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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

All I Can Say is WOW ... You've REALLY GOT to See This

OK, so it takes me a while. Barbara has talked about Daniel on her blog before but for some stupid reason I never paid attention. Let me advise you, DO NOT make that mistake. I'm already feeling like I've missed out even though I'm now paying attention.

I can't really tell you how great a find this is. You really must see it for yourself. So what are you waiting for?? GO here now and check out Daniel's work. I think I know what to tell Brian I want for Christmas this year. Check out his Youtube channel and follow him on Twitter too!

Friday, May 29, 2009

I Know You Want One of These

I ordered wristband tickets for REZonate today. They won't be yellow though like the one pictured. They will be purple and will say REZonate Music Fest & Bike Run on them with a music note and a motorcycle on them.

So you say, "How can I get one of those mega cool bracelets?" Simple - VOLUNTEER.

We'll need people to:

Set up 10x10 pop up tents
Work booths selling merch for the bands
Park cars
Be a host(ess) to see that the band members have everything they need

and probably a lot of other things that I can't think of at the moment.

Contact Jessica if you want to volunteer


If you have a bike (motorcycle) you can ride in the bike run and get one. Contact Jeff if you want more info about that.

It took me 3 hours to order these priceless little things. But I've already received confirmation that they've been shipped. I think it took me longer to order them than it did to print and ship them. It would have been cool to have our logo on them BUT that would have been a lot more expensive - hence the 3 hours of shopping/ordering.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Working From Home

I never really planned on this, but I have a job that I do from home. I don't get paid for this job, in fact, it can cost me. But I love it because I get to do what I love to do and I get to do it at my own pace. For those of you who don't know, I organize and lead short-term mission trips to Pine Ridge Reservation and I direct a non-profit organization (Backpacks For Pine Ridge) and as part of that organizations fund raising, I coordinate a community-wide music fest each year. And yes, that keeps me busy! I work long days from Nov - August and then I have NOTHING to do in Sept and October. Its nice to have the down time though to get caught up on rest and household chores.

Just in case you've ever wondered (can't imagine that anyone has) here is a little of what I do:

  • Plan meetings each month for both the trip and REZonate teams
  • Attend those meetings each month
  • Plan activities and themes for VBS for the kids at Pine Ridge
  • Set up budgets
  • Write devotionals for the crew book
  • Make up schedules for the trip
  • Shop out materials online to see how we can do things in the least expensive way possible
  • Email crew members to remind them of deadlines, meetings.
  • Pack and label stuff for the trip
  • Contact potential sponsors via email, letters, and/or phone calls
  • Contact bands to see if they can perform at REZonate
  • Stay in touch with city leadership to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's crossed so we stay out of trouble
  • Research advertising costs
  • Updates web sites, blogs, and myspace, and facebook pages (and now Twitter too)
  • Go shopping to pick up materials. This can be anything from building materials to school supplies to pop or water for REZonate. (this is really fun when I get cart loads of school supplies and have everyone at Walmart wondering what on earth I'm doing)
  • Print stuff ( I HATE this because I have the worlds WORST printer ) Sometimes Kinkos is cheaper and I'm really grateful when it is.
  • Sometimes speak to groups
  • Sometimes do an interview

Well, that's enough to give you an idea. THANKFULLY I have help - since we are a non-profit fund through The Community Foundation, they handle sending receipts and thank you's to our donors.

All of this requires a LOT of COMMUNICATION with everyone from crew members to bands to sponsors to city leaders to motorcycle associations to people who might attend either the trip or the music fest. Since I realize this is my job and not everyone else's (other people have real jobs) I usually communicate via email so they can respond as they have time. Which means I'm at my desk at lot sending emails or recieveing them or replying to their reply.

Some things I've learned about working at home are:
You have to be self-motivated. You have to be able to ignore the phone for personal calls when you are working (just like you would at a real job).

The Advantages of Working at Home:
The hours - I get to set my own schedule
I get to do what I love
I get to be home
I don't have to dress up - I can work in pj's if I want

The Disadvantages of Working at Home:
I don't get paid so I never have any money (that's a real disadvantage)
It is very isolating

That last one is one I don't like at all. Most people who work, work with other people. They have times throughout the day when they will speak to a co-worker to talk about any given subject. They may go to lunch with a co-worker. When you're at home by yourself for the better part of the day it can be very isolating. So, if you see me on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, or blogging and wonder what I'm doing there when I'm supposed to be so busy - well, its my way of sticking my head out of my cubicle and saying "Hello? Hello? - is anybody out there??" Even at that, its also part of my job - the networking, communicating, promoting, etc.

