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, June 30, 2008

News and Such

I'm afraid all I have time for are some quick updates...

Logan is working security at a retail store in the mall. I'm thinking he would be much safer as a cop - at least then he would be armed. Today he called from work to tell me that a shoplifter he was chasing down pulled a syringe on him. Logan's response to that "oh, sorry for the inconvenience". Yeah, let that one go. Nasty things lurk on needles.

Moeller Music is sponsoring Rezonate. And they have a cool idea... they will be there for the event with a Guitar Petting Zoo! How cool is that!

This band is playing Rezonate 'o8. The video is IMPRESSIVE!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Click it for the Kids

Got a minute? Here is a quick and easy way to help us help the kids at Pine Ridge and it won't cost you a penny. Click here to go to the DoSomething.org site and then click on the Projects page. Type in Backpacks For Pine Ridge in the "find a project" box and then vote for us!
Easy as can be and it can help us get the word out ... and that means more help for the kids.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Meet the Crew: Tim

About Tim:
Tim is funny. He cracks everyone up with his off-the-wall sense of humor. He is also a very talented photographer— many of the photos you see from the trips are ones Tim has taken. He is also a hard worker, is willing to do whatever is needed and oh yeah, did I mention he was funny?

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

This will be my fourth time to the REZ.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

I am not all that good at communicating with the kids at our church so it is that much more difficult with the kids on the Rez and I am not as patient as I should be.

What is the thing about the trips that has changed you and made you want to go back?

I am not good at this self analysis gig but I do see the people warming up to usmore each year - maybe I can follow their example

Meet the Crew: Debbie

About Debbie:
Debbie is an amazing lady. I’ve always known that but that characteristic became very clear the year we went to the Rez and on the first day there, Debbie got a call from her doctor telling her she had cancer. Rather than spend her time feeling sorry for herself as would be normal for most of us, she took a minute to cry with her hubby Tim and call her family and then got right to work. She is always a blessing on the trips and teaches us all how to make the best of a bad situation.

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

This will be my third time out.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Pray that when we are are there and difficult situations arise that I will know what to do - what to say or just to listen.

What is the thing about the trips that has changed you and made you want to go back?

I don't know if I have changed but I go back for the kids and being busy with them out there has helped me get through difficult times in my life.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Make It My Business to Stay Out of Other People's Business

Its another weird day at the Buriff's. No surprise there. As I was out in the front yard washing my Jeep (not too well because it is after all a JEEP and is supposed to be dirty), I noticed something ... strange.

I saw it from a distance but then when I walked out to the road to pick up the mail I saw clearly ... my neighbor (the not-so-nice one across the street), has a video camera set up in his yard. Now I have no idea if he's video taping his house or mine because I can't see it that well, but its there. I have no idea why. Is he selling his house? (I wouldn't be so lucky) Or is he spying on me? I hate to break it to him but I'm really not all that interesting. Hmmm... I'm thinking maybe I'll take my camera with the high powered zoom out there and take a pic. :) I'll post it if I do. *Update* the pic is up and if you click on it to enlarge it you will see that he's videotaping his house - I think.)

That got me to thinking ... about how we love to know what's going on with other people. We have a tendency to nose out the stuff about others that we don't need to know. And worse yet, when we find out a bit of info ... we talk about it. Christians do this in a number of "acceptable" ways. We share because we're concerned. Or we use the standard excuse for gossip and share it as a prayer request.

Now its easy to think that its just our church (yeah, we do have that problem at my church) but I'm here to tell you that this problem is not specific to our church or any other church. I think its a human nature problem that shows up anywhere there is a relatively small group of people whether they be "Christian" or not. My home town is one of those places. Great as it was to grow up there, you can't fart in that town without everybody in town knowing it 10 min. later. Being a small town, there isn't much to do but sit on the front porch and watch people and then talk about them to your friends and family.

Church, sad to say, isn't much different. For some reason, we love to pick on some sins but favor others and gossip is an all-time favorite. My opinion may not count much but I have an idea that we leave gossip alone because its through gossip that we focus on the sins we love to pick on - other people's, and ignore the ones we like to ignore - ours.

Hmmm...maybe we should start a campaign... a "I Make It My Business To Stay Out of Other People's Business" campaign. I have actually responded to someone that way before when they asked me about "so and so". Maybe we should make up stickers and ask people to wear them when they walk in the door at church. Maybe it would remind them not to gossip. Or, maybe we could make it really hard and tell them they can only wear a sticker if they didn't gossip this week. Jr. Highish, I know. Silly, yeah. Legalistic, sure. And I am being facetious But it makes you wonder...

