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, January 28, 2008


OK, that was the most amazing thing I think I've ever seen. Even Brian said, "How cool was that" when it was over. I caught him bobbing his head to the music a few times too.

We're just back from seeing U2 3D. Awesome is an overused word, but it is truly awesome. You feel like you're on stage with the band and it is difficult to tell what is in the theater and what is on screen. Apparently they use a brand new 3D technology that far surpasses the usual 3D experience that is often seen in Disney movies at Disney World. Oh, the music was good too but I was so distracted by the visuals that I nearly overlooked the music. Leave it to U2 to ride the latest and greatest wave of technology. Really, go see it. Even if you only mildly like U2 - this is incredible.

Not Such a Great Week

Its a good think I quit my job last September. I don't have time for a job.

Life has gotten a bit crazy here. I'm stressed and busy. Even when I'm not busy, I'm mentally busy. It feels like my brain is being pulled in a hundred different directions. I need a break.

Normally I keep a good fictional book handy so I can take plenty of mini mental vacations. I read though at least one book a week. That's an important self-care thing for me to do.

Last night was a really stressful time at church. Lots of upset people. Lots of misunderstanding and miscommunication. And me in the middle of it all even though I had nothing to do with any of it. Being the team "leader" makes me responsible even when I'm not the one doing the deed. No one's fault really and certainly no harm meant. Still. Stress.

Yesterday morning I was also supposed to teach a SS class. I do that each Sunday. This past week though, I came up empty. So, we took prayer requests and then prayed for them and then I announced that God was on vacation. I didn't know where He was - probably on a beach somewhere escaping the bitter cold, but wherever He was, He was not speaking to me so I had no lesson. I feel bad doing that because people get up early and make an effort to be there and they deserve something. But I can't really just contrive something for the sake of doing what I'm supposed to do. Besides, its probably good for them to see a teacher and preacher's wife be honest and say "I don't know where God is this week. If you happen to bump into Him, tell Him I'm looking for Him - there are a few things I'd like to talk to Him about".

Today I did a bit of business and then went shopping. We head to Ireland in March (I can't wait) and I need a lightweight jacket to take along so it was off to the shops. I found one I really liked but it was out of my price range. So disappointing. It seemed perfect. Then I found another that looks even better on me, had pockets (a must for me) and was in my price range. I came home and dove into a book and tonight Brian and I are going to see U2 3D. I hope I can hear it. My ear is still clogged up. Yesterday the music at church sounded like noise to me - not because it was bad, it wasn't, I just can't hear correctly. So I'm a bit worried about the concert/movie tonight. I think I will like it regardless just because it's U2.

Tomorrow, it's back to work.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Winter Frustration

I've not blogged in a while because I don't have much new to say. Imagine that. Basically, I'm just stewing in frustration.

I'm frustrated with my dad's health and the care he is getting. He has had a rare form of prostate cancer for a couple of years now. A year ago his urologist sent him to an oncologist for chemo. The oncologist decided that it was not time for chemo and chose to just test his PSA monthly and wait for it to get to a certain point before starting any treatment. Well, last month it went beyond that point and the urologist sent him back to the oncologist to see if he could get into a study for an experimental treatment. Wednesday he saw the oncologist who said that study was closed and he is still delaying chemo. He is scheduled for a bone scan and a cat scan but that's it. Just more waiting. In the meantime, the cancer is growing. I am frustrated that nothing is being done. It doesn't make any sense to me.

I'm also frustrated with my diet. It's been about 3 1/2 weeks now and I do feel better (no heartburn) but I've not lost much weight - maybe 5 - 7 pounds. I've "cheated" 3 times. Last Monday we went to Cody and Allison's and picked up some pizzas and Cody made brownies. I ate a slice of pizza, a couple of cheese sticks and a brownie. I did skip the ice cream. I know I should exercise and that would help but it's currently 0 degrees out. I don't want to walk when it's nice out and I'm not about to go out in that bitter cold. I just want to say to heck with it and eat whatever I want. I could really go for a bag of chips and a big juicy hamburger. I would regret it of course so I'll just keep doing the right thing every day and maybe one day I'll see a change. I guess that's the trick - just keep doing what you know you're supposed to do and someday it will pay off.

