About Me

My photo
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, December 31, 2008

Tattoos and Memories

OK, so here is the much requested photo of my newest tattoo. Isn't finished healing yet, but ... you get the idea.

Maybe I'll post another when it is completely healed.

That makes 3 for me. One on my ankle, one on my back, and this one on my wrist. I'm sure this one will be my last. I may have the words "Hoka Hey" added at some point. Hoka Hey is a Lakota phrase that is interpreted "its a good day to die". Crazy Horse used to shout it before going into battle. The meaning behind that is not that someone is looking forward to death, but that IF they die today, they have no regrets. I think that's a pretty good way to live life. I try to live mine that way. The only reason I have not gotten that in ink yet is because I don't want to take a chance of offending a Lakota person who may think I'm taking something from their culture and making it into something trivial.

My dad asked me the other day why I get tattoos. I know a lot of people don't like them. I know some people judge people who have tattoos. I'm sorry they feel that way and accept their opinion but, it is just an opinion - we all have them. So here is some of my thinking that goes into my decision to get inked.

  • I want to. I think they can be pretty. Not all are, some are just plain tacky, but they can be pretty.
  • Tattoos are not eternal. They are permanent but they are not eternal. They will rot right along with me one day. I try to worry more about things that are eternal and hold pretty loosely to thing that are not.
  • Each of mine have a meaning - its personal, I'm not sharing.
  • I guess I see my body as a reflection of my life too .... it kinda gets back to the Hoka Hey thing of not having regrets. Certainly I've done things in my life that I am not proud of. I've battled addictions and gotten involved with people who I shouldn't have and all sorts of things. I do have regrets. The things I regret are the things that have hurt others. But ... all of my mistakes and missteps have made me who I am. I've learned from them. A lot. And I think I'm a little wiser and a lot closer to God because of them. I've often said that I know very well that God could have delivered me instantly from a lot of things but that I'm grateful that he chose not to. I would have missed so much. So, I am grateful for my journey, the good and the bad. And I'm sure that my body with all of its tell-tale signs is a reflection of that. Some people won't understand that. That's OK. Those who do, will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Last New Year's Eve I dreaded to see 2008 come. I wasn't at all sure what the year held. Turns out, it was just fine. Below is a video journal of images and video clips from my year. It may be a bit narcissistic to post it but its good for me to put it together. It forces me to reflect on the past year and then, having done that, can look forward to the New Year that's ahead.

  • The year did start out to be a very stressful one. Both the PR trip and Rezonate was giving me fits and it looked like my dad would start chemo, and then didn't. And then eventually did. He's about half-way though now and its working.
  • In Feb. the my stress level went through the roof as I was beating my head against a wall trying to get sponsors for Rezonate and coming up empty handed. I relapsed. Then I went away for a few days to clear my head. A hot tub, fire place and the solitude of some of Ohio's most beautiful scenery will do that for ya.
  • We went to Ireland to celebrate our 25th Anniversary! We did it the right way - didn't go on some tour with people we didn't like to see things we didn't want to see. We flew in to Dublin, got a car, and took things a day at a time, going wherever we felt like going whenever we felt like going there. It was amazing. If I ever get kicked out of the States, I know where I'm heading.
  • Our mission team did a spaghetti dinner and I learned that it would never ever be a good idea for me to work as a waitress. I still feel bad for the people I tried to serve dinner to. I should stick to the things I do best - like organizing a "beauty contest" of a different sort. You'll see what I mean if you watch the video. I think some of those queens had a little too much fun.
  • Logan graduated from high school and from the Butler Tech Criminal Justice program! He now works as the loss prevention manager for Sears and is in college taking CJ classes until he's old enough to go to the police academy. Does it seem strange to anyone else that an 18 year old can join the military and use all sorts of weapons but cannot go to a police academy or own a gun until they are 21?? We had a party complete with a donut tower instead of a cake - what else would you expect for a cop-to-be?
  • Brian went to Haiti ... and fell in love with a little boy named Job.
  • I took a crew to Pine Ridge Reservation - for the 5th time. This year was the best for me personally. Normally I feel like the most hated person on the face of the earth on those trips because I have to be the bad guy so often. This year we had a crew that made my job very easy and I could be more lax and enjoy it. I did. It was a blast.
  • Backpacks for Pine Ridge expanded and we took backpacks to 3 villages this year!
  • REZonate '08 happened. Even though it looked impossible and took a huge toll on me, it happened and was successful! And it was FUN! Its always good when you can do something good and have fun at it too. I've taken to quoting Walt Disney, "its kind of fun to do the impossible!" Who said following Jesus was boring?? Its a ride. A wild one at that.
  • Backpacks then became its own non-profit through the Community Foundation! This makes things SOOO much better on SOOO many levels. For one thing, it will outlive me.
  • I got a great birthday present this year! :)
  • Christmas was different ... but good.
  • And even as I type this post I'm working on plans for 2009. Lots will happen that will be unexpected. Lots will go wrong. Lots will go right. I'm looking forward to another wild ride.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kids Do The Darndest Things