Well, It Makes Me Think

Last week I posted about my cousin Jason who has a band that is competing for a chance to play with Kenny Chesney for not one, but three of his concerts. Well ... his band Red Eye Max, is now in the final four! That means that next Tuesday those four bands will compete in a play-off to see who will open for Kenny Chesney! Jason's band, as of now, is in the #1 spot! I guess we'll know more after next Tuesday.

Thing is... not only did I not know Jason had a band, I didn't know that his band had a Myspace page ... until I went searching. I added them as a friend and then sent him a message that freaked him out a bit because he didn't know it was me. :)

I told him his grandpa would be so proud of him. He would too. Jason sent a message back that made me think .... he told me about how his grandpa would take him out on the backroads when he was a kid and let him drive ... he would throw in an old tape and have Jason sing for him. I think we all have stories like that about him. That's just the kind of guy he was. When he was sick with cancer he would still drive for an hour to where he could pick up the radio signal from a station that was broadcasting one of his grandson's football games. He would park his truck and sit there and listen to the game and then drive home. And me, when I was a kid he would saddle up one of the horses and let me "ride" for as long as I wanted. His patience knew no end. I always thought I was special ...that I was his favorite. And then he died and the stories started to be shared and I realized that we all felt that way. Every one of us. He had that way of making everyone feel they were special. Now I know there was nothing special about me - it was all him. I miss him. A lot. Somehow I ended up with one of his shirts and I wear it and think of him often. I think I'll wear it today.

Click here to see Jason's video You can still give it a rating if you haven't done so already.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Just What the World Needs

Today is my 25th wedding anniversary!

And my husband is out of town.

Which prompted my mom to ask, "are you two having trouble?"

To which I replied, "not at all."

Truth is, you can only celebrate this thing so many times and we've already been to Ireland - a pretty big way of celebrating if you ask me, and last week we went to an Irish pub to celebrate. So yeah, I think we're finished celebrating.

So what have I been doing on this special day?

Shuffling portable toilets, trash receptacles, recycling bins, talking to bands and radio stations and trying to arrange on the air interviews for some of the bands. And tonight I have an interview with the local newspaper. Then I'm going to go weed my flowers (maybe) and take a bath. I've got a new book I'm also looking forward to digging in to. BTW, as I was trying to arrange an interview for one of the bands I found myself thinking, "now how in the world did I end up arranging radio interviews for rock bands??" Weird. That was never been even close to being on my list of things I wanted to do before I died. But there you have it. I guess I just got swept up in it .... somehow.

The port-a-potty people had no recollection of us having talked before so we had to start all of that over from scratch. Not a problem though - they are really, really nice ... and honest. Their honesty saved us about $400. I like that. Makes me feel so much better about who picks up my garbage every week.

I need to look into recycling bins too. Gotta be green ya know. Everybody will feel better about that.

My son had a date today. With a girl named Amber. Can you believe that? We made a HORRIBLE mistake in naming our firstborn Brian after his dad. I can't begin to tell you what a disaster that has been in trying to sort out mail. We nearly had our electric shut off once because the post office returned the bill to the electric co. saying that we had moved when in fact, it was our son that moved. Now I'm thinking if this goes anywhere ... we may have two Amber Buriffs. Just what the world needs. Not quite. But there are days, like today, when I wish there were two of me.

Meet the Crew: Teresa

Teresa has been one of those crew members who have been first to seize opportunities to serve. She has quietly gone about doing what needs to be done without the need for recognition. She has a servant’s heart and has exhibited responsibility and a willingness to help others whether they are the Lakota people or her own teammates. Teresa is expecting a grandchild to be born about the time we will be on the Rez ... I know she wants to be here for that so we are hoping the baby will wait till we're home.

How many years have you been going on to the Rez with us?

This will be my first year.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Pray for my lost family members

Why do you want to go on this trip?

I had God tugging at my heart and when He is speaking I am going my best to listen and serve Him the best way I can. I hope to be a blessing to the people of Pine Ridge because I know I will receive a blessing.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I'm taking a day off. First one I've had since May something. Brian is out of town for the week and I'm hanging out with a friend today and having a "girl's night in" tonight. I need it. The weekend was challenging.