I'm also frustrated with this ear/sinus infection. Tomorrow is my last day of meds and I can't tell it's doing any good at all. I can't hear a thing out of my right ear and it's getting more annoying by the day.

I'm still working on Rezonate '08, trying to get sponsors. That's frustrating too. Everyone likes the idea, no one wants to pay for it. Things are moving along well in some areas - everyone is interested. A guy in our church recently reconnected with a former friend of his from high school on Myspace a couple of weeks ago. When he reposted one of our bulletins about the concert, she read it and was impressed with what we're doing. Turns out she is the editor of several local newspapers and is going to put it in the paper for us at no charge. That's cool but if we don't raise money to rent equipment, we won't be having a concert.

Oh, and it's COLD here. Did I mention that. There is just no way to warm up when it's this cold.

So that about sums up life here for the moment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Feel Awful

I really don't feel good. And I'm going to complain about it all over my blog so if you have a problem with that, well then I would suggest you go on to the next blog. :)

I woke up Sunday morning feeling like my head was full of cotton and a scratchy throat. I had to teach so I went to church that morning but then took the rest of the day to rest knowing that I had to work. Monday my throat was more sore and today it's really really sore. I've got to go to the grocery store and then I'm going to take it easy the rest of the day and hope I get over this stupid cold because I'm too busy to be sick.

I've not had much time to read blogs and I still have an email from my cousin that I need to get back to. She surprised me last week with an email. I've not heard from her in years. I was shocked to realize that her son is now 11 years old! Last time I saw him I think he may be been 7 or 8.

My stress level has been through the roof since our meeting about Rezonte on Friday. I've been wondering what kind of pile of poo have I stepped into now. Me and my ideas. I really need to stop coming up with them. The concert has exploded into something way beyond my initial vision, which is good, but oh my ..... this thing is huge.

I keep wondering why I'm doing this concert. I mean really, I'm the last person on earth to be involved in something like this. I know nothing, absolutely nothing about concerts. I don't even go to them much. I like music but I have a half a dozen bands/artist that I listen to and that's pretty much it. I have no idea where to start. I do believe this is a God-thing though. And I marvel at the way He works. I don't always like the way He works. I often tell Him that if I were Him I would do things differently. I would too.

I've also noticed that I'm a stress eater. I use food to sooth my stress. Friday after the meeting I wanted to come home and just EAT. I didn't but Saturday I did eat more than I should have. It was another stressful day and I was tired and didn't' want to cook dinner. We went to Panera and I had a big sandwich on a big hunk of bread. Should have done that. Still though, even with that I'm eating healthier than I have in the past.

Well enough whining on. I'm off to the store and then maybe I'll dig into a book.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I've Been Out Soliciting

Not that kind of soliciting. ;)

I've been talking to business owners about sponsoring Rezonate '08. We are way behind on getting sponsors. I know it will work out. I really do believe the concert idea is a God-thing because of the way it fell together and went above and beyond my expectations, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about where the money will come from to fund it. Everyone involved is doing their part free of charge because they believe in the project but we will need to advertise the event and we do need to rent equipment. Port-a-pottys are kind of necessary for an all day outdoor event.

Speaking of the concert and people who are donating time and talent, a good friend (not sure if he wants to be known or not) made this banner for our MySpace and I LOVE it. I really do. The more I look at it, the more I love it. I printed it off on labels and put them on the folders that held the packets for potential sponsors and everyone of the potential sponsors were impressed. It made it look like we knew what we were doing.

In other news...

It's been a crazy time at the Buriff home. Last week our dishwasher died so we went out bargain shopping for a new one. Then this week our dryer died. That on top of an extraordinarily high utility bill was a bit much. The bank is officially busted now and we'll be catching up for a while. It was easy to feel sorry for poor 'ole us, and I do still feel bad for Brian who has the burden of paying for all of this, but I was talking to the missionary at Pine Ridge the other morning and we were talking about paying bills. I began complaining about our dishwasher and dryer and utility bills when it occurred to me how utterly foolish that must sound to him. The people he works with do not have the luxury of either a dishwasher or a dryer. They often do not even have water in their homes. And in the winter many freeze to death for lack of heat. And here I am feeling bad because my dishwasher and dryer went out.