I walked into church tonight in my usual hurry to find someone I needed to see when someone grabbed me and said, "wait ... she needs to see you for a minute" pointing to a little girl. I turned and the little girl handed me the bank you see below which was filled with coins all the way to the top. Her mother explained that she had been saving up her money for a very long time and had finished filling the bank yesterday after cleaning her room. The money is for the kids at Pine Ridge.

Needless to say I was touched. What a sweet thing to do. Kids just "get it" better than a lot of adults don't they. But I know this girls parents and I know its no accident that their little one chose to use her money this way. They've taught her to share what she has with kids who don't have as much as she does. And they've not just taught her to do it, but have lived out that example themselves in front of her.

I have no idea how much is in the bank ... I've not counted it yet. But I do know that the amount whatever it is, is a little girl's sacrifice. She could have used it to buy a toy or candy or whatever else she might want. Instead, she thought of some other kids who she may never even meet and chose to share with them.


BTW ... she made sure to tell me that she wants the bank back ... so she can start filling it up again.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Don't Watch This

Just a short video of us ice skating on Christmas. Can't believe I look like an old lady being led around my her sons. Embarrassing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So This Is Christmas I Hope You Had Fun!

So Christmas 2008 has almost past. It was different this year at our house. Different, but good. With the exception that we got a phone call from Brian's mom telling us that his dad had been taken to the hospital. We don't have all the info yet but he may have Pneumonia.

This afternoon Brian and I and our sons and daughter-in-law went down to Fountain Square in Cincinnati to ice skate, then went to Cody and Allison's house for homemade gingersnaps and hot chocolate and then back to my parents for sandwiches. We always have a lot of fun laughing together ... when you're in a family of crazy people its hard not to laugh.

Here are some pics of the day

Its been a LONG time since I was on ice skates

Logan and Allison

Logan and Cody

Allison and Cody

Does that look like a speed skater behind them??

Opps ... Allison fell ... a lot

just bein' cool

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa and the Mrs. Are Close Personal Friends

Merry Christmas everyone!

(Shhh... don't tell anyone they are the real deal! Aren't they cute!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just Rambling

I'm sitting here waiting to take my dad for his chemo treatment today so thought I would just ramble on a bit. Yesterday we had Christmas with my parents and our sons and daughter-in-law. It was fun but I'm pretty sure they could make a sit-com based on our family. Sometimes its hard to eat for laughing. And then there's the gifts ... and my mom getting Cody and Logan's gifts mixed up so they opened them all and then decided who got what.

I will probably have a busy day today. It takes 2-3 hours for dad's chemo ... btw, ya gotta wonder what they are doing with that stuff ... did you know that after a treatment no one else can use the same bathroom as the chemo patient because its toxic to everyone else? Seriously, you have to flush twice before anyone else can use it because its so toxic. Wow.

I will probably get another tattoo today. I tried yesterday but they were busy and then we had Christmas dinner and all. So I'll try again today. I've just put their number in my phone so I can call them and set it up while I'm out and about today. Is it a bad thing to have a tattoo shop's number in your cell phone? Probably. Don't worry - it will be small and tasteful and able to be hidden if necessary. And it will be my last. I may or may not have some words added to it later but I'm not sure about that yet so that part will wait. I'm thinking of having "Hoka Hey" in some kind of pretty script.