OK, well I'm off to Walmart. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This video is a compilation of the voices of people who have been helped by The Heroin Diaries. I didn't make the video, but it certainly expresses my feelings as well as I could have myself.

Permission - Sixx AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Do you ever go to church and wonder why we do the things we do there? Sometimes I go and come home wondering if anything we did really had anything at all to do with Jesus. I wonder how much of what we do, we do because its the way we've always done it? I wonder if that is the "traditions of men" that Jesus warned about? (Mark 7) I wonder if we limit our effectiveness for Christ because we are uncomfortable with anything that is different? I wonder if the Creator is so un-creative that He can't inspire new ways of worshipping Him? I wonder sometimes who or what it is we're really following.
I'm not saying we should ditch all traditions. I like traditions. I might at times even be one of those people who don't like you're new idea. But I think traditions are really only just tools and not the real thing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Freedom Isn't Free

As I remember those who gave their lives for freedom today it occurs to me that some gave their lives in ways we may not think of.

Many came home but their lives were never the same again. Some are in Veteran's Hospitals today recovering from the loss of limbs or from traumatic brain damage. Some came home safe but not sound. I want to remember those men and women who gave their lives. I want to remember the thousands of family members who celebrate this day without their son, husband, brother, daughter, sister, wife, friend.

And I want to remember those who sleep on our streets and inhabit homeless camps in our city.

And I hope I do more than just "remember" their sacrifice. I hope I will be ready to serve them in whatever way possible. One way I can do that is to attend the Serve City Volunteer Meeting at our church next Sunday and see what opportunities there are for me to get involved.

And I'm going to go out on a limb here and just say that the next time we have a homeless veteran visit our church who makes us uncomfortable I hope we will take a moment to realize who he is. Can we spare some of our comfort in an area where we know we are safe to reach out to someone who may have lost his way while he was serving us?

Veteran Specific Highlights:

  • 23% of homeless population are veterans

  • 33% of male homeless population are veterans

  • 47% Vietnam Era

  • 17% post Vietnam

  • 15% pre Vietnam

  • 67% served three or more years

  • 33% stationed in war zone

  • 25% have used VA Homeless Services

  • 85% completed high school/GED compared to 56% of non-veterans

  • 89% received Honorable Discharge

  • 79% reside in central cities

  • 16% reside in suburban areas

  • 5% reside in rural areas

  • 76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems

  • 46% white males compared to 34% non-veterans

  • 46% age 45 or older compared to 20% non-veterans

* statistics provided by the National Coalition on Homelessness

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

That’s the Way We Get Down in a Hick Town

Yesterday I drove with Logan to Logan, OH to check out Hocking College. For some unknown reason he has changed his plans to go to the Police Academy this fall and then get a job next April with a Police Dept. and has now decided that he's "not mature enough to be a cop" and needs another year to mature. Hmm ... I don't know, to me that sounds like a pretty mature conclusion to come to. But if he wants to go to college, who can argue?

So we went to Hocking College to see this school that has a recommended Police Science program that includes the Police Academy.

What to say ... its a little bitty school in a little bitty town. I think the best way to describe the feel of it is to quote the advisor that we met with when she told Logan that there were 4 dorms on the campus, 2 on the main campus and 2 across the river. "You can walk down the railroad tracks to get back and forth from there. Don't worry, you won't get hit by a train - they go 15 miles an hour and blow their whistle and have lights so if you get hit, its your own fault. I tell the guys that if they've had a rough night that the train has a cattle catcher on it to just grab a hold of it and hold on tight".

How Do I Get Into These Situations??

I had an idea today.

I need to stop having those.

You see, this year the theme for VBS on the Rez is "the Olympics". Now normally I like to pick a theme that involves something tangible the kids can dress up in or something. The Olympics is a bit hard to do that with. Other than a medal or so, there's really nothing tangible that reinforces the lessons. SO I've been thinking of what I can do about that.

I managed to find some information about some very inspiring American Indian athletes that have competed in/won the Olympics. I love their stories about how they overcame some pretty tough circumstances to achieve their dreams. I thought, "now that's a message the kids need to hear - not to let their circumstances determine their future".