My New Healthy Diet

Is getting boring. I've done well for the most part. I've eaten much healthier since Jan. 2nd and I've seen some real benefits. I don't think I've lost the first pound yet, which doesn't make any sense to me since I'm eating far fewer calories per day, but I am feeling better. I used to have severe heartburn all day long everyday and I've not had it once since I've been eating better. That much in itself is worth it. I wont kid you though, I really wish the pounds would start slipping off.

Well, I've got a new book and I'm taking the day off so I'm out of here to enjoy the day.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

We Could Use Your Help

You may already know that Backpacks for Pine Ridge has a myspace. Gary has been SO generous in lending his talent and time to create a logo and a banner for Rezonate '08 for us and I am grateful for that support. It really makes our page look so much better. Another professional graphic artist has commented on how good the logo and banner look.

Now we could use your help. MySpace host the Impact Award and each month people can nominate their favorite organization for the award in various categories. This month's category is Poverty Relief. All it takes is a minute to type in the info and you can nominate Backpacks for Pine Ridge for the award this month. The grand prize is $10,000

Go to http://www.myspace.com/impactawards and scroll down to where it says Nominate your favorite Individual or Organization.

Our url is http://www.myspace.com/backpacksforpineridge

If we make finalist, then you will be able to vote for us to win the grand prize.

You do not need a Myspace account to do this.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Health Conscious

Health conscious is not a way I would describe myself. I've always eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I don't exercise. And I seldom go to a doctor unless I'm absolutely convinced that I will not get better unless I do. But at age 46, my current lifestyle is not working for me anymore. Something has to give. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I don't make them and never kept them back when I did. But something has to give. As the old slogan goes, "If nothing changes, nothing changes."

And some things need to change. I am in pain almost all the time. My knees have never been good but the pain is getting worse. Some days I wonder if I can even get myself out of bed because moving my leg is so painful. I have heartburn all the time. Bad heartburn. I eat Rolaids like some people eat candy. I am more unfit than ever before in my life. Just three years ago I was able to give the kids at Pine Ridge piggy back rides. The past 2 years I've not even tried. I know I can't do it even though I would really like to. And I've gained weight. Most of my life I've been thin. In the teens and early 20's skinny would have been a better word to describe me. After the birth of my second child I gained weight and thought I was fat. I wasn't . I don't think I could have been classified as even being overweight. If so, not by much. In my 30's I was anorexic. I ran, worked out and ate 300 cals a day. I nearly killed myself with my obsession of being thin. Now it's a different story. I am fat. I am a good 40 pounds overweight. Maybe more. I've avoided the scale like the plague so I'm not really sure.

So I was painfully aware that I needed to make changes but really didn't want to do what I needed to do. I like my junk food. I dislike exercise.

Part of this is just good old aging. Metabolism isn't want it used to be. I'm pretty sure mine is at a standstill. And I realize I will not always be able to give piggy back rides regardless of my level of fitness. But a good part of all of this is my lifestyle.

So for the past 3 days I've attempted a healthier diet. I'm still not exercising. I've thought about it, but that's a far as that goes. Maybe one day I'll get motivated to do that. I used to run 6 miles a day, now I couldn't' run to the corner without keeling over.

The thing that finally motivated me to try to make some small changes is that my youngest son and junk-food junkie requested that we start eating healthier. I was shocked. A big problem I've had is that I live with two men who do not eat the same. Logan will only eat junk and Brian will only eat healthy stuff. Since Logan wants to make some changes, well, I have no reason not to give it a go. So it's settled. The goal is to eat less sugar and switch to whole grains instead of white flour. Basically it's the way everyone knows to eat - lean meat, chicken, veggies and whole grains. I'm also checking in over at the Faithfully Finding Fitness blog and finding support there. Check it out if you're trying to make some healthier choices. No one there is perfect and no one will make you feel like a failure if you fail. It's just some good people who are trying to make better choices and encourageing one another.

As I discover new foods that are healthy and good, I'll share them. I've found a few new favorites already. I must say, health foods have greatly improved since my anorexic days when I was afraid to eat a calorie.

I don't know if I'll lose weight or not. Common sense tells me that I probably will and I hope I do but regardless, I'll be taking better care of myself and maybe avoiding health problems that would further restrict me from having fun.

For now, I have two recommendations.

All-Bran Snack Crackers. They are a good source of whole-grains and they taste good. I eat them now instead of chips.