I'm also grateful they found the man from our church who was missing. With single digit temps and sub-zero wind chills it could have been a very bad situation but all is well now.

Well, enough rambling the clock is telling me its about time for me to get on the road.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


To any anonymous callers to our home,
church or cell phone voice mail
who feel compelled to leave hate-filled
messages and threats
Just wanted to give you fair warning ...
We will be keeping the tapes/recordings
and will seek to trace your number
and when we find it will press charges.
Those messages containing threats
will be given special attention.
Keep in mind that we still love you
and will be happy to visit you in jail
if you should have to serve any time
but we just love you too much
to allow you to continue to be a menace.
We sincerely hope you get the help you deserve.
In case you are wondering, this is not a joke.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm a Little Bummed About Chritmas This Year

I've been a little bummed about Christmas this year. Mostly I'm bummed because we aren't really doing gifts this year. My kids all want money - so boring. Its what they need though so it seems silly to buy them something they may or may not want or need when what they really need is cash. My parents requested to have Brian and Cody do some work for them, which is also what they need more than they need a gift, but again, boring. And Brian and I are using our Christmas money to pay for our trip to Virginia in January. I'm glad we're going and I am really looking forward to it but it is work-related so I wish it wasn't our Christmas gift. OK, so it happens to be a lot of fun too ... seeing some friends, going to a club to hear some great music for the benefit of Pine Ridge, spending the afternoon checking out the city of Winchester, but still ... I wish it wasn't our Christmas gift. It kinda has to be though; we don't have the money to pay for both - its been an expensive year. And because it's been an expensive year, I didn't get to buy gifts for my kids on the Rez and gifts for Brian's family were homemade things this year. Bummer.

OK, I said all that to say this ....

I feel robbed of the joy of giving this Christmas. I know Christmas isn't about gifts. I get that. But there is joy in giving ... in taking time to think about what might mean something to the ones you love and then wrapping them up with the anticipation of seeing them open it on Christmas day. It seems to me, that is the real spirit of giving. It requires the exercise of thought, of considering the other person, their likes and dislikes and what touches their heart. Its easy to drop an donation and call that giving, and it is giving, but in my opinion it takes something away from the real spirit of giving which involved investing something of yourself. And it takes the joy out of it too. Hmm... I'm thinking that is where the phrase "its the thought that counts" came from. People say that when they get a bad gift but really, its the oppostie - its not an excuse for a bad gift, its the reflection of a gift that someone put some thought into.

Christmas will be different this year too because my dad has a chemo treatment 2 days before Christmas. Yeah, cancer doesn't respect a holiday. The chemo really wipes him out so we're doing Christmas on Monday instead of Christmas day. Thankfully I do not have jury duty on Monday. Crime doesn't respect holidays either but at least I didn't get called to go in on Monday.

So Christmas day will be different. I am looking forward to doing something that is very different for us ... we'll be going downtown to Fountain Square with our son's and our daughter-in-law to go ice skating on the square, take a carriage ride around the city, and look at Christmas decorations. Then we'll have hot chocolate and will end the day by going back to my parent's house for sandwiches. Different, but its something I am going to enjoy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Brian's Vent

You can read it here. What can I say ... sometimes pastors and their adoring wives just have to let it rip.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Parenting Issues and Missions

I've kind of wanted to write about this for a while but have been a little reluctant because I don't want anyone to think that this is directed toward them. It is not. I don't have anyone in mind as I write this, its just something I've thought about and occasionally the topic comes up in conversation because I'm involved with missions and it involves an issue that a lot of parents wrestle with.

I also do not want anyone to think that I'm saying that they should do what I did. That is a decision is for each parent to make and is between them and God and is not my concern.

And I also hope that this doesn't come across as tooting my own horn. I don't intend it that way and am very much aware that things could have turned out very differently for me and my kids.