Friday night we had a 2 1/2 hour meeting about Rezonate. Ugh! It was LONG and GRUELING and I came away completely spent. I had been really pumped up about it but that meeting just took it all out of me. My stress level went through the roof. I've not been that stressed since last Feb. when I relapsed. The guilt was back too. I felt so bad about keeping people at a meeting for that long. Some of those folks have very busy lives and I feel bad for asking them for more of their time. I think the meeting took so long because we had not met for 2 months because of those busy schedules. I suppose you've got to make up that time somehow, but I still feel bad.

Saturday a friend and I went to Dog Fest at VOA Park just to see what a festival there is like. While it was good to see how parking works and see a festival in operation and walk the property I have to say that driving up to the event was one of the scariest sights I've seen in a while. It was HUGE and OVERWHELMING and I told my friend I was going to go home and get into a fetal position and cry and say, "I CAN'T DO THIS". I may do that yet. Just thinking about it makes me nauseous.

So today I'm going to return some emails to bands/radio stations/etc. and then I'm off for the day for some stress relief.

Just taking time to type this post makes me feel guilty too. I have at least two friends who are having a MUCH worse time than I am. One is in the middle of a MAJOR health crisis and another's marriage is falling apart and the pain is so raw you can't help but feel it when you're there.

I've really got nothing to complain about... but I guess that never stopped me before.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Meet the Crew: Whitlock

Since I have so many Brian's in my life, I have dubbed this Brian "Whitlock". What can I say about Whitlock ... he is a really gifted organizer. I've been amazed as I've watched him work on both this team and the Rezonate team. His real day job has him wheeling and dealing with some very big businesses and he is far more talented than I ever imagined. Not only that, he's a genuinely nice guy. Very kind, A Real Giver, Good Cook (thankfully since he's our cook this year). He has volunteered to cook for 150 people at a homeless shelter - not just once a week, but every day. Takes Initiative, Is fun to pick on, Has a great sense of humor. And just can't seem to take a good pic - the first pic I took he was saying something and it came out looking like he was blowing a kiss -- and in this one he has his eyes shut. Oh well, sorry Whitlock. (He may kill me for this)

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

This will be my first year.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Be more obedient to God!

Why do you want to go on this trip?

I live to serve other's and I love to cook, I want to use what God has blessed me with to help other's. I see this mission trip having two missions for me personally, the first is helping and building a relationship with the Pine Ridge people, the second is to serve the Pine Ridge Mission team.

Meet the Crew: Cathy

Cathy is Compassionate, Compassionate, Compassionate, Dependable, Willing to Step out of her comfort zone and try things that scare her, like driving a van she didn't think she could manage. She nearly killed me for making her drive but then discovered a new confidence in herself and is even driving through construction zones now.
She is a hard worker and always puts others ahead of herself - unless she has to pee.

How many years have you gone to the rez with us?
This will be my 5th year

What is something specific people can pray for you about?
Health and that God will prepare me to handle the situations that arise while we are there.

What is it about the trips that have changed you and make you want to go back?

I appreciate the things I have more and the opportunities in the place were I live. The thing that keeps me going back is the relationships with Barry, Shelly and the people that have been built The looks on the kids faces when they see you have come back and know you love them is priceless. You really do feel like its going home to visit family and friends. They are beautiful people.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wow, Who Knew....

My cousin, Jason Sturgeon, has a band called Red Eye Max which is a country/rock type music. He has a couple of cd’s out and performs at different places throughout Indiana. He has a chance to win a contest that would allow him to be an opening act for Kenny Chesney in July when he visits Evansville, IN. A radio station in Evansville is judging 10 music videos that have been sent in by different bands but they are asking for people to go onto their web site and rate whatever video you want to win. http://www.wkdq.com/ Jason's band is Red Eye Max and he's singing Ace of Spades.

Shoot, I knew the guy sang but I had no idea he was THIS good. Wish I would have known before I booked all the bands for Rezonate '08.

Jason was the ring bearer at our wedding.

Click here to see the video and rate it.

His grandpa would be proud.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Meet the Crew: Mark

About Mark:
The first thing people notice about Mark is his physical strength but I've come to see someone who has a heart as big if not bigger than he is. Mark isvery compassionate, Loves Deeply, Hard-working, Willing to do whatever it takes. Great with kids. Fun to pick on. Dependable.