Kashi Five Cheese Tomato Frozen Pizza
I have a routine to keep. On Sunday evenings we always come home and eat Tombstone Frozen pizza and watch Extreme Home Makeover Home Edition. On Sunday evening dinner has to be easy and cheap. I tried Kashi pizza today. Upon taking it out of it's package my thoughts were "this is not food. It doesn't' resemble real food and it's impossibly small". I baked it and tried it and was surprised at how good it was. My only complaint is that the serving size is minuscule. I stuck with the recommend serving size though and found it to be satisfying.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Do You Have an Accent?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The South
The West
The Inland North
The Northeast
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Best Finds of Last Year

I'm just now getting time to post a couple of things I had thought of posting before the end of the year. Somehow time marches on whether I'm ready or not. So here it is, a little late, but ....

Best Finds of 2007

Bare Minerals Makeup
Everything you've heard about it is true. It offers great coverage with using very little makeup and it feels great on. It really doesn't feel like I've got makeup on. It is expensive but I don't think it costs more in the long run because you can use so little of it that it lasts a longer time than other makeup.

DO NOT however, buy this from one of those TV ads (scams). Go to the store and buy it or buy it online at a reputable store. Otherwise you will have the unfortunate experience of realizing that you've been lured into a "bargain" that will end up costing you a lot more money than advertised. I don't use the undereye concealer either because it makes tiny lines look much deeper. The foundation is great though, as is the "radiance".

Fair Trade Coffee and Chocolate
Not only does it help the farmers in developing countries that grow it and ensure that no child-slavery is used, it's really good. This one does cost more but it's worth it to me to have a high quality product and know that I'm helping to make a change in poverty stricken countries.

Warning: Not all Fair Trade Chocolate is good. I've tasted some that I wouldn't want to eat again. Equal Exchange has several chocolate bars that are really good.

Flax seed Bread
OK, this one is weird but I found a bakery made whole-grain bread with flax seed in it at my local WalMart. It's good and it's good for you. We eat it with salad now instead of the whole grain bread we used to buy at Panera. An added benefit, you can usually find it on the day old rack at WalMart so it cost less.

Brandt Dodson & Steven James
I normally don't really like "Christian" fiction because I almost always feel like the author has an agenda. But I do read it because my favorite authors can't write fast enough to keep me in books. This year I stumbled upon two good authors who write a good story without preaching to me. Both write crime, mystery, thrillers. Brandt Dodson is the author of the Colton Parker mystery series. Steven James' latest book is The Pawn, you can see the trailer for it below

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

What a Way to Spend New Year's Eve

I spent a good part of the day yesterday packing backpacks into boxes.

Earlier we had a backpack packing party to fill them all with the school supplies but at that time we did not have the boxes to put them in. Now that we have boxes, I'm left with a few hundred backpacks to pack.

They have to be organized first because we had someone donated over 100 light lavender colored backpacks. Those are definitely "girl" backpacks. It just wouldn't do to give one of those to a boy, so since there is no way to really know how many girls and boys we will be distributing backpacks to, I am trying to divide them up between the 3 villages to spread them out a little.

Then I've been labeling the boxes with how many girls or boys backpacks are in each and to which village they go. I'm about half-way there. I'll finish when I go get some more tape. It occurs to me that I forgot to ask for a tape gun for Christmas. You think of those kinds of things when you've got to cut each piece of tape to seal the boxes shut. Here's two pics of the process.

This is what is still left to pack

The finished product

Goodbye to 2007 and Hello 2008

Just a smattering of pics of the events of 2007

Well, I can't get the slide show to work so I'll have to settle for posting the link to it. Maybe people like that better anyway. 2007 was a good year. I'll let the pics speak for themselves.

Looking ahead to 2008, here are a few things that we're looking forward to.

  • In Feb. we will travel to Washington state to visit Brian's family and celebrate his dad's 80th birthday.
  • In March we travel to Ireland!
  • In June Cody will graduate from Miami University and Logan will graduate from Fairfield High School and Butler Tech's criminal justice program.
  • In June Brian and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage!
  • In July Brian will travel to Haiti on a mission trip
  • In August Amber will take another trip to Pine Ridge Reservation
  • Backpacks for Pine Ridge will be delivering backpacks to 3 villages this year!
  • In August Rezonate '08 will be the first community-wide benefit concert for Backpacks for Pine Ridge
  • Logan will start college