SO I began to think about how to incorporate that into VBS. My first thought was trading cards since its a "sports" theme.

I looked into it and there are a number of companies that will do that for ya - for a price. And when you're thinking about making 4 cards for 150 kids, that prices is way out of our range.

SO, maybe I could make the trading cards myself. But that would mean printing them all out, cutting them, and gluing the fronts to the backs of the cards. Sounds like a LOT of work. Very time consuming work. It COULD be done, and I haven't thrown that idea out yet, but I've gotta say I'm not liking it much.

SO I was talking to Cody who suggested we do BIG trading cards - one of each, and display them somewhere. Now I LIKE that idea. I'm sure Kinkos would be happy to print them out for a much lesser price and we could mount them on foam board and display them.

BUT .... where to display them?? There really isn't any one place out there where the kids congregate. They would probably go unnoticed and that would mean that we would have spent $ for no good reason.

SO, I'm still debating that.

In the meantime, I began thinking that we really DO need SOMETHING to signify the theme. Maybe a BIG banner that says, "WELCOME TO OLYMPIC VILLAGE" as they enter the kitchen for lunch??

SO I began researching that and found several companies that would do that - for a price. Honestly, I don't think we can spare $40 for a banner that really serves very little purpose.

SO I began thinking that maybe I could make a banner.

I set it up. I printed it out. Had to use regular paper because my printer doesn't like banner paper, but that's OK ... I can cut and tape them together... right?

SO I cut and taped.

Then I thought, "This looks a little boring. It really needs a bright background. AND it will not last long so it should be covered with clear contact paper to make it a bit more durable."

SO I headed off to Walmart and behold what did I find - bright red wrapping paper! I bought it and a roll of clear contact paper and came home to set to work.

BUT, working with a 5 foot section of sticky stuff (contact paper) proves to be much more challenging than it sounded.

That's about the time Brian came home, stopped suddenly at the door and said, "Oh, you have a project going..." He hesitated, unsure whether or not he should enter the house. He finally came in stifling a giggle. When I asked him what was so funny, he just said, "This reminds me of something I would see on I Love Lucy.

SO, I'm thinking that maybe these kids don't really need decorations. Maybe I should ditch the trading card idea too. They don't really need to be inspired, do they? I'm really thinking that just playing on the playground sounds like a good thing to me.

*note to self: NEVER allow the team to override my original "theme" idea again.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More flower pics from my front yard

Life Goes On

Things have been busy again. Been posting here more than here.

Just a few things ...

  • If you read this and if you're the praying kind, pray for a situation that is happening at 3pm today.
  • Papa Johns is on board for REZonate again this year and have agreed to put fliers on their pizza boxes.
  • I'm excited! Brian's sister from WA is going to the Rez with us this year!
  • Got a new phone and LOVE IT!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm Not a Happy Camper

Last fall we had a hurricane in Ohio. Yep, that's right. That storm did some damage to our siding so we've had a call in to some guy to fix it for a few months. Today they finally came to fix it but in the process killed a nest of baby birds. I'm pissed. There are dead baby birds and a half-dead traumatized mother bird in my side yard. Was that really necessary?? If the idiots would have come out when they were supposed to there wouldn't have been a nest of baby birds there.

Monday, May 11, 2009

All Kinds of Cool Stuff

OK, where to begin ....

Yesterday was Mother's Day. Got a Facebook message from my youngest and a text from my oldest. Later got some flowers and a movie from my youngest as well and a gift certificate to a bookstore from the dogs. I'm amazed that they gave me a gift card to a bookstore ... I was sure they were jealous of the time I spend reading when I should be playing with them. I survived church and all the ridiculous hoopla about Mother's Day that drives me up the wall. I did consider ramming a pencil though my eye at one point, but I restrained myself. I think we forget sometimes that Mother's Day is an American thing and not a bible thing. I feel bad for all the people there who did not have good mothers who have to hear it and feel completely overlooked. Seems if we have to focus on either Mom or Dad we could minister to those folks who missed out on what should have been and never was.

Also got good news today ... I think one of my favorite Cincy artists will be at Rezonate again this year. I won't mention any names yet, but yes, Josh, if you're reading here, its your friend and yes, you can introduce him.