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

This will be my first year.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Spiritual strength and health. I’ve been in a battle with a broken wrist for 9 months.

Why do you want to go on the trip?I feel like God wants me to go on the trip.

I haven’t quite figured out why, but I have always had a big heart for those in need and love cures many things.

Meet the Crew: Josh

About Josh:
Oh man, what to say .... I love this guy. He's like one of my own. Josh is always willing to help out with anything that needs doing. He sees opportunities to help out before anyone can ask and just does it. Hard worker, Funny, Fun to pick on. Takes it very well when people freeze his underwear. Servant's heart.
How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?
I have gone to Pine Ridge every year, so what is that...5? wow!!!
What is something specific people can pray for you about?
People can pray for my energy...I will just be getting back from a 3 week long trip to Greece and we're always running in Pine Ridge.
What is it about the trip that has changed you and makes you want to go back?
Two words: THE KIDS!!!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Its A Good Thing I'm Stupid

IF ....I had only known what I was getting myself into .... I wouldn't have done it.

Don't misunderstand ... I'm now very glad that I did do it ...

But if I had known all that I was getting into, I would have been scared spitless and I wouldn't have done it. I rarely let fear stand in my way - case in point, I've agreed to go flying with a friend once she gets her pilot's licence. But this fear would have been different. I would have been afraid that I would have been inadequate to do the job. And I would have been right. I am inadequate to do it. But the good news is ... that's OK. I'm finding that God often uses the least adequate people.

I was thinking about the irony of it yesterday .... I mean I don't even go to concerts and yet I'm organizing one. And the purpose for the concert is to raise money for school supplies for poor kids. Me, the person who dropped out of FIVE schools is raising $ for school supplies. How weird is that? Don't ever try to tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor.

But ignorance is sometimes bliss and I was totally ignorant on all three counts.

I was ignorant as far as how to lead mission trips. I had been on them but leading them is a whole different animal. An animal that eats me up sometimes because I like people to like me and they often don't. I've decided trying to lead people is a sure-fire way to make sure that some people won't like you. The people-pleaser in me has a lot of trouble with that but I'm surviving ... and learning and growing.

I was ignorant about Backpacks. It began as a little idea that maybe it would be a good thing to take some backpacks to the kids we would be working with on the Rez. I had no idea .... that one day we would go further than that and how much effort that would take. Me, who isn't a big fan of charity spends an awful lot of time doing charity stuff.

And then there's that concert in the park thing. I wont even go there. Probably because I don't even know enough to know what I'm supposed to be doing with that. Thank God for teams. I hope they show up at the meeting Friday (hint to all team members reading here). I cannot do this without you. I'm not saying that to me nice or to be humble - its really true.

I guess one thing I have going for me is a sense of adventure. Some people call that stupidity. Maybe it is but if so, its a good thing I'm stupid.

For those of you who wonder what I "do" now that I don't work....

Last night I was up till 1am redoing the Backpacks website. I somehow managed to mess it up by putting Eliot Sloan's info on it and ended up with Blessid Union of Souls' website background as the background on my website. How that happened I've no idea and neither did tech support. Frankly it looked way better than mine and I would have been happy to leave it there but its theirs, not mine and they probably wouldn't be fine with that.

This morning I answered email ... most of it anyway. One of those was a confirmation about a band so I went back and updated the web site again. I've still got to send email to all the bands and communicate with them about the drum kit (is that what you call it??). And I've still got to get back to that reporter who wants to write a story about us and set up a time for an interview. Its free press and I shouldn't keep that waiting too long.

Then I packed about 4 more boxes of backpacks and then hauled them plus about 8 more downstairs. Two of those were BIG and I thought about waiting for Brian to get home to do it but .... I really wanted it done so I did it. Now I feel pretty good about myself for being able to lift that and carry it downstairs. Glad I didn't fall.

I am now going to work on the team booklet - it all has changed. All of it. Every last bit of it. So its a complete do-over. Not sure how many days I've already spent on that thing or how many more I will spend on it before its finished. Good to know that even with that it will have mistakes and may get tossed once we're there.

Somewhere in all of that I took a phone call from someone who was concerned about how to witness to people who are different than they are. Not sure I was much help but I guess they felt better after we talked.

Oh, and I've got to prepare for that meeting tomorrow night too.