And yet I hear it frequently ... There seems to be a dilemma that a lot of good parents face. They often have a heart for reaching out to others but, they have young children and feel torn between their responsibilities as parents and their desire to be involved in mission trips.

I don't have any answers for this. All I can do is share what I have done. When my youngest was 2 or 3 (its a shame I can't remember which) I left for 2 weeks to go half-way around the world to Romania. That was not an easy decision. In fact, I cried all the way to the airport after saying good-bye to my two kids.

I made that difficult decision based on two things:

1. My kids always knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they came first. Always. I don't believe either of my kids ever questioned that.

2. I wanted my kids to grow up with the conviction that reaching out to others who were less fortunate than they were was a really important thing to do. Really important.

And the best way I could figure out to teach them that was to let them see me doing just that. Of course I would include them when possible, but sometimes it was not possible - like the trip to Romania. I made the decision to go hoping it would send them the message that they were # 1 and always would be but that helping others was also really important. I wanted them to know that they had parents who loved them but not all kids had that and they would be able to share me for a couple of weeks with some kids who didn't have parents or a home like the street kids in Romania. (the picture is one I took of some of the kids we worked with in Romania. Every one of those little guys lived on the city streets completely on their own.)

That was almost 20 years ago and both of my kids are grown now. I don't know if it had any bearing on their career choices but both of my boys are in service positions - one is going to be a cop and the other is ... you guessed it, a missionary. What I do know is that going on mission trips would not have been a good thing at all if my kids were not convinced that they came first.

For me the bottom line is that there are a lot of things we can do to screw up our kids but leaving them for 2 weeks to do mission work was not one of them as long as they know we love them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

'Tis the Season

for baking ...

This is my fundraiser for out PR trips each year. Gingersnaps and .... something else. In the past I've made fudge but this year I am doing Chocolate Marbled Almond Bark. The Gingersnaps are the thing I seem to be known for though. So here are some pics of how my day is being spent....

(the stuff in the cellophane bags is the bark)

I'm also hoping to write some more ... when I get all this baking done. I'm writing the crew devos for the trip next summer. Yeah, it takes me that long to write them .... writing devos is not my thing really but ...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just Doin' Life

I haven't blogged for a while so I guess I need to remedy that. There isn't much to tell really. We've been fighting sickness here. It seems that one of us just gets over one bug to have another hit. Brian has had two bouts with the flu in spite of getting a flu shot and I've had the flu and now have a sinus thing that made my head hurt so bad I tied a bandanna around my head really tight to try to get some relief. Now I hate to say it, but my throat is feeling a little sore.

Dad's been doing his chemo and doing ok with it. It wipes him out in a big way but according to the test results, it seems to be doing its job. I took him for his treatment last week and its amazing, completely amazing, how many people came and went from the oncologists office in the few hours we were there. Cancer sucks and it seems to touch so many people. Now on top of the fatigue of chemo, dad is also got the flu.

It feels like I've been cooking and cleaning forever. I make these incredibly fantastic gingersnaps (if I do say so myself) and sell them as a fundraiser to help raise $$ for Pine Ridge and I've got several dozen to do this week. Between that and making dinner I'm sick of cooking and cleaning. A sweet couple from church are taking us out for a belated birthday dinner tonight and it couldn't come at a better time.

Speaking of the trip ... its about time to sign up another crew. Jan. 4 is the big deadline and that date will tell who goes and how much the trip will cost. We've had a few regulars drop out this year because of money, work, and school plans so its looking like the cost is going to go up considerably. OUCH! That's not good because it may keep others from going. In fact, it may well keep my husband from going and that's really not good. Plus, I may have a crew of mostly newbies ... which is good but will make things ... interesting, for me.

I'm also getting ready for Rezonate ... trying to secure sponsors. One big name in particular may be signing on soon and I really hope so because I could use some good news. Regardless of the amount they sponsor it would be nice to have a VERY recognizable name to add to the list of sponsors. Actually, they have already said YES but we have to get some paperwork in and that all has to go through the Community Foundation which will just take a bit of time.

As time permits I'm also working on a project for a presentation for the show in Winchester, VA in January. I'm looking forward to that.

