- 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, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Back in August when we did Rezonate, our friend Joe, the bassist from 8 Lives Spent, was so generous as to custom design a bass guitar to be raffled off at the event. He actually did TWO guitars and gave the proceeds from both to Backpacks For Pine Ridge. At Rezonate when Joe handed over the bass he had designed I was drooling over it and wishing I could win it myself but knowing that I could not. So my husband Brian got the idea to have Joe custom design one for me for my birthday. Now not only did Joe design one specifically for me with pics from Rezonate and the autographs of all the band, but this bass was extra special because it was one from his own personal collection.
Here are some pics ... I hope you can see the details because this is truly a BEAUTIFUL bass. The note that is part of the design reads, "Custom Designed by Joe '2 Coat' Jones For Amber Buriff. This bass was used 7-26-08 at the Fredrick Co. Fair in Winchester, VA. Happy Birthday Amber and I hope you enjoy the bass as much as I did!!! Joe '2 Coat' Jones"
Monday, November 17, 2008
You would think that as many times as I've been to the Pine Ridge Reservation that I would have grown accustomed to the level of poverty there. You would think that it wouldn't faze me as much as it did in the beginning. But that is not the case.
Browsing pics today for a project I'm working on, I felt the familiar sudden weight in the center of my chest followed immediately by my eyes filling up with tears. I had to take a break. I simply couldn't look anymore.
I think it may actually be harder now than it was at first. Now these people are my friends. I know their names. I've watched their children grow up. And I've been in their homes.
Still, as I sit in my warm study in my comfortable chair at my beautiful wood desk working on my fairly new computer, I feel sad. I can't help but think of the elderly lady who has been so gracious to us and how dilapidated her home is. I've not stopped thinking about her since the blizzard hit South Dakota a week ago. It would be easy to sink into depression looking at these pics and thinking of the conditions my friends live in, but as I sipped my coffee on my break, I also thought of some people who are making a difference and then I just felt, well, amazed and completely grateful to be able to see it all take place and maybe to be just one very small part of it. (wow that was a long sentence)
You see, as I type this, a rock band in Winchester, Virginia is planning a benefit concert for Jan. 10th. The show will feature some highly successful musicians and looks to be the makings of a great night - and the proceeds will be donated to purchase electric space heaters for the people on the Rez. Now how cool is that?? Click on the last pic for a better view of the flyer and to see who's playing. (Its pretty cool) I'll be there too as will Brian. Hmmm ... I don't think I've ever gone to a bar to talk about a "mission" project before, but I'm game. It sounds like a pretty cool thing. I can't wait.
And at the same time there is a man in our church who has a dream. He wants to get that ugly unsafe hole in the ground made into an amplitheater. (See my other post about this). He is gathering up resources and making plans and its all very exciting.
And at the same time, another guy from my church is also thinking about that elderly lady on the Rez and is today out talking to business owners about the possibility of getting funds to go out and build her a new kitchen. He called this morning and believes he will have the money shortly. He hopes to go out as early as next week to build the kitchen and fix the broken pipes so she can have indoor plumbing.
I love it when people go out there, get a vision for something and then set about making it happen. And suddenly, its not nearly as depressing in light of all of that.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
I imagine I'm just now catching up with info that everyone else is already aware of, but ....
I've just discovered Hulu.com, a site that allows you to (legally) watch TV shows and movies online - for FREE. You can find current episodes of your favorite TV shows as well as some old time favorites.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Please keep the people of South Dakota - especially those on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations in your thoughts and prayers. I just spoke with the missionary there and they are all OK, have power back on now, and are in fact housing some people who were stranded. But they do have 20 foot snow drifts and will be snowed in for some time since the Rez roads get very little attention the way ours do here.
I also think of how hard winters are for the people on the Reservation ... some do not have indoor plumbing. Since they were hit with a winter blast this early in the year I wonder if some of them will run out of propane and the money to buy it before winter is up. I think of our friend there, an elderly lady, who is likely sweeping snow out of her kitchen since there are holes in her walls, ceiling and floor and she has no door. I wonder, and I pray because at this time, that is all I can do. I feel bad that we only took 2 heaters to the Rez this year. That was all that were donated. I think they may need a lot more than that this winter and I wish we could have done more.
I am grateful for our friends 8 Lives Spent who will be doing a benefit show in VA in the coming months to raise money to purchase space heaters. Maybe next year we'll have more to take. Maybe a lot more.
These pics were taken last Christmas when Brian and I went to the Rez. There was only a little snow there then and travel was bad. I can only imagine how it is with nearly 4 feet of snow. These pics will give you an idea of some of the housing conditions there.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
As I pulled into the parking lot a worker from the cemetery yelled over to me, "Excuse me ... are you with the Indians"?
"Yeah, that would be me."
There was the old veteran who sat and talked to me for quite a while Sunday morning before things got going. By all appearances life had been pretty hard on him. His skin was weathered, he had a bad heart, a bad lung and was missing some teeth but his pride in his service to our country and in his Native American heritage was unmistakable. There was a humility about him and a deep desire to do the right thing. I can't quite explain it but when he left I felt blessed that he had stopped by to chat.
The lady making Fry Bread in the booth next to me (if you haven't had fry bread you really should try some) was very kind and gave me her tips from the weekend. On Sunday she had a few of the kids working for her for spending money and I sat and listened and marveled at her patience and grace. I overhead her saying, "You have to check things. In life you have to check everything and make sure other people are doing their job and if they are not, then you have to do it. I know its not right, but its the way it is.". As she said this there was not the slightest trace of irritation in her voice. Nothing but grace and patience and understanding, acknowledging that there is indeed a higher standard but still accepting people as they are - imperfect. Her own children are grown and I'm willing to bet that they are some amazing people she raised. What a way to teach kids responsibility and instill in them a desire to reach the higher standard while offering grace to those who do not reach it. That is no easy task and I may be all wrong about it, but as I listened and watched her I felt pretty blessed to be near enough to witness her interactions with the kids.
At one point I saw a family walking along the outer ring of the PowWow, a Lakota mother and four or five kids and for a split second I could have sworn I was on the Rez. It was so much like something you would see there that it made me really, really "homesick". Somehow she and I connected even while she was a ways off and she made a purposeful walk in my direction. Turns out she was not from Pine Ridge, but from the Rosebud Reservation which is right next to Pine Ridge. She was very grateful that someone was doing something to help her people.
And there was the Lakota elder from Pine Ridge. I spoke with him and found out his children and grandchildren live in Allen, the village we go to each year. It was just ... I don't know... gratifying?? to know that we know some of the same people. For all I know it may be one of his grandkids I swing around or give a piggy back ride to each year.
Things operated at a different pace this weekend, a pace known as "Indian time". Things happen when they happen. Things start when they get started and end when everybody's ready for them to end - never mind the schedule. And the cool thing about it all is that these things don't matter ... people matter.