Glad dinner is already ready - we're having a cold ham and cheese sandwich.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I'm One Sick Puppy, But It Could Be Worse

I was talking to a friend yesterday who has been trying to get me to go to a concert with him and his wife for a while now. I've heard of the group but strangely enough as much as I like music, I'm not a big concert person. I told him I would go to see U2 and that if Rich Mullins were still alive I'd go see him but that I'm really just not that into concerts.

Now my friend is very into music and gadgets and is one of the rare people who would actually pay any attention to my iLike widget so he pointed out that according to my recent songs on iLike that I do listen to music other than U2. Its true. I do. I actually listen to Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Coldplay, The Fray, Bob Dylan, and even Johnny Cash and AC/DC (don't tell anyone about that last one) among others. But I usually listen to U2.

I know. I'm narrow in my music listening. But ya know what? I'm quite happy in my little U2 world. They feed my soul, and I like their music and I really like that Bono is into humanitarian stuff to the extent that he is. And for anyone wondering, I like Edge as much as I like Bono. He's doing some pretty good stuff too with Music Rising. Besides, I've been listening to them since the 80's and they just seem like part of the family after that many years.

I really shouldn't admit this on the world wide web, but ya know just how sad I am .... on the U2 iLike web page they rank listeners according to the number of times they listen to a U2 song and out of 2,362,570 fans .... I'm #4. It gives me some measure of comfort that there are three other people in the world who are sicker than I am. Not a lot of comfort, mind you, but a little.

A Day in the Life of Amber

I started out in a good mood this morning but now I'm just stuck. I spend an awful lot of time ... stuck. I have several projects that I need to get accomplished before too long but I'm can't move forward on them until other people get their stuff done so I can get my stuff done. Its frustrating. And since I spend so much of my time waiting for other people and being frustrated because they don't get their stuff done so I can get my stuff done, I'm frustrated a lot.

Today I was going to ...

Work on the trip booklet for the Pine Ridge trip. Each year I put together a book with the daily schedule in it. Not just the daily schedule of what we're doing there, but the schedule of who's doing bathroom duty, kitchen duty, etc. Making out that schedule is a PAIN IN THE BUTT because there are so many people and so many factors to consider that the possibilities to screw it up are endless. I finally got it finished the other day ... and then yesterday .... the team members changed - which throws the whole schedule off. One team member is dropping out and another person who was not originally going will be taking her place. That's probably a good thing and I'm thrilled that the new person is joining us but now I've got a do-over to do. Just the make-up of the trip, changing a man for a woman, changes everything because they will work on different projects each day which changes ... well, everything.

Another part of the book was going to be a "meet the crew" section with a picture and short interview. I am posting those on this blog and the Pine Ridge blog so that those folks who are unable to go on the trip can still look at the blog and see who is going and how best they can pray for each crew member. BUT .... a good portion of the team have not completed their interview questions - which was only two questions. Pretty simple I thought "how can we pray for you", and "why do you want to go on the trip", but apparently they were harder questions that I thought or people have just forgot because most of my team have not gotten them back to me.

Now you may be wondering why I even bother to do the schedule and book so early. I mean really, we don't leave for a whole month and 17 days. I've got plenty of time, right? Wrong. My stuff has to be done ahead of the trip because someone else prints the books for me and I have to consider their schedule. I don't expect them to drop what they are doing and print up my stuff on demand which is what would happen if I put it off till the last minute. I like to be considerate and give it to them early enough for them to work it into their schedule when its convenient for them.

SO, the book thing isn't going to happen today ... at least not the Meet the Crew portion. That portion may not happen at all. I could nag people but I get tired of nagging and I get tired of people thinking I'm a nag. I wonder what would happen if people just did what I asked them to? I gave them a few weeks. Apparently that wasn't enough time.

I could work on a promotional video for Rezonte ... but ... that would mean that I need to hear from some of the bands to get their permission to use their pics and maybe their music. Most of them would be fine and would actually get back to me about it pretty quickly. But ... some I can't get an answer from about ... anything, so I'm doubting that is going to work unless I just snatch them from their web sites. Is that even legal? I don't think so. Again, I'm between a rock and hard place.

So maybe I could wrap an anniversary gift I got for Brian and get at least that accomplished today. Nope, can't do that either. I don't have any scissors. Took them to church to set up for Logan's party last week and with a lot of people helping set up and clean up (which I appreciate) they were misplaced.