I'm thinking of upgrading my cell phone. It'll be a while - gotta save up the bucks for it. It would be SO nice to have my calendar, Word documents, Excel documents, and To Do lists, contacts, and phone all in one place. It would also be nice to have a full keyboard for texting since that's how I talk to my kids - sometimes even when Logan is at home. Strange world we live in. It would also be nice to be able to blog from the Rez this summer and keep everyone back home up to date about what's going on there.

And I've got this crazy whacked out idea... Ever seen these sumo suits?? They are hilarious! I'm thinking the teenagers on the Rez would LOVE tand we would love watching them. They are expensive, but we're below budget on some things and I think we could swing it. I'm a bit concerned that they might get damaged so I called the company and they assured me that they do not charge for damage that is repairable. I didn't tell them that sometimes the kids are armed. :) Seriously though, I think it'll be ok.

Its been SO cool to see how people are coming together for Melda too. We have SO much stuff donated - all of the roofing, the siding, a pre-hung steel door, windows, and some of the girls at church are going to have a shower for her to fill her kitchen with new things to go in the kitchen. And today a lady who found me via blogging send $150.00 for Melda's project. Who'd have thunk it? My sister-in-law is going to make curtains for her too. My sis-in-law is a really gifted seamstress who makes wedding dresses and has worked on some dresses that stars wear to red carpet gigs. Melda has no idea we're doing all of this. She knows about the room addition but not all the other stuff.

Yeah, I love my life. :)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I found this years ago in a book and thought it might be appropriate for Mother's Day for all those women who have the toughest job in the world - being a mom.

From Everyday Miracles by Dale Hansen Bourke

Time is running out for my friend. While we were sitting at lunch, she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." What she means is that her biological clock has begun its countdown and she is being forced to consider the prospect of motherhood.
“We’re taking a survey,” she says, half joking, “Do you think I should have a baby?”
“It will change your life,” I say carefully, keeping my tone neutral.

“I know,” she says. “no more sleeping in on Saturdays, no more spontaneous vacations…”

But that is not what I mean at all. I try to decide what to tell her.

I want Her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes: that her physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but that becoming a mother will leave an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable. I consider warning her that she will never read a newspaper again without asking, “What if that had been my child?” That every plane rash, every fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That urgent call of “Mom!” will cause her to drop her best crystal without a moment’s hesitation.

I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for child care, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think about her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her child is all right.

I want my friend to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five-year-old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at a restaurant will become a major dilemma. That issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in the restroom. However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the ponds of pregnancy but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years – not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish his.

My friend’s relationship with her husband will change but no in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is always careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his son or daughter. I think she should know that she will fall in love with her husband all over again for reasons she would no find very unromantic.

I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to hit a baseball. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who strokes the soft fur of a dog for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it hurts.

My friend’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I say finally. Then, squeezing my friend’s hand, I offer a prayer for her and me and all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this holiest of callings.

Friday, May 08, 2009

OK, Yeah, I'm Bragging

I'm just happy that they came back this year. Actually, I'm not that bad of a gardner. I used to have Impatients planted in the front flower bed but over time got to the place where I couldn't justify putting money in the ground each year. For a long time I just let it go and then last year planted some perienals that come back each year.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Secret to Happiness

The secret to happiness is to not pursue it. People who pursue happiness are generally self-focused and being self-focused is a sure way to be miserable.

I always tell my crew that there are 52 weeks in a year and most of us spend all of them doing everything we can to make ourselves happy and comfortable. I ask them to give that up for one week so that they can serve the needs of others. If they do that, they find a joy that would have never been possible if they had spent the time trying to make themselves happy and comfortable.

Slow Down, Take It Easy

Wow, things have actually slowed down for me this week. I've actually had time to take care of me a bit - like getting a MUCH overdue haircut. I've also checked out some new recipes, and worked a bit in my flower garden.

OK, now this is really exciting. See this pic?

Those are baby Shasta Daisies! Yep, I have grown them from seed! Who knew!

Now the bad news ...

There were 6 of them.

I went to take the pic and knocked 2 of them over into the garbage disposal.

I killed them.

Whatever It Takes; You Can't Rewind

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Strange Thing Happened Yesterday

Oh the wonders of technology ...

Yesterday I received a phone call. The caller said, "You don't know me, but ..." Turns out she reads a blog called Daisy Cottage, which linked to my friend Michelle's blog, who happened to post about our work project for Melda after seeing the presentation at church. The caller saw the pictures of Melda's place and knew she had to do something. She did a google search for me and found my phone number. She cried on the phone saying, "Why are we decorating our houses when people are living like that? I really feel that God wants me to send you some money for the project."

