the scale and seeing that I had lost more weight. Looking back it was ridiculous. I could wear my 9 year old son's shorts but still insisted that I was fat. To this day I don't understand it. Oh, I "get it", I completely understand the compulsion, the self-hatred, and the fear that drives such behavior but I still don't understand how someone so underweight can look in a mirror and see a fat person.

So, what made me want to get better? I finally got sick of being sick - literally Every single day, every single day, I would wake up and spend an hour or more laying on the bathroom floor in a cold sweat, sick as a dog, too dizzy to stand up without passing out while it felt like shards of glass were passing through my digestive system. I would have to stay there until all the toxins I had put in my body, were out, then I could go do my day. My therapist had begged me for a long time to enter rehab but I wouldn't. My excuse was that I had children and could not be away from them for the 3 months that I was told I would have to be there. Rehab was the one thing I would NOT do. And I was pretty adamant about it. But ya know, people generally don't get better until they are willing to do "whatever it takes". Somehow it occurred to me that while going to rehab would take me away from my kids for a while, that neither could I raise them laying on the bathroom floor.

I didn't go to rehab. Not because I wouldn't though. I couldn't afford to pay out of pocket and my insurance didn't cover it unless I was "actively suicidal". What the heck does that mean anyway?? One foot over the bridge?? Thankfully I had a great therapist, an OK doctor, a very patient and non-enabling husband (if you living with an addict and he gives you advice - listen to him - he helped save my life - literally), AA, and Eating Disorders support group, and a recovering alcoholic friend who helped me enter into a recovery process that would be one of the hardest things I've ever encountered in my life.

I will always be grateful to those folks who stuck by me and were abundantly patient and loved me when I was pretty unlovable. And in time I learned to be grateful for my experience in recovery. I am completely aware that God is perfectly able to deliver someone from the clutches of addiction instantly. He's God, he can do anything He wants. But I am so glad that He chose not to do that for me. I would have never entered the growth process of recovery and I would have missed out on one of the biggest blessings of my life. The 12 Steps helped me to live out my faith in ways that I had not learned in churches even though I had attended church since I was 12 years old.

In AA they talk about "the Promises of AA". At first reading they seem impossible, but I'm here to tell you that they are very real and that they are indeed possible to experience.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not.

They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

They will always materialize if we work for them.

Alcoholics Anonymous p83-84

The road of recovery has not been smooth and without challenges. I don't think its supposed to be. Life isn't about being happy and problem free. I have relapsed many times. But that is part of recovery too... part of the process and part of the progress. Recovery is not about living it out perfectly. Its more about progress.

If you're one of the unfortunate folks who stuck with me through the bad times, I thank you. It was not easy for you and I do appreciate you.


Part of me thinks I don't need to see this again, but the bigger part of me knows that we have an amazing ability to forget and those that lost their lives, and those who willingly gave their lives to serve and protect deserve a few minutes of my time and yours to remember.

Not all who put themselves in harm's way lost their lives that day but they are no less heroes. If by any chance any fire fighter or police officer, or solider who has served our country is reading here ... thank you. Your act of service and sacrifice are not forgotten either.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Barbara did this on her blog so I have to do likewise. Its kinda fun. Just go to Google and type in your first name and the word "needs" behind it and see what comes up.

Here are mine:

Amber needs a horsee show name. (strange, just really strange)

From "Tattoo NOW", Amber needs some ideas. (actually I have an idea already just waiting for the $)

Amber needs you and your money. (could be true)

Amber needs a new "do". (Oh so true)

Amber needs help. (sure does)

Amber needs addresses for baby shower. (huh??)

Amber needs a man in her life. (oh my)