I could run to the store and get a new pair of scissors ... but .... someone is coming by to give me their payment for the Pine Ridge trip. They're bringing cash and said they would leave it in my mailbox if I wasn't home but I'm thinking that might not be such a good idea since its a sizable amount of $. Oh the payment is late too. Of course.

I'm always waiting on people to get their stuff done so I can get my stuff done.

I think I'm just going to say "Oh screw it all" and go read.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Death of a Friend

Last night at our team meeting I was sharing with the team members the importance of being spiritually prepared for the trip because we just never know what kind of situation may come across our path while we are there.

Last year we met a man named Marcus (pictured on the far left in the blue/gray t-shirt). On Friday the missionary on the reservation called and gave me the sad news that Marcus was killed this week. I'm not sure of the details, but he was hit by a train and most likely was drunk at the time. Marcus was 35 years old and left 9 children, the youngest being 4 mos. old.
Most of our team will remember Marcus as the kind young man who invited us to a sweat lodge and offered to do a sweat for us - quite an honor since most outsiders are not permitted to participate in the Lakota sacred rites. Our team may also remember the incident when Marcus came to the mission after a drunken fight with his girlfriend in which he had been stabbed by her with some sort of sharp object. Another team member and myself cleansed his wounds and bandaged him as he told us his side of the story while we waited for the tribal police to come.

I will remember those things too, but mostly I remember Marcus as an extraordinary man of grace. As we stood on his property last summer he gave us an open invitation to come to his place anytime we wanted to ... that we could have a bonfire or camp or hike his property and drink out of the fresh spring there ... no need to ask for permission, because we were welcome. I specifically remember him saying "this is your land too". I remember those specific words because they struck me as such an unexpected statement of grace. With the tense history between the American Indian and white man, I marveled that he was so willing to share what land he had with those who represented his enemy. It reminded me of a something Jesus once said about how if someone takes your shirt, give him your coat as well (Matt. 5:40).

I had been looking forward to seeing Marcus again this summer but that reunion will have to wait a bit longer. The last conversation I had with him, he told me that he had accepted Jesus Christ and been baptized and really wanted to live right but was having a tough time. He was pretty drunk when he told me that. I don't think I remember ever seeing Marcus when he was not drunk. And the girlfriend who had stabbed him was not his wife. Some might condemn him for his behavior but his attitude of grace was so pronounced that I am humbled with the knowledge that I have a long way to go to represent Jesus to the extent Marcus did.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Some Things Are Worth Repeating

Click here for a story from RWK from Today At The Mission that is ... well ... awesome. Really awesome.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

There's a Bird in My Garage

Yeah, its been a day. It started when I woke up, got dressed and ready to run errands and then got the brilliant idea to just take a second to hose off the front porch since its pretty dirty after the storms. Bad idea.

Why in the world they can't make a nozzle to fit a hose properly is beyond me, but you guessed it, as soon as I turned the stupid hose on, I got doused with water - right in the face. Before I finished I was completely soaked. I knew I should have ran the errands first.

I changed and then was finally off to run errands. When I came home I noticed there was a bird in my garage. I left the door open for it to fly out. It is now a few hours later and the bird is STILL in the garage. This has to be the dumbest bird alive. It may not be alive too much longer if it doesn't figure this out. The garage door is wide open so it should have no problem flying right out. I've even left a trail of bread to lure it out, but no, this stupid bird still can figure it out. I've moved the Jeep out of its way but that doesn't appear to be helping either. The crazy thing is still out there squawking like a crazed animal with a 2 car garage door wide open in front of it and it can't figure out how to fly out. Stupid bird.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dona Nobis Pacem

One of the purposes for our trips to the reservation is to be instruments of peace. The history of tension between the U.S. and the Oglala Lakota Sioux are told in history books, though not always accurately. The stories of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and Custer are the stuff of movies but even today the tension is there. You can feel it as surely as you can feel the 110 degree heat. For that reason we go as peacemakers and focus on building relationships with the Lakota. We are not there to change them, but to listen to them. There happens to be an old hymn in our hymnal that reflects my prayer for peace between us and the Lakota.

O May Thy Church Build Bridges, Lord

O may they church build bridges Lord
Across the wastes where men have warred
With stone on stone as fighting cease
And warfare yields to lasting peace

Forgiveness, justice, in each span
As man is reconciled to man
And enmity and hate and fear
Give way to love and hope and cheer

Lord let these bridges ever be
For rich and poor, from sea to sea
Across which man may still progress
And not destroy the world, but bless

O teach us thus to build for peace
And may our efforts never cease
Till nations press with one accord
Into the kingdom of our Lord

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Nice to Know I'm Valued

We are under a tornado warning. I'm sitting here typing as the warning siren goes off and the weatherman is telling everyone to take cover.