And another odd thing - she is from a town that is very near to my hometown.

Wonders never cease.

In fact, I have so many of these stories that I'm thinking I'll start a whole new category of them.

Have You Seen elf?

Ladies a head's up ... I found a web site where you can purchase cosmetics WAAYYYY cheaper than at the store. elf has most anything you could want. Some examples of the prices are:

Eye shadow - $1
Mascarea - $1
Eye Liner - $1
Mineral Foundation - $5

The shipping is $6.95, but it seems to be $6.95 regardless of how many products you buy. I've not tried the makeup yet but I did order some. I'll let you know how I like it.

Monday, May 04, 2009

I Love This Kid

Although I guess if you call a Marine a "kid" that says something about your age.

This weekend has been good. Busy. Very busy, but very good. One of my sisters-in-law that we rarely ever get to see is visiting from Vancouver, WA. Its been fun.

I don't talk about them often because distance has made it difficult to really know my nephews but I have 8 nephews! With my own two sons that makes 10 young men coming up in the next generation of our family. Not a girl in the bunch until my oldest nephew just had a baby GIRL a few weeks ago. I am immensely proud of all of these kids. Of the 10, there are two ministers, an architect who is has some really cool new ideas for making affordable housing for low-income families, a few firemen, one police officer, a Naval Officer in training and several who are serving in the military. All great young men. Michael (pictured) is one of my nephews. The last time I saw Michael he was a little kid who picked on me the whole time. He found a special place in my heart by doing that. Crazy how that works. Now he's all grown up and serving in the Marines and his wife is expecting twins very soon! I really do thank God for Facebook because its a way for me to stay connected on some level with what's happening in their lives. This is a very recent pic of Michael. I look at it and am filled with pride and love for this "kid".

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Some Little Things That Make Me Happy

Got this from Michelle. These are just a few things that make me happy, (husband and kids aside). In no particular order ....


Nikki Sixx's photography

Every photo he does is though provoking

Sitting on my porch drinking iced tea and watching my flowers grow

OK, this is in serious need of some color. I've got to get to Berns and get some flowers for my big pot


Getting away to a cabin in beautiful Hocking Hills

Coffee in my favorite mug

My rock garden
I love the contrast of the stone and dainty flowers

my babies

my Jeep

in the summer you can take the top off and feel the wind on your face,

in the winter snow is never a problem.

It does drink gas. A lot of gas. But I'm the little old lady who only

drives to the grocery store and church so its all good

my Sunday school (hate that term) class

we're not your typical Sunday school class,

we're small,

but we have a lot of fun.

Last Sunday we were all laughing so hard we cried

Lie to Me - a great new show on FOX

What little things in life make you happy?

When Statistics Aren't Boring

I've done a few presentations about the Rez lately. Presentations that attempt to show what life is like on the Rez. That usually includes a lot of statistics, which can be pretty boring. But when you know people who are reflected in the statistics its anything but boring. Its downright heartbreaking.

Yesterday I spoke with the missionary in the village we visit each year. There was lots of bad news. One of our girls who is all of 14 years old has recently attempted suicide 3 times. I would have never pegged her as one who would make an attempt. She seemed well adjusted. She's been trying to teach me Lakota with limited success and trying even harder to teach me how to dance a Lakota dance which is even more ... challenging. I just look at her and say, "Are you sure you're not Irish??" A few years ago when we went to the local PowWow and they made us dance in the middle of the PowWow ring, she came out with us to try to help. I will never forget her arms wrapping around my waist and her saying, "You're supposed to be having fun". Well I might have been if I hadn't been dying of humiliation. :)

Then there was news of a young father we have met. He was arrested for his 4th DUI and will likely spend 2-3 years in jail.

And the elderly lady who has been there with her grandchildren every year we've been there. She had triple by-pass surgery, got an awful infection and had to be opened up to let the infection out. She is now in the "hospital", if you can call it that, for 6 weeks.

And one of the little boys that I just adore. Well everyone adores him, he's just ....adorable, has some really bad things going on in his family. He's a stinker. Rarely does what you ask him to but his smile is one you can't resist. He's just so stinkin' cute. I want to bring him home with me. I'd take him back the next year ... or maybe sooner. Or maybe not at all.