Well, there ya have it. Pretty mundane stuff. Just doin' life. Nothing blogworthy at all but I think some family read here that may like to keep up with the Buriff home.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Peace on Earth?

I must say I'm pretty proud of Brian. Stop by and check out his blog to see a powerful video he put together.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Dogs

David asked if Gunner was the new favorite dog in the Buriff family. He may be the most photographed now because he's "new" but each of our dogs have their own unique place in the family. Let me explain ...

Taser is the German Shepherd and despite being a breed of dog that is sometimes thought of as aggressive, Taser is a real sissy. She's such a girly girl. She's beautiful, sweet, and afraid of her own shadow. Don't ever sneeze in her presence because that wills end her running for the safety of her crate. So much for a watch dog.

Gunner is the mutt that showed up, moved in, and then took over our home. He's a funny dog. Funny looking too. He sort of looks like someone took the pieces of several dog puzzles and put them together. I have no idea what kind of dogs got together to make him, but he's strange looking. His back legs are way too long for the rest of him. His ears stick out like the flying nun. And his private parts are ... well .... huge. He acts funny too. I'm pretty sure he's double jointed because his limbs can get into some of the strangest positions. He loves to play and aggravate but is also our biggest snuggler. He will fall asleep in your arms and snore loudly.

Jasmine (a.k.a. Jazz) is the old lady. I'm afraid Jazz isn't going to be with us much longer. She's old. Really old. I think she's around 16 years old and is sadly decrepit. She has trouble getting around, her eyes are nasty and she's losing weight rapidly. She's not really very social but has been getting lots of special treatment in her old age - she gets to stay in doors all day, eats Cheerios with milk for breakfast and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and dinner.

God is so Weird

God is so weird. That's what I tell my crew every year just before we hit the road to the Rez. I mean really, who else would put such a strange mix of people together?? It kinda reminds me a bit of "Survivor" because we have the strong personalities, the one's who stay quiet and fly under the radar, and the "otters" of the bunch who are always the life of the crew. Here is a very short Christmas greeting card from a few of the crew to our friends on the Rez. You can watch too if you like and get a feel for it.


I finally got the Christmas tree decorated! OK, so I'm no Martha Stewart but I like it anyway. The tree if filled with ornaments of sentimental value .... from friends we've known through the years. Here's some pics.

The cross-stitched ornament was made by Helen Spradling and reminds of me her and Oscar every year. Gosh I miss those two.

My oldest son's first Christmas ornament given to us by some good friends (some of our very FEW good friends) in Alabama.

Logan's first Christmas ornament

And one sleeping pup

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Music

I've been enjoying Christmas much this year ... more so than usual. Here are some of the things I'm loving this year.

Two videos from (RED) WIRE.

(gosh I've missed this guy)

The Killers & Elton John & Neil Tennant
The Killers & Elton John & Neil Tennant
Joseph Better You Than Me

Believe by Josh Groban may be my new favorite

The Casting Crowns Christmas CD is amazing

I love the "Peanuts" Christmas music from the Charlie Brown Christmas show

And its just not Christmas until I hear Andy Williams sing. My mother loved Andy Willilams and every Christmas that's what I heard. As an adult, I've just got to hear Andy to feel like Christmas.

Monday, December 01, 2008

What Was I Thinking??

We all know how bad the economy is and the Buriff home is no different. This has been an expensive year ... the furnace/air conditioner died, the dryer died, the dishwasher died ... and I think the dog is about to die. So, there have been a lot of unusual expenses this year which means that it will be a little more challenging to do the usual Christmas gifts and decorations and such.


I'm getting crafty.

Now I like crafts. I can do crafts. But I normally just don't have the time/desire to do them. Or the need to do them for that matter. This year is different for a lot of us though ... so I got to thinking ....

which led to ideas ....

and yesterday I went out shopping for all the goodies I would need to make those ideas a reality ...

and ...

I have discovered that it would have been cheaper to just buy the stupid things rather than try to make them.

If you get a homemade gift from us this year .... I apologize in advance.