Smart, eh? What's worse, I just came home from Walmart. We were watching TV when the weatherman broke in to talk on and on about the storms. After several minutes I said, "Well ... this is going to go on for a while and after he's done, Obama will break in to say he won the Democratic nomination and after that Hillary will break in to say she's not giving up yet, so I'm going to Walmart". I was gone 20 min. and 3 people called me to tell me to get my butt home because it was really bad outside. OK, I'm home now. Brian is on the front porch taking pics. If they turn out, I'll post them. The pic here is not one I took and is not from this area - its just one I found on the 'Net. I've lived in the Midwest most of my life and have never seen a tornado. Tonight may change that. While I was typing that last sentence another call came in saying "They're saying to go to your safe place now". So, I'll go join Brian on the porch and see what we see.

Are You Going to Screen the Bands?

The question has come up about whether or not I will be screening the bands for Rezonate '08. At first I was a bit puzzled by the question, then it became clear that there was concern that some of the bands may use profanity. Now as much as I appreciate the concern, a question like that just shows me that we have a LONG way to go in understanding what following Jesus Christ is all about. And that people who have warmed church pews for years and years and years are still that far away from understanding Jesus, disturbs me. It disturbs me a lot.

So my answer to the question is ... absolutely not.

N0 I am not screening the bands. I'm not going to ask them to pretend to be something or someone other than themselves just so that someone who calls themself a Christian can be more comfortable. I just can't see Jesus doing that. The way I look at it, asking someone to be less honest about themselves so that someone's delicate sensitivities are not offended would not be remotely Christ-like.

I know, I know .... they are probably thinking that its a "Christian" event. Well, it is, and it isn't. It is not a "church" event. Our congregation is not affiliated with it other than doing a lot of the work to pull it off. Our church name will not be advertised at all. I'm sad to say that makes some people at our church very happy but it does not surprise me. What this event is, is a bunch of people, some believers some not, coming together to help raise money to purchase backpacks for the poorest children in America. America the beautiful is not all that beautiful in some places and for some people and that is something we want to do something about. In that sense, its a very Christ-like event. Dare I say it, maybe it is more Christ-like than what occurs in a lot of Churches at 10am on Sunday. This event is all about the Body of Christ being the Body of Christ in the place where it matters most - the world.

So why am I not concerned about the cussing?

Putting outward restraints on behavior has never, ever, done a single thing to change someone's heart. And it never will. And so, I'll never be a part of anything that places more focus on outward behavior over people's hearts.

Oh, and then too ... can I be straightforward ...

If we're going to start addressing particular "sins" and making them an issue - let's start with our own. I wonder what it is that makes someone think that their sins are somehow less offensive to God? I kinda think God is hurt by it all. Maybe He's hurt most by sins of self-righteousness that seek to separate His people from the people who need Him the most.

And then there's the whole issue of profanity ....

The way I see it, there are things in this world that are FAR more profane than a four-letter word and I think the cause of Christ is best served when we care more about those things than some silly, meaningless word. Why do Christians like to pick on words and ignore facts like this

  • Children are being used in child slavery just so that Americans can enjoy a luxury like chocolate.

  • Children in both America and other countries do not have something as basic as clean, safe drinking water.

  • And people starve to death every day in a world full of rich Christians who spend bookoos of bucks on buildings.

Now those things are profane.

So, back to the original question: Are you going to screen the bands at Rezonte '08. No, but I may screen the Christians. They are the ones that I worry about behaving decently.

This is not the first time this has come up and I'm sure it won't be the last. . I frankly think we need to rethink what it means to follow Jesus.

"Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in
the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect
little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or
minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like
Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken." ~ Rich Mullins

Monday, June 02, 2008

Tribute to my Hubby

A friend sent this video to me today. After the message Brian gave last night I had to post it. Call it sweet revenge.

BTW, for those of you who heard last night's message, I was NOT putting my makeup on when it was time to go to the hospital to have our first son. We had been out eating Muffelata sandwiches and had planned to go to Beaumont TX to shop so I already had my makeup on. What does he know about makeup anyway? Brian never gets the stories right.